"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe

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Palm Sunday 4/14/2019

A simple palm.

It’s not an object I think about much, but when this day rolls around each year, I have vivid and specific memories:

the man walking away in New Mexico last year, his back pocket filled with them…

the time several years ago my daughter quietly fashioned crosses out of them in the back pew of a church, to the delight of several people around her…

the reverent way my mom made sure every crucifix in the house was adorned with them…

…and today, my two granddaughters waving them at me as they greeted me at Mass. I was thinking I might hear en guard at any moment, but the novelty wore off quickly.

Small moments that last in the mind’s eye.

The realization that the small moments carry the sweetest stories.

There were successive small sweet moments at Mass today:

A slow hymn played and Emma began whimpering. She feels the music. She and her sister always have. This truth gives me insight into the kind of people they will grow to be…caring, aware, attuned.

Sofia spotted her beloved “Aunt Betty” on the way to communion and stopped to let her know. To greet her, smile at her, visibly be thrilled to see her. Then, tears when we were back in our seats…that last few minutes until she could see her again feeling like an eternity.

To love, to feel love like that. That.

Emma, age 2 1/2, leading me by the hand to light a candle. Waving to Jesus on the way, holding the long match and patiently (as possible…she’s 2) waiting for the flicker to become a flame. Sofia, 3 1/2, arrives just in time to assist.

Lots to think about on this day. It’s a day of anniversaries as well. My own life re-started thanks to skilled doctors and blood donors 28 years ago. I’ve witnessed an extra lifetime of small moments that I said thank you for again today. And… because life is this two sided coin… a life taken 7 years ago: my best friend lost to me and so many who loved her because a drunk made a terrible choice to get behind the wheel of a car and drive.

So, a Palm Sunday candle is flickering in a century old church tonight with prayers of thanksgiving for a life spared and prayers of not knowing what words to say when a life is taken, so a tiny flame takes the place of the words.

I don’t have to have the words. Like two little girls remind me, my feelings are enough.

Sometimes, like the people in the Gospel narrative today, we are witnesses. Seeing all the things. Storing them in our hearts. Knowing that we each have a role to play on and off the page.

We enter Holy Week today…a week that I hope to continue some Lenten promises, spend some extra time in silence, and reflect on a lot of things. And hopefully, learn from the small moments and little children that the smallest acts of love and presence still matter the most.



Lent 2019–Day 3–3/8/2019 plus Friday’s Five

It’s the International Day of Women. I am glad there is another marker of this day that I can look to because it is also the anniversary of my husband’s death.

And even though the days pass (Google informs me it’s been 1826/these five years), there is still not a day that passes that Sam isn’t on my mind. The days are easier though. For any mourner who reads these words, the days do get easier.

I am still writing about the process of grief, of loss, of all the things that are connected to it.

But today I am also looking out with a firmer resolve to take care of the days I might still see.

So, in honor of women today, my Friday’s Five asks you to do this small thing:

Think of five females who have made your life better. Call them, text them, write to them. Let them know.

And as we journey on in this weird and wacky world, may we make it easier in some way for someone. Today.

Peace. ❤️

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Friday’s Five

It is four months until Christmas. Yes, I keep track. 

Kisses from an eleven month old who lavishes them on demand. 

A two year old’s outstretched hand…and little voice saying, C’mon Loulou.

Knit blanket almost ready to send to #welcomeblanket project for immigrants.

Netflix nights.

And, while I sit in a comfortable spot writing tonight, my prayers are with the folks across southeast Texas who are bracing for Hurricane Harvey. Latest tracking shows it’s a Category 4. Pray for Texas. 

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Friday’s Five

This past week I sat with my friend D who reminded me yet again that it is time to write the book. The book she told me I needed to write when she found out I was getting ready to walk a terrible and tragic path. The book she brings up from time to time, but never more forcefully than this past week. You have the time now, friend. 

And, as most true friends have the tendency to be, she is right. So, in the spirit of internet accountability, I share my intention here. I also ask a favor of whatever  group of humans might read this post: pray for me, please. Pray that I will discipline myself to write daily, that I will write clearly and true, and that one day my words will find the right people and help them.

I know that God has a way of making the most amazing things happen, and I know He has set me up with time to write this year. He continues to put people in my path who show me this book is needed. He is persistent. 🙂

He has shown me that I have a tendency   to sabatoge my plans by letting myself get too busy. He gave me the gift of realizing that, and He keeps showing me in ways that only He can that now is the time. So, I humbly began writing out the first pages of thoughts and outlines and notes. 

I have a long way to go. A lot of word counts to meet. A lot of pages to turn. And rewrites. And edits. I am pretty sure this is not going to come easily. I am almost positive some of the remembering and reconstructing is going to be hard. 

But I am beginning in faith. I know if God intends for this book to be written, it will be written. I have committed to meet Him halfway in this and show up with the pencil. He has been patient on His end, but I know He has a sense of humor. Lately He’s been whispering the reminder that Look, we don’t have forever for this. Get on with it. 

He is the centerpiece of my story, my life, my “one day to be” book. 

I ask Him every day to let others see Him in me. He gave me a love for writing and words a long time ago. It seems He is going to let me use something I love to tell about what He can do for all of us. 

So, I still hope to post my weekly reasons for gratitude (probably the short form–unlike tonight’s bolded words), and I’ll of course let this page take whatever twist and turn seems fitting. One day, God willing, I’ll show up here to tell you the manuscript is ready. Then we’ll pray for a publisher. 

On second thought, go ahead and get busy on that prayer, too: agent/editor/publisher and anybody else I’m going to need. As God reminds me, it’s time to get this show on the road. 

Peace. Love. Action. Amen. 

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Friday’s Five

It’s Friday the 13th. Almost makes me want to list thirteen good things instead of the usual five.

A four year old’s imagination. What happens to us? No. Really. We need to step back into a four year old’s frame of mind now and then.

Book clubs and bookshelves and more books on the list.

Birdsongs: the doves are cooing, the geese are honking. Ducks paddle out in a wavy, watery line.

Another filled journal and a new one started.

Netflix. And popcorn with my daughter.

Signs. Listen and watch and honor them, as they surely keep coming.

And yes, that is thirteen…


Friday’s Five

A day at home. Even though I retired almost a year ago, days like this are rare. I plugged in the tree lights, smiled at the boxes of decorations still waiting, and turned up the Christmas music.
It rained most of the day.
I had projects to finish for different jobs. I did that and in between ran loads of laundry and knitted a new scarf order for a customer.
The day flew by, but December days have a way of doing that.
I’m in my favorite red chair, wrapped up in a new quilted blanket I bought “from my mom”. Every year since she died, I buy something that would give her joy to give to me.
I hung blue lights this year. First time for that, but Sam loved them, and I wanted his spirit near. I’ve learned to act on my ideas. Those blue lights give me a lot of joy. Sweet memories.
Five good things from this busy week of the last month of the year.
Find the joy in simplicity. It’s there…


Friday’s Five

Well, it’s technically Saturday, but I’m calling this my Friday’s Five anyway. I’m not worried about technicalities. Neither is a knitter named Jimmie who I met a few days ago. Several of us were at the yarn shop knitting, and I listened to her comments on this and that for awhile and told her, “I like how you think.” She smiled and said, Look, if it’s not cancer, it’s all good. Twelve years ago I had that bearing down on me. After making it through that, most everything else rolls off of me.
I am thankful for people like her. Ones who get it. She’s my #1 this week.

#2: Hospice of Texarkana plans to publish a story about my Sam this year. The kids and I sat around our table with one of the writers/layout designers. He listened to us tell stories about Sam and what a gift hospice was for him and us during his last weeks. I will always remember how the staff cared for and supported Sam, and
how they supported us.

#3: I’m grateful for any opportunity to honor the fact that Sam lived. He mattered in this life. My daughter, sister, son, and I are all involved in making and contributing handmade items to a vendor area at our local Christmas artisan marketplace. We are donating 50% of the proceeds to the Lt. Sam Tirrito Sr. Memorial Scholarship fund. It is a small but important way to keep his memory with many people, to help many people, and to create something beautiful for a world that sometimes can be anything but beautiful.

#4: Other widows. I’m not glad they are widows, but
I feel especially blessed to have stumbled upon two different sites that are filled with women like me. Women who face the same challenges and situations that I do. Women who, although they have suffered great sadness, get up and keep going. Women who support one another daily, with no reason other than
they get the walk.

#5: Motivation. On days when it seems lagging (or absent!), I remember there’s a lesson in everything. Sometimes the lesson is to try again. Sometimes it’s to let it pass and rest. Every time, it’s to remember to celebrate when I feel mentally and physically at 100%. I do not take it for granted any longer, and I have a new compassion and respect for others who really truly just can’t
some days. Until you experience something that has the power to control you mentally and physically, you really cannot imagine it. Grief can sometimes have that power. It’s a tricky, tricky thief.

#6 (it’s that kind of day) : Friends who stayed in for the long haul. It’s been almost nine months since Sam died. I still hear from some lifelong friends frequently. They teach me how to help others. They do not question me. They don’t judge. They have made my journey easier. So often, after a loss, everyone goes back to their busy life and routine. It’s natural. Expected. But I am grateful to say I have a few who never left. How do I explain what they do? It’s more than the text, message, card. It is a commitment to a friendship. Rare these days. I really see so many in a different light now than I did a year ago. I’ve said it before, but it is true:
after a loss–I think especially after the loss of a beloved spouse–you understand things you didn’t even have on the radar before. The best I can explain it is that it is an intuitive understanding of how people behave.
Note I didn’t say why they behave a certain way. I’ll never figure that part out.

And, since it is Small Business Saturday, here’s a shout out to some of my home town favorites:
Gayle’s and Abby Gayle’s
Fan Fare
The Yarn Garden
The Swoonerie
The North Forty
Christopher’s Framing
Chris Thomas Pottery
U.S. Lawns
These are just a few of my hometown favorites. The products and services are good, but the owners are the reason I keep going back. Nice people.
I’m sure as soon as I hit the publish key, I’ll realize I left out someone. There are so many good places and good people. When you find them, keep them.
Have a blessed week, dear readers.