agnestirrito

"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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Friday’s Five

Re-establishing this weekly practice of listing…

Five good things from the past few days:

Watching my granddaughters delight in throwing rocks into our creek.

Bundling my grandmother’s heirloom roses onto silk scarves to see if I’ll get a print or dye.

Laughing as a child I tutor tries on my glasses.

Copying a poem a day into my little altered art book.

Opening the mailbox to find packages and letters from loved ones near and far.

Simple things that bring happiness. Truly, if we cannot be happy in our own self we cannot bring it to anyone else.

What makes you happy? I’d love to know…

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Sunday’s Song: Suffice it to Say…Palm Sunday in Taos

I am at one of those places where I have so much to say, but I cannot say it all today. The specifics have to arrange themselves in the shape they want to be, but I am honoring the commitment I made to blog each Sunday of Lent. So, here I am on sketchy WiFi, typing on my phone, my dear friend Care across from me in a lodge room at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House.

I read over my journal entry from yesterday morning. Start today’s entry. Wonder how on earth a day can hold so much. Today held so much. It is one of those times you think How could all of this happen in one day? Abundance. Total abundance.

I am spending this Holy Week in Taos. It is a marker of time that keeps ticking…keeps saying yeah this is the week you were supposed to be in this place at this time.

If I told you everything so far, you might not believe me. Or you might think I’m a bit crazy. Or you might be glad. Choose glad.

The people in my path have been from every end of the pendulum. A wide arc. We are not all kindreds here…believers and unbelievers and all in between abound…but I have decided sometimes we need the disparity to recognize how much good there is. Or how far we might have to go. How much we still have to do. How much one’s presence matters in this world for so many reasons.

Today I saw parishioners process around a town square, people waving palm branches, singing, marking a moment. I saw a policeman far far down the square holding a palm branch. Waving it. And then a child, an armful of branches at the edge of the crowd bringing us lucky bystanders palms. He was in the frame of my lens and a second later his sweet voice Here. Just that.

Here. As in take it, Woman. Or as in the message be here, present right now. Or as in I see you. Or as in you need this.

Later, I see a family walking. The man (son/brother/father?) had his back pocket filled with palms. He was probably the designated carrier for the family. Maybe they were all out for lunch like we were, enjoying the New Mexico sunshine on a crisp bright day. Maybe they were filled with hope. Something about that pocketful of palms. Something that said see this.

I am seeing a lot these days. Knowing every image is leading me to a place I cannot quite see but know it’s worth walking toward…but remembering to worship the moment I am in. The deep moment of place and time…and suffice it to say I am grateful.

I am watching. Listening.

Here.


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Sunday’s Song: A Sentence and a Step

Week 5 of Lent. Easter is not far away, and my Lenten promises have pretty much gone by the wayside. But… a sweet surprise came along and helped me see that when we strive to follow a better path, things do indeed work out, and sometimes we don’t have to follow through on this plan or that goal…we just have to be the real me or you and walk on.

I met a new friend this week, one who knows me from what she saw me post on social media. We were at a mutual friend’s party and were introduced there. You may not remember this but you defended your religion awhile back. She went on to say what I’d written and the one part that stood out for her: You ended with Peace be with you and I thought wow. Yes. That.

Turns out this new friend has a Catholic upbringing. Thinks about coming back. Attends Mass when she’s visiting her mom.

She is also a cancer warrior, and has just spent several months recovering from treatments.

She’s seen a lot, been through a lot. Walked some dark roads like others have. Is still working things out. Thinking things through.

But she stood there and talked to me about one little sentence I posted months ago…maybe even a year or more ago. And she remembered that. Not because of the theology. Because of the grace. The kindness. The “no matter what you think, I hope you find peace on your way” which is how I strive to live.

Look, you cannot change people. You cannot force anyone to do this or be that, but you can wish them well. And mean it.

And while I am not the best Catholic in a lot of ways, that day she saw me as one who brought her a step closer to coming back to church. So, I am grateful to know. I am grateful to see a God who works through every person in every way…simple people like me and simple things like comments on a public post.

Grateful because I ask God routinely to help me lead others to Him…and to look for Him in them.

And this week, He said yes to all of that. And that meeting, that reminder, beats any list of things I could hope to do. So, keep on living your best day to day, not just during Lent, but any day. And God will use you if you ask Him to…and likely even if you don’t.


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Sunday’s Song:Week 2 Lent: Something

Second Sunday of Lent.

How are your plans working out? Did you decide you might do something new this season? Find a way to make Lent more meaningful? Add that extra prayer-time in your day? Volunteer to do some charitable work?

Sometimes our plans do not work out quite the way we anticipate, but in the “wanting to” we can find ways to mark this season of waiting.

At Ash Wednesday Mass, a little boy came into the church pulling on his mom’s hand, wailing and repeating I don’t wanna go to church. Several of us who saw him exchanged knowing looks. Smiles. He was wearing a shirt with the word EPIC in bold type, and I thought that word suited his reaction. I also thought

Look, Kid. You are not alone. It is not always easy being here, even when we know things you haven’t even had a chance to learn yet.

But here was a mom trying. And maybe that kid will remember– years down the road — someone made an effort to get to church. And he might drag someone in, too.

I had not planned to go to the Stations of the Cross this past Friday. No one pulled me in kicking and screaming though. I got there through a different avenue. My son was volunteering that night at the church (helping with a Lenten meal) and invited me to come eat.

I decided to go…and as I was leaving the dinner, my oldest granddaughter ran to me and begged me to take her to my house. Well, I’m not going home yet. I’m going to church.

I was not expecting those words to come from my mouth, hadn’t been to Stations of the Cross in years. Years.

I go, too. I go with you. Please.

It was a sweet moment, one that I know will not likely last. There will come a time that this ritual (and even grandma) won’t seem like a lot of fun. But last Friday night, I held my first grandchild and whispered to her as Father and the servers walked from station to station. She sang as we sang, not the words in the leaflet, but her own song.

We were not that holy of a picture. She, after a few minutes, was busily rearranging the hymnals. I had barely managed clean clothes after a day of babysitting my youngest grandchild. But there we were.

And that was something.

Something because we could look up to Jesus and say, Hey Man. We are here. We love you.

And after the short service, we got to say Hey again. We have already developed a ritual of lighting candles after Mass. We stop at the crucifix on the main altar. We nod. Ok. We wave. Hey Jesus. I love you.

She repeats.

Hey, Infant Jesus. Hey, St. Therese. Hey, Mother Mary.

We say our “God bless us all” prayer. Sofia holds the match and lights the candle.

And I say an extra prayer of thanks because this Lenten moment was not on my radar. It was unplanned, unscripted, un-everything.

It, so far, is my biggest Something of Lent.

Let Him lead you where you need to be. Be ready for something new to transform you.

He has something for you. You don’t have to do anything except be ready for it.


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Friday’s Five: December

Today I left the house wearing a Santa hat. Last minute decision, but it is December and it was a bone chilling 27 degrees.

I think it changed my interactions with people because after all… red velvet with huge white pompom is a distraction.

I was able to continue a gift giving tradition Sam started years ago. Today wasn’t the day I planned to do it, but the opportunity came and I was quite happy knowing this took place with me wearing Santa gear. People were inconvenienced for a moment because this impromptu event took place on a country road and cars were delayed momentarily, but not one person honked. And the recipient…delighted. Hat, perhaps??

Onward to a rosary group. Lots of prayers said for lots of people with women who are deeply different but connected in prayer. While there, cardinals kept coming to the feeder. Brilliant reds.

Then, a low tire pressure stop at a garage. The attendant wished me Merry Christmas as I left…I am positive it was the hat. Positive. Makes people feel happier. Joyful. Merry. Isn’t that a great word?

The lights of the season are everywhere. Store windows, interstate tree groupings, hotel reception areas. So welcoming.

The little things that invite us to be better versions of ourselves. December, you delight.


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Friday’s Five

Five little things from the past few days that remind me I am a human on this earth:

babies’ laughter…

my daughter’s text from 5,000 miles away…

my son’s hugs…

a sacred medal mailed from a beautiful friend named (appropriately) Care…

a late night phone call from a friend decades younger in real years, but our soul years are sort of the same…

…our connections sustain us. They are the most beautiful and treasured gifts we have on this earth. Cherish your people.