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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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: Springtimes and Sunsets and Startovers

Fourth Sunday of Lent.

Yeah, that Lenten art book I bought with such good intentions? Unread.

The Scripture study I started a couple of Saturdays ago? Haven’t made it back.

Thinking a lot about seasons and cycles and how some things never change.

Decided to start reading through some old journals to help with a project I am working on.

Realized there in black and white that my themes stay constant.

Same ole songs, day in and out.

Was almost discouraged by that. The same things I hope to get better at or stop doing or start doing are there from months, even years ago. Sigh.

Decided to sit and sew for a little while. Let the silence still my mind.

Allowed the mindful repetition of threads turning into rows of pattern remind me that row after row, line after line, a story still takes shape.

Sometimes there are starts and stops and sidesteps. Sometimes there are repetitions.

Maybe there is a break in pattern and something interesting is sewn in. A contrast. Different color. Unique stitch.

Sometimes a mistake creeps in.

But like spring cycles back with its same ole flowers and crickets and fireflies, we still welcome it. We don’t expect something new from it…not really. We just want spring to be spring.

And those sunsets that mark the end of each day…sometimes they seem closer, brighter, dearer. Maybe it is not the sun, maybe it is the viewer.

So. Take stock of your life from time to time, but don’t look back too long.

See what there still is to do…so much!

And just begin again. And again. Until you realize all the same old words have shaped themselves into the story you want them to be.

Start again…


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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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Sunday’s Song: Sadness/ Starting Lent, 2018

Lent this year is already so different than last year. In the back of my mind, I thought I might return to this blog and record some little thoughts, a few reflections…but then Parkland happened.

My mind keeps returning to the thought of the students and teachers at that high school in Florida. The stories they won’t get to tell. The deep scars their loved ones will carry forever. How some of us get to live and tell lots of things. And why that is I do not know.

To know these lives were taken on Ash Wednesday reinforces my belief that there is a level of evil in this world that some refuse to see. We are in spiritual warfare.

I think about the victims and survivors and I wonder what they thought about at the beginning of February 14, 2018. Valentine’s Day. Maybe someone was going to get surprise flowers. A handmade card. Some chocolate. Maybe a dinner was planned, or perhaps an Ash Wednesday service was on the agenda. Maybe someone had started making some plans to have a holier Lent. You know, give up a favorite food. Try to stop cursing so much. Be nice to somebody that irritates you. Pray more.

Then, in a few mind numbing violent and horrific seconds, every plan disintegrated.

My little Lenten lists and plans pale in comparison to the walk of the Parkland survivors. I do not have words of comfort or wisdom for you, dear readers.

I do not want to forget. I do not want to be complacent. I do not want to be politically correct. I do not want children being killed by children. I do not want gun owners to tell me about their rights. I do not want non- gun owners to tell me we have to ban all guns. I do not want to hear Republican vs Democrat.

I want people to look up from their phones. I want people to speak to one another in civil tones. I want people to make eye contact. I want people to receive mental health care when they need it. Quality care. I want gun-buyers to have background checks. I want gun-owners to be responsible and teach their children how to use firearms safely.

I want people to admit we have a problem.

I want people who have differing opinions to respect one another. I want people who are silent to speak. I want teachers to be safe in their classrooms. And children. I want people to stop thinking it’s normal to see police on school campuses or to want that. I want people who died to not be dead. I want too much.


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 4/8/17 (Saturday)

Ok. So not the typical Lenten expectation. I stopped for dog food and beer (well, it’s the truth, folks) and ended up with a few additional things…a poppy, fresh mint, the lately  elusive  pomegranate aeriels that I  have been searching for for weeks, finally in stock tonight.

Hmmm. 

Yeah there’s a kalonchoe, too. A few little starter plants out of view. Ok. Bunny Sweet Tarts. Lots of good things.

Quite the weekend cart. During Lent??? 

But guess what? I’m looking at that cart with gratitude. I’m thankful I can enjoy a variety of things and share a few, too.

Sometimes our Lenten sacrifices have nothing to do with giving up treats. The purpose of Lent is to prepare ourselves for the renewal of our baptismal promise on Easter Sunday. Yes to almsgiving, yes to penance, yes to sacrifice, yes to prayer, yes to anything that will bring you closer to knowledge of yourself.

 But, no. No to preconceived ideas about “giving up this or that” and a big NO to guilt and telling someone what they should do or not do and a bigger N-O to thinking that Lent is a competition to see who can last the longest on their goals.

We are getting ready to enter Holy Week. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday. So much to witness to, so much to participate in. 

As we enter the week ahead, may you be blessed in countless ways and realize the joy of abundance. Abundance in whatever your cart might hold and abundance in what is coming…the greatest gift of all. 

Peace. 😘


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Open Your Eyes: A Lenten Journey 3/22/17 Wednesday


See this tree? It’s a Japanese maple. This time last week I went out to inspect winter’s  damage and saw that it would need to be replaced. Dried out limbs, no buds in sight. I was kind of bummed, honestly. I’ve tried time and again to get these to grow out here. 

But today, a surprise. 

I wonder how much we are like that sometimes. Do we give up on ourselves or others at the very moment there are changes taking place that are invisible to us?

Open your eyes to the colors and life around you.  And give a second (or third or fourth or fifth) look to something or someone that looks done in. 

Happy spring, dear readers. 

“He makes all things new.”