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: 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: Smiles and Sentimentality

This week brings me to another marking of time. March 8 will make four years since Sam left this world. Five years since knowing we were in a very bad place. Terrible, terrible times.

I look back sometimes and wonder how we made it. I would not wish what we experienced on anyone.

But if you just keep moving…

Today, our daughter Skyped with me from 5,000 miles away. She’s been ice skating on a frozen lake. She tells me of her adventures, the friends whose names I did not know five years ago. We laugh, we visit, and I am aware of the arrival of a new day. Happiness. Joy. Peace. Living.

I sit with our son at Mass. I visit his family  tonight. Laugh at the constant motion, constant buzz of his house, filled with family and laughter. Good food, good conversations. Laugh at the antics of two little girls we did not realize would be  coming to us.  Happiness. Joy. Peace. Living.

Never ever could I have predicted the days we lived five years ago. Never ever could I have predicted the happy circumstances my family lives today.

Smiles from living in the moment we are in. Sentimentality from remembering a good man who would be smiling at all of us.

Wherever you are,  whatever sadness might stun you, overwhelm you, paralyze you, breathe through it. One day, it will get better.

Maybe not in four years, or five. Maybe later. Maybe sooner. Just keep at it.

Walk —when you cannot take one more step, take just one more. Sooner or later, you will walk into sunlight. The ice will glisten like diamonds on a frozen lake and you’ll marvel at all the colors you see.

Wait—when you cannot wait one more second, a child might arrive. Or two. And they will bring laughter from a well that until then was unopened.

I have watched my children’s smiles return. I have seen real joy in their eyes.

This is a gift from walking and waiting.

So, smile when you can and remember what you must, but know that a lot of good is right down the road. Live to see 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 on a Saturday 

I started writing Friday’s Five awhile ago…I think it can be measured in years now instead of weeeks. Kinda cool to know I still care about finding the good things. Savoring them. And, something else hasn’t changed…I still run late. I know it’s Saturday. I’m still grateful. Haha

So here are my latest five from the week and/or lately. Five good things that make my soul expand. I invite you to share yours, too. 

1. A “no surgery required” message. That’s #1 this week…my sweet daughter was in an accident but is on the road to recovery. I say a lot of “Thank you, God”prayers. And I learned once again that this life is best lived in the moment we are in. We cannot fix a lot of things. We can experience them and let them pass, knowing others are in the chute.

2. Dogs that make big messes. I’ve been coming home to a variety of displays like bigger holes in the yard, broken flowerpots, doggie treats retrieved from a high shelf and eaten (picture the biggest box of Milk Bones…empty!) Why is this a grateful thing? Because it reminds me I’m lucky to have these pooches. And they know how to communicate with me: you have not been playing with us enough. Get it together, Mama.  I hear you. I’ll do better. 

3. Ex-cons. Witnesses to suicides. Yes. Plural. Recovering addicts. Overworked and tired people. These are a few of the ones who have shared their stories and written their poems and prose with me so far this semester. I’m thankful for groups that are communities in the truest sense of the word. We share and speak and trust that our feelings matter and have a place in the world. I’m a better person for knowing these people and listening.

4. Crying grandbabies. They force me to slow down. Observe. Fix what I can. Cuddle. Soothe. Love. 

5. Never ending lists. Lots of things that need doing. And some things that just want doing. This blog is one of the wants. Glad I made the time today.

Even in the twists and turns and busy-ness of life, there is good. I hope you can find it, too. 


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Friday’s Five

To the person who posted on FB: My weekend’s gonna suck. Geez,woman. You’re mid-forties. Did your daughter die in a wreck today? At some point, it helps us all if you would shut up.

Shameful. I know. But I’m sick of whiners.

 And this: I love you all but you shouldn’t post if you have a drink because an alcoholic might see it and be tempted. You should be a witness.

Really? What about the posts of family parties for folks who lost their family? Why post wedding pics? It might upset a widow. What about those cute baby pics? Does that harm the infertile?

You may sense a different voice today.

It’s still me. I’m just weary of people who still refuse to realize: This. Moment. Is. All. We. Get. For. Sure. 

Not the next one. This one. So for heaven’s sake, try/attempt/make some kind of effort to see a glimpse of good.

Here are mine, in the midst of a sorrowful, heartbreakingly sad week for friends I know…still, I was present to see:

1) a friend gave me a stack of art supplies and, at the last second said Wait. I have one more thing if you even want this. This turned out to be an Infant Jesus of Prague statue…He is my favorite, unbeknownst to her until that moment.

2) instant coffee dyed art papers. This led to clothesline stringing and more art making. I need this in my life.

3) lighting a candle in a church on my one- year-old granddaughter’s birthday. Holding the match with her. Watching her eyes widen at the light. Knowing in that moment we each get that chance to witness. Don’t miss it…

4) a publication called womankind. Look it up. It is the real deal and a place of ad free inspiration for creatives.

5) knowing. The greatest gift of all…realizing we can lose it all in an instant. Cherishing the people (ourselves included) that we see each day. 

Love and mercy. I still have a way to go, but I’m trying.


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Friday’s Five

1. Holding Ari Jane. A whole day old and screaming her hellos to me. I get to be her “T” because that’s what her sister has called me for a long time. Other people’s kids. Sweetest connections. I get to hold my second grandbaby in September. It’s nice to know I know how. 

2. Care packages. I used too much tape, but that’s ok. The postal clerk apologized because she had to cover up some of my stick-on stars. That’s ok too. My daughter lives in the Czech Republic now. She needs stars from TX to remind her of home. However many stick.

3. Hummingbirds. One came the day I set out the newest feeder. A new location so Sofia can see it too. Close enough to see green and purple markings. A gift.

4. Income taxes dropped off. I didn’t say filed. But at least they’re out of my hands. It did me no good to know the deadline was later this year. That just upped the procrastination factor. At least I am aware of goals I should have.

5. Sunshine and garden centers. I enjoyed that combination today. Noticing the brilliance around me. The heat on my forearms, the dazzling reds and purples and yellows of this year’s flowers ready for gardens. 

It is so glorious to walk in the light.