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: 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

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

A new red wagon, a prior generation tricycle, a hand-it-down/pass-it-on bouncy horse. All these things litter the landscape of my yard these days. Beautiful litter. 

A spider I named Lucy. Spiders are easier to name when they are outside on their own turf. She’s set up house on the edge of last year’s wood pile. I’m interested to see if she stays.

Little hands helping me fill all of the bird feeders. This is serious work, folks. And the reward of watching an almost two year old jump with joy at a filled feeder…well. 

A special acquisition today: an art acquaintance posted a picture of an easel her artist dad built by hand. He’s passed on and  she is downsizing, so the easel was for sale. I’m sure I’ll post a pic of it here one day. I’m very honored to give it a new home here under the outside art space I’ve created. 

Seeing an 8 month old’s eyes follow everywhere her daddy (my son) goes. Watching her little hands flail with joy at his nearness. Hearing her sister call Daddy and hearing in that single  word all of the love and safety and goodness she feels. 

So much good. So much more than good. 


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Friday’s Five

1. I’m trying to make a consistent  return to blogging, dear people. That counts as my first “grateful thing” on the list tonight. This is more complicated than it sounds…getting a few words on a page some days. So, it gets top billing tonight. 

2. Free Starbucks coffee in a cool green cup. First of all, the barista claimed I had to wait too long, so no charge. I didn’t think I waited any longer than normal, but her gesture improved my mood. And I mention the green cup because…

#3…it is artsy. A continuous line drawing of humanity. I read that there is some controversy over said cup. So I list it because of that, too. It is a cup. I’m grateful that a lot of things do not bother me at all.  Chill.

#4. The red present. Ever since my mom died (ten years ago this month) I shop each holiday for something “from her”…it is a way to keep her memory alive and works for me. Tonight, the red present appeared. It always does. Every holiday season.

#5. Wrinkles. I know. Everybody I know seems to be obsessed with masking them. I used to be like that, too. Now I am honoring them. I see them as a map of the places I’ve  been. God willing, I’ll get to add a few more lines before all is said and done. No blank slate required here.

Happy November, dear readers. Be thankful with me every day… Xoxo.


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Friday’s Five: Truths

Gratitude this late Friday evening for things I name as well as things I keep silent about for awhile for just my heart to know…which brings me to item

 #1:

The truth that we need not answer every question we are asked…protect your secret self without apology or explanation; 

#2:

The truth that winterberries add a burst of color to a gray January landscape…I’m hoping to pick vases full this weekend;

#3:

The truth that spirituality is a form of knowing and grows exponentially as it is nurtured…there is so much to know;

#4:

The truth that babies express joy through belly laughs at only a few months old…and the blessing of daughters-in-law who text videos so you don’t miss the moments;

#5:

The truth that one’s earliest memories can be recalled and today’s dots continue to be connected…

Here’s to seeing the truths and knowing the joy…


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Friday’s Five…More Like 25…

It’s been five Fridays since I last posted my weekly remembrances of five good things.
Why is that? I think more than anything, it boils down to procrastination because since December 19, I’ve had so many blessings to list, truly.
Let me start with #1:
I found out on Christmas Day that my son and his wife are expecting! I’m a grandmama in training! That truth is the happy place my heart goes to when I start thinking too much about
stressful things. A baby is coming in August!
A knit cardigan is in progress, new baby hat and blanket patterns are printed almost daily, and I’m thrilled at the thought of rocking my first grandchild. I hope to be the “old fashioned” grandma who always has cookies ready, who has time to sit in the floor and play jacks, who has an endless supply of crayons and paper and books ready. Bliss…

The camellias are all blooming or getting ready to, and on a walk a few days ago, Sara pointed out a new blooming bush we’ve never seen before. It’s about twenty feet from the three bushes that have bloomed on this property for decades. It was surely a sweet moment to see new red blooms welcoming the new year. Who knows? Maybe I planted it years ago and just forgot. Maybe Sam did. Whatever the case, it stands along the edge of the driveway today, and we notice and are glad.

There’s a pot of narcissus welcoming January in the back porch window, an orchid from last spring that has, much to my surprise, decided to rejoin us…its new shoots reaching toward the west window.
Hopeful, living things. Lovely.

No snow yet, but it’s coming soon I think. My mama used to say that it warms up to snow. We’ve had warm January days (60s) and more forecast for next week, so I’m holding on to the possibility!
I’m glad those old sayings live on in our minds. They keep our loved ones with us.
This time last year, Sam was still here and we had hospice nurses visit every day. It seems like yesterday, and it seems like a lifetime ago. His memory will not fade from my heart. The good days and bad and sweet and sorrowful, all become intertwined. Lives filled with stories.
I spent some time during the last couple of weeks with a lady I didn’t know. She was the mom of my husband’s best friend. Cancer decided to do its thing on her, but she was surrounded by love and laughter and good stories until she made it to her heavenly home last Monday. Her son asked me to speak at her service and I did. It brought to mind other times I’ve written or spoken in memory of people I loved. All I can say is God has His ways with us. He knows what we need to do. He makes things happen.
Two of my shop owner friends have husbands with a cancer diagnosis. I didn’t know them a year ago. I met them through “random” circumstances this year and somehow we all know it’s not random at all.
This week, a colleague talked at length about her father’s recent passing. She spoke of pain and family drama and medicine schedules and situations she never dreamed were part of life. Later, she thanked me. Just for listening.
And I realized again, sometimes that’s all we need. We don’t need judgment. We don’t need a solution. We just need a place to be ourselves, to say the things we need to say. I’m glad I could be her listener.
There’s been a lot of creativity the past few weeks.
Sara and I took a watercolor class and it was such fun! We learned a lot and I’m excited to get started on a new project.
I finished an acrylic canvas of trees for Samuel. I’m not sure what I was happier about: his positive reaction or the actual completion of a project. Maybe both.
Samuel entered a piece of prose into a local contest and won second place. It makes my heart happy to see him use his gifts.
I’ve started a bible study with a dear friend and a bible verse memorization with another.
There’s laughter. I drove to my book club get-together the other night and stopped at the wrong house, book and bottle of wine in hand. I was greeted enthusiastically and was on my way in when I asked if this was the right house. It wasn’t. My goodness. I’m glad for good souls and guardian angels on the way.
Joy jars. That’s how I’ll end my post today. I’ve made a couple and hope to share more. The premise is easy:
Decorate a jar. Fill it with colorful slips of paper. Write down the joys and blessings of the day. Save this rainbow of happiness until the end of the year and reopen. Relive the good.
Always, always, relive the good. I’m glad to share my “good” here, late or not.
Peace and joy dear readers.
Keep moving forward.