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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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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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: Moments of Being

I am posting early today, before the day gets away from me. Days get away from me lately. I can’t always do all I hope to do…but isn’t there a grace in that? Isn’t it good to have something else on the horizon? I say yes.

Moments, lately. That’s what I’m grateful for today. 

Sitting in those wonderful massage chairs at a local nail salon with my daughter. I have bright blue toenails for spring. Her fingernails shimmer pink. We were not rushed. We took part in the ritual of self care. 

Late night “in labor” texts from my dear friend Autumn. She’s a mommy again and I got to hold both of her sweet children yesterday. Born fourteen months apart, she’s going to be caught up in a blissful blur of baby busy for a few years. It sure was nice to sit beside her on her bed and hold her newest arrival. Marveling at his tiny fingers. A head full of black hair. He slept peacefully in my arms as I thought of future grandchildren I may be blessed to hold. 

My college students. I love them. I sat beside several of them last night, editing their papers and encouraging their progress. We’ve built another supportive in-class community during those Thursday night sessions. I’m always thankful for the moment   I realize  it has come to pass once again: we care about one another’s efforts. It is a beautiful thing that no test can measure.

A weekly hour apart from the world. I get to spend an hour in prayer at my church’s adoration chapel every Wednesday. There is nothing that matches the peace and understanding that comes from that hour apart with God. It’s like re-meeting an old friend every time. I highly recommend personal, dedicated prayer time, regardless of your religion. You might be surprised how your time multiplies when you make time for what matters.

The cardboard sign the guy had trailing from his backpack at the corner of Richmond this week. A black sharpie scrawl proclaimed YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Those three unexpected words stayed with me. I hope  they stay with you, too.

Here’s to many good moments of being for you all. Blessings…


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Friday’s Five

Estate sale  finds: among them, a tiny, worn porcelain faced doll that needs a remake. She’s going to like her new art loving home. 

Old photographs and journal entries: glad to find both this week. There’s nothing like holding a moment in time within your hands.

Two Texas snows within just a few days of one other: the latest one brought ice with it, but it also brought sunlight sparkled drifts. Blink and you missed it, but it was here for a day.

Muses: they’ve been visiting and the ideas are coming pretty steady. Thank God for the arts and  all they bring.

Piano performance: a friend played for a university event this week and I was able to 1)be there in the middle of the day; 2)support a good friend; 3) leave changed…music has its ways.

So much good. Enjoy the changing  gifts of the days. Be open to every possibility…


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Friday’s Five

A dove in the driveway. Well, hello.

The first jonquil of the year. Glad you’re back.

Logs that catch on the first try.
He used to always build me fires.

A ring around the moon. We might still get snow.

My hands in your old pockets.
I still feel you with me. Never leave.

And that’s my list for this week.
Pay attention to your life. Appreciate its gifts.


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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.


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Sunday’s Song: Blessings

God is so good.
God heard your prayer.
You are blessed.
What a blessing.

Nice words to read and to hear, especially when we are getting what we want.
What we think should be ours.

People say these words almost without thinking. Without thinking about those of us who did not get what we wanted. Without thinking that maybe God has other things in mind for some of us.

Let’s not get this twisted.

God loves us all.
He blesses us all.
He hears us all.

In every circumstance. Over and over.
Not just when we get the answer we think we deserve. Not because we are so special or beloved. Just because.

There are many truths about this life. One is this: we will leave it one day.

In the meantime, know that God holds you close. You. When you’re suffering. You. When you’re tired. You. When you don’t understand. You.

And no matter the circumstance…whether it is a time of great sadness or great joy, for I think we all get our turn with both here…you are blessed. You. In every moment. God is with you and within you.

I’ve shared this story before, but it is one that I think of almost every day, especially when I hear people talk about Christmas and say that they just want it to be over this year. That they just can’t do it. That they miss someone or are not satisfied with how they think their life should be.

When Sam was living his final weeks here, his brother-in-law visited him and told him, “I’m still believing and praying for your miracle.”
Sam thanked him and said, “Remember, He IS the miracle.”

Yes. He is. And that is why in the midst of great grief and great tragedy, we can continue our journey.
He endured great pain here too. He knows our needs before we do. There is a blessing in that, a remarkable one.

Let Him carry you and comfort you through every storm. And say these words no matter the circumstance, no matter the trial:

I am blessed.

Then watch while He makes it true.

Peace.


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Friday’s Five

Here we are, well into the month of November. I’ve returned to my daily posting on Facebook of things I’m thankful about. Not as many in my newsfeed are doing that this year. I almost didn’t either. After all, it can seem a little trite. Overused. Monotonous. Really? To be grateful?
Thinking about it like that motivated me to press on, as I do here. I don’t want to take blessings for granted. Ever.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or saying. It matters in my life that I express gratitude. So, I’ll continue that, even in the midst of what has been a difficult year. I think recalling blessings routinely has helped me develop a deeper gratitude and understanding about life. Here’s five great things from the past week:
a full day of rain on Wednesday (puddles for the first time in a long time)
a terrific book club group (We just finished The Perfume Collector–a good read)
a surprise coffee delivery from my daughter (perfect timing)
a museum photo text from an art friend (and plans to make more art soon)
works in progress (more than a few…and that’s ok!)
I can always think of the good things. I hope you can, too.


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Friday’s Five

Five good things from the past few days:

Halloween memories–pumpkin carvings, homemade costumes, candy corn. Samuel and Sara’s tempera painted paper bag pumpkins that grace my table every October.

Nachos on a patio with a dear friend. We turn our bowls upside down to prove we ate every bit of the queso. Laughter is healing.

Red leaves. And crimson ones. And gold. Lord, they are beautiful.

Old journal entries. Reading back through and realizing the gift of life we have this very day. Treasure it.

Bob’s candy canes. The little ones. My goodness, go treat yourself to a box. Tomorrow is already November.

Press on, dear readers. Enjoy as much of this life as you can.