reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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the first fire. [two artists tuesday]

first fire

there is something about firsts.  a novelty.  and it was no different the first night – a week or so ago – when we lit the wood burning stove in our littlehouse.  the first fire of fall.  excited, we watched as the fire got hotter and the bigger pieces of wood started to catch.  as it all started to be aflame, the chill, that a grey misty fog, an angry lake and a stormy day had created, left the littlehouse.  we sank into the new warmth of the living room, our feet up and grins of satisfied appreciation on our faces, staring into the dancing fire, grateful for its presence.  at home we have a fireplace inside, and a chiminea on our patio, but no wood burning stove.  it’s a novelty for us.

how many times will it be before getting wood for the stove and starting the fire will not be as gleeful?  how many times before we don’t just sit with our feet up and stare into those flames?  how many times before we take it for granted, this divine little maker of fire and warmth? how many times before the novelty wears off?

i once read a card i found quoting marcel proust, “the real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new sights, but in looking with new eyes.”

because the novelty does wear off.  in all arenas, i suppose.  not just in how you see others, but also in how others see you.  suddenly it is forgotten what IT was like before you (whether IT is a home, a relationship, a community, a work environment).  instead, the novelty has faded and so has the ‘before’.  suddenly, you – in any of those places – are just a bean counter, a placeholder, and the novelty of you, for we are all novel, is no longer a matter of interest or value.  instead, all becomes black and white, the relationship of you to those places – a home, a relationship, a community or a work environment.  i wonder what we are all missing with our under-appreciative eyes.  i wonder what they are all missing with their under-appreciative eyes.  the novelty is gone.  and you have thus become dispensable, all for the lack of new eyes.  wow.  ouch.

we need take stock of what is around us and how it all works together.  before it is gone.  we need remember that -in every arena- we should appreciate each other – as if it was the first fire of the season.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the second time we lit the stove, we weren’t quite as gleeful when the flame caught.  and the stove heated up the room a little too much, making


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maturity in season of life. [two artists tuesday]

maturity with background

this came across my desk last week. “maturity in season of life.” part of a minister of music job description, i was struck by the unguarded language, the bow to what only time and experience can teach.  i have never seen this written as such before.  it was bracing in every GOOD way.  it was appreciatory.  it was a breath of fresh air.

in a society that seeks to remain youthful and puts less emphasis on maturity in season of life than on staying young, we need remember there’s a place for everyone.  some places require youth, fresh and breathing hard from the sprint.  other places recognize the need for the steadfast wisdom of the ages, a decision-maker-doer who brings a lifetime of positive and negative experiences and knows how to differentiate between them, has an intuition built on time and the ever-growing wealth of lessons.  the seesaw has room for both; the fulcrum can only balance with both.

as two artists living together, we are more than aware of the challenge of ageism, the challenge of time spent in our artistry and how that relates to value.  more than a thousand times we have each been admonished for thinking we need to be paid when we should be grateful for the “exposure” we are being “granted”.  more than a thousand times we have each been in a place where we have had to explain why our artistry needs to be financially rewarded just like anyone else’s work.

indeed, pay scales have been built to reflect time spent and job descriptions use verbiage like “pay is commensurate with experience.”  experience.  maturity:  “the ability to respond to the environment in an appropriate manner.  being aware of the correct time and location to behave and knowing when to act, according to the circumstances and the culture of the society (read: job) one lives in (read: one works in).”

i recently was having a written messaging chat with a hard-working young adult whose job is in the arts.  with these challenges facing him every day, he said that people do not realize that “they’re paying me to know what to do if things don’t go well.”  intuition.  working on the fly based on training, knowledge and an ever-building bank of experiences.   he will continue to face that challenge; it will only deepen.  how is that maturity measured?  how will he be paid for that maturity, for that which he cannot describe and for which others cannot fathom?  for some reason, in this society, it is easier to answer that question if you are doing a numbers job, something seemingly more concrete, more measurable, more quantifiable.

but maturity in season of life touches others as well and we have dear friends who have been ‘let go’ from their jobs simply because of their age.  now, their companies would never testify to that and are careful to avoid such language – for that would set them up for all kinds of legal problems – but it has been clear to our friends, struggling to find a new way in later days of their lives.  few and far between are those who are able to benefit by pointing out the error of their ways to the company that is undervaluing a later human-on-this-earth season.  other friends are fortunate enough to be working somewhere that has deeply valued the long time they have spent in their work and these friends have retired with spoken words of gratitude and wishes of continued good living.  where is the fulcrum?

in this particular document that came across my desk, the whole phrase read, “maturity in season of life and maturity in ministry experience.”  shockingly, they are seeking this as a qualifier and they are willing to pay for it.  speaking directly to that qualifier that beautifully honors the wisdom of the ages, there are things that, as a minister of music at 19 i did not know.  there are things that, as a minister of music at 32 i did not know.  likewise, as a 30-years-as-a-minister-of-music at days-away-from-60, of course there are things i do not know.

what i DO know is that every experience i have had as a minister of music has built upon the last.  instead of a chasm where learnings have dropped rapid-fire into an abyss, i have learned what the important stuff is and how to attempt to keep those things foremost.

like anyone in any job, mastery is commensurate with time spent, with growth in that work, and yes, without exception, with maturity in season of life.

“take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.” (desiderata)

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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when push comes to shove, don’t. [merely-a-thought monday]

civility 2 copy

my sweet momma always said that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  although she stood her ground, she rarely pushed back.  well, maybe at my dad…i certainly heard her push back in that relationship.  she was a woman before her time, struggling to be seen and heard…in relationship, in work, in the world.  nevertheless, she lead with kindness and generosity.

recently i surprisingly found myself in a situation where i felt the kind of civility that is needed to accomplish anything was lacking.  instead it was aggressive, pointed, antagonistic.  “when push comes to shove” implies escalation and this, indeed, was the case.  instead of actual conversation, it was a push-shove back-and-forth.  instead of communication, it was a shining example of what-not-to-do.

we drove past a passiton billboard on the way up north that read these words:  when push comes to shove, don’t.  civility is in you.  what does a boorish push or a retorted shove accomplish other than an establishment of immaturity, a driving desire and play for power and an uncooperative non-collaboration?

civility is not that hard.  it should be what we lead with.  respecting others and their place in their world.  we each get the same air to breathe and we each breathe in and out the same way.  instead of escalating to shove or pushing yet harder, how might we fill our lungs with responses of peacefulness, thoughtfulness, fairness, appreciation, intelligent consideration, magnanimity, grace, even reconciliation.  why must push come to shove?  it needn’t.

just don’t.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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what’s for dinner? [flawed cartoon wednesday]

archaeologistfordinner jpegBIG copy

recently, while perusing facebook (which i actually don’t do all that often) i came across a post by My Boy.  he had made homemade ravioli for dinner.  wait!  what??  homemade ravioli???  now, this requires making pasta from scratch as well as stuffing it with a delicious tuscan sausage mix.  just sayin!  this is the same person who, long ago now, used to be able to live on honey buns and swedish fish.  he has amazed me time and again with his creative cooking and the photographs he has sent of yummy meals.  one day he grilled shrimp out on his deck for dan and me and d.  just as thoughtful as the birthday he made me mac and cheese after a long evening i had spent volunteering, but, i have to admit, much tastier.

the first time My Girl made us dinner we had gnocchi and an excellent sausage sauce.  i hadn’t had gnocchi in years – since i had it with the hot chics in montana – and her recipe immediately made it onto our ‘what-should-we-have-for-dinner’ list of possibilities.

these are the same two human beings who would ask, ” what’s for dinner?”  now i find myself asking them.  funny how cooking creativity blossoms in each next generation.

if you'd like to see FLAWED CARTOON

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAY – ON OUR SITE

what?  archaeologist for dinner again???  ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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in a split second. [k.s. friday]

inasplitsecond SONG BOX

over and over and over we are reminded.  every second counts.  it even gets trite sometimes.  but then, once again, something makes time come crashing to a halt, where everything moves in slow motion and we are crushed with the inevitability of a change we didn’t anticipate, plan for, dream of or, even, want.

i wrote this song when heidi told me about waiting for the results of her mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy.  she spoke of the moment her doctor called; she asked him to hold on and she walked to the mirror to look at herself before her whole life changed.  THOSE WORDS impacted me enormously.  i couldn’t get the vision out of my mind and wrote this for her.  we went on to use this song when we performed (heidi – breast cancer survivor and inspirational speaker, me – writing songs and music to wrap through and around the events) as part of cancer survivor celebrations, walks, runs, hospital and pharmaceutical recognitions, susan g komen foundation, y-me breast cancer organization, american cancer society, gilda radner’s gilda club, young survival coalition, the san antonio breast cancer symposium, bristol-myers squibb tour of hope, living beyond breast cancer…

but this song goes beyond cancer survivorship.  time can change and our lives can turn in more ways than we care to think about.  there are many challenges, in many categories.  the older i get, the more i see it.

on our roadtrip through the i-can’t-get-enough-of-it rocky mountains and intensely beautiful southwest, we talked about one second moving into the next.  (don’t worry – lots of time we talk about things like twizzlers or our obsession with mission chips or we talk the scion into going up steep mountains.)  and we talked about how, no matter what happens in a moment, it would be in our very best interest to linger in each one and then move into the next moment without carrying the stuff of the previous one. “it’s all new,” we agreed.

each individual moment counts.  each one is different.  yes, each one…each moment…trite as it sounds…is a gift.

download IN A SPLIT SECOND – track 11 on AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTUNES and CDBaby

or purchase the physical CD AS SURE AS THE SUN on www.kerrisherwood.com

read DAVID’S thoughts on IN A SPLIT SECOND

IN A SPLIT SECOND from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood

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i want what you have.

photo-1“i want what you have,” she said. in the wee hours of the night, my sweet almost-94 momma, in intense pain from falling, was talking to her emergency room nurse, a young woman who was clearly exhausted and who couldn’t reach the energy she needed to smile. the nurse looked intently at my momma. “what?” she countered. “your beautiful smile,” momma said, with light-transcending-pain in her eyes. “you have a beautiful smile.” and yes, in the moments that followed, that was so obvious as we witnessed a huge eye-sparkling smile come to the nurse’s tired face. tears came to my eyes (because i am a geeky mush like that) as i watched my mom gently and brilliantly gift this hardworking nurse with something she already had inside herself.

how did momma do it? every where she went she gifted people….with things they already had.

yesterday i was at a garden party. it was really lovely. the flowers were stunning and the community of people who gathered were from different walks of the hosts’ lives. i was wearing a pair of clunky dr scholl clogs that i bought on a bringing-my-daughter-to-college-in-minneapolis trip in the fall many years ago. i still have them because 1. they are super comfortable and 2. they remind me of this trip to minnesota with my daughter, my son and his best friend (because i am a geeky mush like that.) a woman complimented me on them at the party, asked where i got them. i was able to tell her that there is a boutique near here where she can still purchase them (and of course, there is always the internet.) the fact of the matter is – most of the people at the party had on newer shoes than i did, newer styles, cooler stuff. but -and this is simple- this woman complimented me on mine and that made me look at what i had.

how many times have you looked at someone’s outfit, shoes, car, house, garden, work, relationship, life and wanted it?

a couple days ago my dear friend and i were talking about resentment. he asked, “what do you do with resentment? how do you combat it?” i have no easy answer. geez, i barely have an answer at all. but i remember that i had to memorize a reading in high school and i chose ‘desiderata’ (because i am a geeky mush like that.) the (not-verbatim) line that stands out in my mind is – “do not compare yourself with others, or you will become vain and bitter. for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” my friend and i talked about that. at length. we cited examples and promised to hold hands -even virtually-through all the challenges ahead (because i am a geeky mush like that.)

it can become insidious – resentment. it eats away at people and families and workplaces and towns and nations. photo-2what if we all took a moment to look at someone and remind them – gently and brilliantly, with light in our eyes – of what they already had. maybe there would be a little less resentment going around. and maybe a little more momma.