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be thou my vision. lento. rubato. [k.s. friday]

be thou my vision songbox

were i to record this old reassuring hymn BE THOU MY VISION again, i would play it much, much slower.  not the andante of the recording, the tempo of singing these verses.  instead, i would realize that this kind of guidance doesn’t necessarily happen in my version of time but, instead, in the universe’s version of time.  much, much slower.

it was 15 years ago, back in 2004, when i sat on a leather piano bench at yamaha artist services in nyc recording this piece and the others on the hymn albums.  i was 45.  things seem to move a lot faster at 45; expectations are impatient, conflict needs quick resolution rather than measured, thoughtful parsing.

now, 15 years later, i realize that slow is key.  the right answers don’t come fast.  much as we want quick, answers take their sweet time.  we ask for guidance and wish for an immediate sticky note to float down in front of us.  we, d and i, can tell you, if you don’t already know, that just doesn’t happen.  post-it notes were created on earth and any sticky note floating down from the heavens, the vision we so desperately seek, is invisible.  it shows itself, slowly, in how things begin to fit together, how it feels.  slowly.

we were at the music store in town a couple days ago.  kevin, the owner and one of our favorite people to hang and chat with, asked us what was new.  we laughed, not ready to share all that has been happening, but described an ever-changing picture.  he asked us if it felt like “all the pieces were falling into place easily.”  although i wouldn’t choose any form of the word ‘easy’ to depict our sticky-notes-requested-scenario, we can also say we haven’t been force-fitting square pegs into round holes. “then it’s supposed to be,” he said.  he told the loaded-with-sticky-notes story of buying the music store, fraught with challenges, but so meant to be.  it’s not in our time.  our expected tempo of things happening has, we can see, nothing to do with it.

so, lento.  lento would be the way to play this.  slowly.  taking sweet time.  and rubato. freely.  for in the gift of vision is sweet freedom: the ability to take a breath, recognize, regardless of our age, how little we really know, sit in purple adirondack chairs, go beyond the jetty and count on a benevolent universe.

purchase ALWAYS WITH US CD or download on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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BE THOU MY VISION from ALWAYS WITH US VOL 1 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

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this heart outside of mine. [k.s. friday]

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“…it overwhelms me what i feel…this heart outside of mine….is walking in another person, in another life…” (lyrics)

there is something mysterious and knock-you-to-your-knees-powerful about feeling like you have a heart walking in another person.  i know – now – how my sweet momma felt.  each time she asked me to let her know i arrived safely while driving cross-country, each time i shared good news, each time she checked in on me after any sort of gritty life-drama, each time she sent cards with messages of encouragement or congratulations, each time i saw her try not to weep upon my leaving.  i get it.  she could feel her heart – out there – moving around in the world, just outside her sight view.

motherhood is not for wimps.  it is, by far, the most gratifyingly-toughest-most-important job i will ever know.  i have had to grow two extra hearts and then let them go, wandering and exploring this good earth, finding themselves and their happiness.  i can feel it, these hearts – out there.  but, with the exception of the time i can actually put my arms around My Girl or My Boy,  it’s all just outside my sight view.  overwhelming.  yes.

and, although i have told it before, here is the story – again:

we walked The Girl to kindergarten.  it was spring and sunny and warm.  dandelions were everywhere.  on the way home, The Boy dropped my hand to toddler-zigzag around a yard where dandelions > grass by far (kind of like ours.)  he bent down and picked yellow flower upon yellow flower.  until he came running back to me.  he held up his sweaty-dirty-little-boy fist, full of bright yellow and green dandelions and said, “woses for momma.”

better than roses.  what more could a momma want?

that is the moment this song was born.

happy mother’s day.

purchase the CD or download on iTunes or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS from THE BEST SO FAR ©️ 1999 kerri sherwood

 


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part of the wind. [k.s. friday]

part of the wind songbox copy

with the sun not yet up over the farmlands, the hot air balloon lifted.  we slowly sailed over fields and stands of trees, watching the world wake up.  as the sun rose over the horizon, we could hear what was going on below us.  we weren’t that high up and any conversation in backyards and barns, on patios and decks or driveways was easy to hear.  we weren’t intentionally eavesdropping; you just can’t help but hear clearly up there in the wind.  it’s an amazing vantage point floating low in the sky, sharing the sunrise with the earth, an endless horizon.  a little wary, i had asked the pilot if he had any anti-motion apothecary suggestions.   he responded by telling me that none are needed, that you are “part of the wind.”  we were.  we are.  part of the wind.

when we go antiquing and wander around in vast collections of other people’s lives, we pass by paintings on the walls and in stacks against cabinets, displayed beautifully and piled haphazardly.  we stand in front of bins full of records and 45’s, stacks of CDs not even alphabetized, the vinyl and polycarbonate/aluminum blend all beckoning us to sort through and remember songs or moments in time.  and we, artists of the canvas and of song, draw in our breath.  it’s an amazing vantage point floating here in time, sharing this day with the earth, contemplating.

and we wonder if this is where all of our paintings and cds will end up one day…in an antique shop where browsers will pass by, exclaiming, “wow!  look at all those paintings!” or “wow!  look at all those cds!”  we wonder if they will stop, page through, recognize a track or two, an image or two, or if they will be curious or spellbound and buy something to bring home.  perhaps we will remain part of the stacks, the bins, ever-growing, the horizon endless.

either way, we are part of the wind.

download BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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PART OF THE WIND from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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“the first dandelion!” [merely-a-thought monday]

first dandelion copy

one of the sure signs of spring’s imminent arrival in our town is when boats start populating the harbor again.  big shrink-wrap is removed from cabin cruisers, sailboats and yachts of all sizes and the slips start to fill up, slowly at first and then with abandon.

it was with much glee that, on our hike through the trails in a local forest preserve, i spotted it and called out, “the first dandelion!”  i’m aware that not many people get as excited about dandelions as i do, but, for me, this harbinger of spring – along with gentle beauties like lilacs and tulips and daffodils – is cause for celebration.  it conjures up images of cups of dandelions in water on my counter, having gone from little-kid-fists to my hands.  it makes me think of decades ago, sitting cross-legged in the grass, making necklace chains out of clover.  it brings the hope of a new season, the ever-more-constancy of sun and warmth, the season of flip-flops approaching.

with so much uncertainty on the horizon, the drone of winter’s end is taxing.  we yearn for a blanket of warm sun, a chance to raise our faces from worry to face the sky, to breathe freshly mown grass, to put our hands in the dirt, cleaning away the debris of the harder times, perhaps preparing to plant.

but this is wisconsin and this is life and nothing is really static.  life is fluid as is weather.  four days after we celebrated “the first dandelion!” we drove home through a snowstorm, blowing, wet snow covering the courageous pioneers of spring.  the thing i try to remember, as the grasp of winter holds tight the reins of this new season, is that they are still there.

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

FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS – the CD single or download on iTUNES

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CLICK ON THIS ^^TOTE BAG ^^ FOR FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS PRODUCTS

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adrift. [k.s. friday]

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“from a visual place…adrift on long island sound late-night.  from an emotional place…living in the gray.” (liner notes – blueprint for my soul, 1996)

the gray.  it sounds dismal.  but gray is not devoid of color.  if you mix the three primary colors together – red, yellow and blue – and then add white, you will hone the gray of your choosing.  if you have ever stood in front of color samples at home depot or menards you know that gray, itself, spans a full spectrum.  so many choices.  all gray.  the only thing really pertinent about gray is that it isn’t just black and white.  it swirls together every color of experience, every emotion, every laugh and every tear.  it is not defined by distinct edges, but blurs one moment into the next.

the word ‘adrift’ sounds inactive.  but, in this vast world, aren’t we pretty much adrift?  we believe we are proactive; we act on things we believe in.  and yet.  we bounce off turbulent waves threatening to destroy us; we ride others into the beach.  we sit in calm waters and we try to navigate the waters that toss us wildly.  we make decisions in moments of incomplete information; we have successes, we have regrets.  we are adrift in the gray.

in moments of sunshine on trails in the woods i feel less adrift and more centered, more clear.  it’s the rest of the moments when i try my best to ‘go with the flow’.  we are surrounded by unknowns, caught in many an eddy.  we are uncertain, but we are all capable.  we are held in glimmering gossamer silks of grace by a universe that is benevolent.  adrift.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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ADRIFT from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 

 


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life lessons. [merely-a-thought monday]

lifelessonstuition copy

you have those friends.  the ones you don’t get to talk to or see all the time, but the instant you call or text or, even better, get to be with them, you pick up right where you left off.  sometimes, those calls or visits are really long; there’s so much to catch up on.

susan and i had one of those calls recently.  the conversation ranged across a gigantic prairie of life subjects – from children to lenten service music to food to relationships to age to challenges to direction to joys to disappointments.  there’s always the inevitable “we should talk more often” and “i miss you”; times we realize how much running our crazy worlds past each other matters.  the “tuition” takes just a little bit less of a toll if we can utter the gory details to our friend, divulge our imagined vindication on whatever the “tuition” is, paint a picture – describing in inordinate detail – of each of our chronicles.

linda, infinite in wisdom and groundedness, finds humor and the wise sticking point in situations.  she has been there for me for decades, close by and from afar.  she is a model of loving steadfastness and makes me feel as if she hugged me, even if we are only on the phone.

heidi, another one of those dear people for me, always asks, “what’s the learning?”.  as infuriating as that question can be, it is a perspective-arranger.  it gives you pause for thought and invites another viewpoint.  the thing i may be obsessing on may not be the point after all.

toward the end of our phone call, susan and i laughed about all the things we were ‘learning’.  oh yes, grateful students?  well, maybe not exactly.  but we are pretty enlightened (for the most part) and we kept laughing as susan said, “yeah, all these life lessons are great, but the tuition sucks.”  we hung up with promises to call again soon.  whether or not that happens right away, i know she is right there.

because here’s the thing we can count on – in the midst of the “tuition that sucks” is that our true relationships and the support we receive from them is endless.  the conversation never really stops.  it just hopscotches from one time to the next, a life-thread of lessons shared.

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

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amazing grace. [k.s. friday]

amazinggraceonearthintsongbox copy

the woods along the trails by the des plaines river have been burned.  the fires, intentionally lit to restore native life to the forest floor, to burn out the invasive species that have harmed the vegetation.  already, post-burn, we can see green amid the blackened mulch.  already, there is newness of life.  the toxic has been deliberately remediated and goodness will prevail.  it will take some time, but it will eventually tip the balance and the woods will be better for it.

this is simple.  it is all around us.  the necessity for an intentional burn.  we wake up to a new day, a new sun, a new chance.  in this time of re-birth and restoration, we are amazingly gifted.  with grace.

i cannot help but think of the world despairingly coming together to lift up notre dame as it was on fire.  not at all intentional, not necessary, absolutely devastating to that beautiful and majestic cathedral, yet somehow it brings together a global community of people who recognize its importance, its value, its history, its soul.  and it will prevail.  in a divisive world, grace.

less is often more.  it is in that spirit i recorded this track of amazing grace

download ALWAYS WITH US VOLUME 2 on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

to view or purchase this stunning painting please click on this link or on the painting below

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AMAZING GRACE from ALWAYS WITH US VOL 2 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood