reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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heart. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

heartlights

“and now.  you’re here. in a world of hypocrisy.  and your love can heal us all.”  (you’re here ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood – see this friday’s post)

day’s end is close.  today was christmas.  between last night’s eve and today we sang songs.  we played carols.  we lit luminaria in the backyard under an oddly warm midnight sky.  we hiked in twilight woods.  we gazed in the dark at trees we decorated and lit with strands of lights and glinting silver ornaments.  we cooked meals and sipped wine.  we watched as The Boy and The Girl opened gifts.  we unwrapped presents and cards sent to us, set aside, waiting for today.

and in all of that?  the common denominator?

love.

surely the spirit of the holiday season can help to mend all rifts, help to inspire goodness, help to heal us.  in this world of hypocrisy, we can be united.  it matters not which holiday we celebrate.  what matters is heart and the rich universal tenets that march hand in hand with love.

read DAVID’S thoughts this NOT-SO-FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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merry! [two artists tuesday]

jingle johns

the upnorthgang gathered around the table.  the glasses were lined up.  multiples of alike wine glasses, aldi winking owl wine at the ready.  we had a keyboard for tuning, sharpies in hand and were seriously dedicated to playing christmas songs on wine-filled glassware.  jay had seen tuned wine glasses in a catalog, but at $245 a set, we thrifty upnorthgangers knew we could do better. plus, we all could play instruments – guitar, piano, clarinet, trumpet, cello, pipe organ, handbells, ukulele, violin…  i mean, we are a talented group of people! hours later, we had composed a new christmas song, which shall remain un-named in this post, and had realized that our songlist would definitely remain short, for indeed we needed at least another octave of wine glasses and, having sipped the excess out of the glasses while tuning, we were out of wine.  next up on the musical challenge list?  charlie’s pickle jars!

so passing the jingle johns at lincoln park zoo it doesn’t seem so out-of-the-ordinary to hear music emanating from the, er, portapotties.  The Boy groaned and begged me to not take a picture, but the wineglassperformingartist in me couldn’t resist.

why not take every opportunity to play some music, i say.

christmas eve.  a good reason to sing your heart out.  merry!

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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“it’s hard to keep things simple.” [merely-a-thought monday]

keep things simple

less is more.  enough is enough.  say no.  simplify.

we are all bombarded.  two days before christmas and we wonder if we did enough, bought enough, wrapped enough, entertained enough, baked enough, decorated enough.  we are surrounded by images – piles of presents under ornate christmas trees, horse-drawn sleighs on currier and ives backroads, families gathered at tables merrily chatting, churches full with congregations happily singing and the bells in the belfry ringing.  the kind of images that nag you into thinking, “more.  i must do more.”

the other evening, gathered around bowls of homemade hot thai soup, 20 said, “it’s hard to keep things simple.”  the three of us share some profound times of conversation, of life’s changes and choices, of simple togetherness.  he talked about soup and wine and chocolate and conversation, of appreciating each other’s company.

the catalogs arriving in the mail and the ads in the paper and the online streaming advertising all pander to the indulgence of our insecurity.  of not enough.  how do we respond and say no?

it’s hard to avoid.  it feels like we have to say yes to everything.  or we don’t quite measure up.  we search for meaning.  in things.  we are searching outside of ourselves.  holding ourselves to some sort of external standard of holiday-completeness.

how do we seek more centeredness?  more connectedness?  more moments held in the stillness of awe?

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

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joy. [k.s. friday]

joy songbox

the video from My Girl made me out and out cry.  it was just a little hello, sent from around a firepit in the high mountains after a long day of working.  and it was perfect timing.  to see her face and hear her voice was pure joy.

we walked and walked and walked.  miles from millenium park’s christmas tree and skating rinks, past beautiful ornate displays of lights and simple twinkling white branches.  in a rare opportunity linking my arm through My Boy’s as we strolled, i was filled with joy.  the loudspeaker music and dancing lights of the lincoln park zoo just echoed my delight.

as adults, the holidays carry a different set of qualities than they did as when we were children.  much pressure, oftentimes grief, maybe a slippery slope feeling of never-doing-enough, some disappointment, a measure of jealousy or envy perhaps as others-with-family-all-in-town gather together in big festive celebrations.  for those of us who work on christmas eve and christmas day, there is a yet another added layer.

we walked through the woods yesterday looking for the right branch laying on the ground.  we don’t yet have a christmas tree up.  we have other little trees – i have collected small trees through the years – but no true christmas tree.  each year in these last years, we have chosen that “tree” carefully, always something we found, something re-purposed into a christmas tree, something that had meaning.  there was the christmas-tree-on-a-stick – a christmas-tree-misfit – we cut down on the tree farm, a piece of the tree that fell into our backyard narrowly avoiding the house, a branch that had snapped off of our beloved tree out front, a star suspended over a straight trunk wrapped in lights to tease The Boy.

this year i thought about just going to a lot and purchasing a tree, thinking maybe, in the midst of the ending of a really tough year for many,  that might put me into the holiday spirit.  but i just couldn’t bring myself to do that.  we figured that the answer would become obvious, as it has done in the past years.  and it did. watching My Boy, clearly proud of the decorations of the neighborhoods north-of-downtown, agree with us about how simple, beautiful and truly elegant the white branches were, made up my mind.

last night we put the first coat of white spray paint on the two sets of branches we brought home.  we’ll finish coating them with paint later today and wrap them in white lights.  we’ll gently place silver ornaments as we play christmas music in the background.  i will miss My Girl and My Boy like crazy.  i will yearn for my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and sister and brother-in-law and nieces and nephew and all their families, david’s parents and extended family.  it isn’t the christmas of christmas-past.

but there still is magic.  those moments of joy – when everything else ceases to exist and joy eclipses it all.

download JOY on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

milleniumparktree website box

JOY ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 


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full tilt. [merely a thought monday]

2legstiredhearthappy copy

she sent us a video of her snowboarding with friends.  it was a crazy-good-full-tilt-snow-flying amazing video of them on a magnificently majestic mountain.  my heart literally sang watching it; you could feel the rush, the joy!  and then….there was this spoken line…at the end…My Girl, breathless from an outstanding run, with a laugh said, “my legs are tired; my heart is happy!”  this is how she lives.

i could stop writing right here, because that really says it all.  as we go full-tilt at these holidays, full-tilt at the end of this year, full-tilt toward a new year, full-tilt toward our goals and dreams and wishes, we believe that giving our all – and then some – brings us ever closer to that elusive place of “getting there.”

but at the bottom of that powder-run there were no medals; there was no bonus, no ribbon or gold watch.  there was something more precious.  and kirsten knew it.  there was the moment of running it, of sharing it, of living it.  the absolute euphoria that comes with just doing the best you can, and putting your body and soul into it, capturing the moments you soar.

may this holiday season – and really, all your days – bring you those moments.  at the bottom of the slope, on christmas eve when you are in a dark room with a lighted tree, on a day you gather with family and friends and look around grabbing a few seconds to store away for later, on a facetime with those most beloved to you, when you’ve put away the last dish or driven the last couple hundred miles, when you have gone full-tilt, i know you will be a little tired.  but it is my hope your heart will be happy.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

oversizedjoy copley place website box

©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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luminaria. [two artists tuesday]

luminaria box2 copy.jpg

with snow on the ground and visions of sugarplums and reindeer, late-at-night we would gather together on christmas eve in the neighborhood i grew up in.  luminaria bags lined the streets, you could hear people caroling, children excitedly running around.  my sweet momma and daddy held this tradition close each year, even bringing it forward a few of their first years in florida.  back on long island we would walk around the block, singing, talking, debating white-lights-vs-multi-colored holiday lights, dreaming about what would be under the tree the next morning.  it was magical and time was suspended.  midnight seemed early after everyone’s late church service.

a few years ago, missing my sweet momma and poppo, holiday tradition with extended family and not always having my own children here to celebrate, i felt an emptiness and a yearning for something more.  reaching into bright memories, i asked david if he would like to host a luminaria party, to start right here…on our street…with these sweet bags of sand and candles spaced on the sidewalks, a couple of firepits in the driveway (thanks to john and michele we have more than one firepit!), an abundance of wine and snacks on tables set up with christmas carols playing on a boombox.  we invited our neighbors, friends, our church community.  they stayed till a time-suspended-magical 2am and a tradition was born.  this year is our fourth.

it starts at 10:45.  you are welcome to come.  just rsvp, bundle up and bring a beverage and snack to pass.  come share in the magic of tradition…yet another wondrous thing.

read DAVID’S post this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

christmas 2014 website box


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waiting. [k.s. friday]

waiting song box copy.jpg

it’s not a complex piece of music. it’s a line out of my heart at the moment in time i was recording it.  it’s the mystery that surrounds waiting.  it’s the depth of biding one’s time.  it’s the expression of sitting tight and holding on, of not-knowing.  it’s the tentative simplicity of before…before the time of getting to the end of waiting.  it’s the time of anticipation, of advent – the time of emergence, of arrival, of birth.

it’s not complicated.  it’s just waiting.

download JOY – A CHRISTMAS ALBUM on iTUNES or CDBaby

 

christmas albums

and yet….more throw pillows to end the week….

kerri pillows copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this K.S. FRIDAY

bong trail, wisconsin website box copy

WAITING from JOY – A CHRISTMAS ALBUM ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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peace.

in this time of craziness, i strive to be an instrument of peace.

sharpersquareinstrofpeacewordsonlyjpeg

in this season of hope, i hope for peace on earth.

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in this holiday time of wishing, i wish you peace.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/as-it-is/id507694171     (track 5:  peace)

PEACE. from the album AS IT IS. one of my favorite tracks ever, with eternal thanks to the best producer on the planet, ken abeling.

MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF PEACE gifts

PEACE.EARTH.PEACE ON EARTH gifts

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moms. anticipation.

maria shriver, in her book and one more thing before you go, wrote, “but for your mother, empty-nest pain and grief is genetic…she took care of you, nurtured you, enjoyed you, is in awe of you – and now she’s letting you go. how could she NOT have deep feelings about it? …think of the alternative. do you really want a mother who doesn’t care….”

“it’s the most wonderful time of the year” is playing in the background as i write this. it transports me back to my growing-up years…my sweet momma and dad played christmas carols on the stereo non-stop at this time of year. frank, dean, burl, jim, robert – all household names playing on old 33’s or on the local fm radio station. i can see out our front window, i can taste the hot cocoa on the couch with my mom, i can see the old thin-glass ornaments and the tinsel my dad patiently put up strand by strand. we got the luminaria ready for the neighborhood christmas eve gathering in the street before the 11:00 church service that let us out into the midnight turn into christmas day. we anticipated.

years later. each season it was late into the night that we wrapped gifts, closing off the dining room so that even if one of the children came downstairs, too excited to sleep through the night, we would be able to prevent them from coming into the room laden with gifts in the midst of santa wrapping them. christmas carols played in the background. before i went to sleep i would sit in the living room – with all the lights off- and gaze at the christmas tree in all its splendor. and i anticipated.

i would get really excited right around the time i needed to drive north to pick up the girl or the boy from college for the christmas holiday. readying their rooms and checking to be sure all the gifts i had purchased were adequately hidden, i would drive -with christmas carols playing in the car- to pick each of them up, with all the stuff they needed for the break. with great anticipation.

when the girl and the boy could drive themselves home or get a ride from a significant other, i would wait and wait. i would try not to text too many times “where are you now?” and i would double-check my menus and run to the grocery store. i might wrap a few gifts, but i still waited until the middle of the night on christmas eve – with carols playing in the background – to wrap most of the stocking stuffers and the presents that would grace the base of the tree. and i anticipated.

this year is the first year that i won’t have both the girl and the boy here for christmas. the boy will come from the big city to be here, but the girl is high in the mountains teaching other people how to have great glee on a snowboard. she told me on the phone late last night “i told someone today that my mom is probably having a hard time with this – the first time i won’t be home for christmas.” she’s right. this is tough.

i now know what my own sweet momma felt each of those years i could not be at their home for christmas. it is in our dna to want our children to be happy, to feel fulfilled, to find joy in the simplest things, to celebrate each day, not just christmas. but the physical presence of your children makes a big difference. it’s huge. seeing them happy and fulfilled and joyful, seeing their faces and hugging them…hovering isn’t so bad, we moms think…it’s the holiday. ok, it’s any day. because in all the world, in its twists and turns and ups and downs and ebbs and flows, there are only a few things that remain the same. one of them is your mom. this is the first year my sweet momma will be celebrating christmas in heaven with my daddy. this is tough.

the christmas carols are playing in the background. they transport me. each one of them. each one of them has a story. each one of them has some history in my mind’s eye and in my heart. it is a mixed bag of emotions held together by ribbons of love, by wishes and times of joy, by memories and times of wistfulness and sadness, by dreams and great anticipation.

photo

www.kerrisherwood.com

itunes: kerri sherwood


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o christmas tree, o christmas tree

three years ago the boy and his best friend and i went to the christmas tree farm. there was a lot of snow and we ran through it, dodging each other’s snowballs. plodding around, we found the ‘perfect’ tree and an extra little one to go upstairs as well. the boy and pierre sawed them down, we loaded the big tree on top of the car, drove home and had hot chocolate before digging out the tree stand from the basement. this ‘perfect’ tree held white lights proudly and felt like a celebration.

IMG_2828two years ago d.dot and i were standing with the boy in the snow out in the field and the boy said, with disdain, “not THAT one!” he was talking about a christmas tree we had moseyed over to, a christmas tree that was speaking to the ‘youtwoarenotnormal’ in us. the boy wanted a ‘normal’ tree – one that had a ‘normal’ shape – one that looked ‘normal’ – the kind of tree that everyone associates with all the hallmark movies and norman rockwell christmas plates. and so, since we had driven in his car and he vowed to make us walk home from the christmas tree farm in freezing temperatures, we obliged his wish for a ‘normal’ tree. and it was beautiful. it had ridiculously sharp needles (we later named it ‘satan’) but it held white christmas lights proudly and it felt like a celebration.

last year the boy wasn’t there when we went to the christmas tree farm. so that meant that two artists were let loose in the fields. dangerous. we stomped through the snow and mud, laughing and looking at every single tree there. it wasn’t all that cold out, and the light was streaming throIMG_3997ugh the fir branches. it was glorious. we found our tree in the back of the farm. we nicknamed it ‘christmas-tree-on-a-stick’. (if you ever go to the minnesota state fair, as the boy and the girl and i did a few years back, you will find literally everyyyything on a stick.) this tree had a long trunk with no branches – about 3-4 feet up- and then the tree part started. everyone who saw it, loved it. it was a ‘perfect’ tree…a ‘perfect’ tree on a stick and it held white christmas lights proudly and felt like a celebration.

this year we drove past the christmas tree farm to see if it was still there. the land is for sale – 34 acres of oasis in town – but it is still there for all who want to have an adventure and find their ‘perfect’ tree. we didn’t stop right then; we planned on coming back another time. we laughed, pondering what this year’s tree would look like. it was likely we would pick out something even more ummm….artsy….than last year. we knew the boy would be thrilled. ha.

one morning, a few days after that, we took a walk. as we approached our home there was a big branch in the street that had somehow been knocked off the big tree in our front yard, a tree that has been there forever. this tree has been in so many pictures through the years. it has towered over the girl and the boy as they grew. it has been the base of snow forts, the shade for the summer, the harbinger of budding spring coming, the last tree to lose leaves in the fall. when i rocked the girl and boy as babies in the nursery, it was this tree i could see out the window, this tree that i see in my mind’s eye, this tree marking the changing of the seasons, the growing of children, the movement of time. i looked over at the branch in the street and then ran to get it. looking at d.dot i said,”what about this? this could be the perfect christmas tree for us this year.” we laughed and brought it inside so that it could dry out a bit. a couple of days ago, we placed it in the christmas tree stand, wrapped burlap around the bottom, aphoto-3nd stood back to look.   this branch, this piece of history, this year’s christmas tree – is holding white christmas lights -and a little metal star- proudly and is a celebration.

sometimes it is the simplest things.

 

 

www.kerrisherwood.com

itunes: kerri sherwood