reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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notice. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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going to our local grocery store is kind of a social outing for us.  we always walk in the same door and are immediately greeted.  it’s like walking into ‘cheers’ the bar on the tv show of the same name.  no one yells out, “norm!” but it feels the same.  leticia and skye and anthony and thank-goodness-she-is-recuperating-and-is-back-hugging-everyone-cheryl…all are sweet and hardworking people who make us feel welcome, noticed.  it keeps us going there; it makes a difference.  it’s this grocery store’s mission – to serve – no one is forgotten.

feeling recognized – whether you are or not – is essential.  someone else’s act of including you can change everything.  for you.  for them.  someone else’s act of noticing you can change everything. for you.  for them.  it humanizes experiences that can be mundane and even cold.  those moments on an elevator in the absolute quiet, everyone staring at the door.  the security line at the airport.  finding your way through a train station.  in the doctor’s office waiting room.  seated in an event auditorium, minutes before its start.  fast-walking through city streets.  in the oil change wait area.  and yes, in the grocery store.  notice.

i try to remember this.  it’s my natural inclination to fill the gap of awkward silence with something, anything.  i have had many strange stares on the subways of nyc, actually having had the audacity to talk or laugh with someone i don’t know.  but those brief words or quick laughter changed something in me right then; the moments on the subway became real, the people became real, everything slowed down and it was about right then.  noticed.

we heard a comedian once say, (words to the effect) “it’s not about making people laugh.  it’s about bringing laughter TO people.”  festival’s got it right.  they are on target with their mission – to serve.  the are enriching the lives of others.  in the simplest way, by noticing people, their customers, they bring a sense of community.  noticing.

and no one – or thing – is forgotten.  not even lettuce.  well, maybe green leaf.

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

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a small adjustment. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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we sat arm-in-arm in the megaphone.  we had been hiking in the snowy woods and it was the driest place to sit.  we’ve written about this megaphone before; it is a nature megaphone and it is supposed to amplify the sounds of nature from the woods and into the woods.  because someone didn’t maybe quite get the purpose, the megaphone is actually pulling sound from the street – a county highway through the woods on the narrow side of the amplifier, the side that draws in sound.  a small adjustment in its location would afford it the purpose for which it was designed.  it was built lovingly as an eagle scout project, but until this small adjustment in placement happens it will, unfortunately, not be as effective as it could be.

a small adjustment.  how many times would just a small adjustment create a path closer to success, a path more in alignment with purpose, a path that maximizes effectiveness, a megaphone that actually amplifies the amazing nature in the woods?  we get stuck in a line of thinking and, full-speed-ahead, think that is the only route, the only way.  until someone says something – a suggestion of a small adjustment – in thinking, in action, in REaction, in placement of our focus.  an ah-ha moment.

in the recording studio, as really in every musical performance, there is a groove.  it is the place where the tempo of the piece being played is “right”… everything comes together and syncs, the intent of the piece shines.  sensitive musicians and conductors can feel any deviation from that groove.  when it’s off, too slow, too fast, it doesn’t deliver the same emotional message.  just a slight adjustment brings it into center.

it’s the same with tuning.  A440 pitch is the universal standard tuning pitch.  a quarter tone off here or there makes a difference; not only can you hear this slight adjustment, but you can feel that the vibration is quivering, off its mark.

two people.  a difference of opinion.  the quivering vibration is palpable.  a small adjustment left or right, quietly spoken or wisely quiet, pivots them back to the heart-core, brings back solid ground.

that same kind of vibration…present in any gathering of people…in sync or magnets repelling each other…with underlying fields of pre-formed assumptions getting in the way of the small slight adjustments needed – the ah-ha’s – to be in actual alignment, stronger together than separate, amplifying the real sound of this earth – in the groove, in tune, on the mark, grounded, mutually, cooperatively, collaboratively on-purpose.

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

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what they value is on the wall. [merely-a-thought monday]

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my poppo was staunch about a few things.  tires, brakes and windshield wipers were three of them.  not only staunch, he was particular; his tire brand of choice (for him and for anyone he loved) was without-a-doubt-michelin.  and so, with the exception of the time i had a tire blow out on a highway far from home, on a sunday, with no specialty tire store open, i have always bought michelins.

we’ve sat at kenosha tire many times, really for every vehicle:  the vw, the minivans, the jeeps, the xb.  having new tires mounted or a tire fixed or having all four rotated, they are courteous, informative, and speedy.  i never truly mind waiting for something like this to be done; i love to watch people so i stay amused most of the time.

this establishment has been there since 1970.  it’s not a fancy place; there’s a variety of chairs, a variety of plaques with sponsored-team pictures, a variety of tire samples and tire signs and a large screen tv.  sometimes there’s a dog or two and i suspect maybe there is a cat back in that office with the counter-level swinging door.  this is a family business and their dedication not only to their customers but also to the community is obvious.  i always feel like they listen to me; i always trust them.

before we went out west, we had our tires rotated…i could hear my dad nagging, er, reminding me all the way from heaven.  on the wall next to my chair was this sign.  the four-way test of the things we think, say or do printed on rotary international paper.  it struck me as a simple tool…something to help frame our thoughts, the things we blurt out or defiantly or unthinkingly state, the things we do that have the potential to hurt others.

it is clear to me that kenosha tire values people.  it is clear that they support their community.  and now it is clear to me that they found this simple guide to kindness was important enough to put on the wall.  we should all have a wallet-sized copy to which we can refer.

i’m betting my dad would be pretty staunch about using this shop to buy our tires.  kindness in business was another one of those things he was pretty particular about.

as a matter of fact, i’m also willing to bet that, other than 2x4s, i-beams, sheetrock and maybe shiplap, this is the only wall-related-discussion he’d be interested in.

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

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luminaria. [two artists tuesday]

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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

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wondrous things. [merely a thought monday]

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a couple of weeks ago i ran into a couple i hadn’t seen in many years.  they asked me about my children and how they were; i excitedly rambled on about them for several minutes, explaining where they were living – 20 hours west and 20 hours east – and what they were doing in life.  then they asked me how i was.  i said, “you can always gauge a mom’s happiness by how recently she last got to see her grown children.”  i was fortunate enough to see my daughter in november AND my son in november, so i was happy-happy-happy.  time spent with them. a wondrous thing.

i was perched on one edge and My Girl on another, a ways down the side of the canyon.  we yelled back and forth, listening to the echo, ultimately dissolving into laughter.  the beauty.  the joy.  the echo.  the laughing.  a wondrous thing.

it was not his best bowling day; the planets clearly were out of alignment for My Boy, who pretty much rocks at bowling and many other sports,  but he goofed around and cartooned and had us all laughing. so much fun on that lane.  a wondrous thing.

we stood around the piano and sang in my studio, wendy’s voice next to my own.  suddenly, that thing-that-happens-when-two-people-who-are-related-sing-together happened.  my sweet niece’s voice and mine had the same timbre and it took my breath away.  i had to stop for a moment to take it in.  a wondrous thing.

from the moment we walked into their house, my girlfriend-since-elementary-school and i laughed.  we told stories, reminisced, struggled to remember details, poured a little wine, shared some more.  our husbands sipped lemon drop martinis and we talked non-stop.  i wanted to stay longer, talk more, remember more.  so much of my growing-up-history was standing next to me, hugging me as we left.  a wondrous thing.

we don’t really leave the kitchen table when we are there.  we sit on high stools and the chatter starts as soon as we arrive.  our dear friends jen and brad and the two of us have potluck dinners on many friday nights; each couple has leftovers from the week and no one has to worry about cooking.  we just heat up our leftovers and plate them and talk, wine glasses (or a beer in brad’s case) in hand.  conversations about our children, our work, politics, travel, ukuleles, npr…the spectrum is wide and we relish the time that flies by; six hours later we glance at the clock pointing to post-midnight.  a wondrous thing.

as glorious as the high mountains, ocean-front waves, flowers birthing out of winter, exquisite melodies, the first sip of coffee in the morning, a magical snowfall, texts with heart emojis, a hand holding yours, finding an old note in your child’s little-kid handwriting, black and white pictures of your parents in young days, shooting stars and sunrises…the list of wondrous things we can see around us is endless…limitless…boundless…

and moments shared?  also endless…limitless…boundless…

and we get to embrace all these wondrous things.

read DAVID’S thoughts about WONDROUS THINGS

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LittleFreeLibrary [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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a legacy. todd bol has left a legacy in his wake.  and i can’t imagine one that doesn’t touch imaginations and creativity and limitlessness more.  todd built his initial little free library in 2009 in hudson, wisconsin, as a tribute to his mother, who was a teacher and a book-lover.  his first little free library was a replica of a one-room schoolhouse, which he secured on a post and filled with books that he invited his neighbors to borrow.  it caught on, as no one could have dreamed possible, and now these gems are across the united states and in more than 80 countries.

we read every day.  together.  we always have a book going and it is one of our greatest pleasures to read aloud to each other.  there is something magical about it – sitting close under a blanket, experiencing the book at the same time, reacting to it, talking about it.  sometimes a book is so engrossing it requires one of us to pull the other out of the book-world-reality that has consumed us.   such is the power of reading.

if you walk around our neighborhood, even without walking on every single street, you will encounter these little libraries.  there are five within just a few minutes, a few blocks of us.  todd bol died at age 62 on october 18.  but his legacy?  he has left behind “more than 75,000 little free library stewards around the world dedicated to literacy and community.”  an amazing – and ever-growing – gift to the world.  thank you, todd bol.

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

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and, speaking of legacy, happy would-be-68th birthday to my big brother wayne.  no matter what plane of existence you now grace, you live on in each of us.  i wish i could peapod or instacart or jet you gallons of coffee ice cream.  i love you and miss you.  always.

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as you is. [two artists tuesday]

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spoiler alert to the girl, the boy, family and friends:  do not be surprised if one of your christmas/holiday presents from us is a shirt or sweatshirt or hat that says “AS YOU IS”.

we encountered michael at the farmers’ market one beautiful saturday when the sun was warm and the yellow jackets plentiful.  i was drawn to the simple stand of breeze-fluttering t-shirts, the saying AS YOU IS on the banner and the byline “big boned or small featured. thick-haired or bald-headed. married or single. A or C student. white or black or in-between. male or female. or in-between.”  we stopped to talk. i’m so glad we did.

michael was disarmingly charming and honest and zealous and positive – a breath of fresh air in a world that seems to be full of negativity and judgment these days.  he spoke of the origins of his cottage business and his simple philosophy, arrived at through years of painful learning and experience and after a long career outside of this new mission.  we could relate to him.  he told us the point of AS YOU IS:  “As You Is” is a rally cry for anyone and everyone that has a good heart, regardless of race, color, faith, age, gender, nationality, physical or mental limitations, or appearance. 

the pull to stay and talk was strong, but that would have precluded michael from introducing others at the market to his new line, his new business.  and so, we grabbed business cards, asked him to design some sweatshirts as well and continued on our way.  but AS YOU IS has remained in our conversations together.  his AS YOU IS.  our (sweet momma/beaky-inspired) BE KIND.  twinsies.

i suspect we will seek michael out to talk some more.  because chatting with someone about acceptance and hope and goodness is, as michael says, one hella gift.

AS YOU IS

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click here or on the box above to visit ASYOUIS website

As You Is® was created to start conversations…to cause total strangers to smile…to make people think…to get others to feel so accepted they break out in impromptu dance…and to put a serious chink in the armor of racism.

Our hope is one day children can embrace being uniquely themselves, where they feel safe being different and where old people – like our founder Michael Fornwald – can age gracefully or ungracefully sans self-contempt.

Please join us by infecting others with hope one hella cool t-shirt or cap at a time.

BE KIND

be kind collage with color font copy 2for our BE KIND products click here or on product collage box above & be sure to scroll down for the whole product line

“Be kind to each other. Always.” (my sweet momma/beaky)

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BE KIND designs ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson