reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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make time for clouds. [chicken marsala monday]

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the crystal clear water was cool around my feet, cold actually.  the current pulled at my flipflops, necessary –  for the rocks below were slippery and i didn’t have the cool sandals My Girl had on.  the hot-hot high altitude sun blazed into my hair; it made me think i should have worn that new packable hat i got last year.

i scanned the horizon, a 360 of mountains and trees and sagebrush and blue-blue sky.  and this river.  going on and on.  as far as i could see, it meandered through the landscape i was reluctant to leave.

and i stood in the water.  never-minding the feeling of almost-numbness of my feet.  because in this moment, i could feel.  the very hot of a brilliant sun, the very cold of snow-capped mountain runoff.  this time of cloudless sky and the murmur of the river.  this time of being with my daughter.  this time of dreaming and imagining and creating scenarios in my mind that would allow me to stay in this very spot.  this time of (in this case, metaphoric) cloud-gazing.

every good cloud-gaze creates a story.  every good cloud-gaze builds a memory.  every good cloud-gaze gives you pause to breathe.  it’s the same with your feet in the river, your blanket on the beach, your chair in front of the bonfire, your boots on the trail.  make time, i say.

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make time for clouds ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

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you just might become inspired. [chicken marsala monday]

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we drove through the plains, through the flint hills, through rolling prairie, through mountain passes, hills dotted with sagebrush, desert adorned with red rock formations.  we drove past working cattle farms, deer and antelope in the wild, horse ranches with fencing that went on forever.  we stopped in little towns high in elevation, two-building towns in the middle of mountain roads, towns with fancy boutiques and eateries, towns with little shops with names like ‘heart and sleeve’.  we met people who were little-town-leery-of-newcomers, people who embraced us, people just doing their job, people going out of the way doing their job.  we saw the wonder of a clear mountain night sky, streams dropping thousands of feet off red rock, arches that had invited themselves into a formation, blue-blues juxtaposed with green-greens and very-burnt-siennas, the grey and white of rocky mountains.  we felt the heat of the desert sun, the cool of a mountain river, the pouring-down rain of a passing colorado storm, the peace of high-elevation night air.  we sipped coffee in bed in a sweet southwest adobe house, lots of water on every trail, wine on the balcony overlooking the mountains and gin and tonics on the porch overlooking the town.  we shared time, laughter, dinners, lunches, even breakfasts, stories, Lumi-dog, tears, adventures and car rides with The Girl. we spent moments with people important to her and people we met along the way who are now our friends, generous people, kind people.  we collected stones in the river, sandstone in the desert, brochures and new colloquial expressions, the cherished sound of The Girl laughing, hugs and what it feels like to once again hold my daughter, goofy moments, sunburned noses, recipes, ideas and cardboard starbucks espresso cups we’ll use later to walk around the ‘hood with wine.  we loved the moment a way-younger-guy-with-great-dreadlocks passed us holding hands and walking on the sidewalk in a little high valley town and said, “you guys are cute.”

and every one of these things…all of this…inspired me.

so now i have photos and memories, receipts, rocks and prayer flags, matching braided leather bracelets and a shirt from the town where The Girl snowboard-instructs…all pieces of what will now be reminders.  reminders of every single thing that inspired me, inspires me, will inspire me.

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be careful. you just might become inspired. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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in the night. [k.s. friday]

inthenight song BOX

i am writing this ahead of time…in anticipation of a so-much-looked-forward-to trip to the high mountains to spend time with The Girl and our new granddog lumi.  when you read this, we will be almost home.  and there are a few things i know for sure.

that i will -for sure- awake at night, as i often do, and i will relive the time we spent in those mountains.  i will relish the time i will now have in my memory bank, the visions in my mind’s eye.  i will cherish the bits and pieces i will have brought back for our special box.  i will hold dear the photographs i will have taken.

when the moon wakes me, i will be endlessly grateful for any and all moments in the little town she  calls home.  i will run conversations and laughter through the middle-of-the-night quiet.  i will catch a hint of the cool midnight colorado air on the breeze through the window.  i will feel what it feels like to, once again, hug my beautiful daughter.  and i will store it all away.  so that in the night – any night – i can recall all of it.

 

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IN THE NIGHT from THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1997 & 2000 kerri sherwood

 


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two artists tuesday

MASTER be relentless big copy 2i don’t have to look further than my two children for examples of being relentless.

The Boy decided, early in high school, that he wanted to change his attention from baseball to tennis.  now, most of his classmates who were tennis players on the varsity team had played since earlier childhood.  The Boy had only hit the ball around on the court a few times with his very-best-growing-up-friend-miles or pierre-who-hung-out-here-all-the-time-in-high-school but his decision was made and he pursued it with zeal.  a part of the jv team, he practiced and took individual lessons, group lessons, worked with his coaches.  i, on the sidelines, sweated and watched, trying hard to be quiet as he pushed himself.  he, a natural athlete, was moved up to the varsity team and doubled-down on the hard work of tennis – a “game” possibly more psychological than physical….ridiculously tough on a mom.  he went to a university that welcomed him on their tennis team and, for years, i spent the better part of tennis season (and tournament season) driving all over the state and beyond, proud to see his skill on the court, proud to see his drive and, mostly, that it paid off for him.  now he applies the same strategic tennis-approach to his life, his career.  he was – and is – relentless.

The Girl decided, upon moving to the high mountains of colorado, that she, having never been on skis or other propelling-downhill-snow-gear (other than a sled), wanted to snowboard.  she was working in a professional (indoor office) position out there, but she spent every spare moment on the slopes, striving to learn.  every now and then she’d report in about her experience on copper mountain or keystone or breck or vail or ….  she broke her arm, she twisted limbs, she broke her helmet.  she persisted.  time passed and she traded up for better snowboards, more equipment; she asked more people for advice or pointers; she was a learner beyond compare.  she boarded in aspen, in snowmass, in patagonia.  she dropped off ledges and split-boarded up vast mountains.  fast forward just a few short years and she, no longer in an inside office doing the piece-of-paper-from-the-university-of-minnesota-work-she-was-trained-for, has taken the learn how to learn, learn how to persevere, learn how to dream – from life, from college, from her own purposeful heart – and is a snowboard instructor and a snowboard coach for a team in aspen.  she offers more than snowboarding to those around her; she is the picture of excited zealousness.  she was – and is – relentless.

so i………who read to them as little ones and tucked them in and drove them to music lessons and sporting events and played with matchbox cars and dressed barbies and ran alongside two-wheelers and crossed my fingers as they sat behind the wheel of the car and tried to instill a little appreciation of beauty and respect, and helped with homework and stayed up all night while they worked on last-minute-projects and rocked them to sleep at night with a well-loved-tattered ‘goodnight moon’ falling off my lap……..now learn from them.  to be relentless.

there is this adorable couple from mississippi on hgtv these days.  erin and ben star in a show called Home Town and they are working to restore their tiny town of laurel one beautiful home at a time.  my favorite moment, as they run commercials for this very popular show, is erin passionately looking into the camera saying, with the most charming southern drawl, “get up and DO it.”  you can tell she means this about every single thing.  and to her call to action, i just might add – and be relentless.

BE RELENTLESS MERCHANDISE

 

BeRelentless METAL WALL ART copy

metal wall art

 

BeRelentless LEGGINGS copy

be relentless leggings

 

BeRelentless coffee mug copy

be relentless coffee mugs

BeRelentless square pillow copy

be relentless throw pillows

 

 

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

 

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be relentless ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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two artists tuesday #3

CHILDRENarethebestwithframe jpeg copymay 15, 1990.  the day my life took an unchangeable turn.  the girl was born.  i became a mother.  nothing would ever be the same.  and i am beyond infinitely grateful.  love became more than a noun and a verb – it became a person in my arms.  every fibre of me was in love with this little wonder.  i still am.

nothing can really prepare you for this feeling that is undeniably the most intense thing i have ever felt.  i had my first taste of this when my niece wendy was born…the first of my niece-nephew-niece trio.  i was young then – just eleven (sorry, ben…that really dates you ;)) i fell in love with each of them and, to this day, i’m quite sure they have no idea how much they are loved.  but motherhood was different.  it took my heart to a different plane entirely.  i wondered how it would be -how i could love any more- when i was expecting my second child.  when the boy was born i felt as if i had grown a whole second heart, as bottomless as the first one.

i am so very fortunate to be the mother of these two amazing people-in-this-world.  my daughter ‘the girl’ is beautiful and fiercely independent and talented and smart and funny and -will always be- one of the reasons i breathe.  my son ‘the boy’ is beautiful and fiercely independent and talented and smart and funny and -will always be- one of the reasons i breathe.  i have been moved by their presence in the world.  i have learned in countless ways.  i have struggled with the balance of  wanting-them-near and having-them-far-away.  i know that there is not anything else i have done that is more important.  they are the first thoughts in my mind in the morningtime and the last at night.  i have been changed.  i will never be the same.

this past week, like too many times in recent years, has cut to the core of my heart.  i have felt overwhelming empathy for mothers (and, of course, fathers) who have lost their child to violence.  i am not protected so much that i believe the events of the past week are the only children being lost to violence.  i am no less appalled by the loss of a child to famine or war or domestic brutality.  i just can’t imagine it.  the raw brokenness-of-heart is unfathomable for me.

our children, like anything else that really counts in life, do not come with a manual in which you can look up ‘how’.  we can read and study and research and google, but every situation is different and caring for and raising children is – and, by sheer importance, absolutely SHOULD be – the toughest thing you have ever done.  and, if you have chosen it,  the most momentous. it counts.  it is the shepherding of life.  it is life begetting life.  children are the breath of the (what-kind-of-world-do-we-want?) world that continues. not just for their parents.  but for all of us.  because it doesn’t just take a village; it takes a world to raise a child, to raise children.  they ARE the best thing.

CHILDREN ARE THE BEST THING – MERCHANDISE

TwoArtists ChildrenAre MUG copy                TwoArtists ChildrenAre FRAMED PRINT copy

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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 children are the best thing ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 

 


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liverwurst for lunch.

me and momma talkin

each load of laundry i put in today i am thinking of her. it’s been a holiday weekend with tons of things going on plus a busy week prior to that so the laundry has piled up. my sweet momma loved those piles and took great solace in the act of doing the laundry and having clean, fresh clothing and linens. so today, the day that would have been her 95th birthday, i also am taking great solace in doing the laundry and having clean, fresh clothing and linens.

we sat down together on the deck a little earlier and had a big bowl of fruit. what is it about already-cut-up-fruit that makes it taste so much better? i am vowing to make a huge bowl every week – spend some time cutting it up early in the week so that we can pick off it each day. watermelon makes me think of her, so each of these bites we take we chat about her. i wonder if there is lemon meringue pie or cheesecake in heaven; he wonders if she is having liverwurst for lunch. liverwurst is one of her favorites so i’m pretty sure it would be on the menu. not on my menu though.

liverwurst lunch

the last time i saw my sweet momma enjoying her liverwurst.  i always teased her about it.

that was one of those weird lunches i used to have in elementary school. i was the only one with an off-brand white bread or even -sheesh- rye bread, liverwurst and mayonnaise sandwich, all wrapped in wax paper. everyone else had cutesy sandwiches with fixings from the deli all wrapped in a glad bag. i had a sandwich bag of chips; they had pre-packaged lays or fritos. i had a whole apple, vying for the opportunity to get stuck in my teeth; they had oranges all sectioned in a baggie. i had a re-purposed bag of some sort (from a trip to the hallmark store or genovese drug store); they had the traditional brown paper lunch bag. but…now i’m thinking…what i wouldn’t give for a sweet-momma-packed-lunch these days.

we lit a candle earlier for her and we are leaving it lit all day. i want to feel her close by. i miss her. she would have loved the fireworks last night; her oohs and aahs would have momma effusive at shaynebeen cheery and boisterous. i learned about being effusive from her. she is the reason i know it counts to be effusive. each time i walk past the candle i cheer inside and i think of her.

we have a new grill. the last grill i had was put out to the curb a couple years ago. i’m astounded to think it has been that long. i put that grill together all by myself. i wrote to my friend frangelly that there were a zillion pieces, all in shrinkwrap, covering my dining room table. it took me three and a half hours to put it together and when i was done i stood back and thought, “wow…it looks like a grill!” the first time i lit it i took it into the middle of the street…i didn’t want to take the chance that some little piece i had misplaced or forgotten or something would make this new grill blow up in my backyard. (it didn’t blow up, by the way, and it lasted the next several years, so i am chalking that one up as a success – and – i am crossing putting grills together off my bucket list. from now on, we will buy them assembled.) i am the type to grill year-round, shoveling snow to the grill so that veggies and chicken and burgers and yes-i-live-in-wisconsin-brats can have that “grill” taste. what have i done for the last couple years without one? anyway, we have a sparkling new one now. we were going to use it yesterday but then i thought (in true thready fashion), “wait, maybe we can get some great steaks and grill them on momma’s birthday tomorrow. she loved a good steak on the grill and that will be a great way to christen it.”

now that it is the tomorrow of yesterday i am not feeling so much like going to the store to grocery shop. momma cutie-pie faceinstead, in my quieter day at home, surrounded by laundry baskets, my at-his-drafting-drawing-table-husband, dogdog and babycat, still in sweatshorts and a tank top, no shoes and no makeup, i’m thinking that maybe yesterday’s leftovers would be a better idea for dinner tonight. momma loved leftovers. they will make me think of her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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the right place.

allLoveCountswe were on a serene lake…no waves, barely a ripple. the oars sliced into the water next to the canoe with hardly a whisper, the loons in the distance calling. the gunshots in the distance rang out over the still lake and startled us; the loon answered. i counted the number of times in a row the gun went off…not sure why i was doing that, but hoping that it would make more sense if i knew how many times i heard a gunshot. i asked later if there was a firing range nearby and was surprised to hear that there wasn’t. i’m not aware of any particular hunting season right now, so i am guessing that someone was just out there…somewhere…firing a gun just to fire a gun. the juxtaposition of absolute serenity and gunfire was unnerving. it seemed that northern wisconsin wasn’t the right place for that.

we hike there often. we take the blue trail with dogdog; it’s about 4 and a half miles the way we go. we know it well now, but every time we go we delight in the changes each season makes, the changes the weather makes, the changes we can see, smell, touch, hear. we often hear gunshots reverberating out there. i guess there is a firing range somewhere nearby. so people gather to ‘practice’. not having grown up around guns, i wonder what they are practicing for as i hear a rapid fire of shots, something that doesn’t sound like the measured shots of a hunter.   a state park doesn’t seem the right place for that.

my beautiful son is gay. also, he was on the high school and college tennis teams. also, he likes v-neck fitted t-shirts over round neck. also, he used to love ramen noodles. also, he was a fantastic pitcher and an ace shortstop. also, he doesn’t drink the bottom inch from a 2 liter bottle of soda. also, he loves chocolate chip cookies with mint chips in them as well. also, he was the only one in his fraternity who could drive a stick shift. also, he likes to be at the airport well ahead of his flight. random factoids. none of these define him totally as a person. all of them (and a whole lot more) make him who he is.

i remember the day he called me to tell me he was gay and that he was in a relationship. i don’t know if he was nervous or anxious about it, but i suspect that many young men and women have anxiety about telling their loved ones of their orientation. now, i don’t remember having to call my momma years ago to tell her i was heterosexual. why would that be any different?

i cherished his trust – his knowing that nothing i felt about him would change. his choice of who to be in relationship with was just a part of him like his choice of cookie. it changed the picture in my head of the future, but it didn’t change my support of him or my excitement about his future or my love of him.

they – young men and women – were in a bar. in a vacation destination town – orlando, florida. i would anticipate that there was much laughter, much talk, much dancing. maybe there was an expression of physical attraction between people there – a public display of affection. i hope so. i cannot wrap my head around the kind of hatred/discomfort/bigotry that would push a person to take a gun and kill people. shots rang out. people (sons and daughters of moms just like me) died. the surrealness of an individual’s hunting season that had opened at this venue make my blood run cold. a gay bar isn’t the the right place for that.

i am the very proud mother of a gay son. and i, like all mothers, want to believe that he has the freedom to be who he is as long as he is not harming anyone else or himself – just like my rule for my daughter. there is no right place for this kind of maiming and killing. i want to protect them both – my girl and my boy. i try to trust the world around me, around them. i pray for them to always be safe.

and i ask – where is the right place for that??