reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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ks friday

jacketasitisjpeg copy 2i could hear the saxophonist on the corner out the window; it’s not uncommon in nyc.  at yamaha artist services to record the two solo piano hymn albums, i was caught up in the christmas carol he was playing, only a little concerned that it would bleed onto the recording.  the amazing “it’s fine!” ken can handle anything.

my task was to get onto tape (so to speak) the material for both of the hymn albums:  ALWAYS WITH US Volume 1 and ALWAYS WITH US Volume 2AWU v1 jacket copyit was easy for me to compile a list of the hymns to play; so many years of church music gives me an advantage that way.   but on every album, even if it is music i haven’t written but am giving my own voice to (like the hymn albums or christmas albums or lullaby album) i always include one or two pieces that i have composed – a signature of sorts.  for always with us volume one it was the title track.  ALWAYS WITH US is a statement of my belief that we are never alone, we are always AWU v2 jacket copysurrounded by infinite grace and love – God is always with us.  like all the tracks on the hymn albums, this piece is solo piano.

part of that time in the city, i also recorded the album AS IT IS.  i had a list of titles and in-between recording hymns, i would take out the list and simply play the word.  but i’ve talked about that before.  this album was a personal creative challenge and took on a life of its own.

back in chicago, in post-production work, ken wrote orchestration arrangements (he is brilliant) and brought in musicians to record on tracks for the AS IT IS album, starting with the solo piano recordings. these new tracks went beyond the solo piano versions – in texture, in diversity, ultimately, in emotion.

yesterday i wrote about process in david’s painting.  the same -yet different- process exists in recording music.  the coming-together of layers, with what is in a layer below sometimes hidden, a breath you can’t hear, but can feel.  i am awed by what the whole becomes from the whole.

always with us exists in two forms.  both are relevant to the album they are within.  both speak a language.  but both tell the same story – for those who listen – that we are never alone.  God – or whatever you call this presence- is always with us.  and if you listen, maybe with your mind’s eye, you might even hear the strains of a saxophonist on the corner in the city at night.

ALWAYS WITH US – on the album AS IT IS

ALWAYS WITH US – on the album ALWAYS WITH US VOLUME 1

to DOWNLOAD ALWAYS WITH US from AS IT IS track 14 from iTUNES

to DOWNLOAD ALWAYS WITH US from ALWAYS WITH US Vol. 1 track 2 from iTUNES

to purchase the physical CD ALWAYS WITH US VOLUME 1 (AS IT IS is out of stock)

KS FRIDAY (KERRI SHERWOOD FRIDAY) – ON OUR SITE

to see some fun PRODUCTS that go along with this piece ALWAYS WITH US:

leggings, wall art, mugs, beach towels, cellphone covers, cards

always with us SQ PILLOW copy

throw pillows, blankets

 

always with us RECT PILLOW copy

throw pillows, rugs

 

always with us LEGGINGS copy

leggings

 

always with us TOTE BAG copy

tote bags

 

always with us iPHONE CASE copy

cellphone cases, laptop sleeves

 

always with us FRAMED ART copy

wall art – in some of these pieces i could not resist using david’s art

 

always with us COFFEE MUG copy

mugs, travel mugs

 

ALWAYS WITH US from ALWAYS WITH US Volume 1 and AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

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dr thursday

cropped II earth interrupted with frame metal square WALL ART jpeg copy 3

“held in process”

my husband is a painter.  of course, you know that.  his studio is steps away from mine, steps away from our office, steps away from the coffee pot.  what that means is that i can just pop in at any time to see what he’s painting, to chat, to have a cuppa or bring down a couple glasses of wine, to throw myself in front of paintings he is about to cover over with a swath of new paint.

what’s really fascinating is the process of his painting.  i will walk down and find pieces on the wall or the easel that speak to me and he will tell me that he is “no where neeeeear done.”  he takes pictures along the way and i scam them onto my camera roll for future use, not willing to let go of the resonance of one of the along-the-way iterations of a painting.

this week is a perfect example of that.  he was in the middle of a painting – a follow-up to earth interrupted I – when i went downstairs to chat (read:  procrastinate doing whatever it was i was supposed to be doing at the time.)  the image and color screamed out at me.  i couldn’t beLIEVE he was going to cover it all up with more paint.  the process was so striking.  take a moment to just really look at these process shots and the morsel i chose and breathe them in:

earth interrupted II morsel 1

process morsel

earth interrupted II morsel 2

process morsel

MASTERearth interrupted II copy 2

morsel of a process morsel – held in process

and yet, the finished painting earth interrupted II is a stunning, stunning, stunning canvas.  it belongs somewhere to get its due. it makes me feel like the universe is weeping for the earth.  it makes you pay attention to it.  i am humbled by how truly magnificent this painting is.

EarthInterrupted2 copy

earth interrupted II, mixed media 48″ x 34.5″

each week i design products from each of the days in our melange.  some of these are cartoons, some just words, some lyrics or song titles and some are david’s paintings.  i have the creative latitude to choose morsels of his paintings and design from there…a enviable starting point for someone who loves flexibility.  this week is a sort of brain stretch.  with the exception of designing leggings, where i used both of the morsels on this page, the morsel i have used in design is a morsel of a morsel process shot of earth interrupted II (i said it was a brain stretch.)  it is called held in process and is a beautiful (and absolutely timely) image on its own.  how odd that it is not actually the painting, but is underneath the painting, a layer of earth interrupted II.

it makes me wonder if we ever think about how layered everything is, everyone is.  what is beneath the surface…a richness we may never know, a history we can’t necessarily comprehend.  where we have all come from is woven color and texture and light and darkness, swaths of paint and attempted erasures that would cause other people to stand in front and call out to us, “no!  don’t erase that!  it’s beautiful!  it’s important!  it speaks to me.”  we are all held in process.

HELD IN PROCESS – PRODUCTS like wall art, cards, throw pillows, mugs, phone cases, laptop sleeves, tote bags beach towels and leggings

II earth interrupted FRAMED ART PRINT copy

WALL ART, CANVAS, METAL ART, CARDS

 

II earth interrupted SQ PILLOW copy

THROW PILLOWS, BLANKETS, RUGS

 

II earth interrupted LEGGINGS copy

LEGGINGS

 

II earth interrupted BEACH TOWEL copy

BEACH & BATH TOWELS

 

 

travel mug copy

mugs, travel mugs

 

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all-over-print t-shirts

society 6 info jpeg copy

DR THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY) – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S THOUGHTS ON HELD IN PROCESS – THIS DR THURSDAY

a link to the painting EARTH INTERRUPTED II

HELD IN PROCESS & EARTH INTERRUPTED II  ©️ 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 


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two artists tuesday

it is well with my soul FRAMED ART PRINT copythe hymn “it is well with my soul” makes me think of the hymn “be still, my soul” which makes me think of mama dear, my grandmother (my sweet momma’s momma.)  (are you still keeping up?)  these two strong women, so alike and yet so different – were both anchors in my world, quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly) shaping my ability to walk in this world and have faith.  my sweet momma, for my growing-up years, went to church most every sunday.  she and my poppo got dressed up and we would go to christ lutheran church on burr road in east northport.  i got to hang with my best friend sue and we went to youth group and sleepaway camp (cool as it was, those days i was never a really big fan of sleepaway camp) and, together, we memorized the books of the bible in order (i still have no idea what the purpose of this was.)  i can’t remember mama dear going to church as much; she went on some weekends, on holidays with us or to special events.  mama dear had bright red hair, taught me how to sew and adored going to las vegas to play the slot machines.  she was obstinate and somewhat opinionated and one of the loves of my early life.

during the time i went to suffolk county community college, mama dear’s house was within reach and i would go there for lunch or tea.  we’d eat rye-bread-toasted-with-melted-butter and i’d tell her everything that was going on in my life.  she’d listen and, every now and again, she’d say a few words of wisdom.  i could tell her anything.  she let my soul breathe.

i’d come home from school during junior high and high school and my sweet momma and i would sit on the couch and have tea and chips ahoy chocolate chip cookies, my way-back-then favorite store-bought cookies.  we’d talk about my day, the challenges that face girls in high school, cute boys who might have said a word or two, the kids smoking on the bus.  she would listen and, every now and again, she’d say a few words of wisdom.  i could tell her anything.  she let my soul breathe.  matter of fact, she let my soul breathe the whole time i had the privilege of having her physically in my life.  she still does.

we need that.  a place for our souls to breathe.  people with whom we can let our souls breathe.  a faith in this universe that opens us and simultaneously holds us gently and anchors us.  then – we can say:  it is well with my soul.

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL – products: prints, leggings, mugs, beach towels, pillows etc.

society 6 info jpeg copy

 

it is well with my soul LEGGINGS copy 2

it is well with my soul LEGGINGS

 

it is well BEACH TOWEL copy

BEACH TOWELS, HAND TOWELS, BLANKETS

 

it is well MUG copy

mugs and travel mugs

 

it is well SQ PILLOW copy

 

it is well RECT PILLOW copy

 

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

read DAVID’S thoughts on TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

 

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 


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chicken marsala monday

sometimesfaith WITH EYES jpeg copy 3“…well, i will walk by faith, well, even when i cannot see, because this broken road prepares your will for me…” (lyrics from a really great 2002 song by jeremy camp called ‘walk by faith’)

“we walk by faith and not by sight….” (19th century lyrics from a 1984 hymn ‘we walk by faith’ by marty haugen)

trust.  practice.  faith.  repeat.  not necessarily in that order.  through the ages, a common challenge – faith without seeing.  ‘we’ are no different now than ‘they’ were ‘back then.’  faith.  it’s ambiguous.

it’s funny.  you might think that the most faith-reinforcing moments come during a service and this true for some.  as a minister of music for three decades, i have always sought to create those moments for others…when all things come together:  music, lyrics, emotion to amplify the words (and the word) spoken in the service and resonate within someone’s heart and reinforce their feelings of faith. it is a job i take seriously; sometimes you only have one chance to help connect a service with a person’s heart, one chance to reassure, one chance to raise awareness, one chance to have them ask questions within their faith, to challenge their assumptions for and otherwise.

for me, though, the most faith-reinforcing moments are outside of the faith-based venue, be it a church, temple, cathedral, mosque.  they are the moments that i can feel the hugeness of this universe of God and my absolute tiny-ness within it:  walking in the woods, standing in the sunlight, looking out on a mountain, holding hands, seeing the moon rise over the lake, watching the surf, seeing love pass between two people’s eyes, hearing my children’s voices, finding the right chord for a song, eating breakfast on the deck in the sun with cardinals, hearing music swell…

as a minister of music, i have heard a lot of sermons and been at an un-countable number of services.  think about it.  (and this is not counting all the years not spent in this position, nor does it count all the extra services at certain times of the year…you’re thinking, “ok, ok, ohmygosh, we get it!” )  so thirty years multiplied by 52 weeks multiplied by at least two services a sunday (sometimes three, but we will round it to two, as you roll your eyes.)  that equals 3,120 services and sermons.  and let me just mention, some have been…ummm…way better than others.  so you would likely deduce that i would know all the stories of the old and new testaments pretty well by now.  well, i beg to differ with you.  for me, those stories are peripheral.

what really counts for me is the stuff you can’t see with your eyes, the things you can only experience:  love, kindness, peace, generosity…  simplicities.  complexities.  these are the foundations of my faith.  faith in goodness.  faith in being held.  faith in grace. choosing actions that are life-giving.  knowing that if i fail today, i can try again tomorrow.  walking the broken road, faithfully believing that there is a higher power that i can’t see but i can experience.  one that surrounds me in my joy and in my pain.  ptom, in his lenten sermon the other evening, said, “God is for you.”  it takes a little (read:  a lot of) practice; it’s a new day every new day.  but i believe.

FAITH TAKES PRACTICE – we have different products for this on both www.society6.com/chickenmarsala and www.society6.com/kerrisherwood

society 6 info jpeg copy

 

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

 

faith takes practice FRAMED ART PRINT copy

wall art, cards, home decor

 

faith takes practice SQ PILLOW copy

 

faith takes practice LEGGINGS copy

‘faith takes practice’ LEGGINGS

 

faith chicken mug copy

 

 

 

faith white mug copy

 

faith chicken iphone case copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on FAITH TAKES PRACTICE

 

sometimes faith takes a little practice ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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two artists tuesday

brave-poster-jpegthis one’s hard.  i’ve written about bravery before.  i’ve written about women with backbone.  i’ve written about holding to truths and actively working for peace and respect.  about waking up each day on mother earth and the people around us working to keep this a good place.

faced with the word “brave” as our two artists tuesday image, i flounder with where to start.

very early this morning our dear friend linda left her home to go to chicago to have a cochlear implant.  we spent time with her a few evenings ago, as she sorted through hope and fear, what she’s known and the future unknown.  one of her greatest passions in life is dancing.  she dances to music designed for dance, to music she hears in passing, to music in her head.  terrified of losing the ability to hear music post-surgery, she pondered the what-if of not having this done.  but her desire to actually be able to hear MORE (more beloved voices, more broadcasted music, more cds out on the deck or in the dance hall) won out and she is on a new journey.  she is brave. brave. brave.  brave word jpeg copy

my sister just had surgery on her hand to remove a skin cancer.  i am grateful and relieved she is healing from this and will likely not have to have any additional treatment.   d and i talked about this on a walk the other day.  i was weeping openly on the sidewalks in our neighborhood as i spoke about my big brother, who died after a valiant fight with lung cancer, my daddy who was a twelve-year-or-so survivor of lung cancer, my sweet momma who had a double mastectomy for stage four breast cancer at the age of 93.  i cannot help but have some fear.  who among us is exempt from that?  but my big sister was brave and positive and i am determined, as i move forward in life, to be brave as well.  in all arenas.  on all fronts.  d says i am much braver than he is.  i’m not sure why he says this, but his words make me feel stronger.

we meet our challenges singlehandedly, we meet our challenges with a world of support, which is sometimes just one living person, one other being. our bravery is fortified by the love of others, by their words of wisdom, by their ability to shift our perspective, even just a little, by our re-defining.  for we are not in this alone.  we have on our wall in the bedroom a sign that reads, “wherever you are, that’s where i will be.”  our ‘brave’ is fed by our faith, the sisu (perseverance and fortitude) we’ve honed in life, the courageous alter-reaction to the terror of taking a step, our community of people.   susan and i have used the word “scrappy” to describe our lives; in looking at the definition of “brave” i would add intrepid and plucky.  great word – plucky.   Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 10.41.48 AM

i mean, let’s face it – just being in the world and being who we really are each day is damn brave.

 

BRAVE MERCHANDISE

 

brave leggings copy

brave pillow copy

brave travel mug

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TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

melange button jpeg

check out DAVID’S thoughts on BRAVE

brave. ©️ 2017 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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the faces of my life.

IMG_1991“…in the nighttime of your fear…” the lyrics of this hymn jump out at me. how many times have i been awake in the nighttime…wrapping my arms around fear of some sort. how many times have i been awake in the daytime with ‘the nighttime of my fear’? being awake with fear makes every muscle aware, every hair stand on end, every emotion close to the surface. and the fear doesn’t have to be physical…sometimes it is fear of the unknown, fear of change (no! really?), fear of differences that set you apart. any way you slice it, fear becomes visceral and, as carol used to always say, you can taste the adrenaline. in these moments, there are voices i pine for, people i want to be near, reassurances for which i yearn. how many times have i told david i wish i could just talk to my sweet momma. how many times have i asked my dad aloud – hoping for a sticky note to float down from heaven – for his words of wisdom. i’ve asked my brother wayne for car and fixing stuff advice; i’ve asked my friend richie for a tad bit of his sense of humor in a tense moment. the list of people on the other side extends out, in ever-larger concentric circles, as i realize how much i miss their words of wisdom. the faces of my life. and then, often in an awakening moment of grief, i realize that there is indeed wisdom and reassurance all around me.

the ukulele band rehearsals are at our house in the summer. most often outside on sometimes-warm-sometimes-cool summer nights on the patio, last night was inside with impending storms in the area. i had broken my little baby toe earlier in the day and was limping around a bit (and maybe whining also.) betsi and jay offered advice, carol and helen grimaced with me, remembering breakages of their own, david jokingly spoke of designing steel-toed flip-flops. a posse of people making my little toe feel better. there were conversations about dietary/lifestyle changes, inexpensive backyard solutions, growing herbs, new albums out, nitrate-free bacon, up north… really, anything you might want some solid talk-talk about was possible. the faces of my life. “…we are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road.   we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…”

in conversation with susan or linda or jen or heidi, we talk about loss of a parent or we talk about children growing up and away or we talk about where we are in life…they have been there when i’ve cried…they have shared tears with me. they have laughed with me till it hurt. powerful moments of empathy. with david, the sharing of raw emotion, the frustrations and the bliss of being “too close”, the tears and the laughter are full spectrum. the faces of my life. “…i will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh i’ll laugh with you…”

we were standing on the opposite side of a stream from where we needed to be. three times while we were in the mountains this was where i found myself.  (well, metaphorically, i suppose that would be countless times, but who’s talking in metaphors?) the first time, david crossed over, using stones and a wayward log that had fallen. even now, my feet tingle thinking about it. he quietly told me that i could do it and reached out his hand to me so that I could grasp it as soon as i was within reach. his eyes, unwaveringly gentle and reassuring, convinced me to work with the fear i felt and move forward. “…i will hold my hand out to you..” IMG_2744one of the other times becky, david and kirsten (the girl) had already crossed the stream. it wasn’t a huge chasm, but it was enough to make me think about going the “other way”. and yet, it was their faces on the other side that helped the nugget of fear i felt go away.   the faces of my life.

” …i will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through…” our time on this beautiful earth is forever and fleeting. both. this journey is filled with design of the universe and gorgeous wisdom and warm reassurance. the faces of our lives. on this side and on the other side. they will hold us in ‘the nighttime of our fear’. they will hold us in the moment.  we are never alone.

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holy moments.

sunintreesCALIFit’s holy week and, from the perspective of a minister of music, this is kind of a busy time (understatement lol). throughout lent our church has had a wednesday night service preceded by a simple soup supper (i love that alliteration!), with choir, ukulele band and handbell rehearsals sandwiching around these. although a scheduling challenge, rather than feeling overwhelming, it is a breath of fresh air. full of holy moments.

each wednesday evening the congregation gathered sings a service called ‘holden evening prayer’ written by marty haugen. (now, marty -my pal, even though we have never met, spoken or communicated in any way- is prolific and his compositions are gorgeous – meaningful lyrics with melodies and especially harmonies that resonate and are relatively easy for people to sing.)

his evening hymn begins:  joyous light of heavenly glory, loving glow of God’s own face, you who sing creation’s story, shine on every land and race. now as evening falls around us, we shall raise our songs to you.  God of daybreak, God of shadows, come and light our hearts anew.

in the stars that grace the darkness, in the blazing sun of dawn, in the light of peace and wisdom, we can hear your quiet song. love that fills the night with wonder, love that warms the weary soul, love that bursts all chains asunder, set us free and make us whole.

you who made the heaven’s splendor, every dancing star of night,  make us shine with gentle justice,  let us each reflect your light……

gorgeous, right? “light our hearts anew” “set us free and make us whole” “let us each reflect your light”  – words to make you stop the craziness, get off the complaint bandwagon and feel the holy moments.

in another piece, the psalmody, the lyrics “let my prayer rise up like incense before you…” powerful words, magnified by haunting melodies. so visual. so visceral. holy moments.

as we rehearse through this season, i can feel each of the groups ready for a bit of a break, all volunteers dedicating their precious time to this music. i appreciate them more than they know. but there is something that keeps us all going. for in the middle of rehearsals, there is, inevitably, something that makes us laugh uncontrollably, something that makes us in unity say “awww” or something that, invariably, makes me/us want to cry…in a good way. these communities of fabulous people, joining together, to create joy. music is secondary. holy moments.

a small group of the ukulele band decided to go to a concert recently. held in a huge arena, it was louder than we thought it was going to be. much louder. like the guy in the souped-up car behind you at the traffic light with the huge woofers under the dashboard or on the rear deck (the place where you put bobbleheads) was right inside your chest pounding. but when matt maher got up on stage and sang Lord i need you….oh wow.  holy moment. not because it was “holy”, but….because it was holy.

we had seen matt sing at red rocks in colorado. redrocks(2)outside, surrounded by mountains and the setting sun, the sound echoing off huge red rock, everyone linking arms with the person standing next to them, whether or not they knew them, was unforgettable. i can’t sing that song without that vision in my mind’s eye. he didn’t say much. he didn’t have to. he was one of the rare wise ones who knew that the holy was in the moment, not the stuff he might over-say. yes. holy moment.

the girl-i-have-adored-forever, my beautiful and amazing daughter, and her girlfriend, also beautiful, amazing and adored, called the other night to share some insanely cool news. we laughed and talked and ultimately, i managed to get my daughter to roll her eyes at me, yet again. such a gift of a conversation. holy moment.

the boy and his boyfriend, two fantastic urban young men who i, yes!, adore, left me a sung birthday song message and, another day, texted pictures of a chamber ensemble concert they were at. sharing with me. holy moments.

spring is returning to our backyard.  early morning birds wake and the cardinals are feeling the spring juju.  they swoop and sing and remind me of my sweet momma and daddy.  holy moments.

late on a spring-rainy afternoon we sat on the bed and read aloud together. babycat joined us and then dogdog. all four of us, on the raft. holy moment.

a time of lent, of preparation. another time for recognition of the holy.   the “holy”, the holy.  the Holy.  moments indeed. they are everywhere.

original holy holy framed jpeg

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