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the path back is the path forward


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you are beautiful. [merely-a-thought monday]

you are beautiful (chicago)

i remember heidi telling me about a conversation she was having on a mother-daughter weekend with her sweet mom, among other mothers and daughters.  they were sipping glasses of wine and started listing some of the things that were disconcerting to them about themselves.

we women (and men) have all done it.  we are sitting smack in the middle of a society that puts great value on appearance and youth, rather than the wrinkles of wisdom, the not-perfect-shape of having children and nurturing families, the heart-showing-on-our-face that has learned great empathy through the years, the grey hair of hard work and compassion.  and so we complain about the obvious changes we are going through.

i have looked in the mirror numerous times and thought,  “wait!  hold on!  that is NOT how i look!”  followed closely by, thinking, “it must be the lighting!  good grief, why do they use these dreadful florescent lights?  where are the soft white light bulbs?  what about indirect lighting?!  haven’t they invented soft focus mirrors yet??  umm,  i prefer my photos over-exposed, thankyouverymuch.”  we are hard on ourselves.  understatement.

instead of recognizing the beauty, the light in our eyes, the smile lines on our faces, the brow of concern, we list to the negative.  we do not look like the photoshopped version in the magazine; we cannot measure up to the three-or-four-decades-younger version of even ourselves.  life changes us.  why is it so easy to minimize ourselves and so difficult not to maximize what those changes have brought?

heidi’s mom interrupted the conversation.  she gently stopped the flowing list of self-deprecating complaints.  and she said, “you will never be more beautiful than you are right now.”

we passed this spray-painted graffiti in chicago.  i grabbed the phone out of my purse and tried to quickly capture it.  my finger blurred part of the image and i ruminated after on how i had ruined the photo.  and then i realized that no, indeed i had not ruined it.  for that blurry flaw in the photo would remind me (much better than were it not to be there) that we were walking fast down the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, trying to capture the photo inbetween lots of traffic, laughing and excitedly on our way to see The Boy.  that blurred sixth of the photo – a photo that was not perfect –  would remind me of that day, imprinting in my life right then, the reminder timely and empowering.

you are beautiful.  right now.

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

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this part of the journey. exclamation mark. [k.s. friday]

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today my sweet momma would be 98.

she was born in 1921 and saw everything change around her. she stood in a world that saw the great depression, world war II, telephones and cars, movies, televisions and news shows reporting on more wars than she could wrap her head around. her husband was missing in action and then a POW shot down over bulgaria, all while she was expecting a baby. she gave birth to their first child while my poppo was still a POW and stood in faith that he would return as that little girl died.

momma built a life with my dad, all the while navigating veteran-ptsd that hadn’t yet been labeled. but she figured it out. she held her ground, both supportive and snapping to action or to “words” as she would call arguments between them.

my sweet momma wore stockings and pumps “to business” and had housecoats with snaps, long flowing mumus and finally, at long last, blue jeans and keds for relaxing. momma drove a mean stick shift and, because they were a one-car family for the longest time, walked to the king kullen and dairy barn for groceries and milk. she turned her very green thumb over to my dad after he retired, likely to keep him out of her hair for a bit of time.

she volunteered as the girl scout president and in aarp alongside my dad. she loved wood and glass; she loved to paint with oils. she loved lists and calendars and math and writing and doing the laundry any time she was stressed. she wrote old-fashioned letters with pen and paper. she adored her word processor and then the computer and finally, her beloved iphone. anything to stay in touch. she texted, she called, she facebooked, she mistakenly took pictures of the ceiling and sent them on errant trips out to the ethers. momma loved to coffee sit and have english muffins or crumb cake or danish or chocolate chip cookies or pie. and she made extra homemade french fries every time she knew I was visiting so we could sit, drink iced tea, eat cold french fries and talk.

she didn’t let fear overtake her. she was strong in every way. she credited being from new york, but i credit just her – she just went with the flow and sort of ignored anything that got in the way, including any physical challenge that presented itself. two days after a double mastectomy at 93 she sat on the side of the hospital bed and, in good humor, sassed everyone around.

she loved that everyone called her beaky. and i mean everyone.

her journey was long, her experiences rich. she was an exclamation mark in life. she celebrated people and love and moments and I miss her.  so much.

but it is part of my journey to miss her.

each of us bring to our journey our own punctuation. sometimes i think i am an ellipsis, but i realize that applies to all of us. we go on…

if i got to choose what singular punctuation i would want to be, i would want to be an exclamation mark, just like my sweet momma. for this part of my journey. for every part of the journey.

download THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY on iTUNES or CDBaby

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

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THIS PART OF THE JOURNEY ©️ 1998, 2000 kerri sherwood


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connected. [k.s. friday]

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“wherever you are, that’s where i will be…” the framed needlepoint hangs next to my dresser.  every day i see this message, a message of unrelenting connectedness.

life has a way of taking us near and far, to and from the people we love. children grow and fly free.  siblings scatter around the world in pursuit of their dreams.  parents age and leave this plane of existence.  friends are close; friends move far away.   i can speak for those of us who are particularly extra-ordinarily thready – these are tough challenges.

on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART, this piece CONNECTED follows the piece i composed called MISSING.  it was a self-reminder when i placed the track order that way.  the connection between us eclipses the missing.  our connections guarantee that they will surpass missing and wrap around us like soft blankets right out of the dryer.  we have to just stand still and feel them.

we had the blissful opportunity of being together with both My Girl and My Boy under the same roof at the same time for a period of days.  my annoying-mother-ness took lots of pictures and memorized moments, from hilariously funny to touchingly heart-full to painfully real.  the first moments i saw each of them deplane at the tiny island airport will be indelibly sketched in my mind.  pure joy.

we are connected.  despite our proximity, despite distance from one visit to the next, despite time between, we are connected.  i will – comfortingly, reassuringly, lovingly, supportively, annoyingly, and yes, unrelentingly – always be there for them.  always.

that is what connection is.

download RELEASED FROM THE HEART on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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CONNECTED from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood


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eileen’s gloves. [two artists tuesday]

eileen's gloves

i remember i wore gloves the day i flew to finland with my grandmother mama dear.  i was eight and i wore my sunday finest.  i even wore a hat with my fancy dress, because that is how you flew – all dressed up.  it was 1967 and we were departing for ten weeks together in scandinavia.

i remember lawn chairs in the front yard, my grandparents watching me hula hoop and skateboards with my brother and sister down the driveway.   playing croquet with an old wooden set on the front lawn, kickball in the street, s-p-u-d across the neighbors’ yards and chasing fireflies clutching jars with punched-hole-lids so we could capture, watch and release them.

i remember riding bikes all over long island with my best friend susan.  we’d tell my sweet momma we’d be home for dinner and off we’d go.  just two girls on bikes, riding miles to the beach or a state or county park or each other’s houses, or just anywhere, with stops at carvel or friendly’s or mcdonald’s.  no cellphones, no gps, no worries, no fear.

i remember in the mid and late 90s flying midwest express, often.  the airline served actual meals on real plates with real cutlery, with champagne or mimosas or glasses of wine, depending on the time of day.  they made warm chocolate chip cookies and brought them after the meal with hot cups of good coffee in real stoneware mugs.  i dressed appropriately – in clothing that said i respected this lovely flight and those around me, the attendants working hard to make the experience pleasant.

i remember the day i flew to meet david’s family in 2013 the flight attendant asked me if i wanted to purchase water.  water!  no tiny bag of pretzels, no meal, no freebies, not even water.  i had jeans and flipflops on, many people around me in their sweats.

time had passed.

the relics of a simpler time gone by remain.  while helping 20 prepare his momma’s house for an estate sale, i opened a drawer next to the bed.  in it were gloves – mostly white, but a pair or two of black or brown.  there were short gloves and long gloves, cotton gloves and soft leather gloves.  gloves with bows and gloves with seed pearls.  gloves carefully placed together with their mates, clean and ready for wearing.

i wonder when the last time was that eileen wore these.  for that time has passed.  and we can only now vaguely remember it –  a time when people celebrated occasions with stockings and heels and gloves to the elbow, customer-appreciation-gratis mimosas on airplane flights and kickball in the street.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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it’s real life. [k.s. friday]

it's real life sandheart shadows songbox

lists.  we have lists of things to get done today, this weekend, next week.  so.much.to.do.  “…it’s not just romance, it’s not just spark…it’s not just passion, it’s not just flame…” (lyrics)

we are not alone.  real life requires lists.  and lots of hard work.  together.   we lean on each other for the challenges.  we hold each other through the really tough stuff.

we just came back from being on an island where we heard a story about the recent high school graduation.  there were three (3) graduating seniors.  (the school has about 72 students, k-12.)  most of the people on island went to this graduation.  it lasted two hours, with speeches and personally-chosen-songs played by the graduates and a recessional.  it is amazing to think about how many unrelated people watched this ceremony, taking time out of their lives to witness this very important moment in the lives of these young people. it takes a village to raise a child.  yes.

but everyone knows everyone there, indirectly if not directly. deb recommended to never say anything negative or derogatory about anyone because they are likely related or best friends to whom you are speaking. she added, and i agree, that “we should always live like that.”  there is a shirt in her sweet bookshop that already has my name on it and reads:  heart>hate

as we plan our lists and our calendar for this next crazy week, we can see, ever so clearly, that our own village is here to help us.  we lean on each of them for the challenges.  they hold us through the really tough stuff.  it does take a village.  it takes each other.  together.  that is the stuff of real life.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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IT’S REAL LIFE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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so much life lived. [merely-a-thought monday]

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we were talking on the phone.  it had been quite some time and there was so much to catch up on it was difficult to know where to start.  we started with this week.  “so much life lived this week,” heidi said.  yes.  so much.

in the last week or so we have traveled both east and west.  from the ocean to the mountains.  from children to parents.  from littlebabyscion to big red.  we traveled from together to missing.  from gathering things for a new home base to removing things forever from a home.  from being known to the dementia-induced-agony of being not-known.  from a new plan to yet another new plan.  from certainty to uncertainty.  from before to after.

we have driven over 3000 miles and flown 1000 miles. we had the absolute joy of being with our children.  we had the absolute joy of being with david’s parents.  we’ve been with beloved family, with our dearest friends, with complete strangers on airplanes, in rest areas, in hotels, in shops.  we laughed, we talked, we questioned, we argued, we cried, we cringed at how life changes, we celebrated life’s changes.

days swirled around us as we turned the pages of our calendar and we kept going.  taking snapshots, memorizing moments, sealing memories for eternity (as mike wrote).  for this was only one week or so.  and yes, there was so much life lived.

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

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HH. perfect. [d.r. thursday]

HH sketches

david’s sketches on hilton head

i researched.  for months.  looked at tons of sites and reviews.  i ordered brochures from the chamber of commerce (which, incidentally and almost predictably, arrived after we returned from the trip.)  i poured over other people’s adventures and stories, made lists of things to do and places to go.  it was a really important time for me and i wanted it to be perfect:  my-children-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  the perfect mom-gift.

always up for a roadtrip adventure, we drove to hilton head in our littlebabyscion.  first thing upon arrival, we opened the shades in the living room.  the dunes and the ocean exploded into view, the sunset beckoned us.  without unloading, we took two juice glasses of wine and a blanket down to the water’s edge and watched the sky relinquish day.  night arrived and it was perfect.

My Girl flew in the next morning and My Boy the very next day.  the sun was bright, the sky was blue, the sand hot, the ocean was a constant lure.  walks and conversation, games and homemade sangria, bold coffee and generous glasses of wine, watching crabs on the sandbar and googling jellyfish, chips and guac and kirsten-margaritas, eating out on the deck under the umbrella and time in the pool, watching kirsten or craig prepare a meal or two, relaxing on lounge chairs and a one-time bowling adventure.  this was the stuff.  it was hot; over 100 degrees with the heat index; a bit too hot for kayaking or standupboarding under a sunburning sun.  but time seemed to morph and days passed us by in the way time on the beach does.

later i wondered why i didn’t take out my lists, my research, my reviews, the brochures i got from the grocery store.  why i didn’t insist on an adventure-a-day, an activity.  but jen encouraged me to let that go.  she said she does that every time she is lucky enough to have her children all-under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time as well. a mother’s brain (and heart) on overdrive.

it isn’t the activities or the adventures.  it’s simply the time.  when you are there and you are real and you share bits and snatches of life, joyful or trying.  when you catch your breath gazing at your children, beautiful human beings experiencing the wide spectrum that life offers.  and you love them beyond words, grateful that they have given you this time.  together.  under-the-same-roof-at-the-same-time.  HH.  hilton head.  perfect.

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read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

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