reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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these paintings.

EarthInterrupted2 copy

50 % OFF ALL PAINTINGS SALE

it’s a great space – d’s studio.  i’ve talked about how i spend time down there…in a rocking chair, drinking coffee or wine, watching or talking or gazing at paintings:  canvas he painted long before i knew him, finished canvas that have images i watched evolve, gesso-ed canvas on an easel, canvas pinned to the wall in-the-middle-of-its-story.  i love these paintings and feel fortunate to love the work of the man i love.

we both have chosen an independent route in our respective artistry.  that’s not the easy choice.  (think:  how many people try out for american idol across this country, how many people choose to do their painting ‘on the side’ as they also day-job.)  our “galleries” of work are not mediated or machinated or led or thrust forward by the work of anyone but ourselves and our generous friends, family and people who believe in us.

as i mentioned in a post yesterday, we are coming up on five years together and are offering heart opportunities.  this one is to help match paintings with people who hold them in their heart, who wish to have them.  sometimes, as we all know, it is hard to justify what we wish for.  with this 50% sale on all of david’s gallery of paintings, we hope to make these more accessible to the people who want them.  that way, you, too, can sit in a rocking chair, drink coffee or wine (or cocoa or tea) and gaze at one of these beautiful paintings.

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here are a few examples of the paintings i love

EmbracedNow

NewMother copy

SharedFatherhood2 copy 2

I will hold you copy

Woman With Dog copy

InQuietPrayer10.25 copy

Prayer copy 2

earthInterruptedI copy

 

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always an honor.

img_3625.jpgi played for a funeral today. the family celebrated the life of a beautiful young woman who i didn’t know, but who, through the stories told, sounded lovely. the sanctuary was full and boxes of tissues were numerous throughout the pews. my heart hurt for them; i was upstairs in the balcony, separated from this family, but joined in the feeling of what grief can do.

someone asked me if it was hard to play for funerals, if i would prefer not to. completely opposite of that, i am honored to play for a funeral. it is the last public celebration of someone’s life; it is sobering to think that you can play a part in maybe, just maybe, providing something that might be comforting to people in pain. as a minister of music i often play for funerals and for weddings as well; both are gifts, reminders of holding on to the people we love, letting these people know we love them. trite, maybe. but sitting in a balcony gazing down at those who have gathered to celebrate the coming-together of two lives or the time a person has spent in their midst cuts to the core of my soul and i always find myself weeping. i am fortunate to work with an amazing pastor whose extra-tall physical presence belies his soft heart. his voice cracks in emotional response in these difficult times. i feel lucky to be around someone who has so much empathy and compassion; our world truly needs more pToms.

years ago i played for my brother’s funeral. in recent years, my dad’s and my sweet momma’s. they were devastatingly hard to play for, but i wouldn’t have had it any other way. i chose music i knew my dad and my mom would want, hymns that were their personal favorites, melody and lyrics that have meant something to them. i played a song i wrote for each of them. it was an unbelievable honor to have this important role in the celebration of their lives.

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my big bro and me. way too long ago.

today is my big brother’s birthday. wayne would have been 67 today.  i have often spoken of him in my writings. i don’t think there is a day that goes by without my thinking of him. i miss him. i say that each year. it never changes. grief is like that. it’s just there. the desperate moments, well, they ease up. but the i-wish-he-was-here moments – they keep coming.

today i sat on the organ bench and, in a moment of overwhelm, dug my phone out of my bag. i texted d…that this young woman was so…young. and that it took my breath away. it made me want to hug both of my children that very moment. impossible, with the girl in the middle of a move from one mountain range to another, and the boy in the middle of a beautiful boston day. so i texted d, who i knew understood all the layers of heart that playing for this service today touched. hard. not my favorite thing to do. but always, always an honor.


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kavanah.

ever since the evening we were guests in the synagogue the word ‘kavanah’ has been haunting me. the rabbi used this word several times.  i’m not one who always remembers new words in other languages – that must be a product of my age lol – but this one stayed with me. much like the way ‘bashert’ (a person’s soulmate; the person who will complete another perfectly) wrapped itself around my memory after helen told us about it, this hebrew word did the same. (not to mention that it sounds beautiful to your ears and feels good to say (try it.))   in looking it up i read that it refers to one’s intention, direction of the heart, the ability to refrain from distraction, to stay in that moment…”directing the mind to the meaning of words uttered or acts performed.” that sounds a lot like presence to me. intentional presence in a moment, whether that moment is acting on something or speaking something or quietly praying something. i read that there is an 11th century moral philosopher bahya ibn pakudah who has been quoted, “prayer without kavanah is like a body without a soul.”

we’ve been taking long walks. through the woods, along the lake, traipsing through meadows filled with a combination of snow and ice and mud.   he calls me a ‘scavenger’…each hike i come back with something found – feathers, a branch, rocks, woodsseed pods that have dried on the vine. they remind me of the hike…so grateful…the stepping from one moment to the next. on these hikes, i am so aware of the fact that these moments are the only things we are sure of. one at a time. we revel in the air, the sun on our faces, our hands in each other’s, the sound of our boots breaking through snow and ice.   we ponder on our own thoughts as we walk, and we talk about our ponderings. we are aware of the newness of life that will happen soon – when the sun warms the earth enough, when the rains nurture the seed, when the wind gently encourages new life, when the elements intend.

relationship offers us this chance too – intention – to be warm, to nurture, to encourage, to intend – love. we can think we are about goodness, but we must intend goodness. for goodness, we have to choose goodness. in the moment. without distraction. joan wrote, in an amazing poem she penned for our wedding, of the restorative power of life, even in the midst of chaos and what looks like destruction, an amazing intention of our universe to bring life.  always Life.

in each of our precious moments we have this chance, i realize, once again. always once again. i wonder how many lessons we get in our lives to learn this. i believe that it is repeated over and over, for, as humans, we forget. we get lost. we are the body, sometimes without the soul. we are the words without the meaning. we are the forest, yearning for spring, instead of reveling in winter. we are the seed pods, wishing we were still the flowers, instead of drinking in the possibility of new seed. we are prayer without kavanah.

kirstensnowboard

revel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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waterproof mascara

about a decade ago i set a goal for myself. one of many, this one may seem a tad obscure, maybe even not-worthy. but it was a huge one for me and represented many layers. my goal? it was –

to not wear waterproof mascara.

i just really wanted to reach the point to be able to wear regular mascara – be it revlon or maybelline or loreal – any brand really – just not waterproof.

i had a lot of reasons to wear waterproof mascara, not the least of which was to avoid having those dreaded mascara lines down my face and blackened eyes from – yes – tears. weeping does that. crying does it worse. and sobbing? well, let’s not even go there. that adds botox to my face without adding botox to my face. some people look great when they cry. you know, soft and emotional without the ‘geezhaveyoubeencryingforhours?’ look.

i had good reasons to wear waterproof mascara…the reasons i was weeping…my brother had died, a dear friend had lost a cancer battle, my marriage fell apart, my daughter headed off to college, followed in a few years by my son, menopause was wreaking havoc on me, my body and my emotions, dreams i thought would happen didn’t, my daddy died (no more “goodnight brat” phone calls), i had to put my business on hold, my sweet momma was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, my sweet momma died….the list is not unlike anyone else’s, but i was taking these mascara challenges hard. really hard. my heart was breaking.

and then? then came a gift. a road trip, of sorts. and a partner who was willing to be on this new road trip with me. someone who was there – no matter what. willing and able and committed to sticking through all the stuff of relationship. it wasn’t a relationship on hold or with parameters or promises not met or one with rules or balance sheets. it was a relationship building on realness. building on who i really was and who he really was. and goodness knows, like all of us, we both had things about who we really were that needed some work. waterproof mascara would have been helpful along the way as we built together. geeeeeeez. but somewhere along the way, i had given it up and bought REAL mascara. the kind that dribbles down your face with tears or out in the rain. i had graduated! (or so i thought.)

and then, as i was shopping for our wedding(!), in the middle of the target makeup aisle, it occurred to me that, perhaps, i needed some waterproof mascara. because as i was walked up the aisle, one month ago today, in my blue jeans and frye boots, i knew i was going to cry. these tears would be different. and these tears would be the same. and these tears would make regular mascara drain down my cheeks. and, oh my, that wouldn’t be good in pictures.

but these tears were worth it. from the back of the church, my children were directly in front of me, leading the way down the aisle, lighting the candles, lighting my way. i waited for my turn to walk. and the tears came. i silently gave thanks for maybellinerocketvolumeexpresswaterproof. i silently gave thanks for the many family members, friends from afar and right-here friends filling the sanctuary.   i silently gave thanks for the girl and the boy, beautiful, striding together down the aisle. i silently gave thanks for our dear dear friend at my side, walking me down the aisle when my dad and my brother couldn’t.   i silently gave thanks for the amazing man waiting for me at the end of the aisle with his blue jeans and frye boots on. and i silently gave thanks to the universe for this gift. because, what i have learned is that the reasons for waterproof mascara IS where it’s at. anything worth anything is worth the tears – be they of joy or of sadness, be they jig-dancing or floor-hugging, be they of love found or loss of love. bring it on, tearducts. i’m ready. and i’m grateful.

my new goal? as much waterproof mascara as one life can muster.

wedding sunset photo


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welcome, barney!

barney is in our backyard. he is holding clay pots with our herb garden and some beautiful white impatiens. there are a fewphoto candles in glass jars. and he is perfect.

i’m not sure i ever thought that someday i would have a piano in my backyard. barney is a very old upright. about a hundred years old, he is tired and worn from long years, decades even, spent in a basement boiler room, but i can see the life in him as the sun hits him. never ever would i have imagined the idea of wild geranium growing up around a piano tucked into a bed of day lilies, just a few feet away from our little pond. never would i have imagined the idea of water getting on a piano, without dashing to wipe it off. it rained yesterday and i had to fight the urge to run outside and wrap my arms around him. barney’s new life is to feel loved and not ignored, appreciated and smiled at and not relegated to a dark, piano-inappropriate place. he was slated for the scrap dealer.

photo-1each morning since his arrival i have gone outside and thanked him for all his good work in the world. i am grateful to have a spot for him to rest. he looks proud. and he truly looks happy.

i really am an acoustic girl. my big yamaha grand has a studio of its own. my growing-up-spinet has a spot in our basement (not an easy place to move it to in this old house.) barney has a place in the backyard.

and all have big places in my heart.

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www.kerrisherwood.com
itunes: kerri sherwood