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the path back is the path forward


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choose kindness. [merely-a-thought monday]

kindness kerouac

we just chose the august movie for TPACWONDER seemed perfect.

“Starring Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, it is a film with powerful messages about kindness, friendship and the embracing of those who are different. Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of fifth grade student August Pullman and a community struggling to find compassion and acceptance.” 

with the climate of our world as it is, we could not think of any family friendly movie that would be more fitting.  we re-watched this movie, reviewing it for appropriateness, for its message.  it is filled with wisdom, reminders of how to be human, quotes that should be on the bathroom mirrors in everyone’s homes, or better yet, plastered to our foreheads.  afterwards, i downloaded the daily wonder app, a source of daily inspirational quotes.  even if you have little time to read, you can read a sentence.  i designed a gift to give every movie-goer that evening.  it’s just a little generosity, but it makes us feel good – and isn’t that what it’s about?

my sweet momma was dedicated to kindness.  she would have loved this movie.  she would wholeheartedly agree with the words of novelist jack kerouac, “practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you are already in heaven now.”  and she would love our in-her-honor ‘be kind’ buttons.  always her parting words, “be kind to each other. be kind.” gentle reminders.  lead with kindness.  filter with kindness.  lean on kindness.  “when given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” (wayne dyer)

there are a plethora of wise, generous, kindness-oriented people in our world, both living and on that other plane of existence we call heaven.  perhaps yielding to their exquisitely eloquent words of guidance would join these planes together.  and we would, indeed, realize that we are – already – in heaven now.

#choosekindness (wonder)

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if you would like, purchase BE KIND buttons – for you, your friends, your family, your class, your workplace, your club, your organization, your religious community, your neighborhood, your whole entire town

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

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look in the mirror. stand up straight. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

 

red cup mirror

successories built a business on reminders. powerful, thoughtful, inspiring words that encourage us, motivate us, reassure us, remind us. we hang them in our offices, in our homes; we have daily mini posters on our calendars or our apps; we have mugs with words. we need reminders. in this world of challenges, worries, failures among the triumphs, our tender hearts need to see snippets that keep us going, keep us moving forward, keep us in grace.

i walked into the restroom at the red cup, a sweet coffeehouse on washington island. on the mirror were these words: “you are so cool and intelligent and strong and fierce.” my face stared back at me, right next to these words. a reminder. stand up straight.

to be honest, i suppose the first thing i thought was, “i’m not really cool,” a leftover from high school a million years ago, where i was definitely not in the cool crowd. (i never cut a class. i always did my homework. i practiced the piano. i rode my bike or drove my little vw bug to the beach all year round. i wore lots of hand-me-downs. i never smoked or attended a high school drinking party. i didn’t run with the cool group.) interesting how i still react to that ‘label’ and how it still plays inside me. this stuff hangs on; images we have of ourselves long-haul stick with us.

my next thought – in the restroom – was that we need these reminders. you and i. we ARE cool – in our own distinct ways. we are intelligent. we are strong – stronger than we know. and we are fierce…ready to stand firm for our children, our families, our friends, our beliefs, our selves.

it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. every day accosts us with new problems, complex seemingly unsolvable gordian knots, new reasons for our self image to take a blow, to feel less-than, to fail in this competitive world.   every day presents with a new chance to remember all we have done, all we have risen above, all we have helped accomplish. a chance to see how cool we are, how intelligent. a chance to, yet again, be strong and fierce.  look in the mirror.  stand up straight.

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

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(it is) as it is. [k.s. friday]

AS IT IS songbox copy.jpg

ken calls this my MUSH album.  he is an amazing producer and i feel fortunate to call him my dear friend as well.  he produced 14 of my albums and, although one of my albums and a few vocal singles were done in nashville, now i can’t really imagine any other recording projects without him.

MUSH stands for made-up-shi* and is aptly named.  this album came at a really inspired time for me.  artists have their highs and lows, inspiration-wise, and this was one of the highs.  i’ve mentioned the story before, but i’ll short-story it here again:  i had a list of titles – titles i wanted to use eventually for compositions; i carried a notebook and scraps of paper everywhere i went.  i had this list with me as i recorded two other full-length albums in nyc at yamaha artist services.  in-between recording the two other albums, i would choose a title and play it.  simply play it.  my heart is laid out in the tracks of this cd; every title was meaningful to me, every piece tells what it means.

AS IT IS is the title track so it’s interesting that i gave over the melody line to a flute, the only piece on all of my albums that has a flutist playing.  it’s also rare for me to step away from the piano and, in the production-post-initial-recording phase, play a keyboard.  but life is like that. you have to give over sometimes.  the texture changes.  the melody isn’t yours to own; sometimes you are support staff.  make peace with it.  it is as it is.

AS IT IS:  life.  we are right here…where we are supposed to be in this part of the journey…the best time is now.  simply because life is as it is. (liner notes)

purchase and download the album AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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AS IT IS from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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free solo. [merely a thought monday]

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while i laid awake, i tried to picture how i would react to someone literally placing me – without ropes – several hundred feet up a sheer granite wall, my hands gripping a crack and small outcropping, my feet perched on a slight deviation in the granite face.  it made my hands sweat and my heart race thinking about how paralyzed by fear i would be, unable to move either hand or foot.  THIS is out of my comfort zone. far out.  and i couldn’t get the image out of my mind.

the wind was gusting about 35mph and there were tiny snow squalls on the way to madison.  we were on our way to a movie theatre for a national geographic release of the movie FREE SOLO, the documentary capturing alex honnold’s successful free solo scaling of el capitan in yosemite.  free solo.  without benefit of any ropes or safety gear.  just his hands, his feet, climbing chalk, and memorization, no – absolute physical retention – of the precise moves he would make on the way up this 3000′ beautiful monster.

alex doesn’t talk about his fear much.  he, instead, speaks of enlarging his comfort zone, little by little.  his somewhat unemotional approach to this challenge is daunting.  one of his support team said words to the effect that alex had this challenge:  like an olympic athlete he needed to win the gold.  no ifs, ands or buts.  it was the gold or he would fall to his death.  who does that?!!  the black and white of that makes my breathing pause.  but alex pressed on.  clearly his comfort zone is huge, that bubble around him.  at least when it comes to mountains.

i know, as fascinated as i am with mountains and climbing stories of all sorts, that this is not something i could or would do.  my mountains are different than that and my comfort zone bubble has more to do with my artistry, music, writing.  not necessarily less scary, but certainly less physically demanding and clearly, without a doubt, less treacherous.  but we are not limited to one mountain at a time.

each of us has this bubble and i picture pushing on the walls of the chrysalis, little by little conquering the fear of the outside – whatever the challenge or challenges – making our way, without ropes or safety equipment, into the next step of our lives.  we try to “dream big.”  we “go after it.”  we “just do it.”  but in reality, with no protective membrane around us, we first have to gear up, face fear vs comfort, garner courage and climb.  yes. we free solo every day.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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inspiration. a gathering storm. [chicken marsala monday]

inspirationisa WITH EYES jpeg copy 2

a few years ago, after my tealight-vessel-throwing-on-the-wheel experience, i felt like i still needed to express myself in another medium (other than music).  as much as i adored the idea of throwing pots, the cost of the clay and studio time was not in direct proportion to my level of ability; it was time to put that aside till the budget was flush and i could return to the pottery studio without counting pennies.  a tealight vessel (ok, there were a couple tealight vessels if you must know) and one lonely bowl were a total joy but it was clearly going to take some good-long-time to get better on that wheel.  demi moore (in ghost) made it look easy.  it is not.

and so i went to the art supply store and bought a huge canvas.  the biggest one they had in stock.  the kind with a deep side (1.5″).  i brought it downstairs to the workroom and searched around for paint.  since i am not well-versed in this area (to say the least) i selected a can of black paint and a can of white paint.  both household paints. latex.  semi-gloss.  i searched around for one of the old brushes i had been using to paint furniture and i set up my “studio”.

day after day i would go downstairs to look at this spot in the basement.  i could feel my excitement gathering.  i had no idea what i was going to do with this canvas, but it was ready for me.  until one day, indeed, i was ready.

i stood before the canvas and began to paint.  i brushed on paint.  i threw paint.  i spattered paint.  i painted over paint.  time fell away and i kept painting.  i’d walk away and let it dry and then return (this doesn’t take very long with household latex…long enough to pour another cup of coffee or glass of wine) and i’d paint some more.  i’d stand back and i could see what it needed (at least what my eye said it needed.)

and then, i knew.  it was time to stop.  i didn’t know where it was going, but i did know when it was time to stop.

now, i can’t say if the cost of the canvas and studio time were in direct proportion to my level of ability, but i can say they were way less than what my heart felt.  these moments, gathered together, a storm of inspiration, fed me.

this painting hangs in the hall in our house. when i sent a photo of it to a friend of mine right after i was done, scordskiii wrote back to ask whose work it was.  i told him it was mine, laughing and apologizing for it.  he was appalled by my apology and made me promise not to apologize again. so now there are a few more in the living room.  arriving after these paintings all had their dedicated spots on the walls of what-is-now-our-home, david, the real painter in our house, said he loves them.  i’m always invested in real art made by real people, regardless of the genre, so i love them too.  not necessarily because of what they look like.  but because of what they made (and make) me feel.

my first painting

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

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inspiration is a gathering storm ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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inspiration and crazy things. [chicken marsala monday]

inspirationmakespeopledocrazythings WITH EYES jpeg

i’ve never bungee-jumped or parachuted out of an airplane or ziplined across a gulch or dropped on a snowboard off the side of a mountain.  but i understand how inspiration can make you do crazy things.

i remember my first album, 23 years ago now, felt like a crazy thing.  it was scary stuff, putting my own music ‘out there’; it was scary standing on stage telling the stories that went along with those pieces and playing my first full-length concert.  i imagine the adrenalin i had standing in the wings of the stage before the lights dimmed was much like that of stepping off the platform in a body harness ready to fly.  now, the scary stuff would be not doing that which i know so well.

so many people who have stepped out – trusting their instincts, trusting their training, trusting their beliefs and values, trusting their resilience.  following a path that might look unlikely.  following inspiration.  seemingly crazy stuff all of it.  stuff that opens them to a wide spectrum of possible results, from wild success to something that looks like failure.

all inspired.  all crazy.  all learnings.  all life.  it may not all be safe, it may make you feel vulnerable; it may even invoke fear, but it sure is interesting.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

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CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR WEBSITE

inspiration makes people do crazy things. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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break away. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

breakaway jpg

we used to drive in the car, ok, minivan at the time, and blastttt this kelly clarkson song called breakawayThe Girl and i would sing it loud, really really loud.  i still know all the lyrics (despite the fact that i can’t remember what we did each day last week without consulting my calendar.  but you know what i mean…if you are, um, my age, then you likely remember all the lyrics to all the 70s songs you listened to.  ok…..what was i talking about here?)

monday’s studio melange post was about unleashing the power of your crayon, yesterday’s was living without fear.  today’s is called break away.  hmm.  a theme is quietly emerging.

one of my favorite quotes of michelle obama, “when they go low, we go high” reminds me of this – the power of breaking away from the masses, the power of unleashing YOUR crayon with an eye to the center, the power of living without fear.  break away indeed.

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break away ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood