reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


Leave a comment

what you do. [k.s. friday]

ymad

“what you do will live beyond your lifetime.  it transcends the things of this earth.”

(YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE ©️ kerri sherwood)

when i think about my sweet momma and my poppo, my big brother, my godfather uncle allen, my grandmother-mama-dear, more beloved family and dear friends – all who have left this earth – i don’t think about their jobs or upward mobility, their income or the status symbols they owned.  i don’t think of the timeline of their school or work or whether they had finished a degree or if they had even gone to college.  i don’t ponder awards or certificates they received or resorts where they may have vacationed.

i think about what a difference they made in my life. my mom’s devotion to cheery kindness, my dad’s quiet and stubborn thoughtfulness, my big brother’s goofy humor and ability to tell a story in all its details, my uncle’s absolute commitment to his fun-loving smile no-matter-what-was-happening.  i think about the joy my mom experienced when my dad brought her grocery-store-flowers.  i think about big bowls of coffee ice cream with my brother, neil diamond playing in the background.  i think about my uncle generously paying for my very first recordings in ny, diligently holding me up and gently pushing me.  i think about simple moments with them.  in what could be a crowded-with-information-obituary in my head for each person, i hold a piece of their heart instead.  they have made a difference in this world.  they made a difference for me.  i remember.

(from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS)  “you know, this obsession you have, with being remembered?  this is your life!  this is all you get! you get me, and you get your family and you get this world, and that’s it!  ….  and i’m going to remember you.  …. you say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me.  i know about you.”

 

we live on an infinite continuum of opportunity.  chances to bring light and hope to others.  deeds we can do out of kindness, goals reached by collaborating together.  we face choice just as soon as the sun-peeking-over-the-horizon wakes us.  we innately or intentionally decide, we head in a direction, we live a day.

 

“We’re all traveling through time, together, everyday of our lives… All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable life.  I just try to live everyday as if I have deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it… As if it was the full, final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.” (from ABOUT TIME)

 

this song. i have performed it countless times.  in nyc’s central park for tens of thousands of people, in small medical clinics, in large oncological settings, in chicago’s grant park.  at a pharmaceutical conference in puerto rico, outdoors with the lance armstrong tour of hope.  across the country, in pajamas and jeans and all-dressed-up.  in theatres and at walks/runs, in schools and churches.  for organizations including y-me, the american cancer society, gilda’s club, young survival coalition, susan g. komen foundation, the annual breast cancer symposium.  and each time, heidi and i, working together in performance, fighting back tears.  the list is profound.  not because of the innumerable times i have sang this song, but because of all the people in these places and behind the scenes, joining together, remarkably touching the lives of others:  those they know and those they may never know.

we make a difference.  in every arena of our lives.  every place we go.  every interaction.  every gesture.  every assumption.  every conversation.  every every-thing.  every single thing.

what intention will we have?  will we be positive or negative?

“the truth is, I now don’t travel back at all, not even for a day.  …  live life as if there were no second chances.” (ABOUT TIME)

download on iTUNES

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

 

 

snowheart website box

YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE ©️ 2003 kerri sherwood

 


Leave a comment

practice makes perfect. [merely-a-thought monday]

the world will treat you royally

“live generously and the world will treat you royally.” (crown royal commercial)

“practice makes perfect,” it says on an index card in the piano bench of my old piano downstairs in the basement.  written in the careful-penmanship-printing of me-probably-as-an-8-year-old,  i have kept this card in my bench for over 50 years.   i’m sure there were multiple times i rolled my eyes at this, as i opened the bench to take out and work on lesson music.  i still roll my eyes.  everything takes practice.

everything.  including living generously.  there’s always that moment when you have to decide to either take up the rope, as they say, and tug back or let the rope lay still.  so much easier to pick it up and tug, letting it lay there and not touching it requires sheer grit-your-teeth-restraint sometimes.  it’s too easy to tug, to even wrench, and too royally hard to let a sleeping rope lie.

but in those moments, the really tough ones and the little ones, that you actually and intentionally choose to mother-teresa your way through, your generosity spins outward in concentric circles and goodness spreads.  goodness has a way of coming back, returning to center, with centrifugal force and your heart in the middle.  gravity draws back goodness and keeps close the spirit of all with whom you have been generous.  kindness bestowed upon you is royal treatment; it is the world treating you royally.  we are all so fortunate.  we are already receiving lavish unconditional love.  what would happen if we practiced living generously even more?

after all, they say, practice makes perfect.

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

birdy feet website box

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

holding steadfast. [k.s. friday]

holdingsteadfast songbox.jpg

it is against the odds that this tree clings to rock and doesn’t topple into the lake with a great splash and float away.  instead it stubbornly holds on, a steadfast intention.  the rock, the basso ostinato.

at a time when holding steadfast seems mightily important, i wonder about the questions we have been asked.  will you stay?  will you leave?  will you love it here?  in the midst of all the infighting, are you going to give up? will you hold on?

the answers may not be directly related to the actual intent of those questions.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our integrity.  we will hold steadfast to the reasons we came here in the first place.  to make a difference, to bring ideas and change, to apply that which we have learned, studied, experienced over at least 80 combined years of work, higher education and profession.  to be honest and transparent and collaborative.  to try and instill a sense of working together into a community divided by narratives too numerous to list.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  we will hold steadfast to our belief that people should be kind to each other, that people should not work around others nor should they undermine others, that people should instead lift each other up, not drive stakes into another.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to honoring art, the driving force behind this initiative.  to honoring creativity and the blossoming of beauty and wisdom, staunch tenets of artistry.

will we hold on?  yes, we will hold on.  steadfastly.  to believing all is possible.

but, in answer to the real intent of the question asked us….will we hold on?

we will not hold on if others cannot join us in what is real, what is truth, what is most important.  we will not hold on in the fire of pettiness or shameful self-serving underhandedness.  we will not hold on, holding still while others take turns throwing rocks at us, at the real goals of this place, if those are indeed about art.

the answer to the question is not up to us.  we can either cling to the rock, holding steadfast or we can topple, with a refreshing splash, into the lake and float away.

download HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

tpac metal and feet website box.jpg

HOLDING STEADFAST from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood

 


Leave a comment

slow. slow. [two artists tuesday]

deer in woods copy.PNG

slow. slow.  when we drove home the other day, we realized how very slowly we were moving here on island.  the comparison began the instant we were on the mainland.  we hadn’t driven over 40mph for a couple weeks; suddenly we could feel the push, the frenzy to get somewhere, fast, faster.  it’s pervasive, that frenetic energy, and the closer we got to milwaukee, the more we could feel it.  our heartbeats raced as cars darted in and out of lanes, as horns beeped and drivers gestured impatiently.  no one noticed each other.  they just drove, destination their only intention.

slow. slow.  we walked home the other night.  after porch-sitting and having a short meeting, we ambled down the middle of the road.  no one was coming; no one passed us.  the interruption in quiet would have alerted us to any oncoming car.  we shared the woods around us with a deer, who was still, watching us for signs if we were going to approach.  our pause on the road and our slow movements convinced the deer to not run, but to stay and just be still.  to watch.  an eagle flew above us.  looking up, there was a moment we recognized that this eagle saw us.   the deer, the eagle, noticed us.  we were in the world together in those moments.  no intention but to breathe the same air.

slow. slow.  we are learning, slowly, about this community.  connecting the dots, discerning the culture, perceiving the nuances.  we are studying this place that is our job – a performing arts center with 250 seats on a tiny island you can only get to by ferry.  a step away-away.  a place in which we want to elevate artistry and growth.  we move slowly, thoughtfully.  our intention, our work, the maturing of this place that has been germinated and cared for.  a rich garden, a rich forest of verdant adolescence, waiting to flourish.  slow.  slow.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

feet on the street WI website box

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

peace marbles. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

peace marbles copy.jpg

we were in cedarburg and on our way out the door of one of our favorite shops there – leap of faith.  i go way back with this shop; during the years that small boutiques sold cds they carried mine and i would, from time to time, play a live performance, hand in hand raising awareness about my music.  the silver peace ring i wear at all times is from this shop.  i have meandered many a time through this place, breathing a little easier as i peruse and read their cards, signs, gifts, positive messages all, open to all.

as we walked out, i spotted this small bowl of blue marbles and the words “take one”.  a symbol for our planet.  a prayer for peace.  i didn’t need another invitation.  the song lyrics accompanying this blue marble hummed in my head all the way home, even after wendy and i loudly sang  “i believe the children are our future…” while striding down the sidewalk after hearing it in another shop.

“let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” if we each made that our intention how powerful…Screen Shot 2018-11-03 at 12.35.18 PM

our blue marble, our good earth, tiny in the vastness, might thrive.  we might thrive.  if not for us, then for the children.  our children.  they are our future.

 

 

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

ely website box


Leave a comment

be kind. [two artists tuesday]

be kind collage with color font copy

we have a new frog in our pond! two actually.  this feels like perfect timing for us; we needed the good sign of a frog in our midst.  both of these frogs are different than previous pond-frogs we have had in past years; these two are leggier, less body and more frog-legs.  we’ve named the bigger one ripple and the little one pebble.  neither comes when we call their names, but ripple is not as shy as pebble.  we’ve advanced toward the pond and pebble will dive right in before we get close, but ripple sits quietly on one of the rocks and waits.  when he (or she) eventually dives in, it’s with a flourish and we get to see the concentric circles that spread outward, which is where it got its name.

it’s where we sit in our belief – as artists, as people – that the concentric circles spread outward from the center.  the only place from which we can really make a difference.  any difference.  it hearkens back to my sweet momma…her very core believing that all should start (and end) with being kind.  on her website www.beakysbooks.com is quoted mr. fred rogers, “there are three ways to ultimate success.  the first way is to be kind.  the second way is to be kind.  the third way is to be kind.”  it’s how she lived.  she would point to her life and asked what she had accomplished.  greatness.  she accomplished greatness.  because she spread kindness.  out and out and out it went, the ever-widening rings into the world.

it doesn’t seem that complicated.  it doesn’t take wealth or a super pac or any kind of grandeur to accomplish.  it is simple.  basic.  in the words of john wesley, “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  or my sweet momma’s favorite verse, ” i shall pass through this world but once.   any good therefore that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any human being, let me do it now.  let me not defer or neglect it, for i shall not pass this way again.”(stephen grellet)  or from the dalai lama, “be kind whenever possible.  it is always possible.”  right at the center, right where ripple quietly sits before the great hop – right before we move or speak or rebel or undermine or chasten or deflate or insult – is the place where we can choose to be kind.

for BE KIND products – so many things with this basic message – click here OR click on the BE KIND collage box above or below. you will be linked to a t-shirt, but be sure to scroll down on that society6.com page to see the “also available as” products.

be kind collage with color font copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM

please visit our kerrianddavid page and like us on facebook! thank you! 🙂

be kind ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 


Leave a comment

be kind. [two artists tuesday]

be kind collage with color font copy

we have a new frog in our pond! two actually.  this feels like perfect timing for us; we needed the good sign of a frog in our midst.  both of these frogs are different than previous pond-frogs we have had in past years; these two are leggier, less body and more frog-legs.  we’ve named the bigger one ripple and the little one pebble.  neither comes when we call their names, but ripple is not as shy as pebble.  we’ve advanced toward the pond and pebble will dive right in before we get close, but ripple sits quietly on one of the rocks and waits.  when he (or she) eventually dives in, it’s with a flourish and we get to see the concentric circles that spread outward, which is where it got its name.

it’s where we sit in our belief – as artists, as people – that the concentric circles spread outward from the center.  the only place from which we can really make a difference.  any difference.  it hearkens back to my sweet momma…her very core believing that all should start (and end) with being kind.  on her website www.beakysbooks.com is quoted mr. fred rogers, “there are three ways to ultimate success.  the first way is to be kind.  the second way is to be kind.  the third way is to be kind.”  it’s how she lived.  she would point to her life and asked what she had accomplished.  greatness.  she accomplished greatness.  because she spread kindness.  out and out and out it went, the ever-widening rings into the world.

it doesn’t seem that complicated.  it doesn’t take wealth or a super pac or any kind of grandeur to accomplish.  it is simple.  basic.  in the words of john wesley, “do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”  or my sweet momma’s favorite verse, ” i shall pass through this world but once.   any good therefore that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any human being, let me do it now.  let me not defer or neglect it, for i shall not pass this way again.”(stephen grellet)  or from the dalai lama, “be kind whenever possible.  it is always possible.”  right at the center, right where ripple quietly sits before the great hop – right before we move or speak or rebel or undermine or chasten or deflate or insult – is the place where we can choose to be kind.

for BE KIND products – so many things with this basic message – click here OR click on the BE KIND collage box above or below. you will be linked to a t-shirt, but be sure to scroll down on that society6.com page to see the “also available as” products

be kind collage with color font copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY – ON OUR SITE

Screen Shot 2018-08-07 at 12.27.50 PM

please visit our kerrianddavid page and like us on facebook! thank you! 🙂

be kind ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 


Leave a comment

flawed cartoon wednesday #3

SNOWMAN BIG COPY Master copyi just asked david if he would illustrate a children’s book i wrote a long, long (did i mention long?) time ago.  naturally, he said yes, because, uhh, what else is he going to say?  so maybe one of these days you’ll see my snowflake-is-as-raindrop-does story in book form.  in the meanwhile, i’ll tell you the story…hopefully succinctly.

once upon a time (because all great stories start like that) there was a little raindrop.  after it had fallen out of the sky with a gajillion other raindrops it had a choice.  whether to drop-and-roll quickly down the street and be transported through evaporation back up into the sky to reform and do it all over again or – and yes, i am definitely personifying this raindrop – it could choose to roll over to a small plant or tree or blade of grass that needed sustenance.  the raindrop believed (had been taught by others?) that this sacrifice would end its journey…there would be no more going-up-into-the-sky-coming-down-as-a-raindrop-all-over-again if it made this choice.  but the little raindrop rolled over to a little flower anyway, curled up beside its stem and sighed.  what it didn’t realize would happen was this – that it still evaporated.  it still went back up into the sky.  it still reformed.  but this time it was chosen to reform into a beautiful, unique snowflake, an honor bestowed only on those raindrops who had made a difference, who had yielded to a different choice.

so you’re thinking, ok, what does this have to do with snowflakes and snowmen?  well, we just never know how our choices will impact our possibility or how we might be surprised by something different than what we perceive to be our intended possibility.  you have to admit, being a snowflake in a snowman with a scarf and goofy hat that makes people smile and children dance would seem way more satisfying than being a snowflake in a dirty pile of snow in a parking lot.  we learn to go with the flow.  sometimes the unanswered prayers -loss of the UNlimited possibilities- turn out to be the best.

A SNOWFLAKE WITH POSSIBILITIES MERCHANDISE

Flawed Snowman FRAMED PRINT copy Flawed Snowman MUG copy Flawed Snowman IPHONE CASE copy Flawed Snowman RECT PILLOW copy

FLAWED CARTOON WEDNESDAYS

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

read DAVID’S thoughts on this FLAWED CARTOON

a snowflake with possibilities ©️ 2016 david robinson


2 Comments

lemon meringue pie

a few days ago it was official lemon meringue pie day. now i don’t know who decides these things, but a day (especially right now in our world) dedicated to confection doesn’t seem like a bad thing.  and, seeing that in the paper made me think of my momma.

photomy sweet momma loved lemon meringue pie. no, that’s too mild….she adored lemon meringue pie. in the days prior to chocolate ganache cake (thank you, publix!) she would, sometimes, allow herself to have a piece of this bright yellow unicorn/rainbow/bubble sort of dessert. now, to be fair to other fruits, she also loved all other fruit pies. a piece of blueberry pie and a cuppacoffee made her smile; a piece of lemon meringue could elicit giggles. i mean, really, when is the last time you had that whipped confectionery sugar stuff stuck to your chin and the sides of your lips? you can’t help but giggle. such joy.

the book next to our bed is titled ‘the book of joy’ and it is next up on our read-it-aloud-together list. maybe we’ll start it sitting in adirondack chairs out back. maybe we’ll start it on a blanket on the beach. maybe we’ll start it sitting in the breezes that cross our bedroom, filled with soft light and treasured mementos, our favorite quilt, dogdog and babycat snoozing sounds. just the thought of reading this aloud together brings me joy. joy.

where do we learn joy from? is it something that we are taught? is it something that is inherent in each person on this good earth? is it reachable even by those who are in distraught times, in times of darkness?   is it a right? is it a responsibility?FullSizeRender(1)

my sweet momma was one of those people who was filled with joy. she woke me up every morning with the bright words “good morning, merry sunshine!” or “good morning, my sweet potato!” even in my grouchiest mornings i found it hard to resist smiling to that. i have no idea what she might have been dealing with at those times – her own life stuff with her parents, financial woes, words with my dad, a leak in the basement, personal disappointments or victories, worries about something in our family, what to cook for dinner, menopause or physical challenges, or a plethora of big or little things that were happening. regardless of whatever was in the docket in her mind, she made an effort (without making it look like she was making an effort) to bring joy.

momma’s level of excitement was contagious. she definitely leaned toward full spectrum on the positive side of the emotion band. her reaction to plans you talked about with her always met with enthusiasm…and often glee. the way she met life has set the bar high for me, making me cringe when there are others around me who don’t enthuse or act excited. i remember how she could make a bike hike even just to the dairy barn to buy milk sound like an adventure. joy.IMG_2785

today i am grateful to my sweet momma for teaching me how to lean into joy. this doesn’t mean i am always joy-filled. like everyone, i have my moments when i can be a raving …ummm… or i can feel sadness or grief with every fiber or i can be worried or disgruntled or fed up or overwhelmed by the details of life. but i truly think it was my momma who showed me, by her lifelong demonstration, how to pluck a joyous moment from a day and memorize it. IMG_2784how to write it down or pick up a rock (or a feather or a stick or a leaf) to remember it. how to notice joy and how to save joy. how to be thready about joy. how to lead with joy…in anything. how to own joy. how to be. joy.

there are too few days, i now know, over and over again, for each day not to be find-the-joy-in-today day.  it may be the smallest of things in a ridiculously complex, sometimes-driving-you-to-your-knees challenging world, but it’s there somewhere. i know it’s so. my momma taught me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

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.