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the path back is the path forward


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when push comes to shove, don’t. [merely-a-thought monday]

civility 2 copy

my sweet momma always said that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  although she stood her ground, she rarely pushed back.  well, maybe at my dad…i certainly heard her push back in that relationship.  she was a woman before her time, struggling to be seen and heard…in relationship, in work, in the world.  nevertheless, she lead with kindness and generosity.

recently i surprisingly found myself in a situation where i felt the kind of civility that is needed to accomplish anything was lacking.  instead it was aggressive, pointed, antagonistic.  “when push comes to shove” implies escalation and this, indeed, was the case.  instead of actual conversation, it was a push-shove back-and-forth.  instead of communication, it was a shining example of what-not-to-do.

we drove past a passiton billboard on the way up north that read these words:  when push comes to shove, don’t.  civility is in you.  what does a boorish push or a retorted shove accomplish other than an establishment of immaturity, a driving desire and play for power and an uncooperative non-collaboration?

civility is not that hard.  it should be what we lead with.  respecting others and their place in their world.  we each get the same air to breathe and we each breathe in and out the same way.  instead of escalating to shove or pushing yet harder, how might we fill our lungs with responses of peacefulness, thoughtfulness, fairness, appreciation, intelligent consideration, magnanimity, grace, even reconciliation.  why must push come to shove?  it needn’t.

just don’t.

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

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wide-mouthed-b-cat [not-so-flawed wednesday]

wide mouth babycat copy

i’m not a particularly good teller-of-jokes.  even the punchlines of knock-knock jokes sometimes evade me and i find myself wracking my brain for the end, while anyone who listens can’t help the yawns.  but one of my all-time favorite jokes to tell is the one about the wide-mouthed-frog.  my niece heather was the first to tell me this joke; she was a pretty adorable toddler acting out the part of the wide-mouthed frog and i couldn’t help but laugh.  now here was one i could remember! there are many versions of this joke now and you can make it last as long as you want; for me, the longer you have people watching you act like a wide-mouthed frog, the better.

the curious wide-mouthed frog hopped happily around, stopping to ask various animals what they are and what they eat.  he stopped by a robin and said, “hi!  i’m a wide-mouthed frog and i eat bugs!  what are you and what do you eat?”  the robin replied, “i’m a robin and i eat worms.”  “OHHHHHHHHHHHH!” exclaimed the wide-mouthed frog and hopped happily on.  he stopped by a giraffe and said, “hi!  i’m a wide-mouthed frog and i eat bugs!  what are you and what do you eat?”  the giraffe replied, “i’m a giraffe and i eat the leaves off the highest trees and bushes around.”  “OHHHHHHHHHHHH!” exclaimed the little-bit-more-informed wide-mouthed frog and he hopped happily on.  the wide-mouthed frog visited with many different animals on his way, learning new animal names and diets.  then he came to the side of a river where a snake was lounging in the sun.  “hi,” he said to the snake. “i’m a wide-mouthed frog and i eat bugs!  what are you and what do you eat?”  the snake sneered at the wide-mouthed frog and, coiled into a tight circle, said, “i’m a snake and i eat wide-mouthed frogs!”

this picture of wide-mouthed-babycat makes me think of that joke.  he clearly has no cares in the world and would have no worries, lest his food bowl disappear and the sunlight be gone from the sky.  sleeping and eating, pestering the dog, yawning, snoring and vocally demanding attention are his tasks and he is brilliant at each of them.  we simply couldn’t resist posting this picture of the cat-we-adore, a part of our world.

and the tightly-purse-lipped-wide-mouthed frog said, “oh.”

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

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our prayer flags. [two artists tuesday]

prayer flags copy

we pass under them every time we leave the house and every time we return.  our prayer flags fly between the house and the garage…a welcome sight either way.  although better given to you as a gift, we purchased our flags in a little shop in ridgway, colorado and i consider it a gift that we were able to spend time in that tiny mountain town in the san juan mountains.  these flags represent that place to us, that time, and so much more.

each color is symbolic of an element…white is air and wind, blue is sky and space, green symbolizes water, red is fire and yellow is earth.  flying these in a specific order produces a balance of health and harmony.  flying these promotes peace, compassion, strength and wisdom; the wind blows the prayers into the universe.  i cannot think of  more visual evidence of constant prayer.  it matters not to me what religious practice is associated with them.  the prayers are so much bigger than that.  everything is bigger than that.

every time we watch any depiction of an everest story, there are multitudes of these buddhist prayer flags.  they grace base camp and the summit and each camp between,  the prayers issued by those people seeking to reach the highest place on earth.

we can’t claim trying to reach the highest physical place on earth.  but we can claim seeking peace, compassion, strength and wisdom, a balance of health and harmony.  for me, for us, those things are the highest place on earth.

read DAVID’S post this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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voila! [merely-a-thought monday]

something wrong with me box copy

20 rolled his eyes at himself when he told us the story.  he was at the grocery store and was looking at dish soap.  he likes dawn dish soap; it gets the best ratings, he said.  as he is peering at the shelf of containers, he can see that way in the back is a container with just a bit more…the volume of the ones in the front seem lower than this particular one in the back.  so he reaches all the way in, moving aside other dawn bottles now rejected by him and pulls out the one where he can see the soap level just-a-little-bit-higher.  he notes that the plastic bottle is not squished or dented (for obviously that would cause a rise in level) and he triumphantly puts the chosen bottle in his cart.  voila!  “there must be something wrong with me,” he said.

as a person who grew up with soap socks and leftovers i couldn’t disagree more.  of COURSE you look for the highest level of soap in the bottle.  that’s a no-duh.  penny-pinching and making things last as long as possible were unspoken mantras for me; they still are.

my sweet momma kept a soap sock.  for those of you who have no clue what that is:  as a bar of soap gets smaller and smaller it becomes increasingly difficult to use.  never to waste anything, my momma would gather all of her tiny vestiges of soap bars and put them in a clean white sock (generally a sport sock…something a little thicker with a tooth like a washcloth.)  she would tie off the end and voila! there you have it – a washcloth with built-in soap!  a soap sock!

i have inherited this trait from my momma.  i will turn bottles upside down and squeeze the life out of them in order to finish all the product.  days after d has declared a shampoo bottle empty i am still encouraging shampoo out of its depths.  our refrigerator rarely has much extra in it – we buy for what we need and we use it up, even if it ends up as some weird concocted leftover.  growing up i didn’t need the “starving children in ….” speech.  i had dna.

so when 20 told us that he takes three pre-packaged 3 lb bags of potatoes over to the scale and weighs them i listened.  apparently, 3 lbs of potatoes can look like 2 3/4 or 3 1/2 or 4 1/4 lbs.  who knew?  you can bet i’ll be trying that.  more potatoes for the money!   voila!

“there must be something wrong with me,” 20 said.  nah.

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

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missing. [k.s. friday]

MISSING song box copy

it comes in waves.  in less than two weeks i will be 60.  i’m not a consumed-with-my-age-person, but this particular birthday is proving me different.  without any prompts, i find myself sorting through my life, the six decades that lead me to right now.   memories flow in and ebb out like the tide on a surfboard of emotions.  trying not to resist, i ride the wave as it brings me growing up times on long island…my nuclear family all together, all alive, gathered in our dining room on abby drive or up in the catskills in a rustic state park cabin….bike hikes and carvel….simple times of arguing for john denver over bob dylan….time walking or sitting or playing frisbee on crab meadow beach…late sunday morning mc-arnson sandwiches or waffles and ice cream around my sweet momma and poppo’s table in florida…the time of building the first home i ever bought, a big choice for us as a young couple…the sheep farm in new hampshire….moving to wisconsin away from family and the challenges that raised…celebrating the amazing birth of our daughter and son and watching them grow into the people they are….recording my first album and what that meant….letting go of the day-to-day mothering as my children became adults and still being an every-single-day mother….balancing the impact of good decisions and bad decisions….times of intense grief….choosing love….starting over….wondering what is coming next….

the inner monologue chronicles through all of these years…i sit in quiet watching the slideshow in my mind’s eye and ponder.  what was most important, what is most important, what will be most important.  what it all means.  and it’s clear most of the time.  the people who have surrounded me, who have loved me, who i have loved.  the people i am missing – and will always miss – as well as the people who are right here.  the times i am missing – as well as the times -moments- i could miss right now were i to be too engrossed in something else.

on the album RELEASED FROM THE HEART, the track that i selected to follow MISSING is called CONNECTED.  because it all stays a part of the vast ocean that is each of our lives.  the missing and the now and the wondering, all part of the whole.  all waves to ride.

theocean

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read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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MISSING from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood

 


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pax. [d.r. thursday]

pax morsel sharpened copy

a morsel of the painting PAX

pax: the kiss of peace (latin); peace (ecclesiastical latin)

“pax,” he wrote to me.  years ago, in a chaotic, somewhat scary time of my life, the word “pax” was an end-goal, security in an insecure world, the warmest blanket on a bitter cold day.  it doesn’t just happen.  there are people around us, some epicentered and some peripherally, who create a place where we can find this peace, even momentarily.  their stalwart stance, their steadiness brings us back off the brink of angst.  the smallest iota of peace, like a mustard seed, grows until we can balance back on our own feet, strong enough to walk on…with leaps or even baby steps.

this painting makes me think of one of those people in my own life.  a dear deeply-valued friend, his help and his accessibility helped me deal with someone else’s craziness unfortunately directed at me.   he was the lighthouse in that storm for me.  he helped me feel safer so that i could find peace in the chaos.

for various reasons, we don’t always realize when we are someone else’s rock.  we don’t feel central, we don’t feel involved, we don’t feel informed.  but there are times we don’t know – times we plant ourselves into someone’s life and nurture them, even in the tiniest of ways – times we may never know how much what we said or what we did counted.  times of giving peace to someone else, one of life’s most essential elements.

“pax,” he wrote to me.  thank you.

PAXunframed copy 2

PAX mixed media  24″ x 24″

to view PAX in david’s gallery, please click here or on the painting above

read DAVID’S thoughts on this D.R. THURSDAY

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PAX ©️ 2015 david robinson, kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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things of comfort. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

duke's painting copy

painting by DUKE

“the finnish wood carvings, ” my sweet momma would answer when asked what she wanted in her little assisted living apartment, a place she would occupy without my dad, some time after he died.  those finely carved statues accompanied her from new york to florida, house to house, and, finally to her small apartment.  she cherished them and spent long hours deciding to whom she would give each one.  the list in many notebooks and on many scraps of paper showed that she pondered each recipient’s personality and interests before deciding on a gift choice; these wood carvings were important and each was later given with decades of love.  placed on an equally significant-to-her live-edge wooden shelf in her tiny living room, they seemed to represent comfort to her, something that spanned the years, something that, in their familiarity, gave her a sense of security.  a piece of what-had-been-home in this new home.

when you walked down the hall in eileen and duke’s home, just in front of you before you turned in to their master bedroom was this painting.  duke was an amazing artist, a painter and sculptor with an enormous collection of work.  when we were helping 20 move his momma eileen into her assisted living apartment a few weeks ago, this painting beckoned me as something that might be a familiar sight in her new unfamiliar home.  as we placed other artwork on the wall, i kept thinking about this painting that we had left in their home and i nagged 20 about it.  i felt it could be placed so that the moment that eileen stepped into her new bedroom it would be ahead of her, before she turned to head to her bed.  jogging her memory of the home she and duke had made together, a touch of comfort for her.  20 picked it up later that night and the day his momma moved in we hung the painting.  this sunny, but somewhat austere space, suddenly was lifted to a different level.  the photographs of duke and eileen in the kitchen, the familiar prints in the living room, this painting in the bedroom.  all touchstones from home in this new home.

there are certain things i like to have around me.  things that even in times of uncertainty give me a sense of footing.  were i to pare down there are items that would definitely make the cut, unlikely choices maybe, but things that bring me solace, things that alleviate angst, things that gladden my heart.  what are yours?

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

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