reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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all you can. [k.s. friday]

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“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.”    (credit for quote is unclear)

this sounds like a good mantra for one’s life.  it would seem that it would bring satisfaction and accomplishment to someone invested in its mission.  it would seem that it would create joy for others.  it would seem that, were everyone to simply live by this precept, the world could actually be a place of peace.

but people are not infallible and personal agendas reign over the collective.  competition is fierce and the caste system hasn’t vaporized.  people keep score and vindication is a driving force.  people are self-serving and power-controlling and will knock those down in the way.

children are not born with the desire to exploit others or minimalize or marginize them.  they are not born with hatred in their hearts.  children are born with the ability to embrace all, include all.  they are not born with a scorecard in their hands.  they are born with the generosity of innocence.  they are not born with fear of places and peoples different than them.  they learn that.

we can teach our children to play nice.  but we need model it first.  we need do all we can.

download ALL YOU CAN from AS IT IS on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

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ALL YOU CAN from AS IT IS ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 

 

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ferdinand. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

ferdinand

i distinctly remember my sweet momma talking about FERDINAND THE BULL.  she would refer to him from time to time, a twang on the third syllable slipping into her new york accent.  i am wracking my memory for her other wise words about him.  my guess is that, despite not remembering her exact words, her message isn’t lost on me.

FERDINAND is a book published in 1936, the story of a gentle bull who loved to smell flowers (aka “flowuhs”).  he spent his time sitting under a tree, daydreaming, sniffing flowers.  upon finding himself in the madrid bullfighting ring, he sits calmly in the middle, refusing to take the bait.   the grace of a mashup of “i want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.”  (oriah mountain dreamer) and “when push comes to shove, don’t.” (unknown)  we have much to learn.

FERDINAND was performed by the Washington Island Music Fest this past week and was among my favorite moments of this two week music festival at TPAC.   it was sweet on many levels, read aloud, depicted on violin, slides of the original illustrations on screen.

and my momma, in my mind’s eye, reminding me to be like FERDINAND.  a bull, by definition fully expected to want to fight, presumed to fight, just like all the other bulls – and yet, brave enough to be different, to sniff the flowers, to turn away from participating in dissension or violence, to be at peace being true to oneself.

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

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we don’t really pay attention. [d.r. thursday]

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and then, while no one really paid attention – distracted by other things….

this painting is called ICARUS and, not being too much of a study in mythology, david told me the story.  now, somewhere in the bank of knowledge that i have learned and somehow forgotten, it resonated.  no matter.  it is certainly relevant now.  the shout of “squirrel!!” and the shifting of gaze happens time and again.  our attention-deficited-culture becomes distracted by you-name-it and we miss things that are happening, that are more monumental than we realize.  icarus flew too close to the sun.  we try too hard.  we push.  we seek to achieve.  we don’t pay attention.  we miss.  we get burned and fall.  others fall around us.  we don’t really pay attention.

what is really happening in our world while we are paying attention to the latest headline?  what is really happening in our world while we get caught up in the latest rhetoric?  what is really happening in our world as our politicians play shell games with us while the stuff of real importance they skirt past us?

david knows that i don’t really like this painting.  it’s one of a very few that i would say that about.  (just as i am quite sure there are musical compositions of mine that are not his favorite.)  i feel a kind of mayhem, a kind of negativity from it.  it unnerves me.  but, alas, it is a contemporary statement.  we don’t really pay attention.

read DAVID’S thoughts this D.R. THURSDAY

view ICARUS in the gallery

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ICARUS ©️ 2005 david robinson


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it’s a strangely narcissistic world. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in perhaps fourth grade i went to sleepaway camp.  camp koinonia was upstate ny and my bestfriendintheworld susan went as well.  we slept in bunkbeds in cabins that had screens as windows, ate in the big cabin that was the cafeteria, took hikes, swam in the lake, did craft projects and played kickball.  on one of our hikes in the woods we passed a tepee.  i wanted a full picture of this tepee so i stepped behind a big pine tree and parted the branches so i could take an artsy picture.  one more step back and i would be able to capture the whole thing in the frame of my pocket instamatic camera.  one more step….

i fell backwards off the side of the 30′ cliff that was behind that pine tree.  i was intensely lucky though, for at the bottom of my fall was a very large pile of pine boughs.  they softened my plummet down.

it is lately that we have seen more and more accidents that happen when people are not photographing a thing but, instead, are photographing themselves.  selfies are the preferred modus operandi for instagram, snapchat, facebook, your own camera stream of memories.  but people are falling and, tragically, they are perishing in their fall.  just to get a photograph.  the ever-important picture-of-self-to-post is heart-wrenchingly disastrous. maybe there is another way?  maybe it’s not that important?  or perhaps, if it really is that important, you could have eye contact with another person and ask that person to please take a picture?

there was a story recently that made me shake my head in utter amazement.  residents of a town in russia were flocking to a toxic artificial lake which had turned turquoise because of chemicals from a coal-generated power station.  they are hiring photographers, staging photo shoots, getting IN this water that is – knowingly- ridiculously harmful to the skin, all because it and its turquoise hue will make a good picture.  it’s a dumping ground!  what are they thinking??  i stood there, after reading the story aloud to d, shook my head and said, “it’s a strangely narcissistic world, isn’t it?”

i worry.  and, beyond a selfie-craze, i hope that there is a sharp turn away from the dominant narcissism that seems widely accepted these days.  if the point of all this – the world – was about any single one of us, i suspect there would be only ONE of us.  instead, i believe that the point of all this – the world – is about ALL of us.  it’s not just one, at any cost.  it’s all.  i’m hoping the cost of that – ALL of us remembering that it IS – indeed – all of us – doesn’t destroy us.  it’s a toxic lake.  we need to see it for what it is.

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

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pray for our nation. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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i am a sign-reader.  whether i am driving or riding in the car, i read signs.  billboards, people’s clever license plates, bumper stickers, storefronts, oh, and road signs.  there are certain areas of the country where signs for attorneys are rampant.  other areas tout strong religious beliefs.  some signs are clever “buckle up next million miles” and some are deeply insightful “when there’s only one race and that’s mankind… love is in you.”  because we adore both road trips and short drives, we are privy to signs galore.  one of my pet peeves is to see blatant spelling or punctuation errors on billboards; it makes me rant for several minutes about editors and proof-reading and the propensity for people to ignore the amazing thing called the dictionary.

we took a drive the other day.  it was after all the services of the week were over and we were unplugging.  turning the car west we headed out in search of a new hiking trail.  on our drive we passed this sign.  PRAY FOR OUR NATION.  no fancy font, no centered spacing, just four simple words.  i don’t know how long that sign has been there.  it’s not in the front yard of any religious building; it’s just there, in a small park-like setting.  i thought, “no kidding.”  it seems apt timing.

instead of reading the paper first thing everyday now, we are reading meditations.  we are considering the mica moments of the day before, the mica moments to come.  we are trying to be hopeful, trying to slough off pettiness and disagreement, trying to avoid those who are clearly toxic to themselves and others, trying to engage in positive ways, trying to spend time doing things that advance us as humans in a big world rather than mire us in stunted selfish plots to further polarize and make inequity even more profound.

PRAY FOR OUR NATION doesn’t just start with folding hands and closing eyes, as much as that may help.  it also starts with reaching out hands, opening your eyes, listening, learning, believing that there is only one race and it is mankind.

buckle up.  next million miles.

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

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amazing grace. [k.s. friday]

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the woods along the trails by the des plaines river have been burned.  the fires, intentionally lit to restore native life to the forest floor, to burn out the invasive species that have harmed the vegetation.  already, post-burn, we can see green amid the blackened mulch.  already, there is newness of life.  the toxic has been deliberately remediated and goodness will prevail.  it will take some time, but it will eventually tip the balance and the woods will be better for it.

this is simple.  it is all around us.  the necessity for an intentional burn.  we wake up to a new day, a new sun, a new chance.  in this time of re-birth and restoration, we are amazingly gifted.  with grace.

i cannot help but think of the world despairingly coming together to lift up notre dame as it was on fire.  not at all intentional, not necessary, absolutely devastating to that beautiful and majestic cathedral, yet somehow it brings together a global community of people who recognize its importance, its value, its history, its soul.  and it will prevail.  in a divisive world, grace.

less is often more.  it is in that spirit i recorded this track of amazing grace

download ALWAYS WITH US VOLUME 2 on iTUNES or CDBaby

read DAVID’S thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

to view or purchase this stunning painting please click on this link or on the painting below

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AMAZING GRACE from ALWAYS WITH US VOL 2 ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood


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silent days. [k.s. friday]

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“4. silent days (4:33) the sad side of silence, the incredible loneliness of not connecting, the urgency of it all.”

i wrote these words for the jacket of this album in 1996.  they are no less valid today.  we are in an inexorable time of too-much-silence-too-much-noise.  we stand perilously close to saying too much.  we stand precariously near the abyss of not saying enough.  a balancing act, it’s a lonely place, a place of silence.  in our home, in our families, in our friendships, in our communities, in our world, silent days are devouring and saving relationships.  both.

this is a time that has beckoned the meek to become strong, the quiet to speak the truth, the lonely to be heartened by having a voice, the invisible to become visible.  we deliberate over our words, we speak, we boisterously challenge, we thoughtfully listen.  we consider the consequences of not connecting.  we steer away from noise just for the sake of noise.

and yes…there is urgency.  for “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.” (martin luther king, jr.)  and there is this line – a fine line indeed – but one which all who are human may straddle:  “wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” (plato)

to be quiet is one thing.  unassuming.  proactive in soft tones.  to be silent is another.

speak your mind even though your voice shakes. (eleanor roosevelt)

 

download SILENT DAYS track 4 BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL on iTUNES or CDBaby

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

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SILENT DAYS from BLUEPRINT FOR MY SOUL ©️ 1996 kerri sherwood