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

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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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park next to the potato. [two artists tuesday]

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it’s not every day you pull into a parking lot and park next to a potato.  even at church.  we never considered parking in the same spot as the potato.  it was clear that spot was taken.  and as two artists living in this world together, we don’t question things like that.  we parked in the next spot over.  i mean, every potato deserves a little respect.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 


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chicken marsala monday

MASTER trytoseewhattheysee WITH EYES jpeg copy 2try to see what they see.  i glanced back over what i’ve written the last week:  about trying to see eye to eye, about assuming awe, about being relentless in a life that isn’t simply black and white, about being brave.  is it possible to write too many words about the importance of empathy?  the importance of trying to walk in another’s shoes to really understand their circumstance, their joy, their plight, their challenge?  because it’s easy to forget, i never feel like i can be reminded enough; it’s always hard to remember my perspective is different than any-other-person’s-on-earth.  sometimes it’s laden with stuff.  it’s all so complicated.

when dogdog was little we were astounded by his exuberant joy.  he was always bounding, seemingly ever hopeful.  he still is.  i’ve written about what his take on the world looks like to us; i’ve written about what babycat’s take on the world looks like to us.  they look forward and see possibility, without the capacity to mull all the looking-backwards-stuff over in their brains.

we surround ourselves with wonderful pets who unconditionally love us.  all of us who have dogs or cats -or any pet- we adore know this; people who dedicate time or their lives to keeping animals safe – like aly, a veterinarian, or jen, who has spent lots of time volunteering at humane societies and sanctuaries, or my sister, who just adopted a puppy-she-wasn’t-expecting…we all know this.  they see us like no one else.  and they are part of us in ways not easy to express in words.  they aren’t looking at us with prejudice or judgement, emotional baggage or elitist measurements of value.  they simply expect the best and somehow they find it in the very next moment.  they find it in each moment.  they clearly know something we don’t know.  they don’t need to walk in another’s shoes.  they just look forward and trust.  it’s simple for them.

for us?  we can stand to be in those other shoes AND to look forward.  we can try to see what they see.

TRY TO SEE WHAT THEY SEE – A LINK TO PERUSE CARDS, WALL ART, THROW PILLOWS & LEGGINGS ……

 

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CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

 

read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY

try to see what they see ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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what moms (i) want.

childrenarethebestwithframe-jpegdear moms everywhere,

i want what any mom wants. the moment that baby is born or you wrap your arms around your daughter or son, your heart catapults you through a lifetime with that child, your brain step-stoning through time.

my children are no different than yours. i want for them what you want – peace, relationships of love, learning and work that will make them responsible and open-minded, forward-thinking people in the world, good health and choices that will keep them in the best physical and emotional health, a community of friends that will support them, challenge them, engage them, play with them, a world that recognizes them with respect and that expects no less of them than to recognize others with respect as well, the willingness and desire to help those with less than themselves….the list is actually endless….

i woke up one morning recently (the Unbelievable and Jarring has happened in the last two weeks) and looked at my news app….suddenly i am addicted to this app. one of the headlines was referencing the “religious freedom executive order” which “signals major win for conservative christians”. it addressed, among other things, that, were this to be adopted, the government would protect the tax-exempt status of any religious organization or privately held company that “…believes, speaks, or acts (or declines to act) in accordance with the belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, sexual relations are properly reserved for such a marriage, male and female and their equivalents refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy, physiology, or genetics at or before birth…..”(draft titled “establishing a government-wide initiative to respect religious freedom” as quoted in huffington post, washington post)

i cried. and not just a little.

this would potentially cripple all the anti-discrimination protections and forward movement our country has made for the LGBTQ community in recent years. and that, in the heart and mind and body of THIS mom, makes me react with fervent opposition.

because i want what any mom wants. i want to share in the relationships that the boy and the girl, my beautiful son and beautiful daughter, have in their lives. i want them to feel free free free to have these relationships, no matter where they go. i expect them, as i would were their relationships to be heterosexual, to be respectful of each other, communicative and affectionate, gentle and loyal, involved and supportive and kind, compassionate and loving; i expect the same things you would expect your children to exhibit and have in a love relationship.

i want to, someday, attend their weddings, should they choose to marry….just like you. i want to ponder what to wear as the mother-of-the-bride or the mother-of-the-groom. i want to have a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, families-in-law, just like you. why should it ever matter if the daughter-in-law is married to the son or the daughter?

i want what any mom wants. i want the opportunity to one day have grandchildren – are you two reading this? 😉  – should either the girl or the boy decide that they would like to expand their family to include a child. just as you have put time into deciding what you’d like a wondrous new baby or adopted child to call you as their grandma, i want to have this same chance.

i want my children’s world to be open-minded and accepting, two of the descriptors i would overwhelmingly use when asked what my faith is about. because my faith isn’t about exclusion. it’s not about fear of what’s different than me. i want the world the girl and the boy live in to be embracing and to find discrimination and unfair treatment of people – because of their race, their religious background, their sexual orientation, their financial status – egregious. just like you, i would think.

so I ask, what mom wouldn’t want these things? am i different than you? can you honestly say that you wouldn’t want these things for your children were you to be in my shoes? how hard would you fight for the right of your children and their choice of partner to not be discriminated against?

being a mother is being a mom. the definition goes beyond that of webster: mother: a female parent. that merely requires a contribution of DNA.

being a mom is everything from breast-feeding or waking in the middle of the night to warm a bottle, to tucking a toddler into a big-boy bed, to cutting the crusts off the peanut butter sandwich, to packing notes in the lunch, to kissing skinned knees, to listening to playground travails, to sitting, with great restraint, on the sidelines of the soccer/little league field, to last-minute making cupcakes to bring to school, to going to school administration to sort out issues of disagreement, to instructing small children to ‘sit on the steps’ in time-outs for improper or out-of-control behavior, to saying “no”, to letting them dye their hair red, to parent-teacher conferences that aren’t exactly what you wanted to hear, to behind-the-car-steering-wheel lessons, to hard conversations about cliques and even harder lessons about exclusion, to late late nights at the dining room table while projects are being completed last minute, to moments – just moments – when you revel in a hug or something positive this child has said to or about you, to waiting up to hear the front door open as they safely return home, to making decisions about college and packing up the dumped-out-onto-the-living-room-floor dresser drawers full of clothes to go while tears fill your eyes, to helping discern what interests really are, with no regard to what you might want them to be, to answering hard questions or simply listening when they call in the middle of the night with news of something that has happened in their world, to allowing them to separate out but still letting them know you are there Always, to being a fierce protector of their rights. AND the rights of the children of moms everywhere.

because what i want as a mom is really no different than what you want. if you can, and i hope you can, see that.

with love, respect and in mom-unity,

kerri

 

 

 

 

 


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it boils down to respect.

right now i suspect my daughter is high on a mountain, hopefully in fresh powder, celebrating her decision in life to be up on that slope, living her life the way she wants to live her life. i couldn’t be more proud. her courage to live and to be who she is will not always be easy. it’s not the most financially or socially rewarding choice, but it’s hers and she’s being real about it. it’s not the first time i have written that she is living fiercely and i know it won’t be the last. she is snowboarding fiercely, coaching fiercely, hiking fiercely, expressing fiercely, loving fiercely. i am awed. and i will always have her back.

right now i suspect my son is high in an apartment in the big city, hopefully looking out over the harbor, celebrating his decision in life to be up in that city, living his life the way he wants to live his life. i couldn’t be more proud. his courage to live and to be who he is will not always be easy. he has been living fiercely too, and he’s being real about it. as he contemplates and gets excited about a new job, he challenges himself to do work to which he can contribute, from which he can learn and grow.   these days i am often stunned by his words, awed by his moving from boy to man. i will always have his back.

i believe that each of them, the girl and the boy, have learned along the way about respect. often they have learned this because they have experienced a lack of it, a way that many of us learn about it. they are both learning more about open-mindedness than some adults-who-have-been-adults-longer-than-them i know. i believe that they will be zealous as they move forward in life, continuing to make choices that will reflect their respect for themselves and their respect for others. and the amazing thing? they will both continue to learn, their minds and hearts will continue to open, they will be citizens with voices based on experience and learnings and thought.

today, friends of mine are driving to washington dc to be in the women’s march; other friends of mine are posting messages of hope, reminders to stay in one’s integrity, issuing pleas to speak up. our 44th president encourages us to be active citizens of this country and to take part in its day to day and in its future.

our country has come so far, embracing differences, upholding rights for those marginalized, pursuing the growth of measures of inclusion and equality, encouraging, no, demanding respect for others. respect.

so many people are reeling from the disrespect shown in the last months. i cannot honestly say that i am excited today, inauguration day of the 45th president, because i’m not. truth be told, i’m glad that the girl and the boy are grown now, so that i don’t have to teach them to respect someone with so little regard for anyone out of the “norm”, with vast and sweeping (voiced) generalized opinions about people who he has never met, people he would never uphold or regard as equals. to say that he was so far off base of what is important when he announced that his new cabinet had the highest iq’s of all cabinets is an understatement. iq does not automatically beget compassion or common sense or an understanding of what it means to be part of a whole, as opposed to floating above everyone else. neither, might i point out, does fortune.

i’m glad that my momma and daddy don’t have to see this day, for my dad would never stand for the kind of disrespect that has been displayed. even in his worst, most-angered moments, he wouldn’t denigrate women or those with less than him. and my momma would be appalled, plain and simple. she hardly ever uttered profanity; if she did you knew that there was some passion behind what she was saying.   but she would have been sickened by what has transpired in recent months, and would have trouble finding trust, struggling to move past the basic personality characteristics of a person she is, as a citizen, supposed to regard highly in the most esteemed position in our country. and she is someone who is kind to EVERYone.

so what now? we talked about it when we woke up. what do we do now? i guess we are vigilant. we speak up. we help. we march, we hope, we act on that hope, we continue to be who we are, only we do it a little louder. we look beyond ourselves and realize that there really is no “normal”… people’s lives are what they are. we have different situations and different challenges, different purposes in this life. but we are all in it together. and if we cannot see the forest for the trees right in front of us, we are missing the ultimate point of community. we have to seek and see that forest. being reactionary is being stuck on the tree right in front of us; it is not ok (read: forward-moving) to be reactionary without some forethought, without mulling over the possible consequences, without looking beyond the foreground. what does our reaction set into motion?

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the sky right now

early this morning, on a grey and foggy day in the midwest (for even mother nature is confused), with hot coffee in our mugs, we wanted to ask if everyone could just think it all through. the worst decisions i have ever made have been when i didn’t think it all through. taking a breath would have changed my world. taking a communal breath would change THE world. we figure it out ourselves.  we figure it out together.  it all boils down to respect.

FIGURE IT OUT on itunes: kerri sherwood – track 2 on RIGHT NOW


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it starts here: what were you thinking, LLBean?

i cried at 2am when the girl texted, “wtf is happening, mom?” i couldn’t answer her.

i was as stunned as she was that our country was choosing to support someone with vile opinions of others, with judgment and condescending attitude and open hatred. a man who, for one, openly objectifies women, scorning those who don’t fit into his opinion of ‘worthy’ of his attention, laughingly taunting and excusing himself with “locker room talk” excuses. not to mention ridiculing disabilities, holding contempt for people with different religious beliefs, ignoring responsible ecological decisions for this planet to survive, and deriding the LGBT community thereby undermining the right of choosing who to love, who to commit to, and, ultimately, who to marry.

what is happening? what is happening to the people we are choosing to look up to? what are we valuing in those people? what are we ignoring? and, in ignoring, what are we ultimately de-valuing about others? what is happening to all the progress we have made as a country, inclusive measures that have been finally put in place, opportunity for all people to live in free, respectful ways, supportive of each other, concerned about each other, our world, and our earth?

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one of the LLBean christmas catalogs came a few days ago. now, i usually love those catalogs – LLBean represents the northeast to me…the new england i love…a dedication to the outdoors. to being green. but this time? this time it reminded me of the catalog page i had just saved from the spring catalog.

i recently was going through the spring catalog because that is the one with all the bathing suit options. having not bought a bathing suit in at least maybe 10 years, the elastic on my favorite suit was doing that thing that elastic does when it gets old: stretches but doesn’t ever return to the ‘start’ position again…kind of crunchy…you can hear it as it stretches. and, in the hope of maybe heading to a beach or my sister’s pool one of these days, i had held onto the LLBean spring catalog. so I took out it out to shop for ideas.

i browsed through….

and this is what it said next to one of the $109.95 suits: “subtle shirring minimizes your hips and waist, while the draping helps camouflage figure flaws.”

what??? “figure flaws”???screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-2-02-44-pm

now i decided to take a closer look…and nowhere….nowhere…did i find mention in the men’s section of bathing suits that this suit would “help to cover your well-earned beer gut” or that this hat would “help cover your flawed hairline”….nothing of the sort. no references to a figure flaw or camouflaging cover-up.

what on earth were you thinking, LLBean? how did this make it through your editing? on what planet is it appropriate for your catalog to push judgment onto women, making being a woman in this country even harder than it already is?  why get behind goading us into thinking we must have the right body, the right look? and why are the “flaws” you so helpfully (read: disparagingly) refer to NOT the right body or the right look? why not celebrate differences in body, skin, shape….let’s bring that out further on the spectrum….life choices, truths….why not challenge the ridiculous and abundantly hurtful standard that actively –or passively- ridicules anything less than someone’s (whose??) idea of “perfect”? we must push back against this. in retail settings, in our homes, in our communities, in our country, in our leaders.

my sweet momma’s adage, that she lived by, reached across differences and embraced all. it reads, “i shall pass through this world but once. any good, therefore, that i can do or any kindness that i can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. let me not defer or neglect it for i shall not pass this way again.” (it is unknown who to credit this quote to.)

Goodness exemplified.

and now? more money, less waist (yes, this spelling), more stuff, less compassion, a bigger footprint on the earth, less mindfulness, more divisiveness, less unity, more self-absorption, less respect. are these the new adages? how can we be proud of these?

i guess I don’t need to be stunned by the presidential outcome, when our culture is out of balance. when companies like LLBean are making it entirely acceptable to hold women to a different standard than men. how many of those $109.95 bathing suits were sold?? how many women believed they were “flawed”? why did/do they believe that?  and what would the new president-elect say about these “flaws”? de-valuing indeed.

out of balance.

when superficiality is more important than any other characteristic. when the book cover doesn’t really reveal the book. it’s not a far reach to generalize this to all differences.  where does it go from there? where does it go from here? what are we ignoring?  when our children and our children’s children have a person to (supposedly) look up to who is prejudiced and harsh, disrespectful and just plain mean.

i ask you this: if your son or husband or brother or father said these things or acted in this manner, what would you say or do? would you stand by in silence? where does the line of speaking up start?

it starts here. how dare you, LLBean. you should be ashamed. the girl is right. wtf is happening?

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