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spring stripes. [two artists tuesday]

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stripes copy

you have to admit – the first set of stripes is way more interesting than the second.  the first set. in the woods.  the color combinations.  all alive with hue and subtlety.  the second set.  static.  no air.  no depth.  no variance.

this weekend, on a warm-day hike along the expanding des plaines river, the colors were spectacular.  the blue-purple of the water late in the afternoon.  the fresh-baby-grass-green of the small island across the river.  sky blue, white clouds, golden sunlight.  it wasn’t capture-able on film.  you just had to stand there and breathe it in.  stripes, patterns, shadows, delicate light, elusive dark.

by hiking often on the same trails, we can see the minor changes along the way.  we take note of them, commenting on a felled tree or more water in a pond or a new nest high in some branches.  there’s more mud, there are goslings, the daffodils are in full bloom, the groundcover is rich.  the earth coming back out of fallow.  winter’s rest is over; spring’s explosion has arrived.

for us, these winter-spring-summer-fall hikes are necessary.  they allow us to see, outside of ourselves; they allow us to process good earth growth and change and color.  for us, these hikes are like a security blanket.  they soothe worries, sort problems, wrap gently around us.

read DAVID’s thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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“the first dandelion!” [merely-a-thought monday]

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one of the sure signs of spring’s imminent arrival in our town is when boats start populating the harbor again.  big shrink-wrap is removed from cabin cruisers, sailboats and yachts of all sizes and the slips start to fill up, slowly at first and then with abandon.

it was with much glee that, on our hike through the trails in a local forest preserve, i spotted it and called out, “the first dandelion!”  i’m aware that not many people get as excited about dandelions as i do, but, for me, this harbinger of spring – along with gentle beauties like lilacs and tulips and daffodils – is cause for celebration.  it conjures up images of cups of dandelions in water on my counter, having gone from little-kid-fists to my hands.  it makes me think of decades ago, sitting cross-legged in the grass, making necklace chains out of clover.  it brings the hope of a new season, the ever-more-constancy of sun and warmth, the season of flip-flops approaching.

with so much uncertainty on the horizon, the drone of winter’s end is taxing.  we yearn for a blanket of warm sun, a chance to raise our faces from worry to face the sky, to breathe freshly mown grass, to put our hands in the dirt, cleaning away the debris of the harder times, perhaps preparing to plant.

but this is wisconsin and this is life and nothing is really static.  life is fluid as is weather.  four days after we celebrated “the first dandelion!” we drove home through a snowstorm, blowing, wet snow covering the courageous pioneers of spring.  the thing i try to remember, as the grasp of winter holds tight the reins of this new season, is that they are still there.

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

FISTFUL OF DANDELIONS – the CD single or download on iTUNES

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a clean blackboard. [merely-a-thought monday]

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you wouldn’t know it looking out the window today, but it is spring in wisconsin.  under barney, the old piano in the backyard, green is sprouting up through the mulched-up-leaves and mess leftover from winter.  along the back fence are some reminders that, indeed, there are plants there.  in the front yard, next to the old brick wall, the daylilies are insistent and green shoots  are rising amid the dried beige of fall’s version of ornamental grasses.  spring.  a time of new.  out of the fallow, out of the dark.

yesterday, in the meditation book jonathan gave us, there was this sentence, “please give me a clean blackboard today and help me to do the writing.”  do you remember writing on the blackboard in elementary school?  it was always an honor to have that chance.  the feeling of chalk on your fingertips, eraser dust in your nose.  stretching to reach high enough, that sound when your fingernails scraped the board.  and those days that the teacher chose to use chalk in many colors?  it was nothing shy of pure excitement.  funny how simply colored chalk could change things.

i loved this reading.  the vision in my mind’s eye of a blackboard – or an etch-a-sketch – or one of those magic slates where you can still hear the “pfffffffft” sound in your head as you lift the cellophane off the cardboard pad to clear the picture you drew with the plastic stylus.  a chance to do it over.  draw it again.  live it again.  spring.  green out of beige and brown.  grace.  another chance.  color.  new birth.

as i awake each day this spring, i cannot imagine a more grace-filled thought than please give me a clean blackboard todaypffffffffft!

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

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rest and good things will come [chicken marsala Monday]

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it was the first. the very first butterfly of this season. we both stopped to watch it as it freely flitted around the path in front of us. it felt like another harbinger of spring; maybe it’s really here. a few minutes later we stopped and sat for a few minutes. we didn’t talk; we just listened to the woods. the rest was soft and rejuvenating. the quiet was punctuated by birds and chipmunks. even a raccoon came out to wander. we got back up, ready for more hiking.

i distinctly remember a day i sat in the front yard. it was summer and, just like chicken marsala in this chicken nugget, there was a butterfly that came to light on my hand. it circled around and came back, landing on my knee, my foot. it felt like a message to me, a reinforcement to quietly sit in the sun.

this world is full of chaos and confusion, deadlines and worries. looking at the furrows lining people’s brows, it is obvious that we don’t take enough time to just rest, just sit, just soak in new energy, just let butterflies lead the way. good things will come.

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this CHICKEN NUGGET

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

rest and good things will come ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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when sled dogs dream [flawed cartoon wednesday]

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life below zero has captured our attention.  sheesh.  we are not ‘those people’ who have to follow shows, but we find ourselves searching the channel-changer for the national geographic show or… wait-for-it-this-is-no-surprise … this is us.  (so i guess, in essence, we are ‘those people’.)  anyway, that’s not my point.

dream SQ PILLOW copywhen david drew this, i laughed aloud.  it is truly funny to think about what animals dream (like our dogdog who runs in his sleep and babycat who snores up a storm) and if their dreams distort reality, just as ours do.  in the morning, over steaming mugs of coffee, we often tell each other what we remember from our dreams.  talk about distorted reality!  i crack up thinking about what jessie holmes (the most avid -and very-sweet-to-his-dogs sled dog guy on the show) would do if he saw this cartoon.

the last little vestige of winter is in the air here (well, maybe.)  dream CLOCK copyas i write, there is snow in the forecast.  even though we had this amazing hike-gift the other day in sunny 65 degree temperatures, truthfully, i don’t really mind that winter hasn’t ended; it is a time of fallow and that brings great anticipation for spring and newness.

in the meanwhile, happy wintery-spring.

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DREAM & WHEN SLED DOGS DREAM – PRODUCTS on Society6.com/flawedcartoon

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WHEN SLED DOGS DREAM & DREAM ©️ 2016 & 2018 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 

 

 


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put on your rubber boots [chicken marsala monday]

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right now my favorite boots are my timberland brown and black boots.  they are hiking boots and they are always sitting at the back door….poised and ready.  in between work(s), we will throw them on and drive off somewhere for a hike; our go-to adventures usually include a hike somewhere.  at the moment, these boots are full of mud because the woods around these parts are completely muddy and squishy and on the verge of gleefully welcoming spring.  but we don’t let that stop us.

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now it’s not too out-of-the-ordinary for us as we often have gotten caught in weather, but we chose to be in the woods in the rain last week and ohhh what a gift – the smell of rain dampening the earth was exquisite.  looking back, it is one of my favorite moments in the woods and i’m glad to have not missed it.

today we are sitting in lake geneva drinking starbucks coffee and writing, a fire going just beyond our feet perched on the hearth.  i think of the day we were out here having a glass of wine at an outdoor cafe.  it began to drizzle and we got ready to go, but not sooner than the skies let loose.  it poured down buckets of rain and we laughed and splashed through the puddles, playing in the water, nonplussed* by the torrents around us.

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leggings

spring is around the corner.  grab your rubber boots or your hiking boots or just be barefoot and go splash in those puddles.  don’t let a chance to play pass you by.

PUT ON YOUR RUBBER BOOTS – FUN STUFF TO REMIND YOU TO PLAY like mugs, beach towels, throw pillows, cards, leggings

CHICKEN MARSALA MONDAY – ON OUR SITE

 

 

 

 

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read DAVID’S thoughts on RUBBER BOOTS AND PUDDLES

*(so i just looked up ‘nonplussed’ to make sure i was using it correctly and was surprised to see two opposite definitions of it.  the one i meant was ‘unperturbed’ but that was the second definition; the first definition was surprised and confused.  words are funny, aren’t they?)

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PUT ON YOUR RUBBER BOOTS ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood

 


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holy moments.

sunintreesCALIFit’s holy week and, from the perspective of a minister of music, this is kind of a busy time (understatement lol). throughout lent our church has had a wednesday night service preceded by a simple soup supper (i love that alliteration!), with choir, ukulele band and handbell rehearsals sandwiching around these. although a scheduling challenge, rather than feeling overwhelming, it is a breath of fresh air. full of holy moments.

each wednesday evening the congregation gathered sings a service called ‘holden evening prayer’ written by marty haugen. (now, marty -my pal, even though we have never met, spoken or communicated in any way- is prolific and his compositions are gorgeous – meaningful lyrics with melodies and especially harmonies that resonate and are relatively easy for people to sing.)

his evening hymn begins:  joyous light of heavenly glory, loving glow of God’s own face, you who sing creation’s story, shine on every land and race. now as evening falls around us, we shall raise our songs to you.  God of daybreak, God of shadows, come and light our hearts anew.

in the stars that grace the darkness, in the blazing sun of dawn, in the light of peace and wisdom, we can hear your quiet song. love that fills the night with wonder, love that warms the weary soul, love that bursts all chains asunder, set us free and make us whole.

you who made the heaven’s splendor, every dancing star of night,  make us shine with gentle justice,  let us each reflect your light……

gorgeous, right? “light our hearts anew” “set us free and make us whole” “let us each reflect your light”  – words to make you stop the craziness, get off the complaint bandwagon and feel the holy moments.

in another piece, the psalmody, the lyrics “let my prayer rise up like incense before you…” powerful words, magnified by haunting melodies. so visual. so visceral. holy moments.

as we rehearse through this season, i can feel each of the groups ready for a bit of a break, all volunteers dedicating their precious time to this music. i appreciate them more than they know. but there is something that keeps us all going. for in the middle of rehearsals, there is, inevitably, something that makes us laugh uncontrollably, something that makes us in unity say “awww” or something that, invariably, makes me/us want to cry…in a good way. these communities of fabulous people, joining together, to create joy. music is secondary. holy moments.

a small group of the ukulele band decided to go to a concert recently. held in a huge arena, it was louder than we thought it was going to be. much louder. like the guy in the souped-up car behind you at the traffic light with the huge woofers under the dashboard or on the rear deck (the place where you put bobbleheads) was right inside your chest pounding. but when matt maher got up on stage and sang Lord i need you….oh wow.  holy moment. not because it was “holy”, but….because it was holy.

we had seen matt sing at red rocks in colorado. redrocks(2)outside, surrounded by mountains and the setting sun, the sound echoing off huge red rock, everyone linking arms with the person standing next to them, whether or not they knew them, was unforgettable. i can’t sing that song without that vision in my mind’s eye. he didn’t say much. he didn’t have to. he was one of the rare wise ones who knew that the holy was in the moment, not the stuff he might over-say. yes. holy moment.

the girl-i-have-adored-forever, my beautiful and amazing daughter, and her girlfriend, also beautiful, amazing and adored, called the other night to share some insanely cool news. we laughed and talked and ultimately, i managed to get my daughter to roll her eyes at me, yet again. such a gift of a conversation. holy moment.

the boy and his boyfriend, two fantastic urban young men who i, yes!, adore, left me a sung birthday song message and, another day, texted pictures of a chamber ensemble concert they were at. sharing with me. holy moments.

spring is returning to our backyard.  early morning birds wake and the cardinals are feeling the spring juju.  they swoop and sing and remind me of my sweet momma and daddy.  holy moments.

late on a spring-rainy afternoon we sat on the bed and read aloud together. babycat joined us and then dogdog. all four of us, on the raft. holy moment.

a time of lent, of preparation. another time for recognition of the holy.   the “holy”, the holy.  the Holy.  moments indeed. they are everywhere.

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