reverse threading

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a few warts. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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a burl on a tree is caused by the tree undergoing some form of stress.  indeed, if this were true for humans, we would be loaded with burls.  instead, our burls are inner-burls.  they don’t generally manifest as growths on the outside or present as small or large bark-covered lumpy warts.  instead, our worry makes us lose sleep, have intestinal issues and headaches.  it makes us eat too much, pour the glass of wine a bit too early, seek medicinal solutions or drugged numbing.  it makes us argue and lash out, insist on our own way, slam doors both figurative and literal.  it causes sickness, physical exhaustion, loss of relationship or work or time in our lives.  we become afraid to share our burls with the ‘outside’, scarcely making headway, fearful of the opinion of others, confused by the wart in our lives.

we should be like trees.  the burls cover with bark, insulating from the outside yet evident to the outside.  they grow in response to the stress of disease or injury or insects, but a tree may continue to live with these burls indefinitely.   actually removing the burl exposes the tree to infection. the burl wood is prized, with swirling grain patterns.  often, burls are harvested (both legally and illegally), with stunning furniture and wooden bowls the goal of burl-wood-turners.  these trees stand tall and mighty, growing from seedlings, co-existing with disease, injury, insects and, even, together with trees more beautiful sans burls. they wear their wrinkled protuberances with grace.  they don’t rid themselves of the evidence of life amid stressors, seeking botox to hide irregularities and minimize affirmation of living.  instead they continue on, growing and growing and growing – despite a few warts.

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

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it’s not a problem. [merely-a-thought monday]

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my poppo would likely have agreed with sue aikens.  he was a solution-finder.  i will, right-here-and-now, brag about his ability to fix absolutely anything; he would find a way, even if he had to make it up.  well, mostly because he made it up.

i’m not sure how he learned everything he learned; his knowledge base was incredibly practical.  give him any problem and it became a challenge for him – an undertaking he never-ever thought of as insurmountable…it was simply a solution he hadn’t yet found.  and so, i hear sue aikens (of national geographic’s life below zero fame – living a solitary life out on the arctic, solving problems i will likely never encounter) and i think of my dad, whose list of favorite places on earth included his workbench out in the garage (or in the basement in earlier years when they lived up north.)  he saved every screw and nut and bolt and tool that crossed his path “just in case”.   he was a re-purposer before it was vogue.  and he was an expert at turning cardboard boxes inside out or fashioning a new box from old in order to ship or store any thing.  his rube goldberg fixes were always pretty amusing, but they all worked and i can hear him in my head pondering and strategizing when i look at something-that-needs-fixing.  sue aikens would be proud.  her glass-half-full attitude is pretty amazing, considering the elements she deals with.  she’s pretty black and white about things; a lack of grey is something i can’t really relate to, but maybe that’s why she solves things more easily – she doesn’t get lost in any part of the emotional response to the problem.

i have to say, though, that i wish i could look at problems in the same positive way as sue.  yes, yes, yes, i know how much we all grow from problems and solving problems and blahblahblah.   it’s the stress of problems i’m talking about…the worry.  there was a prayer yesterday in the bulletin that said, “help us resist the reflex to worry constantly about every single detail of our lives…”  wow.  i double that.  mmm.  make that triple.  it is a reflex.  we know that the moments beyond problems will come.  more than likely we will be on the other side sometime soon, sitting in the middle of the solution and looking back,  shaking our heads at how befuddled and stressed we felt.  but in the meantime….

in the meantime, i would like a collection of some straight-up solutions for the problems that lurk…a (metaphoric) closet full of how-to-do-its or at least how-to-make-it-ups.  oh, and a better attitude about problems.  they are just solutions we haven’t found yet.

uh. yeah.  (eye roll)

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

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stress. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

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i wish.  i wish stress brought out my sense of humor.  i suppose that sometimes it does.  but more consistently would be a good thing.  how does worrying help, anyway?

this is not my favorite FLAWED CARTOON.  although it does actually make me laugh aloud, it also makes me cringe.  (and, to take it further, it makes me want to be vegan.)

in the story i tell myself, she puts down the talking-intervention-chicken and it becomes a free-range fowl, roaming with plenty of fresh vegetation, sunshine and open space for exercise.

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you should know that stress brings out my sense of humor ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood


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two artists tuesday

just shrug copy 2two people get credit for this “just shrug”:  20 (aka john) and justine.  it was in the “old days” when i was at the graphic design studio what felt like all the time when i learned this mantra.

20 designed the first ten or so of my album jackets (and traycards, if you want to get specific.)  i would spend time with him and justine (the person who made things happen at the office) idea-brainstorming or watching layout.  i can’t tell you how many times deadlines would rapidly approach or the print shop would goof on a run or the computer would glitch or….  i would inwardly be freaking out (and maybe outwardly), but 20 and just would be even and relaxed (at least on the outside.)   one or the other would look at me and say, “just shrug.”  after about a zillion times, it stuck.

shrugging off the stuff that stresses us out is not a science.  it’s most definitely an art form – approached and accomplished differently by each person who attempts it.  everyone chooses different crayons out of the box, everyone paints with different size brushes, everyone chooses a different key on the piano, everyone sings a different song, everyone relaxes a different way, everyone re-centers differently.   but people are able -and if they weren’t, we would all be a paralyzed-with-stress community of people- to slough it off, to let it roll off their shoulders, to move on, to shrug.

i once heard an interview with a woman who was about 95.  she was happy, happy, happy and spoke of her life.  the interviewer asked her, “to what do you attribute your happiness, your ease in the world?”  she answered, “i don’t take anything personally.”

ahhh. she just shrugged.

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JUST SHRUG ©️ 2016 kerri sherwood & david robinson