reverse threading

the path back is the path forward


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not the fancy stuff. [two artists tuesday]

coffee pot copy

maybe we’ll go back.  this sassy coffee pot sits at one of our favorite antique shops and drew my eye.  we’ll be sure to know where to put it and, perhaps, how to use it before we maybe go get it.

we were on our way to cape cod and the sign salvage chic antiques stopped us.  four old aluminum coffee pots later, we left the store.  they are now part of a five-aluminum-coffee-pot collection on a shelf in our kitchen; instead of a canister set, these coffee pots keep all our different teas easily accessible.

anyone who knows us knows that we love our coffee.  anyone who knows us knows that we also love re-purposing old stuff.  but not the fancy stuff.  old aluminum coffee pots, old black vintage suitcases, old wooden boxes.  they are the treasures around us.  they hold special mementos, nespresso coffee pods, clothespins for the ukulele band, art supplies, rocks we have collected on beaches, in woods, from high sandstone precipices or red rock canyons deep.  they are history and they are new.  both true.

when we need a break, a few moments to lose ourselves, we will either hike or go to one of our local favorite antique shops.  things of worry will gently fall off as we walk through woods or aisles of things-that-remind-us of other times, memories, or maybe inspire us with a beckon to be brought home.

we choose carefully and deliberately.  for ourselves and for the gifts we get others.  it’s never the fancy stuff, but it’s the stuff that stops us, draws our eye, beckons to be purchased and re-treasured.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

coffeepots website box

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loop. [merely-a-thought monday]

loop copy

i went back to take this picture.  i’m not quite sure why, but the word “loop” on the steps struck me as funny.  truth be told, it was a piece of information; on the metra steps in chicago it was directing us to the train that would take us toward the loop.

there was this time we visited My Boy in chicago.  we took the train down, got off at the ravenswood stop, and walked what seemed-like-miles dragging a rollie-bag behind us with all the ingredients for pasta and homemade sauce.  after a fun day together, we dragged our now-empty suitcase back to the train and waited on the platform for the train home, unwittingly sitting on the wrong side of the platform.  it was a mere two minutes before the train came that we realized our error and ran down the stairs, down the sidewalk, across the street against the traffic light and back up the other set of stairs to the right platform.  it was comical, i’m sure.  we couldn’t even pretend to be cool-calm-collected-experienced-aloofly-confident passengers.  we were total geeks, running for the train, laughing.  i’m sure there were signs (we saw them our next trip down) but we hadn’t noticed.  and so, the word “loop” on the steps made me laugh.  “northbound” on the steps would have helped.

music-in-its-written-form is kind of like this.  there are directions all over the place:  repeat signs, time signatures, words like coda, DC al fine, DS.  it’s a confusing mess for the newbie.  our ukulele band navigates this all the time now; we use lead sheets in lieu of just chord-and-lyric sheets.  we cheer each time we end the song at the same place and at the same time.  for the seasoned musician, these directions are run-of-the-mill; for the music editor, these directions save a lot of space and paper.  for the ukulele band, which now pays attention to these bits of directive material, it’s like writing “loop” on the steps.

it’s all just one big lesson in following directions, isn’t it?  i guess the key is laughter.

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

roger's park feet website box copy

 

 

 


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playing the same stuff. [merely a thought monday]

string bass with frame

just last saturday evening, out on cape cod, we lingered over seafood and glasses of wine with jonathan, our bass player.  we were sitting around his table, chatting about music.

he told us about a group of musicians he rehearses with on an irregular basis.  they play a wide variety of instruments and they all just gather casually together and jam on some “good music”.  “…and once in a while we play the same stuff…” he stated.  his voice trailed off as he thought about what he had just said and we all laughed.  we can picture a whole group of jonathans in the room – all exuberant and, each, lovers of all music, all pick-ready, mouthpiece-ready, reed-ready, hands-poised-over-the-keys-ready.  that kind of enthusiasm shouldn’t be curbed or restrained.  the sheer joy of playing – now that’s the reason to be all together.  it’s not about playing all the notes on the page, playing them all perfectly at the same time, playing them with no mistakes.  it’s about heart.  it’s about the breaths and the rests of silence, the flip-flop your heartbeat makes when soaring notes come together in a sweeping harmony, the tears you get in your eyes when something you just played or heard is sublimely sweet, dynamically touching, deeply resonant, the belly laugh with the ridiculously dissonant moment.

the ukulele sip ‘n strums are about just that.  if we can choose to teach anything at those sip ‘n strums, i would choose to teach just these things.  the things of joy.  music is all about individual hearts…coming together with the immense gift of twelve notes at our literal fingertips.  no matter what we play, we are playing the same stuff.

ukulele laughter

what playing music looks like.

christmas sing dec 7 sip n strum copy

rackcards for sip n strumtake 2.PRINT copy (deleted b'87d4bf65abee4940dca3fe6ba53c1bc6') copy

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

at jonathans with bear website box

UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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wedding boots. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

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we knew before we really started planning that we would be married in jeans and boots. and anyone who knows us could tell you that we would definitely be wearing black tops, in david’s case – a shirt and jacket, in my case – a long tunic.  it’s just us.

we went to the frye boot store in chicago long before our wedding day, combining a visit with The Boy with our errand.  the girl-boots i tried on weren’t right…although i love all the high frye boots, we had a vision for these, the one item we each splurged on in our apparel for The Day.  the boots needed to be totally dance-worthy, kind of worn-looking, lower-ankle boots.  i ended up buying boy-boots; it helps when you have big feet, lol, because you can find boy-sizes that fit.  we wore them inside the house dancing many times to break them in.  but never put them on to go anywhere.  we were saving them.

three years ago today, we donned our boots, our new ripped jeans and our black tops.  we individually walked down the aisle to the front of the church and a new life commitment.  The Girl, The Boy, 20, arnie and ptom stood in front with us and then we skipped back down the aisle, past pews filled with pieces of our hearts, to the ukulele band playing what a wonderful world.  we drove our little baby scion to the historic beachhouse where we had a food truck, a dj playing music people danced to for hours and hours, hula hoops and crayons, wine and daisy cupcakes, spotted cow and quinoa tabouli, brownies and a bonfire on the beach.  our family and friends – our community- brought us across the bridge from single to married; it was in a key of celebration, of support.

never did we once think that life would just be like that from there on out.  for life is life and challenges arise.  we are not exempt from that.  but our community stands with us, silently reminding us that they were there, they witnessed the moment.  their belief and our love forge together.  it takes a village to be married.  we are grateful for that village, for anyone who has nudged us to see Us.

and any time we forget that very important day, we pull our wedding boots out of the front of our closets, put them on and remember.

happy anniversary d.dot.  i love you.

wedding pic with website

read DAVID’S thoughts on this wedding-boots-day

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ukulele sip ‘n strum! [two artists tuesday]

generic ukulele sip n strum (no date) copy

about six years ago i was in the sweet downtown of nashville, indiana browsing with linda and bill.  we stopped at a music store and i fell in love with a little black ukulele.  i bought it and played around with this tiny instrument, a lot lighter to tote around than a piano.

a little over five years ago i decided to offer a ukulele band at trinity, where i am the minister of music.  thinking that perhaps four or six people would sign up, over the years we have sold 50-60 ukes!  we have a consistent band that rehearses year round and plays at least once a month in the service.  it’s a blast!  and it’s a way for people who maybe have had no prior musical experience to play an instrument.  i read that “the ukulele is a portal through which only happy people can pass.” (uke muster)  personal experience makes me add that there is no way to play the ukulele and not smile.  they go hand in hand.  what’s not idyllic about that?

under the umbrella of two-artists-making-stuff-for-humans (which includes doing stuff with or for humans), recently we decided to move this glee out further into the world.  we held our first UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM last friday night at a local winery.  in the same vein as a ‘paint and sip’, people registered for a lesson and a glass of fine wine; they ordered their ukulele in their favorite color and, with the help of pacetti’s – our favorite downtown music store –  we delivered them that night.  it was a blast!

we are booking the next dates and are taking the SIP ‘N STRUM out – all over – into different venues, people’s homes, even corporate events.  the chance for people to learn and smile and play music and sip wine and sing is what we offer.  as virtuoso ukulele player jake shimabukuro says, “if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place.”  we couldn’t agree more!

so let us know if you want to book a UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM.  we’re ready!  pick in hand!  and we promise – it’ll be a blast! 🙂

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click here to learn more about the UKULELE SIP ‘N STRUM and check back for dates

read DAVID’S thoughts on the SIP ‘N STRUM!

close-up Arches with website box

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but i feel more. [k.s. friday]

song box copy

the choir, ukulele band and handbell players all came to our house last week.  it was the end of the year party.  it’s a tradition to gather here several times a year to celebrate all the music we make together; everyone brings food (amazing dishes and treats) and drinks (wine and delicious frozen drinks or other concoctions ala dan) to pass.  conversation is loud and laughter punctuates everything.  dogdog runs out to greet people and revels in the fact that babycat is locked away for the party.  we crowd foods onto our dining room table and a variety of other flat surfaces.  when we are lucky it is nice out and people can spill out onto the deck and the patio.  it is joyous!

many moments during the evening i will find myself just looking around at these dear people…a community…my community…our community…and i will have a rush of wonder and gratitude and great fondness;  d and i both love them.  they are these faces in our life and it is the love with which they surround us, just like the devoted love in this song, that makes me feel more.

if you'd like to see kerri sherwood.. copy

to purchase the album AS SURE AS THE SUN, please click here

to download the song BUT I FEEL MORE track 7 from AS SURE AS THE SUN on iTunes click here

to download the song BUT I FEEL MORE on CDBaby.com, click here

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

BUT I FEEL MORE from AS SURE AS THE SUN ©️ 2002 kerri sherwood


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all that shimmers.

i walk downstairs to his studio often while he paints. i sit in one of the rocking chairs and watch or talk or sip coffee with him. and i fall in love. this happens again and again. it’s on “repeat” – this falling-in-love-with-a-work-on-the-wall. something jumps out at me or gently reaches out and shimmers its way to my heart and i am forever connected. and i say, “you can’t sell this one!”

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he can’t sell this one.  my heart is ever-connected to it.

now, of course, for someone who makes a living as an artist, eliminating pieces from the mix of those available for sale can be somewhat exasperatingly limiting. but sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. and sometimes, when he paints, i want to keep it. (actually, that happens often, so i should get credit for not always acting on my heart-impulse.)

we were at ukulele band rehearsal a few nights ago. i had my phone out because i had forgotten to bring a AA battery for the clock on the wall and so i needed my phone handy for timing. my uke band does not want to go overtime, unless the patio and wine are involved. suddenly it dinged and there was a text message. and i needed to share with them…..at that moment david’s sister had texted that his great-niece, who was in labor, had begun “pushing”. in a short time there would be a new baby girl in the world. shimmering, indeed.

so many shimmering moments. sitting with dear friends around a potluck meal and laughing uncontrollably. the moment the boy calls to show you via facetime their new apartment. noticing the moon at night. a glass of wine by the chiminea. the first glimpse of color in the woods. IMG_0027seeing the girl in the flannel shirt you passed to her from your dad, her pa. a combed beach. IMG_3137tears of joy. holding hands in prayer. waking up pretzeled together. rich bass notes on my piano. a bite of a really good pear or a honey crisp apple. the dog and cat laying together. holding your child, tiny or grown. telling old stories. turning your head while driving the car to see your husband gazing at you. a first cup of morning coffee in bed. seeing the birds lined up at the bird feeder. listening to gabriel’s oboe.

it is sobering to think about all that is happening at any given moment, all over the world. our connection to all -through all the layers- makes it all ours. the good and the bad, the exquisite and the devastating. which should probably make us realize that any moments we are having that are particularly difficult are also shared by others. never alone. we are all in this together. this life thing.

david reminded me that at the book reading the other night author joyce maynard said, “it is my obligation to live!” it is. to find those shimmering moments. to let them shimmer. to not blunt them or try to put out the flash of fire they give us. the fire to keep stepping. through it all. all that shimmers and all that doesn’t.

itunes: kerri sherwood

www.kerrisherwood.com


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the faces of my life.

IMG_1991“…in the nighttime of your fear…” the lyrics of this hymn jump out at me. how many times have i been awake in the nighttime…wrapping my arms around fear of some sort. how many times have i been awake in the daytime with ‘the nighttime of my fear’? being awake with fear makes every muscle aware, every hair stand on end, every emotion close to the surface. and the fear doesn’t have to be physical…sometimes it is fear of the unknown, fear of change (no! really?), fear of differences that set you apart. any way you slice it, fear becomes visceral and, as carol used to always say, you can taste the adrenaline. in these moments, there are voices i pine for, people i want to be near, reassurances for which i yearn. how many times have i told david i wish i could just talk to my sweet momma. how many times have i asked my dad aloud – hoping for a sticky note to float down from heaven – for his words of wisdom. i’ve asked my brother wayne for car and fixing stuff advice; i’ve asked my friend richie for a tad bit of his sense of humor in a tense moment. the list of people on the other side extends out, in ever-larger concentric circles, as i realize how much i miss their words of wisdom. the faces of my life. and then, often in an awakening moment of grief, i realize that there is indeed wisdom and reassurance all around me.

the ukulele band rehearsals are at our house in the summer. most often outside on sometimes-warm-sometimes-cool summer nights on the patio, last night was inside with impending storms in the area. i had broken my little baby toe earlier in the day and was limping around a bit (and maybe whining also.) betsi and jay offered advice, carol and helen grimaced with me, remembering breakages of their own, david jokingly spoke of designing steel-toed flip-flops. a posse of people making my little toe feel better. there were conversations about dietary/lifestyle changes, inexpensive backyard solutions, growing herbs, new albums out, nitrate-free bacon, up north… really, anything you might want some solid talk-talk about was possible. the faces of my life. “…we are pilgrims on a journey, we are travelers on the road.   we are here to help each other walk the mile and bear the load…”

in conversation with susan or linda or jen or heidi, we talk about loss of a parent or we talk about children growing up and away or we talk about where we are in life…they have been there when i’ve cried…they have shared tears with me. they have laughed with me till it hurt. powerful moments of empathy. with david, the sharing of raw emotion, the frustrations and the bliss of being “too close”, the tears and the laughter are full spectrum. the faces of my life. “…i will weep when you are weeping; when you laugh i’ll laugh with you…”

we were standing on the opposite side of a stream from where we needed to be. three times while we were in the mountains this was where i found myself.  (well, metaphorically, i suppose that would be countless times, but who’s talking in metaphors?) the first time, david crossed over, using stones and a wayward log that had fallen. even now, my feet tingle thinking about it. he quietly told me that i could do it and reached out his hand to me so that I could grasp it as soon as i was within reach. his eyes, unwaveringly gentle and reassuring, convinced me to work with the fear i felt and move forward. “…i will hold my hand out to you..” IMG_2744one of the other times becky, david and kirsten (the girl) had already crossed the stream. it wasn’t a huge chasm, but it was enough to make me think about going the “other way”. and yet, it was their faces on the other side that helped the nugget of fear i felt go away.   the faces of my life.

” …i will share your joy and sorrow till we’ve seen this journey through…” our time on this beautiful earth is forever and fleeting. both. this journey is filled with design of the universe and gorgeous wisdom and warm reassurance. the faces of our lives. on this side and on the other side. they will hold us in ‘the nighttime of our fear’. they will hold us in the moment.  we are never alone.

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who needs you?

downloadthe forecast said ‘heavy rain’ so we all gathered in the living room. now, remember, this is an old house – so there is no central air conditioning and this is a summer evening with rain expected. people who are really zealous about the dew point could explain why it felt so ridiculously hot and humid, but we didn’t worry about the details of it. we just all sweated together, our ukuleles in hand, the dogdog running from one person to another getting ample dogdog attention in his nervousness about the thunder. this community of people meets weekly. during the ‘school year’ we meet at the church; during the summer we meet on our patio (ok, for you detail-oriented folks, sometimes it is inside our house, weather-dependent.) playing the ukulele in this band unites us…we strum through songs, singing and laughing, rehearsing for performances. today daena has a huge blister on her thumb. (the hazards of ukulele!) but that isn’t all. we catch up on news with each other. there are conversations about chords, strum patterns, aging parents, children living away, recipes, probiotics, new medical procedures, new pets, houses, chip and jojo and hgtv, life below zero and alaska, vacations, romances, reminiscenses, grandchildren. this community is part of who we are. i look at them in wonder. they are all so important to us. the gift of community.

we sat outside to eat at the pizza place. under the shade of a big umbrella we talked about weddings and health, diets and children, camping and career questions. these two people have been a rock for us in the last years. before it was ‘the four of us’, they used to include me on their ‘date nights’, sitting me in the middle of the movie with them, pouring a glass of wine for me, including me in dinner, helping me surf through the challenges i was facing. their community is part of who we are. i look at them in wonder. they are so important to us. the gift of community.

20 comes to our house most every sunday. we make dinner, drink wine, talk our hearts out and maybe watch a movie or sit out back. we share stories of life, stories of worry, stories with tears, stories of great joy, hilarious stories. we share so many years of memories and times gone by, some very happy, some we speak of with much sadness in our voices. the years have flown by. and now we plan – so many adventures to come. he and 14 are ridiculous middle-schoolers together. they make me laugh. i look at him in wonder. he is so important to us. the gift of community.

the girl wrote about her group of snowboard coaches and instructors one day. she referred to them as ‘family’. she has a fantastic group of people upon whom she can rely who live right there near her. they support her, challenge her, inspire her. i am grateful for her gift of community.

the boy writes about his group of friends – a tight-knit, widespread group of people upon whom he can rely, some of whom live in the city near him, some of whom live in other cities he travels to. they are ‘family’ to each other. i am quite sure that they support him, challenge him, inspire him. i am grateful for his gift of community.

our community is all around us. our community is far away. we have family and friends we’d love to see more, be with more, who live away from us. we have ‘family’ right here. they support us, challenge us, inspire us. i am grateful for our gift of community. i am grateful for you.

you know you are all family – bloodlines or not – when you can sweat all over ukuleles together, create joy and recognize you need each other. a band isn’t a band without all of us.download-1

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