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happiness. freedom. courage. [merely-a-thought monday]

choir room calendar

my sweet poppo ended up in solitary confinement.  shot down over the ploesti oil fields in romania, he was a WWII prisoner of war and was being held in a prison camp in bulgaria.  he was courageously condemning the rat-eaten stale bread the prisoners were served, throwing it down, and he was hauled off to solitary confinement.  after months of imprisonment my dad, along with others, was able to escape this POW camp and find his way to freedom.  freedom.

each of us has our own freedom route, courage to summon up.  i look at both of my children as they make their way in this world.  they are courageously carving out their lives.  they are scrappy and they make sacrifices to seek happiness and freedom from fear of any kind.  my sweet poppo is cheering them on, both of them.

this calendar page hangs in the choir room.  the words seemed particularly timely to us, for many reasons, on many levels.  we looked up the person to which they were credited:  thucydides.  a studier of human nature, he:  “also has been called the father of the school of political realism, which views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by, and constructed upon, the emotions of fear and self-interest.

we owe the freedom of our country to the veterans, like my sweet dad, who we honor today and to wise, thoughtful, inspired leaders of this country.  we have much to be grateful for.

and yet.  these savvy words of this ancient greek historian…”the emotions of fear and self-interest”.  this is relevant.

my poppo sat in a prison camp cell representing a country fighting against leaders filled with self-interest and the indiscriminate propagation of fear and atrocities upon innocent people.  his courage was buoyed by the courage of his fellow soldiers.  my father was staunchly determined to put others’ needs first.

i fear what is happening in our country today would sadden him; his response would be that our leaders are not acting out of courage, not out of a rallying call for equitable independence of all, but instead, out of bullying and grandiose self-serving.

and i believe my sweet poppo would throw down the rat-eaten stale philosophy of this current government.  with his great courage.  in true freedom.

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

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i don’t understand. [two artists tuesday]

canoe and dock

ahhh.  early morning.  it is sunday and we are writing a couple days ahead for a busy week.

as i sit here, in this beautiful “idyllic” place, i hear the rapid fire of gunshots.  i google, looking for a shooting range i have heard about, but to no avail.  sunday morning.  a time of reflection and peace.  and, apparently, gunfire.  i don’t understand.

a couple nights ago i woke up and could hear the sound of two men talking.  we rarely hear people talking here, at any time of day or night.  i didn’t know where they were, and i couldn’t understand what they were saying, but the last thing i heard was a gunshot.  nothing else.  why, on earth, would someone be shooting anything in the middle of the night?  i’ve been told that there is poaching and shining and that hunting is a big part of this place.  hunting what?  what season is this?  are people’s kitchen tables truly dependent on this?  there’s a grocery store.  i don’t understand.

this week, just one week, as you know, our country suffered four times at the hands of someone who chose to brutally end the lives of others.  intentionally.  with assault weapons.  my heart breaks.  again.  and i don’t understand.

it appears that we are on a path of self-destruction.  a garlic festival, shopping at walmart, enjoying a saturday evening downtown in a small city…these are normal activities.  these are opportunities for human beings – like you and me – to do the stuff of life or to gather together.  partners, families, children, friends.  people we know, people we do not know, all breathing in and breathing out just like we do.  life-doing and gathering together should not include terror.  it shouldn’t even include fear.  i don’t understand.

where are we headed?  will we continue to perpetuate hatred?  will we continue to feed division?  will we continue to kowtow to big money, to the needs of a few instead of the needs of many?  will we care?  will we continue to taunt and bully and fight?  will we continue to kill each other?  i don’t understand.

as i sit on the dock of the bay, looking at the horizon blending with the sky, one little tiny being in a vast universe, i just don’t understand.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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on the dock of the bay ©️ 2019 kerri sherwood & david robinson


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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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kindness. every day. [two artists tuesday]

kindness day box

on this day, election day in the united states, i cannot think of a better antidote… er…aspiration than to embrace the upcoming world kindness day wholeheartedly, emphatically, honestly.

the mission of the world kindness movement and world kindness day is to create a kinder world by inspiring individuals and nations towards greater kindness.

the goal of the non-profit organization is “making kindness a greater part of everyone’s daily lives and increasing the awareness of the positive benefits of kindness to health and the overall well-being of society.”

“this day (world kindness day) aims to increase the value of kindness in society as well as increase the amount of kind acts that take place nationwide, making kindness a greater part of day to day life.”

i cannot help but think of my sweet momma as i write this.  she didn’t need a celebratory calendar-day to pledge to be kind.  she just was.  she would be disheartened by our current state of affairs, determined to make a difference one little moment at a time, one kindness at a time.  for as i look around, that is what is lacking.  basic kindness.  what i see in its place is ugly; anger and passionate division, fear and volatility, rudeness and a combative disrespect for humanity.

“on this day, participants attempt to make the world a better place by celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organizations.”

acts of kindness.  how about every day?

kindness mr rogers

our BE KIND reminders:

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read DAVID’S thoughts on this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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BE KIND/BE KIN BE KIND products ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson

 

 

 

 

 

 


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the twain. [merely a thought monday]

lifebelowzeroquotesueaikens

i shudder when i hear the words “…and never the twain shall meet…”(rudyard kipling)  in my head when i read this.  but sue aikens’ words (on life below zero, she is a strong alaska-proof woman living in the arctic) were not a viewpoint on the polarization of our country.  they were merely the way she was describing the ropes she sets outside her buildings so that in the middle of fierce snowstorms she will be able to find her way, despite not being able to see in the swirling snow.

in life – intellectual, emotional, political life – however, there is a middle ground.  but it has become difficult in our current climate to sort to the middle, to not stand firmly on one side or the other of the great divide, a place that grows larger by the day, with an ever-brewing moat of hatred and vitriol, terrifyingly divisive to families, relationships, communities. there is danger on the far sides, danger in stubbornly and feverishly clinging to the left or the right, without considering ramifications, without any compassion, with an unbending dedication to absolutism, with no room or moment for thoughtful consideration, with breakneck righteous reactivity.

in sue aikens’ world, it will save her life to unconditionally sort left or sort right.  in ours, it may destroy us.

read DAVID’S thoughts on this MERELY A THOUGHT MONDAY

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self-control. [flawed cartoon wednesday]

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yesterday on her way out of church one of my friends stopped to talk to me.  she said (words to the effect) that the only reason she was able to sing the last song (which was o beautiful for spacious skies) was because the last line has the expression “self-control” in it.  more specifically, “america! america!  God mend thine every flaw, confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”  she asked if i had picked it intentionally, this one patriotic song she felt she could actually sing at this moment in time – beCAUSE of the expression “self-control.”  i couldn’t stake claim to the wisdom of picking this one; ptom had requested it weeks earlier for yesterday.  but i understood her completely.

self-control.  america.  it doesn’t seem, these days, that these go together.  if you’ve ever had the chance to look at a small child’s coloring book – you know, the ones where they have puzzles in them also…the one where there are four shapes, for example, three circles and a square and at the top of the page it says, “circle/color the shape that doesn’t go with the others”, you will know what i mean when i say this.  perhaps there is a coloring book page with the words “america”, “division”, “polarity”, “untruths”, “inequality”, “retrograding” and “self-control”; the directions on the top of the page read “circle the word that doesn’t go with the others.”  you would be hard-pressed to NOT circle “self-control”.  so i understand marykay’s ability to sing this song with the YEARNING of the soul of God confirmed in self-control.

this coming sunday, the other weekend flanking this week of the fourth of july, the sending hymn will be this is my song, lyrics by lloyd stone and georgia harkness with music by jean sibelius (the tune of finlandia) and i AM choosing it intentionally.  these are the lyrics:

this is my song o God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine. 
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

my country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
so hear my song, o God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

this is my prayer, o God of all earth’s kingdoms,
your kingdom come; on earth your will be done.
o God, be lifted up till all shall serve you,
and hearts united learn to live as one.
so hear my prayer, o God of all the nations;
myself i give you; let your will be done.

for the world i want to live in is a world of peace.  it is people (each of us striving individually and in community) in a world continuing to move toward MORE unity, MORE equality, LESS judgment, MORE truth, LESS division, MORE generosity, LESS polarization, LESS elitism, MORE inclusiveness, LESS hatred, LESS self-serving indulgence, LESS excuses, MORE respect, with the soul of God (or whatever you call this spiritual magnificence) clearly demonstrated in our mindful self-control.

happy independence day.

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really, i always tell the truth sometimes. ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood