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the path back is the path forward


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what you do. [k.s. friday]

ymad

“what you do will live beyond your lifetime.  it transcends the things of this earth.”

(YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE ©️ kerri sherwood)

when i think about my sweet momma and my poppo, my big brother, my godfather uncle allen, my grandmother-mama-dear, more beloved family and dear friends – all who have left this earth – i don’t think about their jobs or upward mobility, their income or the status symbols they owned.  i don’t think of the timeline of their school or work or whether they had finished a degree or if they had even gone to college.  i don’t ponder awards or certificates they received or resorts where they may have vacationed.

i think about what a difference they made in my life. my mom’s devotion to cheery kindness, my dad’s quiet and stubborn thoughtfulness, my big brother’s goofy humor and ability to tell a story in all its details, my uncle’s absolute commitment to his fun-loving smile no-matter-what-was-happening.  i think about the joy my mom experienced when my dad brought her grocery-store-flowers.  i think about big bowls of coffee ice cream with my brother, neil diamond playing in the background.  i think about my uncle generously paying for my very first recordings in ny, diligently holding me up and gently pushing me.  i think about simple moments with them.  in what could be a crowded-with-information-obituary in my head for each person, i hold a piece of their heart instead.  they have made a difference in this world.  they made a difference for me.  i remember.

(from THE FAULT IN OUR STARS)  “you know, this obsession you have, with being remembered?  this is your life!  this is all you get! you get me, and you get your family and you get this world, and that’s it!  ….  and i’m going to remember you.  …. you say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me.  i know about you.”

 

we live on an infinite continuum of opportunity.  chances to bring light and hope to others.  deeds we can do out of kindness, goals reached by collaborating together.  we face choice just as soon as the sun-peeking-over-the-horizon wakes us.  we innately or intentionally decide, we head in a direction, we live a day.

 

“We’re all traveling through time, together, everyday of our lives… All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable life.  I just try to live everyday as if I have deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it… As if it was the full, final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.” (from ABOUT TIME)

 

this song. i have performed it countless times.  in nyc’s central park for tens of thousands of people, in small medical clinics, in large oncological settings, in chicago’s grant park.  at a pharmaceutical conference in puerto rico, outdoors with the lance armstrong tour of hope.  across the country, in pajamas and jeans and all-dressed-up.  in theatres and at walks/runs, in schools and churches.  for organizations including y-me, the american cancer society, gilda’s club, young survival coalition, susan g. komen foundation, the annual breast cancer symposium.  and each time, heidi and i, working together in performance, fighting back tears.  the list is profound.  not because of the innumerable times i have sang this song, but because of all the people in these places and behind the scenes, joining together, remarkably touching the lives of others:  those they know and those they may never know.

we make a difference.  in every arena of our lives.  every place we go.  every interaction.  every gesture.  every assumption.  every conversation.  every every-thing.  every single thing.

what intention will we have?  will we be positive or negative?

“the truth is, I now don’t travel back at all, not even for a day.  …  live life as if there were no second chances.” (ABOUT TIME)

download on iTUNES

read DAVID’s thoughts this K.S. FRIDAY

 

 

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YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE ©️ 2003 kerri sherwood

 


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riverstone…go with the flow [ks friday]

riverstone FRAMED ART PRINT copyheidi and i performed together for years at innumerable oncology and cancer survivor events.  heidi is a breast cancer survivor and speaker and we wove her spoken words and my songs or instrumental music into performances of celebration, of gratitude, of honoring…performances we cherished together.

heidi would speak of a lazy river she had been in.  how, without doing anything, you just become part of the river…tubing on a slow river is like that.  no real thought, just meandering in the flow.  like life, it’s easier when you don’t fight the currents.

there is something, for me, about gathering riverstones.  we gave them to everyone at our wedding – to mark that each person is part of the river of our life.  these beautiful riverstones – the way water created a smoothness on rock…years of the flow has worn down the rough edges, made a beautiful patina.  i’m hoping, maybe, i’ll be just like that.

melange product BAR copy

click here for: wall art…mugs…tote bags…throw pillows…leggings…cards…beach towels…bath accessories…cellphone cases…laptop sleeves…blankets…bedding…carryalls…

Download RIVERSTONE track 4 from AS IT IS on iTUNES

Download RIVERSTONE track 4 from AS IT IS on CDBaby

RIVERSTONE (from AS IT IS) & GO WITH THE FLOW ©️ 2004 kerri sherwood

 


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ks friday #3

jacketymadjpeg copyyears ago i was commissioned to write for and perform at the annual breast cancer symposium in san antonio, texas.  after talking with the producers, i had gathered enough details to know that this symposium is a very big research event in which new research is both shared and celebrated, at which researchers and physicians from all over are honored.  these folks are often the people in the foreground of new advances but the background as far as survivors and lay-people knowing who they are.  it was from that place that i wrote this song.

a couple of years after that, lance armstrong was leading the tour of hope across the country.  despite his more recent fall from grace, there were countless good people working on this tour of hope – bicyclists riding across the country with big rallies in various cities – to raise awareness for cancer and celebrate survivorship.  i performed alongside my cherished friend and breast cancer survivor speaker heidi on an out-of-season gorgeous day in october in downtown chicago at the block 37 on state street park that is now a high-rise.   lance was there and was laser-focused and passionate in his support of cancer survivors. at the time,  i was honored to work with him and i credit that day with meeting my dear friend scordskiii, his photographer, who brought many a laugh and hours of conversation during subsequent years when i really needed both.

this song is personal for me.  the moffitt cancer center in tampa, florida used it as a thank-you in a hospital-wide video to the staff for their work.  for me, their efforts included extending my poppo’s life 12 years beyond diagnosis.  i was proud and honored for this song to be featured.

in the last two decades, heidi and i have performed all over the country at innumerable oncology events together (walks, runs, survivor celebrations, conferences, hospitals, cancer centers, churches, memorials):  she, speaking from a survivor’s viewpoint; me, performing songs i have written to resonate with these events.  each event has been a shining light for us.

as i listened to this song YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE the other day, i realized, once again, that this is not a song dedicated to one effort, to one fight.  it is a song that is dedicated to any effort in which people gather together in community to fight against darkness, whatever that darkness might be.  it’s for the people in the foreground, on the front line.  and it’s for the people in the background, not looking for any credit whatsoever, just looking for change…good change.  it’s for all the people we don’t know who walk, strike, write, argue, research, march, petition, and present clear options to the light.

this week i would dedicate this song to those young students who have risen up from the pitch-darkness shooting at marjory stoneman douglas high school in florida.  to have a voice.  to bring light.  we are all proud of you.  you make a difference.

YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE single on iTUNES

KS FRIDAY

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

read DAVID’S thoughts about YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE

you make a difference ©️ 2003 kerri sherwood

 


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be brave. make a difference.

brave-poster-jpegabout a year ago our church community made a decision to state in no uncertain terms that it is a “reconciling in christ” church. this was a momentous occasion, a brave declaration; the closest church of the same denomination that is also RIC is in the next town north, a location maybe a half hour away.

the language used to enter into the church bylaws was: “We acknowledge that throughout history the Christian church has at times condemned and excluded people because of race, culture, age, gender, economic status, disability or sexual orientation. While the church has made progress in being open to many groups, there continues to be condemnation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons from the community of faith, or at least, a tolerance of such condemnation and exclusion through silence. We believe such actions are inconsistent with Christ’s teachings. Trinity is a community of faith-keeping and faith-seeking people who affirm that every person has worth as a unique creation made in the image of God. We recognize, celebrate and give thanks for the many diverse gifts of God among us. We declare ourselves to be a Reconciling in Christ congregation, welcoming into the full life and ministry of the church persons of every race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and economic status. We commit to model a community of faith and spirit that works toward openness and understanding, offering justice, healing and wholeness of life for all people. We believe that through our diversity, all can grow and practice a unity of faith that transcends our differences.”

and i am so proud.

but it brings to mind some questions for me. this inclusivity and acceptance that we are “officially” announcing seems like a no-duh (for lack of a better term; it seems incongruous to me to attach flowery language to something so very basic) for a church community. it IS my understanding of a church community. what else could be more important than acceptance? what are we Actually learning from any religious organization’s underpinnings? why does it require bravery?

before i took the job of minister of music at our present church, i inquired about the attitude(s) around LGBT membership and involvement, within the church general membership and within staff and clergy. it was important to me – no, not important – it was vital to me that i would be at a place of inclusion where people did not draw boundaries because of race, sexual orientation, financial status… i would not attend a place where my own child would be looked down upon because of homophobic attitudes (read: fears.)   even now i find it incredible that i would have had to ask this question, but i know better than to think that all churches are about loving all people. why do you have to be brave to say this?

some of my friends will leave this week to march in the women’s march in washington dc, taking place next saturday. i am unable to go to this, although i will march in my mind with them. i do feel like i step in this march everyday, however, because i believe in the equality of gender, the equality of people’s sexual orientation choices…equality period. as the mom of an amazing son who is gay, (see previous post: the right place) i wholeheartedly embrace his happiness, his inclusion, his bravery to live authentically, anywhere he goes. i embrace this for both of my children. why would i not generalize this to all people?

carol suggested that i enter my design using david’s painting and the text “women. we’ve got backbone.” for poster usage at this march. (see previous post: women. we’ve got backbone.) although this poster is not among the posters that will be distributed at this march, i do believe that this backbone is what will help grow and change the world in times moving forward. the active pursuit of what we feel is right. the active pursuit of what we feel is just. as women and as men who want to be proponents of equality and opponents of hatred we need to stand up – with backbone – and make sure that we are not voiceless.

that starts at home. in our own families. in our communities. in our churches. in our states. in our country. oh yes. in our country.

you make a difference: iTunes: kerri sherwood

brave.  for products that reinforce your bravery, click here

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