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the path back is the path forward


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the color of new growth. [two artists tuesday]

desi is growing up. suddenly, seemingly overnight, there is lime-green new growth rising toward the sky in the way pine trees reach up, up, up. this seedling we adopted has beaten some odds and its tiny shoots show promise.

we’re not sure what kind of evergreen it is. maybe a white pine? though we are curious and want to be sure to tend to desi properly, it doesn’t really matter. we share our table at the window with her every day, watching for changes, carefully rotating her pot. she is present with us in all our lunches and dinners, with glasses of wine and snacks, surrounded by happy lights and joined in potted life next to various succulents, a fluffy ponytail palm and KC, my new adorable birthday gardenia bonsai from my girl and her sweetie.

a little research on firs reveals a plethora of trees i did not realize even existed. fantastic specimens of hardiness, each kind of tree reveals new growth in a different color, in a slightly different way. desi’s lime-green is a stunning color and we wonder what these new shoots will look like as time goes on.

before we rescued her from being mowed over, desi lived in a place of much diversity. pines and oaks and maples and hickories, all living in harmony, co-existing. tall trees reaching for the sun, hardy and stoic through thick and thin, symbiosis at its best. downed trees, decaying leaves, rich soil ingredients for strength, a diet for underbrush and trees alike, no boundaries drawn.

sunday we drove big red to chicago. we like to take the back way, through smaller towns and past homes built on the edges of ravines and lake michigan. it slows us down and keeps us off the anxious interstate. we were on our way to my boy’s new place where he and his boyfriend waited to serve us an amazing four-course dinner for my birthday. my girl and her boyfriend had sent lovely bottles of wine for the occasion, to be there though they could not be there.

on the way down, as we got into the city, a few police cars with lit light strips caught our attention. and then, hundreds, maybe thousands, of people marching, “stop asian hate” signs leading the way. horns blowing and demonstrations of support rang out as they marched in protest and we were proud of their efforts to raise awareness, to alleviate – stop – this prevailing and abhorrent hostility, violence and discrimination committed against AAPI people. the quiet suffering is no longer quiet. what will it take for us, for this community, this country, this world, to achieve healthy symbiosis?

i wonder what color my new growth is. i wonder if it’s visible. i wonder what the shoots will reveal. like desi, i hope, in my tiny spot in this universe, i will turn toward the sun, ever-stoic, ever-inclusive, ever-present, surrounded by happy lights and full of promise.

*****

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY


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and today we wait. [two artists tuesday]

guarding the sidewalk

and today we wait.

you can feel the energy in the air.  nervous tension.  our city waits for the unwanted arrival of the president, who is apparently coming to kenosha to add photos to his photo op collection of inappropriate pictures taken at inappropriate times in circumstances about which he has no empathy.

we wait, nervously, wondering what the afternoon will bring.

in a city struggling to heal and move forward, this president will churn up any dust that has settled.  his rhetoric will spur on angry voices of hatred and division.  his actions and attitudes will suck the hopefulness out of people who have done so much in these last days after the police shooting of a young african american man, the ensuing protests, the riots and looting and arson wreaked by extremists, the pleas for the embracing of black-lives-matter change, the death of two protesters in the streets by a little boy from out-of-state with a very big gun playing militia, and this very president’s lack of compassion, lack of healing words, lack of condemnation of all that is obviously wrong, lack of truth, lack of moral compass in addressing all of what kenosha has experienced in the last nine days.

we wait, nervously, wondering what evil the inevitable rally will unearth, what the retort will be by the people of kenosha who truly care, what the extremists will do, who may enter this city from outside to do damage or stir up violence, what will happen to the baby steps we have taken.

we walk or hike every day.  lately we have walked a lot in our neighborhood.  we turn the corner down a ways and, tucked in front of the fence, next to the sidewalk, positioned in front of the clover on a broken piece of glassware are these two military figures.  both armed and at-the-ready.  what is this?  what does it mean?  even these kid-toys sitting there, day after day, seem to be a statement, seem unsettling in this climate.  and so we wonder.

and we wait.  the stress is palpable as the town listens for the giant military helicopters to arrive or the motorcycle brigade or the national guard entourage parade.  and we wonder what the evening will bring.  will the peaceful protests be overrun by presidential fuel added to the embers?  will all hell break loose?  will kenosha lose ground, the slightest of forward-moving crawling it has done?

we wait, nervously, and wonder how our city, our state, our country can overcome the ugly division that is forming a wall between factions resistant to change, impenetrable, armored to the hilt.  we wonder how we can be a city, a state, a country of dignity and inclusion, respect, equality, safety, peace.

we believe hate-speech is not the answer.  we believe pushing people down to raise oneself up is not the answer.  we believe people in the streets armed with weapons of destruction is not the answer.  we believe divisiveness, in all its colors and genders and socioeconomic forms, is not the answer.  we believe falsehoods and stoking fire and inciting animosity and violence without impunity is not the answer.  we believe abhorrent agenda-riddled self-indulgence on the part of the leadership of this country is not the answer.

stand up, little plastic soldiers.  look each other in the eye.  look the enemy in the eye.  put your guns away.  start with love.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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closed circle. [flawed wednesday]

circle

a closed circle.

i remember way back in elementary school.  the girls were brutal.  if ‘they’ decided you were ‘out’ you didn’t have a chance, regardless of your best efforts.  expressions like “she took away my best friend” were rampant and hurt feelings prevailed.  outsiders of the ‘cool’ inner (closed) circle were left feeling inadequate and lonely.

this was not contained to just elementary school.  junior high and high school were examples of exponential closed circles, the occupants ‘inside’ becoming more versed with age on how to inflict emotional pain on those un-included.  never being one of the ‘cool’ crowd, i have watched from the fringes as closed circles have stubbornly restricted access to people with much to offer.  and then, adulthood.  circles still exist.  you step lightly.  everywhere.

a closed circle.

in our work, in our communities, in our world.  are we aware of them, these closed circles?  do we make an effort to be inclusive, to offer our hand, to embrace the outsider and bring him or her inside?

or are we like those children in the early arc of learning, gathered around the tetherball court or the four-square game or the hopscotch drawn on the asphalt?  do we point out the differences?  do we turn deaf ears to ideas that are not ours? do we refuse to play together, work together, listen and learn together?  do we act like others – somehow in some way unlike us – do not belong in our club, do not merit our friendship, are round pegs in our square-holed world?  are we closed circles?  have we not left the elementary school playground?

read DAVID’S thoughts this FLAWED WEDNESDAY

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“you are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” [merely-a-thought monday]

dream

i found a note the other day, tucked inside a book.  it was a jotting-down-of-a-memory and was a quote from The Boy.  he was five and he said, “look at how i can snap (my fingers).  at 5 years old!!  i could become a snap teacher and teach everyone how to snap!”  never too young to dream.

jen is zealous.  she is reallyyyy zealous.  i don’t think i have known anyone who is as zealous a learner as jen.  it is invigorating and inspiring to be around someone who embraces all she does not know with questions and a hope for understanding, as opposed to resistance or suspicion.  she actively seeks out ways to learn the new, the unknown, wholeheartedly jumping in and swimming.  she knows that vitality comes with opening yourself to new things.

pantene recently ran a new video series.  it’s referencing the holidays and in it transgender people talk about what it’s like to go home.  it’s breathtakingly sad the number of LGBTQ women and men who are not welcomed at home because someone cannot learn, ask questions, try to understand.  instead, resistance and suspicion and a whole lot of judgement fiercely reign and the dream of being all together celebrating is devastatingly dashed.  squelching another’s dreams is not the ultimate job of our job as humankind.

yesterday i conducted a christmas cantata.  ahead of time, i had, for hours and hours on end, researched songs to find the pieces i felt would resonate with people, the pieces that would be generously bestowing of spirit and not off-putting.  i looked for the language i thought would tug at their hearts and remind them of the light, the miracle of the season.  when one song didn’t quite fit for me after i had chosen it, i wrote a new one.   they were labeled ‘contemporary’ songs, with melodies, rhythm, chords, years of copyright differing from the hymns in the hymnals.  over thirty people participated:  a choir, a ukulele band, a worship band, a violinist, a violist.  the result was truly beautiful, the message clear and the music gorgeous.  our little church – a church that proudly purports to be reconciling and all-embracing – had moments truly holy in that service.

h is 93.  every week at rehearsal he is ready and willing to learn something.  he is steeped in traditional – after all, he is 93, his year of copyright long ago.  and yet, those new melodies, harmony, challenging rhythms he has learned to sing have brought a freshness of life to him.  never too old to dream.  he knows that vitality comes with opening yourself to new things.

but back to yesterday.  i remain unfulfilled in one way.  because the sad part about yesterday?  all the work and time that these dedicated volunteers had put into this cantata – with my careful choices based on over thirty years as a minister of music – was not seen by the first service folks.  the word ‘contemporary’ made it unfathomable for that service to host without complaint, relegating it only to the second service.  the spirit of camaraderie, the support of the efforts of others in their own church, the truly beautiful music that was made was lost on this first service.  i try to understand their dedication to traditional music, to choice, and i heartedly honor it in selecting music for every other week of the church year.  but i fail to understand their unwillingness to even try to embrace something else, something ‘new’.  i fail to understand any reinforcement of ‘different’, of divisiveness. especially as simply one day and a festive community celebration of the holiday.  especially when churches are constantly looking for relevancy and vitality is one of the necessary ingredients.  they do not know what they missed.  closing off.  what they are missing.

jen and h would like each other.  they both openly embrace new.  they both openly embrace others.  they both dream dreams, happily engaging in life, snapping.  what a gift to be around.

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

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flax brownie bites and no h8. [not-so-flawed wednesday]

hate has no home here

hunter doesn’t look surprised when we walk into greens and grains in egg harbor.   it’s really his fault.  he showed us flax chocolate brownie muffins.  we bought them.  we ate them.  we are now addicted to them.  yes, we blame hunter.  in all good ways.

truth is, though, we love the feel of the store as well.  a natural food store and healthy alternative grocery and cafe, the signs you can see on the windows tell a story about its purity.

hate has no home here and NO H8 both align with our thinking, just as the flax brownie bites align with us.  we will always choose a shop, a business, an organization, a community that is embracing over one that is not.  i wrack my brain and my heart for reasons shops, businesses, organizations, communities, and, yes, governments, are not embracing, not inclusive, not compassionate earth-dwellers.

abiding in hate-filled rhetoric, prejudicial about anything and everything, hypocritical in obvious holding-both-ends-of-the-spectrum philosophies, demonstrably unkind, gleefully vengeful, inequitably elitist.  i just ask why?

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

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“go away!” yikes. [two artists tuesday]

go away 1 copy

“GO AWAY” it reads.  the sign on this front door is bracing.  not just a polite “no soliciting” or even a rougher “no trespassing”, “GO AWAY” is kind of frightening.  i don’t really like aggressive people…the kind of people who choose attack-mode first, before anything else.  the kind of people who act like they are “communicating”, but are, indeed, just stoking the fire with toxic non-communicative venom.  yikes.  GO AWAY.

reading the news app on our phones each morning makes us think the words “GO AWAY” every day.  certain folks, bullying and disrespectful, on all sides of the aisle, rungs of the ladder and regardless of their political leanings, need to tame their thinking and rhetoric.  it’s bracing.  yikes.  GO AWAY.

the person revving their engine in the car behind you.  they weave back and forth from one side of the lane to the other, flashing lights, putting their car into neutral, revving once again…all while you search for a place to safely pull over so that they might pass, despite the passing-zone you are driving in.  their angry behavior is bracing.  yikes.  GO AWAY.

the problem with all of this is that making someone GO AWAY doesn’t really make them go away.  it just nullifies the problem for a moment or two.  it doesn’t render them less aggressive; it doesn’t enlighten them.  it just makes you THINK they are gone.  unless you hold the whole world in a restraining-order-pose, you will have to deal with aggressive people and their aggression.  there must be a common place we can all share.

maybe we don’t really need signs that say “GO AWAY”.  maybe we need signs that say “COME IN.  LET’S TALK.”

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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you can’t judge a book… [not-so-flawed wednesday]

HalloweenTree

this tree.  gnarly and twisted and wrinkly. it looks a little halloween-esque at dusk and could be downright scary in the dark of night.  it’s seen so much life, so many decades and its lifeblood travels throughout the healthy tree, bringing and sharing nutrients.  home to insects and small creatures, it provides shade for the vegetation beneath it.  it’s not just an old tree and it’s not the picture of what we think of when we think of a beautiful tree.  but it is.  beautiful.  you just can’t judge a book by its cover.  my sweet momma always said that.

momma would look in the mirror and talk about the wrinkles on her face and how “old” she looked.  in her wheelchair she could appear to be meek, wrestling with difficulties and just an old woman.  but that was so not so.  she had seen much life.  she was home to my dad, me and my sister and brother, our families, extended members as it fanned out the branches of our family tree, her friends.  she provided warm words and kindnesses to all around her, strangers among them.  she was beautiful.  every last gorgeous wrinkle.  you just can’t judge a book by its cover.

we had a black lab years ago, one of a few in our family history, when The Girl and The Boy were little. his name was hughie and he had at least 47 allergies.  he was treated for many of these and we tried to address the auto-immune disease he had as well, but he lost most of the hair on his body.  he looked gnarly and rough and wrinkled.  as a lab with little hair, he looked scary to those who did not know him.  he struggled and, even in his discomfort, was gentle and sweet, a learning for The Girl and The Boy, who were his and, despite his outward appearance, knew what was inside.  he was not the picture of what we think of when we think of a beautiful dog.  but he was.  beautiful.  you just can’t judge a book by its cover.

inside.  beautiful.  how hard is it to always remember that?  you just can’t judge a book by its cover.

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

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prayer of opposites. [d.r. thursday]

PrayerOfOpposites10.17 copy 2

the first time i joined hands with david and prayed, i cried.  truth be told, we both cried.  it was a powerful moment…one i will never forget.  there is something deeply grounding about prayer with another person.  it is forging, like iron in a hot smelter, clay in a  kiln…seeking the solid base, making something stronger.

this painting, prayer of opposites, reminds me of that gift – the exchange, the sharing of peace and words of comfort, words of gratitude, beseeching words – with another.  the passing of that spiritual energy one to another.

were we to pray with opposites, would we not ultimately be drawn closer?

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to view the original painting PRAYER OF OPPOSITES please click here or on gallery link above

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the doorway in [dr thursday]

the doorway in SQ PILLOW copy

www.kerrianddavid.com/the-melange

david’s painting SHARED FATHERHOOD makes me weep.  it is a powerful painting of two fathers tenderly and humbly holding their baby.  it is love in a pure form.  it makes me think of my son, The Boy.  i can see him in this painting and the possibility of him choosing one day to share fatherhood.

SharedFatherhood.10.17 copy 2

SHARED FATHERHOOD, mixed media 39.5″ x 51″

in the very corner of this painting is the morsel i chose for today.  a doorway.  or is it a window?  either way, it struck me as a morsel image, especially in the context of this painting.

the doorway FRAMED ART copyso many figurative doorways/windows, so little time….  is it a doorway into acceptance?  into inclusion?  into openness?  into home?

we sat this morning, over early coffee, and talked about our perception of ourselves.  how we can’t see that we exhibit the very things we tout we aren’t.  or, conversely, how we aren’t (in whole) the things that we tout we are.  how scary is that?  it’s human.  we ponder and perseverate over the things we believe.  and we realize in moments of self-judgement that, yet again, we have a view of ourselves that is perhaps somewhat inconsistent with who we are.  that goes both ways, however.  the times we believe we are not enough, we are incomplete, we don’t measure up – those times are also inconsistent with who we are.the doorway in LEGGINGS copy

the doorway in – to acceptance of where we are, what we have been through, where we are going – to learning more – to growing – to knowing we are held in grace – to forgiveness of others and ourselves – to trying again tomorrow – to home, a place of as much gratitude and peace we can muster and then even more – this is a doorway/window in to shared fatherhood (read:  parenthood) of the world, where each of us is responsible to do our best, bring our best, try our best.

THE DOORWAY IN – DR THURSDAY (DAVID ROBINSON THURSDAY) ON OUR SITE

THE DOORWAY IN PRODUCTS: wall art, throw pillows, beach towels, leggings, cards…

the doorway in TOTE BAG copy

the doorway in BEACH TOWEL copy

the doorway in FLOOR PILLOW copy

the doorway in MUG copy

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SHARED FATHERHOOD & THE DOORWAY IN ©️ 2017 & 2018 david robinson

 


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ks friday

jacketrfthjpeg copywith the advent of ancestry kits and accessible dna testing, we are a society of people with more desire to learn about our individual heritage.  for christmas, The Girl and The Boy each got a dna testing kit from their father.  i’m excited to hear the results of these.  it’s fascinating to me to find out what our roots are; despite some specificity flaws and rounding up (or down) of genetic heredity in the testing and reporting kits i have read about, it is still interesting to know just a little bit more about where we come from.

my sweet momma and poppo traveled to salt lake city to work on the genealogy of our family.  they spent hours in the library there, researching.  they would have loved the idea of simply submitting dna to find out a broad spectrum of heredity, of lineage, but i suspect they still would have traveled to work on this the old-fashioned way, looking for names of family and how the branches of the tree spread out.

without doubt you have seen the commercials for these tests.  my favorites are the ones where people find that they were either mistaken about their ethnic heritage or they found that there were some surprises.  the best part is that – and i know it’s a commercial, but hey, i’m gullible – they embrace learning about this new part of their identity they had no idea existed.  they embrace something different.   they want to celebrate ethnicities they knew nothing about.  why not celebrate these whether or not it is a part of our heritage?  maybe we can make the legacy we pass down one of inclusion and acceptance and a curiosity to learn and welcome others, whether or not their dna matches ours.

 

to download LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART track 12 – on iTunes

to download LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART track 12 – on CDBaby.com

to purchase the physical CD RELEASED FROM THE HEART

and if you’d like to browse KS DESIGNS on SOCIETY6.com:

LEGGINGS

THROW PILLOWS

WALL ART

TOTE BAGS, CARDS, HOME DECOR

 

KS FRIDAY (KERRI SHERWOOD FRIDAY) – ON OUR SITE

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LEGACY from RELEASED FROM THE HEART ©️ 1995 kerri sherwood