The Journey . . . so far

A life-changing phase of our journey together began on September 28th 1999 and continues to this day. Following is the story as it has unfolded—life, love and relationship—beginning with the most recent works first. You can find all of our collected works at our site called Uncommon Promise which includes everything described below.

Tours – Secret Itineraries  2o16

We love to explore!

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Civita di Bagnoregio – Italia

Always up for an adventure, we are easily sidetracked as we veer down the roads less traveled, or wander along the hidden passageways of life. If it’s secret, and relatively unknown—count us in! The Tuscan and California back-roads are where we mostly hang out, but you’ll also find us popping up further afield in Europe, the United States, and who knows where else around the world. We enjoy the process of searching out the “little known” so much, that we wanted to share those one-of-a-kind gems with fellow travelers—those easily drawn into secret adventures. If you are one of those people, then you have come to the right place. You can find our Tours at, and maybe you would even enjoy creating a few of your own and making some money as well.

Time to Partner (the digital book) 2013

Relationship changed through dreams, intuition, trust and courage

our digital book

our digital book

Our book about the first 4 years of our partnered journey is now available in a digital format. Because the original book was made by hand and limited to 27 copies, there weren’t enough to go around—duh. Now, technology gives us a way to deliver it instantly. Very cool! Since the book is completely interactive, including stories, music, videos, photo galleries, drawings and more, the digital form is only available on the iPad. For those who don’t have an iPad and would like to read a non-interactive version, it’s also available in a scrolling format (see below). We released the digital book on our 40th wedding anniversary, and decided to offer it at no cost as our gift to you. We invite you to join us on our adventure by simply clicking, or following the directions below.

1. iBook – delivered instantly to your iPad. The original book was updated in 2012, with new videos, music and audio clips, reflecting back on the events a decade after the book was hand-made. You can watch the trailer for the book with one click. You can also go directly to the book by clicking here on “Time to Partner.” Or, if you prefer, you can simply go to the iTunes Bookstore and search for “Time to Partner,” or “Martlage,” if you want a bit more of an adventure.

2. TTP Scroll – completely dedicated to the book (this was the earlier digital version that preceded the iPad format.

3. Never Sleep CD  or – original music to accompany the story

Under the Tuscan Thumb – 2010-Present

Sixteen years of trying to live in Italy as “true Italians”



This blog is an ongoing conversation about the experience of living in Italy that we call “Under the Tuscan Thumb.” Join us on our escapades and travels in search of enlightenment and delight-enment in the midst of one of the most tradition and bureaucracy-bound cultures in the world—beautiful Italia. This tapestry of ongoing narrative is rich in history, humor, insight and surprises. Even though the original site still exists, all stories are integrated into the complete and ongoing works – Uncommon Promise.

The Up Side Low Down – 2010-2012

Musings on Life

Stories like Flowers on the Balcony

A lighthearted romp through life on this journey—as seen through the uniquely creative eyes of Cheryl. Diverse and amusing topics are explored as side-notes to the ongoing partnered journey. A new story was written weekly, as life took its twists and turns. The style is almost as if written by a third party—an observer traveling alongside us. The blog promises to be both informative and humorous!

Note: We have decided to momentarily pause on writing new stories in this blog, while we focus our energies on writing the Italian blog – “Under the Tuscan Thumb.” However, all of the past stories will still be available for easy access on our latest site called Uncommon Promise.


Acoustic Guitar Music

All music from 1999 to the present. In the spirit of ongoing creative expression, we’ve committed to continue offering our music as an additional way of sharing ideas and feelings. When inspiration arises, we will leave a musical bread-crumb trail for anyone interested in following along. The music, lyrics and stories continue to reflect what is happening in our everyday lives, touching on themes of family, relationship, and challenge as we travel this road—trying to “wake up” to be truer, more aware people. The entire collection of CDs, stories and drawings can be found at our website – Cheryl and Emerson Music. In addition, an even more complete collection of all works including videos, blogs, and more can be found at our sit called Uncommon Promise.

Videos – 2009-Present

Sample of YouTube Videos

Video is the perfect format to expand the creative palate. Whenever it seems right or we stumble upon inspiration, we launch into movie-making mode and have great fun doing it. We use videos for the following expressions: Music (to illustrate a song); Behind the Scenes views into the songwriting processes; Delivering special messages, like announcing an upcoming retreat or event; Documenting a unique Italian or American Moment.

All videos are also available on YouTube under Uncommonpromise.

Uncommon Promise The Musical Story 1999-2009

Together. Sharing music and story

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 5.45.56 PMOur original web-site, was interactive, allowing you to search keywords to locate just the right story, lyrics or music depending on your particular interests or mood at any given time. This collection is now complete as of 2011, and will remain as an historical compilation of the early years of our journey together. However, the complete musical story from 1999 to the present can be found on our new site by the same name called Uncommon Promise. Our entire body of work can be found there!

Art GalleryOriginal Pencil Drawings  from 2000-2009

Drawing from the Song and Story “Wake-up Call”

This complete set of 138 original pencil drawings was composed and created in our home studio to illustrate the themes of our journey as told in our original site called: Uncommon Promise – The Musical Story. However, at our new site Uncommon Promise, you can still view each drawing in the context of the story and music, or simply go to the Art Gallery to see them all with their associated titles and descriptions. Prints are also available upon request.

In Touch In Tuscany June 2011

Inspiring the Inner Journey

In Touch with Inspiration

In order to continue the process of our inner journeys, and to offer venues for others to explore their own awakenings, we offered a retreat in Tuscany to inspire the best in all of us and to provoke reflection. That first event was in the summer of 2011, presented by Dr. R. Scott Colglazier entitled “Rediscovering the Fire of Everyday Life.” It was a wonderful experience, and can be revisited through the above link. At this time, additional retreats will always remain as a possibility, but will not be a part of our ongoing work.

Time To Partner – the original handmade book, 1999-2003

Relationship changed through dreams, intuition, trust and courage.

Time to Partner – the original book and music

Our first book (as referenced above), was a notation of the initial four years of our journey in story, music and art. The book emerged from an original version, which was written in scrapbook fashion while on an extended, isolated sabbatical in Spain. We then hand-made a limited edition of 27 hardbound copies (with the help of our dear friend Zia), and gave them to special people who had influenced our awakening in those early days. If you would like to read that limited edition, all you have to do is find one of those original 27 recipients, and get them to loan it to you! Good luck with that.

Art Conservation and Architecture – 1998

Inspired by the Italian Renaissance and Spain’s Antonì Gaudì

Florence Italy

Our journey began with surrender. We decided to leave our jobs and embark on a spirited life, as seekers to find out who we really are, both individually and as partners. First, we each went on a solitary adventure: Cheryl to SACI (Studio Art Centers International) in Florence to study Art Conservation, and Emerson to Barcelona to rediscover lost creativity, by reacquainting himself with the inspiring works of the architect, Antoni Gaudí. We emerged from those experiences fully engaged, and in pursuit of our individual passions, yet still supporting each other as we each explored. The one thing common to both of our dreams was Europe! We decided to somehow find a way to live there at least half of the year. Those early days were full of excitement and adventure as together, we pursued the craft of conserving works of art, and co-developed an outrageous proposal to finish one of Gaudí’s most famous unfinished works: the Colonia Güell Chapel near Barcelona.

Barcelona Spain Colonia Güell Crypt

In those early days, we created a new way of working together, forging a relationship strong enough to handle all that was to come. Little did we know, that as we pursued those initial passions, we were actually planting the seeds of creativity and cooperation that would unfold in surprising and profound ways—bringing us even closer together as co-creative partners. What we didn’t understand, was that we had innocently begun a process that would literally take decades! Those days were merely the sketchy beginnings of our ride of a lifetime.

And so the story continues!


We hope you have a chance to visit some of our sites and join us on this co-creative journey—sparking your own powerful imaginings that can further inspire your life. Come on in and stay as long as you like—enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea. Let’s just talk awhile!

Cheryl and Emerson

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