The older I get, the more I seem to enjoy the concept of 'familiarity'.
I will follow up that sentence with stating that I do NOT feel "that old". (Really!) I think that lately, though, the things that have come up unexpectedly have not exactly been things that I consider as 'pleasant'. I know that has nothing whatsoever to do with age, but for some reason, these days I don't feel quite as resilient as I have in the past. Is this due to circumstances? Or is it something that changes with time? Perhaps our life's experiences just seem to pile up on us as we age and because we have more memories to look back on, we tend to remember the most traumatic ones for the longest amount of time. I am not sure.
Can you tell I have been 'thinking' a lot? Maybe too much, I fear . . .
The concept of 'normal' is as different as each person who is asked to describe it. We all have our own version of what 'normal' is, and it changes daily. It changes as the things in our life change – like an ever-moving kaleidoscope. That is part of living.
But large changes usually occur over time and with some warning. We plan. We implement. We ready ourselves for growth and change. To me, this is part of the concept of normal and I think I handle it very well. After all, without growth, we would become bored and stagnant. No one in their mind would want that.
For myself, it is the huge, sudden changes that rock me to my core. These events often feel as if someone throws a bucket of ice water over our heads. (Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge not too long ago?) We feel stunned and uncomfortable and our daily routines are disrupted for quite a while in the wake of them.
While I know they are part of life and living, I realize that they are part of life's process. They need to be acknowledged, respected and even embraced if we are to live our lives to the fullest. We need 'highs' and 'lows' so we can feel the difference between them. More often than not, they are learning experiences and if we are lucky, we come out of some of our deepest tragedies with a better sense of understanding. And that is a good thing, right?
Last night I noticed that some of the small disrupted steps in my daily routine were gradually falling back into place. I blogged again. That was a good thing and something that I consciously did for myself. Later on, when I went to bed, Richard came upstairs with me as he had done before we lost Pancakes. He hadn't really been doing so since Pancakes died. Part of this was because he has been ill and part, I feel, was because he didn't understand that Pancakes was gone. He would come up into my bedroom and then he would circle around the room crying. He looked into the closet, under the bed and dresser and into the adjacent bathroom. I knew he was looking for Pancakes, as Pancakes used to be up there at night as well.
When he came up last night and began this ritual, I talked to him gently and told him "No more Pancakes". Our one vet had told us that we need to keep 'discussing' that Pancakes is gone, no matter how difficult it was. He said that cats really do understand and they need to be comforted as we do. I continued this discussion while he looked in the usual places. When he was done, he stopped in the middle of the floor, looked at me, and then came up onto the bed and snuggled in my arms. I told him over and over "It is going to be OK." as I petted him gently. He settled down.
A while later (as per our 'usual' routine) he jumped up and went downstairs. A few minutes later I heard him coming back upstairs, "meowing" as if he had something in his mouth. He jumped on the bed and presented me with the Little Pusheen knit toy that I keep on my desk.
I knew that things were getting back to 'normal' for him, too. This was something he had done nearly every day since the toy was given to me this summer, and hasn't done since Pancakes died. It was greatly comforting for me to know that Richard was healing, too.
I don't mean to drone on about things, but it will always amaze me at how our emotions can have such a strong influence on how we perceive each day of our lives. With all other factors being equal, it seems our emotions can easily dictate whether we have a 'good day' or a 'bad day'. By recognizing this and making an active effort to remain positive, I truly believe that our lives will be positive as well. While I realize that this can't always be the case (as those days and weeks after losing my beloved kitty) I do realize that allowing myself to experience the grief and respect that as part of the process helped me cope with the loss and move on. This didn't happen overnight, but as the word 'process' indicates, occurs over time. I don't think I will ever 'get over' my loss, but the degree of sadness I feel will not always be so high. It will eventually be replaced by the fond memories and good parts of having my little friend in my life. I will heal and remember him with joy and be grateful for our time together.
With that said, I am once again finding my 'creative self'' and getting back to doing positive things each day. I can't tell you how wonderful that feels!
I wanted to show another new pattern that Keith created. I had forgotten to mention it when I showed all the new things on our site in yesterday's post. This is a plaque that is part of Keith's Self-Framing Leaf Bordered wildlife series.
It is a head shot of an elk and the pattern is available on the site here: SLDK243 I like the close-up head shot and I have encouraged Keith to create more patterns like this.
As for myself, I have been doing some 'relaxing' painting in between mailing packages and doing all the computer work for the update. For me, 'relaxing' usually entails creating something designed by someone else. I find comfort in having someone else tell me what to do for a change. (Even if I veer off and add my own touches!)
I decided to paint this lovely "Beeutiful Beehive Trio" pattern by Lynne Andrews:
I had sent Lynne some of the small beehive ornament surfaces that I designed (SLDPK132 - Beehive Bevel-Cut Ornaments) and this is what she came up with. Aren't they wonderful? I LOVE working with other designers and I have some really special projects planned in the near future with Lynne! She is not only talented but also a kind, funny and wonderful person. Wait until you see what we came up with!
I used these pretty gold metal bee charms to accent the bottoms of the hives:
They really make them look amazing and special. I have my set hanging on my message board next to my desk here in my studio and they will find their place on my little 'all season' tree this spring. It was the perfect project to make during this snowstorm we had over the weekend.
Finally, I wanted to share a photo of my little bunny ornaments that I showed in yesterday's post that my friend Gloria Steck painted.
Gloria decided to paint the bunnies on these lovely heart-shaped candle holders. These will be fabulous for spring and even Easter! I can imagine that you can paint the background in some pretty pastel colors to match your mood to make them more 'springlike'. They really are lovely this way and I love seeing others enjoy my patterns.
Well, that is all for today. It appears I have another longer-than-normal post today. I suppose I have lots of thoughts to catch up with from the past month. Thanks for reading.
I wish you all a wonderful Tuesday. :)
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"