My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #317: An Unexpected Post

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 04-22-2011 01:10 PM 4155 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 316: Sharing Through Teaching Part 317 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 318: New Project Finished »

I awoke this morning to my daily email delivery of the New York Times and the headline read ”Nation’s Mood at Lowest Level in Two Years, Poll Shows”

I get the paper delivered to me each day in order to kind of keep up on things that are happening in the world. The Times (I feel) has a good range of both national and world articles and does a good job in keeping me updated with what is happening. I also get the Chicago Tribune sent to me, which arrives around lunch. Unlike the Times, the Tribune has more local stories about things happening in the Chicago area. I like that too because it keep me close to my roots in Chicago. When reading it, I feel like I am still connected to a place that I grew up. Somehow I find comfort in that.

As you may or may not remember, I do not have regular television. I realized that in this day and age that is practically unheard of, but it is true. We do own a 50 inch screen, but it is networked with our computers and when we do watch, we spend most of our time watching instructional DVD’s or older series of shows or movies and what is available via the computer. I haven’t seen a commercial in over two years here at home. I don’t think that is a bad thing at all.

While on my recent adventure, many nights were spent in various hotel rooms. I can honestly say that the only time the TV was even turned on was one night in the first room in Saratoga Springs. I don’t even know which show was on and couldn’t tell you if someone had a gun to my head, but I suppose that it just goes to show how little importance it is to me. The most we watched anything was at my son’s house one night we sat in on a couple of shows from The Food Network. I like cooking shows and I do sometime miss that. But not really enough to subscribe.

So why am I off on this tangent, you may ask?

I suppose reading that headline made me realize something. Many times I am asked how I stay so upbeat and positive all the time. For you who read regularly, you know that I do have my up days and my down days, but I try to stay focused on the positive and good aspects of life and look at it from what I refer to as my “pink cloud world”. Even pink clouds get dark some days though. And it is my own responsibility to pull myself back up again.

I have a wonderful friend who taught me that we follow where we focus. It is a simple statement to me and makes a lot of sense. For myself (and I am only talking of myself) I choose not to bombard myself with and focus on the negative things and people around me. I find that if I look for the positive things in people and life, there is certainly enough good happening around me to fill up the day. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for the negative things.

That doesn’t mean that I have no compassion for what others are going through – I think it is quite the opposite. But I feel that in some very small way I do help people by being positive and introducing positive things for them to focus on. It may seem trivial to some, but I find that people in general are looking for happiness and hope and migrate to positive things. And that is good.

In reading down the list of my emails further this morning, I saw an email from an old friend that I have not spoken to in over a year. He lives near Digby where I used to live and he had several major tragedies in his life in the past several years. When I lived closer, he and his wife and I had become good friends. At the time, I was going through some difficult times myself and they were both there through the worst of it with me. I was alone then and they had each other and together they supported me with their kindness and friendship. As things got better for me, I in turn did my best to support them and help them as friends. That is what true friendship is.

With me moving, it has been difficult for me to keep in touch with them. They don’t have a phone which makes it very hard. The busy-ness of all our lives has caused us to lose touch.

But this email today, sitting right under the above headline from the Tiimes, was like a gift. My friend said that they had gone through hell, but now things were getting better. The letter told of their plight, and I was proud of them both for what they had overcome.

And then the final paragraph. It made me stop and really think about things and my life in general. Below is an excerpt from what was written:

I really hope you never, ever have any crap chase you
into your future because you have inspired me where no other
person ever has. You are the reason I set out, without fear, into
the market once again. You continued to forge ahead with the
world’s weight upon your shoulders ,nothing truly stopped
you and it is that persistent desire to succeed facing the worst the
world had to offer that motivates me now.

I am at a loss for words which can describe how I feel after reading these words. During my own difficult times, I only did what I could to survive. No more and no less. I couldn’t, however, have made it without friends like them and others who have helped me. I know that in my heart.

So why am I telling you this?

It isn’t to pat myself on the back and say “look what I did!” Please be assured of that. It is to ask you to look into yourself and understand how much each and every one of us affects the people around us. We do it without even realizing it. Through our actions. Through our creativity. Through our teaching. And of course, through our woodworking. We never know when others will look upon us as an example.

I had a different post that I was going to write today. But that can wait until tomorrow. I felt – especially after reading the headline in the New York Times, that this was more important. We all unknowingly touch so many lives throughout our day. There are people around us who are going through who knows what. Sometimes even just a smile or a small act of courtesy or kindness can go a long way to heal our wounded world. I hope you all think about that and remember it. You don’t know how many people you can potentially help.

Have a wonderful day!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

9 comments so far

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3974 days

#1 posted 04-22-2011 02:09 PM

Nicely written, Sheila.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Verna's profile


202 posts in 2768 days

#2 posted 04-22-2011 02:14 PM

Ahhh, you definitely have a wonderful way with words, Sheila.

Something else to think about…...during the rough parts of my life, it seems those were the times I forgot how to laugh. When I relearned how to laugh, every day was a brighter day.

-- Verna -- Indianapolis, IN

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2914 days

#3 posted 04-22-2011 02:18 PM

You are so right, Verna! Thus, the little silly bunny and chick stickers on my saw. Smiling and making others smile is as they say “priceless”! :D


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View huntter2022's profile


275 posts in 2610 days

#4 posted 04-22-2011 02:58 PM

I believe Shelia should be called Smiles for a long time . Ever picture I have seen of her she is smiling but after meeting her I seen her without a smile but it was at the show after a long day , and when I caught her eating cookies with the camera . hehehehaha
But even though she was tired she had a outstanding attitude
Great job on the writing you have hit the nail on the head

-- David ; "BE SAFE BE HAPPY" Brockport , NY

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3030 days

#5 posted 04-22-2011 06:17 PM

We all have our own highs and lows. I didn’t know a nation could have a mood though. Hope I’m not around when it gets petulant. Its all a state of mind (pun intended).

On a more serious note though. I think woodwork and making things (being creative) in general will invariably lift my mood.

Some seasonal advice, always look on the bright side of life (closing scene, Life of Brian, Monty Python)

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View mtnwild's profile


3474 posts in 3521 days

#6 posted 04-22-2011 06:57 PM


-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3109 days

#7 posted 04-22-2011 08:09 PM

Niiiice, like your new avatar Sheila :-)


View William's profile


9949 posts in 2836 days

#8 posted 04-23-2011 03:40 AM

I went through today’s blog posts and was wondering why you had not posted today. I know certain people’s posts be their profile photo. Yours is one of those that I know. Then you change the profile photo. I think everyone is messing with me today. You changed your profile photo and Steve Goode got himself an Ex-21 too. Everyone is getting the saw I’ve been calling my dream saw for a long time, except me.
Anyway, have you considered that your lack of commercials and regular television may contribute to your good mood? I, like you, catch my shows online. I do keep up with the local, national, and global news though. Times are tough all over. You know what I’ve learned over the years though? Things are always tough all over. I think this “mood” you’re referring too is caused a lot by today’s instant access to everything everywhere. In my opinion it ways to heavily on people that they forget what my grandfather taught me, one day at a time.
I try to stay as upbeat as I can. When I feel down though, I have a double frame that lifts me up. In one side of the frame is a mirror. The other side has these words:
When you get all you want and you struggle for self,
and the world makes you king for a day,
then go to the mirror and look at yourself
and see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your mother, your father or wife
whose judgment upon you must pass,
but the man, whose verdict counts most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please,
never mind all the rest.
For he’s with you right to the end,
and you’ve passed your most difficult test
if the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,
And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum
If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You can fool the whole world,
down the highway of years,
and take pats on the back as you pass.
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.


View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9228 posts in 2914 days

#9 posted 04-23-2011 12:53 PM

Thank you, as always for your thoughts, everyone.

Martyn – You are funny! I forgot about that movie! Did I ever mention that I have the complete series of Monty Python on DVD? They had it at Sam’s Club in the States and one year I indulged. Sheer silliness. Just what you need some days. I remember watching it on Sunday nights on PBS with the sound turned almost all the way down in my room when I was supposed to be already sleeping because school was the next day. Thanks for reminding me. :)

Dave – I thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was busy, but it was great to meet everyone! Nice to get out in the world for a bit!

Dennis – Yep – it was time to update the avitar!

And William – Thanks for the insightful poem. I truly hope you do get an Excalibur one day. I can only imagine the wonderful things you will make with it! :)

Sheila :)

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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