I thought it was about time that I check in with all of you. It has been a rough couple of weeks for several people that I care very much about, and while I myself am doing OK, seeing people that I love and care about so much in pain has been very difficult.
It began with the passing of my dear friend Ellen’s brother. Ellen is my friend Bernie’s wife and I consider them my Canadian parents. From the moment I met them, they have taken me under their wing and have been with me through many difficult times in my life and have shown me love and caring and made me one of their family. I have been through many ups and downs in the past several years and one thing I knew even on the worst of days was that they would be there for me for anything that I needed. We have spent just about every holiday together in the last nine years since I came here to Canada, and although most of them I haven’t been able to spend with my own children, I have always had them there. They let me know that the word ‘family’ goes way beyond blood lines. It was hard to see someone I loved so much in pain.
Another thing that I found out was that an artist friend of mine that I met through a wonderful painting site lost her entire home to a fire last Monday. Over the past two years, we (her painting friends) have witnessed the huge amount of love and work that she and her husband had put into renovating a beautiful house in Cape Cod. She had painted amazing wall murals, created an incredible studio to work from, and restored and displayed many family treasures that were irreplaceable.
The fire hit in the wee hours of the night, and fortunately she was in the studio awake with her dog (she is a night owl and works at night, and her husband was away at work also) and was able to get out in time with only the dog and her phone to call the fire department. Her house was completely destroyed including every piece of clothing, and everything she owned and she had little that was able to be salvaged. While we are all grateful that she is unharmed, she is devastated and it will be nearly a year until she can even think of returning there. I had never ‘known’ anyone who had lost everything so quickly like this, and seeing her struggle to cope and rebuild is difficult. But seeing the support and outpouring from her friends – both those who she has met in person, and those she has not – has been a beacon of light and has shown the good in people. It shows me that even in this messed up and troubled state that the world is in, there are so many kind and good people who care about others, no matter how many miles are between them. I know my friend will recover from this painful and terrible event and in the end be even stronger. But watching her struggles still hurts. I wish I could do more to help.
And finally, our own little family here is going through some struggles ourselves. Keith’s dad has been fighting cancer for over a year and he has had some very rough times. I am not going to detail anything here because I don’t feel that it is appropriate to do so, but it has consumed my of my thinking these past weeks, and it is nothing I want to really discuss. Some things are best kept private.
I have known Keith for about four and a half years now. We met at a very troubled time in my life and we immediately became friends. Because of the troubles I was having, I was afraid that some people would look down on me, but Keith’s mom and dad accepted me from the first day they met me. As they got to know me, they looked through the difficulties and bad decisions that I had made in my life and have always made me feel cared for and loved and like one of the family. Even at our first Christmas together, Keith’s mom – who always gave each of the family members a stocking filled with goodies – had one there for me. Each stocking had the name embroidered on it, and I was surprised to see that she had made one for me so I fit in. It made me feel accepted and loved and like one of the family.
I love Keith’s family very much. They are small, but very close-knit and they are always there for each other. His mom and dad are wonderfully supportive, kind and we always know that they are there for us if we need them. I have written many times of the wonderful visits and dinners we share with them. We never seem to run out of things to chat about and we find a great deal of pleasure just visiting with them. That is how a family should be. I never wonder why he is the way he is, and why I care so much for him. I just look at his family and the answer is right there.
My heart has been so heavy these past days that I haven’t even wanted to write. I know that many look up to me to be positive and look for the good in things. I am the queen of the pink cloud. But sometimes it is more difficult to find pink clouds among the grey. And some days I am just worn out.
But I miss you all, and I miss hearing from you and about your days. I have spent the last week or so lying low as far as the computer was concerned and just trying to get my own thoughts sorted out. I do think that is necessary, but I also think that being that way is a temporary thing. For me, anyway.
In the midst of all of this, I have been working on some new designs. They have been slow-going, but they are progressing and I hope to have something good to show you all by tomorrow.
I have found that creating has helped make me feel better. I get so many beautiful notes and letters from customers who appreciate my designs and show me how they use them or tell me stories of how the recipients of things designed by me enjoy them and it makes me very happy. You all know that I love what I do and if I am able to do something that not only sustains my living, but also brings a bit of joy to others, than I am one fortunate lady. There are so many things in my life I am grateful for.
I am going to spend the day today working on my new patterns. I figure that I will ease myself back into daily blogging as time and creativity permits. I have many ideas that I want to implement and I think that working on them and creating something that will hopefully bring joy and smiles to others will bring me back to a good place.
There are pink clouds ahead. It is just some days that we have to look a bit harder to find them. Even in art, you need the dark colors to contrast with the light colors to make things more beautiful and interesting. I find that going through some dark times truly makes me appreciate the light days in my life even more. You just need to be patient.
We all walk in the dark and each of us must learn to turn on his or her own light. – Earl Nightingale
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"