Yesterday was a rather dull and dreary day. I know it is part of spring, and that we need rain in order for our world to function, but I found myself feeling 'blah' nonetheless. I am certain that another factor to my somber mood was seeing the three Mounties from nearby New Brunswick were being laid to rest. It was a violent week in both Canada and the United States and it was hard not to feel pretty down about the state of our world. I will never understand the senseless violence that occurs in our world. It is as simple as that.
I spent the day focusing on creating the pattern that I showed you all yesterday. I needed to scan in into my computer so I could re-draw the painted design for the pattern. I like all of my patterns to be done in vector graphics – including my painting patterns, as I find it easiest to adjust and re-size them. Besides, by scanning and tracing things after I complete the design, I am assured that my pattern packet matches the sample exactly. I have heard some painters complain when this isn't the case (with other patterns, not mine) so I am sure to make things match up perfectly.
I hope to finish up the pattern today. I have the written part to complete, as well as take some additional photos. I like to err on having too much information on my patterns, as I feel that I want it to be there for those who may be newer and need it. This has become a habit of mine and I believe my customers have come to expect it from me. I think it is the best way to do things as well. I hope it encourages more people to try some new things.
In any case, I was feeling rather down yesterday when I received a wonderful surprise in the mail that really cheered me up.
This spring, I was involved in an exchange from one of the groups I belong to on Facebook called Tole Painters Unite. This is a great group of very talented painters that really inspires me and has ignited my interest in painting again. I joined last year, and since then I have met and befriended many other talented women that not only paint, but also do all kinds of creating such as woodworking and even sewing. Like me, they feel that there are many ways to be creative and while the main focus is on painting, it is a joy to see all the other ways they are creative as well.
The exchange was actually for Easter, and by chance I received a partner that didn't hold up her end. I had sent my gift to her in March, and I had never received either acknowledgment or a gift in return. At first I was concerned that something happened to her – perhaps she was ill or something like that – but I had seen her post on Facebook since and it rather bothered me that she didn't answer my inquiries or even acknowledge receipt of my gift.
I realize that some people are like that, and while I didn't allow it to get me down too much, it still bugged me on my low days. It was more the principle of things than anything, and I felt rather cross as I saw all the other girls showing off their treasures that they received from the exchange as I got 'skunked'. But I didn't focus on the negative (much!) and I put it into perspective and in the big picture of our lives it wasn't really important.
After the event was over, the organizers put a call out as to who still didn't get their exchange. I did take the opportunity to report in – at that point only for the reason that I didn't want the person to do the same thing to someone else. Since our exchange was Easter themed and it was far past Easter, it was no longer an issue to me. I received notice that someone came in and 'pinch hit' for my negligent partner, and was going to send something for me.
To be honest, I actually forgot about it. So much has been going on and there was just too many other important things to think about. I had put it in the back of my mind.
Then, yesterday when I was feeling a bit low, I received a wonderful package from Sue Mikesell – the girl who 'pinch hit' for my partner. What I received was not only delightful, but cheered me up considerably.
I got this wonderful hand-painted plaque from Sue:
As well as an awesome hand made note card:
She even left the note card blank so that I could use it myself. I really loved both pieces so much and it instantly made me feel so much better about everything.
I know I usually am positive about everything in general with my posts here. I try to look for the good in people as well as in situations and life in general. I try to think that even when bad things happen, there is sometimes a lesson or a residual effect that proves to be good that will come of it. Sometimes it is evident and easy to see the good things, and other times it simply escapes me no matter how hard I search for it.
We all have things happen to us that aren't pleasant or even downright tragic. We lose our faith in others or worse yet – we lose our faith in ourselves and in mankind in general. It is easy to only see the negative things in life when we have them blasted in our face on a daily basis via news and other media. I think it especially affects those who are caring and kind.
When I briefly am exposed to news channels, when I am away from home, I quickly remember why I don't have regular TV or cable. I think that if I were exposed to the hyped up stories of tragedies every day, it would suck the life and creativity right out of me. In most cases, there is little that I can do on these issues except watch and hurt and be sad for it all. It would really bring me down.
Instead, I try to limit my daily dose of news and tragedies, and do what I can in my own life to make things in this world a little better. I have a friend on Facebook who had the right idea. Her way of dealing with these recent tragedies was to do 'random acts of kindness'. Over the weekend, she bought someone breakfast, brought donuts to those who help others on a daily basis, and did several other things of that nature. Her reports of the reactions of these people were both joyful and uplifting. Her philosophy was that even though she couldn't change what happened, each of us could begin to change our world, one person and one kind act at a time. And by the look on the faces of the recipients, she was right and it was working.
I followed her lead, and I have tried to do a couple of 'unexpected' random acts of kindness. Not only did it feel good to see the result of those small things, but it helped heal my sad heart. It doesn't take much – an extra pattern to someone, a few extra wood pieces, even a kind word of encouragement. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money. But it just needs to be something to soften this hard world we live in and show someone that you care. And it happens one person at a time.
I plan on continuing to do these small random acts of kindness. My goal is to do something each day that is unexpected and unsolicited. While I can't change what already happened in the world, I want to be able to do something – no matter how small – to improve it. If everyone did that, think of how much better things would be.
I want to thank Sue for filling in for my exchange partner. You really made my day with your beautiful gifts. Not only with the physical pieces you sent me, but with your kind heart. It means the world to me.
Have a wonderful Wednesday.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"