My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1403: A Lesson

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 09-15-2014 11:10 AM 1546 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1402: Busy Days are the BEST! Part 1403 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1404: Still Writing Instructions »

Today's blog post may be a little different than what I normally write. A couple of things occurred this weekend that made me think a little (sometimes a dangerous thing!) and I spent some time pondering things and I feel that my conclusions may be worth sharing. 

The first incident occurred on Saturday. I received a hateful, nasty, spiteful letter from someone who was angry at me for not leaving the free patterns up on my site for infinity. Apparently she had found some old links that were no longer good from years ago (you all know how cyber-space is – once it is up there, it is floating around "forever") and she was quite cross with me because I had at some point, removed the free patterns that she wanted. Nothing was mentioned regarding the free patterns that remain, only what I had removed. I was truly astounded because she called me every nasty thing she could think of for not leaving them there for her to enjoy.

The funny thing was that after ripping a strip or two from me, she said that if she happened to be wrong, could I please direct her to the proper link. 

Humm . . . .

It bothered me for a bit, as I truly try to do what I can to help both the woodworking and painting industries. I donate when I can. I send little 'extras' from time to time, and I certainly enjoy taking the time here each morning to give a bit of insight into what it entails to run a small business. I like to think that I share quite a lot. 

I realize that this person must really be unhappy in her life to treat a stranger so unkindly. After my initial shock and hurt wore off, I began to think about it, and tried to figure out what would motivate someone to take the time that she did to attack a perfect stranger in such a manner. Was she sick? Was she mentally ill? For certainly no one in their right mind would be so angry and abusive over not being able to receive something for free. And something old at that. It wasn't as if she just missed the cut. These patterns were from many months or even years ago. Many of them are back on my site to purchase, at our usual modest prices. If it were that important to her and she liked them so much, one would think that she would consider spending a couple of dollars to support me or Keith (I don't know which patterns in particular she was referring to) so that we can continue to live and function and pay our bills and design. After all – this is our living and not a lark for us. 

But instead, she chose to call me hateful names and lash out. I don't think I would be human if it didn't affect me. 

I was glad I was having a good week. 

Another thing happened over the weekend, that also made me think. 

Last spring, I was involved in an ornament exchange. Those of you who read regularly, know that I enjoy receiving hand-crafted pieces from other artists. I always enjoy owning pieces of work that others took the time to make, and they are among my most cherished possessions. 

But this time, in this particular exchange, I had sent my things off according to the set time, and I never heard back from my partner – either about receiving what I sent, or sending what I was to receive from them. For the most part, I didn't think about it. But as I saw the others who participated showcasing their gifts, I felt rather bad.  I tried to contact my partner many times, to no avail. Eventually I did go to the moderator and report that my own gift was not acknowledged, and I had not received one back. I admit, I grumbled a bit about it to friends, as I felt a bit 'duped'. Although I never felt hateful or angry about it – just disappointed. Eventually the moderator had another come in and 'pinch hit' and send me a gift.  And it was lovely. 

But recently, I heard from my original partner from that exchange. Not only did she apologize profusely, but she also insisted that she would send something now. She told me she had been ill for several months, and with all that was going on, by the time she remembered the exchange, she felt ashamed and embarrassed for not fulfilling her part in the exchange. 

It really got me thinking . . .

I have always maintained that people are like icebergs. What we see of others is only a small portion of what they really are. The rest is hidden, and we are only allowed to see the part of them that they choose to let us see. 

When I read the story of my exchange partner's troubles, it made me take a closer look at myself. While I have no control over the actions of others around me, I do have control over mine. 

I could choose to be angry right back at the lady who wrote the nasty letter, or mad at my exchange partner for not letting me know sooner, but I really don't want that to happen. While initially I was upset with my exchange partner, one of my dear friends pointed out to me that something may be amiss that we had no knowledge about. To me, it wasn't about the actual "gift", but it was the principle of the thing to me. The lack of acknowledgement probably hurt the most. But I did realize that my friend was right and while I was never really what one would call "angry", I let go of the hurt feelings I had and truly and honestly felt better about things. Now that my partner has approached me and told me the entire story – I am very happy that I heeded my friends' advice and thought of the situation with a kinder, gentler eye. I think I need to do that more often. 

And then there is the case of this letter. 

It would be very easy to allow it to sink me or to spew nasty words right back to her. But that really isn't me. Conversely, it would be just as easy to take to heart the things she said to me, and allow them to ruin my day. But I choose to do neither. I choose to 'let it go' and hope that the tormented soul who wrote it will one day find peace. For certainly she must be going through some type of trauma or illness or crisis in her life that she is unable to handle. I believe that I am only the convenient recipient of her anger and frustration. 

So I will do nothing. After this post is written, I will try not to think of it again. I did want to share these two incidences with you in hopes that it will encourage you all to think about things before reacting, as I am trying to learn to do. We never know what others are going through – especially strangers. We never know the reasons that others lash out – sometimes for no apparent reason – or hide themselves away. We have no control over others. Only our own reactions to their actions.

We all have our own path to follow. Along the way we meet many people. Some stay in our lives and some just pass through for a brief moment. Each person brings something to our lives. Sometimes it is good. Other times it is unpleasant. How we deal with each of those who cross our path makes up who we are and how we live our own lives. 

I think we all lose our temper from time to time. I am no different. I experience sadness and disappointment, and I am not always proud of my reactions to others – especially when I am angry or feeling as if I am being attacked. But as I get older and continue the search for peace and happiness in my life, I understand that by showing compassion and empathy, and if necessary turning and walking away, I feel that I am closer to that goal. At times it is difficult to do, but when I am able, I find that I look back on the situation and feel better for it. And that is the way I want to live. 

I am not trying to preach to anyone here. I am just expressing my own feelings and experiences. I felt it was a bit of a revelation, and I thought it merited sharing. I feel I have learned a valuable lesson. Thank you all for reading and thank you all who have shown me such a huge amount of support. I have so much to be grateful for. 

My beautiful neighborhood – I love it! :) 

Happy MONDAY to you all! 

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

12 comments so far

View Roger's profile


20931 posts in 2888 days

#1 posted 09-15-2014 12:29 PM

This looks like a gr8 place for a bottle o wine and some cheese, and some serenity.. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3004 days

#2 posted 09-15-2014 12:32 PM

It is a wonderful place to live, Roger. :)

Have a great day! Sheila

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

View kepy's profile


293 posts in 2358 days

#3 posted 09-15-2014 01:05 PM

Boy do I understand your feelings. It is best to just ignore the hateful letter as there is nothing you can do about someone that ignorant. I know that sometimes misses happen in the gift exchange and it is disappointing when you are the one missed.
I especially needed your happy outlook this am. It helped that when I looked out back, there was a flock of wild turkeys. I have been putting out food and the flock seems to be growing. And no, I do not hunt them but simply enjoy watching them.
I think I am going to disinherit my family today as haven’t slept for two nights and my blood pressure is skyrocketing. Not necessarily for what they have done to me but rather my mother that I take care of. My niece and sister have been gradually stripping Mother of anything that they want. They have most of her jewelry including some antiques and even some that I had custom made for her. Sat while I was at the reunion they stripped her sewing room even of a couple of tables that I was using, just dumped my stuff on the floor.
Sorry to be ranting but I don’t have anyone to talk to as the rest of the family is out of the area and think they are really helping.

-- Kepy

View MadJester's profile


2065 posts in 2515 days

#4 posted 09-15-2014 01:08 PM

Sometimes the hardest lesson for a person to learn is that we are only responsible for how we feel….not how others feel….good for you for not letting one spoiled apple ruin your bunch…..I’ve been in too many relationships where the other person expected me to make them happy….so….wait…they weren’t happy before meeting me? They weren’t able to find enjoyment on their own? Whatever…I let these things go…when someone gets upset, it’s not for me or anyone else to fix…it’s their problem…let it remain their problem and life becomes much more sane…:D Thanks for sharing your thoughts…if half the world put as much thought into a situation like this as you have done, it would be great…

-- Sue~ Mad Jester Woodworks, "Not what I have, but what I do is my kingdom" Thomas Carlyle

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3004 days

#5 posted 09-15-2014 01:19 PM

Thank you both for your thoughts. Kepy – I am sorry for what you are going through as well. While families “should” be bound together to help each other for life, I think there are many cases when just the opposite is true. (Mine included!) I think one of the most empowering things that will give peace of mind is being able to walk away from a situation without anger, hate or malice. “Letting go” is probably the healthiest answer to many, many problems. The moment we realize that we are only responsible for our own actions is probably one of the most freeing moments in our lives. Taking responsibility for ourselves and ‘minding our own ‘p’s’ and ‘q’s’ allows us to pursue our own dreams and live our own lives in a happy and healthy manner. We should never allow others to steal our own joy. I wish you the best in your decisions. You need to take care of yourself before you are able to take care of anyone else.

And MadJester – yes – I have been in bad relationships myself. People wanted me to “fix” them and I nearly killed myself trying. I also don’t believe it is our responsibility to “make” someone happy (or sad, or secure for that matter!) We can’t really “make” anyone feel anything. Those feelings have to come from within each one of us individually. People only do what we allow them to do to us. If we have a healthy and happy attitude, then no one should be able to “make” us feel anything. (I know – sometimes it is easier said than done!)

Anyway – thank you both for your input. I appreciate your thoughts very much. :)


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

View Druid's profile


1797 posts in 2880 days

#6 posted 09-15-2014 04:45 PM

Well expressed.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3004 days

#7 posted 09-15-2014 06:12 PM

;) Thank you John!


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

View Dan Krager's profile (online now)

Dan Krager

4108 posts in 2319 days

#8 posted 09-16-2014 01:35 AM

Rich food for thought…thank you for sharing Sheila. I’m learning from you.
The problem of pain…C.S.Lewis wrote extensively about it.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL The witchcraft of woodworking.

View Celticscroller's profile


1269 posts in 2157 days

#9 posted 09-16-2014 02:50 AM

Very well said Sheila! I always think that if we spend more time in creativity as you do, we have no time to worry about other peoples issues. Life is too short (even if we live to be 100) to waste time on negativity. Enjoy your beautiful space – a gorgeous part of the country.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3004 days

#10 posted 09-16-2014 12:53 PM

Thank you again. I also prefer spending my time being positive and productive. And no – I don’t ever think I will live long enough to do all that I want to do! So for now, I will just keep doing as much as I can and enjoying our beautiful space. :)

Have a great day!


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

View robscastle's profile (online now)


5173 posts in 2289 days

#11 posted 09-20-2014 11:44 PM

Unfortunatey the world has lots of people who want to complain about everything but do not have the positive thought to ask first.
Case example:
Many wears ago brisbane was so short of water there were very stringent water usage bans in place.
This occured after I had just spent six years prpoagating protected rain forrest plants and installed a detailed micro climate watering systen, only to have a “cannot use it ” during the restrictions placed on me.

So I installed various rain collecting devices all around my home, I piped the rainwater into vertical columns and the into various tanks and had the ability to collect about 4.5 thousand Lts of water from the roof, and that’s a very small amount considering the expence of the installation Plumbing Pumps hoses etc.

However I had threatening anonymous hate notes in my letter box regarding me using what I now considered to be “My Water from God”

I even had a couple of visits from the council inspectors and one particular day I was watering when he bounded up, challenging me as to why I was watering.

My reply was Hey buddy this is gods water not your council supplied water.

After that he calmed down a bit and I offered to showed him around the installation, after checking it all out and he was very impressed.

He left saying I should put up a sign, but why should I do that when what I do inside my home is nobodies business but my own, and if you are that concered enough come and see what I am doing instead of dropping ignorant notes in the letter box and “dobbing me in” incorrectly.

So they are everywhere !! you are not alone !!

How I did it.

-- Regards Rob

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9237 posts in 3004 days

#12 posted 09-21-2014 10:15 AM

Yes. Some people are just jealous, Robert. Pretty cool idea. :)


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

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