My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #1203: All Is Calm . . .

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 12-26-2013 12:52 PM 1475 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1202: A Re-Post From Christmas Past Part 1203 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 1204: Adventures of the Mind »

In many ways this Christmas was different than Christmases past. Yet in some ways, it was familiar.

As time goes on and yet another Christmas season comes and goes, I realize more than ever that life is constantly changing. With those changes come the reality that things will never again be as it has been in the past. While that is certainly a good thing in some ways – as all of our memories of past holiday celebrations aren’t always that wonderful – it also means that the good memories will rely on us to keep them alive in our hearts and our minds and to honor them each year as Christmas passes.

This year was a rather different kind of Christmas for me. After years of raising children and having large family gatherings filled to the brim with people, food and gifts, we had a very different atmosphere.

Things are different in my life now. Over the past several years, I had come to love and embrace Keith’s family, as they had embraced me as their own, and it felt good to have a place to spend the holidays where I felt so comfortable and loved. I also have my dear friends Bernie and Ellen and their daughter Cindy, whom I call my “Canadian Family” because of the love and caring they have shown towards me since I came to this country nine Christmases ago. They all have made a huge difference and have helped fill a place in my heart that missed my own children and family during the holiday season. They have stuck by me through both good times and bad, and I am very fortunate that they are in my lives.

It is times such as these though that I wish I could be in two places at once. Seeing my children and new grand daughter a couple of months ago only made me miss them more this Christmas. But knowing that they are happy and settled and all healthy helped to alleviate the pain I felt for not being able to be with them. As a parent, the greatest gift we can receive from our children is to see them successful and happy. In that respect my mind is at peace.

I really missed Keith’s father Artie this year as well. He had lost his battle with cancer this autumn and since then, it has been a time of adjustment for all of us. I can’t tell you all how many times something comes to mind and I would catch myself thinking “we’ll just have to ask Artie.” and I would remember that it would no longer be possible to do so. I don’t know if I realized the impact he had on our lives and how much I would miss him. But I do now.

Although our local family is much smaller now, we still had a lovely Christmas celebration. Keith’s mom spent all day Christmas Eve with us, and she showed me how to make Rappie Pie – an Acadian dish that had been a tradition in her family for years. To me, it was one of the best gifts that she could give me, as not only did I learn more about her and Keith’s heritage, but we had a beautiful day together as well. It came out wonderful and we spent the day talking and cooking and watched a couple of movies – all the while we were entertained by my three cats. It was very different from the way we had spent other Christmases, but it was lovely and a wonderful memory in itself.

On Christmas Day, we headed to Bernie and Ellen’s house. Again this was rather low key as far as what we had done in the past. Ellen had lost her brother over the summer, and both her grand children have moved to different parts of Canada. In the years past, she had a house bustling full of people and children, but this year it was only us. We were very happy that Keith’s mom joined us as well, as for me it was extra special to have my entire Canadian families together at once. Although there were only six of us (Bernie and Ellen’s daughter Cindy was there as well) it was a wonderfully pleasant day filled with family and good food. We set strict limits on gift giving, but there was still plenty of things to open and the greatest gift of all was the gift of love and friendship that we all felt for each other. It was a good day for all I do believe.

As I sit here this morning and reflect on the day, I feel content. While the holiday celebrations may not have been as large as they have been for me in the past, they are certainly just as meaningful.

Every day I try to look at the positive side of things, and be grateful for the good things in my life. Since I have decided to do that, I have noticed that even when some things weren’t going so well, there was still an abundance of good things I had to focus on. I know I am very fortunate and I don’t ever want to let myself forget of about what a wonderful life I live.

I hope you all had a beautiful holiday as well. No matter how much you celebrate Christmas – or even if you choose to not celebrate it at all – I hope that you focus on the good things that surround you and appreciate and love each and every day for the good things it offers. It truly makes life enjoyable.

Today I am still going to be low key. Perhaps I will do so for the remainder of the week. I have a deadline due for the magazine after the new year and I am thinking about it now, but I don’t think I will begin working on it until Monday. There are other things that I want to do in the next few days and I am not ready to jump back into work just yet. This is a gift I have chosen to give myself this year.

I think that Pancakes had the right idea yesterday:

Enjoy your Thursday

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

8 comments so far

View Roger's profile


21054 posts in 3886 days

#1 posted 12-26-2013 02:04 PM

Pancakes and many other furry friends have no problem just letting it all hang out… hehehe

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3949 days

#2 posted 12-26-2013 02:22 PM

Sheila, I hope that you and Keith had a wonderful Christmas in spite of the differences in past Christmases and will have a Blessed New Year. In spite of the fact that life is full of losses and change, I know that God will always help you find strength in what remains behind. God Bless.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Handtooler's profile


1628 posts in 3214 days

#3 posted 12-26-2013 02:44 PM

Being a sentimental old gent, I was certainly moved by this journal entry! Thank you for sharing with us. Although we enjoyed Christmas Eve with all three of our daughters and one’s husband (other two are still single); I took time on Christmas to reflect on past Christmases as a child with Grandmother, aunts and cousins in South Mississippi. Those were some 65-50 years ago. How wonderful they were!

Wishing you the VERY best during the new year. Ya Buddy Russell

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassb[email protected]

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4167 days

#4 posted 12-26-2013 03:49 PM

Keith’s mom teaching you to make rapple pie brought back memories of my mother teaching my
sister to bake bread. Mom would say you take this much flour-salt-etc-and put it in, and Mary Lou would
have to stop Mom, catch and measure whatever it was and write it down. Mary Lou saved the recipe, so
it was easier to teach her daughters to bake. Just wondering what your lesson required, was she as
wonderful as you are as a teacher?

-- As ever, Gus-the 82 yr young apprentice carpenter

View nancyann's profile


106 posts in 2976 days

#5 posted 12-26-2013 05:08 PM

Glad your Christmas was good even though it was different for you in many ways. We’re headed also toward a happy new year and I’m looking forward to it. Thankful for my health, friends snd family I, m looking forward to the new adventures the new year brings.
Have a Happy new yeary friend!

-- Nancy Antley

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4118 days

#6 posted 12-26-2013 07:49 PM

Quiet for Sue and I as well. Just us and our remaining cat, Bess. She loves Turkey and gravy and being fussed over.
You’re right, past Christmasses were not all joyful occasions but it’s better these days. Off to Cornwall tomorrow for the weekend as it’s Sue’s birthday.

Happy new year.

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

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4002 days

#7 posted 12-26-2013 09:35 PM

Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. I wish you all a very Happy New Year. :)

Gus – She was a great teacher. Rappie pie is something that has been taught from generation to generation in this area. Most people who are unfamiliar with our area have never heard of it. I hadn’t before I came here. Part of the recipe includes grating potatoes very finely and then removing the starch and water from the potatoes completely, by squeezing them out (back then, many used pillow cases). You then need to replace the exact amount of water that you removed from the potato mixture with seasoned broth that you cooked your whole chicken in. Stewing chickens are best because they offer the most flavor. The broth is seasoned with salted onions which is a staple around here. Many places near by offer them, and they are usually locally made.

Now though, you are able to purchase the potato in a mixture form. This comes in a sealed plastic bag and saves not only the work of grating and squeezing, but also the guesswork of how much broth to add back into the mixture. It simplifies the process a great deal.

The result is a wonderful chicken/potato/onion casserole that forms a wonderful dark brown crust. It is warm and comforting and filling.

After seeing it made, I now have a better understanding of how to make it. As with most recipes of this type, measuring can vary depending on certain conditions.

It was great to learn the process and something that made its own memories in itself.

I can’t wait to try making it myself.

I hope you have a great holiday, Martyn. Enjoy yourself and relax and wish Sue a happy birthday. :)

I will go back to relaxing . . . ;)


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

View Celticscroller's profile


1286 posts in 3155 days

#8 posted 12-27-2013 03:27 AM

Hi Sheila, I will always remember meeting you and Keith for lunch and having our first Rappie Pie – delicious! Jim and I have great memories of that trip and meeting you and Keith was a definite highlight.
It was a busy three days for us here so we both looking forward to some quiet time! It was great to see friends and family over the holidays and spend some quality time. The next week will be spent painting, carving and planning projects for 2014!
Enjoy your relaxation time.

-- Anna, Richmond BC

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