Thursday, June 24, 2021

Lots to Catch Up On ...

Let's just say 2020 was anything but different.  Yes, different. I'm home all the time no matter what year it is, but last year stole the joy in many things, but added joy in others.



On March 1st, 2020, I decided to make masks for front line workers at hospitals and grocery stores.  That led to a full fledged business that I called "Our Stitchuation," thanks to my daughter, Kathleen's, suggestion.  The online store was up and running and I spent at least 12 hours each day at the sewing machine to keep up.  All in all, I made over 2500 masks of which at least 800 were for front line workers.  It was grueling work, but well worth it.

By June, my spine was not responding to spinal injections, which I had been having every 3 months for 10 years.  I met with a spinal surgeon that came highly recommended, Dr. Todd Chapman, OrthoCarolina.  After several visits, we made an appointment for surgery at Mercy Hospital on December 15th, 2020.



Leading up to the surgery, the pain in my lower spine was debilitating.  All I will say is I ended up with 3 surgeries over 2 months due to two spinal infections that had become chronic.  In the last surgery on January 29th, Dr. Chapman had to remove all the hardware from the first surgery, clean and sterilize everything thoroughly, then replace it in my spine after cleaning out all infection in my spine as well.  3 months of hell.  I'm shocked I survived it all, but I reach for God in prayer, and Bob to thank for getting me here today. 



And, so far, I've lost 32lbs from the ordeal!



While I was in the hospital, Bob and the boys built me a ramp from the deck to the driveway.  I can hardly believe they built this for me, but I must say I am impressed.  If nothing else, it certainly helped all of them relieve stress over me in the hospital.



In August, 2020, we had a beautiful wedding.  Yes, my youngest child, Matthew, (not a child anymore), married Danielle.  A love that is impossible to miss.  They live with us as they are both still in college.  Matthew begins his Masters in History in the fall, and Danielle begins her degree in Baking & Pastry Arts.  Someday, I am certain that Danielle will have her own Bakery.



Matthew graduated from the University of North Carolina Charlotte this past May with his Bachelor of Arts in History.  He is pursuing a Masters in History and then on to Law School to study as an Attorney of Constitutional Law.  How wonderful it is to see our children grow up and be successful in all that brings their passions to life.



Big News for our daughter, Sarah!  She graduated in May 2020, from Wake Forest University with her Masters in Divinity!!!  Sadly, they had to have a virtual graduation.



However, Wake Forest came through this year, and she was able to have a real hooding ceremony at the University.  We could not be more proud of her!!!  Sarah also got her first post graduation job as a Director/Minister of Discipleship for a Methodist Church near Asheville, North Carolina.  I know she will be a wonderful addition to the church community.  Her husband Matt, will be pursuing his Masters in Divinity from Northwest University in the fall.  Great things for them both in the coming years, as they pursue their dreams, and that makes me so happy!



Let's not forget Glen!  He is attending UNC-Charlotte for a degree in Computer Science.  He is interested in pursuing a career in the Navy as a Cryptologist or Intelligence.  He will do great.  In his spare time, he is a fantastic help to us here at home.  I don't know how we could have made it through our recoveries without his help.  Thank you Glen!



We lost Hannah, our little white dust mop.  She was 13y/o and had developed a tumor on her hip that could not be removed.  Letting her go was difficult, but the right thing to do. 



A few months later we found these two pups.  We named them Rusty & Cooper and adopted them into our family.  Cooper is my puppy, and Rusty is Danielle & Matthew's pup. 



So, we have 2 German Shepherds, 2 Aussie-doodles, and our cat Picasso.  Definitely a house full of activity.



Last year, Bob purchased 2 recumbent trikes for us to ride together and have some fun.  I've been riding with him on his trike too.  It is lots of fun and protects my spine, which is a good thing.  Ignore my white legs.  LOL



My mother is 96y/o and still kickin'
We've determined it must be all the preservatives in the donuts and Hungry Man dinners she loves so much. LOL  The sad news is that Mom is now on Hospice here at home.  She is suffering with hallucinations and confusion and sometimes walking in her sleep.  I love her so much and hate to see her going through all of this.  She has been so strong and able.  Please keep her in your prayers as she makes this transition in time to her heavenly home.



Our daughter, Kathleen, is living in San Diego and is also a wonderful artist.  She works in acrylics and also creates beautiful digital artwork.  I will share her website as soon as it is up and running! 



Some good news - my painting "Hauling in the Spring Line" is now in the permanent collection of the US Navy Museum Network of 9 US Museums and the Pentagon.  I'm so happy for this and hope that many will enjoy seeing it in the Museums.



In 2020, I made this quilt for my daughter, Sarah's dear friend, Serena.  It is for her baby boy.



I also made this quilt for our grandson, Glen. 


2020 is gone - thank God, and 2021 is all about eating healthier, exercising more, taking care of each other, and hopefully, by the end of this year, I will have made a full recovery, Bob will have found another job, Kathleen will have sold some paintings and prints, Sarah will be well on her way in her new job at the Asheville church, Matthew will be studying strong for his Masters degree and doing well, Sarah's husband Matt will be well on his way towards his Divinity degree, Danielle will be baking like crazy, Mom will still be with us, and all will be well and good for the Vaughn Family.




Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Reading is Fundamental

Matthew (2015) Sarah (2012) Glen (2018)
I homeschooled my 3 youngest children until they started high school. I wanted them to have a special high school experience in making new friends, involvement in groups and activities, prom, football games. I kept them active and busy when I was homeschooling, but I knew that the last of these formative years would be good for them at a high school. It was the best decision I ever made. Not only were they academically successful, their youth had not been robbed from them by bullies and horrible experiences in elementary and middle school years.
I read to them daily. I taught them to read and write as well. They were all reading simple elementary books at 2-3 years old. It was amazing. I was blessed, however, in being able to stay home with my children full time while building my own career as an artist. That fact doesn't escape me.
The greatest joy for me as a mother was when my children learned a new word, a new concept, a new math equation, or something new. From birth to now, it is still exciting to me to see how far my children have come. College, marriage, scholarships, successes, lots of writing and music. It is the greatest reward I have ever received in life.
Sadly, so many children come from broken homes, and the stress on the parent raising them is enormous. Or, the parent(s) are so exhausted from a tough work day that they are too tired to help their children with their homework or even speak to them. It seems that many children have no real guidance at home anymore. The parents provide a place to live and the fundamentals for living while their children grow up, but the example as parent, teaching virtue, compassion, morality, values, a strong work ethic, building integrity and empathy, sharing, reading, conversation about what they read, or their day, and giving them the security they need to grow up feeling completely loved, cared for, and educated are tough to come by anymore. Seems that that family model is almost completely gone. Sadly, more children are raised in a home of disinterested parents than not. Not all mind you, but many more than we'd like to admit.
I pray the family model moves forward and teaches us all how to be better parents. Parenting is DIFFICULT!! Believe me, we've all made our share of human mistakes in parenting out of hurt, frustration, stress, financial crisis, relationship strains, whatever. But putting God, family, our children, and education, first, in "our" home, was the model that best worked for us. Not everyday, but I would say most days.
There is never a "right" time to have a child, or children. A person's place in life, age, maturity, personal life experiences and lessons, financial standing, home life and relationships, relationship with God, all play a strong role in parenting and raising a child. The stars are never perfectly aligned, and there will always be hardship, loss, crisis, tragedies, unemployment, something, that throws a wrench in our life and plans, making it even more difficult to be a good parent. Mix that up with our own set of emotions, and you've got more a stew for disaster than success. As parents, we must make an effort to do our best - as often as possible. It's not easy. Personalities will clash with your children at some point. It's teaching them about life, and how we, as parents deal with tough times and circumstances can be even more difficult. But parents need to be involved.
Communication is key. Reading about something together. Talking about the news of the day. Asking your children questions about their experiences or views of how they think they would have handled a particular issue or problem, friendship, or something else. Healthy communication with parents, guardians, a trusted adult, a teacher, or grandparent, or caring neighbor, is lacking for so many of today's children.
And that there lies the problem - lack of engagement with our children, for whatever reason.
Reading is by far the best gift we can give our child. It prepares them for school, life, and an opportunity to grow and mature, learn and express their opinions, and be comfortable being focused on their readings and having alone time too. There are far too many "idiots" in this country. And for many, its because they weren't afforded a good start in life.
I wish we could change the trajectory of family and raising children and be an example to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, it is getting far worse than better. What are we to do? Hopefully, those who do care will have set an example for their own children to pass it on generation to generation. Stop the complacency and blind interest. Be involved.
Here is the article that inspired me to write this post:
Remember ... "Reading is Fundamental"


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