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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

A Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours


Here we are bringing another year to a close, it all goes by so fast I'm afraid to blink anymore.  But here we are, thinking about 2020 and what the year might bring - and how we can survive the inundation of political ads and debates over the next 11 months without losing our minds.  I know!  Be creative!  Focus on the things that make us truly happy, enjoy our family and friends, laugh more, love and forgive always.

I'm just so happy to be where I am in life, that I wanted to take some time to reflect on that a bit. At 60y/o, life takes on new meaning.  Family, friends, and reaching out to others in need becomes more important.  Appreciating the little things like a fire in the fireplace, a nap on a comfy bed or in a favorite chair, a delicious meal, a cup of hot cocoa with our feet up watching a movie, someone says something funny and causes a lot of laughter.  Oh, how these things mean so much in life.  It is not about "things."  For me, it never has been about material things.  Life isn't life, for me anyway, without relationships and love, hugs and laughter, shared tears and worries, conversation and cuddles.  And nature - the smell of fresh cut grass, or a flower that my Big Bear brings to me, or the smell of a fireplace burning aged oak wood, the quiet of a winter snowfall, the winds of autumn, the feel of springtime sunshine on my face.  Or, the sight of my 95y/o mother walking from her bedroom to greet the day, the conversations we share throughout each day that many times bring on tears of laughter.  Bob's snoring and cooking, Matthew's outrageous laugh and humor.  Glen's willingness to help when needed, and his incredible one-liners that stop us all in our tracks.  Chester GSD's farts are toxic.  Bailey GSD is attached to Matthew's hip.  Hannah Shihtzu/Maltese is always under our feet - and chairs.  Picasso kitty could care less about anyone.  I wouldn't change a thing.

We've been enormously blessed in this life.  Bob and I have been married 27 years, and for the both of us, family is everything.  I wouldn't be where I am today if not for him and my family's love and support.  I've seen my art career take off in leaps and bounds in 25 years.  It is humbling and I am so grateful that I am able to do what I love - Painting, Quilting, Crafting, Writing, Blogging ... these are the things that I do for myself.  We all need something in our life that we love to do just for us.  I've been blessed to be able to do those things for many years, and I pray the same for each of you. 

Bob and I grew up in Maryland, but North Carolina has become our home.  We've lived here almost 15 years, and our children have grown up here.  Moving here was the best decision we ever made. 

I don't take credit for any of this that we share in this life ... It's all God.  I give all the glory to our Father and the Lord Jesus.  Daily prayer and gratefulness, Faith.  Can't live without Him in my life.  And I know that this life will lend itself to heartache, heartbreak, loss, pain, illness ... it comes in different forms.  These are the things of this world, and that is why we must make each day as kind to ourselves and others as possible.  Be grateful ... even in the darkest of times, it is what gets us through.

Now ...

To All my Friends:

There are three places on the internet that bring me joy - My blog "Raisin Toast," my online art gallery at "Mary Susan Vaughn Fine Art," and, "Facebook."  Yes, Facebook.  And here's why:  

Over the 12 years or so I’ve been on Facebook, I’ve connected with dear childhood friends and high school friends, friends made throughout my life, and family who live in other States. I’ve come to know many wonderful people, mostly artists, who are brilliantly creative. A few of the new friends I have made online have become dear and special friends that I communicate with frequently outside of FB, and they are a real blessing in my life.

Over the years I’ve lost a few of these friends to cancer, and a good number of them have lost spouses and children, loved ones, and siblings, to illness, cancer, or tragic accidents. I lost a childhood friend recently. What was thought to be pneumonia took her life at the tender age of 59. Sudden and without warning she is gone from our life. She was my first friend at age 5, and my first best friend. So many wonderful memories, as we have been friends for 54 years. A number of my friends are struggling with being alone and/or with depression, moving or divorce. It puts life into perspective, as I reflect on the precious lives of each and everyone I am connected with in this life.

I care about each of you and am grateful for all that you lend to my life. If I can help any of you in some way, with love, compassion, guidance, hugs, laughter, friendship, conversation, or a place to stay, I am here for you. I value our friendship, and know that we are all in this life journey together in one form or another, and each of us are learning from one another along the way. Thank you for all you have shared and taught me in my life.

I am humbled by the beautiful works of art I see daily in my FB newsfeed, and the goodness and stories that many of you share. I’ve learned so much from you all - from personal courage, scripture, God’s grace, and the power of prayer, to cooking and painting tips and more. It has been an adventure for me, and it reminds me daily that I am but a blip in this world. And, if I can make a difference in someone’s life, or bring a smile or a laugh to your day, I will have done something good, albeit small. I feel empathy and compassion for others, especially those who are suffering and struggling, and wish, this Christmas, and for this coming new year, to bring you good health, abundant happiness, security, true love, prosperity, plenty of hugs, and all that your heart desires. I wish this for you.

Thank you for letting me share my life, family, pets, and art with you. Thank you for being my friend. Thank you for correcting me when I make mistakes, praying for me and my family when needed, and for sharing in my joys, struggles, concerns, and moments of reflection.

Mostly, thank you for sharing your life with me. Wishing you a blessed and very Merry Christmas, and a happy, healthy new year. 🎄



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