About Susan

SusanGray I was born in 1959 in Silver Spring, Maryland to Harry & Mary Simms.  The only daughter of 3 children and the youngest.  I've been married for 25 years and I have 4 children and 2 grandchildren.  No need to get into all the semantics of past relationships here - just suffice it to say I have 3 daughters - Kathleen (1979), Kimberly (1981), & Sarah (1994), and 1 son Matthew (1996),  a grandson whom we are raising Glen (1999), and a beautiful granddaughter who is the apple of her mother's (Kim's) eye. Reagan, (2009)

I have an interesting family - or at least I think so.  We have our hands into a lot of pots at the same time and there are times I can't keep track of them all for all the confusion, which is why I started this blog - to organize my life you might say.  What it has become over time has been interesting.  Raisin Toast started out as a personal blog and has morphed into my creative home on the web.

I am an artist and I paint in oils, and you can visit my portfolio at Mary Susan Vaughn Fine Art

I became a TypePad Blog Champion in 2008 and was featured in the 2010 book "TypePad for Dummies!"  I enjoyed learning how to be creative in the background of my blog and doing it all myself.  It is still a work in progress.

You might say I am a "chronic creative," since I have a habit of getting sucked into creative projects that become all consuming, sometimes at the expense of the laundry, the dishes, - oh, but never the kids.  I love to write (obviously), I love to paint, and I love to sew and quilt.

Susan1977 I graduated in 1977 from Sherwood High in Sandy Spring, Maryland.  I attended Nova University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in my late 20s where I studied Pre-Law and then went on to attend Georgetown University where I majored in International Business & Law and joined Phi Alpha Delta.  I hated Economics and Statistics and was completely lost in Accounting.  I therefore took a sabatical to get married and have more babies since at the time I already had two girls.  My mind had a way of getting all wrapped around the axel in Georgetown.  I was much happier having the opportunity to stay home, decorate, sew, paint, craft, and especially homeschooling our children.  Being a full-time Mom has been a blessing and an honor in my life.  Thank you Big Bear.


BobonBike My husband's name is Robert.  I call him my Big Bear.  He is definitely a Big Bear - he growls on occasion and shakes the forest every night with his snoring.  Conference call after conference call and I wonder what it "is" exactly that he does.  He apparently, though, accomplishes a lot in his shorts in our home office and must be doing something right because his phone rings all day, he travels on occasion (not in his shorts), and he brings home a good paycheck so that I can stay home and take care of the home and family, and my elderly mother.   Note: He is in the tech industry, and being laid off has become par for the course of our life together.  We've learned that you really can live on love.


SarahI homeschooled Sarah, Matthew, and Glen until they began high school.   My daughter, Sarah graduated with honors from Appalachian State University with honors and 2 degrees in Religious Studies and Psychology.  She is now attending Wake Forest University for her Masters in Divinity.  Sarah got married in May, 2017.  Matthew is a Junior at UNC Charlotte and has a double major in History and English and minor in Theatre.  He is an accomplished composer and pianist and has an album in the works.


IMG_0224My mother, Mary, just turned 93, and has lived with us for 19 years.  I love her dearly. Fortunately, or at least up to this point, she has a good memory, although her judgment seems to have flown the coop at times.  Still, we love her lots and are glad she is here with us.  The children will have a lifetime of memories of growing up with their Grandmother M, and that is a good thing.

We moved to North Carolina in 2005 shortly after Bob's father passed away.  We like it here but it is different than living in Maryland where we both grew up.  One thing hasn't changed though, we manage to always buy the house that needs drastic repairs, reconstruction, remodeling, and re-landscaping, and no sooner do we finish it all then we end up selling the house - well, hopefully not this time!

Sharing my stories and experiences here on Raisin Toast has been cathartic and important to me.  Someday, hopefully not anytime soon, when I am gone, I hope my children and their children can look back on this blog with fondness and enjoy the pictures and stories time and time again.

Welcome to my story...