Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sweet Memories

As I look back on this year, I cannot help but be torn between the happiness I feel for my friends as they battle their way through various cancers and celebrate their victories and the sadness I feel for loosing my grandfather. He was a HUGE part of life - he still is and always will be - but knowing that I cannot pick up the phone and talk to him or give him a hug when I go home, well, it breaks my heart.

See, my grandfather, Joseph E. Vaught, lived to be 98 years old. The youngest of eight children, he was the last of his siblings to cross over the rainbow into eternity. He was not afraid and knew his Christ well. I have know doubt I will see him again when my turn comes. He left behind a legacy. He left behind multiple generation of stubborn, independent, stand-up for what is right, God-fearing, God-loving men and women who will raise their children to be the same.

He also left behind my grandmother, Dr. Grace C. Vaught. He was her knight in shining armor. She misses him more than anyone on this earth has missed anyone. She stays distraught no matter how we try to keep her entertained - and this is why my heart breaks so much. There is no medicine to take away the pain she feels, nor enough hugs to fill her void. She knows he is safe and that she too will see him again one day, but with 68 1/2 years of marriage behind her, she knows nothing else. He was her rock and encourager. He was so in love with her. Everyday he told her how beautiful she is, and how much he loved her. He would tell anyone that came to visit or stopped to talk to him when out in town. He wrote poetry for her and about her all the days of her life. He wrote a whole book of poetry and had it published, dedicated to her (as well as all of the novels he wrote). Yes, he was a published author.

My grandfather was a professional "woman watcher" as he put it too. My grandparents owned and personally ran the Ms. Hickory-Catawba Scholarship Pageant in Hickory, NC for many years. They "adopted" so many new girls into our family through this pageant. They spent many years traveling and judging pageants as well. Many times when I went to visit there were girls in their home training and practicing for an upcoming pageant, be it their pageant or another, they were always willing to help "their" girls.

Over the years, my grandparents moved to Florida. Although they did not run any pageants, they jumped in with both feet and started a local library among all of the other things they did. This sticks out the most to me because they let me help. I was able to help order children's books and give my input. That library helped so many people in need in that small community.

There are so many stories I could write about, but I will end here with this. My grandfather gave me away on my wedding day. Long story short, I was married in their living room and my father was not there, but even up to the last minute my grandfather kept telling me that he was sure my dad would show up. He did not, so he went and put on his tuxedo and met me back at the bathroom. He looked me square in the eye and said, "Well Cyndi, this is usually where I would tell my girls that there is an escape route because the bathroom in the churches are near the door, but since we are in the back of the house I am afraid you are stuck," and then we both laughed. He walked me out into the living room where I met my own knight in shining armor to start my own legacy - built on love and stubbornness.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Paying for College

Do you have kids in college?

I do.

2...plus myself.

So, my advice is this...if you do not have children, start saving for their college now.

If you are pregnant and have not started saving for their college...start now.

If you already have children and have not started saving...start now.

It is never, ever, ever too late to start saving for their college.

Unless of 'course you have three people in college at the moment with two more making plans and your budget is already stretched beyond what it can handle. This is where I am today. Thankfully we had VA for our oldest daughter to help her through the cost of university; but, even with that combined with a small pell grant, she is still needing to make monthly payments. 

If totally sucks as a parent to realize that after all these years of encouraging my children to go to college that we have nothing saved up except the saving grace of the VA. Which helped me my first year back and will help our oldest for her last three years. But, I still have three more children to consider. The middle daughter is at community college with myself so therefore a pell grant will cover her. Ok, two down, two to go. How in the world do I start saving for these two when the budget barely covers what we have now.


It is all I have this afternoon. 

Prayer that I will make the right decision in the coming new year to work out a better budget and set the record straight, in my mind, to start saving. Even if it is just a few thousand for each of the, it will make a difference. These two are university bound if I like it or not. And unless each of them win some major scholarship - could happen! - it is going to take many hours of working to have it all paid for and not leave my children with thousands of dollars in loans when they graduate.

I know, I know - it is NORMAL for people to graduate with loans. It might be normal, but I have decided that we - The Fifield Family of six - are not normal and therefore, will not have my children paying for their college ten years down the road in this economy and their own families to raise. 


Because I know that that is not the way it should be. Maybe for some families, but not for mine. The Bible speaks of the poor being slave to the lender. This is so true and I have walked way to many miles in these shoes. So, I constantly encourage my children not to take loans or credit cards. I dutifully remind them of the times we have been house poor due to taking on too many loans or credit card debt and I gently remind them of the things we have gone without because of our poor decisions. 

Hopefully, after all of this is said and done...they will listen.

Again, it is never too late to start saving...but you have to be willing to set that example for your children so that in turn they might learn from lessons and mistakes. Paying for my children's college is my decision to do. It is not for everyone, so do what is best for your family. 

Proverb 22:7
The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Christmas in North Carolina

Well, once again it has been a while since I posted on here. While cleaning my kitchen tonight - specifically the microwave at 1:30 am - I realized why I never bother to blog...while lead me on an hour journey of resetting my password just so that I could officially tell you why. Facebook. Seriously, Facebook is why I do not blog. Probably why I never really got into my blog in the first place. Why take the time here when I can easily post my frustration in two to five paragraphs on a site that I have almost 1,000 friends. Here - at the moment - I have three followers that I am aware of. Why bore them when they are probably on Facebook as well. 

That is exactly what made me think - why not? At least on here no one is going to tell me I am wrong for getting on my soapbox, or for not being PC about my faith or my ideals on how life should run. At least no one ever has yet. Maybe that would change if I actually took the time to blog about the things that set me off instead of taking my chance on FB to begin with.

It is funny though, here it is hours after midnight on the day after Christmas, and instead of thinking about my long-awaited iPad or the tax classes I need to finish, I thought about my long forgotten blog that I started in 2011. One might think that Christmas in North Carolina is not that exciting that I am not spending my first blog back telling of the splendor of the day, but that is not true. Why my mind wondered here I may never know. But, the fact that I actually took the time to figure out how to get back into my account with multiple attempts and I am actually writing is a very good start to the end of an amazing year.

Christmas was amazing today. We had a very tight year with my hubs now retired and me being a full-time student. The children got all that their hearts desired, plus some unexpected surprises. Our bellies were filled with scrumptious food that will be waiting in the fridge for tomorrow, I mean today's meals. The turkey bones are in the crock-pot simmering to make homemade stock and amazingly my kitchen is clean. The living room not so much, but one can only do so much when a blog is attacking her mind.

I pray that you too had a splendid CHRISTmas and that you found joy in your day. May you also have remembered the true reason for the season and may that reason be a blessing for the days to come.

Merry CHRISTmas to all, and to all,
I bid you good night!