Vivian Carswell Blackmon: Love, Life & Lessons Learned

About to celebrate her 95th birthday on July 17, Vivian Carswell Blackmon learned strength and perseverance at an early age, growing up in a small community known as Pea Ridge, in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

“I grew up in a loving home with generous neighbors who raised a generation of strong, thankful people,” she reflects.

Vivian always shares she was born on a hot summer day during the Great Depression, when hardship was simply a way of life.


But Vivian’s family also learned from an added struggle: both of her parents, John Esper Carswell and Minnie Fowler Carswell, were severely handicapped. Her father was blind, and her mother endured crippling rheumatoid arthritis, preparing the way for many, many valuable lessons for their eight children — four boys and four girls. All adapted, with the older siblings often caring for the younger ones — in a time of no electricity and no indoor plumbing.

Despite their handicaps, Vivian’s parents were blessed with amazing strength, and the activities and farm work they accomplished together were incredible. What valuable inspiration for their large family, who learned the power of a positive attitude, and the gift of finding the beauty in simple, daily life.

“One luxury we did have was Saturday nights,” recalls Vivian. “We would have popcorn balls, peanut butter crackers, and occasionally Pepsi! We listened to the radio — the Grand Ole Opry — I liked country music before it was cool!”


A Lake Norman resident since 1973, Vivian’s daughter, Kay, tells us her mother enjoyed watching the lake “fill” as it was being constructed. Today, Vivian lives — and still paints and writes poetry — in the waterfront house at Lake Norman that she and her husband built. Her own bustling family — three children, six grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and 10 great, great-grandchildren — grew up with the same life lessons Vivian has carried in her heart for over nine decades: Loving, learning, and always finding that inner strength when you need it most!

Our Talents

We were all given a talent

To use every day

Not to hide under a basket

But to put on display

However small you think it may be

Share it with others and you will see

It may be the one good deed

That helps someone in a time of need

Your talent might be to pray

Or listen to a friend who has had a bad day

To give a hug

Or a special smile

To make someone’s day worthwhile

It may be to bake, paint, or sew

To spread the gospel wherever you go

Or to sing and make music, letting the spirit soar

God doesn’t ask for anything more

Whatever your talent may be

Share it with others to see

Use it wisely and soon you will find

When God made you, He made one of a kind

By Vivian Carswell Blackmon

Today is the day

to help someone

Tomorrow the job 

might not get done

Just a friendly “Hello”

Or maybe a smile

Can take a dark day

And make it worthwhile

So, call someone today

And tell them you care

That you’re thinking of them

And saying a prayer

It might be a sister

Or maybe a brother

But today is the day

We need each other                                                       

by Vivian Carswell Blackmon


Things I Like About the Lake

The wild geese break

The silence of the dawn

Wakes me up 

With a great big yawn!

In time to see the sun come up

It looks like a giant buttercup

To hear the birds sing

From tree to tree

And what a beautiful melody

And butterflies with their wings spread wide

Ziz-zazzing through the sky

To watch the fish

And the bugs they catch

The baby ducklings

So newly hatched

Flowers with their heads held high

Waiting for some bee to come by

To see the birds as they nest and mate

They sit on their nest and patiently wait

To hear the frogs to their mates call

Nature at work, holds me in awe

Fireflies with their beaconing light

Looking for lovers in the night

What a wonderful world this would be

If we could all live in the same harmony                                 

by Vivian Carswell Blackmon

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