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So Proud

So Proud – My Unique and Colorful Oldest Child

| Angela Naff |

I was blessed with two unique, brilliant, and wonderful children. As Sande and the Suncoast Post started this “So Proud” segment to talk about our children and grandchildren, I knew I had to get my stories out there. Today, I’m going to tell the colorful story of my oldest daughter, and on July 30th will come back to tell the story of my polar opposite (scientist) younger child, Vic, so come back for that one.

My oldest child is Elizabeth Sampley (Liz), a unique graphic designer by trade who has always brought color to my life. When I make a statement like that, I truly mean color in the form of paintings, drawings, and perspectives on life that made me a different person. I was born a rule-following, straight-laced human who probably had less of a sense of humor than I do now, and she is a big reason why. Liz never met a rule she couldn’t figure a way around, and she believes in coloring outside the lines others try to place on her.

Vic on Left, and Liz on Right

She was an artist from the earliest of ages, and that might have scared this mama for many years. I worried about her getting through her education, finding a job that would pay her a living wage, and, most of all, finding the right place to find acceptance for all her eccentricities. I should not have given it a second thought because she blew away all my hopes for her and continues to be a wonderful, opinionated, and accomplished professional that probably works more than she should.

In high school, she was a mediocre student and not wonderful at math, science, and other required subjects. Give her a paintbrush, pen, or chicken wire, and she could create something truly mind-blowing. Yes – the chicken wire was used to make a nearly life-sized dinosaur in paper mache that was quite a sight being transported to an art show through the roof of a car. But I digress; you see, all this artwork was great back then, but how would that translate to a career? Enter dual enrollment with a technology center, and magic happens. She found a way to combine her creative penchant with technology, and a love for graphic design was born. When I say this would change all our lives in ways we did not comprehend, it is an understatement.

Liz went on to Oklahoma State University to earn an undergrad degree and now teaches in the graphic design department at the same university. Additionally, she gained an internship in her Junior year at a wonderful company Proagrica as a graphic designer. She parlayed that internship into a full-time post-graduation career, again making me so proud, moving up into a UX developer role she still holds today. To say she has an amazing career is belittling the monumental accomplishments she has made. Please take a look at her amazing creations HERE, in computer-aided artwork.

Liz Sampley
Liz’s computer-aided drawing of her fur babies.

I thought that was it for her, but she loves proving her proud mom wrong and had more in store for me. In 2022, she upped the ante and provided me with my first grandbaby (and the only reason why I would relocate from Florida to Oklahoma) along with her wedding (the pandemic continued to delay that occasion). She is now working on a community art co-op that will open in a large expanded space in early 2024 and is involved in her chosen hometown of Stillwater, Oklahoma, in many ways. She is living her absolute best life and teaching me to live my life on no one’s terms other than my own.

I am so proud of her each day, getting to see my grandbaby Juniper grow to be such a unique soul herself and be a small part of the amazing life she has built for herself. I will say she is one opinionated, happy, outgoing, and creative soul that has added so much color to my world; I would never be the same person I was before her. For that, I am humbled and grateful every moment of my life, and I can’t wait to see what other surprises she has in store for me.

Photos Courtesy of Angela Naff/Elizabeth Sampley

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