Monday, May 28, 2012

The Ultimate Sacrifice

Today's blog and number 7 on the countdown is dedicated to my uncle David and all the men and women who have fought and who continue to fight for my freedom, and for those who have lost their lives paying the ultimate price. My uncle David is in the US Army and he is stationed in Ft. Bragg, in Fayetteville, NC. Growing up David was deployed a lot and I didn't see him very much. He was always very quiet when he was around. He and my aunt Brenda (who will make the countdown) have lived everywhere, including Germany. It wasn't until a few years ago that they moved to Fayetteville and have been close to home! I am proud to have an uncle who fights for his country with passion and desire and who truly wants the best for our country. David just got back in December from a deployment to Afghanistan. Besides being a soldier, David is my uncle and a fun uncle at that. If you know anything about my relationship with my uncle David, it is that we have a very sarcastic and fun relationship. We are hardly ever serious with each other and he is constantly making fun or picking on me! I don't mind though. I believe moving to Fayetteville was the best thing that could have happened to David and Brenda's family. First, they are closer to us and we get to see them more often and Fayetteville is where they have placed their roots and really gotten involved. David isn't as quiet anymore and I love it. In fact, I'm sure he will have something to say about this post. :) (Don't let this blow your ego David). He truly has impacted my life. First, he has been a wonderful uncle and puts up with my craziness. Second, he is a soldier in the United States Army and he fights for my freedom, and yours. He is selfless and has followed the Lord's calling on his life wholeheartedly. I am thankful for the sacrifice David and others like him give every day. I love you David and I am proud to be your niece. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Two Peas in a Pod :)

Sorry I have been away for two days. Friday night Linds and I freaked ourselves out by telling crazy dreams and I ended up staying the night at her house. Last night I was at my grandparents and didn't have Internet access. So, tonight I am combining numbers 5 and 6 in one post. Today's post is dedicated to Stanley and Peggy Vaughan-- my Popple and Granny.
Granny and Popple's 50th Wedding Anniversary

My college Graduation

I am blessed to have two sets of grandparents who  think the world of their grandchildren. Many people see their grandparents as just "old" people they have to visit on holidays or as people who just sit around and talk about boring things and aren't fun to be around. My grandparents are VERY different than that. I am very close to both sets of my grandparents, but this post is going to be about my dad's parents. I was the first of 5 grandchildren on my dad's side and until 5 years ago, I was the only girl. I can remember every year going to the mountains with granny and popple and my brother and going to Tweetsie Railroad, Santa Land, and Ghost Town in the Sky. I also remember going to Mudcat baseball games and packing a picnic to have before the game. The picnics would consist of my granny's homemade pimento cheese and fried chicken. To this day, every time I visit we have that meal. We visited them whenever we could and stayed at their house so many weekends. In the Fall we would rake all the leaves and dump them in a very deep ditch in front of their house. Dustin an I would jump in the leaves and do this over and over for hours! I would put on fashions shows for granny and we would sing and dance in the living room. We would walk on the railroad tracks and tell stories. My fondest childhood memories were spent with my granny and popple. 

Danielle: "Popple, guess what?"
Popple: "What punkin Doodle?"
Danielle: "You're bald headed."
Popple: "No way! Who told you that mess?"
Danielle: "I just see it."

I can clearly remember this conversation like it were yesterday. Every time I saw my popple, when I was younger, this would be usually how I greeted him. My popple is a cute little bald headed man, who is sarcastic as can be, and I love it! From the time I was born he called me punkin doodle and to this day, I rarely ever hear him call me Danielle. One thing I always have admired about my popple is his dedication to the Word of God. Every evening before he goes to bed, he kneels by his bedside and prays. Every morning he starts his day reading the bible and praying. He is such an encouragement to me.

My granny is very special to me. We have a special bond, that only the two of us share. We talk on the phone as much as we can and I tell her and my popple everything. There are secrets no one else knows, but my granny and popple. My granny and I would sing together whenever we could and she never hesitated to play with me. To this day I know I can call her whenever and she will be there for me. When Grant and I broke up my granny and popple were the first people I told. My parents were in Hatti, so called them and cried and they just listened on the other end.

I know that everyone has a time to leave this world, but I can't imagine my life without my granny and popple. They are the rock of our family and the glue that keeps us all together. They have shown me what true love is and they live a life that is truly pleasing to the Lord. Their love for one another is contagious and they love each other more today than they ever have.

My granny and popple are two of the most precious people in my life and I am so thankful and blessed to have them. I love you!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Then there were 4

Well, 3 down and 97 to go!100 people is a lot!!! I like that I decided to do this because it has made me go back through my life and really think about the people I have crossed paths with and how they have shaped my life. As many of you know, one of biggest, if not my biggest, passions in life are children. I love babysitting, I love teaching, and I love just being around children. The 4th person in my list of 100 is Amanda Nixon, now, Amanda Nixon Winslow. I'm sure Amanda has no clue that she had an impact on my life but she did in a very profound way. Amanda was our main babysitter when my family lived in Hertford. My parents did not leave us with babysitters often, but when they did, we loved it and we loved Amanda. I can remember wanting to be a babysitter, just like Amanda. My fondest memory of Amanda was her making my brother and I Mac and Cheese with hot dogs. We both loved it but my parents thought it was the weirdest thing. To this day, it is my all time favorite thing to eat and I legit have it like 3 times a week, if not more. Each time I make it, I think of Amanda. Its been like 12 or so years since I have seen Amanda, but we are friends on Facebook and I love keeping up with her and her family. She was a girl that I looked up to and wanted to be like when I grew up. I just thought she was so cool! She was always fun and I can remember always having something to do when she came over. Now, babysitting is a huge part of my life. It basically got me through college. I always wanted to be the fun babysitter that all the kids liked and I have achieved my goal! HAHA. Now I am the girl young girls look up to and want to be like. One of the girls I watch, Annie, is 9 years old and I have been watching her since she was 4. She calls me her fake sister and tells her friends that she has a "fake" sister and its just like having a real sister. I love it! So, Amanda had no clue she made such an impact on my life but she made me want to be a babysitter, and a great one at that! Thanks Amanda! :)
This is Amanda, now, pregnant with her 2nd child!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Unexpected lessons

Today's blog is going to be kind of short and sweet. When I decided to do the 100 people challenge, I didn't really think about the fact that I had to know 100 people who have influenced my life in one way or another. HA! Fail! I know you're saying, "WOW Danielle! You're only on person 3." You're right, I am only on person 3 and I can assure you there are many people who have shaped who I am today and even I am excited about the 100 people. However, today's person is a hard one for me to write about. As many of you know, I dated a guy named Grant for 7 years. We met when we were 18 years old, on Living Proof and we hit it off right away. Number 3 is Grant Gibson. I know what your thoughts are and you don't have to share them, but if you think about it, 7 years of my 26 year life span is a pretty big deal. Grant an I traveled together, went to college together, and experienced many big milestones together in those 7 years. Naturally, he has influenced my life. I have no intentions of talking negatively about Grant because Grant is a good person. Am I hurt? Yes. Am I confused? Yes. Am I scared? Yes. Do I still love him? Yes. Will I be okay? YES! I loved Grant with all of my heart and I truly believe Grant loved me with all of his heart, in the best way he knew how. If you know anything about me, you know that I LOVE Disney princesses and wish I could be Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Growing up I had the fairytale outlook on love, and I still do. I believed in the prince charming, who would sweep me off my feet and love me forever and we would live happily ever after. I quickly learned that life is not a fairytale. Through my time with Grant, I learned a lot about myself and I learned a lot about relationships. During our relationship, I learned to truly love another person and to truly put their needs before my own. Grant was my prince and lived my life for him. BIG MISTAKE! Lesson 1: Never live your life for another person! Over the past 7 months I have had to readjust my plan for my life and my future. After losing Grant, it felt as if a part of me was missing. I still feel that way sometimes. However, I would not trade the last 7 years of my life with Grant. Yes, there are things I would have done differently, but I don't regret being with him. I could literally write about Grant and the lessons he and our relationship taught me, for hours. However, I will not bore you with that. The most exciting thing, that I am finally starting to grasp, is that God had and has another plan for my life, way bigger than I could ever hope for or dream. I don't really understand it and I get frustrated daily, but being with Grant has prepared me to except something even greater in the future. It also showed me what I need to change in my life in order to be the kind of wife a man deserves. Grant will always have a part of my heart but, because of him, I can love better and harder next time. Grant had a tremendous impact on my life and I am thankful for that! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

2 Down...98 more to go!

YAY! I jumped from 4 followers to 7 followers in a day!!! HAHA it's the little things. Be sure to read some of the previous posts to see where life has taken me in the last 4 months. It's a lot about life, love, and lessons. Today was a good Monday. I had Fisher today and we spent the morning with Erin and the boys. Tonight I started a bible study with a group of ladies and I am so so excited about it! There are about 10 of us and the only other girl I know is Lindsey, which is great because I'm excited to meet new friends! I have been searching for a time like this and a way to get involved with other women and share what the Lord is doing in our lives! The study is by Priscilla Shier and it is on Discerning the Voice of God. So exciting!!! Life is so crazy and I know I often feel like God has nothing to say to me. However, God is always talking, I am just not always listening. If I listened and obeyed more I think my life would be a lot less crazy! Yay for this "New Beginning" and I'm glad I get to go through it with Linds! :) 
We both need it! 
Now onto what you've all been dying to know... who's number 2??????? Well, wait no longer, the 2nd person on my list of 100 people is none other than my beautiful, smart, and creative mother, Edna Vaughan! 
I don't even know where to begin when trying to describe my mom. She is the most incredible woman I know! Our relationship has not always been the greatest and believe it or not there was a time when we argued all the time and our relationship was strained. When I moved out of my parents house and joined Living Proof, our relationship improved drastically. While I am the spitting image of my dad, I am very much so my mother's child. We are both very blunt and honest and often times that seemed to get in the way of our relationship. Now, my mom is my best friend. I tell her everything and I truly value her wisdom and opinions. She is such a wonderful mom and has always put my needs ahead of her own. She is the most selfless woman I know and she always puts others first. One thing that really encourages me is knowing that my mom prays for me daily, over and over again. Her desire is to see me happy, at whatever cost. My brother and I are the most important people in her life, and that is comforting. During the past few months, my mom has been a constant reminder of God's love. My breakup with Grant was not only hard on me, but it was hard on those around me and who knew Grant and I. It was especially difficult and hard for my family because Grant was part of our family. However, while I knew my mom was upset, she made a conscious effort in making sure she was encouraging and loving, even when she didn't understand my feelings. She will never know how much that has meant to me! I can only pray that I can be half the mother and wife she is to me. As far as being a wife, can you imagine being married to my dad? haha. That's a full time job in and of itself and she handles it well! :) My mom is patient, kind, and always respectful towards my dad and she admires him. Their love is truly one of a kind and it is one that I hope to have one day! It makes me smile to see how much I am like my mom. My mom is the Proverbs 31 woman. Anyone who knows her, would say the same thing and there is not a mean thing that could ever be said about her. She loves the Lord and she loves people and she loves investing her time in others lives. She is a true example of God's plan for a mother, wife, friend, and career woman. She will never know the impact she has had and continues to have on me and my life.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

100 People Challenge

I have decided that I am not that good at this whole blog thing, so, I am going to make it a priority to write every day. In order to do that I am going to do a blog challenge on the top 100 people who have influenced my life. These people will be in no particular order and I plan on writing about one person each day. I may even add a few things here and there that are kinda random about my life. In fact, we are going to start with 5 random things going on in my life at the moment.
1. I can't wait to have butterflies again over someone special.
2. I'm going to Uganda in February,
 to work in an orphanage and I can't even wait! 
3. I have been filling out teaching applications 
like it's a full time job.
4. I started selling ThirtyOne and
think all two of you who read this should buy something.
5. I have the house to myself 
for a whole month and I don't love it!

Now, the first person on my list of 100 people who have influenced my life is none other than the one and only S. Keith Vaughan... my father!

I am by far the biggest daddy's girl in the world. I know many people say, "I have the best dad in the whole world". Well, they may think they do but I can assure you my dad is the best! He is my biggest fan and advocate. My dad is not only my father, but he is my mentor, my pastor, my friend, and my hero. He is strong in his faith and he is passionate about His work. He loves the Lord and he has a true desire to influence this world for Christ. My life verse is Matthew 5:16, which states "Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven." My dad lives out this verse daily. He is a light to the world and many people would love to put that light out. However, that will not be possible. :) I have seen my dad hurt by the very people who profess love to him and I have seen him betrayed by some of his best friends. I have watched as the church has beat him down and cared more about "politics" than about the word of God. However, each time, my dad has stood firm and never backed down from what he knew to be right and what he knew to be God's will. As a father, my dad did everything he could to make sure my brother and I had everything we could ever want or need. He raised us to be independent and confident people and to hold our heads high and rely on God's love, support, and will to guide us. The past seven months have been the hardest I have been through so far in my life. My dad has been constant and loving through it all. He, as well as, my mom and other close friends, have seen me at my lowest of lows and yet he carried me through it and never faltered. As a husband, he has shown me how a man should treat his wife and how love never ever grows old and NEVER fails. He loves my mom with a love that I can only pray that I show half of when I find that special someone. He adores my mom and she is the light of his life. He is the true example of a Godly  husband, father, and friend.
 Well, there ya have it! One down, 99 left to go!  Wonder who's next???