Saturday, October 15, 2016

Remembering Baby Faith {National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day}

The Lord has really laid it upon my heart to start blogging again.  Truthfully, I have fought Him every step of the way because social media is just so much easier and accessible.  I have been praying for some time for God to use me and grow our ministry, and blogging and writing keep coming up.  So what better post to start with than one on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day!

When I sit and really reflect upon this season we are in, I am so thankful for the life of Faith and how God grew us to be where we are today.  I would not be who I am if I had never had the chance to be her mommy.  In a time such as this in our country, we see more and more people jumping on the abortion bandwagon.  I think it has never been more important in our lifetime to celebrate matter how short it may be.

May 19, 2011 is a day that will live forever in our hearts.  It was the day that Faith Mackenzie Vaughn was born into our arms and 42 minutes later, she entered the gates of heaven.  Those 9 months and 42 minutes molded us in ways that we could have never dreamed.  In the five and a half years since she was born, so much life has happened.  You know the story...we wrote a book.  I graduated college.  We moved far away from home to serve Jesus Christ in full time ministry.  All of those things are so scary and overwhelming, but we knew we could trust Jesus in these things because He gave us courage through the life of our daughter.

In remembering her, I also remember all of the parents who have lost a child.  Whether in an early pregnancy or years into their lives, losing a child is the most devastating thing I could ever imagine.  While the world moves on about their everyday lives, we sit and wonder how we will make it through the next day, hour or minute.  We never forget our children who have impacted us so much.  And guess what?  Jesus never forgets either!  He created each of them in His image, and loves them so much more than we ever could.  During Faith's pregnancy and birth, we clung to the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord.   "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future."  God had great plans for your child from the time the world was spoken into existence.  Their hope and future is in heaven, as is ours if we belong to Him.  As Rob and I clung to that verse for her, we also came to realize that promise was for each of us too.  We could either withdraw from the world and try to make sense of what happened, or we could trust in God's plans for Faith and for each of us.  There were many days we did both!  It wasn't easy, and there are still days that are hard.  We continue to watch His plans for us unfold every day as we serve to spread the Gospel here in WV.  None of this would have been possible if we hadn't learned to trust Jesus with our greatest treasures...our own lives and the life of our child.

Moms and Dad who are grieving the loss of your precious little one...we remember each of you as you navigate life with a huge hole in your heart.  The Bible is full of the promises from our Heavenly Father. Psalms 34:18 says "The Lord is nigh to them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."  And one of my absolute favorites in a time of grief is James 4:8- "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you."  Cling to the Lord and He will carry you through these uncertain waters.  Our prayer is that you have the hope of Jesus Christ and eternal life through salvation in Him.  I know I will see Faith again, because Jesus paid the price on the cross at Calvary.  He made a way for me and you to have eternal life with Him in heaven, along with our sweet children. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing the grief of losing a child, I would like to share our story with you.  You can purchase our book, Our Faith Renewed, here.  If you are local to the WV area, I have some on-hand and can ship directly to you.  Our story is one of love, life, grief, marriage struggles, and redemption.  God has been so incredibly good to us and we want you to have the same hope we Jesus! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Eagle Ranch Update~ 3 weeks

It has been three weeks since we have been here in WV.  It has been a great time of gratitude for the season we are in.  I would be lying if I said there hasn’t been some adjusting I’ve had to do.  We’ve all had to adjust to a different way of life.  But it’s something we are so thankful to be able to do.

A quick update on things here at Eagle Ranch:  Holly Tucker is here with us this week.  She has spent her Spring Break with us.  She wanted to come on a mission trip, and she has been the biggest blessing.  While she and I haven’t been doing construction work, she has helped me tremendously with getting organized with homeschool.  She has helped the kids get adjusted to working online, and has been the biggest help to me.  I’m so thankful to have her here.  It has been so good to spend some time with her.  She even got the good news of being accepted as Snowbird staff yesterday while she was here, so that was exciting for all of us.

The bunk house is almost complete.  We are just days away from finishing it.  We have a team of our favorite people from Sardis coming up next week to help us get it finished up.  We are so excited to see them, and for them to be a part of this ministry here.

Construction on our commercial kitchen began this morning.  We are so excited to be able to have a space to cook for all of our visitors.  I will post updates as we move along with that project.

Life in WV is very different than that in Florida.  Everything is much slower here, and that has been a breath of fresh air.  We are so used to living life at 90 mph, that is has been nice to just take a deep breath and focus on what God wants us to do.  Please continue to pray for our family, for this ministry, and for this community.  We have a lot of work to do!
I joked that I was going to do a post on “10 things I have learned since being in WV.”  I’ve done a lot of changing :) 
  • For instance, we eat almost all meals at home, which means I do a lot of cooking.  It also means we eat a lot of leftovers.  This is new for me.  We were not raised eating leftovers, but now I rejoice if there is leftovers because it means I don’t have to cook.
  • I have also learned that eating sandwiches will not kill me. If you have ever spent any amount of time with me, you will know I despise a cold sandwich.  These past few weeks I have learned to embrace the cold sandwich and realize it really isn’t the end of the world.
  • Not only have I learned to eat sandwiches, I have learned to LOVE hotdogs.  They have this hotdog sauce here that makes everything taste amazing!  I can’t wait to make some for our friends.  It is incredible!

  • People here are so trusting.  Did you know that they don’t pay at the gas pump in our neck of the woods?  You pump your gas, THEN go inside and pay.  That would never happen in FL.
  • They ONLY sing out of the hymn book here.  While I love some hymns, I love great music even better, so this has been a HUGE adjustment for me.  But I am learning to embrace it, too.
  • Finding a new church is HARD.  Don’t ever take your home church for granted.  If you belong to a good church, thank God daily for allowing you to be a part of it.  We miss our church family so much.  But after much prayer, we have found a church that we really like….A LOT!  It is a little bit of a drive (45 minutes) but hey…so is everything else.
  • Speaking of driving, I have learned to drive like a local in these mountains.  My kids may get car sick every time I drive, but I’m really proud of myself.  I have learned to have more confidence in myself when it comes to going places by myself.  I had to drive to the big city of Charleston by myself Saturday to pick up Holly.  I only made one wrong turn, and we both returned back to the Ranch in one piece.
  • I have learned to LOVE family time at home.  We have always been goers, and were always looking for somewhere to go.  Here, it is not easy to go anywhere because it is a long drive to just about everywhere we go.  We have enjoyed being together and refocusing on what God wants from us as a family.

  • This is a BIG one.  I am a pretty independent person, and can usually do things if I put my mind to it.  Homeschool has changed all of that!  I am not personally cut out to do this.  Holy cow.  It tests me daily!  But I am learning that if I keep my eyes on Jesus, and lean on His strength, I can do all things through Him.  This has been a hard lesson to learn.  But it has been a daily reminder to trust in Him, and allow Him to direct my paths.
  • The most important thing I have learned since being here is that there is NOTHING more important than a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Being who He wants me to be, being where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do (even when it is the hardest thing you have ever done) brings a renewed joy and peace in your life that overwhelms the hard days.  I don’t worry like I used to.  I’m not anxious like I used to be.  I don’t stress like I used to.  It’s not because I don’t have things to worry about or be stressed about.  The change has come from trusting the Lord with my whole heart and my whole life. 
Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” This has proven true these past few weeks.  As I was reading Proverbs 16 this morning, this verse is one I have committed to memory.  Proverbs 16:9 “A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”  I am so guilty of making my own plans, but I continually learn that the Father’s plans are so much better than anything I could ever imagine.
Who are you trusting in today?  Are you depending on your own strength to do what is before you today?  Or are you trusting fully in Jesus?  I pray that you all will know the PEACE that passes all understanding, no matter what your circumstances may be.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Eagle Ranch Update

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I hope that you had a wonderful holiday season.  Ours was very busy, which I'm sure you have figured out since it's been a month since I last posted.  I will blog separate posts on our Christmas adventures, but wanted to give you the latest on our WV project.

We spent the week between Christmas and New Year's at Eagle Ranch and helped host a "Light the Night" New Year's Eve youth lock in at a local (meaning within 2 hours) church.  We were so excited to be able to participate this year and had the opportunity to meet so many people.  The evening included a combined adult/youth service where we had many people make decisions to give their heart to Jesus.  The youth then ate and played games all night. Our home church, Sardis Baptist Church, allowed us to take 9 Square in the Air, and it was a HUGE hit.  There was a line to play the entire night. We had a youth worship service and brought the new year in at the altar praying for God's guidance for the new year.  They continued to play games, watch movies, participate in a talent show and fellowship with one another. We all left (barely awake) at 7:00 am New Year's morning.  It was a great success, and we can't wait to host many more events once we get there. For more pictures and some great videos from the talent show, check out our facebook page at

While we were there, we were able to meet with our board of directors and put a plan in place.  As you may have heard, we have raised the first $50,000 for the construction of bunk facilities and a concrete bath house. Once these are completed we will be able to sleep 75-80 people. Construction began on the bunk facilities this Tuesday.  We are so thankful for Sebby, Steve and friends for getting this started.  We will begin construction on the bath house in March when the weather is more favorable for concrete construction.

We are currently working on rebranding with a new logo and a social media campaign, so stay tuned to the blog and facebook for some contest announcements soon!

Many of you have asked how you can help.  I have an answer for you!  Here are several ways in which you can partner with us in this ministry:
  • Prayer- Please pray for our family and this ministry as we venture out into a world of unknown. We know that God is in control, and we are so excited to see Him work, but we have a lot of work ourselves  to be doing and it can be overwhelming at times. We are also waiting on the sale of our house. We covet your prayers.
  • Monthly Support- Rob and I are supporting our family financially while in this transition and will be paying our own expenses with the sale of our house.  But we are raising monthly support for the monthly operation costs of Eagle Ranch.  These expenses are $2,500 each month.  
  • Project Specific Support- We will begin raising money for the following projects/needs:
    • Mattresses for the bunk beds (we are still working on pricing)
    • Instruments for the worship band
    • a Mac laptop for worship/video
    • A projector
    • Paintball equipment
    • Tables/Chairs for dining/worship seating for 80 people
    • Commercial Kitchen Equipment (Gas Stove, Refrigerator, Freezer)
  • Construction Projects- We need to raise funds for materials and we need some mission teams to come help us build the following:
    • Closing in the pole barn
    • Road infrastructure- bridge over creek, gravel, road construction
If you can help us with any of the above (even if it is a contact who can help us with pricing, surplus materials, etc.) please email us at, or call us and let us know.  God has already moved big mountains and He is continuing to show us His way as we take each step of faith. 

Matthew 17:20 - And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

Thank you for partnering with us, especially in prayer. 

All contributions are tax-deductible and you will receive a tax receipt from Kerrs Creek Baptist Church Eagle Ranch Ministries. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Updates on things other than WV

With all of the excitement of the new camp, I forgot to update you on the new publishing of the book.  When we originally published, we went with Crossbooks Publishing and they have since ceased all publishing services completely to all clients.  But you know God!  When He has plans, He doesn't let a publishing company stand in the way.  I am so thankful for Nat and her knowledge and power with these kinds of things.  She immediately got us going on Amazon, and you can now find the link to the newly published book, Our Faith Renewed, in the upper left column of the new blog (we'll talk about the new blog on another post).  The book is the exact same book that was published  before, but guess what?  It is now listed at $10 instead of $15, thanks to the less-demanding new publisher.  Do you need to buy a Christmas gift for someone?  This would make a great stocking stuffer, and would also bring hope and encouragement through the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you are new to our blog or our family, you can read Faith's story on the right side of this post.  Just click the link under her picture.
Tomorrow marks my very last day of college.  This has been quite the ride.  While I can't believe I am finally going to walk across the stage next Saturday to get my diploma, I am sad that I will miss coming to class and spending time with some wonderful people who I have grown to love so much.  Next weeks blogs will be dedicated to things I have learned during this last stint in college, so those should be fun.  Here is a throwback to my very first day at UF, just  16 short months ago with this caption: " First day of class at UF! Representing @snowbirdswo in the Gator Nation! #icandothis#imagatoragain#fycs ."

I'm not a selfie girl, and this one looks rough.  I didn't only gain knowledge and a degree, but I may have gained a few extra pounds to go with it:)  But I made it, y'all!!!  It wasn't in my strength, but through dependence on Jesus.  Philippians 1:6 says "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."  When He starts something, He finishes it.  He has started something so very cool, and I have never been more excited to be in the will of my Father that I can hardly stand it. 

If you're waiting for Him to reveal things to you, or if you have been praying that desert of the unknown, hang tight my friends.  He is FAITHFUL!  He promises us this is true.  And I know it personally to be true. 

Much love to you all!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Big! Big! News!

The Vaughns are celebrating some pretty big news this week.  I am graduating from UF Saturday, December 19th, and many have asked “So then what?”  So here is the scoop:
God has called our family into full time ministry.  Our family is moving to Chloe, WV after the first of the year to serve as full time missionary camp directors at Eagle Ranch.  This will be a camp ministry built from the ground up.  God has opened so many doors, and literally moved HUGE mountains just this week.  We are so very excited to be able to share Jesus with the people there on a daily basis (which is what we should be doing anyway). 

Matthew 28:19-20 says Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  And that is exactly what we are going to do.
We knew we were being called into ministry several years ago, but I just dug my heels in the sand and refused to leave my mama.  Y’all know I sure do love going to my mom and dad’s house for Sunday lunch or birthday dinners.  But a lot of life has happened and shown me that there is NO greater joy than obeying the Lord and being where HE wants you to be.
Eagle Ranch will be a year round camp and retreat center with programming for everyone.  We will host our first camps this summer, once we complete the construction of our bunk houses and bath house. 
Can you pray for us?  We are going to need it!  Here are some things you can pray about:
  • Pray our house sells quickly.  We are meeting with the realtor tomorrow, and we can go and serve as soon as it is sold.
  • Pray for our children as this will be a big change.
  • Pray for my mama!  She is actually doing pretty well and that does my heart good.  I am sure gonna miss her and my dad….and my sisters, and nieces and nephews, and my friends, and my students, and the list goes on and on.
  • Pray for the people there in WV, that their hearts will be softened to the gospel of Jesus Christ and they will come to have a personal relationship with Him.
  • Pray about how you can support us.  We need prayer warriors, financial support, and mission teams to come help us.  How will you help?
Are we scared?  A little.  But mostly excited! But I find comfort in Jesus’ words in Matthew 6: 25-34:
25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? 26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?  32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.  33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Jesus LOVES us!  He is for us.  He will provide for us!  And we have been blown away by the power He has shown these last few weeks.  Thank you for going on yet another journey with the Vaughn family.  It’s sure to be a wild ride!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Food (Pantry) for Thought

This summer, I am blessed to be able to complete my practicum (internship) for my program at our church. This has been yet another way that God has been faithful to provide for us as we step out in obedience, seeking His will for our lives.  Not only am I able to be home with my kids this summer, I am able to use the hours we spend with our youth students in camps and mission trips toward my required 300 hours.  Totally a GOD thing, I tell ya!  
This week, SaraGrace got to go to baking camp (I’ll post on that another day), so Cade and I got some time together.  One of the things I was asked to work on at the church was the food pantry, so Cade and I tackled that this week.

My work crew

Our postal service hosted a food drive several weeks ago, and our church was blessed to receive some of that food for our food pantry.  There was SO MUCH FOOD!!!  What a blessing!  Our first task was to separate the food into like kinds, all while checking for expiration dates and severely damaged packaging.  We developed a little system and got busy. 

As the hours went on, it seemed like we were taking more food to the dumpster for being expired that what we were keeping for the pantry.  Cade would load the wagon with the expired goods and he and Emmy would take turns throwing it into the dumpster.  As we continued with this process God really spoke to me. 

Let me begin by saying that I did not even participate in the food drive, meaning I gave NOTHING as a donation.  Shame on me!!!  So I was immediately convicted there.  I realize that I am included in the intended audience for this post.

As we pilfered through the endless bins of food, it amazed us that people gave food that was so extremely expired.  I’m talking 2006, 2010, 2012.  I guess as long as we give something, even if it’s something we don’t use (or something that’s been sitting in our pantry for years), we have done something good for “the least of these” and we can go to bed feeling good about ourselves.  How often do we treat our offerings to God in the same manner?  After all, He gave us His all when He sent His son to die for us.  He bore the punishment for us as a blameless, perfect man.  The least we could offer Him is our very best.  The first fruits of ourselves.  So many times He gets the leftovers.  It may be the leftover of our day spent in a quick prayer or devotion.  It may be our leftover energy as we serve in a ministry just to check the box that we’re doing what we have been asked.  It may be that we tithe out of our leftovers after all of our bills have been paid and we have bought everything we want.  I am certainly guilty of all of these things. 

Genesis 4: 1-7  (NKJV)
1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”
So what are we to do? 

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV)
Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.

I have been challenged this week to give my all to my Savior, just as HE gave it all for me.  My prayer is that you will be challenged in the same way.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Just a Little Math

 "He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Yesterday, I attended the funeral of my 35 year old cousin who lost her brave fight with breast cancer.  There were tons of people there, and many that got up and spoke on her behalf.  As we sat and listened to the testament of her great character, and how she impacted people with her positive attitude and vibrancy for life, it hit me.  If I were to die today, what would others get up and say? 

So many times, especially in ministry, we get discouraged because we want to make a difference, and we want to know that what we are doing is important to the people we encounter.  As Christians, we want (and expect) good friends who love us like we love them, we want people to treat us as we treat them, and often times we are let down.  When we have spent time pouring into others, loving others while they don't like us very much, and continually feeling like we don't matter, it is easy to get selfish and feel entitled to the credit and acknowledgement for we have done "good" to others in the midst of adversity.

As friends and family got up and spoke yesterday, it was evident that my cousin loved people well.  She pushed them to be the best they could be.  She encouraged them.  She was a great person.  But it was never mentioned that she loved Jesus, or shared Him with any of those friends.  It doesn't mean she never did, but it wasn't what she was known for.  The interesting thing is that she knew everything there was to know about Jesus.  She grew up in church, heard about Jesus many times, but no one really knows what she did with it.  But that's what I want to be known for.  Not what SaraBeth did for everyone.  Not that SaraBeth had a positive attitude.  Not that SaraBeth loved everybody.  Those things are important.  But without loving and sharing Jesus, none of that really matters.  It is not about me, but all about Jesus.  When my friends and family stand before my casket I want them to say "SaraBeth loved Jesus, so she loved others as Jesus loved her. She shared the greatest gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those she came in contact with, and because of that, JESUS made a difference in my life."  I was reminded of the verse in John 3:30 - "He must increase, but I must decrease."  When we put our selfish desires aside, and allow God to permeate our lives, it is then that we feel loved and accepted because HE loves us unconditionally.  We are not called to share Jesus, but we are commanded.  

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Lord, my prayer is that I will no longer seek self gratification, but glorify and exalt YOU in all that I do.  May I love others enough to share YOU with them, and love them (regardless of how they feel about me) like You love them. Amen.