Danielle Van Wert of Eagan, MN

Picture of winner's bracelet.

There are so many beautiful charms on this site that could represent so many parts of our lives; it was very difficult to choose 10. The first 2 charms I would have to choose would be to represent both of my parents. My Mother and Father are two of the most important people in my life; however they are not my biological parents. I was adopted when I was 3 months old. I never knew my biological parents and I really never care to. My parents are the ones who were there for me through tummy aches, graduations, high times and low times. When I was 12 I was stricken with Transverse Myelitis. It's a virus that attacks your spine, causing many mobility issues. In my case it paralyzed me. Life was never the same, but my parents made my life complete. They never told me I couldn't do something, they always helped me figure out a way to do it myself. They are my biggest supporters, my father, sadly passed away last year, but showed me more love than I could have ever asked for in my 28 years I had with him. The charm to represent him would have to be the Football Helmet (#8265). His love for his home team, The Vikings, never wavered no matter how bad or how good their seasons were. It's something we shared together and am grateful for every fall Sunday! The charm that would have to represent my beloved mom is Mother Daughter (#3567), without her in my life I would not be half of the person I am today. She proved to be one of my biggest supporters in every decision I make for my life. The next charm would have to represent the person that has held my heart for the past 10 years. My Fiancé, A.J., has seen me through some of the hardest moments of my life, without him I don't know where I would or could have ended up. He is my rock and my strength through and through. We survived 2 deployments, one to Iraq & the second to Afghanistan, it was difficult, but I knew we would make it. His charm would have to be Heart with Key 3D (#8365). He has single-handedly opened my heart to a love I never would have imagined possible with another soul. The 4th charm would NEED to represent my Best Friend and on every level, my sister, Darice. She has never left my side when other friends have found greener pastures or have just moved on with their lives. She is, and I know in my heart, always will be there for me as I will be for her. The charm that best represents her is the Personal Listening Device (#2742). Music is what brought us together back in the 10th grade and it's something that brings back so many unbelievable memories for me with her. The 5th and 6th charms would have to represent my Fur-babies. Boo Boo is a mixed very independent kitty who wrapped me around his tail the moment we brought him home from the shelter. His charm would have to be the Tiger (#8312) as he thinks he's as courageous as one, and well he is. Wilbur is my Lhasa Apso/Terrier Mix. He is 9 years old and had the ability to melt his way right into my heart the second we found him at Second Chance animal shelter. His charm would have to be the Terrier (#6323). They have both seen me at my worst with no judgment and filled my life with so much happiness. There are not enough words to ever be able to express my thanks for them just being. The last 4 charms would have to represent myself and the things that most show who I am as a person, so far. The first charm would need to be Cooking Utensils (#3014). It represents my love of cooking, trying new things, new recipes and my love of good food. My mother and grandmother really helped form this in me. They are unbelievable at being able to take a recipe and cater it to their own styles and tastes. The next charm would have to be Diploma (#0185). My graduation of high school and college have to be 2 of the most memorable milestones in my life to this point. No matter the struggle or difficulty I endured through both, I am proud that I pushed myself with the strength of my family behind me to conquer and graduate! The 9th charm would of course have to be Tap Shoe (#7798). For 5 years until my paralysis dance class was my passion. From rehearsals to recitals I was engulfed in nothing, but wanting to dance. I still have a love for it, but for now from the audience. The 10th and final charm would need to be Aries (#4773). My birth sign. I know a lot of people don't believe in their sign accuracies as to who they are or who they've become, but the definition of an Aries encompasses who I am on so many levels. Independent, Optimistic, Impulsive and Insecure. In all, these charms would define my life, myself, and those closest to me completely. Thank You!

Danielle Van Wert
Eagan, MN
Story of Your Life
October, 2012

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