Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So: I'm leaving in a few hours to go and live with......Wait a minute,
Is this seriously happening? :)

I've learned something through the process of helping Carlee and Nathan with the cancer battle; leaving them and the little ones; being invited to live in Massachusetts. Sometimes God gives us desires so that we can learn to offer them back to Him, as a sacrifice of love. And other times, He gives us desires just so He can fulfill them down the road.
He gave me the desire of my heart by letting me live in Nome when Carlee needed me so badly. And He's giving me another desire of my heart by sending me to care for Mrs. Elliot-Gren.

I'm so full of gratefulness. But oh, God: may I always learn to thank You for crucified desires, as well as granted ones.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tonight I had a wonderful time with my Grandparents before I leave for Massachusetts on Tuesday.
Grandpa told one of his world renown jokes, and I'm sharing it with you.
Lucky you.

(Right click on the video to watch it on YouTube and see the whole picture.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Sometimes, I am just SO proud that I've got Italian blood. :)
These are 14 and 15 yr. old boys! What gorgeous voices; it gives me chills!
I think the first, Gianluca Ginoble, has a voice that rivals Josh Groban's.
Oh, to be 14 again. (wink)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Parting shots of Alaska

As promised here are some more AK pictures, Uncle Tim! :)

AK state flower: the Forget-me-Not

The kids think it is pretty cool that Uncle Nate flies airplanes!
Nate, Carlee, Nathaniel and I took an evening and flew to the village of White Mountain.
It was a gorgeous flight, and a really special time together as siblings.

A musk ox from one of the Anvil Mnt. herds

A few days before I left Alaska, Anna, Leslie and I trekked the mountains near Salmon Lake. What a breathtaking hike! (In more ways than one, heh!) Leslie is a bona-fide "Alaska Woman" (She met her husband when she was tagging a bear she had killed) and Anna and I enjoyed her stories about wolf and bear encounters. Wowsers.

This HUGE valley was completely obscured by fog and when it finally rolled away we were in awe at the view. The mist and fog made this hike almost surreal... it was so beautiful.

My last full day in Alaska, we packed a picnic dinner and drove to "The End Of The Road". Literally, it just ends there in the tundra about 60 miles outside of town. We stopped by a river and explored a little, shot a few rounds on Nate and Nate's pistols, and just enjoyed being together.
Spotting reindeer

A moose in the river off the road

Poor Wessy had a bad day when he tripped and fell into the icy river!

WHAT!? Baby Caleb already needs a hair cut!? How can the Chubster be that old already? Mommy did a great job on his first cut and Caleb handled it like a pro. He would have loved to get his hands on those clippers though...

Carlee, Anna Fiskeaux and I sang this song last Sunday in church. It was not flawless as you will see, but the message was sung from our hearts and we were so blessed by it even when we were practicing. :) (My Bright Lights friends might recognize it!!)
It meant a lot to have Anna singing with us. She's a dear friend; a beautiful person on the inside and out who is so fervent hearted! I love you Anna. :)
I love attending the Nome Covenant Church... Harvey Fiskeaux, the pastor, is a prayer warrior and a passionate, caring man. And there are so many wonderful brothers and sisters there who I miss them already.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A farewell post that, upon perusal, reads more like a Graduation speech

I wish I could just be concise and "wow" Carlee with an amazing post that captures all my feelings in few short paragraphs, like she did me, But it ain't happening. Car has that uncanny ability to bring people to tears with her words without even trying.

No fair, big sis.

In fact I became so engrossed in writing this at the Chicago O'Hare airport that I was uncomfortably close to missing my seat on the plane. So, bear with me or feel free to bail out somewheres along the way. (Psst! I'll never know if you do! That's the beauty of this blog! I can ramble and you can ditch me without hurting my feelings!)

I’m not sure how a dingy little town like Nome can work it’s way under your skin, but somehow it managed. And I’m not sure how one little person who you’ve only known for 11 months nearly can wrench your heart out with one “bye-bye” wave with his impossibly chubby hands, but he managed that too.

I’m finding that it’s often a sad when you’re leaving one era of life and moving into another; especially when you’re not quite sure what to expect from the new and you truly loved the old. But as the quote I love says, “Don’t cry that it’s over…laugh that it ever happened.” That’s how I want to live my life. Because I think it shows much trust in the One who is guiding my life and the ability to embrace the joy He’s given without wallowing in the longing for the past.

Well, okay. Correction. That sounds all good and noble but I’ve got to be honest and say I cried my eyes out in the sky between Nome and Anchorage. So yeah… I guess crying that it’s over has it’s place. J

But, I’m compiling a list of the reasons I “laugh that it ever happened”:

-First and foremost, because I’ve renewed acquaintance with my best friend; and I’ve been able to walk with her and Nathaniel through the hardest time in their life. Wow I love you guys! And how could I EVER describe the thankfulness I feel that Jesus let me walk this road with my sister!? She is an amazing woman and I’ve learned so much by the deep joy and tenderness of her resilient spirit. For not being perfect, she’s purty close. ;) And Nathaniel is such a deeply caring person; so full of love and thoughtfulness. He still loves me after a year of non-stop Daniness and that’s saying a lot! Man, I get so frustrated at times like these because how do you put wordless thoughts into writing? How do I capture the way my heart swells with deep love and emotion when I think of my sister? How on earth can I bottle up the conversations and laughter and tears and travels and adventures and sickness and healing and prayers and hard work of the past 13 months and spill it out in a few sentences of type? It’s impossible and I wish it wasn’t. I wish I could somehow say something that would thank Carlee for who she is and for what the past year has meant to us. But I don’t know how, really.

-Another reason I smile; because I lived in Alaska for the chunk of a year! I love this land! I saw moose, musk ox, reindeer, orcas, eagles, seal, fox, and otter. Tasted walrus and muktuk (whale blubber). Learned to enjoy musk ox and moose. Drove a snow machine and rode a dogsled. Went on hunts with my brother in law. Flew through town on a 6 or 4 wheeler (I’d never get sick of that). Hiked mountains and gazed at glaciers. Sat by fires on the Bering beach. Walked downtown Nome almost daily. Experienced daylight at 4:ooam. Jumped in icy rivers and caught my first salmon. Traveled in a little plane to an Alaskan village with my brother as the pilot. Wooohoo! It’s been so fun to be an Alaskan!

-Because I got to be an auntie for a solid year to little ones that I normally don’t get to see very often! I’m not going to sugarcoat: I nearly went insane a few times. But overall, I’ve enjoyed the journey and I cherish those 5 little Hobbits with my whole heart. I wish you all could know them because they are amazing. Really. We’re talking above average on the CuteO’Meter, SweetO’Meter, WellBehavedO’Meter and any other O’Meter that you could come up with. I wish I had kept a log of all the unbelievable cute things they’d say every day. And I wish I could freeze them at this age until I see them again. Especially Wes and Caleb. There just are not words.

-Okay I’m getting too wordy, so I’m going to be briefer: Some amazing friends came into my life this year; people I cherish and love so much. Leslie Smith, the Adcox’s, Stockers, Sue Nolan, The Hansons and Fiskeaux’s, …So many dear people from the Nome Covenant Church that I just couldn’t even name them all. And some people that I wish I knew better because I’ve seen how kind and beautiful they are and what a support they’ve been to Carlee. (Nora Nagaruk, if by some chance you happen to read this, you’re one of them!!) J

-I’ve learned a lot about suffering by being with Carlee and Nathaniel in this process. I’ve learned about God’s faithfulness and His unpredictability. I’ve learned that we can’t assume we know what He’s up to, but we can bring glory to His name by trusting Him through the process and embracing the beauty He brings even through a painful process.

-I got to spend some time with my brother Nate… the sweetest, most wonderful guy ever and also the strangest. Wear padding if you ever ride behind him on a 4 wheeler across the tundra. And don’t be surprised if he kisses a plane he thinks is cool cuz… well, that’s just my Naters.

So yeah, my heart is sad right now to be leaving all this behind. But I am DEEPLY grateful that I am no longer needed for now in the Hobb’s home, because it means my sister is stronger! That reality completely thrills me and fills me with so much hope and gladness. And I am overflowing with thankfulness and joy for the lessons I’ve learned, the people I’ve met, the relationships that have been strengthened, and the experiences I’ve had. Once again, God gave treasures from a very dark time. (Isaiah 45:3)

This is a long post. (HA! Understatement.) But if you’re still reading, all the way at the end here, perhaps you will have realized that I’m probably writing this more for myself than anyone else. :) I needed to sit and remember and thank Jesus for the blessings of the last year, and be a little sad that the gift of time with my sister's family is over. But... not sad enough to cry again. You know. (wink)

Oh and, promise: no more wordy posts for a long time.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
-King David

I stand tall on the rocks above the sea and the wind whips my hair. I breathe deeply, lifting my chin, shutting my eyes, and pondering that beautiful water. Sometimes I feel like the sea. So many other people have drawn the parallel, but how true it is... one's heart can toss just like the waves of the ocean! Where are they going; what are they doing, those busy waves? Tempestuous, like a heart can be. I scan the horizon, and my heart reaches out for something... What?
"What are you longing for?"
Says a voice at my side. I don't turn to see who asked the question, because I know who it is. I smile quietly, acknowledging His invisible presence. Inviting Him to share the moment with me. I'm glad He's here on the rocks with me. How long had He been standing here? I feel a little ashamed by His probing question. It feels a little more like a gentle rebuke than a query. Why?
"I'm longing for a lot of things."
For a while, thoughts tumble in my mind; thoughts birthed by His question. He kneads them around like a Baker kneading dough with a firm, skilled hand. Finally, they meld into one phrase; one I've read in Psalms:
My soul finds rest in God alone.
His question, again: "What are you longing for?"
"I forgot it again, Lord; but I guess I was longing for You. You know that I am incomplete unless my soul is at rest in Your embrace."
That's what He wanted me to remember. He reaches out and grasps my hand. I can't feel the hold, but I know He's grasping it tightly. He smiles at me, and even though I can't see His smile, I smile back. I want to cry, because this barrier between spirit and flesh makes Him feel so far away. But I know that someday it will be abolished, and then I will realize that He was the invisible Reality in every moment of my life, whether I felt it or not. He tells me that he loves me, and I can not hear Him say it. But I know it.
And even though it doesn't erase the longing, even though the longing seems to intensify and fill my heart as if the waves might overflow, I know there will be a time when I'll "feel" it more than I do now. And until then,
...He loves me.
He loves me.
And wow; that's enough.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Miskalaskaness (which, being interpreted, means "miscellaneous Alaskan randomness")

Have I ever told you that I love it here?
I'm feeling wordy and I think that tonight, I will succumb to the wordiness. Don't say I didn't warn you in advance. ;)
In between lots of work around home and keeping 5 children alive and well, we've had some adventures. Smallish adventures, granted, but adventures nonetheless.
The first adventure was a hike to Dorothy Falls. I didn't know there was a waterfall around her until Amy invited me to go with her and the Ericksons (friends from church). I brought Noah and Shaina along, and the party grew to include a few of the Fiskeaux kids as well, and Amy and James' Chili-Dog (who I'm sorry to say was very naughty indeed on this trip).

The hike was gorgeous and...a bit exhausting. But we enjoyed it so much! Spring's beginning to poke through the tundra and a miriad of little wildflowers are appearing! Tundra is fascinating; like a little world in and of itself. Have you ever wished that you could shrink yourself to better explore the details of creation? When I look at tundra, I wish I could shrink and explore.
Amy and Justice... two of my favorite Nomites! I love spending time with the Adcox fam!
There are still patches of snow at higher elevation, and since it's unseasonably warm here, we enjoyed stopping and cooling off a bit during the hike. I love this picture.
We had to cross a few rivers and streams to get to the falls. If I were to tell you that this was cold water, it would be a scandalous understatement. What we're doing here would be a very effective way for the US government to get terrorists to tattle on their buddies. Stick them in an Alaskan river and they'd talk. Fast.

...Oh I forgot: that might violate their human rights. My apologies.

Memorial Day brought with it another adventure of sorts! We headed out in the ATVs to a cabin on the beach for the day. We explored the beach, cooked on the fire, and relaxed, enjoying the sun and the breathtaking scenery around us.

Have you, perchance, ever wondered what I look like when I ride a four wheeler at a hight rate of speed? (It would be very strange if you had, but regardless,) wonder no more, bloggies!
Nate and I laughed until our sides ached at these pictures we took while we were driving, the wind contorting our faces. The vain boy wouldn't let me post the pictures I took of him. But I'm saving them for his wedding day. Mwahaha!
Without a doubt, Nate's the funniest person I know and I am so amazed that he's my, MY, brother!!! And the other facet of Nate that you learn pretty quickly if you spend any time with him is that he also has a passion for God that fills his heart and overflows into his actions.
"Friends don't let friends dance and drive." (But siblings don't have a problem with it!)

The kids looked adorable, all bundled up in the back of the six wheeler for the drive to the cabin. We drove along miles of beach, the Hobbs in the six wheeler and Nate and I on the four wheeler. And it was so fun.
Noah found some whale bones!

Pretty sobering- as you see, somebody lost their soul on the beach.

Thank you all for your comments. I do love to read them! And especially the ones about my dream the other day. :) I've thought about dreams a lot since then, and well, who knows... dreams do come true; you're all right. My greatest dream is to learn to delight in God to the fullest extent possible... and then the other desires of my heart will all fall into place. My big question is not "will my dreams come true?" (although yes of COURSE I'd love to know that!) But rather it is "Lord, will you share YOUR dreams with ME?" We have dreams, but what about the One who gives and takes away dreams? Can you imagine the awesomeness of the dreams in God's heart? The hopes He has for us? The vision He has for the world? The joy and wonder and glory He's waiting to reveal to us in heaven?
Wow. Makes my dream about Mr. Nice Guy seem pretty trivial. :) I can be such a self-obsessed Christian, guys. I mean, we all can, and I know that. But I'm the only one who knows the real, inside, deeply hidden Danielle. And I get disgusted by the trivial thoughts that fill my mind most of the day; the way adoring my Savior is something that must be practiced, remembered, and disciplined and not something that flows from my heart naturally every hour of the day.
Who cares about my dreams. What are GOD'S dreams? Who does He want me to be? How can I get there? That's what really matters. That's all that should matter. That's the Invisible Reality that I must learn to fix my eyes on every moment. Help, Lord.

I'm rambling...

...That means it's time for bed.

...And it probably also means that I'll edit this post in the morning. :)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010