Thursday, March 31, 2011

Two Quotes.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and He delighteth in His way."
-Psalm 37:23

“Goodnight, my friends!” said Galadriel. “Sleep in peace! Do not trouble your hearts overmuch with thought of the road tonight. Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them."
-J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord Of The Rings

Monday, March 28, 2011

Just a fewwwww more...

When there are five creatures of such utter cuteness to post pictures of, it's hard to stop.

So I thought Grandparents (and Uncle T.!) might enjoy just a couple more photos of the family before I leave off blogging about Alaska.

Watching a movie with Carlee

Shaina gearing up to play outside

Shaina and Aunt Oksana having a heart-to-heart. I overheard one of the questions Shaina asked in this discussion: " will I KNOW when I meet the boy I should marry?" Give it some time honeychild!


Two moose that the family saw while out driving! Nate and I were snow machining so we didn't come along on this drive but we were so glad Scott and Oksana got to see some wildlife.

Noah snapped this picture. Caleb's priceless! He loves this game.

Dad Hobbs taking his crew for a ride! Carlee's in the sled with the 5 Hobbits.
This sled is useful for transporting moose or musk ox after a hunt, but the kids like this use much better. :)

All of us, right before Scott and Oksana left (tears galore!)

The morning I left, breakfast at the cafe' with Carlee... So fun!

Until next time, Nome....

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Iditarod Shots

Hans Gatt, 3rd. place, mushes on the frozen Bering Sea outside of Nome

Well, I've left beautiful Alaska and its beautiful people and am back in Boston. But I'm not done bloggin' about the North! My mind is so occupied with the dear ones I've left behind and the awesome experiences God gave us. I'm so grateful.

I know, I know: most likely, few of my readers are fascinated by the Iditarod like I am, but I'm going to post some more pictures anyhow. Just 'cuz I can. :) It's an incredible sport; a truly great race. If you aren't "into it" I hope I can pique your interest a bit. It doesn't get near the publicity or funding it should, in my humble opinion. So hopefully you'll think this is a "fun" post...I had fun putting it together. :)

John Baker, 1st place

DeeDee Jonrow (12th place), surounded by fans, reporters, and dogs after her race

4-time champ Martin Buser (18th place) is congratulated by 2011 champ John Baker and Iditarod Veteran Michael Williams Sr.

I loved congratulating the exhausted four-legged athletes at the finish line; they were so sweet! Can't remember whose dog this was- either Ken Anderson's (9th place) or Jesse Royer's (10th place). Royer lost to Anderson by a matter of seconds and their run down Front St. to the Burled Arch finish line was pretty intense run to watch. The dogs were so tired.

Ramey Smyth, 2nd place, enters the chute leading his dogs as an Alaskan native holds his Eskimo drum in the sunlight.

Hans Gatt, 3rd. place, nears the Burled Arch on Front St. It's pretty cool to watch the dogs running down Front St. and imagine what's going through the musher's minds as they near the end of the race. (Check out Hans' face!) Sometimes the dogs are so happy to see people that they get distracted and run to bystanders. :)

Lance Mackey, 4-time champion. Such a nice guy, and he's got an incredible life story too; Google him some time. He signed my shirt and we talked twice. Twice. They were very-teeny-conversations, granted, but they were conversations nevertheless. I daresay I'll remember them much longer than he will. Heh!

Nate's soooo sweet! What on earth is a girl to do with a brother like him?? He paid for my ticket to the Musher's Banquet with him and Carlee. All-you-can-eat king crab was on the menu along with the traditional strawberries (a big deal in the middle of winter, for Nome!) and other delicious food. It was so great. Most of the evening was spent watching the various awards being given to the mushers and hearing each one say a few words (often including a funny or interesting anecdote from the trail). We got to speak with a few mushers too, which was fun. :)

At the banquet: Sabastian Schnuel, 6th place. There just aren't words to describe The Hair.

Sabastian again- because The Hair deserves another view.

John Baker is handed an honorary key to the truck he won and awarded the winning check for $50,400.00. Which really isn't that much, when you consider the cost for the mushers and the amount Kentucky Derby winners get paid for running 1 and 1/4 miles. ($1.5 million!? Good grief!) That's another reason I love the Iditarod- it is certainly NOT an elitist sport.

There are a lot of random prizes along the trail. The prize for the first musher to arrive at the check point of Anvik is a seven-course meal (quite a treat on the 1,000 mile wilderness trail!) and an "after dinner mint." At the banquet, Hugh Neff (5th place) was presented with the "after dinner mint" in a gold pan--$3500.00 in bills!

Here's a snippet of Martin Buser, sharing a trail story at the banquet.
Perhaps I hadn't mentioned it, but he's my favorite musher.
(Please note that my name has been cleared regarding alleged stalker charges at the finish line... YES! Check out Nora's comment on my Buser post! A true friend)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I love being Aunt Dani!

A warm little body after bath there anything more wonderful in all the world?

Wes has learned the art of silly faces. And he is impressed with his skills.
After looking at this picture he sat back and belly laughed and laughed!

The girlies in pajamas :)

Mr. Noah is our active guy! (This hill was extremely can't tell in the photo.)

Kate found my toe socks and thought they'd make cute gloves....

The shirt says it all. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Meet Martin Buser (I did!)

This is Martin Buser. He is my favorite musher. Ever.

This is me, at the finish line, scooting as close as I could to Martin Buser!
(Contrary to what my oldest brother says, this was not creepy stalker activity. It was "I'm-your-biggest fan"-behavior.)

This is me, with Martin Buser, after he signed my Nome T-shirt.
I have reached the apex of Iditarod Happiness.
This race is truly incredible and the men and dogs who run it are unbelievable athletes. I admire them so much because it takes such incredible skill, dedication, and sacrifice to run the Iditarod. I think the reason I love Martin Buser so much is because he is not just an amazing athlete, but also a man who greatly loves and enjoys the dogs, the sport, his family, and his fans.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I love it here.
So much--and yet so little-- seems to have changed since I was here last time and Carlee was battling cancer. Wow, it's good to be back, and under happy circumstances.
My two brothers, sister, and I haven't all been together in about 7 years because we live really far apart. So the siblings are together for the first time in SO LONG and we are having the time of our lives!!! It's been amazing being able to show Scott and Oksana around Nome. :)
I'll post a whole ton of pictures here in the next few weeks, probably, because I can't decide which I like the most; particularly Iditarod shots! Here are a few pictures of us together.

Us FOUR! (Was going to title this one "Together at Last at the End of the Race" but that rather sounds like an obituary.) :)
Scott, Oksy, Nate and I: lunch at the Polar Cafe

Noah, Shaina, Kate, Wes, and Caleb... with a friend. (I am one blessed Auntie!)

Gearing up for a snow machine/sled ride out of town

Scott lookin' like a tourist, taking a video from the frozen Bering Sea

A snow sculpting contest! My friends and I didn't win but we had a blast building our "Orca Chasing Seal." And it was cool, let me tell you! From L-R: Me, Jess, Nora, and Eric

Uncle Nate indocrinating Caleb with an aviation magazine (Caleb absolutely ADORES his uncle.)

Mama with 'Lub

Tuesday, March 15, 2011




....And record holder for fastest time to Nome:
8 days, 19 hours, 46 minutes, 39 seconds.

Untitled from Kyle Hopkins on Vimeo.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Last Night...

The Lights appear more vividly in the photographs than they did to the naked eye... but still, completely breathtaking.

Oh, the wonder of standing beneath His dancing lights and applauding Him!

"The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork!"
-Ps. 19:1

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guess where I am...?

(And with this wonderful guy!)

Friday, March 04, 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Lessons from Peruvians

On Sunday afternoon we bid a melancholy farewell to the Elliots, and found ourselves back en route to Los Estados Unidos; Home sweet home.

It's always sad to leave new friends and new places that you feel as if you've just begun to know and love!

Each time I travel to a new place, I try to pray that the Lord will teach me something from
the people or places I go. This time I think the lesson He wanted me to learn was on servanthood. A lesson from Sylvia, Isabel, and Rafael (among other beautiful people I met but did not know as well).

Rafael comes nearly every day to assist Mr. Elliot--who is somewhat slow and unsteady on his feet-- with a walk. It's not because he has nothing else to do or because he's the spryest man in the church himself. A handsome fellow who bears a constant smile and moves with alacrity to help anywhere he feels he might be needed, he reminded me (in a positive way) of a volleyball player who constantly runs to hit the ball even though it's outside his space! Except Rafael is not hitting volleyballs.. he's jumping off his chair to grab a cup of coffee for someone (even though someone else might be closer to the coffee pot) or cheerily moving to grab Mr. Elliot's cane for him before it's even asked for. I looked forward to seeing Rafael every morning, hearing his bright "Buenos Dias, Daniella!" and receiving his peck on the cheek. :) I was challenged deeply by the joy with which he served the Elliots and the eagerness to lighten the load.

You met Sylvia in an earlier post, but this gal continued to amaze me! After observing her for a few days, I figured that she must have made a deal with the Elliots: she'd live at their house for a few months of furlough in exchange for cooking, cleaning, and serving them their meals--being around to help them in general. She was always the first one to leave the table and begin washing dishes... she came in each afternoon to the living room to ask what she could make us for dinner... in general, she acted more like the household help than a young woman on vacation. Last week I asked Mrs. Elliot about it. "Did Sylvia agree to work around the house for you so she could live with you while on furlough?" Mrs. Elliot laughed. "Oh, no... that's just Sylvia. I keep telling her that she's on vacation and she needs to take it easy, but she says she loves to help and she insists on cooking and cleaning for us."

I don't have all the statistics on the Elliots; exactly how many years they've been there, how many churches they've planted, how many souls won for the Kingdom, how many lives saved in primitive jungle areas through their medical work. Even if I did have all those facts, I don't think they'd be particularly thrilled with my listing them here. A few times when I began to try to express about how amazed I was by their work, how honored to meet them, etc. etc., I sensed them beginning to grow uncomfortable. they didn't need or want to be reminded of their missionary accomplishments; they were just being faithful. One afternoon as we were singing around the piano, I asked Mrs. Elliot what her favorite hymn is. Without hesitation she said "To God Be The Glory; 'My Tribute'. I want that song sung at my funeral. Oh, I know they're all gonna want to talk about how many churches we planted and this and that... but I don't want all that. I just want them to remember, through my life, To GOD Be The Glory."

Nearly every morning the bell at the front gate would ring and we'd say "There's Isabel!" I wasn't always sure why she popped in, but she normally ended up bustling about sweeping the porch, cleaning off the breakfast table, or running a few shopping errands for the Elliots before she left. Most afternoons the gate-bell would ring again, and in she'd come armed with lotions and oils. She kneels down and gently massages the tired, aged feet and legs of Mr. and Mrs. Elliot, chattering and grinning while she works. This was not something she was asked to do. She just does it because she loves them and wants to serve them. "We aren't the only ones Isabel serves like this," Mrs. Elliot told me one afternoon. "She's forever trotting off to other folks' houses, doing things for them and helping them out. It's just because she loves to serve." Twice a week she rises early so she can cook her own family's meal (she has several grown children still at home), and then heads off via bus and taxi to the prison outside of town. There she teaches a few young women who are interested in the Bible and sits with them unhurriedly for the majority of the afternoon, chatting, exhorting, being a friend to the lonely girls. Serving and loving others is her life. "Oh Isabel," I said last Thursday as we left the prison gates and trudged the dusty path back to the main road, "You have such a good heart." She looked at me, puzzled, since she doesn't speak English, and I patted my chest, pointed to her and said in my broken Spanish, "Su corazon es bueno..."
She understood, smiled softly, and pointing to heaven said, "Gracias, Dios."