Wednesday, 26 July 2017

LOCATION: Desert Road

There is nothing better in life than a good roadie with your closest friends. Last week six of us packed up our bags, loaded one of the church vans and headed on our way over to Wellington for Arise Conference 2017. We were expectant for a week of adventure, fun and to experience a fresh touch from God. Our excitement levels were at 100 and we were so ready for a week away from everyday life - no rules, no adults, just us and God. Nothing but absolute bliss. 

In amongst the excitement however were the distant recollections of weather warnings, closed roads and the "What if something happens to us on the way over?" thoughts. The week prior had been full of torrential rain, heavy wind, snow and closed roads for little old New Zealand. We had been praying that everything would have cleared up by the time we were supposed to embark on our journey and as excited as we were for what was to come, that excitement was also met with a whole lotta nerves.

But we believed God would make a way for us to get where we needed to go and He did just that.

"SNOOOOWW!" is all I remember hearing as Brodie's excitement came bubbling out of him. The mere sight of the soft white frosting covering Desert Road put the biggest smile not only on his face but all of ours. 

The dreaded desert road that we'd been anxiously anticipating the whole ride over to the bottom of the North Island suddenly turned from "Let's get this over and done with and hope we don't die." to "Park the dang van ASAP, I need to jump into the icy goodness next to the road."

Brodie, not being able to contain his excitement any longer was obviously the first to jump out into the cold. Boy was it hilarious. He had a cheesy grin spread across his face like he was a kid at an amusement park. As he stuck his bare hands into the cold to form a snowball the rest of us piled out into the snow to join in on the fun.

As Brodie jumped forward to take a step into a bigger pile of snow, the patch he took a step into was a lot deeper than he first anticipated and his feet sunk down to his ankles leading him to let out a shriek.

"I've got wet in my shoes." was the only thing that came out his mouth. It left us all in hysterics as he paused to figure out what he'd actually said.

It was ice cold but beautiful. Our feet sank into the ground but out footprints looked awesome. Our hands froze when it touched the ice but throwing snowballs at each other as we watched cars zoom by was the most fun I've had in a while.

It was magnificent.

I love snow.

God took our nerves and anxiety and turned it into something far more fun and exciting than we ever would have guessed. Never underestimate the fact that God will always make a way for you.

XO, Danielle

PS: All of these photographs were shot by one of my good friends Jeremy Jacob, to check out more of his work just click on his name and you'll be directed to his insta!



Monday, 24 July 2017

These people right here, these are my best friends, my family - my people.

These are those friends that I spend more time with than I do my actual family - in fact they are more family to me than they are friends. These are the best kind of people.

I had a few issues with friendships in high school - as any hormonal teenage girl does. I found myself on more than just one occasion lying in bed before I went to sleep, praying to God for a group of friends who just understood me, loved me, encouraged me and loved the Lord as much as I do. God always listened and blessed me with some amazing friendships throughout my schooling but always told me, "Just wait, those people you are praying for will come when you need them most. Trust my timing."

It wasn't until I graduated my last year of high school where I found my people - those friends I had waited patiently and had been praying for. These are those friends who are practically family.

I am so thankful for the friends whom are in these photographs, the one behind the camera and those who stayed back in Auckland while we drove a solid 10 hours the bottom of the North Island last week. (more to come on this trip, don't you worry)

I was scrolling through my pinterest feed the other day and someone had posted a question that really got me thinking, "Do you think there's a way of knowing that your living 'the good ol' days' before they're over?" My initial response was "I wish..." and then a quick repin followed by dismissal as I moved onto the rest of my feed. But I have had this thought floating through my head since I read it.

It's a funny thing isn't it? To think about how your parents always tell these crazy stories about the adventures they encountered over the years, to listen to them laughing as they relive the moments that gave them such joy while they tell us about how "Those were the good old days." and then to think about how one day that's going to be us.

When I sit back and look at my group of friends, I genuinely feel as if we have a group of people who are going to change the world. I'm so lucky to be able to say that I get to do life with these friends of mine and I am incredibly thankful for it.

As I sit here and think about all of these crazy stories I have to tell about the memories that I have made with each of them, I now realise that its happening. It's now. This right here, the days that we are living out, is the good old days. These are OUR good old days. These are the moments in our lives that nobody is going to be able to take away from us. This is the only time in our lives that we are going to have this little amount of responsibility and this amount of freedom that we do. We have very few years left in our lives where it's still acceptable for us to do some crazy things, be reckless, make spontaneous decisions. We need to make the most of it and not let the people around us take away our youth. We still have a couple more years before we really have to grow up. Lets make the most of it while we can.

 I for one am going to do just that. I am not going to be the one to say, "I wish I did this" or "They did it but I was too scared of what might happen to have a go". This is our time.

In the wise words of Jack and Jack "I know our parents say it was the good old days but things change".

Our good old days are going to be different from our parent's but doesn't make ours any less valid or exciting. Now is my time. Now is our time. Let's stop trying to be like adults and just be teenagers, I mean, these good old days aren't going to last forever and I for one can not wait to see what adventures lie ahead of them.

XO, Danielle



Thursday, 27 April 2017

Early morning wake ups, being blinded by your bedroom lights as you stumble out of bed, quickly putting together toaster waffles for a rushed - but delicious - breakfast, literally throwing clothes, a towl and a pair of jandals into your country road bag.

Sitting at the kitchen counter waiting for a txt from your friends to tell you that they're outside, 5 minutes go by - they must be running late, 10 minutes go by and you start to wonder if they even coming to pick you up? 15 minutes go by and you finally get the txt, "We're here."

For those spontaneous excitement filled mornings, I am thankful.

A pit stop at the local Macca's just up the road from church, buying time for those of your friends who overslept, bacon and egg mcmuffins, hot chocolates, playing the waiting game. Until in walks the friend you've been waiting for, socks on his feet with shoes in his hand, glasses on - there was no time to put on his contacts, he'd had 5 minutes to get out of bed and out the door, the "I set my alarm for 6pm instead of 6am" conversation.

I'm thankful for those 'I did whatever I could to make sure I made it' moments. 

Our line of three cars one after the other along the motorway, blasting throwback jams out the car windows as we dance and sing to the cars beside us, laughing at the amused faces of the passersby, watching the boys stick their heads and arms out the car with nothing but excitement bubbling through their veins, watching Sam stick his head out the window only for his hat to go flying off his head and into the wind, remembering it as if it happened in slow motion, the endless laughter that followed.

So thankful for those 'I'm crying with laugher' instances.

Seemingly endless windy roads, Hannah Montana lyrics bouncing from one passengers lips to another, struggling to keep up with our friends, pulling over to bring some fresh air into our lungs, attempting to get rid of the sick feeling sitting in our stomachs and eventually pulling out our iPhones for a quick round of photographs.

One of the cars holding our friends captive flying back in our direction, a quick park in front of where we were standing, being filled with amusement at the almost comical sight of the anxious facials spread across the boys faces, listening to their exasperated "When we saw that we'd lost you and you didn't catch up, we thought you'd crashed!" only to be met with our uncontainable laughter in response.

For those friends that genuinely care about you, I'm beyond thankful.

Skate parks and playgrounds, BMX tracks, watching the boys jump straight out their cars and grab their skateboards, ollies, kick flips (the only two skateboarding terms I know), spontaneous photoshoots while they spend the next hour on four wheels flying through the air, watching Dex fall on his face climbing out of the bowl, another round of laughter.

Thankful for being able to happily make a fool of ourselves in front of each other.

Butter chicken pies, real fruit ice-cream, hot chips, potato fritters which end up being disgustingly unsatisfying, chips and dip, trips to the surf beach, almost dying from climbing our way back up the hill to get to our car, spontaneous tattoos, singing along to Hakuna Matata while Holly squeezes my hand in anticipation, the pain being over before she knew it, worth it, reminiscing old memories as we make new ones. 

Finding a stray penny board and claiming it as our own, deciding to gap to a lookout for a sunset dinner, watching Scott skate off into the distance on our new prized possession to join the boys who had gone to buy dinner, his phone sitting charging in Holly's car, getting a call from the boys saying we'll get dinner after the sunset instead to ensure we don't miss it, miscommunication leaving Scott to fend for himself for an hour a half in town without his phone as we drive in the opposite direction without realising.

Thankful for those losers I get to call my friends.

A scenic drive through forests that look like they've stepped right out of a novel, Chance the Rapper and Kanye West blasting out the open windows and lyrics drifting from our lips to be lost among the trees, the end of a long gravel road rewarding us with one of those sunsets that photographs just can't do justice.

Feeling thankful more than anything for another adventure spent with these friends of mine.

XO, Danielle

PS: All of these photographs were shot by two of my amazing friends Jeremy Jacob and Dexter Cheng, to check out more of their work or hit them up for an inquiry you can check out their instagrams by clicking their names!

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