Tuesday, 28 February 2017

One of my best friends / honorary sister / one of my all time favourite people ever turns SEVENTEEN today!!

Happy Birthday Jayde!

I can't believe it took us till our Fiji trip last september to realise just how well we click. It makes me sad to think that up until a few months ago we never really spoke to each other or saw each other at all outside of school. We missed out on what could have been years of an awesome friendship but you know what? Knowing that we have a few years of memories to make up on, makes me tremendously excited to see what we get up together in the years to come.

Thank you for all of the inside jokes, the hours of endless laughter, experiencing the awkward moments on Beachcomber Island with me, the adventures, the arguments over who gets to pay for each others meal, the cheesecake eating and the nights we didn't get home till a ridiculous hour of the morning. I couldn't be prouder to say that I got to experience one of the best summer holidays of my life thanks to you and the other members of our Girl Gang. I can't imagine my life without this little dysfunctional family of ours - we're in too deep now to loose the friendship anyhow.

I'm praying that your senior year is one of the most memorable for you yet and that we get to spend just as much time together as we did this holidays. I'm looking forward to our lunch dates, after church hangs and spontaneous weekend adventures. Seventeen is going to be SO good to you, I'm certain of it.

Love you long time Apple.

XO, Danielle

PS, I reluctantly accept defeat to the fact that you are the favourite triplet BUT only because it's your birthday ;)



Saturday, 25 February 2017

Let me start by asking you this; what would you say makes a moment memorable?

I would define a memorable moment as witnessing or experiencing something that leaves a lasting impression.

I have had a few pretty memorable moments in my life; some pretty cool God moments and a whole heap of - if i'm completely honest - just plain stupid memorable moments with my friends. I've written about a lot of my favourite memorable moments on HERE, because when it comes to extraordinary moments I know that I for sure am always keen to share mine. But who isn't?

Memorable days are easy to remember because you experienced something out of your ordinary routine, something that left a lasting impression. You remember those extraordinary days, but how many of the "ordinary days" do you remember? The days where we sit at home and nothing but watch TV or sit on facebook tagging our friends in memes or playing video games - the ordinary moments that we often refer to as "boring" in comparison to the memorable ones. We have a lot more ordinary days than extraordinary ones, thats a given. But who of you knows that you need those ordinary days, those boring days in order for the memorable ones to become extraordinary? If every single day were nothing but a series of extraordinary moments then you wouldn't remember that moments that are supposed to be just that - impacting and memorable.

Our God moments are the same. If we have a hectic God moment every single day, that would lose their impact. After a while you would start to become so used to them, you would start to recognise the same feelings and characteristics in them you wouldn't be in awe of it like you should be. You would be so accustomed to them that they would have no influence on you anymore. This is how God uses those boring days. We need them to make the big moments seem bigger and bolder. We need boring days and boring moments in order to leave space for God to bring us into memorable ones. He can then use them to have a big impact on our lives to help change perspectives and to give us stories we can share and pass onto others too.

Yes, you have boring days but that in NO way shape or form means that God is boring. You may feel like you've been holding out for God to answer your prayer or for him to bring peace or revelation to a situation that you are going through and feel like he isn't answering what you have been searching for. You might feel like he has just left you to dwell in a boring situation and he isn't bringing you one of the extraordinary moments BUT He is so the opposite of boring. He is just using the ordinary days and moments that you find yourself in to create a base for the moments that are the complete opposite.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has made everything beautiful in it's time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 

God's timing is always perfect. He knows when to come and surround you in his presence when it will bring you the biggest impact. That might no be when you thought it would be or the way you though it would be but he comes right when you need those extraordinary and miraculous moments the most. Our ordinary days by far outweigh the miraculous ones but that doesn't mean that God isn't using the boring and ordinary ones just as much as he is the memorable ones.

It's just important that we remember to put our needs and our wants before God so that he can use them and choose the perfect moment to surround us in just what we need. If we don't come before God with these things he can't change our situation either. He's waiting for us to let him know what is going on in our worlds too.

XO, Danielle



Monday, 6 February 2017

There are three things about the image above that crack me up more than anything; a) The concentration on Charlotte's face as she's trying to blow that bubble, b) My hair looks awesome (note the sarcasm as you can clearly see I hadn't bothered to properly dry it before leaving for church) and c) I look like I have half an eyebrow BUT it was taken at one my all time favourite places and I'm with one of my all time favourite people so straight to the all-time-favourite-photographs category it goes.

Growing up my parents always worked right through the holidays meaning my brother and I spent a fair amount of our time attending holiday programs. We went through lots of them might I add as we were also very picky about the ones we actually wanted to spend time at. From what I can remember I think there were all of two that we decided didn't entirely suck and that mum managed to convince us to attend more than once. Only one out of those two did I genuinely wake up feeling excited about. It became the reason I would count down the days till the holidays during the term because I couldn't wait to be reunited with my favourite leaders I had come to know and love. They were the reason I loved it so much. From the moment we met them we could tell that they were there because they genuinely wanted to invest in us not because they had to be.

Having a heart for where you are serving and what you spend your time investing in makes a bigger difference than people often realise. Being greeted by someone who is genuinely there because they've decided they want to be means that not only do they enjoy being there, it means that the people they are serving feel like they are wanted there too. This is especially important to remember in children's ministry. Something i've learnt over my years of serving in this area is that people often sell children short because they don't often realise just how observant they are and how much more they actually take on board from what is going on around them. Kids can tell right off the bat if you are there because you're genuinely invested in them or whether or not you're there because you have to be. Often it's the leaders that make or break an experience for a kid, they don't want half hearted leaders just as much as you don't want to be one. They want to get to know you as much as you want to get to know them.

My youth pastor once said, "We love people not because they love God, but because He loves them."

That's the key to having great influence. I remember walking into the holiday program for the first time and feeling so welcome and accepted from the moment I was greeted by a friendly face. I stood back and looked at the leaders and could see that there was something different about them than from the other leaders I'd encountered at other programs. I saw the way they not only interacted between themselves but with us kids. I could see that the difference in them was that they were genuinely in it for what they could invest in us and not what they could get out of it for themselves. They chose to take the amazing love of God that they themselves had experienced and work at sharing it with each and every one of us kids through the way they served.

It's the enthusiastic hellos, the secret handshakes, the "Have you had a good week?" conversations, the inside jokes and the little things that you remember about kids that mean the most and reveal God's love. Serving in an area you really have a heart for is when you'll be able to achieve the most influence. Never underestimate how much having a passion for what you do makes a difference.

XO, Danielle

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