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!



Friday, 14 April 2017

I'll give $100,000 Power Zone dollars to whomever can spot the dab first...

How was that for an unrelated ice-breaker to open up what I assume might turn into a very long post?

I was nine years old when I first stepped foot into Power Zone. It was the second term holidays and my parents weren't able to get time off from work. As my brother and I protested (like we always did), we both knew that it wouldn't change the fact that we were going to have to spend the next week sitting in a holiday programme. We had previously attended around four different programmes at the time and we... DID. NOT. LIKE. ANY. OF. THEM. Not even a little bit. 

I have a vague memory of one of programmes taking us to visit the sky tower and I remember sitting in the van on the way to the city feeling like I'd rather die than spend the day with a bunch of leaders and kids who didn't know my name and had no interest in learning it. I didn't feel welcome and I certainly did not want to be there.

These holidays were different however, because despite my preconceived ideas about how I had told myself the week was going to go - God had something different planned. I fell in love with the programme the moment I set foot in the door. They say that it only takes someone 7 minutes of being in a church for them to decide whether they like it or not, it only took me 7 seconds to decide that I loved it. I felt welcome and accepted from the moment I was greeted by a friendly face. I stood back during the programme and looked at the leaders they had volunteering. I could see that there was something different about them from the other leaders I had encountered at different programmes. 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 other and every one of us kids through the way they served. I saw what God did in them and I wanted it for myself. That was the holidays I decided I wanted to be a Power Zone leader. 

I attended that holiday programme every holidays after that alongside my brother. I went from wishing away the end of the school term to counting down the days till I could be reunited with the leaders again. It was quite literally my favourite place on the planet. 

When I was in my first year of high school one of my friends invited me along to a Sunday Power Zone service after hearing me complain about not having any friends at the current church my family was attending. All it took was one Sunday service for me to feel like I was at home once again. I eventually convinced my parents that that was where I wanted to be and they would drop me off at Power Zone on a Sunday morning on their way to church and then come and pick me up on their way home. That year I was a leader at the very last holiday programme they ever had and have been volunteering there ever since. 

In these seven years that I have been volunteering in this children's programme I have served under four different children's pastors. The last of which has the biggest impact on my life.

When I was going into my last year of high school the leadership in the programme changed once again and I had decided that I was going to leave. I felt like I had done my time. I didn't exactly like the direction the programme had taken and felt like I wasn't thriving in it anymore so had planned on serving my last Sunday until I heard who was taking over. One of my leaders that I had loved and looked up to as a kid in the holiday programme had taken the job and was coming on board to run the programme. Upon hearing the news I decided to stay purely for her. 

My last year of high school was quickly coming to an end and I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do career wise. Nothing interested me to the point where I decided that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. The only thing I hadn't lost my passion for was church. I loved the way the programme was running under the new leadership and felt just as passionate about it again as the moment I first walked through the doors as a kid. 

After a couple of months of joking about it with the children's pastor, I decided to do an internship and study at the churches ministry training college part time. This is what I have been doing since February of this year. Through my internship I have started running the new junior leadership programme with year 6, 7 and 8 kids who are wanting to be trained up as leaders themselves. Through this I have been privileged to get to know and inspire a bunch of awesome kids who are going to make a really big impact on the next generation through Power Zone. This was more than I ever dreamt of getting the privilege to do for the ministry.

I was about 2 months into my internship when I found out that the children's pastor - whom had come to be more of an older sister to me than my supervisor - had been offered her dream job at a children's camp in Canada. I was so excited for her but also very upset at the fact that I was going to loose her and would have to adapt to whomever took her place. 

When I was told that she was leaving, she also asked me to think about applying to take her place. I was a little taken back by the idea. I was only eighteen, had been interning for 2 months at the time and still felt like I had so much to learn - in my opinion it didn't make much sense for me to take the job. I said that I would go away and think about it. I did and decided that there was no way I would ever get it so there was no point in applying for the job anyway, might as well save myself the disappointment. 

A week later after I had made up my mind that I wouldn't give it a go I was approached by two of my friends who I hadn't spoken to practically since graduating. The first thing they both said to me was "I heard they were taking in applications for the job, I think you should apply." 

Having not mentioned to anyone that planned not to, there was no doubt in my mind that that was God. It was then that I thought, alright I might as well just go for it. If I didn't get it - which I was pretty certain I wouldn't - I was going to be okay because I was absolutely loving internship and that wouldn't change no matter the outcome.

Soon I was called in for an interview.

Then shortlisted again.

Now as of the 11th of April 2017 my whole world has been flipped upside down. At the age of 18 and after only 3 months of internship I have been given the job as children's pastor. 


After 10 years of commitment to the ministry I have been blessed to be able to live out my wildest dream and RUN the programme myself. 

It's literally the craziest thing that I NEVER would have ever thought would become a reality. It doesn't make much sense. But when things don't make much sense but they fall into place anyway - that's when you know that it's all God. He is SO good! 

This is where my blog comes in. I initially wanted to log and share my experience and lessons I've learnt through my internship BUT God had something greater in mind. You now get to journey with me as I take on this new role, learn and grow more than I ever than I ever thought I would being fresh out of high school. 

I'm crazy excited to see whats to come! I would love for you to journey alongside me!

XO, Danielle



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 ;)

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