15 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Family and Friends!

Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) from the Big Island of Hawaii!

It hardly feels like Christmas is around the corner with all this sunshine I’m experiencing on the beach. It’s fantastic!

I hate that I take for granted how blessed I am. It usually takes me sitting down with a pen and paper reflecting, before I recall all the amazing things in my life. I always forget how many things I have to be thankful for.

I kicked off this past New Year living in Missouri with my little sister Sarah. I was working freshly out of cosmetology school as a brand new hairstylist. It was pretty intimidating the first several months. Shampooing men’s hair… That was way out of my comfort zone! Or trimming a cute guys beard… Especially intimidating after they’d asked you out and you’d declined with a lame excuse. It was all a bit much. You’re up in their face and they have nowhere else to look but at you. I probably could have avoided some of the awkwardness if I didn’t first start out by saying, “this isn’t awkward at all”, and then nervously laughing. And no matter how I try to avoid it, I will inevitable always stick the clipper guard up their nose. It’s a site to behold for sure.

So, other than having to get used to all that, I absolutely love being a hairdresser! I am so very thankful I took time out of my travels to go to school.

After living in Missouri for a solid year and a half. (I know, record breaking.) I moved up to Kenai, Alaska where I have always wanted to live. It’s such a breathtakingly gorgeous place! My best friend Amanda lives there and I finally got to meet her baby Malachi. He’s such a doll! I was working in a salon with some amazing ladies. They taught me so much and I am just so thankful to have met them.

When I wasn’t at the salon I was either bundled up on the beach with a fire or out on a boat fishing with one of three beach sites I know.

I moved up there in April, stayed through the “warm” part of the year, and then when I had to start scraping ice off my windshield in October, I decided it was time to migrate to warmer grounds. I love Alaska, and I feel like I can’t say that enough. Because it really does feel like home. My heart is in Alaska. And one day I might be able to move back, but for now, I just feel I need to be somewhere else.

I’m in Hawaii at the moment working as a Mission Builder for the University of the Nations. I have been here about two and a half months and have met so many incredible people from around the world. It has been so refreshing. It just feels like a little break from life. Like the world has stopped spinning for one second and I can stand up again and breathe. Everyone here is just so encouraging and uplifting. It’s been a blessing for sure.

As for right now, I’m in the process of getting yet another cosmetology license. Each state requires a different license, so it is a bit of a pain to move around. I’m spending Christmas with my family in Arkansas and I hope to get a place close to my little brother Luke until summer. Possibly back to Alaska for fishing in July and then I’m thinking maybe California would be a great place for me to live. I might be able to make it in the Geniuses World Record for most held cosmetology license after all this. =]

I hope this New Year is full of joy –real genuine joy for each of you. And I hope you will know the love of God.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


15 November 2011

Psalms 139

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.

17 October 2011

Epic Day!

(Not the best picture ever, but I wanted a surfing one.)

I had the most amazing time surfing day!!! Life in Hawaii is really starting to look up. The first time I went out (which this picture is from) wasn't totally phenomenal. Still fun, but I was a little disappointed because the waves were so small it was impossible to catch one. I kind of figured they were always like that. And I was at the "best" surfing spot on the island. But today, nothing short of amazing! They were perfect! I think I will go now every free moment I have! I feel as though I've had a dose of happy medicine. You know the feeling you have when you fall in love and you're just walking around with a stupid grin on your face? Yeah totally that. =] Only so much better! No huge risks really. I mean, drowning could be a problem, but that's so minor. =]

So, the first week of moving is always so rough for me. Meeting so many people, and trying to figure out what your supposed to be doing when and where. It's stressful. And first impressions are such a big deal. You can't risk messing it up. It's a lot of pressure. Seriously. I'm happy that's over with. I've already met so many amazing people from all over the world. It's so refreshing to be surrounded by so many Christians. So many positive and happy people in one spot, it's amazing.

I take back all the negative things I said about Hawaii in my last post. It's not quite as hot and miserable as I first thought. Still horrible to dry your hair -but perfect for surfing! I think coming from Alaska it was just a little bit of a shock.

So, I just wanted to let everyone know I'm doing much better than when I first arrived. Thank you guys so much for your comments on my last post.

13 October 2011

My little "Missionary Heart"

It has not even been 48 hours since my arrival here at the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii. So many things I want to say simultaneously.

When I was 18 I was blessed with a year of scrubbing toilets, everyday. Literally, everyday. For a year. It was quite a humbling experience. I would like to think that it stretched me and made me a better person. I definitely grew from it. And I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am if it weren’t for all the trials I endured at Friend Ships.

So coming here I was all ready to “serve”. I said I would do whatever. However, I did email them before I came just to kind of feel the waters. They said I would be working in the finance office and the boutique. Yeah, I could do that. Sit in an office for the day and then go down to the beach afterwards. Why not?

To be quite honest, I was struggling a bit in the first place as to whether or not I wanted to come. Leaving Alaska was very hard. I love Alaska! I think I could actually hear my heart tearing. And seriously, working for free? Does that even really make sense?

I’ve done this before, in Louisiana. Best years of my life, and some of the hardest. But I’m in Hawaii now! This should be easy! A piece of cake! A little time to regroup and rethink life. Lie in the sun and relax! Recover from the trials life throws at you! This will be amazing!

What I’ve pictured in my mind is not actually what reality is. It’s HOT here. People do not tell you this about Hawaii… It is humid. People do not tell you that. It’s not as bad as Louisiana. But it’s oh so hot. And I don’t know a soul! Why do I do this to myself, seriously? Not one friend. (yet.)

I was thinking about having myself a little melt down last night. Tuesday night is a mandatory meeting. Worship and teaching. I was sitting there with I’m sure, a dazed look, and my mind was just wandering. I was wondering where I was going to put my things because I didn’t have enough drawers or hangers. I like everything neat. Neat and tidy. And I like my seven pillows on my bed. Made very neat and perfect everyday. I was trying to figure out when I was going to shower, how many times I was going to have to apply make up in one day, where there were enough outlets by a mirror so I could fix my hair. I’m a hairdresser. I have to have nice hair! I was starting to freak out a little. If you shower before work, then you get all hot and sweaty and then you have to shower after work… There aren’t that many hours in a day.

Then I thought to my self, “wow, Danette, when did you become so high maintenance?” That is the definition of high maintenance right? I’m totally fitting that description… I’ve always thought of myself as a “missionary girl”. Hey, I did spend three months in Africa! That’s got to count for something right? But wow reality sometimes is a bit much to swallow.

Then this morning at our morning meeting, which starts at 6 in the morning. That is 6 am. Before the sun comes up. I had to get up in front of about 50 people and tell them about myself. Generally I’m terrified of getting up in front of people and talking but I felt pretty good about it this time. Even made them laugh a little. So when they asked were I was going to be working I said that I had received an email a while back saying I would be working in the finance office and the boutique, but that I hadn’t heard since I'd arrived.

Now imagine my face for one second as I’m standing up in front of this sitting crowd. They’re all staring at me as one of the leaders say to me, “oh no, you’re going to be working in housekeeping and dishwashing.” My response, “Oh ha ha okay. I knew it was a trick!” I think I fooled them all into thinking that I could just go with the flow, but really, I just wanted to cry. I can’t believe that news was broken to me while I had a crowd of people watching me. I wanted to just lie on the ground and sob. I cannot do this! Seriously! I have to scrub toilets again!!!!! I thought I did my time.

That’s when I start thinking about plane tickets. How will I escape paradise?

It was like deja vu all day today. I had a pretty crappy attitude this morning. I was just mad. I always have the “how dare they” attitude when anything happens that I don’t like. I want to do the little head bob as a shake my finger saying “seriously!” I was even “taught” how to fold a fitted sheet today. No, I am the queen of folding fitted sheets! I have folded thousands of fitted sheets. Really. Thousands. I do not want to be taught how to fold a fitted sheet!

Eventually I talked myself into being okay with housekeeping. (let’s remember that that was just for today. Tomorrow I might have to talk myself into it again.) But the three girls I’m working with are the sweetest! And plus, I had lunch dishes to dread all day! I was not a happy camper about lunch dishes! I’m talking dishes for 1000 people. A thousand. Getting my hands all wet and nasty and having to pull my hair back out of my face in an ugly bun. No no no… I want to cut hair.

Most people wont really understand fully when I say “ratty ol ship girl”. But that’s what I felt like. Back in my Friend Ship days there was not much you could do to make yourself presentable. All of us wore torn up, stained up, used up cloths. Didn’t fix our hair because it was just too hot to run our blow dryer and didn’t wear makeup because it literally ran off your face. And what sticks in my mind is one of the guys saying “I don’t want to end up with one of those ratty ol ship girls”. It was that bad. Oh man, I was so happy when I got back into the real world and became presentable again.. And now… Against everything in me, I have no choice but to surrender to being a ratty ol island girl. Ah, it’s going to be dreadful, but I am going to try and do it with a smile.

These three months might be a little rough. I know I have some things I need to deal with but I’m not sure exactly how to go about doing that.

Being a hairdresser, it’s impossible to have a crappy day. Okay, I definitely had crappy days all the time, but no one would ever know. People expect you to be bubbly and cheerful. “Hi! How’s your day? Mines the best ever!” So that is what I have been these past several months in Alaska. Fine. I have pushed things so far out of my mind that I can’t even be alone and think about things. Otherwise I’m not fine. But if I don’t let my mind go any deeper than surface stuff, I’m okay. But that is so unhealthy, and I know that.

On my way here, I had a 12 hour layover in California. I got a hotel and I was going to process everything. It was going to be like my little transition period. From Alaska to Hawaii. My old life to my new life. I don’t know where I get these amazing ideas. But I always think they’re great at the time. Two of my best friends told me very nicely that I might want to be a little bit more realistic about the processing time. But I was sure that I could just do some sort of switch over.

Oh man, I was so wrong, I didn’t get anything accomplished in California. What in the world! Now I have to deal with things in Hawaii. I don’t like dealing with things. Tears happen when you deal with things. But I am smart enough to know that if I don’t process things and let things go that it will be baggage in my life. And I don’t need to drag anything along behind me in my life.

So, to the next three months, may they go quickly... No, but really, may they allow God to bring healing in my life. And may I again put God first in my life.

Oh, I can already feel the pain. I don't like to be taught things.

30 August 2011

Sarah & Joey's Visit to Alaska

Sarah's first time halibut fishing.

A little halibut
Clam digging.

Joey's first clam

Hugs from my little man!

23 August 2011

Alaska to Hawaii

Life is a roller coaster! And I cannot believe it has been five months since I last updated this. For starters, I LIVE IN ALASKA! And I love it! I have been here now for nearly half a year! I love this beautiful state, I love the mountains and the trees and the gorgeous flowers and just the beautifulness of it all. It literally takes my breath away. The air is so fresh and crisp and no matter what things I might be dealing with in my life, I can just sit on the beach with my fire, close my eyes and breath. And I know life is going to be okay. If God can put all this beautifulness in one place, I know he can take care of me.

My Alaskan adventure has been just that. An adventure. I wish I could say it has been amazing, but it has been a rough road. Thankfully, most of the times, rough roads are the things that you can look back on and see how it helped shape you and make you into a better person.

Things have not turn out quite exactly as I had hoped them to. I moved to Alaska with the hopes of living here the rest of my life. Hoping that I would finally be able to settle down and actually stay for a while. I'm just longing for that place to call "home". And Kenai has always been my "safe haven". When I feel lost in the world, I can always come to Kenai and it feels like home. It feels like I belong.

I'm not sure how to go about explaining this so it makes a little sense. But basically, my neighborhood is emotionally draining. (I know, try to understand that.) But I can't stay were I'm at. And now technically I could move to a different neighborhood and things would be a little different, but it's almost to the point where I just need to get out of town to be able to clear my head. To be able to think clearly.

And honestly, what better place than Hawaii right? A little surfing and sun is so good for the soul! I decided to take a little break from everything to get my life back on track. Collect my thoughts, remember who I am and what I am here for. God has a purpose.

For those of you that have read my blog along the way, you might remember me talking about going to Australia to be a part of Youth With A Mission. Well, I ended up not doing that but going to cosmetology school in Missouri instead. Anyway, YWAM (Youth With A Mission) has a base in Kona, Hawaii and I applied to go as a Mission Builder for a couple of months. Just found out I got accepted and am pretty stoked! I'll be in Alaska for another month to watch summer give way to winter and give the girls at the salon some time to find my replacement. But then I'll be on my way. I'm hoping after Hawaii I'll have a little direction as to whats next. God hasn't ever left me hanging, so I'm guessing He has something amazing for me ahead.

26 March 2011

Six Years Ago...

(A and I's message in a bottle. And in the background, our Christmas tree)

...I made my very first trip up to Alaska. I was only nineteen. I have many stories from that trip, but let me just tell you one.

As a setnetter, it's very important to pay attention to the tides. There are four tides in a day. Two high, and two low. And if the current if running to hard, you can't pull your nets out of the water to pick your fish. So you want to pick your fish as the tide is getting slack. (Just as the tide is turning). Well, on this particular beach site we were fishing for, the beach was especially muddy and there was no way to get the boat into the water when it was low tide. So, in order to be able to pick our fish before the tide changed and washed our fish out of the nets, we had to push our boat out into the water WAY before it was even close to "picking time". If the tide was going to be really low that day, we would sometime have to sit out in our boat for around four hours, (freezing our butts off some days) just hanging on a mooring waiting for the water to get a little slack. Now Amanda and I were pretty inventive with our time. Besides the "live concerts" we threw for eachother, we had picnics in the rain, painted our nails -if it were a nice day, decorated a Christmas tree -yes, in July, and tried to get our neighbors attention. Now if we had a visitor from one of our fishing neighbors, oh man, for the next several hours, we would get to talk about how excited we were that someone came to see us. Let me just say it was a Highlight!

Well, during this time out in the boat, Amanda and I would send messages in a bottle to our neighbors. We'd address our letters depending on which way the tide was going. Some days we'd send a message to the hot fisherman on the right, and other days we'd send messages to the sweet family operated site on our left. But the hot guys are not what I'm writing about... So... let me get back on track. There was a girl fishing on the site to our left that would send us stuff back! One day, Amanda and I go out and check our nets and there is chips and salsa waiting for us in our net! Can someone say SCORE! A girl gets hungry when she's out on the water.

So now, lets fast forward six years to the present time...

I had the cutest apartment picked out that I wanted to rent in Kenai, Alaska. I found the add like an hour after they posted it. It was like a studio house. And it was adorable! And I wanted it... And even though I offered to pay rent while I was still here in Missouri, they rented it out to someone else... The nerve I tell you.

Anyway, even though it was still a month before I was moving up there, I was starting to freak out a little bit... "Oh my gosh! I'm going to be homeless. I think that was the only apartment Alaska has!" I'm not sure why my mind thinks like that, but it does.

So, of course, when the end of the world is nearing, I call my all knowing best friend Amanda. And she had an idea, "Why don't you email all the churches in Kenai and see if they know of anyone that is looking for a roommate or something?" What a good idea! So I did just that. And everyone was so helpful too! So, long story shortened just a bit, I got put in touch with a girl that was was looking for a roommate. And so we were emailing and realized we had met six years ago while we were fishing. She's the girl that sent us the chips and salsa by way of water!

So, as it turns out, I was once again freaking out for absolutely no reason. Not only will I not be homeless when I get to Alaska now, but I also probably wont have to get a second job because rent is much cheaper.

...I guess God really does know what He's doing...

And now, if I can just remind myself of that and not freak out that I'm going to be in Alaska in two and a half weeks and don't yet have a car, I'll be in great shape!

10 March 2011

San Diego!

I LOVE California! And as much as I love the quietness of the country, I think if I were rich, I would pick up and move to Cali right smack dab in the middle of everything. =] Though living on the beach as a bum renting out surfboards sounds pretty exciting too. And I could totally do that right now!

I have no idea why I love this picture so much. But I bet this (random) guy (I was taking pictures of) is a happy guy! He was out there all by him self surfing his heart out.

(beautiful flowers at the wedding!)

I love my job! And not only do I get to do hair everyday, I also get to go on vacations and I can transfer my job to wherever I feel like moving! Anyway, I was able to take a trip out to San Diego for a dear friends wedding. Susannah and Will. And it was like a mini Friend Ships reunion! It was so great to see some of my friends I hadn't seen in years. I had no idea Captain Stan and his wife Sharon were going to be there! And I was just SO excited!

Sharon, Jake, myself, Capt Stan!