Friday, December 6, 2013

Tom's Heart. My Dad.

Right before Thanksgiving, I found out that Tom had a heart attack and had to get stints put into his heart. It was one of those moments that stopped me right in my tracks. 

"He's my other dad." "He can't die too." Those were and still are thoughts that go through my head. He got out of the hospital and went back in yesterday for Angina.

I'm scared. He's the rock of our family. 

If anyone reads this, please pray that his heart heals and he becomes healthier. 
My family has already lost one dad. The pain of losing another would be too much.
Here's one of our awkward family photos. :)

An "Accidental" Reading on Advent: If Jesus Said My Name

Ever since I was roommates with Anna, I've participated in Advent readings every night. It's a tradition that she shared with me and one that has grown dear to my heart. I may not have an advent wreath yet or the right candles, but I do what I can with the simple tea candles that I do have.

This year, Joey and I are doing the readings together it it's kind of the best thing. 

The reason for my title:
The other day I "accidentally" read out of John instead of Luke. I read John 20, where Mary Magdalene finds out the Jesus is not in the tomb and she's afraid people have taken his body away. 

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

I got goosebumps when I read the line where Jesus says HER name. What would it sound like if he said MY name? Would I know it was him? Would I get chills down my spine? Would I fall to the ground? Would I cry? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and YES! I don't think it was an accident that I read it. For so many reasons this passage hits my heart. Jesus hasn't disappeared in my life. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What -10 Degrees Feels Like

Would you like to know what -10 degrees feels like?
Come visit me and you'll find out, but don't forget to bring your sturdy boots and a sturdy walk because boy, is it slippery!

Yesterday, we got a lot of snow. The snow here is dry and deceitful. It covers all of the ice and makes you think you are safe to walk normally. Yesterday I experienced my first bad fall.

I was taking out the trash and on my way back I slipped backwards and fell flat on my back. As I was going down I thought "this isn't so bad" and then that's when I whacked my head SO hard. My glasses flew off behind me and I was in shock for a while. I called the clinic here to see if I had a concussion but they said I had to go to Fairbanks to get it checked out properly. There was NO way I would drive there yesterday. The roads were terrible. :( Thankfully Joey is trained as an ETT and was able to check my pupils and head to see if I had a major concussion. I didn't feel nauseous or anything and didn't fall asleep. I just had a headache right away and went to work for a while but it was too hard to concentrate, so I left early. 

Overall, I feel fine now except my entire neck is sooooo sore. Now I am wearing "cramp-ons" on my shoes all of the time. They are kind of like chains for my shoes. :) Ugh. haha I'm so clumsy.

-10 degrees hurts.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

An Update to Friends and Family (new mailing address too)!

Hi friends and family,

It's been a while since I've updated you on my life here in Alaska! I will try to keep it short! You can skip everything if you want, but please read the middle. :) 

It has been a busy and interesting summer for me! My new position as the office manager at Denali ATV this year has been such a different experience than ATV guiding! I have so much responsibility (which I love), but with that comes needing to put my big girl pants on and be a boss when I need to (which I do not love).
I had to fire someone the other day...which was extremely difficult, but needed. I'm learning a lot from this job and am enjoying it despite the difficulty at times.

(I caught a cold so hopefully most of this email makes sense. Forgive me if it doesn't. haha). 

At the beginning of the season (mid-May) we got a foot of snow! It delayed the start to our season, but despite the cold weather at the beginning, we have had more tourists come on our tours than we have ever had! It has been awesome for this company! And surprisingly, this has been one of the hottest summers in Denali (after the snow melted)! I have definitely enjoyed my sunshine. I've been backpacking, hiking, and fishing as much as possible.

*THE MIDDLE: Okay, so in other news, I have made a pretty big decision. Since before I arrived here this summer I have been stressed about my plans for after the season and have finally figured it out. After applying for jobs all over (in Oregon, Alaska, and other locations), I was offered a full-time position with benefits here in Alaska. After a lot of thinking and talking to people, I decided to take it and will be here for at least one more year! Eek!!! I will be working at a mental health and addiction clinic in this small town as a tobacco educator. It's grant funded and I'd be working to help Alaska become a smoke-free state. That just means that I'd be trying to educate business owners on how tobacco smoke effects other people and their businesses (there are still a lot of businesses here where smoking is allowed in restaurants, etc.). This job may allow me to get my feet wet in counseling as well!

After having small freak-outs here and there, I am becoming more excited. The thought of winter with negative degree weather here scares me, but everyone else seems to have survived it just fine. :) I am sad about not being in Portland with you guys, but it will always be my home. 

I will be in Portland to collect my things from September 19-27th, so if you’d like to say hi/bye I’d be happy to try to make that work. :)

Also, I may need emotional support through winter survival kits, puzzles, warm things and more warm things. If you’d like to send me letters or things like that, I’d be happy to check my mail often! ;)

My new mailing address is:
Danielle Moser
PO Box 584
Healy, AK, 99743

Also, here is my blog if you'd like to keep track of my winter adventures here in -54 degree weather...
I love you all and have loved your support to me these past few years in Oregon.
I’m not even going to say goodbye. I hate that word, so see you all later!!! ;)

Love you all and hope to see you in a few weeks,

P.S. When I told my friend Anika (who lives in Ukraine most of the year) that I was going to stay in AK for the winter, she just kept laughing at me. Surprisingly, the winters here will be colder than in Ukraine. A lot colder. :( Here is a text I got from her shortly after we talked. I died laughing.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Into The Wild: Bus trip

There are so many people throughout the year that attempt to hike the Stampede Trail. It was made famous by the movie “Into the Wild” which followed the story of Chris McCandless. He was a young guy who left everything he had and hiked the Stampede Trail. This is the same trail that we take people out on ATV tours, but we stop our tour right before the Savage River.

Chris McCandless crossed the Savage River and Teklanika River when they were both frozen. He found an abandoned bus and stayed there for a while, but when he decided to make the trek back to civilization, the Teklanika had thawed and was too high for him to cross back over. To make a long story short, he went back to the bus, was poisoned, starved to death, and died on that bus.

Many backpackers (experienced and inexperienced) attempt to cross the Tek and many have died or have had to be rescued in the process. I haven’t had a huge interest in seeing the bus, especially because of the 20+ hike to and from it, but last week, I got the chance to see it without making the long hike.

My friend Chris has an awesome Jeep. Our goal was to drive to the Tek and head home. Chris decided he’d try to cross the Tek with his Jeep and he made it! So, we hopped in and headed toward the bus. Here are some pictures! We only got stuck in 2 mud bogs along the way, but with their skills, we made it out safely. It was a fun and extremely bumpy ride!

 Getting unstuck.
 Beaver dam blocking the trail.

 Chris crossing the Teklanika River! What a brave soul!

 The Jeep crossing the Tek.

 Alexander Supertramp.

 My name!

 A little creepy.

I Climbed a Mountain!

Last week, on my day off, I set a goal to hike up Mt. Healy. Lots of my friend's here have done it and I set out to do the hike alone. It was soooo difficult and steep for the first hour. I even lost the trail a few times, but the views were breathtaking.

At one point, I saw and heard a thunderstorm so I hiked up what I thought was Mt. Healy with hopes of making it to the top before the storm hit. Thankfully, the storm dissipated, and I made it to the peak. I did my 360 turn and realized, I wasn't on the top of Healy, but Healy was out in the distance. I don't know how I missed it, but the peak I was on was good enough. :) To my left were four dall sheep! They were on a ridge. After I was finished looking at them, I turned around to get my backpack and had no idea there were three other dall sheep just a few feet away! They were so peaceful munching on the shrubs.

I was completely satisfied with heading home from where I ended up. Mt. Healy was in my view, but it was not worth it to try to find a trail and hike for who knows how long. My hiking trip was 6 hours roundtrip! I was so proud of myself!

Backpacking and Bushwhacking in Denali

Joey and I went backpacking in Denali National Park and thought it would be a good idea to hike along the Savage River towards Healy. What should have been a 12-15 mile hike was cut short by length, but not by time.

When hiking in the park, they encourage and try to enforce that you not take trails in order to preserve the wildlife and terrain. In some cases it’s exciting to find your own way through the bush, but in our case it was one of the hardest things we have EVER had to do, both mentally and physically.

We ended up having to bushwhack our way through shrub, trees, forest and creek beds from the time we began our hike to the next day when we ended it. The view was the only saving grace. The mosquitoes were torturous and swarmed. Nothing has tested my patience like those mutant bugs. We saw a lot of wolf prints and ran past two moose kills (moose that have been killed by wolves or bears). I had never been so nervous hiking before, but Joey and I were good at being loud wherever we went. I carried bear spray and we did everything we were supposed to.

The mosquitoes and bushwhacking were breaking us down physically and emotionally that we set up camp as soon as we found a clearing in the tundra. I’m still amazed that we made it as far as we had. Unfortunately, we had to go back the same way we came because we weren’t even close to Healy. Let’s just say, when I saw the entrance of the park, I had never felt so relieved in my entire life.

The best thing about it all was that I learned that Joey and I make a good team. We encouraged each other, he was so patient when I had to breakdown because the mosquitoes were getting to me, and we never got upset at each other when things were difficult.

Dinner was the best. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The First Father's Day.

This is my first Father's Day without my dad. This is the first time I don't have to worry about visiting the card aisle at a store attempting to find the best card to describe my awkward relationship with my dad. There was never a good card so I would always have to make one myself. The cards I would read would always make me cry because they reminded me that I didn't have the greatest dad. I didn't have a dad that could care for my needs, call me just because, or tuck me in at night.

But now that my dad is gone, I really miss him and I'm avoiding social networks today because pictures of good dad are being posted everywhere. Now that he's gone I realize that making my own Father's Day card wasn't such a big deal. I'd rather have him around than not. I love you and miss you dad. You were good enough.

Also, I really am thankful for the really good father figures in my life. Thanks Tom, Chris Newman, and Uncle Mike for showing me really good and healthy fatherly love.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Crazy Life: Kidnapped Grandma?

So, I've forgotten about my blog these past couple of weeks since I've been back in Alaska. There have been weeks where I've worked over 50 hours and other weeks where being the office manager here just requires more of my energy. During those first busy weeks (about 2 weeks ago) my mom saw some disturbing news on tv and called me. My grandma had appeared to have been missing/kidnapped... WHAT!?!!

Okay, crazy, right? Yes, but weird things like this happen to my family, so that part wasn't shocking. What was shocking was that my grandma's face was all over the news in Los Angeles and EVERYONE was looking for her. I was just hoping she was okay.

Apparently, she was on her way to the Verizon store and never showed up there and never went back home. Surveillance cameras saw her with a man at a few gas stations that nobody in our family recognized. We were all pretty worried.

It had almost been 48 hours before they found my grandma, safe and sound, at a gas station in Compton with her dogs...! How did she get there? Why was she in COMPTON? The man was nowhere to be seen, but the police brought her back home. My grandma couldn't remember anything, but at least she was okay.

Here are some links to articles that were posted online:

OC woman wasn't taken against will - son

Dana Point Woman Missing Since Tuesday Found In Compton « CBS Los Angeles

So, this is my life. It's weird and it's crazy. I'm just glad my grandma is okay.
Thanks to everyone who prayed for her safety and helped share the articles so that others could help find her/keep an eye out for her.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Home for 1 Week & Thanks!

Hi everyone, I made it back home late Tuesday evening and am SO happy to not be traveling right now. :) Everything went as smoothly as possible and I am recovering from jet lag, but haven't been sleeping well. Hopefully that will pass soon. :)

I am still in shock that I leave for Alaska in exactly ONE week from today!!!! I'm excited, but man, what was I thinking!?! :)

Also, I feel so blessed to have been able to travel in Europe! Thank you all for your prayers for me. I will continue to update my blog as I am in Alaska, but just know that the blogs just may not be as frequent. Thanks for following!

Love you all!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Last Day in Ukraine (Kiev)

On Saturday, I traveled from Sumy, Ukraine to Kiev so that I could hang out with some dear Ukrainian friends (Marina and Olya) of mine that I met over 5 years ago with my team when we helped out at a summer camp through Mercy Projects/Biola. I can't even describe how much joy was in my heart when I was with them. We laughed all day and walked around town.

We passed many churches that I remember from the last time I was there. :)

We ate lunch at one of my favorite places!

And here is the best and possibly the most special part of my day... We stopped at a coffee shop and I got a special call from Alla. Alla was a sixteen year old girl in my group at the summer camp that I helped with. We attached to each other right away and have been in contact ever since and I had no idea when I would be able to see her again. By God's grace, we met again and caught up with the little time that we had left. She is now 21 years old, studying linguistics at a university and hope to be a French interpreter one day. I was so happy to hear how well she is doing!!! I already miss her! Praise God...!

Finally, here's my cute cappuccino and banana bread with cream cheese (the best concoction EVER!)

Well, I am back in Italy for my last night and tomorrow I head home. Thank you all for your prayers. It's been an amazing trip. :) Please pray that everything goes more smoothly than it did on my way to Italy and that I can actually sleep on my flights. :)

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Village and Pravdinska Orphanage Kids

Yesterday, we took a trip to the village to visit some kids at the Pravdinska Orphanage as well as to visit a very much loved family who lives right across the street (Dusya, Sergey, and their two sweet kids, Valya and Andrey). Dusya and Sergey graduated from the orphanage and ever since Anika has been in Ukraine, I've prayed for Sergey. When I was in Ukraine about 5 years ago, I visited this family and loved them immediately. It was amazing to meet Sergey for the first time then and it was so good to see him again yesterday. Please pray for him and their sweet family.

The ministry my friend's have here has been a huge blessing to this family and the children at the orphanage. It's called Open Arms Ukraine and if you are interested in supporting them in any way, especially with prayer, visit

 This Dusya (in the middle) with Anika and I.

 In the background is the Pravdinska Orphanage and Valya is walking in the foreground.

 Anika and I are walking with sweet Valya.

Here is Sergey and I. When I get back home I will have to find the picture of us five years ago. :)

Also, I am going back to Kiev tomorrow by myself on a bus and will be meeting some friends that I worked with at a summer camp last time I was in Ukraine. Again, prayer for my travels will be much appreciated! On Sunday I head back to Rome and on Tuesday I will be going back to Oregon!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Skipping Easter...

...Not really, but I am missing the celebration since I am in Ukraine. They don't celebrate Easter until May because they follow the Orthodox calendar and I am here. It's bittersweet, but I am doing what I can to celebrate Christ's resurrection in my heart through reading the Bible and journaling. I am so thankful that Christ died for me so that I could be with Him for eternity. I know I'm not perfect and I mess up every day, but I am SO glad that there is nothing I can do to make Jesus love me more or love me any less than He does.

But TODAY we got to celebrate one of the kid's birthdays in Ukraine and it was sweet:

We (well, really Anika) made borscht! It was sooooooo good!

We went bowling and I saw this awesome Ukrainian lady bowling in a skirt and stockings!

We had a rapper theme party for Boyko (not pictured here). Pictured here is Sasha.

We live the thug life. NBD.

This is Boyko! It's his birthday and he loved his new sweater. :)

We also had a homemade pizookie!

Anika and I. :)
It was and still is a good day.

Visit if you want to learn more about my friend's ministry for kids that graduate from the orphanage. :) It is pretty amazing if I say so myself.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Days 9 & 10: Ukraine and 12 Degrees...

So, yesterday was fun... :) I woke up and made it to the train station and airport by myself and without too many set-backs. No delays and nobody tried to steal my money, so that's a success in my book! Haha

It was yet another full day of traveling and I didn't get into Ukraine until about midnight and Anika met me! It was the best thing! We hopped on a "bus" and rode into the sunrise and finally made it to her apt. at 7am... The highlight of the bus ride was that there was a drunk sleeping/snoring/smelly man right behind us who kept putting his feet on Anika and once on me...So weird! I also saw the prettiest sunrise. We made it safe and slept as much as we could.

It's a lazy day and I am SO content to not have to do anything or travel anywhere.

Oh, by the way, there is snow everywhere and last night it was 12 degrees... Spring, where are you? :)

I am SO happy to be back here. No sarcasm whatsoever! My heart is happy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 8: The Vatican and Sistine Chapel

I am soooooo pooped, but Amanda and I pressed on and visited The Vatican today. With sore legs, knees, and exhausted, we did it. It was a short trip. We went straight for the Sistine Chapel and went into the courtyard of the Vatican church. The line was grossly long and frankly, we were out of energy. The crowds were massive, but we were happy with what we got to see.

 One of the hallways leading to the Sistine Chapel.
 A closer look.
 Here are some images of the Sistine Chapel. I know, I wasn't supposed to take pictures here, but I did... This was one of the places I was looking most forward to seeing.

 The Pope wasn't outside... :(
 Silliness in the Vatican courtyard.
 After we got back to Frascati, we went to a tea house.
 And then we had a fancy dinner and wine. BTW: THE BEST pasta I've had so far!
P.S. I am going to Ukraine tomorrow. Prayers for safe and smooth travels would be appreciated!!!

Day 7: Florence and Pisa and back to Frascati

Yesterday morning Amanda and I went to the Accademia, a gallery that contains the Statue of David. Words will NEVER be able to describe how amazing this statue is in person, so you HAVE to see it for yourself! I still can't believe that one man, Michelangelo CARVED this statue out of marble.... I was on the verge of tears the entire time. (I know you aren't allowed to take pictures, but I couldn't help myself!)...

Then we left Florence and traveled to Pisa, none other than to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa!!!! Here are some nice AND really silly pictures. :)

 It was so rainy. :)
 After, we stopped for a snack: one cappuccino and a sandwich.
 We took a looooong train ride back to Allie's house and finally had dinner at 10pm. I LOVE pizza and had pizza on the day of Pisa.... ;)