Saturday, 30 May 2015

Things that go bump in the night!

Last night, I was housesitting with a lovely friend of mine. We'd both been really looking forward to it (we'd housesat at this particular house before). After accidentally missing a Tupperware Party I'd thought was at 7pm - no idea why - and was really at 2pm... - I headed over and we spent a lovely evening watching movies, talking and relaxing. Her older brother stayed for a while, then he headed off and it was just the two of us.

All was well until we put the dog away for the night and switched the light off. That's when we started hearing the *unexplained noises*. At first, we thought it might be the dog, or the turtle, but after a while we realised it was coming from outside. So we turned the lights on and went for a tour of the house to try and spot the perpetrator. No joy.

We went back to bed for a bit, thinking it might just have been night noises. But then they came back. Louder. Eventually, we realised that we were never going to get to sleep, so we called her home. And her mother dispatched her father.

Whilst we waited for her Dad, we had half an hour's worth of praying, listening to music (and listening nervously out for more noises :P) and reading the Bible. I have to admit, that was one of the scariest nights I've ever experienced, aside from one night in South Africa... But at the same time, it was cool to share that time together. One of my friend's favourite Bible passages is Isaiah 41, so we read that together.
Her Dad (aka our hero!) arrived at nearly 1:30am (groan! So tired now), and we immediately felt lots better, but were still feeling a bit tetchy so we played the word association game (one person says a word and the next person has to say the next thing that pops into their head!) until we calmed down.

As we were settling down finally, my friend said to me "I know we should just let go and trust God, but it's so difficult!" and she's exactly right. I know we both do trust God, but letting and really just relaxing into His Arms in a scary situation is tough and is something we all have to work at. It doesn't just come naturally! 

Well, it all worked out in the end, and we survived- even if we are all tired!! But I think we both learnt some valuable lessons about trust yesterday, and about the power of God's word! 

Looking forward to a good sleep tonight haha. 
Nina xx


Thursday, 28 May 2015

You and Me Forever Free PDF!

I'm currently 183 days away from marrying the man my soul desires. 183. Crazy! Where has this year gone? I couldn't be happier, even with so many changes ahead and so much to do! I'm loving this whole experience of being engaged and looking forward to marriage. Woo hoo!! In 183 days it will be Logan and me FOREVER. Not just for a while, not for as long as we can be bothered, but until we  move from this life into the next. Because once we are joined together before our loved ones and before our God in holy matrimony, we are one. And I so can't wait! 

A modern theologian and preacher both Logan and I really admire is Francis Chan. I hope you've heard of him, because he's great! If not, look up some of his teachings! He and his wife Lisa have written a book called "You and Me Forever", which is all about keeping an eternal perspective on marriage. Logan and I've started reading through it together, and it is SO good! And you know what else is good?! They're giving it away as a FREE pdf file! How generous right?! The link to it is below:
Check it out! Whether you're married, about to be, or single, it's a great read - reminding us to view each person in our lives as God does, through the blood of Christ, and to keep focused on the forever. I highly recommend it. 

Much love, 
Nina xx

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Wisdom Filled Post I Had to Share (probably for 14+ years)

A friend recommended this post to me on Instagram, and I loved it, so I'm gonna share it here. This was written by Tenth Avenue North's (a Christian band) lead singer about the popular "reality" *cue sarcasm* show The Bachelorette. I think this is so relevant and gives amazing insight into today's society. I've posted the text below, but in case you want to see (and maybe share) the actual article, you can find that here: Seized by a Great Affection

Below post written by Mike Donehey

The Bachelorette, the Currency of Sex, & the Spirit of Divorce.

I sat down with my wife last night to watch “The Bachelorette."I know. I know. Bad move.  Such a bad move.  I think I could actually feel my soul dying inside.
I had never seen an episode before, but let me tell you, watching one girl simultaneously date a group of competitive suitors is not my idea of a good time.  At first, it actually made me physically nauseous witnessing a group of grown men literally fighting over one woman, who, might I add, showed no restraint of her own sexual appetite whatsoever. I just kept thinking, "That’s all this is; a competition.  These guys have no idea who this girl is. They don’t want "her,” the person, they want “her,” the prize. They would rather use sex to win, than be known and loved for who they truly are.“  I turned to my wife and said, "Do you think these people need counseling after this?” It all felt set up to be purposefully and inevitably emotionally devastating.
The episode ended, and I was consumed. I seriously couldn’t even get up off the couch.  I was stuck in my head and couldn’t get out.  I ranted on Twitter.  I tried to watch ESPN to turn my mind elsewhere but I just couldn’t shake the melancholy.  It was all right there on primetime ABC.  A live in color picture of where this generation’s sexual values are.  It seems like we have embraced sex as nothing more than a consumer good.  I could almost hear the heart of God breaking.  Covenant and commitment are not only unnecessary, but seem to be unwanted hindrances in today’s dating economy; while using your body as advertising has become the norm.  I think that’s what got me writing this blog at the moment.  I can’t get over the idea we were never meant to use sex to convince someone to stay with us.  Rather, we were meant to glory in the gift of sex by employing its power to celebrate the safety and the mystery of loving one person forever.  Sex wasn’t meant to be currency, it was meant to be cement.
Come to think of it, a girl once told me that in high school.  She said, “Sex is supposed to be cement for the soul.”  At the time, I thought she was crazy, now I think it’d be crazy not to believe her.  Seems to me, the show, though obviously hyped up by television and marketing dollars, was painting a vivid picture of how many people view marriage, sex, and dating.  I call it, “cultivating the spirit of divorce.”  
We call it, “covering all my options.”  But no wonder over 50% of marriages end these days. I mean, in our dating lives we get closer, emotionally and physically, until we find out something we don’t like, and then we split.  Of course that mentality carries over the walls of wedding vows. 
Here’s the thing though, my mom is smarter than me.  



I remember when I first starting dating my wife and she said to me,
“Oh I like her. You should marry her!”
“Mom!” I choked in disbelief, “We’ve only been dating a few months.”
“But you’ve known each other for years right?” She countered.
“Well yeah, but I just don’’t know how compatible we are.  I need to figure it out.”
My mom was cutting into my relational consumerism, and I didn’t like it.
“Mike,” she went on, “Here’s the thing.  Do you think your father and I have been married over 30 years because we’re perfect for each other?  Not a chance.  Even if we were perfect for each other back then, we wouldn’t be any more, because people change.  So, to stay married, you have to commit to keeping up with the other person’s changing, and keep asking God for the grace to love whoever they become.”
Like I said, she’s way smarter than me.
My friend Zach and I were on a run the other day, and he put it perfectly, “Choosing to love one woman for the rest of your life is a far far wilder ride for your heart than promiscuous sex will ever be.”  I love that, makes me feel like we’re all worth a lot more than we think.
So I don’t know if any of that makes any sense to you, but I want to say to anyone single out there, don’t believe the lie you have to let them sample the milk to buy the cow.  It’s simply not true.  In fact, I’ve witnessed it over and over again, more often than not, when you get physical too quickly, it only clouds how connected you really are. I believe the physical was really meant to be the cement on top of the foundation of emotional and spiritual connection, not the other way around. Mortar works best when you have bricks already to work with.
Married peoples of the earth, remember, you’re displaying something much more powerful than yourselves by staying married.  Your covenant to one another displays not just your own love, but testifies to the covenant keeping grace of God that Christ has for his bride the church.  
And to us all, sex is God’s gift, to become a living gift to someone who will give all of themselves back to us. It speaks to us but a shadow of the intimacy we were created for.  Or to say it this way, if your lover wants your body, but won’t give you the promise of forever, that kind of sex, sex without covenant, lacks integrity. It says, “I’m willing to give you my body, but I’m not willing to give you my life.”  And my friends, our God wants more for us.  We are not currency. We are His.  We’ve been bought with a price, we are not our own, therefore, honor that love with your body.
Hope that made you all think!
Nina xx

Monday, 25 May 2015

Sunday, 24 May 2015

//Thankful Heart// (1)

Today, my heart is thankful for:
Tea with the lovely Violet from Rejoice in the Lord Always!
- An "A" on an exam
- Warm scarves on coooold days
- A successful "pack-out" at the theatre
- Beautiful flowers from our closing night!
- The gorgeous smell of said beautiful flowers filling my room!
- Watching period dramas because I have free time again! (I'll post a review soon!)
- Sweet photos to remind me of things past
- The wonderfully detailed Gospel of Luke - so interesting!
- 2 singing students being away, so I have one hour less work to do, and I still get paid for it!
- Encouraging emails about our production
- 2 great nights of sleep!
- Just over 2 weeks of semester to go for me
- 1 last assignment!
- Talking about our wedding plans with the lovely Violet over tea and hot chocolate!
- My darling Logan getting back from a work trip tonight :D 
- Mother daughter date plans for after work

I have so much to be thankful for!
"Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.…" ~1 Thessalonians 5:17-19~

Love,
Nina xx

Saturday, 23 May 2015

And that's a wrap!

Well, after nearly 6 loooong months of hard work, Psalty: Welcome to the Family is finally over! I can hardly believe it! What a journey this has been, and the final two shows, and after party were no exception - special memories I'll treasure forever! 

Here are a few photos from backstage and the after-party tonight (promise I'll stop talking about the show on here soon! ;P):
These two very sweet *ahem* unicorns gave me a lovely
card and a soap rose, very kindly perfumed by them too!
And since said unicorns read my blog, here's a cute one
of the two of them <3
My beautiful friend Nicole and I about to dance our Swedish
dance!
And the two of us again at interval! So. Much. Gold. 
With two of my favourite monkeys at the after party! These
kids are wonderful!
 Every show we have done, we've got and taken photos in front of the clock tower in our town centre. This show couldn't be the exception, so here are our clock tower photos!

The boys! My brother is 2nd from the left, and my hilarious fiancé on the right
end! He cracks me up!
I love these kiddos!
With my precious friend Jacinta <33 
The dancers <3
 I got given all these beautiful things by various cast members tonight. 2 GORGEOUS bouqets of flowers, lots of cards and two super special photo-frames! I am so so blessed!
I can hardly believe it's all over, but I'll confess, my brain is already planning my next show... But that will have to wait a while, because next on my agenda is GETTING MARRIED! 188 days away now - it's creeping closer! 

This show has been a wonderful, crazy, tiring, exciting, beautiful adventure. I am thankful for every moment, even the moments when I thought I might not make it through. And I am so, SO thankful to my God and Saviour for all He has done - for getting me, and the cast and crew through this long haul, teaching us what it really means to be part of His family, the body of Christ, and also for allowing us to perform this show to glorify His name before, and with, our city. All glory is to Him. Thank You Lord, for all You've taught us, and the way You've blessed us and guided this entire process. This heart of mine is so thankful. 


Nina xx

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Thankful

Last night was opening night for Psalty: Welcome to the Family! All our hard work finally came together to present it to an audience - and it went great, praise the Lord! Aside from a few minor glitches, it was really wonderful. I am so thankful! Here are a few pictures from last night! :) 3 more shows to go!
Me on stage doing the sound check! Doesn't it look great?!
Two of my most precious friends <3
Plus 2 photo bombers!
Aww! <3
With some of the girls in the cast!
Selfie stolen from this lovely girl - she posted it along with the sweetest
note to me on Instagram!
Waiting to go on stage! 
With my darling fiancè, who was running the comms
link, which sends instructions to the sound and lighting
desk!
The cast on stage!
The opening song!
Lots of love, 
Nina xx

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Open Letter to the Cast and Crew of Psalty

Dear Psalty family,

Thank you for taking part in this journey with me. You are all wonderful, and this show would not be the same if any one of you had not been part of it. You have all bonded beautifully, and become a true show family - which is so great, considering our show is all about families!
The little dancers!
The way you've all grown from the day you all came along to auditions, nervous and excited to now, on the day before we open is incredible! In some ways, it's hard to believe you are the same people :D
We knew from audition day that this show was going to be special - and boy, has it been! You are all so talented, so funny, so creative, such beautiful souls. And I'm so glad the Lord chose each of you to be part of the show with us! 
We've shared some hilarious moments, seen you all giggle like crazy over something I personally didn't think funny (being an adult is clearly very boring, I'm discovering!), seen some incredible breakthroughs and developments in each of you as performers, had a rehearsal overrun by kittens!, worked super hard, and had lots and lots of fun! 

And tomorrow, we take to the stage to show the world what you've been working on! I'm so proud of each and every one of you. May this show and the experience have blessed you all as much as it has blessed me, and have turned your heart and eyes to Jesus - that is my prayer in all of this! 
Bunch of crazies, these ones!
Crew and adult cast members - you are all legends, and none of this would have happened without you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have helped make this dream of mine (and so many others) a reality. You've given up your time, energy and efforts in order to bless these kids, and the audience as well. Thanks for your willingness to try anything, to put the hard yards in and your wisdom. Those of you who've worked so hard behind the scenes where no one sees, I thank you! I won't forget your efforts! I truly hope and pray that God will bless you for all you've done in this show, you wonderful people! I hope you've all had fun along the way!

My dearest Mama, what would I do without you?! Thanks for being musical director again, and helping me allow my dream of godly, wholesome family musical theatre in our community to be a reality. You inspire me. Your energy, vibrance and dedication to this cause are matched by none - how blessed am I to have you as my mentor, my guide and my mother?! 
Our Father in Heaven - without Whom none of this would be possible - thank You! Thank You for the journey You've taken us all on, the memories You've granted us, the lessons You've taught. I wouldn't change any of it for the world. Now, as we head into show weekend, please help us all to keep our eyes on You and You alone, through all the things that cloud us. Please grant us a spirit of unity and love as we work together, through any stresses that may arise, and all the wonderful moments too. Please grant us energy, and help everything to flow smoothly. Please fill our audiences Lord, with people who's hearts are open to hearing your message, and who are ready to glorify You along with us. That is my greatest prayer - that this show might be all to Your glory Lord. But Father, not as I wish, but as You. Amen!
All of this, with lots of love from 
Nina

All images in this post are from the very talented Tara Jolliffe Photography :)

Friday, 15 May 2015

Caledonia

I have always liked Celtic Woman. They make such beautiful music! For my birthday, my mother gave me their new album "Emerald Musical Gems" and I heard for the first time the song Caledonia. I have no idea how I'd missed it before. But I heard it and fell in love with it! 
It reminds me a lot of the music from Frozen haha. 
What do you think?! Hope y'all like it too! 
Nina xx

P.S. Loving how my text ended up as a Pyramid! :D

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Psalty: Welcome to the Family!

It is now less than a week until Family Friendly Productions latest play "Psalty: Welcome to the Family" takes to the stage! How exciting! It's been such a great experience directing this musical, and I think it's set to be our best yet! Woo hoo! I decided to share some of the beautiful photos Tara Jolliffe Photography has taken for us.
The crew! Recognise some of my friends from over at Violets and Daisies?!
I'm on the ladder in the gold dress (it's a costume, promise!)
Rhythm! Boy, this kid is amazing! :D So funny!
Psalty, Psaltina and The Booklets!
I love these three! Harmony, Melody and Rhythm!
The dancers! That's me, middle right!
The whole cast!
The wonderful Kids Praise Kids <3
These two crack me up! 
Looking great huh?! What a great photographer!! Can't wait to share a video or two from this!
But in the meantime, here's a throw-back to our last Psalty show - 4 years ago now!! Can you spot me?
Talk soon, 
Nina xx

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Moments to remember

Yesterday evening, we had our final rehearsal out of the theatre. Next week is show week - I can't believe how fast it has come up. 

One of the things I've loved about running Family Friendly Productions is how close the cast members get over the course of the show. And this one has been no exception. In fact, I think this cast has ended up even closer. Look at this bunch of crazy monkeys!
Romans 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Out do one another in showing honor.
I went out of the room for one minute on the break and came back to find them all lying on the floor in a circle, taking a photo. And of course, I had to get in on the action and take a photo (or 7!). This was such a precious moment, and it will last forever in my memory. The show is all about being family - part of the Body of Christ - and these kids are definitely family now! This is what it's all about!

Some of the older girls re-posted this photo on Instagram and Facebook, all commenting how much they love the other kids and the show. This is what one of them wrote: 
"This is my family, well my stage family <3 <3 our rehearsals are fab and our photos didn't blur. But honestly, you should all come and see the show Psalty and meet my second family. These people are the best."

If that doesn't make it all feel worth it, I don't know what does!? Now, if only the audience are as blessed and touched by the message as the cast have been <3

This passage is definitely my current theme!
John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.


1 week to show time! 
God bless, and make sure treasure these moments in your life!
Nina xx

Monday, 11 May 2015

Live Original

I was really excited a couple of weeks ago when I got a message from Dayspring Cards on Instagram saying I had been chosen by Sadie Robertson to receive a full set if cards from her new set. They arrived today - and they are GORGEOUS! 
They're all so different and so cute! And each of them either mentions the Lord or has a Bible verse in it - how encouraging!! 
This one I especially like! On the inside it says:
"but I'm really glad you did!" and has this verse:
"If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return
to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together
to make room for more, and running over."
Luke 6:38 NLT
Sadie Robertson is from Duck Dynasty and has also been on Dancing with the Stars. She is a 17 year old Christian girl and such an inspiration. She decided that her message to people would be to "Live Original" - to be ourselves and live our lives as who God created us to be. Such a great message. You can see the video she made below, and she has also written a book, which I'd love to read one day.

Here are a couple of my other favourites of the cards: 
And here are all 18 of them! Aren't they stunning?! Can't wait to start giving them to people :D
And today I was feeling really tired and not so well, so them arriving today was just perfect. Isn't our God good?! 

More exciting stuff to share, so I'll be back soon! 
Nina xx



Sunday, 10 May 2015

Our God is greater!

As you all know, I'm setting out on a crazy busy two weeks - filled with assignments, work and performances. I have been trying really hard not to get too stressed out by all of this, and so far, my Jesus has kept me focused and centred! 1 performance, 2 assignments down! 
"I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength!"~Phil 4:13~ What a reminder!
A photo of all the performers from Chamber Music NZ's Open Stage show.
My trio and our accompanist (my mother) are in the middle in cloaks!
I had so much fun performing with my trio at Chamber Music NZ's Open Stage show last week. We performed the "Three Ladies' Trio" from Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" - a challenge, but so much fun! - and "Bach, Bizet and Blue Skies" - a mix of Bach's Bouree, arranged for 3 voices and the song Blue Skies. Getting there on time was a little stressful, but it ended up working out perfectly and we loved performing!
L-R: Nina (me) - soprano, Kirstin - mezzo-soprano and Darryl - contralto
Then on Saturday, we had our first in-theatre rehearsal for Psalty! It was so exciting and everyone did so well. Hard to believe the show is only a week and a half away now! I can't wait to share some of the rehearsal photos with you - they're great.
Isn't it funny how the Lord brings certain aspects of His word to our attention at certain times?! Last week He really brought to my attention this verse: 
This was brought to mind when I was praying about the audience for our Psalty show, that God might grant us full houses, with people there ready to turn their hearts to Him, and be encouraged. 

Then on Sunday, we had a sermon on the following passage, focusing on verse 16 - asking for things after the Lord's own heart. Huh. 

John 15:12-17New International Version (NIV)

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed youso that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

I have been praying and praying for Psalty, that we might not do this outside of the Lord's will and do it in vain, but that we might be doing it all for His glory and to make His name known, both among the cast and crew and our audiences. And these were the verses He used to encourage me. We need to remember, that our God is greater than any trouble we may encounter, and that we must continue in His ways of love. I love that! I'm so thankful that He sent His Son Jesus to be the bridge between us, that we might come before Him free. 
This quote sums it all up for me!
This morning, I put some of our excess fruit out on the road-side verge to sell to passers by. I prayed, "Lord, it would be wonderful if all this fruit could go today to someone who needs it, before it goes off." It wasn't an important prayer, or anything that really mattered. Yet, when I came home from uni just before, all the fruit was gone. If that isn't encouraging, I don't know what is!!?! Our God takes care even of the little things, as well as the big things!

Love, 
Nina xx