Monday, 23 November 2015

'tis only the very beginning!

In 5 days, I marry the love of my life. 5. Days. Crazy!
I can hardly believe we're finally in our wedding week. What a journey it has been, and I am thankful for every moment. 
 How handsome is this soon-to-be-husband of mine?! And he's so much more than good looks - he is funny (very!), kind, thoughtful, honourable, generous and a wholehearted follower of Jesus. God has blessed me so very, very much! I can't wait to marry you, Logan, and serve God together with you always <3
The other day, I posted this picture on Instagram, with the caption below:

Over three years ago now, I was praying desperately for a Prince to fill 

the final role in the Christmas production I was working on.

 Little did I know, when God fulfilled that prayer, He was 

bringing me my own Prince too. In 7 DAYS I get to marry

 that very man. Craziness. I just love how God works, moulding and 

crafting our lives with His perfect plans.

 | “Yet You, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, 

You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭64:8‬ ‭|

One of my very dear friends (and bridesmaid!) Nicole commented something that really got me thinking. She said: "God writes the best love stories ❤ so happy to see the one He is writing for you my friend!" And she is exactly right. God does write the best love stories. But I loved the way she worded the second part - is writing. Not has written. Is writing. He is still writing it. Our love story isn't over now that we're getting married. In fact, it's hardly begun. We are just finishing the 1st chapter. I can't wait to see what God has in store for us in the future as we serve Him.
Oh, how I adore him!
And that got me thinking, it is exactly the same with our relationships with God. Just as the wedding is not the end of the love story, but the beginning, so salvation is just the start of our relationship with God. If after we got married we thought the story was over and all our communication/work/effort was over, we'd be in for a nasty surprise. We'd lose touch, and lose our cherished relationship. No, after marriage, you have to keep working, keep communicating, keep trying. And you will (so I'm told, and firmly believe) experience a closeness far better than prior to marriage. It is the same with our relationship with God. Only far, far more important. In fact, it seems almost ridiculous to compare the two, but God uses marriage as a really clear picture for us to understand His working. 

Salvation is just the beginning. After you accept Jesus' incredible gift and ask Him to come into your life, you are not done. No, you are stepping on into an exciting journey of new discovery and new joy. Sure, there will be trials along the way (we are promised that, just as in marriage!), but just knowing Him, just knowing all we need do is breathe a prayer and speak to Him, read His word and He is with us, that is so beautiful. 

As I've journeyed in my faith, I've learnt more and more about God, seen Him work in incredible ways and seen for myself more and more glimpses of how beautiful He is. And as I continue to walk with the Lord, I can't wait to see that even more. 
In 5 days, I will be entering a new stage of life. In 5 days, I will be a married lady. Married to the most incredible man. I'm so thankful that it is just the start of our story. And I'm even more thankful that my love story with my Saviour isn't over either - it is ever growing and changing and becoming better, the more and more I journey with Him - thank You Lord!

Much love, 
Nina xx

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Showers of Blessings

Last night, my wonderful mother and amazing Maid-of-Honour Jess threw me the sweetest bridal shower/kitchen tea. It was a semi-surprise (someone accidentally let slip when it was hehe), and it was so much fun. They invited all my favourite ladies and we have a delightful evening. 

As Logan and I have been blessed with lots of practical household-y items already, they asked people to bring their favourite recipe and some of the non-perishable ingredients to go with it for me. They were all SOOO generous! Our pantry will be set for ages! I can't wait to try some of the recipes out too! 
My wonderful Maid-of-Honour, Jess <3 Thank you SOOO much
for all you've done for me, and especially for organising such
a wonderful kitchen tea for me! You bless me so much!!

 As well as being given lots of adorable and super useful gifts, we had ice cream a-plenty and played some cute, fun games! We played a game with a washing line, where we had to see how many pegs you could remove with one hand! The other was in teams, seeing how many food items we could remember the brand name of, once the label had been removed. We did pretty well, I think!
Our smallest guest - I'm so glad Miss Evangeline
joined us!
Some MICI ladies! <3
With my lovely Mama <3 Thank you for all you do for me,
and for this wonderful evening you prepared for me!
All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful evening. I am so blessed, and so, so thankful! To everyone who came, thank you, and I love you all lots!
Bring on the wedding - just over 2 weeks now - eeeeek!
Nina xxx

Monday, 2 November 2015

Paper Hearts

I've been working on lots of cute little decorations for our wedding, and I really liked this one so I thought I'd share a "how-to" with you. 

Paper heart origami: 
Step 1: Take an A4 piece of paper. Cut it in half
through the middle horizontally.
Step 2: Cut it in half horizontally again.
Step 3: Cut it in half one more time. You should
now have 8 pieces of paper this length.
Step 4: Take one piece and fold it in half longways.
Step 5: Open it back up again.
Step 6: Take one side and fold it up along your middle fold.
Step 7: Repeat this with the other side, then turn it over.
Step 8: Fold the two flaps down towards the
triangular piece.
Step 9: Fold the two upper corners in.
Step 10: Fold the inner corners in. 
You are done! You could maybe tape the flaps down
so that it stays.
On Saturday afternoon, the gorgeous and wonderful MICIgirls helped me out by making about 100 hearts for the wedding. So thankful for them!

Talk soon, 
Nina xx

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Redeemer of all things

Yesterday was a hard day. It was actually filled with lots of lovely things, and I'm so thankful for that, but lots of hard things happened in it. It was just one of those days. 

But I love how even in the midst of things, God is always working and shaping. 
We had our MICIgirls group in the afternoon yesterday. When I was heading there, I was really upset and not feeling at all up to leading, but I prayed and God comforted me. A few unforeseen circumstances occurred and things were a bit messy, but thanks to my wonderful co-leaders and our guest leader, my lovely friend Jess, we pulled it together. 

Our teaching yesterday was about "being brave for Jesus". As part of that, I shared a story of a deep regret in my life. When I was about 10, I was on an artistic roller skating squad, and had been on the team for many years. I knew the girls I skated with really well. I used to always wear this wooden cross necklace when I was that age. One particular day, one of the girls came up to me at training and asked me why I wore it. 

To this day, I remember that moment, and the way I responded will probably always haunt me. I can still see her curious face, feel my heart being, and hear my voice saying "Oh, it's nothing," and tucking the necklace into my t-shirt. 

I shared that with the girls, telling them how much I regret what I did, even all these years later. I told them I later realised that perhaps I would have been the only one that girl would ever have heard Christ's love from, and how I let her down, and failed to trust in Jesus. After I finished speaking, there was a heavy silence as the girls took it in. 

And this is the bit that gets me. All those years ago, in was a story of regret and failure to me, I couldn't see how God might use it for good. Well, yesterday, nearly 10 years later, He used it to shape and touch 14 young ladies of Christ in their walk. All along, He'd had a plan to turn this moment around.  My sin and failure, He has redeemed it. Even what the enemy meant for evil, He turned it for His good. And I am so thankful. 

Several mothers contacted me after the session to thank me for sharing that story, as it had impacted their girls big time. And all I can say is praise Him.

Trust Him with your stories, dear ones, no matter the mistakes you've made. He's not finished with you yet!
Nina xx

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Adventures and Wedding Reception Crafts

Today, it is officially 1 MONTH until I marry my Logan! Crazy stuff! There is SO much still to do, but at the same time, I'm feeling so ready for this. God has been so, so good to us. We're really feeling His peace in this time, and are so excited to take this next step. 

On Saturday, we took our first day off from doing wedding related stuff/catching up with other people in literally months and escaped our home town. We took a road trip down towards Wellington, and just stopped wherever we felt like it. It was the BEST! 
1st stop! 
We took a stop at Waikanae beach. It was pretty cold, but man, was it beautiful!
 Then we explored a town called Otaki, and drove out into the hillside, and found their gorge. It was so beautiful. I drove over my first ever one-way swing bridge too, which was pretty nerve-wracking, but cool too.
Check out this gorgeous country!
What a poser my husband-to-be is ;)
I'm so thankful we got to share that day together, as I know the next four weeks will be crazy! Monday was Labour Day, so Logan didn't have to work (I did in the afternoon sadly :P), so we spent most of the day working on crafts for our wedding reception and listening to Ephesians on audio Bible.

First, we worked on making chalk boards. I had all these old photo frames, so we decided to use those. Logan got hold of some chalkboard paint (who knew that was a thing?!), and we got to work. 

The first thing you have to do is remove the glass from the frame and clean it so there is no dirt/dust on it.
 Then you have to stir the paint for a full 5 minutes before you start work. 
 Then you just paint. You have to let it dry for 4-6 hours, then you do a second coat. I haven't taken a photo of what that looks like yet, but I think it looks super cool.
 Next, we worked on some little candle jars. We just used mini mason jars, removed the lids and glittered the rims. After this step, we just tied some ribbony thing around the neck of each one and considered it done. I think they'll look so cute!
 Finally, we worked on some bunting. This particular kind was designed for writing on with fabric pens. We covered this string with some of my favourite Bible verses ever - Lamentaions 3:21-24.
Yet this I call to mind
    and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”
Well, I think that gives a bit of an update as to what's going on wedding wise :) I've been up to lots and lots of other stuff too, but I'll leave that for another post ;)
Nina xx

Put Down Your Phone

This spoke to me so much. Enough said, right?! I've really been working on putting my phone down and being more present in the moment.

Also, I recently saw these photos, and I think they're so powerful - illustrating how isolated overuse of technology can make us. The photographer has taken these images, then removed the phones/devises they were using. Spooky, right?!
Well, it's been a busy week, but I have lots of cool stuff to share with you soon! 
Nina xx

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Counting Down - 5 Weeks!

Sometimes, it doesn't seem really. It doesn't REALLY seem like we are actually getting married in just 5 weeks. Where has all the time gone? Where has the 14 months of our engagement gone? Am I really going to become the love of my life's wife in just 36 days?!

Now that I've finished semester and only have work and MICIgirls to worry about, I've been really getting into the wedding planning. Yesterday, Logan and I met with our pastor to discuss the marriage ceremony itself - that was exciting. Then I relinquished my engagement ring to the jeweller for 3 weeks(!!), as I'm having a wedding band made to fit around it. I also went down to the church we're getting married in and sorted a few details there. Then in the evening we had a dress fitting session for the bridesmaids. 
I love these beautiful girls SO much, and I'm so thankful for the way they constantly bless my life. I'm so glad all of them are going to be standing up beside me as I make one of the biggest commitments of my life.
Two of their Mums came along as well, which was really nice (my own Mum is in the middle). We had such a fun evening, and it was really exciting seeing all the girls looking so beautiful. 

Of course, we took cute/crazy photos and laughed heaps - especially at my accidentally tossing a whole lot of shortbread into one of the girls' laps as I offered her some >.<
One of the things about wedding planning is that you quite often think you're nearly finished, and you're really not. There is always something more to do. But boy, is it exciting! I am so blessed, by so many, and so much by our gracious God! <3
I'm really treasuring this time, as I'm sure 5 weeks will be over all too soon!

Nina xx