Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Best Berry Smoothie

Okay, people. I have a new addiction. In fact, I'm consuming some of it right now! It is what I have dubbed Best Berry Smoothie. I mean it! This stuff is a m a z i n g!
Also, look at those blooms - spring is on it's way, my friends!! EEEE!
Okay, here we go - ingredients:
| 1 banana (or two if they're small) | 1 handful of frozen berries (any!) | 1 splash of milk (rice milk or some other milk substitute if you wanna make it vegan! | 

And that's it! You just put all of that together in a blender and whip it up! :)

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did! 
Nina xx

Monday, 24 August 2015

Eyes on Eternity

"He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart..." ~Ecclesiastes 3:11a~
I've been recently studying a devotional dealing with our purpose in Christ (seems to be a theme in my life at the moment, huh?! :)), and the chapter I was studying yesterday started with that verse. I've read it before, but this is the first time I've really read it. Do you know what I mean?

The chapter starts like this. 
"This life is not all there is. 
Life on earth is just the dress rehearsal before the real production. You will spend far more time on the other side of death - in eternity - than you will here. Earth is the staging area, the preschool, the tryout for your life in eternity... This life is preparation for the next." 

It continues: "The Bible says "God has...planted eternity in the human heart". You have an inborn instinct that longs for immortality. This is because God designed you, in His image, to live for eternity... One day your heart will stop beating. That will be the end of your body and your time on earth, but it will not be the end of you. Your earthly body is just a temporary residence for your spirit. The Bible calls your earthly body a "tent", but refers to your future body as a "house". The Bible says, "When this tent we live in - our body here on earth - is torn down, God will have a house in heaven for us to live in, a home He Himself has made, which will last forever." 
While life on earth offers many choices, eternity offers only two: heaven or hell. Your relationship to God on earth will determine your relationship to Him in eternity. If you learn to love and trust God's Son Jesus (and repent and turn to Him), you will be invited to spend the rest of eternity with Him. On the other hand, if you reject His love, forgiveness and salvation, you will spend eternity apart from God, forever."
Most of that was things I'd heard before, but yesterday it really struck me. We really are made for eternity, and everything here and now will be G O N E. Kaput. Forever. Huh. It really gives you a different perspective, right?! Little things suddenly don't matter so much. At the end of the day, all that really matters is sharing God's love with others, and learning to love Him more ourselves. 
Loved this quote from the movie "God's Not Dead"!
It's kind of an amazing thought really, isn't it?! (Understatement of the day). One day, this earth will be no more, and we'll be living on a new one, far more beautiful and perfect, praising our Lord God day in, day out. Wow. I can't think of anything more beautiful and wonderful than this. 

I think C.S. Lewis says it perfectly (of course!) in the last of his Narnia books - The Last Battle. 
"For us this is the end of all the stories... But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world... had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before."

Nina xx

Sunday, 16 August 2015

And so it begins!

Finally, after many long weeks and months of praying and planning, we finally started our MICIgirls group this Saturday afternoon! Wahoo! It was such a joy and a delight to be a part of. This is going to be such a special journey with the girls, the other leaders, and with our Lord Jesus. I'm just so ready for it!
Saturday was a bit of a hectic day to be honest. The five leaders - Anya, Hannah, Charlotte, Basia and myself - had planned to meet up early and get everything set up. Well, that didn't really work out as planned. Saturday ended up sort of running away with us. We had a mad rush to get everything ready, and we were still praying as the girls were arriving, but we made it! And I think it all looked gorgeous!
We had cupcakes, fruit kebabs, mason jars for drinks, fairy lights, and gift packs with a MICI journal and magazine, plus a small perfume for each girl. It was adorable!
When the girls arrived, we spent some time just welcoming them and their lovely Mums' and getting to know each other. Then Anya gave a quick talk on what MICI is all about (see my previous post if you don't know! :)), and what we'd be doing over the 10 weeks. Then the girls went and watched Ever After, and us leaders stayed and talked to the Mums a bit. 
Obsessed with these jars - I actually bought them for our wedding,
but decided they could serve a multi purpose!
One of the Mums very kindly offered to let me and Logan use some decorations she has for our wedding - people are SO generous - this keeps happening to us! Thank You Lord!! It turns out she and her husband got married at our age too (a bit younger actually), and are still very much in love and happy today. That was so encouraging to hear! I love hearing people's love stories! *smiles* 
Our lovely team (not the greatest photo, but unfortunately this one was the best
 taken haha) - Basia, me, Charlotte, Hannah and Anya!
After the Mums left, us leaders just spent some time chatting and exploring possibilities we'd come up with after actually meeting the girls. Man, I'm so excited to actually start our first real session. There are 13 young ladies in our group - several I already know, but most of them, I will be getting to know over the course of the 10 weeks. Even though I've only met each of them briefly, I am really thrilled with the wonderful girls in the group, and I can't wait to see where God takes us!
For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
~Ephesians 2:10~
Anya's gorgeous daughter, Evangeline (you may recognise her as
one of the dancers from Psalty!), is one of our MICI girls. She was
SO helpful with setting up, and decorated all the cupcakes beautifully!
After it was all packed up and over, I posted a couple of pictures from the Meet and Greet on Instagram. 2 of the creators of the MICI programme saw it, and one of them reposted my picture, saying this:
Isn't is amazing how God puts a dream on our hearts, and often it goes on to become bigger, and to encompass more people as it goes?!
One thing I'm sure of, this is going to be an amazing journey! 
For now, unfortunately, I have to go - an essay is calling my name :P 
Talk soon, 
Nina xx
P.S. I posted on our MICI girls website blog too, if you're interested in following our journey there!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

MICI - Made in Christ's Image

Something I've been super excited about for a while now is that I get to be involved in the pilot programme in NZ for a new Bible study curriculum for 9-13 year old girls. The curriculum was written in Australia and is called MICI (Made In Christ's Image) Girls'. I just love that we, reborn, are made in Christ's image, and I don't think that is taught, or expounded to us enough. It is an amazing truth, and such an encouragement. 

I'm so excited to be a part of it. I am going to be one of the adult leaders for the course. It is a 10 week course (which we've spread out between now and November), with a meet-and-greet tomorrow. It is going to be great!

MICIgirls curriculum touches on lessons from the women of the Bible, and involves discussions, journaling, worship, and affirmation of who we are in Christ—along with the chance to create beauty!

These are the units we will be covering: 
Week 1 Unique Love (Sarah) 
Week 2 Unique Treasure (Hagar) 
Week 3 Unique Purpose (Esther) 

Week 4 Unique Beauty (Ruth) 
Week 5 Unique Words (Shunnamite Woman) 
Week 6 Unique Me (Michal) 
Week 7 Unique Style (Daughters of Zelophehad) 
Week 8 Unique Purity (Ruth) 

Week 9 Unique Friendships (Hannah) 
Week 10 Unique Justice (Tabitha)
(In case you hadn't guessed yet :P) I'm super excited to do this, to meet all these precious girls and to journey alongside them as they learn more about who they were created to be. I'd love it if you would join me in praying for the girls and for us leaders - that we would all get to learn something more about the heart of God, and that we would all be changed by this! :)

The magazines that the MICI people put out are absolutely gorgeous - there are adults ones too, so you should definitely check them out here: MICIgirls also have their own website and blog here: 
If you use Instagram, you should totally follow @micigirls and @micimagazine for some great inspiration day by day - they're on Facebook too :)
That's enough about that for now, but I'll be sure to fill you in on how our meet and greet goes tomorrow! 
Nina xx

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Remember the Titans! {Movie Review}

For years and years, some of my girlfriends have been promising to show me one of their favourite movies - Remember the Titans. And we finally got around to it a couple of weeks ago. I LOVED it, so I watched it again tonight with my family. I think I liked it even more this second time. 

Remember the Titans is based on a true story, set in Virginia in 1971. It tells the story of a merging American high-school - the first black/white integrated school in the area. Along with that, their two football teams merge, and they get a new coach - a black coach. The coach is played by Denzel Washington. 
The story is a super uplifting, and inspiring, teaching lessons about race relations, and trusting the soul of a man over his skin. Plus, the music is great - Ain't No Mountain High! I, as per usual, won't go into detail about the story (spoilers are awful!) - but I will say on the whole this film is a great one for all the family. There's one scene which I misunderstood the first time I saw it, but if you are paying attention, it makes perfect sense and isn't what it seems haha (if you've seen it, you probably know which scene I'm talking about!). But this movie is one of the cleanest Hollywood movies I've seen in a long time. It portrays such an important issue in such a great light - I loved it!

Nina xx

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Dream

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved 2 things very much. The first was the Lord her God. She wanted to serve Him with her life, in all she did. The second thing she loved was drama, music, dance and theatre productions. She wanted, with all her heart to put these two loves, and her dream of changing the world for God, together. 
Singing in a show in the biggest local theatre,  2003
As she grew, she was involved in many theatre productions, including some Biblical based theatre shows in her home town. She loved being part of them!
As a Philistine girl in a musical about King David!
She was also involved in secular musical theatre - including Beauty and the Beast! She got to play a teaspoon!
The smallest gold tea-spoon, stage right, just behind Lumière!
One of the best experiences she had was being part of a film made of Romeo and Juliet, with a group of fellow students when she was homeschooled. That inspired her to go on and make little movies with her friends - written by them, and filmed on a home-video camera. 
The earliest photo from the movie
They started making a movie in 2008 and it was finished in 2013. After they finally finished, she knew for sure she wanted, one day, to make films that would impact and change people's lives.
The cast of the movie!
As Janna (left) in 2010
In 2010, the girl and her Mother felt the Lord leading them to establish a production company dedicated to producing top-quality shows which bring glory to our Saviour. This lead to 4 productions she's been blessed to direct (so far):
Psalty and the Take-Your-Time Machine (2011)
A Royal Feast: The Flavour of Christmas (2012)
Grandma's Folk Tales (2013)
Psalty: Welcome to the Family (2015)
She started writing some of her own scripts. She was so inspired. She loved what she was doing, and she loved seeking to serve God in it. She was all set to become a film maker, actress and theatre producer. This was her dream and she longed to serve in this way. 

Then, at some point, she started to question if this really was God's call on her life, if this is really what He wanted for her. Some little seed of distrust in her long-held dream penetrated her heart. People told her she would never be able to make it happen, why would God want a little small-town girl to do things like that?! So she started to doubt if she was good enough, and, as much as she hated to admit it, whether God really would provide.
But God is so much bigger than our doubts and our fears, and He works in our weakness. He started to whisper into her life, teaching her that unless she moved in His strength, she couldn't do it. But in His strength, and by His gentle guidance, she could.
And more than that, if she learnt to follow His guidance, rather than seeking to do it in her own way, He would do wonderful things. She found that the more time she spent seeking His will, the more He moulded and shaped her heart. She knew that He had given her the desires in her heart to seek Him with her skills and that He was aligning her dreams with His own heart. He has shaped and changed her dream over the years, yet the essence remains the same. 
As she has learnt to lean in to Him for guidance, He has shown her constantly how faithful He is and how He is there every step of the way, providing even more than she needs, or even asked. He cares about your dreams and your goals to serve, brothers and sisters of Faith!
Playing a Hebrew girl called "Janna" in a show about Joshua
At the end of last year, the Christian ministry team who put on the Biblical theatre productions she had been involved in as a child invited her to join their board. She was thrilled to accept. Not long after that, tragedy struck, and the president of that company passed away. She was really upset, as the president had been a mentor to her in the world of theatre directing, and faith. She really realised how fragile life is, and how we can only count on right now. We need to make the most of the time we have.

Out of this sad time, there came some beauty though. After the president's death, there was a decision made to close the company down. So, the board nominated to donate all of the company's assets - all the thousands of costumes, props, all the make up, the sets, the scripts and songs and so on to the girl's production company. The girl was beyond delighted. This was so much more than she had ever dreamed of, and yet, God provided it. They would never lack anything.
A tiny portion of the things God gave to the girl's mission!
The girl once decided her dreams were too big, that she was far too insignificant to play a part in changing this world for her God. She was done. But God wasn't finished with her. He had given her the dreams for a reason, and He wouldn't give up on her that easily. He gave her courage, and provided for her needs. He strengthened her.
The story still goes on. She isn't yet at the stage of creating films which share life-breathing messages with the world, but one day, she hopes she will be. She is studying to direct films, working on plays still, and working on her own performing. She still dreams of serving God and sharing His love through theatre and film. And she truly hopes she will be able to have a positive impact on people as she goes, and that she may, in some small way, play a part in inspiring other believers to reach for their God-given dreams too. Our God is far more than ordinary, and He works in extraordinary ways. The girl is still dreaming, bigger and, with God, better!

How do I know all this? Well, the girl is me. And my dreams go on.
Nina xx

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Alone, Yet Not Alone {Movie Review}

Last night, I had the privilege of watching an amazing movie with some of the beautiful ladies who bless my life! We watched the 2013 movie "Alone Yet Not Alone". It is a historical drama, a tale of American Indians and settlers. When I first heard the title, I thought it was talking about the settlers not being alone because of the Indians silently dwelling beside them, but it was nothing like that. As the song above shows, the title and the message speak about how, as believers, no matter what we go through, we may be physically alone, but we are never truly alone!

I don't what to give any of the story away, as I think y'all should definitely try watch this movie. Basically, though, as Rotten Tomatoes puts it: "This historical drama is based on a true story. The full-length feature film recounts the faith and courage of a German-American immigrant family as they face hardship, loss and sorrow during the French and Indian War."
This film is definitely one of the best Christian-made films I've ever seen. I absolutely loved it, and I'm sure you would too! :) I really love the theme song, sung by Joni Eareakson Tada. 
Nina xx