Thursday, June 23, 2011

Book Review: The Nanny Diaries

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus, two former NYC nannies, was extremely addicting. I never wanted to put the book down. It is a fictional story based on the real-life experiences of nannies, particularly those in New York City. Coming from a small, rural town, it was hard for me to imagine what life would be like working as a nanny for a rich, seemingly uncaring family in the big city. The story is not only enchanting because it seems to be a peek into the "secret life of nannies," as it seems to me, but it is also written in such a charming and, like I said, addicting style. All of the people and events are presumably fictional, but one can't help but wonder who the inspiration was for the story. It is also a page-turner and a "can't-put-down-must-read-more" novel because of the intrigue. The nanny's name is simply "Nanny," the family she works for are called the "Xes," and her mysterious boyfriend never gets a name other than "H.H" ("Harvard Hottie"). Surely all these people have real names... I suppose the point of the story is not the people but the situation. I guess you'll just have to read to find out. And you won't regret it. It does contain some language, much of which is to create realism and drama. Kudos to McLaughlin and Kraus for bringing readers into their world, and making me, for one, never want to enter it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Zucchini Pie

This Zucchini Pie recipe has quickly become a staple in our house this summer. It's a great way to use up fresh summer zucchini. It is similar to a crustless quiche, and is yummy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It can be prepared quickly and it also freezes great!

1 c. Bisquick
4 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1/3 c. grated permesan cheese
1 medium zucchini - grated (2 c.)
salt & pepper to taste
1 medium onion (chopped fine)

Grease 9 in. pie plate.
Beat eggs in bowl and add rest of ingredients.
Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reaching God's Ear

Recently I finished Reaching the Ear of God by Wayne Mack. Part of my goal for the summer was to read one Christian book each month. So for the month of the July I chose this book. It has been so convicting and helpful! Wayne Mack pulls apart the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6. It is such an invaluable in-depth study and has helped bring me closer and closer to God as I've learned to pray more... and more like Jesus - and to love doing it.

One of the most memorable things from the book for me was that prayer is our strongest weapon, and that's why its often so "hard" to pray. Satan knows that when we are on our knees we are stronger than ever because we are so close to God. My prayer life before had been inconsistent, but when I learned that Satan is trying to keep me from praying, I saw how important it is to pray - and I have experienced the benefits and joy of praying.

While I have a long way to go, I'm thankful that I'm finally going. I would highly recommend this book not only to anyone who wants to improve their prayer life, but I would argue that it is necessary for every single Christian because a prayerless Christian is not a Christian at all.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Scripture Memory

When I was younger, Scripture memory was a homework assignment at my Christian school, a piece of candy in Sunday School, a special prize at VBS. As I got older, it became a chore, and as long as no one required it of me, I didn't "waste my time." It's not that I didn't love God's Word, but I didn't love it nearly enough. Thankfully, though, God is never done working on His children.

At the end of the school year, I read 1 Timothy 4:7b-8 - "Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come." As summer was approaching, I wanted to make goals. In summers past my goals have included reading novels or exercising more. This summer, I knew God wanted me to train in godliness! I made a plan, and Scripture memory was something I added to my to-do list. I thought that I would never be able to memorize Scripture, but with the Holy Spirit and diligence, God is indeed accomplishing this in me.

My mom and I were going to memorize a passage together, but I wanted to attempt a whole book, not just a chapter. I knew if I put my mind to it, I could do it! I choose 1 John. I started last week with the first four verses. I wrote out copies and put it on my bathroom mirror, in the shower, and inside the medicine cabinet. I found these to be great places, because I can memorize while I'm washing and drying my hair, putting on make-up, and brushing my teeth. None of those things take too much though, so I can focus on memorizing the verses. I decided to take a new section every week, so now I'm on verses 5-10 of 1 John 1. Every Tuesday I say the verses to my mom. I know that this is something I can continue through the school year without cutting into homework time, because I'll still be showering and brushing my teeth!

I've found Scripture memory of such benefit, and would encourage everyone who thinks they can't do it to at least give it a try! It not only puts the Word of God in my heart, it keeps my mind from wandering while I'm in the shower or brushing my teeth. This is one way I'm seeking to "seize the day" and "redeem the time!"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What are you going to do with the rest of your life?

I'm at the time in my life (summer before senior year of high school) where I get asked questions about my future... a lot! Where are you going to college? What do you want to do after high school? Aren't you going to be a nurse? Is music in your future? What did you get on the SATs? Are you looking for scholarships? ... and the list goes on and on. Halfway through my junior year of high school I relunctantly decided that I'd major in music in college after wanting to be a nurse for the previous three years. In my heart I knew I wanted to pursue music further, but in my head I thought nursing would be better for financial stability in my future. But music was (is) still my far as hobbies go. I knew either route I chose I could choose to glorify God and praise Him in everything. I've become more comfortable and excited about pursing music wholeheartedly.

This morning I read Psalm 150 and I got really excited. I decided when people ask me what I'm doing for the rest of my life I can read them Psalm 150 and say "I'm going to live out this Psalm." Or when they ask why I'm choosing to study music I can say, "So I can live out Psalm 150." Reading Psalm 150 assured me that God loves music, and while it plays a different role than a job in the healthcare field, it stil plays a vital role, and I'm confident I can be useful to God as a musician.

Psalm 150

Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens!
Praise him for his mighty deeds;
praise him according to his excellent greatness!

Praise him with trumpet sound; [I play the trumpet, so this was very exciting!]
praise him with lute and harp!
Praise him with tambourine and dance;
praise him with strings and pipe!
Praise him with sounding cymbals;
praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD!

In five years, I don't exactly know where I see myself. Maybe I'll be teaching first graders how to read music or maybe I'll be conducting a middle school band. Maybe I'll be offering private trumpet lessons or teaching AP Music Theory. Wherever I am, though, I know that in it I can praise the LORD with the making of music!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Only Hope

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Thy love;
Leading onward, leading homeward
To my glorious rest above.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus -
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth,
Changeth never, nevermore;
How He watches o'er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth,
Watcheth o'er them from the throne.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Love of every love the best;
'Tis an ocean vast of blessing,
'Tis a haven sweet of rest.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
'Tis a heav'n of heav'ns to me;
And it lifts me up to glory,
For it lifts me up to Thee.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Active Christian

Psalm 105:1-5

"Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon His name;
make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
tell of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
seek His presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that He has done,
His miracles, and the judgments He uttered."

I was reading this this morning, and noticed how many active verbs there are:

-Give [thanks]
-Call [upon His name]
-Make [known His deeds among the peoples]
-Sing [to Him]
-Tell [of all His wondrous works]
-Glory [in His holy name]
-Seek [the LORD and His strength...His presence continually]
-Remember [the wondrous works that He has done]

This is nothing profound, but it really struck me this morning: the Christian life ought to be an active one. There is no room for complacency or passivity. In everything we do, we ought to be doing it for God! "Do" being the keyword. We should never stop doing, even if our doing is just simply remembering.