Archives for August 2013

Friday Finds: Summer Favorites Edition

I don’t know about you but it’s hard for me to believe that next week will be September. How did that happen? I feel like yesterday was July 4th, but maybe that’s just life with a baby. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorites that have helped me enjoy my summer indoors. I haven’t seen a pool since Memorial Day and I really have only spent a handful of hours outside since May. For real.

So here’s a little bit of fun to enter our three-day weekend. Woohoo!

1. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

gifts

My mom gave me this book over a year ago and I’ve been meaning to read it ever since. It just so happens that NOW was the perfect season for me to read it. I’ve never felt so motivated to live in gratitude with a word of thanksgiving on my lips. If you haven’t read this book or checked out Ann’s blog, give yourself a gift and make sure you put this one on your list!

2. The Giver Series by Lois Lowery

three-books

The Giver has been one of my favorite books for the past decade. It took having lots of downtime to finally check out the rest of the series. Think Hunger Games minus the violence. It’s young adult fiction but the themes within the book have nothing to do with teen romance. Each of the books has left me thinking for days. The fourth and final book in the series just came out last fall. I’m a big fan.

3. Say Yes to the Dress

yes

What is it about watching people find wedding dresses? I really could watch every single episode of this reality show. Totally mindless entertainment, but this has been the summer for just that. ;)

4. Photo Apps

Heaven knows I’m taking a zillion photos of my baby. I’m trying to use some restraint and not post my child up on every social media outlet. I do have some go to apps for the photos I take on my phone. If you haven’t looked at these, here are some winning cheap options.

Camera!
Camera+
Big Lens
Frametastic
BeautifulMess
VSCOcam

5. Camelbak Waterbottle

bottle

I have three of these bottles and I literally have one at my side every single day. I love that the straw makes life easy when I have a baby in my arms and this klutz also appreciates that it is spill-proof. Big Win.

So there you go – random list from my life indoors. I would love to hear your summer fun favs.

Happy Weekending!

Following,
Ginger

Cost

Don’t you sometimes wish Romans 8:28 read this way, “And we know that in all things God works for the ease of those who love him”?

98% of the time I desire comfort, safety, and ease more than anything else… at times even more than God. Comfort(and not just the kind that involves good food and a soft bed) can quickly become my idol. I like feeling safe, cared for, and worry free. I want everyone I love to make the best choices that lead to the greatest level of peace and harmony. Let’s shut down conflict, stay in the air conditioning, volunteer when it’s convenient, give when asked, sleep when we’re tired, purchase when and what we want to, and above all else: let’s take it easy.

None of those items are bad or wrong in and of themselves… but anything that takes the place of the Lord is a big-bold-red-flag-neon warning sign. The end goal was never ease or even heaven. The goal has always been more of Him.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29, NIV

I don’t know about you, but I know that my greatest spiritual growth has occurred during some of the hardest times in my life. Seasons full of transitions, loneliness, conflict, and especially sacrifice have led me to drink deeply from the Living Water of God- His presence and His Word. During those times He caused His good to come out of seemingly bad situations. He walked with me through pain to make me more like His Son.

I know that God honors obedience and dependence upon Him. My read through the Old Testament this year finally brought me to Hosea, Joel, and Amos this past week. All three are short books that pack a powerful punch. God is faithful to use His Word to remind me of the abundance and blessing that have filled my life with joy and ease for almost two years. He has been so good to me. But rather than using this time to serve and sacrifice, I have grown inward, convincing myself that what I needed was to fill up my schedule with personal items and receive little to no input from the Lord.

“But I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.” Hosea 13:4-6

This verse in Hosea convicted me to my core. While the passage speaks of the history of the Israelites, I could sense the Spirit telling me that I was behaving just like God’s people!

The summer and fall of 2009 found me in an emotional desert- discouraged, opportunities removed, and with loneliness entering the picture in a very real and palpable way. I turned my hands out to the Lord and asked like the Israelites, “Have you brought us to the desert to die?” And yet, when I turned out my hands to the Lord He fed me, and I was satisfied. He led me gently and lovingly into a time of contentment.

But I let that contentment and ease become my idol. I confess it freely and openly. I’m selfish.

But I want to be like David when he cried out…
“I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:24, NIV)

Sacrifice

1. A surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable

Sacrifice from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

“Have you been holding back from a risky, costly course to which you know in your heart God has called you? Hold back no longer. Your God is faithful to you, and adequate for you. You will never need more than He can supply, and what He supplies, both materially and spiritually, will always be enough for the present.” -James I (J. I.) Packer

Following and learning,
Ginger

Being Still

 

d12

I sat staring at the computer and realized this is all I have today. And I’m more than okay with that.

I hope you take time to stop and be still.

Following,
Ginger

For days when the dream feels too big.

dreams

 

November 4, 2010 – Journal Entry

Father, I feel all tangled up inside and as disorganized as our bedroom. I am so thankful for this home, for my new husband, but I don’t know what I’m doing.

I keep saying that on Monday I will start writing a book, but I’m doubtful of my drive, my passion, and even my abilities. I see others trusting You in this FOR me – having faith – and it makes me want to at least try.

 

November 12, 2010 – Journal Entry

I am striving to write this book. I can see the end product far down the road but I am hesitant to do the work. I don’t know if I am fearful or lazy. My excuses abound.

 

You have dreams, right? My guess is that we all have some form of hope, goals or dreams for the future. I love listing my goals  for the year rather than making resolutions. I have a huge top 100 things to do in my lifetime list, and another list for travel that my husband and I are still creating. Some of the items on my list are totally manageable and achievable. “Cultivate an herb garden.” Although a bit challenging with Arizona heat, it’s definitely doable. I’ve managed to keep my basil plant alive for the whole summer. This has led me to believe that we can indeed manage the full garden.

But other items on my list feel HUGE. Writing a book was like that. At first the dream was just to have a completed manuscript, but then I realized I wanted it to actually benefit someone else – so it would have to be printed. I wasn’t going to print out copies on my printer and hand it out to friends, so I needed to explore publishing. It felt as though the closer I came to actually making my dream a reality, the more decisions had to be made and the more tasks completed. Some days, actually most days, the dream just felt way too big.

So how do we move from dreaming to action?

November 16, 2010 – Journal Entry

I was reading about Solomon today. He took 7 years to build the temple. One day he just STARTED. He did everything to the highest quality and the best standards. Like his father, he would not give to God that which cost him nothing.

Yes.

We take the first step. We write the first word. We get up early and we stay up late. If you have dreams resting in the back of your mind and on the tip of your tongue, may I challenge you to follow Solomon’s example?

“Hiram king of Tyre sent ambassadors to Solomon when he heard that he had been crowned king in David’s place. Hiram had loved David his whole life. Solomon responded, saying, “You know that David my father was not able to build a temple in honor of God because of the wars he had to fight on all sides, until God finally put them down. But now God has provided peace all around—no one against us, nothing at odds with us.

Now here is what I want to do: Build a temple in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God gave to David my father, namely, ‘Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as king, he will build a house in my honor.’

… Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, Solomon started building The Temple of God.” (1 Kings 5:1-5, 6:1, MSG)

This was an immense project, one that Solomon could have continued to put off. But instead, at the beginning of his reign as king, he simply started.

Don’t let fear keep you from creating and experiencing all that this life and our Father has to offer. The dream will likely always seem big, but keep reminding yourself that God is bigger.

“The foundation for God’s Temple was laid in the fourth year in the month of Ziv. It was completed in the eleventh year in the month of Bul (the eighth month) down to the last detail, just as planned. It took Solomon seven years to build it.” (1 Kings 6:37-38, MSG)

Following and learning,

Ginger

For the Readers, Listeners, Seekers, and Dreamers

Eleven years ago I was working as a summer camp counselor at Pine Cove, preparing to enter my senior year of college, and already starting to worry that I was nearing that portion of life when I would need to know what I was going to be when I “grew up.”

Camp afforded me many opportunities to pick up and learn new skills over the many summers I spent working with junior high students, but none were as valuable as discovering my love of communicating God’s Word with young people.

The idea that I could speak for a living sounded challenging and far-reaching, but not inconceivable. I knew it would take time and drive, and I wasn’t afraid of the work because it’s my joy and passion. But on that Friday night in 2003 my friend Chris put forth a new challenge.  We were sitting on the steps of the old dining hall when he said, “If you ever wrote a book I would read it.”

I was flattered but didn’t really think much about it. I always tested well enough in my English classes and enjoyed my playwriting class, but I did not consider myself a writer for even one second. Even now I acknowledge that I write the way that I speak- somewhat of a blessing and a curse. I thought about the challenge from Chris over the next few years and even wrote out a first chapter idea in 2006. At one point I boldly declared that I would write a manuscript by the time I was 25, but that time came and went.

Other friends have pushed me to think further about the idea and to stop resisting out of fear… because really, that’s what the problem was. I could list those fears out faster than you could ask me about them:

  1. I’m not a writer.
  2. Who would read it?
  3. What would I write about?
  4. I read reviews and blogs online and watch other people get SLAMMED – could I take that kind of criticism?
  5. On and on and on…

But then the more I thought and prayed the more I realized that I did have a story to tell and an audience to share with. The more speaking opportunities that came my way the more frequently I would have young women approach me and ask, “Do you have a book?”

I could recommend other books by countless gifted and talented authors on various subjects… but I couldn’t answer their question with my own.

In 2009 I began to get serious about the task at hand. I wanted to continue the conversation I was having with young women in auditoriums, sanctuaries, and classrooms. In the fall of that year I met the man who is now my husband. He has been my constant cheerleader in all of this: to write my book, to speak, to travel, to embrace the gifts that God has given me. So after we were married in October of 2010, we took a leap of faith. I stayed at home to speak, blog, and begin writing a manuscript.

Yesterday I submitted my final, final version of my book. It’s finished. No more drafts. No more changes. No more avoiding the question, “How’s your book coming?” Now comes the deep breaths and the prayers for courage as I await the printed copies from the publisher’s printer. Nothing like sharing your heart and guts with the world.

 corsage

I don’t have an official launch date to share yet, but “Forget the Corsage” will be available in e-book, soft cover, and hard cover sometime this fall.

So thank you for your patience as I took LONG breaks from blogging this summer. Between my new baby girl and this baby of a book, my time has been filled to the brim. I’ve had to say “NO” to a ton of things in order to say yes to these two precious dreams.

I wanted to share this news with you, because you have indeed become so dear to me. This is my labor of love for the readers, listeners, seekers, and dreamers. I can’t wait to share more details with you as the release draws nearer.

There are countless people to thank with a project of this magnitude, but that will come with time. For now, thank you all for making this little space on the internet so very special to me.

I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:16-19, MSG

Following with joy,

Ginger

One Month Later

promises

One month ago my life changed for the better. It’s certainly isn’t easier or more restful, but the addition of my daughter to our home has certainly added a depth of joy I hadn’t known before.

I’ve been learning a few things in this little furlough. I thought I would be back to blogging and working from home just a few weeks postpartum. I’ve had every intention to write thank you notes, respond to e-mails, and finish projects as soon as they cross my path.

But a “new normal” has entered my life and it contains a lot more grace. God’s promise of grace is something I’m slowly beginning to accept in new and real ways. I know I fall short of His holiness and perfection, but often I’m more concerned about meeting the expectations I set for myself. I expect each day to be filled with accomplishments. I never guessed those accomplishments might include a list of only three things in one day… four if I shower.

Can you identify?

Today grace looks like shorter posts, delayed responses, and heaping doses of forgiveness. I have so much to learn.

Following,
Ginger