Quiet Reflections

Hey there, strangers! It feels like I’ve been away forever. I wrote the following blog post last week on Friday afternoon just before I kicked off speaking at a fabulous girl’s conference in Dallas, Texas. I’m excited to share more about my long trip and adventures, but first… some quiet reflections.

car

Confession time.

I am writing this blog entry while sitting driver’s seat of my dad’s car while parked in a church parking lot in Dallas, Texas. It’s a lovely spring afternoon, and I am enjoying my solitude with all of the windows down. My baby girl keeps kicking me. I’m not any happier about the way lunch made me feel than she must be. It was really good. It was just so spicy. I stopped at a gas station to buy some gum, but ended up also picking up mini packages of Kleenex, a tiny travel toothbrush set, and a lemonade flavored Vitamin Water. All of these things are to combat the spicy effects of my lunch.

And why tell you all of this?

Here’s where the real confession comes in. I’ve been in Texas for almost a full two weeks. I had the opportunity to speak at a school for a few days last week and then took a break while visiting family before driving up to Dallas to speak at a girl’s conference. It’s a win/win for me. I get to work and see the people I love. But when I speak and travel I have a pretty singular focus. I want to soak up all the time that I can with grandparents, siblings, parents, and the students that I’ve come to speak to. With over 25 years of living in Texas, I have SO MANY AMAZING people who I could see every time that I’m in town. The guilt starts setting in even before my plane touches down. I don’t know how long I will have the opportunity to do this; have the long extended times with family members, and because of that I become almost overly protective of the time that I do have. I flew under the radar this trip, partially out of exhaustion. (I’m just so sorry I had to miss out spending time with so many of you. I need a full month to do the Lone Star State justice.)

But after almost two weeks of solid interaction and communication, I need a breather, so I’m sitting in a parking lot and typing on my laptop. Rather than going into the large church with friendly volunteers and staff members, this is my place of quiet. I need this space to rest, to read, and to write.

I don’t know if you noticed, but my posts last week were all over the place and scattered. I feel like I had nothing much to offer and I apologize that I threw out scraps or reposted old material. When I step back and think about this space on the Internet, I’m reminded of why I started this blog in the first place. I didn’t have a burning desire to write. This would be so much easier if I did have that desire. Instead I feel compelled to continue what I start every time I walk into an auditorium, classroom, or sanctuary. The conversation that begins in front of a group of young people or moms doesn’t end there. More than anything I want to be a resource, a vessel, and an encouragement to you. I don’t need thousands of followers. I just want to point back to the one I’m following.

That’s all for today. I’m going to read some more before I head inside. I can’t wait to meet the 300 young women coming tonight. I’m looking forward to beginning a new conversation.

Your questions and thoughts fuel the material that you read here. I would love to hear from you.

Following,
Ginger

p.s. Thank you to the many girls who have written in over the weekend! I’m so encouraged by your willingness to share and look forward to responding to each of your questions!

Thursday Tips: Prep

Dear Ginger,

Hi! I’m a freshman in high school and i go to a church where at one winter retreat you spoke to all the girls! Now I’m doing a sermon to my Bible class on 2 Timothy 1:3-12 (verse 7 is my main point) so I was wondering if maybe you could give me some ideas or pointers or anything to help me make an awesome sermon that everyone can enjoy, remember, and learn a lot from. -A

Dear A,

Great question. I feel like I’ve had several people ask me over the past year about how to develop a sermon, message or Bible Study. I don’t have a set list of “to do’s” every time that I speak, but I am happy to share some of the things that help me on a weekly basis!

1.  Know that section of Scripture well!
Read it over and over and fall in love with the Word of God. Your passion for the text will translate into the way you speak about it!

2. Read the passage in multiple translations.
Bible Gateway is a great resource for that. Sometimes I can better understand a passage if I read a different translation. At times New Century Version, New Living Translation, God’s Word Translation, New American Standard Version, the English Standard Version and the Message Version have ALL helped me to better understand a passage.

3. Read the whole chapter of the text that you are working with.
So if I’m speaking on Philippians 3:11-12, I’m at least going to read all of chapter 3, but I would probably understand the verses if I read ALL of Philippians. I should also look for the:
who
what
where
when
and why of a book (This video might help explain that further!)

4. When it’s finally time to develop the message the first step is to pray, and then pray some more!
I have to remind myself that getting guidance from the Lord is going to be the best tool. Sure, I might have lots of ideas for what to say to a group, but I know that God has the PERFECT take-aways for a message.

5. Identify one take-away.
My hope is that even if my audience is distracted or doesn’t pay attention to my whole message, they are at least able to summarize an important point from the message. After I’ve studied and prayed I simplify and write that one phrase or take-away at the top of my notes. Something like “God is the ONLY thing that will ever satisfy” or “God’s promises are all GOOD!”

6. Open up some resources!
Once I have studied and prayed about a passage on my own, I then utilize all the resources I have at my disposal. Here’s a retro Thursday Tip video that will show you what I mean!

Last bits of advice:
Stay real and vulnerable. No one wants to hear how we’ve got it all together.
Keep the message simple.
Practice, practice, practice. The more comfortable you are with your message, the more comfortable your audience will be.
Remember that enthusiasm and energy play a big part in your delivery!
Pray some more.

A- I hope this helps. I can’t wait to hear how the class goes!

Following and Listening,
Ginger

A little campy

The "it's been forever" face

The "it's been forever" face

Hey, strangers!  Long time no chat…

I had a great time teaching through the book of Nehemiah with a fabulous group of teens from Austin, Texas.  They built both the wall of Jerusalem AND the Temple with cardboard boxes – crazy cool!

I thought I’d catch you up and set us on a trajectory for the next month.  Check out the video:

God has the HOW. from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

1. I’m open for suggestions!  If you have a question or topic you want addressed this month, then click HERE and ask away!

2. My theme verses for this week of camp were Nehemiah 6:3 and Nehemiah 8:10.  If you aren’t familiar with them or the book, can I encourage you to give it a read-through?  What you’ll find is God’s mighty hand all over 13 chapters… reminding us that if He calls us to it, it can be done!  (With His help!)

3. I finished up “Respectable Sins” by Jerry Bridges, a “Nehemiah” commentary by John MacArthur, and “Epic” by John Eldredge.  All three were challenging and great reads!  “Epic” is a short read all about the epic story our God is telling!  (I would highly recommend this to my Grace Cov. new friends!)

4. I want to pray for you.  Have a request?  I’m setting aside specific time this week to pray for your needs.

5. Thank YOU for praying for my prayer requests for the trip to Austin.  God responded to my concerns, worries and hopes in a way only He can… more than I could ask or imagine.  (More on this tomorrow.)

Have a wonderful week!!

Following,
Ginger

P.S. If you haven’t found me yet – check out these links for both my twitter and facebook accounts.  I would love to follow you!

Ginger Spice : Fisher Price

Spicing it up.

I’ve always really enjoyed roller skates.  I can remember my first pair of Fisher Price plastic wheels that clipped over my tennis shoes and then the “real” Minnie Mouse set of wheels that carried me through my elementary years.

My first and third grade birthday parties were both at “All-Star Skate” because I really just wanted to beat everyone I knew in a speed skating race.

For some reason I imagine myself to be so much more coordinated, athletic, and graceful than I actually am.  My desire to skate always seems to resurface around the timing of the Winter Olympics… but not this year.

I began training for a half-marathon in October and needed an activity for my cross-training days.  I found the solution in my husband’s rollerblades that were conveniently hiding in our garage.  Once he convinced me to strap on the wrist guards I’ve become more and more confident every day.  I enjoy my afternoon speed skating events at the park.  Mind you, I’m the only one racing.  I love putting on my earphones, heading out after the elementary school is done for the day, and feeling the beautiful Arizona afternoons.

But sometimes….  I feel a little embarassed to be rollerblading… I mean… who really rollerblades any more?

That’s always the temptation – to let the opinions of others control how we live our lives.  How many times have I changed outfits because I don’t think I can pull something off?  Or how many times have I not volunteered myself for something because it doesn’t seem like the cool option?

I’ve put off taking big steps before just because I wonder how other people might perceive my decisions.  I’ve embarassed myself in more ways than I care to count.  But starting this year… I’m done.  I’m living for an audience of One, strapping on my blades, and turning up the music.  It’s time to roll.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?

If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10, NIV