From dead sticks to new life.

 

I’m sitting outside on my back patio enjoying a gorgeous spring morning. The highs sit in the upper 70’s (SORRY REST OF THE COUNTRY!) and remind me why living in Arizona is worth any discomfort the summer may bring. The trees are green, a light breeze rustles the leaves, and a humming bird hovers near the bloom of my Aloe Vera plant. New life is all around me.

But out of the corner of my eye I can see which one of these things is not quite like the other. My failed potting attempts sit together on my patio. You might never have guessed that these brightly colored pots once held oregano, rosemary, dill, and even tomatoes as recently as last spring. The soil is dried and cracked and browned sticks poke out from the surface.

Do you know what would happen if I began furiously watering and fertilizing these pots for the next month? Do you know what you would see in those pots?

sticks

[Read more…]

Life Starts Now

dear me

Dear Eighteen year-old me,

I’m looking down at my sleeping daughter as I write this letter to you. You won’t believe the journey that has led from 18 to being thirty-one. It has been an incredible ride. I have so many things that I want to tell you. I could talk for hours and hours with lessons learned and mistakes made… but I know the experience will only serve to grow you and teach you. So instead, I’ll summarize some main points that I hope you learn sooner than later. For starters:

1. Don’t get that perm in two years when you move overseas. Yes, England is damp and wet, but perming your hair won’t fix that. I repeat. It will be 2002. DO NOT GET A PERM.

2. When those guys say, “I don’t think we should date any more,” let yourself be sad. That’s fine. But then repeat these words to yourself: “Rejection is a good thing.” I know it sounds harsh, but relationships end in one of two ways: rejection or marriage. You didn’t want those to be marriage. Trust me.

3. You can spend years trying to “find” yourself, but if you identify yourself with an anchor other than your heavenly Father, you will end up in a road that leads to nowhere. Finding my identity in the Lord has been the most freeing and exciting discovery of my life.

4. Who you are is more important that what you want. Let me see if I can explain. I wanted to be in a romantic relationship but it felt like zero guys were interested. So I decided I needed to lose weight to fix that. Long story short, don’t sell out who you are for anything. Don’t let your story get hijacked by bad decisions.When I know the WHO I want to be it helps me choose my “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?” Set your heart and mind on who you want to be … a woman of integrity, honor, compassion, and inspiration. Stay true to your identity in the Lord.

5. You can trust the Lord with the desires of your heart. I know it’s confusing when things don’t happen in your timing or within your parameters, but I want to remind you that God loves to give you GOOD gifts! He’s not waiting to throw your decisions in your face or spoil your plans. His good IS good.

6. Your heart is worth guarding and sharing. Ugh. That word “guard” has become such a touchy one. So here’s what I mean. Love yourself enough to protect your heart from unnecessary hurt. Don’t be careless with your time, your body, or your emotions. But don’t wall yourself up from experiencing real relationships either. We have to risk big to win big. Share, give, and receive love with your heart … just don’t settle for the cheap version.

7. Your mistakes don’t define you. I stand here and acknowldege a long list of life mess-ups. I could label myself easily, stand before you and declare:

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a recovering food addict.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a liar.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m deceitful.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I’m a recovering bulimic.

All of those statements have been true of my life at one time or another, but I am also united with Christ. His past is my past and His future is my future! He calls me Beloved.

Hi, I’m Ginger and I struggle with food and body image, but I am IN CHRIST.

8. Get out of your comfort zone! Sure, it’s safe to sit by yourself, watch t.v. and spend all of your Saturdays at the library, but growth comes when you are willing to take on challenges. I know you like to hold your cards close and are afraid to share too much, but you have got to get past that fear. This life has too much waiting for you and I don’t think it will be found watching reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

9. God isn’t hiding. I know you want to hear from Him, but don’t make it complicated. He’s not holding out on you. His Word promises that if we seek Him we will find Him. Hayley Dimarco says, “You cannot seek anyone with all your heart in your spare time.” True that. Give Him your time and attention and then be patient. Sometimes He wants you to take a step even if you don’t know what the path ahead looks like. Be brave and keep seeking.

10. Life starts now. Oh, Ginger. This is the message I want you to get through your head and into your heart. Your life will not start when some guy to rides up on a white horse and invites you to be the heroine of his story. You ARE the heroine. Your heavenly Father has given you an amazing life to live, so why are you stuck waiting for someone else to confirm that truth? Life is not on hold until you find “the one.” Life does not start with a corsage, a diploma, a ring, a job, or even the perfect group of friends. Real life begins with Jesus.

Love,
This Ginger

– – – –

These are the truths I would tell my eighteen year-old self. Those main points (really, rethink the perm) are what I would share with any woman if we had the chance to sit down and share a cup of coffee and an hour of time together. So, of course, those are the points that shaped my first book. I can’t wait to share Forget the Corsage with you.

 forget the corsage

More to come…

Following,
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

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