To the Moon and Back

“…Love is never stationary.”  – Bob Goff, Love Does

Over the past month I’ve been to the pine forests of East Texas, the humid suburbs of the south, and the deserts and mountains of Arizona. I spoke to junior high students about “following” and finished “Love Does” at 30,000 feet. I ran and walked miles with my mom and shopped the afternoon away with my sister. I talked to my grandfather about stocks and met my cousin’s soon-to-be-forever family. I danced the Electric Slide with old and dear friends. I watched home movies with the superstars in the home movies. I saw the dark side of the moon and the green flare of the setting sun from the top of a mountain. It has been quite an adventure.

Today I am thankful for a grandmother who is filling my home with her paintings.
I am thankful for time with my brother, who should not be old enough to have a beard even if he’s 24.
I am thankful for the opportunity to witness wedding vows on a gorgeous fall afternoon.
I am thankful for the chance to do what I love by sharing what I love with young people!

I’m also thankful for changing colors SOMEWHERE in Arizona.
I’m thankful for two years with a man who enjoys two scoops of life.

I’m thankful for the setting sun and the chance to watch the stars and moon come out by night.

I’m thankful for a Heavenly Father who goes before me, and hems me in from behind.

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.” 
― Bob Goff, Love Does 

Keep adventuring friends!
Ginger

Killybegs the Cat

We walked through the large parking lot and onto the little road behind the hotel. After a small debate on the route to take, my husband and I started a stroll around Lough Eske, a lake near Donegal, Ireland. We had the whole afternoon to explore the surrounding area. Our hope was to circumnavigate, get some exercise, and snap some more photos for our vacation album. Although we failed to get much of a lake view, we enjoyed the cooler temperatures so different from the Arizona heat we had left behind.

We chatted about our adventures and paused to take way too many photos of yet another field of sheep. Then somewhere about an hour into our walk he appeared. I almost tripped over the striped kitten that yelped as it rushed between my feet.

You should know that I’m not really an animal person. I unfollow Pinterest boards taken over by pictures of animals. But in my defense, I’m allergic to the point that even cuteness doesn’t have a hold on me… usually. If push comes to shove I would probably list “baby” animals as my favorite animal.

Because I had a kitten following me rather than a cat I was less than annoyed. I didn’t really mind it. D and I smiled at each other and the silly creature that followed us for miles. We didn’t give it too much thought until the first car drove past us on the tiny road. The kitten freaked out. It ran straight for the car and just stopped. The driver looked at us as if to say, “MOVE YOUR KITTEN, IDIOTS.” So I did it. I walked over and picked up the kitten… and I felt it’s little heart beating rapidly and then my own heart began to grow bigger and bigger… just like the Grinch. I was a goner from that point. I did wash my fingers in some wet grass as my eyes had already started to water from our encounter, but I made sure to keep checking on the kitten as it followed. Any annoyance with our traveler quickly turned to concern. The kitten had no collar or tag. It had no mother nearby.

My mind began racing with alternatives. Why did the cat have to find ME rather than my veterinarian sister-in-law who was running somewhere nearby, or my mother-in-law who has never met a creature she didn’t love? WHY ME?

I turned and looked at my husband, “Well… what should we call it?” He shook his head at me and said, “That heartbeat did you in.”

I proudly proclaimed, “His name shall be Killybegs.” I’d been fond of the little town’s name since discovering it on my map of Donegal county. I smiled and walked contentedly as Killybegs followed us.

And then another car came around the turn in the road.

We tried to care for Killybegs. We made a protective wall with our boots so Killybegs could feel safe, but what did Killybegs do? Killybegs ran straight toward the car and then into the woods. There was no sign of him, so we resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d lost our companion and began walking.

I had a long discussion in my head about why it might be ok for us to leave a kitten in the woods and had just about convinced myself of that very fact when we heard a soft meow about 20 yards down the road. We started calling the cat. We made noises and kisses and acted like the animal people we claim not to be. And finally Killybegs joined us again and we proceeded on our journey. We were a happy little family.

And then the same scene repeated itself over and over again.

Car comes.
We try to protect Killybegs.
Killybegs runs away.
We eventually start walking, only to have a soft meow beckon us back.

We knew we couldn’t keep Killybegs, but we certainly cared for that little creature. The plan was to lead him to our hotel and hope that someone on the staff would care for him. We had seen other domesticated animals on the premises and thought this might be his best chance for survival.

But the dang cat just wouldn’t see to reason. He couldn’t seem to realize that we had a plan that was so much better than living in the woods. We wanted to take him to a CASTLE. Rather than trusting us, he chose to fear the noises and sounds coming down the road.

So we began to hurry in hopes that he would just try to keep up. And it worked. As soon as we came near the front drive to the hotel he made a bolt past the doorman and we made a dash around to the garden. I prayed feeling a little silly, “God – I know Killybegs is always yours, but now he’s really in your keeping. Keep your eye on him like you do the sparrow, please.”

On the flight home I kept replaying the scenario in my mind. The God who sees to the sparrows and kittens is the God who cares for each of us. But I am SO like Killybegs. I let fear dictate my life rather than trusting the One who has the plan to bring me safely to His castle. Instead, my hope this week is that I would follow the Lion of Judah rather than running to the woods like a scaredy cat.

Instead of living like Killybegs, let’s try claiming this promise from Philippians 4:6-7 in the Message:

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”

Following closely,
Ginger

Thursday Tip: Adventure is Out There!

“It’s daring to be curious about the unknown, to dream big dreams, to live outside prescribed boxes, to take risks, and above all, daring to investigate the way we live until we discover the deepest treasured purpose of why we are here.”
– Luci Swindoll, I Married Adventure

Today’s Thursday tip is all about stoking the fire of adventure…

“We have no idea what lies ahead or how God will open doors of potentiality when we consciously choose to get out of the ruts we’re in and start moving down new paths about which we can be excited–even passionate.”
-Luci Swindoll, I Married Adventure

Happy adventuring, my friends!

Ginger

Out of the Boat

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” – Ronald E. Osborn

I have 6:30am flight to Charlotte, North Carolina this Friday morning. I’m attending the Proverbs 31, She Speaks Conference. I’m really excited and a tad bit nervous for my first gathering of this kind. There are lots of new opportunities for networking, learning, and growing, but I kind feel like I’m walking into my freshman year of high school all over again. Yeesh. When does that go away? Perhaps it’s the 650 women in attendance (that’s a LOT of women), or the business professional dress code, or the evaluation groups… but I feel a little like a fish out of water.

And while I think some of my feelings are valid, I’m not about to let them do the decision making over the weekend. Typical Ginger would keep to herself, act like there’s something interesting on her phone, and head to bed around 9:30pm. It’s time to move past typical if I want to see some growth.

I’m hoping that I muster all of my courage and become a social butterfly. When we are forced to break from our comfort zones, I think it pushes us to rely on God and to stop making excuses for the stagnate parts of our lives. Adventures begin with doing, going, and trusting. Peter may have only walked on water for a few moments but he is still the only one of the twelve disciples who can say they walked on water AT ALL. God-sized adventures start when we get out of the boat.

“Make no mistake. God tests our willingness to follow Him in obedience even if no one can or will go with us. We won’t embrace with both hands what God has for us if we hold our old lives with a death grip.” -Beth Moore

“While at first simply trusting God to take you outside your experience is a huge leap of faith, eventually God will expect more of you.  Remember, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”  Erwin McManus

Is God calling you to take a step out of the boat?

Following,
Ginger

Venturing Out

“No, life cannot be understood flat on a page. It has to be lived; a person has to get out of his head, has to fall in love, has to memorize poems, has to jump off bridges into rivers, has to stand in an empty desert and whisper sonnets under his breath… We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting and the climax and resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?”

-Donald Miller,Through Painted Deserts

I’m personally facing some unknowns this week – so hopefully we can all seek out courage to live a better story together. Big hint: it involves taking risks.

“Risk is right. And the reason is not because God promises success to all our ventures in his cause. There is no promise that every effort for the cause of God will succeed, at least not in the short run. John the Baptist risked calling King Herod an adulterer when he divorced his own wife in order to take his brother’s wife. For this John got his head chopped off. And he had done right to risk his life for the cause of God and truth. Jesus had no criticism for him, only the highest praise (Matthew 11:11).”

-John Piper, Don’t Waste Your Life

Following and venturing out,
Ginger

The Quest

 

We need to know where we came from. Knowing connects us, links us, bonds us to something greater than we are. Knowing reminds us that we aren’t floating on isolated ponds but on a grand river.

That’s why God wants you to know his story. Framed photos hang in his house. Lively talks await you at his table. A scrapbook sits in his living room, brimming with stories. Stories about Bethlehem beginnings and manger miracles. Enemy warfare in the wilderness and fishermen friends in Galilee. The stumbles of Peter, the stubbornness of Paul. All a part of the story.

But they are all subplots to the central message: ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16). This is the headline of the story: God saves his people! He casts his net over cities and individual, princes and paupers, the Pontius Pilates of power and the Peters, Jameses, and Johns of the fishing villages. God takes on the whole mess of us and cleans us up.

This quest is God’s story. And we are a part of it!

– Max Lucado, God’s Story, Your Story: When His Becomes Yours

That passage gave me chills when I read it. You and I are a part of something greater than ourselves. I’m more than the dishes I loaded in the dishwasher and the dentist appointment I sat through last week. It’s so easy to make life about to-do lists, isn’t it? I’m doing my best to remind myself the central message every day: God saves his people! Amen.

Living out His Story,
Ginger

Shalom, Y’all

She’ma, Yisra’el Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai echad Ve-ahavta et Adonai Eloheykha bekhol-levavkha u-vekhol naf’sh‘kha u-vekhol me’odekha. Ve-ahavta le’re’akha ka-mohkha

Hear, O Israel! The LORD is God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might; and love your neighbor as yourself.

Tomorrow my husband and I head out on a new adventure. We are leaving for a trip to Israel. Eleven days in the Holy Land. I’m jumping out of my skin excited.

Why Israel?

We all want to know where we come from.

No, I’m not Jewish. And none of my family hails from the Middle East. But the singularly most important part of my life lived and breathed and WALKED the roads that I will encounter next week. I am a sucker for history and completely giddy for knowing the backstory of just about anything. (Ask my family how many times I start a sentence with “So guess what I learned on this podcast?!”)  I’m also a storyteller. So the fact that I might come away with a fuller, clearer picture of what I read in the Bible absolutely thrills me.

I believe that I’m headed to Israel so that I can know His story with all of my senses. I want to better understand the metaphors, traditions, and significance of the text. I want to feel the weight of my faith and the urgency with which it should be shared. And I want to wean myself from approaching the Word solely based on what it says about me… simply put: I want to be overwhelmed by Him.

But why now? Isn’t Iran about to launch an attack? Can’t God increase my knowledge and passion right here?

Absolutely. God can reveal Himself to me anywhere and at any time. But this is an opportunity that fell into place for this year, for right now.

Look, if we waited for peace to come in Gaza we would never get to go. I have to tell you, I’m not afraid of the situation. Not because I don’t believe that violence and war isn’t a possibility, but because God is the one in charge of my time and my story.

My husband and I both place our lives, resources, home, possessions, gifts, and time on this earth in God’s hands. It’s His call. When He says I’m through, I’m heading out. It’s as simple as that. Either He is the author of my life and in control, or He’s not.

So, we aren’t afraid.

I’m not afraid of my house being broken into while I’m gone. It’s just stuff. I can get more stuff. I’m not afraid of losing my luggage on the flight. I can wear David’s clothes. (HAH.) I’m not afraid of flying. I’d like to meet Him in the clouds, anyway!

Here’s the thing: I don’t believe the Bible casually. I’m willing to stake my life on it’s Truth: that my righteousness comes from Jesus Christ alone. Because of His death and resurrection I have full assurance that my relationship with God has been restored.

If anything, I’m a little nervous about how physically demanding our trip will be. We are hiking all day, every day. So if you think about it, will you pray for our health while we are gone? Other requests: safe travel, a unified group, and open hearts for what God would teach us! We are asking to have faith that follows and eyes that see as a result of this trip.

Because I’ve spent so much time preparing for this trip, I don’t have blog posts or guest posts scheduled while I’m away. I had to let something go. But I do happen to have a link to a blog that will be updated every day while we are gone. I’d encourage you to check in and see photos, listen to audio, and read what God is doing in our group of 52 while we are away!

Knowing the God of the universe means that we can live adventurous lives without fear. Of course we apply the wisdom He has given us, but we do not need to fear!

“The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the
beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.”
 C.S. Lewis

Following and adventuring,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Quotes

I’m happily sharing some of my favorite ADVENTURE quotes this week.  I have gobs of them.  Oodles of them.  I’m hoping one or two jump out and inspire you today.

“Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purpose.” (Kenneth Hildebrand)

“Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” (Ronald E. Osborn)

“A large volume of adventures may be grasped within this little span of life, by him who interests his heart in everything.” (Laurence Sterne)

“Make no mistake.  God tests our willingness to follow Him in obedience even if no one will or can go with us.  We won’t embrace with both hands what God has for us if we hold our old lives with a death grip.” (Beth Moore)

“He (Jesus) is inviting us on a divine adventure.  He’s calling us to be spiritual pioneers, explorers, and even warriors.  To respond to this calling is to accept that you will be a sojourner relinquishing the security of being a settler.” (Erwin McManus)

“…Sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect, into adventures we do not always understand… But one does not have to understand to be obedient.” (Madeleine L’Engle)

“It is a dangerous thing to underestimate your role in the story.  You will lose heart, and you will miss your cues.” (John Eldredge)

“The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.” (Francis A. Schaeffer)

“We are not created to watch from the sidelines.  We were created in the image and likeness of God, to hear His voice and journey with Him.” (Erwin McManus)

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.” Hebrews 10:39, NIV

Have any you love?  Care to share?

Have a FABULOUS weekend!

Following,

Ginger

Thursday Tips: Adventuring

“Adventuresome living is a perspective that touches every part of our being.  It’s seeing ourselves in relation to the One who created us, the One who gives us courage to face each new day.” – Luci Swindoll

Have you caught onto the theme this week?  It continues even in our Thursday Tips – check out the video and I’ll catch you after the jump!

Adventure from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Challenges for you:

-If you haven’t made a list of dreams before, what’s keeping you from doing it?

-Is your list full of dreams or plans?

-Is there anything on your list that requires faith in our Father for success?

-Have you ever made a personal mission statement?  If not, give it a try!

-I challenge you to find a theme verse for your year!


Following,
Ginger

My Chapter in HIStory

I’ve learned that in order to say yes to some big adventures, you also have to learn how to say no and wait.  I learned that lesson in a huge way during the summer of 2006…

“I am captivated by stories.  I find myself taken in by song lyrics, stolen from reality by a Jane Austin heroine, and challenged by the men and women of scripture.  All scripture is indeed inspired and written to teach us and bring us hope; however, it is the skillfulness with which it is all woven together that excites and thrills me.

I think what really gets me going is the way that my story is a part of His story.  Although my own story isn’t found in scripture, it’s amazing to think that I could have my own little chapter in the record of time.  Each book, chapter, and story is vastly different from the other.  Each call is unique and the Lord seems to use individual ways to catch the attention of His beloved people.

I was challenged last night to consider how the Lord might be calling me.  I recently interviewed for a completely different job than what I am currently doing.  I’ve been trying to listen to the Lord and make a clear cut decision, and I just wanted to hear an audible voice this time.  Samuel was audibly called when he wasn’t even asking to hear, while Moses saw a bush and Elijah discerned a whisper.  Jesus called out to Peter to walk on water as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ran into fire.  Isaiah had to race around naked for two years and Esther was challenged by her uncle to change the course of her people!  I’ve always wanted to be a dynamic character.  My prayer has been for the life less ordinary and the road less traveled.  I claim that I will take North Dallas or South Africa, I simply want a calling.

But I have received a calling.  I am called by my Creator to make his name known in every situation in which I find myself.  I do desire to work “in the way that I am bent” (Proverbs 22:6), that when I ____ I feel God’s pleasure.  I’m finding out that I feel like I might be able to fill in that blank with about 20 different things.

As I think about where this road I’m on may be leading me, I am reminded specifically of Abram.  The Lord called him to leave it all and come into the desert.  I examine my own comfortable suburban life and wonder if I am as willing as I claim to be.  I find comfort in the story of Abram.  All God told Abram about his ultimate destination was that He would be faithful to show it to him. But I’m excited because even if I really wanted it to be, my story is not Abram’s.  I am not going to Canaan, but God’s promise to finish his work in his people applies just as much to me as it did to Abram.  Slowly but surely I am learning what it means to rest in God’s faithfulness.  I keep reminding myself that there is a difference between waiting on the Lord and just waiting for life to pass me by.  I’m getting excited about “tomorrow”, not worrying, just making the most of today.  I am waiting with arms wide open to catch hold of the sail and let the wind take me.

When I was younger we spent almost every warm holiday at the family beach house.  Every available moment of sunlight was spent at the beach.  All 11 grandchildren and plenty of chaperones would make their way to our claimed patch of sand.  Some of my favorite moments occurred out in the water as we prepared to body surf the “mighty” waves that hit the coast of Texas.  We would go out into waist deep water, sometimes higher and then the waiting would begin.  Some would dive into any wave that came across, only going a few feet towards shore.  But if you waited for the BIG ONE and then took that plunge, you were rewarded with up to 20 seconds of a ride.  The undertow and power of the surge would throw you and push you towards any destination they chose.  My fear was always missing the BIG ONE.  I would begin to place all my attention on the perfect one and bypass the hundreds of smaller ones.  I’m not sure what the perfect one would have even looked like, but I wanted it.

I still want the BIG ONE.  I don’t want to forfeit because I’m not willing to wait.

I’ve made my decision.  I’m turning down the job offer.  It’s not easy, but I’m at peace.  I am setting out to make His name known right here; one conversation, e-mail, phone call, and relationship at a time.  When He wants me to move, I will be ready.  But until then, and beyond, I will be the adventurous heroine.  Watch out Jo Marsh, Elizabeth Bennett, and Anne of Green Gables.  My chapter isn’t nearly finished.”

The pages that followed that decision were more than I could ask for or imagine.  This whole journey has been that way.  Are you willing to dream and wait for the best?

  “No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
      and no mind has imagined
   what God has prepared
      for those who love him.”  1 Corinthians 2:9, NLT

Following,
Ginger