Question #4

I’m buckling up and setting my sights on a goal this summer. Because of that, I won’t have the time to devote writing posts for the blog during the month of June. But rather than just going silent, I’ve decided to try something different. I love hearing from you and thoroughly enjoy the interaction and feedback that happens in the comment section.

This month I’m going to ask YOU questions. I will weigh in with my own answers, but I’m mainly interested in just getting to know you. Some of the questions will be fun while others will hopefully take us deeper. After all… June is for questions.


Question #4. What is the best work of non-fiction that you’ve read this year?


I’m torn, so I’m just going to choose two of them. The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan was the perfect book to read in preparation for our trip to Israel. It’s a history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as seen through the eyes of two unique families and the love of a lemon tree.

My favorite spiritual read was probably Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. I’ve pulled it out numerous times to reread passages. One of my greatest struggles is summed up in the subtitle: Satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food.

What about you?

Question #3

I’m buckling up and setting my sights on a goal this summer. Because of that, I won’t have the time to devote writing posts for the blog during the month of June. But rather than just going silent, I’ve decided to try something different. I love hearing from you and thoroughly enjoy the interaction and feedback that happens in the comment section.

This month I’m going to ask YOU questions. I will weigh in with my own answers, but I’m mainly interested in just getting to know you. Some of the questions will be fun while others will hopefully take us deeper. After all… June is for questions.


QUESTION #3. What is the best work of fiction you’ve read this year?


I’m just now realizing how few works of fiction I’ve read in the past year. It’s pretty astounding considering the fact that I used to reread the entire Harry Potter series at least once a year. I think I’m going to have to go with an oldie but a goodie: Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. (Hunger Games probably comes in second.)

Do share!

Friday Finds: Good News

“If Jesus appeared at your dining room table tonight with knowledge of everything you are and are not,

total comprehension of your life story and every skeleton hidden in your closet;

if He laid out the real state of your present discipleship with
the hidden agenda,
the mixed motives,
and the dark desires buried in your psyche,

you would feel His acceptance and forgiveness.”

– Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

This quote, this book… so good. Add this one to your reading list.

Happy Reading, friends.


p.s. We are headed back to Mexico this weekend for another medical clinic. Your prayers for safety and gospel connections would be greatly appreciated. D’s bringing his stethescope and I’m bringing out the JSB in Spanish again!

Friday Finds: Loving the Life I didn’t Expect

This Friday I want to point your attention towards a great book!  I’ve mentioned this one before, but I’m not hesitating in sharing it again.

When I made the solo move from Texas to Arizona in the fall of 2006 I found myself living a life I didn’t expect.  I was involuntarily single, feeling a bit lonely, and spending my evenings raiding the shelves at my local bookstore.  I found my way to the relationship section in hopes that this 24-year old could learn a thing or two from the experts.  Rather than a “how to date” guide, I was hoping for a “how to find contentment when you don’t have what you want” sort of a book.  I had been discouraged by some of my previous reads about being a young single woman, and I was ready for something to pull the genre around.

That’s when I saw Revelations of a Single Woman by Connally Gilliam.

The title isn’t what garnered my initial attention.  Instead it was the subtitle that read: “loving the life I didn’t expect.”  I was hooked.

I read the book quickly and found it to be humorous, truthful, and challenging.  It proved to me that someone could write about this topic without flowery metaphors and princess references.  I’m a smart independent woman and I appreciate being spoken to as such!  Whether you are single and satisfied, single and hoping, dating, or even married- I’d recommend you check out Connally’s book.  Her wisdom and intelligence are refreshing and continue to point the reader to trust our Heavenly Father in every stage of life.

Happy reading!

Following and listening,

Friday Finds: Chasing Daylight

Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus has been on my top influential reads since the fall of 2006. I was looking for a book to read on my “exploratory” flight out to Arizona. I walked into the office of my boss and borrowed Seizing Your Divine Moment straight off his shelf. (The book has since been rereleased with the title, Chasing Daylight. Little did I know how apropos that choice would prove to be!)

Here I was, 24 years old and considering moving from Texas to Arizona and not knowing a soul in the desert. I would be far from home, friends, and everything familiar – but I couldn’t shake the feeling that God had brought this opportunity my way.

I realized my mistake in borrowing the book even before I boarded the flight. Since the copy wasn’t my own, I wasn’t free to high-light or mark up the words that were causing my heart to leap out of my chest. I have twelve pages in one of my journals just filled with quotes and thoughts captured on my three-hour flight to Phoenix. My interview wasn’t until the following morning, but already I felt more ready to GO if this was a God-breathed opportunity.

This book didn’t tell me to take the job at the church in Phoenix. This book didn’t contain a page that read, “Ginger, you should do this. Love, God.” But this book did allow me to comprehend the possibility of the moment.  Rather than focusing on my fears of what might happen, the chapters encouraged me to embrace adventure.  This was a chance to change the course of my life and risk big in order to gain more of Him and less of me.

Chasing Adventure, November 2006

I highly recommend this book for dreamers and adventurers everywhere.

“What if you knew womewhere in front of you was a moment that would change your life forever, a moment rich in potential, a moment filled with endless possibilities?  What if you knew that there was a moment coming, a divine moment, on where God would meet yu in such a way that nothing would be the same again?  What if there was a moment, a defining moment, where the choices you made determined the c ourse and momentum of your future?  How would you treat that moment?  How would you prepare for it?  How would you identify it?”Chasing Daylight

“The most important moments rarely come at a convenient time.  Sometimes you wish that God would check your calendar first.  The ironic part is that our schedules get packed with the mundane and ordinary, and we become irritated with god when He interrupts us with the miraculous and extraordinary.  The Bible is full of stories about people who were rudely interrupted by God.  We read them and long to have the kind of adventure experienced by those men and women.  Yet when God interrupts us, are we willing to respond on a moment’s notice?”Chasing Daylight

As Erwin McManus says…

Dream. Risk. Create.


Thursday Tips: Keep Reading

Prior to the wedding, D and I lived in different cities.  We were both in the Phoenix area, but we lived almost an hour apart door to door.  This led to a lot of driving AND a lot of creative dates.  One of my favorite places to meet was always at local bookstores.  We brought our laptops, whatever book we were reading together, and our calendars.  Reading on our own time and then talking through books together was a great way to get to know one another intellectually and spiritually.  Our reading material caused us to ask questions and bring up topics that might not have come from a night out eating Italian food and catching a movie.

We started reading our first book together about two months after we started dating and have continued to do so even a year into our marriage.

Here was our reading list pre-marriage:
The Furious Longing of God by Brennan Manning
Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken

Post Engagement:
A Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
Before you plan your Wedding… Plan your Marriage by Dr. Greg Smalley

Books we’ve read aloud to each other:
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
The Voyage of the Dawntreader by C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters (we tried!) by C.S. Lewis
No Coins, Please by Gordon Korman
Cannery Row by John Steinback

We also really enjoy listening to books on CD on any of our long roadtrips.

I thoroughly recommend books as a way to deepen any relationship or community group. I would also take any recommendations for our next book to read aloud once we finish Cannery Row. :)

Happy Thursday!


Friday Finds: Loving Books

Here’s the final chapter of my response to V’s question, Do you have any practical advice for what Christian singles can do to prepare for a future spouse?

We haven’t exhausted the topic, but this is as far as I’m taking it this time around.  If you are interested on more posts about relationships, be sure to check out the previous series!  For now I will leave you with a book list.

I think my journals show that I started wanting a “someone else” sometime during the seventh grade.  Everyone seemed to be pairing off and I too wanted in on being part of a couple.  That desire for relationship has been a part of my personal journey and story.  At times it has been a dark part of my story.  But thankfully we serve a God who is all about redemption and restoration.  Along the way I have read countless books on the topics of spirituality and dating.  Below is a list of the most influential books that I read between 7th grade and saying “I Do.”  I recognize that not all of them will speak to you for the reasons that they spoke to me.  But they each played a part in writing my love story… for better or for worse.  I will try and summarize the time in which I read the books and the reason why each was so influential.


Lady in Waiting by Debby Jones and Jackie Kendall – I read this book several times between 7th and 10th grade.  I had always struggled with insecurity but had never known what to call it.  This book gave a voice to my fears as I realized that I was a woman of insecurity, rather than a woman who was trusting God for His timing in my life.

The Search for Significance by Robert McGee – This book was a great follow up to “Lady in Waiting” as it further explored fears of failure.  It contains a workbook portion and I have recommended it to several students who feel as though they don’t have a niche to fill.  This book was a powerful reminder that my significance comes from God alone.

Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot – I think I picked this book up when I was a freshman in college.  I was frustrated (yet again) that I wasn’t dating and was looking for help with patience.  Elizabeth Elliot’s own story of waiting was encouraging and challenging.

Breaking Free by Beth Moore – Eventually my desire to feel attractive and significant manifested itself in the way that I controlled my eating.  After a year of battling my weight I found freedom during this study.  Of course it is the Lord that frees, but the words in this study gave me the tools to discover how sin had taken me captive in the past and was continuing to do so.

Marriable by Hayley DiMarco and Michael DiMarco – If I’m really honest with myself, I picked up this book because a guy I was over the moon for wasn’t making a move.  I thought if I read the book I might figure out how to better communicate with him.  We eventually dated, but not because of the book.  The book held practical advice, the kind that we’ve been talking about all week long.  I probably got some of the ideas from that book and just don’t remember that they found their origin in Marriable.

I Married Adventure by Luci Swindoll – My whole perspective on singleness changed when I read this book.  Here was a woman approaching 80 and accomplishing more than most people could dream to experience in a lifetime.  Her courage, humor, and wisdom were part of the catalyst that led me to start thinking that I could take a big risk and make a big move away from the familiar.

The Art of Rejection by Hayley DiMarco and Michael DiMarco – I’ve talked about this little book before.  I wasn’t handling a break-up well and discovered some fabulous truths about how rejection can actually be a good thing.  If you are still reeling from rejection, get this little book asap!  While it won’t fix your hurt, it will provide a refreshing perspective.

Revelations of a Single Woman by Connally Gilliam – I was 25 and alone in a big city.  I needed to know that there were other women just like me.  Connally writes in a style that is engaging, entertaining, and wise.  I was thrilled to find a book on singleness that didn’t make me roll my eyes with princess imagery.  (I GET IT ALREADY.  Someday my prince will come… blah, blah, blah.)  Connally made me laugh and encouraged me to value my life in a new way.

Wide Awake by Erwin Raphael McManus – Really I could have listed ALL of Erwin’s books on this list.  I love them.  I eat them for dinner.  This one fell during God’s perfect timing.  I had set out to risk big (apply for an internship in Africa) only to have my application returned with a big fat “NO.”  I was devastated.  “Wide Awake” encouraged me to answer the question Jesus asks blind Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?”  I stopped crying and started living.

No Other Gods by Kelly Minter – After all the years of wishing and hoping I finally meet THE guy.  It’s a whirlwind of a relationship and somewhere in the middle I realize that my heart is leaning towards Him in a big way.  I picked up this book and it was a swift reminder that my heart can have only one King.  My (albeit amazing) guy wasn’t designed to fulfill or complete me.  This book was a kick in the pants.

Before You Say “I Do” by H. Norman Wright and Wes Roberts – My mom mailed this book to me in the weeks after my engagement.  I read it quickly.  There were quite a few “aha” moments for me reading this… enough of them that I feel like I can recommend it to you.  If nothing else, it sparked some great conversations!  P.S. Don’t judge the book by the cover.

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas – I read A LOT of marriage books prior to the big day.  In my humble opinion, this was the best one.  The book talks about falling forward toward each other on a daily basis.  Great principles.  Godly wisdom.  Here’s the subtitle: “What if God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?”  Good question.  Good book.

Web Resources!

Love and Respect NOW – Joy Eggerichs writes a fabulous blog on love and respect in dating relationships.

Love and Respect – The Eggerichs (Joy’s parents) have an incredible book and a great blog all about love and respect in a marriage relationship.

Obviously there are hundreds if not thousands of books that can aid you in your own journey.  What books have shaped your love story thus far?  Any blogs you want to recommend?

More than anything, I want you to remember that just as your book list will look different than anyone else’s, so will your love story!  Our God is creative; so don’t expect Him to do the same thing twice.  Live your story… a life filled with love!


Summer Reading

You can’t get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me. – C.S. Lewis

I’ve always enjoyed reading. I’m not sure if the contests I entered in elementary school were national or regional, but I know that they were a wonderful incentive. Some awarded personal pan pizzas from the Hut while another gave ice cream and hamburgers from Braum’s. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there were reading incentives for adults? Imagine how books would fly off the shelves if Best Buy offered 30% off coupons for reading 3,000 pages. Or consider Jamba Juice stamp cards that reward a free smoothie for every other book you read. Someone should get on this!

I am constantly reading non-fiction for work and personal growth and I do enjoy it.  But I can get lost in fiction.  I only use my Kindle for reading fiction.  It makes packing for vacation much lighter!
So here’s my real problem. I’m currently reading 5 books and listening to another one on CD in the car. I’m not mixing my stories, or unable to follow along. My diet this week contains two spiritual memoirs, a summer dose of fiction, and a double round of spiritual encouragement. This doesn’t sound like much of an issue, until you look and see what’s awaiting me in the pile next to my bedside table. It’s as if someone has dropped off a bag of candy and I have to continue reminding myself to eat my vegetables and wait for dessert until I’ve finished everything already on my plate.
Here’s my current list…
From Head to Foot by Annie F. Downs
Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller
Scouting the Divine by Margaret Feinberg
Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (Kindle edition)
Here’s the list that awaits me…
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Epic by John Eldredge
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
Reflections on the Psalms by C. S. Lewis
Taking Flight by Kelly Rae Roberts
What are you reading this summer?  Care to share?
Following (and reading!)

Friday Finds: A Mess

Isn’t it tempting to think everyone else has it all figured out?  I know that I fall into thought patterns where I assume that I’m the only one who struggles.  I’ve been a believer for long enough.  I have lived in church all my life.  And yet, I sometimes worry that I’m the only one who’s thinking: “I don’t know how to do this… pray, fast, be spiritual, choose which way to go.  I should be better than this!”

I’m sharing yet another book today.  Ive been thankful several times as of late  to have it on my shelf.  I stumble in my walk and then live guilt-ridden for days.  This little book, “Messy Spirituality” by Michael Yaconelli, continues to teach and remind me that God loves me in spite of my own mess.

“Spirituality is anything but a straight line, it is a mixed-up, topsy-turvy, helter-skelter godliness that turns our lives into an upside-down toboggan ride full of unexpected turns, surprise bumps, and bone-shattering crashes.  In other words, messy spirituality is the delirious consequence of a life ruined by a Jesus who will love us right into his arms.” (Messy Spirituality)

Amen to that.  I’m just starting to deal with my mess.  But I suppose the first step is admittance.

Hi, my name is Ginger and I am a spiritual mess.  My time in the word is sporadic, my prayers distracted, and my heart selfish.

“I want to be a good person.  I don’t want to fail.  I want to learn from my mistakes, rid myself of distractions and run into the arms of Jesus.  Most of the time, however, I feel like I am running away from Jesus into the arms of my own clutteredness.

I want desperately to know God better.  I want to be consistent.  Right now the only consistency in my life is my inconsistency.  Who I want to be and who I am are not very close together.  I am not doing well at the living-a-consistent-life thing…” (Messy Spirituality)

I’m thankful for this little book that reminds me of how His grace is sufficient for me.  If you haven’t read this one, I would encourage you to order it or pick it up from your local library.


Thursday Tips: Resourced

I like to work by the open window and natural light in our dining room.  If you check out my work space on any given day you will invariably discover: a cup of coffee, a plethora of pens, my laptop (The Golden Child), and a mountain of books.

I was examining said pile this week and determined to share the resources for my resources.  Let me explain…

Resources from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

In summary: get to your library.  Check out the on-line catalogue prior to going and see if there are any books you might have shipped over from another branch.  It’s like having your own really big library… only it’s not taking up space in your house.  (I’m cracking myself up.  For real.)