Big News – With Great Joy!

I know, I know. It’s been since July since I last wrote – but I had to take a moment and share some big news!

In February of this year I opened an email from my long-time friend, Carey. She hinted that God had placed a big dream on her heart but He also kept mentioning my name with the idea. The more she journaled and prayed, the more she couldn’t shake the thought. Here’s the start of her email:

Idea: You and I co-own and lead an Arizona Women’s retreat.

Deep breath!

She proceeded to list several reasons why she felt led, called, and why we might make a great team for this endeavor. Carey and I had worked together in ministry for years and had plenty of opportunities to lead and plan under pressure. Our styles tend to align, and our passion to see women encouraged and challenged to rest in the Lord definitely aligned- so I prayed, prayed with my husband, and then we started the first of many conversations that eventually created WITH JOY RETREATS, LLC.

cargingCarey and I (and our fabulously supportive spouses) are co-owners of a little company that seeks to provide respite and renewal to women through weekend retreats.

More than that, we’ve rented a site, booked some amazingly gifted people, and are now ready to invite 54 women to join us April 10-12, 2015 for our first retreat in Prescott, Arizona.

Here’s our official mission statement: With Joy Retreats creates a sacred space to rest, learn and worship. Speaker Ginger Ciminello and Life Coach Carey Bailey provide fresh Biblical perspectives for applying the transformative power of God’s truth to our day to day reality.

What can you anticipate during a With Joy Retreat?

  • In-depth Biblical teaching
  • Practical resources
  • Personal reflection
  • Guided worship through music
  • Creative outlets for practicing spiritual disciplines
  • Opportunities for new friendships
  • Laughter!
  • Authenticity and intentionality
  • Room to pause and be present

Registration for our first retreat, BE, opens Friday at 8am PST. There are only 54 spots. First come. First served.

Check out our gorgeous (if I do say so myself) new website for further details and info. I hope you will consider joining us or sharing this event with a friend who might benefit from time to rest and retreat!

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