Friday Quote

ftcquote

“And don’t be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God’s place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life …”

1 Corinthians 7:17 (MSG)

Happy Friday, Friends!

Following,
Ginger

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

Jump In.

I was paging through some old journals yesterday and came across a single sentence on one page. Usually I fill every space of paper within my books, and yet this question was given lots of blank space to surround it.

“Are you living or just existing?”

The question hit me again today, but probably not in the same way as when I wrote it in 2009.

DCIM100SPORTIn 2009 I was considering making another career change, moving to a new state, writing, traveling abroad … you name it, I was considering it. But at the end of the day all of those ideas seemed far-fetched or in poor timing. I wondered if my life had enough adventure in it. I often questioned whether or not I was settling for movies, reality T.V., trips to Starbucks, and long walks when I could actually do something amazing with my life and time on this earth. At that time I was working and thriving  in children’s ministry but still questioning what the next step might look like.

I’ve always been looking for the next step. As a junior in high school I experienced “senoritis.” While my friends were tearing up at college graduation I was ready and eager to go and start something new. I’ve spent my entire life considering what’s “next.”

But all of a sudden I find myself at a place where the next thing looks the same for the forseeable future. I’m still working from home but now I have a kiddo that demands a majority of my time and energy throughout the day. My lists have gone from the macro to the micro. Here’s my list for today: “Laundry, send an e-mail, return a phone call, eat lunch, shower.” I’ll be honest with you, the micro list feels way more overwhelming than the macro list ever did.

Here’s what I’m learning in the midst of this challnge: I still need to make some big goals. I don’t mean that I should rush ahead of the season of life that lies before me. On the contrary, I need to learn to fully embrace it! So yes, traveling will happen one day, but in the meantime I need to travel to my friend Lindsay’s house to continue to build our friendship. (Right now getting out of the house is a BIG goal.) More speaking opportunities are coming in the year, but I should also pick up the phone and speak life into the friendships God has already blessed me with. I will eventually master Photoshop and develop more confidence in photography, but presently I’m going to document life with my daughter on my phone. Instead of waiting, I’m having to learn to just jump headfirst into the life I have right now.

So what about you? Are you waiting for the next season? Are you holding out for the big dreams and forgetting to soak up what’s right in front of your face? Go snag a snowcone with your friend. Dance in your car. Take your Grandma to lunch. Go hike. Wake up and watch the sunrise. Compliment someone. Volunteer. Audition. Get a group together and play sand volleyball. Worship with your hands raised. Open up the Word and soak it in. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the joys all around you.

“Robert McKee says humans naturally seek comfort and stability. Without an inciting incident that disrupts their comfort, they won’t enter into a story. They have to get fired from their job or be forced to sign up for a marathon. A ring has to be purchased. A home has to be sold. The character has to jump into the story, into the discomfort and the fear, otherwise the story will never happen.”

-Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Time is short. Let’s get to jumping, friends. It doesn’t matter how big the leap, just move …

Following,
Ginger

Friday Finds: Fuel for the Weekend

Book Finds

 

 

 

Dear, dear [FRIENDS]…

“I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The small ness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively.”

(2 Corinthians 6:11, MSG)

“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.” -Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Here’s to a weekend filled with stories to tell, moments shared, and adventures to be had!

Following,
Ginger

Spending

“How we live our days is… how we live our lives.” – Annie Dillard

“It occurs to me it is not so much the aim of the devil to lure me with evil as it is to preoccupy me with the meaningless.” -Don Miller

WHAT YOU DO TODAY
Jesse Watson, a local pastor and friend, posted this thought today on his Facebook account: What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.

It’s amazing how one small sentence can pack such a powerful punch.  It’s left me thinking all morning… how am I spending my time?  Am I getting the best return on God’s investment?  The challenge that I’m taking this week: count your hours like you are counting calories.

I’m working on a personal fitness goal so I count my calories every day.  I don’t want to be oblivious to what I’m eating – every bite matters.  I’m hoping to apply the same dedication to my days.  I don’t want to be a time waster. I want to go so far as to make a pie chart and see where those 15-18 hours go each day.  Care to join me this week?

“Teach us how short our lives really are so that we may be wise.”  Psalm 90:12, NCV

Learning to live out His story,
Ginger

Living History Challenge

MAKE A BUCKET LIST
I understand the reasoning behind titling your dream list with the word “bucket – but I also have quite the aversion to it.  And no, it’s not because it references dying, but because “bucket” is an ugly word.  I don’t want to have to keep writing or saying that word when speaking of my innermost hopes and dreams.  So my list is actually called “THE LIST.”  It’s pretty self-explanatory.

I love hearing when others achieve their goals and cross items off of their list.  It’s challenging and, oftentimes, inspiring.  Watching as friends and family chase their dreams, take on the remarkable, and learn life-altering truths has only fueled my own hopes.

GOALS vs. DREAMS
Last week we spent a lot of time talking about expressing our goals and making them happen.  Goals are good.  They are a great way to remain motivated and forward thinking.  Goals keep me away from the TV and out accomplishing.  But dreams require more than just an errand or a little extra effort.  My dreams are the things I whisper in prayer, share carefully, and cultivate in the back of my mind.  In order to make my dream list, the item must require more than I have within me to achieve on most days.  Dreams, at least for me, tend to motivate my everyday thinking and living.  They keep me living wide-awake and looking for opportunity.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE
I would encourage you to think about your own list… be it bucket, goals, dreams, or just “The List”.  Keep adding, keep the list handy, and dream bigger than what you could ask for or imagine.  The satisfaction of crossing off completed missions is enjoyable, but it’s the process, the journey, that makes for the actual living.  Mt. Kilimanjaro… one day you and I WILL meet!

“Whatever you have in mind, go ahead and do it, for the LORD is with you.”  2 Samuel 7:3

Living out His story,
Ginger

Thursday Tip: Make a list…

This Thursday Tip is also in response to V’s question about practical advice in preparing for a future spouse is going provide us with a few choices.

Make that two choices…

1. Spend your time hunting for Prince Charming.

OR…

Making a list. from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

2. Live your life and become the heroine of your story!

I would caution you against clinging to a list of your perfect idea of “the one.”  The One has given you a life to live and love to give right here, right now.

Following,

Ginger

Dear Jordan.

two week series on learning from the past and looking to the future…

Dear 22-year-old Jordan,

Well, you did it. You moved across the country and you’re scared to death because it’s pretty much permanent. Until the next thing comes up, that is. I know you’re thinking that you will do this for a few years and then you can get up and leave, but I encourage you to stick around. Good things are going to happen, once you get past all the rough patches.

You are smart and independent and have such an empathetic heart, but it’s that soft heart that has gotten the best of you recently. It is going to ache more than ever this year.

You have recently come out of a very messy relationship, if you can even call it that. You have just jumped into one that you think is better and is rooted in God. But Jordan, it’s not. I know you think it is but you are trying to hold onto anything that feels right at this moment. It is just not worth it.

I am reading back on your journals and you are hurting so bad. You are being treated so badly and you don’t even recognize it. You’re a tried and true “fixer”. When someone who is less fortunate than you comes along, and usually it is in the form of some guy, you want to take them in and fix them. They are hurtful, conniving, deceitful, malicious and do not see you for who you really are. They come from broken pasts that they have yet to come to terms with and they look at you, who seemingly has it all together, to take care of them. I want you so bad to realize how much time you are wasting. You just can’t fix them at the cost of yourself.

So this new guy? Do not ditch your girlfriends to spend time with him. Do not answer every phone call or text message for the attention. And do not think that he’s as good as it gets. Because he’s not. Please trust that God has someone great for you, because He does. I am living it. I encourage you to write out a list of what you want in the man you’ll marry. This list will be transforming in more ways than one and you’ll see just how wrong this guy is for you.

Sometimes I get really sad for you. You are trying to that void of loneliness that was emptied when you moved to a new place. You do deserve better, but it’s going to take you another year to realize it. I wish it would happen sooner, but it will just have to come in time. You are going to look back on this time in your life and be so thankful for where you’ll end up.

If I can ask you anything, Jordan, will you please live the life you were born to deserve?

Hang out with your girlfriends every time they call.

Move into a different apartment because the one you’re in has very shady management. Once you do, spend more alone time in that place and soak it all in.

Go to that church you went to last Christmas and call it home.

The next few years are going to be some of the hardest in your life, but it will all turn out great. I promise. Hold onto that truth.

I love who you are going to become,
Your almost-26-year-old self

Jordan is a born ‘n raised Texan writing her way through a life out West. A God-loving newlywed, Jordan writes about her journey on her blog, Wide Open Spaces.