Best of the New Year Posts

New Leaf

There were SO many fabulous resources going around the interwebs last week. Everyone had hopeful and helpful thoughts to propel us all into this new year. I’ve finally changed all the calendars in the house, rewritten all of the birthday reminders, and boxed up the decorations from December. 2014 feels fresh and full of potential.

Before I share my favorite blog reads from last week, I wanted to take a moment and clarify some thoughts from my last post, Growing Forward in 2014.

  • I LOVE my daughter. Even at 2:30am last night, I was singing her praises and thanking God for the gift of one more diaper to change, one more hour to hold her and still her crying.
  • When I mentioned that I was looking forward to getting away with the hubs, know that I was not speaking out of desperation. I’m simply excited to do something for longer than 3 hours without having to return home to feed my girl. We most certainly can and will travel with her, I’m just pumped for a hiking trip with just the grownups to celebrate our anniversary.
  • My goal list does look different this year. The posts by Ann Voskamp and The Tiny Twig have both helped to shape my focus. (See links in the list below.) I’ve chosen one focus phrase for the year: Intentional Growth and then I broke that up into manageable chunks of 3. They are going to seem really simple, but I NEED simple in this season.

Morning 3 goals: Make the Bed, Read the Word, Get Dressed/Shower

Afternoon 3 goals: Correspond (e-mail, phone, snail mail), Exercise, Play with my kiddo

(That’s not all I hope to accomplish in a day, but if those things can happen I will be pumped.)

Weekly 3 goals: Blog posts, Meal Planning, Family Date

Monthly 3 goals: Marriage enrichment, community building, sacrificial giving/serving

So yes, I am choosing a few things to help me cross items off my list and stay growing forward. On top of these mini goals I also have 3 big yearly goals that I’m holding close. (See the post by Donald Miller below.) Here are some posts to help you carve out your own intentional growth for the year!

Yearly thoughts from Ann Voskamp:
Monthly goals from Hayley Morgan, The Tiny Twig:
A contrasting post from Donald Miller:
A reading challenge from Sarah Bessey
A challenge from Jon Acuff
Carey Bailey on resolutions with resolve
5 Tips to creating Resolutions with Resolve

Can you tell reading is finding its way back into my life? In the past year I filled my empty spaces with so much noise that I lost the joy of words. I’m back tomorrow to share my favorite books of 2013 (or let’s face it, the books I actually READ and liked in 2013 – not necessarily new books in 2013) and then on Thursday to show the books just waiting to be read on my nightstand.

 

I would LOVE for you to comment on both Wednesday and Thursday with your best reads of the past year and what you are looking forward to this year. I plan to compile those answers -> through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blog comments and share the huge “YOU NEED TO READ THIS” list on Friday.

 

Okay. Enough for now!

 

Following,

Ginger

 

 

Starting Fresh in 2014

 

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”

– G. K. Chesterton

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Today I’m honored again to be blogging over at The Whaterever Girls about the process I utilize to set goals each year. I’ll admit that the steps waere a little more challenging this year for me personally, but I still went through each one. Find the full post HERE.

Next week I’m excited to talk books: my favs from 2013, what’s on my list for 2014, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing about what tops your list!

Happy Friday, Friends.

Following,
Ginger

A New Prayer

I’ve struggled with having a consistent prayer life for as long as I can remember. I get into a routine and then something happens and suddenly I realize that I haven’t been in communication with my heavenly Father for days. Sometimes it’s all I can do to pray in short spurts – “I need You, Lord!”

God hears our prayers – all of them – the desperate pleas, the silent hopes, and the thankful jubilations. He loves to hear from His children.

My prayers have shifted in the past two weeks. My labor began in the dark and early hours of July 13th and ended at 10:28pm with the birth of our daughter, Norah.

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My prayers throughout the day were cries for help, begging to see through to the end of the pain… but as soon as I came face to face with our little light (the meaning of her name), my prayers took on a whole new dimension.

Never have I felt so completely without control. This little life is dependent upon her dad and me for everything. Her cries of hunger, exhaustion, and discomfort are for us to relieve and tend to. I do not want her to know hurt or pain. I want her to stay safe in my arms, forever.

But I know I have to relinquish this control. I must trust the Lord with the life of my child, just as I have trusted Him with my own life.

As wave upon wave of contractions threatened to leave me sobbing on that Saturday afternoon, I recited the words of Psalm 139 over and over and over again. Particularly this portion from verse 16:

“All the days ordained for me we were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

All of our days, mine and Norah’s, are in the hands of my Father. And so I turn to Him in what feels like every second of the day. I pray. I ask. I give thanks. And slowly, I learn to loosen my grasp and to trust.

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Thank you so much for your patience during this transition time. I hope to be back to blogging regularly in a few short weeks. In the meantime I will post here and there and share some favorite throwback posts.

Following and learning… every second of the day,

Ginger

Thursday Tips: Soul Searching

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“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…” Psalm 42:5-6, NIV

When the Psalmist wrote this, he was doing some genuine soul searching. I’ve been there. I have every reason to live with joy and hope and yet at times I feel the weight of worry or fear pulling down my thoughts. Dark and difficult emotions seem to take over without warning. Perhaps my soul could stand a good questioning.

Why are you still harboring anger?

Why is your fear based on numbers?

Why does failure leave you anxious?

“When you are confronted with a circumstance that challenges you, you have two choices. You can say to your soul, ‘Get depressed.’ Or you can say to your soul, ‘Hope in God.’ Place your expectation in the goodness of God. That’s what the psalmist did. He attached his hope in God to a promise from God.” – Jennifer Rothschild, Me, Myself, and Lies

That’s the idea behind today’s Thursday Tip. When we feel weighted by an untruth we attach our hope in God to a promise from God. Watch this retro video clip and I will catch you when it’s done.

Truth vs. Lies from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

As I said, I highly recommend “From Head to Foot” by Annie F. Downs, but you should know that since the creation of that video she’s come out with a NEW version of the book entitled “Perfectly Unique: Praising God from Head to Foot.” I highly encourage you to check it out if you are a tween or teen gal. But more than anything, I encourage us all to continue to exchange those beat up playlists for a different tune.

Following,
Ginger

Starting Fresh

Hi friends!  I hope this finds you excited about the year that’s upon us!  I’m praying that you are rested and filled up from the Advent Season and ready to hit the ground running.

In my last post of 2011 I described the need to take time and be still before the Lord.  When I wasn’t reading, I spent most of my quiet times trying to actually be still and quiet.  It turns out I’m a bit of a conversation hog when it comes to prayer.

During those times of prayer when I actually stopped and listened, I felt like the Lord impressed a few specific things on my heart.  I want to share them with you today.

HEART NOTES
-I must listen more.  God has been whispering… (make that shouting) that listening is obedience.  I need to listen to His voice, follow in His ways and trust Him at all times.

I need to claim and believe that God is glorious – so that I don’t fear or compare myself with others.

-I am blessed to be a blessing.  I need to start actively and purposefully blessing others with what I’ve been given: time, talents, and treasure.

-I must apply the gospel to my heart every moment of every day.

-I can manage my struggles on my own, but I can’t change them.  Only God can transform me.

-I must simplify my ministry by giving it determined focus – (Know the target and make the aim sure.)

CHANGES
Because of these things (and many more) I’m going to be making some changes here on the bliggity-blog.  Some will be superficial like the font type and formatting, but a few other changes will be more purposeful and noticeable.

Let’s start with this one: A theme for the year.  I thought we could use something to direct us into deeper relationship with our Abba Father.

2012 is the year of “Living History” – there are lots of avenues to explore within that theme, but more than anything I want us to truly realize that we all have a vibrant part to play in HIS story.  By living with an eternal perspective you and I can begin to live a better story than we ever thought possible.  Let’s move from being reality-TV buffs and facebook addicts to dreamers, risk takers, and adventurers for the Kingdom of God.  I’m in… are you with me?

THEME
My personal theme from this year finds it’s source in two action verbs: Listen and Follow.  I’ve selected Deuteronomy 30:15-20 as my theme verse for the year.

“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you today, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.  I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20, ESV  (I know it’s a chunk of a verse to memorize, but I’m excited to hide this word in my heart!)

So what about you?  Here’s your challenge for the day/week: What is an action verb/character trait/or fruit of the spirit that you want to focus on this year?  Care to join me in memorizing a theme verse to go along with your theme word?  I would love to hear about it once you’ve decided so that we can encourage each other.

2012… it’s so on.

Living out His story,
Ginger