Trust the Chef

During my sophomore year in college, I spent a semester studying in England. When it came time to plan spring break, I had one destination on my mind: Italy. I made plans with my friend Katie for the perfect trip roaming around the Italian countryside. We met in Milan and traveled to Florence, Fiesole, and Venice. We spent hours riding trains, walking in museums, and trying to discern the menus at sidewalk cafes. It was an experience full of terrifying and transcendent moments for two twenty-year-olds trying to act like adults.

On our last evening in Venice, after spending an hour on a gondola ride with a driver who sang only a medley of Beatles classics, we decided to eat a meal to rival Italy itself. Katie’s grandfather had given us 100 Euro with specific instructions that it be spent on one fantastic Italian meal during our trip. We asked several locals for suggestions and ended up at Antica Trattoria PosteVecie, one of the oldest restaurants in Venice. It was to be our final meal before returning to the significantly less fabulous fare offered to us by the United Kingdom. (Sorry, but who puts cottage cheese on a hamburger?)

We made our way to the banquet table in the dimly lit establishment. Our waitress approached and we gave her our only request. Our instructions: “Bring us whatever the chef recommends. We have 100 Euro and we are spending it all tonight.” Five courses and two full stomachs later, we determined that Katie’s grandfather was the greatest person to have ever walked the earth. Italy had offered us extraordinary cuisine before, but this was an entirely new level of fine dining. In retrospect, I realize that our meal would have been amazing even if we had only had 50 Euro. What made our meal so fabulous were the expert selections of our Italian chef.

dish

It’s a simple concept, but one I often forget. I tend to assume that my decisions will make for the most memorable meal. But generally, without the thoughts of an expert, my Italian feast could end up like an appetizer from the Olive Garden. Although I’m fine with the Olive Garden, it just can’t compete with Trattoria PosteVecie.

The chef knows. He knows what pairs well together and what can make an ordinary dinner completely extravagant and delightful. I like to think I’m the expert when it comes to what I need in my life. If there’s one thing I want to get right, it’s my life! I have list after list of things to do before I die. I would probably order all the courses of my life from a menu if it were an option. It seems I want God to sign off on my dreams without ever even asking for His recommendations.

_______ (A selection from chapter 5, Forget the Corsage) _______

 

I’m the first to say, “Dream big dreams!” Don’t hear me wrong. I’m not suggesting that we stop dreaming. I just know that I often want to run ahead to make them happen without consulting the One with the power! Here’s encouragement for us all this weekend. When it comes to dreams, God loves to blow our expectations out of the water!

“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

Today is the last day to enter to win the set of Forget the Corsage ebooks. Follow this link and enter today! I will be announcing the winner on Monday. Have a fabulous weekend!

QUESTION: What’s a dream you have for the next decade of your life?

Following,
Ginger

Revive

lifeguarding

Have you ever taken CPR or First Aid training before? I was a lifeguard for six years and had to recertify in them ever year. It terrified me. I’m not really a numbers person. I hate tests. And it’s never very calming to have someone saying, “The baby is dying” as you furtively try to recesitate the plastic baby mannequin. I was usually close to tears as I tried to remember if it’s 15 compressions to 2 breaths or 1 to 3 or did they do away with that this year?! It felt like the numbers were always changing. But you know what step never changed? Assessing the situaion.

Alway asses the situation. In order to determine if someone is choking, has an obstruction of airflow, has passed out… you check to see if they respond to touch and sound and then you examine them to see if they are breathing! The goal is to get them to take in oxygen – it’s necessary for everything in your body. The heart and brain require almost constant oxygen. (Airway, breathing, circulation!)

Ready for the spiritual application? The physical aspect of our heart requires maintenance. What we eat and how often we exercise play a role in the health of our heart. As we age we need more frequent examinations to make sure the heart is holding up under what can be years of abuse.  While it might take 30 years of damage to wear down your physical heart, our spiritual hearts can weaken in a very short period of time.

This week we are going to assess the situation. While we won’t be able to cure passionless living on our own, we do know the one with all of the answers. God is the one with the necessary tools and skills to revive our hearts.  He is the great physician and healer. “Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?”  Psalm 85:6, NLT

More to come.

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Let It Go.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT

In today’s Thursday tip we talk about letting go so we can keep moving forward. Too often in my own life I have grasped at things I thought would make me happy or fill me up, only to realize that they had kept me from the real source of joy. Join me and my favorite shirt as we talk about letting go:

Let It Go. from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

 

“Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life. It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you’re going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s like that with writing books, and it’s like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain.” Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Letting go so we can move forward…
Ginger

Relationship Island

(Catch up on our relationship series here, here, and here!)

Genesis 1:26 shows us that God wasn’t alone as He created. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…”

Why does this matter? God models fellowship for us at the very start of creation. You’ve heard wise Mr. John Donne? “No man is an island.”

I propose that no relationship is an island. Watch and see what I mean.

Island Isolation from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Healthy Dating Relationship Principle #4: Maintain godly friendships outside of the dating relationship.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) declares, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Two is a good number but three is even better. Don’t let your giddy feelings get the best of you and keep wisdom at bay. As an individual you will thrive and grow when you seek the encouragement, accountability, and friendship of others. Don’t take the presence of your friends for granted. Your relationship with your significant other will benefit greatly when you take time to build up your other relationships.

Not on an island, just a beach. My sister, my friend.

Do you recognize a need for some more friends in your court? Persevere in prayer to ask for like-hearted friends. I believe that’s a prayer God loves to answer.

Following,
Ginger

Don’t feed the bears.

I don’t know if you’ve picked up on a theme on this blog, but I thoroughly enjoy imparting a love for God’s Word to others. I have friends who were burned by bad church experiences or lengthy religion classes and have since left their Bibles on the same shelf since 1998.

I believe that you really can fall in love with God’s Word. We’ve discussed the importance of hiding verses in your heart, being able to combat lies with truth, and getting away for some true rest. If you find yourself reaching for anything but that big black book on your shelf, here are some of my own thoughts about picking up this habit.

1. It’s really hard to read a book if you don’t open it.
2. The Bible is composed of 66 individual books inside of one large books. These smaller books should be read just like any other book: start to finish. I don’t recommend the flip and point method OR the blinded flip and point method.
3. There are books within the Bible that you will connect with more than others. I love the History books in the Old Testament but I know lots of people who will gladly camp out in all the “ians” books in the New Testament. (Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians… etc.)
4. If you are looking for a place to start, I might recommend the four Gospels – the books with names you can pronounce. (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.)
5. Make sure you have a translation that you can understand! If your Bible has gold pages and has multiple appearances by the word thee and thou that confuse you… you might want to find a new translation. I personally read from the NIV or New International Version. My husband reads from the ESV or English Standard Version. Other suggestions might be the NCV, NLT, NASB or even The Message.
6. Why not just get all your Biblical education from a Pastor or another book? Check out this quick film (that’s close to my heart) to make this very point.

 


 

The Bible is meant to be your guide, your food, and your sword. (Yeah. A weapon. Check out Ephesians 6.) It might be slow going at first, but the benefits will far outweigh the struggle! In 2001 I began to pray one prayer every night before I fell asleep: “Lord, let me love your Word.” I believe that’s a prayer God loves to answer.

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16

If you are already reading the Bible consistently, what made the change for you? What book of the Bible did you start with?

Happy Reading and Feeding!

Following,
Ginger