All I Want for Christmas (& Forever)

 

listen

Time is a precious commodity. I cannot believe how quickly the days and weeks roll by. There is so much I want to accomplish, and most of my list is really good: clean the house, write a blog post, laundry, sew some bunting, have neighbors and friends over for dinner, organize my freezer, call friends and have lengthy conversations, meet and know all of my neighbors, exercise, bake, attend classes, volunteer… I mean really. I could keep going, but I don’t feel like I have the time.

If I could ask and receive for anything this Christmas, it would be the gift of more time. (I promise I’m not speeding past Thanksgiving – more to come!)

Life will not slow on its own. I have to be mindful of the days and hours I’m given. In the midst of baking and holiday preparations, I have to tell myself to slow down and declare thanks for each moment. I have to remind myself not to wish these days away- believing somehow that living will be easier, cleaner, or more spacious in the future.

Life is messy in all its parts. The days will run into months if we don’t take time to pause. If we long for God to fill in our gaps, we must give Him space to move and be.

This year, may I suggest a gift for all of us? be

BE.

 “Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10, AMP

God’s answer for our busy schedules, constant striving, and stress-induced insomnia is simple. Be. Just Be.

Be rested.
Be known.
Be filled.

Carey Bailey and I have a dream to gift women just that. A weekend retreat to step away from the striving and to step into being present.

 

Here’s the heart behind With Joy Retreats…

With Joy from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

 

 

Thanks for taking the time to watch and share. I so hope to see some of you in attendance April 10-12, 2015. The Chapel Rock Camp and Conference Center is gorgeous and we are hard at work pulling together an incredible team and intentional sessions for our first retreat. For more information or to register,  follow this link to the With Joy Retreat website.

 

retreat2

 

Following,

Ginger

Book List #2

photo-3

HOWDY, FRIENDS!

I hope you have had a lovely summer full of fond memories and much-needed rest. School has just started (!) in my neighborhood, and I felt the compulsion to drift back into a more routine schedule and even try some writing.

I appreciate your grace and patience as I’ve continued to embrace letting go of some of the most time-consuming parts of my day. That release included this blog. Two years ago I would have been in full-on panic mode if I missed blogging more than three days in a row, much less only blogging TWICE in THREE MONTHS. HAH.

This post is a continuation of the reading list I shared in January and updated in March. I’ve always loved reading but I found the opportunity to do so dwindling in the past years. I missed it. Since making reading both priority and reward in 2014, I feel like I’ve finally found a balance that works for me and my days.

I’m sharing the books I’ve read these past months and what’s on tap for future reading. Check out the video below for details and a short list!

Book List Part 2 from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Books mentioned in this segment:
A Praying Life by Paul Miller
More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger
Son by Lois Lowry
Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren F. Winner
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp
The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick

I would love to hear your recommendations for this year. What’s the best book you’ve read this summer?

Happy Reading!

Ginger

Reading List Update

2014books

I know. It’s been dead quiet around here, but it has been anything but quiet in my house.

Who knew an 8 month-old would be so screechingly loud? Love my little ball of personality, but MAN she is a lot of work. I’m not saying anything earth shattering here, except to acknowledge that this ideal of “having it all” and “doing it all” is a pretty big myth. I can give 100% to what’s in front of me, but that means something else isn’t getting done. I don’t want to multi-task my whole life, I’m not very good at it. So my working windows are really when my child sleeps – but that’s also my window for cooking, cleaning, showering, e-mails, lesson prep, and blog writing. Something has to give everyday, and as you could probably tell, the blog tends to get the stiff arm. My goal was to write once or twice a week. I want to hold to it, so thanks for your grace in the midst.

That being said, I HAVE been making reading a priority this year. We turn off the T.V. earlier or keep it off, and spend more time reading. Thus, I have a quick roundup of the goods thus far. Check out the video update on the 2014 reads below and I’ll catch you afterward.

Good Reads from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

So, here’s my original booklist for 2014 if you want to see the titles. I don’t know if I could really rank the books, because they’ve all been so good for different reasons. My husband and I are still reading “Dad is Fat” and I just started the Jeff Shinabarger book. So looking forward to vacations this summer to also get caught up on some fiction and memoirs!

What about you? Any good ones you’ve read this year? DO TELL.

Happy Wednesday!

Following,
Ginger

From the bottom of my heart.

thanks

Thank you!

I don’t know if I have the words to say how much I appreciate the kind words and responses that you’ve sent my way since the release of my book. To say I’ve been blown away would be putting it lightly. So I figured I’d just say “thank you” face-to-face. Check out the video below. (If you’re reading through e-mail click on the link!)

Thank You, Thank You! from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Today I concur with the Apostle Paul:

We felt so strongly about you that we were determined to share with you not only the Good News of God but also our lives. That’s how dear you were to us! 1 Thessalonians 2:8, GWT

Thank you, friends.

Following,
Ginger

Cost

Don’t you sometimes wish Romans 8:28 read this way, “And we know that in all things God works for the ease of those who love him”?

98% of the time I desire comfort, safety, and ease more than anything else… at times even more than God. Comfort(and not just the kind that involves good food and a soft bed) can quickly become my idol. I like feeling safe, cared for, and worry free. I want everyone I love to make the best choices that lead to the greatest level of peace and harmony. Let’s shut down conflict, stay in the air conditioning, volunteer when it’s convenient, give when asked, sleep when we’re tired, purchase when and what we want to, and above all else: let’s take it easy.

None of those items are bad or wrong in and of themselves… but anything that takes the place of the Lord is a big-bold-red-flag-neon warning sign. The end goal was never ease or even heaven. The goal has always been more of Him.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:28-29, NIV

I don’t know about you, but I know that my greatest spiritual growth has occurred during some of the hardest times in my life. Seasons full of transitions, loneliness, conflict, and especially sacrifice have led me to drink deeply from the Living Water of God- His presence and His Word. During those times He caused His good to come out of seemingly bad situations. He walked with me through pain to make me more like His Son.

I know that God honors obedience and dependence upon Him. My read through the Old Testament this year finally brought me to Hosea, Joel, and Amos this past week. All three are short books that pack a powerful punch. God is faithful to use His Word to remind me of the abundance and blessing that have filled my life with joy and ease for almost two years. He has been so good to me. But rather than using this time to serve and sacrifice, I have grown inward, convincing myself that what I needed was to fill up my schedule with personal items and receive little to no input from the Lord.

“But I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.” Hosea 13:4-6

This verse in Hosea convicted me to my core. While the passage speaks of the history of the Israelites, I could sense the Spirit telling me that I was behaving just like God’s people!

The summer and fall of 2009 found me in an emotional desert- discouraged, opportunities removed, and with loneliness entering the picture in a very real and palpable way. I turned my hands out to the Lord and asked like the Israelites, “Have you brought us to the desert to die?” And yet, when I turned out my hands to the Lord He fed me, and I was satisfied. He led me gently and lovingly into a time of contentment.

But I let that contentment and ease become my idol. I confess it freely and openly. I’m selfish.

But I want to be like David when he cried out…
“I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:24, NIV)

Sacrifice

1. A surrender of something of value as a means of gaining something more desirable

Sacrifice from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

“Have you been holding back from a risky, costly course to which you know in your heart God has called you? Hold back no longer. Your God is faithful to you, and adequate for you. You will never need more than He can supply, and what He supplies, both materially and spiritually, will always be enough for the present.” -James I (J. I.) Packer

Following and learning,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Choosing to Remember

remember

Catching the theme this week? REMEMBER. Today’s Thursday tip is a retro video post with a ridiculous popped collar, but it holds truth for today!

We begin in Psalm 105 again:

“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
    make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
    tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
    let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
    seek his face always.

Remember the wonders he has done,
    his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced…”

Let’s take the time to remember all He has done! Catch you after the video:

Remember from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

“I REMEMBER the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.”  Psalm 143:5

What will you choose to remember today?

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Ask for Wisdom

hope

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, 
   his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning. 
   How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). 
   He’s all I’ve got left.

 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits
   to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope, 
   quietly hope for help from God.

Lamentations 3:22-26, MSG

Today I’m sharing a retro video post because I feel like the lessons from last spring are just as applicable to this current season. I still find myself looking for answers: waiting, seeking, and hoping. I hope you are encouraged by God’s promises for your situation today!

Thursday Tips: Silence from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

I’m still learning to apply those three things to my situation.

1. Passionately wait.

2. Diligently seek.

3. Quietly hope.

And I would add to that list:

4. Keep walking by faith.

Sometimes I forget to continue moving while I’m waiting, seeking and hoping. Jesus demonstrated leaving the throngs of people and going off on a mountain to pray… but after a few hours he came back down and kept loving those very people.

So how do I face the unknown future?

I walk in the truth that I know, I claim God’s good promises, and I confidently acknowledge that He will guide the life I have entrusted to Him.

Still learning,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Releasing Control

thursday

Did the title make you shudder?

The Thursday Tip I’m sharing this morning came out of a real life experience from this week.

  • I had something on the calendar.
  • I was looking forward to that event on the calendar.
  • One phone call an hour before the event and suddenly everything changed. The appointment was cancelled.

And by my response… you would have thought I’d been told that my leg would be amputated later that day.

I don’t like last-minute changes. I like to be in control. ALWAYS. I’m learning new lessons about this every day. Here’s what happened:

Thursday Tips: Releasing Control from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

I love this quote from John Newton. I’m copying it onto a card and placing it on the front of my calendar today.

“…If the very hairs of our head are numbered; if every event great and small, is under the direction of his providence and purpose; and if he has a wise, holy, and gracious end in view, to which everything that happens is subordinate and subservient; – then we have nothing to do, but with patience and humility to follow as he leads, and cheerfully to expect a happy issue… How happy are they who can resign all to him, see his hand in every dispensation, and believe that he chooses better for them than they possibly could for themselves!”

Amen. Amen. And Amen!

May this reminder serve to give us all peace in the midst of changed plans this week!

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Simmer Down Now


Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.
 -Ambrose Bierce

There’s much when it comes to how we used social media. I couldn’t help but think about this retro video post as I was writing this week. When we consider how much to share on-line I want us to also take a step back and think about WHAT we are sharing.

Note: It might have been 92 degrees in November during the filming of this, but it is currently 103 in May. Tell yourself wherever you live that your weather is delightful!

Catch you after the video:

A Challenge for the week: Think before we post. May our words (typed or spoken) bring joy and encouragement to anyone listening or following…

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.” James 1:19-20, MSG

“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.”Ephesians 4:29, MSG

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14, NIV

Following,
Ginger

Thursday Tips: Get Real

thursday

I think a lot of us are pretty good at acting and pretending. We smile through pain and maintain the image that we want the world to see. Sometimes it’s a conscious decision and sometimes… it just happens. That’s why today’s retro Thursday Tip is all about awareness. How do YOU answer this question: “How are you?!”

Check it out.

Thursday Tip: Stop Pretending from Ginger Ciminello on Vimeo.

Do you struggle with fine-itis too? What would happen if you were to answer that question honestly? What if you let yourself feel AND be vulnerable with those feelings? What then?

“…If you are anything like me, then you know the fine art of how to be vulnerable enough so people believe you are authentic, but not so vulnerable that all your mess hangs out. You know how to be vulnerable with boundaries… We may be able to hide some of the mess with each other, but we have a God who sees and knows and loves no matter what. He is a generous, patient, compassionate God and his expectations of us are not the same as our expectations of ourselves.” (Emily P. Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl)

Even if you still struggle with sharing all of your mess with those around you, I would encourage you to allow yourself to be honest in your time with the Lord. Nothing will surprise Him… He knows and LOVES the True You. Find freedom in being totally honest without any pretending.

Following and learning,

Ginger