February was a month filled with a lot of good music rediscovered and amazing books revisited. So I thought I would put together a list of all the music and books that kept me company through all the cold February days. I hope that you'll check out these cds and books cause they make my life a little more lovely and I think they'll do the same for you. Also, leave me a comment if you've read or listened to any of these books and cds. And tell me what you have been listening to and reading lately as well. Here's to March and the hope of a sunny spring day sometime soon. I am more than ready for some picnic weather. :)
Without Condition by Ginny Owens (1999) ~
Here's a cd that I bought back in 2000 when I was only 15 years old. I had heard her song "If You Want Me To" on the radio and loved it. But at that time it was the only track that really caught my attention. I listened to it a few times and didn't touch it again .... until a few weeks ago, when I came across it and decided to pop it in my cd player. I was in the mood for music that was a bit unfamiliar to me, something that was raw and real. What I discovered was a cd full of treasures that fed my soul in a way that it desperately needed at that very moment. I thought "I can't believe I've had this cd for years and never realized how amazing it is". I just didn't really get it then I suppose. Now at 25, these songs have come alive to me. I think sometimes you have to be at a different place in life to fully grasp certain cds & songs.
Ginny Owens' beautiful piano/pop songs are filled with honest, venerable, and thoughtful lyrics, sung with Ginny's signature delicate, pretty voice. A true artist that explores her faith in Christ in the stories of others as well as her own. This has been the cd that has walked through February with me. Somehow, I think I'll always associate these songs with this month, and this time in my life.
Stand Out Tracks ~
"I Wanna Be Moved"
"Land Of The Grey"
"Springs Of Life"
Lyric Excerpts ~
"What is wrong with this picture? We applaud this behavior. He's a hero if he makes mistakes. Oh it's so clearly cloudy in the land of the grey." - Land Of The Grey
"You can't find the answers till you learn to question; you won't appear stupid just ask for direction. You're insecure and it clouds your perception. So stop and listen, and learn a lesson in love without condition." - Without Condition
"Got a stack of books so I could learn how to live; many are left half-read covered by the cobwebs on my shelf. And I've got a list of laws growing longer everyday; if I keep plugging away, maybe one day I'll perfect myself. Oh, but all of my labor seems to be in vain; and all of my laws just cause me more pain; so I fall before you in all of my shame; ready and willing to be changed." - Own Me
Postcards by Cindy Morgan (2006) ~
I'm sure I've mentioned before how much of a fan I've been of Cindy Morgan ever since I was a child. Still to this day, she remains to be one of my very favorite artists, and one that I would venture to say has had the biggest influence on me. "Postcards" was released back in 2006 and was the first cd she had released after a six year hiatus from recording. I purchased it almost instantly, and fell in love with these songs upon first listen. I've been listening to this cd a lot lately. All through February it was a constant in my cd player. There are so many stories and experiences to be shared in these songs. Her singer/songwriter brand of honesty and heart seeping from each song. Even sharing a song about the rocky relationship she has had with her mother in the past. My favorite song is "The River", the lyrics are so powerful. This song is one that you must listen to with your eyes closed, hanging on every note. The sound of the piano and cello, along with her passionate vocal, makes this song heart breaking beautiful. I've always believed Cindy to be one of the best songwriters that music has seen, especially Christian music. And "Postcards" most definitely showcases that honesty and artistry that makes her music so timeless. You cannot help but be inspired and moved by her songs of life, love, pain, God, and redemption.
Stand Out tracks ~
Lyric Excepts ~
"Oh meet me down by the river, let's dive in like children do. And let our trouble wash to the Father. He'll wash you clean and make you new." - The River
"I'm not like them, I'm just like me. I don't fit in, she said so tragically. When I close my eyes I see your arms reaching. And somewhere inside, I hear your voice speaking... Come home, come home. Haven't you fought enough on you own? Don't turn back, you're not the outcast. You're who we have been waiting on to come home." - Come Home
"Crawled through the desert and swam in the ocean. Tried meditation and a few magic potions. Marched at the White house against the attacks. Sent a call out to Buddah but he never called back. And I'm thinking there must be something I have missed. What do you think of all this? If you can't find the answers from anyone else you'll just have to see for yourself" - Postcards
"Hey there, preacher oh you're looking so tanned and trim. Please send money, money, money. What for? Your brand new Mercedes Benz. Salvation for pennies a week. Oh just call and you'll hear Jesus speak, and I'll bet He'll say, Enough!" - Enough
Here's To Hindsight by Tara Leigh Cobble (2006) ~
I just spent the last two days with my nose in this book lol. Tara Leigh Cobble is a singer/songwriter and author in her twenties. She travels all over the U.S performing her songs in churches, colleges, and often in living rooms. In her first book, "Here's To Hindsight", Tara Leigh shares openly and honestly about her life stories. She talks about how she grew up in a strict Christian home and how that shaped her relationship with Christ. The ways she tried to run away from God and how He brought her back around. She shares stories of falling in and out of love, and getting through the heartaches. Finding her calling as a touring musician and the highs and lows that come along with that. This book centers around the idea that sometimes only in hindsight can we truly see what God was doing and how he was working in our lives all along.
I had given this book to a friend of mine a while back and missed it terribly, so about a week ago I ordered it on Amazon. My sister and I were both saying how it feels like your reading the journal of an old friend, and how this is a book that just seems to walk through life with you. You will find yourself picking it up often for a little perspective. With so much honesty, wit, and humor Tara Leigh shares her heart, and in doing so, inspires you to put your trust more fully in Jesus. To know that He sees the big picture even when you do not. To say in the face of trials "Here's to hindsight".
Except from the Back Cover -
"Life would be easier if we could see the road ahead with spotless clarity. But it's not until we look back that the important stuff comes into focus - in my case, I found the evidence of God at every turn. I discovered it in unmet dreams, broken hearts and desperate attempts at contentment. Join me as I retrace that journey. Maybe you'll find God's hand in your story too, quietly creating something beautiful. We'll see it in the end."
Mosaic by Amy Grant (2007) ~
Amy Grant was one of my favorite singers when I was a kid. I listened to her tape "Collection" constantly, and knew just about every song by heart. So I was thrilled when she released her book "Mosaic - Pieces of My Life So Far". In "Mosaic", Amy gives us a peek into the stories that have made her into who she is, and have colored her life with depth and beauty. I seriously learned so much from this book. I have always thought Amy had so much wisdom to be shared. Through out the years, for various reasons - namely her very public divorce, she has been through a fire storm of criticism. But I have always said for the people who judge her to please listen to the words that she speaks. When I was young I remember reading interviews in CCM Magazine and seeing some on tv, and being moved and impacted by the way she spoke honestly about her mistakes, and about the grace God has shown her in the midst of them. I remember thinking I had never heard anyone speak on grace the way she had. She understood it because her life depended on it. And I learned from her. This book is no different. In these essays she speaks with honesty and humor about the lessons she's learned in the everyday mundane as well as in extraordinary moments of life. I love how she can take a seemingly simplistic experience and see the wisdom and knowledge to be garnered from it. Some of my favorite stories are "Moonlight Conversations", "Thistles", "Mothers Day", and "The Brazos River"- in which she talks about being baptized for the first time as an adult. This story brought me to tears, and for the first time made understand what baptism is really all about. "Mosaic" also includes photos, song lyrics, and poetry written by Amy. I loved reading her stories. Amy's charming personality really comes through as she makes you laugh, cry, think, and remember. It makes you take a long look at the story God is writing in your own life. It inspires you to keep your eyes peeled so you can also see the truth and wisdom that is hidden in the pages of your own story.
Excerpt from the Cover ~
"Thanks to writing and remembering, I'm re-inspired to value both the mundane and magical moments. In trying to capture a few memories as best as I can, I give myself the gift of treasuring what has been so far a very full and meaningful life. I hope you will do the same with yours."
"A Man Worth Waiting For - How To Avoid A Bozo" by Jackie Kendall (2008)
Who is writing your love story, you or God? This is a question that is explored in great depth in this book by author, Jackie Kendall. Girls, come on, don't you just love the title? lol When I saw this book the title alone intrigued me and I had to purchase it, and I'm very glad I did. The wisdom and truth that Jackie shares in this book is absolutely priceless. She shares from biblical truths as well as stories, personal and otherwise, how to beware of a Bozo guy. She also explores the story of Ruth and Boaz in the bible, and how women can learn a great deal of what a Godly man is through that story. So in this book "Boaz" becomes the biblical counterpart to the "Bozo" guys. Both are identified and compared in detail. I love how she got real opinions from both guys and girls, some married and some single, about what characteristics a "Man Worth Waiting For" has. We take a good look at what a Godly man is and what he is not. Now I must mention that Jackie is careful to say that no one is perfect, and that a Godly man will also be a flawed man, but that he will be someone who is striving to live his life for Jesus everyday. Jackie said she was inspired to write this book after seeing so many smart Christian woman dating guys who didn't treat them right and guys who did not know the Lord. She believes this is due in part to women being impatient and not believing that a Godly guy is ever coming along, or if he even exists. And guys, don't worry, this book isn't just focused on the flaws of the male gender. Jackie makes sure she identifies behaviors in us women that make us what she calls "Bozo bait". As a single Christian woman I cannot even express how much appreciate the wisdom that women like Jackie Kendall have to share. The truth in this book, if applied to our lives, could save a lot of us girls from bad relationships.
Full of so much truth and wisdom, it's crazy just how much you learn and how much you take away from this book. A book that every girl, single or dating, should read. No, really ladies, run to your nearest bookstore right now and pick it up!!! :)
Excerpt from introduction ~
"I have met thousands of single woman who are very intentional about becoming the best they can be - but they seem to be unsuccessful in finding a man who is striving to be godly. For more than three decades, I have been repeating one phrase so incessantly that it is a wonder that people have not come after me with duct tape. I not only have taught it as a constant theme, but I also have signed countless copies of "Lady In Waiting" with this remark: "Wait for God's best and avoid a Bozo!" Why does a brilliant woman say "I do" to a jerk? How does a woman with two doctorates pick two terrible husbands? How does a woman who's shown exquisite taste and high standards in every area of her life choose a man who will bring her nothing but heartache? I am knee deep in a pool of tears from those women who have chose poor dates and mates. After three decades of listening to thousands of women sharing their heart breaking experience with loser guys, I decided to write about the characteristics of the man who is the opposite."