1.  I started off with reading GLIMPSES OF GRACE by Gloria Furman.  I started this book months ago and kept putting it down to read something else.  Not because it was bad, but because I'm more of a fan of stories and novels and fiction books.  Anyhow I knew I wanted to finish this and I'm glad that I did.  The way that Gloria finds the everyday life full of God's grace was a breath of fresh air to my weary mom's soul.  I finished this at just the right time and was in the middle of feeling as though all this mundane “mom stuff” wasn't very worthy.  God used Gloria's words to move my heart closer to his.  I highly recommend this to my mommy friends out there that might be in the midst of not feeling as though all they do truly matters. Spoiler alert:  It does.

2.  I finally finished YOU ARE A WRITER by Jeff Goins, which I also had started sometime way back in 2013.  Basically it's a book about making connections, writing tips, and ideas on how to get better at this craft of writing.  If you are looking to enhance your writing, or make more connections, or find some tips on getting published, this would be a good book for you to pick up and read.  It's an easy read and although it took me months, it really could have taken me a few days.

3.  I  downloaded this on my kindle forever ago and let me tell you I loved every single minute of this book.  I read it in two days as I walked on the treadmill at the Y and cried many tears as I walked away New year's Eve's calories! I devoured it as if Angie was sitting next to me sharing her story and the gospel of suffering to me.  I WILL CARRY YOU is not just the story of Angie's loss of her child, but it's about her grief journey and her continued trust in God her Father even though the path she was led on she would have never chosen.  I thought of so many of my friends as they are grieving right now, and was moved closer to the Father because of her journey.  This book reminded me a lot of, Wednesday's Were Pretty Normal, which I read a few years ago.  It was about a family dealing with their sons cancer and I thought I wouldn't relate at all, but I was moved closer to the Father through their journey as well.

4.  I have been wanting to read this one for a while, because I read the first book in the series (Princess) over the summer.  Princess Sultana's Daughters picks up with the royal family and follows Sultana and her daughters through numerous ups and downs in their lives.  I enjoyed this book, but was also ready for it to be over.  I will probably read the third one eventually because you can't just read 2 books in a series and not the last one!  One of the main things that I have enjoyed about these two books is getting a behind the scenes look at the life of a Saudi woman.  My heart was broken numerous times over their lack of worth and appreciation that the men show them in their country.  It's awful.

5.  Restless by Jennie Allen was just what my soul needed to start off 2014.  I love Jennie and knowing her personally makes this book even better because so many times I could literally hear her voice in my head as I read her words.  It's as if she was talking directly to me in this book and I enjoyed it so much.  I wrote about feeling restless in my own life recently, and I suspect that some of you are dealing with this as well – I recommend you check out this book.  I have some big dreams that I keep putting off, and I have a strange feeling that 2014 might be the year I jump towards those dreams.  Recently we had a book release party for Jennie and I was honored to host alongside my friends, Jen, Esther and Jessica.  It was a fabulous night celebrating a friend and her work!


6.  It's no secret that I want to write a book and this summer a friend recommended this book to me.  I loved BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott so very much.  There are now underlined sentences and paragraphs throughout all the pages.  If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, or love to write, or dabble in blogging like me this is a book that you should read.  This is also my first Anne Lamott book and I can't wait to devour anything else she has written.  Anne ends the book with this sentence, “You can't stop a raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and the spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”  That is why I write.  That is why I tell my story.  That is why I blog.  That is why I want to write a book.  We are all in this raging storm together and if I can sing a little hope and encouragement along the way, then it's been worth it.

7.  THE KITCHEN HOUSE by Kathleen Grissom was our book club read for January and I must say that I loved it.  I love a story that spans many years of someones life.  I literally would think about these characters as I went about my day, sometimes believing that I knew them and had genuine concern for their well being.  This book takes place in late 1700 & early 1800 as a white, Irish girl, grows up as part of the help and lives and works in the kitchen house of a tobacco plantation farm.  The book is told through her eyes and the eyes of one of the slaves that also works in the kitchen house.  It's a story of much heart ache and a few triumphs.

What did you read this month?  I'd love to know so that if you loved it I can add it to my GoodReads account to remember to get it sometime.

Here area  few still on my bedside table that I hope to get to this Spring.  I'm almost done with the Blue Bike one, and next I'll head on over to Fresh Wind Fresh Fire, which I read long ago, but am going to read again because it was that good!

TO READ 1:14

Jamie Ivey