Book Review: I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard

Imagine

Why read the Book

Good evening everyone!  I am sure that most of my readers have heard the Contemporary Christian song “I can Only Imagine ”  written and sung by one of CCM’s (Contemporary Christian Music) biggest groups MercyMe, and maybe just maybe like me you have seen the movie BUT I’m guessing just maybe you haven’t read the Memoir of Bart Millard.  One might ask why should I read the book if I have already seen the movie.  Well let me tell you honey, the movie really is just a condensed snapshot of Bart’s life. The book has far more details and is a fascinating read.

One of the neatest things about this book is that each chapter is titled after  one of  MercyMe’s songs.  and then a snippet from the song.  Bart then takes the  theme from that song and the scriptural truth behind it and weaves in through the chapter.  You are left stunned seeing just how much his life has impacted the music he writes and we like to sing on the radio.

Bart’s Life

Bart’s life would be defined as difficult.  with an abusive father and a mother who leaves her husband and children behind (though not quite how it was depicted in the movie) it would be  understandable Bart rejected any sort of Faith.  BUT God…..had a much bigger plan for Bart! and just so you don’t think that life was all peaches and cream for that Texas boy once “I Can only Imagine” became a hit, you couldn’t be farther  from the truth.    just keep reading as you learn about the struggles that abuse can have on your life even after the abuse is over.  Then there’s the death of a loved one (not referring to his dad) and the lifelong illness of a child.

Bart skillfully writes a poignant autobiography that has you in stitches one minute and reaching for the tissues the next.   and back to laughing just a minute more.  This is the first review I have struggled to write in a long time, except for this time it’s not that it’s bad.  It is because it is soooooo good!  I know I am breaking how reviews are written BUT. this , this is different.  I struggle in what exactly to share only because I want to share it all, but that my friends would be plagiarism, and quite frankly I like to blog!

I’ve also said before that is so very hard to critique ones life story because it is their God-given story.  BUT there is something to be said about the skill level and talent in  writing ones story.  And just like his music Bart has written this  book with great passion, love and sincerity.  One of the greatest things weaved throughout this book is to see his passion for ministry and to reach others with the gospel of Christ.  * if you bear with me I will share a personal experience with MercyMe that exemplifies just that!- yep I said PERSONAL.

What is “I Can Only Imagine”

“I Can only Imagine” is the MercyMe song that talks about what heaven might be like.  It quickly rose to #1 on the CCM charts and surprisingly made big waves on secular radio as well.  It came from Bart’s Mammaw Millard’s statement about what her son was witnessing in heaven – so not only did Maammaw Millard  name the band, she also named their biggest hit.

This is quite easily the best book I have read this year.  It was so down to earth and real I couldn’t put it down.  I seriously read it in a week….and that’s huge for me!  I walked away feeling like I have been Bart’s friend for years.  That is just the way he writes.  Like it’s a conversation!  I walked away being challenged in my faith and to forgive !

I just wanted to say THANK YOU to Bart for such a real, open and honest peek into his life.  It is refreshing to know you aren’t alone in your struggles and that those struggles and insecurities don’t go away even when everything appears to be “better”. What an amazing testimony of God’s great love!

Another Amazing thing is the two resources at the end of the book.  The first is  a bible study of sorts.  It’s all about our Identity in Christ with verses that go along with each characteristic. And secondly is a run down on the history of the band….a bulleted timeline if you will.    I found it interesting going through the timeline I learned a lot.

Let’s Get Personal

Now on for my personal story with MercyMe.   First off let me just say I have never met any of them in person, but in October of 2017 we were able to go see them in concert.  We had a ball and they put on a FANTASTIC show (HAPPY DANCE-if you don’t know what on earth I’m talking about go to  YouTube and search MercyMe and Happy Dance, you will NOT be sorry!!) .  But as I said before  they seek  to lead people in worship and to have a personal relationship with Christ.   And that was exemplified through a rare action.  I have been to numerous CCM concerts BUT MercyMe s the only band I have ever seen that has put ALL of their CD’s down to just 5$ a CD. including their newest CD Lifer.   They do it for   Every. Single. Concert.  No joke!

It’s no surprise that I’m going to give this book a whopping 5 stars.

Now go get the book and be blown away!

Thanks so much to BookLook Bloggers for providing me with a free copy of this book for reviewing.  They never expect a positive review just my honest opinion and that is AWESOME!

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Hello SUNSHINE!- Happy Homemaker Monday

Happy

Well Hello there!  And Happy Tuesday Morning to you all!  Here is upstate New York it is SUNNY AND WARM!  It’s May 1st!  YAY. The Sunshine is so bright it seriously feels like we have just skipped spring and went right to summer.   I was swamped yesterday with “stuff”. More mental than anything else. So here I am Tuesday! BRING IT ON!

The weather:::.

Ummm did you read my first paragraph. HAHAHA the sunshine. is amazing though.  And I must confess I eellike animals cooped up in the barn all winter,  Let’s just say that when winter is long and gray the sunshine brings the weird and crazy me out!  I’m not even gonna tell you how many times I have been told that in the few short hours since I woke up at 6!!

As I look outside my window:::

Well TECHNICALLY I’m at church so it’s not MY window per se…but hey.  I see a building going up.  That’s right we are in full swing of our building project for the new add on.  If I were in my office/crat room I would see the most amazing sight. A lilac bush with huge buds ready to say HELLO SPRING!

Right now I am::: 

Writing this in our church fellowship hall.  I don’t want to be a distraction to hubby in his office. Next up is catching up on planning.  Last week (Spring Break) was amazing but I am a little behind!

Thinking and pondering:::

about speaking to the ladies of our church on Sunday.  Trying not to et my nerves get the better of me.  I love to speak I have since high school. I was even asked to be on the Forensics team (debate NOT dead bodies). but when you speak in front of people you know instead of complete strangers it has a different element.

On my bedside table:::

diffuser and oils.  books. hand lotion and some rogue jewelry

On my tv::

:nothing

On the menu for this week:::

Monday – pasta

Tuesday – Pork BBQ and Potato Salad

Wednesday – Burgers and Fries

Thursday – Chef Salad with chicken and Feta Cheese

Friday –  Taco Casserole

Saturday – Ladies Luncheon leftovers

Sunday – Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Potatoes

On my to do list:::

It’s the week of the ladies luncheon, what’s not on my to-do list is perhaps the better question.  I have a bunch of paperwork for end of school year stuff.   I have to keep the house in some semblance of order , prepare for Saturday.  bible studies.  Food for Saturday keep four kids alive, fed and make sure homework is DONE.  Im sure I missed a few things but it’s ok.

What I am sewing, crocheting, knitting or creating:::

Still working on the bulletin board for church.  and I have purchased all the fabric for the curtains in my office/craftroom- so now I actually need to make them.  I also have to paint the bare wood and the cabinet ends.We need to get the metal for 2 of the cabinet fronts and stain for the cabinets.  That is my project before the kids are finished with school in 4 weeks.  I also want to paint the downstairs doors in the house.  They need it desperately

My simple pleasure:::

SUNSHINE

Lesson learned the past week:::

taking the moment to just enjoy the simplest of conversations with the munchkins.  It’s the idea of being present in every moment.  That might mean crazy dance parties in the kitchen.  Or giggling over something funny said.  Or crazy antics playing pranks (HMMM). Oh the stories I could tell  of college days gone by.

Looking around the house:::

general pickup.  our weekends are NUTSY to say the least so I always feel like Monday and Tuesday is a huge game of 52 pickup. But I must confess that when the sunshine is actually warming the planet I want to be outside enjoying it.  Such is the life of an adult!

From the camera:::

This munchkin celebrated his 8th birthday over spring break.  And he wanted his sis in the picture!

Prayer List:::

The teenagers in my life. I see a battle going on for their hearts.  I see things that are encouraging and I see  some horribly hard things.  They are like my second set of kids.  And just like when my own kids hurt, I hurt!

Bible verse, Devotional:::

Devotions would be Leviticus 17-22. Yeah I am playing catch up, but that’s ok.  I really struggle through Leviticus and Numbers and I always come out the other side being thankful I have Grace over the Law.

I am also focusing on Esther Chapter 5  in my Bible study as I prepare for Saturday.  I have ALWAYS loved Esther but boy when I get to heaven I have some questions for that girl!  She is amazing!

For more Happy Homemaker Monday Posts Check out Dairy of a Stay at home Mom

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Five Minute Friday- Stuck 4-27-2018

Stuck

STUCK: That is how I would define November to March (So November 2017 to March of 2018) I wish I could pin it down to something in particular that made me feel so stuck-but I can’t.  I felt as though I was just spinning my wheels.  I know many of my Christian friends would have said that I just needed to pray and be in God’s word more, or…..you fill in the blank.  I really wish it had been that simple, but I was already doing the “right” things. In the end I just needed to be persistent.  I came  through that time of feeling stuck.  I learned that sometimes  persistence is the only thing  needed to get unstuck!

for more Five Minute Friday posts Check out Five Minute Friday

Have you ever felt stuck?

How did you get unstuck?

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Bucket Lists, Strange Movie, Finishing What I Started-Random Reflections

lists

This post has been three days in the making! No joke.  I have had this post open and slowly coming up with what to write about. But as we have been talking about things this week we have been talking about a few things over and over and over again.  This  post has been born out of our conversations,.  Conversations about a certain bucket list we have.   We aren’t normal in the terms of bucket lists.  Yes we have places we would love to go  and see and do BUT we have some odd lists. And this week, the conversation has centered around one in particular.  Then this morning I was telling hubby about this strange movie that I listened to.  It was weird. And lastly there is the topic as this week has been a week of finishing things I started last year.  I will go into this a smidge more in another blog post coming this evening.   LET”S JUMP IN!

Bucket Lists.

So yeah I guess you could say we have bucket lists.  Like we would love to continue the Trend  we  started on our honeymoon of visiting presidents homes.  Since we have been married  we have visited  something like 11 or 12 presidents homes.  We have visited the Eisenhower’s estate in Gettysburg. Montpelier, (Madison’t home) Ash Lawn (Monroe’s Home). Mount Vernon ( Washington’s home), Monticello (Jefferson’s home) James Buchanans home.  The home of both Harrison’s, Home of Woodrow Wilson, Abe Lincoln’s Birth home, Andrew Jackson’s home in Nashville and I am sure I have missed some or two !   Not all of those were done on our honeymoon. Lincolns and Jackson’s were done with very small kids on our family vacation in 2009 to Franklin and Nashville Tennessee and Kentucky.

Another odd little bucket list is battlefields centered around the civil war..  We have been to Gettysburg , Antietam, Appomattox Courthouse and the Canton House in Franklin TN.  (out of those Canton house is the CREEPIEST). Even though there aren’t any others on this list to speak o (That we went to see)f we wouldn’t necessarily turn down the opportunity either.  (There is this ongoing threat that the hubby and the oldest man child are going to take me back to Gettysburg to read EVERY. SINGLE. MONUMENT. -if you have been to Gettysburg, you know how serious this could be, we may never make it home again!)

But the bucket list we have been discussing all week is concerts.  After being to our second Newsboys concert in two years and a Mercy Me concert in October,  we are discussing what’s next.    There is one man child who wants to see Mandisa (I’m with him). And there is one Man child who wants to see Toby Mac ( I’m with him). and there is a hubby who wants to see Casting Crowns (I’m with him). HMMMM I think I can’t loose!   I would then add Francesca Battisstelli., Chris Tomlin, Matthew West and Brandon Heath and Jamie Grace.   I’ve been scratching concerts off my list for a LONG time, so these  would. be icing on the cake. (oh and since I just got to see the  Old Sschool  Newsboys- I can now hold out hope for a DC Talk reunion concert ..hint hint hint!!)

Strange Movie

So often times while I am working on house work I will have a movie playing in the background.  Yesterday I pulled up  PUREFLIX and scrolled through some movies.  and I landed on a newly added movie called  THE LIST.   There are actually two movies called this and I had already listened to the other one.   This particular one starts out in colonial times (Remined me a lot of the NATIONAL TREASURE movies. ).   It has Christian themes and  gets really weird.  Basically a young man gets caught up in a secret society/ cult.  And there is spiritual warfare BUT they aren’t really forthcoming with info needed to explain what exactly is going on.  The focus was on Prayer and breaking free from the grip, but from what?  It was just an odd movie, and if you didn’t know what was really being said  ( as in an unbeliever or a baby Chirstian). you would be severely confused!

Finishing What I Started.

In the next blog post (Five Minute Friday ). I will be talking about the one word prompt for today : STUCK.  And that is exactly how I was feeling from November  of 2017 til March of 2018. It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing, I felt like I was dragging a 250 pound weight behind me.  And yes I was completely immersed in play season for two of those months but generally I can still manage life along with the Christmas play for church.  Well just over the last couple of weeks I feel like I have finally had my head come up above the water.  And in the last few weeks I have completed some things I started last year.  Like my One Thousand Gifts Study, The Hebrews Study I had been working though and I finished the Lies Young Women Believe study.  And I am really on track for finishing this years first Study of Esther and completing the study portions of Hello Mornings (my review book from the beginning of the year).

I also want to finish up the women’s leadership video  series that I started last year on Right Now Media.

When these things are all caught up I will begin tackling my rating list for 2018.  Let’s be honest I know it’s not all going to happen AND THAT’S OK.  The point is to grow, not perfection.  But it was really important to me that I finish these things.  I want to be a woman who is known for finishing well.  Finishing well isn’t a time frame either.  It’s not gauged by years but by doing your best with what you have .   This is all part of the reason why I evaluate my goals so often because sometimes goals need to be taken off the list.  It’s just not what can happen in this moment of time.

Well That’s about it for this week!  I hope you  have  have a wonderful weekend.  What are some of your Random Reflections from this week?  Share them in the comments below!

Wordless Wednesday-Who Am I Kidding

Yeah  This isn’t going to be wordless.  I have been doing these posts for a LONG time and I rarelyy if ever manage anything wordless! HAHAHA!  Well all kidding aside today’s post is a sweet one.  We have had a bunch of fun on Spring Break and as I mentioned on Monday we were  going to go to Pennsylvania this week to do Christmas with my parents.  Well when we head south we always try to visit Mimi and Pop pop Hubby’s grandparents, and this trip was no different.  The now live in an assisted living facility about an hour away from my parents and so we try to visit as often as we can.

We even had an extra guest who ran right up to the door depot the fact the kids were standing there!

kidding

Mimi and pop pop are in their mid-90’s and will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary this October!It is a blessing for our children to know and dearly love their great-grandparents.  They certainly have a legacy of Love and faith!