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!

Leave a comment

Book Review: Hello Mornings by Kat Lee

Hello  Mornings

About The Book

In Hello Mornings Kat Lee takes her years of knowledge and understanding of what it means to have a  purposeful morning routine.  She takes her years of experience and  writes from her passion about what it means to truly have a successful morning routine.  She begins with the importance of having a morning routine.  One of the most intriguing concepts in this morning routine  presented  by Kat Lee is the idea of a 3-minute morning..    Each morning you spend just one minute on each of three areas.

  1. God Time
  2. Plan Time
  3. Move Time

Each of these 3 areas are broken down in the simplest of tasks.  In God Time you read and meditate on one verse.  In plan time you review your calendar, and in move  time you start off drinking water.  The whole point is to set the routine, making it a bit.  As you get comfortable in the routine you grow your various times.  The beauty of this is when you come to a point of stress, change or sickness you won’t just give up where you are you can just simply go back to that simple three minute morning routine and not feel like you have completely failed.  Kat then goes on to explain the growing of each of these areas.  She gives ample ideas on how to grow each one without it seeming like she is forcing you into her way.  The whole concept really is about discovering what s right for you!

The last four chapters are a toolkit as she Labels it in section 3.  In these chapters she talks about building habits, the power of preparation , Community and accountability and Her call to action.

My Response

Wish I could sit here and tell you how easy of a book this is.  But it’s not.  It’s a good book.  It is a powerful book because it holds some powerful truths.  I wish someone had given me permission years ago to have a 3 minute morning routine.  It has empowered me to go back to square one and to lay a foundation that once upon a time I had, but as I became a mom, and joined my husband in full time ministry, I have  fallen short of where I really needed to be and honestly at times I have just plain and simple given up because Life has gotten too crazy or too hard and I can no longer keep all those hoops spinning.   I have now come to a place where I don’t have to drop these three hoops.  The most important hoops.  This book has opened my eyes to a new way of looking at my mornings.  yes I know I am a morning person already but this simple way of looking at mornings is even a do-able morning routine for the night owls  I call friends and family.

Yes it’s a hard book. AND yes it is worth your time.  Another amazing facet of this book is you don’t have to get through the WHOLE book in order to put these principles into practice.  You can get that three minute morning implemented ASAP!  It builds momentum and you will find yourself having more confidence as you move forward through this book.  Needless to say ( as if you couldn’t already tell.) I highly recommend this book.  I give it five stars.  AND will you join me as I say HELLO MORNINGS?

A huge Thank you to BookLoook Bloggers for Providing me with the free copy of this book for review purposes And an even bigger thank you for letting me review these books as I see fit!

Book Review :Boundaries ByDr. Henry Cloud &Dr. John Townsend

Boundaries

( writer’s note:  if you are looking for a comparison of the two boundaries books and how they are similar/ different I’m sorry this is NOT the blog post for you.  I hav not read the previous editions so I cannot fully compare other than to basically say what you can already see on the cover….”Updated and expanded for the digital age”

Chapter 1- (Don’t Worry I’m not going to go chapter by chapter-  but seriously we NEED to discuss this one in a little more depth).  Chpter 1 is a day in the Boundaeryless life.  It follows Sherrie around in all the ins and outs of her CRAZY life.  Sherrie can’t say NO.  Sherrie is a doormat for anyone and everyone can walk on.  She exemplifies what most people struggle with.    This book then proceeds to take you through some of the most logically written, helpful material.  Chapter 1 Hits you hard with the reality  that we all have Sherrie within us..  At various points in each of our lives we all struggle with our inner Sherrie.  WE CAN ALL IDENTIFY!

The first section of this book focuses on what boundaries actually are, how they are developed and common myths about boundaries (just to name a few).  The second section deals with boundary conflicts, specifically with family, friends,spouse, children, work digital age and God.    And section 3 deals developing healthy Boundaries focusing on  resistance to boundaries and how to measure success with Boundaries and comes full circle in Chapter 17 with A Day in the Life with Boundaries.  This is where Sherrie has learned how to set boundaries and is a new person because of them. She enjoys life rather than dreading it!

I must confess as I journeyed through this book I had a few favorite chapters.  Chapter 5- the 10 Laws of Boundaries is first-  this chapter for me was pivotal as I began to see boundaries  in a different light.  Really I already use and apply these laws in my life and with our children but this made more sense!

  1. The law of sowing and reaping
  2. The law of responsibility
  3. The law of power
  4. The law of respect
  5. The law of motivation
  6. The law of evaluation
  7. The Law of proactivity
  8. the law of envy
  9. the law of activity
  10. the law of exposure

As I read through these sections I became keenly aware that there are natural laws that play into our everyday lives.  These things impressed me that God has set them in place for a reason and I need to utilize them for all they are worth!

Chapter 13-  Boundaries and Yourself-  ALL I CA SAY IS YIKES!!!  This is one of the most challenging chapters.   We can  set boundaries on others but when it comes to ourselves it’s easy to make excues.  Some of the topics the authors touch on is food, money, time, task completion words, sexuality, and substance abuse.  I can tell you for me task completion and time are my biggest struggles. and  as I have read this book I have a new game plan for change and to get better.

Chapter 16- How to measure success with Boundaries.  I’m a goal setter by nature sohis struck a deep resounding chord with me.  I measure goal every single week.  I evaluate and re-evaluate.  It drives me absolutely batty when someone writes about a process but then you have no way to evaluate  whether or not you are progressing.  THIS CHAPTER. WAS A HUGE PLUS.  The authors give you 11 steps of progression….This is NOT a checklist!   This is a Eans of measurement.  This is huge for me and maybe one of the greatest reasons this book is so incredibly helpful!

It was also incredibly helpful to read chapter 18 as Sherrie has found  joy in life (who wouldn’t love  that!)

So my thoughts:  This book was HARD and CHALLENGING!

and yet it is so helpful.  It helps me, not only in my own personal life BUT it helps me as I mentor women,.  It helps me raise my children, and it helps me grow closer to God.

But I have two concerns: 1). I don’t appreciate books that change  translations of the Bible to fit their purposes.  I get what they are trying to do BUT it confuses people.  We need to be careful not to try to fit Bible passages into what we want to say BUT we need to  take God’s word and write from that.  We call that playing hermeneutical gymnastics with the text.  when we change and bend and mold the Bible to fit what we are trying to say.

2). Is not really complaint but a desire.  I desire that in some these books that they might include some chapters that are helpful for this in full time ministry.  It’s not a downfall to the book just a personal wish I guess.

other than that I must say I really enjoyed the book and give it 4.5 stars out of 5.  You Can check out Boundaries on Amazon by clicking here.

A age thank you to BookLoook Bloggers for the free copy for review. with no expectation of positive review.    It has been a real pleasure working with you for the last few years!  This blog post does not contain any affiliate links!

Book Review : NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible Large Print

Book Review

Beautiful Words

The NIV Beautiful Words Coloring Bible  -Large Print  edition is published by Zondervan and has hundreds of scriptures for you to color.  It contains Artwork by 7 different artists.

Artists Include

  • Kerri Charlton
  • Jasmine Jones
  • Micah Kandros
  • Angela Reiss
  • Jay and Kristi Smith
  • Tiffany Zajas

There is an index in the back of the Bible that lists out under each artist the page numbers that include that specie artist’s Handiwork.

The book description claims

 “this Bible’s thick white paper with lightly ruled lines in the extra-wide margins provides ample space for your own artistic expressions and journaling.”

Te outside Cover is a cloth, sewn hardcover and comse in a beautiful cardboard box.  That leaves the navy blue cloth spine exposed.

Outside of what I have already described.  It is a normal Bible with coloring pages included.  I had a lot of fun with this book review.  It took some time and I made it into an experiment seeing just what new tools I could use in it.  NOW I have a confession before any further.  I had preconceived Notions about such Bibles and when I saw this one come available I was eager to kind of rip it apart…NOT literally though.  I had the idea that they were basically a one time use Bible.  What do you do with it when you have completed all the pages?  Do people actually read the text next to it?  Because let’s be realistic when I buy a Bible I want God’s word not fancy-ness next to it.  SOOOO all of that being said we are going to go through this baby and I will give you the break down according to the basic elements.

The Beautiful Cardboard Sleeve

Now I know toy are thinking Im nuts for even including this BUT. This is HUGE.  It is a tough box and it handled traveling to and from camp being shoved in a bag multiple times AND it serves a HUGE purpose, It helps to keep the light colored fabric CLEAN!  With four kiddos and a veritable zoo in my house it would not take very long to ruin the cover of this Bible.  So even after two months the cloth cover is still clean and Beautiful!

The Cloth Hardcover

Beautiful

The cloth, sewn cover is a lovely watercolor floral pattern with as I said before a Navy Cloth spine with white Script lettering. It is gorgeous but since it is so light I was constantly worried about it getting dirty.  So that cardboard cover did a Dandy job protecting the light cover. I would recommend storing it in it for protective purposes

The Paper

This is where things take a turn downhill.  The publisher claims thicker paper and I will grant them that it is thicker than most Bible pages.  However, there is quite a pit of shadowing by it’s very own ink without Clorox or pen ever being added. so much so that the faint gray journaling lines are hard to see if they happened to be opposite a thicker lined drawing.

Beautiful;

So I ran tests on the pages using various mediums

  • Colored pencils
  • gel pens
  • water color
  • regular graphite percils
  • Micron pens
  • G2 pens in .7 and 1.0
  • a regular old ball point pen
  • Markers
  • a Highlighter
  • a flair pen

and here is what I discovered….

every single one of them including the standard graphite pencil had shadowing opposite side of the paper.

Markers, watercolor and gel pens had moderate to sever bleed through.

AND if you used pencil with medium pressure you would get indentation as far back as 6 pages.  I did not use heavy pressure as I was afraid of  tearing the paper.

The Artwork

I loved the artwork.  It is pretty much all gorgeous, though I will say that if you are marketing a large print Bible you are trying to hit an audience with vision difficulties.  And some of the pictures have SUPER tiny spaces and gray lines versus some of the more dark lined artwork.  .  Now all of that being said I have a friend who owns the original smaller version of this Bible and we compared the two.  It is considerably bigger and darker.  so that really earned extra points

beautiful         

Overall

This Bible is beautiful

and I would recommend it.  I just would change (if possible)  the paper quality and the issues with marketing it as large print .  So for that I give it 4 art palettes out of 5!!

And a GREAT BIG THANK YOU  to BookLook Bloggers for give me a copy of this book to  review with no strings attached

Book Review : The Turquoise Table by Kristin Schell

TurquoiseFirst things first, ARE YOU A FRONT YARD PERSON? That is the question you will need to answer as you read Kristin Schell’s book The Turquoise Table.  In the Turquoise Table Kristin takes us on her journey to build community in her Texas town.  She chronicles he ups and downs  of being front yard people  as they began doing every day tasks at the turquoise table.  She gives practical advice on how to stock a simple basket to grab and go as you go to sit at the turquoise table , like crayons, coloring books, a can of mixed nuts, plastic cups and a water pitcher.  BUT Kristin ALSO includes family tested recipes at the end of each chapter !!  The chapters are short and sweet.  They get right to the point and there are many testimonials of others as they have embarked on their turquoise table journeys.  It was an easy and encouraging read that really makes the reader feel as though you can accomplish what is a seemingly scary risk, but with ease Kirstin melts away fears and doubts!

I  had heard about the turquoise table movement through blogging friends over the last few years but I had not been to Kristin’s Blog   or read anything official concerning the concept.  And even though I had never read anything by her I had decided that my carpenter hubby was going to make some picnic tables for our outdoor space, I new one of them would bee painted TURQUOISE!!!!

When I saw I had the option to review Kristin’s Book I knew I just had to and it did NOT disappoint.  I couldn’t stop reading!!!  Each chapter addressed different ares the Turquoise table touched in her life…even the table wearing out…WHILE SHE SAT ON IT!!!   Did I mention she was on camera as it happened?  SOOOO FUNNY!  The turquoise table has changed her, her family, her community, TEXAS and many around the world…no I am NOT kidding!!!   Being a front yard person may not be my personality type, BUT Im certainly going to give it a whirl!!!

This is definitely 5 star rating plus some!

Thanks BookLook Bloogers for giving me a free copy of this book to review and not expecting anything in return!