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One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are Hardcover – January 26, 2011
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Ann Voskamp invites us to slow down, to learn how to live the full life of eucharisteo (with grace, thanksgiving, joy) regardless of circumstances. With lovely word pictures inspired by everyday life in her family and on her farm, she writes about her struggle to live joyfully amid sin and sorrow and suffering. (WORLD Magazine)
From the Back Cover
Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. 'How,' Ann wondered, 'do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?'In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. As Ann discovered, when we give thanks, we find ourselves wildly loved by God. In expressing gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we've always wanted---a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. Let Ann's beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to thanksgiving, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living so you are not afraid to die. Come feast at the table of joy.
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Her view, her way of telling what she sees, and her bedrock foundation in Scripture make this a book worth having, even if you don't like her writing style.
I know there are folks who have problems with it. For example, her use of the Scriptural analogy of bride and groom to explain the relationship between Christ and His church, for example, apparently gives some people the heebie-jeebies. (I would encourage them to remember just exactly WHERE she found that picture, to begin with.) Apparently, her finding God's fingerprints in her life on every single surface also undoes some people. I don't know what to say to them, except perhaps they might benefit from reading Brother Laurence's "Practicing the Presence." Perhaps the writing style in that book is more suited to their tastes, and the message is about the same: you find what you look for. Worship isn't singing, it's praising and serving and listening to God--things better done in the minutes of mundane life than in the hour or so most folks spend in church each week.
I read the second chapter and had questions but decided I needed to take my time and absorb what she was writing. The subsequent chapters didn't do anything for me. I found myself wondering what on earth she was talking about. Especially after she quit making her list. I'd heard so many people raving about this book that I wondered what my problem was. I don't get her floaty, lyrical style of writing. Some of the things she said made it feel like she were living and writing in a different century.
I finished the book hoping that there would be a conclusion to her story and that it would all be wrapped up. Instead the last chapter was strange.
I've popped in to read her blog and get the impression that what she has to say could be said in a more concise manner.
I think there is a lot of value in making a list of gifts and I will do that. Apart from that, I do not get the hype.
Perhaps I will offer this in hopes that it is from a helpful place: I practice selah -- that restful space between heartbeats, between words and thoughts where God resides, easily. After reading this book, I so wanted to offer that to her, to sit in the shade of God's love with her and just rest a bit. Ann, your self-care is also thanks and trust. Living in the now requires no words, no striving. All blessings.
“Sometimes you don’t know when you’re taking the first step through a door until you’re already inside.”
“Being in a hurry. Getting to the next thing without fully entering the thing in front of me. I cannot think of a single advantage I've ever gained from being in a hurry. But a thousand broken and missed things, tens of thousands, lie in the wake of all the rushing.... Through all that haste I thought I was making up time. It turns out I was throwing it away.”
“Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control, let go of my own way, let go of my own fears. Let God blow His wind, His trials, oxygen for joy's fire. Leave the hand open and be. Be at peace. Bend the knee and be small and let God give what God chooses to give because He only gives love and whisper a surprised thanks. This is the fuel for joy's flame. Fullness of joy is discovered only in the emptying of will. And I can empty. I can empty because counting His graces has awakened me to how He cherishes me, holds me, passionately values me. I can empty because I am full of His love. I can trust.”