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One Thousand Gifts Study Guide: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are Paperback – November 21, 2012
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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About the Author
Ann Voskamp is the wife of one fine, down-to-earth farmer; a book-reading mama to a posse of seven; and the author of the New York Times bestsellers One Thousand Gifts, which has sold more than one million copies and has been translated into more than twenty-one languages, and The Broken Way.
Named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today, Ann knows unspoken brokenness and big country skies and an intimacy with God that touches wounded places. Millions do life with her at her daily photographic online journal, one of the top 10 most widely read Christian sites: www.annvoskamp.com
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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 can see how some readers may not love the writing style. It's very lyrical and poetic in nature, which doesn't suit everyone. Even though I tend to love that type of writing, I did find some of the sentences to have too much run-on, the metaphors a bit overwhelming, when perhaps a single word would have sufficed and held just as much impact. On the whole, though, my soul craves this type of writing, this making of beauty in the mundane of life. I so tire of the "hey, girlfriend, grab yourself a latte, and let me tell you how special you are!" type of books. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those books. I read and get a lot out of them, but there is a sameness about some of them that leave me craving authenticity and creativity.
Ann's words soaked into my parched soul, pointing me to the gospel in a refreshing, soul-stirring way. I've been prompted to start my own one thousand gifts list. So often, we focus on the negative instead of focusing on all of the ways, even the seemingly insignificant ways, that God shows Himself to us. Her admiration of God's creation always leads her back to worship of Him and communion with Him. If there's any reminder I need nearly every moment of every day, it's this one. That it's hard to hold onto joy when gratitude isn't present but resentment is. That gratitude begets joy and more gratitude, and yes, life is hard, but God is still good and joy is still there for the taking because of His goodness.
I highlighted many lines and passages in my Kindle, and I'll definitely be looking for a hard copy of this book for my shelves. I already know it's going to be one I re-read and possibly glean something different at another point in life.
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.