One Thousand Gifts {a review}

Counting Gifts {and a review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp}

I keep favorite quotes from most of the books I read on index cards and store them by author name. (Yes, I’m one of those who can’t write in her books. There are only a couple of books I’ve ever written in.) For most books, I fill up one or two index cards.

By page 90 of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I had already filled up three cards.

I also put off reading this book. I’m not fully sure why, though I’ve always known it would alter my perspective. I heard Ann give the keynote at She Speaks a few years ago and cried several times during it. I’ve read her blog for a couple of years now. I knew her perspective would wreck my habit.

So it’s taken me a while to read One Thousand Gifts. One Thousand Gifts {a review}

But, now I have.

And I’m glad.

If you’ve read Ann’s blog, you know her writing style is unique. Flowing, image-filled, emotion-rich, thought-provoking, and sometimes breaking what we’re typically taught of “proper” grammar rules. Ann’s voice is consistent, and she writes in a way that nearly every post has at least one or two quotable lines that punch you a bit to wake up your thinking. (Or maybe Ann would prefer I say something calmer, like tap your shoulder and invite you to step in a different direction from your stuck rut of thinking. That works, too.)

Ann describes pieces of her own life journey, filled with tragedy, with beauty, with blessings, with challenges. She describes it to help us all relate and build a head-nodding community of understanding amongst reader and writer (and other readers). She describes it so we know the power of the change of gratitude and eucharisteo.

The way she arrives at profound insights through her daily life, thinking, and learning can be beautiful, logical, and surprising all at the same time. (She describes communion as “celebrating greater gain through great loss” [p. 37], which is one of the best descriptions of communion I’ve read.)

“Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our ‘yes!’ to this grace.” – p. 39, One Thousand Gifts

She discusses pain, lacking joy, the hard struggle of learning to give thanks, the beauty of the challenge, seeing God in all moments, and of needing to trust. I get all of this. And so does she. That’s what helps solidify her ability to inspire. She repeats her conclusions some, but that’s because we all need to hear it again and again and again.

“Giving thanks for one thousand things is ultimately an invitation to slow time down with weight of full attention.” – p. 69, One Thousand Gifts

The book is a very suitable wrap-up to my year of now and introduction to my year of create.

“When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become gift?” – p. 94, One Thousand Gifts

She says the hard things along with the beautiful ones, all from Biblical foundation:

“If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief…atheism.” – p. 148, One Thousand Gifts (and ouch)

“In the midst of what seems a mess, in the tripping up and stumbling of all hopes, Jesus gives thanks…” – p. 37, One Thousand Gifts

I paused on page 44, after reading, “If we thirst, we’ll have to drink. I would have to do something.” I immediately found a small notebook and began my list.

Counting Gifts {and a review of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp}

I won’t share every thing on my list of one thousand (and hopefully more) gifts, but here are the first few I wrote down:

  1. Two giggling children
  2. Baby girl reading a book to her Baby, her brother, and me for “storytime,” saying “c-o-r-n spells corn.”
  3. Big Boy dancing
  4. A husband who works so hard even when he doesn’t feel well
  5. Random hugs from Baby Girl with a sweet, “I love you, Momma!”
  6. Baby Girl hugging her Baby and saying, “It’s alright, Baby.”
  7. Big Boy counting down, “3-2-1-go!”
  8. That Baby Girl’s hair is long enough to tuck behind her ear (and that I get to do that all day)

And counting…

By the way, I filled up 7 index cards of quotes from this book.

“If God doesn’t withhold from us His very own Son, will God withhold anything we need?” – p. 154, One Thousand Gifts

Do you read Ann Voskamp’s blog? How does gratitude affect your day? What’s your favorite verse on gratitude?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Shelton Interactive in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.