Friday, September 13, 2013

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

I was asked to review this book by the publicist. I feel like I am a bit late here. This book was released some time ago - over two years ago to be exact. What did I miss? The first thing that struck me about this book, before I even got too deep into it, was that Ann Voskamp is trying to find her joy. I have a few homeschool friends who lately make daily facebook posts about finding their daily joy. I assumed it was something they decided to do together. It is fascinating for me to read their posts. Sometimes, they have very hard days and it is difficult to find joy in a day full of messes.

One Thousand Gifts is noted for being a bestseller. I appealed to me as a mother and a woman and a fellow sister in Christ. I do not think it would have the same appeal to my spouse. The writing style is lyrical at some points, being poetic in the way it flows. I like flowery writing, at times, so this was right up my ally. If this type of writing does not appeal to you, it may be a bit cumbersome to read. The writing is like a though process. Sometimes it flows. At other times it rambles. You can tell she wrote what flowed, as her mind meandered. I am okay with this. 
Another aspect of the book is the story that it involves. One Thousand Gifts is a biographical sketch of how Voskamp comes to terms with events in her life that have left her deplete of any gratitude, of any joy. I viewed this as her having to work through the emotional toil of her life and learning to find thankfulness in the simple things and give it the recognition deserved. She expresses how her sister died and other sorrow experienced. Voskamp expresses that when humans become ungrateful this can be a gateway to sin. This book expresses how Voskamp set herself on the road to finding gratitude again and learning how to express it. She begins in a tangible means and challenges herself to list 1000 gifts of the Lord's grace. Her list begins simple at best and is mostly the things of the senses: what she sees, hears, smells that her smile. The Spirit shows up in her list and she begins to find her gratitude when writing her gratitude list. 
Ann Voskamp calls upon the readers of One Thousand Gifts to find joy and gratitude in life as well. She wants her readers to make this transition as well. She wants you each to find your grace, your joy, your happiness, your gratitude in Christ. 
I would encourage each reader to not use this book as a path to Christianity, but as a tribute of one woman's journey...as we all have to find our own unique path. 
On a side note, when I was asked to review this book, I researched it first before I agreed to do so. Some of the reviews I read about this book were positive and some were not so favorable. I did enjoy the book. I can see where some may not. I took this book not as a path guide or a road map for how to do things. I read this book with the intent of having an open view and to make a honest feedback report. I can find inspiration in how Ann works through the trials in her life. I can see where it can make you want to work through your own. I liked her listing approach, because I like to make lists and check things off as they are accomplished. You may not be this kind of person, and that is okay. Although, you can still use this book as an idea launcher to help you put the gratitude back in your life for the things Christ has done for you. 
Before I read this, I already saw the presence of the Lord all around me. I feel Him in the wind and the sunshine's warmth. I see Him in the smiles of my children's faces. I heard Him in the heartbeat of my unborn grandchild. I know His presence in every essence of my life. I see His effect and will in all I have and accomplish. And, alas, despite this, I forget to thank Him at times. How can this be so? 

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