Friday, January 3, 2014

First Friday Book Review - One Thousand Gifts

Title and Author: One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp

Release Date: January 2011

Page Length: 240 pages

How I got the Book:

Find OnlineGoodreads Amazon

Description: "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 the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long---and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?'

In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God's gifts. It's only in this expressing of 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. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved --- by God."

My Thoughts:
Wow, if I thought last month's book (The Resolution) was a challenge, One Thousand Gifts definitely packs a punch! I cried reading chapter one. My heart was racing, tears streaming down.. definitely impactful! 

After diving off the cliff for chapter one, we get into the author's story and journey as she discovers "eucharisteo". 

"I thumb, run my finger across the pages of the heavy and thick books bound. I read it slowly. In the original language, 'he gave thanks' reads 'eucharisteo'
The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning 'grace'. Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. 
Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds is derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning 'joy.'

Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo."

Ann's book centers around the ideas of grace, thanksgiving, and joy (the eucharisteo explained above). While her writing style is definitely unique, it made me feel like I was privilege to all of her thoughts through her journey. 

One surprising thing I found was the theme of death in this book. It starts off that way in chapter one (sorry spoiler!), and is laced throughout the chapters. Most writers won't go there. Even I had raw emotions and reactions to revisiting the theme of death while also thinking of eucharisteo (thankfulness). 

Why One Thousand?

Ann guides us through her personal journey writing down one thousand things she loves. 

"...just the common things and maybe I don't even know they are gifts really until I write them down and that is really what they look like. Gifts He bestows. This writing it down - it is sort of like... unwrapping love."

As we read the book, she keeps sharing her list all the way up to 1,000. Once she reaches that goal, we begin to realize that there should be no end to listing out the gifts God gives us and that we are thankful for. Once you get to 1,000 you tend to be seeing God's gifts in your life without prompting and without the need to write down. 

One Last Thought: 

One thing that really struck me in this book was the idea of time and thanksgiving. When I give thanks, I slow down to life's pace. Do you ever feel like you are just ahead of time? Rushing through months or weeks of time? Ready for the next thing. Here's what Ann says to combat it.. 

"I redeem time from neglect and apathy and inattentiveness when I swell with thanks and weigh the moment down and it's giving thanks to God for this moment that multiplies the moments, time made enough. 

I am thank-full. I am time-full."


Very good read! Take your time and read only one chapter at a time. They are meaty chapters that will get you thinking! If you can work through Ann's writing style, I promise you, you'll be blessed by this book!

In some ways I feel like I've only experienced a part of what Ann challenges and calls us to do. I know I will read this book more than once in my life. The second time, I'd like to work through the devotional journal. I think I'd also like to spend time diving into Ann's blog at A Holy Experience. Looks like she's got both encouraging and challenging material !

As a side note, for those wanting to document your 1,000 gifts using photos, download the One Thousand Gifts app! It's free and simple to use!

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