Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

It's a gorgeous snowy day here in Maryland. Although, if you were one stuck on any of our local highways yesterday evening, you may not agree. As a household of teachers, though, we love a good snowfall... especially when it actually comes to fruition!

Other than playing with Eliana and baking, my other favorite snowy day activity is reading. A few weeks ago, Angie Smith mentioned a book on her blog entitled One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. It turns out, this is also the new book Angie and Jessica Turner are using for the Bloom Book Club at (in)Courage. The tag line for the book is, "a dare to live fully right where you are."

Who doesn't want to do that?

Working full time this year has been hard, and I the subject of the book piqued my interested; so I ordered it. And between yesterday's snow day and being home again today, I am already half way through. I can't put it down. It is truly one of the best books I have read in a long time.

Ann is an incredibly artistic and gifted writer, sharing authentically about her desire to live a full life... a life of gratitude. She incorporates everyday experiences, a thoughtful analysis of scripture, and personal tragedy as she shares what it means to life fully in each moment.

You'll want to order this book. A hard copy... not the electronic version... because you'll want to mark it up. There is so much good stuff in there. So much so, that once I finish it the first time, I think I will need to go back and reread it to be sure I didn't miss anything.

A few nuggets so far...

With an expiration of less than twelve hours, what does Jesus count as all most important? 'And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them...' (Luke 22:19 NIV)... In the original language 'he gave thanks' reads 'eucharisteo...' The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning 'grace...' but it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning 'joy.' (p.31-32).

As long as thanks as possible, then joy is always possible. (p.33)

Referring to Matthew 11, Ann writes, And then what does Jesus do, in the face of apparent failure, when no one responded to His teaching and things didn't work out at all? He lives out eucharisteo. (p.36)

We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. (p.39)

A question that many of us have probably asked at one point, or several...

How in the world, for the sake of my joy, do I learn to use eucharisteo to overcome my one ugly and self-destructive habit of ingratitude... with the saving habit of gratitude-- that would lead me back to deep God-communion. (p.44)

On the next page, Ann accepts a challenge from a friend...

Could I write a list of a thousand things I love? (p.45)

But in this counting of gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life...life-changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time. (p.57)

And so begins Ann's process, a challenge to all of us read this book really, to become people who live a live full of gratitude in all things... for all things.

I'll wrap this up by saying that in no way am I receiving any sort of compensation for mentioning Ann's book here. I simply was made aware of it, became interested, ordered it, and am now engrossed in it ant deeply challenged by it.

It's well worth a read. Several reads, really.

Enjoy...

13 comments:

Sheila said...

Thanks for the reminder to get the book - I've been meaning to do so after I saw it announced for the book club & just got a $20 GC for amazon so yay!

Cecilia said...

I'm reading it too! So far it is excellent.

Cort said...

I just received mine the other day. i can't wait to start reading!

Dani said...

I got it for the book club as well and am enjoying what I have read so far. Thanks for sharing your impressions.

Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Thanks for sharing about this! I ordered the book, and I'm looking forward to digging in and joining with the Bloom girls this time around. Sounds like a wonderful book...and a message I need right now. I have a lot of books to read...so I'm hoping I can keep up! =)

Also....we love a good snow day at my house, too! ;)

Blessings...

iliveinanantbed said...

I finished it yesterday. It turned me inside out--such beauty is painful to witness.

Walking by Faith said...

Hi Stacy...I've followed your blog since you started sharing Isaac's story & I have a prayer request. One of my best friends in the world just had her 3rd baby (finally a girl) 3 weeks ago, but baby Maddie died of SIDS less than 48hrs after birth...they had just gotten home. This has shaken all of us so much, please pray for her! I know you know what she is going through right now. She just started blogging a couple days ago & she said yesterday on the phone that it's helping to write & get all the feelings out. Thank you, Stacy, for you time! Your little girl is soooo cute! luv,heidi
www.mymaddiegrace.blogspot.com

Kristin said...

I have done the same....started reading and can't stop. I now have a notebook on the table by my chair and have started writing my "list" as well as some of my favorite quotes from the book. It is amazing and truly I do start to see the beauty in all things and it is fun to record them...I hope someday my kids will read them and see my true heart!

Ocrakate said...

Sounds like a great book! I think I'll get...the electronic version, and mark it up. You can underline to your hearts content on a Kindle. (And no, I of course do not receive any compensation to talk about Kindles...I just happen to love mine!)

Erin said...

I bought this book two weeks ago and it is life changing! I also highly recommend he Blog "A Holy Experience."

Michal Ann said...

I quickly read it cover to cover. Like you, I'll be re-reading!

Amy von Oven said...

I just found your blog, and I am so sorry for your loss. This May will be my daughters 2nd anniversay of going to be with Jesus. I have never in my life had to lean on my Savior like this before, but what an amazing gift he has given me. I think I am going to need to get this book to. Blessings to you....

Sarah said...

I have heard so many amazing things about this book...I can't wait to read it!