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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One Thousand Gifts: Book Review

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

Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, takes us through her personal voyage into discovering the path to experiencing the fullness of joy and peace that only God can bring us in our lives.  Having experienced a tragic childhood event that carved grooves of pain deep within her subconscious, it's aftershocks manifesting itself in adolescence and adulthood through the form of nearly deabhilitatiing anxiety and panic attacks, she decides to accept a dare from a friend that would cause her life to change forever. The dare? To write a list of one thousand blessings. One thousand gifts that she discovered through her ordinary moments of life that reveal the love of God and His glory. 

She experiences the power and transformation that goes along with the process of identifying the presence and manifestation of God's glory in the details of life that are often overlooked.

"All I can see, think, is that my whim writing of one thousand gratitudes, the naming of the moments-this is a holy work...Naming is to know a thing's function in the cosmos-to name is to solve mystery. In naming that which is right before me, that which I'd otherwise miss, the invisible becomes visible. The space that spans my inner emptiness fills in the naming. I name. And I know the face I face. God's! God is in the details; God is in the moment. God is in all that blurs by in a life-even hurts in a life."        p. 54

The greatest lesson that Voskamp learns in developing an  awareness of the blessings that abound in life is that of thankfulness-eucharisteo. She comes to the conclusion that the dare of listing one thousand blessings is "language lessons in eucharisteo". "Thanks is what multiplies the joy and makes any life large", Voskamp writes, " Learn how to be thankful-whether empty or full."  Throughout the book she is reminded of a revelation she learns early on, that "eucharisteo precedes the miracle". When we thank God for the things in our life, no matter how antithetical they may seem to be to peace and joy, an amazing thing happens; a miracle. The fruit of peace and joy are born amidst situations and circumstances where it would seem initially impossible to feel anything but darkness.  We can choose joy by first becoming thankful, which in turn, conceives joy.

" While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving."
           p. 176

Voskamp is not afraid to tackle the deep theological questions that believers can oftentimes wrestle with: the existence of pain and suffering that is so prevalent in the world.  She probes such areas with a delicate grace as she draws out the positive from the pain and misery. She finds the taste of honey that is God's glory amidst the bitterness of life.

Voskamp, being a homeschooling mother of six, certainly appeals to readers who are mothers themselves and seek to find God's voice within the pandemonium and chaos of little feet and hands continually stirring about. Her book, though, is applicable to any reader who has sought to discover the presence and reality of God through life's ordinary moments.

She displays a writing style of her own that is unique and intriguing and often flows in a stream-of-consciousness-type format.  This book is a refreshing read and even if you don't decide to make your own list of "one thousand gifts" you will no doubt finish this book with a greater awareness of the blessings that surround you and a new sense of gratitude for the great love of God.

Any thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Please leave them in the comments section! 


  1. When i adopted an attitude of thankfullness it proved an exceptional way of renewing my mind. Supported by a unquestioning belief in God it no doubts multiplies its effectiveness 100 fold.

  2. Hi Jessica -

    Sometimes it is difficult for people to be grateful when life overwhelms us with troubles. Nonetheless, this is the time to be most gratuitous. It not only works, it helps to set our sights upon the fact that there in nothing that cannot be resolved through prayers of thanks and homage to our Creator. :)

  3. You have certainly made me want to read this book! And I wholeheartedly agree that we must be thankful in all circumstances.

  4. Thank u for sharing this with us Jessica..will certainly read it..and coming from you,it has to be something special.

  5. I loved it too! thanks for sharing your thoughts. You can read my review at http://jeremiahsniece.blogspot.com/2011/05/one-thousand-gifts.html and what is happening as the 'aftermath' of reading it http://jeremiahsniece.blogspot.com/2011/06/miracle-in-there.html
    I hope those links work :)

  6. There are so many points to ponder here Jessica... but at the moment, I'd focus on, "God is in the details"... There are many moments of grace that have filled my lovelife with the Lord... my spiritual father loves to call them crisis because they are moments of growth...

    I might not have read the spiritual books you suggest reading... God leads me to feed my spirit with others as well... but thank you for your sharing because I am spiritually fed everytime I visit your page.

    I'd also like to commend you for posting Bible verses every moment you could...it's like praying the whole time and being in touch with God's Words because we are almost always in FB....

    loved this...the Lord calls me to be grateful for every details of my life...

  7. I once fell victim to my past and felt that God wouldn't let bad things happen to good people. Why me?

    I finally realized that the past experiences help shape me into the wonderful being that I am and that I am not held hostage by the broken record thoughts that kept running through my head.

    I let God in and embraced the loving arms, and let go. It was awesome because I didn't fall, I stumbled a bit. Just gotta have Faith!

  8. I like your topic. I realize about your topic everything is positive what every will come in your life. Don't loose your confidence. God give some good life.so believe to god.

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  9. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments!

    Jo...I visited your blog and commented on your review. It was wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Melissa, I am blessed to know that you are encouraged by the verses I post on this blog's fb page. I love His Word so much and it's my desire to share those verses daily that He impresses upon my spirit to.

    Charlie...so true! It can be a difficult thing...but having gratitude in those difficult moments reverses everything and puts things in a proper perspective..thank you for sharing your thoughts :)

    Martha..I am glad you are inspired to read the book..I highly recommend it! :)

    Thanks again everyone, I am blessed that you take the time to read and comment.

  10. I am in the process of starting a ministry in our church for the mentally ill and their families. Gratitude in everyday moments and difficult times will be one of the keys in our principles of recovery, and this is a book I definitely want to read. Thank you for sharing and please keep our new support group in your prayers!

  11. Kimly, thank you so much...I'm so glad this review has inspired you to read Voskamp's book. I think you will really enjoy it and it would be a great asset to any program. Voskamp herself suffered from anxiety and panic disorders before her journey into discovering gratitude in her everyday moments began.

  12. Jessica, this is a fabulous review. You're an amazing writer. I intend to purchase Ann's book and hunker down for a refreshing dip in gratitude. I can't wait.