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(Review) One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

Publication Date: January 4, 2011.
Publisher: Zondervan.
Genre: Thanksgiving, reflection, journaling.
Pages: 241.
Source: self-purchase.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.

Kindle copy @ Amazon. 

For a biography of Ann, which includes her Christian beliefs: A Holy Experience. 

Ann's website, which is filled with beautiful photographs, Bible studies, journal writings, and freebie printables: A Holy Experience. 

I waited on purpose to read this book in order to move past the gazillion reviews and critics.
At Amazon, the book has 1,661 reviews, of which 1,317 are 5 star reviews. I read a few of the low score reviews--no comment nor arguing with other reader's opinions.

One Thousand Gifts was on sale at Lifeway early in January for less than $5. I bought a few copies to keep and giveaway as gifts.

Ann Voskamp is a farm wife in the Midwest. She is the mother of six children. People who are not aware of the hard work of being a farm wife or caring for six children might believe Ann lives a "simple" life in the country. They are mistaken. Ann is a busy wife, mother, and partner to a hardworking farmer.
At the encouragement (dare) of a friend, Ann began making a one thousand things to be thankful for list. The list was the preemptive beginnings of the book and devotional that followed.
Ann began by sharing a painful story from her childhood, her sister's death. Ann reflects on this period of her life, primarily its pain, but also how it has led to living a fuller life. Further, a life in eucharisteo.

My Thoughts:
There are several points about the book that you should be aware of before reading.

  • The word eucharisteo is used often. The following links will give you a solid definition of the word: The High Calling and Bible Gateway. Ann uses the word in reference to giving thanks in life, everyday life, both small moments and large moments. 
  • Ann's writing style is wordy. Some readers might define her style as verbose (using more words than necessary.) I love her writing style. I love slow-natured books, not always, but often. When I'm aware the atmosphere of a book is going to be reflective, poetic, deep-thinking, and emotionally moving---I settle down my speed reading eyes. 
  • The book is a journal of sorts. Ann shares her days, the simple details of washing dishes or caring for a sick child. I was reminded of another book: The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. The copy I own was originally my dad's and purchased in 1963. I read this book years ago and might read it again. It's considered a "Catholic" book so there are some people who are afraid of it and will not read it. 
  • Lastly, Ann brings experiences from her past and present, and they are teachable features for the theme of the book: living in eucharisteo. 

I love love love this book. It has meant so much to me to be reminded of living in eucharisteo/thankfulness. I'm still grieving the death of my dad, and my mind if I'm not careful reverts to a pity-party, but when I focus on the things I'm thankful for, no longer am I inward focused but outward focused. Outward focused means I'm thinking on the things of God.

"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:1-2. ESV. 

A favorite quote from the book:
"We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. Because how else do we accept His free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace" Page 39.  


Carol said…
I've been reading this book all year, soaking it up, after it had sat on the shelf for sometime. I didn't think I'd enjoy her writing style & had read some negative reviews (as you mentioned you had!) but I found the book 2nd hand for a couple of dollars and decided to give it a go. Now I've read it for myself, I've been so taken with the heart behind what she's written. My dad died two years ago & my brother a year after him & I still feel the ache. Ann Voscamp's honest & raw thoughts on grief and suffering have helped me somehow.
Annette said…
Thank you Carol for leaving a comment. I appreciate you! I visited your blog and joined it. I see you are signed up for the European Reading Challenge. I have a second blog This blog is where I too signed up again for the European Reading Challenge.
Happy New Year!
Annette said…
My dad also died 2 years ago. We had lived together over 11 years. I was his caregiver. We were best friends. I miss him everyday.