Thursday, November 23, 2017

One Thousand Gifts - Ann Voskamp

One Thousand Gifts
Happy Thanksgiving!! I hope this day finds you with people you love, eating good food, staying warm, and filling your heart with gratitude. In a only slightly contrived coincidence, today's book is all about practicing gratitude on a daily basis. 

Title: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Author: Ann Voskamp
Publication Date: 1/26/2011
Pages: 232
Genre: Faith / Memoir / Nonfiction
How I Found It: I've heard several people recommend it. 
Date Completed: 11/16/17

Summary: After facing some challenging circumstances in her life, Voskamp set out of on a mission to document one thousand gifts in her life. They range from simple to profound. Along the way, the challenge became a way of life. 

What I Thought: Voskamp's writing style was not what I was expecting at all. It is so beautiful and lyrical. She weaves stories in and out of her prose focusing more on the emotional experience of each moment than the plot details. As I was not expecting it, this approach took me a bit to adjust to, but I could not help loving it from the start. You must read expecting poetry, not straight-forward prose.

Voskamp's refrain throughout the book is a celebration of gratitude. In the best and worst moments, she practices turning to gratitude and observes how that intention changes her attitude about everything. It's just a beautiful way to live and it has clear it shaped her. While I found her perspective to be a bit intense at times, I also appreciate the constant reminder to be actively looking for the gifts, rather than dwelling on the negative in our lives.

Look, I get the complaints with this book. Voskamp is celebrating her life and, in the process, there are moments she seems to look down upon any path different from her own. I think if you sat down and talked to Voskamp, she would not come across that way at all in person. But the book can be a bit condescending if you aren't raising six kids on a farm or looking for that lifestyle (I'm not). It's her memoir, but I would have appreciated a few more references about how this practice could work for all sorts of people. And, as beautiful as her writing is, it does become excessively flowery in parts. The continued analogy in the last chapter between gratitude and sex was weird, in my opinion. I get what she was going for, but that was over the top for me. 

This book definitely isn't for everyone. Voskamp's style is just not going to sit well with many. However, her message is universal. We would all do well to incorporate more intentional gratitude into our lives. 

Quotes I Loved:

  • "The Eucharist invites us to give thanks for dying. To participate in His death with our own daily dying and give thanks for it."
  • "It takes a full twenty minutes after your stomach is full for your brain to register satiation. How long does it take your soul to realize that your life is full? The slower the living, the greater the sense of fullness and satisfaction."
  • "Without God's Word as a lens, the world warps."

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Yes, probably
If You Liked This, Try:

A Reduced Review: A beautiful Thanksgiving reminder that gratitude as a daily practice is revolutionary.

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