Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.
...Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant--a seed--this plants the giant miracle. The miracle of eucharisteo, like the Last Supper, is in the eating of crumbs, the swallowing down one mouthful.  Do not disdain the small.  The whole of the life--even the hard--is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole.  These are new language lessons, and I live them out.  There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things.  It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing.  The moments will add up (p.57).
 One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are is the new book of memoir and meditation by Ann Voskamp of the blog A Holy Experience. This Canadian farm wife and homeschooling mother of six writes beautifully and candidly of the transformation occurring in her life through the intentional practice of gratitude (eucharisteo in the Greek of the New Testament) to God.  Beginning with a dare from a friend to count a thousand things she loved, Ann started noticing more, fearing less, loosening her grip, and falling in love with her Lord.

This practice of thanksgiving did not emerge from a naturally ebullient, optimistic spirit.  Ann shares of the accidental death of her sister when she was four, her battles with agoraphobia and general anxiety, and other griefs and losses in her immediate family.  She began practicing gratitude as a choice to act and speak and notice contrary to her native temperament.  Through the doing came the becoming.  Her sacrifice of thanksgiving encourages me, too, with the possibility of transformation.

Photo from

Having eagerly awaited this book for months, ever since Ann's blog announced its coming, I wanted to devour it whole, in one sitting, when the package arrived on my doorstep.  Once I was able to tear myself away from the beautiful cover image, I found words and stories so richly intense in their beauty that a chapter at a time was the most I could bear.  This book is the verbal equivalent of the packet of handmade chocolate truffles my sister gave me for Christmas: so nuanced and satisfying that a morsel is a feast.

As a reader of Ann's blog, I should have expected as much, but still it surprised me.  For any Crumbles unfamiliar with Ann and her work, let it suffice to say that she is a poet who happens to work in prose and photos.

This is one of the best books of 2011.  Yes, it's only February, but it's one of the best new books I've read in a decade, so this seems a fair prediction.  More than that, it can hardly help but become an instrument in the transformation of those who read and heed it.  In keeping company with Ann through these pages, we might just find ourselves falling more in love with the Savior who loves her.


  1. I'm so excited to fully read this book! I've perused it. . . but obviously that's not enough. This week I plan to savor the words. Enjoyed your review.

  2. @Tea Girl It's probably one that will benefit from multiple readings. Thanks for stopping by again and for your feedback. I'm glad I haven't scared you off yet. :)

    Grace and peace to you in Jesus!

  3. Oh, how lovely. I am going to have to grab a copy and read it! Thank you for sharing this!

  4. @songskatesang You're welcome! I pray you find in it the grace and blessing you need when you read it.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.