Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One Thousand Gifts - a review (Nesdoly)

Title: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
Author: Ann Voskamp
Publisher: Zondervan, February 2011, available in hardcover and Kindle editions
• ISBN-10: 0310321913
• ISBN-13: 978-0310321910
“They say memory jolts awake with trauma’s electricity. That would be the year I turned four. The year when blood pooled and my sister died and I, all of us, snapped shut to grace” (Kindle location 45).

In this early paragraph from One Thousand Gifts author Ann Voskamp relates her first memory – a tragic accident that overshadowed much of her life. Then she whisks us forward to her adult self, the wife of an Ontario farmer, a mother of six, and a fearful woman on a quest to understand and trust a God who would allow a baby to be snatched from her family.

Through vignettes from her life she takes us with her on the journey. It begins when she discovers the Greek word eucharisteo which embodies "giving thanks," "grace," and "joy." At about the same time a friend challenges her to list one thousand things for which she is thankful. She begins keeping a gratitude journal.

Along the way we rush to the ER with her and her son the day he mangles his hand, overhear her dealing with a hurting child, and feel her toe-clenching fear as hog prices plummet. Intertwined through these and other stories is what she learns about God and trust, fear, beauty, humility, service, and more.

Voskamp’s openness and vulnerability are moving. She buttresses her vivid storytelling and poetic prose with quotes from sources as varied as St. Augustine and John Piper. The rich text begs to be read slowly and savoured.

One Thousand Gifts is a powerful and convincing apologetic for thankfulness. It illustrates how the practice of gratitude can morph from a mere exercise of accumulating items on a list to a trusting, joyful lifestyle.

Ann Voskamp is a member of The Word Guild and blogs at A Holy Experience.

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly
This review was first published in the March/April 2011 issue of Faith Today.


Marcia said...

Can't wait to read this. It's on my 'next to buy' list. Thanks for the review, Vi. :)Marcia

Peter Black said...

A fine review Violet. Thank you for including the tragic early-life trauma that evidently played a significant role in Ann's life-journey of faith and to her living in gratitude.

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