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One Thousand Gifts
By Ann Voskamp
It has probably taken me over a year to read this book! AND it’s been on my book list for 2011, 2012 and it even carried over into 2013! I’ve kept it by my bedside and when I’m in between books I’ve read a chapter or two and have slowly made my way through it.
I’m actually really glad it’s taken me this long to finish it and I think I’m going to do the same all over again. There is so much to be reminded of in this book and it has really helped me to find joy in the everyday tasks and to enjoy every moment of life.
I would love to tell you more about this amazing farmer’s wife in Canada who has 6 kids and homeschools them all as well as keeps a blog with amazing photos and writes a book! Her longer story is amazing and is worth reading just to see the healing and growth God has worked in and through her.
Ann starts to keep a journal or really just a list of things to be thankful for each day. Some are simple and some are deep and life altering. Just taking the time to write down what affects us and how we see God at work in our everyday lives is powerful. It gives us other-worldly eyes.
Reading this book has made me appreciate the crusty banana in my daughters hair after she fed herself lunch. Ordinarily this would frustrate me, especially since she had a bath last night and would be one of the additional aggravations of the day. But I distinctly remember stopping, this particular day, smiling and thanking God that I have a healthy daughter, who has hair, can feed herself and has a big grin on her face. I also have running water and it really is simple to get a wash cloth wet and clean her off! It’s part of a mother’s loving work. Seeing life with these eyes really changes the day!
Some of my favorite quotes of the book include the following:
Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for that God gave…. Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. (page 15)
How often I find myself ungrateful for what life has brought me. I have so much… I have wonderful children, I get to be at home with them, they are healthy, they are active, I’m healthy, I have a husband who works hard to provide for us, he loves us and care for us, and the list could go on. Even with all these wonderful things I can always find something that seems better or a way that my life could be improved.With this next quote – it’s long, but worth the read. It is exactly the trap I find myself falling into…
“From the time the alarm first rings and I stir on our pillows touching, stretched over his bare back and check those relentless hands keeping time on that cock. The time, always the time, I’m an amateur trying to beat time. The six kids rouse. We race. The barn…and hurry. The breakfast… and hurry. The books, the binders… and hurry! In a world addicted to speed, I blur the moments into one unholy smear. I have done it. I do it still. Hands of the clock whip hard. So I push hard and I bark hard and I fall hard and when their wide eyes brim sadness and their chins tremble weak, I am weary and I am the thin clear skin, reflecting their fatigue, about to burst, my eyes glistening their same sheer pain. the hurry makes us hurt.” (page 66)
I hurry and wish away my life. I push my kids to hurry to the next moment through the day instead of enjoying and taking time to just let the day be the day that it is.
“Calm. Haste makes waste. Life is not an emergency. Life is brief and it is fleeting but it is not an emergency….
Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events – but is anything under the sun unexpected to God?” (page 73)
I certainly can’t claim to have learned all that she writes about, but it is such an important thing to think about. Through this year I really want to try and be thankful for all parts of life. Even in the tragedy or the trial or the suffering there are still things to be thankful for.
Have you read this book? or heard of it? Let me know what you think!