Ann Voskamp is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished young voices writing today. Her book, One Thousand Gifts, is a masterpiece that deserves to be read slowly and thoughtfully. While somewhat of a loose memoir, this book is actually a clarion call to slow down and intentionally savor life. The book came from a time when Ann was journaling daily occurrences of gratitude in the little and big things – the ordinary things – of life. She thought she would accumulate a couple of hundred things to list, but over a time the list grew, and grew, and grew. This wonderful book’s real lesson beyond the importance of gratitude in every circumstance is to learn to slow down, observe and savor the moments of life. We spend so much of our day rushing to accomplish “important” things that we miss life itself.
Ann’s message does not come from a comfortable, untroubled life. She transparently exposes the raw periods of her life which have shaped and molded her outlook. With such credentials, Ann is qualified to advise us on how to find ways to give thanks in both the bad and the good times. Nor is Ann cloistered in her writing room, cut off from the bustle of life. She is a farm wife and a mother of six. Her writing is squeezed in-between the everyday pressures of running a business and a home. Yet she has managed to find beauty and quiet in the midst of a busy life, and time to give thanks in every circumstance.
I believe that Ann has landed on the key to not only living well, but the key to a God-blessed life. Complaining and ingratitude are sins. They are attitudes that we brush off as being “little white sins,” but they are attitudes will keep us from God’s blessing and will for our lives. In fact, the sin of complaining and ingratitude kept God’s Nation wandering in a hot and dry wilderness for forty years. Pretty serious stuff. It is in giving thanks for all things that we find ourselves in the center of God’s will.
The one downfall of One Thousand Gifts is the cover. It looks like a book specifically for women. That is a shame as it is a message that men need to hear as much as women, if not more so. I highly recommend One Thousand Gifts.