Tag Archives: One Thousand Gifts

Perspective and Gratitude

Think of the grateful, hopeful people you know. Have their lives been easy, or have they learned to rely on God despite their circumstances? It’s tempting to complain about the small stuff when the framework of our lives is rich with blessing. If we do it long enough, though, we don’t see the treasures that are really ours. I wonder if that’s why people keep gratitude journals.

This is something God is nudging me about in my own life. I need to be awake to the wonders of the present and delight in what He gives—and not allow desire for my own way to poison me.

I love how whatever He’s trying to show me will pop up in the strangest places. Here are a few:

§ I’ve recently discovered Louise Penny’s mystery series, set in small-town Quebec, Canada. Wish the language wasn’t so harsh in places, but I have so enjoyed the first two novels and am in queue for the third at the library. For mainstream novels, they treat Scripture and faith with respect. Armand Gamache is a homicide detective. Look at what he says:

“People expect me to be cynical because of my job… but they don’t understand. …I spend my days looking into the last room in the house, the one we keep barred and hidden even from ourselves. The one with all our monsters, fetid and rotting and waiting. My job is to find people who take lives. And to do that I have to find out why. And to do that I have to get into their heads and open that last door. But when I come out again,” he opened his arms in an expansive movement, “the world is suddenly more beautiful, more alive, more lovely than ever. When you see the worst you appreciate the best.” Dead Cold, by Louise Penny. [Headline Publishing Group, 2006, p. 268]

§ I finally had the chance to see the Chronicles of Narnia movie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Near the end, Prince Caspian realizes he’s spent his time regretting what’s been taken from him (his father), instead of embracing what he’s been given—a kingdom to rule. That changes his life.

§ One of this week’s posts at Other Food: Daily Devos includes this quote from Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction:

“We can decide to live in response to the abundance of God and not under the dictatorship of our own poor needs. We can decide to live in the environment of a living God and not our own dying selves. We can decide to centre ourselves in the God who generously gives and not in our own egos which greedily grab.” A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 96-97. [It’s worth reading Violet’s entire post here: Statute Songs]

§ I’ve been hearing Johnny Reid songs on the radio lately—and liking them. The first time I heard him,. NJ Lindquist was teaching at a local writers’ conference and she used one of his songs as an example of story: “Kicking Stones” . Again, it’s about how we choose to react to our circumstances.

§ My copy of Ann Voskamp‘s One Thousand Gifts arrived today. I’m sure it’s going to reinforce the message.

We may not have much control over what happens, but we can choose how to respond. We can choose where to focus. We can, by the grace of God, learn to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV*. Or in the fresh language of The Message we do it by “fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:5, MSG**.

Johnny Reid’s official video for “Kicking Stones.” (2007, Open Road Records) 

*New International Version, ©2010 (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica

**The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

No matter how busy you are, and especially if you’re busy and stressed… find five minutes today to watch this video trailer for Ann Voskamp’s new book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. You will feel better. 

How does one live life well? In the book trailer, Ann Voskamp makes it sound so simple… yet so hard… but attainable. Doesn’t it stir something in you?

The book has just released in the US and won’t be available in Canada until February 1, although apparently the electronic version was available in time for Christmas. Reader response has been huge, and I think it’s because the premise touches a need so deep in our hearts that most of us don’t even recognize it until someone like Ann Voskamp articulates it.

You can read an excerpt of One Thousand Gifts, and refresh your spirit with a visit the community at A Holy Experience. To read more about how a quiet Canadian writer attracted such a large international following, see Emily Wierenga’s article about Ann Voskamp in ChristianWeek.

I had the privilege of attending a blogging workshop Ann taught at Write! Canada in 2010. We came to learn how her A Holy Experience blog gained so much attention, in hopes that we could do the same. Instead, she challenged us to write what God gives us–gives each of us–and to be faithful in delivering that message with excellence, as an act of worship, even if it only reaches one person. None of us went away disappointed. Her words and the example of her attitude inspired us, and a number of new blogs were born that day.

This is a woman with a gentle, authentic spirit and a true heart, and in One Thousand Gifts she’s sharing a message that can make a difference in our lives.  The book is on my must-read list for this year. I’ve already put my name on the list at my local Christian store.

One Thousand Gifts is a Bloom (in)courage book club selection, and the club is offering a limited quantity of free copies to those who need them, plus the opportunity for others to act as sponsors for these books. You need to live in the US to be eligible for a physical book, but Zondervan has made e-books available for international participants. As a bonus feature for all participants, beginning February 6 there will be weekly videos with Ann Voskamp discussing the various chapters of the book.

You can learn more about the book at the Zondervan site, and read Violet Nesdoly’s review of One Thousand Gifts at Blogcritics. And consider accepting Ann’s invitation to “Come join the community taking the dare to LIVE FULLY” at A Holy Experience.