I know y’all know the old adage “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.” In the case of One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, I beg to disagree. It’s just as powerful on the inside as it is gorgeous on the outside.
When new neighbor A invited me to join a brand spanking new book club she was organizing, she had me at “Would you like…” You see, I find new neighbor A and her mister S simply fascinating. She’s a loving, patient and practical stay at home momma to three boys. He’s in construction. She’s a doula and an artist, keeps a welcoming home and is a graceful hostess. He’s a hunter and a fisher, somewhat of a wine connoisseur and is the proprietor of his own bbq sauce. They share great faith, strong beliefs and devotion to their family. They are SO fascinating that, after each play date, I’ve thoroughly and extensively relayed stories about them and their brood to Honey, and feel just antsy wanting to really KNOW them. So, back to the book club… new neighbor A assembled a party of eight women that have never met each other, married and single, some mothers some not. She is the only common thread and she chose One Thousand Gifts to bring the group together.
The book is the author’s story of her struggle to live a life, complete with a husband, six children and a farm, fully and completely, filled with grace, thanksgiving and joy. In this struggle, she invites the reader to embrace everyday blessings and gifts with gratitude. As she starts a list of simple blessings that she finds in her own life, birds chirping, a sunset, soapy bubbles in the sink, it begins to powerfully reshape her day from one of deadlines and duties to one that learns to easily find joy in the small things already right in front of her.
So, you know when you start down a path and start to see signs everywhere that it’s the right one for you at that time? This is a very small example, but as I started to read this book, not only did I begin to take note and give thanks for the small things that grace my day, but I also started to see signs that I NEEDED this.
Very early in the book, Ann says that she is sitting in a salon and the lady next to her is reading a book called One Thousand Things to See Before You Die. She wonders if that’s the secret. That taking exotic trips to see interesting things will bring joy to one’s life. But she’s insightful enough to know that we shouldn’t need to GO anywhere to find joy. Rather, we need to look right where we are. So, the day after reading this chapter, I open one of the zillions of strange catalogs I receive in the mail to see that very book, One Thousand Things to See Before You Die, offered for sale under Mother’s Day gift ideas. I couldn’t help but laugh :-)
As I mentioned at the start, the book is so beautiful that I was smitten before I even cracked the cover. Think about it… nests are so meticulously constructed, so strong and powerful and such a protective home to the delicate life within. The eggs are life, birth and renewal, and the beautiful creatures that spring from them are just magically wonderful. Birds and nests are very dear to me – did you gather that? :-) So, this very morning, I noticed a little bird flitting about my front door arrangement. Making a point to really enjoy this “little gift” I found that the beautiful momma bird had nestled her nest right in my arrangement. A sweet little nest with six specked eggs, four blue and two brown, graces my very own front door (which is now off limits.) How marvelous! This simple act of nature brought immeasurable joy to my day.
After I clean up from last night’s supper with Reese’s doppleganger A and her gang and then make my way to a dentist appointment, a lunch play date with dear friend H, a supper delivery to a new momma D (with loads of baby kisses) and a visit with bed-resting bestie S, I’ll sweetly end my day chatting about One Thousand Gifts at book club tonight! So give it a read. It just might bring simple and pure joy to your day.