Did you ever read a book that changed your life? Those are the best kind. They can be fiction or non-fiction. It could be a self-help type book or something that draws you closer in relationship to others. I've known people who have read comic books or cookbooks or even wordless books and spoken about the wonder it did them.
I'm reading a book I'd put in that category now.
I was going to wait and write a blog about the book once I finished, but I'm finding that I just don't think I can wait that long! This book isn't a "sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-and-finish-in-one-sitting" type of book. It's one of those books you have to put down frequently and ponder what the author is telling you and how it applies to your life.
The book is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The tagline on the book reads: "A dare to live fully right where you are."
Honestly, I was hooked before even opening the book (or in my case, downloading it. Have I mentioned how much I love the Kindle app?!?!)
I downloaded and read the first few pages, but then life grabbed hold and I forgot about it pretty quickly. With school wrapping up and doctor's appointments galore, I didn't have time to breathe, much less read.
*Disclaimer: this is where this blog gets a bit sappy + talks about religion. If you aren't one for sappiness or religion, read it anyway. It'll still apply to you!*
Then, two weeks ago, we were sitting in church. Our new chaplain, in one of his first messages to his new congregation, spoke on thanksgiving. Not the holiday, but a lifestyle of giving thanks. He talked about the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus as he walked toward Jerusalem. Only one stopped to thank him for this healing. I got to thinking that I have been living in a state of discontent. I don't actively think about all the little things I'm grateful for on a daily basis, and that's exactly what the author of this book is calling herself (and her readers) to do.
The moment we got home, I pulled out the ol' iPad and began reading, knowing this book had been waiting for me.
My favorite quote from the book so far reads, I have lived pain, and my life can tell: I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light dappled through leaves and the heavy perfume of wild roses in early July and the song of crickets on humid nights and the rivers that run and the stars that rise and the rain that falls and all the good things that a good God gives. Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn't rescue the suffering. The converse does.
The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring the fullest Light to all the world.
It was in that moment I knew I was hooked. I want to wake up in the morning, refreshed and thankful for all the little (and big) things that make up this life I am living. So I've decided to start my own list of things I'm grateful for, my own 1,000 gifts. I want to share this list with my small corner of the world, and so instead of using a journal to write it out, I'll be capturing one item after another with my camera.
Feel free to follow along or join in (and be sure to let me know if you do)! I'll be posting them on instagram and will try to keep up with posting them each week on this blog as well. My instagram user name is kari_f and I'll be using hashtag #1000gifts. I'd love to hear about what you are thankful for as well, so feel free to post them here (or share them with me on instagram!)