I touched on this book a bit earlier this month, but wanted to write an official book review now that I'm all finished reading.
Let me start by saying this is absolutely one of my new favorite books—one that touched me to the core, and that I will read over and over again through the years. Ann has such a poetic voice that comes through in her writing and has a way of captivating your imagination. She creates imagery with every word and sentence, and has a way of making every day chores sound like a beautiful song. Every time I put down the book I couldn't wait until the next opportunity I had to read it again.
In a word, this book is about thankfulness. It's something so simple, yet underrated and undervalued. Through each chapter and story, she digs deeper into the necessity of all Christ-followers to cultivate grateful hearts. It's funny how God creates themes for different seasons in our lives—how he puts an idea or concept into our minds, and continues to make us aware of it everywhere. For me right now, that theme is gratitude, and it all began with this book.
As a personal challenge, I have started keeping my own lists of one thousand gifts—recording the little bits of life that I often take for granted, like the way the sun peeks through the trees as it's setting or the warmth of my littlest monster when he curls up and snuggles with me on the couch.
Here are some of my favorite excerpts of the book to entice you to start reading it ASAP (emphasis added)...
"Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace."
"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?"
"Haste makes waste. Life is not an emergency. Life is brief and it is fleeting but it is not an emergency. I pick up a coat and thank God for the arms that can do it. Emergencies are sudden, unexpected events—but is anything under the sun unexpected to God?"
"God is always good and I am always loved."
"Is worship why I’ve run for the moon? Not for lunar worship, but for True Beauty worship, worship of Creator Beauty Himself. God is present in all the moments, but I do not deify the wind in the pines, the snow falling on hemlocks, the moon over harvested wheat. Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things. I know it here kneeling, the twilight so still: nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking glass of nature."
"All gratitude is ultimately gratitude for Christ, all remembering a remembrance of Him. For in Him all things were created, are sustained, have their being. Thus Christ is all there is to give thanks for; Christ is all there is to remember. To know how we can count on God, we count graces, but ultimately there is really only One."
I hope some of these exerts resonated with you. There were moments when I couldn't read the book any longer, I had to grab a piece of paper and start jotting down moments of my own. . .blessings happenning all around me that I never saw before. Things that I took for granted everyday, but challenged myself to never take for granted again. I resolved to see the world differently. To see each and every thing as a demonstration of how much God loves me. It's totally changed my perspective. I've learned that when you are constantly searching for something to thank God for, you just BECOME thankful. It becomes a habit. Almost second nature. I've kept a journal since starting this book of all of life's little moments that have brought me to tears in gratitude towards God. I thought I would share some of my own:
The sound of crickets chirping at dusk
Sunsets with pinks and purples and yellows splashing the sky
Affectionate kisses on the forehead
Songs that bring that lump in my throat in remembrance
Giggles and splashing sounds coming from the bathroom as BC bathes the boys
Listening to Stinker have imaginary conversations with his action figures
Toddlers pronouncing words wrong, yet so adorably
Running without abandon down the sidewalk, wind blowing across my face
The way I can make my husband laugh deep and out loud at my silliness
Knowing every little tickle spot on my sweet boys
Lying on the driveway after dark, staring at the stars
Little boys flying around the living room in superman capes
The aroma of coffee brewing as I'm still trying to wake-up
Seeing scripture with "fresh" eyes
Blankets warm out of the dryer
Toddler smiles, stained by fresh watermelon on a summer day
Praying over my boys at bedtime with BC
Characters in books that become as close as friends
Butterflies dancing in the backyard
One thousand tree frogs serenading the night simultaneously
Rainy afternoon naps
Moments that remind me that life isn't all about me after all.
What are some of your "moments of thankfulness"?