Sunday, March 4, 2012


A few weeks ago I read a book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. You could check out the website and Ann's blog. I think you should just go to the store and buy the book though. Really. It's like a warm hug on paper.

First, you must commit to reading 3 chapters. Well, maybe you don't need this. I had to commit to reading 3 chapters. I know myself and I know I'm skeptical of this cheesiness even though I almost always come around to loving it and I knew instantly that I needed the sweet, gentle, grace-filled truth of it.

So, 3 chapters. Commited. And I think it only took two... It was cheesy and I was skeptical, but she was a beautiful writer. Word art! A million mental pictures in detailed literary color. Can words be cozy? There's no need for that to be a question - these words are cozy. Beautiful stories of real life. Messy and full of family and friends and busy and obligation and love. How it's so hard and so filled with beauty. Dichotomy gloriously balanced in pretty, pretty words.

Is it getting annoying that I'm not really telling you what this book is about yet? I'm scared. What if you think it's cheesy and run away and stop reading and don't even consider it? Wait. That's my brain that does that... Maybe not only my brain though... And if your brain does it your brain might need it as much as my brain - and my heart and the rest of me.

So, ok. Here's the challenge of the book: Write down one thousand gifts. Simple.

Someone challenged Ann to write down one thousand every day moments that she was grateful for in a year. The book is laced with explanation, and beautiful examples of her gifts. The core thought comes from the word eucharisteo - gave thanks.
"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them." (Luke 22:19)

So eucharisteo comes from the root charis -grace and charis comes from chara - joy. So inside of giving thanks is an understanding of grace and joy. To be grateful in the things that are right there already might bring joy - and in the everyday of life, I desperately want more joy.
And so I committed, 2 chapters in. Not to the challenge but to the curiosity that makes you finish a book and wonder if she might be on to something.
And then, halfway through I thought: "I should do this"
And two-thirds of the way through: "I could do this."
And then: "I will do this ... someday."
And finally: "Why would I put it off if I think it's good and easy?"
And then - a few weeks after I'd finished the book, and it continued to trickle into my mind, and I'd left it out so I could reread favorite passages at night - I finally, finally, finally gave in to the actual doing.

Possibly a little because I bribed myself with a pretty new journal.
It may have been the first thing I was grateful for...

This all reminds me of a post about affirmations from October. I was totally understanding, but resisting the concept that optimistic and grateful might lead to joy then too. And here I am, still doing it. Still being me - skeptical of the very thing I know would be good for me.

Even with strong and convincing evidence and mental agreement in October I wasn't really budging. I wasn't sold. The book did it and God did it and possibly my counselor who started the affirmation nonsense in October, even though I possibly (definitely) made my I'm super skeptical, but I'm tolerating your nonsense face at her when she gave me an affirmation to focus on. She possibly (definitely) planted the seed first and I'm grateful (I suppose.). She didn't know it was going to take months and a whole book and then me writing in a book to get me here though. I needed way more words than she could write on a business card and pass along. The depths of my stubbornness are not her fault though. She had no idea all it would take before light-hearted, open-minded Megan could finally go to battle in her mind with skeptical, jaded Megan and win.

Pretty! And did I mention that it smells good? Mmm Leather.

So that's the scoop, i'm 100ish things in and it matters. I'm not skipping through life or singing in the morning, but I'm leaning into the warm moments of life a little more. I'm trying to treasure what's already there. And I'm trying to be less like the Israelites who were totally whiny and missing meat even though amazing things were going on all around them, like freedom from slavery and magical bread falling from the sky daily. I'm starting to notice some of the magical manna in my every day and it's warm and comfortable and sometimes it's even joy.

Read it. I dare you! Do you need a little more convincing? I really, really understand... Try this precious (cheesy) video trailer for the book.

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