Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm a Bit Nervous About This Book...

For a long while I've been following a very interesting, very touching, very challenging blog called A Holy Experience. It is written lovingly and humbly by Ann Voskamp. And what a writer she is! This dear woman can craft a sentence that will take you on journey after journey into her heart, the heart of our Father, and into your very own heart.  The photos on the blog are breathtaking and awe inspiring, pointing you to the Creator, Himself.  

Ann introduces herself and her blog like this:
"I’m Ann Voskamp, a plain Ann without even the fanciful “e”,
wife to The Farmer,  mama to six,
determined laundress,  chief bottle washer, desperate Grace-clinger.
In the dark hours, I pray more and write. 
This place is about finding the beauty and quiet,
slowing to see the sacred in the chaos, the Cross in the clothespin, the flame in the bush
Just to listen – laundry, liturgy, life, — holy ground. 
A holy experience — because all of life flames with God.
Honestly, I’m a bit of a mess. It’s okay, really. Grace is the most amazing of all. I had a full-tuition scholarship to university and never finished. I married a Farmer instead & came home to gravel road & cornfields. I had babies. Half a dozen beautiful babies. My laundry basket is never empty. I lose library books. I homeschool our six exuberant kids and most days I feel just a tad bit overwhelmed and very crazy. When the kids and the washing machine sleep, I wash my real dirt down with words and The Word."

I look to this blog often for encouragement as a mom, as a wife, as a home-educator, and as a fellow Christ-follower who struggles on her own journey now and then.  The beautiful music that plays in the background as you visit A Holy Experience is a favorite of Megan's. "I just love the calm sound of it," she tells me as I'm reading.

While much of what I read and experience as a result of visiting the site is calming and encouraging, I did read a blog there that troubled my "getting ready for Christmas" heart last month and I turned away from it. I do stuff like that. I don't read books that will tug at my heart, if a movie might make me cry I'm not watching it. I've attempted to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" upon the recommendation of an awesome friend who even loaned it to me for encouragement, but when it took a poignant turn I bailed. I'm such a wimp! Gimme a predictable Disney ending! Don't make me sad, there's enough in real life that's sad and must be dealt with, why expose my heart to someone else's pain that I have no way to fix?

I clicked away from A Holy Experience that day knowing that the next day there would be something new and fresh and hopefully less troubling to me.  I was correct, and the next day the beauty was back. Ann Voskamp and I have since continued our virtual relationship (me reading anonymously and her writing beautifully).

Last week, on January 17, Ann's book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are was released.  I had been eagerly awaiting this date for a few months and, though I'd already decided that this was a book that I wanted to hold in my hands and read (as opposed to reading it on my Nook), I quickly downloaded the free first chapter excerpt onto my Nook.  I began reading and then I stopped...again. Would you believe that the first chapter of the book WAS THE VERY blog post that had bothered me so a few weeks earlier? So, away I clicked...again.  I was bummed.

Then I got a text message from my youngest sis a few days later saying that she was in chapter three of the book (that I had told her about) and that she was loving it.  Stinker. I don't like difficult books, BUT I WILL NOT BE OUT READ! So I ordered the book.
 "Have you watched the video about it?" she texted. No, I had not, so I did. It's wonderful...

AND a Christian community of women called (in)courage is hosting an online book club with this book as the selection.  The book club is called Bloom and you can join up too if you like. Click {here} to go to the Bloom website. Though, I'm still not sure about this book, the reviews are using words like "life changing", "will change the way you see the world","the sort of book you dog-ear and re-read for the sheer joy of cherishing the words and experiencing the depth of the heart that wrote it." My sis says, "loving it! It takes some energy to digest but has a big impact."  It is climbing up the best seller charts this weekend and is #12 on's list of best sellers.

I've asked my middle sister, Becky to join me in the book club. She actually belongs to a real life book club, (and does karate, and bakes beautiful cakes, and knits, and is making my dining room and bathroom, she was before I posted this picture of her anyway...) and is quite a level-headed kind of gal, so I'm eager to hear her thoughts on this book too.
 (I've got a post brewing about her...)

My copy should arrive Monday or Tuesday from
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
It is also available on the Kindle and the Nook. So here's to a bit of discomfort to stretch me and maybe you too? Happy reading and growing!  ~Gretchen

{Drop a note to me in the comments or email me at if you decide to read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are too, I'd enjoy your company very much.}

1 comment:

G'ma suz said...

I wil get the book tomorrow! Will you set up some pictures to scroll while I read. Bring lots of tissues and all the kids to leave "forever" as Matt would say. I had to look at Becky's pict at the bottom to regain my composure after watching the video. Love, MOM
Count me in till I bawl out.

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