I found her two winters ago. It was a dark time for me, and her words soothed my broken, disillusioned soul. Her pictures brought beauty to a dreary mind. And she challenged me to give thanks. Not to just think thankful thoughts but to actually write them down, record them here, and share them with anyone who might happen by. It changed my life.
There is power in giving thanks. A strong power. Scales fell as the giver of all good things opened my heart to see His gifts, acknowledge them, and offer praise through thanksgiving. The God who seemed somewhat removed from the dailyness of life proved to be very present. Very personal. And very generous. And I began to see Him EVERYWHERE.
Like love notes, strong arms, and soft kisses the seemingly distant Father became Abba, Daddy, and in that love and security my heart started beating stronger.
I got to meet Ann and hear her speak in the fall of 2010. I introduced myself and told her thank you. Lots of woman wanted to say the same thing to her, but in the few minutes she shared with me, it was if I was the only person in the world. She stared intently, piercing blue eyes speaking and affirming all she says with words. She speaks like she writes. Raw. Real. Beautiful. She lives from her brokenness and His wholeness. Ann Voskamp is a gift to women.
She's written a book now, her first, this farmer's wife from Canada. The book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, has surprised. Entering the world on Amazon's top 100 sellers (291 days and counting), it has shown up on USA Today and the New York Times best sellers list as well. Something about telling true, heart wrenching stories and then giving thanks. Like I said. Powerful.
Just last week, Ann and her book were featured on the Today Show with Kathie Lee. A gift book, Selections from One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters with gorgeous photos from her life and family, just released today. Ann donates all proceeds from from One Thousand Gifts to Compassion International.
I saw Ann again recently. She was speaking at a woman's conference I attended with a friend, and I ran into her in the elevator. She remembered meeting me and even that I have five boys and a girl. As I watched her interact with each woman in her book line, I saw the same presence and focus. She laughed with them, listened to their gratitude, their sorrows, their stories. Ann is the real deal. Her humility and attentiveness are remarkable, especially in the wake of her writing success. But as she would say, "All is grace."
Visit her blog. Read her book. Give thanks. See His love.
Every Thursday I'm featuring one of my favorite "Sister Blogs." Scroll up to the tab above the "strawberry boy" to read more about it. My hope is to create a community where we cheer each other on and broaden one another's reach by sharing the blogs of those who have enriched our lives with their words. Join me?
1) write a post introducing us to one of your favorite blogs
2) link up below (the link will stay open through the weekend)
3) visit a "sister" and leave them a comment!
Labels: 1000 gifts, Compassion, Sister Blogs