Posts Tagged ‘reading and review’

One Thousand Gifts

One Thousand Gifts

Ann Voskamp

2010 Zondervan

Every once in awhile a book comes along that reminds you of things you know but were neglecting. Without question, living a life of continual thankfulness is something most believers aspire to. What we have in One Thousand Gifts is the marvelous story of one woman’s desperate longing to really live, and how God met that longing.

Ann Voskamp is the wife of a Canadian farmer and mother of 6 children. As a child, the tragedy of watching her 4 year old sister die in a tragic accident in their front yard marked her life. Years of spiritual darkness and depression followed. A revelation of eucharisteo, joyful thankfulness, changed her life.

She chronicles her journey with admirable honesty. Voskamp’s style reflects her own admission that she is more poet than writer.  She writes: “God calls me to do thanks. To give thanks away.”

I recommended this book last fall at our church’s annual women’s retreat. Subsequently we decided to practice eucharisteo together for a year via a Facebook group. The response has been remarkable. God’s love and care for us has so many faces, disguises, and reflections.  As our eyes practice seeing, the blessed revelations flow in a daily FB stream.

At the end of the book, the reader will be much more aware of daily, divine offerings of joy – and be inspired to both write them down and give them away. Recommended, indeed.

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Unbroken

Unbroken

By Laura Hillenbrand

2010 Random House

In May, 1943, a B-24 went down over the Pacific. Three men from the plane survived and managed to climb into rafts. One of them was Louis Zamperini, a former juvenile delinquent turned aspiring Olympic runner. Louis and the pilot survived and were picked up by a Japanese ship and later handed over to a Japanese prisoner of war camp. The next 2 years took Zamperini to the far frontiers of human suffering.

Hillenbrand, who did such a masterful job with Seabiscuit, applies her same precise attention to detail in this deeply moving book. Although the reader’s attention is focused on Zamperini’s hellish experiences, there is a great deal of information about the war in the Pacific.

A book like this reminds the reader of the true cost of American liberty. These men were our neighbors, our friends, boys who grew up in a paradoxical era – kinder, simpler at home, while horror and mass death surged across Europe and the Far East. They were swept suddenly into war and what many of them endured defies our ability to comprehend.

Hillenbrand has given us a great gift here. Every generation needs to be reminded of the sacrifices made by those who came before. This book does that. Powerfully.

P.S. At this writing, Louis Zamperini was still alive and would have just turned 95.

Kisses from Katie

by Katie Davis with Beth Clark

2011 Howard Books

There are some people who seem born to a distinct calling in life, and who pursue that calling with a tenacious single-mindedness.  Katie Davis is one of those people.

On a missions trip to Uganda as a 16 year old, she fell in love with its people, particularly the children. Within three years she had left her privileged life in Nashville, TN for the red soil and extreme poverty of that east African country. Soon, she had rented a house and adopted 14 young girls.

There is a kind of breathless quality to this book.  The reader is swept along through scenes of grinding poverty, families decimated by AIDS, rampant illness, and always – hunger.  Katie moves through the overwhelming need that surrounds her with a faith that is mature far beyond her years, and marvelous in its simplicity.  “Every morning, as I wake up with some impossible task in front of me, I know that God will meet it with impossible strength and love.”  Excerpts from her diary appear throughout the book.  She appeals constantly to God’s Word and personalizes the experiences of men and women in the Bible.  “I see the God who used Moses, a murderer , to part the Red Sea; a God who let Peter, who would deny Him, walk on water.  A God who looks at me, in all my fallen weakness and says, “You can do the impossible.”

Highly recommended. Like me, you will probably be spending some serious time in prayer asking God to spend you a little more for His kingdom.

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