Book Club

The trailer for One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are….

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A whole community of women welcome you to the online Bloom (in) Courage Book Club, reading, discussing and growing withOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are


An Excerpt from Chapter 1 of One Thousand Gifts

‘Aglowing sun-orb fills an August sky the day this story begins, the day that I am born,

the day I begin to live.


And I fill my mother’s tearing ring of fire with my body emerging, virgin lungs searing with air of this earth. I unfold from the womb, from the diameter of her fullness, empty her out—and she bleeds. Vernix-creased and squalling, I am held to the light.

Then they name me.

Could a name be any shorter? Three letters without even the flourish of an e. Ann, a trio of curves and lines.
It means “full of grace.”

I haven’t been.

What does it mean to live full of grace? To live fully alive?

They wash my pasty skin and I breathe and I flail. I flail.

For decades, a life, I continue to flail and strive and come up so seemingly … empty. I haven’t lived up to my christening.

Maybe in those first few years my life curled like cupped hands, a receptacle open to the gifts God gives. But of those years, I have no memories. For they say memory jolts awake with trauma’s electricity. That would be the year I turned four. The year when blood pooled and my sister died and I, all of us, snapped shut to grace.


Standing at the side porch window, watching my parents’ stunned bending, I wonder if my mother had held me in those natal moments of naming like she held my sister in death.

In November light, I see my mother and father sitting on the back porch step rocking her swaddled body in their arms. I press my face to the kitchen window, the cold glass, and watch them, watch their lips move, not with sleep prayers, but with pleas for waking, whole and miraculous. It does not come.

The police do. They fill out reports. Blood seeps through that the blanket bound. I see that too, even now.

Memory’s surge burns deep.


That staining of her blood scorches me, but less than the blister of seeing her uncovered, lying there.

She had only toddled into the farm lane, wandering after a cat, and I can see the delivery truck driver sitting at the kitchen table, his head in his hands, and I remember how he sobbed that he had never seen her. But I still see her, and I cannot forget. Her body, fragile and small, crushed by a truck’s load in our farmyard, blood soaking into the thirsty, track-beaten earth. That’s the moment the cosmos shifted, shattering any cupping of hands.

I can still hear my mother’s witnessing-scream, see my father’s eyes shot white through.

My parents don’t press charges and they are farmers and they keep trying to breathe, keep the body moving to keep the soul from atrophying.

Mama cries when she strings out the laundry. She holds my youngest baby sister, a mere three weeks old, to the breast, and I can’t imagine how a woman only weeks fragile from the birth of her fourth child witnesses the blood-on-gravel death of her third child and she leaks milk for the babe and she leaks grief for the buried daughter.

Dad tells us a thousand times the story after dinner, how her eyes were water-clear and without shores, how she held his neck when she hugged him and held on for dear life. We accept the day of her death at day as an accident.

But an act allowed by God?


For years, my sister flashes through my nights, her body crumpled on gravel.

Sometimes in dreams, I cradle her in the quilt Mama made for her, pale green with the hand-embroidered Humpty Dumpty and Little Bo Peep, and she’s safely cocooned. I await her unfurling and the rebirth.

Instead the earth opens wide and swallows her up.

At the grave’s precipice, our feet scuff dirt, and chunks of the firmament fall away.

A clod of dirt hits the casket, shatters.

Shatters over my little sister with the white-blonde hair, the little sister who teased me and laughed; and the way she’d throw her head back and laugh, her milk-white cheeks dimpled right through with happiness, and I’d scoop close all her belly-giggling life.

They lay her gravestone flat into the earth, a black granite slab engraved with no dates, only the five letters of her name. Aimee. It means “loved one.” How she was. We had loved her. And with the laying of her gravestone, the closing up of her deathbed, so closed our lives.

Closed to any notion of grace.

Really, when you bury a child— or when you just simply get up every day and live life raw—you murmur the question soundlessly. No one hears.

Can there be a good God?

A God who graces with good gifts when a crib lies empty through long nights, and bugs burrow through coffins?

Where is God, really?

How can He be good when babies die, and marriages implode, and dreams blow away, dust in the wind?

Where is grace bestowed when cancer gnaws and loneliness aches and nameless places in us soundlessly die, break off without reason, erode away?

Where hides this joy of the Lord, this God who fills the earth with good things, and how do I fully live when life is full of hurt?

How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out?

…. How do we choose to allow the holes to become seeing-through-to-God places? To more-God places?

How do I give up resentment for gratitude, gnawing anger for spilling joy? Self-focus for God-communion.

To fully live—to live full of grace and joy and all that is beauty eternal. It is possible, wildly.

I now see and testify.

So this story— my story .

A dare to an emptier, fuller life.”


~ an excerpt from the first chapter of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Zondervan)


How to Join the Book Club?

1. Just pick up a copy of  One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (and read the reviews!)

2. Meet us here every Sunday and Wednesday for lively videos where we chat about that week’s chapters and go deeper with God together.

3. Share your stories, participate in the encouraging community of discussion around this week’s chapters, and find real sisterhood in the both the comment section and in the BlogFrog Community

How to Share the Book Club with Friends:

Isn’t it always more fun to read good words with good friends?

The Bloom (in) Courage Book Club Details:

(All posts will be on this site, and live Q&A’s, giveaways and community discussions will be announced… )

Video Chapter 1 Sunday, February 06, 2011
Video Chapter 2 Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Video Chapter 3 Sunday, February 13, 2011
Video Chapter 4 Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Video Chapter 5 Sunday, February 20, 2011
Video Chapter 6 Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Video Chapter 7 Sunday, February 27, 2011
Video Chapter 8 Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Video Chapter 9 Sunday, March 06, 2011
Video Chapter 10 Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Video Chapter 11 Sunday, March 13, 2011
Video Chapter 12 Sunday March 16, 2011

Good Friends share Good Wordswe’d love to share the dare to LIVE FULLY with you!

  • Jessica Martinez

    I love this book! Ann writes real things for searching women who are living in the “real” world. I have been so blessed. I received my copy on Saturday and am almost half way through. I’m taking it in. Pondering grace and living thankfully in the everyday. I will go back to this book again and again! Thank you Ann! Many Blessings!

  • Christi {Jealous Hands}

    I am loving this book! Can’t wait until the book club discussions get going!

  • Nikole Hahn

    All I can think of right now is standing in the driver’s shoes–the total loss he must have felt and the trauma afterwards of taking a child’s life. He must have relived that day like the parents relived that day. How do each of them recover from that? How would I recover from that if I were the driver? God forgives–Christ assures us of forgiveness over and over again, but how does one forgive themselves? How many years, if ever, does it take?

  • rlynne

    Just got my copy in the mail yesterday. I am ready… to live fully. I’ve read the first chapter… thanks for being real in this Ann. Looking forward to the insights you share in this.

  • Charity

    My heart is overwhelmed with Ann’s words and I am eagerly awaiting the next video and chapters to come!! Thank you so much!

  • Theanne Crossett

    I’m waiting for my book…

  • ~ linda

    Praising God for creating this beautifully gifted author and photographer. I feel like I know Ann through her words that dance across the floor, that penetrate into the heart, and that wrap around me as her reader. I could be sitting across the table from her at any given moment. She knows grace and knows how to return gratitude to God. I look forward to the Book Club with (in)courage and Ann.

  • Jennie

    Hi friends, so looking forward to reading and discussing this book with friends. A group of us will be following the Bloom videos on our own and then gathering once a month for four months in my home to discuss. I see that the schedule here has changed a bit since the first post about the discussion. The Bloom Club will be finishing about a month and a half before our face-to-face group does. Will the videos be available here for viewing into May? Thank you….

    • Jessica Turner

      Hi Jennie – so glad to hear that you will be reading this book with us! Yes, the videos will be available on this site forever. :) So, please, feel free to view them at any time.

      • Jennie

        Thank you, Jessica.

      • cindy nelson

        Oh! I am so glad to see this bit of info that the videos will be left up. Our bible stdy group has deceided to read thro the book and follow the book club. I was wondering how the timing would work with videos. Thanks so much for leaving them up long term so we can watch as we get to each chapter. Can not wait to see how God will work. God bless you all for the giving of your time and selves.

  • Marie Hutchison

    Oh, the realness, the longing, the awakening! Your words are speaking such truth! Thank you for your openness, your sharing the hard stuff & the good stuff! I could hardly put your book down, it’s not just your words, but what God is speaking through you!
    Love you for who you are, not just a farmer girl, but a daughter of the King! :)

  • ~Bambi

    Started reading Ann’s book last night. It has already brought tears to my eyes and awareness in my heart and I am only to page 50. I have so many sticky tabs sticking out of it, it looks like a research book! I can’t wait till the discussions begin and appreciate the ladies who came up with the idea of the book club!

    God bless you all and ~grace~ to everyone!

    • Jessica Turner

      It is amazing, isn’t it? So glad to here it is blessing you.

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  • Michelle

    I am waiting for my book to arrive, with joyful expectancy!

  • Heather

    I’m happy to have discovered Bloom via Ann Voskamp’s website, and I too look forward to reading Ann’s book and viewing the videos. However I am disappointed that Bloom has chosen to launch videos on Sundays. Isn’t part of “blogging in the upside down kingdom” (Ann’s words, not mine) a chance to show the world that we (Christians) are different? When I think about honouring the sabbath day and keeping it holy, I think that abstaining from computer time is one way to do it. I guess I’ll be watching the videos a day later, on Monday.

    • Jessica Turner

      Hi Heather! Thanks so much for your comment.

      On Bloom, Angie and I have always hosted our book videos on Sundays. We prayerfully considered this. Since the books we select are always Christian, we have found that many people find Sundays a wonderful day to ponder the writings of the authors we select. I think many will be blessed by Sunday messages from Ann.

      However, the videos will always be available here on the Bloom page, so you (and others) are welcome to watch and participate on any day.

      We are humbled and honored to have you and many others joining in this community of daring to live fully right where we are.

  • Missy K

    I’m delighted to read One Thousand Gifts is community here at Bloom. I read the book quickly when I first received it, knowing that I could read more slowly and savor here. Looking forward to it!

    • Jessica Turner

      I am reading it again slowly too. It is a book I believe I will read many times over the course of my life.

      • Missy K

        I agree Jessica– I can imagine this book bearing fruit in many different seasons of life.

        • cindy nelson

          I too am working on my second read–I must have had my eyes closed the first time around–oh for the things I am seeing this time–am waiting for my hard copy to get here so I can start underlining and dog earing!!
          because He lives–Cindy

  • Carrie

    I can’t read this book quickly — the quickest I got was one chapter in a night. Just so much to savor. But I can’t wait to have some people to discuss it with. I did order a copy for a friend though… Cannot wait until the 6th which seems so far away and really isn’t. Thanks ladies for putting this together.

  • Maria Conover

    Hi! I am thoroughly enjoying Ann’s book. I can hardly read it aloud to my husband without shedding tears. So I quietly read slowly, taking in each page.
    Thank you for hosting a book club!
    I believe Amazon and Barnes and Noble just sold out! Is that true?!
    It’s amazing and wonderful and a blessing !

  • Lib

    I just read the first chapter aloud to my husband last night. I realized ( as did he) there were going to be too many things I wNted to shard from this book, so he’s the newest bloom book club member. Hopefully not the only man, though.
    I tend to be a word gobbler, but was able to savor every word moment sharing this profound book together. I woke up this morning and wanted to re-cry my way through the chapter… Again!

  • Lori Breuker

    I am loving this book, pre- ordered this last fall and I am getting so much out of it, Thank You Ann for sharing your thoughts and God’s thoughts with us in this way.

  • Lynn

    This is a question for those running the book club. Is there any way you can summarize the videos for those of us who can’t watch them? I live in a remote part of Kenya and the internet isn’t always very reliable and it is expensive to download things. I would really love to participate in reading this book and the discussions. I am not sure if you plan on only having questions and such in the video or if you can put them in written form here for any others like me who can’t really watch the video? Thanks for considering this!

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  • Cara

    She. is. an. AMAZING. woman!!! Got my book on Saturday. This is not a quick read. Every page is worth pondering!

  • Merissa

    So glad the first video starts next week! I’ll be getting my copy of the book in the mail this week, so I can join in !


  • Lori

    Wow…I don’t even have the book yet;I’ve just listened to and read the posts…wow! The words I’ve read so far ate resonating loudly within my heart…looking forward to the treat of One Thousand Gifts!

  • Sharon

    i’ve posted my dare here!!
    come for tea?

  • Loretta Hernandez

    I love to read the book

  • Shauna

    I think Ann is incredible the way she weaves words into poetic thoughts all the while bringing thought provoking truths into the light. Can’t wait to hear her thoughts and join in the discussion.

  • Mary

    I received my copy of the book last Friday. I couldn’t wait to start reading it. But I’m currently reading “The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta: Mother Teresa Come Be My Light” and it has been so faith filled–I wasn’t sure if I should start another reading at the same time. Well, I ride the bus to work everyday, so I thought I would pack it in my bag, just in case I finished Mother Teresa, it would be waiting for me. Well, the cover picture captured me and I couldn’t wait so Monday morning I started turning the pages on my way to work–on the bus. By the time I reached my destination…my heart was filled and the tears dribbled down my cheeks….I had only read 5 pages. I knew, right then and there, this book was going to change me. I know I’m going to need to buy more highlighters!

    Ann…you’re words jump right into my heart and fill it with God’s grace. Each day it opens my eyes wider and wider. Sometimes I see amazing things and sometimes not so amazing things.

    I thank God for giving you the words and the wisdom to put them into a book!!

  • Sandra Perkins

    Speechless. Drawn in. I feel at times I am eavesdropping. Witnessing the witness. And feeling my own heart soften. Thank you for your courage.

  • Susan Jackson

    I just read the excerpt and can’t wait to receive the book. I was also inspired to purchase the book for a friend who was there for me in a time of desperation. Already Ann’s words speak to me and what I feel at times of struggle. I love the Lord and so desperately want a closer relationship with Him!

  • Ashley

    I can not put this book down. It has given me such encouragement and a new found appreciation. Before I started reading the book I thought about highlighting the parts that really tug at my heart, and after reading the first chapter I realized that I would go through too many highlighters, and would have to highlight every page of the book! : ) I am enjoying counting my gifts and finding joy and thankfulness even in the mundane and chaotic days! Can’t wait until the discussions start!

  • Sarah

    In Awe. This book is thought provoking and deep. I am already part way through chapter 6. This book in sincerely hard to put down!
    Thanks Bloom for hosting this book! :)

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  • Sue

    God has already changed my heart through Ann’s blog. I am looking forward to the process continuing through 1000 Gifts! Ann, you are truly gifted we all are benefitting from your gifts! He is using you in a mighty way in women all over!

  • Melody

    This will be my first time to join a book club here. Am I understanding correctly that you post the video on the date specified and then those who want to, comment in the comments section whenever they want, so there isn’t really a particular time to tune in? I was concerned that there weren’t any times posted with the dates, but I guess it doesn’t matter, since it’s a pre-recorded video? And will the videos be available indefinitely, or do you only leave them up for a certain period of time?
    Thanks so much for doing this. I can’t wait! :)

  • Kim

    After a week of thr flu. And thrn an ER visit, the possibility of surgery and a really long drive back home. It was so nice to have something given to me.
    I was so excited I received my boom in the mail. Thank you!! It is truly a blessing

  • Wendy

    Can’t wait to get my copy…the book sounds like something that will change my life….looking forward to reading it with everyone.

  • Wendi

    Just sat down and read the first chapter and part of the second. I am so looking forward to reading this entire book and enjoying the videos along with it. Thank you Ann for your wonderful book, and your amazing words. God bless you, your family, your homeschooling, and your ministry.

  • Kimberly

    I got my book yesterday in the mail!! I sat down when the boys went to play and read the first 2 chapters. OMGoodness, I can totally understand where is coming from. I can’t wait for Sunday!!!

  • Heather W

    Totally excited about this however I don’t see a time that the video will be posted. When does this wonderful book club meeting get under way??? Oh by the way….I got my book last weekend -good grief -I have cried in every chapter and I can’t stop reading it. :o) Can’t wait! Heather

  • Grady

    I just got my book TODAY and read the first chapter in one sitting, which I rarely do nowadays. I’m so NOT a crier and I cried while reading it – aloud, which I found was so wonderful. I don’t want to cheat and move on, but I’m REALLY finding it difficult to stop. Hopefully I don’t break down and go on tomorrow!

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  • Tee

    I’m so looking forward to reading your book, Ann, and joining in on the book club!

  • Carlie

    I stumbled upon Ms Ann Voskamp’s blog recently & was blown away with the gracious gratitude that was expressed throughout the mundane task of washing dishes. I have never been a part of a book club but received “One Thousand Gifts” in the mail this past week & am about to mail a copy to my sister-in-law this week. I tearfully read through the first chapter of Ann’s book and took many deep breaths as I was reminded of the depths that love reaches. Ann, thank you for this GIFT! I hope I can keep up with the group, blogs & videos. I have a precious 8 month old baby boy who has taught me & is teaching me so much about love, grace, joy, laughter & new mercies every morning.

  • Melissa Huddart-Samchek

    I am really excited to participate in this online book study. What a challenge to live fully right where you are in the day to day things, especially if you have gone through some significant suffering as I have over the last while. But God is faithful and loves us so.

  • Jan

    My hubby brought this to my attention and I immediately purchased the book. My mom had breast cancer when I was a little girl and that has colored my life for the last 48 years…both the traumatic and the beautiful. She taught me to cherish the little moments we are given that so many overlook. She passed away thirty years ago when I was busy raising a young daughter of my own. I am now a three-year breast cancer survivor myself. Each and every day, no matter how difficult is a cherished gift for us to enjoy! I love the book and can’t wait to read more, but am pacing myself to make it last longer!

  • Melissa in Mississauga ON Canada

    Just watching the video discussing chapter one of “One Thousand Gifts”, gave me so many wonderful truths to think and pray about. I have been through various types of painful valleys over the years, but now that living a life of bitterness is never what I have wanted. I often pray that God would make me more into a woman of grace and when you said Ann, “What does it mean to be full of grace, when life hurts?”, got me thinking more deeply about how does being a woman of grace play out for me in my day to day life. How can I radiate this regardless of the painful situation I might be going through. To truly model that and the love of Christ is truly my hearts desire, but in this, we have to also now that we are deeply loved by God and to believe that His heart is always loving towards us regardless of what is going on in our lives.The more we truly believe this truth, to the depths of our beings, the more we will be able to live out this graciousness in our individual lives.

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  • Rebecca Abbey

    Just downloaded Ann’s book to my Kindle…can’t put it down. “God’s Grace”…Thank you Ann for putting it into perspective. We see one small piece of the puzzle but God sees the whole picture!
    Looking at life through a different lens now…can’t wait to start my “Gratitude Journal”…and I’m only on Chapter 5 of 1000 Gifts.
    Many more days of “blessings” to you…

  • amy in peru

    posted here:

    and am really enjoying Ann’s book.


    amy in peru

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  • Elizabeth

    Thanks for this trailer, for the words, the music, the images, for what you have decided to share.

    It is all so beautiful.
    Quito- Ecuador
    South America

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