About the Author

Robin is the author of For All Who Wander, her relatable memoir about wrestling with doubt that reads much like a conversation with a friend. She's as Southern as sugar-shocked tea, married to her college sweetheart, and has three children. An empty nester with a full life, she's determined to...

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  1. Good morning ladies!

    As your basic multi-tasking mom it is very hard not to live by a list, but I am trying to live among the wonder. It has definitely been something I’ve had to work at.

    I love the way Emily relates it to a child on page 176:

    “A child sees the wonder, takes it in, picks it up, and walks among it.”

    alternately,

    A mom looks for certainty, stares at the mess, picks everything up and puts it away, and walks in the emptiness of a clean abyss….

    Children haven’t yet formed an opinion as to what has “worth” and what doesn’t.

    I am still working on that – not judging the worth before I experience the wonder… it takes practice to open my eyes without seeing the mess.

    Thanks for helping me become more open to the wonder, Emily:)

    • Tori,

      What a perfect assessment–the differences between what a mom sees and a child sees. Juxtaposing them like that helps you run for wonder (at least I do!).

  2. What a lovely way to express the essence of this book. Live life less like a list and more like a lyric.

    Angie-Scrapbooking, journaling, blogging, other forms of social media… all are ways of capturing the wonder. Just pick what interests you. I have scrapbooked. Kids are teens now and family vacations are currently the main focus of that craft.

    At present, almost daily journaling is my way of savoring lifes simple and wonder moments. I began with the Oct. writing challenge. It helped me express my thoughts and feelings, but also to let go of the loose ends I want to hang on to. Through the expression of writing, I often find myself bringing it all around to some sort of faith lesson. As a result, I end up not dwelling as often on those minutes God has not yet gifted me with and appreciating the present.

    This discipline has in turn aided me in my lesson plans for the adult Sunday School class I have recently begun teaching.

    I also began this year keeping a gratitude journal (Ann VosKamp and One Thousand Gifts) and am almost to 1000! (970) Seeing God’s hand in the hard, difficult and challenging as well as the easy, sweet and beautiful has forced me to find the gifts in the everyday.

    I think what wonder looks like best in my life right now is in the act of Listening. Taking the time to stop, pay attention, and FULLY listen to my children when they share what is on their hearts and going on in their lives.

    • Kim,

      One little word stood out to me in your comment at the end: FULLY. I realize how often I half-listen to my children (or husband or friends…), and it is my heart’s desire to shift that to fully. A beautiful place to develop wonder….

  3. I think I understand “The Life of Wonder on Earth” the best out of the four categories. I am pretty aware of nature on any given day and am often struck by what’s happening around me–sunsets while we walk around the block, the quick view of a hidden bay while we’re driving down I-5, the sunlight streaming in after a rain while I’m running. A doe and her baby, or a fox in our local woods, I can totally do that. I’m not so good at playing cars for 20 minutes. 🙂

    When I recognize this in my children’s wonder, it’s more that they are so much more comfortable in their own skin and delight to be who they are. One of the things I *don’t* help my 4 & 6 year old with is clothing choices. I make suggestions about weather, and that’s about it. My kids pick out their own clothes and the things they come up with! My son, who is fully himself in that moment, will wear ripped jeans, long socks, an under-armor shirt, and penny loafers. I can’t help but LOVE that he is being who he wants to be with that tiny expression of style!

    My daughter always wants to wear whatever I wear, so if it’s a pants day-it’s pants; dress day-dress. I’m flattered and terrified of this little act of matching. It helps me remind me-nearly every day-that she sees me and wants to be like me, for better or worse.
    Sarah M

      • 🙂

        You hit upon something that is so true: children are virtually unaffected when they’re young. It allows them freedom to be skin-comfortable. Only when they get a little age under their feet, does that begin to change.

        (darling what you shared about their clothing preferences; so telling about their personalities already.)

  4. Living awakened to wonder…this has come very late in my life…but so thankful that it came…Ann V’s book split me wide open…her words did eye and heart surgery on me…the lens to my world changed…I could now see beauty all around…beauty in creation…in people around me…beauty in the ashes of life. Because of thanksgiving and wonder…I see Christ more as a great Redeemer….and I love this line…live life less like a list and more like a lyric…wonder does put a new song in our hearts!!!

  5. When I look at all the photos my military Dad once printed …. as his youngest I was at his knee in the darkroom with the appointed light … I am simply amazed in wonder of the power we have to influence our children and beyond.

  6. Can I just start out by saying that this chapter was AMAZING!
    Soooo many of the sections that were discussed I had highlighted, underlined, circled, starred, and sometimes “hearted”…this chapter spoke to me in an indescribable way!

    Q.1 ~ Which section could you most relate to and why was it personally affecting?
    _ for me, it was “the wonder of union” and especially this text: “God reveals a bit of His own glory through the unique personality, talents, choices, and desires of the artist.”
    Growing up, I was often the target of jokes and ridicule for my personality traits. I was labeled “weird”, “strange”, sometimes “odd”…some of my personality during my early years stemmed from the circumstances of our home and I felt that if only my home life would change, so would I. I believed that THEN I would be accepted.
    Now, as an adult – working as a full time artist- the label I often wear is “eccentric” (which I embrace by the way) and it brings me joy. The circumstances and experiences of our marriage home is quite different than my childhood home, and many of the personality traits I carried back then are still with me today, but I am beginning to recognize that this is a way that God designed me…for my good and His glory. It helped me to deal with situations then and helps me to embrace the experiences of my life now. I (and each of us) are set apart. And to know that He has, is, and will use my design to not only link myself to Him, but to reveal Himself to others through me…with all my quirks and eccentricities… is to me a true WONDER.

    Q. 2 ~ Can you share an example of a small gift in your life that pointed to God and gave you reason to wonder?

    The gift of my husband – I know it’s not a small gift, it’s a biggie…but…at the time my husband and I came together, I was at a place in my life where I was not interested in dating let-alone remarrying. I was set on raising my children by myself and living a life of quiet seclusion.
    Little did I know that at the very same time, Eric was praying for a wife. Not a friend or a girlfriend, but a WIFE. God did His ‘thing’ by working on my stoney heart and decided that I was the match to this man. We were and still are opposites in almost every way, but are deeply in love (going on our 12th anniversary) and trusting God from the first day until the end that we were put together for His purpose and His glory.

    Q.3 ~ Can you think of a time of beginning or a time of ending that magnified your wonder of God? How so?
    (see Q2 *wink*)

    Q.4 ~ Brave enough to speak to these questions “out loud” (in comments)? What about the simple question Jessica asked at the end of the video, “What does wonder look like in your life?”

    Wonder looks like perfectly cooked eggs in the morning, steam rising for my mug of tea, the tears that well up when I hear a baby laugh (even in a commercial), the birth of my children and the fact that they, now as adults, still call me Mama, the kiss my husband lays on my forehead when he thinks I’m asleep, the very first snow of the season, I wonder at the daily provisions that sometimes come from empty cupboards. Most of all, I wonder…marvel…at the fact that God reclaimed me and pulled me back from a desperate time in my life to reveal His love and plan for me. That He knows my name, each wayward curl on my head, my strong penchant for moments of seclusion and silence, my tendency to sometimes be quick to anger and slow to listen…and still finds me worthy to call His own.

  7. I paused this morning once again to the deep wonders of my life. As a child I often felt abandoned. And, quite frankly I had mother who worked 6 days a week. But when she was home she taught me the wonders of nature. When I began to see the world there were many who more than we did, as a child we don’t understand
    But my mother’s love of her gifts to be a nurse, to bake and flower garden to read poems and eventually did oil paints have become the Backdrop of my life. I used to and up to recently thought she could of been more outwardly expessing love to me, I challenged her views, until I read this post this morning? It’s late in my life to, but reading Ann Voskamps 1000 gifts
    Paused me to wonder to widen my perception of God’s gifts. So I have just this past few weeks while reading these posts, and gathering “My Tools” it’s a new beginning it’s a letting Go, it’s my canvas looks totally renewed!!’ I’m excited to see The changes that God had for me all along, it’s no longer about me, it’s about his glory. The seasons of life are renewed
    every day. I am so thankful for the gals who write and who share honestly,
    This Thanksgiving I wondered what my few words at a new table gathering would be? I’m thankful for the seasons of life that bring meaning to the art that we all paint on our own canvas each day wr write
    another script to the wonders God has bestowed on us! It’s pretty amazing, we wake, we do, we love. His timing is never wrong or late.

  8. I have been getting so much from this book. (the highlighting and margin notes indicate I will be rereading this book often.)
    Thank you bloom book club for bringing it to me. I love this chapter and it has hit home for me on many levels. As a SAHM it is too easy to get caught up in “the lists” and lose the wonder and excitement of watching our babies grow into little people.
    Wonder….what a fabulous word and way to live everyday!!

  9. This chapter really made me wake up and look around for small gifts of wonder going on around me everyday.

    One of the quotes that stood out was,“The smallest and tiniest gifts take us by the hand to reveal the greatest and most holy truths.” p. 180

    I witnessed an example of this when I went to the grocery store for a quick errand with my friend and her 4 year old daughter. After rushing through the store and buying a few items, we were speeding toward the exit when my friend slowed down next to a display of fresh flowers. She took her daughter by the hand and encouraged her to stop and smell the roses – literally! It was precious to see her daughter eye-level with bouquets of roses amazed by their beauty and fragrance. It seemed like I was witnessing a holy moment right there in the grocery store.

    This has stayed with my as an illustration of finding wonder in the midst of mundane errands. I want to continue to be amazed by the beauty and glory of God around me and take time to stop and appreciate with childlike wonder. This chapter describes it so well! Lyrical living.

  10. What does wonder look like in my life? Thanksgiving and freedom. I love Emily’s quote on pg. 180, “Thankfulness can chase away a thousand thoughts of shame.” Thanksgiving has transformed my spiritual life. I have a gratitude journal and I wake up and go straight to that in the morning (well okay, I get a cup of coffee first!) but I have a difficult time praying or reading God’s word without first giving thanks. It has been huge in my own healing from shame and her quote so much captures the healing that thankfulness can do for a broken heart.
    Another quote I love is on pg. 185, “There is no art in anxiety.” Allowing myself to be in the moment and taking in the wonder of the moment brings so much freedom to really live life alive. That one takes discipline and such a trust that the Lord will provide for my needs when at the moment I am not striving to satisfy them myself.

  11. Wonder, wow just to look back and see the wonders that have happened thru the yrs. i love the idea of keeping a record of each wk. I am now in my sixty’s but my memory is clear of the many little things, I can’t help but smile thinking of them. God has so blessed me and is blessing me even more with this book. So wonderful to have you all put it into words.

    thank you

  12. I have to say that since reading “One Thousand Gifts” three years ago, I woke up to wonder. I really began to see life differently. The journey continues, and it is one of continual reawakening to the wonder of the marvelous hidden within the ordinary. I want to live life awake, I don’t want to miss a thing. When I have those days where I ran around stressed and irritable and distracted, I mourn the fact at the end of the day, thinking back on the invitations I had to sit and enjoy my kids instead of bustling around cleaning, or scrolling through my feed on instagram. What an age of distraction we live in!!! Wonder can’t happen in distraction. It only happens when THIS moment is given attention. And yes.. that’s when I sense the creativity bubble up within me.

  13. Robin, Thank you! Yes, I have strong Testimony God has been at work in my life, he is the Art I see everyday. I noticed each day I walk upright with confidence
    and for a brief moment. I say Wow, I love this and I know where it’s from: the Lord!

  14. First of all, I simply laughed out loud when you all commented on scrapbooking. Today, I just finished putting into my Christmas scrapbook the pictures from 2012 Christmas. Pressure, pressure, pressure . . . . must get it done before Thanksgiving. What a laugh I had, thank you so much! As I have mentioned before I am retired, but that does not mean things get done in a timely manner.

    Your quote “He (Christ) doesn’t wait until we are conformed to a version of ourselves that we are pleased with. He comes in and transforms us from the inside out.” This spoke straight into my heart. I was raised with a “do it right and you are worthy” mentality. I feel that if Christ waited for me to be “pleased with” me, He would never have anything to do with me. I am so grateful that He comes in anyway.

    “What about the simple question Jessica asked at the end of the video, ‘What does wonder look like in your life?’” At this point my wonder is a bit different . . . I am struggling with some loss of vision, apparently due to past cancer treatments. I see the world around me (including a two month old grandson) in an almost persistent state of wonder. My hobby is photography and I can’t imagine not seeing, so life has taken on a new sense of awe.

    One of the things I have been struck with in this book and in your discussions is the sense of “seasons.” Our wonder and our comprehension of wonder will change, of that I have no doubt. However, we share so much as well. You have small children, I have a six year old grandson and a two month old grandson. Some of the wonder you enjoy, I enjoy, yet in such a different manner. I believe this is a blessing to each of us as we share and encourage each other across generations.

    Thank you again for this wonderful book and your sharing through the video giving even more insights.

  15. Thank you so much, Emily, Jessica, Angela, Robin (and (in)courage) for this wonderful discussion – I cannot express how wonderful and exciting reading this book has been for me!! I am feeling so alive with possibilities and hope for the future! I am loving it!

    Thanks too for the ladies that provided for sponsor books! I am a recipient and cannot tell you how grateful I am! God bless you!

  16. God had been doing something WONDERful in me and this book has played a part in it. He’s setting me free from fear of failure! And in the most unlikely way–by showing me that I actually “fail” (by definition) all the time! And that it’s actually okay. 🙂 The freedom never came from well meaning friends or family saying “no, you haven’t really failed” because that just reinforced the idea that failure is awful and to be avoided. And dreaded. What God is showing me instead is that failure isn’t so horrible after all. It means I am alive and human and in need of my God. It. Is. So. Freeing.

    So I’m learning to wonder all over again at the mystery of Christ in me, the hope of glory. Loved this from the end of the chapter… “The deepest truth we are all to reveal is the full glory of God, no matter how we feel, who we’re with, or WHAT’S GONE WRONG… MAY THE PROMISE OF GROWTH OUTWEIGH OUR FEAR OF STUMBLING.” Yes! Childlike wonder, childlike faith, and perhaps childlike stumbling. But for this child of God, for the first time ever, I’m okay with the thought of that. Hallelujah! : )

    (But btw Angie, I’m with you on the scrap booking… But hearing Jess talk about hers it sounded like she was talking about a pictorial gratitude journal. And that was very cool. For her. Still not for me! Ha ha!) : )

  17. I had a divine appointment yesterday, you know one of those unplanned conversations and what first appears to be an inconvenient time and place, one full of broken dreams, anger, and pain. But the “wonder” of it all was that as she was speaking, the Holy Spirit was whispering, I am wooing her and those involved in this situation. So as I pray for this situation I find myself praying that God will give eyes and understanding to see the “wonder” which is not bound by time. This was not only a time of wonder, but one of feeling “fully present and alive.” Just what Emily has been sharing in her book. What an awesome, loving Father we have!!

  18. Q1: For the sake of space and a short[er] answer, I’m going to say the wonder of time on earth. I haven’t embraced the wonder of time on earth, I’ve thought of the goal of eternity in heaven, earth as for enduring. P184, “Eternity is not for later. … He hands us the grace we need for each one as they come. Worry and anxiety show up when we try to rush ahead into the minutes that haven’t been made yet. There is no art in anxiety.” WOW! My heart and mind are working hard to grasp the above.

    Q2: Not a small gift, but many small gifts. I was able to embrace my lack and ask for support for my children and I to go the Philippines April-June of this year. I was overwhelmed with the cost, a family friend said, “it may be a lot to you, but when lots give a little it’ll be enough.” It was! by 3 times the amount I thought we needed – but every cent was used. If God had not provided the “extra” up front, it would have been really stressful.

    Q3 & Q4: Right now I can’t separate these – again, it includes the Philippines. The end of so much life as so many knew it. It’s just heartbreaking and overwhelming. The wonder of what God will do with this and how He will be glorified is already starting to peak out.

    My brother is the “last link” of getting to bring aid to remote small areas. Seeing his heart spill out in a note this morning brings many tears. “they can’t figure what a helicopter is doing landing on their beach … some people are completely shocked that someone actually cares they just stand there with a look of wonder.” He describes a bit of interaction with a man, then says, “I realized how unfair it is that I get to experience that just because I am the last link in a incredibly long chain of people that have made this happen.” If you have given in prayer or financially (again, many small gifts to make a big impact) to the relief in the Philippines – then, my brother is referring to you. He is doing what God made him to do, he is making living art, helping to show Christ’s love because someone cared enough to give a donation, or is continually praying for the health, safety, and wisdom of the relief workers. Right now, today, this is what wonder looks like to me. Embracing the wonder of time on earth.

  19. Children are so full of wonder, but as an adult I find myself often jaded to the wonder that is out there. I am so busy slogging through my to-do lists that I often miss those moments that God wants to share with me and that can really reflect the beauty and glory of God. This chapter really helped remind me to stop and look for those moments.