Embracing Eucharisteo: Interview and Giveaway With Ann Voskamp

Early this year, a book’s cover caught my eye. While I know better than to judge a book solely by its cover, this one made me want to stop, be still and drink in its words.

It was the new release (and now New York Times bestseller) One Thousand Gifts; A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by blogger Ann Voskamp of www.aholyexperience.com

A few of my friends  (her & her) had either endorsed her book or were mentioned in the acknowledgments section. I picked it up, began to read and its words penetrated my soul.

As I said here last week, learning to live in the moment and be grateful and fully engaged does not come easily to me. It is work. But the work is worth the effort.

I soon shot a Facebook message off to the author asking if she might be willing to grace us with an interview, even though I was certain she didn’t know me from Eve.

Weeks went by. I waited patiently but knew this busy farmer’s wife & mom of six might have too full a plate to respond to little ol’ me.

Then, on my birthday in March, I received a gift; an answer.

Not only was she willing to join us here, but she also blessed me by saying how she’d followed my ministry for years.

It was then that is dawned on me. Her website– a holy experience. Her name–Ann V. The light went on.

I searched back through my archives to when I first began blogging late in 2007.  The days when I wondered if anyone was out there reading.

My first entry got one comment. (it was spam advertising)

My second? None.

My third drew two.

My fourth post got three.

I scrolled to my 5th ever entry. It was on promoting family prayer. There were 5 comments. (one from the friend who started me blogging really didn’t count)

The commenters names stuck with me from those early days: kimberlee, Caroline, Vicki. I wondered who these women were.

Then, I saw it. There, dated a month after the post was up, was a comment from a mother who’d been pondering my idea in that post for days.

“Ann V. from A Holy Experience”

It makes me smile.

And I will smile even more when this summer Ann & I talk face to face when she brings the keynote message at our Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference in July.

Today you all get the chance to meet her here, if you’ve not already read her book or experienced her life-changing blog.

I do hope you’ll discover them both. Her blog is beautiful and both thought and thankfulness-provoking.

And her book?  As my friend Lysa, who endorsed it asserts, it is, “a book that will challenge you and mess with you in the most beautiful of ways”

Friends, meet Ann Voskamp:

Ann, tell us what life is like at the Voskamp home this spring.

Spring on the farm is my favorite time of the year! The smell of earthy warmth and the possibility of life and seed bags opening and us touching the dark soil again, us but dust too, these things move me deep.
Putting in a crop is family undertaking and our whole year’s livelihood depends on our faithfulness in these Spring weeks together.

This spring has been wet and we’re anxious for a window of grace to slip seeds into the earth again. This life keeps us on our knees!

You have always loved writing, when did you begin to see it as a ministry and means to encourage others?

Oh, I wonder if I am still in process on this, Karen? For me, it’s still about writing for an audience of One, of needing to write so that God can do deep, necessary work in me, and posting it is just a laying it out on the altar for God to use wherever, however, for whomever, He alone chooses.

If He uses it to encourage one other heart on this journey, to Him be all the glory alone …  I’m just a mess He’s faithfully washing in grace! I am so grateful to walk with other faithful Jesus-sojourners.

What prompted you to write One Thousand Gifts?

Well, I was just journaling the work God was doing in me as I struggled to find joy right where I was, when, through a string of grace appointments, an agent found me just blogging in a quiet corner and contacted me and quietly asked if he could help the farmer’s wife work out the things I was blogging into a larger framework, a place to go far deeper than the blog and invite folks to too go deep with God in pages they could actually hold.

I am so grateful for the work He did in me as the story of the dare to live fully was scratched down.

What is your utmost desire for those who read your book?

That God will free them from being bound to joy that is bound to circumstances. That they can experience wholesale joy, anywhere, anytime.

One man wrote:  “My doctor discussed last week how my processing of gratitude—Eucharisteo—as described in One Thousand Gifts, has effectively replaced my prescription for Prozac.”

And another woman wrote: I lost my daughter tragically three years ago…I have been through many books, many pills and many nights on the floor in tears, many clinched fists days turned nights, many Bible studies, many sermons…many come to Jesus talks, fought through ptsd and panic attacks fought bitterness and anger, envy and jealousy of others with baby girls…

Nothing tangible has helped with my grief heart as much as your words and your God journey in gratitude daily living…

Your words found me crying and laughing and cheering, championing and underlining, rereading and rereading sentences because they were so magnificent and full of truth and peace, just letters put together in such a way that screamed Joy and Peace to me.

I found a new calm, in just keeping my gratitude journal…in cultivating a heart of thanks, I noticed how the fear and anxiety and anger seemed to melt away….I noticed for the first time it was about Him loving me, the focus was on His love and grace to me, instead of trying to figure Him out, love Him and try and fail in a revolving door of grief….

I have shared your book with as many as I can, because I have seen the fruit in my own heart, in my own life….

That is all. For people in deep, dark pain to find real, lasting Joy. In His presence is fullness of Joy — and wherever we are, whatever we’re facing, there’s a way to come into His presence. This book is just about that….

You are a homeschool mom of six. What guidance can you give to women who want to love and serve God by using their gifts and talents and yet not neglect their duties (or miss their joys) as a wife and mom?

Ah, what to say? Perhaps just  use those fringe hours, early and late, all the margins of the day, the hours that everyone sleeps.

Our six crazy exuberant kids head to the barn every morning for 2-3 hours of work with my Farmer Husband, and I have those quiet hours to write and pray and just meet Jesus.

And then the full hours of light and lovely loudness and children, be all there, because yes, yes, yes, Karen, every moment as a gift, these blink years with children,  a calling to holy amazing grace.

Thank you Ann, for stopping by today and inspiring us to thankful, in-the-moment living!

Sweet blog readers, Ann is giving away a personalized copy of her book One Thousand Gifts to one of you who comments. All you must do is share with us one simple gift you are thankful for. The winner will be announced Wednesday.

Now, tell us…..for what are you grateful?


  1. I am thankful for so much! Some time in the first few days in January I was flipping through the radio stations and landed on KLOVE. I listened for a while and they put out a challenge to listen to nothing but Christian music for 30 days to see if it changes your life. So, I did. Well, it’s been 5 1/2 months and boy has my life changed for the better! I thought my life was pretty good before but now I see everything in a whole new way, and seeing all the many blessings God gives us. I started reading the Bible as much as possible and it was like my eyes were opened. I can understand what I read now. For so many years, I would read the Bible and it was like I was just skimming the words, not really letting those words soak in. I’ve always loved to read a good novel, so why couldn’t I read the Bible like that? Well, now I do. I soak all the words in and can’t get enough! I am thankful that God opened my eyes and my heart to fully know, know, know the truth about Him. I am also thankful that on that first week of listening to KLOVE, Lisa TerKerst was a guest host that week. She talked about her new book “Made to Crave”. So, I bought the book and it changed the way I thought about food. Then I eventually found so many of Lysa’s Proverbs 31 friends. I just love reading your blogs and so thankful for your inspiration! Thank you Karen, you are a blessing to me!

  2. Today I am thankful that, in the giving and the taking away, God is in control and His purposes are perfect!

  3. I am thankful for grace and forgiveness that I know through my savior and experience from my family more often than I would like to admit. How would we ever make it without grace and forgiveness?

  4. I am thankful for my dad (and I am NOT a daddy’s girl) who took me out to lunch today and shared his heart. For that I am truly thankful!

  5. I am grateful for the gift of grace-filled perspective. As I look back over the last two years of my life I am amazed and humbled at how far Jesus has brought me. So many things have changed (my weight and my confidence in becoming the woman God intends for me to be) and so many things have stayed the same (my love of life and the incredible people God has placed on this journey with me). He has opened my eyes to see Him in the ordinariness of everyday and to give thanks in all things. I am so grateful for the tears that have been shed, the lessons that have been learned, and the victories that have been won. I am excited to hope and dream for a future filled with possibilities to love God and serve Him as I love others and serve them.

  6. I am thankful for my husband. He has been an amazing father to my kids from a previous marriage and to our own children. He works hard to provide for our family so I can be home for our children. He is the chairman of our school board at out little private Christian school and a softball coach for the school as well. He is a great example of a Christian man to our 4 boys and daughter. I am so grateful to God for my husband!

  7. I’m thankful that our God does not leave His work unfinished! And I’m thankful for sisters in Christ who are brave enough to speak in their pain about God’s goodness and His grace and his salve for our hurts. “When you are converted, strengthen your brethren…” Thank you ladies for obeying His call!

  8. Thankful for the few who choose to openly share their fears, bare their hearts and let us join them in this journey in Christ, so that so many thousands (millions!) might be encourage.d by the message of hope available to each and every one of us.

  9. Awesome interview – I’m off to check out her blog.
    I’m grateful for God’s unconditional love and unfailing patience with me.

  10. Am thankful for the rain we’ve had this past month….the grass is so green now.
    Also thankful that the sun is shining today

  11. I am grateful that through anything, we can choose to practice eucharisteo and that Ann taught us that in her book.

  12. I am bittersweetly grateful for my divorce…. as painful, heartbreaking and hurtful as it was, God used that time to draw me closer to Him and has been molding me to succomb to His will, not mine. I’m still learning, still heartbroken and at times it’s still painful, but God is mighty and is teaching me strentgh and wisdom unimaginable.

  13. I’m thankful that it is God who works in me to desire and to accomplish the good works he has laid out for my life, and that I am not defined by my insignificance but by his significance.

  14. I too have followed A Holy Experience for some time but never left a comment. A lot of my blog friends are friends with Ann and have followed in her footsteps to discover 1000 gifts they are grateful for.

    I have tried in the past but only got to about 400 when life’s greatest storm; my Daddy’s untimely death after he had disowned me for being a Christian and I hadn’t had the opportunity to reconcile with him; hit and I really couldn’t find anything in my life to feel joyful/grateful about (even though there were things that I just couldn’t see at the time in my grief). I never picked it back up after that.

    But I am so thankful for the reminder today that I have so much to be grateful for. My salvation. My wonderful husband. Our son who brings us so much joy. My scholarship to SHE Speaks this July. These are just a handful of so many blessings praise God.

    Thanks Karen and Ann. Blessings to you both.

  15. I am thankful for my godly husbnd who i such an example and picture to me of how Christ loves the church. Aaron is so patient, kind, loving in a way that I don’t deserve and can’t comprehend. There are times where I think he should just be done with me, and yet he loves me so unconditionally, that it gives me a small glimpse of how Christ loves me. Thank you sweet Father in Heaven for blessing me with the man that YOU chose for me and that he loves you above anything else on this earth! :)

  16. I am grateful for my sisters in the Lord. They are the richest of blessings. In times of joy, they just jump right in and rejoice in doing life with you. In times of trial, they offer wise counsel, support, practical help and of course make up a whole team of prayer warriors! Women who pray with such conviction and love and speak truth and life in to my life are invaluable. I love that the Lord blesses us with these friendships and we can draw strength from Him through our sisterhood.

  17. This may sound odd, but today I am thankful for tears. Tears of joy & tears of sorrow. I am thankful that God gave us the gift of tears, which are so healing & so refreshing.

  18. I am thankful that my Daddy in Heaven knows me through and through. He knows we share an abiding love for the wildlife in my New Orleans suburban backyard. We brings me some incredible treats like a tree full of wild parrots looking for rest on their migration from the Caribean Countries south of us. I am thankful that I have seen many generations of wildlife come to my backporch to find feed and freshwater and to teach their offspring that there is an oasis they can turn to in this every moving, noisy city. Its Spring and a new generation of baby birds are being introduced to my back porch giving me and my Lord many sweet moments of chuckles watching their aukward innocense. I am so thankful for those sweet moments in my life that I share with Daddy God, that nothing and no-one can take away from me.

  19. I have read Ann’s beautifully written book and visit A Holy Experience frequently. These two resources are teaching me this life of thankfulness. Today I am thankful for a circle of girlfriends, each one I believed hand-picked by God, to walk with me through such a time as this. For this I am so thankful.

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