Eat, Read, Pray Book Club: Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts Part 3

As members enter for Part 3 of Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts, engage them in the Opening Activity of what VosKamp describes as Ugly Beautiful:

Look at page 135 in your book and read through VosKamp’s list of “Ugly Beautiful.” Now, in your thanksgiving journal, add ten items which you would deem “Ugly Beautiful” in your own life.

Then, put members in pairs to discuss the questions covering chapter 5:

Chapter 5
  1. Think of a recent moment where something went wrong with you, didn’t go as planned, etc. Find one thanksgiving in that moment.
  2. Define hard eucharisteo.
  3. How would you rate your daily discipline to give thanks on a scale of 1-10? Are you (inert name) full of grace?
  4. How do you feel about “awakening to joy awakens to pain” (84)?
  5. Can it be that, that which seems to oppose the will of God actually is used of Him to accomplish the will of God” (88)? Explain.
  6. What does VosKamp mean by “ugly-beautiful” (99)?
    In an effort to cover chapter 8, have members complete the following activity:
    Chapter 8 
    Write “stress” on your note card. Discuss this term with your partner, and then list on your note card all items which cause you “stress”- emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.
    With “stress” cards in hand, discuss the meaning of theology as your group is walking outside in order to “chase the moon.”  In groups, have members take creative pictures which can include chasing the moon such as VosKamp did in chapter 6.  Click here for further ideas. 
    Hunky Guy Seen Here Holding the Moon
    While outside, have readers tear “stress” cards into tiny pieces and then bury under the soil for a symbolic and literal release of “stress.”

    Last but not least, members may enjoy a luscious snack inspired by chapters 5-8 of VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts.

    Moon Pies, Photo and Snack Courtesy of Beth Miramonti

Eat, Read, Pray Book Club: Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts Part 2

Part 2 of Ann VosKamp’s book study covered chapters 1-4 and book club members were given a thanksgiving journal at the first meeting in order to begin documenting their 1000 gifts.  As members enter for discussion, ask them to highlight five thanksgivings from their journal they would be willing to share with the group.  Once everyone has arrived and is settled, go around the room and have each member share their five thanksgivings- why these thanksgivings were chosen, when they were identified, the grace that resulted.

This would be an ideal time to introduce the snack of the evening, cheeses meant to be grated.  Allow members access to various cheeses and various size graters in order to create their own rings of cheeses.
While taking turns with the grater, the following study questions may be discussed:

Chapter 1-
  1. What do you think of the opening epigram, “Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness”?
  2. Are your hands curled like cupped hands, a receptacle open to the gifts God gives?
  3. Do you have any memories which were jolted awake due to the electricity of the trauma?
  4. How can God be good when babies die, marriages implode, and dreams blow away?
  5. Does God really love me?
  6. What is the human inheritance/legacy of the Garden?
  7. When do your soul’s macular holes spontaneously heal?
  8. Define “grace” according to VosKamp.
  9. How do you know you can say “yes” to whatever He gives? 
    10. How do we “choose” to allow the holes to become seeing- through-to-God places?

Chapter 2-
  1. Can you relate to Ann’s dream? Has a dream or life experience ever made you want to live fully?
  2. Do you understand what Ann means when she talks of the life in between?
  3. Are you ready to go Home if the call came? If not, how do we live fully so we are fully ready to die?
  4. Are there places that must be known, accomplishments that must be had, before one is really ready to die?
  5. Define eucharisteo.
  6. Define the fall according to Voskamp.
  7. How often do you remember to say thanks? Every day?
Chapter 3-
  1. Thinking of your own life experiences, does change take real intentionality?
  2. Are you able to show gratitude in the midst of death, divorce, debt, etc. in order to accept the joy?
  3. Will you commit to name the gifts you already have, the gifts He bestows? What, if anything, causes you to hesitate?
  4. As you document your 1000 gifts, be specific. For, the small “moments will add up” (57).
  5. Complete a prayer of thanks three times a day.
    Chapter 4-
    1.   Is the busyness of your life leaving little room for the source of your life? How can you make your life less busy?

    2.  What is your most profound regret in life? What did you think of the pastor’s regret of “being in a hurry” (65)

    3.  How can you take time to live with soul and body and God all in sync?

    4.  Document your own version of “Suds . . .all color in sun” (68).

    5.  Fill yourself with the weight of the present, be all here.

    6.  Tell someone you “love them . . . and all this” (77).

Finally, at the conclusion of discussion comes our INTENTIONAL activity of joy.  Since VosKamp lists #362 in her thanksgiving journal as the suds in her sink, use this time to allow the grown members of your book club to walk outside and blow bubbles, pop them, and catch them.

If interested in Eat, Read, Pray Book Club, please e-mail