About the Author

Ann Voskamp is a farmer's wife, the home-educating mama to a half-dozen exuberant kids, and author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, a New York Times 60 week bestseller. Named by Christianity Today as one of 50 women most shaping culture and the...

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  1. Ann,
    I love how you say that everyone lives the length of their life, but only few live the whole width of their life. When I think of length, I think of linear – the shortest distance between point A and point B. But, when I think of width, I think of vast, expansive, unending and fullness. Thank you so much for this reminder to live the fullness of each and every day and to have a heart of gratitude for each day that I am given.
    Blessings to you,
    Bev

  2. Ann,
    Thank you for urging us to embrace our life. I choose to open up my eyes and my heart to all this day holds. I don’t want to get to the end of the day and look back at a day taken for granted.

  3. I’m going to close up my computer. Tight.

    Kick off my flip flops and go play in the sand with my two littlest grandgirls. Search for the ever elusive seaglass along the windswept shore. Splash big and giggle loud.

    And share ice cream treats … right before dinner.

  4. How can I fill up the width of one day? Take those two glorious children and play monkey in the middle, get dirt right up to my elbows planting flowers in her fairy garden, paper mache the mountain for the dinosaur world, take a dog to the river, and Yes! dip our toes in too, spread the blanket outside and eat the blueberry scones we baked from the polka dot play tea set and then dance like no-one’s watching with the sun on our faces and the wind in our hair, thanking the Lord for the day he has set before me. Thanks Ann for the reminder to fill not only the length of the day, but the width – delicious!!!

  5. I just loved this! Summer has swept past me so quickly this year and I think starting today it’s past time to make a list of summer-do’s to enjoy before it quietly slips into fall.
    Thanks for the reminder!
    Blessings!

  6. Ann, thank you for your encouragement, always. My oldest begins college in two weeks so I am struggling with the end of summer. So much to do to get her ready, feeling like the days are so small. I need more gratitude for this season, and grace…

    • Jen, Me too! Two weeks. How could so many years have gone by so fast? It seems like my smiles are constantly mixed with tears these days. I will add you and your daughter to my prayers.

  7. We still have just under four weeks left of summer holidays here in England. We have so much planned for these next few weeks! The best things so far have been reading (my girls and I are sharing ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’), baking, visiting a local lavender farm, crafting and swimming. Can’t wait till next week when we move into our new house. We’re buying after years of renting. So exciting – and I know that God has plans for this house because that’s what I’ve prayed for right from the beginning!

    Thank you for these words of encouragement. Every day now I feel like Zacchaeus must have felt when Jesus said “I must come to your house today!” Thank you, thank you, thank you 🙂

  8. Thanks Ann…….this is such a message for me. I prayed my heart out in Cols 2:10 this morning- I want to live fully ………..and have more of Christ and when I logged into Facebook I met this message confirming what the spirit is saying to me! Again I pray – Lord let me live wholly-fully-and completely. Guess what ? A dear friend bought me a birthday gift! It’s One Thousand Gifts- and it’s my birthday today!

  9. My oldest daughter leaves for college in two weeks. Oh my. Ann, how did you do it? We have a whole bunch of things planned up until the time she leaves. My heart soars and sores at the same time. Thank you for helping us to remember to enjoy each day, and to find beauty in those little things we do together.

    • Oh, yes, deep breath — so many hard stops for prayer! So well said, Penny – our hearts soar, yet sore 🙂 Press on, sister. Sending you love and prayers today…He holds.

  10. What GORGEOUS photographs! I love (in)courage! 🙂 Thank you for your writings and wonderful images!

  11. My summer has been filled with worry and ick. Worry over not liking my job, will hubby lose his job, aging dad etc. In the end it all worked out and we are enjoying each day as much as possible.

    For our big end of summer we are going to N. Myrtle beach for a week (labor day week). We will stay in a house and just rest, enjoy each other, walk along beach and revel in all that God has given us in our 10 years of marriage. Game playing, book reading, walking, shopping all kinds of fun will be had. Taking our little “Tiny” (Iguana) with us. Should be loads of fun!!

    Thanks for the suggestions! Will have to try some of them!!!

    Blessings to everyone 🙂

  12. Ann,
    You have it all down to the last minute. Enjoy this column and the Christian way it is brought forth. Have just been getting in touch with friends and a step-sister and it makes the day go in no uncertain terms.
    Hugs,
    Becky

  13. Dear Ann,
    I just love your posts! I feel like I know you! As this summer ends, it will be my first year in retirement from the school district, working with blind children. I’ve been blessed with 3 grandchildren, the youngest born in March, so I’ve been able to watch them while my daughter goes back to work. I have a very close relationship with these precious little ones. I get to run through sprinklers, go berry picking, make messy cupcakes, and nap in the middle of the day with them. I love to embrace every season, so I’m not too sad about summer ending, for in the fall is the pumpkin patch, turning leaves and pumpkin scones!!!
    Learning to live big and wide,
    Lisa

  14. Oh how these days of sun and simplicity slip through our hands. This summer, with my ‘aging’ (14, 17, 21) kids off at camps, work and travelling, my mother heart has been feeling the ache of missing summers past when the house, the yard, the pool, the dinner table were constantly full. Yet, I have been reminded with each visit home to redeem that time, to live in the now, to soak up momentary moments of mother heart bursting.
    Carole

  15. I spent a lot of my time this summer on my knees and searching the sky for a glimpse of God. I am at the time in my life where I’ve been reflecting how I haven’t lived my life to the fullest and I’m not guaranteed I will have the opportunity again. However your list shows me there is so much I can do and it starts with believing that I can. Your pictures showed the flowers I have growing in my garden and the chocolate cake (my favorite by the way) which is a gift from God as I absolutely LOVE to bake. Thanks for sharing ☺

  16. Funny you should mention this topic, Ann, because I was just thinking the same thing this morning: Summer is almost over! Oh my! Where has it flown? And soon our daughter, Sheridan, will be back into her college routine, and we, into ours. She still lives at home, so that is a big blessing, but my summers to enjoy her grow fewer (especially for an older mom who had her when I was forty). What I take from your post is to appreciate and savor every moment, and not permit my days to accumlate like empty corn husks on the back-porch of my years. I love your “width” metaphor, and would add that I want to live deeply. . . . to stop skimming my life’s surface and to plunge headlong into the deep, deep love of Jesus. “O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast unmeasured, boundless, free
    Rolling as a mighty ocean, in its fullness over me. Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love, leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above.” I want to live deeply in the current of His love in every future summer, autumn, and winter, until it sweeps me straight up into the heights of Eternal Resurrection Spring. Yes, this makes me grateful. This is a plan I can follow, only because God made it easy for me through Christ’s horrendously difficult sacrifice at Calvary.
    God bless you, Ann.
    Lynn

      • And your kindness touches me more than you will know. Thank you always for letting Him use your heart as His gift to others. I say again, God bless you, dear one.
        And your writing on platform? Continue, just as you are doing, to raise up His!
        xox,
        L.

  17. I love taking nature walks and watching the birds at the feeders and birdbath outside my office window. God’s awesome creation reminds me of His love and faithfulness. I love how you ask about living not only the length but the breadth of life. The length of a day is meaningless without the fullness of Jesus in our hearts and the breadth, depth, and height of His unconditional love. I long to let the chains that bind my heart burst in pieces, so I can live freely and fully in Jesus, trusting Him with all my heart.

  18. I love this list….thank you <3
    The summer has been different, cooler days than normal and some wonderful trips to see family far away….and time to just take time…best peaches ever this year….homemade zucchini bread….and dinners on the patio.
    God bless you for opening your heart each day to us…you touch us with God's heart through your words and pictures <3

  19. Seems strange to be thinking about summer when we are still in the midst of winter in Australia Very cold and with damaging winds. But whatever the season we should embrace that special time.
    I will certainly be putting your advice in to practise when summer comes!

  20. For the last month I’ve been babysitting our toddler granddaughter Monday-Friday. I’ve seen summer in new ways as she’s experienced flowers, butterflies, acorns and more. Even sticks and stones become treasures in her hands. I’m thinking there’s no one like a toddler to teach you how to live wide! Thank you, Ann, for reminding us not to waste ourselves.

  21. Ann, since you are talking about summer and savoring life with gratitude, I thought I would share with your readers one of my favorite summer poems by John Tobias called “Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle Received from a Friend Called Felicity.” Likely you know it. Somehow that preserving of the pickled watermelon in a jar always reminds me of Moses telling Aaron to take a jar and to put an omer of manna in it, as a memorial to be kept for generations to come. I think when you write about the Lord and your precious family, you are putting your words in a jar, preserving them for His glory and for the generations to come. As in the poem, you are “capturing and preserving,” and when future generations “unscrew the lid,” they will “slice off a piece” of God’s wisdom gleaned through your insights, and they will let it “linger on their tongues,” and thereby know the goodness of the Lord. Yes, they will taste and know that He is good. Keep writing. Keep sharing. Keep preserving!
    Love
    Lynn
    http://www.cise.ufl.edu/~hsiao/verse/watermelon.html

  22. Oh gosh, and Happy Early Birthday!!!! (since I can only comment here)! Enjoy and God bless you!
    Love
    Lynn

  23. Thank you, this really gave me a new perspective on my two weeks left before school begins. I spent the day loving my 17 month old granddaughter and will make my bulletin boards for school in due time. Be grateful. Every day. Praise Him. Breathe in, knowing God is providing the (last!) scents of summer for you to enjoy.

  24. From one who has more years behind then I do ahead: it’s the time I spend with people that makes up the width of my life – watching an old Bonanza rerun with my 89 yr old father at the nursing home, playing Scrabble with my 16 yr old granddaughter, swingng on the hammock with my 9 yr old twin granddaughters, eating frozen yogurt with my grandson and not caring about the calories!! These are the times and ways I want to spend the width and length of the rest of my days. And so geateful to Him that I’m able to!

  25. I have loved this summer,the long hours of daylight,all the sunny days and the slower pace of time. In these next weeks I will have a few days at my sisters beachfront cottage here in the north West,righ on the ocean. My husband and I are seniors and enjoy camping,eating hotdogs and pop corn,haha.
    I have so many things I still want to do. Walk out in the sea when the tide is in. take my little gr. Grands on a mini train ride at the park.
    Thank you Ann for your gift of words to us,making simplicity a valued word in this crazy upside down world we call home,until we get to our real HOME,one day soon. Heaven is waiting for us.

  26. Happy Birthday Ann
    My prayer for you
    Father, Lay your hand of blessing over Ann and all she cares for. May the peace that only Jesus gives be a constant covering,your Grace and Mercy ever near her.
    Amen

  27. I have read every comment & enjoyed them all. I am a Foster Grandparent & volunteer
    in a first grade class, I really like it. But I have had a wonderful summer. Our grandson
    came over & tilled & raked the garden & got it ready for planting. We are harvesting
    wonderful veggies to eat, preserve & share with others. We have had family visit us here
    in OR intermittently all summer including a new two & a half month old great grand-
    daughter. We have had them from VA, CA & expecting our son & his wife next week from
    lA. I too am thankful for the longer days, warmer days & really relaxed weeks we have had.
    I’ve gone to breakfast with two of my friends every week. Am also looking forward to
    having two friends come for a few days visit. We have been friends for over 50 years. One
    is a missionary in Kenya, she will be speaking at our church while here. Just a great summer
    which The Lord has blessed & I am grateful. I enjoyed your words & comments & am
    enjoying the width of the summer this year.

  28. I love how easily you share from your heart! As an admirer not able to comment until now, this is like birthing a baby! Fortunately for me those days are past but soon I will take a new role as nanna. I picked that name cause it rhymes with mine. Today was pretty amaazzing as my friend says in a very tidal way! Thank you! Hug and kiss now!

  29. Ann, thank you for this memorial to the last steamy days of August. School here is already starting and it doesn’t seem right. September is a few weeks from her golden arrival. I’m thankful that our kids still have three weeks to feast on summer. I’ve always been a lamenter of summer’s end. I remember keeping up with all the days in grade school. I see that same quality in the faces of my oldest daughter as she seeks to squeeze every sunshine soaked and rain storm drop right out of summer. I thought recently how all of these summers are so short, all these vacations days of summer are only few in the grand scheme of the years. How we only have twelve left and even though that seems so long to me now, I know how quickly june cartwheels crazy fast into august. Summers go most fast. I loved reading the hope blooming in this piece, Ann. I have always even as a little child not fully enjoyed the now because I was sorrowful that it would end. I won’t do it this year. Thank you for these ideas and i want to lick that dripping cone of mint and breathe in the smoky air of a camp fire, talk to my neighbor with firefly night lights and just maybe i’ll be brave like you and make a fruit pie. Thank you for this beautiful signature on summer’s letter. And thank you most for the admonition that life can be fully lived and redeemed lavishly in what is left right now. No matter how long is left. If it is received with joy and celebrated. Blessings

  30. summer isn’t
    simply
    a time
    but a state
    of heart
    loosening
    of mind
    freedom to
    delight while
    flying weariness on
    hot breezes – ah!
    lest you forget
    stars
    that twinkle bright
    brighter even
    in wintertime

  31. oh,the thousands way to give to our mighty God all the glory,enjoiyng the precious life He give us all every day!,thank you dear Anne

  32. Today I’ve started 25 days of leave, some of it unpaid. It was a risk, could I manage on half my salary for this month? I’ve done it before but not for a long time. My body and soul has been longing to just have time and so I had to take the risk. I knew I wouldn’t regret it, time is more precious than gold! Time to lay-in. Time to drink coffee and catch up on my pile of books. Time to cycle and explore my new location. Time to have fun with my granddaughter. I want to wake up and not have a plan for the day. Time to soak in His presence. Time to breathe deeply and yes, enjoy these remaining days of what has been an extraordinary summer. Thank you for the reminder to live wide as well as long, love it 🙂