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Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons Paperback – February 2, 2016
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From the Back Cover
"This is not a book. This is a sanctuary. Step inside and breathe again."--Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol
When Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was longing for a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls endless possibilities. It was a place where she could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for--home.
In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst--from summer's intense heat and autumn's glorious canopy to winter's quiet grief and spring's unexpected mercies. Through stories of planting and preserving, of opening the gates wide to neighbors, and of learning to speak the language of a place, Christie invites you into the heartache and joy of small beginnings and the wonder of a God who would make his home with us.
"When it comes to finding God in ordinary places, no one does it better than Christie Purifoy. Somehow her personal journey to find home turned into a spiritually informative pilgrimage for my own soul."--Emily P. Freeman, author of Simply Tuesday
"Christie reminds us that hope, like dreams, is made of stronger stuff. She invites us into a year of her life lived in real time in an old Pennsylvania farmhouse, chock-full of hope and decay, promise and weeds, work and wonder."--Lisa-Jo Baker, author of Surprised by Motherhood and community manager for (in)courage
"An astonishing, rhythmic work of unmatched artistry. There is no doubt: this book is a must-read for the lover of the quiet, contemplative, and beautiful."--Seth Haines, author of Coming Clean
Christie Purifoy has taught literature and composition to undergraduates at the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of North Florida. In 2012, Christie traded the university classroom for a large vegetable garden and a henhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. She writes about the beauty, mystery, and wonder that lies within the ordinary at her blog, There Is a River (www.christiepurifoy.com).
About the Author
Christie Purifoy (PhD, University of Chicago) has taught literature and composition to undergraduates at the University of Chicago, the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, and the University of North Florida. In 2012, Christie traded the university classroom for a large vegetable garden and a henhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is a regular writer at Grace Table and has contributed essays to numerous websites, including Art House America, A Deeper Story, and many popular blogs. She writes about the beauty, mystery, and wonder that lies beneath the ordinary at her blog, There Is a River (www.christiepurifoy.com).
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"This is not my first spring, and here is something I know: the day when daffodils emerge is not the day for hope. The day when seedlings show the bright green of new life is not the day for faith. That day came and went. Hope is for the dark days. The days when all you can see is mud and mess, like so many forgotten toys strewn across the backyard. Those are the days when miracles begin."......
"I have always imagined miracles to be like loud shouts. Like trumpet blasts. But they are secretive. They are more like deeply buried seeds. Easter Sunday is not the day for miracles. It is the day for praise. Every miracle we ever needed, every miracle we ever wanted begins in those forty days of rain. Or those forty wilderness years. Even those forty days in the desert. Always, God is tugging us toward resurrection, tugging us and this whole weary, winter world toward new life. But the way is dark. The road is long. The path is quiet. It is paved with hunger.
I stumble a bit as I carry the tray filled with seedling pots downstairs. The basement is dark, and I cannot hold the tray and reach for the dangling bulb. But there are small sounds to guide me. From deep within this dreary cave, I hear spring. I hear newborn voices singing a hungry song. There is the amber glow from our newly purchased heat lamp. It gives enough warm light for me to find my potting table. To set down my burden of seeds and desires. I lean over to check. Yes, they have water. And here is a little more food.
By the light of an indoor sun, I am able to see what looks like fluffy dandelions each walking on a pair of tiny twigs. Thirteen baby chicks. A baker’s dozen of hopes and dreams."
The book begins with Christie and her husband buying a 100 year old farm house in eastern PA in the hot month of August. The farm house and the month are important because the seasons and the house itself are the two main characters in the book.
Christie then goes on to tell the story of their first year at Maplehurst (doesn't that just make you want to name your house or rematch Anne of Avonlea?) through what the house and the grounds go through and look like each month.
But she also does more than that. She talks about where in the Christian liturgical calendar her and her family are in each month, and she makes just gorgeous parallels between these liturgical seasons, and the seasons of Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer.
In all of this she uses these characters of seasons and her home to talk about her own heart and soul as she explores the tensions inherit in faith. She explores the topics of grief, joy, and beauty, to name a few, and how she understands these deep themes through her life on the hill where her home resides.
I highly, highly recommend this book as a balm to the soul, as a gentle breeze to blow into your daily life, telling a gentle story of the grace of a slower life that finds it's ebb and flow in the seasons of Creation as well as Faith.