Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons

Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons

by Christie Purifoy


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When Christie Purifoy arrived at Maplehurst that September, she was heavily pregnant with both her fourth child and her dreams of creating a sanctuary that would be a fixed point in her busily spinning world. The sprawling Victorian farmhouse sitting atop a Pennsylvania hill held within its walls the possibility of a place where her family could grow, where friends could gather, and where Christie could finally grasp and hold the thing we all long for—home.

In lyrical, contemplative prose, Christie slowly unveils the small trials and triumphs of that first year at Maplehurst—from summer's intense heat and autumn's glorious canopy through winter's still whispers and spring's gentle 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 readers into the joy of small beginnings and the knowledge that the kingdom of God is with us here and now.

Anyone who has felt the longing for home, who yearns to reconnect with the beauty of nature, and who values the special blessing of deep relationships with family and friends will love finding themselves in this story of earthly beauty and soaring hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800726669
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/02/2016
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 429,887
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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 (

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 9

An Arrival and a Setting Out 11


The Writing on the Wall 17

Birth and Rebirth 23

The Wanderer's Return 29

Here Prayers Are Born 35

These Days without Name or Story 41

This Is a Testimony 45

Giving Thanks in Rising Darkness 51

Set Apart 57


The Sound of a Silent Voice 65

Let There Be Light 69

A Good and Terrible Story 75

Starlight and Dust 81

This Day Runneth Over 87

How to Cultivate a Year 93

Beneath the Veil 97

This Place Marked by a Star 101

A House of Brick and Symbol 105


A Growing Hunger 111

Beyond the Edge 117

It Is Unfinished 121

On Earth As It Is in Heaven 127

There Is a River 133

The Word of the Lord 139

A Storm and a Bridge 143

Disappointment (Such Good News) 147

An Ancient Song, Always New 153


Let Us Cultivate Glory in Empty Fields 161

Love, So Slow and Beautiful 167

"Who Was, and Is, and Is to Come 171

Showers of Blessing (So Sharp and So Cold) 177

This Path Is a Place 181

Singing, Together, over the Sea 187

Dreams in Black and White 191

Roots to Remember and Branches to Dream 195

All the Loose Ends in the Sky 199

Notes 203

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Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
IoanaN 11 months ago
This book is very poetic. If you are not at all familiar with Christie this might be surprising. She reminded me a bit of Ann Voskamp and her ability to turn the mundane into poetry. This is what Christie does: she takes the normal, ordinary, every day things and looks at them through a deeper and more profound lens. You need to pay attention to her words, not approach the book feeling tired and just wanting to get this book over with. There is a lot of good stuff in here and she offers quite a few thoughts to ponder. I liked how she structured the book in four parts, each for one of the four seasons. The first one is autumn because that was the season when she and her family moved into Maplehurst, the house her husband and her had dreamed about for a long time. Autumn is also the time of year when her youngest daughter, Elsa was born. I liked her take on each season and how she relates to them and how these look like in a new city and a new house. I tried as much as possible to read a season in one sitting, or at least to not let too much time to pass before I moved to another one because I wanted to see what she saw in each one. The book reads like a collection of journal entries. A few times she talks in the present tense and I had some moments where it seemed that some ideas made sense to her, but were a bit more tricky for me as a reader to get them and be able to be keep up with them. As I said, the language is quite poetic, you need not rush in reading it. I enjoyed reading her take on some things, although I don't necessarily agree with her completely. I kept imagining what she was describing and I so wish I were able to visit Maplehurst myself! I received this book a long, long time ago from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts expressed here are my own.
ksnapier475 More than 1 year ago
Christie Purifoy takes the reader on a year-long journey towards making their house their home. In Roots & Sky Purifoy share her trip as she looks for a sense of roots and belonging. She moves to a Victorian farmhouse called Maplehurst. She wanted to create a place where neighbors, friends and her family feel like they belong. The details that she records are so amazing, both visually and audibly. Through this book the reader can see what they can do to help make this journey also. I highly recommend this book. I was given this book by NetGalley and Revelle in exchange for my honest review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Christie Purifoy in her new book, “Roots & Sky” published by Revell gives us A Journey Home in Four Seasons. From the Back Cover: 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. I think that ever since we read in Genesis that God made Eden and then, the last thing, He created Adam & Eve and planted them there, we long to have a place that God made exclusively for us as well. Well Christie Purifoy found such a place when she was shown Maplehurst. She arrives in the Autumn and tells us the stories that are unique to that season. Then the Winter comes and the stories change. Spring arrives and the stories change and then, finally, Summer makes it and the stories change once again. There is a life to where we live and Maplehurst has a life all its own. Ms. Purifoy tells us these stories so that we may explore the meaning of home in the context of God, family, and community.. This book is a lot of fun and quite entertaining as well. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
tmurrell2 More than 1 year ago
Christie and her little family moved into Maplehurst when she was very pregnant with her fourth child. She wanted this to be a haven, a sanctuary for their whole family. This was to be home, the end of the journey for them. Christie tells the story of how the family made Maplehurst their home through the first four seasons in the old Victorian house. I absolutely loved the author's lyrical writing style. It flowed so smoothly that I felt like I was being carried along as the author weaves a spell over the reader. The story resonated with me, despite our differences. The author touches on relationships, family, nature, and home. She weaves elements of her faith throughout the book, but it never comes across as preachy. I finished the book feeling refreshed, inspired, and peaceful. Loved this book and will definitely be checking out other books by this author. I received this book free of charge from Revell Reads in exchange for my honest review.
AngelN1 More than 1 year ago
I started reading this book earlier in the month. I usually read quickly, and a mere 200 pages doesn't take long for me to consume, but this book was different. I savored this book. I lingered over the pages, rereading many. I read passages aloud to my husband, both to share with him but also just to hear the words aloud. The author writes so lyrically, and her story is both deeply personal and universal. She deftly combines the ordinary with the divine in a way that is both inspiring and profound. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. In structure, the book is set up in the four seasons, beginning with autumn. That may seem like a strange place to begin the seasons, but it really is fitting, and not just because that was the season the author and her family moved into Maplehurst. Each chapter is grounded in a month and a bible verse. The sacred and the mundane weave together to form a tapestry, and the writer leaves the reader with a beautiful scene of heaven and earth. If someone were to read all of the reviews I've written and pick only one book to read, this is the one. I received this book from the publisher, Revell, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.
Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
This is one of those books that starts off slow, beginning with Christie Purifoy's family buying an old brick farmhouse. It's a house with stories whispering out of all the hallways and staircases, begging the new inhabitants to imagine who has lived there before. It's a house with scratched glass windowpanes, and the scratches made rainbows when the moonlight touches them. It's a house to make a home in, a place where the Purifoy's could look to the future. Christie spins all the threads of her story together around this place, which is named Maplehurst after the trees that rise all around it. So this book has roots, yes. But it does have wings too, because Christie's reflections fly far beyond the scope of relocation and house restoration. If God comes to us at all, then he must meet us where our feet are, on a particular piece of ground. That may be our own lovingly chosen yard, or it may be a strange street corner, but it's a particular place none the less. And because we're there and He's there, then it's worth looking hard and seeing as much as we can. That's what Christie does. She reaches out to life with a reverent hand and she recognizes that the part she plays is a contribution to the greater artwork. That's a message that every one of us needs to absorb into our skin. This matters, your work matters, it does add up. Let the circumstances be good, bad or indifferent, God hasn't run short of grace or glory. And, mercy, can Christie write. I had to slow down and read passages again just to appreciate the way she phrased them. I thank Revell Publishers for providing me with this review copy.
Pooke More than 1 year ago
The Simple Life Join Christie Purifoy as she journey's through the first year of life after her family moves into an old farmhouse--which they call Maplehurst--located on the edge of suburbia. She vividly describes the beauty she finds in the ordinary. This book is divided into four seasons, and those sections are divided by each month. Faith in God is a part of Ms. Purifoy's everyday life, and she writes about the way the words of the Bible come alive in her family's daily routines. Roots and Sky is filled with her personal thoughts about the things she experiences during her first year at Maplehurst, and she is very honest about her feelings. Shortly after making the move, the author gives birth to her fourth child. She then walks through a dark time of postpartum depression, and is very transparent about the difficult, sad thoughts she deals with. From the month of December, the author shares a very sweet description of her family recreating the journey to Bethlehem in search of the newborn king, Jesus. Instead of the Holy Land, the Purifoy family makes their journey crunching through the snow in their yard, while searching for the flickering light that will guide them to the place the baby rests. Once they find him, the entire family joins hands and sings, "Silent Night." During the month of April, the Purifoy family considers holding a gargantuan Easter Egg Hunt as an attempt to reach out to the suburban dwellers who live around them. The author shares her thoughts of wanting to meet her neighbors, yet shyly wanting to hold back--whether from a sense of possible rejection, or something else. Ultimately, they decide to go forward with the hunt, purchasing two thousand plastic eggs they must fill. The author shares the outcome. This book is not quite poetry, and not quite a memoir. It is almost like reading someone's personal thoughts that have been jumbled together into a diary, with lots of rabbit trails of thoughts. I will be honest and say I could never quite connect with this book, and that made me sad, because I really wanted to. It is well-written, and there are some beautiful descriptions of the landscape and people, but a lot of the writing was too disjointed for me. Although this is not the style of writing that appeals to me, for this genre, I believe it is well-done, and would captivate those who do. The publisher has provided bookreadingtic with a complimentary copy of Roots and Sky, through Revell Publishing for the purpose of review. I have not been compensated in any other manner. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required, or influenced, to give anything but an honest appraisal. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
I picked up the book without ever having heard of the author. I loved the book cover. It’s strange to want to read a book solely based on the book cover and yet, it was a cover which invited me in. It bid me welcome. Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons by Christie Purifoy is the story through the first year of moving to a new home. The book weaves through each of the four seasons, bringing the lessons learned in each one. The book so deeply spoke to my own heart, resonating with my own emotions which I had never expressed. There are deep lessons, hard ones, to be learned in every season of our life. This is truly a book to be read slowly, savoring each chapter and the truth it brings. This book truly is a gift which helps us to savor the moments of our lives. It is a must read and one that should be read slowly, pencil in hand, ready to underline and jot thoughts in the margins. It is beautifully written with quotes and Scriptures which will touch your heart. *** I received a copy of this book from Revell for review purposes. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Christie writes about the meaning of home as she recounts her first year in her new farmhouse, Maplehurst. And Maplehurst becomes not just a tangible real experience of putting down roots but also a metaphor of what it means to find our home in Christ. As the seasons change, a baby is born, depression is lived through, gardens are planted, and Advent morphs through Lent and Easter, Christie shares her journey with us. It is a story of discovery and spiritual growth. Her writing is lyrical, meditative, and saturated with biblical imagery that is natural and fresh. It actually kind of reminds me of Madeleine L'Engle's non-fiction books. “Our lives are stories built of small moments,” Christie writes early on in her book. “Ordinary experiences. It is too easy to forget that our days are adding up to something astonishing. We do not often stop to notice the signs and wonders. The writing on the wall. But some days we do.” And this is really what Roots & Sky is all about. Stopping to notice the signs and wonders of ordinary life. The extravagance of each season. The parables of life and death God gives in creation all around us.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Roots and Sky is a beautiful and gentle book. Thanks to her even and contemplative style, I found myself instantly immersed into Christie's world at Maplehurst. With the rhythm of the four seasons as its backdrop, Christie's journey to find her true home reads honest and true. Never pedantic or overly sentimental, Roots and Sky explores universal themes of desire and longing, isolation and belonging, fear and hope. It is, at once, memoir and guide. Christie's account of a year at Maplehurst invites the reader to sit with the good and the bad, the sacred and the profane, the beautiful and the terrible. The result is a poignant awareness of and a deep appreciation for the very life we are living. And that, I find, is what keen and gracious writing does without trying.
pastordt More than 1 year ago
This book is a beautiful and deeply true gift to the world. It is a book to be savored, read over time, with pen in hand and fingertips at the ready — ready to bend down corners of page after page after page . . . Christie Purifoy invites us into her life, one year in her life, to be exact. Moving through the seasons from autumn through summer, from late pregnancy to early toddlerhood, from the wilderness of Florida to the welcoming joys of a very old house on a hilltop in Pennsylvania, she lets us see life through her eyes. And what beauty-seeking eyes she has! Her reflections on the life she lives are deep, rich, honest and gloriously articulate and thoughtful. Maplehurst is an old, brick farmhouse, now surrounded by a brand-new neighborhood of tract homes, a place far from family, yet a place that becomes home in every way you can think of. Along the way, she reflects on things like post-partum depression, sleep deprivation, gardening (oh my, gardening!!!), the liturgical year, life, death, joy, sorrow. She reflects on this life we live, all of us, but she does it in a way too few of us take the time to — and with a skill very few of us enjoy. I’ve pulled out a few favorite passages, but believe me when I tell you this — there are too many to count: “Our lives are stories built of small moments.” “Yet it is only when we are fenced in that we begin to see the true shape of ourselves and of our lives. What it is we long for. What it is we love. Hemmed in on every side, we begin to understand, we are not enough. Until every limitation and every need becomes a prayer. And every prayer, a light revealing the treasure that is always, already ours.” “When something breaks down or does not go as planned, we are given a glimpse of our great need. Like a vast emptiness. We pray for solutions, crying out for immediate help, but God desires to give us more. To give something real. Something we can see with our eyes and feel on our skin. Like a baby born to us. But first he fills our emptiness with his silence.” “When Jesus broke the bread and served the wine, he said, ‘Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Do this. He didn’t say ‘think this,’ or ‘keep retrieving this idea from the back of your brain.’ He didn’t even say, ‘feel this.’ No. He said, ‘Do this.’ Jesus knew the day of his coming was a long one. Thousands of years after his death, we are still living in it. “ Believe me when I tell you this -- there is lots more where these came from. Stunning prose. Truly, truly.
Tresta_Payne More than 1 year ago
Roots and Sky is a journey we all need to be on, finding home in what we've been given and seeing the beauty in things we don't always understand. Purifoy takes you through a full year of change and growth in her home, and what I love the most is the way her words fit my own life, and the way her themes circle back on each other. This is longing and beauty and things beyond our control and God's sovereignty, all wrapped up in rich, lyrical paragraphs.
Michelle_DeRusha More than 1 year ago
Christie Purifoy's book Roots and Sky is stunningly, beautifully written - lyrical, evocative, gentle yet substantive. This journey through the first year in her new home -- an old brick farmhouse in Pennsylvania -- considers the meaning of home and place, digging into both biblical stories and personal narrative in order to explore the mystery of creation and the holy ordinary of simple moments in everyday life. At the same time, this book is not all light and lightness. I especially appreciated how Christie asks hard, sometimes unanswerable questions; searches for meaning in the dark places of depression, loss and despair; and does not sugarcoat the fact that heartache exists, even alongside hope. I highly recommend this book; Roots and Sky is one that I will read again and again.