Have I Told You Lately…that I love this book


You can love someone without ever touching their skin, seeing the whites of their eyes (as my grandmother would say), or sharing tea, coffee or wine in the corner of your favorite cafe. And you can grow to respect and care deeply for someone whom you have never had the pleasure of “meeting in the flesh.”

You can long after a place you’ve never been or seen. Dream of a one day or a right now. Long for a place called home that you know in your soul can exist, does exist and more importantly will be embraced. In time. At the “just right time”. And dream that love and life will thrive and grow. When tended and nourished through every season of a year. This is the power of hope.

Christie and I have never met. At least not yet. And yet I call her friend. We share a love of words and of old homes, good food, chickens, gardens and of family. We both have the honor of contributing as monthly writers at GraceTable.Org. A community that fosters the friendships of its writers.

Here are the words I used  in my Amazon review to describe “Roots and Sky”, her soulful book just published by Revell Books:

From the earliest places of this book, through the thoughtful middle and up until the final page, there exists a beautiful and poetic enveloping. Writer of reader. Loosely held was I, within every page and every line. A masterful and authentic storyteller, Purifoy covers us with her rich lyrical prose. With artful subtlety and nuance, she is at once gifted as a story-teller and as a contemplative writer. Purifoy achieves a gathering up of the reader to herself with this memoir. We are held tenderly as we listen. And somehow we discover our own stories as she tells her own. Purifoy’s writing bares her individual journey and yet touches on universal themes that draw us in. The rhythms of life, love and of seeking God in every crack and crevice of Maplehurst are unveiled with a richness that rings authentic and poetically throughout.

Upon my completion of “Roots and Sky,” I was hungry to go back and read through again. Pen in hand. Ready again for the exquisite voice of Purifoy. (And I wanted to go dig in the dirt of my own old Victorian home. To explore and grow. Uncover and plant.) Purifoy’s passions of place and for home and family are contagious, indeed. And now I eagerly await her second book.


Since this review, I have spent additional time within the pages of “Roots and Sky.” I’ve revisited some of my favorite lines. Flipped around and stumbled on new gems from Christie. I have read lines aloud on Instagram (@graceappears). And now I am sharing here. Sharing the goodness of “Roots and Sky” because I believe this is a book that seeps into the soul. Lyrically and honestly.

And, truly, what more can we ask from a book than to be authentic, honest, lovely and real.

One day I know I will have tea with Christie. But if this certainty of mine never comes to pass, I know her well through her writing. And what more can we ask from a writer but to reveal the honest places of her life, her very soul. Her triumphs, her tragedies and her dreams. This is the beauty of “Roots and Sky.”

While following Christie through four seasons at her beloved Maplehurst, we are invited to dream and hope, always hope, as we discover the beauty of simplicity and the joy of finding our place in the world.

This weekend I will be giving a couple of copies away over at my other writing home “A Quiet Place For Words.” Once weekly-ish I mail a little letter to subscribers. Join me there?

I hope you win. I wish I had a box the size of all outdoors to give to all my people. I love this book that much.

peace and grace,




Lost Art: A Letter To Something Gone Missing

“A Quiet Place For Words” Letter Number Nine was mailed out to subscribers yesterday. On the wings of Tiny Letter. From me to you. Join me there once a week or so. Slipped quietly into your inbox. I promise to tip toe in. Not make too much extra noise.  To subscribe click the link here: Tiny Letter: Elizabeth W. Marshall.  

Lost Art: A Letter To Something Gone Missing

Dear Smallness:

Sometimes I pad around sock-footed or bare-footed, really it is more of a meandering. I am hunting in the corners and out in the open for the smallest of things. It is hard to sneak up on the small things when you are shod in street shoes. Clugging and clunking scares the memories. The repositories of once-upon-a-time, sepia souvenirs of past lives, faded places of remembering. They go a-hiding. This house holds tiny treasures tucked away or in plain view. It depends on how intensely you look. A home built in 1908, one housing family memories – generations of photographs, books and art- will call you into its smallness. That’s where the richness is held. Lodged in the in-between.

At Woodland Heights I wander. Slowly search for new smallness preserved among the old pine floors, wallpapered bedrooms and oak paneled walls. Minutia lies waiting in the mad and crazy world. It leads to big discoveries. The kind that reveal the best stories of birth- day parties with little girls in dresses and donkey rides to school. Stories of adventurous sun-browned summer boys jumping off of high dives into Lake Susan. Of first born Christenings and five generations of black and white family portraits hung proudly on a dark stairwell. Of family, then and now. Of love and loss.

Yesterday I marveled at snowdust. It is the first cousin of fairy dust. Driving through the Blue Ridge Mountains, it snowed. But I wanted to rename it.  A mixture of icy confetti-like precipitation with the look of volcanic ash, it was barely snow. It looked like snow globe snow or dust bunny fragments, but not at all like the real thing. In the right light it looked like fragments of glass. Sometimes the real deal is hard to find. But it was snow. And the flakes were small. And it was beautiful. I pictured each flake under the microscope. And remembered being a child and marveling at the shapes of flakes under the glass, one hundred times their real life size. Icy art sculptures. The eye deceives. This itty bitty, tiny snow was snow, after all.

 And I know small can be deceivingly big sometimes. The time one small mosquito slips into your ear at 10 o’clock on a cool summer’s eve just as you are about to fall asleep. You remember the painful amplification of a single miniscule bug turning your nocturnal world upside down. And you never forget. One sunburned nose. One stubbed toe. One bloodied up skinned knee.

I know the big sting of one cruel word. The raw hurt of one hurtful slight. The pain of one rant, one unforeseen verbal punch or one lost friendship.

Small can hurt too.

But hope calls forth the beauty in the ash. And forgiveness and restoration wash over brokenness and bruises.

Small, mostly I want you to reveal yourself to me. The cool trickling creek by a partially snow-covered path, a quote from John Muir right at the start of a frigid walk in the arctic mountain air. Timed just right to warm the soul. The just rightness of its poetic balm soothes you as you shiver.

Small, come by here. Reveal yourself.

Small, come back to us and never leave.

You are welcome here. You are treasured. And we delight in all you are and in all you are not. Sacred smallness. Come and delight us in your discovery.

Amen. The end.





Dear Marvelous:

You found me. Perhaps I found you. We found each other. We are now sojourners for a journey of days and weeks and seasons, through the calendar of 2016. While the earth spins and turns, we will look for the poetry. Together.

We missed the early days. We had not found each other yet when January began her spartan dance, slow and waltzing. Fresh with hope. So we are shy a full deck of 365. But we press on in the remaining. Linked. Arms hooked. You are an encourager of delight, a finder of the extraordinary and a lover of whimsy.

You are not the Pollyanna that some may think. You are not the eternal optimist. The wearer of rose-colored glasses. You are green with new birth. Effervescent with joy in the face of discovery. Yes, you are life-giving and eager to delight in the best. Often the simple.

The “m” sits on the edge of pursed lips, determined and brave and pushes off like a swimmer doing the butterfly. A graceful lunge. Into the realm of wonder and possibility. A sea of mystery and marvel. High tides, low tides. Ebbing and flowing. Always tossing up the treasures to be collected on the edges of our walk.

So there you are. Light in the dark. Warmth in the cold. You shade and color the nuances of life with glorious richness. With exquisite simplicity. Elegance in the simple. You are regal as a peasant in her everyday-ness. You are riches in the rags. Hope in despair. Light in the shadows.

Marvelous, you are a mindset. A lens. A capturer of life’s best and rarest. A treasure seeker. A seeker of intrigue.

Thank you for choosing me. Here’s to a year of marveling together. At all the mystery. Through the pain. Into the dark days. Around the deep ditches and past the hurdles of sorrow. Over, under, around.

Here’s to uncovering the marvelous. For you and for me. In the everyday. In every day. In Him and by Him. Glory be to the Creator of the marvelous.







Lost Art


Lost Art

A hundred  years from now
Will they lay blame
Squarely at our feet
Like a tom cat
Depositing the spoils of his latest feline
Hunter-Gatherer session in the pines,
a limp songbird clothed in broken robe of red

The extinction of all that is lost
Weep for us at least
At the scarcity

For along with the earth, the sky and sea
Damage to
Mountains, rivers, ponds and streams
It seems we’ve lost the art of
That and this
Those most beautiful of things
Take inventory
Line them up
And see along with me
The dim memory of the art of life’s fragile
Finest things
Savoring, simplicity, longing and lingering in quiet wait
How cruel to let them die
Expire from our midst
I still want to string these things
That make our life a masterpiece
Like pearls along a silky cord
laughing, loving, and really listening
And these?
An out of order, unalpha-ed partial list of things
That we used to know the art of
Practiced at their practice
Refining them with runs up and down the scales
As if our lives depended on it
Perhaps in fact they did

Discover the art of being lost in forests
Over-grown with grace
Scavenge with me among the fields of broken hallelujah’s

Excavate thankfulness
Resurrect forgiveness

(A renaissance of simplicity is waiting to be re-born)

For all is not lost
Afterall, after all these three remain
Faith, hope and love

hang the masterpieces of our lives
on the sacred nail

Sacrificed with blood and flesh and
Restore the things
But now I’m found
Find these things with me








Tiny Letter #7 goes to subscribers tomorrow. I saved a spot for you there — “A Quiet Place For Words”. Subscription is free. Click the link to sign up. It is on of my favorite places these days because  it is where I hear from so many of you. Thank you for writing me and for responding and for journeying with me.

peace and grace,