The Greatest Of These Is Love

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Join me today at Grace Table?  My words and I are over there telling a love story. A story of love.

“It wasn’t love at first sight, but it was love very soon after we wrapped our heads and hearts around one important realization. Beauty lay behind the fringes of the dirt. Redemption could be found on the frayed edges of the brokenness. Restoration would require patience and sweat equity. It would demand waiting. And it would call for trust. But it would return much more than it could ever have asked of us.

This was a transaction of the heart. And we would be reminded that love wins every time.

Thank you, as always, for joining me at the table….(Click the link to read “The Greatest Of These Is Love”.)

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Have I Told You Lately…that I love this book

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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,

e

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Begotten Not Made – Guest Post: Seth Haines

I have gathered a few writer, poets, friends for a series of guest posts. Today I am  privileged to have a writer whose work I have marveled at for a little long while.

I could tell you a few things about this fellow Southerner, father of four boys who practices law, writes poetry and oh, is a musician as well. (He left a few things out of his bio, so I added them here. Host’s prerogative.) But his words tell well on their own.
Welcome Seth and his poetry.

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Begotten Not Made

And though he birthed the star alight,
he took to manger underneath
the humbled cry of stifled speech,
of own begotten form.

He suckled there at woman’s breast,
the mouth of God on human skin
he spoke before the world began,
to birth begotten form.

Confined to flesh and swaddled limbs
restrained his own eternal power;
the starry hosts in witching hour
announced begotten form.

And when the kobalt sky was new,
with blushing east and rising love,
creation ceased its groaning song
and held begotten form.

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Seth Haines

Writer: sethhaines.wordpress.com

Editor: A Deeper Church

Contributor: Tweetspeak Poetry

Curator: Mother Letters

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Joining Laura, a Monday tradition.

In Which I Quote The Apostle Paul and Anne Lamott

March really did come in like a lion. We felt the wind blow through our family, shaking us up. Waking us up. And the wind burns and the wind deposits a chill in the bones of man.

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And the greatest of these is Love.

Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love

1 Corinthians:13 – The Message

And sometimes prayers are best reduced to “Help,Thanks,Wow” as Anne Lamott suggests in her new book about prayer.
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The best of the three is love. Really.

I know this in a newer and newer way. I have known it. But there must be many definitions of “know” like the Greek has four definitions of love. This knowing takes on a richer covering of understanding. Like the tapestry has more colorful threads. And the weaving is more exquisite and intricate. This tapestry of knowing love.

March 1 knocked us around a bit. And then on March 4th it knocked us around a little more. Sweet daughter was driving when a blue hand crank smashed her windshield as she was motoring down the highway. At highway speeds. And minutes after or before, trauma blurs time, I fell down the stairs and we were really shaken up. The green and purple and blue running around my flesh was an outward sign.

But days after the highway shake up, we are still numb in our rejoicing. That the greatest of these is love. And that God protected our child.

But the hands and feet of Jesus were at work in our suffering. And the body of Christ was loving us through all of our pain. And we prayed a variation of “Help, Thanks, Wow” as Anne Lamott writes in her book on prayer because sometimes these are the true cries of the heart.

We look at the blue metal hand crank and we say “wow”. And we look at the impact on the windshield on the passengers side where there was no passenger that day. Wow, truly. Because we hear the mechanic when he says how close this was to going all the way through.

But we are even more amazed at the friendship that erupted on the scene of the accident. Our friends who came and loved our daughter. The father, mother, and child, a trio of angels ready to love our family in a difficult time. And we say “thanks”.

Our hearts are ready for the lamb part of March. The lion part is still growling and roaring a bit. But God…is growing our faith and showing us Love through His body. The body of Christ.

As I fell down the stairs and wept and shook, I was helped by two godly men. My husband and his accountability partner and best friend. And I wept at the trauma that appeared to be coming in rapid succession. The kind that leaves you shaking and asking and what’s next.

But what’s next is more Love. Because love wrapped around our pain. It bound our wounds and eased our suffering. March 1st left us shaking a bit. We had to pull together and move forward from unexpected change. And love together, The Patient One and I. We processed a big change in our lives under the mantra of we are moving forward.

But forward was paved by love to the left and love to the right. We were hemmed in by it.

Without the pain, without the trauma, without the shaking up in our lives we would have missed this action verb breaking through into our lives.

God allowed us the privilege of seeing Love cover us up. Friends blanketed us with words of encouragement, refocused our pain, and checked on us with words, written and spoken.

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I read the words of a blogger friend to The Patient One. And his response was “keep banging away.” We do feel like this, often, we writer/bloggers. That we are just banging it out.

But if I can bang out love, words of love, manifestations of love and God’s grace then bang away I will.

Though I wish there were a more poetic expression of writing than banging. But I bang like a loud cymbal or a drum if I am not writing and speaking of love.

So today I swim in the ocean of Paul’s beautiful words, again. And again. And every wedding and every occasion I can dive back into to this beautiful truth, I will.

When you have soaked in love and bathed in love and basked in love, you want to give it.

These days leading up to the cross, to the Lamb of God, I want to bang out love and point to the amazing love of Christ on the Cross.

Oh I am ready for the Lamb days of March. But I am grateful for what the roaring lion showed us too. And I want to pray “thanks” to a God who loves us so much it is sometimes unfathomable. Often incomprehensible.

And “thanks” to those precious friends who love us when we are hurting and scoop us up when we fall down. Broken, bruised, banged up but loved.

The best of the three is love. Truly.

Joining Jennifer today for #tellhisstory, Ann and Emily for Imperfect Prose

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