'Roots & Sky’ by Christie Purifoy


My family moved from little ol’ Crockett, Texas, to the big Aggieland city of College Station when I was 7 years old. I didn’t particularly like it there, and I didn’t have any friends since we moved in the summertime. My parents were UT grads, so my sister and I decided that we hated all things Texas A&M (turns out we both went there and College Station is now my favorite city on the planet).

But back to that summer of 1984. I made friends in my Sunday school class, one of whom was Christie Day. When my parents threw me a birthday party at Pooh’s Park skating rink, Christie was there, even though she had asthma and couldn’t skate. She brought me a coffee mug with teddy bears on it. Weird present for an 8-year-old, but guess what? I still have it.

We remained best friends from that day forward, playing board games, staying up late to watch “Saturday Night Live,” reading Babysitters Club books, walking around Post Oak Mall for hours, babysitting the local church heathens, learning how to drive, going on youth group trips, double dating to prom and homecoming even though we went to different schools and ultimately becoming college roommates at Texas A&M. I was her maid of honor when she married our goofy high school buddy Jonathan Purifoy 20 years ago, and I’ve visited their homes over the years in Chicago and more recently, Pennsylvania.

I still consider her the best friend I’ve ever had. She is light and love and beauty and honesty and just the kind of person that lights up a room.

So imagine my severe jealousy when she went and wrote a book. And gosh darn it, it’s really, really good.

“Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons” is written almost like a memoir of Christie’s transition from being a college professor to fixing up an old Victorian farmhouse in West Grove, Pa., which “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,” according to a summary on its Amazon page.

It’s a little bit inspirational, a little bit reflective, a little bit hopeful. For me personally, the book reminded me to grow and evolve and find hope in the small things.

“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,” the book’s description states.

And yes, of course, I recommend this great book because my friend wrote it. And because she’s got a new one coming out soon that I’ll be encouraging everyone I know to buy. But truthfully, it does take us back to our roots, and that’s something we often forget to do.

Christie has become such a cool human being. She has a badminton net in her yard. She has a freakin’ chicken coop. She reads books on the porch with her four kids and she laughs and she writes and she takes care of others. She has a good soul.

This book, for me, was something that made me want to be a better person. Call it cliché, but sometimes we just need to unplug and live. We need to remember what’s important in life, and sometimes that requires change and discipline and something different, like moving to a new city or starting a new job or taking a risk. It’s scary, but the payoff is often worth it.


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