What I'm into Right Now (February 2016)

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2016-02-21_001

Wow, it's been a long time since I've done a "what I'm into" post. Since July, to be exact! Time to share some things I've been enjoying of late.

Listening: I've been enjoying Anne Bogel's new podcast, What Should I Read Next? It's a great podcast for booklovers. Not that I need to add more books to my to-read lists or anything, but hey!

Watching: We've been loving I'll Have What Phil's Havingon Netflix. It is the perfect blend of food, culture, and travel. My favorite episode has been Italy, because the art! The food! The vistas! The personalities! In the series we follow Phil Rosenthal, better known as the writer and creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, as he tours various cities and samples the food and culture.

Reading: I've been wanting to read Agatha Christie for years. I mean I'm a huge fan of the PBS versions of Miss Marple and Poirot, so it makes sense I should actually try reading her books. I finally had the opportunity to read And Then There Were None. I stayed up too late over the weekend to finish it, and let me tell you, I couldn't figure it out at all. I'm happy to have it read so I can now look forward to the new movie version coming out soon produced by the BBC (featuring Aidan Turner of Poldark too, score!). Check out the trailer.

Eating: I've done two rounds of the 21 Day Fix and my favorite recipe find has been this Chipotle Chicken recipe. The marinade is delish and the whole family loves it.

Drinking: I've been loving Good Earth's Sweet and Spicy tea. It doesn't even need any sugar. It's perfect as is.

What are you into right now?

Hibernation for the Soul

The ground is so cold. The stiff blades of grass sheathed in ice crunch hard underfoot. Even the once squishy mud is frozen solid. The wind claws my cheeks. The sun shines coldly, making the trees cast stark shadows on the ground. It is eerily quiet. The chattering birds, rustling squirrels, and nibbling rabbits have hidden themselves against the chill. The flowers are dormant, tucked into their beds of frozen earth, alive but not actively growing.

It is as if everything were in a deep sleep, hibernating.

It is the bleak midwinter, when spring feels like a far off dream.

Sometimes it feels like my soul is in hibernation mode too. Alive, but not growing. Frozen in the dark. Unseen, buried underground.

Join me over at Ungrind today to finish reading?

 

Roots & Sky {A Giveaway}

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IMG_4051

I excitedly untied the twine that held the book and beautifully photographed thank you note together. My friend Christie Purifoy’s book, Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons had finally arrived.

I first discovered Christie Purifoy’s writing when we were both contributors to Pick Your Portion. From there I discovered her blog and started following her Instagram feed. It was from Instagram I discovered that she actually lived a mere hour away from me.

One Friday night over a year ago I drove to Christie’s beloved Maplehurst farmhouse for pizza and conversation.

Now, you can experience Maplehurst’s hospitality too, through Christie’s beautiful new book, Roots & Sky.

Christie writes about the meaning of home as she recounts her first year at 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 to 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.

“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 us in creation all around us.

“I am convinced the world is saturated with meaning. We trample messages like scattered leaves beneath our feet. If only we have eyes to see them. Ears to hear them.”

Receive
Receive

Right now I’m straining my eyes and ears for messages of new life. Of spring. Which is ironic because as I write this, a snowstorm swirls outside the window. But the calendar whispers that it will soon be spring. The hold of winter will soon wane. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, after all. Tomorrow is the count down to resurrection begins.

Christie reminds me that though Christ prepares a home for me in Heaven, he also makes his home with me on earth. That he “once wrapped himself in dust. He is our God with dirt under his nails, and he is near. God with us.”

As Lent begins I am reminded of God’s nearness. That God is in the midst building his kingdom—his home—not just in Heaven, but right here and right now. And that I can rest in that knowledge. Lent does not signify striving and sacrifice and deprivation on my part. The sacrifice has already been accomplished.

“I believe the words ‘it is finished’ are so big that they hold every one of our days, even those we have not yet lived. It is finished, even when all feels unfinished. Death is defeated. We have been forgiven our terrible rejection, and we can live every moment in the knowledge that there is nothing left for us to do. Only everything for us to receive.

For he has done it.”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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To read more from Christie check out my Inspire: Women Who Create interview from last year.

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Christie Purifoy
Christie Purifoy

Christie Purifoy lives with her husband and four children at Maplehurst, an old, brick farmhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. She received her PhD in English Literature from the University of Chicago and, a few years later, traded the classroom for a picket-fenced garden and an old writing desk. She writes regularly at www.christiepurifoy.com and you can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

*Giveaway is for U.S. residents only.

Resources for Remembering

I cut dogwood limbs from the tree in the front yard. Knobby grey buds are still tight, not yet ready to open. Pulling my earthenware pitcher down from the shelf, I place it on the table. The dogwood limbs go into the jug, along with some water.

The branches are now ready to be transformed into our Resurrection Tree. We’re getting ready for Easter by keeping Lent.

Traditionally, the purpose of Lent is to prepare one’s heart for the celebration of the Resurrection through prayer, repentance, fasting, and other forms of self-denial. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter morning. It is usually forty days long, representing the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness before starting his public ministry.

As my children have grown I’ve looked for ways to involve them in celebrating Jesus’ death and resurrection in tangible, hands-on ways. Ways that build up to Easter morning, so that they have a clear idea as to why we celebrate. The following are some activities we’ve done as a family to prepare for the celebration of resurrection morning as well as some resources just for you. I hope they will be inspiring to you, if you are looking to create new traditions of your own.

To discover the Lenten resources I discuss, click over to For the Family.