Placemaker is a call to tend our souls, our land, and our homes--to cultivate comfort, beauty, and peace in the places God has us.
Images of comfortable kitchens and flower-filled gardens stir something deep within us--we instinctively long for home. In a world of chaos and conflict, we want a place of comfort and peace.
In Placemaker, Christie Purifoy invites us to notice our soul's desire for beauty, our need to create and to be created again and again. As she reflects on the joys and sorrows of two decades as a placemaker and her recent years living in and restoring a Pennsylvania farmhouse, Christie shows us that we are all gardeners. No matter our vocation, we spend much of our lives tending, keeping, and caring. In each act of creation, we reflect the image of God. In each moment of making beauty, we realize that beauty is a mystery to receive.
Weaving together her family's journey with stories of botanical marvels and the histories of the flawed yet inspiring placemakers who shaped the land generations ago, Christie calls us to cultivate orchards and communities, to clap our hands along with the trees of the fields, to step into our calling to create, to make a place in the place God made for us.
Placemaker is a timely yet timeless reminder that the cultivation of good and beautiful places is not a retreat from the real world but a holy pursuit of a world that is more real than we know.
My name is Christie Purifoy. I am a writer and gardener who loves to grow flowers and community.
I am the author of two memoirs, Roots and Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons (Revell 2016) and Placemaker: Cultivating Places of Comfort, Beauty, and Peace (Zondervan 2019). Garden Maker: Growing A Life of Beauty and Wonder With Flowers releases in January 2022 from Harvest House Publishers.
A decade ago, I earned a PhD in English Literature from the University of Chicago, but eventually I traded the classroom for an old Pennsylvania farmhouse called Maplehurst. I still love to teach, but today I teach virtually and for small groups here at the Maplehurst Black Barn.
Each Wednesday, I join my long-time friend and fellow writer, Lisa-Jo Baker, for storytelling and conversation on a new episode of the Out of the Ordinary podcast. We believe that the very best stories grow out of the soil of ordinary life.
Lisa-Jo and I, along with a whole host of others, are turning social media’s usual ways upside down through quiet, weekly rhythms of listening, sharing, and celebrating in a virtual gathering place called the Black Barn Online. You are invited to join us in helping to build a place where art and faith cultivated in community can take root, flourish, and grow.
This is a book not just about home but places. Places we create, places God creates, trees and flowers, a table cleared and coffee made. Simple beauty as well as extravagant. What do we learn as we move from place to place or watch as a tree changes through seasons.
Christie Purifoy has a way of using language that is poetic and I found myself rereading passages and lingering there for awhile. She reminds me a lot of Annie Dilliard the way she captures nature. Anyone that is on this spiritual journey I hope reads this book and gets as much as I did out of it.
My family and I have been in the throes of slowly renovating an old 1900 farmhouse these past two years and during this intense season I’ve found myself in—of making a place out of this old house on these old hills—I could not be more grateful for this book and these words.
As much as it seems intentionally curated for my very own soul, I’m convinced it is indispensable for everyone else’s as well. In a world that’s drowning in books of how-tos, and 10-easy-steps, and stripped-down bullet points, we are in desperate need of books like these. We really are. Books that remind us that truth can be beautiful, well-written, and a joy to read. Books that don’t hide what’s hard, but show us the peace and loveliness of what’s good.
Because every single one of us, “like the God to whom we belong, we are placemakers.” And as Christie helps us notice our soul’s desire for beauty and our need to create and be created, she reminds us that our cultivation of good and beautiful places is not a retreat, but a holy pursuit. That we were never meant to merely consume, we were made to collaborate and participate.
In the last two years, I have laid my head and brushed my teeth in more places than I can count. Parents’ homes, basements, hotels, short-term rentals, travel trailers—and if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that a soul withers when it’s not planted. And while we may long for fertile homes in which to root, we mustn’t convince ourselves that placemaking is dependent on any particular place or time.
“What is placemaking?” Purifoy asks us to ponder. “It is deliberately sending your roots deep into a place, like a tree. It means allowing yourself to be nourished by a place even as you shape it for the better. It is creative work for men and women; it is possible whether you are employed outside your home or within it. Unlike hospitality, it is sometimes solitary and sometimes communal. ...We can be placemakers whether we are homebodies or world travelers. We can be placemakers whether we care for a farmhouse in the country or share a dorm room at a university. We can and should be placemakers whether we intend to stay or know we’ll be moving on in six months.”
I couldn’t recommend this book more in these fast-paced, surface-deep days we have found ourselves in...
How do we make the most of the places and seasons of life we find ourselves in? That is the topic Christie Purifoy explores in her latest book. I was given an advance copy as a member of the launch team, and I worked my way slowly through each chapter, savoring the themes and observations presented.
Having an affinity for books dealing with the natural world, I was intrigued by the way she weaved historical knowledge about various trees, almost as observing characters, throughout this poetic memoir. She examines the importance of finding places that resonate with our spirit, as well as creating places of peace and comfort that nourish the needs of self and others.
This work poses lots of questions, yet allows room to wrestle with the answers (or lack thereof). It doesn’t try to tie everything into a neat bow at the end, as many authors attempt to do, but leaves space for the questions to bloom into new insight and hope for ongoing placemaking in our lives.
I first encountered the words and work of Christie Purifoy when she did a podcast interview on "The Simple Show" (episode 32--go listen; it's a good one!). I was so captivated by her words that I checked out her book "Roots and Sky" from the library. It drew me in so quickly and thoroughly that I immediately ordered her book because it was one that I needed to own. She came through the pages as a kindred spirit, one who I could count as a friend even though she has no idea who I am! When I found out that she was releasing another book, I jumped at the chance to be on the launch team for her newest work, "Placemaker".
"Placemaker" beautifully shares the love that Christie has for home and trees. She shares the stories of the widely differing places that she has called home. She doesn't gloss over the challenges of many of those places, but she continually draws the reader back to the beauty and peace of each place. Woven throughout is the story of the trees that define each place. I loved the way that nature holds such a prominent place in this book.
As I read this book, my little corner of Minnesota was hit with a blizzard (culminating our snowiest February on record!). The month felt like it had sucked the soul and life out of everything, but this book helped me so much to see the beauty of my outdoors and to look forward to the promise of spring. I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough!
(I’ve received this complimentary book as part of the launch team for Christie Purifoy's new release, "Placemaker". A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)
I’ve never described a book as gentle before, and I’ve never labeled an author as peaceful, yet those are the first words that come to me as I sit to write this review. I can’t say I’ve ever read a spiritual growth book like Christie Purifoy’s Placemaker. It places the reader in a serene atmosphere, weaving the mind through forests, farmhouses, and the bonds of community.
I love my home and where it is—in the woods, far enough away from asphalt and traffic, yet close enough to not feel totally isolated. Upon reading this book, I’ve learned how cultivating my land, creating a comfortable and peaceful home, welcoming others into my ‘neck of the woods,’ that I’d become a placemaker without knowing it.
The tree titled chapters and the decorative little snippets scattered throughout the pages give this book a cohesive feel. Placemaker inspires “cultivating beauty in little ways and large…”
First Line (Introduction): The first trees I ever loved graced the cover of my tattered paperback copy of The Magician’s Nephew, one of the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. I received a review copy of this book from the publisher via Handlebar. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
Placemaker, a beautifully written book, is a uniquely blended story of home and place. Authentic and heartfelt, Christie Purifoy creates a rich narrative by weaving the history of a place with personal experiences and how the two impact each other. In a day when connection to the natural world around us has greatly diminished, Christie invites us to consider the trees, land and gardens of placemaking. The profound connection of place to it’s natural history is a long forgotten appreciation for the value of creation. In this book we journey from home to home, see glimpses of memories and dreams birthed in each, and are introduced to the trees. The unique beauty of Christie’s writing is how choosing a place or being chosen by a place is more than an isolated, personal story. The places we dwell throughout our lifetime are influenced by the trees and all that grows upon the land, rooted in the stories of those who effected the making of each place – years of cultivating and creating what is currently the environment in which one lives. Placemaker is a worthwhile read; the experience has produced in me a rare longing to read it again.
Through her lyrical, thoughtful prose and her keen observation, Christie Purifoy invites her readers to see, truly see, the beauty that exists around us across the many different landscapes of life. This book is part memoir, part natural history, part reflection, and Purifoy deftly balances all three strands in a satisfying and life-giving read. Beauty exists and we contribute to beauty as we begin to understand the sacredness of the places where we walk, the places where we live, the places where we are living what we dream, and the places where we journey through the wilderness. Yes, this is the story of trees and the dream of an old farm house. Even more, though, it’s the journey of seeing and growing and understanding how we live interdependently with the people and places that surround us.
I love home! Christie has written this as though she's letting a best friend into her heart, mind, and home. I love the realism, dreams, and hardships that take us into a glimpse of her home and thoughts. This book enhanced my belief in home, inspiration and God's hand, even more than I already felt. "Home is never simply a threshold you cross. It is a place you make and a place that might make -or unmake-you" Placemaker by Christie Purifoy A meditative thoughtful book of peace, nature, joy, growth, creating, home and love.
Oh, man. This is a slow sift and slow burn. I found it so uncomfortably timely as I read it in the process of a move. A beautiful perspective on life and peace and place and the ways they intertwine with one another to create meaning.
Walking away with a heart comforted in ways it didn’t even know it needed. This book, Christie’s writing, remind me of the invitation to life abundant, even in the seemingly mundane.
Placemaker by Christie Purifoy is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Christie says she’s not a poet but her writing is sheer poetry. This book made me pause and reflect. It made me laugh and it made me cry. It made me long for places that have shaped me and places that are yet to be. It’s a book about tending to your home, and a book about nature and gardening. In short, it was the perfect book my soul needed at this time. I wanted to devour it all in one sitting but I forced myself to slow down and reflect on each page, chapter and sentence. If you love Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Goudge, Miss Read, Rosamunde Philcher, L. M. Montgomery, and any other author who beautifully describes nature, place, and home you’ll love Placemaker.
*I received this book for review from the publisher. All opinions are my own and a positive review was not required.”
This is a lovely book telling the story of the places Christie has lived with connections to the trees that were in those places. She is an amazing story teller weaving together her appreciation of the natural world, stories from the Bible and her own personal story. It is such an encouragement and an education all rolled up into a beautiful book.
Placemaker, by southeastern Pennsylvania author (and podcaster), Christie Purifoy, is a peaceful, cozy read, but a challenging one as well. The author shares her life journey through lyrical words on the page while also providing spiritual insight and encouragement. As a result, the reader is naturally encouraged to reflect and gain insight about their own formative experiences as a placemaker. This is a good read for anyone interested in a contemplative reminder that cultivating beauty and space is a necessary and good spiritual practice.
However, this book is so much more than even that. Christie gently winds the tendrils of education regarding plants and trees - native and otherwise - growing and dying in our American soil throughout the chapters, and I feel so much more the richer for it.
*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. Opinions expressed are completely my own.* ⠀⠀
I just got to finish this best friend of a book as part of the launch team. I went in with no expectations being new to Christie’s story and having not read her previous book. I was immediately captivated by the beautiful weaving of nature into her personal story. I too have spent seasons moving from one place to another and experiencing the losses and gains that come from a desire to be a placemaker. I’ve painted wallpaper in rentals and used contact paper to cover cabinets and counters. Christie shares her own place making experiences with gardens and trees and bathroom renovations and unlikely, yet intentional friendships. I loved her encouragements and found the book a gentle and comforting read, and yet left every chapter eager to dig into my own place making efforts. To invite people over for a meal now not when I have things perfect. To plant a tree or garden now- even in suburbia. This book is a beautiful and refreshing read and I know it will be beloved.
Christie Purifoy’s, Placemaker, is possibly the most beautiful book I have ever read. As someone that loves reading fiction and some self-help books, this book is neither but has become one of my favorite books of all time.
I am at a stage in my life of downsizing and recently made a multi-state move. I am renting for the first time in more than 35 years. The house I rent is the place I live. While I can’t leave marks on the wall, I can leave marks on the place. And the place WILL leave marks on me. Being a placemaker is more than planting a tree and caring for the home and yard. Placemaker reminded me to open my heart, hands AND my home and invite others in to join me on this journey called life.
Christie Purifoy has once again written a beautiful book about life, its beauty and how each of us can find personal growth through cultivating the space around us. Her writing is both elegant and comforting to the soul; a balance of delightful prose and home-spun stories of life and the magic that comes from the places we call home. By weaving in both spiritual and natural elements, Christie reminds us that there is beauty all around us, and simple yet magnificent joy to be found once we open our eyes and hearts to the world we live in.
Placemaker brings us into a world of beauty and settling and trees and questions and quest, in lyrical, poetical words and voice.
I loved how Placemaker gives us pause to reflect on our place in the world and how creating beauty and sharing places with others adds meaning and purpose to our lives and enriches us in ways we might not even be aware of at first.
I love stepping into Christie Purifoy's story and gaining inspiration from her and from Maplehurst.
If you're seeking placemaking and purpose, beauty and a reminder to embrace where you are, you will love this book.
I received an early copy of this book to read and review and all opinions are 100% my own.
This book is like one long exercise in breathing in the presence of God that we might purposefully exhale grace into our people and our places, always cultivating space for the Holy Spirit to show up and remind us that the Kingdom of God is here. Lovely. Thoughtful. A book I'll return to, again and again.
Christie is one of my favorite authors for a variety of reasons, primarily her lyrical storytelling soothes and inspires me. I loved reading this book, from the stories of ancient placemakers to her own story of how she and her family cultivate "places of deeply rooted peace". It encouraged me to consider differently the way I experience and cultivate beauty in my home and family, so that I might enjoy and celebrate the growing of peace as much as the growing of gardens (or in my case -- hard to kill ferns and crotons!).
Christie explores the questions of community and belonging through the lens of the natural environments in which she’s lived, and while the questions she asks aren’t easily answered, her exploration of them is a beautiful story and sparks within me a longing to think on these things further. “If peace is a state of harmony, if it is a kind of wholeness or completeness, then we will never find it by running away from broken things and messy places.” I loved the tree stories woven throughout the narrative in a way online Christie could do.
Are you longing for a place where you can feel at home in your soul? If so, you may be a placemaker. Author Christie Purifoy writes beautifully about what placemakers do in Placemaker.
This world is ever-changing, and our society has never been more mobile. Yet deep in our souls, we long for a place to put down roots and feel secure in our souls. Christie tells us how to do this as placemakers wherever we live.
She writes with lyrical, dreamy prose that hushes the noise around you and settles you into your center. Through gorgeous word pictures, personal stories and historical data about plants, Christie invites you to slow down and consider what feels like home to you. You need to plan on sipping this book slowly like a cup of hot tea to enjoy the rich language.
Christie was raised in Texas and moved around to various places like Florida, Virginia and Illinois before settling in Maplehurst, her peaceful Pennsylvania farmhouse. She speaks about being a placemaker in each of those locales, yet she calls Maplehurst her favorite. For good reason, I believe. I've seen her Instagram feed and the pictures of her antique home are charming.
This book will help you explore why home is important and how we can redeem each of our homes as placemakers. We can usher peace, beauty and faith into this tossed-about world by deliberately choosing to put down roots. Even if you live in a rental, Christie shows you by example how you can be an intentional placemaker there.
Being a placemaker has been one of my primary missions as an adult child of divorce. I longed for stability and security when I was tossed around against my will. Our home is more than Andersen windows, slate tiles, sheet rock and siding. It's a place where I've tried my best to break the generational cycles of divorce and grow deep roots.
This is why I appreciate Placemaker so much. It tells me my love for my home is not superficial. It's important, even holy, work in these troubled times. When you are a placemaker, you are a peacemaker. That's what I'm setting out to be, and I'm happy to find additional inspiration and beauty in Christie's book.
Favorite Quotes from Placemaker: "Every place made by God is loved by God, and that includes every place where his people dwell." "Home is never simply a threshold you cross. It is a place you make and a place that might make--or unmake--you." "We cannot make a place new without attending to what it has been." "We taste, we talk, we share, and a place comes alive and reveals new dimensions of itself."
I received a preview copy of Placemaker from Christie's publisher, Zondervan.
This book is more of a memoir than anything else. Purifoy shares her experiences of the various places she has lived and the repairs made on houses and rooms. She includes vignettes of the people she has befriended in these places too. She writes quite a bit about their their current home, an old house, how it is falling apart, is a money pit and how the trees are dying. This book was not the inspirational one about placemaking that I had anticipated. I almost felt like I was reading Purifoy's journal entries, selected at random.
The book is informative even if not inspiring. I learned that poison ivy is an American original. I was surprised to find out that the plant becomes more vigorous with increased carbon dioxide in the air and the poison has doubled in strength since the 1960s. (49)
Tree lovers would like this book as it includes much about them. Purifoy has a nice way with words. Her work is a pleasure to read. I just was not that interested in her reliving her experiences. I would have rather had her thoughts on places and what makes them peaceful or invigorating or a blessing. While she included a few of such thoughts at the very beginning, the rest of the book was pretty much memoir.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Handlebar. My comments are an independent and honest review.
There is an idea that when we create a place for people, in our lives, communities, or at our table, we give them space to heal and become. I thought this book was about that. This book is 18 pages of spiritual applications and 200 pages about trees. If you love reading about random facts about where people lived and the trees that were near them, this is for you. I was hoping to see more about people than trees and I was disappointed.
The journey toward home. The shaping and reshaping of a place until it feels like it was made for us. That place of comfort and belonging where our truest selves can emerge and grow. A place of peace and joy that inspires us to open the door wide, set extra places at the table and welcome others in to make themselves at home there too.
These endeavors capture beauty in so many forms ... in the physical space of a sunlit room or a cozy chair or a bustling kitchen, in the natural space of a blooming garden or a patch of green, but also in the faces of the people who treasure and reflect the beauty that touches them.
This is what Christie Purifoy calls “placemaking,” a pattern given to us by our Creator when He first fashioned man, made a home for him, and placed him in a garden. In her new book, “Placemaker,” Christie welcomes us to journey with her through the many places she has lived, the ways she and her family have shaped (and been shaped by) those places, the joys and sorrows along the way, and the gardens and trees that help tell her story.
Christie has awakened in me a deeper interest in history! For at its best, placemaking first seeks to know a place, its natural surroundings and its people, the backstory that frames the present. When we treasure those details and weave them into the history we ourselves bring to a place, a beautiful vision for the future materializes.
Journey with Christie through “Placemaker” and be inspired to ”set a table with care, pick up a hammer with courage, and plant seeds with hope! Allow an intentional look back, around and forward to spur you on as you embark on the “honorable and holy pursuit of cultivating places of comfort, beauty, and peace.”
“Placemaker” is published by Zondervan. It is a book you will treasure!
When I first saw the title, Placemaker, I had to look up what the word means. I was pleased to discover that it means exactly what it says, one who makes places for others and themselves.
In Placemaker, Purifoy goes through her homes throughout the years and connects them with not only the trees that grew there but how those trees relate to what God taught her in the midst of that placemaking. She covers a wide range of theological issues with ease through the overarching symbol of trees. But maybe the best part is something she discovers and brings home in the midst of her sadness.
In the chapter "Rainbow Eucalyptus and Roses," she talks about Hawaii and their amazing rainbow eucalyptus trees. She also talks about the loss of her brother in law. Within that trip to Hawaii, she shares a conversation that she has with an old surfer and how she sees that he encounters the world through waves the same as she does through trees and gardens. She shares how each of us has that thing that we understand with the deepest part of our heart and how God talks to us with that love.
Overall, it is a great read for the spring and that time in between your preparations for the garden in the fall and the hard work that will be summer. That in-between place filled with longing and hope. If you are intrigued or invested in the creating of places for others to be, this is a good book to add to your collection.
I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review from Handlebar Publishing. I'm never required to share a positive review but I'm always thankful when I can.
As soon as I saw that Christie Purifoy was coming out with a new book I could not wait. As soon as I had money to pre-order, I did just that. Then I had an opportunity at a early peek at this beautiful book. I loved her other book, Roots and Sky so very much. This one has her same style of writing that makes reading it a peaceful experience. Her prose are beautiful and welcome you in to mull over what she is sharing. This was different than I expected in that the anchor for the encouragement of making places and entering in to where you live is creating space physically where you live, as well as emotionally and mentally. I kept thinking of my friends that are so gifted and drawn to cultivate gardens and plant things and other friends who paint or add their own touches to their homes that make it them, but make you want to be there. This book was that. It was a tour of Christie's homes and spaces and her transforming them, as much as they transformed her. It gave me much to think about and also to long for.
I highlighted much of this book, and can't wait to share with those I know that will be kindred spirits with Christie Purifoy. One quote that has sat with me, among many is, " I hope I'm a little more open to receiving from a place rather than simply imposing my will on it."
Christie Purifoy is an acquaintance - someone I like and admire and generally want to know more. And yet I was initially reticent to pick up this book. Why? Well, I wondered if this was a book that could only be understood from a certain access to privilege. It was only when I went to a book launch party and heard Christie read a few passages that I knew this book was bigger than that and that I wanted to read it. It was 100% worth it and I would recommend to others. Christie and her family have lived into what she terms “placemaking” from their earliest days together - even when they were poor and transient graduate students. Their efforts at inviting others in regardless of their longevity in a place really resonated. More than that, I felt challenged to embrace making a place beautiful even when it is impractical. My decisions are nearly always guided by practicality and I am only starting to learn the wisdom of beauty. This book was a welcome push to keep pressing into that growth, even in the midst of (or perhaps because I’m in the midst of) a difficult season as relates to my own rootedness.
I've been wrestling lately with whether or not my family is supposed to move away from the home we've lived in for the last 10 years. I've been seeing everything that's wrong with this house, instead of the good things about it.
Placemaker is the story of one woman’s journey in cultivating comfort, beauty, and peace in each place she’s lived. It’s a story of trees, of opening our eyes and noticing things, and of kitchens and gardens and family. Christie has such a beautiful way with words, making this story a refreshingly satisfying read with my afternoon cup of tea.
"What is placemaking? It is deliberately sending your roots deep into a place, like a tree. It means allowing yourself to be nourished by a place even as you shape it for the better… We can and should be placemakers whether we intend to stay or know we’ll be moving on in six months."
Because of this book, I'm inspired to do little things (add a houseplant) and big things (paint the kitchen), to continue to make my place -- whether I'll stay for 10 more years or move in 6 months. Highly, highly recommend!!
I have been part of the launch team for Placemaker, and received a free copy of the book for review. All opinions are entirely my own, and I even decided to purchase my own copy of the book to giveaway because I enjoyed it so much.
Placemaker is a book you curl up with on a rainy day and you are greeted with encouragement about the place you are making in the world. It's about home making in the best sense of the word. And it's about trees, so much so, I began to notice the trees in our yard and neighbor's field.
We learn about the places Purifoy has lived--College Station, Chicago, Florida, and Maplehurst. We learn how she made each place a home, planting gardens to add beauty, painting the walls even though she didn't own the apartment. She notices the trees in each place, describing their beauty.
Placemaker is a quiet read, beautifully written, lyrical. Purifoy wonders how just it is to spend money and time fixing old trees, planting a flower garden, and tuck pointing her house. But she says, "We do the work of heaven when we bring order to the world around us. We are all gardeners of a sort and most of our lives are dedicated to tending, keeping and making" (184). She takes us to our own places and shows us how to love them. I will be buying several copies of this book as gifts, so my friends can find the same joy in their homes that Placemaker has helped me find with mine.
I read this slowly so I could treasure each beautiful word and idea. This is a book about places and trees and making a place and finding peace. Christie Purifoy’s prose is like poetry. If you want to find peace where you are or make peace where you are, this is the book for you.
Like so many others, I too fell in love with Christie's writing when reading Roots and Sky. In Placemaker, Christie's words provide encouragement for your soul as she shares the story of her journey through life and the trees that accompany her along the way. You will be inspired to sink your roots down deep where you live and with the people with whom you share this life.
This book is beautifully designed from the front cover to the deckled pages (feathered edges) to the flaps on the inside front and back covers, Placemaker physically embodies Christie's message of cultivating comfort, beauty, and peace.
As a member of her book launch team, I received a free copy in advance but my opinions are my own. Placemaker belongs on every coffee table as a beautiful reminder to live this quote: "With God’s help, we can pick up the pieces of an old and dying world, and we can make them new. We can make a place where beauty and peace can take root, flourish, and grow."