I’m having a lot of feelings about a book that releases today. I’m sent hundreds of books to review and it’s a huge and wonderful perk of being a blogger.

But this one, this one is different. I have to tell you about this book. Not because anyone asked me to or is paying me to but because this book was written by one of my oldest friends and favorite writers and I want her to be your friend too. Everyone needs a friend like Christie Purifoy.

(Side note: she is the SPITTING IMAGE of my mom. It’s the most delightfully bizarre thing – getting to be friends with someone who reminds me of my mom at my own age. Wild and wonderful and I tell Christie that all the time!)

We met in 2001, when we were all young married couples starting out at a new church in Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago.

Since then we’ve all changed zip codes too many times to keep track of and added kids and more moves and more kids.

I’ve been homesick as long as I can remember. So has Christie. And this book tells the story of what it feels like to finally come home.

It’s about their farm house in Pennsylvania. The same house where I wrote the last three chapters of Surprised By Motherhood.

When I came down from the attic after writing the last sentence, Christie had cooked a celebration. I can still taste her risotto and homemade bread. 143 weeks later. I know, because I went and found the images from my instagram stream.

Three years later she finally wrote her own book.

And while I can’t make risotto I can serve her my words and celebrate and invite all of you to the table because this is a book not to be missed. I don’t say that lightly.

I say it because I have been terrified of hope. Because if hope disappoints does that mean God is also a disappointment? It’s an ongoing conversation Christie and I have had for years. And especially in the last few painful weeks.

In this book Christie reminds us that hope, like dreams, is made of stronger stuff. She invites us into a year of her life lived in real time in an old farmhouse in Pennsylvania, chock full of hope and decay, promise and weeds, work and wonder.

(That chapter about Christie and Jon racing to paint their dining room black before friends came to stay? That was us! And I have the photos of the gorgeous room to prove it.)

And as I dig my fingers into the dirt of her vegetable garden, watch her paint the walls, hide 2,000 Easter eggs for the neighbors I stumble onto the truth about hope. How life and hope always start in the dark, how both are always in progress, and how the ordinary soil of our every day is where all growing things have to begin.

Read this book and be comforted by a Kingdom of Heaven that isn’t limited to Sunday morning pulpits but is rooted in our backyards and as real and right now as that peach you bit into this morning with its tangy juice running down your arm.

As real as your loud and wonderful kids. As real as your darkest days and deepest despairs. As real as your wildest joys. As real as your laundry piles and your coffee dates with an old friend.

Open these pages with Christie and you will find your way home.

Grab the Kindle copy over here (it’s on sale!)

Or the hard copy over here (already out of stock on Amazon, but available and on sale at B&N!)

Read Christie’s blog for free over here.

And her Instagram stream of life at Maplehurst? Just trust me and follow her.