Paper&String subscriptions are open July 1st – July 7th!

Paper&String is a digital care package
from the Black Barn at Maplehurst.

Each month, you’ll receive a curated collection of
articles, music, recipes, artwork, spiritual practices, reflections, and more
that invite you to experience what we celebrate at the Black Barn as we
Read, Listen, Taste, Grow, and Gather together.

BONUS: In the July issue of Paper&String, you will find everything you need to know about joining our virtual community, the Black Barn Online!

No matter where you live,
no matter how many miles
between the front door of this barn
and your own front door, you can come in.

You are welcome in the Black Barn Online. Details in Paper&String!

A place where we can gather and listen to one another.

A place quieter and more peaceful than social media.

A place more communal than a blog.


Connect across time zones and zip codes, borders and boundaries. Come and linger with all who have eyes to see the treasure buried in plain sight in our ordinary lives. Welcome. Make friends. Bring friends.

Dig Deeper

Dig deeper into the conversations that start in the Paper&String care package, the Out of the Ordinary Podcast, and so much else. This is where we get to hear from you and you get to hear from each other.

Plant Seeds

Plant seeds. Here is a place where community is fostered and nurtured by keepers of the soul: writers, creatives, spiritual directors. Here is good soil for growing meaningful conversations.

Build Your Barn

Build your barn. Experience the goodness of the Black Barn no matter where you live and discover with others how to build “Black Barns” for you to tend in your own life and place.

Meet the Founding Members of the Black Barn Collective

who have prepared your Paper&String care package for you!

First, there’s the Black Barn at Maplehurst. Located in Chester County, PA, it hosts writers in need of soul care and readers in need of a social media respite. It’s a gathering place for storytellers and placemakers. A space dedicated to hospitality, creativity, and faith. And all who gather here share the belief that the very best stories grow out of the soil of ordinary life.

Christie and Jonathan Purifoy live at the old farmhouse called Maplehurst in Pennsylvania and built the Black Barn. Christie earned a PhD in English Literature from the University of Chicago before trading the classroom for a picket-fenced garden and an old writing desk. Now she writes books and raises kids and chickens and tends the trees that gave Maplehurst its name.

Lisa-Jo Baker is a former attorney, sought after speaker, writer, and storyteller who joins Christie every Wednesday to record conversations on their widely followed podcast, Out of the Ordinary Lisa-Jo builds communities the way Christie builds barns. 

Elrena Evans first had the dream of sending you a care package from the Black Barn. She’s a writer, editor, and dancer, a mother of five, an ally and an advocate. A new Paper&String care package every month is her gift from us to you.

Amy Hinman is wife to Mike, momma of three girls, artist, and crazy chicken lady! She created the gorgeous chalk wall mural at the first Black Barn gathering in July 2019 and now she’s brought the virtual Black Barn to life, along with all the hand-drawn elements in Paper&String.

Anna Grist is the Canadian in our midst, working away on Paper&String from her home in the Canadian Rockies. She creates all the design and layout and contributes a few illustrations and snippets of writing as well as laughter and well-timed gifs. 

Now we’re all just waiting for YOU!

We want to know your stories. We want to hear your dreams. We want you to share in this community with us. We’ve just broken ground…and we invite you to come, help us build our barn as we read, listen, taste, grow, and gather together. 

Subscribe to Paper&String and be the first to know when we open the doors to the Black Barn Collective later this year!



Is Paper&String a physical package you’re mailing to me?

It’s not a physical package. Yet. It’s a virtual care package lovingly prepared by the creatives at the Black Barn Collective. But we think you’ll enjoy the same “care package” experience when you unwrap each part of Paper&String — Read, Listen, Taste, Grow, and Gather. Imagine a fresh smorgasbord every month of: words, recipes, music, gardening, and community to feed our homesick hearts.

How much does Paper&String cost?

For founding subscribers (that’s you!), Paper&String is only $5.99 a month, and you can cancel at any time. Each subscription helps cover the costs of our virtual paper and string (website hosting fees, email delivery fees, etc.), BUT it also ensures that every writer, artist, designer, and maker who crafts something special for us will be paid for their work.

PLUS: As a subscriber to Paper&String, you’ll be the FIRST to know when we open the doors to the virtual Black Barn community later this year.

Why are you charging for a subscription?

We want to support the work of faithful artists and community builders, and we think a subscription to Paper&String is an excellent, enjoyable, and easy way to do exactly that. Thank you in advance for joining us!

How often can I expect Paper&String?

This is a monthly subscription. New care packages will arrive on the first of every month. 

How can I contribute to Paper&String?

We LOVE to hear this question. Stay tuned. Our editorial team has plans for how to invite our members to submit their creativity to Paper&String in the future!

What is the Black Barn Collective?

The Black Barn Collective is a community rooted in the Black Barn at Maplehurst, a gathering place dedicated to hospitality, creativity, and faith. Members of the collective are united in their desire to see the day, rather than seize the day.

We are storytellers and placemakers. We value conversation and friendship. And we wanted a way to connect virtually, beyond blogs, social media, or the limitation of zip codes. Because so many have asked, we will soon be opening the doors to a virtual Black Barn where we can gather regularly and be inspired by the glory of ordinary life daily.

We are a community bound together by the things we LOVE.

We hope to cultivate a diverse community. This means that differences–differences of opinion, belief, background–are inevitable. We will honor our differences and listen well to our differences, but we will always emphasize our shared love of ordinary life and its many treasures, such as Stories. Gathering around a table. Art and creativity. Faith and friendship.

“… how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psalm 133)

Can I visit the Black Barn at Maplehurst?

YES! We host regular live events and workshops. Click here to find out more. Our Paper&String subscribers will always be the first to know about what’s coming up.

How do I cancel my subscription?

Once a monthly payment has processed, we’re unable to refund it. However, you can cancel anytime. Simply click on the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of any Paper&String email notification. If you have trouble — contact us at