Christie Purifoy and her husband move into their Pennsylvania brick farmhouse just weeks before their fourth child is born. Christie is sure that the decrepit structure named Maplehurst is home, the spot she has been searching for. But then baby Elsa Spring arrives and Christie does seem to be able to quite find all the joy she had been anticipating. A never satisfied baby and endless chores consume her time and thoughts, and she struggles to see God in this place and time. Her descriptions of a winter that will not go away and her fierce hold on the promise of a coming spring (seed catalogs, spindly seedlings ready for ground that will not warm, an Easter egg hunt that may not happen if snow remains) are all tales that anyone who has lived in a four season climate will recognize; her obvious postpartum depression, hopefully, is not so commonly seen. Purifoy sees the promise of God's love in her family's settling down into their rural life and her sharing of Christ's redemption comes through in the small actions of that life. As she and her family put down roots at Maplehurst, both figuratively as a family and actually as toilers of the soil, the greater understanding of God - the sky of the title- grows, also.
I find it very difficult to give this book a label. It really does not give enough facts to be a memoir.
Purifoy refers to previous years of childlessness and then the past two years as a disappointment and trial, but never goes into details. The book is not a devotional or a how to find God book, but it records Christie's introspection in a lyrical prose that makes it at times to read and decipher, and at other times so delightful and insightful that I had to stop and mark passages. Usually I give away review copies when I am done with them, but I may need to save this one. There is such beauty in her words that I want to reread them.
My life has been an ordinary life, one of family, work, and small pleasures. Christie gives beauty and validity to these choices. This passage comes from near the end of the book. Excuse its length, but there is no better way to share the beauty of Purifoy's writing than to share it:
I lean over the heat of my saute pan, push a wooden spoon through bright yellow squash, gold oil, and browned bits of garlic. There is no gold star when I entice my children to eat their vegetables. No gold star when I remember to sweep the kitchen floor. Yet Paul told Jesus;s first followers that humble lives, emptied of selfish ambition, would shine 'like stars in the sky.' (Phil. 2:15) And he gave them this surprising charge:'Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.' (I Thess. 4:11) pages 200
I received a review copy of this title from Revell Reads for my honest opinion. To learn more about Purifoy and her writing, check out her website