Wednesday, December 11, 2013
What We're Reading Wednesday - Pope Awesome and Other Stories by Cari Donaldson
I can't let another What We're Reading Wednesday go by without talking about how much I enjoyed Pope Awesome and Other Stories. Book love must be shared!
I know you don't need to read my review of Cari Donaldson's book to know that she's a great Catholic mom and writer. I'm sure most of us are fervent readers of her wonderful blog where she chronicles so much wonderfulness that is her life and family. It's pretty safe to say I've got a significant blog crush on Mrs. Donaldson; house full of kids, homeschooling like a champ, gorgeous hair, great sense of humor, and impeccable writing skills - could I please grow up to be that lady?? Reading her book is such a pleasure if only because of feeling you already know her with the added fun of an honest-to-goodness book in your hands.
I'm not a convert, (I know! A minority in the world of Catholic blogging, or practicing Catholics??) but I think this book is a great read for more than the conversion story itself. Cari's conversion is a beautiful testament to the sensitivity of God's love in our lives, even when we think we're doing our own thing. Cari searches for a meaningful faith through atheism to new age beliefs to investigating all faiths in between, all the while God keeps tugging her towards truth and relationship. But along with a conversion of faith comes the opening and outpouring of a life of joy and family.
It's an important thing to be reminded of how rewarding and joy-filled family life can be, especially these days when we live in a world bent on diminishing and ignoring the importance of a family. It can also be discouraging for those of us who've made Catholic family life our priority. This book is both a witness and inspiration for what Catholic family life means. The good, the bad, the natural family planning. For me I just like being reminded that this crazy way of life, i.e. having a bunch of kids, wanting to homeschool, living life by the seat of your not-knowing-how-many-kids-you-want-pants, is a life that other people have chosen and love. Sometimes it's just comforting and inspiring knowing others have gone ahead of you (even if only a few years ahead of you) and are still experiencing joy and happiness while maintaining a sense of humor.
I laughed and cried at different points in Cari's story. Her spot-on storytelling rings true to those of us living with babies and toddlers while toughing it out in the grocery store and answering the same questions of the big family gawkers. Her sense of humor brings to life the many times that following God's will can be challenging and difficult. All the while her prose is snappy yet heartfelt and a pleasure to read. I stopped every couple chapters to remind myself that she somehow wrote such a great book while living with 6 kids!
Pope Awesome and Other Stories is sure to open hearts to the Faith, but I hope that it also opens hearts and minds to how great family life can be. It's one of the most important messages we can give to our world that is suffering so sadly from the pain of destroyed families in one form or another. Cari's story is also great to support us Catholic moms in the trenches. Cari does a brilliant job in showing honestly the way God and faith change a person's life and fills it with joy, love, and grace.
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