This month, we’re pleased at CatholicMom.com to have site sponsorship from Sophia Institute Press, the publisher of “Pope Awesome and Other Stories” by Cari Donaldson.
When I received the manuscript of Cari Donaldson’s genius book Pope Awesome and Other Stories: How I Found God, Had Kids and Lived to Tell the Tale, I was instantly smitten. Written with equal parts candor and humor, Cari’s book will have you alternating between loud gaffaws and sniffly, “I’ve been there, done that…” moments. In my blurb, I summed it up like this:
Today, I’m thrilled to share my recent email conversation with Cari Donaldson. I urge you to gift yourself this book today and to buy a copy for your husband or favorite girlfriend. This is a book you’ll want to read aloud to each other – it will spark great conversations!
Q: First off, congratulations on a tremendous book Cari! It sincerely rocks! Please briefly introduce yourself and your family to our readers.
Thank you, Lisa. I’m Cari, I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Ken, and together we have six kids. I think six. I just feed whoever shows up at my table when the dinner bell rings.
Q: You’ve been blogging for years about faith and family topics. And while I know you share it deliciously in the book, can you give our readers a brief insight into your conversion to Catholicism?
I guess the briefest thing I can say about that it resulted from the perfect storm of a lifetime of contact with Catholics in my everyday life, Blessed John Paul II’s death, and a Chick Tract I found in the bathroom of a library down South. Looking at the conversion with the benefit of hindsight, I see how all these events, that on the surface seemed utterly random and insignificant, were brought together to soften my soul toward Christ and His Church.
Q: What motivated the book? How would you describe it to folks who haven’t read it yet?
For years, people who read my blog told me I needed to write a book. Usually, I’d brush it off, since what do I know about writing a book? I write funny stories about poop and messes and life with kids- I don’t write books. But out of the blue one day, I was contacted by an acquisitions editor from a Catholic publisher, she asked me to come up with a book proposal, and indicated that her company would be interested in publishing me. While that ultimately didn’t pan out, it did leave me with the courage to give this book writing thing a try, so I went to church one day during the week, sat down in front of the Tabernacle, and told Jesus that if He wanted the book to happen, He was going to have to get it done.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Both in regards to the blog and in the book, I ask Ken if he’s comfortable with what I write about. As the kids get older, they get more input into what I share with the Intergooglewebz. So the family was already used to me blabbing about our lives with whoever will listen, at the same time trusting that I will respect their privacy and not share stories they’re uncomfortable with.
When writing the book, I really tried to protect the privacy of non-family members as much as possible. After all, it’s not their fault they were caught up in the craziness of my conversion.
Q: If you could go back ten years and give your former self some faith and maternal advice, what would it be?
Well, I don’t think Ten-Years-In-The-Past Cari would speak to someone like Present Cari. But if I managed to wrestle her to the ground for long enough to hear me, I guess I’d tell her something like, “Shut up! You don’t have all the answers! You need to open your heart so you can be given actual, real, useful answers!”
Oh, and one more, “Lighten up. Motherhood is supposed to be joyful. Why so serious?” And I’d say that last part in a Heath Ledger Joker voice, just for fun.
Q: What do you hope that readers — and particularly moms — will take from their experience of reading Pope Awesome?
In the movie Steel Magnolias, Dolly Parton’s character says, “Laughter through tears in my favorite emotion”. It’s my favorite one, too. So when people tell me that they laughed and cried while reading Pope Awesome, I feel like I’ve accomplished my goal. This isn’t called a “vale of tears” for nothing; we all need reminders that the Christian life is one that is full of joy, too.
Q: Where can folks follow your writing online?
I write more or less daily at my blog, clan-donaldson.com and I do Tuesday articles for aleteia.org. I also try to do two pieces a month for catholicexchange.com.
Q: Are there any additional thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?
Marriage and motherhood are the two things that have changed me, and opened me to change, more than anything else in my life, combined. Humor and joy are the things we desperately need to move from simply enduring the trials by fire we undergo through those relationships to embracing them. Seeking out the humorous, the joyful in life can be a positive spiritual discipline.
Or that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway.
We’ll be back tomorrow with an excerpt from Cari’s book, but don’t wait to order it. You’ll love it!
- Visit Cari Donaldson’s blog at Clan Donaldson
- Order Pope Awesome at Sophia Institute Press
- Order Pope Awesome at Amazon
Copyright 2013 Lisa M. Hendey