Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What We're Reading Wednesday: It's Pope Awesomeness!

Linking up with Housewife Spice for WWRW!

And you won't guess what I've been reading:

There she is in all her glory, Cari of the Perfect Nails (that would be her Ancient Greek subtitled name.)

That's right, our own Cari Donaldson of blog-world fame has her own book out Nov. 5! I'm told (by my buddy Amazon) if you pre-order now it will be in the mail today.

It was with untold anticipation I pored over this masterstroke of a conversion story. I have been reading Donaldson's blog for years, lurking in the Internet shadows before I ever thought about this past-time for myself. I think I was hooked the first time I ever clicked over there, with the charming, clever, self-effacing way she approaches this role as a child of God. And funny. Split your sides funny, with the unexpected always thrown in to keep you on your toes (Family Harlem Shake, anyone?). But those qualities aren't what keep me coming back for my daily dose of Donaldson. It is the love that shines forth in all she does for her many little ones, her husband, her calling as a homeschooler, her love for absolutely all of God's beautiful creation and all of His beautiful creatures. She embodies this final and complete statement that Life is Beautiful. Life is Beautiful. Life is Beautiful. Love it and love each other (in a very non-hippie kind of way) because God made it and it is good, and God is love. 

When I discovered that she is a convert, and a relatively new one, I was awestruck that this so naturally organic feeling Catholic was not always so. So I was absolutely thrilled to read the story of her way home. And it did not disappoint. 

Of course this book is chock-full of all the wit, silliness, humor and brilliant observations you would expect from this girl. But with complete and solemn respect, a soft sense of awe, she brings the reader into her revelations of all things Holy. Pope Awesome begins at the beginning, with little Cari growing up in a thoroughly Michigan world, and she  uses her great gifts for story telling to bring the reader through her ever-evolving understanding of herself and the world (especially the spiritual world) around her. So hand in hand as her tale develops, the reader and author travel together through Cari's conversion, with an absolute fullness of understanding of what brings about these radical changes in her beliefs (spoiler alert: before the end she becomes Catholic!) 

Two things struck me as particularly beautiful about Cari's conversion and the way she is able to retell it in Pope Awesome. One is that the Holy Spirit had so heavily laid his gentle hand on Cari from the beginning of her story, even as she traveled into places of darkness, even as the young, New-Aged spit fire spouted her anti-Catholic sentiments, even as she searched in all the wrong places for the only true Place of Rest, certain it was anywhere but the tacky Catholic church across the street. You can almost see the Holy Spirit looking over her shoulder and chuckling (or cooing, I suppose I envision the Holy Spirit cooing like a dove) as she plots out the life she thinks she wants (and is so radically different from the one she now embraces.) This story is a true testament that for all of us hopelessly lost, He is there. He is waiting. He is steadfast. And He loves us with a strength far greater than we ever could have imagined. 

The other thing that bowled me over was simply Cari's indomitable courage to go where she is called. It is a hard thing to change belief sets in  your mind. Especially truly deep set ideas we have embraced our whole lives. Cari doesn't shy away from describing her thought processes as she became to realize the Truth was so very different, the world so much bigger and so much more beautiful, than she ever imagined. It is hard to let that go, all your preconceived notions. And even harder still to change your life accordingly. And change it she did. And little Pope Awesome himself and all the other pretty little ones on the cover of this book are a testimony to that.

The little Donaldsons, already cover stars

Absolutely enjoy this book you will. And right right now, Cari is giving you the chance to win it! Look here and enter! Or be lazy and just get yourself a copy on Amazon

Meanwhile, I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, in which Cari continues to find the hilarity and the holiness in the everyday, which I have surreptitiously named, Passenger Van Orthodoxy. It's like Chesterton meets Erma Bombeck, with a dash of Wes Anderson. 

Thanks for letting us play, Housewife Spice!


  1. If I ever write a book (never) I would want you to review it. Wow. So good.

  2. It's supposed to come today! I am dying!

    (I agree with Colleen. You and your writing, Mrs. Es... They blow me away.)

  3. I'm going to forsake my vocation as mother and wife and finish the book that I started last night! So good!

  4. So many love, love, love Clan Donaldson - thanks to your review of this book, I am going to MAKE THE TIME to hop over there finally! Sometimes I feel like I really can't add a 'must read' blog to my list, but then when you put it this way how can I help but go enjoy the Donaldson Clan as well - she sounds truly inspiring! Thanks Rebecca!

  5. Weren't there just some great quotes in there? She was so eloquent in her honesty. I loved it. Loved it.

    1. Quotes! I should have put quotes! Unfortunately I had to read it on my phone, so it was hard to search through.

  6. Blogger is acting up again - I just left a comment that was eaten.
    Anyway - trying again, but I'm going to Copy this little ole comment in hopes of retrieving it before blogger gobbles it up.
    Thanks to this review I'm going to finally hop on over to Clan Donaldson and join the fun, faith, and family that happens there. I've resisted the temptation to check her out because I honestly don't see how I can add another 'must read' blog to my list, but when you share this type of review, I do not want to miss out on something so good! Thanks Rebecca!

  7. I was just going to say like Colleen, I want to write a book just so you could review it!

    And I'm waiting for my copy to come in, how far behind can Canada be?! But I'm sure I'm going to love it, and I'm with you in pushing for Passenger Van Orthodoxy!

  8. Did you laugh and cry and laugh and cry? Yes, I know you did. Me too.


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