What is the book There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere about?
This book is a collection of reflections that we have written over the past thirty years based on our experience in parenting, teaching and ministry. They are about looking at meaning and value in all the events of our lives, approaching even the most difficult situations with a positive attitude and a sense of humour. It’s about living life sacramentally – seeing signs and messages from God everywhere. Now, if you want to understand what this has to do with ponies, you’ll have to read the book!
What inspired you to write it?
We both do a lot of public speaking especially in the areas of parenting and family life. We tell a lot of stories and we laugh a lot. Over and over, we have been told, “You should put this stuff in a book.” Not being ones to reject the wisdom of the community, this is what we did. We are very grateful that Novalis was willing to publish it!
What was your biggest goal for this book?
We really hope that readers find resonances in their own lives with the reflections offered in this book. We hope they laugh and cry and say, “Ah, ha, yes!” from time to time. We also hope to help people who are struggling with the inevitable difficulties of life (one might even call it manure) to know that God will guide us through the messes and even, from time to time, bring moments of joy in them.
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
The honest answer to this question is “not killing each other while we edited and re-edited one another’s writing.” Maybe this is not the correct answer to this question, but it is probably the most authentic! Beyond that, the biggest challenge was making sure that the reflections did not come across as “know-it-all!” It can be difficult when you are sharing insights and offering reflections, to not come across like you have it all figured out. We don’t. No one does. Only God is God.
What has been the biggest reward as a result?
It was a good experience “re-member” (put together again) or re-discover the common threads that have been woven through our 30+ years together. It was also intriguing to see how the articles we wrote in our 20s reflected our youth and passion, and even our naivete. We could see our tones change, and humility grow as we lived the challenges (and opportunities) of life. It was a gift to be able to look back over our lives and see how we had grown. We didn’t fundamentally change most of our ideas about church, God and humanity. What we did perceive was that we had grown a little less preachy and unpretentious. Of course, you’ll have to read the book to judge that for yourself!
Is there anything else you would like to say to your readers?
We hope that readers enjoy these reflections and that they help to see the world through the sacramental lens. We also hope readers have fun with the stories. We all glean wisdom in the stories of our lives. Perhaps this will inspire some people to tell their own stories of finding joy in the midst of struggle. When things are crappy, look for the treasures. When things are great, drink deeply of the joy! Always have hope.
Michael and Christine Way Skinner met at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Upon graduation, they married and spent their honeymoon at Harvard University obtaining their Master of Divinity degrees. Christine is a Lay Pastoral Associate at St. John Chrysostom Parish in Newmarket, Ontario. Michael is the Co-ordinator for Religion, Family Life and Equity for York Catholic District School Board. Together, they have parented six children. Their new book, There Must be a Pony in Here Somewhere: Everyday Stories of God’s Goodness, can be found and purchased here.