One Beautiful Dream: A Homeschool Mom’s Hilarious Tale of Personal Passions and Motherhood
You'll laugh and cry at the riotous anecdotes and poignant reflections in Jennifer Fulwiler's latest book.
Think parenthood and personal passions are like oil and water, meant never to mix? That’s a notion Jennifer Fulwiler turns on its head in One Beautiful Dream: The Rollicking Tale of Family Chaos, Personal Passions, and Saying Yes to Them Both.
A Catholic homeschool mom of six, Fulwiler is also a two-time author, radio host and speaker. One Beautiful Dream, released in May, is her hilarious tale of discovering that her ambitions as a writer didn’t have to conflict with her duties as a mom. In fact, she argues life is best when they’re combined.
A Blue Flame and a Sacred Duty
When Fulwiler converted from atheism to Christianity, her worldview shifted. She and her husband said yes to children — lots of them. As she describes in the book, she grew to see parenthood as a “sacred duty” and something she loved.
For a long time, she believed that “sacred duty” meant abandoning “the passion that ignites a fire within you when you do it.” Her friend describes this passion as one’s “blue flame.”
So when opportunities to pursue her “blue flame” professionally knocked on her door, she said no.
But she was dissatisfied with this arrangement. Eventually, she discovered she wasn’t the only one. “Why don’t we talk about this more often?” she recalls asking another mom.
“I worried that if I said ‘I am really unhappy with my life right now,’ it would come across like I was saying ‘I am really unhappy that I’m a mother,’” she writes.
Hearty Laughs and Hard Struggles
With help from family members, chance encounters and a wise priest, Fulwiler’s view began to change.
“What if these things actually go hand-in-hand?” she asks of duty and passion.
For the rest of the book, she takes us on a delightful journey through her family’s test of this hand-in-hand philosophy.
And it doesn’t go perfectly. Fulwiler is honest about the struggles her growing family faces. If you thought a homeschool mom who also manages to host a radio show and write books couldn’t be relatable, think again. (Parents of young children will find special solidarity in chapters like “Poopocalypse” and “Decibel.”)
Fulwiler is also open about the lessons she learns along the way. Like thinking of one’s family as a harmonious unit, accepting help, and maximizing blessings.
Between riotous tales and poignant reflections, readers may alternately laugh and cry from chapter to chapter.
Fighting the “Resistance”
In one powerful chapter, Fulwiler realizes the self-doubts she’s been repeating for years are not the calls of motherly duty. Rather, they are the “whispers of the Resistance” — Satan.
“Women have always brought critical insights to their culture’s public dialogue,” she writes. “They have a unique glimpse into the human experience that the world desperately needs to hear, so of course Resistance would want to keep them hidden and silent.”
As she concludes later on, “it really is okay to make time for things that fill me up.” After all, “if you perceive that tending to your own needs can never go hand-in-hand with serving, you’ll stop serving.”
One Beautiful Dream is chock full of funny anecdotes, honest confessions and biblical insights. Readers of all stripes will find it both entertaining and inspiring. Women and mothers will find it especially so.