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A book review.
Anyone who puts a burnt chicken on the front cover of their book has my attention. It is a completely relatable item, burned food. I felt an immediate kindred mother spirit with Jennifer Fulwiler before I even read the first page of her book, One Beautiful Dream! As soon as I began reading, I quickly found myself absorbed in her wacky throws of motherhood. I completely related to this harry-carry, first-hand account of motherhood, pursuing dreams, and passion, all while holding it together.
Jennifer Fulweiler’s personal story of following her blue flame passion of writing and story-telling while growing her family is funny, charming, engaging and at times, gut-wrenching. There were many times during her recollection that I found myself identifying with her lost dreams, thoughts of failing at motherhood, and the surreal moments of parenting gone bad. She is raw and real, and I believe that is what I like most about her writing style.
Jennifer’s first book, Something Other Than God, was a personal account of atheist turned Catholic and the journey of conversion. In One Beautiful Dream, she is at it again, letting us take a look into her life and how she came to terms with the guilt of motherhood while hearing the siren’s call of her passion writing. She shares her doubts, fears, a-ha moments, irrational thoughts as well as her love, sensitivity, and kindness. She takes you on a journey of faith as she seeks to find the answer to her calling while raising a family. Is it selfish? Is this right? Should I wait? Is my family suffering because of my choices? Am I the worst mother ever? Can I do this? Where is God in all this? Can I trust him with my beautiful mess? Am I doing this right? These are questions many of us ponder, though we may not articulate. At one point, she has an internal conflict with the realization that she is unhappy in her life but afraid to express it because she did not want to be misunderstood that she was unhappy as a mother. She was afraid no one would understand her.
In one moment of the book, she shares about the “perfect” mom (Christy) who swoops in and effortlessly made everything look so easy, resulting in Jennifer identifying her feeling of inadequacy. However, in their exchange was the pearl. Christy begins the dialog:
‘People see that I like to keep my home super clean and I love getting the kiddos all dressed up. They hold me up like I’m doing of this only out of some really strong sense of duty. But let me tell you, that is my thing that I love to do, what was that term you used for it?’
As she shares her journey’s revelations and the idea of the blue flame within all of us, she provides a story of peace and a place for all moms to share in. Her story is about the beauty of family and the journey we are on. If we are brave we can follow our blue flame and achieve a harmonious life!
What if all desires to create–both with children and with work–are, in fact, all pointed in the same direction? What if both are different but complementary ways of getting in touch with the ultimate Source of creativity? What if following your God-given passion is not just okay to do during the baby years, but actually something that has the potential to enhance your whole family’s life?”
I always tell my children that if you don’t laugh and cry with the story, then it wasn’t a great story. I did both during the pages of this book. Interestingly, I did not cry tears of sadness, but tears of hope. It touched me in my core because it centers around our callings, purpose, and dreams and aligns it with the reality of life. How do they merge together? And that, my friends, is what makes One Beautiful Dream beautiful. In story-telling form, Jennifer Fulwiler opens up the possibility of a remarkable journey for all of us!
I vote YES to this book!!