A few weeks ago, I read One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler. One Beautiful Dream is now one of my favorite books. I rarely laugh out loud or cry while reading, but I did both multiple times as I read through her tale as a mother pursuing her dream of writing.
Pursue your passions, love your family, and say goodbye to guilt—pipe dream or possibility?
Work and family, individuality and motherhood, the creative life and family life—women are told constantly that they can’t have it all. One Beautiful Dream is the deeply personal, often humorous tale of what happened when one woman dared to believe that you can have it all—if you’re willing to reimagine what having it all looks like.
Jennifer Fulwiler is the last person you might expect to be the mother of six young children. First of all, she’s an introvert only child, self-described workaholic, and former atheist who never intended to have a family. Oh, and Jennifer has a blood-clotting disorder exacerbated by pregnancy that has threatened her life on more than one occasion.
One Beautiful Dream is the story of what happens when one woman embarks on the wild experiment of chasing her dreams with multiple kids in diapers. It’s the tale of learning that opening your life to others means that everything will get noisy and chaotic, but that it is in this mess that you’ll find real joy.
Jennifer’s quest takes her in search of wisdom from a cast of colorful characters, including her Ivy-League-educated husband, her Texan mother-in-law who crushes wasps with her fist while arguing with wrong number calls about politics, and a best friend who’s never afraid to tell it like it is. Through it all, Jennifer moves toward the realization that the life you need is not the life you would have originally chosen for yourself. And maybe, just maybe, it’s better that way.
Hilarious, highly relatable, and brutally honest, Jennifer’s story will spark clarity and comfort to your own tug-of-war between all that is good and beautiful about family life and the incredible sacrifice it entails. Parenthood, personal ambitions, family planning, and faith—it’s complicated. Let this book be your invitation to the unexpected, yet beautiful dream of saying yes to them all, with God’s help.
Although I don’t have children, her stories were instantly relatable, hilarious, and thought-provoking. I’d followed her blog, Conversion Diary, for a long time before she started writing books, so I knew she was funny. This wasn’t just a series of blog entries though, and I was delighted to track her progress from an overwhelmed mom to an overwhelmed mom with a book.
I immediately sent it off to a friend, who texted me a few hours after receipt with, “Why are we not friends with this woman? We could totally be BFF’s.” She suggested driving to Texas to see the author. My friend read seven chapters that night, which is impressive because she actually does have children. That’s how good the book is.
It is what led me to The War of Art, which I reviewed as well. It is full of all sorts of wisdom, both practical and spiritual. As a writer working on my first novel, I also found it motivating. If she can accomplish her dream while also running her crazy-awesome mom life, then I can finish my book.
Do yourself a favor and read this book, especially if you’re a mom. Have yourself a laugh and a cry with a nice glass of wine.