Book Notes: One Beautiful Dream




If there was ever a time I experienced personal flashbacks into my own life, it was while reading One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fulwiler. There were moments I would be wiping tears, while other times my husband would catch me laughing out loud. Being a busy mom of four and pregnant with my fifth, finishing a book sometimes takes me several months, but that was not the case with One Beautiful Dream.

As I grabbed any additional time each day to read a few more pages, or even stay up a little later to read a whole chapter, I found that Fulwiler’s desire for a large family, but suppressed passions, were exactly how most women begin the vocation of motherhood. It is an internal battle that surfaces all too frequently as mothers balance their obligations to care for their families, while also desiring to better themselves beyond the vocation of motherhood.

The daily family adventures mixed in with Fulwiler’s search for personal sanity while attempting to define her role as a mother are all too familiar to so many moms, including myself. Motherhood brings an array of experiences that are oftentimes so unpredictable it slaps us in the face. The moments of joy outweigh the moments of frustration, but Fulwiler describes her own personal desire to fulfill what she believed to be an acceptable societal definition of a “Catholic mom.” But after a chain of events, Fulwiler was led back to one of her personal passions, writing. And now she is a well-known Catholic author, SiriusXM radio host, and speaker.

It is interesting how so many moms believe there is an obligation to give up everything for their children. They fail to recognize the health benefits behind pursuing one’s personal passions. These passions may appear unrealistic, but interestingly enough, they can easily fit within the family structure if we only allow them. One Beautiful Dream touches on this very topic – the passions of motherhood are good, true, and beautiful, but a woman’s desire to achieve beyond this vocation are also healthy. Instead of pushing such desires into the background and waiting for our children to grow old, when we may have more time, there’s no reason we can’t start pursing these goals now.

During Fulwiler’s struggle to write her first book, she reached an epiphany moment at an edifying place – confession. There was no reason for her to stop pursing dreams outside of the home, because such desires could be reached alongside her growing family.

As Jennifer Fulwiler’s second book, One Beautiful Dream, was just released and she has completed the first part of her book tour, she has proven that by taking the advice to integrate her work into her family (and not the other way around) personal passions can be attained.

By accepting our roles as mothers, there will most definitely be major bumps in the road as we begin the path towards pursing our passions, but that doesn’t mean such dreams are impossible. It only means that it may take a bit longer, but in the end we will get to share the success with that many more people. Looking back, we can wonder at the opportunities that were brought into our lives through our vocations. Such possibilities may not have been available if we refused the call of motherhood, or even worse, refuse to follow the call of God to pursue the talents and passions he has invested in each of us.

My advice for you is to order One Beautiful Dream through Ignatius Press as quickly as possible (this gets you the Catholic edition with a Foreword by Jenna Guizar). It might just be the relief you need to get over a personal hurdle or the gentle push towards starting a project that you have always dreamed was impossible but now might just be well within reach.

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Copyright 2018 Danielle Heckenkamp


About Author

Danielle Marie Heckenkamp is a stay at home mom and freelance writer who lives in the beautiful state of Wisconsin with her husband and five children. Motherhood has allowed Danielle to re-discover her love for writing. It is through her daily experiences as a mom and the love for her Catholic Faith that show forth in her writing. Danielle is the co-author of a nonfiction book about manners and common sense. She is a coffee-drinking, Midwest girl, who loves to spend time with her family, attempt outlandish recipes, and read any book she can get her hands on. You can find more of Danielle's writing at Loving These Days or step inside her daily life at her instagram account (@dmheckenkamp)

1 Comment

  1. I enjoyed the book as well and agree that it was a very QUICK read! It definitely inspired me to get back on the writing horse despite life’s chaos, but also reminded me that sometimes dreams take years to unfold.

    Also, I see you’re from Wisconsin? Whereabouts?
    I’m from Marion, about halfway between Green Bay and Wausau. I blog at

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