Finding Beauty in the Blemishes – a Lesson in Shame

How I am finding beauty in the blemishes – a lesson in shame. Sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame we so often wear.

How I am finding beauty in the blemishes - sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame #encouragement

What a wonderful weekend we had.

A weekend of firsts….

Our first family vacation, just the four of us…

First caramel apples, funnel cakes, and go cart rides…

Our first time seeing bears in the wild…

Our first time making forever memories with hours of belly laughs…

How I am finding beauty in the blemishes - sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame #encouragement

We arrived home last night, elated from a weekend trip to Douglas Lake, a gorgeous spot tucked away just outside of the Smokies. We had access to the most beautiful condo owned by a family member, complete with views of the lake, a swimming pool and access to an amazing boat.

The ride there teemed with excitement and such awesome carpool karaoke that James Corden would have wished he were there.

As soon as we arrive, the boys are immediately in the pool.  The days following are teeming with dinner shows, adventure domes, and hiking trails.

How I am finding beauty in the blemishes - sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame #encouragement

And how can I forget the boat ride?

Hours of fun in the sun on the lake, riding along with the wind blowing my curls into a frizz and I didn’t even mind!

Anchoring the boat and swimming to shore.

It was bliss.

How I am finding beauty in the blemishes - sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame #encouragement
How I am finding beauty in the blemishes - sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame #encouragement


I wish it could bring a smile to my face like my grin that was there all weekend . In fact, I smiled so much that my cheek muscles hurt, but my almost perfect weekend was ruined when we got home. It happened like this.

We scrubbed baseboards to my little OCD hearts content, leaving the condo in pristine condition and even patted myself on the back with how sparkling it was when we left.

I specifically went back to double check that everything was off and secure.

I was a responsibility Rockstar!

We had a peaceful ride home. The car was full of joy and contentment. We buttoned up the weekend with a trip to our favorite mexican haunt here in town.

We finally get back home, and start the 14 loads of laundry straightaway, singing to myself from my overflowing happiness.

Then I see them.

How I am finding beauty in the blemishes - sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame #encouragement

The keys to the boat.

The keys to the gorgeous, expensive, how-lucky-are-we-that-we-get-to-use-this boat.

It was like a semi truck of joy racing at full speed that suddenly screeches its brakes to a halt.

I had a knot in my stomach the size of a rock, a canker sore suddenly appeared in my mouth, and the weight of the world was on my shoulders.


I almost got in the car and drove 8 hours round trip just to drop the off keys.

Utterly embarrassed, I felt foolish from my pride of checking and double checking that everything was just so.

Then it showed up.


Oh and it showed up like a tidal wave, overtaking anyone in it’s path. Full steam ahead!

Inadequate. A failure. Humiliated.

These were just a few feelings rattling around in my brain.

And what is sad is that no one could talk me down from the ledge of this despair.  We couldn’t get in touch with our family member, so for a few hours that feeling of dread took up residency right between my shoulder blades.

Obviously, the funk had set in, and it wasn’t the uptown cool kind of funk that would have rocked Bruno Mars. I set myself in that funk like a wheel stuck in mud. There was no way to get out and each attempt just splattered my muddy funk on anyone in striking distance.

And then finally…

We finally get in touch with our family member and it couldn’t have been easier delivering the bad news.  Trent took the call because I would have been a blubbering, incoherent mess. The call was immediately salve to my soul when I hear Trent chuckling. My relative was so loving, so gracious, that I found myself crying from relief with his light-hearted understanding.

But that’s not what this post is about.

In the midst of this doom and gloom I cloaked myself in, I heard a resounding cry from the Father,

“Don’t miss this. Pay attention.”

How I am finding beauty in the blemishes - sometimes you just need to shake off that cloak of shame #encouragement

It was so loud, yet I ignored it while in the muddy funk.

A few books I have been reading recently talk about shame and the burden it gives  – and how to recognize that you are enough even when you feel less than. Recently, I have been blessed to work together with KariAnne Wood from Thistlewood Farms again, as part of her book launch team, #SoCloseToAmazing, and she perfectly voices this free fall of ambivalence, bridging the gap between the pride of feeling awesome, the shame of seeing you aren’t, but the redemption knowing that there is One who makes you awesome! So here’s an affiliate link, for your convenience, to preorder her book here! This is a must read, y’all! (read my disclosure policy here)

So Close to Amazing

That act of gentleness given to us in that phone call –  when he had full right to blow up and yell at us for such a foolish and expensive mistake – was more than just a gesture.

It was a cool water washing over me.

Oh, I didn’t miss it – this beautiful act shown to us. I slowly crawled out of the muddy funk of shame that I put on and stood full in that warmth of kindness.

Clean. Redeemed. Forgiven.

And that’s what He wanted me to see.  How many times do I feel I fall short to stand in His glory when He is eagerly wanting me.

I’m the one hiding.

He is the one pursuing.

I didn’t miss this lesson.

As a result, I found beauty in the blemishes and it blessed my soul. Hopefully this blesses you today as well.

Here are a few of my other projects I was honored to work together with KariAnne and her amazing fabric line!

DIY Farmhouse Apron

DIY Farmhouse Apron

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  1. Per the request of my cousin, we mailed the keys back, but made sure to make a copy in case they got lost in the mail!

  2. Jen,
    What a relief that your family member bestowed grace.
    A wonderful So Close to Amazing story with beautiful photography!
    I am so glad to have met you through this So Close to Amazing journey.

    So, how did you get those boat keys to the owner? 😘


  3. What a beautiful and wonderful weekend! It looks so fabulous and refreshing.

    Oh yes! I’ve had those stomach-sinking, shame-filled moments that try to engulf and bowl me over.

    BUT beautiful reminder of how our Father sees us in all our flaws and mistakes and mess. Thank-you for sharing your story.

    Have a wonderful week! So fun to be part of this blog tour together!

  4. Hi Jen,

    I love this! Family vacations are far and few between sometimes and it’s so important to make those family memories! I enjoy reading your blog and so glad I have met you through KariAnne’s launch team. I hope you have a wonderful week!

  5. Hi Jen!
    Love this! Cute and amazing pics too!
    Visitng from not a trophy wife