About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Jen,
    I’ve got so many bloopers….where do I start? I was in my twenties. I worked in an office building in downtown Pittsburgh. It was back in the day when you had to wear a business suit and heels to work (am I dating myself yet?). It was getting close to Christmas and I decided that I was going to stay after work and hit the big department store (Kaufmann’s) midnight Christmas sale. Still dressed in my business attire, I was picking up bargain after bargain for Christmas gifts. Why hadn’t I done this before I thought? My bags were weighing me down, but I pressed on. I hadn’t even hit the upstairs yet. I stepped on the escalator – along with about 100 other sale seekers – and as I got to the top and went to step off the escalator, my heel got stuck in the escalator step’s “teeth”. It wouldn’t pull loose. I knew it was inevitable ….I was going down. Splat….face first….splayed out before the mannequins at the top looking down on me with disdain. Bags everywhere, but the people kept coming up the escalator. They were forced to jump over me, step on me, sidestep me and my bags. One lady had nowhere to go because the escalator kept on coming so she fell right on top of me. I finally scrambled myself together, but my heel had bit the dust when the step got swallowed by the giant escalator mouth at the top. People were trying to help me collect my bags while at the same time trying to hold back laughter. After all, I had made quite the scene. I tried to look dignified, but it’s kind of hard to when you are lumbering along, laden down with bags, and one heel is missing off your shoe. I had to ride the bus home like that after that whole fiasco. I got some interesting looks from the late night bus crowd needless to say…..it wasn’t one of my more graceful moments, but it makes a fun story lol. I gave the people on the escalator a good belly laugh that evening…..ahhh the gift of laughter – it’s good for the soul!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Oh Bev – first of all, I’m so glad that you weren’t hurt, but yes, if it had been in the age of iPhones (or maybe it was), I’m sure that made a good snapchat or IG story.

      It’s real life. Things happen and sometimes the most mortifying in the moment end up giving us the best laughter later on.

  2. This past Sunday we celebrated a blessing feast with my church family, upending the normal routine to the point of bringing tables into the sanctuary and having a big dinner together and then games! We all laughed ourselves silly over the mishaps that occur when throwing a fake snowball at a target and the sight of church leaders pantomiming winter sports in their Sunday best.
    The fact that we are so amazed when we discover the joy of laughter tells me that we need to do it more often. Thanks for encouraging us to take God’s prescribed “good medicine” of a cheerful heart!

    • Michelle – isn’t that so true? Love that you’re in a church that laughs together. Life is serious, but we forget that He has come to bring fullness and abundance and so much laughter too.

  3. Jennifer

    Life has been hard lately- (the last 4+ years). Laughter hasn’t come easy. The last time I remember laughing & having a good time is way back before I got married. I would go to a friend’s house with other singles from church. We would spend New Year’s Eve together playing games, watching TV, eating & just being ourselves. We laughed & had a good time. God delights in us having a good time. He doesn’t want just somber Christians. I just pray everyone can experience a good belly laugh now & then. It does a soul good. So glad everyone had a great time. God bless you all.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth praying for you at this moment. Lord immerse Beth with Your supernatural presence, strength and love at this very moment. I ask that you allow a little bit of heaven to come down into her home and marriage. Fill her home with Your love, compassion, presence and laughter. Fill her with a joyful heart which is good medicine.

    • OH Beth – I wish more than ever I lived closer and we could share each other’s burdens in real life. And trust me, I’m a hot mess enough for both of us that I’d invite you to laugh at me, not just with me.

      Praying that a new friend comes into your life who knows how to laugh through it all and allows you a respite from life’s struggles to tangibly be able to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

  4. Thank you Jennifer for this timely sharing – one embarrassing moment in time that comes to mind happened at my undergraduate convocation – I was all dressed in my “Regalia” garb in a large room off stage – my nerves were getting the best of me – it seems that no matter how hard I try NOT to make a spectacle of myself, I seem to find myself in a place of becoming the very spectacle I fear – there was a chalk board with a list of instructions as to how to proceed when called to make that journey across the stage to collect that long awaited degree – walk to lecturn, hand slip of paper to announcer at lecturn, stand on X while name called, turn head to right and smile at photographer, walk to Chancellor, remove tasseled cap, bow down and receive the official “bop” on the shoulder, rise and walk to faculty member collect degree, and finally walk off stage – in front of a full auditorium, after standing so proudly on the X to have my photo taken, I walked right past the Chancellor – all of a sudden I hear the Chancellor shout, “Hey you, you get back here, right now” – the whole audience erupted into laughter – I, on the other hand, was mortified – talk about fifty shades of red – I sprinted back to the Chancellor, removed my cap, knelt down for the “bop” and couldn’t get off that stage fast enough – every time I recall this event, I am moved to tears with the biggest/deepest belly laugh – oh the joy of laughter – I was so delighted a few years later when my masters convocation went off without a hitch – whew – I so look forward to reading everyone’s sharing today – blessings all xo

    • BETH!!!!!

      THIS! “it seems that no matter how hard I try NOT to make a spectacle of myself, I seem to find myself in a place of becoming the very spectacle I fear.” We are now BFF’s for life. I LOVE this and yes, that’s me too!! I think the biggest blessing of embracing my blog name of Balancing Beauty and BEDLAM is that we all have the bedlam. It’s just a matter of whether we choose to see it as one of life’s “gifts.” 😉

  5. My story is about the messiness of motherhood! When my fiance and I first met we brought together my 3 boys and his son. We had rented a larger home but it only had one bathroom. One of the boys had to go #2 and had managed to clog the toilet. So here I am plunging away up to my elbows in poo water when another one of the boys comes running in and says he needs to go #2, at this point I look over and tell him as calmly as I can that currently he can not use the toilet as I am trying to unclog it from the last kid! He goes running down stairs and about five minutes later I get a report from my son saying that our other son has just pooped in the backyard. My amazing fiance took a doggy bag and headed out to clean it up (now thats love!) Guess when you have to go, you have to go! We had many other incidents in that house including one where one brother managed to pee on the toddlers head. It was by far one of the best places we’ve lived that I have memories of, even if they were messy!

    • Yes, the messiness of motherhood never gets old, does it? And that’s absolute love. Good man especially since you weren’t even married yet. 🙂

      IT reminds me of a time when the sunday school teacher stopped me when I went to pick up our four year old and told me she had to have a conversation with me. To make a long story short, we live in the country with TONS of woods and all trees make great “urinals.” I guess our son had to go when he was outside on the playground, so he made his way to the grove of beautifully landscaped trees and relieved himself.

      Needless to say, it didn’t go over very well with that teacher. She was mortified. I confessed I better make it known that all wooded trees do not equal freedom in the bathroom department. 😉

  6. I better not open my can of worms on bloopers and mishaps or I’ll end up filling in this space with some looooooong stories. 😉 I do want to tell you thank you, Jennifer. This was the nudge I needed and in God’s perfect timing. He’s been working on me to start a small group to encourage women (here at home or elsewhere?? I don’t know yet), and in the meantime He’s been dealing with me on taking things too seriously. I worry WAY too much about the most ridiculous things, and God wants me to laugh more. I actually just blogged about it the other day! https://trainingforeternityblog.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/put-on-a-little-color/

    Anyway, I see all of this as God’s way of getting through my thick head to stop worrying about starting the group and just do it. Laughter and new friendships are just around the bend!! Thank you, thank you, thank you Jennifer!! 🙂

        • Joey – after rummaging through my sock drawer, I realize that I have a drawer full of boring gray, black, navy and brown socks – off to Metrotown Shopping Centre I go – crazy colourful socks here I come!

          • Good for you, Debra! If you buy the thin ones, you can even wear them in dressy shoes…keeping a little sneaky snicker of joy with you throughout the day. 🙂 I wear the loooong thick ones and no one knows because my boots hide them. (Of course, God knows and He’s smiling with me.) Hope you find some really fun ones!

    • Joey – I LOVE when women open up their can of worms and I’m thrilled to hear this was a little bit of encouragement you need to initiate opening your home.

      I think we can all take ourselves too seriously. It’s in our nature to some degree, so when we can loosen up and delight in HIs goodness and laugh, it’s always special.

      Also, with you taking this step, you’re affirming my heart too. My book that’s coming out in April (and incourage will be promoting), is called “Just Open the Door.” It’s all about everyday, imperfect hospitality and we will be offering lots of encouragement on here to help support women opening their doors. 🙂

      • Your book sounds wonderful (LOVE the title!) and exactly what I need for this new adventure. I’m excited to read it! 🙂

        Okay, a peek in my can of worms? I once got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and in the dimly lit room (night light only), I forgot to lift the lid. The fuzziness from the toilet lid cover thankfully woke me before I could do any harm. But sheesh, what a weird feeling! My husband still laughs, calling me “fuzzy butt.” Yeah. Haha. He’s got his own stories…like washing a mirror with Febreeze and getting all mad when it kept streaking. The funniest part of that story? My Grandma did the same thing! 🙂

  7. Humor is great for embarrassing situations. My pre-teen son and I were at the hardware store to buy a toilet seat. I asked him if he wanted to carry the old seat in (it was in a plastic grocery sack which was rather see through), and of course he declined. So I carried it in. We chose out a new seat and I asked him to carry the new one. He didn’t want to. So then I offered him the old one. He took the new one. Then I teased him about how it wasn’t fair that his seat had such a nice carrying handle. He replied back that it allowed him to carry it where ever he went. I asked him if he took it when visiting. Of course he said, I show up at the door with the seat and ask right away which bathroom I can take over and install my own personal toilet seat in. We got to laughing so hard about if this was a seat to share or if he would take it on trips, that by the time we got to the cashier we couldn’t keep a straight face. Did you find everything, she asked? Yes, I replied. Then I turned to my son. Unless you also want to take your own supply of toilet paper when visiting. This got us giggling again and the cashier asking if we knew which aisle the toilet paper was on. 🙂

    Laughter is good for the soul

    • I love that you are modeling this for your son. We take for granted the fact that our kids need to see us enjoying life and laughing along too. They see the good, bad and ugly at home, so to enjoy those fun moments is all the sweeter.

      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  8. Jennifer,
    This is a must: “Often that’s what radical hospitality does. It breaks down barriers, gives room for transparency to occur, and allows others freedom to flourish. Even if it’s something as simple as uninhibited laughter, it’s so good for the soul.”
    We need this so badly for all women, self-care, bonding, supporting and tears running down our cheeks and legs! 🙂
    This world needs this more than ever. Wished I lived closer!

  9. Jennifer, that warms my heart to think of the 80 year old woman “belonging.” — Sometimes I wonder if that’s a hard space in life to be in. ? That space where most around you are your junior, and many of your peers are gone or unable to socialize in the same ways. ? Your story brought a smile to my face. The gift of belonging is one of the most precious gifts we can give…and receive. ♥

    P.S.) Enjoyed taking the time to read all the replies this morning. 🙂 I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I can never answer these types of questions off the top of my head. My mind goes blank when I try to remember things like this. We laugh all the time around here, but then when asked for a blooper moment (which I know there are a-plenty), my middle-aged mind goes blank! I’ll have to think about it and come back with an update. haha. 🙂

    • Brenda – I am the same way. I used to write about my bloopers more often (since my blog has bedlam in the title), but now that I’m not recording them, I am forgetting those really funny moments. I think I need to start jotting them down on my phone for when I need a good laugh.

      And yes, that sweet 80 year old belonged and I think you’re right, it must be difficult. I want to remember to keep reaching out to that older generation because they have so much wisdom for us.

  10. I dozed off in church it was a very quiet service and I was the only one sitting on the bench , the sidesperson had to call my name very loud to wake me up for communion. When I woke I stood up and tried to pretend nothing had happen. Since then, the lady who was the sidesperson always has that knowing smile when she looks at me

  11. I think I would have to say that my most embarrassing moment (to date, anyway) was when my boss entrusted me to go to his house to retrieve something he needed but had left at home that day, and I set off his alarm system. I had to go outside and get in my car to be able to hear my boss so that he could tell me what to do to turn it off. In the meantime, the police came. They had to call my boss to verify that I was supposed to be there. I’m glad that he answered when they called and verified that I was. 🙂

  12. I have some to share, my mother was going to put gas in the car, suddenly a voice boomed out, ” Ma’am put the pump down. ” We looked at each other expecting the police, but it was the guy in the store, she was about to put diesel in the car. Another time she was getting stuff out of the trunk and bent over with a water bottle, all I could see was water running everywhere and I thought she’d had an accident, she was laughing so hard because she knew what I was thinking. Just the other day a telemarketer called me he said from the BBB to help me collect money from a company I overpaid for repairing my computer, he was obviously a fraud, I told him I never did that and hung up, when he called right back asking why I hung up, I said again I didn’t pay for computer repairs, he said, “You should have listened to me, you stupid woman! ” I hung up again and thought about calling the real Better Business Bureau. I got a lot of satisfaction out of reporting one who called 12 times in three hours, I warned him about the FCC, but then I just started laughing, remembering vengeance was the Lord’s, and to top it off I told my uncle, he thought it was funny, because it was national compliment day. And Bev, my escalator stories were dangerous, I take the elevator.