This Embarrasses Me {But It Is Authentic}


Want to see something I love?

It’s this.


It’s such a pretty memory – my handsome groom and I surrounded my friends, in a lovely hotel, enjoying a toast during our reception. I’ve always thought this photo is so classy and elegant. It was a beautiful reality!

You want to see something the embarrasses me?

It’s this.


That’s my thirteen year old minivan parked next to a brand new Mercedes. Another reality of my life.

You see, the hydraulic things that hold the door up don’t work when its really cold out. When I need to put the groceries in the car in freezing temperatures, I use this shovel to prop it open.

More than once I have been in the parking garage by Trader Joes and received a chuckle or stare by some person heading in to the fancy gym nearby.

Want to know why we don’t fix it?

Because my husband is a teacher at a small Catholic school. It provides what we need, but for extras we need to make decisions. We need to decide if a trunk that gets opened just once a week on a vehicle that we will likely be selling for next to nothing in the next year or two will get a costly repair so that for a few cold months we won’t need to prop it up… You can see what a no-brainer this is.

But it still embarrasses me.

Sometimes when I hit the publish button on a post I feel silly, too. Like my smoothie recipe last week… I see all of these talented food bloggers who post gorgeous, brightly lit photos of staged ingredients, and the best I had was this shadowy photo with a cheap blender.

It’s not that I don’t care… I just am doing the best I can with the time and tools I have. I have a poorly lit kitchen. I did this while the girls were by my side, both refusing to nap that afternoon.

Not only do I not have essentially any natural skill for design and staging, but I have to relegate our time carefully.  So while I want to learn more about photography… a cool close up shot of various ingredients wistfully scattered across a hunk of marble isn’t happening at this time in my life. (Maybe one day I’ll get there!)

I Still Have It Good (And I Bet You Do Too)

I love social media. (Probably way too much…) But sometimes everything is so beautiful it makes me feel embarrassed at my humbler reality. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not begrudging those who have more/nicer/prettier/better things or more talent than I do. People work hard and if they’re able to have the Instaperfect house I’m honestly happy for them! But sometimes I let comparison steal my joy, and I shouldn’t.

The nicer house, better clothes, newer car, more skillfully executed photos, or anything else others have don’t need to be considered unauthentic, either. If those things are part of someone’s reality how wonderful for them! I can enjoy that beauty and be inspired by it, while still owning the reality of my own life for all that it is, and being grateful for my own beauty. (And I also remind myself that no one’s entire life is perfect… we just are seeing snapshots of the good usually!)

Being authentic online is going to look different for everyone because we all have something different going on. Someone could look at my professional wedding, maternity, and newborn photos online and think things are always far more glamorous around here than they really are. They might not know about the shovel propping up the van door…

But I am still so blessed.

That old mini-van of mine is loaded with a spread of delicious, nourishing food that millions of impoverished and starving people only dream about.


That shadowy kitchen is in an apartment that someone who is homeless would be proud to hold the keys to.

Zelie Newborn 4

And the steady teaching job of many years that pays for all of this I am sure would be the envy of many an unemployed person who would give anything to have stable work in a profession they love.

I still feel embarrassed when I prop that shovel up in the van on grocery shopping day, but sharing it here makes me feel better. I am owning it, being authentic!

Now if you would excuse me, I think I need to go pray my Litany of Humility and thank God for my blessings.

12 thoughts on “This Embarrasses Me {But It Is Authentic}

      1. I didn’t know you’re in Cleveland! My husband’s family is in Westlake…and he used to teach at St. Martin de Porres. 🙂

        Love this post, by the way. So much of life is perspective. I feel like as a stay at home mom I so often get narrow minded b/c I only see my struggles and less of the outside world. It’s helpful to re-frame things as you did, to remember the daily blessings of home, food, family, and paychecks as well as the love of our husbands and children. ❤


  1. Great blog! You know, I think that if life were super easy and we had all the perfect things, we’d have no story to tell. We’d just say, “Well, everything has always been perfect.” Someday, your husband and you will look back on your shovel situation and laugh and actually be glad for that time. It’s your story. These kinds of thing build the character of a marriage. But, I get you, I used to have an old beat up 1984 baby blue Century Buick that I was mortified to drive around in. 🙂 On our wedding night, we pulled up to the Plaza hotel in our clunker amid the luxury cars parked out front waiting for valet. I was so embarrassed!


    1. All so true! And I know in my head my shovel situation isn’t that bad. I have two adopted brothers from the Philippines. To say they grew up in poverty is an understatement. I just have to stay humble, grateful for a car to have a shovel to prop up a hatch with!

      (And how funny, we both flew to our wedding which was out of state so we drove my dad’s 1999 blue Century Buick for our wedding trip!)


  2. Well, I’m back here in North Idaho and love your blog. Until just recently, I drove a Pontiac with over 300,000 miles on it. True testament to my hubbys’ skill and dedication at car maintenance! Your photo made me laugh…for the last 5 years, the trunk on my car when open, would spontaneously crash down. Sometimes on an unsuspecting shoulder or arm…I propped it open with a rolled up golf umbrella. It was almost like reflex, open the trunk, grasp the umbrella and notch it into the latch and the side. Haha. She was a grand old girl! God is so good, after 14 years, He found us a lovely and much newer car.


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