Because Sharing the Imperfect is Worth the Risk

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Almost seven years ago I started this blog.

And two months into it my sister told me I should talk about my window treatments.

My first reaction was that I can’t share my little embarrassing secret.

I was sure I’d be met with comments telling me I’m not supposed to do it that way.

I hadn’t been in this online community for long and sharing something so blatantly rule breaking as hot gluing my unlined, raw fabric ‘drapes’ was getting too real too fast.

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I wrote about them. How we hammered an upholstery tack with a high heeled shoe. Poor photography in bad lighting.

And I waited for the comments to come telling me how wrong, and dumb, and mistaken I was and how ashamed I should be. I waited for the citation from the ASID. I waited to be laughed off the internet.

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And that isn’t what this community did.

This community embraced it.

This community met these imperfect, hurried, I-love-pretty-things-but-protecting-the-family-budget-is-more-important-than-impressing-my-friends–ideas and accepted them.

Instead of my ideas and true self being met with hate or laughed off. You embraced them.

You said “me too”.

You said “more”.

You said, “we can see through the imperfection to the beauty and worth”.

“We see it too.”

You met my imperfections with love not hate.

And I was astonished and forever changed.

That was the day Nesting Place truly began.

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You are the reason this book exists.

Because your acceptance of my imperfections launched me into a place that freed me to be who I truly am, faults and all, so I could share my ideas, good bad and ugly.

This community was safe.

You made this online community feel like home.

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Revealing my imperfect ways connected us.

Revealing ourselves to trustworthy people always connects.

Imperfections are important in our life and our home because they put people at ease.

You are the ones at the play group, in the community groups, welcoming friends into your imperfect homes, embracing that imperfection despite what a glimpse on the screen might tell us is acceptable.

You are the ones risking, because you know true connection is worth it and it can start in our very homes.

You are the ones looking past the imperfect to the true beauty.

You are the ones teaching us, teaching me that this imperfection isn’t to be hidden, but embraced, celebrated even.

You are the ones saying YES, let’s stop pretending that we need to impress each other. None of us is perfect and I’ll take that risk and be the first to admit it. And it can start with a pair of mistreated, hot glued drapes. That actually look pretty good.

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That disapproval letter finally came.

It came in the form of a comment on a post about how to make slipcovers, the easy way.  It was 5 years into blogging and by then I had so much confidence in the strength and truth of this message that I didn’t affect me the way I had feared. Don’t get me wrong, I had other people who didn’t get what I was doing. But this one comment addressed everything an imperfectionists faces all in a few words. It said:

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It’s a lot of work to be the gatekeeper of what is and isn’t acceptable. Deeming only perfection has worth. Who would you rather be friends with? Who’s home are you more comfortable in? The person commenting, or the owner of this chair with the threads hanging off the bottom?

Embracing imperfection does not mean that we have given up or settled for less. Maybe accepting imperfection is a sign of maturity, balance and contentment.

I’m a normal, average woman who loves to be surrounded by meaningful beauty and it has been so freeing to drop the burden of perfection.

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We put that $12 thrifted, broken footed, craizily slipcovered chair, threads and all on the cover of a decorating book. Because IT. IS. BEAUTIFUL.

Not despite it’s threads and overly cushy seat  but maybe because of it. Because we know the secret. We know what true beauty is.

Not everyone can see the beauty in the midst of the imperfect.

But you can.

I can.

Because we choose see it.

Sometimes we have to fight to see it.

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We are the imperfectionists.

You are the ones teaching me, urging me to truly believe something I always secretly hoped was true.

That it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.

And I can never thank you enough.

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Win a Copy of The Nesting Place arriving in bookstores and mailboxes this week:

Because Perfection is for the Birds @ Emily A Clark

It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect @ Naptime Diaries

The Top 10 Reasons You Should Buy The Nesting Place Book @ Caroline TeSelle

Every House Has A Silver Lining @ (in)courage

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Find out more about The Nesting Place here.

Has it been worth the risk to reveal your imperfections?

Have you learned that sometimes good enough has been better than perfect?

Are you waiting on the next house to create the home you’ve always wanted?

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Comments

  1. Meg Smith says:

    I just LOVE the dinosaur. No matter how many little details I attempt to perfect in my home it is the presence of others that make it home. Dinosaurs, dirt and all. Thanks for sharing your heart! From a mama of little boys who loves Jesus, houses and reading your blog!

  2. I think your imperfect slipcover is gorgeous, and anyone who is so offended by a SLIPCOVER, PEOPLE, has some seriously misplaced priorities! Keep up your awesome posts, gorgeous, simple, meaningful home, and open, risk-taking honesty!

  3. Amy Reyes says:

    I think that chair and slip cover is beautiful!!

  4. For me, learning it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful has been very personal, because it has reached the inner core of my being. You see, I didn’t realize it, but I thought I wasn’t worth anything unless I was perfectly useful. What I did, which made up who I was in my mind, had to be perfect or else it was worse than not doing anything. God finally set me free by showing me the way He sees me…not constantly annoyed by my stupid attempts to do well (embodied by that almost laugh-out-loud horrid comment you got!), but loving me unconditionally because of what Jesus gave me, which is unbelievable, His perfect righteousness, which can’t be taken away by any person. And that is what makes each one of us beautiful. Hallelujah! I am loving all these imperfect, setting-free moments you and others like you are sharing. Blessings to you all!!! <3

  5. God has truly blessed your honesty and used you to help so many women fall in love with their blessing from Him. I have been encouraged, challenged and blessed by your blog! Thank you for allowing God to lead you!

  6. In the acceptance of our imperfection we find the PERFECT. Note to self: perfection is for dummies. Honestly I didn’t even notice the frayed ends on the chair. I noticed the warmth and beauty. Silly me.

  7. Christina says:

    Totally OFF TOPIC here, but it tickles me every time I see your husband in that Piggly Wiggly shirt! I worked for them for years (once upon a time) in Charleston and have worn plenty of those shirts as well. I happen to live right around the corner from the old Piggly Wiggly Drive.
    KUDOS to you and your book release.. I’ll be receiving mine for Mother’s Day!!
    Take care : )

  8. Stephanie says:

    I love the slipcover! I love white even though I do not have it in my house, but only because I see it as high maintenance and we are very informal people who flop down on a couch, dirty feet and all. (Plus, my honey is a diesel mechanic and though I would love for him to take 2-3 showers a day, that is not going to happen, so my furniture is always able to take a stain, simply because I know that there will be stains.)

    I will say, though, (laughing at myself here), my OCD would have me down on the floor with a pair of scissors, getting rid of all those strings, lol. We can be in the mall, and I will see the back of someone’s shirt with a long hair or a thread or something, and I literally have to resist the urge to to pick it off of some stranger’s back! If I ever did that, they would call the police and I would be hauled off to the looney-bin! Can you just visualize that kind of scene?? LOL! Seriously though, keep your strings, and your dinosaur, and whatever else you want to have in your home. All those things are what make you you, and you are pretty good in my book. :)

  9. Boo Hiss to the “slipcover police”. I love your imperfection and work with it everyday. That’s what makes us approachable. Keep up the good work and looking forward to a copy of your book.

  10. LOOOOOOOOOVVEEEEE THIS!!! Everything about it. The very same idea goes for our appearances… I feel most comfortable around other women who aren’t perfectly showered, blown out, in brand new perfect clothes. I love the women who have learned to be confident in 2nd day hair and an outfit from a thrift store that makes them feel beautiful and proud that they are working within a budget but still find beauty in the imperfect- in all areas of life.

    Keep preaching it!!! This makes my heart swell with happiness.

  11. Visiting from The Inspired Room and now subscribed. I am very happy for you and am excited to buy your book. I have an “imperfect but perfect to me” slipcover and love it, though twinges of “it’s not perfect” do enter my mind every once in awhile but are quickly dismissed. How sad that the love of perfection would cause such a caustic comment. So hooray for your sharing, risking and encouraging so many to the freedom of being who we are and who God has created us to be – not perfect, but so loved.

  12. crystal d. says:

    Thanks for letting me know that my imperfect self can make imperfect things look and feel beautiful. I bought a $50 dollar sofa at a habitat store in Dec because i had just thrown out my beat up sofa and it was Christmas and had company coming. Keep saying i am going to try and slip cover it cause it is an awesome sofa just not the right color. Well, ive been procrastinating knowing I wont make it “perfect”. Now i am encouraged that while i know i want it to look nice it doesnt have to be perfect!

  13. I just feel sorry for whoever has to listen to that guy all day. I hope they have something they love that keeps them sane.
    Love the slipcover. The “perfect” ones I bought (with threads) are waaaay toooo big for my wingbacks. These may be my summer project, except that I bought them so I could move on to all my painted furniture projects.

  14. My Dear you have just written my story ! I love my home and find great pleasure in making it a place to refresh and gather with family and friends. Perfect ? Sure NOT ! Lovely and homey and warm … Yes ! I know I have God given creativity and desire to share with others the freedom that comes when your home is a place you love, but doesn’t break the budget. Can’t wait to get your book. Perfection is way over rated :)
    You are a blessing and a refreshing , creative lady !

  15. Yes! I gave up on being perfect. Really, go at it Jesus.

  16. My book just arrived!!!!!

  17. I remember that post about your curtains, that’s about when I came into this little old blog of yours. Then I went home and tried curtains for myself and loved it. Not as much as I love this blog. Not as much as I love you, a person whom I have never met but feel so connected to. I per-ordered your book and hopefully I will not have to wait long to want to dive into each and every page. Thank you for being who you are and for bring joy into my life even if that wasn’t your intentions. I will be forever grateful. You are truly my favorite blog and most favorite person to see on my computer each and every day.

  18. Congratulations many times over! I’m so happy for you, and for all who will read this book and find freedom. Cheers!!

  19. Oh, I feel like I’ve found my new best friend here. I came here from Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog. Your book is so what I need to read. Just wanted to let you know I’m here now and will be reading this blog and hopefully your book soon. I just posted earlier last week about beauty in the imperfections.

  20. Hooray for you, M! Got my book last night and can’t wait to read it. What a wonderful milestone for your family.

  21. Congratulations on the book. I can’t wait to read it. My house is nowhere near perfect but we love it. Some rooms are where I want them some have a LONG, LONG way to go. I LOVE your chair and the dinosaur and the images of your life in your home. x

  22. Thank you for always being REAL! Your blog was the first one I ever read – heck – I had no idea people did that. That was 4 1/4 years ago and you inspired me to start my blog. I too am still a renter and loved that you were too. Loved how you didn’t let that get you down! Love the imperfections. And I CAN”T wait till that book arrives- it was shipped this morning!

  23. Please ma’am…!!! I WANT THE BOOOOOOOOOTS! Tell me where to find the boots? Then tell me they’ll deliver them to me in Ireland?!??!?!?!??! Pleeeeeeeeeeeasssssseeeeeeeee????

    Love the blog… LOVE the boots :D

    • They are from a store called Z Gallerie, I don’t think they sell them anymore, and mine are even broken but super glued together! Hope you find some similar! oxoxo

  24. i LOVE this! and i’m so excited to curl up with your book and a cup of tea on this rainy georgia day! (also…the book is gorgeous. i can’t make up my mind if i like the jacket or the hardcover better!)

  25. Everytime I see that slipcovered chair I think- I just wish I could do that, I love it. Then I read your history and the comment and I had to chuckle. I had to take a second look and you can guess it-I still wish I could do that. Thank you for the inspiration and fun.

  26. This post represents every single reason that I first fell in love with this blog and still love it today! Honored to call you “friend.” :)

  27. So inspired by the way in which your present the raw truth. In the end we are all an imperfect mess . . it’s enjoying the mess that matters. Congratulations with the book. . . so much to celebrate.

  28. LOL….I didn’t even notice the “imperfect” slipcover until you mentioned it. I just thought, oh that looks cozy and cute. :) Great post, great blog! You rock, girl.

  29. Read the entire book last night. Amazing. I went out this morning, picked some tree branches and spray painted them a turquoise blue. They now stand in a vase on my mantle. Why didn’t I do something so simple ages ago?!?!

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  31. miss winnie says:

    Just an observation about your response to the criticism of your imperfect slipcover. If you are satisfied with an imperfect slipcover that is great. If someone else whose standards are different from yours is bothered by what they consider a sloppy job, that is great too. Your whole concept appears to be that we need to accept that not everything in our homes needs to meet other people standards. I agree that is a good thing. But your snarky response to the criticism seems a bit contrary to your philosophy. I can understand how that particular slipcover might be offensive to a person who is a professional upholsterer. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to be their friend or wouldn’t be comfortable in their home. If you are a Daughter of the King, your response was not something to be proud of. It is great that so many of your readers love the slipcover and think it is beautiful. I personally would be bothered to have something with that degree of “imperfection” in my space — does that make me a bad person? If your message is that we shouldn’t be criticized for not living up to other people’s expectations of how our homes should look, then I honestly don’t understand why you are criticizing someone who is expressing their thinking about how something looks. I am honestly not trying to be critical of you or your philosophy — I just really see a disconnect and I have a concern that your kindness is not extended to those who may not agree with you. Of course we should all live in homes that meet our standards and not worry about what other people think! But that grace needs to be extended also to those who want to live in a picture perfect environment. People who strive for their vision of excellence shouldn’t be looked down upon. If they aren’t trying to control what you do in your home, what do you care what their standards are?

    • ohh, I’m not sure which response you are talking about? I read over it again because I never want to come across as saying it’s my way or nothing.

      So I’m looking for my reply that you are talking about that is critical and snarky? The one in this very post? My honest question of who would you rather be friends with? I think that question leads us to consider our own perfectionists ways, I know it does mine. I truly don’t see any snarkyness.

      And on the original post, I still stand by my comment. This is the only part that could be considered snarky or critical I think and I still don’t see it?:

      “We all make choices, this is ours, and clearly we know what yours is, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a perfect chair. I am just sad that in your insistence on perfection you fail to see the beauty in this project.” –my original response to her comment.

      Please read her comment again, and my response.

      My issue isn’t that she wants her home to be perfect. It’s that she says I need to be ashamed of mine because it’s not good enough–she actually says it’s offensive. That’s a problem. And that’s where perfectionism can ruin us. I’m not okay with that. And I want us to stop thinking we need to hold perfection as the standard in how our homes look, not only for us, but for our friends as well. This is wrong and we need not do that to each other.

    • I so agree with Miss Winnie s comment. My house isn’t perfect to me by a long stretch, but I have a different definition than you have, Nester, of what imperfection is. I need clean, clear surfaces, order, little clutter and simple classic design done in a way that will last and that let’s the eye rest. That’s me. From your tone in recent posts, I think you would judge me as being a perfectionist wasting my life. Why can’t my definition of “good enough” be more “perfect” seeming in appearances than yours without it being wrong? It’s all okay. No need to wear “Imperfectionist” as a banner at the expense of anything else.

  32. I LOVE this post! I found that on my blog the posts that got the most attention were the ones where I revealed imperfection and became vulnerable. I think people can really relate and feel a bit of a weight lifted off their shoulders when they see others not being blasted for being imperfect. Glad I found your blog!
    Cheers!

  33. You are so extremely helpful. I received your book yesterday, read five chapters before bed and finished it today. And in the middle of it I taped off and painted a weird space in my home that has bugged me since day one (which was nearly a year ago). I remembered how much I LOVE rearranging furniture and did some of that too. Then there is this storage tote I built in February that had been sitting on my back deck since March waiting for me to paint it. But what color? What stain? What should I do? I was frozen with fear of choosing the “wrong” color. It’s now in my garage, drying after a few coats of spray paint.

    Thank you, Myquillyn. Thank you for reminding me I do have my own way of doing things and it’s okay to do them that way.

  34. Love this!

  35. Best. Post. Ever. This gave me goosies I loved it so much. And the cover photo for the book – it’s perfect. I can’t even!

  36. Oh my goodness. White gorgeousness…..comfy-forgiving-slippy-kind-of-happiness that only those of us with white slipcovered furniture can truly understand. Sighhhhh….wiping a baby-sized tear whilst sipping my coffee. Bravo. Blessings. I’m finally embracing THIS very home I’m in now and it’s all because of you sweet Nester. Thank you. I cannot wait to read my book!!!!

  37. Thank you for allowing us to be imperfect by showing that imperfection can be beautiful! I have let too many years slip by me in my insecurity of imperfection and have not been able to socialize and be a blessing to others because of being afraid of what they would think of my place, mismatched furniture, dirt-smudges and non-sparkling floors and all. Realizing that perfection isn’t all there is, is such a relief! Thank you for your honesty and openness in sharing your life and style!

  38. I saw the link to this post at Modern Mrs. Darcy’s blog and had to laugh out loud at the negative comment you got about the slipcovered chair … because a half hour earlier I had just read this article in the Onion about a woman who critiques others’ grocery carts. Maybe it’s the same person!!!
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/woman-a-leading-authority-on-what-shouldnt-be-in-p,35922/

  39. cristin says:

    This is SO AWESOME! Love this story! I have looked at that chair a bunch of time on your blog and NEVER ONCE noticed it’s imperfections! TOO funny! Love your words, your style, and YOU! Can’t wait to get this BOOK!!!

  40. Jessica says:

    This blog, this post are exactly what I didn’t know I needed this morning! Not sure how I got here to your blog, but am so happy to be here. My husband and I recently started making bits of furniture together. I design, he implements. The pieces are not perfect, but they are so filled with love, with US, that I will never be bothered by the imperfections. I could just hug you for your blog, and probably your book, which I just ordered. Thank you.

  41. Oh goodness the comments about the slipcover made me cringe! I would not want that person to come into my living room and see my “slipcover” on my chair. A carefully draped jersey blend sheet! Love your blog!

  42. I love this message, I love that you put that chair on the cover. I am SUCH an imperfectionist…I like it done, and I generally don’t care about the minor details, so this is right up my alley. Way to share that message.

  43. You are exquisite, my dear. And your book is a breath of fresh air…thank you for your sweet gift you shared with me and for what you share everyday.
    xo,
    shaunna

  44. Wow. I didn’t even realize that chair was missing a leg. Yours is the first decorating blog I ever visited and one of three I visit daily. Don’t change a thing. Congrats on the book.

  45. Karen U says:

    As I was reading this post, I just kept admiring that gorgeous chair. I never even noticed that the slipcover wasn’t sewn perfectly. I just kept thinking, there’s that pretty, comfy looking chair. I only noticed that those gorgeous books were acting as a chair leg after you said it was broken. That chair is absolute perfection in every way. Right down to that sweet little dinosaur.
    Karen

  46. I am trying to process all of this. I know that you are right, but it is still so hard to accept it. As a mother o 7, involved in full-time ministry, my home is far from magazine pretty. The walls are all drawn on, dirty from little fingers, things are already broken although we just moved here 6 years ago. The house is still not finished, the picture frames are in their boxes, the furniture is old and far far from what I would consider pretty. The septic tank is full, we only can use one bath and I can’t use the kitchen sink. The dishwasher has been broken for 3 years, the microwave is irreparable. The oven door has to be supported by a stick so that it would stay shut. The children need summer sandals and the family room needs furniture. Some relatives don’t miss a visit to remind me of the dirty walls, smudged windows and dust under the piano….. I feel like a failure for the first time in my life. I am constantly nagging my children about things being messy, disorganized, dirty.

    I am trying to see things your way though (and ignore all those comments of the relatives as hard as I can). I don’t want to continue this distructive path. I want to see beauty in imperfection, joy and happiness in unexpected things, I want to enjoy my children, my husband and life. I want to give glory to God in everything I do – even if it means not doing things to the expectation of some people.

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