Laughing Through the Ugly Cry with Dawn Barton

Episode 05

Joy and pain aren’t mutually exclusive; they mingle together in our stories every single day. That’s probably never been more true than in 2020. In these moments, we reach for guides who have traveled through some dark moments and come out the other side, and we couldn’t have a better teacher than writer, speaker, and self-proclaimed joyologist Dawn Barton. Pain and loss have been familiar companions to Dawn for a long time. She’s lost a baby daughter, and a sister to cancer. She’s suffered through sexual assault and walked her mother through recovery from an aneurysm, and her husband through alcohol addiction. Dawn has seen suffering, but she’s also realized that even in the middle of pain, you can experience full-fledged joy. Moments of hurt create opportunities for others to show up for us, and allow us to experience love in ways beyond what we ever thought possible (and sometimes scary times lead to hilarious ones, as Dawn found during her misadventures with a prosthetic breast named Lucky). Ultimately, our lives come full circle when we get to help someone else through their painful moments the way that others once helped us.

Episode Transcript

Hey everybody, Jen Hatmaker here, welcome to the For the Love Podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. 

We are in a series right now called For the Love of Small Wins. The team and I were just like, “You guys, this year we need some victory, we need some joy, we need some hope, we need some good news, we need some small wins.” So, we have just put together such a great series of stories that inspire us and leaders who lead well, kind of these searchers of joy, finding a way to bring us along with them.

We need it, because 2020 has just kept pain and hardship flowing in constant waves. There’s no handbook, none of us were ready for this or practiced at this exact kind of year. We find ourself looking for guides, looking around going, “Okay, who has experienced some real suffering? How did you get through it? And what should I be looking for? How can we do this well?”

My guest today is someone who is offering us so much. She is showing up in her very own lifeboat to pull us out of the water and row us to shore. And she knows what she’s talking about. Today I have Dawn Barton on the show.

Dawn is a writer, she’s a speaker, she’s a self-appointed joyologist—we need that right now. Up until pretty recently, Dawn was ranked the number seven sales director in Mary Kay in the nation. And then took a leap of faith, left it all to write her first book, which we’re going to talk about today, called Laughing Through the Ugly Cry, which I wish meant nothing to me. I wish I could not identify with that, but I can. I’m really glad that she wrote this down, because she has a story to tell. She has been to hell and back several times. I’m not going to tell it all, I’m going to leave some of her story for the interview because I’m not kidding around. She knows suffering. And yet after all of it, Dawn tells us we can still find joy literally even in the middle of it. In the excruciating part. Before it’s over. It’s not this or that, or it’s not this, then that. 

And I promise you she doesn’t say this in a tra-la-la way. This woman has receipts, and you’re going to want to hear what she has to say, because she’s funny too and warm and wise and she offers us some really, really incredible lifelines today. 

So, I’m so happy you’re going to get to know her better. I loved talking to her. We stayed on our recording both before and after talking and talking and talking even more. You’re going to love this one, you guys. I’m so pleased to share my conversation with the warm and wonderful Dawn Barton.


Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode



Laughing Through the Ugly Cry by Dawn Barton


Stay Connected with Jen Hatmaker:



Thanks for listening to the For the Love Podcast!

XO – Team Jen

connect with dawn barton:


  • Go to https://kiwico.com, and use code FORTHELOVE to get 50% off your first month of project crates, plus FREE shipping!
  • feetures Head to http://feetures.com/, and use code FORTHELOVE to get $10 off your first pair of cozy Feetures socks.
  • honey Sign up for free at https://joinhoney.com/FORTHELOVE, and add gifts on your Droplist for a chance to win some cash!
  • duke-cannon Find the perfect gifts for the men in your life—check out Duke Cannon’s grooming gift sets for only $20 each at Target!
Shop Jen's Faves

From exclusive, limited-edition items to my must-haves, check out all my latest faves.


Take a peek around

If you’re not sure where to begin, I got you, friend. I’m always bringing you something new to enjoy.

Read More About Jen