Gone Fishin’



Hundreds of friends on social sites but the sight-seeing I do is always alone.

Scenic routes to nowhere.

Breath taking views that always prelude
breath taking falls.

Pride is a faulty fence that won’t hold under your weight.

Especially mine.

I leaned in to rest and got too comfortable.

And I have been trying to dig myself out since.

I hate myself for it.

Because questions only give birth to more questions.

Conversations turn into more conversations.

Everyone is SURE of everything, which is really nothing.

Daring to dig deep but deep thinking doesn’t pay the bills.


Talk really IS cheap.


I prefer writing poems lately instead.

I like the indirect way it guts my soul.

It  holds me  under the  faucet, like a  fish.

Spilling cold water, blood and secrets.

Baited and hooked.

Filet of fresh foolishness.

Piercing the knife through my belly and up toward that trouble making throat where my voice always escapes me.

Running thumbs up my spine to clear all the waste, (just like you taught me) because no one else is gonna do it.

The sharp blade of reality will scrape the scales and dirt that burden you,

but it never really clears it all.

It only accumulates to add character and flavor.

Wrapped in garlic butter and foil and thrown to the fire to become something worthy of the fight.








Every summer has its own story

I thought it would be fun to revisit an old post from last summer. Especially since it has a nostalgic vibe to it. Enjoy!



The summer I turned sixteen seems like an exaggerated moment in time when I think of it. Summers were long and lazy when we were younger. Watching cartoons, random tv and playing in the back yard with my siblings while our parents were at work filled the daylight hours. Lots of fighting with each other and calling mom at work only to get in more trouble for having bothered her in that way. Day after day of boredom and drowsiness.

At night I pretended to be more mature than I was and I would sneak out from my bedroom window to hangout with friends or even sneak them IN to hang out with me. I’m pretty sure that was the summer I felt like I was painfully in love for the first time and spent my thought life day dreaming of ways to see him at night. The kids I…

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Philosophy and R&B

We have a new radio station in my home town that plays pop music from the 90’s.    Technically, I guess the kids ’round here are calling it an oldies station…but I just can’t go that far.  All I know is, its music I listened to growing up and its funny how quickly a song can turn into a memory (you see what I just did there Mari?).

I just heard the song  “Two Occasions” by Babyface.  Man, this song captured the essence of my adolescent heartache.  I used to crush HARD.  When I decided to like a young man, I was committed.  I guess I’ve always been a sensitive, romantic artist type.

(Here is the YouTube link I found, the video is TERRIBLY awesome.)


Who will ever know the amount of time spent in front of the bathroom mirror singing my pain away and acting as if I was in front of a wind machine filming my music video.  You never knew a white girl could get down so hard on New Edition or Jodeci!  Time spent in front of the same mirror, perfecting the art of a messy bun or high pony-tail (with the ever necessary, carefully pulled strands of hair on either side of your face to mirror the T-Boz look).  Strait gangsta.  Never mind that I was a chubby, red-headed white kid from Northern Nevada. The struggle was real.  I wish I could get my hands on the journals and notebooks I kept my two years of middle school. That is when I discovered that writing could make me feel better about things that were bothering me, though mostly all it did was get me in trouble for writing trash talk and bad poetry about everyone.  

Back when there wasn’t anything quite as painful as not having anyone to couple skate with at the roller rink on a Friday night (that is IF my parents allowed me to go).  The dramas that we had were so REAL and PASSIONATE.  If a boy and girl dated longer than two weeks it was the REAL DEAL.  The fights and squabbles we had were ridiculous.  That was when we had to actually write notes with pens and pencils on binder paper, fold them up and pass them to each other.  No texting, no social media. Just good old-fashioned rubbish.  Simpler times that seemed so intense while I was living them. Looking back now, it only makes me laugh!  If I had only known how short that time would be, I would not have rushed through it.

How cliche.

Now, I can’t help but wonder about my son who is going to be 9 this winter, and what kind of teenager he is going to mutate into in a few short years.   I can’t even allow myself to imagine what kind of teenager my daughter will be yet.  Gives me heartburn.  I think about all of the little triumphs and tragedies they will experience that I might not even get to know about because I’ll be the old boring mom.  Soon enough, they will have a whole secret world of thought and dreams and loves and heartbreak that my Hubs and I will only be spectators of.  Rooting and cheering or grieving from the sidelines as we watch and pray with bated breath for a strong and victorious finish.

Its only in thinking of my kids growing older that I can appreciate this line from John Mayer”s song “No Such Thing”:

And all of our parents, they’re getting older.

I wonder if they’ve wished for anything better?

While in their memories, tiny tragedies.

They love to tell you, stay inside the lines.  

But something’s better on the other side.

I wonder if my own parents watched my teenage years approach with as much reservation, nervousness and even a little excitement/sadness that I feel for my own kids?

Did they hope and pray ( as I do for mine) that I would stay inside the lines and get it right??  Did they know deep down (as I do) that, that isn’t at all possible?  Will I remember this when my kids are older and steeped deeply within the dramas and concerns of their social world, that they will make mistakes and not stay inside the lines?  Will my husband and I remember how enormous it felt to crush on someone the first time, and be rejected the first time, and yes, even get into trouble (real trouble) for the first time?   Will we lose our minds and take it personally?  Will we show grace and understanding while still providing direction and discipline?  Will we be able to keep a foot in the door with our kids so that we can really know whats going on with them??


Luckily, I don’t have to have all of these answers today, and most likely never will.  I will just have to trust God with my babies who loves them even more than my husband I do.  But I do wonder about the little people they are becoming and if they will be ok.

This evolution of roles and growing up stuff isn’t for sissy’s.




A Poem for You

It’s Dave Matthews weather again and no one knows that more than me, but you.

My heart curls up in a sour knot because I know you are far away.

Don’t you know that things aren’t right without you?

The world keeps moving, plans are made.

And still, you are missing.

What helps mend the bond that has been torn?

Turning each of us into beasts.

Who are we when we lose our minds to rage?

Scared and afraid to lose our grips and cause more pain.

I miss you.

Just down the road, but a million miles away and ten thousand apologies apart.

How do you speak what can not be said?


Recognitions can be dealt, but it falls flat.

Corrections can be made, but they seem empty.

Words meant to soften,
are received sharp, and quick like a knife.


Of course, instrumental solos are our native language.

So, lets reconcile to the sounds of violins and saxophones.

Lets remember the trumpets and horns.

Lets close our eyes and listen carefully to the details that elude us in conversation.

Appreciate what always weaves us back together





Get a move on!

I just sat down at my computer and cranked up the music.

Subwoofer and all.

It feels so  good.  First song to pop up on my Pandora (Love’s Holiday/Earth, Wind & Fire Radio, if you’re feeling funky) is  Michael Jackson’s “P.Y.T”.  Just what I need to light a fire under my ass this morning to literally dust this thing off and get down to business.  He  sings,” don’t you know now is the perfect time…” and he’s right, it is.

It has been way to long.

I have been avoiding my blog, my writing and generally all things I enjoy for sometime now.  I don’t know why I do that?   Must be a part of the weird and continual self-abuse that is my default when times get stressful.   I tend to fold up shop on all things productive and go back to the old way of thinking and managing my emotions when something sucky happens. And yes, sucky stuff has happened.  But I am still here.  My family is doing well.  I have a roof over my head.  All is well. Gratitude washes away all the weariness that has threatened to take over.

The good news is, the time between my old default setting and the fresh and ambitious setting that I prefer is getting shorter and shorter.  Thanks be to God!  My desire to THRIVE is greater than the desire to be feel sorry for myself.

One of my best friends reminded me of a great quote yesterday by the legendary Tony Robbins, “motion is emotion.”

Motion is emotion. 

Our body language and energy level is connected to what we think and feel about ourselves.  How we feel about ourselves dictates the quality of what we do day in and day out.  Even though I feel as though I have to learned this lesson over and over…here it is again today and I’ll be damned if a negative attitude hadn’t snuck in and tried to take over again.  Which is a shame because I have so much to tell you guys about the past few months.  I have gone (mostly) sugar-free.  I have started Pilates.   I began acupuncture to help with managing my foot pain and also to promote healing so that I can get to where I want to get with my fitness goals.  I have been enjoying some great accomplishments!  Even though I have a long way to go, I can”t afford to pull the plug and crawl back into my comfortable cave where everything dulls and comes to a screeching stop just because it seems too overwhelming.

You can’t make momentum out of nothing.  

So today I will GET UP.


Maybe put on some Beyoncé and get my groove on.  I will not lie down and let poor and lazy thinking allow me to slip into fatigue and depression (again).  I think this is a danger for any of us moms who stay at home during the day (but that is a whole other blog post!).  If I am making the choice to sit and marinate in all of my negative feelings and fears, how can I ever expect any changes to occur or progress?  This was where I always seemed to fail before.  Throwing in the towel and resorting back to the same old thing before the new thing could take hold.   Putting a halt on all of the things that help me feel better and do better  is about the worst thing I can do.

I will WRITE.

I will post it.  Even if it sucks.  Because I know I should.  Because I know it helps me feel better.  Because I know it helps connect me to everyone else who reads these words and resonates with what I feel, and I know I’m not alone.   Because I know it is my art and my gift and if I want to get better at it, I need to quit worrying about who will read it and what they will think of it.

It’s the perfect time.

Especially now that Pharrell and Daft Punk are in my ear telling me it”s time “to get lucky”.






Practicing the art of living in the moment


This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
-Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

Be alive this first and holy day! Because order has been created out of the chaos, light out of the dark so that you can see, touch, taste, and smell and tell this day that you have never seen before, because it has never been before…that this is the day you will never see again.”

-Fredrick Buechner, The Alphabet of Grace

What is is about music that captures something in sound waves that sometimes you just can’t express in words? I read recently in Anne Lammots book, Traveling Mercies, that, “Maybe it’s because music is about as physical as it gets: your essential rhythm is your heartbeat: your essential sound, the breath. We’re talking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn’t get to any other way.”

Last night I got see the Dave Matthews Band in concert with a friend of mine. Her and I have wanted to go to a live DMB concert for close to 10 years. What’s funny is that I was hardly looking forward to it.

My mind and heart have been full and rapidly filling with worry. Things in my control and things clearly out of my control. Nonetheless, when you’re in active recovery,( or more like, just an active human) you have to guard your heart against whatever may rob you of your serenity so that you don’t give yourself an excuse to engage in your negative behaviors. I am called to be endlessly self-aware. Sometimes that just sucks. Ignorance seems like such bliss sometimes.

As easy as it is to go to God, my creator, with whom I can share my struggles and anxieties with, it seems just as easy to go ahead and pick them all off the floor on my way out the door.
I will feel peace and rest because I can trust God with the outcomes of all things, but like a slow leak in a tire…I always seem to allow my trust and faith to deflate. I scurry to grab all of my concerns and stuff them back into my hands and pockets. Squashing my peace and taking steps backwards. The great news is, God doesn’t let us stay there for very long if we are committed to following his lead out of the mazes and traps.

I headed into the concert with a heavy heart I was trying to conceal and ignore, but I left feeling revived.

Being removed from all of your “stuff”, if only for a few hours is good for the soul.

Being reminded of the beauty of it ALL.

The beauty of music played with heart and passion. The beauty of people, strangers, being nice and kind to each other. The beauty of long lasting friendships. The beauty of certain music being in the background soundtrack of my life. The beauty of God orchestrating all that I see and experience just for me. Specifically for me, that I might see His goodness in ALL things.

I pray that I wouldn’t squander a thing.

Not. One. Thing.

“Oh well, celebrate we will
Ooh cause life is short but sweet for certain
Hey, we’re climbing two by two
To be sure these days continue
Things we cannot change

Change, why would I want to change it?”

Dave Matthews Band, “Two Step”




“Sometimes themes are repeated in our lives as they are in music. But at the time we hear them, we aren’t always attune to their significance. It may take perspective, time, and distance to appreciate a recurring motif.”
-Kathy Coffey “Hidden Women of the Gospels”

I am reading this book right now (amongst a zillion others it feels like). This quote lifted up off the page and forced my attention. It’s begs the question “What are the themes in your life? What messages have you heard repeated?”
The connection woven between our lessons in life and the significance of certain music is real! We are moved by music. We use it to mark the seasons and stations of our lives. It evokes joy, pain, and a myriad of other emotions. Each song becoming more valuable over time and distance.

I was inspired by this and wrote this quick poem. I think the themes in my life are pretty obvious. I have a tag cloud over here…What are the themes in yours?

Themes echoing through my life.
Like music I set to rewind.
Trying to identify these songs that haunt me.
Lessons repeated and left unlearned.
Minor chords.
Bridges burned.
Shuffle themselves in my ears,
Trying to be heard.
My head.
My life.
My heart.
A tone.
A note that strikes.
Played perfectly.
Translating my positions…always on the pulse of my current event.
Comforting like a blanket.
Hidden and warm.
Reverberate from another day.
Another time.
Another place.
Rythym rolling across my history.
Soundtrack layered blissfully.
The marriage of music and memories.
Now I’m sure I’m listening.


Thanks a lot Taylor Swift.

We laughed yesterday about a spoof we saw online mocking Taylor Swifts new song “22”. The spoof was titled “32” and it made fun of some of the obvious differences between the ten year age gap. It was funny, but being the deep and introspective, sometimes pessimistic gal that I am, I started to take a real inventory. It got a little depressing for a minute.

My sister is 22. Almost 23. I like to live vicariously through her life sometimes. She is a brilliant, hilarious, beautiful and a wickedly sarcastic old soul with a nose ring. She lives in a fabulous, large urban city with friends where she commutes to and from a full time job to the tune of funky pop or bluegrass in her headphones and sketches art in her notebook next to her Chinese homework. She would hate it if I called her a hipster…but she drinks PBR and wears neon hats, you can do the math. I love to hear her crazy stories of her adventures with our brothers (24 & 21) and their friends, going to concert after concert. Movie after movie. Sometimes when all four of us siblings are together I tag along, but I’m definitely oooold. Clutching my purse. Yawning at 11pm.

When I turned 22 I was planning my wedding. We were knee deep in it. Pre-marriage counseling and books about marriage. Making out anywhere and everywhere we could get away with it. Taking every opportunity to stare at my ring, especially while driving. What’s up with that? Trying on dresses and having showers planned in my honor. Fussing about hair and shoes and reception ideas. Basically driving everyone around me crazy with wedding buzz. I remember counting down the days at work on the sign in sheet…looking back now I’m sure everyone really appreciated THAT. It was also the same year my Grandma Betty passed away. I lived in her house at that time and was fortunate enough to be with her when it happened. I have missed her everyday since, especially now that I have kids. I could kick my 22 year old ass for taking her for granted while she was literally right under my nose. I was so “busy” I missed out on a lot even though I got more time with her than most.
Needless to say, “22” looked a lot different to me than it does for my sister. We laugh when we talk about how when I was her age ( almost 23) I was married and close to discovering being pregnant. She cant IMAGINE that being her life. She’s having so much fun. Which is okay, I sowed all my wild oats in high school…but I never imagined I’d be this grown up person I am sometimes. I stop and wonder who have me the authority and gumption to rise to the occasion and grow up?

I have a committed TV schedule.
I have been known to actually cast a vote on American Idol.
Who am I? Setting my alarm for eeeeearly to tend to responsibilities?
Wiping out my refrigerator in the early before the sunrise while thinking heavily about the books I’m reading about faith, theology, apologetics, and lots of thing ending in “ism”.
Researching the causes and natural remedies for my daughters vicious eczema.
Reminding myself how many books my son still has to read before spring break is over.
Making a grocery list and calculating pretty accurately what it is I’ll actually spend because I know almost exactly how much everything I buy costs. I’ll tell you the costs are rising if you haven’t noticed.
Noting on that list things I’m responsible to bring to a dinner party.
Dinner party?
Rearranging my laundry schedule to make sure my husband has clean clothes for a business trip on Monday.
Laundry schedule?
I’m the annoyed person at the movies when you’re talking, shushing you.
I’m the lady that holds up the whole line at Walmart to give exact change from my change purse just to “get rid of it”.
I could go on, but it’s boring. It’s all the stuff you are doing too. While working full time jobs. Washing cars and dogs and clothes. Mailing letters and bills and birthday cards. Planning parties and events and trips. Dealing with dentists appointments and doctor appointments and everything appointments.

While I wince at not being cool anymore ( because I obviously WAS) I’m really lucky and happy to have the life I do. I know there will be a day when I will look back on my thirties and wish I coulda, woulda or shoulda…

We are grown ups. It’s official.

Brothers don’t shake hands, brothers gotta hug!

Music is a bit of an obsession in my family.
It is the way I have categorized and filed the seasons of my life in my head. The ultimate soundtrack to the self centered movie reel that plays in my head. It is the way my siblings and I seem to communicate. Like twins who develop some intimate womb language. When a certain song is shared, or video sent, it reveals whats going on with them and connects us right away. I always joke that around age 25 I stopped being able to commit to new music. I prefer to just listen to all the old stuff in my collection on shuffle. New music takes too much energy to learn. They will have nothing to do with that and they have shared with me some stuff that has become my favorite.
There are rules to this quasi religion. Certain music that is designated by season, only to be observed in the winter months or warm summer nights. Definite albums that reign superior. Acceptable music for road trips. Songs that are appropriate to talk during, some that are NOT. We have logged many hours together, just singing and sharing. Now that they are all grown and moved away from me these “sessions” are sacred when we are all in one place.
My husband has been generous to share me in these times, knowing the importance. My husband has been an angel, knowing the volume of EVERYTHING goes UP when we are all together.

It is so weird to me when people are indifferent about their siblings. I find it offensive. Then I realize that WE are not the norm. I am the weird one. Most people are not cemented to their siblings like I am. We have been through so much life together. In ways that no explanation can capture, and to them there is no need. They are my biggest fans and quickest critics.

I heard this Van Morrison song this morning while I was up this morning.

“Into the Mystic” being a warm weather song, made me wince and miss my family.

We were born before the wind
Also younger than the sun
Ere the bonnie boat was won as we sailed into the mystic
Hark, now hear the sailors cry
Smell the sea and feel the sky
Let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic
And when that fog horn blows I will be coming home
And when the fog horn blows I want to hear it
I don’t have to fear it…

This is a poem I wrote for them. Happy Friday!


A more inaccurate word never existed.
A word that implies a growth, weak and unwanted like a skin tag.

How tragic.

A sibling is a base line that carries the song from beginning to end. Always adding, never taking.
Not a growth to be removed but a growth sewn with the fibers no other humans will know but we-
who have lived life together.

I get to be my true me at rest and at play.
No expectations.
No hidden games.
We’ve all seen that before and know how that artificial flavor tastes.
Not quite right.
Like imposter otter pops that taste like cough syrup and water…but we eat them anyway.
Tending to more serious matters of heating vent communications and lurking in the dark on ninja missions.

Our world was fractured again and again and again as time changed our faces and tugged us along, but these ropes have not slacked.
They have not given way.
Only tightened and hardened in the sun and weather.
Tying knots for rangers and wolves and songs and stories.

You’re in my skin like a tattoo.
My dreams for you stretch further than your reach in hopes that it will make up the difference.
The difference between you blooming despite the chill an the frost we have made home or wilting beneath the heat and pressure of these grown up days.

May we stretch and bloom!
Never be moved.
Laughing, always laughing.

Mandi Holden

Believe. Begin. Persist

>>New adventure<<



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