Reining it in

I love that my hair is long enough to pull up into the perfect messy bun.  No strays or stragglers.

I love that I opened this window on my left side and a burst of warm summer wind hit me in the face like a pleasant surprise.

I love that my Pandora is playing all the songs I like so I don’t have to waste any skips.

I love that my dog always knows just when I need her to snuggle up against me and be my friend.

I love that my babies are running through my house having fun despite me yelling at them to knock it off.

I know I will miss their mess and noise someday and I only need a moment of intentional gratitude to sober me.

I love that when I stop and take notice, I am overwhelmed with things to say thank you for.

The hardest thing about being a realist is that you’re really only a pessimist in disguise.

To halt myself from traveling down the familiar gloomy tracks and force instead a stroll down a brighter path…

Well, I’m more comfortable sitting in the shade.

My disappointment hangs from my body,

heavy and always inconvenient.

Protecting me from pain but hard to ignore…and if I’m being honest it only makes it worse.

But I am told to be in the light as He is in the light…

and I was.

Spent the fullness of time feeling welcomed and alive.

Now here we are again, and back to being the last resort.

Wasn’t quite ready to come home to the norm.

I have amends to make and bridges to burn, like calories…and we all know how good I am at that.

Frames and galleries of words that crowd my heart, and the space is getting limited in these chambers.

Bolted with hardware and welded to my arteries.

This kind of blockage requires a skilled surgeon.

Blood pumping through paths I’ve carved out to survive.

A masterpiece.
A bypass of emotion.

Today is a new day that has been made for my gain,

taking a new route and a fresh way.

I will choose gratitude.

What other choice do I have?!

I love that I have mastered the art of coming full circle, even when it seems pointless.

I love that a deep breath and honest words can set my focus strait.

I love that I will turn off this computer and leave the tears behind and get back to living.

Excuse my ramblings today. I just needed to rein it in.







A Summer Prayer


If fire is honor, then we’ll stand and let it burn.

Hot and loud as it calms into a deep burning midnight.

Popping and clapping its truths.

Glowing red and warm; a blanket of appreciation.

Shadows of flames dancing on our faces as we gather around and listen.


If water is pure,

let us strip off these pretenses and plunge in.

Washing away all of the expectations.

Easing the heavy weight from our bones, bathing us fresh and new.


If the earth is nakedness,

let us run.

Let us take to the fields and carry ourselves to the edges of sight.

Let us stomp our feet in the dust,
to the sound of drums.
Dancing unashamed.

Like the children who still live hidden away
under the layers piled on our hearts.

Let us uncover these wounds and expose them to the open air for healing.


If the stars are mystery,

let us follow their lead.

Surrendering our proud explanations and false humility.

Gazing upon the vastness and treasuring the wonder that we are so eager to dismiss.


If the moon is lonely,

let us be a friend.

Let us set ourselves aside and turn our faces toward each other.

Let us see what we don’t want to see.

Let us forgive and be forgiven.


If the sun is victory,

let it burn brilliant and forever.

Let us turn our faces upward in unison to soak up the radiance that is promised.

Let us lift our hands together in thanks.

Like warriors,
moments away from an earned homecoming.

Finishing strong and whole.




Truth dump


I recently took a break from Facebook over the weekend.
So much happening around us, it’s hard being constantly bombarded with bad news and attitudes. I feel like my life and the lives around me are caught up in an intense tornado of chaos and drama.
Feeling like I need to be strong leaves me lonely sometimes.

I hate when I feel this way. I seem like such a whiner. Maybe that’s why I haven’t felt much like writing lately?
Pressing on despite how it feels.
It’s all exhausting.

Heavy lids.
Heavy limbs.
Heavy thoughts.
Feels like I need work done under the hood again.
Like I have thick molasses oil in my veins…
pulling me down into the melancholy resistance that keeps me…
Again and again and again.
Lord, rescue me from the despair of myself…again.
It hurts.
I distract.
I numb.
I sleep.
Wake up and repeat.
Depression is merciless.
It won’t let up.
Let up!
Give me a break!
I don’t want it to run off on others.
I know people with worse problems.
I’m not allowed to cry.
But today I fully feel all of my own tears.
Hot and revealing.
Can’t hide.

Telling the truth is hard work.


Where were you?


Being an adult is just becoming more and more aware of what darkness people are actually capable of.

Today I find myself thinking about where I was the morning of September 11, 2001. I was waking up to walk to my preschool teaching job at my church. Scared and wondering what else might happen. We hardly had any kids that day, most people stayed home. We watched the events unfold on a tv that we had out in the kitchen so the children couldn’t see or hear. It felt like the entire adult population was holding their breath.

I’ve been reading accounts from others about where they were when they heard/saw what had happened. It’s interesting how this one major event is branded into each of our minds and with poetic justice draws us all in close together again.

Remember all of the American flags??

They were everywhere.

Everyone prayed that day. No matter what religion or tradition, we were all gathered up together grieving, hearts bleeding for those who were suffering. Brimming with pride for those with unimaginable courage. Asking God, of all kinds of names, to comfort and bring peace.

It shouldn’t be any different today.

We will pray for peace.
We will pray for courage.
We will pray for unity.
We will pray for justice.

We will pray for strength to trust in God even when it seems hopeless.

We will pray to see LOVE swell up around all the ugliness, just like all of those american flags that we draped over ourselves like warm blankets all those years ago.

And then we will know that once again, we have seen Gods love at work in the hands of those who help. In the arms of those that carry. In the eyes of those who weep. In the hearts within us beating…and we will keep carrying on.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord : He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
-Psalms 91:1-16 NLT


Facing the beast


I watched the movie “Beasts of the Southern Wild” on Saturday. I feel like I have to watch it again to fully digest its message.

It resonated with me because it seems the continual theme emerging again and again around me is to face the fear that keeps us from telling the truth. Face the fear that keeps us from fulfilling our destiny. Face the fear that is eventually our friend because of how hard it has driven us forward.

The truth really does set you free.

I spent my morning in prayer for myself and whomever else is locking eyes with their beasts today.

I pray for courage you don’t know you have yet.
Strength of a supernatural potency that would leave you with no doubt about Gods love and hand on your life.
Grace and mercy so abundant your heart would swim and soar through a high you’ve yet to experience.
Peace that surpasses all understanding that would gently peel back your walls and free you to be the YOU you were meant to be.
Surrender to a life free of fear.

“‘Cause I know my weakness, know my voice,
And I’ll believe in grace and choice
And I know perhaps my heart is farce,
But I’ll be born without a mask”

-Mumford & Sons, “Babel”


It takes time

It takes God time to answer prayer. We often fail to give God a chance in this respect. It takes time for God to paint a rose. It takes time for God to grow an oak. It takes time for God to make bread from wheat fields. He takes the earth. He pulverizes. He softens. He enriches. He wets with showers and dews. He warms with life. He gives the blade, the stock, the amber grain, and then at last the bread for the hungry.

All this takes time. Therefore we sow, and till, and wait, and trust, until all God’s purpose has been wrought out. We give God a chance in this matter of time. We need to learn this same lesson in our prayer life. It takes God time to answer prayer.
— J.H.M.

This was taken from “Streams in the Desert” and was exactly what I needed to hear today.

I wrote yesterday about confidence and have been really digging around to see how people get it and maintain it. Studying how to keep confidence consistent. This has been a struggle.
In the spirit of realology, I’ll confess that I’ve been letting the anxieties of my life choke me. I have been blessed the past 6 months with a sweet little job that has allowed me to focus most of my free time on this blog, my writing projects and the roots of of my food and weight issues. My wonderful husband has been amazing, carrying the brunt of all of our needs. I fear the time has run out…or maybe it’s just where the rubber really meets the road.

I received an amazing text from one of my brothers yesterday. Not sure if its a quote or an original but I wanted to share it:

There is never a reason you can’t attain your goal and be who you want to be. Don’t let the lack of opportunity, finances, or knowledge stop you. We are all born into the world the same way; naked, dumb and speechless, but we learn and achieve.”

So today, I’m praying for faith and patience to trust. Praying that the confidence and momentum I have will not be squelched but multiplied despite the fears starting to stack up. Praying I will learn (finally?) to achieve instead of always going back to what’s old and comfortable.

Step by step

“What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step.”
-C. S. Lewis

Sorry if I’ve been a little bit of a bummer lately!

I don’t want my blog post to become a melancholy diary…but the truth is that this fight is real. The pain and frustrations are real! Recovery is no joke. Some days it’s hard to muster a positive and thrilling grasp on it all. The thing that makes this fight different from all times I’ve tried fighting before is that this one seems to have no end. I have surrendered to that fact.

I have to remind myself of why I started all of this. I have to constantly check in with myself to make sure I’m not getting so carried away and obsessed with losing weight that I forget that losing weight alone is not the ultimate goal…

The goal is freedom.

The goal is to TRULY embrace God’s mercy and stop punishing myself.

The goal is becoming more and more who I’m meant to be.

The goal is to be real, honest and not living in self-deception.

The goal is to take what I’m learning and allow it to saturate my life…making me a better wife, mother, sister, friend, daughter and human being.

The goal is to somehow see beauty in and learn to care for my own body so that it would help me to better care for and see beauty in the church body.

The goal is to stop burying my gifts and talents beneath the fear.

Praise God, because I know I’ll get to wherever I’m headed.
However many steps it takes.


I have been foolish in my sinful ways.
Because of these crimes…my body suffers these afflictions.
I have loathed any self-control with food;
It has brought me to the gates of death.
But when I cried out to The Lord…
He freed me from my distress;
He sent out his word and healed me.
Delivering me from my destruction!
I will thank The Lord for his immoveable love,
for his wonderful works to this child.
He calms this storm to a whisper,
and stills the waves.
What a blessing is that stillness,
as he brings me safely into harbor.

Inspired by: Psalm 107:17-30

The next 30 days…

“Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”
(1 Peter 3:11 NLT)

The evil that we are all called to turn away from looks different in each of our lives. It’s easy when you you hear the word evil to conjure imagery of witches or Charles Manson or something, but evil also represents itself in all of our lives in many deceitful, sneaky ways.
Appearing comforting or soothing and attractive.
Pleasant even.
For me, one of the evils I admittedly engage in is the practice of binge eating. For the sake of being REAL, I have been very transparent about this. Obviously, eating and even enjoying food is an innocent and necessary act. However, anything that enslaves you and starts to chip away at your well being (physical, mental, spiritual) is evil. It binds me and harms me and keeps me from being the me I was created to be. There is normal eating ( in bounds) and binge eating ( out of bounds) and I have reached a place in my working through it now where I can tell the difference. I understand that this will probably be a lifelong struggle for me. I have no naive thoughts of somehow magically being healed behaviorally and be able to just go ahead and eat “normal”. I’ve learned it’s a consistent choice I have to make daily to stay in bounds. That is the only way to have peace. The only way to be truly sober. I have to choose daily to pray for the strength to do what is required. To turn from evil and WORK to maintain my momentum. Peace is not an arrival. It’s something that must be pursued and and sought after.
The hardest part of it all is, when in recovery from other substances people are instructed to abstain and avoid the “whatever” it is they are trying to be rid of. Well, I can’t abstain from eating. I sometimes
wish it were that easy. There have been times I have even used that as an excuse,
” We’ll I can’t NOT eat so what’s the point…?”
Boo. Like I said, there is “in bounds”
and “out of bounds” and I darn well know the difference.
The reason I share all this today is to invite you to please ( if you are the praying type) to join me the next 30 days in prayer. I know that I have reached the point in my journey where the rubber meets the road and its time to get busy. I have done MUCH of the heart and head work and as I continue to stretch and learn in those ways, I must also stretch and grow in the physical ways.
Since I can’t leave my family for a 30 day treatment retreat ( or as so many well intentioned people suggest, go on the “Biggest Loser”) I have decided to conduct my own boot camp/faux rehab for myself here at home. I have been researching the schedules and content of different programs and I will be adapting it to my real living life and sharing what I’m learning here on my blog.
The goal for me is obviously losing weight, feeling better, being a good example, ect. Create good healthy habits, form discipline for working out and eating in bounds.
Mostly though, it is the pursuit of PEACE in my heart and in my life. The freedom from slavery by exchanging lies for truth, and turning from evil to do GOOD.

Mandi Holden

Believe. Begin. Persist

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