Why I couldn’t get undressed on my wedding night (and Mom in the Mirror giveaway!)

We borrowed my aunt’s cabin, by the water.

We arrived late with a bottle of wine and I stepped on the back of my wedding dress as we crossed the threshold.

I didn’t see anything but the bed, with its nicely folded corners and my new husband already in his boxers and grabbing us glasses from the kitchen cupboard.

I leaned against the wall, drinking the white, in white, and we were 23-year-old virgins who’d never seen each other naked, had only felt each other’s skin and I couldn’t unzip my dress.

I stalled, pulling out my bobby pins and he helped me, and we made a nice little pile of pins and then he asked if he could help me with my zipper.

And I asked him if he wanted another glass of wine.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want to make love with him.

It’s that I didn’t want him to see me. All of me.

(For the rest of this post, and for the LAUNCH of Mom in the Mirror, which we’re giving away, join me over HERE at Prodigal, friends? Thank you!!)

Today’s giveaway:

(this will be the last post that will run on this blog; you can keep up with me at my personal blog HERE. thank you)


A Dare to Love Yourself: An 11-year-old talks about being made in God’s image

It’s The Love Dare, people. Welcome! The moment I read Lydia Lee’s blog, Out of the Ordinary, I was reminded of Katie Davis from Uganda. Lydia’s heart bleeds for the people of Haiti. She is one of the most gifted young writers I have ever met. I’m so honored to welcome her here to my site today to talk about how she’s daring to love herself as an 11-year-old girl.

Weeks ago, I saw Rend Collective in concert. I was standing in the front row, listening as one of the musicians spoke about God having a “huge, cosmic sewing machine” in the heavens. Those words soaked straight into my heart, because it reminded me that we are all handmade by God, just the way He wanted us to be.

Rend Collective was one of the opening acts for Tenth Avenue North’s “Struggle Tour.”

And I have had my own “struggle tour,” even though I am only an 11-year-old girl.

For the rest of this post, join Emily at her personal blog, HERE.

**to pre-order Emily’s new book at 45% off, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, go HERE.

A poem for you

Please come home. Please come home.
Find the place where your feet know where to walk
And follow your own trail home.

Please come home. Please come home into your own body,
Your own vessel, your own earth.
Please come home into each and every cell,
And fully into the space that surrounds you.

Please come home. Please come home to trusting yourself,
And your instincts and your ways and your knowings,
And even the particular quirks of your personality.
Please come home. Please come home and once you are
firmly there,
Please stay awhile and come to a deep rest within.
Please treasure your home. Please love and embrace your home.
Please get a deep, deep sense of what it’s like to be truly home.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you’re really, really ready,
And there’s a detectable urge on the outbreath, then please
come out.
Please come home and please come forward.
Please express who you are to us, and please trust us
To see you and hear you and touch you
And recognize you as best we can.

Please come home. Please come home and let us know
All the nooks and crannies that are calling to be seen.
Please come home, and let us know the More
That is there that wants to come out.

Please come home. Please come home.
For you belong here now. You belong among us.
Please inhabit your place fully so we can learn from you,
From your voice and your ways and your presence.

Please come home. Please come home.
And when you feel yourself home, please welcome us too,
For we too forget that we belong and are welcome,
And that we are called to express fully who we are.

Please come home. Please come home.
You and you and you and me.

Please come home. Please come home.
Thank you, Earth, for welcoming us.
And thank you touch of eyes and ears and skin,
Touch of love for welcoming us.

May we wake up and remember who we truly are.

Please come home.
Please come home.
Please come home.
by Jane Hooper, printed in The Wisdom Way of Knowing, by Cynthia Bourgeault

(check out my NEW book, releasing Mother’s Day 2013: Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, co-written with Dr. Dena Cabrera, HERE.)

A Dare to Love Yourself: In which I invite a man to share his story


 It’s A Love Dare, friends.A dare to love ourselves, and we’re meeting every Monday to discuss what this looks like.

Today I’ve invited my friend, Preston Yancey, to share his views on how we perceive our worth. In this post, Preston describes a relationship he had with an ex, and how they both struggled with image. (trigger warning: rape)


They sit on the bench outside of the brick building with the chipped cornerstone in the middle of May in the middle of the night in the middle of what would be one of their last lingering silences.

They feel a bit of the beat, even so far away, the baseline of an urban poet-prophet speaking of language and virginity as if the two were interchangeable.

She feels it against her skin like that time and the time after and that time her cries of No! were so loud she thought she could fracture heaven but they still weren’t enough. He feels it like aftershock, afterthought, the boy who never was quite enough, always a little bit too or a bit too little…

*for the rest of this post, follow me over to my personal blog HERE

**to pre-order my new book, Mom in the Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy, go HERE

A Dare to Love Yourself: When you don’t want to be photographed


It’s A Love Dare, friends, a dare to love yourselves in all of your rawness. We’ll be doing this link-up every Monday, until Mother’s Day (when I’ll be releasing my new book, Mom in the Mirror). Today I’m welcoming journalist, author and blogger Jennifer Dukes Lee, to tell us how she is learning to let herself be photographed… in a couple of weeks, we’ll also hear from her daughter, Lydia.

On the night I went looking for photographs, I knew something had to change.

I needed a few photos of me with my two young daughters for a video I was creating. So I sat in the blue glow of the computer screen, scrolling through files and folders, looking down deeper and deeper to find photos I was certain were there.
Where had they all gone? I wondered. Where were all the photos of us together?

The sad truth dropped like a weight in my gut: The photos were never taken.

Among the thousands of photographs I had snapped over the years, I found only a handful of me with my daughters.

At first, I blamed the lack of mother-daughter footage on the fact that I’m usually the one behind the camera. But that’s only partially true. The bigger truth is this: I have not wanted to be photographed….
(For the rest of this post, and a link-up, please join us over at my personal blog here.)

on the scale (guest post by kendall privette)

on the scale (full well)

me on the left, friend in the center and my twin on the right
c. 1978 (an era of confidence)

i liked myself as a child
you know,
before adolescence and an awareness
it was maybe fourth grade when
i began building this
ramshackle self-image
on the shoddy foundation
of the world’s eye
that saw
stringy hair, ruddy complexion,
spectacles and old clothes
in my thirties
i befriended
the scale, the world’s voice
fluent in lies as well as numbers
she interprets weights and assigns blame
she dictates our days and strips us of self-worth
she is power
(if we allow it)
and i fell for it
the husband, moms, sisters, doctors wanted me to know
what david-god’s-beloved knew….
he had a heart tuned to
god’s eye
god’s voice
and he sang
i praise you because i am 
fearfully and wonderfully 
your works are wonderful, 
i know that full well
this breath-taking verse revisited yesterday

and i retucked it into memory
for when the world tries to speak
and i need her to

so, what is your relationship to the scale?

(guest post by Kendall Privette at A Spacious Place)

on what it means to be real (guest post by amy hunt)
















This space here where I write has been practice for real life.

It’s bended me and mended me.

I’ve been challenged and inspired. Encouraged and admittedly, even admired.

The words that string together from these fingers at, {ahem}, five-twenty-ish in the a.m., are nothing less than a remarkable act of God.

Proof that He provokes this passion in me to write. To share. To make mention of His oh, so Amazing Grace.

Many notes from readers of my writing have humbled me as I have been considered *authentic*.

Those kinds of comments have untied me.

Unraveled the pretty ribbon that has kept together this sometimes *seemingly perfect* try-hard life.

*Authentic* is exactly what I have struggled to live out loud.

Real life has found me cowering in the self-constructed prison of isolation from community.

This truth is hard to admit, yet I’m believing my obedience to telling is a must for me. Worship to Him.

For so long I’ve shirked back when a real friendship has been what I most want.

People in my life have missed out on seeing the real Me.

And mostly, I have missed out on letting them accept all of me.

Though I have always believed God doesn’t make mistakes, I’ve thought maybe I wreck a little bit of who I am supposed be every time I fail to do life right.

It has aggravated me, angered me, and mostly shamed me when I have made a mistake or disappointed someone. Every time someone would say they needed to talk with me, I would assume I’ve done something wrong.

There has been “zero room for error” in my perception of how my living should be.

Perhaps that is why I was hired–twice–at the place where I hear my boss speak that phrase nearly every day.

I fit into that culture mold and let it enable my expectations of perfection.

It’s that perspective that I let box up my writing for so many years, considering myself as never good enough

that has made so many people label me as intense

and that I feel shame for, and rename as passion when I know it’s really a disguise for what is true.

I have lived laser-focused on getting life right. Though not always knowing how to make myself *do* right

So I made rules and restrictions. For me and for others.

Eventually the *Manufactured Me* went defunct. Because you can only keep up charades for so long.

I wounded by myself–constantly living according to how I should act, and never quite knowing all the right rules.

When I have been in the company of friends, or even family, I have expected that they will think I am still intense and that I haven’t changed. And so I’ve often run and hidden, and even scoured to find different friends who don’t know the Me who flops and flails to be herself.

I have struggled with fear that people I know well won’t see the changes in me.

I have feared they will make assumptions of who I am.

That they will look past the softening–the even slight bending I am more willing to allow.

The pouring of my heart here in this space–a place that I know people in my real community sometimes visits–makes me want to dart my eyes away from them in the hallway at my child’s Open House. In real life we don’t talk hardly at all about what is truly real. And yet, my heart is sprawled out right here in this space.

Naked. Exposed. Me.

I’ve said I slink back into hiding because I don’t trust people to be genuine. When really, it’s that I haven’t trusted Him–

that He uses All. For. Purpose.

I haven’t really trusted that our paths connect for purpose and that I haven’t broken the *Me* He created.

That I’m just as He allows me–floppy and flaily and a little bit of crazy.

Reuniting with high school friends this summer was scary for me. I was tempted to feel shame for who I was all those years ago, and fear they might not like who I am now. But He gave me courage to stand with my friends and let them accept the real Me.

It’s taken me years to let myself know genuine love and friendship. 

     The kind that says, I like being around you, just. the. way. you. are

God is growing my acceptance of the peace in me about who I really am.

Authentic-Me is beginning to emerge in my every day real living.

I am learning to wrestle fear and shame to the ground.

He is doing amazing work in me.

He’s making the real Me bubble up.

I am no longer strong enough to keep the lid tight and the pressure of His grace is making the *authentic* Me boil over.

I am discovering beauty in me as I admit that I will make some kind of mistake every day.

As odd as it may seem, this is a truth that I have only recently considered.

A truth that has begun to set me free from the try-hard Me.

I am ready for people to see the real Me, now that I am finally discovering who she is. 

And I’m ready to be kinder and gentler with Me. To become my own friend.

The words He leads me to write make this heart He’s healing and refining–authenticity–boil over the stone pot I’ve kept sealed tight.

What you see here is the Me who has been freed.

And hopefully what you *see* is an outpouring of the same–in Real Life.

The *perfect* I’ve for too long thought I should be, is {finally} coming untied.


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