Author Archives: Mandy

Mandy Mianecki is a wife and mom of 4. She is passionate about encouraging others in their healing journeys from brokenness to wholeness; in uncovering their unique kind of God-breathed brilliance; and in living in the freedom won by Christ. When she’s not writing, Mandy is dreaming God-sized dreams, which usually involve making art, wearing turquoise and eyeing a nearby jar of Nutella. In addition to being a contributing writer at and God-sized Dreams, Mandy blogs at Hearts Undaunted . You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Scrapping the Shoulds


Little people streamed into the lower elementary school, bunching up to giggle, chat, and await the morning’s first bell. Office staff bustled about, answering phones, greeting parents, trouble-shooting things I could only guess at.

Moms and dad alike ushered their children into the lobby: sporty mom with her toned legs and bright smile, fashionista mom with her cute skinny jeans, ballet flats, curled hair, and sparkly accessories, stylish dad holding backpacks and snow gear, coach-dad high-fiving the boys…

Teachers walked by briskly, attending to last-minute details, flashing big smiles to adoring pupils.

Waiting beside my six year old for the bell to ring, I sported a messy bun and zero make-up.

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It’s Too Hard!


His barely three year old cheeks flush crimson, giant tears roll down his face, and his angry screech pierces the air. This time it’s because Mom said no to the television, but it easily could have been bed time or a reprimand. Apparently, it’s too hard being three.

“I can’t read all the words, Mom. I’m bad at it. It’s too hard,” she laments, sobbing into her pillow. First grade is challenging these days at her new school.

Meanwhile, big sister hesitates, scratches out a number on her homework paper, erases, sighs. “I don’t know what to do,” she sputters. Long division…enough said.

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On Seeing God at Work

“Be careful driving home,” he cautioned over the phone. “The roads look wet, but they’re slick too. The rain is freezing.”

Grateful for my husband’s warning, I proceeded with care. Mindful of greater stopping distances, slower speeds, and reduced visibility in the dark, I arrived home safely.

I slept soundly, snug in my bed.

And awoke to school closings all around. Electric lines down in neighboring towns, with families who would be out of power for a full week.

I am certain there were spin outs on freeways and in subdivisions. My own daughter slipped in an unsalted parking lot.

People may even have perished through accidents and exposure.

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When Advent Feels Out of Your Grasp

Can you hear it?

The gentle cadence of everyday marvels: the plink of the first quarter into a tin bucket at the lemonade stand; the buzz of the doorbell announcing a friend’s arrival; the beep of the timer in an oven with chocolate chip cookies inside.

Can you feel it?

The rhythmic beat sweet baby kisses on your cheek; knit socks hugging your feet; streams of sunlight on your face.

Can you see it?

The harmony of a rainbow spectrum in a rain puddle; a toddler’s extra long eyelashes; a fresh dusting of snow.

He’s singing over you.

He will quiet you with His love.

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In All Things?

I admit it.

It is never easy for me to give thanks during trying circumstances. But, in an effort to grow in gratitude, humility, and communion with my Jesus, I attempt to see the blessings in the trials:

*I am thankful for my little monkey of a toddler, flipping over the sides of the couch…because it means he is healthy and curious enough to do it.

*I am thankful for the crumbs, scraps, and dirt that I am sweeping from my faux hardwood floors again today…because it means that little hands were busy creating, and that we had food enough to generate the mess.

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All of Your Wonderful Deeds

I am thankful for:

  1. Snail mail
  2. Leaves changing color in the fall
  3. Good books
  4. Voxer
  5. Friends who say, “I want to hear all about it. Tell me everything!”


I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of You.
I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2

Big or small, what are you thankful for?

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When Life Is Crushing You

Ornate Throne at Versailles(Photo by Oh Paris via Flickr Creative Commons)

It happened three times in a single week.

Three separate friends either sat facing me, eyeball to eyeball, or on the other end of the phone, and with their full attention asked…

How are things?

With home, school, Allume?

And what about that thing you said you were struggling with? How’s that going?

As much as I wanted to simply say, “fine,” and leave it at that…

I was not fine. And I couldn’t pretend that I was.

As much as I wanted to be the “good Christian” who suffers joyfully and counts her blessings…

I was not fine.

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For When You Don’t Know How to Pray

A friend of mine often reminds me that “no” can be a complete sentence.

My urge to supply ample explanation and curry favor with the delivery of my dissent is strong. I fear rejection, disappointment, and disapproval. Sometimes, meanness and retaliation may occur to my “no.” Pouting too.

This creates a cloud of overwhelming emotion. It becomes confusing to know what to say.

Which is when my friend reminds me to just say no.

This is rooted in scripture too:

But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.

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