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SOUL FOOD and Spirit Vittles, Volume One, is a collection of writings from Mary Jane Holt, retired nurse, award-winning author and broadcaster, and host of Reach to Touch. She consistently challenges her readers and listeners to feel deeply and freely. This book, the first in SOUL FOOD and Spirit Vittles series, is dedicated to the celebration of life and is especially encouraging for those who grieve the loss of an identity, their health, a relationship, or even a loved one through death. If you are spiritually or emotionally in transition, this book is for you! While this book is available as an electronic read, it begs to be held and kept by one's favorite chair or bedside. MJ has left lots of white space for the reader to interactively read and make notes.
Click here to buy it: AMAZON 

MJ writes for therapy (her own!), and for the sheer joy of putting words on paper and having them become spiritually edible!

Her first book, From the Corners of my Heart (1987), still holds its rightful plce on on many bedside tables.

It has been out of print for a while, but because of the way that little gift book was received, the new SOUL FOOD and Spirit Vittles series has a similar format.

The SOUL FOOD and Spirit Vittles series is a mix of scripture, poetry and essays served up a bit like a five course meal - Southern style, of course.


To have MJ speak to your group, contact her directly:

Poetry mjh style...


Throwing all caution to the wind

I let my words fall where they may
I let my heart write what it would say
To people everywhere
Who long to know they are not alone
Even when loved ones are suddenly gone
Hopes crushed and dreams shattered
Though all that ever mattered
Lies broken at their feet
I hope my words will fall there, too
Like rose petals of promise
Whose fragrance wafts upward
Into the recesses of the soul
Which would refuse to face another day
If it were not for these words
My heart so longs to say

God's grace is sufficient
His love everlasting
His way not always our way
Is what I would say
To that one who fears to face tomorrow

Were God's judgments not tempered
With unending mercy
None could withstand
The touch of His hand
But His hand reaches down
Not to hurt or destroy
Because of the anger I know He must feel
Since our mistakes and failures are so very real

His hand reaches out to you and to me
To guide us gently
When there's not enough light to see
The path which lies before us
Or glimpse the goal that's just ahead
When there is not enough faith to envision
A victory on some distant shore
When there is only anger and anguish and pain
When it seems there is no way to win
And nothing to gain
By continuing to trudge along in this world

That hand
His hand
Reaches out to touch His own
And with a gentle nudge that's His alone
He turns His children toward the Morning Light
With a firm assurance once again
That the darkness they have known for so long
Will soon know its appointed end

I must throw all caution to the wind
And let my pen fall where it may

For in the end
I, too, find hope
In what my heart does long to say



I have felt alone in the storm.
I have known the paralysis of fear
and in its grip heard the reassuring voice
of the fearless One whisper softly,
"Lo, I am with you always."

I have known the fury of defeat
and in such knowledge, heard the voice of victory
call calmly to me from the next room,
"Lo, I am with you always."

I have known fierce crippling pain
and in the midst, heard indescribable compassion
in the voice of One
whose understanding made it bearable,
"Lo, I am with you always."

I have known bleak despair
and in its hold heard One
whose Father once turned away
speak gently to remind me
of His continuing presence,
“Lo, I am with you always."

I have known a cold darkness
and in the black mist
heard the voice of the Light of the world
burst forth with a promise
of gladness and guidance
"Lo, I am with you always

I have known anger
And in its prison heard the tender voice of One
Who knows me so well
Who understands my thoughts from afar
Who knows my downsitting and my uprising
Who is intimately acquainted with all my ways
Who sees my going out and my coming in
Who scrutinizes my path and my lying down
Whose presence is too wonderful to proclaim
Whose existence cannot be explained
One Who eases in and out
of the avenues of my life
as the wind that blows,
permitting me to know not
from whence it comes or where it goes...

I only know that it
moves my hair and cools my cheek
and continuously whispers
ever so softly and tenderly,

"Lo, I have been, I am…
and I will be with you always
even unto the end of the world!"
I have felt alone in the storm, but I never was...



“But God meant it for good”
He wanted to smile
as his mind began to wander back
down through the lonely years. Recalling
little laughter
knowing anew the tears
he had cried
on that desert journey where
no one had known
the emptiness
and there had been no one
with whom to share
the brokenness
of a heart where
the bitter anguish of betrayal
had reigned for a season
Loved ones lost for a time
He wondered at the ways God chooses
to work in the affairs of men
false accusations were so unfair
and always it seemed
there were so few who cared. Yet
freedom had come
and honor
and now — this moment!
He gave them the grain.
Their very lives lay in the palm of his hand
as the light of understanding shone
and suddenly he could see
beyond the pain of yesterday
beyond all faults and failures,
including his own
beyond all the grief
his father must have known
beyond the terror
their hungry hearts must know today
He wondered as he saw the plan for all the age!
— Eternal Truth —
He saw it! He had known he would...
“You, you meant evil against me,” he said,
“but God... God meant it for good.”
And he smiled... :-)



there is a price one pays for fame

a cost -- be it small or great
to have a recognizable name

to aspire to heights unknown
to never stop
until the summit of each mountain
is claimed -- and to look down again
is not all it’s cracked up to be
for along the way, a while ago
back at some near-forgotten bend
there was a little house by the side of the road
where stayed one who lived in the shadows
and longed to be my friend
but I lingered not,
for I had a ways to go ere the day should end

and now I cannot go back

oh! the fields lie painted with rainbow colors
before me -- and breathtakingly beautiful
is the expanse of the heavens I now can see
and fulfilled I should be
my promise to me unbroken
but somewhere just down the hill
and back a ways
my heart stayed
it was a high price I paid



To study life
about life
was the question
I posed me

The doorbell rang
a neighbor stayed

my sons played

I watched
the watermelon grow
the biggest potatoes
I ever saw

then climbed a tree
and laughed in glee
all the while
I studied life
and life studied me



from my mirror every day she looks back at me ... and as she steadily gazes my way I look for the truths I long to see ... her countenance seldom hides the feelings she would like to conceal ... the ones she opts not to confide, the ones she prefers not to reveal ... it is that look in her eyes, or the set of her jaw, which attests to what her mind denies ... all the things her heart always saw — the hypocrisy, the pretense, the lies which prevailed among her fellowman ... but she always listened and always she could hear their secret cries ... until she would have had all she could stand ... then Discouragement would come around ... and sometimes she would allow him entrance ... I would know because I'd see how he would get her down ... 'ere the long night would turn to day again ... ... ... then there would be that trace of Hope which sparkled up from the back side of nowhere ... each time she thought she had reached the end of her rope, somehow, Hope would always be there ... oh! not everyone could see that there was no challenge she would fail to meet ... and it was so encouraging to me to know that she would never, ever know defeat ... so, I keep my mirror clean and clear, and never do I fear to look ... to see and share all she holds dear, and to be thankful that her heart has always been an open book.



I’m happy
and it’s so hard to write
when I’m happy
‘cause I have to be still to write
and it’s hard to be still
when there are flowers to smell
and songs to sing
life’s like that
with butterflies all around
when I’m happy
all the world’s my stage
and the birds sing with me
as if their cue is mine
we are one
‘cause their song is mine
when I’m happy
sad gets put on hold!


To Dr. John Stone...
(Dean of Admissions, Emory Medical School)

In that knowing twinkle
which winked from behind
the smoke of his favorite pipe
one could catch a glimpse of
the wisdom of the ages culminating there
amidst the warm and welcome aroma of his special room

Shakespeare, Chaucer, Elliott and more
may be his guests on any give Sunday morn
Dickinson and Donne are always there
their souls and his often one
sculpting yet another masterpiece
with the tools of their trade
passing on time honored messages
to an unguarded world
a world little changed from that of yesterday

Of course, only the poets know
that there has been little change, that is

That's why they rendezvous there each week
in his room … diminishing centuries of aloneness
for but a few brief hours of sharing and caring for one another
Then with a wink
they are on their way again!



"and leave undone forever
what only you can do"

words which haunt me ever
as daily I am pulledtossed to and fro
always on the go
demands here
expectations there
so I stand still...
though I want to move to somewhere
but where is somewhere?
and why must I go there?
there is so much I want
to do, to say
but when is someday?
and will I know it when it comes?
direction is unclear
a low and winding road beckons
a lovely valley lies below
the ocean calls, the mountains, too
and oh! how I want to go!
but yon path looks smooth and straight...
so, I linger here to await
a word from You
to join the crowd seems right
when "they say" we can win
if I join the fight
and perhaps we could win
a battle, maybe two
but war will wage on
and what will it all matter
when I face You
if I have left undone forever
what only I could do?




I want to go home
My eyes are swelling
They burn
I can barely see
My heart is aching
It hurts
I long to be free
From this pain inside
That stings
When I pause to think of them
From the hurts that hide
As part of a past
Now growing dim

My gaze looks upward
To One Who offers His Hand
And says,
“Walk forward
I am here
I shall help you to stand
Linger there no longer
There are mountains ahead
Get out of the valley
Let's start climbing instead"

The call through the hills came ringing
And started my heart to singing
For I knew the day would come
When I would understand
Why it was best
That things had not worked out
As I had planned

From heavenward
The voice came again,
"You must linger there no longer
Do not dare to think you will fail
You just think you need to be stronger
But you have a story to tell NOW
And your story will ring around the world
As people hear from the heart of a girl
Who decided early to seek, to find..., to live!

For through her
Demonstrations of grace will God give!"
It was in the valley she shed the tears
But on the mountain she found she could stand
And sing!
Smiling as she looked back down
through the years
Knowing it was I Who had held her hand
Through everything.

As we traveled together I told her
That Satan would fall before her
Because of his defeat by Me at Calvary
That he would see our arrival
At our Father's throne of grace
And he would see
The glow upon her face
A glow he would never again erase
Yes, he will see her there
And he will know she won
When he sees her standing beside God's son

It was side by side we traveled
Though she did not always know
For her faith often faltered
And sometimes she did lose her glow
But there was never a time I left her
I had PROMISED to stay
And though she was tempted to wander
She walked with me day by day

It was a memorable journey
Indeed! A time we will not forget
She knows I supplied her every need
And paid her every debt
She knows she is cherished among women
Because I have told her so
She is one for whom I left Heaven
Just to let her know
That is all we ever sought
When with my blood she was bought
God, Our Father and Me
We wanted to set her free

She could not reach it
And no one knew how to teach it
But perfect she thought she must be
So it was grace she had to see
And grace was shown to her repeatedly
Each time there was a big unanswered

Every single time she could not understand
Each time she wanted to give up and die
It was grace that equipped her for each demand
In all things she came to see God's Hand

Yes, through the years
She learned to recognize His Hand
For indeed! It was the Hand of Her God
The Hand of God alone
The Hand of One Who loved her
Who led her all the way home!


JesseLee Jones resolved, at age 22, on his first day in America, “the mother of all nations,” amidst unexpected and utterly challenging circumstances and loss, that "there was no going back!" His story then began to unfold with inconceivable passion and courage. The raw and vulnerable telling of it has required the greatest exhibition of courage to date.
If you are searching for the perfect book to demand respect for country and remind you that the American Dream can still be fully realized and highly celebrated, the BRAZILBILLY, The JesseLee Jones Story is a must read!
I have ghostwritten and edited for a number of clients through the years. No project has ever been more fulfilling than BRAZILBILLY. JesseLee Jones taught me much!- mjh