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The Valley of Decision


In the Valley of Decision

Belief in You.
Not things seen.
Not things touched.
Not things handled.
But You.

Crying out from the past.
All lies.

Arising from a place of confusion
And Double-mindedness.

Encouragement as You gently prod.

Sweet fellowship with One Who loves,
And is Love.

Perfect peace.
Razing fear, doubt, and confusion.
Engulfing lies.
Inaugurating Truth.

~ Laurie Pontious-Andrews

Beautiful Christian Sister ~ Maya Angelou


Beautiful Christian Sister
‘A woman’s heart should be so hidden in Christ That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.’

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not shouting ‘I’m clean living,’ I’m whispering ‘I was lost, Now I’m found and forgiven.’

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I don’t speak of this with pride. I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not trying to be strong. I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not bragging of success. I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not claiming to be perfect, My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I still feel the sting of pain… I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say… ‘I am a Christian’ I’m not holier than thou, I’m just a simple sinner Who received God’s good grace, somehow!

~ Maya Angelou

Becoming a Human “Being”

 this article!!!! It’s a lesson that’s taken me 46 years to embrace. Learning how to “be” instead of “do”. God has so many wonderful little hidden secret “blessings” to reveal Himself in our ordinary day in and day out living but we are “[overly occupied and too busy] and distracted with much serving” and miss His sweet whisper. May each of us learn how to discover what is truly “essential and necessary” so that we can truly live and “be”.  Luke 10:40-42

The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up’

Rachel Macy Stafford

When you’re living a distracted life, every minute must be accounted for. You feel like you must be checking something off the list, staring at a screen, or rushing off to the next destination. And no matter how many ways you divide your time and attention, no matter how many duties you try and multi-task, there’s never enough time in a day to ever catch up.
That was my life for two frantic years. My thoughts and actions were controlled by electronic notifications, ring tones, and jam-packed agendas. And although every fiber of my inner drill sergeant wanted to be on time to every activity on my overcommitted schedule, I wasn’t.
You see, six years ago I was blessed with a laid-back, carefree, stop-and-smell-the roses type of child.
When I needed to be out the door, she was taking her sweet time picking out a purse and a glittery crown.
When I needed to be somewhere five minutes ago, she insisted on buckling her stuffed animal into a car seat.
When I needed to grab a quick lunch at Subway, she’d stop to speak to the elderly woman who looked like her grandma.
When I had 30 minutes to get in a run, she wanted me to stop the stroller and pet every dog we passed.

When I had a full agenda that started at 6:00 a.m., she asked to crack the eggs and stir them ever so gently.

rachel macy stafford 2

My carefree child was a gift to my Type A, task-driven nature –but I didn’t see it. Oh no, when you live life distracted, you have tunnel vision — only looking ahead to what’s next on the agenda. And anything that cannot be checked off the list is a waste of time.
Whenever my child caused me to deviate from my master schedule, I thought to myself, “We don’t have time for this.” Consequently, the two words I most commonly spoke to my little lover of life were: “Hurry up.”
I started my sentences with it.
Hurry up, we’re gonna be late.
I ended sentences with it.
We’re going to miss everything if you don’t hurry up.
I started my day with it.
Hurry up and eat your breakfast.

Hurry up and get dressed.
I ended my day with it.
Hurry up and brush your teeth.

Hurry up and get in bed.
And although the words “hurry up” did little if nothing to increase my child’s speed, I said them anyway. Maybe even more than the words, “I love you.”
The truth hurts, but the truth heals… and brings me closer to the parent I want to be.
Then one fateful day, things changed. We’d just picked my older daughter up from kindergarten and were getting out of the car. Not going fast enough for her liking, my older daughter said to her little sister, “You are so slow.” And when she crossed her arms and let out an exasperated sigh, I saw myself — and it was a gut-wrenching sight.
I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life.
My eyes were opened; I saw with clarity the damage my hurried existence was doing to both of my children.
Although my voice trembled, I looked into my small child’s eyes and said, “I am so sorry I have been making you hurry. I love that you take your time, and I want to be more like you.”
Both my daughters looked equally surprised by my painful admission, but my younger daughter’s face held the unmistakable glow of validation and acceptance.
“I promise to be more patient from now on,” I said as I hugged my curly-haired child who was now beaming at her mother’s newfound promise.
It was pretty easy to banish “hurry up” from my vocabulary. What was not so easy was acquiring the patience to wait on my leisurely child. To help us both, I began giving her a little more time to prepare if we had to go somewhere. And sometimes, even then, we were still late. Those were the times I assured myself that I will be late only for a few years, if that, while she is young.
When my daughter and I took walks or went to the store, I allowed her to set the pace. And when she stopped to admire something, I would push thoughts of my agenda out of my head and simply observe her. I witnessed expressions on her face that I’d never seen before. I studied dimples on her hands and the way her eyes crinkled up when she smiled. I saw the way other people responded to her stopping to take time to talk to them. I saw the way she spotted the interesting bugs and pretty flowers. She was a Noticer, and I quickly learned that The Noticers of the world are rare and beautiful gifts. That’s when I finally realized she was a gift to my frenzied soul.

rachel macy stafford 3

My promise to slow down was made almost three years ago, at the same time I began myjourney to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters in life. And living at a slower pace still takes a concerted effort. My younger daughter is my living reminder of why I must keep trying. In fact, the other day, she reminded me once again.
The two of us had taken a bike ride to a sno-cone shack while on vacation. After purchasing a cool treat for my daughter, she sat down at a picnic table delightedly admiring the icy tower she held in her hand.
Suddenly a look of worry came across her face. “Do I have to rush, Mama?”
I could have cried. Perhaps the scars of a hurried life don’t ever completely disappear, I thought sadly.
As my child looked up at me waiting to know if she could take her time, I knew I had a choice. I could sit there in sorrow thinking about the number of times I rushed my child through life… or I could celebrate the fact that today I’m trying to do thing differently.
I chose to live in today.

rachel macy stafford 4

“You don’t have to rush. Just take your time,” I said gently. Her whole face instantly brightened and her shoulders relaxed.
And so we sat side-by-side talking about things that ukulele-playing-6-year-olds talk about. There were even moments when we sat in silence just smiling at each other and admiring the sights and sounds around us.
I thought my child was going to eat the whole darn thing — but when she got to the last bite, she held out a spoonful of ice crystals and sweet juice for me. “I saved the last bite for you, Mama,” my daughter said proudly.
As I let the icy goodness quench my thirst, I realized I just got the deal of a lifetime.
I gave my child a little time… and in return, she gave me her last bite and reminded me that things taste sweeter and love comes easier when you stop rushing through life.

rachel macy stafford 5

Whether it’s …
Sno-cone eating
Flower picking
Seatbelt buckling
Egg cracking
Seashell finding
Ladybug watching
Sidewalk strolling
I will not say, “We don’t have time for this.” Because that is basically saying, “We don’t have time to live.”
Pausing to delight in the simple joys of everyday life is the only way to truly live.
(Trust me, I learned from the world’s leading expert on joyful living.)



Notes & Quotes – Spiritual Detox


Notes and Quotes
Quivering Daughters
Haley MacFarland
Spiritual Detox
June 20th, 2013


My upbringing was drenched in Scripture. I read and memorized the Bible on my own, daily, sometimes two or even three times a day—in addition to family Bible time. I printed pages and pages of verses and taped them to the wall by my bed so I could read and memorize while waking or drifting off to sleep. I am grateful for this, for the words are written deeply on my soul which benefits me greatly even now.

However, as an adult I began to question and wrestle with my upbringing. I experienced loads of shame and guilt in the process, down to hearing my father‘s voice while I read the Bible, hearing it when others prayed, seeing my mother‘s disapproving or disappointed face in my mind and hearing my own conscience speak to me in her voice—I became desperate.

I stopped everything. I withdrew from society, from everyone really except for my husband and one or two trusted friends and mentors. I stopped reading my Bible. The truth is, I didn‘t want to view the Bible or God as hurtful; I still loved God with all my heart and knew that beneath it all, the god I thought I knew was not the true God. But when something inherently good—like the Bible—has been used as a tool for abusive control, it is necessary to distance from this and heal. In a sense, I went under a spiritual de-tox. It‘s not unlike a de-programming regime for those who exit cultic groups.

During this time, which lasted nearly a year for me, I determined to decide what to believe for myself, and not because I was told that it was true. I became willing to let go of everything I‘d ever been taught. I still clung to Jesus and His work on the cross, for I knew deep within that He is the Way, Truth, and Life—but anything besides Him I shed off me like a fur coat on a summer day.

My Personal Thoughts ~

As I read Halley’s words it was like a bomb exploded deep within my heart. It was the answer to the questions I have been struggling with before God.

This is why I’ve found myself with little or no desire to read the Bible or other spiritual books, Christian Novels, study, write, and yes, even, attend church. I know that I’m not backslidden. That is clearly NOT what this is. I talk with God all the time. I acknowledge Him and His presence throughout my day and into the night. I love Him and praise Hiim. I haven’t fallen away from Him.

I have been detoxing… Learning how to rest. Learning how to be.

Gone is that old way of life – searching, striving, clawing, doing, doing, doing, working, working, working… attaining all sorts of “knowledge” and yet never learning.

2 Timothy 3:7b – “they are forever inquiring and getting information, but are never able to arrive at a recognition and knowledge of the Truth.”

Another way to phrase this might be, are unable (or unwilling) to internalize and experience the Truth. Allowing the Truth to enter and pierce their heart to the point where they are changed from within through a work of the Spirit NOT the flesh.

Recognition = the act of recognizing; appreciation; acknowledgement, permission, acceptance,

Knowledge = specific information, learning thought EXPERIENCE and study, transmission of information, acquaintance

We should not fear those times when we’re pulled into a quiet place. We should be brave enough to follow our hearts and the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudging to be quiet and still with Him. Allowing Him to do the work ONLY He can do.

Cease striving. Enter His rest. Don’t fear the “not doing” and just be.

Oh, Daddy, grant us the Grace to allow ourselves to experience You and to experience what Your Truth longs to do in us.

Notes and Quotes – Stop All the Clocks

Notes & Quotes
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Stop All the Clocks
Auden Poem
June 2nd, 2013

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

My Personal Thoughts ~

This truly touched my heart at the end of a rather long and boring movie. 

It sums up the feeling of utter loss perfectly. It is how I have felt during this season of healing, recovery, and, yes, Spiritual Detoxing. 

I cannot say if I am finished with this phase of my journey or not. But I am truly feeling every part of it and will continue to do so until ALL is felt and ALL is experienced. 

It is not a joyous place. But it is a quiet place. A place of silence and peace. A place of solitude and stillness. 

So that makes it a good place. A good place. 

I’m not afraid. I am not fearful. 

I feel safe. I feel protected. I feel sheltered. I feel watched over and cared for. 

So that makes this a good place. A good place. 

I don’t understand. I can’t see very far ahead. But I don’t need or want to. 

Grace shines its light with each step I take. 

There is hope. My mind is still and quiet. My heart is at rest. 

So that makes this a good place. A good place. 

I love You, Daddy. Oh how I love You!

Always and forever – Daddy’s girl!  My heart belongs to You!


Notes and Quotes: How Does Jesus Love You?


“Jesus‘ love for us is the cause, and our love for Him is the effect. If you want to love Jesus more, don‘t waste your time trying to strive or to do good things or to work up your passion and emotions. Just think about Jesus‘ love for you, and how much He had to do with it, and how little (nothing) you had to do with it.” – How Does Jesus Love You? By Eric M. Pazdziora