Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Does Your Mouth Ever Get You Into Trouble?

I have a new T-shirt! Actually this is one I first saw about 3 years ago in just the right color light sage green. The front looks embroidered and says “Lord, keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth”.

In my walk with Jesus He and I have talked about many things. So many of the areas where I , and apparently many others who call themselves His, have problems deal with the mouth. Gossip, maybe even disguised as a prayer request, but I need to think about what is the actual intent of my heart in sharing this request. How many times do we speak before thinking. Overeating, OK now I would be accused of meddling, I think the Bible calls it gluttony and at times it describes me.

The good news is there is hope and I realize even in writing this piece that I have made some progress over the years.

There are promises in His word about our mouth:

In Psalm 81:10 the Word speaks of the Lord being our God who brought us (our forefathers) out of Egypt and goes on to say open your mouth wide and God will fill it.

What pearls of wisdom that contains. How much better off would we be if we allowed God to fill our mouths with what we should say, but that requires waiting and listening and sometimes it is so much easier to plow on and stick our foot in clear up to our knees. I know, I relate all too well to that “up to the knee” syndrome.

In Exodus 4:12 God is speaking and reminding us to go and He will be with our mouth and teach us what we shall say.

OK, looks like listening and learning again. Somehow we can get the picture that God knows how we are and is willing to help,. Ours is to hush and tune in.

Ephesians 4:29 exhorts us to let no corrupt word proceed out of our mouth but that which is good for necessary for edification that it may impart grace to the hearers.
Grace is unmerited favor. Does what we say give unmerited favor to those who hear us? “Good for necessary edification” seems like a mouthful but what it shows us is that God knows that we all need a word of encouragement to build us up and he is also challenging us to speak in that way to others.

He wouldn’t be talking to us about impossibilities. He wouldn’t be making suggestions that are unreal. Hey, that means my God is willing to step up and help me have pleasing words as I speak. That is a most incredible promise.

In Psalm 71:8 the psalmist David is singing a prayer asking God to let his mouth be filled with “Your praise and with Your glory” all the day.

I am thinking if David’s mouth was filled with praises of the Lord it wouldn’t be filled with moaning, groaning and grumpiness even about his enemies and David seemed to have more than his share of enemies.

Another praise song comes from Psalm 89:1 where David says he will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever and with his mouth he (David) will make known the Lord’s faithfulness to all generations.

We can choose to use our mouth to praise and pray and lift up His most incredible name. Yes, and even to eat reasonably. There I go meddling again.

In the meantime I will wear my new T-shirt and be reminded that His arm is indeed around my shoulders and, on occasion, His hand might find itself over my mouth.
Prayer: Thank you Jesus for teaching us about our mouths in your Word. Help us to praise you and to choose to bless others all the days of our lives. Help us to choose life in our words and not death or curses. Help us to “shine” Jesus. AMEN

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hooney Being His usual Rebellious Self - ahem

Hooney's favorite cat toy - the toilet paper - caught him in the act!

DT Willer alias Hooney Ginger Tabby of My Heart

“What do you want for our 15th anniversary honey?” Mick looked at me attentively for my answer.

Not pausing to even take a breath I replied “I have always wanted an orange tabby….”(what I didn’t mention was that I’d always wanted a Ragdoll, Birman, Norweigian Forest cat, Abyssinian, Maine Coon cat….. are you getting the picture of why Mick sometimes, affectionately I hope, calls me “cat crazy”?) 

I heard then sputters and strange noises coming from the other side of the table where my hubby sat.

Fast forward a week…. “Honey, what would you REALLY like for our anniversary?”

“Hum, I think that would be an orange tabby…..”

“Do you really want another cat? I mean, isn’t three enough work?”

“I’d love to have a kitten to give these guys something to think about.”

“Are you sure?”

“Sure, I am sure.”

“well, I guess you can keep your eyes open for an orange tabby…”

Now the sputtering and strange noises were coming from MY side of the table! I immediately called our “cat lady” who fostered as many as 30 or more kitties at a time. Lois didn’t have any orange kittens. I began to pray too because I didn’t know if one more feline was going to make the rest of the cats go “tilt”. We didn’t need accidents, spraying or anyone going outside the box.

Pretty soon there was an ad in the paper for kittens. They were for sale for $35 each and had their shots. The price of the kittens was going to help get the two mother cats to be spayed. I called, they had my orange tabby. 

We made arrangements to go see him and then the lady called back.

“Another family came and the lady is interested in the orange tabby. I have decided I will take offers and whoever makes the highest bid can have the kitten…..”

“Ah, I am sorry but I don’t think we want to get into a bidding war, thanks so much for calling.”

I was letdown to say the least. Then I began looking at my calendar – 2 months ahead there was a darling orange tabby on the June photo. I felt like that was what our kitty would look like – he was a dark cinnamon color and a tiny kitten. No more ads to answer. I ran around with my kitty carrier in the back of the truck for the next six weeks. Our anniversary was fast approaching and I decided to drop by the Humane Society.

There were kittens everywhere. None of them were orange. Oh, there was a long haired slightly buff colored one and it was lethargic and had matter in its eyes – definitely didn’t look healthy.

I was headed for my truck and the phone rang.

“Hi, is this Marijo, the one who wanted an orange tabby?”

“Ahh, yes, who is this?”

“This is Mary the one who had the orange tabby that you and that other family both wanted. I don’t even know how I still had your phone number but I found it on a slip of paper on the floor…. Do you still want an orange tabby?”

“Actually I was just at the Humane Society looking for one, why?”

“Well the lady brought her kids over, they just picked a black kitten and the orange tabby is available again. They are weaned and just turned 7 weeks old.”

“Where do you live?”

Turned out she was very close to the Humane Society. I buzzed over and got to meet the tiniest little kitten I had held in literally years. Most of our rescues had been ten weeks to 5-6 months old. This little stinker looked JUST like the orange boy on my calendar. He proceeded to climb up my shoulder and sit down. He had not a shy bone in his body – never mind that we were having major company that night for a bar-b-que dinner and I was nowhere near ready.

The check was written and, of course, I had the cage ready. Our vet was more than willing to do a quick exam and we were headed across town to our house.

I locked the little guy in our master bedroom and bath. The guests started arriving and were congregation on the patio – some of the cat lovers had gone up to peek at the new arrival. One friend was SO allergic to cats she couldn’t even come into the house…

About that time Mick arrived home. He was amazed that I found my calendar kitty and went upstairs to cautiously approach this new arrival. My ginger boy bounded across the bed jumping up on Mick, so much for cautious. This was the first clue we had that perhaps purchased a dog in cat’s skin.

When I was tiny I couldn’t pronounce the word “kitty” so I said DT. A pussy willow became DT Willer….soon that became the name of our little addition to the family.

He unmercifully attacked Stormy Blue during that time when the girls were still hissing and swatting. He’d bite Stormy’s tummy and ears and chase him all over the house, up and down 2 flights of stairs. Stormy was a smart kitty and would take only so much of this routine – when he needed a break he’d simply get DT in front of him and put both of his huge paws over the little wriggling mass of ginger fur.

DT was the first little kitten we had gotten and the biggest handful. At nine and a half he is still jumping onto the top of the frig, chewing toilet paper to the “bone”, loving anything with plastic wrapping and destroying it unless I am armed with a water squirter. He stretches out and rubs (dog-like) our legs or back sides if he wants a hand out, which is anytime we are near food.

He grew up and is now our very tall and long 16# handsome boy – yes, he got even bigger than Stormy whose current diet has him down from 17# to a mere 12 ½#.

We are coming up on our 25th anniversary this year and guess what is at the top of my wish list, a trip to Oregon to go camping just like we did on our honeymoon a quarter of a century ago, AND to rescue another kitten.

 (C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Can the Lord Correct Someone, Probably Much Better than We Can

We have all experienced those times when a friend or loved one is walking way too close to the edge. Maybe they are making choices that aren’t Biblical or showing a lack of wisdom. There is a vast difference between being the watchman sounding the trumpet  and being of a critical spirit and judgmental leaping in where the Lord did not ask you to go.

But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.

Prayer was going up for a friend and I felt the Lord whispering to my heart:

The face of the waters appears troubled.  Jesus your Lord is still your source.  Let your eyes rest upon Him. Fear not nor be carried away. My will shall be exercised. You shall all grow together.  She is my daughter too, Daughter, I love her.  Judge not too harshly. Leave correction to me.

That was definitely my answer to prayer for the situation.

In Luke 6:37 we are encouraged to judge not and we shall not be judged. Condemn not and you shall not be condemned. Forgive and you shall be forgiven.

The above passage looks like social gospel in a nut shell, doesn’t it?

In John there are some more ideas on listening to the Lord and judging.

He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. (NKJV)

The final passage I looked at for judging (and there are many more too) was in Romans:

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. (NKJV)

Prayer: Dear Father, please help me to be right before you.  Help me to pray for my friend and not presume I know what she is going through, nor her motive, in the name of Jesus our Lord, AMEN.

 (C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with with proper credits.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Yet Again

Thoughts and feelings
Build up and spill out
In the silent language of tears
Are felt, then understood
Rather than heard by the other

Surely spoken language
Must have failed
For nothing can express
The emotion or evoke the empathy
Like the silent language of tears

Spoken not, but cried by both
Wetting lashed, cheeks and memories
Memories of the countless
Previous nameless times
We told each other goodbye

Please come visit my blog at http://myincrediblelord.blogspot.com/
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Almost Crashing

Lord God, You saved me from a car wreck
As I was turning and that kid was speeding
I stepped on the gas and my hand 
Found itself honking the horn

Then he stopped and I left, just in time.
My hands are always at "10 and 2"
How did I hit the horn?
I wasn't trying and remember my surprise
When it sounded. THANK YOU, JESUS!

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Thinking Realigned

I AM a God of peace, not punishment as you first think. My thoughts are for your good, no "baseball bats". 

Come unto Me all you who are weary and I will give you rest. Rest your five track mind. 

One focus. JESUS. Rest in My love, under My wings. 

There are times and seasons. 

Praise Me while I release you. 


(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Without Jesus, Where Are We?

Rain pounds on the windows, 
Yet it can never get in.

It is like some people 
Knocking on closed doors
Failing to realize 
That they will never open.

It is pitiful to those 
Who are on the inside
Watching the rain's fruitless 
Yet incessant drive.
They know 
It will never succeed.

It’s the only leaf left on the tree of life.
All the rest have blown away.
It lives, it grows, but none live with it.

Growing Up II
Struggling so hard
To be free
To be me
And having a bad enough time
On my own,
Within my head
Without the added hassle
Of trying to stay out
Of the box you want to put me in

Thoughts of Sadness
You’re gone
I'm empty, alone, beaten and sad
And you, you are gone.
I want what we shared
I want it back again
I'm reaching out for it,
And it's not there.
Yet I don't even know what I am reaching for.
I only know that you are gone
And I? I'm empty, alone, beaten and sad.

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with with proper credits.
Please come visit my blog site at: http://myincrediblelord.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Reflective Time: Almost a Mom, Almost a Grandmother, Almost a Family….Almost

My husband, the Tour Guide mentions Wednesday that he bought a new tent. This means that we now are the proud owners of 5 or 6 tents. Yes, the small one leaks. This new one is to replace that tent. He got it on sale for half price and by the way, would I like to test it out this weekend. He will be home at 3 on Friday and hopes to take off when he hits the driveway.

I scrambled. We left at 3 on Friday for parts north in Colorado. The tree kill is tragic but that’s not what I am writing about. After four hours of driving we are looking for a camping spot. We find ourselves in the land of sage brush, everywhere, the one to three foot variety, not tent-land. Soon it is way after eight, darkness is coming on – I spot a grassy field, yes, it is private property with a ranch house on it.

“Hey there goes a snake across the road…”

“Are we in a rattle snake area?” That fear was sneaking up on me.

“Nah, I didn’t see any rattles on its tail”

Right, we are going 40 miles an hour and he can “see” the tail in twilight… that’s my Tour Guide, the man I love more with each year, in spite of his casual attitude about snakes.

We finally find a trailhead with a picnic table and fire ring, manage to put up the tent in the dusk without reading the instructions, never mind some of the grass was waist high. The wildflowers were gorgeous, at least those we could actually see in the full moon light.

The Tour Guide is asleep immediately with gentle snores confirming. I am on a lump that lists to the right, trying to keep from rolling off into the middle of the 8 foot tent. Then I began to think. I might add here that ever since I was a toddler I have been known to “think” when I should be sleeping.

My heart was captured 25 years ago by a 2 ½ year old toddler. I worked with his adoptive parents, my desk was near the snacks in the office. This little guy and I would play “air plane” as I flew him down the hall. I can’t tell you the times I wiped chocolate off his hands and face. I actually got to know the toddler before his “bio dad” and I became an item, got engaged and married. We knew the adoptive parents well. We all decided when he asked about his biological parents, he would be told who they were.

The years have flown by. I have never gotten pregnant. We have kept in touch with the adoptive parents and now have photos of three beautiful granddaughters; two little blue eyed blonds and one blue eyed red head. Two are in foster care and one is with her biological mother.

The last time my hubby saw his son was when he was 3 ½ years old. I was blessed to have an “accidental” half hour with him when he was twelve. He showed up at my friend’s house, with her children, when I was visiting. We talked baseball.  He had no idea that I was his step mother as he hadn’t yet asked about his biological parents, even though he knew he was adopted.

I am thinking about all of this in the tent that night. The son of my heart now had a cell block as part of his address. The granddaughters all have pretty tragic stories of their own at the tender ages of 3, 5 and almost 7.

The drops began. If they were rain maybe we could have seen how waterproof this new tent is. As it turns out they are coursing down my cheeks. I never got the chance to have ”step” for my first name. Believe me, I would have done everything in my power to change the image of that handle. No, my first name has become “almost”, almost a mom, almost a grandma, almost a family, almost.

At least my husband is asleep tonight in this beautiful mountain campsite. I try to quiet my heart and my emotions as I think once again of what might have been, if the choices of those I love or those I would covet the chance to love, had  been different.

Is this a fiction piece? Sometimes I think it would be easier if it were.

Come by my blog spot for more photos and interesting reading: http://myincrediblelord.blogspot.com/
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Misunderstood Martin Mortenson Mouse

Tika with her Mortenson

Eek! Why does everyone call me Eek? Don’t they know that I have a real name? It is not some exclamation. It is Martin Mortenson Mouse. Now I know that might not be very pretty but it is a name of substance, not some shrill syllable like EEK….

Why do I upset so many people? It was rats that carried the plague and they are much nastier than I am. Cute, furry, I have been known to be even cuddly at times. then there is their C-A-T. No, I will not say it out loud as it might summon that terrible beast. Yet they pet and coo over that horrid thing with his 10 sharpened weapons which try to do diabolical damage to me and my family.

Perhaps they should be afraid of him? He sends out his purring signal and within seconds can be using those sharp talons to wound them. Why can’t they see who the treacherous one in the house really is? Surely it cannot be me – I really don’t eat THAT much. And what comes out the other end is so small I don’t even need one of those terrible boxes filled with “sand” and  phew, the smell, whew.

Harrumph. I wonder how we mice have gotten such a bad rap for such a long time?

Mama mouse never knew the answer to this either. We don’t enjoy instilling fear into the hearts of women everywhere. I could see it if we were poisonous like a crawly thing, snake is what they call them or an arachnoids type spider but sweet, furry and with pretty blinking eyes? Such misunderstanding and abuse – there has to be an answer.

“Hey. Mom, Jenny’s white mouse had some babies, can I have one for a pet?”

Not likely to be a question in this household in my lifetime…. Oh, I could dream about this, being cuddled and pampered with my favorite mouse snacks from the mouse deli…..

“Sam, get that peanut butter and the mouse trap! I think I just saw another one scurrying under the piano – quick…”

 Well, at least they got the peanut butter part right but I know what happens if I want even the tiniest little taste – “WHAP!” Oh, no, here comes the Samari C-A-T, sniffing and prowling around my little door yet again. If anyone should have a persecution complex it should be me, Mortimer Mouse in this terrible, twisted house. 

They really do not understand!

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"The only good cat is a dead cat…"

Mitzi as a kitten

"The only good cat is a dead cat…

This out of the mouth of the man I was going to marry and spend the rest of my life with. I was suspecting right then that where were not going to be any felines in my life for their own safety and my peace of mind.

Time passed and we did not have the cat discussion. It was several weeks before our second anniversary and Mick was looking really weird. “Come on, we’re going to get your anniversary present”

“Why do you look and sound so strange, honey?”

“Because we’re going to the Humane Society.”

Several hours later his old roommates would never have believed the picture. Mick, asleep on our bed with a 10 week old kitten asleep on his chest! He picked her – the gray one with faint buff and white markings chasing her tail at the back of the cage while her two cage mates came clamoring to the door.
“I think we should get that one who can entertain herself – with both of us working and all,” out of the mouth of a foremost dog lover who is now a cat expert. I decided to go along for the ride on this one. How could we go wrong, after all we were picking out a CAT.

This little charcoal kitty with white paws came home and hid, then she hissed at a teddy bear in a basket near the floor AND at that CAT in the mirror reflecting back HERSELF.
At first she didn’t play like most cats but we found she did like to chase string and shoe laces. Pretty soon she discovered the money jar – a large glass terrarium that we dumped all our change into. For months she would jump up and dive in and spend time batting the coins around until one day she had grown… she jumped in and couldn’t get out. “Mommy” had to turn the jar on its side and help extract her by sliding one shoulder out first. After that the change pot stayed in the closet.

Soon this was the kitty who loved moving with us.  My husband is a builder and we build and move and do it all over again. Mitzi loved the condo we lived in while building out first home – it had a window that she could reach way up high by taking a flying leap off the landing part way up the second story.  Once she got up there we couldn’t get her down without a ladder – but she loved it there.

We had a scare when we found the previous tenant had put out De-con -  no, we didn’t find any rodents but were concerned that Mitzi might have sampled the grain with the blood thinner in it (WATCH what you use to kill mice if you have pets or small children!). She was ok on this one.

We had moved into our very first home built with our own 4 hands (and one carpenter’s helper).  I had a neighbor over and we were talking and talking in the entry while her 2 year old son chased after Mitzi. Sometime later we realized both had disappeared. We found them in a back bedroom. No telling what had happened but Mitzi’s little personality was never the same after that episode in Woodbridge.

She was definitely “daddy’s girl” and I don’t think she ever hissed at or swatted him. I was not so fortunate. After we moved to Colorado we realized that she wasn’t ornery, she was pretty much a ‘fraidy cat. We had all the relatives to visit – sleeping bags all over the house. I was brushing my teeth one morning when I felt nudged of the Lord to put my mug full of water on the floor. Mitzi charged up and drank. And drank and drank some more. I got to thinking,… no, I hadn’t seen her out of our bedroom for the three days since all the relatives arrived but assumed she was going downstairs to her box and food at night. It then dawned on me with her thirst that she hadn’t been out of our bedroom since they all arrived three days before. There were no messes on the floor and we must have had a half dead kitty. We brought her food and box upstairs and I bet no one was as happy as Mitzi “Boo-Boo” when they all packed up and went home.

This little lady lived to the ripe old age of eighteen and survived the addition of two half grown kittens (she is mentioned in their stories too, the ones about Katy Dancer and Stormy Blue)
She passed away peacefully, at home and is now out in this mountain meadow by our big spruce tree with her little buddy Katy kitty. Maybe they dance in the moonlight. Maybe they ever relate? It has to be better than it used to be now that they are in “kitty heaven” or wherever it is that our beloved felines go when they are with us no longer.

Mitzi and Daddy

(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.