Thursday, June 30, 2011


Hiking Higher
Jagged mountains
Cutting the horizon
Cold crystals caught
On all their pointy peaks

Alive azure skies
Broken only by
Wind waved bristlecone branches
As we hike higher and higher

Lord, Your hand
Is upon this wilderness
And resting on us
Your mightily blessed

May we never forget
What you have
Brought us from
And released us to.

And we praise You
As we lift Your name
Higher than jagged peaks
Up unto the heavens.

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our Culture Teaches "You are Valuable Because You Produce...." A Possible Answer

I tend to be so responsible that my stomach has knots of "responsibility" in it. The positive side of this is I can yield and be obedient, giving the "ulcer" to God, along with the reins. The choice is mine it seems.

Remember from childhood dialogs like this: “what a good girl, you cleaned up all your plate”, “oh, your drawing is so good”, “you put all your toys away, good boy!” Did you ever get reminded that you were special and valuable just because you were created in the image of God? My sister spent some time using braces and crutches because she had paralytic polio. There were many things she couldn’t do like other children could. Our family might have been a bit different because we had that focus. If Colette couldn’t do something that definitely didn’t make her less valuable to any of us, she was just a bit different in those areas. I wouldn’t have traded my wonderful sister, all she and I learned together about character, making good and polite responses to curious onlookers, standing taller than someone with two good legs, or any of the other more serious inside beauty issues for a “normal” sister. I am still loving and learning from her as we are both in our 60s and she is now back in a wheel chair.

Our family doesn’t look at Colette as valuable because of what she produces but as who she was and is. She has grown into a gracious, feisty, inventive, creative woman of God in spite of or possibly partly because of not having “normal” legs.

In spite of this great example I struggle still with my value being equated to what I can “do”.
Ephesians 2:8-10 (New International Version)
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are a very works oriented society. "You are worth what you produce" seems to be the standard from childhood up. Yet, we are truly valuable because we are created in God's image PERIOD. How to get that from my head into my heart and being is somewhat of a mystery.  Somewhere in there I start thinking that God loves me because I am a "good kid", obedient and I "produce". This is not His message to me.
It is then the Holy Spirit shows me this isn't my “production”, that it comes from Jesus in me. It is Jesus in me as I get quiet, yield and take up my cross daily. My deeds are supposed to flow out of my love for Him who sets me free.

"Take up my cross daily", a bunch of slivery sounding words as vague as "die to self". How do you do either of them? I want steps and a plan.

Take up my cross and die to "self":

*shoot down "I did it!"  
*blast the strut and puffed up ego
*kill pride over accomplishments
*realize it took SO long because I kept jumping off the table every time surgery began
*REST, knowing God isn't into "production"
*there is "produce" but it comes as Jesus' grows fruit in me. Jesus' steam and energy as I roll over DEAD to SELF 

I must : 
*cease to struggle and rest
* yield my will 
*obey/act when God says
*put the ball in His court
* be amazed at what He is doing
* let Him change me
*be on His time table 

I am released from: 
*fuss and struggle
* worry
* "I" did it with too much pride and responsibility attached
* production oriented worth

I am released to:
*be like Jesus
* have energy to pray and praise Him
* raise my arms and praise
* receive unconditional love
* be FREE in Jesus

Prayer: Oh, Jesus, this is SO good. Please help me to walk in this freedom. Thank You for sharing Your heart! Be with my sister, Colette, today and give her an especially blessed day in you. Thank you that you are still helping me learn from her example. I long for the day when she will be able to dance and run and leap for joy in you even though she already can do all these things in her spirit. Thank you for my dear sister. AMEN

Come by my blog spot for more photos and interesting reading:

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Good Samaritan Part 5

Hooney alias Nehi

“Hey, we need to ask the Lord to be with Sheriff Tom and Brena right now? Father, be with those two and anyone else who might be involved,  be with them, help them in taking Brena into custody. Please let the total truth come forth, we pray in Jesus name! AMEN”

“I agree with Joie, Lord, and thank you for her and for Doc Heinz, without them I might have died several days back. Thank you so much for sending them, even if Joie did have a hand in ruining my watch dog, Cody.”

Upon hearing his name Cody’s tail is thumping on the back of the seat.

“Come on into the clinic. Let’s see if Doc has a minute to look at your leg. These two will be ok out here if we leave the windows open a bit for some fresh air.”

“Joie, I am so glad to see you two here. We just heard on the scanner that there is a fire out at Jerry’s place. I thought you two were still out there!”

“Oh, no! Did they say anything else? We need to get back out there!!”

“Wait, let me call Mack, he is with the volunteer fire department. Maybe he can save us a trip. Besides the Sheriff said not to go home until he called us with an “all clear”, Jerry.”

“Uh, huh. OK, yes, we will stay put. Is everyone ok? Oh…..”

“Mack says the only thing that burned was your storage shed out back. The Sheriff got there in time to see Liz pouring flammable liquid. It went up with the first match. Liz saw him and took off through the trees to your folk’s place. He and his helper were in pursuit.”

“Jerry, I am sorry to say that your ex-wife didn’t make it. We were after her, she took off in a car. She was driving too fast, lost control and hit a tree. She died instantly.”

Jerry looked totally overwhelmed. “This is too much. I just don’t understand. There are so many questions, poor Liz.” The sheriff had come into the exam room where Doc Heinz was checking Jerry’s sutured leg. It seems like it was just yesterday that he first came in to have sutures on the massive slices from the feral hogs. It was over a week ago.

“Joie, would you please re-bandage this?”

“Doc what do you know about MPD? Is it possible that she really didn’t realize that she was Liz and Brena? Didn’t you minor in psychology in medical school?”

“Well, we are finding out more about Multiple Personality Disorder all the time but it is a complicated diagnosis.  Sometimes one “alter” doesn’t have any knowledge of another “alter” within the same person. There is much conjecture as to the cause of this set of symptoms, even some credible sources who feel that there might be a demonic factor.”
“Sheriff, what other evidence did you find that you can tell us about?”
“I have the murder weapon,  a rock with fingerprints on it. They came back identified as Liz Jamison’s prints. We also found a long piece of hair with the body which had been recently dyed black. We will do a match and see if that is the same as Brena’s/Liz’s hair. Apparently she was jealous of people her “alter” was close to but instead of killing her “alter” she killed the one who loved Liz. Somewhere deep down she must have realized that she couldn’t kill herself and, well, forgive me here, “live to tell about it”. So she killed or tried to kill those who loved Liz. She didn’t realize that she was, indeed, Liz. Jerry it also looks like Lou might not have known that Liz was Brena. We found black wigs locked up at her other apartment along with two totally different sets of clothing. One real feminine with ruffles and lace, the other strictly western, more like a ranch lady would wear, does that make sense?”

Jerry was frowning and rubbed his hand through his blond hair, “Yes, that was the only clue I got the years we were married about Brena’s existence. At times Liz would get into her cowgirl mode. She seemed to forget things we’d planned or talked about but always with a grin on her face. I thought she was playing games with me. Do you mean that at times she really didn’t know she was Liz?”

“Doc, what do you think?” I asked my boss.

“It is entirely possible. Also, there is nothing within the diagnosis of having multiple personalities that would rule out a spiritual side. If I had another entity inside my body I am thinking it would affect much that I did and thought. Diagnosing a schizophrenic or multiple personalities and more recently MPD is done by looking at a collection of symptoms in a person. It isn’t like strep throat where you do a culture and there’s the streptococcus. There are lots of things here that medical science doesn’t know or have all the answer too.” (author’s note – you can look at various sites online to find out more about these interesting and many faceted diagnoses)

“I guess some of the questions we have from today aren’t going to have answers, are they, Joie?”

“It looks like we will have much to be thinking about for some time to come. I can give you a lift home now Jerry, right Sheriff?”

“Yes, you can go home. I might have some more questions later about Liz’s family and things like that.”

“OK, Sheriff. Joie, maybe my dressing change tomorrow could be a tame procedure, do you think? I am ready for some resting time about now. I am sure Cody will second that thought. Maybe sometime soon I will have to ease out of my hermitage and take you to a “thank you” dinner too, nurse Lady!” Jerry’s face broke a tiny smile that reached all the way up to his incredible blue eyes.

“I think that might be A-OK, anything to get you to be a reformed hermit!” I shove my ever unruly dark curls behind my ears once again turning to go.

Jerry walks out the door with only a slightly noticeable limp. Cody and Nehi are both standing at the same back window in the truck, their noses poked through the opening. I think that cat’s tail is wagging, I know Cody’s is.

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

Monday, June 27, 2011

Thoughts of Heaven, Thoughts of Him

Thoughts of Heaven, Thoughts of Him

The way through suffering
Is the arms of God
Surrounding and absorbing
Our grief
As Jesus hugs us close

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

Monday Manna - Gentle is the Lord

The Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.  1 Samuel 10:6


For the three and a half years since I’d been saved I had been against speaking in tongues. If anyone even mentioned the subject, my toenails would curl, my claws would come out and the least I would do was abruptly change the subject. Then the Lord took me by the arm on a trip through Corinthians and revealed His Word to me in such a way that I couldn’t avoid the is Marijo.

Two weeks later, through a series of miracles, I was on my way to a Women’s Aglow retreat in Oakland. I had BUTTERFLIES and tried to figure out how to stay home. After the Lord reminded me of all He did to get me there, I resigned myself to His will and went.

Shortly after my sister-in-law and I arrived we met her friend, Florence. Soon I began badgering her with “20 questions”. It reminded me of the time right before I got saved when I wouldn’t go down without a good fight! Her method reminded me a lot of the way I tease, but really get down to business, with anyone who is defensively questioning things of God. She was a kick!

So far, all ladies that I had met seemed really friendly, smiling and genuinely warm. I am not sure what I expected, perhaps a lot of hyperemotional, flighty ladies. Celia (my sister-in-law) might have the gift of tongues but Celia was different, or so I thought. It was probably because she was a relative and I knew her as a person and not as “one of those”.

At our first worship session I really enjoyed the songs, prayers and praise. When someone started singing in tongues, the rest joined in briefly, it sounded just like a choir. I concentrated very hard on singing “hallelujah” and “thank you Jesus”. We sang more choruses and more prayers were offered.

All the ladies leading this time were attractive and spoke in soft, moderate voices. I had imagined something out of Halloween perhaps?

All of the sudden, some lady in the front row, just a little way down from us, let out a screech and fell on the floor. The nurse in me wanted to go over and see what the problem was, but not very much. That was it! I was going home! But wait a minute, the speaker was saying that confusion was not of the Lord and that we were going to have scriptural order. The song leader started a new song and things went on, in order.

The next morning the Lord used a guest minister to reassure me again. He stated very strongly that in any service things needed to be done in order. He wouldn’t even allow the gifts to be used without the strictest Biblical order.

Ok, Lord I guess there are some who speak in tongues who follow Your Word about order too….

The other major concern I had was about hyper emotionality. I was just sure that all of this “tongues business” was just a matter of getting worked up into an emotional frenzy. I observed people singing, very quietly in tongues with joy and happiness. Then, as if the Lord was trying to calm me, the speaker said we use the gifts to worship the Lord in the Spirit. She cautioned against getting into the flesh or the emotions saying we would only cheat God and ourselves. It sounded reasonable to me, but not what I had expected.

I must admit at this time that I was not too hot on a lot of singing, one or two songs and I was at my limit and started fidgeting….. At this meeting we could sit if we wanted to or stand, some clapped their hands, others folded them or raised them over their heads to the Lord, some even had tambourines, but in it all as a radiance of adoration for Jesus like I had never witnessed before. We were truly one in the Spirit and one in the Lord. We sang choruses, prayed little prayers, heard scripture and then a message which was super.

I thought about forty-five minutes had gone by. It was 10:00PM and we had started at 7:30PM! Praise the Lord! Everyone was so sincere. They really praised Jesus and loved Him, reaching out to each other. It was neat! Don’t tell me I was starting to like this in spite of myself!

Gradually the Lord started unraveling the big knot within me. It was scars left over from the church I was saved in three and a half years before, which eventually split right down the middle, destroying many individuals in the congregation also. Jesus was touching my fears of big, old hotels and fires, frustrations of not being able to cry and express my sad emotions. He touched feelings left over from childhood of being on the outside looking in.

I was sharing these areas with Celia and Florence for prayer, when we all heard the sound of rain outside. I praised the Lord, if it was raining and I didn’t have to worry about fire. The Lord could take care of and keep us! Intellectually, I knew this all the time, but try to convince my emotional “what if” part. I had already figured out a way to tie sheets together for a hasty escape out the window, only we were on the 8th floor and didn’t have enough sheets. Ever notice what the devil will get you obsessing about to keep you from paying attention? I had also spent too many years as a burn unit RN.

We three shared in prayer. When we looked out the streets were dry. It had not been raining even though all three of us heard it. I already had the faith that God could handle my fears and was able to sleep soundly that night.

At breakfast we all shared with ladies we’d never seen before. We were open and really shared our hearts. I was being a “critical fruit inspector”, really just waiting to see something negative. However, everyone seemed to sincerely love the Lord, there was just no way around that. Also, they seemed to be serving Him too. At this point the Lord began to take me out of denominationalism and doctrinism and into worship with the Body of Christ! How blind had I been, how stubborn and negative!

Before the retreat, the flier had mentioned special interest groups. Those groups included intercessory prayer, gifts of the Spirit, counseling etc. I knew from the outset which one I was NOT going to, you guessed it, the one on gifts of the Spirit. They had been pretty coy so far but I was not going to set myself up to get attacked and have someone insist I pray in tongues.

It was time to sign up and I had already narrowed it down to intercessory prayer vs counseling, then the leader threw in a clinker and suggested we pray about which one we were to attend. There went counseling, now it was between intercessory prayer and (gulp) gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Okay Lord, I really need a definite sign on this one. Let me open my eyes and have an “X” appear by the right one so I really know it is Your will.

And that small, still voice inside me said I should ask Celia to go to the one on the gifts with me.

Right about then the leader said “don’t ask your neighbor to go to the one you just signed up for just because you are going”.

Rats! I opened my eyes and my thumb was on top of the box marked “gifts of the Spirit”, big deal, I was looking at that box before I started praying.

Bet if my thumb had been over the box marked intercessory prayer I would have leaped at the chance to go to that workshop, ahem….

The lady came by to collect the papers and I hadn’t signed up for a workshop yet. I was reprieved for awhile.

When we got to the room Celia piped up and said, “Marijo, I really felt the Holy Spirit telling me to go to the class on the gifts of the Spirit and take you with me but I wasn’t sure how to tell you…..”

I ran over and hugged Celia, then got nervous as all get out. We signed up for that class together.

OK, Lord, that was the definite sign I asked for, now, You protect me and don’t let anyone attack me!”

All too soon it was the next day and time for the class. I was ready to fight until death the “tongues brainwashing” I just knew was about to begin. We got into the group, second from the last row, you know, the one by the door. There was a soft spoken, ageless lady who introduced herself and gave her testimony.

I tuned in to hear “raised Methodist then Nazarene, saved at age 9 and filled with the Holy Spirit 22 years later…..”

Quick calculations told me she must have been filled with the Spirit at age 31. I was 31 sitting there that day. I had been raised Methodist, then was a professing atheist for 9 years, then got saved and became a Nazarene. She was fluent in Spanish and so was I right on down the line her testimony went SO similar to mine.

Now what, Lord, I know You want me here, at this retreat and in this particular interest group.

Then someone asked her a question about speaking in tongues. She had been lecturing for about a half an hour on the gifts of the Spirit and hadn’t even mentioned tongues. This was hardly the brainwashing I had expected.

Later, we broke up into groups of three to pray. My request was that the Lord would refuel me, have His way in my life and give me anything He wanted me to have. I knew I was filled with His Spirit prior to this time; a distinct, one point in time infilling.

That day I wanted to rededicate and yield myself to whatever plan the Lord had for me. I prayed that I wanted any gift that He wanted me to have and then felt that nudge to pray more specifically. I did. I poured out my heart to Him while holding Celia and Linda by the hand. Then we stopped and they were both grinning at me, like cats who swallowed canaries, I thought.

“What are your grins about?”

“Marijo, you’ve been baptized, Marijo, you’ve got it!”

I knew I had Him and He had me, that happened over three years ago and I didn’t speak in tongues then either. In fact, the only time I even came close to speaking in tongues was two weeks ago, the night after I had been taken through Corinthians by the Lord. I really prayed and while asleep that night I dreamed I spoke in tongues. Also, just the night before the class I was saying my nighttime prayers. Then I sang a chorus to the tune “Thank You Jesus, Thank You Lord”, only the words were ones I didn’t understand except it ended in Rabboni, which I knew was teacher, so I decided I made the whole thing up.

Besides, since I understand Spanish and a very little French, German, Hawaiian and Italian what if I made words up, that would be ridiculous.

But little sounds kept floating through my head that I wasn’t making up, in fact, I would just as soon they weren’t there! I didn’t feel electric, ecstatic, or even excited, which isn’t my usual style, not feeling excited I mean. I felt rather soberly peaceful and calm, subdued but not down. I certainly wasn’t tingling from head to toe, or giggling, nor jabbering non-stop.

Lord, there are so few words in the English language with which to praise You and my love is so much bigger than that! Lord, I want only what You want for me, I don’t want anything that isn’t of You….

And when Celia and I prayed that night, in English, all kinds of little sounds kept coming into my head and they weren’t Spanish, English, German or anything else that I knew. I wasn’t conjuring them up, more like choking them down.

I Cor 14:2 “For one who speaks in tongues speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit…”

A language the Holy Spirit prays through me and Satan will not be able to understand or intercept? A hotline to heaven, hum….

I still had a thousand questions, but I knew one thing, the Lord was delivering me from my prejudices, negativism and my SELF, that large chunk of me which said “if you don’t do it my way, you aren’t right!” Did I really think that way? Something like that, because I used to avoid everyone who spoke in tongues like they had leprosy.

I was running the water in the hotel bath tub and accidently hit the shower button. I got my hair and night gown soaked and just couldn’t resist the urge to run down the hall and tell Florence I got “baptized”

And the Lord kept blessing and liberating. I started getting a picture of just how BIG He was and how very small and limited I had Him in my mind. Wow! I went from negative to positive. The Lord has delivered me from my SELF. There were still no fireworks, but a sober “feet on the rock” peace; deep and calm within me.

I am praising Him in every language I know and a new one that I don’t know. But, after all, who am I to refuse a gift from the Lord? Even though He had to almost kill me to give it to me. I actually thought I was doing to die several times in the process and hopefully a part of me did!

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

Good Samaritan Part 4

Hooney alias Nehi


She cuts Jerry off before he can finish that thought “I am NOT Liz, I am Brena. Liz is gone, I kicked her out and none too soon. She always takes the ones I love, she can’t have any of them anymore! I have seen to that with the exception of you and you haven’t seen her in what, two years? Maybe you’re safe…..”

I notice that Cody is watching both Brena and Jerry quite intently but is laying down by the couch. This is apparently the roommate that Sheriff Tom spoke with but did Jerry call her Liz or was he just starting to say something about Liz… this is getting more puzzling. And what did she mean about Jerry’s grandparents and their fire? He is an only child so this couldn’t be his sister.  How would the roommate know of the fire or almost act like she was there?


Upon hearing the name Liz again I see Brena grab for the Buck knife she has under her shirt, it is huge. It  looks like it is time for a dressing change. I come out of my place on the corner of the porch and knocking sharply on the door. Nehi is right beside me.

Brena looks quickly in my direction sheathing the Buck knife “Who the heck are you?”

“Hi, I’m Joie, Dr. Heinz’s home health nurse, coming to check my patient here.”

“Yah, with an orange tabby in tow – hey, what’s wrong with Cody – he’d wagging his tail at a CAT. See you later!” With that comment and a shake of her head Brena pushes past us and takes off across the yard the way she came.

“Can you help me get into your 4 Runner right now? We need to go where your cell phone works and call Sheriff Tom. THAT was my Ex wife Liz, in spite of the radical hair color change. There is something critically strange going on here! Did you hear her practically admit to setting the fire at my grandparent’s place?”

So that is why Cody isn’t playing watch dog, he knows that woman, apparently he once knew her pretty well.

“I am SO confused about what Liz, ah, Brena was saying. Why do you think she was talking about Liz like that was not her name? What was she like when you were married to her? Did she have any evidence of mental illness? She is almost acting schizophrenic .”

“No diagnosis like that but she did seem a study in contrasts. Mostly she was ultra feminine,dressed in ruffles and was pretty helpless. Then sometimes she’d wear those cowgirl boots and be a take charge gal, so different.  I just took it as part of the Liz mystique. At times, she seemed to ignore stuff we’d said or things we had done like it didn’t happen. I thought she was playing a head game with me.  Now I am not so sure. Lou used to talk to me about going out with a gal named Brena, now I am wondering…..”

“You mean he actually might have thought she was Brena , not your wife? Hang on, I think I have some bars on my cell phone…..hey, it’s ringing the Sheriff.”

“Sheriff, it’s Joie and Jerry. I just heard his Ex talking about the fire at his grandparent’s place and it sounded like she might have set it. She was saying things that led me to believe she might have killed Lou Jasper. She was just at Jerry’s place, then went back across his property on foot towards the old homestead. No, we’re both here in my truck driving to get cell coverage. You did? This doesn’t make sense. No, Jerry’s with me and we have Nehi and Cody here too. OK, will do. Yes, and she pulled a huge Buck knife on Jerry right before I decided to get in there and change his dressing – yes, that’s when she took off. OK, we’ll stay away until we hear back from you.”

 “What did Sheriff Tom have to say? Guess I might be off the hook now?”

“That’s for sure. He said more pieces of evidence have come in. He can’t talk about it as this is an ongoing investigation but you are off the hook. We are to stay away from your place until we hear back from him. So do you think that Liz might really believe that there are two ladies, one named Liz and the other named Brena? Do you think Brena was so jealous of Liz spending time with Lou that she killed Lou?”

“I have no clue. I really haven’t seen Liz or Lou in two years. Once I found out they were seeing each other, I left.”

“Did you ever talk with either of them?”

“Let’s just say I found them in a very compromising situation together, no words were needed. That revelation just made me break. I left and never turned back. My business partner, my wife and probably the business too was too much to lose.”

“Jerry, this is going to sound like a weird question but what color hair did she have when you saw them together?”

“Oh, my, you don’t think that Lou really didn’t know it was my wife? Wonder if she told him that she had a “look-alike” relative with dark hair? When she put on the cowgirl boots she did have a really different personality.”

“Maybe we’ll unravel more of this mystery when the Sheriff can talk to us about what he knows.”
“This makes me really unsure about so much. How can you live with someone for fifteen years then find out you don’t really know them? Now I am thinking that maybe my partner wasn’t such a scoundrel after all. And now he is dead!”

“I can only imagine if all of this is leaving me with many more questions than answers how you must be feeling, Jerry. Ah, just a slight change of subject here, since we are in town how about stopping at the clinic to give Doc Heinz a chance to take a peek at your leg. I notice you aren’t limping very much at all today.”

“That’s ok by me. You must have been praying for me like I asked. I was able to have a bit of a chat with the Lord myself. Joie, I never knew how great it could feel to be free and forgiven! For the past two years I felt as if was lugging around a back pack with a ten ton boulder in it. I didn’t have to be carrying that around. I feel like a new person without it. Clear breathing is now a part of life again! Thanks so much for giving me a listening ear. I still can’t get over this morning with Liz-Brena. I am mentally just shaking my head. Can she really not know that Brena and Liz are the same person?”

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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Good Samaritan Part 3

Hooney alias Nehi

The wind is blowing in the black-green pine trees, making music of its own. Wonderful smelling wood smoke is curling out of the chimney, disappearing in the breeze.  I haven’t had time to get out of the truck yet when I see my patient on the porch talking to his German shepherd.

“Cody, you are ruined as a watchdog! Look at him running around your Toyota WAGGING his tail! And to think he used to eat cats for dinner…..why is he whining?” 

“Ah, that would be because I have no orange tabby with me today. I had too many patients to see for Nehi to come along. Sorry, Cody but your buddy is at my house probably sleeping the clock around.” 

“Jerry, have you gotten off that porch any since I saw you last? How’s the leg?” I clomped up the wooden steps to the front door. 

“I figured you were going to tell me all about it in a minute, aren’t you nurse Lady? I guess you can come in since my nasty watch dog is practically licking your hand. I know the routine, hop on the couch….”

“Let’s take a look. Great, not nearly so many red places. I think that antibiotic is working where those feral pigs’ tusks got you all sliced up. The sutures are holding too. You have about seven more days and they may be able to come out. ” I proceed to cleanse and bandage the wound site. “Anything else I can do for you while I’m here today?”

Jerry looked to the ceiling. I could tell he was struggling with words. Cody has gone over in front of the fireplace plopping down with a sigh. The wood smoke makes the house smell inviting on this crisp fall day as I wait for my patient to say something.

“Um, I am not sure where to start. It has been a long time but I think you might know someone that I used to know….anyhow, I have kind of forgotten how but there is some business I need to take care of. Um, guess two years is long enough to be grasping on to bitterness and unforgiveness. I was wondering if you would maybe do a bit of praying for me that I might find the words…..” 

“Are you talking about your Ex, Liz and your business partner?” 

“Uh, huh, Lou and Liz – that’s exactly who I am talking about, have had this lead weight in the pit of my stomach way too long.” 

“Yes, your unforgiveness probably isn’t affecting them at all but looks like it is doing a number on you, isn’t it?”

“I’d say so, never thought I’d be a hermit outdoors writer when I was spending summers here as a kid.” 
“You used to spend summers here, in this part of Tennessee?” 

“Sure, my grandparents owned the place next door.  When I saw this place for sale it seemed to be calling me home. After two years of running all over this country, visiting every friend and relative I had, it seemed perfect.” 

“Why not go to your grandparent’s place? Hey, is that where the sheriff found the body, we never did talk about what he had to say?” 

“Yes, to the body and he is trying to figure out if a hiker fell. It looks like he died with a blow to the head. My grandparents moved off the place a number of years back when their main house burned down. They moved closer to my parents and have since passed on. There is just a tiny, ragged hunting cabin there now, not big enough for Cody and me. My folks still own it but haven’t been there in years as far as I know.” 

“Hey, sounds like somebody opened your floodgates?!” I grinned at Jerry and poked my curly, escaping hair behind my ears. “I’d be most happy to be praying for you. Where do your folks live now?”

“They are off doing some missionary work in the Islands. Hey, Cody, guess you are still a watchdog after all. Cody, SIT!”

“Looks like Sheriff Johnson again, he sure is frowning.”

“Good morning Jerry, Joie. May I come in?”

“Sure Sheriff, have a seat.”

“Jerry, can you help me understand why you are going by Jerome Jacobs if your legal last name is Jamison?” Sheriff Tom couldn’t contain his agitation. 

“Sheriff, can you imagine a wildlife writer named Jerry Jacob Jamison? I took my first and middle name when I began writing. That was when I got divorced. I didn’t particularly want my Ex finding me anyhow, nor my business partner that she was way too cozy with.” 

“Well, guess that makes sense. By the way, we have a tentative ID on that body found on your family property next door. We are thinking it might be Louis Jasper, your business partner. We’re just waiting on the dental records to come through.”

“Oh, no, he is dead? What is he doing out here?”

“He’d never been to your family place with you?”

“No, I haven’t been here in a number of years before buying this place nor brought him out.” Jerry turned pale and glanced from the sheriff to Joie. 

“Mr. Jacobs, I trust you won’t be going off anywhere because there might be a few more questions I have needing some answers soon.”

The following morning at Doc Heinz’s office, my boss has a question for me as I pack to do rounds.
 “Joie, do you think maybe you should stop the home visits until the Sheriff finds out a bit more about this case? With that body being found less than a mile from your client and on his grandparent’s old place AND being his business partner who just happened to have an affair with his wife…..” Doc Heinz is obviously concerned.

“You know, doc, I have been a home health nurse for a number of years and have run into many strange settings, besides, I am taking Nehi with me today.” I give my boss a grin, “Last time I saw the Sheriff he was looking for Jerry’s Ex wife and seemed mighty interested in finding her.”

“Maybe he’ll find her body too.”

“Ah, Doc, always the cheery perspective, Sheriff Tom  said he met a roommate of Liz’s at the address he had for her and the roommate asked Liz to leave about a week ago, so probably no body there. It was kind of weird, the roommate’s name is Brena. Jerry said his partner mentioned going out with a gal named Brena. Unusual name but how in the world would two gals who were interested in the same guy end up being roommates?”

“This is a strange case, Joie, remember you don’t have to go out to check his wound today, he can drive in here.”

“Actually, his old truck is a stick shift. I am not sure he could use the clutch with his leg wounds, besides, how are you going to tell him to come, he doesn’t have a phone. Come on, Nehi, let’s get moving!”

I have my windows down. It is an “Indian Summer” type of fall day, actually hot. The warmth makes the scent of the pines permeate the whole atmosphere, it is yummy smelling. Nehi is watching all the scenery as we drive and digging in as we switch to the dirt road shifting into 4x4.

As we pull to the far side of the house to park in a bit of shade I see a woman with long, black hair coming from the direction of Jerry’s grandparent’s old place. Maybe Jerry is right about Nehi and me ruining his watch dog. Cody sees the woman, gives a hesitant “woof” and with a tentative wag of his tail is off the porch to greet her. Far cry from the growling “man eater” I met my first visit out here.

She gives the dog an automatic pat on the head and goes up to the front door, hesitates a minute and goes inside. I gather up my supplies and head that way myself. I am close enough to see Jerry on the couch as he gives me a slight negative shake of his head. I stop to listen to what is going on.

The woman is quite attractive, slim and probably 5’8” with cowgirl boots and a plaid shirt with her jeans. She is pacing back and forth, sounding a bit agitated.

“……..MY grandparent’s place, then that Liz had to come and take over. That’s why they had their little fire, only they were supposed to be home, not out getting groceries.”

I decide that this is not the time to go to the front door and start to listen some more.

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

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Good Samaritan Part 2

Hooney alias Nehi

Good thing I saved this visit for my last of the day! It was easier but much more time consuming to trot up here riding Skeeter. Skeeter got the day off today. “Hey, Nehi orange boy, are you ready to tame that German Shepherd again, here we are.”

“Rar-war-rar” Cody is coming off that wooden porch like a rocket, bounding out to the 4 Runner which he doesn’t recognize.

“Hey boy, brought your orange buddy to see you again” At that Nehi jumped out of the truck window and did his stretch-in-the-dog’s-face routine.

I look up at the sharp bang of the front storm door, a far cry from the blam of the shotgun that had greeted me just two days ago on my arrival. “Hi, Jerry, how’s the leg.’

“Lady, you REALLY have ruined a perfectly good watch dog with that bag of fur you insist bringing along!”
“How else do you expect me to get near your front door? At least you haven’t passed out today, that leg must be better. ” I grab my medical case and head for the log home leaving Nehi and Cody to greet each other.

Jerry was scowling and muttering under his breath “just like that darn Liz ruined…..”
“What did you say about Liz, who’s Liz?”
“Never mind about my Ex just get going, do what you have to with my leg!”

“I see you are limping but able to get around much better, aren’t you?  When did you last take your antibiotic?”

“Early this morning about 5, does that work for you?”

“Yep, because Dr. Heinz wanted to do one more round of IV antibiotics. We can plug that in for this dose of your pill. I was hoping that would work since I went to all my other visits today before coming up here. No telling how long it would take with the 4 Runner so I allowed time at the end of my day. Can you sit on the couch and put the leg up?”

“Sure, sure whatever you say, you must be the boss around here ruining my dog and just taking over,  how many more days do we have to put up with you?”

Jerry plunked his muscular, 6’2” frame on the couch, lifting his leg up to the support of the cushions. I pull over a chair, sitting down to remove the bandages. I can see Cody and Nehi peering in the storm door to watch the progress. Jerry’s snappy blue eyes glower at me as I take off the layers of bandages.

“You don’t seem so hot and flushed today, that antibiotic must be helping you out with recovery. Ummm, not so much purulent exudates today either, I think things are much better, how does it feel?”

“Not so bad when I don’t have some darn RN poking and prodding around in the sutures.”

“Let me see your arm again for one more round of the IV doc ordered. OK …. So, what did you do before you came out here to live off the land and be a writer?”

“What makes you think I did something different? Ouch!”

“Well, most live-off-the-land guys are more the flannel shirt types. I have never seen you in anything but a button down dress shirt.”

“Yah, I had a few of those left over. Is this more of your diversion tactics to get my mind off the fact that you stabbed me and are running cold, burning stuff into my poor arm here?”
I grinned at this big blond asking “Oh, was it that obvious?”

“OK, I had a successful insurance business with my “best friend” as a partner, then he and my “best girl” decided to ride off into the sunset together leaving me in the dust. Does that answer your question as to why I have left over business shirts? Losing my wife would have been one thing. Losing my best friend another but when they decided to switch channels on the program together, I figured the business was probably gone too. That was the last straw.”

“Jerry, I am SO sorry to hear all of this – I really can’t imagine how devastating that must have been.”
Just then Cody ran off the porch barking and barking with the horrible growl in his throat I remember from two days ago.

“CODY! That is the sheriff’s 4X4, you don’t want to be chewing on his leg!”
The dog actually minded , coming back to the porch where my patient had gone without the benefit of the new bandage.

“Hello Miss Joie,Mr. Jacobs, I am Sheriff Tom Johnson. I’d like to ask you a few questions about a body we found in a cave about a mile from here. May I come in?”

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

Friday, June 24, 2011

Good Samaritan Part 1

Hooney alias Nehi

I could see the shotgun poking out of the cracked open front door, blam, blam.  The door opened wider, a large German shepherd dog ran out snarling and barking. My horse, Skeeter, pulled back a bit awaiting my directions.

I heard a yell coming from inside the cabin, “This is private property, you’re not welcome here, leave, now!”

“Dr Heinz sent me to check your leg that he sutured on Monday, I’m a visiting nurse…..” was all I managed to choke out before I heard a whistle that the shepherd responded to quickly, then the bang of the closing door.

Skeeter was dancing. I was not anxious to be shot at again. I decided there might be another way to see this patient, tomorrow.

The next day was Wednesday.  I load up my saddle bags with supplies I’d need for those who could only be reached on horseback.

“Here, take this IV and antibiotic with you.  You might need that for Mr. Shotgun Jacobs. He was pretty sliced up by those feral hogs Monday. Hey, what is this orange tabby doing in your saddle bags?” Dr. Heinz asks as he helps me load my supplies.

“Well, Nehi  is sort of a long story. He has never met a dog that he couldn’t tame. I thought he might be a way to get Jerome Jacobs to open his door. I can stay hidden in the wood letting Nehi  do his thing with the German shepherd.”

“Joie, you must not be very fond of that cat. I have known Jacob’s shepherd to eat cats for supper,no apologies as he licks his chops.”

“Well, doc, it might be the only way I can get to see my patient. Nehi  could be like the Good Samaritan only instead of taking Mr. Jacobs to the inn he will take me to the patient.”

“I will definitely be praying for you today. Did you ever dream your nursing practice would be this creative when you moved to Tennessee?”

I grinned at Doc as I got into the saddle and left the office.

I look at the perfect day. There is a bit of a chill in the air with smoke coming out of the chimney of Mr. Jacobs’ log home. A few puffy white clouds in a most blue sky looked down on a carpet of fall colored leaves on the ground. It was time to try this visit again. Today we could do without the buckshot. Skeeter, my pinto, looks like he remembers the visit we attempted yesterday. This time we had reinforcements, my seventeen pound cat. 

“Well, Nehi, just a little farther through these good smelling evergreens and we’ll be there. You can work your magic on that shepherd. I will be at the tree line to rescue you if he is the only dog not to be won over by you."  

“Merow, merow….." Nehi almost seems to understand, I surely hoped he does. He has done his doggy-magic numbers of times over the years. I’m not too worried. I’m hoping that Mr. Jerome Jacobs will be so astounded by the dog-cat interaction that I will be able to say my piece and get to look at his leg.  We are approaching clearing’s edge. I love riding Skeeter and have a few patients who live in areas more accessible by horse. Good thing Doc doesn’t mind how I get there, only that I do make it. I really love this part of nursing.  

“OK, big boy Nehi, out you go to do your thing."  The large tabby jumps down, saunters through the remaining trees like he lives in this part of the woods and owns it. In about a minute the dog hurls off the porch. Barking begins, the rumbling roar of a throaty growls increases, as he runs closer. Nehi sits down and begins to wash his paws and face. At that sight the shepherd comes to an abrupt halt. Most dogs have never experienced a cat who didn’t head up the nearest tree. Then Nehi takes a casual step forward, stretches out his full length yawning in the huge dog’s face. I have seen this routine many times. It is working just as I hoped it would.  I hear the front door opening, 

“Well, I’ll be darned!"  Thunk, thud, Jerome Jacobs hits the floor of his porch. I hope he didn’t break anything he looks to be about 6’2" and well built – too well built for me to be much help. I see an old 4X4 truck across the yard in a detached garage. No way could I get him into that truck. I am thinking on my feet as I hurry to tie Skeeter to a tree.  

“Mr. Jacobs, are you ok?"  By this time the dog is running back to his master nosing him while he whines. I grab my bag running up to him. As I clunk up the old wooden steps I know that something more is happening. This isn’t Mr. Jacobs’ fainting away with incredulity at the unlikely happening between Nehi and his cat-eater.  His pulse rapid, the man is flushed warm. Dr. Heinz was right in having me pack the antibiotic IV. Those nasty cuts from the feral hogs have infected his leg by now. The man is too much of a loner, too stubborn to be admitted to the hospital as the doc wanted, some patients.  

“Hum, Mr. Jacobs, 102 degree temperature not too good here. I need to change your bandages. Let’s take a peek at those wounds of yours. Good thing your dog allowed me in here. You will not believe this he is sniffing Nehi, my tabby. I’m Joie, by the way. We sort of met yesterday."  Jerome moaned a bit moving his legs. I ask him to move his arms and legs, that isn’t a problem for him. He grips my hands at my request. He opens his eyes slowly giving me a hesitant glance.  

“OK, let me get this dressing off and get you cleaned up a bit here. No wonder you are running a fever these stitches areas are looking red and purulent"  

“Wah, howww …….who let you in here, what are you doing to my dog…….there is a CAT in here!" 

“Be careful, you took a bit of a tumble. I am here to change your dressing and give you some antibiotics compliments of Dr. Heinz. Since you will not go into the hospital he sent me out to check on you. Looks like I got here just in time."  

“Hey, lady, don’t you come after me with that needle. Why can’t you just use some Neosporin or something?"  

“Mr. Jacobs, you should be in the hospital. Feral pigs really worked you over. Take a look at your leg. If you don’t want to possibly lose the leg we need to get to work. I am going to pour some Betadine to clean it and will redress it. We need to get this IV started so the antibiotic can work, now."  

“Man, do all of Doc Heinz’s nurses have your sweet bedside manner? Never mind, I remember who has all those “weapons" just get going will you, I’m not planning on an afternoon social." 

“OK. Let me see your arm. There that isn’t so bad, is it? How long have you been living out here Mr. Jacobs?"  

“Humph, I guess maybe you’ve done that a few times, haven’t you? Not terrible…… I came about 10 months ago, am living off the land, trying to be a writer. Why are you asking?" 

“Trying to get your mind off this IV, Mr. Jacobs. You will need to take one of these pills every 12 hours, tomorrow we will probably do another batch of IV antibiotics too" 

“You can call me Jerry, since I am not exactly your father’s age, am I? What did you do to my dog? He has been known to eat a cat for dinner once and look at him! Did you give him a tranquilizer? I don’t remember him ever being in the same room with a cat. A live cat, that is." 

“Nehi is quite the feline." 

Upon hearing his name the orange boy wandered over, arching his back rubbing on my arm but keeping a careful and measured distance from the patient.  By this time the shepherd lay down and was dozing by the fireplace.  

“Some watch dog you turned out to be, Cody, you not only let this nurse in here but that orange fellow– shame on you. You are coming back tomorrow? And the cat?"" 

There was a tinkle of dog tags as Cody sighed, turning over edging closer to the river rock stone fireplace and the crackling warmth of the fire. 

"I guess we'll have to see about that." I was grinning at my patient and his ferocious dog - totally calm under Nehi's influence.

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