Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Are You a "Closet" Perfectionist?

I once had a dear friend and neighbor who told me I was a perfectionist (she and I worked together too - she was one of my staff RNs and a Christian gal) I said "Dawn?! Me, a perfectionist? You have seen my dusty house..." (I was working more than 40 hours a week as assistant and then acting director of nurses at a skilled nursing facility - rehab and convalescent hospital).
She said "let me explain - is this you? You want to clean the kitchen and start with the drawers - you need to organize them more - and think about getting a box for your safety pins, another for the pens and pencils, one for paper clips.... and then, "man, there isn't time in my day to do it RIGHT, it will have to wait..." and you go on to something else...
"Well, you are RIGHT, Dawn - that is like the tape recorder in my mind!"
"Marijo, that is exactly how a perfectionist thinks... maybe a frustrated perfectionist, but a perfectionist..."
Moving right along - now that I am "retired" and even before I bore that title...
My closet - yep there are some piles of shoes on the floor. the rest of the closet is organized in the rainbow colors for tops.... we start with beige, then yellow, then orange - so when I am picking a pair of pants or a jumper and want to do a red shirt and shoes - easy peasy.
I have some folded jeans - a pile of 14s for when I want real loose pants, the 12s that fit are hanging up on pant hangers (the kind that holds about 4 pairs on each hanger in stacked layers) and the slightly smaller 12s? In a stack for when I lose weight. Then in the spare closet I hang up dresses, keep the few "heels" I have left in a shoe organizer. I have a shoe organizer in the main closet too with like colors in the same compartment together. Cozy.
We will pause here to take out Kleenex... to laugh or cry as you are inclined. Mrs. Organization has bed linens in the dryer - almonds in the oven roasting,the timer set while typing away to her friend Jean - hey, what do I smell? Oh, no, I left the timer in the KITCHEN... the $19 batch of almonds are slightly over roasted but Mick loves them that way - he says, hope he wasn't just trying to make me feel better the last time I did this, by saying that... not usually his style though. (BTW at that price we will be switching to some other nut - they began at $14 for 3# and now up to $19 - too high - more than we spend on meat)
In the spare closet - I also have stacks of favorite jeans in size 10L, 8L and even a stray 7 WAITING for that magical day when I LOSE again - only my favorite ones - I gave the rest to the church clothing exchange and rummage sale - honest.
Mick put a vertical shelf stack in our closets and 2 horizontal ones and a top rod and a bottom rod (we do shirts and pants hangers so that is double space and the dreaded dresses are in the WIC (Walk in closet) in the computer room as are the off season clothes - mostly mine.
My spices, in the kitchen, are on little plastic lazy Susans - in neat, alphabetical order, of course. Who wants to spend 20 minutes looking for oregano when you can whirl to the "O" section and grab it immediately?
Please do not choke up on the smell of slightly over toasted almonds - I am doing enough choking for both of us...
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved - use giving proper credit to author - thanks!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Faded Blue Fur

(Big Bear is the light bear in the wagon)

I am still amazed after all these years that He loves me. He knows me lumps, bumps, flaws, missing parts and He loves me all the more. Is it like looking at my old teddy bear, the one with the button eyes and faded blue fur, the bear of my infancy? Big Bear still has a place of honor in my home. He has gone from close childhood companion to a perch high in my kitchen in a little red wagon. Big Bear looks out over the most precious room in the house, my domain, and surveys all. The bear of my childhood would not win any beauty contests but he doesn’t need to as he has won my heart long, long ago. Yes, I love Big Bear maybe because of his lumps, bumps and flaws. He is unique to me, we have traveled far together.

Today Jesus is once again sharing His thoughts with us in that still, small voice whispering:

Child, I’d like to speak to more than your heart. We need times to listen (together), times for you to be still and KNOW that I AM God. I LOVE you. Really (selah) pause and think calmly about that.

Maybe that is how God sees me, like I see Big Bear. Perhaps all those things which make me uniquely me and completely His are what endear me to Jesus. I only know that He cares so much for me and for you, way beyond our material value, looking straight into the heart of us. He values who we are because He made us, planned for us and knew our each and every thought. Yet, He loves us still. And that is His unconditional love. Will you allow Him to draw you close? Will you allow Him to make you His child? His forgiveness is there for the asking. He is nothing less than God wanting to set the captive free. Believe me, you have never known a freedom or love like His.

Looking at the word “encourage” we see the word courage. Does it mean to give courage?  The thesaurus says to give confidence, hearten, cheer, support, persuade, push and promote among other things. I think to give courage would fit right in here too. Jesus definitely gives me courage, to hope, to trust, to believe though I haven’t yet obtained and to hang on tightly to the promises in His Word.

We can talk to Him in prayer:  Ah, Lord God, please help us to slow down, to walk liberated in all the light we have. Help us to get a picture, glimpse by glimpse, of your most incredible love for us. Help us to listen and ask, to walk upright in You. Thank You for your most inexplicable love that wants to spend time with us. Thank You most of all for who You are and what you did and continue to do. AMEN

Deuteronomy 30:20 says “that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them…”

In Psalm 46:10 we are encouraged, given courage to be still and know that He is God. It also states God will be exalted above the nations and above the earth.

In John 16:27 Jesus is speaking saying “No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

I wonder at the special, individual place each one of us has in the heart of God. I think there are really no words to explain that place.  It is a most wonderful place to experience more and more as we walk with Him. Let’s give Him our hands. Let’s give Him our hearts. As we walk closely with Him today.


Tonight please pick one of the verses to meditate on (repeat over to yourself and stop with emphasis on each word thinking about it. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you things in that verse you hadn’t noticed before as you read it over several times. Sometimes reading it out loud gives you a fuller perspective also.

My Commitment:



Prayer: Lord Jesus, we come to You to praise and thank You that you LOVE us, lumps, bumps and all. You accept us with our weaknesses and strengths, one limping efforts and the ones others see as ‘stellar”. Thanks for Your patience and the progress we make in growing to become more like You. We lift this prayer to You, Jesus, AMEN.

 (C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thy Hands Fashioned and Made Me


I see another wrinkle

Around my eye

One more smile line?

The clock's ticking faster as the calendar flies

More gray hairs I find


Jogging's a drag

But my clothes don't fit

Even when I lose pound by pound

My crazy Body's rearranged

What used to be up slipped down


New aches here and there

Which I never had


I could go on and on

But somehow I know there's more


Lord, You're not bound

By place, dimension

Of time

It surely isn't my earthly body

You're working to make Thine


'Cuz You've promised

In Your Word

Written in many a place

You'll give us glorified bodies

When we meet You face to face


You allow

This falling apart

That's taking a toll on me

To polish up my rough cut soul

And draw me closer to Thee


A complete creation, I wasn't at birth

Nor even at 70

Perhaps not until

Death comes around

To set Your servant free


Thanks for helping me

Refocus on You

By knocking at my vanity

By destroying some of my self-concern

You helped me look at Thee


"Thy hands fashioned and made me,

Now Thou dost destroy me....."

Thy servant Job wrote down.

All those many years ago,

I believe the key he found.


Sand me, buff me

Destroy me

To create

A faithful, loving servant

You'll greet at heaven's gate!


Psalm 119:73-74 Your hands have made me and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn Your commandments. Those who fear You will be glad when they see me, because I have hoped in Your word. 

Job 10:8 Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity; yet You would destroy me.....
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved - use giving proper credit to author - thanks!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Talking With the Lord Jesus





You make a smile rise in me

From deep within my heart

Your Word gives perfect direction

You promise we’ll never part

Lord Jesus,

Let me hear you clearly

And move out obedient

In Your way

Let all that I am

All that I do

Please and reflect You

This day.


My Child, I love you too, take care in hearing, as you are. I shall clarify in a timely manner. Your love is my love. Obedience is your focus and you shall hear my voice. Be not afraid. My work/way shall thrill you. Selah. I am the ways and means provider – trust.


Father, I NEED YOU!!!


Daughter, your ministry unto Me will diversify. You shall be equipped for the army I am raising up. I love and challenge you and give you to meet that challenge. Fear not. Victory is mine and yours in and through Me. I love you. Selah.


Prayer: Oh, dear Jesus, we cannot go wrong seeking and following closely after You! Direct our steps so that we follow in your incredible footsteps every minute of each day. Use us for your kingdom and help us to be a blessing to your people we pray! AMEN


In Psalm 78:1 God, through David is strongly encouraging His people to hear His teaching and listen to the Words of His mouth.


Isaiah 28:23 underscores listening and hearing to God’s voice and paying attention, hearing what He says.


It is mentioned that when the Jewish people find something really important that it is repeated (in scripture). There are many more places where we are encouraged to listen and hear.


In Romans 6:16 we are taught of obedience. What or whomever we obey we become a slave to. The only one I would willingly become a slave to would be Jesus. Think about that for a minute, please.


This scripture goes on to say we have a choice to be slaves to sin or to obedience with sin leading to death and obedience leading to righteousness. The choice here is would you rather be righteous or dead.

It didn’t take me long to pick in that choice.


In Psalm 95:6-8 David is entreating us to come, worship and bow down, to kneel before the Lord our maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture and the flock under His care. David goes on to say today, if we hear His voice to harden not our hearts. We have and are given choices all the time. God doesn’t want pets but those who will choose to worship Him freely. He is SO good. We are sometimes so very messy and yet He gives us that choice.


Psalm 108:13 speaks of gaining victory with God saying that He will trample down our enemies. To have the very God who created the universe on our side, to be our champion. It should be easy to allow our lips to praise Him and praise Him!


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


Saturday, April 2, 2016

My Mama Used to Speak of “Borrowing Trouble”

When I was a child I used to think, actually I used to stay awake at night “thinking” from the time I was a toddler. I am sure this dismayed my parents. “My tummy hurts, can you bring me a drink of water?”
“What are you doing still awake?”
We found out later I did have food allergies which validated some of the “my tummy hurts” times. But other times I was “thinking”. Sometimes I was thinking about good things, events to come that I was excited about. Trips to our cousins, birthday gifts or saving enough allowance to finally buy the doll for myself were some of those wakeful thoughts. Other times I was “what-ifing”. I am going to Sue’s house tomorrow after school, what if this happens or that. What if I miss the bus. If I talked to my mom about these “what-ifs” she sometimes told me that I was borrowing trouble.
As an adult I continued to do this. When I became a Christian the Bible teaches us to not worry but to pray about things and then turn them over to God. Great idea that sometimes isn’t easy to implement. I’d give something or someone to God and pretty soon find I’d taken them back again to “wart” over. I wonder if that’s where the term worry wart came from? As I grew older in the Lord, I got a bit better at releasing worrisome things to Him. I had seen His faithfulness in circumstances and learned that I really could trust Him. There were always the relapse times too. It was one of those times when I felt He was whispering to me:
You are so filled with questions – some necessary and pertinent. Some you’d do better without, for your own anxiety. You are learning the difference even now. Your mind shall be refreshed and renewed as you focus on Jesus and ask. I am with you to teach, strengthen and empower you in His name. Be flexible in my Spirit and when in doubt, ASK ME. I won’t leave you in doubt. Praise be to God most High for His incomparable gift, His Son, Jesus Christ, your Lord.
He and I have come a long way together over the years. I am still learning and growing but am thankful that my trust in Him has grown so that I am not “borrowing trouble” nearly as much as I used to. Mom lived to see this era in my life and I am sure she was definitely relieved, I know I was.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits.