Roll With It, Baby!


Some days I am amazed at myself! No hubris intended. I look at my life and wonder to myself, “Exactly…how did I get here? Really?”

Here I am, in the last couple of months that I will share residing with my now, totally grown, independent children, with whom I communicate very little, if at all. The whole of my existence is encapsulated in the smallest room of a house 30 minutes or more away from everything I do most often (work and church, and the friends from either). I spend so much on gas and car maintenance, quick and somewhat healthy foods, that I don’t have much of anything for luxuries like…thrift store shopping. I spend so much time going between the two places I frequent most, that my energy to be sociable is worn to a frazzle. And my house is really not my home.

And, then…there’s him.

I am in a relationship with a man I am certain will be my last husband. We both have ADHD that manifests in two different and distinctive ways. Our tastes in art and music are as similar as they are different. Our backgrounds are dangerously similar, and what God took 35 years to work out in me, I have had the privilege (and terror) to watch God work out in him in the span of the year we’ve known each other. It seems to be a really combustible combination. The wonder of it all is, we ignite without exploding and we have SO MUCH FUN together, even when we disagree. Part of the reason my grown children and I communicate so little…they don’t exactly approve of my choice. But, I had to remind them, I was grown when they got here. As such, I answer to God about these things, since He made me and they didn’t.

Nothing in my life is the way I’d hoped it’d be. It is not easy and certainly not glamourous. It has been a series of forward failings…I keep getting knocked down and kicked over, but as long as I pay attention to the direction in which I fall, I keep getting up heading in the right direction. As a desert baby, I have simply learned to roll with it.

It had to be almost 30 years ago, when I heard T.D. Jakes preach about desert babies. He was referring to the Israelites as they proceeded to make that 40 year journey. Their situation was such that they had to be ready to move at a moment’s notice. It required the ability to travel light, take only whatever sustenance was available for the day and, even in making plans, be prepared to drop everything to move when God said move.

As I have come to learn in the years since, the bottom line is, if we call ourselves followers of the Cloud (the Spirit of Christ that dwells within us), we cannot afford to take the departures of others from our lives personally. Unlike the days of that infamous mountain trail, we all have to follow the cloud, individually, even more than as a collective. Not everyone who shares our path at any given time is meant to take the whole journey with us. God leads us all on our own personal path. Not everyone can go where we are headed.

It is not wise to expect others to understand the path we are on. After all, the God who speaks to one, speaks to all. And, while His word is very specific about the general details of our collective destination, we each have a path to travel that is ours alone. We have to give an account for how successfully we’ve followed the Cloud for ourselves.

There is no kinship so vital as the ones who have been called to share your journey with you. Often, blood has nothing to do with, “the tie that binds,” when it comes to the path upon which we have been called walk. If it were the natural DNA that bound us to a common cause, Jesus would never have needed to say, “A prophet is not without honor, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.” It’s usually the ones that are naturally closest to us that cannot see us from God’s perspective.

The only DNA that binds us to one another is evident in that we are obedient to the Word of God. Again, Jesus was quick to emphasize this when he was being summoned by His earthly mother and brothers. In Luke Chapter 8 is a small snippet situated between Jesus sharing deep thoughts and performing miracles. Jesus took only enough time to explain that, “My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it,” before He moved between the two.

Please understand: in no way should we disrespect or dishonor those to whom we have familial ties. It is the genetic pool from which God has drawn to equip us with basic traits so that we can understand and bind the generational curses, as well as activate and employ the generational blessings for our journey’s sake. Beyond that, we need to know that the only family that matters are the family that follows the cloud.

So, here I sit. In awe of how far God has brought me these 47 years on the planet. Resigned to the comings and goings of those who share temporary space with me, grateful to God for the time I’ve had to love and grow with all the desert babies passing in and out of my life. Excited to see how the changes in season will bring about greater victories in Christ, and greater opportunities to share my adventures with our Heavenly Father, with more and more people.

Thanks for rolling with me, Kaleidoscope Family.

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While I Was Away…


Did you miss me?  I missed you!  I know, I know…it has been well over a month since my last post. This has been a most fruitful month, if I do say so myself.

I had pretty much gotten to the end of myself in this past year.  I have been settled into a fantastic career. Far beyond a paycheck, it has been the most rewarding year of my employment since I stopped being a home-maker in 2006.  I am fraught with purpose and destiny.  I am in love with all of my co-workers and all of the volunteers/interns that I have encountered at PASS network for life.

I have you all to thank for a most productive blog life.  I have seen so much love and support…it is almost too much to fathom.  There are lots of things in the works as a result of the conversations we have been having from a Kaleidoscope perspective.  I can’t wait to share with you about what is coming next.  But that may have to wait just another month or so.

A lot of things have happened as a result of my near-death experience in July.  For one, I have a greater gratitude for life. I recognize that time is short and I need to live a life of joy AND happiness; not just to fulfill my purpose, but to surround myself with those who mean me the MOST good, not just those who don’t want to hurt me.  Because of that, I have divorced the love of my youth, only to have the love of my life find me, pursue me and hold me close.  I am a phenomenally blessed human being. Things move pretty quickly when you get out of your own way (I’m just saying).

All of this brought me to a holiday season of very mixed emotions.  I had never been so happy! God is restoring the years that the locust has eaten, and He’s doing it in a QUICK WORK.  I have love in my life like I have never known. When God presents us with an opportunity to love and be loved, we should grab hold with both hands and treat it like the gift that it is!

This season has been a little intimidating as well.  My purpose and destiny are taking shape.  I see my sons walking into their purpose and destiny as well. To God belongs all the glory! I feel that this may be the last Christmas and New Year we have lived under the same roof together. Our living situation is about to change again, and this time, it will look very different. We have emerged from what may be our last year as “all we’ve got.”  We have had to depend on one another through some of the hardest times imaginable. That has forged a mighty bond between us that cannot be severed. But I raised my sons to leave me, as is only right to do, for they were never really mine to claim. I struggle with wondering if I did everything I knew how to do, to prepare them. I am trusting the God who made us all to make up the difference.

I have also never been so keenly aware of the fragility of life and that time should not be wasted. I found out about the passing of a very dear YOUNG woman…Barbara Ann Peeples has left this life and it has hurt my heart tremendously.  I have had other dear friends with loved ones who let go of this life in recent weeks and I have commiserated with many whose hearts feel lonely and low during these festive seasons.  I have watched people suffer around me in ways that only few of us can honestly relate. Top that off with my own personal confrontation with “Old Man Winter,” where I spun out, due to snow, on an overpass and ONLY blew out both of my front tires.  Scary stuff, but I made it out, yet again, alive.

I want to take a moment to just thank God.  It is difficult to understand, from the outset, what God is doing.  But I love to see Him work.  I am always surprised at how things work out in my favor, from such contradictory circumstances.  I have seen the Lord take the foolish things of this world (like my life) and confound the wise too many times to doubt the mightiness of His hand.

And so, my dear friends, I say welcome to a new year!  Welcome to the land of GREATER, where God is showing His magnificence and splendor in ALL of His people. I expect to see it God go BIG this year!

 

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The Blanket Maker’s Quilt: A Lesson in Quality Control


Some days I am amazed at myself! No hubris intended. I look at my life and wonder to myself, “Exactly…how did I get here?  Really?”

There is absolutely no reason why I should have the wherewithal to raise sons.  I come primarily from a matriarchal family.  And let me tell you…the matriarchs on the dominant side of my family tree were very interesting.  Strong women on the surface, these brilliant, creative characters had some super-lethal self destruct buttons.  I mean, when these things went off, they destroyed everything and everybody around them for miles.  I was trained to keep secrets; trust no man; never let the left hand know what the right hand is doing; remember blood is thicker than water; what goes on in this family STAYS in this family.  I honestly don’t know HOW the men in my family felt about anything…there was no valid opinion that was not first approved of by the women-folk.

By all rights, I should have been the LAST human being with a womb that God would trust with men children. And yet, here I am with two fantastic sons.  These are young men full of vision and purpose, protective and caring; strong, clear identities that do not suffer fools lightly. They are fiercely individual yet, like twins, have their own personal short-hand complete with a library of inside jokes. It blesses me to see them so devoted to one another and to me. They have all the makings of good men.

Top that off with the array of brothers, sons, cousins and nephews I have, virtually none of whom are related to me by blood.  They honor me and I honor them.  I am blessed to have so many good, REAL men in my life.

Now, how did that happen?

I tell you, God is pretty clever.  He has a plan for each one of us.  And he will protect and prepare you for who you are destined to be, regardless of the circumstances of your birth.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND…I know that only a man can make a man. But what I CAN do is point sons and brothers toward examples of what a man looks like, based on my experience. And I can bring a word of loving correction, encouragement or insight when their ends began to fray. For every season in my life, where the enemy would set me up to be exposed, God placed a few good men to cover me – like the swatches that make up a patchwork quilt – leaving sets of standard for me to pull together, ensuring I could identify quality ‘coverers’ and I could assist in making and keeping them strong and reliable.

These swatches of fabric have covered me for a time or two, here and there. Men who have given me inklings of how it feels to be truly covered in a world that left me laid bare and at the mercy of the elements.

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I have three cousins; Eric Derrick and Eddie.  They were some of the first to let me know that it’s okay for a lady to catch a football, dig for worms and go fishing.  They taught me that life is a dance and a lady needs a man to lead confidently without being overbearing.

Another cousin, William, taught me that a lady does not have to throw herself at the object of her affections, but that when love comes, it extends firm arm for her to grab hold of, a friendly smile and walks with her at a comfortable pace through whatever the road ahead may bring.

One of my ‘brothers’, Jerome, taught me a lady is never afraid of what she has to offer. Love will always give her room to be herself.  Real love will always find the fair exchange of melody and harmony to the sound of her song as long as she keeps playing her own tune.

My Pastor/Father, Dan Willis, taught me that love is the same, every day.  Good days, bad days, clear or cloudy skies; love should not change.  The consistency of a man is the mark of His relationship to God and his ability to relate to the woman he covers.

This last swatch is a little tough to talk about and was, at one time, the most sturdy and lush of materials.  My husband, Tracy, covered me as well as he was able, through extraordinary wear and tear.  From the time I was 13, he taught me that both the heart and the body of a lady are precious and she has every right to preserve them. He taught me when the sum of a person’s actions does not equal the sum of their words, it may be best to remove one’s self from the equation.  He taught me that chivalry must be taught and a lady must be taught to expect it or she will never understand why she always feels wanting.

Some of these men have come and gone more than once in my life, sometimes at the same time but mostly in shifts. They’ve always given more than they’ve taken. And anything they did not cover that I have learned to share, I attribute to the covering of Father God through the example of Jesus Christ and revelation through the Holy Ghost.  There will always be warmth and protection in my life because of them. And because of my “Quilt of Many Colors,” I have a wealth of observations to impart to my brothers, sons, nephews and cousins.

I don’t think it strange when I find myself at the café table with a few of the brothers in the choir, holding court.  When I ask them questions and offer up insights, they seem to listen with rapt attention. I am grateful to have something worth imparting, helping to make them covers that others can count on.

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