Transitions

So. Many. Transitions.  How do we manage them all in our lives today?  Mine seem acute right at this moment – moving from a Rainbow Gathering back into what is termed “Babylon”.  So basically unplugged and in a different world for a couple of weeks back into a very plugged in, very tethered world.

This trip I have been on the road for 7 weeks…..each day much like the other, when traveling in the van.  I joke I am going to put a perpetual calendar in the Roadtrek to tell me what day it is and what the date is.  So different than life at home where the day it is determines the activity of the day.  But both awesome and enjoyed, in their own ways.  It’s just the transitions that take time for me and my brain.  The living in the moment of either world works well, I have found, but the brain needs time to segue in and out of modes.  At least mine does.

It’s a privilege to live in both these worlds.  I take none of it for granted.  Right now the van is parked outside of my son and his wife’s world and they have allowed the man child and I to step into their lives for a few days.  We’ll celebrate the man child’s golden birthday here (14 on the 14th) with a few surprises his older brother has planned.  Memories in the making.  And I’ll continue to process the transitions in my brain while living fully in the moment.  I don’t know how else to do it.

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Sweet new friend, Dario, and I at the evening gathering at Rainbow.  He spent much time teaching me photography and walked miles to his car to get me a replacement SD card when mine malfunctioned.  Enjoyed our time Dario!

You can’t always get what you want / But if you try sometimes well you might find you get what you need (The Rolling Stones)

This is a magical tale and all true…..

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The young man and I were on a trip to sunny Florida, headed down to serve.  I had had it in my spirit to pray a dog would drop into our laps, mainly as that’s about the only way we could bring a dog back to the family as the hubby and father of this family had shut the door on any more dogs.

Sonny boy, aka the young man, had pined for a puppy for 5 long years, after the passing of our sweet Skippy when he was about 8 (young man).  Pined, prayed, waited – patiently and impatiently – believing, I think, in the impossible as Daddy-O kept saying no way, no how.

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Never say never has become a philosophy of mine.  I truly believe in a God who delights, many times, in doing the impossible, as it seemed the dog situation at our house was.

As we headed home, dog-less still, the young man was looking at rescue dogs, pounds and all things dog online.

But there’s a big difference between dogs dropping in your lap and going and making it happen, and I really felt we’d have a better chance getting Dad’s blessing with a miracle dog.

And then Monday happened.  We travel in a class B RV, Roadtrek by name, and had pulled over Sunday night while still in the FL panhandle.  The only thing nearby, as this tired momma needed to sleep, was a WalMart, known for their friendliness to overnight stops.  So stop we did.  The next morning, we headed in to buy some supplies for the long trip home.  There sat a Rainbow Family member, Little Breeze by name, with one dog on a leash and one dog on a string.  As we asked after Little Breeze, he shared how he came about this string dog.

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Let me say one thing – the young man had shared with me his dream dog – down to the age, breed and look – and I knew the moment Breeze shared about this dog that we had just met “The Dog” and the “dropped in our lap” requirements.

Sure enough, Breeze was willing to share, as he had only gotten the dog to save it from being taken to the pound.  Even more willing, since we were Rainbow Family, leaving a gathering and heading home.

We hurried in to buy a leash, some food and a collar, young man all amazed at this turn of events.  I cannot say I was overly surprised though, after all it had been in my heart.  And I believe that God’s just good like that, caring about the dreams of 13 year old boys.

Pablo is now home.  Nails trimmed, tics gone, and adjusting to a family after being abandoned for a bit.  (That’s when Little Breeze came upon him.)  Hubby has been gracious and even hooked up the dog run in our back yard that Skippy used to use.  I’ve been taking daily walks with Pablo, which I never made a priority to do for myself, and I see how far this blessing was meant to extend.

Never say never.  Never believe you know the way it’s got to be.  Stay open to the miracle.  Say yes to the gift.  In the end I trust…

…We don’t always get what we want…but if we try sometime, we might just get what we need.

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The Magical Mystery Tour – Part II

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The Friends of the Cincinnati library book sale, where I could have stayed all day, is where I left off in my last Magical Mystery post. Talk about a book lover’s paradise! For this homeschooling momma, it was close to heaven. Many libraries today are dumping the classics folks and those are the books we use in our day-to-day schooling.  I was not disappointed in this stop. We only had about 45 minutes until closing, by the time we arrived, so I quickly ran around collecting what I could find with the binder I carry for just such occasions. I did knock two books off the list I needed for this year, and several others for successive years. The prices were GREAT, so great that it was no surprise at check out to hear the volunteer mention a used bookstore owner had bought over $800 worth of books the day prior. I bet, and marked them up besides. This gem of a stop is located at the Friends Warehouse, 8456 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45216. I am headed back alone some weekend to spend the entire day on the hunt. The gals with me found a couple of treasures each. But quickly we were off to the next mystery stop.

Ikea! Just the name conjures up happiness so it was no surprise this envelope was chosen. If you’ll recall, I had made 20 mystery envelopes and the choice of the envelope would determine the next stop. This envelope had a plate and a fork on the outside, but my daughter-in-law quickly narrowed it down to some kind of store with kitchen ware and, with the knowledge that we were headed to Cincinnati, figured this clue out. We decided not to stop first thing in the day, when the envelope was first picked, so quickly headed here after our adventure at the library sale. Ikea never disappoints and we found some treasures and loaded up the car. About this point we all needed a break from the heat, so out came the envelopes, and, no surprise, it was time for a brewery.

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Madtree Brewing, to be exact, east of Cincinnati and also one of the top 10 craft breweries in Ohio. We found a place to park, admired the tomato bushes growing out front and went it to taste the magic elixir. Well, they tasted the elixir, I had a water, still pinch-hitting as designated driver, aside from the fact I can’t stand beer, lol. This was a production-facility and tap room and it was hopping with people for a Saturday afternoon. So we enjoyed the atmosphere and contemplated more envelopes and where we would head the rest of the day.

At this point, the gals were ranking the envelopes from most likely to least likely and then opening to survey all the options. For this night that included dinner at a winery (we were running late on this option); an outdoor Shakespeare festival in a local park (out due to lack of chairs); an outdoor theatre featuring the Indian legend Tecumseh or the 4th Annual Milford Street Eats Festival, which turned out to be the winner-winner chicken dinner. So the tasting flights were finished and we were out the door.

It was a gorgeous drive to Milford through an area called Indian Hill, billed as an affluent suburb of the greater Cincinnati area. Worth the drive if you have the time.

We finally found our location following the GPS outside of Milford and around, to a big parking lot filled with 24 food trucks, several beer trucks, kid’s games and a center stage with entertainment. It was a beautiful evening and this was a perfect stop. The only disappointment came when the BBQ truck closed down early after running out of food, but there was still plenty to be had and the beer was plentiful. We finished our evening listening to the band play while we sampled the best the trucks had to offer.

 

Stayed tuned for Part 3, which involved a mixup on where exactly where we were staying and a whole other day of adventures.

Dreds Day 25 ~~ Reboot #1

So it’s day 25 with the dreds, and time for a “reboot”, which is another trip to the dred-dresser to clean up the messy look.  Here’s day 23:IMG_6224

 

Lots of messy — going every which way.  Some of the dreds had fallen out completely and I was twisting them and anchoring with a small rubber band.  Lots of fly-aways too.  Oh my!

Here’s what happened today:

 

Properly retwisting my hair and weaving pieces throughout.  It took 3 hours to do these twists, thanks to the ultra-patient Corrine.  Some with a soft head may think this hurts, but I really didn’t think it was too bad.  I think I just like having my hair played with, for whatever reason.  It’s now up in a ponytail where it will stay a day or two.  I also bought a du-rag to keep it covered all night, rather than the half the night the bandana was lasting, which will mean less jostling of my hair through the night.

Young man and I are off to Ecuador in 5 days and I am hoping my hair really begins to lock. If not, I am armed with a crochet hook and just enough knowledge to be trouble, I think.  I may be rebooting my dreds a bit on the road.

Do you have dreds?  How long did it take before yours really locked in?  Any tips for me?

The Magical Mystery Tour

 

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I have this lovely daughter (well, two actually) but I am talking of my oldest here. She’s strong, like her momma, both in a good and bad way. All of you with strong kiddos know exactly what I mean. I have found that bribery, something I said I would NEVER resort to in my young and foolish days (pre-children), works just fine whether your kiddo is young or old, and so bribery it was and thus the Magical Mystery Tour was birthed.

 

Three days, three nights, no knowledge of where the heck we were going (other than knowing where we would end up and that was the reason for the bribe). I must say, for someone as strong-willed as she is, she did mystery just fine. For my end, I made darn sure it was an awesome trip filled with things she would love (i.e. breweries cuz any trip is made better with a brewery, or five, stop).

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Day 1/Night 1 – Surprise! – your sweet sister-in-law is coming and off we went to stay with them, just a hop, skip and a jump down the pike. Young man got dropped off here with his older brother so there were smiles all around.

 

Day 2 – Out the door as early as we could muster. Did I mention mystery?   You see this trip unfolded like the “Choose your own Adventure” books she remembered growing up – the girls chose the direction we would go based on any one of the envelopes available in the moment. So there were 3 to 4 possible directions we would head based on their envelope choice, all with sticker clues, some very obtuse, on the front.   And, just for fun, I had thrown in quite a few things I liked to do, so it wasn’t only things that floated their boat, making it even more mysterious. First stop, the Cincinnati Art Museum, free entry (parking $4) with an exhibit of Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. This was a sure-fire pleaser as both gals are cat lovers. It was a fun stop, the exhibit excellent and it was a hoot to shop the gift store and see the $500 print for sale. I thoroughly enjoyed the Modern Cats exhibit too, in which prose was paired with cat pictures in a fun and whimsical way.  We could have spent a long time here as their museum’s collection looks quite extensive, but we had a mystery schedule, more or less, and mystery was calling.

The next envelope sent us over to Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine Brewery District. As luck would have it, we stumbled upon Findlay Market in the process and stopped here for lunch and to look around. This is a not-to-be-missed stop, filled with lots of food options and many market stalls plus some venders. Two of us opted for the choose your own salad combo while one of us went for the waffle sandwich with brie, ham, pesto and apple. All very yummy.

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Next stop: Rhinegeist Brewery, one block away. We kept our car at the Market and walked over. We delightfully discovered two bar areas: one rooftop and the other inside a 5-story building, coverted to brewery and pub. The view was great from the rooftop. Beer also good, according to the taste testers I had brought along. (Our crew voted this the best atmosphere of the 5 Ohio breweries we visited this trip). After a quick visit with an area friend, we were off again on our journey. Next stop – The Friends of the Cincinnati library sale where I could have stayed all day. More on this next post!

Inspiration from a random moment – Tales from the Trail Part II

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I am reminiscing tonight about all things Rainbow. It was a glorious time, truly, and an experience I will never forget, those days at Rainbow Gathering. Tonight C was in my heart and I thought of the sweet young man, not a kid really, but at least 3 decades younger than I. I had seen C hanging out at Jesus Kitchen for a couple of days in a row, this kid of a man, tall and straight with the nicest smile and the most liquid honey-filled eyes.

 

Finally, after the hustle of filtering water that some kind soul had carried up the hill in a 5 gallon jug, I went to the campfire to sit a spell and there C was, eating some breakfast and looking somewhat pensive.

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One always wonders if they should jump in when someone’s pensive, at least this one wonders: leave them to their thoughts or get sociable? Will they share? Will it make a difference? Are you interrupting? Knock, knock. Who’s there? Interrupting Cow. Mooooo – you know the joke.

 

But those decades have taught me something and he was a kind, young man and so we began to talk. Turns out we had a lot in common, mainly a guy named Jesus, whom we both knew by name, and that’s always a fun place to share from. I like to listen to my heart when someone is sharing theirs because sometimes, just sometimes, thoughts, feelings or words “pop” in and I have learned it’s kind of important to share these seemingly random things because they aren’t so random.

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So at an somewhat appropriate moment, I asked if I could share, wanting the okay of this dignified young man, and since it was going to be, kind of, you know, random. He gave the okay and I blurted out, “I see a purity in your eyes.” I watched as, like an arrow, the words went straight to his heart and tears sprang forth. This is how you know it’s not just you, it’s not just random and the words were given to accomplish a holy purpose.

 

Turns out his grandfather had quite the opinion about the Rainbow Festival, though grandpa had never been there, and it wasn’t really all that grand. C used the word, “evil”, which sounded really harsh to me, but who was I to judge? But it had hurt C’s heart, I think, to feel so pulled to a place, for whatever reason, and have the intent of his heart so misjudged by someone he obviously cared for. At least that was my take on it. So I guess purity was an affirmation to C that he needed to hear.

 

I ran into C a lot over the next few days as he came and went. I truly don’t know what his mission was or reason for his being at the Rainbow Gathering. That wasn’t mine to know. I hope he went home and had stories to share with his grandfather. Stories that blessed grandpa and showed him a little more than the judgment he had moved in that had wounded a precious grandson. Stories that clearly showed the motivation of C’s heart and helped grandfather see the purity in those liquid honey-filled eyes.

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A Dred-full Day!

 

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Well, this is going to be a bit of shocker for some people (like my extended family), but yesterday I started the journey into dreds. Yep, all 55 years of me. It’s been brewing a couple of years – this thought that I needed to get dreds. Now I am counting that thought as divinely-inspired and straight-from-the-throne-room as dreds are about the last thing I would ever spend my money on.

But after chewing on it, like a cow with a cud, two years later I have spit it back up and dreds it is.

It did make a whole lot more sense to me as I felt so called to the Rainbow Gathering where there’s a whole lot of dreds going on. But in my own eyes, and in the perceptions of the world, this is not who I have been or am. I mean sure, crunchy momma tendencies (just ask my kiddos) but my view of myself has been far more suburban momma with a bit of religious crunchy thrown in and dreds are not part of that m.o.  At least in my brain.

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Evidence “A” for Suburban Mom status

I’ve been pondering, in the three weeks since I have pursued this decision, and what I have come to realize is that much of this is going to be a humbling experience.   Humbling me. Humbling my pride in who I think I am, how far I think I have come and where I think I am going. That kind of humbling ~ the best kind of humbling I think. Stripping any pride I have in my wonderfully wavy hair, the way I am perceived by those around me, the way I have, frankly, used those perceptions to work for me and for my best interests. Oh it’s an ugly can of worms I’ve uncovered as I have chewed this cud.

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Whole lotta grey going on here ~ more than I realized, lol!

So yesterday I sat in a backyard, a neighbor’s pool area and next to a river, for hours, while a sweet new friend put this formerly pretty mop into dreds. And you know what, the humbling already has begun. I frankly look like Pippy Longstocking, only older. It’s messy and I was hoping it would be somewhat stylish in some way. It’s not. It’s going to take a few months, says my new friend, before they lock in and look more like dreds. My young man advised me this morning to cut them off. But I’m too cheap for that. I paid good money to look like Old Pippy here and so I move forward.

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How I envisioned it would look.  (Sorry no idea what website I pulled this from.)

Not sure where this all ends up, but I’ll shoot a few photos now and again and keep you posted on this new epic journey. I am also going to see how perceptions change, my own and maybe even others, and I’ll dialogue about that too.

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 Dreds day 1. Pippy indeed!

As my young man summed it up yesterday, “My mom has done some crazy things, but this is the craziest of them all!” That may be, but in the end, I am still his mom. Nothing changed there.

Did I really just book a flight to Ecuador?!?

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The beautiful Ecuadorian countryside on the way from Guaranda to Chillanes.

I’ve spent the entire day in disbelief that this is really, finally happening. Have you ever been double-minded like that? On the one hand saying, “Yes, God” but maybe at some deep level giving yourself an out so if it doesn’t come to be you can deal with it? So the day has been spent saying, “OH MY GOSH, WE ARE GOING TO ECUADOR!!” And wondering how God is going to show up to pull the rest of it together. Because He’s got to show up.  We’ve booked the flight and the rest is our faith journey.

The young man (man child has become a teen and so the old moniker doesn’t quite work, hence the new one) is going with me and is VERY EXCITED.  I am VERY EXCITED to share his first out of the U.S. of A. experience with him.  (Well, except for Canada, but that’s U.S. of A. North, or at least it seems that way.)

I remember my first few weeks after arriving to spend a few months in Mexico City.  (That was over 30 years ago but feels just like yesterday.)  The adjustment was tough.  I had had three years in university-level Spanish and had a piece of paper showing I was qualified to speak it, but as that first actual question came as I arrived, “De parte de quien?”  I had zero idea what was being asked so I kind of clued in that this transition wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought it might be.

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Lunch is served!  Thank goodness the young man now eats rice.

Then there was the food.  So different that anything I had ever experienced.  I had a list of everything I wasn’t supposed to eat (lettuce, watermelon, etc.) and really didn’t eat a lot of anything.  I lost a lot of weight.  Then I discovered Sugus, a chewy candy, and food kind of stabilized, filled-in with a lot of candy.

So that’s where my head is today — trying to think through and troubleshoot some of the issues you might have with a 13 year old who has only become a more adventurous eater in the last couple of years and has zero clue about the whole new reality he is about to enter in to.   I think this is going to be a life-changer for him; I know it was for me.

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Grazing next year’s food by the side of the road.

We leave in about a month.  We have no set plans other than some initial time in Quito and then striking out from there.  I have NO IDEA how one navigates hotels and hostels when you don’t EVEN HAVE ACCESS TO WIFI as you move through life.  GPS Navigation?  Forget about it.  I mean, I have visited Ecuador so I somewhat know what we’ll be facing, especially outside of the cities.  But very quickly here I have grown accustomed to face life’s uncertainties armed with a smartphone and a Google app and now that crutch will be entirely taken away.

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The beautiful city of Guaranda, Ecuador.

Follow our journey on Instagram.  We’ll crosspost to Facebook.  I’ll get on the blog if I can (but won’t be taking my computer and it’s a lot of weight in our backpack and a worry in my head).  Instagram is @thisepicjourney.  Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/This-Epic-Journey-1517863695115729/?fref=ts.  I’ve also got a page about the journey with a little of the story at https://www.facebook.com/groups/616039435213645/.  The posts will happen as we trip across wifi.

Say a prayer for us if you are the praying sort.  I’ll need direction in a country still torn, in many ways, from the large earthquake this spring and the many temblors that have since followed.  We’ll be okay, I know, as I am so confidant we are following a larger plan in all of this.  We’ll come back changed, and confidant, and more faith-filled and my young man will soar in so many ways.

Ya know, one month can’t come soon enough for all that promise.

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A homestead in the highlands.

Welcome Home! Of a different variety.

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Sweet home Indiana!  After 13 days and numerous van issues (transmission fun) it was without a doubt, a great joy to enter into Indiana.  For the first time in a long time, I return filled with joy & hope, knowing without a doubt the way forward into the future and why I am situated where I am at this point in my life.

Does leaving all that you have and stepping into an alternate reality like the Rainbow Gathering morph out to create waves into your own life?  It cannot help but do so.  I don’t think I have EVER been so grateful for hot showers, warm beds, washing machines, toilets that flush (and aren’t in the ground) and all those creature comforts we Americans take for granted.  Running water!  How could I forget that!  But beyond creature comforts, for me, the Gathering has helped coalesce and focus a whole host of things to point me in a direction from which there is no return.

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After 6 days in the woods, this was a glorious site to see!  Hotel toilet.

 

Look for more posts in the days ahead.  In the meantime, you’ll notice our tag line has changed – the man child leaves “tween” behind to enter “teen” this next week.  I made it home for that big event (Thank you God!) and Monday we begin the celebration of him and his moving from man child to man teen?  Man-in-training?  Man of the moment?  I don’t know.  I’ll give it some thought.  Man child is growing up, as we all are, and after so many events in this last week, which only appeared on my radar well after they occurred, I am going to celebrate his coming of age at such a time as this and all that is planned for his sweet life.

Celebrate with us folks!  Celebrate life!  Celebrate toilets!  Choose gratitude today.  What do you have in your life that you are thankful for?  I know for many, life is hard and filled with tough choices.  But I challenge you to choose just one thing today to celebrate with a sense of gratitude.

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Tales from the trail – Part 1

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I am sharing my tales from the trail, to tell you of the deep, deep impact this event had on my life, not to begin a discussion or deep dialogue on rights or wrongs, and how those things play out. I am not a theologian but a lover of all people and seek to learn to love more as I walk through this life. As such, if you would like to comment, please do. But hurtful comments that divide us rather than help us unite and walk in love will be excluded from publication. Please understand that there are other sites willing to discuss those things. This story exists solely to share about the Rainbow People and my visit to them and to help others, especially my Christian brothers & sisters, perhaps understand a world so different than their own.

 

I have just returned from the Annual Rainbow Gathering held in the hills of Vermont. I was a Rainbow “virgin” and have come out a much different person than I went in.

I worked with a group called Jesus Kitchen, serving food, filtered water and coffee to those at the gathering – Jesus believers or not – and listening to stories, oh so many stories, shared around the circle we sat at morning, noon and night.

One of the most impactful, to me, was that of P. The day after I arrived, I heard P call out from our steps (we were situated up the side of a hill), “Can a pagan transgender come into the camp?” This alone broke my heart. That any one of God’s children would feel excluded in our camp or not welcome to come to the circle of light and love made me sad.

We ushered P in and she sat down and began to share her story with all of us – unbidden but welcomed, as all stories were welcomed. It was a tale of hurt and heartbreak involving things that couldn’t even be told as we had children in the circle. Most disturbing to me was that the horrible things P had suffered had been in a church. Things you don’t mention when children are present. Things that make scars run deep and pain stay fresh.

P asked to share a song. Music, P said, was what got her through the tough times. One song after another followed, and, at the end, three beautiful hymns were sung – tender and filled with emotion. My eyes were not dry.

After, P began to talk of the things of God. Scripture was not unknown to this pagan gentle person and she told stories of sharing the word on the streets of New Orleans with street preachers and many asking in that city how a pagan could share the word of God.

Anomalies run deep, don’t they? I don’t use that phrase as if P were the anomaly. The situation was that thing. Sitting in a circle of love and light listening to the resonating word of God from one so judged and considered by some not worthy to deliver it.

P did not return to Jesus Kitchen, at least when I was there. But I saw P on my last day of the Rainbow Gathering, dressed this time in the opposite persona. He was preparing to play an instrument and share of that deep love of music with yet another crowd.

 

‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ Luke 14:21b – 22 NKJV

 

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All names have been changed to protect the identity of the person involved as my heart to is protect their dignity. If I have failed to do that in any way, please forgive me. The failing is mine.