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You can CHOOSE a ripe grape or a sour grape. Yes, you and I can CHOOSE grapes that are mature or immature; answerable or reckless; life elevating or life destroying.

Life's GRAPE canvass allows us to EMPOWER ONE TYPE of grape over another. Either way, you and I have naturally tried each, and our individual life openly displays our preference. However, if you and I do not like the way or essence of our life right now, we can choose to live differently than we are living. How?

Well, like me, you can choose the type of supernatural miracle-life Grape that heals and recreates. This is the story of my life. I am still human though, and that means that I am still making mistakes, but making mistakes does not exclude me from moving forward with the Best of the Best!

Conversationally, the large cluster of GRAPES in the picture offers its own answers and is the launching pad for my story points. I have many unusual illuminating stories to tell from my own life, and many truly awesome stories from the wonders of Jesus Christ's life.

Of importance, for anyone to really understand why I am writing in this way, just look at the number of grapes and their hues. Each grape helps to give the cluster specific form, its own message by defining its own emerging journey, and its own level of influence on self and others. However, all of the GRAPES together are needed to complete the uniqueness of this cluster. And this CLUSTER of GRAPES is aptly defined by the VINE to which its STEM is attached.

This picture conveys to me a depth of insight illustrating that every one's unity or wholeness is comprised of numerous aspects, not one, or two. We experience, learn, and change from all the GRAPES in our life. Understanding this framework helps me relate those "defining experiences and events" that have and are vividly influencing the making of who I am even as I write!

<<< Here is a green LEAF >>>

Telling my story is very simple - starting with my first clear point of memory - wrappings of drama driving family social interaction.

Still, to convey to you how my life and the life of Jesus Christ really blend is not as easy because it is personal, like a mystery requiring a bit of open revelation making things public.

Now then, I want to tell you up front that I have learned to attend to the details of what it takes to live a fulfilled life. I have learned that those things, which inspire me most, are interpersonal gifts of reciprocation, i.e., give and take. What am I referring to? None other than a combination of learned behaviors through decision making by taking the best and allowing them to blend with supernatural revelation from the living Almighty God. Let's get started ...

At 18 months of age, I was precociously verbal. Wouldn't you know, I was the youngest of four children raised by a single parent, our Christian mother. My nearest siblings were just four years old on May 22, 1940 ... twins!

Teddy and Penny

They devised their own language (idioglossia) and did not speak English or communicate with two of this economically struggling family. Our mother did not understand the twins' words, however I did.

My mother always asked me to translate the "twins" private language. Thankfully, a year later they began to articulate words somewhat normally so that our whole family could socialize using common words.

Me, the translator just 2 years old - May 13, 1940 -

My oldest brother, Colin Jr., was one year older than the twins - almost three years and three months older than I. He too was bewildered by their strange language, although a gifted child.

Colin Jr. - 5 yrs old, February 6, 1940.

This was the time I began to understand that Jesus was the best translator for my life. My mother taught me that he was my supernatural Friend, the One who intently understood the language of my existence through the gifting of his heartfelt love.

Throughout this Seven (7) - Part Series, my friend, I will honestly express why Jesus Christ inspires me so powerfully! At times it is difficult for me when my heart fills with tears of joy and sometimes sadness. In various moments of my writing, you will note, I cannot find sufficient language to express adequately the wonders of Christ. It is in these quickened moments that my enthusiasm for Christ Jesus sweeps over my entire being with inexpressible peace.


Grapes of Choice . . . Part 1

Now, I will pick the first GRAPE and show it to you. Look inside at its core - times, surroundings, events, hopes, and dreams.

By way of suggestion, my friend, look for quality grapes that INSPIRE YOU! Inspiration motivates me more than mere principle. Consequently, I seek inspiration. By definition, INSPIRE affects us in seven quality ways: ENTHUSED; STIMULATED; STIRRED; MOVED; ENCOURAGED; MOTIVATED; and CHANGED.

These seven qualities are the vital elements that make INSPIRE so INSPIRATIONAL. So, for PART 1 of my life's story I begin with INSPIRATION'S wealth of ENTHUSIASM.

During the early years of World War II, my mother, my siblings, and I lived in a one-room house with one small kitchen sink, one faucet, one pot-belly wood stove, one kerosene two-burner camp stove ... our only stove to cook on in our tiny kitchen. Situated to the left of the sink was an "icebox" (it could hold one 50-pound block of ice that lasted for a few days at a time, plus four small cupboards.

In our house were two windows, two doors, two stoops, one hose to shower with outside in all types of weather, and enough galvanized buckets and shovels outside the east door, since we had no bathroom on five sandy acres. Not only that, we were busy happy kids, industriously creating all kinds of projects including digging "foxholes", and practicing our imaginary military endeavors. Thankfully, we were not community trouble makers.

Typically, we wore secondhand shoes with holes in the soles. This meant that we wore "inserts" in our shoes made from cardboard boxes. There was no shame in wearing shoes like this, or wearing secondhand clothes. Of course, many of our clothes were made from the material that came from animal and chicken feed sacks.

Our mother was an excellent seamstress along with all of the other duties and responsibilities in life that she had to fulfill in order to raise her family. Importantly, our mother taught us to wear the dignity of life itself even under very difficult circumstances! After all, in those days of earth's war-torn civilizations, there were millions of families who were worse off than we were.

Our dog's name was Happy! She was a midsize Chow-German Shepherd mix, and our best friend. Oscar was our pet duck. He loved to grab our pant legs, hold tightly, so that we could drag him around. Yes, we had one cow, many chickens, cages and cages of rabbits, and a nice vegetable garden. In additional to digging foxholes, we climbed windrows of tall Eucalyptus trees and built tree houses, rode bicycles, and had slings for shooting rocks. We caught spiders, snakes, horned toads, and tarantulas. Likewise, I maintained jars of ants so that I could study their habits. Finally, there was an abundance of big tumbleweeds to roll around, and those nasty sticker weeds were everywhere, frequently puncturing our bicycle tires.

Our home was one mile from the smoky furnaces of Kaiser Steel Mill, and one long block from the smoky coal-burning train engines of the major east-west railway in Fontana, CA, that ran between Los Angeles and Colton, CA, where the train Round House was located. From that Round House, all trains went west, north, or east across the United States.

Oh yes, just to mention it one more time, we had no bathroom. We had buckets, shovels, and five acres. My bucket served a dual purpose when washed clean and turned upside down. It was my "chair" in the tiny area of our ringer-washing machine. While my mother washed the family's clothes, she had me memorizing Bible verses, such as Isaiah 40:10-11. "See, the Sovereign LORD...tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young."

Listening to world news on our small radio was a favorite past time of mine. Everything was about the War. Memorizing Bible verses was also a part of my typical day as a very young child. In fact, I memorized scores of thoughtful verses every year sitting on a galvanized bucket turned upside down.

I am thoroughly convinced that I am forever blessed because my mother gave me good GRAPES. She took the time to help train my moral thought processes, reasoning skills and logic. She taught me and coached me to use my will power to depend upon Jesus. She did this to help guide my daily play choices and social interaction activities ... without rigid demands. Rather, her mothering style was to teach me to make my own decisions based on "right and wrong options”, a thoughtful decision making process that cumulatively became the foundation of my character today.

You guessed right - even with all that early training, I still made plenty of "wrong" choices, and "self-willed" choices. There was more than one time in which I generated sassy responses to my mother, which ended up with my mother literally washing my mouth out with a bar of Ivory Soap! One thing I will say, however, is this: no one in our family ever used dirty words, swearing, or any type of foul language. For that, I am deeply appreciative!

Here is an interesting observation: although my siblings received a few spankings, that is one thing I never experienced. All that my mother needed to do was look at me with a certain wide-open blue-eyed "look"! When she did that my heart broke ... that was it for me ... I began to cry knowing that I should have made a better choice on each such occasion. Not only that ... I understood why!



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