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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Gloria



My wife was born October 8, 1939 to Alfred and Doris Schaffner. Albany, New York. Gloria had a sister, Dottie. They lived at 25 Garden Street. Schools and shopping were within walking distance. Their father finally bought a 1954 Mercury.  There was lots of aunts and uncles nearby.

Gloria was a guard on the high school basketball team.  She was always very athletic and after we were married had her bike in the garage and bar bells to lift. When she graduated from high school, she decided to join the Marine Corps and also a friend wanted go with her.  At the train station, her friend never showed, so she went on to the Marine base.  Gloria never had a license to drive. She rode trains and Trailway buses.  She did this for 3 and half years while in the Marine Corps.

Gloria Van Arsdall

We met through a Social Club; we wrote letters.  Today, that would all be on the internet. At that time she and another former lady Marine were living in an apartment in D.C.  This was when Martin Luther King was killed.

Well, what about the Marine Corps: Gloria said that on the first night several of the new recruits cried and cried and went home the next day.  I think she like the training.  She said the Drill Instructor (D.I.) could shout in her face all day, it never bothered her!  They did a lot of drilling and marched in many parades, even in July in wool uniforms and said the Marines were the only ones that knew how to salute.  They were given chances to shop at New Bern, she liked this.

Gloria worked in clothing.  She often told that it closed at 5 o’clock.  If officers showed at one minute after 5, she would point to the sign CLOSED AT 5. She never opened, no matter how long they banged on the door.

Thru the years: we adopted two boys now out in society saving the world, Gloria  kept a long prayer list, sent  encouragements to church members, made telephones calls and helped when needs arose.

She can’t do that now- in long term nursing care.

Ancient documents tell us of a trumpet made to sound clearly when blown and take action.  For us Christians it will be a motion to go home. Please; don’t burden yourself with the possessions of this world, travel light, be ready, because I have given you  a warning the gate to heaven may be CLOSED at 5, prepare to be there and on time, Gloria will be there and she likes people to obey the sign!

To Canaan’s land I’m on my way. Where the soul (of man) never dies. My darkest night will turn to day.

No sad farewells, no tear dimmed eyes, where all is love and the soul never dies. (John 6:50)

Crossing the bridge to church one Sunday morning, in two lanes, the outer lane had a truck with the Marine Corps sticker… I blew the horn and pointed to Gloria…they saluted each other , SEMPER FI.

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Handwriting



“Then HE stooped down again and wrote in the dust.  … ”  John 8:8

Handwriting took a turn in 1714 when Henry Mill of England invented a ‘writing machine.’ It was many years later, Remington & Sons mass produced the Sholes & Glidden typewriter.

About 1975. In 1978 the New York Times converted its editorial typewriters to word processors, and Jimmy Carter was the first American president to go electronic, writing his memoirs on a word processor.

The Bible was written by hand. Letters from friends to friends and to those of interest were carefully written to convey most of time personal and important information. People of years ago did not see each other as often as we do today, blame it on the proliferation of the automobile. Today, if I want to contact someone I either use my cellphone or go to my home PC and send an e-mail.

All if this is aforementioned to get to the relevant. It was the day that I received a telephone message in my home office to call my neighbor across the street. I thought it strange that over the years, I hardly ever had this happened beyond a friendly wave while walking our dog. I dialed and instantly my neighbor’s wife answered. She thought it strange that someone had addressed a letter with their address on the front of an envelope; inside it was a letter from someone who wished to remain anonymous. The contents of the letter were to warn maybe our neighbor’s husband who is a law enforcement officer that there was another known person mentioned. It was assumed that the word was to get to her husband, a law enforcement officer that there was a person in her neighborhood that was ‘evil’ and not to be trusted. Why this was done and will there be more letters, all remains to be revealed. Time has since passed and no more letters. We could assume that the ‘person’ moved away or other situations intervened.

And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth.
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears.
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle.
I had the feeling that something was missing.
I don’t know what, but when it was over,
I said to myself, “is that all there is to a circus?” (Peggy Lee 1920 – 2002)

Yes! Handwriting has about gone away and circuses and a lot of other things….Meanwhile the American public echoes ,”Is that all there is?” I have a mental list of things that will disappear in the coming years, say 50 years. I once thought a million dollars was something to reach for, now it is a billion dollars,,,who knows that soon it will be a trillion dollars and small countries will be bought and sold to the highest bidder. Where is a Daniel when we need him and he can tell us what the “handwriting on the wall” means to us poor citizens of the world today.You might want to read the Old Testament of Daniel 5:26-28.

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The Cracked Acorn: the Answer



Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelite’s swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” (Exodus 13:19)

The highway monument sits beside the road, once its glory could be easily noticed, but now time has gone by and traffic speeds on its way into Culpeper for bargains at one of the Super stores open 24/7. One must be traveling slowly and look to the right and there it is in a madness of timothy, foxtail, clover and different types of grasses almost covering its moment of emplacement. Mother nature is doing its best to hide this interloper. We see these appointments of kindness due to a sadness and loss alongside other roads and highways. Some are complaining to the Highway Departments that these are distracting and could cause accidents, for a lack of a reason.

Within this random chaotic arrangement of clover , weeds, and display of bucolic sent from above, flowers is a subliminal message. The staked unstable monument is a Styrofoam cross
with its head dress of WalMart vinyl chain of floral flowers. It is the cross and those who sat it in the ground must believe that there is a God and that there is hope and that eventually

somewhere beyond this arena of passing joys and moments of sadness is another place, eternal and there we shall all meet again.

Why any person would place a cross to be soon cast into the landfill or crushed by an attempt to mow and clear the byways for passing motorists. I could answer that I would have the answers to more of those questions that all of us face from time to time and have to answer, “I don’t know!” and, hope this is enough to have closure.

“A little girl was riding on the airplane across the Midwest to spend the summer with her grandparents. She was reading one of her favorite paperback stories,”Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” when a young man took the vacant seat next to her. He attempted to start a conversation, “You know on long flights like this that time can pass more quickly if we have conversation. I would like to tell you, “Why there is no God and no heaven and nothing beyond this earth; you live and then you die and that’s it!”

With that the little girl looked up from her book, “Do you know why a horse eats green grass and leaves behind round clumps, the cow eats the same grass and leaves behind round patties and the goat does the same and leaves little pellets?” The young man laughed, “I don’t know.”

The little girl said, “The dimmest farmer knows and I know we have nothing to talk about,” and with that she went back to reading,”Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.”

A Cross for me to carry, on the road of life you see.
I know that I must tarry on to my eternal destiny.
For Jesus has a Crown of Life waiting just for me…
Dr. Donald E. Battle (written 2002)

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The Cracked Acorn: Large Copier



When I was still working in a Federal building, I needed to make a copy of a large document. When I went to the copy machine room, I found a notice that it had moved to the 3rd floor. A reason was not given.

If you will bear with me I will attempt in my own feeble way to guide you to the new location of the same mentioned machine. Are you still with me or maybe you don’t care, it will be quite a journey. You may want to refer to this as a mission,a quest or an adventure.

First a word of advice, don’t talk to anyone on the 3rd floor, that you meet, and ask them,”Do you know where the large copier has moved?”

If you want to meet people and possibly influence them this is a good way, just watch their eyes light up because they also want to know where the large copier is located. Many of them will freely confess that they never knew there was a large copier on the 3rd floor. You can also find others who are willing to read the posted signs with you (about the copier) even though they don’t know a thing about the copier, but this is helpful if you missed much of your schooling and never learned to read. People of the 3rd floor are very friendly and will join you in searching for the large copier, you only have to ask them. The 3rd floor is very large and filled with many corridors and offices (John 14:2). This decision is up to you if you think that you need to form an expedition in your search for the large copier.

With this behind us, we want to leave our present office on the second floor and head up front into the hallway that goes to the main elevators. Take a right into the corridor that will put you up front over the “new” guard’s post. Take the small elevator up to the 3rd floor. When you have arrived, go left or go right, if you go left you will have to go left again into the hallway that takes you to the large copier, if you go right then you must go left (having previously refused or decided to not go left). Now that you are in this hallway, you will see afar off an EXIT sign, this is your point to head towards. Don’t get mesmerized at this sudden turn of events, you only want to go to the third room on the right. The room number is 3C-409 and there are two double glass doors. The doors have a lock and the code is 24. Inside is the large copier and you will have to punch in the code 5590 to start it.

People of the 3rd floor may not know the code and try to get in while you are making copies. You may choose to ignore them and whistle a happy tune while you make all the copies you want. I enjoyed this so much that I made a second trip to the 3rd floor copier on the same day but I was surprised by a lady who had entered a back door then propped open the “locked” door and let all her friends in!

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The Cracked Acorn: Dogs



It was during the past week that on one channel was a 2 year old girl singing softly to an old dog, his head was cuddled in her lap, fast asleep.

Did Jesus have a dog?

I know that you dog lovers reading this want to see the answer “YES!”

God has created all things for us and when He finished, He saw that they were good. (Genesis 1:24,25).

As early as I can recall from those very first Sunday school classes, I never saw class materials of Jesus holding a dog or even having one at his feet; it was always the little lamb so helpless and cute.

The Zondervan Expanded Concordance gives 37 scriptures referring to the place of dogs in the Bible.

Dogs were first associated with the Egyptians. Here dogs were used in temple service to the gods of Egypt (Exodus 11:7). Dogs were not allowed in the House of the Lord (Deut. 23:18). There was nothing lower that a dog. This beast was given over to a cleanup of anything thrown over the city wall. They were associated with everything unclean.

Dogs are drawn by the urge to be with a pack and are hunters often after the slow, old and weak. When I was about seven years old, a favorite pet had to be put away. He had strayed and was seen with others killing the neighbor’s goats. I did not understand. I asked why we just didn’t tie the dog to his dog house for a few days. Dad said that was not the cure. (Later in life I learned that dogs have many teeth and strong jaws to rip and tear.)

Paul wrote in Philippians 3:2 – “Watch out for those wicked men,dangerous dogs, I call them,who say you must be circumcised to be saved.”

No one really knows when man domesticated wild dogs to be used as guards for the home or when it happened that someone saw that they could be great companions. We have all seen the movies; Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Old Yeller, and Benji.

“As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs came and licked his open sores. Finally Lazarus died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham in the place of the righteous dead. The rich man died and was buried.” (Luke 16:21,22)

This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes them all. Anyone who is among the living has hope-even a live dog is better off that a dead lion! For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward,and even the memory of them is forgotten. (Ecclesiastes 9:4,5)

You can’t buy loyalty, they say
I bought it though, the other day;
You can’t buy friendship, tried and true,
Well just the same, I bought that too.
I made my bid, and on the spot
Bought love and faith and a whole job lot
Of happiness, so all in all
The purchase price was pretty small.
I bought a single trusting heart,
That gave devotion from the start.
If you think these things are not for sale,
Buy a brown-eyed puppy with a stump for a tail.
(from Poems about Dogs)

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The Cracked Acorn: Boys Into Men



Nearly thirteen, I contracted a viral flu-like disease that kept me bedridden for two weeks. I was delirious and kept a high temperature,, causing a loss of my hair. The doctor came to our farm house and administered a new drug on the market, called penicillin. It saved my life; I did not realize how close my life was threatened I went on living due to this miracle drug.

BLUE RIVER is a movie definitely not aimed at amusement. It will leave you disturbed as I was. Ninety minutes about disturbed young “men” are not often on the mark; this one caused me to reflect on my school years because I have seen two examples that this movie could have used. Boys in the wonder years, a time when youth enter the maze or sieve to emerge on the other side transformed into an adult. During this period, you may hear, “Boys will be boys!”, “He’s really a good kid.”, “Mischief is a part of it, he’ll grow out of this.”, “Give him space and you’ll see him amount to something.”, and the “Military will straighten him out!”

Franklin was our comic on the long school bus rides; we laughed when he could imitate others: teachers and our drivers. Adults were often not amused. He could be very serious, taking parts in school plays, like the role as the father of a juvenile delinquent -Deno. After graduation, he was accepted into NROTC. This was brief, the navy decided that they did not need any future officers with lots of humor and no openings for a standup comic. He married and started a family. I saw him at one of the early high school class reunions. He came in late and appeared to be eager to leave. I barely had a passing moment to say “Hello!” A few months after I had returned to Virginia, I heard that he had committed suicide.

Donnie was a nearby farm buddy. His mother was in poor health; Mom took me along for visits. He had a fascination for the big kitchen matches, used daily to start the kitchen stove and fireplaces. I think he liked the sudden explosion and the bright flame. At other times, he could do crazy things on the farm equipment. From this it was a trip to Florida in a ‘borrowed’ milk truck. He began to travel the roads and liked being a part of a crew that was fighting western forest fires. He died in his early twenties of tuberculosis.

The world missed out on having: a comic, great actor, a NASCAR driver, a smoke jumper or a possible expert on explosives. Today, I am sure things would have been different; we will never know!

When they came to many people, a man came up to Jesus and got on his knees. He said, “Lord, have pity on my son. He is very sick and at times loses the use of his mind. Many times he falls into the fire or into the water. I took him to Your followers but they were not able to heal him.” Then Jesus said, “You people of this day have no faith and you are going the wrong way. How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” Matthew 17th chapter, 14-17. (from TODAY’S ENGLISH version)

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The Cracked Acorn: Love



This is a true story. I know personally the party, involved. Love dwindled, unhappiness and dissatisfaction grew, daily fussing and fighting characterized the relationship of husband and wife, ultimately, a divorce wrecked the home, leaving two bewildered, emotionally scarred children in its wake. The father gained custody and the mother went her own way, doing her own thing.

The children loved their mother. Strange thing about love – it’s so often blind to the faults of those we love. Months went by and the mother longed to see her children. She mustered up the courage to visit. Leaving her car at the curb, she walked to the front door only or find no one at home. But posted on the door was a note from the youngest of her two boys, the seven-teat-old. It read, “Mother, I’m at the park. Please come to the park.” She hurriedly made her way to the park, and there, sure enough, was the little fellow. After the preliminary hugs and kisses, the mother, still amazed by the note, said, “Honey, how did you know I was coming to see you today?” He answered.

“Oh, I didn’t, but what made you put the note on the door if you didn’t know I was coming?”

In response the love-starved little one said, “I put a note on the door every day, every time I leave, ’cause I knew you’d be coming to see me.”

“I knew you’d be coming to see me!” I wonder if there are not those OUT THERE, life’s rejects, those hurt by cruel circumstance, those whose life seems to be hopelessly going nowhere, those groping for some spiritual meaning in their lives, who are daily placing a note on their door which reads, “I’m not at home just now, but please – PLEASE – come find me..” by David Ladd, preacher.

Facts and Statistics
Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent. There are 17,900,000 orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development. According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. families adopted more than 7,000 children in 2012.

Last year, Americans adopted the highest number of children from China followed by Ethiopia, Ukraine, Haiti, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. No child under three years of age should be placed in institutional care without a parent or primary caregiver, according to research from 32 European countries, including nine in-depth country studies, which considered the “risk of harm in terms of attachment disorder, developmental delay and neural atrophy in the developing brain.

“Children raised in orphanages have an IQ 20 points lower than their peers in foster care, according to a meta-analysis of 75 studies (more than 3,800 children in 19 countries). In 2012, 23,396 youth aged out of the U.S. foster care system without the emotional and financial support necessary to succeed. —American Surveys Digest—

Student A: I can spell my mom’s name!
Teacher: Oh yeah? How do you spell it?
Student A: M-O-M.
Student B: That’s how you spell MY mom’s name, too!

(From THE WAYNESBORO VISITOR, Church of Christ…March 15, 1998)
Title: THE NOTE ON THE DOOR 1 JOHN 4:19 KJV “We love him, because he first loved us.”

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Upcoming Events

10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 20 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
5:00 pm Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
Jun 20 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Annual Wine Pull @ Blue Wing Frog
5th Annual Wine Pull | Thursday June 20, 2019 | 5:00 – 7:00pm | Blue Wing Frog, 219 Chester Street. Tickets: $40.00 – Includes food, glass of wine, and a bottle of wine or wine[...]
10:00 am Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week – Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 21 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Summer Art Week - Session 1 @ Art in the Valley
Summer Art Week for children is designed for students who love art and want to go beyond what they have experienced in the school setting, while meeting the Virginia Standards of Art. Recommended ages for[...]
9:30 am Acrylic Pour Workshop – Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Acrylic Pour Workshop – Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jun 22 @ 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Acrylic Pour Workshop - Level 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn the process and art of acrylic pouring with artist and instructor Jan Settle. You’ll have a fun & exciting experience creating your own original masterpieces in this workshop! Learn how to manipulate paint &[...]
1:00 pm Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Jun 22 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Meet the Author: NP Haley @ Royal Oak Bookshop
Lily and the Ghost of Michael Thorne By local author, NP Haley Feeling someone or something looking at her, Lily peered into the shrouded forest and buildings surrounding the alley. Blinking rapidly to make sure[...]
7:30 pm Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Jun 22 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Middle School Pool Party @ Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool
Middle School Pool Party! FREE to all Warren County students who will be in the 6th-8th grades for the 2019-2020 school year. Event will take place at Claude A. Stokes Community Swimming Pool on June[...]
all-day Reflections on Hubble Art Show @ Lake Frederick - Shenandoah Lodge
Reflections on Hubble Art Show @ Lake Frederick - Shenandoah Lodge
Jun 23 all-day
Reflections on Hubble Art Show @ Lake Frederick - Shenandoah Lodge
Reflections on Hubble Art Show June 4 – 23 at Lake Frederick June 4, 2019 – open to public June 12, 2019 – Meet the Artist Reception 4-6 p.m. June 23, 2019 – Final Day Seven Lake[...]
10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jun 24 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
6:00 pm Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Jun 27 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Sip & Glaze @ The Vine & Leaf
Sip & Glaze at The Vine & Leaf! Join us for an evening of good company while you glaze your own lunch set (bowl and plate).
1:00 pm Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing Workshop – Sum... @ Art in the Valley
Jun 29 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing Workshop - Summer 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This weekend workshop will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings of leaves, flowers,[...]