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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Sheep and Amazing Facts

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“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me”— John 10:14

Sheep! I don’t have much knowledge about sheep, I just know that my father raised hogs and cattle and avoided the idea of sheep; it could have been that there was no real sheep market at that time in central Kentucky, also that there was not any for soy beans…like today. There was a couple of incidents with two farmers that entered this business; one was shut down by marauding dog packs and the other farmer closed his sheep business when he did a chemical dip on the flock in the middle of a Kentucky winter. These were the days that a person discovered a tall mountain grass and named it Fescue – this became the cash crop.

While waiting in a local restaurant for a carryout, the waitress confided in me that she was from Texas. There was a morning that they ( the family) woke up to strange noises form the back of the house or as we would call it ‘a deck.’ They went to check and there crammed in as close as could be, sheep. Yelling at them to go away or tugging or any kind of hands on just did not work!. Telephone calls were made and one of the ranchers showed up and claimed them, he made some clicking sounds and turned and left followed by all the sheep. I was so reminded by John, the 10th chapter.

In my working travels, I was sent to New Zealand to do satellite tracking at the South Island airport. The countryside is filled with sheep, some say there are 37 to every New Zealander. You may see occasional cows and wonder why the bovines are so thin; the reason is that after the sheep nip the grass off close to the ground there is not much left for the cows. I assumed that daily mutton is sometimes replaced by a hamburger…and a very slim one…low fat!

Humor: A policeman stopped a pickup truck with sheep in the back. The driver was told that the sheep should be taken to the zoo and then asked why the sheep were wearing sunglasses. “Sir, I took the sheep to the zoo yesterday and today I am taking them to the beach.”

• There are over 1 billion sheep in the world.
• China has the largest number of sheep in the world.
• Sheep have a field of vision of around 300 degrees, allowing them to see behind themselves without having to turn their head.
• Sheep are herbivores that eat vegetation such as grass.
• The digestive system of sheep features four chambers which help break down what they eat.
• Sheep like to stay close to others in a herd which makes them easier to move together to new pastures.
• In 1996, a sheep named Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from a somatic cell.
• Domesticated sheep are raised for a number of agricultural products including fleece and meat.
• Clothing.

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Things

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Those of us who grew up in the post WWII era know that things were not plentiful and most were in sorry condition. One worn-out car driven by my mother almost took out the farm gates. It was traded for one that had a severe engine noise, then there was the one that stalled on every hot day.

Eventually factories turned to making all kinds of things for the home and automobiles by the thousands. Times definitely improved and if you had a little money most things could be bought on time. I learned early in childhood that things can let you down at the worst moments. It was still the age when you might have a friend that had taken some night courses in how to repair TVs and radios. Remember this was the vacuum tube age. You could pull a tube and test it at the local drugstore and buy its replacement. Sewing machines and household appliances worked the same way.

There was always a simple way of fixing them.

Those days are gone, mainly to the shores of other countries. Things are not repaired anymore. They are replaced. If anything happens to the thing of your dreams, most of the time it is headed to the landfill. These things comes in a variety of sizes and colors with built in obsolesce. Forget the idea of buying your last TV set or possibly your last automobile. Most things do last longer but no repairs and forget about finding another one like the one you are throwing away.

Severe problems are facing our planet. One threatening environmental issue is how to deal with MSW (Municipal Solid Waste). The average U.S. person daily throws out 5 pounds of trash. The yearly accumulation is 600 million tons. It has to go somewhere and this is the problem. The highest points on most counties are nicknamed “Mount Trashmore.” Recycling sounds good but it threatens jobs in the packaging industry. States have not figured out who is going the bear the burden of the cost to reverse the trend to throw every “thing” away – to go into a landfill.

India has a population of a billion people. Urban dwellers number 400 million. Mountains of trash are creating cancer causing fumes. Burning it fouls the air. Over a million people are making their living and supporting their families by collecting trash. A whole new caste of people have sprung up who pick over the heaps of trash to find things to sell or wear or YES! even to eat. They are known as the rag pickers.

There was a photo exhibit at the Reston U.S. Geological Survey showing this group of people at work digging into the piles of trash. These people number more than the Katrina Hurricane victims. Who will support them if trash is ever done away with. If we “waste not, want not” there will be lots of issues to deal with. Trash has become big business all because of “things.”

We shouldn’t allow our things to possess us. Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

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The Cracked Acorn: Life

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Two senior citizens were sitting on a courthouse bench whittling and discussing the merits of being rich. A friend of theirs had most of what money could buy. As they listed what he had, they comically would say,”And I wouldn’t want to live like that!”

Many have the chance to “live like that” today.

If a family has two good incomes it is possible to have an 8,000 sq. ft.home with 4 bedrooms and 4.5 baths and a three car garage and swimming pool. When this happens these families have to have help to keep their lives on an even keel. Pets will require lawn cleanup services. Dogs have to be walked and people to come and groom the animals. If the family is away for a day or more, there is pet sitting.

Executive Cleaning comes twice week to get and return dry-cleaning. A-1 Mowing comes and does the lawn while another company is there to nurture the plants and flowers. A college student can be paid to take the teens to the mall and do errands for shut-in relatives. Groceries are ordered over the internet and delivered to the personal chef. The chef will prepare meals to await the arrival of family members.With more and more Americans eating out, some of the large homes or mini-mansions are opting to have the builder leave out the kitchen. Meals are then bought over the cell phone and eaten in a small dining area. If you can’t organize closets and the like, someone is available to do this while you are at work. Shop4You is a service that will run those gopher errands that you hate and also wait for the repairmen to do plumbing and etc while you are at work.

Last but not least! How about all that paper that seems to be forever attempting to bury you. Magazines are stacked everywhere. Books, paperbacks seem to never get back to the bookcase. You have extracted articles from other sources that you find interesting but have never finished reading them. Catalogs, bulletins, brochures, and paper debris that suggests a purpose-eeks! You can’t find the time to deal with it! Not too worry! While you are away on vacation or at work, a company will send an employee to organize this flotsam and jetsam of paper and put it into its proper place. A printed list with title and location of each offender will be given to you as often as you require it.

I’m satisfied with just a cottage below A little silver and a little gold But in that city where the ransomed will shine I want a gold one that’s silver lined I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop In that bright land where we’ll never grow old And some day yonder we will never more wander But walk on streets that are purest gold Don’t think me poor or deserted or lonely I’m not discouraged I’m heaven bound I’m just a pilgrim in search of a city I want a mansion, a harp and a crown I’ve got a mansion just over the hilltop In that bright land where we’ll never grow old And some day yonder we will never more wander But walk the streets that are purest gold. (John 14: 1-3)

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The Cracked Acorn: Angel

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For the last two weeks, ACORN has followed what could be a success story. It could be time for Jake Coles to close shop and head out for a long vacation. Lola will be left in charge. The American dream has always promised this; work hard and give your all and things happen. This could be why people are risking their lives to cross the border into the 48 States.

The season is upon us and if you blinked, you could have missed Christmas trees and toys are already in the stores. I know that other holidays are to be celebrated first but get the juices flowing so when the time comes we will help the merchants report the best spending time ever!

I know I am rushing it, but snow is already falling in the northwest. It takes me back many years as a boy that snow meant home made custard and jam cake and many songs to sing at church about the Christmas time. It might be the baby Jesus and angels in the heavens but it is always a special time of the year.

A friend in an act of kindness gave my wife a small angel statue that can display wings of different colors;it’s very impressive. Of course we do not know what these spiritual beings created to be messengers and stand in the presence of God really look like. They took a form to visit Abraham (Genesis 18) and one wrestled with Jacob(Genesis 32). Books upon books have been written on the subject of angels. TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL ran for 9 seasons on TV and made all the actors very rich. We are now in the holiday season and many stores will be selling articles pertaining to angels. If you do get to discuss angels with someone while shopping be prepared for a fully functioning system that angels are essential to our modern society. The following are a few questions people have posted on the internet:

(1) Have you ever met a supernatural messenger or envoy?
(2) When you heard someone speak about meeting angels, did you think they were weird?
(3) What do you think an angel feels when humans reject its message ?
(4) If you believe that angels exist and act in our world,how should you live your life?
(5) What image do you think of when you see angels portrayed at Christmas?

Are angels sent forth today as ministering spirits to mankind would be the question to answer. The whole concept is that this would be a miraculous event but miracles have ended (1 Corinthians 13:8-10;Ephesians 4:8-16). Since the supernatural stage no longer exist so God employs angels to implement his will on the behalf of his saints in today’s world. It cannot be proven today angels appear in the human form as in ancient times (Acts 10). BUT in extreme times of danger this should not stop us from praying that God will intervene on our behalf (Daniel 3:19-25).

The friend and my wife have passed away—I try my best to remember both as special people.
(next week, I will try to solve a problem, common to many of us!)

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The Cracked Acorn: LOLA

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Matthew 25:35 – For I was hungry and you gave Me something …

While Jake was on his METRO way to the office, he put off possible business for today and instead gave his back a pat that he no longer had a car; he sold it years ago and never looked back. He had more time now to think, and not about traffic jams. Oh no! Fred has already sent me an e-mail. Open the tablet and get the full text.

BOSS THAT BAG OF BONES THAT YOU SENT ME IS HAVING HER LUNCH SENT IN…EVERY DAY, SHE IS BUYING NEW OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND UPDATED ALL SOFTWARE. SHE IS TURNING THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN HERE IN THE FIELD, UPSIDE DOWN!!!. SHOULD I DO SOMETHING!

reply…SHE HAS A CREDIT CARD I GAVE HER. UNLESS ROCKS ARE FALLING FROM THE SKY! DON’T CONTACT ME. THIS IS NOT A SOCIAL CLUB THIS IS A COMPANY THAT MAKES MONEY AND PLENTY OF IT, IF I HAVE MY WAY. IF YOU HAVE A WISH LIST, SEND IT; I WILL LOOK AT IT AND SEND IT BACK TO LOLA! O.K.

In the office, Jake dealt with the overnight mail and thought about details of a starting a second company, WIRE & CABLE, never too late to deploy and beat the competition. Every building of any size has elevators…time to get a piece of that OTIS action…watching the toy market, how about DYNAMIC PUZZLE; I will hold that thought for another time. Fred never answered my REPLY, he must be ticked or just accepted the status quo.

Yes! My diamond in the ruff. Weeks ago, I was about to reach for the revolving door to the building and a pile of homeless rags at that moment shot out a leg and almost tripped me. WHAT THE and I swore in Swedish! I’M HUNGRY! All I have is brown bag with baloney with mayo on white bread!  A hand shot out and took the bag, no thanks?  At lunch time I went back but Rags was gone. The next morning, it was a repeat. Third morning, same, fourth. I asked for a name, HAM ON RYE PICKLES WITH MUSTARD, come noon I returned, only this time the HAM ON RYE was tied to a bag with some cash and coveralls and an invite to the office.

Day was waning, I was bent over at the PC screen, there was a smell and a rustle of someone, it was Rags. Oh, my, I think it is a woman…JAKE — she replied, PAT HIGGINS, LOLA’s O.K. Would you like work, a job of any sort. YES! The reply was so enthusiastic that I took a chance. Here is a credit card and more cash get a taxi or walk, out the front door go left, four blocks is ABBY’s MOTEL, check in, clean yourself up, buy clothes and whatever a woman might need, eat, relax, next morning at 8 o’clock a pickup from my field office will give you a lift to your job. Fred will be looking for you. Do you have any education! YES!

Then, Good-bye
(next week?)

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The Cracked Acorn: Where birds can’t fly!

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Genesis 50:21 – Therefore do not be afraid. I will provide …

It was like any other day: ride public transportation, hope to get there in 24 hours. I see all these people and not the same ones every day. That is amazing!.

We are all heading for the biggest piece of cheese in a large city; mine happens to be 50 stories up, not even the birds fly that high unless on oxygen. What I would give for something to see that was not concrete and steel. But I can’t complain it was to be this way, I guess.

Her words: farming is a hard life, get a good education and I did as mother wished. It surely would be nice to have a small house somewhere and some green grass and a small putt-putt to cut it. I would not complain if there was someone interested in green grass and me! That seems so far away, if I get to the office (actually a small cube) I am going to pray to HIM above to remember me and give me a small wish or two.

At that wishful point in Jake Coles’ life, brakes churned and screed and gave the metro train a sudden stop and doors popped open to the outside world. Time to rush across the plaza ad into the nearest elevator and up and up and up. When the Otis counted off his floor and stopped, the iphone in his pocket vibrated, Jake saw that it was a Fred msg “Call me!”

It was war time, hit the front lines to make some money. It was his cube…oh my! It’s my drab place of existence, not even a picture of a dog or (well don’t go into that!) He hit quick dial for Fred out there somewhere. Almost immediately Fred answered,”Boss, we have a problem, delivery has gotten slower and slower — we need lots of pipe if we’re going to keep within our time limit of this contract. Lola has a suggestion,,,Want to hear it?”

IF YOU HAVE YOUR TABLET …SEND IT TO ME NOW…TELL LOLA TO KEEP SUGGESTING, BYE!

Within few seconds Lola’s suggestion appeared on the computer screen.

IF NUTS&BOLTS IS GOING TO KEEP IN THE GAME; DELIVERIES OF PIPE MUST BE DELIVERED DAILY AND OVERNIGHT…I HAVE SURFED AND FOUND A COMPANY THAT HAS 18-WHEELERS PULLING TRAILORS THAT HAUL MORE, PROMISE THAT. THEN THESE SMALL TOWNS WITH AGING WATER LINES WILL CALL NUTS& BOLTS. REMEMBER ME IN YOUR KINGDOM, YOUR LOYAL SERVANT?

Jake fired back to Fred,,,”Sic Lola on to one of those trucking companies she found and we wait…whatever Lola wants Lola gets! Also, I looked at another of her suggestions about a tool from Sweden that would last longer for cutting new pipe , purchase what we need.. don’t worry about money, if we close on time, money will come to us.” From the Ivory Tower.

That was easy! Now, I can lean back, lace my hands behind my head; this is the moment when I get my best ideas. Maybe, it could be “a leap forward” for NUTS&BOLTS and start a 2nd party of people on other contracts…that could be Lola!

(and then it happened, Jake’s sound asleep…we leave him here, QUIET!, until next week.)

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The Cracked Acorn: To Be Alive

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“How many times have you heard someone say “If I had his money, I could do things my way”?

But little they know, it’s so hard to find 1 rich man in 10 with a satisfied mind.” (Johnny Cash, circa 1978)

Money can’t buy back your youth when you’re old…  or a friend when you’re lonely… or a love that’s grown cold.

April 15, 2013, Monday, 2:49 p.m. , this date will probably soon be forgotten by many of us, but for thousands who were there on this day in the Boston Marathon, it will never go away.

Television and radio and maybe movies yet to come will keep alive this terrible event, hoping that this will not occur again. In the “course of human events” it is impossible to promise that this will ‘never’ happen again.

Those who survived , some were fortunate enough to be out of range of the explosions, look back and say that they are glad to be alive. There is no mention of the loss of wealth or the possibility that lawsuits could occur, just the ” I am glad to be alive!” and said by some who lost legs, “I am glad to be alive!”

Our country has always tried its best to keep alive the memory of those caught in these events. The list is a long one from World Wars to the Trade Center and to the present time when tragedy seems to become local. We love closure and set up monuments and even wooden crosses along the roadside to make sure that those gone are remembered.

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? … Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. – Psalm 2

This seems to be our heritage. What is the answer? (I knew you were going to ask!)

Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].  – James 4:14…Amplified Bible

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

After a torpedo attack on the convey, A sailor is anxious… his friend answers-

“Why is the Captain slowing? He always does, to pick up survivors!” C.S. Forester’s character is so like JESUS, who will always be there for survivors in our lives. (THE GOOD SHEPHERD,1955)

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Upcoming Events

Oct
23
Wed
10:30 am Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Art Class “Fall is Here” @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Art Class "Fall is Here" @ Art in the Valley
We are offering classes for children ages 7-12 who would enjoy expressing themselves through art. The students will expand their creative side with drawing, painting and constructing, using various mediums such as acrylic, pastels, watercolor[...]
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Oct 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing: October 2019 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
Oct
24
Thu
10:30 am Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
Oct 24 @ 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Small Business Lending Forum @ Samuels Public Library
The forum will provide participants with an overview of U.S. Small Business Administration and USDA/Rural Business Cooperative-Services (RBS)’s financing programs and services.  Participants will have the opportunity to field questions to lenders and learn more[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 24 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Oil Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful oil paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with oils necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
25
Fri
9:00 am Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Virginia Department of Veteran S... @ Able Forces Foundation
Oct 25 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Virginia Department of Veteran Services @ Able Forces Foundation
Able Forces Foundation is hosting Andre Miller, Resource Specialist, Virginia Veteran and Family Support, Virginia Department of Veteran Services, to assist veterans, their spouses, and dependents with questions regarding Veteran benefits and in filing claims[...]
1:30 pm The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Pain... @ Art in the Valley
Oct 25 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
The Fundamentals of Acrylic Painting - Fall 2019 @ Art in the Valley
This class will focus on proven approaches for successful acrylic paintings. Subject matter will be the student’s choice. No previous painting experience with acrylics necessary. The class will introduce students to fundamental concepts of color[...]
Oct
26
Sat
9:00 am Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Walk to End Alzheimer’s @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Oct 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Walk to End Alzheimer's @ Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
Join the Northern Shenandoah Valley Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s Together, we can provide care and support to improve the lives of Americans affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia (including family, friends, and caregivers), and[...]
11:00 am “The Great I Am” Refreshing, Hea... @ Warren County Fairgrounds
“The Great I Am” Refreshing, Hea... @ Warren County Fairgrounds
Oct 26 @ 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
“The Great I Am” Refreshing, Healing & Restoration @ Warren County Fairgrounds
Come to the Warren County Fairgrounds October 26th and 27th to enjoy live praise and worship! Miraculous testimonies will be shared both days, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at this free event. Bring your[...]
1:00 pm Workshop: Perspective Basics @ Art in the Valley
Workshop: Perspective Basics @ Art in the Valley
Oct 26 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Workshop: Perspective Basics @ Art in the Valley
This one day workshop is designed to increase your knowledge of perspective theory as it applies to art. All images including landscapes, portraits and still life make use of perspective. It is a necessary tool[...]
Oct
27
Sun
11:00 am “The Great I Am” Refreshing, Hea... @ Warren County Fairgrounds
“The Great I Am” Refreshing, Hea... @ Warren County Fairgrounds
Oct 27 @ 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
“The Great I Am” Refreshing, Healing & Restoration @ Warren County Fairgrounds
Come to the Warren County Fairgrounds October 26th and 27th to enjoy live praise and worship! Miraculous testimonies will be shared both days, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at this free event. Bring your[...]