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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Sleep

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It was five years ago when I wrote about my Dad that I had confided to him that while working underneath my car that I would sometimes take a short nap. He told me that he had been doing that for years. It took me by surprise that I was already doing what I thought of an older person’s habit. I now find that naps overtake me at inconvenient times when I am trying to watch an interesting television program.

I have returned to the fascinating arena of sleep. Medical experts on the subject find that we have always needed sleep. It’s the prime ingredient for the healthy recipe of a long life. Americans are finding it harder and harder to squeeze eight hours of “downtime” into their lives. One out of three suffers chronic reasons denying them adequate rest. It can be shown that close to fifty percent of the drivers in the morning and evening commutes have not prepared themselves for this daily stress test and face the possibility of causing or being part of a serious accident. High auto and medical insurance rates are the indicators that show we as a nation are not admitting that we need to heed what the Lord has said in the Scriptures.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain, you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat – for HE grants sleep to those HE loves. Psalm 127:1,2

Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Proverb 5:23,24

The sleep of a laborer is sweet, whether he eats little or much, but the abundance of a rich man permits him no sleep. Ecclesiastes 5:12

Note: how the Lord uses the word “sleep” in I Thessalonians 5:1,6

Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. (I understand this to mean metaphorically that we are not to “sleeping” by worldly standards but to stay conscious of the fact the Lord may return for those He has given sweet restful physical sleep.)

How much sleep do we need? Margaret Thatcher was notorious for existing three to four hours a night, and she wasn’t exactly an underachiever. Many would be proud to have her level of achievement.

We cannot live without sleep. “There’s an account of a coast-to-coast airplane crew who put the plane on autopilot and then all fell asleep. The plane, loaded with passengers, overshot the destination and was a hundred miles out to sea before air traffic control was able to wake them over the radio.” from UNDERSTANDING HUMAN LIMITS IN A WORLD THAT NEVER SLEEPS by Martin Moore-Ede.

So if you are building up a sleep debt, here are a few tips. Try them – could save your life and others with you: Avoid energy drinks, caffeine with loads of sugar, try to sleep in a noise-free place, avoid strenuous exercise late in the evening, cut out stress and worries – if possible, have a light snack before bedtime, some say to keep the television and radio out of the bedroom and try to avoid long naps during the day.

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The Cracked Acorn: the good old days!

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Our sons occasionally would ask us about the good old days. Well, are the good old days gone? For us, the now older generation…those days are well gone. If you grew up on a farm or in a small town, the scenery is mostly gone. Family farms may still be trying to make it on 100 acres, I doubt it. The small town may now have its Walmart or a strip mall. Holidays are celebrated in a larger fashion than 50 years or so ago.

Some of us would think that the good old days were not really that great. Doctors usually had an office nearby and sometimes acted like Doc on Gunsmoke, you know, “Try this and if you make it through the night and have no more pain, well, then you are cured of whatever you had.” We are definitely living longer than past generations who died of flu and childhood infections that were killers to the older ones.

There was the church or rather the church building, one for the soul and the other for fellowship and picnics, vacation Bible school for the farm kids. At Christmas, there were boxes of food to be put together and delivered. That is still done today, not as much maybe, food stamps and charity agencies have assisted. Since we were less than 10 minutes from the church building, we were there any time the door was open. There were many sermons and a week-long gospel meeting every year. I never remember the members ever strayed far from the straight and narrow way. If they did, it was down front and put back to the work of the Lord. (Matthew 7:13)

The one thing that I miss from the good old days is freshness. There was a large garden that brought in all the best of vegetables and fruits. You name it, it was grown. I don’t think I recall anyone dying from too much homegrown nutrition. I also miss the open invitation for visiting. Remember those days gone were the time of much openness with farmers and town people. If you decided that after supper and you were spruced up a bit, there was the chance for visiting a neighbor or having a neighbor stop by, this was when stories were told about hunting or about the latest failures in crops and the plan to do better next year. Pigs on the loose and a stray cow were items to laugh about.

I turned on my radio, in the middle of the night, and I heard things I need to know. Well, I never knew I had Martians in my garden, and I never knew there were aliens on my roof. I’ve got shadow people, and they’re living in my basement. Got a funny feeling Bigfoot’s going to be here soon. I was so blind before, I was so unaware, but now I swear I’m seeing Sasquatch over there. (from Coast to Coast AM1100, theme)

A farm boy accidentally overturned his wagon load of corn. The farmer who lived nearby heard the noise and yelled over to the boy, “Hey Willis, forget your troubles. Come in and visit with us. I’ll help you get the wagon up later. “That’s mighty nice of you,” Willis answered, “But I don’t think Pa would like me to, “Aw come on boy,” the farmer insisted. “Well okay,” the boy finally agreed, and added, “But Pa won’t like it.” After a hearty dinner, Willis thanked his host. “I feel a lot better now, but I know Pa is going to be real upset. “Don’t be foolish!” the neighbor said with a smile. “By the way, where is he?” Under the wagon.”

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The Cracked Acorn: Courage

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Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets… Luke 5:1-11

SECRETS OF THE BIBLE could make for interesting reading if it were not for obvious remarks that elude the Scriptures. If the opening article COURAGE AND FAITH was a scriptural airplane, it would never reach the first airport for a safe landing. (I have several snippets for observation)

“This venerable collection of stories (the Bible) is full of puzzling omissions and murky passages, not to mention frequent miraculous happenings that still intrigue those who read about them today. This issue includes the hunt for the lost ark of the covenant and a new explanation of how Jesus spent his early years. The clues to many of these puzzles, until now cloaked in mystery, lie paradoxically in the Scriptures themselves… King David consolidated his power by uniting the two kingdoms of Israel, he established his capital in Jerusalem and built a richly decorated Temple at the summit of a small mountain, a site revered as holy by earlier religions…

With Israel’s rise to power …came the need to provide a literary record of its greatness. Bible stories that have been largely transmitted in oral form were collected and written down. Significantly, many were recorded for the first time long after the historical events they describe. creating a history seen through the prism of hindsight and shaped by ensuing events. Thus, the destruction of Solomon’s Temple is foretold in books of prophecy that were first written long after the catastrophe occurred. In this way, time blurs in the Bible. Past events become the stuff of future prophecy, or, to put another way, prophecy becomes a foretelling of what is already known to have happened.”

COMMENT: We are not shocked to know that churches are having a hard time filling the pews. Young people are pressed on all sides to listen and make their own decisions on everything. We indeed live in a wicked world that exploits our youth to ignore the sound counsel and wisdom of older people. How did the Bible come about is spelled out in 2 Peter 1:20-21: First you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” The scriptures are ours to use for salvation and preparing our souls to live eternally with God.

“For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past and as a watch in the night.” Psalm 90:4 and in Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” We must remember that time is a word for mortals and that God lives outside of time and His Word is eternal. God does not use time capriciously.

Why Can’t We See God? (these children know)

“We cannot see God because he needs his privacy,” says Patrick, 10. “God probably doesn’t want anyone coming into his room without knocking first.”

Megan, 8, “God likes to be alone. If everybody saw him, they would always crowd around him.”

William, 12, “We can’t see God because man is a sinner. God is perfect, and a sinner and God don’t mix.”

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The Cracked Acorn: Beside the Road

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Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites 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)

It sits beside the road, once in its glory could be easily noticed, but now time has gone by and traffic speeds on its way into Culpeper to for bargains at one of the Superstores 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 grass almost covering its once moment of emplacements. Mother nature is doing its best to hide this interloper. We see these appointments of kindness due to 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.

How highway monuments got started, when and where, no one knows, they have sprung up. Some are works of art and have tiny white stone encirclements and toys or some items that once belonged to the departed. They are a reminder of human weakness and moments of terrifying strokes of death and injury. Life and death decisions were made at these spots by rescue people and emergency medical technicals. Even though we somewhere at one time or another have been ‘forced’ in the workplace to watch films showing what speed and drugs and alcohol can do at 70 miles per hour on the roads, yet, we go out and the faults of mankind fail to disappear.

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 headdress 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.

I know and you know that this could be an inappreciable place and why would anyone want to do this, sits across 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.

“I spent all day staring at a leaf, I know that my time here is brief” – John Hiatt –

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The Cracked Acorn: Emma

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And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept, and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. – Genesis: Chapter 2: 21-22

A part of the day’s routine for me is to drive to the nearby SHEETZ for the morning newspaper – it should be after midnight for this, but for once in a blue moon, I am out at 10 pm – so I intended to get coffee, a snack and return a few hours later for the POST. DITTO – I am in the snack aisle and looking over the goodies, a woman is on her knees looking at the bottom shelf; she was after Mrs. Freshley’s Cinnabon Twirls (make life Sweeter!)- I got down and found them for her, so then she told me all the details about this wonderful eatable, I listened and finally wandered away, but not until she complimented my choice of what I was carrying – Quaker Maple/Brown sugar Instant oatmeal.

At the coffee bar, I didn’t want Decaf and needed something stronger. “Emma” came over and told me of her favorite coffee’s strong choice(Sumatra & Choice) – I followed through. She beat me to the checkout. “Emma” has red hair was maybe in her 50s, well-dressed in a casual expensive style. I would guess she was the outdoor type and could hold her own with the best if that should happen. It came my time to pay and I mentioned my “contact” to the clerk and that I intended to remain inside until I knew she had departed the parking lot; Now I wish I had seen what she was driving. I knew that if we ever developed a relationship; I would never have to speak another word.

“A man must know his own limitations!” – Clint Eastwood!

(Emma is the name of my father-in-law’s girlfriend’s sister. I last remember her in Albany, NY; I dropped her off at her apartment then she followed me back to the car and kept talking, eventually, I told her I had to leave or my family might declare me missing!)

READER’S DIGEST – “The police were following a car with an elderly couple inside. At a stoplight the woman fell out, she was o.k. and the police followed and pulled over her husband. “Sir! Did you know that your wife fell out at the stoplight?” He replied, “Oh, thank you, officer, I thought I had gone deaf!”

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The Cracked Acorn: The Note on the Door

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“We love him, because he first loved us.” – 1 JOHN 4:19 KJV

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. The 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-year-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)

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The Cracked Acorn: Wrestle

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Paul Harvey 90 years old, gone but will be best remembered for THE REST OF THE STORY. His different view of the news kept us laughing and brought us smiles when least expected. He advertised various products and sold PAUL HARVEY INSURANCE (I had a policy for a while.) For nearly fifty years he researched and wrote his scripts for his nationwide radio show.

“When television arrived in a small western Kansas town it became the darling of the couple, Burl and Maude Sullivan, On Fridays nights at 8 o’clock it was time to pull the shades and disconnect the telephone and lock the doors and any other thing that might cause a disruption of their favorite show, wrestling. Ask Maude or Burl about live wrestling, and they would tell you all the moves and names of all the wrestlers; never mentioning that there could be the slightest hint of Hollywood involved. When it was over, off went the set, and they would unroll the mats and go at it. Maude won most of the time with her lightening leg locks catching Burl off guard and then it was over until the next Friday night-when two of Kansas’ lovers of the fine art of wrestling would again follow their favorite sport. Maude is 76 and Burl is 83.”

You wore a gown of pink with the matching shoes. “No, it was shorts and a mini top with your old golf shoes.” Oh yes, I remember it well. It was the quick toss and rollover that caught my eye. “No, it was the Russian knee lock and the Bear hug.” Oh, yes I remember that so well. I lost a comb. “NO! you lost your teeth.” Oh, yes I remember that well! We dined alone and heard the birds sing! “NO, we had hot dogs and watched the test pattern.” Oh yes, I do remember it well! How often I think of all those Wednesdays nights when I took an early nap. “No, it was Friday and you dozed off after the Sleeper hold applied with the Spider Twist.” Oh, yes, I remember it all now so well! (fractured the lyrics from GIGI)

How many times have you or heard your friends say that they wrestled with a problem and lost sleep. The dictionary defines “wrestle” to struggle hand to hand with an opponent in an attempt to throw or force the opponent to the ground without striking a blow. We have to apply great strength and grapple with the problem until it is forced into a position where we gain and keep control. Today you can find the names of 150 holds and at least 250 wrestlers that work using stage names.

Wrestling has been around since Greek and Roman times. Note this from the Bible:
24And Jacob was left alone, and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 29And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. 30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 31And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.32Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank. (Genesis 32)

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