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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Writing



When our sons were in grade school and discovered the joy of writing, I asked them to write a science fiction story for me. They gave it their best! The result was quite a story of space ships, green aliens, and villains with big teeth. There were the good guys and the bad guys and of course the castle with the deep dark forest close by. I read it and praised them for a good job. Weeks later, I asked if I could see it again. No, they had thrown it into the trash and not to be found. Little did I know that we may have passed up the chance to be millionaires.

You would have to be on Mars or totally out of touch to have missed the stir about the J.K.Rowling’s Potter series of fantasy witchcraft books. These have made her the richest woman in England.

It all started when she, a single parent, was forced to support her infant daughter. While her child was napping, Rowling started writing the first book at a table in a cafe. The books soon to end with the seventh one are now in most bookstores, schools and libraries. They are being applauded for being the catalyst to spur the 8-18 age group into a pell-mell race to grab the first edition at a price of nearly thirty dollars. Reading has jumped up 31% and has made reading “fun.” Many have tried to explain this reading surge translated into the languages of over 200 nations. Much has been written in the newspaper and on internet analyzing the interest among our young people in the Potter books. Books on magic and fantasy have been written over the years and are now cluttering the shelves of the used book stores. None have ever created a crazed reading stampede as these books.

What are the glaring short comings of the Rowling’s series? – God is not mentioned at all as the supreme being. Heroes have all the power and fly around on magic broomsticks and cast spells. A sinister being appears in the form of a gigantic snake. The main character’s mother returns from the dead in the form of an animal. Many put all this aside in the justification of these books and now movies as being sheer unadulterated brain floss entertainment and that’s that! This is one time the experts agree that too much exposure to this kind of entertainment “desensitizes our society to the occult.” This could well be the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for many of our youth who really can’t handle one more peer driven pressure activity. Australia has tried to place warning labels on such books when placed in the local libraries.

Remember the drive to place the TEN COMMANDMENTS into the schools. The first commandment is: THOU SHALT HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME.(Exodus 20)

We have to keep this is mind that God has not changed because thousands of years have passed.

HE has also said from brother Paul, “And now, brothers, as I close this letter let me say this one more thing, Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others.” (Phil. 4:8)

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Teardrop



If you want fickle weather, try the Alaska Aleutian Islands. Rain, snow, high winds, and even a bit of sunshine go through the daily blender of some of the world’s noted fits thrown by Mother Nature. I know. For the better part of a year in the 60s, I headed a team that did passive satellite photographic operations (SATTRACK). Since outside work required a clear night sky, we often had lots of time on our hands. I became very acquainted with the airmen that were barracked in the composite building that housed the mess hall and recreational activities.

We had one clear day a month when we could go beach combing on Shemya Island. At water’s edge, you could find what looked like round gemstones. These were really pieces of Coca-Cola and Clorox bottles left over from the WWII occupation of the island. The whole island was a treasure of junk and stuff left behind by the thousands of military and their dependents. A daily magnet was run over the island’s roads to pick up nails. Flat tires were very common. You never carried a spare but had the motor pool come out and install a fresh tire.

One of the airmen at our daily coffee table had picked up a Bering Sea polished piece of Clorox bottle. He called it his Australian teardrop; he thought it was washed up on that side of the island. It was very pretty with a tiny trapped bubble inside. He had taken it to the gem shop and mounted it in a necklace. His roomie wound up with it, never told of its ancient history. I remember the morning that we were shown stateside photos of the roomie’s fiancée. She was posed in her best with the teardrop around her neck.

We kept the secret and knew that the two airmen had never conversed about it and the seller was obviously not going to do any talking. His roomie was strong and when he came out to change a flat sometimes stripped the wheel’s lug nuts. He liked to tear out the last pages of your novel if he found it unattended. I suspect that at an early age he was tearing wings off live butterflies. Of course, we used every occasion to ask the perpetrator to get us more coffee and bring us a doughnut or two. The silence was golden.

I wonder today where the teardrop is. It may have become an heirloom or in an antique shop. If a jeweler has looked at it, he would know instantly it was just a piece of glass. No one knows that this once worthless stone has gone through 20 years plus, where it was polished by the world’s worst turbulent weather.

Christ saw the multitudes that followed Him like so many teardrops. This is seen in Matthew 5:1-16. He knew their hearts as He knows ours today. Life will polish us and if we are faithful to Him, we shall become that polished stone that has lasting beauty.

“Master, the tempest is raging! The billows are tossing high! The sky is o’er shadowed with blackness, No shelter or help is nigh; Carest Thou not that we perish? How canst Thou lie asleep, When each moment so madly is threat’ning A grave in the angry deep?” The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will, Peace be still! They all shall sweetly obey Thy will, Peace, Be still! Peace, peace, be still! (from SACRED SELECTIONS) – Mark 4:39

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Departure



Sooner than we think, the air will seem cleaner and crisp. Early on weekday mornings, I might hear the train whistle at the Haymarket crossing. It’s that lonesome sound that reminds me of my youth when trains stopped in every town to pick up mail and passengers.

When I was maybe 5 years old, I was with my mother when she took my aunt to nearby Auburn, Kentucky to catch the L&N (Louisville and Nashville) to Louisville. We waited in the station room until we heard the whistle and the clanging bell, smoke, and steam as the train pulled to a stop at the station’s back door. We are all familiar with airports but I don’t think many are with train stations. At the airport, it is a quick hug and then off but with trains, it seems you have an eternity to say “good-bye”. You can wave at boarding and even while the train gathers speed to leave for the big city. (I hid my tears by holding mother’s leg!)

The Hawaiians’ “aloha” may be a better word which means hello and good-by or farewell. Aloha says thank you for sharing your life, energy, and breath with us, and thank you for making us aware that we are all family. Good-by, so I found in the dictionary, is an alteration of God be with you, suggesting an unknown break of time till we see each other again, and during that period we will need God’s protection and assurance that all will work out for those leaving and for those who remain.

Acts chapter 20, tells us of Paul’s good-by to the elders at Ephesus, 36 Having so spoken he bowed his knees and prayed with them all. 37 They all wept freely; they fell on Paul’s neck and fervently kissed him.38 They were grieved especially over the remark they would not see his face anymore. Then they accompanied him to the ship.


And not to forget these lovely verses from Ruth chapter 1:

14 At this, they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-by, but Ruth clung to her.
15 “Look,” said Naomi, “your sister-in-law is going back to her people and her gods. Go back with her.”
16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.
17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”
18 When Naomi realized that
Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

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The Cracked Acorn



Did you know that before too long, 20 percent of the American population will be over 65 years of age? Those of us at this moment who are 80 or over have a good chance to be 90+ years old. In the last few years, the number of our citizens reaching 100 has doubled. I have joined the 80 elite groups and it was brought home when the grocery checkout lady asked me if I needed assistance to get my groceries to the car. I only had about 5 small items in two bags.

1) Kidnappers are not very interested in you.

2) No one expects you to rush into a burning building.

3) Things you buy now won’t wear out.

4) You give up trying to hold your stomach in.

5) You can sing along with elevator music.

6) Your secrets are safe with your friends who soon forget them entirely.

7) Uncle Sam will never draft you.

My observations have been: You never run to anything, because you can’t move that fast. You seem to get the wrong ideas about technical devices like the low battery chirping of your smoke alarm could be the voice of a departed loved one.

You think the world is out to get you because – I have never been able to take the top off a prescription bottle that reads, “Push down while holding tabs and turn counterclockwise.” A young lady holding a clipboard came down the drive and asked me for money to clean up the Bay.” I tried to tell her I never messed it up! I have noticed that a child of 5 can quote the payload weights and liftoff speed of the space shuttle is fawned over with all kinds of sugary remarks; grey-haired ones who try this can clean out a McDonald’s in five minutes. (A good movie on this is THE WRONG BOX-rent it for lots of laughs.)

Older people “love little baby ducks, old pickup trucks, leaves in the wind, pictures of their friends, birds of the world, honest open smiles, kisses from a child, tomatoes on the vine, winners when they cry, little fuzzy pups, slow-moving trains and music when it’s good and rain.” (thanks to Tom T. Hall)

The Bible has not left you without encouragement: Study these few verses – Deut. 5:33, Genesis 25:8, Exodus 20:12, Proverbs 3:13,15,16,9:10-11, Titus 2:2-3, Isaiah 46:3-4, I Timothy 5:1-2.
(Proverb 16:31-Grey hair is a crown of glory, it is gained by living a godly life. Proverb 20:29- The glory of the young is their strength, the gray hair of experience in the splendor of the old.)


Rely on the love of God for us.- 1 John 4:16

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The Cracked Acorn: Landmarks



It was a sad moment when I learned that the Tastee Drive-Thru Clown was gone! The clown on the Bowling Green, KY by-pass, was a victim of the velvet hammer of progress. The nearby medical center probably needed the area for additional parking. This was one of the last places that were really fast food. You drove up to the window, placed your order, and within a few minutes, your burger, fries, and the milkshake was handed to you. You drove a few feet into the parking lot and enjoyed your meal. It served me well during my college days. My family was treated there on several trips to visit my parents. I can imagine that the local people used this as a landmark- We live near the Tastee Clown-you can’t miss it!

The District of Columbia almost lost THE BIG CHAIR that was a trademark of the Curtis Brothers furniture warehouse. It stands nearly 20 feet high and again was the reference point for directions for over 40 years. Small restaurants that were mom & pop operations are about gone. Most have given away to high rises and office buildings. Mom is not around anymore to start the day’s turkey or chicken cooking. Forget about that slice of homemade pie you like for lunch with the blue plate special. The pie is now baked in a neighboring state and trucked into the area during the wee hours of the morning.

Those of us who were born about the end of World War II knew that times were different. My father was off to farm, and my mother made sure I ready to walk to catch the school bus. At one time, I had to walk a half-mile across three fields and back again in the afternoon. I looked forward to enjoying my walk home in the woods of tall walnut and hickory trees. The gravel road to the farmhouse wandered with several twists crossing two crude cattle bridges. It was not in a hurry to get you anywhere. I always thought I would have a house built someday in one of its curves.

This never happened. When I graduated from college, I went east to work in Virginia. At vacation times, I returned to visit the homestead. It was while I was away a property dispute arose, and it was settled by bulldozing much of the woods. The old road was gone. A straight new road running alongside a new fence greeted my return, the old road would never be there again for me in this life.

Two roads diverged in a woods,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by. (Robert Frost)

As I travel on life’s pathway, Knowing not what the years may hold; As I ponder, hope grows fonder, Precious memories flood my soul; PRECIOUS MEMORIES, HOW THEY LINGER, HOW THEY EVER FLOOD MY SOUL, IN THE STILLNESS OF THE MIDNIGHT, PRECIOUS, SACRED SCENES UNFOLD. (lyrics-Sacred Selections for the Church) – Psalm 145:7

(Jacob said) And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and all that thou shalt give me I will surely give a tenth unto thee. (Genesis 28:22)

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The Cracked Acorn: Dyes



Oh, my! It has happened again, sadly, I remember the gravy on the tie given to me by my piano teacher or the favorite ballpoint pen in my shirt that leaked at the wrong time. Take it to the cleaners and ask them to do their best and not always does a stubborn stain disappear. My father in the fifties worked as a knitter in a hosiery mill, making seamed ladies nylons. When they came off the machine they were white and had to be sent to the dyer. Here the hose was submerged in a vat for several hours to change the white to rose or beige or the latest colors that the market demanded. I was told that white nylon was the strongest and could be weakened by the dyes. Supposedly this art appeared in the Middle East about 5,000 years ago and our word “dye” in an English word.

In Biblical times, garments of beautiful colors were very expensive, both for the cloth and for the dyes. A garment signified importance or elevation in respect.

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. And when his brethren saw that their father loved him more than all his brethren, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably unto him.” (Genesis 37:3,4)

The Egyptians were the masters of color and the Hebrews may have brought this to perfection when the tabernacle was built. The Lord told them to “make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet” (Exodus 26:1), “And they shall take gold, and blue, and scarlet, and fine linen. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.” (Exodus 28:5,6) and in the vail “And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fined twined linen of cunning work,” (Exodus 26:31) This vail was torn when Christ was crucified. (Matthew 27:51)

Purple was seen as a royal color and desirable to buy, one of Paul’s converts at Thyatira was Lydia, a seller of purple. Today, all these wonderful and bright colors are easily found on all our clothing. Some translators have attached meanings to certain colors, such as WHITE-purity and innocence; BLACK-mourning, affliction, a calamity; RED-bloodshed; PURPLE-royalty, luxury; BLUE-deity, sky, and heaven; SCARLET-war, valor; GREEN-life, youth, and abundance. The red, white, and blue are in our flag. The book of Esther is a “colorful” book of the Bible and worth the reading and re-reading especially the description of the palace of King Ahasuerus.

Our hymnal has two songs that reflect color. BEAUTIFUL ROBES OF white, Beautiful land of light, Beautiful home so bright where there shall come no night; Beautiful crown I’ll wear, Shining and bright o’er there, Yonder is mansion fair, Gather us there. and BEHOLD A STRANGER AT THE DOOR! He gently knocks, has knocked before, has waited long, is waiting still; you treat no other friends so ill. But will He prove a Friend indeed! He will, the very Friend you need! The man of Nazarene ’Tis He, With garments dyed at Calvary.

For us, older gentlemen who still wear ties -remember said, “If your children see you get a spot on your best shirt they’ll send you to a nursing home!” Once at work, I saw the cure for this, a gentleman in the cafeteria just tucked his tie inside his shirt while he was eating. Does not work for bow ties.

May the good Lord bless and keep you, Whether near or far away. May you find that long-awaited,

Golden day today. 

May your troubles all be small ones, And your fortune ten times ten, May the good Lord bless and keep you,

‘Til we meet again. 

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The Cracked Acorn

The Cracked Acorn: Physician



Times are changing. Correct that! They have changed.

I have used the same physician for 30 years. In the beginning, an office visit was easily scheduled and welcomed. A session consisted of at least a half hour’s conversation in which we discussed my general health and pinpointed concerns that could cause problems.

In the first several years I could walk in, and wait for an appointment, or maybe telephone and talk to the doctor. Prescriptions were easily re-filled and medical advice freely given. I knew the receptionists and nurses by their first names. But lately, I find my medical visit may be days away. And when I finally arrive at the office I may have the nurse interview me and write a prescription. I know the doctor is still there, I hear them call his name, and he answers from somewhere in the bowels of the waiting rooms.

Once the office had a few waiting when I arrived, now it is full – they must have gotten up earlier than I. The doctor never returns my calls and the receptionist act as a go-between; it’s either “you better come in” or “do you need to see the doctor”. Are people sicker than ever or is this the result of good health coverage. Our old country doctor said that people only got sick after the sun went down – now it seems to be 24/7. I feel now that I should really have a serious problem before I take the doctor’s time or get in the way of people who may be sicker than I!

What I have experienced through the years with my medical doctor can so easily happen to our religious life. When we come out dripping from the baptismal waters, we are eager to continue our one on one talks with our Lord. As the years go by, circumstances can intervene to stunt our fervor and our prayers maybe “when it is convenient.”

Eventually, we are drawn away from the center and feel alone. It is difficult more than any other time in history to remain from the first day dedicated to keeping our family tie to the Lord; our Lord whom we confessed and were baptized into His Kingdom. This is why our Christian family is so important, encouraging one another as we see the day approaching(Heb.10:25); we know not when our Lord may return.

Remember: Matthew 4:24 – And His fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.

Luke 4:40 When the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.

Song: #291 – Songs of Faith and Praise, The Great Physician now is near

The Great Physician now is near,
  The sympathizing Jesus;
He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
  Oh, hear the voice of Jesus!

Sweetest note in seraph song;
Sweetest name on mortal tongue;
Sweetest carol ever sung:
    Jesus, blessed Jesus!

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