Psalm 23 is probably one of the most widely quoted verses of Old Testament Scripture. Recently, I received this nice email that has explained what the Psalm means and I thought I would share it with you. You, of course, are free to agree or disagree with the explanation, but hopefully, it will be of benefit to someone. 🙂
The Lord is my shepherd (Relationship)
(relationship: connection, bond, association, mutual dealing)
I shall not be in want (Supply)
(supply: to furnish what is lacking, to satisfy, to provide)
He makes me lie down in green pastures (Rest)
(rest: relief or freedom from what wearies, troubles or disturbs; a refreshing ease or quiet)
He leads me beside quiet waters (Refreshment)
(refreshment: to provide new vigor and energy by rest, food, etc, ; to revive, to be restorative.)
He restores my soul (Healing)
(healing: to mend, to cure, to gain health; to make whole and healthy; to be free from ailments).
He guides me in paths of righteousness (Guidance)
(guidance: leadership, direction, advice, supervised council)
For his names sake (Purpose)
(purpose: the reason for which something exists; an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal. )
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (Testing)
(testing: to determine the quality of something; the means by which the presence, quality, or genuineness of anything is determined; )
I will fear no evil (Protection)
(protection: to defend, shelter or guard from attack; )
For you are with me (Faithfulness)
(faithfulness: steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant;, reliable; true to one’s word.)
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me (Discipline)
(discipline: to train to act in accordance with a set of rules; to develop a set of skills; to improve or correct behavior by training.)
You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies (Hope)
(hope: a confident expectation; a trusting expectation of a favorable outcome).
You anoint my head with oil (Consecration)
(consecration: to dedicate to a sacred purpose; to set apart for a holy use.)
My cup overflows (Abundance)
(abundance: a great or plentiful amount; an overflowing or over sufficient amount).
Surely goodness and love will follow me for all of my days (Blessing)
(blessing: God’s favor to a person; God’s approval)
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord (Security)
(security: to be free from danger or injury; to be free from harm.)
(eternity: a limitless, time, without interruption.)
The beginning of this madness was the summer of 2007, when I had an inspiration to find a farmer who would allow me to follow him around, getting underfoot and in his way, all the while taking pictures of him and his hands, as he went about his daily routine on the farm. I found a willing farmer, not too far from my home and my adventure began. When it was all said and done, I had taken well over 2000 pictures and had found a new friend as well.
I thought it would be fun to have my hubby write a few small poems to go along with some of the photos.
All photos and poems, except where noted belong to me.
The Farmer In This Brilliant Idea of Mine
A Farmer, A Poet and A Little Crazy In A Good Way
Jonas, the farmer in this project is a gentle soul, a poet himself and a bit crazy as he readily admits. He was born and raised here in Pennsylvania and has been farming for many years. He raises and sells grass fed certified organic Limousin beef.
Healthy living, sustainable farming and writing poetry are his passions. He loves and respects the land and he enjoys teaching and sharing his knowledge that he has acquired over the years. At age 65, he is an “old hippy” without ever really having been one. Oh, and he has the prettiest gray eyes I have ever seen and yeah like you needed to know that. 🙂
Raising Limousin Cattle
As mentioned, the cattle that Jonas has chosen to raise are the Limousin breed which are thought to be over 20,000 years old and originate in France, in fact, there are ancient cave paintings in the Limoges region in France, that depict cattle that are strikingly similar in appearance to the Limousin breed of today.
In 1968, Canada started to import these cattle and finally in 1971, the first Limousin cattle began to be imported into the US. They quickly became a popular breed having milder temperaments and a genetic tendency to be naturally leaner than other breeds. An average female weighs around 1400 pounds while males can go as much as a ton. This breed is an excellent choice for any farmer who wishes to try his hand at doing things nature’s way and going down the organic grass fed beef avenue.
As more and more people begin to realize that the foods they eat make a big impact on the quality of their life, giving consumers better food choices, such as grass fed only beef is a step in the right direction not just for personal health issues, but for the health and well being of the planet, a community’s economy and even the quality of life for the animals in question. Small farms, like Jonas’s produce high quality products for consumers… something that big factory farms simply can’t. The animal’s living conditions are far superior; Jonas’s farm has 70 acres of lush grass land for the animals to graze and roam as nature intended. Factory farms tend to keep animals in small confined spaces, where disease and stress are a “normal” part of the animal’s life.
Healthy, safe, environmentally responsible and humanely raised!
Jonas is a proud member of the The Animal Welfare Approved program which certifies that his and members farms raise their animals humanely, outdoors on pasture or range.
For time will wait for no farmer, neither will a cow
A farmer knows no time
a minute, an hour, a day;
it all flows past him
as work gets in the way.
There is no tomorrow
only here and now
for time will wait for no farmer
and neither will a cow
When work needs to be done
it has to be done to a “t:”
there is no hurrying the right way
for right is the way it should be
So the next time you hear a farmer
says “30 minutes or so”
expect it to take how long it takes
for right is the true way to go.
The Eyes of The “Mad Cow”
Windows of the soul
Yours tell me you won’t listen
You will try to do as you wish
I am here
I ain’t moving
Face to face
Waiting on each other to make the first move
When it comes, action will be explosive
I will triumph
Overcome your stubbornness
Tag your ear.
Our Lives Are Ruled By Time
In a short while it will be tomorrow
or will it still be today?
It never ceases to amaze
how time can slip away.
Our lives are ruled by time
rushing here and there
just to come to a sudden stop
and find we are nowhere.
Can we ever stop and look
at the world that is around?
or must we always hurry past
our eyes only on the ground?
Why must we try to kill time
as time kills us instead?
Could time just be a fantasy?
A phantom in our head?
I learned a lesson some time ago:
why rush when I can dally?
Relaxed is the way to spend your time
When only you keep tally.
My Work Fits Like A Glove
My work fits like a glove
Covering my hands
But still I must wonder
About the care of the lands
Do I measure up to my father?
I watch and I build
I sow and I reap
I plow and I fix
I go to sleep
Do I measure up to my father?
I watch and I wait
I strive and I toil
I walk and I till
I work the soil
Do I measure up to my father?
I question myself
I analyze my work
I consider my thoughts
I do not shirk
I measure up to my father.
Jonas and Poetry
Jonas is a very independent minded individual and doesn’t take too kindly to being told what to do, what to think, what to wear, and what to eat. He is especially concerned with the growing number of farmers being shut down for doing what farmers having been doing since agriculture came into vogue thousands of years ago….farming. It is a sad commentary on society when we consider a farmer a criminal for simply farming.
Below is a poem written by Jonas, in response to numerous farmers across the nation being arrested and or having their farm shut down by the FDA, the USDA and various other organizations simply for farming the green way and producing products that consumers WANT.
Copyright Jonas Stoltzfus 2010
Used with permission
JUST LEAVE US ALONE
We don’t need your license, permission to be,
In the home of the brave and the land of the free.
No permits are needed, it’s easy to see
All we ask of you, is just leave us be.
Our forefathers left Europe many years ago,
And came to America, to plant and to grow.
In Europe persecution is what drove us out,
They hammered us bad with government clout.
They beat us and hung us, some were skinned alive,
And boiled up in oil, like a bunch of French fries.
We were drowned and pounded, to make us submit
To the official religion, how they interpreted it.
But we fled to America, to the land of the free
To put down new roots, and it worked, you can see.
We’re peace-loving people, small farmers most,
But now again seems, like we’re government toast.
It looks like we’re fallin’ on hard times again.
This time seems the leaders, are trying us to skin
By economic pressure, make us change our ways,
Make us comply, to the regulation daze.
For years we’ve sold food to all who would buy,
Do our best to keep it whole, we always would try
So now all we’re asking, in our place in the sun,
Is just for some peace, and just leave us alone.
Just leave us alone, is all that we ask,
Let each of us get on, with what is our task.
We get up each morning, and do our own thing
As we’re working along, sometimes we sing.
We’re producing the food that many folks like,
Most of the stuff does a body real good.
Maybe some of our bakin’ is just a tad sweet,
But the bread that we bake, is a pleasure to eat.
And all that we ask, is just leave us be
Is that just too hard? Something you can’t see?
We’re the small time farmers, in love with our land
And the animals we raise, with a skilled, gentle hand.
We pasture our stock, cows, chickens and pigs,
Sheep, horses and goats, green grass they all dig.
People come to our farms, they line up to buy
The stuff we produce, we can look in the eye
Of each of our customers, friends, neighbors too,
And be sure it’s the best, I’m just tellin’ you.
We’re like the King’s food taster, in those days of yore,
who checked out each thing, makin’ absolutely sure,
There was nothing that threatened, the life of the king.
And all that we ask, is to leave us alone
As we grow food to eat, boil the broth from the bone.
We pay our school taxes, then have our own schools
And most of the time, stick close to the rules.
We take stuff to market, vegetables, cheese and meat,
And meet with our customers, a firm handshake to greet.
We take care of each other, no public welfare we need,
Just leave us alone, is now what we plead.
We don’t want your handouts, no bailouts we need
Just leave us alone, we now again plead.
A parting thought/reminder:
“If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as the souls who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson
© 2014-2017 Glory Miller All Rights Reserved
Well, here it is, the second (and last) part of the SpongeBob Life Lessons article.
Nature Pants (Season 1; Episode 9)
When SpongeBob decides that he wants to give up his current life and go life with the jellyfis, he gives away all his worldly possessions to his friends and heads out to live among his jellyfish brethren. His friends think his choice is a mistake and try to talk him out of it, but he refuses to listen. Non one believes he will have the ability to remain with the jelly fish for a long period of time, Squidward says that he will last about 11 minutes before realizing his mistake. As it turns out, his friends are right; the jelly fish aren’t all that welcoming to him and Patrick misses him so much that he actually tries to catch him and bring him back home, but still he refuses to give up his dream. But, it doesn’t take too long for SpongeBob to realize that just maybe he made a mistake after all. Will his friends take him back…will they give back all his stuff… I think you know the answer to that.
Let’s take a look at some of the lessons from this episode.
1) Some Ideas Really Are Just Bad Ideas
SpongeBob thought that living among the jelly fish was going to be a fun adventure, but when he tried it, it wasn’t what he thought it would be. Sometimes we get ideas that sound great in the planning stage, but when we put into practical use, are nothing at all like they were intended to be. That is not to say that all ideas will fail and not work, that would be a silly thing to say, but there are times when good ideas fail. But, the good news is that there is value in things failing, as it teaches us to look for alternative solutions. Thomas Edison had to try 1,000 times before he found the correct way to make a light bulb…each wrong try taught him that he had to try something else and he did so until he found the correct combination. So, even failure has valuable lessons to teach.
2) Trying New Things And Appreciating What We Already Have
Wanting to try something new and different is fine. Experiencing new things is how we gain knowledge about ourselves and the world around us. SpongeBob found out that the life he had was pretty good and the life of a jellyfish didn’t work so well for him. He learned to appreciate the life he had given up. The life of a jellyfish is fine for a jellyfish, but not so much for a sponge.
3) Everyone Has a Right To Make Their Own Choices
We can’t make someone act or think the way we want them too. Patrick learned this when he tried to catch SpongeBob and bring him back home against his will. SpongeBob kept running and hiding from Patrick because he simply did not want to go back to his old life. Patrick realized that if SpongeBob was to come back home, it had to be by his own choice.
4) Sometimes our Friends Are Right!!!
It’s is not just experts we can learn things from, sometimes our friends can have a better and clearer view of a situation than we do. Even though his friends were against his idea from the start and tried to talk some sense to him, SpongeBob was determined that he knew best. We all will have experiences like this, wanting to do something that our friends and or family will think foolish or unwise. It is probably a good idea to take their concerns seriously and examine them; are they coming from a merely emotional reaction or is there some solid basis for their concern. When you have to make a choice, such as changing your way of life like SpongeBob attempted, it’s good to look at as many points of view as possible. Our enthusiasm and excitement can sometimes blind us to the less than ideal aspects of our plans.
5) It’s Okay to Make Mistakes
During our lifetime we are going to make many mistakes and it is fine to admit that we were wrong or made a wrong choice. In SpongeBob’s case, he learned he wasn’t cut out for life as a member of the jellyfish clan, but even more importantly, he discovered he had friends who loved him and missed him and welcomed him back with open arms.
Graveyard Shift (Season 2; Episode 36)
To Squidward’s dismay and SpongeBob’s delight, Mr. Krabs announces that the Krusty Krab will remain open for 24 hours a day. The graveyard shift as it’s called, passes slowly. To liven it up a bit Squidward discovers that SpongeBob is afraid to take the trash to the dumpster because it’s dark out side. This gives him the great idea to create the story of the “Hash Slinging Slasher”, a former fry cook at the Krusty Krab who while making Krabby patties accidentally cut off his hand and then replaced it with a rusty spatula. Things go from bad to worse, when the fry cook is then run down by a bus, and finally gets fired at his funeral. But that’s not all, every Tuesday he returns to the Krusty Krab looking for revenge. There are three signs to look for that note his impending return, the lights will flicker on and off, the phone will ring and when answered no one will be there and finally, the Slasher arrives on the ghost of the bus that ran him down. Of course, even Squidward gets scared when the signs of the Slasher’s coming begin to happen, the lights flicker, the phone rings and finally a bus pulls up out front of the Krusty Krab and one passenger steps off! Oh no!! It’s the Hash Slinging Slasher and he had returned for his revenge—naw, not really, as it turns out it’s merely a kid who wants to work at the Krusty Krab who brought his own spatula and who had called earlier but lost his nerve at the last minute.
Let’s look at some of the lessons in this episode.
1) Having to Do Unpleasant Things
At times in our lives, we all have to do things we don’t want to do as Squidward discovered with having to work the graveyard shift, and SpongeBob having to take trash to the dumpster at night. But that is all a part of being a responsible person whether you are an adult or a kid. Sometimes those things we don’t want to do are based on insecurities, like with SpongeBob; he didn’t mind taking the garbage to the dumpster, he was simply afraid of the dark, but, he found the courage to face his fears and accomplished his goal. Squidward, on the other hand, didn’t want to work because he wanted to be off doing something else that’s more fun like playing his clarinet or painting another self portrait.
2) Not Everything We Are Told Is True
We can’t believe everything we are told. Squidward told a wild untrue story to SpongeBob and presented it as the truth. In life, we will meet people who will lie to us for one reason or another. If you are ever faced with a story that you think might be made up, don’t be afraid to investigate it further.
3) Getting Caught Up In Our Own Lies
Squidward thought that idea of scaring SpongeBob with the Hash Slinging Slasher story was hilarious. But, it turned out to be not so funny when it appeared as thought the story was true. That happens in life, we tell a lie for whatever reason, and then end up getting caught up in that lie, maybe having to tell more lies to cover up previous lies…whew…it sure can be a tangled web for sure.
Sailor Mouth (Season 2; Episode 38)
True sophisticates like SpongeBob and Patrick would never allow their lips to be stained by using curse words, or so we are led to believe. One day, SpongeBob, while reading “dumpster writing; the voice of the people”, comes across a word he doesn’t understand in a sentence about Mr. Krabs. Patrick tells him that the word is a “sentence enhancer” and is used when people want to talk fancy. One merely peppers your conversation with these enhancers and end up having a “spicy sentence sandwich”. The boys then proceed to use the word (blocked out by dolphin chirps, and other noises) until Mr. Krabs tells them it is a bad word, one of thirteen that should never be used.
The lessons this episode taught me.
1) People Can Be Mean
People can say and write some mean nasty things about other people. SpongeBob discovered this when he saw a not so nice piece of graffiti written on the dumpster about Mr. Krabbs.
2) When In Doubt, Find Out!
There are always going to be things we don’t understand as SpongeBob discovered when he saw those bad words written on the dumpster. When faced with something that puzzles us, it is best to seek out someone who is knowledgeable and can answer our questions like our parents or a teacher. We can also go to the library and look up the information or even go a Google search.
3) Sometimes People Haven’t a Clue As To What They Are Talking About!
We can also find ourselves being unintentionally misled. Patrick honestly believed he was telling SpongeBob the truth about what sentence enhancers were. He didn’t intentionally lie to SpongeBob, but he did give him the wrong information. This lesson ties in with lesson two.
Just One Bite: (Season 3; Episode 43)
Is it possible that the reason our favorite octopus, Squidward, is so unhappy and grouchy, be the fact that in all the years he has worked at the Krusty Krab, he has never once tasted a Krabby Patty? That is the conclusion that our favorite sponge comes too, so, he decides to make it his mission to get Squidward to just take one bite of a patty. Realizing if he doesn’t, SpongeBob won’t ever leave him alone, he takes a bite and hates it! But, wait, there is trickery afoot, as it turns out, that one bite has made Squidward a Krabby Patty fan…. all those wasted years!! Now, the fun really begins as he schemes to get his tentacles on a patty without SpongeBob finding out. He ends up sneaking into the Krusty Krabb early one morning to finally get a chance to enjoy a patty in peace and discovers that SpongeBob is there, so he locks himself in the patty vault and eats all the patties, only to have his thighs gain a huge amount of weight and..explode, in a comical way of course, nothing gruesome there.
The lessons from this episode.
1) Don’t Judge By Appearances
We can go through life being for or against something without ever having any practical experience with it. Squidward hated Krabby Patties, but he had NEVER tried one. Somethings might look good or bad from appearances, but we sometimes have to dig a little deeper before making a judgment for or against.
2) Getting Rid of the Old Beliefs Makes Room For the New
It is okay to change our mind about a thing or situation once we have gained new information that supports that change. We don’t have to hold onto old outdated beliefs that no longer do us any good and simply don’t fit our personality.
3) It’s Okay To Have Our Own Likes and Dislikes
At first, SpongeBob found it difficult to believe that there could be someone out there who didn’t love Krabby Patties, as he viewed them as an absolute good. So, he spent time trying to get Squidward to try them. After much effort, SpongeBob finally accepted that it was perfectly fine for Squidward to have his own opinions about the Krabby Patty. Even though SpongeBob wasn’t trying to be mean or to step on Squid’s right to say no, he did go overboard in his attempt to change his mind. As we go through life we meet lots of people and there might be one or two who think like SpongeBob did in this episode; that their opinion or admiration for a particular thing should be shared by all. None of us share the exact same views on everything and Squid was no different in this sense. He exerted his personal sovereignty which is one of those big fancy words that means he was his own boss in the matter and didn’t have to give in to outside control namely Sponge’s attempts to get him to try a taste of the patty.
4) Fear Can Make Us Do Silly Things
When Squidward discovered he loved Krabby Patties, he didn’t’ share this with SpongeBob because he was afraid of how he would react. Fear can cause us to do some strange things, like lock ourselves in a Krabby Patty vault and over eat till our thighs blow up… but seriously, while fear can be a good thing in that it motivates us to take a serious look at a potentially dangerous or negative situation, it can also prevent us from forming friendships and opening up to those around us. SpongeBob and Squidward could have shared a Krabby Patty lunch and gained a pleasant memory to be relieved at a later time.
4) Overeating Can Be Dangerous
Over eating can be dangerous. Squidward locked himself into the patty vault and ate so many Krabby patties, his thighs exploded. Of course this was meant to be humorous, but it is true that over eating can be dangerous to our health. It’s great to have a favorite food, but just take it easy and don’t over do it.
The Splinter (Season 6; Episode 105)
The Splinter (Episode 105) One day at work, SpongeBob manages to get his spatula stuck in the ceiling of the kitchen at the Krusty Krab. (I’m telling ya, SpongeBob is one talented little sponge!) Piling boxes and jars of mayonnaise on top of each other, he manages to get high enough to get the spatula free only to lose his balance and fall causing the boxes and jars to spill their contents. But, you know luck is usually on his side and he manages to land safely. It’s only when he takes a step and slips on the spilled mayonnaise that he ends up getting a nasty splinter in his thumb off the hardwood floor. He tries all kinds of ways to get it out, but only manages to make things worse. When Squidward finds out, he tells him that Mr. Krabs will send him home early, a thought which terrifies poor SpongeBob, because you and I know how much he loves working at the Krusty Krab. He finally breaks down and calls his best friend Dr. Patrick (we know this is trouble even before Patrick gets there, huh?) for help. Patrick only succeeds in getting the splinter stuck deeper into his thumb AND it is now beginning to show signs of infection. When Mr. Krabs finds out, it’s with ease that he pulls the splinter free. SpongeBob is now on the mend and can stay at work flipping his beloved Krabby Patties.
The lessons I learned from this episode
1) Falling Hurts
That comes as no surprise, right. SpongeBob took a really big risk when he stacked up boxes and bottles one atop the other in a make shift ladder, so he could retrieve his spatula that he had accidentally stuck in the ceiling. He lost his balance and came tumbling down only to have a huge splinter embed itself in his thumb. Ouch!
2) That Darn Fear Factor, Again
SpongeBob’s fear of being sent home early made him decide to hide his injury from Mr. Krabbs. Instead of seeking real medical attention, he sought help from his best buddy, Patrick, who tried all kinds of remedies which only made things worse instead of better. The splinter became infected and hurt more than ever. And though it might not sound like much, an infected finger could lead to much more serious health issues.
3) Taking Risks Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing
While it is easy to see that SpongeBob’s risk on his makeshift ladder didn’t pan out too well, that is not to say that all risk taking is bad or wrong or will lead to failure or harm. Life is full of risks, but there are things we can do to minimize the dangers involved. A plan of action carefully conceived can lead to wonderful discoveries or the ability to get our spatula dislodged from the ceiling without getting a nasty splinter in our finger.
4) Sometimes People Use Our Own Fears Against Us
It almost appears as though Squidward found some sense of joy or pleasure in threatening to tell Mr. Krabbs about SpongeBob’s splinter. He knew that this was our little sponge’s biggest fear…. to be sent home from work. In real life there are people who do the same kinds of things, they discover what you fear the most and try to use that to their advantage, it’s a sort of emotional black mail. Fighting back against this kind of thing can be tough to do, especially in this scenario since SpongeBob has always considered Squidward his friend (no matter how many times he was told otherwise). In this case the right thing would have been for SpongeBob to have told Mr. Krabbs about his injury, no matter how frightened he was of the outcome.
© 2014-2017 Glory Miller All Rights Reserved