Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me

The 23rd Psalm has always been a favorite of mine. It’s full of promise and joy. Hope and happiness should be what people take from it. But one thing I’ve noticed is that people misinterpret part of it and misuse it. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” People have linked the end of verse 4 with punishment and that’s incorrect. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me was understood by earlier generations because they understood the purpose of the rod and the staff.

Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me

“Spare the rod, spoil the child”

was a saying that people took to mean that not spanking your children would lead to them being spoiled. But if people knew the uses of the rod and the staff they’d know that the rod wasn’t at all what they thought.


Let’s go back to verse 1: The Lord is my shepherd. The shepherd guides and protects the flock. He makes sure they go where they need to go and defends them from predators. In the days when David was composing the Psalms he knew the real reason that shepherds carried a rod and a staff. And he meant what he said about the rod and staff being a comfort.


The staff was used to guide the flock.

The shepherd would direct his charges by gently (or more forcefully if necessary) using this long crooked staff to move the flock from one area to another. And the flock learned to follow the guidance of the staff. The smarter ones, that is. Because if they didn’t go where the shepherd directed there were dangers everywhere.

The staff kept the flock from wandering into ravines and kept them moving toward the best grazing where there was plenty of food and there was water. It kept individuals from becoming separated from the flock. And an individual sheep was easy prey.


The rod, however, was not a tool for guiding.

The rod was used to fight off wolves! The shepherd used this heavy weapon to beat the wolves away from his flock, keeping them from becoming a meal for the wolves. The shepherd’s desire was to provide the best possible circumstances for his flock. The wolves wanted to destroy the flock.

So when people used to say “Spare the rod, spoil the child” they didn’t mean that the rod was meant for the children. It meant that parents were to use the rod to keep ravenous wolves from the children. These were the predators that would lead children away from the Shepherd. And parents were to use very clear and strong methods to keep those human wolves away from their flocks.


The children could rest in the knowledge that their parents, their shepherds, would keep dangerous people away from them.

And, like sheep, sometimes the children don’t understand the danger and  want to wander off. But the parents need to be right there to fend off the wolves and guide the children back to safety.

Our Shepherd guides and protects us and, as parents, we are to guide and protect our children so that they will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


Psalm 23King James Version (KJV)

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Two Week Meal Plan

Meal planning is something I’ve done for decades. I don’t feel right if I don’t have at least a week of meals planned in advance. But I’ve learned not to restrict myself as to what day I serve which meal. Things don’t always work out for certain meals. Over the years I’ve discovered making a plan for a longer period gives me more flexibility for days when I don’t feel well or something exciting comes up to take me away from the kitchen. To give myself room for the unexpected I like to make a two week meal plan.

Two week meal plan

Before I get into the meal plan I wanted to show you the fantastic coffee mug Pete & Andi brought home for me! They took the girls to Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky, Ohio and I now have a coffee mug that holds a real cup of coffee!

I’m already into this two week meal plan and I’m really glad I had set it up before the latest migraine hit! And it emphasized the reason I am not strict about which meals I serve on particular days. Instead of trying to drag myself to the kitchen because it was Thursday and I’d locked myself into making Crab Stuffed Flounder I had given myself a lot of other options.

Two Week Meal Plan

Chicken Alfredo Stromboli (Pete made and brought over)

Beef enchiladas (Already prepared freezer meal)
Spanish rice

Bam’s Beef Chili with Cornbread Croutons (Already prepared freezer meal)

Hot Pepper Jelly Pork Steaks (Already prepared freezer meal)
Roasted potatoes
Roast carrots

Tuna Melts

Maple Dijon Chicken
Roasted red potatoes
Green beans

Shredded beef tacos
Mexican rice

Minestrone w/sausage soup
Crusty rolls

Chili & Honey chicken thighs
Potato salad

Saturday (Family dinner)
Sweet & Savory Pork Sandwiches
Orange Condensed Milk Cake

Crab Stuffed Flounder
Creamed red potatoes

Cheddar Mac and cheese

Steaks w/whiskey cream sauce
Twice baked potatoes
Broccoli & cheese

There are a lot of reasons to make a two week meal plan!

Another reason I like making a two week meal plan is that it gives me plenty of time to make additional freezer meals before I run out. In my case I want to have a lot of freezer meals made because my health may prevent me from spending time in the kitchen. You may be busy with kids, work, or any of the other things that make cooking from scratch difficult some days.

A two week meal plan allows me to be flexible, have a variety of meals I’ve prepared at home, and keep us from wasting money on takeout. If you’re already meal planning consider expanding to create a two week meal plan. I think you’ll love it!


Two week calendar via: great-printable-calendars



It’s Only Wednesday!

Yesterday I woke up with a migraine that felt like I was trying to give birth through my right eye. It was…unpleasant. And the rest of the day was equally as lovely. I’d accomplished so much on Monday that I was convinced this week I’d get my Super Wife/Mama/Bam cape and fly through the rest of the days like a super star. Now I’m wondering if I’m going to manage to make a pot of coffee (and at 5:05 a.m. I need it)! It’s only Wednesday!

It's Only Wednesday

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World Frog Day

Everyone is all excited about today being the International Day of Happiness. When I woke up this morning I’d already been bombarded by posts on every social media platform about being happy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for happiness. Happiness is a good thing and we should all strive to make others happy and be happy ourselves. But aren’t we forgetting something? Today is also (and more importantly) World Frog Day!

World Frog Day

— Continue reading

Goals and Challenges

The idea of having New Year’s resolutions has always evaded me. Perhaps it’s because, in my wild youth, I actually tried making them and failed miserably. But I think, more than my failure at keeping resolutions in the past, it’s that the very premise of resolutions made at the beginning of the year seems destined to create failure. Instead, I’ve decided to come up with a list of goals and challenges.

Goals and Challenges

“But,” you say, “Goals and challenges are the same things as resolutions!”

Nay, nay! Resolutions are like Damocles’ sword dangling over your head. If you don’t keep them you feel that you’ve let yourself (and possibly all of humanity if you have really grandiose resolutions) down. Goals and challenges are things that you can achieve or not achieve without the humiliation of failed resolutions.

Here’s what I mean: I resolve to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year and only lose 19 pounds (or gain 3). I’ve failed. But if I set a goal of 20 pounds, and challenge myself to come as close to it as I can and lose 19 pounds I’m a total rock star!

So this year I’ve set a few goals and I’m challenging myself to meeting as many of them as possible in the way closest to the goal as possible. See? Goals and challenges, people! No failure. I can meet my goals by percentages.

My goals for the year, in no particular order, are:

Spend time reading the Bible and praying each day. It’s so easy to let ourselves forget that we need God more than we need anything else. As a result of my busy life I often let time with God get pushed down on the “To Do” list.

Goals and challenges

Learn to sew: napkins, easy curtains, and a very simple top for myself.

Goals and challenges

Make one meatless meal per week. This may not seem like much of a challenge but I feel about me the way Ron Swanson feels about meat –

Help build the ducks’ cabin – This will necessitate me sitting outside asking endless questions and telling Mr. C and Pete how to do things that I don’t know how to do while they’re actually doing things. It will also require that I demand a far bigger and more complex cabin than the ducks need and probably installing a small lake in the side yard.

Goals and challenges

Restore the front flower beds

Goals and challenges

Some of my Goals and Challenges will have to wait until summer…

Make and can cherry salsa. I have cherry salsa in the past and everyone loved it. This is an important part of my goals and challenges for the year. I want to can enough to have plenty for the family and some jars I can give as gifts.

Can enough tomato sauce for one year. Ideally I will be able to can enough for the kids as well. Last season was the Attack of the Killer Tomato Sauce!

Organize the junk room (yes, I have one) so looks less like an episode of “Hoarders” and can be a second bedroom for the grand kids’ visits. They’re getting too big to sleep in the same room and it’s the perfect reason to get rid of all the stuff we don’t need or use.

Goals and challenges

Bake once a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s some kind of bread or cakes, pies, or cookies. I need to start baking regularly again. Due to my health I’ve slacked off but, if I plan and don’t give myself excuses, I know I can do it!

Goals and challenges Yes, I baked this. If you believe that I have an investment opportunity for you!

Finally; Grow this blog. I’m so grateful for those of you who read The Comfortable Coop regularly. And I’d love to reach even more people. My dream is to have a blog that really helps people in many of the areas with which all homemakers sometimes struggle. And this is a goals and challenges area you can help me. Please tell me what you like and don’t like about The Comfortable Coop. Be honest! This blog is for you and your suggestions are invaluable to me. I thank you in advance!

So there you have my simple Goals and Challenges! I’ll check off things if as they are completed.



Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Lately I’ve been too fatigued to even think of getting something started early in the day in my slow cooker. And I don’t want to have to watch three or four pots while standing over the stove either. But if I do a little pre-cooking I can put everything together and have my meat, potatoes, and vegetables all in one. That’s why I love Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake!


Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

I suppose I could make this dish even easier…

by not cooking the onions. But I love the sweetness caramelized onions bring to it so I don’t mind making them. I just cook them in a little butter until they’re a deep caramel color. And I boil the potatoes for a few minutes so they’re nice and tender when the chops are done.

Then I season both sides of the pork chops with pepper right in a large casserole dish. I don’t use salt as the soup is salty enough.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Next I put the potatoes around the chops and spread the onions and some green beans over the chops.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

In a large bowl I mix 2 cans of cream of mushroom soup, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder until they’re well combined.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

I spread the soup mixture over the pork and vegetables.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Then I cover the dish with foil and put it in the oven. It takes 45 – 60 minutes to bake depending on the thickness of the pork chops.

Now I just put my feet up!

I pull the dish out of the oven when the chops are 145 degrees (for medium rare) and let it rest for a few minutes.

We love the creamy soup enveloping the pork and vegetables. It doesn’t overpower the individual flavors. Instead it pulls them all together.

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake is terrific because we have a really tasty meal and I spend a lot less time in the kitchen!

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake

Creamy Mushroom Pork Chop Bake


  • 3 large potatoes, parked and cut in bite size chunks
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 - 6 pork chops, bone-in
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup


  1. Boil potatoes for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. Season both sides of pork chops with pepper to taste.
  4. Place in large oven-safe casserole dish.
  5. Melt butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
  6. Add sliced onions and cook until onions are well caramelized (about 15 minutes).
  7. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Spread onions and garlic over chops.
  9. In a large bowl, mix garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and cream of mushroom soup.
  10. Pour over pork.
  11. Cover with foil and bake for 45 – 60 minutes.
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