Tag Archives: name

What’s in a name?

Wednesday Wisdom 🙂


Inspiration this week comes from Luke chapter 9: Jesus and Zacchaeus. Specifically, verse 5:

“When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. ‘Zacchaeus!’ he said, ‘Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.'”


We learn to understand our names as babies before we can even speak ourselves. Each of us has one, and it makes us unique. Have you ever spent time thinking of the importance of getting personal enough to call someone by name? I’ve been thinking about this quite a lot recently as I began my tenure as a substitute in our local middle school. There are a lot of kids (a sea of movement down the hallways with faces partially disguised by masks) but each one has a name and a unique blend of traits that makes them special.

The critical question for me becomes: How does each student know that I consider them valuable and special?

It starts when I call them by name – by the right name, pronounced correctly, and with a smile on my face. I’m masked up too, but I know in my heart that the kids can sense my smile. With about 200 students in the school, knowing each one’s name is not a simple goal. I’m lucky to have coached about a quarter of them, but that still leaves a large number of masked faces looking at me with expectation.

As if to put an exclamation point on the importance of this goal, the Holy Spirit inspired our Youth Pastor to ask me recently to read a book entitled, “It’s Personal”. The book, by Virginia Ward, Reggie Joiner, and Kristen Ivy covers how hope is intrinsically tied to getting personal with the kids that God brings into our lives. Getting personal starts with caring enough to call them by name.


How many people in your life have both a name and a story to tell?


How does it make you feel when someone you barely know calls you by name? How does it make you feel when someone you know fairly well mispronounces or forgets your name? While the book discusses the importance of getting personal with adolescents and teenagers, I would argue that our ability to intentionally take the time to notice and to care impacts the adults in our lives just as much as the kids. The best way to love authentically is to go deep. There is a vulnerability that comes from opening your heart to each person that God brings into your life, but there is also a deep sense of purpose that stems from choosing to take the risk.

The story of Jesus and Zacchaeus illustrates how Jesus felt about heart-felt relationships. Zacchaeus is one example of how Jesus modeled genuine friendship by taking the time to both notice and move in to understand the people around him. Zacchaeus was a loner, an unpopular tax collector struggling with greed and loneliness. When he heard that Jesus was to pass by, he climbed up in a tree to try and see the Messiah. Imagine how he felt when Jesus noticed him, called him by name, and invited him into fellowship?  When Jesus called him by name, I bet that he felt worth. When Jesus invited him into fellowship, I imagine that he felt hope. It’s so simple, but yet so awesomely beautiful.

What if each day there is someone that God intentionally places on your path?

Take the time to stop and look around.

There’s someone who needs you to see them.

It isn’t often convenient and it takes a unique blend of compassion, awareness and courage. Honestly, it’s hard. But it is so, so very important. I pray each day that I slow down to notice, accept, love and value the kids that God brings into my life. It starts by simply learning a name, but it leads to a promise of shared grace.

Who is your Zacchaeus today?

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What’s In a Name?

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 9th grade English—somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 years ago…Even though it has been that long since I read Shakespeare’s famous play, every time that someone asks me “Anne, do you name your animals?” my mind immediately goes back to Juliet and her impassioned speech.

I suppose that this is what happens when your mother teaches high school English—Shakespeare becomes permanently imprinted on your brain!005

So, what is in a name—and, perhaps more importantly, how do I name my animals?

I had several readers last week ask me about animal identification.  Most specifically, I was asked to explain the ear tags that my cattle wear.  There were several pictures of ear tags in the video that I put up last week which sparked some great questions.

We use ear tags to identify our animals.  We give them numbers instead of names.  The lack of drama involved in giving a number to a calf would disappoint Mr. Shakespeare immensely; however, it is a very practical way for us to trace the performance of our animals.  Many of my cattle are wearing three different ear tags.

The yellow tag is the ranch tag that the calf was given at birth.

The yellow tag is the ranch tag that the calf was given at birth.

The first is a tag that the calf is given at birth.  This tag tells who the mother (cow) and father (bull) of the animal was, along with his birthdate.  This information is important because it tells us the genetics of the calf.  As we trace the calf from birth to harvest, we look at the efficiency of the animal’s growth performance (how easily does he grow and put on muscle), and also the quality of the beef that the animal produces at harvest time.  Knowing the calf’s genetics allows us to select for bulls and cows that produce the most efficient and high quality animals.  Identification through the use of an ear tag makes this logistically possible.

The orange tag is the PVP tag: it signifies age and source verification as well as a Veterinary Quality Assurance certification based on the Beef Quality Assurance program.

The orange tag is the PVP tag: it signifies age and source verification as well as a Veterinary Quality Assurance certification based on the Beef Quality Assurance program.

The second tag is a Process Verified Tag (PVP tag).  It is a one-time use, tamper-resistant tag with a unique and non-repeatable number.  This tag allows the animal to be eligible for specific niche markets (including foreign export), and verifies compliance with age and source documentation on the animal.  For more information on PVP programs, you can go to http://processverified.usda.gov.  All of the cattle that I currently have on my farm are USDA Age and Source Verified animals that are eligible for niche markets.

The blue tag in the calf's other ear is the cowboy tag that links her with her pen mates.

The blue tag in the calf’s other ear is the cowboy tag that links him with his pen mates.

The third tag is a cowboy tag.  This is a tag that we put in at the feed yard that helps my crew and I know which pen the animal belongs in.  Each pen of animals has a unique cowboy tag  with both a group number (which all of the animals in the pen share) and an individual number.  The cowboy tag is very useful when checking health and making sure that each animal is in the correct pen.  We have 24 different pens at the feed yard with almost 3000 animals in total on my farm—it is nice to have a cowboy tag to reference to make sure that all of the cattle are in the correct home pen.

You can see that the animals in this pen share a green cowboy tag.  I love this picture because it also shoes the calf in the middle who was so excited for breakfast that he started eating before the feed truck finished delivering his food.  As a result, he is "wearing" some of his breakfast!

You can see that the animals in this pen share a green cowboy tag. I love this picture because it also shows the calf in the middle who was so excited for breakfast that he started eating before the feed truck finished delivering his food. As a result, he is “wearing” some of his breakfast!

Fortunately, cattle have pretty large ears so there is enough room for them to wear three different tags at the same time.  Having multiple tags also ensures that we never loose the identification of an animal.   Sometimes an ear tag will fall out, but since all of my animals are wearing more than one tag and all of the tags are cross-referenced together, their identity is not lost.  When my animals ship to harvest, it is mandatory that each one of them have a PVP tag.  In fact, when they arrive at the packing plant, a USDA inspector is present to make sure that each one has their unique PVP identification so that they can remain eligible for niche markets.

Some of our animals carry a yellow PVP tag instead of the orange one.  The yellow tag also denotes eligibility for participation in the Age and Source PVP program.

Some of our animals carry a yellow PVP tag instead of the orange one. The yellow tag also denotes eligibility for participation in the Age and Source PVP program.

The short answer to the question is that there is a lot in a name–especially if you are talking about the identity of a food animal!  Animal identification is important for quality control, food safety, and the consistent measurement and improvement of animal performance.

Many thanks for the questions last week.  I love to hear what interest all of you who read my ramblings!

Many thanks for the questions last week. I love to hear what interests all of you!

Hopefully I was successful in answering your questions!

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