Looking Well

     Looking well to the ways of your own household can, and does, mean many different things.  The way that I look well to the ways of my own household will be different from the way you look after your own.  The differences may be great or they may be small, but there will be differences.  The size of a family, the ages of the children, the work schedules, the manner of schooling, the involvement in activities outside the home are just a few factors that will make these differences.  Even within our own homes, though, looking well might be different from one season to the next.
     Looking well to your household means that you are always, always, watching, observing and evaluating all of the areas under your oversight.  Proverbs instructs us to “
Know well the condition of your flocks, And pay attention to your herds” (Prov. 27:23).  Though we keep sheep, my watching and knowing well extends to all parts of my family and home. 
     I am reminded of a one-time acquaintance who told me that she had set up some wonderful organizational systems in her home when her children were small.  The children, of course, did what all children do, and they got older.  She couldn’t, for the life of her, figure out why her home was in such disarray.  She had great organizational systems in place.  What went wrong?  Well, nothing went wrong.  Her systems were perfect for the time when they were established, but they had become obsolete as her children matured.  We must always be watchful to keep on top of things.
     These last few weeks have found me in a season where looking well to the ways of my household has involved a lot of evaluation and time spent making changes here and there.  I’ve not made the changes all at once, and most of the changes have been small, but not all.  It has kept me quite busy, though!  Here is just a sample of what I’ve been up to.
     Will was seven or eight, and about 75 lbs., when I first researched and started him on his vitamin and supplement regime.  He is now ten years old, and is big for his age.  He’s five feet tall and
weighs about 105 lbs!  We had, once again, begun to lose our happy, cheerful, affectionate boy, and I realized that he might have outgrown the dosages he had been taking..  Looking well to my household in this case meant going back to the books and spending some more time researching what might need to be added, dropped or replaced.  New products were discovered, and I spent hours researching their effectiveness for his disorders and checking to be sure that something that might help one thing would not make something else worse.  For example, many things (vitamins, supplements and even foods) that will assist him with his ADHD, OCD and sensory issues will cause the tics caused by Tourette’s to increase in number and frequency.  In the end, I found a couple of things that we are trying and that will, Lord willing, help.  I am thankful that I have already begun to see more smiles, hear more of his infectious giggle, and felt quite a few more of his wonderful drive-by hugs!  (Photo:  Will wearing Dad’s boots)
     Dani and I have also been working very hard to stretch our food dollars to buy seeds, bare root trees and plants and supplies to grow more of our own food.  This is not a project meant only for this year, but for the foreseeable future as well.  This has been an ongoing process and we have made some great strides.  Dani has spent quite a bit of time starting seeds indoors and caring for them as we anticipate putting in a larger, more extensive garden this year.  We are very close to our last expected frost date and will soon be able to put some of our wee seedlings out into the garden.  After weeks of rain, things are now beginning to dry out a bit.  I am hopeful that we will be able to till our strawberry patch this weekend and put in our bare root strawberry plants, all 120 of them, on Monday. 
     This has also been a season of seeking the Lord and praying about how deeply we should stock our pantry.  Again, this is something that the Lord will lead each household in differently.  In my own situation, we have kept a deep pantry and/or freezer for more than a decade.  We do not live close enough to town to make little jaunts into town for things we run out of.  We also cook almost everything from scratch, so keeping a deep pantry and buying in bulk means that all of the ingredients we will need are always on hand.  We shop our big pantry, kept in an outbuilding,  frequently!  However, there are times when the Lord directs us to deepen a bit more, and we are in just such a season now.  We have, I think, finally stumbled upon the right balance of where to buy our bulk goods for the best price without needing to spend our savings in gasoline in driving all over to procure them.  I have also joined the natural foods cooperative in the big city, and we will enjoy the benefit of their many member discounts, as well.
     Changes have also been made to our home keeping routine, our homeschool day and my own personal schedule.  I have spent countless hours working on a project for our church, which has meant, of course, that other things fell by the wayside.  I then spent countless hours taking care of the things that were let go while I worked on that project!
     In seasons like this, looking well to the ways of your household also means looking well to your own heart, mind and body.  You will be no good to your family if you are exhausted and/or burnt out.  In this last week or so, I have begun spending some time on the treadmill.  A half an hour in the afternoon while the boys are reading is perfect, followed by a few minutes of stretching.  I’m eating more carefully and am taking the time to enjoy the food that I eat.  
     Do not neglect time in the Word, especially during busy seasons!!  It is of the utmost importance at all times, but even more vital when things are busy.  Read the Bible daily!  In addition, take the time to refill your own cup in other ways.  I’ve enjoyed listening to a Charles Dickens’ book on my Zune while I’ve walked on the treadmill.  The old English dialogue and the plot, involving many and varied characters, help keep my brain sharp.  An audio book, teaching tape or sermon podcast is just the thing to make the time pass quickly while exercising, too! 
     My evenings have been spent reading, which has been a real treat for me, especially at the end of those days filled with lots of mental exercise.  Time spent as a passenger in the van has kept my knitting projects moving along, too, bringing me much enjoyment in the process.
    I very much appreciate those of you who have messaged and e-mailed me to see if we are okay and to check in on us.  I am blessed by your kindness and caring.  I’ve been so busy that it has been difficult for me to reply to many of you, and I hope you will forgive the lack of personal communication.  I have been, though, doing what I will always encourage you to be about.  I have been looking well to the ways of my household.  You do the same!

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

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