13. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14. She is like the merchant ships bringing food from afar. 15. She gets up while it is still dark; she prepares food for her family, and portions for her servant girls.
I feel better reading the phrase "servant girls." Don't you think this whole thing would be easier with a servant or two?
She selects wool and flax - other translations substitute selects for "looks for, shops around." The Proverbs 31 woman seeks out the best value for her money. This ties into doing good for her husband and running her household smoothly. I know that I am probably preaching to the choir given today's economy, but we should all pay attention to what we pay for items and keep an eye out on special deals. If you are unsure on how to go about this, Frugal Upstate and Want What You Have have a lot of resources to help you stretch your dollar.
(she) works with eager hands - this is the part that might not be so easy. I know I am supposed to work, but eagerly? Some translations interpret it to say that she works with delight, enjoyment, gladness, willingness. I admit that I have a hard time working in such a mood sometimes. One way to help keep a cheerful attitude while working is music. Put on some good uplifting music, preferably with a quick tempo. If music isn't an option, sing yourself, or pray. I dislike cleaning the bathroom, but I am sure glad I have a bathroom to clean! The toilet may be disgusting, but compared to an outhouse, it's a dream come true. Soap scum may be an inch thick on the bathtub, but imagine heating water up on a wood stove and filling the washtub pot by pot for the whole family to use. Back in the day, families went youngest to oldest when taking baths, which would put the mama after the kids. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to take a bath after several children had already used the water!
She is like the merchant ships bringing food from afar - The commentaries I've read simply state that she is willing to go to trouble to get what her family needs. One version stated that she brings back exotic surprises. Back then, many of the things we find easily at the grocery were hard to come by. Ships had to travel to bring them from other countries. The Proverbs 31 woman is willing to seek out things that she knows her family will enjoy, even if it is not the easiest thing for her to do. She enjoys surprising her family with treats. While you may not be able to buy exotic things, we all know what our family likes and doesn't like. If it is within reason, give your family a little extra something now and then as a way of caring for them and putting their best above your own.
She gets up while it is still dark; she prepares food for her family, and portions for her servant girls - she doesn't lounge about in bed all morning, depending on others to do work. She sets a good example for her family and her servants and rises in order to serve them. In some versions, the portions for her servant girls translates into setting out their work for the day or arranging the day's work. This woman is well-organized. She plans her work and works the plan. I don't know about you, but I tend to get more done if I write it all down and check it off as I complete the task. As for the getting up while still dark, I'll have to work on that one! I tend to sleep until BB wakes up. He doesn't like to eat first thing, so I typically let him play while I drink coffee and catch up on blogs. That's really not setting a good example. Too often, I spend too much time catching up on blogs (especially if there's a blog carnival) and I find the rest of my day's schedule thrown off.
So to recap, I should shop for the best deals for my money, have a positive attitude about my work, look for extras to treat my family with, get up ready to work, and organize my day. I can do that!