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Taking care of your flocks…

“Know the conditions of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds.” -Proverbs 27:34

One of my best friends, Mark Miller, shared this fascinating story told by his grandfather, Jay Miller. Mr. Jay was the youngest of the seven Miller brothers, a family that made a good mark on our area with lives of good deeds, strong families, and rural values.

With Mark’s permission, I’ll share this story as his grandfather told him:

“As a boy, we had livestock—hundreds of cattle and thousands of sheep roaming the “open range” land of SW Louisiana. From time to time, my daddy would tell one of us, ‘I want you to saddle up today and ride out towards Barnes Creek and check on our stock.’ We called this ‘making our rounds.’

“Before going, he’d instruct us also to check in on the ‘widow women’ who lived on the scattered homesteads. I’d leave out early in the morning before daylight and return after dark with a report not only on the condition of our flocks and herds, but how the widows and homesteads were.”

I appreciate this story so much. It tells volumes about the mindset of our forbearers in Piney Woods Louisiana.

Mark Miller, Frank Bogard, and I meet weekly for Bible study and that led to us studying the above Proverb about taking care of your flocks and herds. The three of us discussed how we don’t have livestock in the woods and discussed how to apply this verse to our lives in 2010. Here’s our short list.  I’d like to hear your items for “making your rounds.”

1. Taking care of our family, especially our children. Know what going on in their lives.

2. Being on top of our finances and being a good steward of what we have.

3. Learning and growing in the “inventory” of our professional lives, whether it’s an electrician, outdoor camp director, or author.

4. Being on the cutting edge of how to best do our jobs.

5. Living in a “Preventive Maintenance” mode. i.e.  “Plowing fire lanes instead of putting out fires.”

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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