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Using My Sniffer

By Andrea G. Schwartz
July 31, 2009

I have spent a good portion of the summer traveling to golf tournaments and visiting my son and his family. As much fun as traveling is, it is always nice to get back home. I leave the house in good shape, with the laundry and dishes done, cleaned and ironed clothes for my husband, and prepared meals in the refrigerator or freezer. When I return home, I get the house back in order.

Upon a recent return home, a faint, rather sickly sweet smell kept hitting me as I walked from the hallway into the kitchen. After confirming that the trash had been taken out, I cleaned out the refrigerator and even behind the refrigerator [Yuk!], and concluded that some animal had died under our house! This meant we were going to have to call someone to investigate since neither my husband nor I were about to crawl under the house. We then cleaned out the hall closet where the crawl space is located so that our investigator would have access.

As Providence would have it, right after I scheduled someone to locate the source of the smell, I walked by a basket that sits near the kitchen and in it, hidden from view, were three of the smelliest rotten potatoes I have ever encountered. An up-close nose test confirmed this was the source of the foul odor. We cancelled the appointment and I was saved the embarrassment and cost of a “skilled professional” telling me to throw out my rotten potatoes.

This experience made me consider another vital role a wife/mother plays in her household. My presence at home made it a number one priority to find the source of the smell, in part because I had to experience it for days. Likewise, a wife/mother who is looking well to the ways of her household is on the scene and able to notice the changes in behavior or attitude of family members, to investigate situations and occurrences that “smell bad” to her, and get to the root of matters more quickly than those who spend their days servicing other people’s businesses and priorities.

I am blessed that God has given me a good sense of smell so that I can detect minor nuisance odors before they turn into bigger ones. I am more grateful that God has given me His law-word, and faithful expositors like R. J. Rushdoony, to help me sniff out minor family problems and issues before they escalate into serious dilemmas.


Topics: Family & Marriage

Andrea G. Schwartz

Andrea Schwartz is Chalcedon’s family and Christian education advocate, and the author of eight books including: A House for God: Building a Kingdom-Driven FamilyThe Biblical Trustee Family: Understanding God’s Purpose for Your HouseholdEmpowered: Developing Strong Women for Kingdom ServiceWoman of the House: A Mother’s Role in Building a Christian Culture, and The Homeschool Life: Discovering God’s Way to Family-Based Education. She’s also the co-host of the Out of the Question podcast, and Homeschooling Helps (weekly live Facebook event). She can be reached at [email protected]

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