Saturday, September 22, 2007

I read this "Quote of the day" on an email list. It is profound, especially as regards to the peace of mind that comes when we are daily, incrementally, living in a preparedness way. The peace that comes cannot be bought.

"Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself." -- Rabbi Abraham Heschel

Just what things have you said "no" to so that you could add to your year's supply or create that all-important 72-hour kit (that now the government is calling a two-week kit)?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back to School

OK, I admit it. The back to school flurry hit, in addition to teaching early morning seminary classes for the youth. But now that things are moving forward, I'm back with (hopefully) helpful tips to help you live a preparedness lifestyle.

We never know when things can hit. Crises are rarely anticipated. But for those who have planned for a variety of eventualities, these times of crisis can be less rigorous (not fun, but at least less rigorous).

Here's one thought: if you couldn't get to the vet for a seriously long period of time, do you have supplies for your little furry ones? OK, maybe your furry ones are big (or include the men in your home...but that's another story. You can always buy razors for them!).

Regardless the size of your furry pets - or scaly, etc - they are going to need certain items that you may not be able to purchase from the store. In the event of an emergency, do you have a sufficient supply of flea and tick repellant?

What about pet food? Or access to clean drinking water?

What about heart worm preventative meds? When I was a kid, we had two dogs die from heart worm disease. It was horrible. I would never want an animal to go through that misery.

Thus, the question for today is: do you have sufficient meds for your pets to care for them, should you not have access to a vet? Here are some links for online pet stores to help you get started. I haven't purchased from them, so can't vouch for them, but at least it will help you begin researching your options!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Excellent Countdown

Need some help getting prepared? Here is an excellent countdown list. Couldn't be easier!

Let's "get prepared now."

Monday, July 02, 2007

Too Busy to Prepare?

Wow, it's been a bit of time since I've been able to post. Life has been busy with my family downsizing. We're downsizing so that we can have more ability for preparation in many ways. Downsizing to a smaller home, downsizing to a smaller "activity list", downsizing in as many ways as possible so that we have mental space and energy for more scripture study, more prayer, and more study of what it means to have a preparedness lifestyle.

So here's a question: are you too busy to prepare? The Lord through the scriptures often teaches of preparedness. Find some of those scriptures today and then ponder them. Then ask yourself again if your life is going by too quickly to think, let alone live a preparedness lifestyle.

"Preparedness" implies time to ponder on your family's needs and then actually plan how to meet them. Then it necessitates taking care of those needs. If your daily schedule screeches from one car pool to practice to meeting to...etc., how will you be able to do what you need for your family's preparedness?

I'm finding "downsizing" temporally and mentally gives me a much better chance at helping my family be ready for whatever may come - be that a micro family issue (such as illness) or a more global issue (such as a national issue).

TIP: Begin downsizing and removing all unnecessary expenditures in your life - whether those expenditures come in the form of time, money, or mental worry.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Repeat after me: "I Will Get Prepared Now..."

Ok, get this link. THAT is frightening.

Yet, I must admit that I fitted...fut...fat...(whatever is the past tense for "fit"?) into the category of the sorry folks that the article spoke of. That is, I fit in until now. My new goal for this year is to "Be Prepared In All Things."

So far I've been moving forward in a variety of ways.

How are you doing?

P.S. If you need inspiration, check out this link again. Then repeat after me, "I will get prepared now. I will get prepared now. I will get prepared now!"


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Definitely Not Light or Sweet

OK, ready for a power quote? This one is not easy on the ears, nor the heart. But if I avoid preparing for pending possibilities, what good does that do my sweet family?

This is Elder Bruce R. McConkie, speaking in General Conference, April 1979 (found in the Ensign, May 1979, p. 93):

Be it remembered that tribulations lie ahead. There will be wars in one nation and kingdom after another until war is poured out upon all nations and two hundren million men of war mass their armaments at Armageddon.

Peace has been taken from the earth, the angels of destruction have begun their work, and their swords shall not be sheathed until the Prince of Peace comes to destroy the wicked and usher in the great Millennium.

There will be earthquakes and floods and famines. The waves of the sea shall heave themselves beyond their bounds, the clouds shall withold their rain, and the crops of the earth shall wither and die.

There shall be plagues and pestilence and disease and death. An overflowering scourge shall cover the earth and a desolating sickness shall sweep the land. Flies shall take hold of the inhabitat of the earth, and maggots shall come in upon them. 'Their flesh shall fall from off their bones, and their eyes from their sockets" (see D&C 29).

Bands of Gadianton robbers will infest every nation, immorality and murder and crime will increase, and it will seem as though every man's hand is against his brother."

The crops withering me bothers me (not that the rest is exciting). But I've just begun gardening with my little Earthboxes (see my post Earthboxes, Earthboxes.... I've become most attached to my little plants. As I water them each day, periodically I have the disturbing thought flit through my mind as to the privilege of water. As to the necessity of water - for both plants and me.

Thus, while I have time to garden - before things get really bad - I am going to garden. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm concerned about a few leaves right now being eaten by little bugs. I'm learning and I'm growing. But I'm determined while I still have time left to learn how to be as self-sufficient as possible and to put up in canning jars and other food storage ways that which I'm now growing.

Until the next time, Let's Get Prepared Now! :0)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Slow to Hearken

Oh, how I don't want this to be me!

"They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble. In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me." (D&C 101:7-8)

This is how I want to be:

"And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted. Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them;..." (Alma 57:20-21)

We don't need to be perfect to be obedient.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Those Who "Almost" Believe

I saw that expression (Those Who 'Almost' Believe) in one of the best books I've ever found on food storage. The book is called Prophetic Statements on Food Storage for Latter-day Saints. The author is Neil H. Leash and can be found here.

Here is a quote from Prophetic Statements on Food Storage for Latter-day Saints:

"Perhaps we can find meaning for ourselves by looking at Abraham's struggle concerning the city of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Genesis 18:23-33). In his situation, as you may recall, Abraham was laboring with the Lord to save the city if sufficient righteous men could be found. In our day the story might go something like this:

"'Peradventure' Lord, will thou save the Saints if we can find sufficient with seven years supply of food storage?" (as the Lord instructed the Saints through the prophet Brigham Young). And the Lord responds, 'If you find those with seven years supply, I will save them.' Then our doubt begins to set in, because we know it is very unlikely that there is hardly anyone with a seven-year food supply, so we quickly ask the Lord to consider another possibillity:

"'Peradventure' that some shall have but one year less, wilt thou save them if we can find those with six years of food storage? And the Lord answering says, 'If you can find those with six years of food storage I will save the Saints.'

"And so it goes; and as with Abraham we continue to press the Lord, trying to reduce our anxiety and cover our doubts. Thus, we have gone from 7 years of food storage to 6, to 5, to 4, to 3, to 2, and eventually to a minimum of a year's supply as the Lord, sadly, acquiesces before us - a people unwilling to extend themselves to meet the greater requirement, but one none the less in our best interest. You will also note that the Lord has reduced the amount to be stored to a minimum, from the food we regularly eat to that which would 'keep us from starving.' And so it is with us today, as the history of the food storage program has unfolded." (p. 147)

One might say, where does one store all this food? I will be researching this, because I live in a state where most homes have few closets due to the warm weather. It is also too hot to store food in the small garages we have here. So it's an interesting proposition. But it is no excuse. The Lord only asks that which we're capable of.

Oftentimes obedience is simply a shifting of priorities. I may not be able to store 12 months of food for a family of eight, but I certainly (if this were my scenario) could show my efforts in obedience to have stored at least three months worth (or whatever my home is capable of bearing).

A large dream is begun by living the smaller dream at first. Let us first start with at least one month's worth of food in storage to show the Lord we're learning to live a preparedness lifestyle. Then next month, we add a second month's worth. The following month, we add a third month's worth. Little by little soon becomes a lot.

I'd rather store a little at a time, rather than one day my children starve because I didn't get started today. Remember...preparedness is a lifestyle, not a one-time event. Thus, let's go find something to begin with today!

P.S. You might want to start by getting Neil Leash's book today. It can be found here.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Quote: Harold B. Lee

Elder Harold B. Lee counseled,

“Perhaps if we think not in terms of a year’s supply of what we ordinarily would use, and think more in terms of what it would take to keep us alive in case we didn’t have anything else to eat, that last would be very easy to put in storage for a year … just enough to keep us alive if we didn’t have anything else to eat. We wouldn’t get fat on it, but we would live; and if you think in terms of that kind of annual storage rather than a whole year’s supply of everything that you are accustomed to eat which, in most cases, is utterly impossible for the average family, I think we will come nearer to what President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., advised us way back in 1937.” (In Welfare Conference, 1 October 1966.)

Earthboxes, Earthboxes...

Today we drove and drove to visit the home of the Earthbox. What an amazing experience.

For those of you who have never heard of the Earthbox, be prepared to be amazed. While there is no perfect gardening experience, I think that these little gizmos (ok, well maybe not "little" at 30"x15"x12") can produce an amazing amount of veggies, herbs, and fruit.

I will soon be posting pictures of my new venture into gardening. But let me just say that this is about as exciting as Christmas for me. My little five year old son helped me layer in the soil, fertilizer, and top screen (to protect the plants). Then we poked into the rich dark dirt and his little fingers dropped in seeds. How fun for him and me to cover those tiny seeds with a rich blanket of dirt.

Every few minutes, as we moved on to the next Earthbox and the next, he'd run back to the first to see if they were growing yet! I kept having to explain the process of germination and that it'd be a few days at least before the seeds would peek through the dirt to say hello.

But what an experience! And I can finally say I'm following the admonition we're taught in the church--that of being self-reliant in ways such as growing a garden. Get a load of the following quote:

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden … neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1976, 170–71; or Ensign, May 1976, 124).

And President Ezra Taft Benson said, quoting also a bit from Marion G. Romney: Unfortunately, there has been fostered in the minds of some an expectation that when we experience hard times, when we have been unwise and extravagant with our resources and have lived beyond our means, we should look to either the Church or government to bail us out. Forgotten by some of our members is an underlying principle of the Church welfare plan that “no true Latter-day Saint will, while physically able, voluntarily shift from himself the burden of his own support” (Marion G. Romney, in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, p. 106). (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32).

My family and I have much to go until we will able to completely provide produce for our cooking needs. But what an exciting journey and what a sense of contentment that we're at least getting started. There are as many ways to garden as there are people. But where we live, we have very little space. So we've selected Earthboxes as a way to do this. The yield from these is amazing, so for us, this is where we'll start!

For more information, here is the Earthbox website. And then click here to see some amazing pictures of the lushness of plants grown in Earthboxes. Someday these will be my pictures! :0)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Elder Richard R. Lyman

- Elder Richard R. Lyman
General Conference, October 1941

What some are calling a "New Order" follows the oldest order known. It is not unlike the practice of the powerful beast devouring its helpless prey. It is an order whose motives are prompted by envy, hatred and malice. It is an order that takes from man his freedom and makes it impossible for the individual, however righteous, trustworthy, talented, ambitious or competent, to work effectively, to rise and to make his contribution to the good of mankind by rendering the highest human service of which he is capable. This so-called new order is distinctly, yes, violently against the progress and welfare of the masses of the people. It would destroy the very foundations of free government. This plan displaces the rule of moral principle with that of selfishness, force and greed.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Tip: 1st Aid Kit

I was reading recently in the book Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide, a publication by the Backwoods Home Magazine people. I'm not familiar much with their website or what else they have, but their book is great because it delineates clearly many simple principles in helping your family lived a preparedness lifestyle.

Some may get tired of hearing that we need to take care of our families in this way. But I think that after seeing the devastation, the despair, and the frustration of the people hurt by Hurricane Katrina, individuals around the world have a better idea of how sudden a disaster can occur...even with warning.

Hey, it wasn't like we didn't know it was coming. Whether it was complacency or some other factor, there were people whose families were torn apart by the tragedy caused by that mighty storm. Some people were NOT able to leave and how frightening for them to have this thing tearing up their surroundings. But for those who could have left and didn't, ouch. Hindsight can be very painful.

That hurricane was out there in the gulf for a few days. Forecasters had been talking about it. It wasn't an eency-weency storm. Yet all along the coast, people were still caught-off guard by its fury--even the natives of the state. Even of the people who COULD leave, some didn't. The "government" cannot be in all times and places, folks. It is unrealistic, numerically impossible, and impractical to think so.


All this, from a disaster that was public knowledge. What about those sudden disasters that come without warning? That brings me to the first page of the book I have in front of me, Emergency Preparedness and Survival Guide. The author of the first chapter, Gary F. Arnet, D.D.S. points to the complacency of our society. He mentions the people lined up to get bandaids after a California earthquake (Ibid., p. 3) Bandaids!

These weren't the severely injured, but those people who presumably had scratches and bruises. They needed bandaids. One could presume that perhaps these people weren't able to get to their homes to get to the bandaids. But what if it's as the author states, that they simply hadn't bothered ever to purchase a 1st aid kit? Now THAT is being unprepared.

The whole point, folks, is that there really are things we need to take responsibility for. As Dr. Arnet states in his article, these people were impeding the progress of the medical personnel trying to deal with the truly injured.

So do you have a 1st aid kit for your home? It would be wise also to obtain one for each car. It would be even better to have a tiny sandwich bag of at least bandaids and ointment, safety pins, etc. for your purse, backpack, briefcase, or desk.

In the case of Hurricane Katrina, that hurricane's arrival was not a surprise. But in many instances, we have no notice.

Tip: Get your 1st aid kits today. And remember to put one in each of your kid's school backpacks.

Spiritual Preparedness

I feel that somehow I've been remiss in the posts I've shared thus far. It has occurred to me that I've overlooked the most important element of a preparedness lifestyle (remember the adage that "Preparedness is a lifestyle, not a one time event"):

Spiritual Preparedness is that missing element in my posts here.

We can read many scriptures that speak of the last days. Each of us probably have our favorite ones, or if not favorites, at least ones familiar to us. What is the common thread through most of those? That common thread is simply "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear."

No where could anything be more importantly "prepared" than the private chambers of our own heart, mind, and soul.

So how are we doing? How am I doing? How are you doing? If called upon to appear before the judgment seat of Christ, would I squirm? Would I rejoice? My daily choices NOW will determine my response THEN.

So yes, absolutely, spiritual preparedness must be discussed, pondered, and acted upon by those who seek to be prepared in all things. Indeed, being prepared is a lifestyle, not a one time event.

In no topic is that more true than seeking daily to know the Savior by serving as He did while upon the earth. No topic is more true than seeking daily to purify ourselves so that we can stand in His presence, rejoicing rather than wanting to hide.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Tip: Take Care of Medical Needs

Remember that preparedness is a lifestyle, NOT a one time event. Thus, it influences every facet of our lives.

Therefore, get in the habit of taking care of your medical needs now...and those of your family members. For example, if you need a tooth extraction, call today to set the appointment. If you need to have a physical exam (and you've been putting it off), call the doctor today to set up the appointment.

Be proactive with your medical needs. Learn to think a few months in advance. If your company has a mail-order pharmacy program, take advantage of it. It may be difficult to have a year's supply of medicine, but at least you can have a three-month supply on hand (if your company offers that).

One never knows what kind of upheaval either your personal life might take or perhaps that your community or society might experience. If you are prepared, you will experience less fear. Nothing would be worse than truly needing a root canal and now you can't get one. Or being in pain and not able to get relief.

Tip: Take care of your medical needs now! Today! Make that phone call.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Quote: Bruce R. McConkie

It is one of the sad heresies of our time that peace will be gained by weary diplomats as they prepare treaties of compromise, or that the Millennium will be ushered in because men will learn to live in peace and to keep the commandments, or that the predicted plagues and promised desolations of latter days can in some way be avoided.

We must do all we can to proclaim peace, to avoid war, to heal disease, to prepare for natural disaster -- but with it all, that which is to be shall be.

We do not know when the calamities and troubles of the last days will fall upon any of us individuals or upon bodies of the Saints. The Lord deliberatley withholds from us the day and hour of his coming and of the tribulations which shall precede it -- all as part of the testing and probationary experiences of mortality. He simply tells us to watch and be ready"
Ensign, May 1979, p. 93).

Interestingly enough, this was spoken nearly 30 years ago. Elder McConkie's words still hold true. There is much we can do to bless the lives of others and to prepare our families, friends and loved ones, and even our communities to help assuage suffering. But there is no sense in trying to hold back prophesy. That would be rather like trying to impede the progress of a tsunami with a lone hand.

Instead, let us do all in our power to do what we've been asked to do. Then we can confidently stand back and allow the Lord to do His part in these important moments in the history of this world. Let's get busy and Get Prepared Now! :0)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tip: High Quality Sleeping Bags

Here's a tip. Let's assume you live in upstate New York and the power goes out. And stays out. For days on end--and it's in the heart of winter.

Just think how your family will thank you, because you previously purchased high quality sleeping bags for every family member.

Start watching now for sales on high quality sleeping bags. Not just the cheap Walmart kind, but the kind that are rated to go down in temperature in matching manner to your worst winter storms. That way if your home loses power, you and your little ones can still stay warm while sleeping!

Tip: Get a high quality sleeping bag for each member of the family.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Quote: President James E. Faust

It is my testimony that we are facing difficult times. We must be courageously obedient. My witness is that we will be called upon to prove our spiritual stamina, for the days ahead will be filled with affliction and difficulty. But with the assuring comfort of a personal relationship with God, we will be given a calming courage. From Divine so near we will receive the quiet assurance. (President James E. Faust, Ensign, January 1999, p. 5).

We need not fear, but we best be getting ready...spiritually and in every way possible. Then the climb up the "spiritual mountaintop" will be more full of glorious vistas then painful muscle strains. :0)

Monday, February 26, 2007

Tip: Prioritize

OK, if you aren't very "emergency prepared," I can relate. I wasn't either for a long time. In fact, I remember standing in a Walmart check out line astonished at the amount of batteries and fuel the guy in front of me was buying. "Wow, he must be planning a big camping trip," I said to the checkout clerk when it was my turn for my purchases.

She looked at me like I had a big hornet on my nose. "Uhhhhh, no." Long pause. Confused look in my direction. "Uh, he's buying that for the hurricane."

"The hurricane," I asked, still cutely bemused.

Now I must have had two hornets on my nose, because I will never forget the look she flashed me. "UH, yeah, the hurricane. Like the category 5 hurricane heading right for us in two days!"

"Wow," was about all I could muster. Sheepishly I paid for my purchases and hurried home. I flipped on the weather channel. Where had I been? With all the evacuations? With all the plywood-purchasing-people scurrying home? How had I missed it all?

Actually I knew how I'd missed it. I rarely watch TV or (during that time) read the newspaper. And somehow I now had a hurricane 5 barreling down, making a beeline for my home town.

The next 36 hours were crazy. I didn't have anything ready. My important papers were scattered in various places, drawers and files and boxes in the garage, etc. I didn't have 72 hour kits ready for my family. I didn't have any of my creative works ready to take in an evacuation, let alone photos, etc.

Fortunately for us (and quite sadly for others) the hurricane suddenly veered, just two hours from striking my area. But I learned my lesson the very-nearly-hard way. Getting prepared slowly and consistently is far better than freaking out and throwing everything in a basket. Definitely NOT the way to do things.

So here's quick tip: Get Prepared Now! Write down the top five or six priorities of what you'd just die if you lost in a storm. (Hint: you might start with your children, husband, and dog. ) Put those priorities on individual index cards. Then place them in order of importance (after your family, of course).

Tape the first card to the fridge. Every time you walk by that card, you'll be reminded that you're working on that priority. Perhaps it's finding all your important papers and putting them in a ziploc/waterproof bag. Perhaps it's finishing that scrapbook with the one of a kind photos (that then goes in the trunk of your car if you needed to evacuate). Perhaps it's rounding up all of your photographic negatives and placing them in a safe deposit box at the bank.

Whatever the priority is, keep on the first one until it's done. Set a deadline so you don't become complacent. Reward yourself when you've accomplished your goal. Then tape the next card to the fridge and begin working on that priority (maybe it's mailing a copy of your important papers to your out-of-state contact or maybe it's creating 72 hours kits for each family member or car or kid's backpack, etc.).

When you've completed all five or so priorities, pat yourself on the back. You'll be in a much better place than I was back in 2004!

Remember: Emergency Preparedness is a lifestyle, not a one time event!

Summary: Prioritize your emergency prep needs and get started today completing each one, one at a time!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Quote: President Spencer W. Kimball

In referring to the ten virgins mentioned in Matthew 25:1-13, President Spencer W. Kimball stated the following:

I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ and not the rank and file of the world. All the virgins, wise and foolish, had accepted the invitation to the wedding supper; they had knowledge of the program and had been warned of the important day to come.

They [the foolish] knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion. I ask you: What value is a car without an engine, a cup without water, a table without food, a lamp without oil?

Hundreds of thousands of us today are in this position. Confidence has been dulled and patience worn thin. It is so hard to wait and be prepared always. But we cannot allow ourselves to slumber. The Lord has given us this parable as a special warning.

The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual [and temporal] preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. The wise had to go, else the bridegroom would have gone unwelcomed. They needed all their oil for themselves; they could not save the foolish. The responsibility was each for himself
Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 253.

It would behoove those of us today who have the foreknowledge of the importance of emergency preparedness to actually follow through and "Get Prepared Now!"

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tip: Get to Know Your Neighbors

In case you hadn't heard, four LDS missionaries were reported today as abducted. This occurred in the country of Nigeria. Here is a link to the news report.

The only reason I post this is that it was the neighbors of these missionaries who helped inform the local officials. Through great prayer, I believe these missionaries will be released. And through this, perhaps even greater things can happen to bless the lives of those hurt by this event. The Lord can work amazing miracles.

But the news of this brings up a very important point for those living in challenging times. It would behoove us to get to know our neighbors and to serve them, love them, befriend them. During hard times, then, a community can draw together and be mutually helpful one towards another. But if the seeds haven't previously been planted by examples of kindness and love and service, then relationships could be a completely different matter.

TIP: Start establishing a feeling of camaraderie amongst your neighborhood. Volunteer to coordinate a block party. Periodically surprise your neighbors with homemade cookies. Attend your neighbors' kids basketball games. Do all things in moderation, of course. But a little bit of love can go a long way in building a better local community of individuals. Then if or when something more difficult occurs, you will have shown the way to reach out and support/sustain one another.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Quote: President Gordon B. Hinckley

"Now, brethren, I want to make it clear that I am not prophesying, that I am not predicting years of famine in the future. But I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order....That's all I have to say about it, but I wish to say it with all the emphasis of which I am capable"(Ensign, November 1998, p. 53).

The Lord doesn't want us to panic. There is no need to if we are making preparedness a lifestyle choice, rather than a one time event. :0)

Monday, February 19, 2007

Year's Supply/Tips: Provide for Your Pets

OK, we all love our pets. But how many times are they forgotten in emergency plans? Right up until walking out the door to go to the shelter...and there is Fido, staring at you with his woebegone eyes.

Many people, as they complete their year's food supply, forget their pets needs...simply out of oversight. So as you plan to complete your year's supply of food and other essential items, don't forget Fido.

He (or she) needs food storage, just like you do. What about water? What about flea and/or tick prevention?

Also, if evacuating, what will your choice be? Most people who love their pets don't want to leave them behind. So do you have a list of hotels in your state (for evacuation purposes) that accept pets? If not, bite the bullet and make that list today. Then go tuck it in your 72-hour kit.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Tip: Try-Its

The brownie troup my daughter belonged to had what were called "Try-Its." I loved the concept. Not very threatening, yet exposed the girls to new things.

Emergency preparedness can be like that. Rather than be intimidated by trying to do it ALL, why not "try-it" in different categories. So for example, for one night try living without electricity of any kind. Yep, this means no TV, no computer ( mean no email?), no electric or gas cooking, no heat, etc.

Just imagine the adventure! And it will expose many thoughts to you. Do you have sufficient blankets? Do you have a hand operated can opener? Can you live without using the faucets for one evening? Can you cook without typical household electricity?

The list goes on, but I'll stop here. Make sure to keep a flashlight, a pencil and a pad of paper at hand. That way as you notice things you need for your emergency preparations, you'll be able to jot them down.

Again, we never know when disaster or difficulty may strike. We of course pray it never does. But IF it does, your family will thank you, thank you, thank you for your foresight in making sure you prepared!

Tip: Try-its are the best. Small chunks of experiences that are manageable yet inspiring to get prepared now!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

President Ezra Taft Benson

President Benson:

"You do not need to go into debt, may I add, to obtain a year’s supply. Plan to build up your food supply just as you would a savings account. Save a little for storage each pay-check. Can or bottle fruit and vegetables from your gardens and orchards. Learn how to preserve food through drying and possibly freezing. Make your storage a part of your budget. Store seeds and have sufficient tools on hand to do the job. If you are saving and planning for a second car or a TV set or some item which merely adds to your comfort or pleasure, you may need to change your priorities. We urge you to do this prayerfully and do it now.

"...I have seen what the days of tribulation can do to people. I have seen hunger stalk the streets of Europe. I have witnessed the appalling, emaciated shadows of human figures. I have seen women and children scavenge army garbage dumps for scraps of food. Those scenes and nameless faces cannot be erased from my memory.

"I shall never forget the Saints of Hamburg who appeared on the verge of collapse from starvation, or their small children whom I invited to come to the stand as we emptied our pockets of edibles. Most had never seen these items before because of the wartime conditions. Nor can I forget the expectant and nursing mothers whose eyes watered with tears when we gave them each an orange. We saw the terrible physical and social side effects of hunger and malnutrition. One sister walked over a thousand miles with four small children, leaving her home in Poland. She lost all four to starvation and the freezing conditions. Yet she stood before us in her emaciated condition, her clothing shredded, and her feet wrapped in burlap, and bore testimony of how blessed she was.

"I cannot forget the French Saints who, unable to obtain bread, used potato peelings for the emblems of the sacrament. Nor will I ever forget the faith of the Dutch Saints who accepted our suggestion to grow potatoes to alleviate their own starving conditions, and then sent a portion of their first harvest to the German people who had been their bitter enemies. The following year they sent them the entire harvest. The annals of Church history have seldom recorded a more Christlike act of love and compassion.

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion.

"The Lord has warned and forewarned us against a day of great tribulation and given us counsel, through His servants, on how we can be prepared for these difficult times. Have we heeded His counsel?" (emphasis added, Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Tip: Identify local help

Quick tip: How is your city or town set up to handle emergencies? What are their plans?

Lest we think this doesn't matter, we need look no farther than what happened during (or better put, after) Hurricane Katrina. If your officials don't have a solid plan, that places far more responsibility on you.

Some might even argue that regardless of what your community's plans are, you must prepare and be ready for self-sustaining activities for at LEAST 72 hours. Depending on the emergency, some roads are so extensively blocked that aid can't get in. Period.

My husband viewed this when traveling great distances to help hurricane victims in 2004. It was so frustrating to be on one side of a huge morass of trees, knowing that it's impeding people's abilities to get to people on the other side. There are only so many helicopters to go around.

But still, it is essential to learn from your community leaders how you would be warned should there be an emergency.

Find out where they're most likely to station food aid, ice, diapers, etc., after an emergency.

What kind of assistance is there for the elderly? The disabled? Small children?

My son the first two years of life needed electricity, due to his nebulizer and other medical needs. If electricity stopped working, we would have had serious problems.


TIP: Call your main county office to find out which individual or office can get you this information. Then call that office and ask at least the above questions. Write them down in a new notebook that will become your emergency notebook. This will be something you'd keep in your 72-hour kit. It will have all your important information.

Ah, but builidng that will be an assignment for another day. If you don't have a 72-hour kits yet for your family, write that down on your calendar for sometime in the next 7 days! At least for today, call your county and learn your community's preparations for disasters. If they have none, volunteer to at least get them started!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Quote: President Ezra Taft Benson

President Benson:

"An almost forgotten means of economic self-reliance is the home production of food. We are too accustomed to going to stores and purchasing what we need. By producing some of our food we reduce, to a great extent, the impact of inflation on our money. More importantly, we learn how to produce our own food and involve all family members in a beneficial project. No more timely counsel, I feel, has been given by President Kimball than his repeated emphasis to grow our own gardens. Here is one sample of his emphasis over the past seven years:

“'We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard.' (Ensign, May 1976, p. 124).

"Many of you have listened and done as President Kimball counseled, and you have been blessed for it. Others have rationalized that they had no time or space. May I suggest you do what others have done. Get together with others and seek permission to use a vacant lot for a garden, or rent a plot of ground and grow your gardens. Some elders quorums have done this as a quorum, and all who have participated have reaped the benefits of a vegetable and fruit harvest and the blessings of cooperation and family involvement. Many families have dug up lawn space for gardens.

"We encourage you to be more self-reliant so that, as the Lord has declared, 'notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, … the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world” (D&C 78:14). The Lord wants us to be independent and self-reliant because these will be days of tribulation. He has warned and forewarned us of the eventuality.
(Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32.)

President Benson's words are as applicable now as any time in the history of the world.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quote: President Joseph Fielding Smith

Get a load of this quote:

"We have had ample warning. We have been told of the calamities that are coming. We have been taught how we might avoid them, how we might be protected, if we would only hear the counsels that come to us, heed the testimony of truth. If we fail we cannot escape....Do not think we have reached a condition where things could not be worse. Unless there is repentance they will be worse (President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. III, p. 31).

That was spoken decades ago!

Let's get busy.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Tip: Memorize scriptures

What if your children get stuck somewhere in a frightening situation? How will they comfort themselves until help arrives? Prayer is a wonderful thing and so too is the ability to keep the mind calm and busy.

One of the best ways to help children do this is to teach them fun AND serious poems, in addition to scriptural verses and hymns. Have this become a family activity where your family memorizes one poem or hymn or scripture verse a week.

Certain prisoners of war who had knowledge at their mental disposal were able to keep themselves mentally occupied during very stressful times. Certainly we hope our children never be exposed to such rigors.

But in thinking of the tragedy that happened February 12, 2007 in Salt Lake City, I think it is important our children are not only physically prepared to handle emergencies, but also be mentally prepared.

When that gunman opened fire 2/12/07 on the Trolley Square Mall shoppers, many of them holed up for hours in closets, under stairs and in other hidden places. If my child were there, I would want him or her to be able to focus on something uplifting during such a stressful time.

Thus, I think part of emergency preparedness can be successfully found in "stocking up" on inspirational thoughts, hymns or scriptures to feed a troubled heart until help can arrive.

Tip: Memorize scriptures, etc.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Tip: Medic Alert bracelet

If you have any serious health issues and do not yet have one of these bracelets to alert "first responders", consider getting/ordering one today!

Here is just one sample site I found in less than 15 seconds on the web. Please be advised that when ever making important decisions, you need to carefully and prayerfully make your own decision of who to trust, rely on, and purchase from. Not knowing this company, I don't know their business practices. But it is a starting point for you to begin your research...should you need a Medic Alert bracelet! :0)

One sample Medic Alert site

Tip: If you or a family member needs a medical bracelet or identifying item, get one today!

Monday, February 05, 2007

I had a dream last night that troubled me. The symbolic nature of it is clear to me now. It may not apply to anyone else, but I know it applies to me and my family.

My family and I had traveled (in the dream) to a popular vacation spot. Initially the days were pleasant. We had unpacked our many belongings and were enjoying the crystal blue skies and lush vegetation.

After some time, though, we began to notice things that felt odd. At certain times of day, people staying in the same resort seemed to take on a nervousness and reluctance to go outside. I began watching, feeling an oddness myself. There was a distinct feeling of danger in the air, but nothing I could pinpoint.

Finally I asked. The answer seemed ludicrous at first. "Because of the dinosaurs," came the reply.

"Dinosaurs!" I wanted to exclaim. But nobody seemed to think it odd that dinosaurs were once again roaming the earth. In fact, the people around us, although uneasy, seemed intent on nurturing relationships with the unpredictable animals.

I began to see periodic glimpses of the dangerous creatures through the windows. I could stand the danger no longer and was quite puzzled why the others seemed not bothered by associating with such creatures. Periodically an individual would be eaten by the beasts, a T-rex or another sort, and again, no-one seemed to take much notice.

Not me! I took notice!

In the dream, I began in a fluster to try to pack us up. But we had brought so many things, we had so many material goods, that it was taking me better than a day to try to cram everything back into the suitcases. My shaking hands didn't help, nor did the roaming nature of my younger kids--continually curious at what was going on outside our resort room.

Just before nearly finishing with my packing and feeling so frustrated that no-one else seemed to sense the urgency of the situation, a young teenage girl strolled into my room. She had a bottle in her hand and appeared to be drunk. Eventually the bottle spilled onto the coverlet of the hotel bed. Now I was going to have to clean that too before leaving! And instead of being wine, she had been drinking shampoo with small amounts of alcohol in it.

Suddenly I realized the significance of the dream and woke up.

I realized that in many ways those dinosaurs and the acceptance of them as "fun" (and worthy of relationship building) symbolized today's society. People around us seem intent on accepting that which is really dangerous. And if someone falls "prey" to society's "dinosaurs" (symbolically sharp-teethed and clawed), people noncholantly shrug and continue on their way, as if nothing has happened.

Here is a link to an excellent example of one of society's roaming "T-Rex's", sharp-teethed and clawed, roaming to destroy...yet so many walk near and pretend not to notice.

Upon awaking, I also understood the significance of the young girl drinking alcohol-laced shampoo. The situation had seem so irretractable--she had been in so much despair at the difficulty of fleeing the resort without getting eaten up by the dinosaurs--she'd given in and was trying to die by drinking the shampoo.


Although this dream was only significant perhaps for me and no-one else--awaking I knew there was significance in it for me (I'm often taught this way through the spirit...perhaps it's because I'm so terribly right brained!)--the importance of the message is universal. We can go through life "asleep at the wheel", paying no heed to society's conditions and/or situations. Or we can pay attention and prepare for that which is to come.

I prefer to do the second.

In the dream, I'd brought so much junk with me that I was not able to flee quickly. This has taught me to re-evaluate that which is important.

In the dream, I'd initially had been slow to define the danger. I'd sensed it but downplayed it just like everyone else. Society's influence had been a bit too potent. Society's opinion had held too much sway. This has taught me to ignore the pundants on TV, the "experts", the strong-opinioned. Instead, my hand is in the Lord's and on my scriptures.

In the dream, the young girl drinking the shampoo symbolized those about me who may despair as world conditions deepen in intensity. Those of us who have scriptural assurance of how to proceed need to help those whose hearts are failing them.

The signs of the times may be subtle if a person is not willing to see them, but for those who want to be ready when Christ comes, the hue and outline of the signs of the times will become brighter, clearer, and more urgent as we are willing to see and act upon them.


Tip: Floor Plan

There are many different kinds of emergencies. And no family will experience all. Yet I have known individuals whose homes have burned to the ground. I have known individuals who have been lost in the woods. Etc., etc. I'm sure you know individuals who have had a variety of setbacks or sudden emergencies.

Since we don't know what we might encounter in this life, preparing calmly will help bring peace if and when a tough situation sets in.

One of the fun things a family can do is to practice drawings maps of their house. Do this for a family night and make it fun. Let the kids practice their map making skills and then color and decorate their maps. Display them on the fridge, etc.

But behind the fun, there is a theory. That which we draw out will stay in our mind, even when under great duress.

You might be surprised how stress can stymie a mind. For example, a woman who worked for the Red Cross for 17 years teaching emergency preparedness forgot the number 911 when she discovered her own home was on fire. She'd taught this number for 17 years!

Thus, if your family woke up in the middle of the night to a raging house fire, it might not be surprising to find a family member stymied by the fear and completely forgetting where the exits are to the home. But picturing in their MIND the map they'd drawn previously in a fun activity potentially could help see them through to safety.

Tip: For this week's family night together, draw maps of the home with safe escapes (at least two different ones).

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Quote: President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

“First, and above and beyond everything else, let us live righteously. …

“Let us avoid debt as we would avoid a plague; where we are now in debt, let us get out of debt; if not today, then tomorrow.

“Let us straitly and strictly live within our incomes, and save a little.

“Let every head of every household see to it that he has on hand enough food and clothing, and, where possible, fuel also, for at least a year ahead. You of small means put your money in foodstuffs and wearing apparel, not in stocks and bonds; you of large means will think you know how to care for yourselves, but I may venture to suggest that you do not speculate. Let every head of every household aim to own his own home, free from mortgage. Let every man who has a garden spot, garden it; every man who owns a farm, farm it.” (President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., in Conference Report, Apr. 1937, p. 26.)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Tip: Out of State Contact

Yeah, I know. It's hard to figure out an emergency plan when you don't know a specific scenario.

But here are the basics. Everyone in your family needs to have memorized or on their possession an out of state contact. That way, when things have calmed down after a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, even if the family gets separated, each person has the out of state phone number memorized. When they get to a phone eventually, they can call that person. Just think how many separated families in the Katrina disaster could have benefited by having an out of state contact!

Tip: Each family member memorize the phone number for an out-of-state contact. Practice this number at least weekly, writing it down and saying it (especially for the smaller children when possible).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Quote: President Ezra Taft Benson

President Benson said:

"Food production is just one part of the repeated emphasis that you store a provision of food which will last for at least a year wherever it is legally permissible to do so. The Church has not told you what foods should be stored. This decision is left up to individual members. However, some excellent suggestions are available in the booklet produced by the Church entitled “Essentials of Home Production & Storage” (stock no. PGWE1125; 35¢ each). There are also booklets available on gardening from BYU.

"From the standpoint of food production, storage, handling, and the Lord’s counsel, wheat should have high priority. 'There is more salvation and security in wheat,' said Orson Hyde years ago, 'than in all the political schemes of the world' (in Journal of Discourses, 2:207). Water, of course, is essential. Other basics could include honey or sugar, legumes, milk products or substitutes, and salt or its equivalent. The revelation to produce and store food may be as essential to our temporal welfare today as boarding the ark was to the people in the days of Noah. (emphasis added) (Ezra Taft Benson, “Prepare for the Days of Tribulation,” Ensign, Nov. 1980, 32)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tip: Verify Schools' Policies

If you have children, do you know what their school's policy is for emergencies?

Tip: Call your childrens' schools today and ask what their emergency preparedness policy is. Each district may vary and it will influence your family's plan.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

It Horrified Me

I had a dream the other night. It horrified me. In the dream, my family and I were living in a different home in a comfortable neighborhood, complete with trees and beautiful greenery. Everything was serene...or was it?

One day (in the dream) I woke up to find that there were now two holes by the couch in my family room. Each were about the size of a car tire. To my horror, the holes exposed a gap in the flooring into a wide chasm in the earth below, extending for over a mile in a huge, vacuous space below my house. Most unsettling, yet I didn't know what to do about it, other than cover them up.

In my dream, my youngest child was even younger -- thus about only 2 years old. Continually I was fussing about trying to cover those holes, so he wouldn't notice them. I didn't want him to fall through and in the dream, I didn't know I had any other options to get rid of the holes. We just had to live with them...or so I thought.

Then one morning, a neighbor ran screaming to our front door. "A huge hole has just opened up outside your home!" They screamed this at about the same time I noticed it myself. In fact, these yawning holes were beginning to happen all over the countryside. In front of our house, there was not just one hole, but two terrifying ones. The first had already torn apart the grass, gulping it down into another mile or two deeply enormous chasm in the earth. The other hole was just now tearing apart the grass and sinking fast, just feet away from the foundation of my home.

In the dream, I had time only to grab my child and run. Yet it bothered me terribly that I didn't have anything ready to take with us. I had in the dream (just like in my real life) begun to get things together in a 72 hour emergency kit, but hadn't ever finished. And now it was too late.

We were running and scrambling to escape. Last minute, not being able to stand it any longer and my family in safety, I ran back into the house against everyone's recommendations and tried to scoop up things that were important to take with us. This obviously put me in great danger, because now portions of the house were being swallowed up in the gargantuan-sized sinkhole. In the middle of all that foolishness, I woke up.

I couldn't shake the significance of the dream. I had BEGUN emergency preparations some time back, but I had not ever taken the time to finish. Now I will. And I'd love to take you along for the ride. The government recommends that we all have 72 hour kits, in addition to the ability to live for 2 weeks off of what we have rather than relying on someone else to take care of us during emergencies. We need to get prepared now.

Churches are also beginning to take note of the conditions around us. I, for example, belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a church that for some time has advised its members to be self-sufficient. I now intend to take that admonishment quite seriously. And I figured that as I make my journey towards complete self-sufficiency, I'd share my adventures with you, in the hopes that it will help you do the same. We need to get prepared now!

There's something quite powerful about being able to sleep at night, knowing that everything you can do has been done. May we all experience that, in spite of the crazy, topsy, turvey world we currently live in! We need to get prepared now. :0)

I aim to help you and me and all those in my midst do just that.


C.S. Bezas