Faith and Preparedness

The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be prepared.”  Be prepared for what, you might ask.  And the answer would be to be prepared for anything.  While this has long been the motto of the scouts, the idea goes back much further than this.  God wants us to be prepared as well.  And just as with the scouts, we should be prepared for anything.

Jesus often told parables – short stories with a point – in order to illustrate a particular idea that he was trying to convey.  Rather than just issue a command, he would communicate the idea in a story that was memorable.  In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the story of ten virgins who were awaiting the arrival of a groom.

Five of the virgins were prepared for a delay in the groom’s coming while the other five only thought of the moment and did not bring needed supplies in case things took longer than expected.  Each had what they needed for the moment – a lamp to light their way – but only the five wise virgins planned ahead for what may come later.

At midnight, the call came that the groom was coming and the virgins should get ready to go.  But only the five wise virgins had enough oil with them as they had brought extra in case of a delay.  The foolish virgins had to go in search of more oil and were not back in time for the arrival of the groom.  He took the five wise virgins into the wedding banquet and the unprepared ones were shut out.

Biblically speaking, this parable is about the return of Christ and how no one knows when it may be so every Christian should live their life prepared for it to happen at any time.  There is a broader application to this story however and it teaches us about preparedness.

We may think we know what may happen in our life.  We make plans based on our goals and what we anticipate will be required to meet those goals and we even may make contingencies if those goals don’t come to fruition as expected.  It shouldn’t be a surprise that Jesus taught us to do this as well.

Luke 14:28 says “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”  When you make those plans, you do so in faith that you’ll be able to complete the project.  As much as you plan, you also know that you cannot control every contingency.  There is a certain amount of faith that is involved with even the best laid plans.  You do your part and then trust God to handle the rest.

There’s also a broader issue of faith that comes into planning.  While we say that we should be prepared for anything, we know that’s technically impossible.  A healthy 30 year old does not make plans for a cancer diagnosis nor could anyone possibly plan how to deal with the loss of a child.  It is at this point that there can be no plan and the only thing left to cling to is faith.  Trials bring out the best and the worst in people.  While we plan in faith for as much as we can, when the unplannable occurs, we will only have faith to rely on.  These events will truly show the strength of one’s faith after all of the planning is accounted for.

What Happens When the Unexpected Happens?

As we prepare and plan for the future, we always remember to live for today.  We enjoy our time together and with our family as much as possible.  For us, it just so happens we enjoy camping, hunting and fishing.  We don’t mind being away from the amenities of city life.  Redfish likes to spend time with the birds and enjoys watching their antics.  We both enjoy the garden and picking fresh things to eat.  Yesterday we pulled fresh carrots and cut some nice broccoli.

But, for us the unexpected happened, which is why there has been a decreasing amount of activity on this site.  For many years Redfish has had unexplained health issues.  Most doctors told her it was depression or arthritis.  None took her seriously.  When she told them about this symptom or that, they either said it was imaginary or ignored it as something not worth note.  Then after some years, things would get better and she would be her old self again.  This cycle has gone on for about 35 years.

Last fall she entered another one of these cycles, which we both thought was another bout of depression.  That’s what we’ve been told so many times before, even though we didn’t believe it.  She got shingles, then cervical cancer, and skin cancer in a three month period of time.  None of these were fatal nor even cause for great alarm because they could be taken care of, removed, or would go away.  But they did get her to thinking about her mortality.

But, even when things were supposed to be getting better, they were not.  In fact, they were getting worse.  Swelling, fatigue from hell, and pain everywhere.  Asthma was flaring more than usual. Headaches a near constant companion.  Finally, eight doctors and 35 years later, someone knew what was wrong.  Lupus.  It was a devastating diagnosis.

How could that many doctors miss this for so long?  What now?  What are the damages of being untreated for 35 years?  What is the life expectancy after diagnosis?  All of these questions and more came bubbling up through the whole family.

Mostly, Redfish was relieved.  She cried tears of relief because she finally knows why she gets tired, sore and achy.  There are answers for the myriad of other symptoms that came and went over the years.  Finally someone took her serious and investigated her symptoms.  She no longer feels guilty for needing a nap or wanting to take pain meds for her headaches and joint pain.  She understands why sometimes she can’t remember what day it is for more than 30 minutes.

Now what?  We have to choose what to do next and re-evaluate our priorities.  She’s going to keep her garden and birds, for now.  We will still be prepared for any emergency that may arise, but we are also working on ways to reduce stress in her life to slow the progress of Lupus as much as possible.  This web site will have to take a back seat.   Posts will be less often, but they will be meaningful.  

 

Stocking Stuffers or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 2

How many of you are like us?  We hate shopping.  Period.  We do almost all our shopping online, mostly at Amazon.  Seriously.  The only other stores we enter are farm stores, hardware stores for home maintenance, grocery stores (there’s only two to choose from), and sporting goods stores (for camping and outdoor stuff).  We’re just not shopping types.  So when the holidays roll around, we either give gift cards, cash, or order something online and have it delivered.  Mostly it depends on the desires of the gift recipient.  All that’s left is the stocking stuffers, and they are super easy too!

A previous article, Disaster Recovery or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 1 about gift giving was important because everyone needs to be prepared, even those who don’t believe in “prepping”.  That book offers up a way to get them thinking, and maybe get their brains working in that direction.

Another way to help the unprepared prepare in a kind way would be to give them stocking stuffers or small gifts that will be perceived as thoughtful, kind or silly, rather than pushy.  Who doesn’t want someone to care about them at the most important level?

The important thing about all these gifts is that they will get your reluctant preppers to think about things in a different way. Many of the items they will use up right away. Even so, likely they will buy more of them and will have them on hand. When a world changing event does happen, they now have a different way of thinking and will grab those items on their way out the door.

Here is a list of stocking stuffers and small gifts we will be including this year for family and friends.

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Disaster Recovery or Gifts Preppers Give; Part 1

What gifts do you want for the holidays?  More importantly, which gifts do you want to give to your family and loved ones?  What do you mean it’s not even Halloween yet?  It’s never too early to start planning the gift giving for the year.  Especially if you have a large number of people on your list.  What if you considered giving a gift just outside of normal gifting habits?  If you care enough about someone to buy a for them, shouldn’t that gift make a difference in their life?

This is the first gift item we are planning to give every person on our shopping list:

This book, Disaster Recovery, by Sean M. Scott, is an essential for making sure you have thought of everything and are prepared for any disaster.  You might think I’m exaggerating.  Not so.  Even with the experiences of being prepared for just about anything and having lived without telephone, no indoor plumbing and other “old ways”, this book still had information to offer.

It made me think of things I could do that I had not done, as well as things that inspired me to do that I otherwise would not have thought about.  For instance, the information got me to thinking about contractors that would offer services after a disaster.  Of course we already know it is important to be careful about who you hire and to check for the legitimate business licenses.

What the book inspired me to do was to put together a list of contractors who already do business in the region and their reputations.  This is important because after the disaster so many companies “spring up” to “help” those afflicted with the disaster.  Unfortunately, in a disaster zone it may be difficult to gain the information needed in a timely manner.  Having this list will help me determine who I will hire to help our family recover from the disaster.

After the list is completed, I’m considering contacting each of the contractors to meet them personally, hopefully to make an arrangement with them in advance of a disaster that puts us close to the top of the list of people the contractor will help.  This makes us think of contractors differently.  On any normal day, a contractor is someone who hopes to be chosen by you for a job.  After a disaster, that same contractor is someone you hope will choose you.

Ladies and gentlemen, that was just from a tiny portion of chapter one.  There is so much more information in each chapter there isn’t space here to tell you.  Each chapter is well written, compact, and to the point.  You won’t be able to find “unnecessary” words as with so many other books.  It has information for every member of the family.

This book changes the way you think about all things disaster related.  For the unprepared it’s a wake up call.  For the modestly prepared, it is mental check on what needs improvement.  For the full grown prepper, it is a breath of fresh air in the face of people who think “prepper” is a four letter word.  Our extra copies will be for gift giving and stowed in the vehicles and camping gear.

Note:  We posted this because we truly believe in the mission of this book.  This inexpensive award winning book can save lives, save homes, and save families hundreds of thousands of dollars after a disaster.

Should Preppers Take Vacations?

Vacationing In New York City
Taking vacations allows you to meet people from around the world, broaden your way of thinking, and provides memories for the rest of your life to share with family and friends.

One way of thinking is that the prepared should remain close to their preps because they need to protect them, continue prepping, and of course be near their preps should some event happen.  It sounds reasonable, right?  After all, isn’t that why people prepare?  So they will have what they need when they need it?  Really?  All the time?  No summer vacation nor a trip to the city to take in a Broadway show?

Since you all know we believe in preparing you might be wondering why all the questions about going on vacations.  There’s several reasons.  Let’s talk about them in a serious manner.  They are important to you, your family, and are important to the image society has of preppers.

Everyone needs time away from the normal routine and environment.  Everyone.  Even if it’s just a few miles and a few days.  It gives us time to regenerate our mind, soul, and energy.  The longer the vacation, the more regeneration happens.  If you can take two or more weeks of vacation, do it.  When you come back you will be fresh, see things in a better light, be more productive, and feel less body stress.

It’s good for your job and your prepping activities to take time off.  The consequences of not taking time off is burn out and health issues related to stress.  When burn out happens, work is delayed or even stopped.  Not fulfilling your goals, either at work or home, may be stressful for many people.  Think of it this way, if you are burned out at work, how can you avoid thinking about work at home?  Burn out effects not only the employee but also the employee’s family.

Being irritable all the time is no way to live.  It’s no way to work or prepare either.  Irritable people are difficult to tolerate even for short periods of time.  Family members, especially children, won’t understand the outbursts and complaining.  Co-workers will avoid the irritable employee every chance they get.

Stress can be habit forming.  By that I mean the brain functions in specific ways related to how you live.  People who live with stress all the time find it more difficult to relax now and later.  Relaxing actually must be practiced to be good at it.

Taking vacations, two to three weeks are best, helps you manage stress now and in the future.  Certainly as prepared people, we expect there will be stress in the future.  We need to be able to deal with it in the most effective manner and so do those who will be living with us through that situation.

Highly stressed and burned out people present themselves differently to society than relaxed and replenished people.  In the workforce, stress and burn out is “expected” and sometimes confused with a dedicated employee.  But a prepared person with the same levels of stress and burn out are viewed differently because the unprepared don’t understand the prepared person’s behaviors.  Because of this, they call us crazy and other less kind words.  They don’t understand why we do what we do, because at times it is stress added to the already stressful life we lead.

There’s a fine line between being prepared and being afraid.  Prepared people live their lives just like everyone else, they are just ready for an event.  Afraid people are also prepared, but they don’t leave their homes or preps for more than a day or two “in case” something should happen.  Living that way is not living and contributes to increased stress levels for all members of the household.  Just take a leap of faith that the event won’t happen during the two weeks you choose to go on a trip.  Plan how you will get home if it does.  Then have fun with your family.

So, preppers, become more productive at home and work, enjoy life more, handle stress better, and present yourself in a better light to society.  The memories you create with your family and friends during vacations will go a long way towards keeping you together, happy and healthy if an event happens.  Do your duty to the prepper movement by taking regular and long vacations.  Unplug.  Disconnect.  Enjoy life outside the routine.

References:
ABC News
ABC News
The Energy Project
Success Under Stress
New York Times
Wall Street Journal

 

Special Consideration for Babies in Evacuation Situations

Babies Are EmotionalAmid all the planning for the basic needs of everyone in the group, people might forget that babies require more than the basics.  There are several things to consider when making a preparedness plan when infants are part of the group.  Traveling with infants is much more stressful and difficult because their life depends on you and babies are unpredictable and helpless in all areas.  Babies need routines and get cranky when their lives are disrupted too much.  Add to the cranky baby to the more stressed caregivers, and the baby becomes crankier.  Here are some ideas which could help alleviate stress for you and baby.

  • Consider your plan carefully.  Once you have developed an evacuation plan, practice it regularly so that you are not stressed when the time comes to implement it.  Evacuation can be stressful.  If you are stressed, so is baby.
  • Be certain that all items you need for babies is available through all parts of the plan.  If you run out of supplies for baby, both you and baby will be stressed.
  • Be sure to keep a papoose in your emergency kits.  Carrying a baby in this manner relieves baby stress by being close to you.  It also keeps the baby out of trouble and your hands free.  Be sure to use the papoose from the beginning or they may not want to when you need them to ride quietly.
  • The papoose is a double duty item.  Because using a papoose can calm your crying baby, it can also calm you.  When your baby is stressed and you want relief, put the baby in the papoose and just go about your business without the crying of the baby.
  • Remain calm.  Your calm, and the calm of the people around you will help the baby be calm.  Think about that person you know who is always calm and you feel calm or at peace when with them.  That is who you need to be for your baby, not just in emergencies, but all the time.  If you are worried and stressed, the baby will sense that something is wrong.  They will be worried too, and their response to stress is to cry.
  • As the baby ages, change your plan and supplies accordingly.   Add to your supply items like gels to relieve teething pain and other age appropriate medicines.

If you need to choose a baby carrier pack, do so wisely.  It needs to be light weight and sturdy.  Remember, if you are carrying a baby, you likely Baby carriers can help relieve stress for babies and their family.won’t be able to carry a backpack too.  Unless of course you carry the baby on front and the back pack on your back.  This makes it faster, easier and safer to tend the baby.  Baby carriers have come a long way in 27 years.  The new models have padded wide straps and comfort fabric.

I often put the backpack on first and then the baby carrier on front.  There was a time when I had a toddler on my back and an infant on my front.  I still had my hands free, babies were not able to get in trouble, and I got things done.

With these thoughts in mind, take another look at your plan.  If you are not pregnant, but might be during a life changing event, go ahead and pick up some items to have on hand for the future.  Planning ahead is the only way to be sure the baby in your family will not suffer great stress and neither will you.