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.  

 

Prescription Medicines, Supplements, or Home Grown Herbal?

Guaiacum has many medicinal uses.As preppers, it’s important to know how to be prepared for a world changing event when it comes to medicinal needs.  The price of medicines that save life for diseases such as asthma, cancer, and heart disease is extreme.  Since the U.S. does not regulate the price of medicines, there is no limit.  Insurance companies don’t pay the same price for medicines as individuals.  If individuals paid the same as insurance companies, more people would have access to medicines.  For preppers, that’s a sticky wicket.

Nutritional and herbal supplements as well as over the counter medicines are much cheaper than many prescription medicines, but sometimes are not as effective.  Even so, some of them are as much as $30.00 per month or more.  For instance, people with certain lung diseases have to take guaifenesin (guaiphenesin).  The over the counter price per month is higher than most co-pays for higher priced prescription drugs that have similar effects.  In the past, this medicine was by prescription only and the price was lower.  A few years ago it was converted to OTC medicine and the price was raised significantly.  Even the store brands are expensive.  $30 is enough to buy a week’s worth of milk, bread, eggs and cheese for a family of four.

The only answer to this dilemma is research.  Do your homework.  It’s worth the effort.  Look for clinical studies and papers on the subject you are researching. Research not only herbal medicines and nutritional supplements, but also research the prescription drugs you or a family member needs.  Find out what they are made from and how they are made.  You won’t be able to learn everything but you can learn interesting and useful facts.

Guaifenesin, for example, is the drug manufacturer name for a medicinal plant used by native Americans since before Guaiacum plant grows in Jamaica and Hawaii.1533 a.d.  It comes from the guaiacum (guajacum) tree of subtropical and tropical regions. It has multiple uses, but only for one use is it marketed.  It wasn’t until drug companies found a way to put it in a syrup and pill that prescriptions were required.

Once you have the information you need, you will know which of the medicinal plants you can grow in your region and which you can not.  Since guaiacum will not do well in growing zones one through seven, and zone eight could be ify, perhaps stocking up on  guaifenesin is a better alternative for cooler climate zones.

Preparing for the long term medical needs of your family is most important.  If family members are not healthy, are unable to provide assistance during a time of great need, and are slowly dying, the situation for them, and those who watch them suffer is bleak.

Now get busy.  Do your homework.  Take good notes.  There might be a test.

Cancer Risk Reduction Required for Preppers

Vitamins C and D are just two keys to preventing and fighting cancer.Given the nature of a negative world changing event, preppers need to do everything possible to reduce their risk of getting cancer.  With the recent studies released indicating the HPV not only causes cervical cancer, but also brain and lung cancer, it is now possible for people to prevent that particular cause of cancer.

While it’s possible, it won’t actually happen.  HPV is one STD that is so common that the only way to be sure not to get it is to never have sex with anyone who has had sex with someone else.  In other words, remain a virgin until marriage and then be faithful to that spouse for the rest of your life.  If it were only that easy.  It is transmitted by mouth, too.

To avoid the risks caused by HPV, limit alcohol and tobacco intake.  It would seem the less you use those products, the less likely you will get those cancers.  Coincidentally, bladder cancer can be caused by cigarette smoking.  Smoking and chewing tobaccos also cause lung, stomach, and throat cancers.

A second way to prevent some other cancers is by making sure you get enough vitamin D.  It seems being vitamin D deficient causes changes in your DNA, and over time, this allows cancers and autoimmune disorders to develop.

Vitamin D is not the only cancer fighting nutrient.  Take a look at vitamin C and its role in preventing and fighting disease.  Nutrition isn’t just for some people.  It’s required for all preppers because there might not be great cancer treatments available during a negative world changing event.