A Modern Woman's Perspective On The Kingdom of God on Earth

Showing posts with label Prepper Stuff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Prepper Stuff. Show all posts

August 3, 2015

Recommended Product: Kinesiology Tape & How-To Book

Disclaimer:  I am not a medical doctor and do not claim to offer professional advice.  I am simply relating my personal experience and suggesting that this product is something you might want to consider.  Obviously, you should contact your doctor if you have a serious injury, and for advice before using this product.       

     You've probably noticed this product if you've watched any serious sporting event in the last few years.  It can be seen as those long black pieces of tape applied to the athletes in various formations, depending on which muscle groups they are targeting.  It is known as kinesiology taping, and although many medical professionals may approach it with skepticism, I can tell you that it has been a long time since I have been this excited about a product, or felt I had found something that was essential to share with you.  I am very blessed to be in good health, and I try to do some form of exercise or physical activity every day so that I do not get too sedentary or incapable of moving quickly should some kind of emergency arise.
     But I'm sure most of you can sympathize when I say that the aches and pains are more frequent and take longer to rehab with each passing birthday.  A few years ago, I hyper-extended my knee and it has taken a long time for it to heal naturally.  (An orthopedic surgeon whom I visited told me that my meniscus was probably torn -- although X-rays did not show it -- and I would get tired of the pain and would return shortly, opting for surgery as the fix).  But I wanted to try to rehab it first instead of immediately going under the knife.
     The surgeon was correct; I did get tired of the pain, but I found that through the help and advice of a good friend who is a physical therapist, and my own persistence in doing the recommended exercises faithfully, my knee has recovered and getting stronger every day.  But I will tell you that it has taken at least two years to get back to a normal state.
     That has been the only real injury that I've encountered .... until several months ago.  I began feeling some discomfort in my deltoid muscle, but couldn't recall any strain from working out with weights, or any reason for the tenderness or occasional twinges of pain.  I felt strongly that I did not have a tear in the rotator cuff, and so opted to do some stretching exercises that would relieve the stiffness in the deltoid.  When the pain began to be a real inconvenience I asked my PT friend about it, and through the process of elimination figured out that the injury was likely due to the several hours a day I sit in my chair working at my laptop -- working on this blog, typing out my notes on the Bible class I teach, and the routine maintenance of my husband's business.  It seems that the source of the problem started in the trapezius/deltoid/latissimus dorsi muscle area across the back of my shoulder.  Apparently, as I'm sitting typing, I am not providing support to my arm, so there is a "pulling down" in this muscle group, which is inflaming my supraspinatus muscle and causing pain in my deltoid.
     I bought a computer tray to bring my laptop to the correct height, added pillows to the chair arms to rest my elbows on, and did everything I could think of to take the strain off my back and neck.  But nothing seemed to work, and it was beginning to affect my sleep; I would wake up in the morning after sleeping on that shoulder and it would be stiff and painful.  Finally, I decided to ask my PT friend what he thought of kinesiology tape, and he texted me back that they had had some success using it on their physical therapy patients.
     So I bought a roll of tape, watched a YouTube video on how to apply it for the supraspinatus muscle, and within just a couple of hours, I felt relief.  The real test came with sleeping with the tape on, and the good range of motion and lack of pain that I experienced the next morning.  I then decided to test it at a pistol shooting match over the weekend, where I spent two hours competing in the hot sun ... I was able to complete the match with no pain or disruption in my performance.  That's when I knew that this was something that could come in handy in the case of an emergency and needed to be a part of my long-term storage items.
     Think about it .... we are in the middle of hurricane season here in the South, and should the worst-case scenario happen, there will most likely be lots of minor injuries and sprains and strains as people deal with the aftermath.  For that matter, any type of crisis or emergency can result in unforeseen injuries.  If this product can temporarily relieve some physical impediment and allow you to take care of yourself and family, it will be a necessary item to have on hand.  I then took that situation a step further, and thought "what if we have no electricity and internet?"  There will be no YouTube video to watch on how to tape to provide support for a sprained ankle, wrist, or knee.  So, with the help of my husband, I found Kinesiology Taping: The Essential Step-by-Step Guidewhat I think is the best book to illustrate the proper techniques for a wide variety of incidents, and I promptly ordered it.
     As you can see by the following editorial review on Amazon, this product can transcend sports injuries to be a useful tool for emergency situations; especially when no doctor is available:  This book focuses on the use of taping as a treatment for reducing pain, muscle tension, sprains, strains and many more injuries. It provides information on how you yourself can apply tape on your body for sports, exercise and daily activities. Some examples are support upright position, bruised ribs, pain in muscle movement, carpal tunnel syndrome, sore back, help with breathing, promote better healing of scars, headaches and menstrual cramps. Provided in the book are step-by-step diagrams, written instructions and width/amount of tape required for each condition. As well, there is a full body diagram of the individual muscles in the human body at the beginning of the book. This book contains considerable information for relieving pain and tension during exercise, sports and daily life. 
     The authors of the book are trained in physiotherapy and are strong advocates for self-taping to treat a variety of conditions and ailments.  I also ordered several rolls of the tape, and feel a sense of relief in that I have given our household one more advantage in dealing with emergency situations.  In the final analysis, I am all for any product that can be a positive and useful addition to our personal storehouse of resources.  And having tried it myself, I know it works, and have no hesitation in recommending it to you.  After all, anytime we can find a simple solution to the aches and pains of life, it is worth sharing.

3 John 1:2   "Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul."

June 17, 2015

Which Battle Are You Prepared To Fight?

     I was having a discussion with my husband, Peace-Loving Warrior, the other day, and it went something like this ...

ME:  With all these crazy headlines -- meteors slamming into the earth; financial collapse coming; EMP possibilities; threats from Russia; domestic race wars; the encroaching police state, etc., etc. -- is there anything specific we need to turn our attention to?
PLW:  At this point, nothing much more is going to matter.
ME:  We will just go with what we have, put on our armor, and rely on God, right?
PLW:  That's our best plan.

     There was a time; 2008 to be exact, when we would have spent anxious hours planning every detail of our "prepper" plan.  We wanted to escape the "expendable" and "throw-away" mindset of our American generation, and return to the sustainable lifestyle of our grandparents.  We wanted to embrace the lost traditions and skills that allowed past generations to perpetuate and preserve things of value.  We didn't want to take anything for granted -- and that included our ability to provide food, shelter, and protection in any storm that threatened our lives.
     But it is now 7 years later, and I feel comfortable in my ability to think critically and solve problems.  I know how to garden, can my own food, start a wood fire, defend myself, and most importantly, do without.  I know I can withstand hardships and I am prepared to live a simpler, less complicated life.  In regard to the above conversation with my husband, this is what "we have to go with", and it's going to be enough.  And that's because I've also discovered in these last few years that it won't be the "things" I have or can do, but my faith that will be my most important asset.  And that's a subject that has been a new revelation to me, as well.
    You see, I want to make it clear that we are not among those Christians who said, "I don't need to do any planning or learn any new skills.  I'm just going to rely on God, because He says He will take care of us."  No, we used the brains He gave us, listened to the Holy Spirit, and completed the instructions we were given.  But we also heard the message that saving this life is not our ultimate goal; that we are to do all we can to help people, tell them about Jesus, and stand tall during our coming trials.
     That doesn't mean that we are to put all our efforts into the fight to keep this life, but we are to live what remains of it to the glory of God.  And to that point, I am sensing a growing split among the Christian community. There are those who are staunchly in the Prepper camp; who are relying on God and their physical efforts to deliver them from this world's troubles.  While believing that God is Sovereign, they are buying as much gold and silver as they can, stocking up on food and ammo, while they plan their exit strategy to a "safe place" out of the country... because God told them that's how they were to prepare.
     Then there are those who are discerning that the real battle that must be won is spiritual.  It's not that they aren't physically prepared, but they see the bigger picture; and what we need to be preparing to fight are the spiritual enemies of God's chosen.  These Christians are preparing to win the coming battles by putting on the armor of God, rather than relying on all their tactical gear and maneuvering abilities.
     In fact, those in the Christian Prepper camp don't want to hear about the Christian Spiritual Warfare camp ... it's too scary and bad for business, so to speak. Christians, generally speaking, don't have a clue that there is even a spiritual battle to be fought.  Satan has fooled them into keeping their eyes downcast and focused on their fellow man and his tactics.  That leaves us all -- Believers and Unbelievers, alike -- completely vulnerable to the real Enemy's attacks.
     As you've heard it said so often, Satan's time is short and he is ready to take as many of us out of the fight as he can, NOW!  And that means attacking us in ways we don't see coming ... through the loss of spouses, parents, children, pets, jobs, health ... and in ways we aren't prepared to defend ourselves.
     So, while I have not abandoned my new skill sets, and still look for bargains on life's necessities at the grocery store, both PLW and I have studied the ways to fight back in the spiritual war that is clearly being waged.  Our armor is not anything that can be seen with the naked eye; our physical enemies will not find us intimidating.  But we plan on being on the front lines of the spiritual battle, and it is that victory we confidently seek.  You see, we know there is a war coming, and there will be many horrendous battles to fight.  But the war in which we are being prepared to fight is in the spiritual realms, and our power will come from the throne room of God, and in the name of His Son, Yeshua.  So, I agree with PLW ... we'll go with what we've got.  It's a plan I can live with ... eternally.

2 Corinthians 10:4    "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds."


April 8, 2015

Recommendation: Growing Your Food Supply When Times Are Tough

      If you've been paying attention, then you've seen the headlines regarding the worst drought in California in 500 years.  It doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that this will have a severe impact on the food supply in this nation.  Since California produces approximately 3/4 of all vegetables, nuts and fruits grown in the US, you can imagine that many products will be either extremely expensive, or even unavailable.
     We can expect to see a shortage of many food items that we take for granted:  celery, olives, apricots, lettuce, tomatoes, plums, prunes, figs, cantaloupe, strawberries and spinach.  And let's not forget what the California drought will do to the vineyards and the wine industry.  And did you know that California is the largest producer of dairy in our nation, with 1.75 million dairy cows? The lack of water will devastate these industries and most certainly effect the cost of food, as well as the supply, in our own country and the world for years to come.
     But it's not only crops that are feeling the lack of water -- you may have seen the scattered reporting of hundreds of California residents waiting in extremely long lines for hours, just to get a gallon or two of drinking water.  When the situation is that bad, we better sit up and take notice.
     But it is not only California that is feeling the effects of drought.  Parts of Texas and Oklahoma are feeling the drought as if they were reliving the Dust Bowl era during the 1930s.  All of this is taking a toll on the nation's agriculture and economy.  And, I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that we can expect the government to step in and try to regulate water sources on private property and control the consumption of water.  Like the Gold Rush in our past history, there is now a rush to buy up water rights ... which makes the purchase of the following book all that more important.
     The Resilient Gardener:  Food Production and Self-Reliance In Uncertain Times is a must-have for your resource library.  The author, Scientist/gardener Carol Deppe, offers a book beyond your garden-variety cookbook (sorry for the pun!), and offers principles regarding sustainable agriculture, health, nutrition, along with detailed information about growing and using five key crops: potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs.
     I think we all realize that our climate is changing and weird weather patterns appear to be in our future.  I don't need a book that gives me pretty pictures of organic recipes -- I need to know how to grow necessary foods in order to survive in the midst of unfavorable seasons and adverse growing conditions.  Among the corresponding topics, this book teaches you how to:
•  Garden in an era of unpredictable weather and climate change.
•  Grow, store, and cook different varieties of potatoes and save your own potato seed,
•  Make whole-grain, corn-based breads and cakes using the author’s original gluten-free recipes involving no other grains, artificial binders, or dairy products.
•  Keep a home laying flock of ducks or chickens; integrate them with your gardening, and grow most of their feed.
     The marketing for this book describes it's impact this way:  "Resilience here is broadly conceived and encompasses a full range of problems, from personal hard times such as injuries, family crises, financial problems, health problems, and special dietary needs (gluten intolerance, food allergies, carbohydrate sensitivity, and a need for weight control) to serious regional and global disasters and climate change. It is a supremely optimistic as well as realistic book about how resilient gardeners and their vegetable gardens can flourish even in challenging times and help their communities to survive and thrive through everything that comes their way."  Sounds like it is a gardening book written specifically for these times.
     Some of the critics of the book have noted that it is written with a bent towards homesteading, sustainable living, and basic nutrition.  But if times continue to get tougher, this is exactly the book you will want.  Remember, when faced with difficult times, one of the keys to survival will be your resiliency ... your ability to be strong, flexible, hardy, and able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.  The Resilient Gardener helps you grow the crops that will provide the calories you need to stay alive.
     DISCLAIMER:  Don't think that everything she writes will pertain to you, or your climate, or your growing conditions.  The author lives in the Pacific Northwest, and what works for her, may not work for you.  You should buy this book for the tips and techniques, and use it to create a blue print for your own self reliant food system.  It's time to get creative, use your brain, and get out ahead of the curve on your food supply.  Don't wait until you're in panic mode due to the extended drought, unexpected weather conditions in your area, or social upheaval.  Prepare now!

Ezekiel 4:17   "I will do this that they may lack bread and water, and look at one another in dismay, and rot away because of their punishment."

January 24, 2015

A Few Of My Favorite (Survivalist) Things

    It's been awhile since I addressed the Prepper side of my life.  Although I put my faith and trust in God's will for me, I also take notice of things in this world that add to the quality of said life.  So, I wanted to make mention of a few things that have come to my attention ....

A Time To Endure is the second book in author Kyle Pratt's Strengthen What Remains series.  It catches us up on the life of Major Caden Westmore, after he manages to escape the nuclear attack on Washington D.C. and other major American cities.  When we last left Caden (in the first book, Through Many Fires), he had made it back to his hometown in the Pacific Northwest, reconnected with his parents on the family farm, and established command of the local armory.  He battled through civil unrest, working through the conflict between the military and local law enforcement, and contemplated how his town, family, and country would navigate the post-attack years.  Caden wonders how it will all play out, and what effects it will have on his family.  Would some sense of law and order return; what about a Constitutional government?  Would America ever be the same, or was it destined to be divided into factions, fighting each other and foreign countries ready to take advantage of the chaos?
     Well, in this second book, the title aptly describes what Caden's life is all about ... enduring.  His focus is also widening.  There is a provincial government with a dictatorial president, all too eager to cut a deal with the Chinese to carve up America.  Caden finds himself stretched thin -- between trying to restore law and order within his community; dealing with American soldiers fighting each other and the civilian population; and confronting the increasing problem of gangs like MS 13, who have begun to infiltrate his community.
     On the personal side, Caden is determined to search for his brother, Peter, who was a law enforcement officer on duty when the nuclear bomb hit Seattle.  We are also introduced to Zach Brennon, a hard-luck kid who Caden takes under his wing.  Zach knows the ways of the woods, and finds himself caught in the middle of a war between the Mexican gang, the military and civilian authorities.
     Kyle Pratt weaves his plot effortlessly, giving us plenty to think about in the process.  Furthermore, his tale is a cut above the spate of survivalist novels that have become a popular form of literature these days.  If you're looking for a quick read that (I believe) accurately depicts what our future might look like, then I recommend you look into this engaging series.

Valley Food Storage.  If you're like me, the supply of canned goods you began storing at the first hint of a national crisis have long been outdated.  And the choices of freeze-dried foods have left your palate wanting more; besides the fact that preservatives were often the first ingredient listed on the packaging.  But, I'm happy to report that the owners of Valley Food Storage were kind enough to send me a sample package of their White Bean & Lime Chili, and I was pleasantly surprised at, not only the flavor, but the consistency of the finished product, and the healthy ingredients.
     You know how most freeze-dried food lacks quality flavor or seasoning?  Well, this product is about as close as I've seen to home-cooked food, right off the stove.  The ingredients read like a recipe out of your favorite cookbook:  Great White Northern Beans, pinto beans, large sliced onions, sea salt, garlic, red and green bell peppers, cumin seed, chicken broth, black pepper, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeƱo pepper, and cayenne pepper.   Only the Xanthium gum and Citric Acid tell you it has been prepared for a long shelf life --- the company claims up to 25 years!  Plus it is Gluten Free!!
     Valley Food Storage's selections are a little more exotic, with names like Irish Pub Cheddar Potato Soup, Mango Habanero Chili, and Sweet and Sour Asian Rice.  If they taste anything like the sample I tried, you won't mind eating survivalist food.  And I imagine that adding rice or meat to any of the selections would enhance the dining experience.  Price-wise, they are in line with other products in the marketplace.  Try a sampling or two, and see what you think.  I think you'll agree they're a cut above the rest.

FiberFix. After seeing this product on Shark Tank, my husband had an occasion to use it in his art studio.  One of the legs of his favorite chairs broke one day, and he was on the verge of discarding it, when he remembered this product.  After what turned out to be an easy application, the chair is as sturdy as new!  And that got him to thinking .... this would be a great thing to have when the SHTF.  Just think of all the uses ... tools could be repaired; it could provide a barrier for busted water pipes; it's a heat wrap for up to 850 degrees.
     Let's face it ... all kinds of implements and materials will become more valuable when it is TEOTWAWKI-time.  We won't be throwing anything away, and any means by which we can repair broken items could literally be a life-saver.  Just think of all the possibilities .... tent poles, shovels, ax handles, furniture ... the list is endless.
     The product is comprised of a special waterproof resin, and has the added benefit of being heat, cold, and impact resistant.  Which got PLW to thinking .... since it appears to be made like a fiberglass cast, and must be soaked in water before applying, he wondered if it couldn't be used in an emergency to help form a cast for a broken arm or leg.  Of course, it would need to be investigated further to make sure there were no side-effects from accidental contact with your skin.  But, from all appearances, this product is ideal for any number of survival applications.  You can even buy it in a combo pack of various sizes.  It is advertised as 100 times the strength of duct tape, and I have a feeing it will become a staple among Prepper inventories.

     So, there you have it ... just a few things to add to your Survival storehouse.  I am happy to recommend all three, having used and approved them all in our household.  You can never have enough options, can you?  It's a good idea to educate yourself on how to endure until the day our Savior returns, and you never know when you might be able to use them in your service to others.
Give them a try!

Ezekiel 38:7   "Be ready and keep ready, you and all your hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them."

December 9, 2014

Last Minute Buying Tips: And It's Not About Christmas!

     This blog post comes to you courtesy of my husband, Peace-Loving Warrior.  Although his antennae are up and he is all about spiritual warnings, he is also alert to how we can better plan to ride out the storm in terms of worldly preparations.  So, put on your Prepper hats and consider the bargain basement prices on these precautionary essentials.
     In three words, you need to consider Silver, Firearms and Gasoline.  It has been years since all three were at rock-bottom prices, all at the same time.  And for those who are late to the game of preparing for a not-so-bright future; or those of you who think they missed the train and it's already pulled out of the station ... PLW wants you to know that the train has slowed down at a curve, and now's the time to jump on board.
     Even if you don't yet see yourself as a Prepper, you can't deny that the warnings are everywhere ... we no longer hold the Number One spot as the world's Economic Power; the Puppet Masters have done a good job at creating racial strife and civil unrest;  and the dramatic influx of millions of illegal immigrants who are suddenly made legal, threatens to overwhelm our infrastructure.
     Just ask yourself these oft-repeated questions:  Are you better off today than you were last year?  Five years ago?  Ten?  Do you trust our elected officials to do their job, and protect our civil liberties, national security, and Constitution?  Does your dollar buy more or less than it did one year ago?  It is this last question that I want you to concentrate on today.
     It is a matter of simple economics that low prices mean you can buy more for your dollar than higher prices can purchase, right?  So, if you are like millions of other Americans, and aren't quite as confident in our future as you were a decade ago, might it not be prudent to compare the cost of goods that might make the future a little easier to navigate?  And wouldn't it be smart to take advantage of these low prices ... since we all know that they could be gone tomorrow, due to the plots and schemes of the world's Elite.

     So, why does PLW want you to take a good hard look at Silver, Firearms and Gasoline?  First, Silver is currently trading at around $16.48 (with the price set to fluctuate at a moment's notice).  That price is far below the highest price of around $47 in April of 2011 and is close to the period of affordable pricing in the fall of 2010.  Will it fall to the ground floor prices of $9.36 that it exhibited during our national banking crisis in the fall of 2008?  No one knows, but it is significantly lower than around the $22 level this past summer.  There is no time to waste ... if you want to hedge your bets against the dire predictions of our failing economy, this is no time to hesitate or repeat your regrets of the past.  
     After all, for more than four thousand years, silver has been regarded as a form of money and a prized method of exchange for goods --- far longer than paper money; and it's more durable.  Very simply, it is a safeguard against financial stress; and like all precious metals, it survives in periods of inflation, deflation and devaluation.  If our government's $18 Trillion debt doesn't make you nervous, it should -- the exorbitant amount of printed money in our financial system is only serving to make our dollar less valuable, and eventually will cause precious metals to rise.  This may be your last chance to take advantage of that probability -- no more excuses.
      Then there is the price of firearms.  Our Second Amendment rights have never been more precious, as the events of the day point to our need to be able to protect ourselves and our families.  Even if the thought of owning a firearm is foreign to you; that you know nothing about safely operating them, it is time to get some professional training and become a responsible gun owner.
     You've heard the warnings, such as those from Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke:  "Calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option... You can beg for mercy or you can fight back.  Consider taking a safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there."
     Both PLW and I would add that there is no better time than now to take advantage of this advice.  Prices for defensive weapons are at extremely affordable prices, and they are readily available.  I would remind you that at the beginning of this nation, every colonial household owned a musket to provide food for the table, and as a means of protection.  Those same needs are present today, and an automatic rifle is today's modern equivalent.  In addition, ammunition for these defense weapons is at pre-gun hysteria prices.  So, it's time to get over whatever pre-conceived ideas you have, or the inaccurate information conveyed by the media.  Protecting your family is your responsibility, and firearms ownership is a legal and effective way to accomplish that goal.
     Finally, Gasoline is as cheap as its been in 5 years.  I'm sure you are all enjoying the affordable fill-ups during this time of belt-tightening; both unleaded and diesel are enjoying low prices.  But try to think beyond the immediate timeframe.  Why not consider buying a storable fuel tank for your property and stock up on extra gasoline?
     If the financial analysts are correct, and OPEC's finagling with the price of a barrel of oil might mean the end of our energy boom, think how good you're going to feel knowing that you have stocked up on this precious commodity.  And that's not even considering that you will be able to affordably run a generator in a grid-down scenario.
     So, as you can see, in a way, things have never looked so good ... especially for those who have tarried or delayed in getting in the game.  I don't see how anyone could continue to deny that there have already been some drastic changes in our way of life, and that even more serious events are just over the horizon.
     And, yes, I know that what I have written today concerns our worldly existence.  And I also know that there will be Christians who proclaim that we should simply trust God in these matters; that He is our sanctuary, and we should not worry ourselves with taking steps to protect this earthly life.  But I maintain that the Bible obliges us to preserve Life -- our own lives, and those of others.  It teaches us that we have been bought with a price, and these human bodies belong to Him; they are not to be relinquished without an effort to preserve them for His Glory.
     Moreover, as the familiar verses in Ezekiel 33 warn us, if we know danger is coming to others, and we deliberately fail to warn them, we are guilty of causing harm to the victims.  That in itself is enough reason to bring these tips to your attention.  Whether you give them credence, or take advantage of the opportunities, is up to you.  But there's never been a better time to take stock of your future, or better prices to help you protect it.  I know that this earthly existence does not take precedence over the heavenly, but I'm equally sure that we are to protect and provide while we are here.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20     "Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a [a]preciousness and paid for, [made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body."

October 25, 2014

Are You Suffering From "Prepper Fatigue"?

    I sense it in myself, and I'm beginning to see it in others.  If you're like me, you've been "in prepper mode" for the last six years.  That's a long time; 2,190 days to be exact.  We began this journey with the threat of an economic collapse, and the fear and implications of that possibility ... we started stocking up on food and essentials, in case our money became useless and inflation skyrocketed.
     We fortified ourselves for a life that lacked the luxuries of 21st century living, and taught ourselves long-forgotten skills, and worked at adopting a new attitude towards "roughing it" without all the modern conveniences.  That involved time and money; both of which were not in abundant supply at our household.  But we took on the burden with an eye towards survival in difficult times.
     Within a year or so, we all started hearing the whisperings of "Electro-Magnetic Pulse" and "Coronal Mass Ejection".  Whether these events were to be caused by a foreign enemy setting off a nuclear missile in our atmosphere, or God sending a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields into space, it didn't matter.  We began to prepare for a world without electricity and all the chaos that it would cause.  More time and money were spent figuring out how to cook our food, run generators, deal with the heat of summer and the freezing temps of winter; how it would affect people with health conditions and how we would deal with the inevitable lawlessness as society degenerated into anarchy -- it was another worry added to our already heavy load.
     And with the possibility of lawlessness, came a responsibility to ourselves and our families to be able to defend our homes and territory.  The firearms industry saw a colossal increase, as Americans traded their shotguns and deer rifles for semi-auto rifles and pistols; and signed up in droves for tactical defense training.  This became a whole new industry in itself.  People realized that if you were going to carry a firearm, you owed it to society to be effectively trained in how to manage that weapon ... but once again, this duty required massive resources and time.  And we all still had to live our "normal" lives, which included 40+ hour work weeks, after-school activities with the kids, and often-times, within the scope of spouses and family members that didn't approve of our "extracurricular activities."
     New concerns about government over-regulation; anxiety over lax border security, and a slow and stealthy erosion of the Constitution has kept us on our toes over the last couple of years, but we have maintained our readiness and commitment to surviving whatever this world throws at us.  And I'm proud of how well we've endured the weight of the extra pressure.
     We shifted our priorities, settled into our new mindsets and lifestyles, and figured out a way to shoulder all the new obligations.  Yes, it has taken a toll on us, but we have managed to keep it all under control, while staying alert and vigilant.  We stayed as ready as we could be, and determined not to let our guard down.
    Then this last year, the weight of it all has increased dramatically.  We have the double threats of pestilence and terrorism in the homeland, and must figure out how to prepare for both these perils.  Added to our burden is the difficulty in seeing them coming; which necessitates a state of constant vigilance and alertness.  We are just about stretched to our limits.  Both our mental and physical faculties are taxed, and we suffer further stress from family and friends who refuse to see the danger we face.
     To be brutally honest, we're tired of carrying the load; we struggle against hostility towards others who will selfishly expect to benefit from our years of spending time, money, and hours of training and educating ourselves.  We're weary of being ridiculed, while knowing full well that we will be expected to share what we have so painstakingly collected against that very day of trouble.
    And I will boldly declare that I believe Christians carry a heavier load and level of fatigue.  We are worn out from trying to apply Romans 13 to our Christian walk, and we feel a greater responsibility and duty to care for those who were not as farsighted as we.  Unlike unbelieving Preppers, it will be difficult for us to turn away a starving child, or to refuse someone shelter or protection if lawlessness is ruling the day.  We know that we are under the scrutiny of God, and we must obey His command to love others as He has loved us.
     So, I wrote this blog post today, because I know if this journey is wearing on me, then there are millions who are sharing my state of mind.  If you are mentally overwhelmed, financially tapped, and physically exhausted ... you're not alone.  But we must not, and cannot give up; defeat is not an option.  We were chosen for this time because our Maker knew He could count on us; He knew our steps would be sturdy and our pace would be constant.  He knows we will be unmovable and unchanged in our purpose, posture, or position.  We can handle the load and tackle the task.  We will survive and overcome because our strength and perseverance lies in the Lord.  And the best part?  He's right beside us, sharing the load.  Yes, we've been given a lot to cope with these last six years ... but too tired to go on?  Not a chance!  We've just been toughened and tempered for what lies ahead ... and we're ready, willing, and able!

Hebrews 12:3    "Just think of Him Who endured from sinners such grievous opposition and bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you may not grow weary or exhausted, losing heart and relaxing and fainting in your minds."

October 16, 2014

Rethinking My Prepper Mindset

     The last couple of weeks, my thoughts keep returning to how quickly our world could change if we are confronted with a crisis situation.  The appearance of Ebola and the beheadings within our country have certainly got my attention.  These are two new "threats" that I just didn't think we would ever have to confront.  And it's got me thinking ...
      If you are like me, a few years back you faced "The Monster" and adopted a whole new perspective on the importance of preparing for the worst.  You read One Second After and How To Survive The End Of The World As We Know It.  We set about working out a plan, and making our plans work.
"The Book of Eli"
     We left our normalcy bias and gladly accepted the mantle of "Prepper".  We prided ourselves on being "awake" and "aware".  We have trained our minds and bodies to think differently and perform new tasks that will ensure our survival in adverse circumstances.  We have convinced ourselves that we will not be blind to potential threats; we will see it coming and be ready for anything that threatens our families.  We even take comfort in surrounding ourselves with "like-minded people" who share our mindset and survival skills.
    We might even consider ourselves more spiritually equipped than our Christian friends, who repeatedly reprimand us for "not trusting God to deliver us."  We tell ourselves that God gave us a brain to use while we occupy this planet, and being prepared does not mean you plan on abdicating your service to Him; and we might even personally believe that all our preparation plans and stockpiles might not even be for us, but will benefit someone else -- perhaps an unbeliever who may come to know God through our actions.  In effect, we are pretty satisfied with our Prepper status ... and that is what concerns me.
    This disquiet in my soul has come about because of a conversation my husband and I had with a new acquaintance the other day.  You know how it is ... we all do this "song-and-dance" to discover where a new contact fits within the spectrum of Awareness.  And once they pass the test, then both parties compare and contrast philosophies and beliefs.
     This new friend conceded that he had embraced the need to get prepared physically at the beginning of this nation's financial crisis in 2008.  He had carefully thought out all the possible scenarios we could face and had been financially able to complete an exhaustive and comprehensive plan to secure the safety of his family.  He had combined his resources with others who had similar attitudes and opinions, and they agreed to meet any future challenge together.
     But then I noticed a hesitancy; I could tell there was something that he was struggling with.  He admitted that he and his group of Prepper friends had a major fundamental difference in their thinking.  He is coming to terms with how he should handle hungry or ill strangers who come knocking on their gate for food or medical assistance.  It is important to him, as a Christian, how he responds to those in need.  His friends do not agree.  That will be a serious conflict for any group who have joined  together.
     But this is not a new concern among survivalists.  This conversation has been going on for years.  But something has changed ... or maybe I should say, we have changed.  In my Biblical worldview, events do not happen outside of the control of God.  Everything is in His timing and for His purpose.  I do not have the counsel of God, and ultimately my opinion counts for nothing, but I can't help wondering if perhaps God is taking His time with the events we have all been anticipating so that He could separate those who are His, and grow us towards greater service in bringing in His harvest?  And this question makes me take a look at the bigger picture.
     As time has progressed, we have all retreated somewhat from our initial level of enthusiasm and drive.  Six years of slow deterioration, with no extreme event, has deprived us of our "edge".  I might even be willing to say we have become comfortable in our state of awareness/preparedness ... and that's a contradictory concept!  The very nature of becoming a Prepper is not to be comfortable ... whether in the physical or spiritual aspect.  Our mindset must always be on expanding knowledge to save our lives; it's just that now, in the case of our new friend, his Prepper Mindset (and ours) is centered more on Spiritual lives, rather than Physical.
     When I look back over the last six years, I can see a shift in my thinking and my focus.  I still want to make sure that my larder is full, and I have plenty of medical supplies on hand.  I still want to be physically ready to defend myself, and am less wasteful and more innovative in taking care of our needs... I still fit the "Prepper" description.  There are still things that we have not crossed off of our physical "to-do" list, but I am less concerned with worldly strategies, and more preoccupied with heavenly pursuits.  I'm thinking more about God, and less about myself.
     Those initial fears have been replaced with a calmness; not that I have grown complacent towards the affairs of my country or the world --- it's just that I am viewing the part I am to play differently.  It's not so much about saving my life here on earth, but of saving souls for eternity.  All our stuff, training, and new skills will serve me and my family well while we are here; but I am now preparing for a much greater event -- and I won't even need a bug-out bag!

Proverbs 19:21     "Many plans are in a man’s mind, but it is the Lord’s purpose for him that will stand."

October 1, 2014

Lead The Way!

     You can feel it in the air, can't you?  The signs are accumulating .... the financial sector is nervous and Wall Street is unstable; the price of Silver is bottoming out; our debt is higher and our return on investments is lower;  middle management layoffs result in over-qualified personnel competing with over-educated college graduates; food prices are skyrocketing, along with insurance premiums and the feeling of fear.  Sounds an awful lot like 2008, when we in America began living a new reality, doesn't it?  And yes, it sure feels like we are hitting another milestone in our downward spiral.
     But I would like to suggest that this time is different, and that we can actually have a positive outlook in the midst of yet another looming downturn.  You see, there are a great number of us who have learned a lot in the last six years.  Our eyes are wide open and we've shaken off the paralysis of fear and uncertainty.  We're ready and prepared to face a radically different future in America, and I actually see these new rumblings at our foundations as a renewed opportunity to make America stronger.  Let me explain why ...
     First of all, I can always tell when America is coming out of its normalcy bias stupor when the phone starts ringing, and the questions start flying ... What would you suggest we do to preserve our savings?  How can we counter the high price of food at the grocery store?  What are your thoughts about our economy?  Is it stable?  What everyone is really asking is, "I'm a little worried about the future. Can you talk me off the cliff?"
     So here is the first positive effect of this threat of a downturn in our fortunes -- a new segment of the population is waking up!  It may have taken them a little longer, and you might want to shout, "It's about time!", but resist the chance to gloat, and instead, welcome them aboard!  We have just been given an opportunity to help them get in a readied state.  The more people that are prepared to deal physically, mentally and spiritually with whatever is in our future, the more chance this country has to survive.
     Granted, I believe that this time around, the threats we face are more serious... terrorism in the homeland and threats of a pandemic disease seem as though they trump any economic woes we might face.  But those of us who confronted the monster in 2008 have been "purified in the fire", so to speak, and can now provide a solid footing for those who must undergo their own deliverance from fear.  And they won't have to stumble through the process of discovery as we did; we can get them up to speed quicker, while guiding them and introducing them to all the ways that they can experience peace and strength in adverse circumstances.
      It might be in the area of physical training, such as gardening, or self-defense, or how to care for the medical needs of their family.  We can help them learn how to mentally prepare for those things that could radically change our way of life, such as an electric grid-down situation, and what that looks like -- no heating or air conditioning; no internet; no transportation.  Many of us have spent the last six years thinking all this through, and developing and perfecting the best ways to sustain ourselves and our families.  Now this new generation of awakened Americans will be the beneficiaries of our hard-earned knowledge.
     For those "old-timers" that might feel a little off-balance, this is not a time to cocoon ourselves in a new layer of panic; but a great opportunity to share our wisdom and broaden and expand the readiness, independence and personal power of America.
     But I want to stress that the best way we can assist and advise our fellow countrymen is spiritually.    Because what we, the first wave of American Preppers, have learned above all else, is that none of the rest of our planning matters if we don't include God.  In fact, as we are given the opportunity to coach someone new in all they need to know to protect themselves and their family, our instruction should seamlessly blend with our testimony of God's true salvation.  There is no time to waste!  The greatest way to "prepare" for their immediate future, is to assure their eternal life by accepting Jesus as their Savior -- that's real security.  The rest is all temporary!
     So, let's not view the unsettling signs on the horizon with fear and trepidation.  Let's take advantage of the opportunity to reach new people -- reach them for our communities, our country, and ultimately, to glorify our God.

1 Peter 3:15   "But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;"

September 9, 2014

You Need To Ask Yourself: Am I Prepared?

     We are living in a time many of us are not ready for.  After all, every generation is supposed to surpass the quality of life of the previous one, right?  Weren't we supposed to be the generation that prospered above and beyond what anyone expected?  We're Americans, and nothing can stop our progress; at least that's been our arrogant mindset up until now.
      I am blessed that I have lived during the greatest explosion of American ingenuity, inventiveness, and entrepreneurship.  None have equaled us.  I have enjoyed more creature comforts than my parents or grandparents.  I have known the heights of working for a great company, and the even more valuable benefits of working with my husband in our own business.  Yes, life in America has been all that anyone in the free world could hope for.  But there are storm clouds threatening to rain on our parade, and some of us will be caught without an umbrella.
     Lately, my focus has been on spiritual preparation, and I still believe that should be our priority.  But I also believe that those of us who are spiritually equipped should also be physically ready, so that we can assist others who are not prepared spiritually OR physically.  I believe we will still need to fulfill our commission of serving God and others, even during societal collapse, and therefore it is incumbent upon us to be prepared to survive the aftermath of whatever is coming.
     The latest whispers of impending upheaval and disorder center on the vulnerability of our national grid system; or a possible terrorist attack upsetting the normal balance of everyday life.  Last week, SHTFPlan had a great article asking the question, "What If You Had A Week To Prepare For the End of the World?"   I highly recommend that you read this article -- it asks some pretty serious questions that I think you need to answer for yourself, if you have not done so already. Whether massive mayhem and pandemonium are the result of an extended power outage, or something more devastating and destructive, I want you to ask yourself these basic questions:
     How would I get food if the grocery stores are closed?  First of all, a grid-down scenario means food in the stores will start spoiling, cash registers won't work, and every shelf will be emptied within hours.  You don't know how long you'll be without power.   Are you prepared for days or weeks, or even months, without a source for buying food?  The food in your own refrigerator will only last so long, and how much do you have on your own shelves?  Right now, I have a freezer full of meat, but I'm prepared if we lose power for any length of time.  My American Canner will get a good work-out canning all that thawed-out beef, and I'll have quarts of savory meat to last for months.  If you don't know how to can food, or bake bread from ground wheat (which I hope you've considered storing), then I suggest you learn those skills soon.
     How will you cook food, even if you've got it?  Do you know how to start a cook fire?  Do you have the necessary tools and cast iron cookware you will need?  What about a solar oven or a rocket stove?  You will get real tired of eating cold beans out of a can; I promise you that.
     Are you prepared for extreme heat and cold if there is no power for months?  I know that our grandparents and great-grandparents managed to survive without central air and heat, but this generation of Americans will suffer without their conveniences.  You will need to adjust your activities and have a plan for coping with the debilitating effects of extreme temperatures.
     Can you cope with no lights?  Your scented candles won't last long and won't provide much light when there is no electricity.  How is your provision of flashlights and batteries; matches, kerosene for lanterns, etc.?  You will be surprised how important a little light can be in the darkness of calamity.
     No transportation?  How fit are you?  If there is no power due to an EMP, your car's computers will be destroyed and the gas pumps won't be working.  Do you have a good pair of shoes (think several pairs)?  How far can you walk?  Our sedentary population will suffer greatly if they are not prepared for physical activity.
     What will you do for water?  If you live in the city, municipal water facilities will no longer be able to provide you water.  And if you live in the country, your water well is run by electricity, so you'll be out of luck.  Water, food and shelter are necessary for life, so without water you are in serious trouble.  The old-fashioned hand pump is the way to go in the country, and city dwellers will have to find a way to store water, both for cooking and sanitation.
    Speaking of sanitation ... Human waste will become a huge problem and a recipe for disease.  In the country, an old-fashioned outhouse would be an option; or a product like the Luggable Loo, a portable 5-gallon toilet.  Either way, sanitation will be an important issue that must be addressed.
     There is so much more that you should have a plan for ... medical needs, self-defense, and how you plan on serving others, yet not putting the health and safety of your own family in jeopardy.   I think we all have a sense that something is coming ... and sooner, rather than later.  If you have been avoiding taking the necessary steps that will give your family a chance to survive a variety of crises, then I would ask you to first pray ... ask God to give you a sense of peace and calm as He directs you on how to prepare.  Ask Him for spiritual strength and knowledge to teach you what you need to do in this physical world.  I don't want to unduly scare you, but I urge you to make haste ... I sincerely believe that time is short.  You can do this, and you can accomplish it in the shelter of His protective presence.

Psalm 91:1-2     He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

June 18, 2014

Feeling The Heat: A Personal Experience

     I have not spent too much time lately writing posts on getting physically prepared.  Part of the reason is that there are many sites who do that better than I do and can provide you with professional instruction.  Another reason is I figure if you are reading this blog, then you are already there mentally, and don't need to have your philosophy confirmed.
     But I wanted to relate to you a situation that has been experienced by my family of late.  PLW's parents are in their early 70's.   They have come a long way when it comes to understanding what is going on in the world and their physical state of preparedness.  They have overcome their initial skepticism and most of their normalcy biases.  They have grown leaps and bounds in their spiritual growth and they clearly see the time on the prophetical clock.  Yet the realities of their age and physical limitations must be taken into account.
     From the beginning of our own enlightenment to our changing world, we have discussed with our family the implications of various scenarios and occurrences.  Like all of us, my in-laws had to overcome the debilitating fears that came with considering the repercussions of civil unrest, horrific weather events, and terrorist activities, including an EMP.  We have done what we could to limit the discomforts that will be inherent with any of these circumstances.
     But last Friday they got to face what it would be like in the heat of South Texas should we ever experience a grid-down event.  The compressor on their air-conditioning unit went out as we faced a weekend of upper-90 temperatures in hot, humid, South Texas.  Now, you may think this is no big deal; after all their unit was under warranty.  Just contact your carrier and get a new one installed, right?  But that doesn't happen so quickly in small town Texas; especially on a Friday afternoon before the weekend.  It turns out that it would be at least 4 days until a new compressor could be shipped from a major city.  They were facing days of unrelenting heat and humidity.
     Having them stay with us was the obvious solution, but our guest bedroom is at the top of steep stairs, and neither is able to handle stairs well.  We could accommodate them with air mattresses on the floor, but both have physical limitations that prevent them getting up and down that easily.  We suggested that they get a hotel room until the installation was completed, but they insisted on "toughing it out".  I think they wanted to prove to themselves (and us) that they were prepared to undergo similar conditions in the event of a national emergency.  And I was proud of their "can-do" spirit and their resiliency ... for the first day or so.  They took it as a personal challenge and it was good for them to know that they were stronger than they thought.
     But when you are not in great shape or the best of health, and you are in your 70s, there comes a time when it's OK to throw in the towel.  We convinced them to treat themselves to a cool hotel room for Father's Day, and perhaps to consider a second night until the compressor could be delivered.  They acquiesced to one cool night, but returned to the stifling heat in their home the next day.  During the latest phone check-in, PLW could tell that the heat was taking its toll on them, both physically and  emotionally.  Their attempt to stick it out, while admirable, could result in adverse health issues for one or both of them, making the situation far worse than it is.  He finally convinced them that a portable air conditioning unit that would cool off 450 SF was enough to isolate and cool their master bedroom, giving them some respite, and us some peace of mind.  He helped them make the purchase and is installing it as I write.
     I am relating this incident to you as a cautionary reminder --- it is one thing to plan in your head what you will do, and have to endure, should an emergency occur.  It is quite another to actually live it.   Yes, my in-laws still have electricity, so this portable A/C unit is a viable option for this particular scenario.  But should we experience a grid-down event, a generator would be able to run this portable unit and provide them some much needed relief.
     Most importantly, it showed us that the elderly will pay a heavy price when the conveniences of our modern world come to a halt.  Energy-zapping heat, spine-chilling cold temps, and other harmful weather conditions will affect them more than the average population.  And that is just weather-related problems.  Throw a society in chaos into the mix, and they will be at even more of a disadvantage.   So let this innocent little disruption to normal life give you pause.  If you have elderly family, friends or neighbors, please keep in mind that they will need your help and encouragement when times get tough.  You can not game every situation, but this should show you that the possibility of even the simplest inconvenience deserves some planning in advance.

Exodus 20:12    "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you."

April 12, 2014

American Ingenuity and Exceptionalism

     While I have lately been moved to comment on the events that effect us nationally and globally, I have not forgotten that we all feel the need to prepare for what our souls tell us is coming.  Although I feel that spiritual preparation is of the utmost importance, we do have to live these physical lives, and there is a need to return our gaze to the ways in which we can persist in our daily living, should we face the unthinkable.
     With that in mind, I've always loved the American story.  We are truly the "Land of Opportunity"; a nation that I believe God sanctified for His purpose.  We have an honorable history of individuals who see a need on the part of their fellow citizens, and meet it.  Fledgling, start-up companies present their wares to the marketplace, and if the product or service is good, then the public will find it.  And if I know that the  motivation behind these self-made American companies is ethical and reliable, then I am only too happy to do my part to support them.
     One such company is End Times Warehouse.  According to the owner, "the website and company is relatively new. We don't have much of a budget, so we are building this ourselves and going through the internet marketing learning curve while still working and raising a family. We are adding products and tweaking everything along the way."  This is the American way!
     At this time, the products they offer are limited, compared to other emergency preparedness giants, such as Emergency Essentials.  But we all have to start somewhere right?
     I was especially thrilled to see that the first item on their product list was Bibles.  They've certainly got their priorities in the right order!  It turns out that the owner's brother is a minister and the company name was his idea; so not only do they have their priorities straight, but they know what time it is on the  prophecy calendar.
     But they make it clear that you do not have to be religious to take advantage of the products they offer.  EndTimes Warehouse is striving to meet any emergency preparedness situation that you might experience.  Whether it is a disruption of our food supply due to natural disasters or man-made scenarios, they have partnered with well-known companies to serve as a clearinghouse of any number of things you might need.  They were generous enough to let me try a sample-pak of their freeze-dried food products by Wise Company.  Although Wise is not known for being the cadillac version of ready-made meals, I found the variety of meals and the taste to be quite acceptable.  When we actually encounter SHTF, they will taste like a gourmet feast!
     As you will see when you visit the site, some of their categories are light in items offered, but as I said, they are new and growing.  Please take the time to visit the site, and in these days of a suffering economy, let's encourage a nascent company, developed in the spirit of American ingenuity.

     Another company that I would like to revisit is Deadwood Stove Company.  I've never been comfortable with advertising partnerships on this blog, because I see this blog as a gift from God, and to God.  So, although I display the Deadwood Stove link on this page, I do it as a service to my friend and neighbor, who is the owner of the company; and as a benefit to my readers.
     I personally know of the hard work that goes into building each and every Deadwood Stove by hand.  (Just think of welding iron in the hot Texas summers!)  And it meets such a vital need in the Survivalist/Prepper world.  My husband, Peace-Loving Warrior, and I own 3 Deadwood Stoves and employ them quite often.  (You can see me cooking on one in this YouTube video.)  But when SHTF comes down, or the grid is compromised, they will be an important aspect of our survival.
     In fact, this stove provides you with two of the most important aspects of surviving... the ability to cook most any game or food you can procure, and the ability to boil water.  If the stove could provide a shelter, it would cover the three most important considerations of any survival situation (food, water, shelter).  Two out of three ain't bad!
     PLW will tell you that he likes the adaptability of the Deadwood Stove over other rocket stove manufacturers.  (He's tried them all!)  While any bio mass fuel will work, he likes how the Deadwood Stove makes better use of our indigenous Mesquite and Oak.  He can control the intensity of his fire better through the unique design of the feeding tube, and the flip grill allows for direct flame cooking, if you want to "flame kiss" your steaks or burgers.  Also, this grill alternative all but eliminates the "hot spot" you can experience in the middle of your pan.
     So, if you've wondered about the image of the Deadwood Stove that appears on my blog each day, take a moment and click on it to see the advantages of adding this to your survival equipment.  I promise you, there is no revenue exchanged for this tidbit of information --- PLW and I just get to enjoy lunch and lively conversation every Wednesday with the entrepreneur and his wife; that's enough compensation for me.  But I urge you to consider purchasing the Deadwood Stove and get some practice using it.  Don't wait until it's too late and you're faced with "I wished I had...".

     Thank you for allowing a little promotion on the behalf of two companies who still apply the American spirit to their enterprises.  They're small, independently owned companies; each has something to offer, and I hope you will check them out.

Proverbs 13:4   "The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied."

March 12, 2014

It's Time To Tighten Our Belts

     There are many of you that will think this is a "softball" post; but I am still amazed at the number of my friends and family who simply don't know how close to the edge of the cliff we are.  Perhaps it's that there are so many events that are capturing our attention -- the Russia/Ukraine crisis; the missing Malaysian flight; the 2014 mid-term elections; and the constant barrage of NSA-spying news, just to name a few.  And that's if you are paying attention.  But there are many among the millions of Americans who still don't have a clue about any of these topics and simply have their noses buried in their iphones, ipads or Facebook accounts.
     I point this out because all of these distractions keep them from focusing on the elephant in the room -- all the warnings by economists, as well as national security experts, that  we are on the verge of imminent collapse.  And it is to these folks that this post is directed.
     I know there are some who will think, "They have cried wolf too many times."  But I would contend that while their timing may be off, their logic is not.  Our government's spending is still out of control; we have lost status in the world due to our foreign policy; there is not a lot of faith in the U.S. dollar as the world's currency; foreign governments are moving into position to take down our economy, and there is not a lot we can do about it -- we don't have any counter-moves.
      "But we're America!", they will say.  "But not the America of old," I will answer.  Those who still have a paycheck must admit that it doesn't stretch as far as it used to.  Just compare what your grocery bill was -- even two years ago -- with what you will pay this week.  Are you driving a new car, or an older model?  Is it a given that your kids will go to the college of their choice; or are you considering the local junior college?  Do you still have health insurance; and if you do, have your premiums increased?
      These are just a few of the obvious examples that our economy is not flourishing -- no matter what the latest press release from our elected officials tell us.  We need to face it.  Things are not getting better!  More people are on food stamps than ever before.  It really is true that the rich are getting richer and those of us in the middle class are sliding down the economic scale.
     And this is not even considering the effect upon our economy should we suffer an attack upon our grid system or any other form of terroristic attack.  We are hanging on by a thread, my friends, so it's time that we all get serious about taking care of ourselves.  You know as well as I do, that we are able to provide for ourselves and our families better than any government institution.  America, in it's federal form, may have fundamentally transformed, but there are individual Americans who still retain that spirit of independence, ingenuity and courage that saw our forefathers survive and thrive through adversity.  Now it's our turn!
     It's time that we get back to basics.  Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, have enjoyed advantages that our grandparents would consider luxuries.  To be completely honest, I'm afraid that they would think we've grown negligent in minding the store and living within our means.  So what are we to do about it?  To me, it's obvious that we need to get real and evaluate exactly what is necessary to live prudently and frugally.  Admit it.  There are conveniences we can do without, and ways we can tighten our belts; ways we must change our lives in order to make it through the coming storm.  Just consider these few options:
•  Mortgage/Rent:  Many Americans are struggling to pay their monthly mortgage.  It is a huge part of our monthly budget, and with unemployment at record rates, bank foreclosures are running rampant.  Refinancing or downsizing can help us get that expenditure under control, and save a lot of future heartache.
•  Car payments:  These days working families often need more than one car for transportation.  But expensive new cars for every member of the family are only viable for the rich.  Refinancing is also an option for this budget item, as well as getting rid of those oppressive loans by trading into older, less expensive models.  And if you can become a one-car family, then the sacrifice will be worth it.
•  Unnecessary indulgences:  Do you really need that extraneous gym membership or that deluxe cable TV package?  What about all those times you eat out, or the vacations that you can't really afford? What's your clothes budget?  Think you can reduce it?  And how much do you pay for those phone plans?  Take a look at your checkbook.  Other than food, shelter and transportation; where are your resources going?
      You see, we are still living as if American prosperity is still alive and well.  In the backs of our minds we know that all the signs are there for a downturn.  Even our bottom lines are telling us that there are potholes on Easy Street, yet we're trying to pretend that it's smooth sailing.
     I know I'm probably preaching to the choir --- in fact, I hope I am!  Because if you haven't already considered these options, and many more beyond these basic ones, then I fear that you will have a hard time adapting to leaner times, let alone survive them.  I know that sounds harsh, and to some it will sound extreme.  But I believe we can no longer ignore the writing on the wall.  These proposals for trimming your expenditures should already be on your "do to" list, and you should be looking towards long-term preparations for your family.
     I sometimes assume that everyone is on the same level and in the same place that I am.  If you are, then this post is just a friendly reminder to take another look at your strategy.  And if you are still finding it difficult to give up those self-indulgences, and putting off ways to cut back, then let this be a wake-up call.  It will soon be time to pay the piper.  Get prepared!

1 Timothy 6:17     "As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy."

March 7, 2014

The Perfect Book For Your Teenager

     World events are hard enough to comprehend and face for adults.  In fact, I would venture that many will find themselves uninformed and ill-prepared should any number of likely scenarios come to fruition.  So, if mature Americans are scared of facing their fears, think of what it is like for our younger generations; especially those in their teenage years who are on the cusp of reaching for their future goals.  How do we brace them for the possibility of disruption to their daily lives, and instruct them on getting through the coming chaos, without scaring the living daylights out of them?  The profusion of "Survival" books on the market have not been suitable for our younger populace ... until now.
     Author Julie L. Casey has provided not only an informative approach, but an educational and entertaining way to reach our kids and move them towards a prepper mindset.  She has written a book, entitled How I Became A Teenage Survivalist, in which she appeals to the teenage sense of adventure while subtly tutoring them in the fine art of survival.  The book is written from the viewpoint of sixteen-year-old Bracken, but has characters that will appeal to younger teenagers as well as the older ones about to enter adulthood.  
     Bracken begins his story after the advent of PF (Power Failure) Day.  He recounts how a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) from the sun changed his and his family's lives abruptly and permanently.  The author is able to weave survival situations into the plot that will make your teenagers think of the repercussions of such an event.  At the same time, she provides the solutions that the family and their neighbors develop so that your kids can see that they can adapt and thrive without modern conveniences.  I especially liked that the storyline was appealing and natural; it wasn't contrived in order to present a "how to" survival manual.  That would be a turnoff to teenage readers.
     Instead, the book is able to present events in a manner that will captivate the interest of this age group.  What would it be like to live in a world where there is no electricity?  Bracken and his brothers are resourceful in inventing ways to make pop bottle "lightbulbs", and homemade washing machines.  They learn the value of working the land for their food, how to conserve the gasoline they have, and enjoy riding horses into town to visit their friends.  Their mother introduces them to the many ways herbs can be used for medicinal purposes, and ... gasp! ... they even realize that they don't miss all the electronic gadgets and technological time-wasters they had before PF Day!
     The author also includes a touch of light romance in her story that is sure to appeal to both girls and boys as they begin to explore the concept of love in their teenage years.  But lest you think the book is all sunshine and lollipops, Julie Casey introduces her readers to the dark side of what an electro-magnetic pulse can bring.  She doesn't shy away from the violence that will inevitably come as those who live in the city begin roaming the countryside in search for food and shelter.  She introduces the concept of martial law (being careful to keep it more benign than it likely will be) and the right to defend one's self and property.  She also informs her readers that many people will die due to the lack of life-saving equipment and medical supplies.  She doesn't overly sentimentalize what our lives will be like, and she presents the information in an ever-widening awareness of the reality of life without electricity, without uniform law, and with only our ingenuity and our ability to care for each other to see us through.  
     If you are struggling with a way to approach your teenagers with the topic of survival training or prepping for The End of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI), I suggest that you use this book as a conversation starter.  Your teenager will likely have lots of questions about your own personal situation and you can begin a dialogue about how he/she can take part in preparing your family for a possible breakdown of society.  In fact, this book stresses the importance of family.  Everyone, including grandparents and the youngest sibling, have value in protecting the family unit during turbulent times.  Think of I Was A Teenage Survivalist as a kinder, gentler strategy to introduce the younger members of your family to some scary concepts.  And to be honest, it's not too juvenile for the timid adults among us, either.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

This book is available on Amazon for under $10 in paperback, and 99 cents for the Kindle version. Not a bad investment to bring your kids into "the real world."  Click on the Title link in the post to go to Amazon and order today!

Colossians 4:6     "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person." 

February 1, 2014

How Long Would You Last In An Apocalypse?

     I ran across this witty little quiz on TruNews.com, and first approached it as a tongue-in-cheek way to amuse survivalists and preppers.  But after deciding that I was game to see if I could beat the Australian authors of the blog post (who only lasted one day), I quickly realized that there was more merit to the questions than I first thought.
     So, if you're feeling competitive, or simply want to know what your chances are when there's looting, chaos and general hysteria, here's your chance!  I'm going to list the questions for your consideration, but I recommend that you take the quiz to see how long you'd last.  If nothing else, it's a great starting place to do your own assessment.
1.  Are you, or have you ever been Ray Mears?  I'm chalking this one up to my lack of knowledge because I had no idea who Ray Mears was.  But apparently Mr. Mears is well known Down Under in bushcraft and survival techniques.  With good reason; while filming a documentary in Wyoming in 2005 Ray Mears was involved in a serious accident. The helicopter in which he and his camera crew were travelling struck the ground during a steep low level turn, and broke apart, rolling to a stop. The fuel tank was ruptured in the accident, and escaping fuel covered Mears and the crew. No fire occurred, and Mears was able to escape the wreckage uninjured and assist in the rescue and administer first aid to one of the crew who was badly hurt.   So, obviously, it's a good thing to be like Ray Mears.
2.  How many friends and family could you find and get to, without the help of your phone?  Ok, now we're getting serious.  This is an excellent question, because it will tell you if you and your friends/family have made plans on what to do and how to proceed should the SHTF.  Answer honestly, and if you don't like your answer, then do something about it!
3.  How long could you survive on the food in your cupboards?  Another question that will give you a pretty good idea on the odds of your survival.  And if you haven't thought about it, then that tells me you're probably not going to last long.  Give it some major thought, make a list, and start stocking up!
4.  How far can you run?  You know, if you really had to?  Boy, that one gave me serious pause.  How likely is it going to be that you will be able to stay comfortably put in the exact spot you are when an apocalypse goes down?  Can you move, and do it quickly, if you have to?  If not, maybe you better start getting in shape.  Your life is going to depend on it.
5.  Can you read a map?  You'd be surprised at how many people will fail at that task.  And I'd be surprised at how many people have ever had to follow a map, and determine how to get from point A to point B.  Remember, there won't be any MapQuest or Yahoo Driving Directions when the lights go out.  It's probably a good idea to have maps of your local area and know how to read them.
6.  You're lost in a forest.  Time to find north.  In the northern hemisphere, which side of a tree does moss grow on?  Ok, assuming that you have a map, and you know how to read it, and you need to start heading north to get to a family member or a safe destination, you better know how to figure out where north is .... especially if you don't happen to have a compass handy.  There are other ways to determine north, too.  You better do your research and have several options in your bag of tricks.
7.  You stumble into some looters.  Do you join in, fight them, or ignore them?  This is something that will probably depend on other elements in the scenario.  It's best to think about all those options now and determine your course of action, instead of making the wrong decision out of panic.
8.  The looters are desperate.  It's come down to a fight.  Are you going to throw some punches, get hurt, or run away?   Part B of question number 7.  Once again, depends on scenarios.  And you need to honestly know whether you are capable of throwing punches or running away (remember question #4).  And do you know how to protect yourself to minimize injuries?  Lots of fodder for some deep thinking here.
9.  Last question: Do you have someone to stay alive for?  Obviously, this question is meant to see if you have the heart and perhaps even the spiritual strength to do everything in your power to stay alive.  I also think that this is a powerful motivating factor to take care of all the preparations suggested in the previous questions ... plus a whole lot more!
      I believe that the instinct for survival is strong in all humans; but some will be able to fight harder and longer than others.  I would like to think that in that time of trouble, I would remember that this life God has called me to is for His purpose, not my own; and that I would be willing to do anything through His power to reach that target.  If it is my lot to experience an apocalyptic or crisis event, then I know that God appointed me to be there in that time, and that it is my privilege to do all I can for His kingdom.  I pray that I do not disappoint Him.
     Now that I've given you my thoughts on the quiz and disclosed my hopes for my own personal performance when TEOTWAWKI occurs, I urge you to take the quiz.  It's certainly not a definitive register of your preparedness, but anytime we are encouraged to consider these circumstances, it can only help fortify us.  By the way, the quiz told me I would last 20 years and compared me to Max Max.   Now there's a mental picture I can do without!

Psalm 31:1     "In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!"