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

Showing posts with label Survivalist Equipment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Survivalist Equipment. Show all posts

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."

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!"

October 15, 2012

Stay Connected

     I am going to tell a tale on my husband.  You're going to find this hard to believe, but he is one of those freaks that refuses to carry a cell phone.  He hates the intrusion it causes in his life, and abhors the addiction that others have to texting.  He finds it rude when meals are interrupted because someone can't wait to return a call until after we've dined.  He actually has friends who are unable to turn off their cell phones ... even when sitting in the deer stand!
     Now, the rest of this story is that I DO carry a cell phone; primarily for the sake of personal safety.  Since we are self-employed, and work out of our studio, we are together much of our day, so our friends and customers just know that to reach either of us, you call the one number.  However, there have been times that we have traveled together, but apart--- in two different cars and for long distances.  Again, because I have been concerned for our protection and safety, we have come up with a solution in case we get separated:  two-way radios.

     These handy devices are actually useful for other situations, as well.  We have found that traveling across country, cell towers are often few and far between.  With these radios, we can still communicate with each other, or our traveling partners.  PLW has found them to be an asset while hunting, and if we're faced with a grid-down situation (weather-related, or civil crisis), they will be a valuable tool (except in the case of an EMP, when nothing will work).
     And you have to know my husband.  He does extensive research on anything he deems essential for our welfare.  He compares quality, price and practicality.  The product that he felt met all our needs was the Midland GXT Radio.  We have had these radios for 5 years.  They run on re-chargeable as well as AA batteries, and we haven't had a problem with them.  The manufacturer claims a 36-mile range, but realistically, taking into account terrain and atmospheric conditions, it's more like 2 miles.  One of the reviewers on Amazon reports being able to receive communication from 6 miles away, but that was on top of a 14,000 foot mountain, with no obstruction between himself and his buddy.  If you were on flat ground on a perfect sunny day, you might come closer to the advertised range.  But for many of the  scenarios that we imagine in a SHTF world, they will fill the bill.
     Another nice advantage of this radio is that you have the choice from among 50 different channels, for a security bonus.  And they are light-weight for easy transport.  Priced at just under $60, they won't break the bank, either.  They come with earpieces that permit you to receive transmissions, without the world around you hearing your radio go off.
     Overall, the reviews have been good on this product, although you will always find someone who has had a dissatisfactory experience.  I can only report what we have encountered, and it has been all good.  So just consider this as another tool in your preparation kit.  There's more than one way to stay connected.

1 John 3:11       "For this is the message which you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another...."

August 13, 2012

These Boots Are Made For Walking!

     I know, I know --- the title is overused and corny, but I just couldn't help myself.  But it's something I want every woman out there to give considerable thought to.  How many of you have a good hiking boot?  And by "good", I mean comfortable, broken in, durable?  In a true SHTF scenario, you're going to want something more substantial than your lightweight tennis shoes.
     Just consider this ..... depending on where you live, if you had to hike out of your present location and spend days on the road, or in the backcountry, you're going to need a pretty dependable boot that can take the wear and tear and, most importantly, not give you blisters.  Believe me, if you've made the wrong choice, all 26 bones in each foot will be shouting your mistake!
     So, the first thing you need to do is assess your situation.  Is it wet and marshy where you live?  How about dry and desert-like?  Do you live in a mountainous or rugged area?  Each of these locations might call for a different style of boot.  I'm going to discuss a couple types of boots that are available and you can decide which would best suit your needs.  And it's quite possible that you need more than one boot type for different scenarios.
     Leather lace-up boots.  This includes everything from combat, to hiking, to hunting, and finally, to a work boot.  They come in different styled toes, and can be insulated or non-insulated -- it all depends on the weather where you live.  Gore-tex and other similar membrane-type materials also help keep feet dry.  The most important aspect is the fit and quality of the boot.  Cost is often a misleading factor when it comes to the best boot.  An inexpensive boot that fits great trumps an ill-fitting pair of expensive boots every time!
     Pull-on boots.  This category encompasses cowboy boots, firefighter boots, rubber boots, and waders.  Obviously, there are clear disadvantages to some of these boots if you have to start hiking across country.  First of all, rubber boots don't fit as well as lace-ups, and I'm not sure you would want to hike long distances in cowboy boots.  Put if you need to get in the action quick in stormy weather, a good sturdy pair of rubber pull-ons are your best bet.  I bought a pair of tall, thick rubber boots at Wal-Mart and they serve a variety of purposes if I'm sticking close to home.
     I'm going to give you a couple of examples of hiking boots that I recommend.  The first is the Timberland Women's Chocura Trail boot, which is a durable boot, made for rugged hiking.  It has a Gore-Tex membrane which keeps your feet dry and good traction for when you need it on slippery terrain.  The reviews on this boot are excellent ... breathes well, comfortable, durable, good cushioning, stable, warm .... all the things you want in a dependable boot.  Buyers seem to wear these boots for many years, and then buy the same style when the time comes to replace them.  You can't ask for a better recommendation!
     I have a good pair of Merrill cross-trainers, which are kind of a tennis/hiking shoe that is durable and lightweight as well as water proof.  They will be perfect if my car breaks down and I have to hoof it home.  And they are even suitable for taking long walks across rough pastureland.  But for those "extreme" situations, I have a pair of Altama Military Boots.  They are comfortable and durable, and I have no fear that they will get the job done when, and if, I need something for TEOTWAWKI.
     But the bottom line, and the purpose of this post, is to ask you to not neglect this area of preparation.  I would like to think that we will all be able to remain safe and sound and warm and comfy in our homes.  I would like to imagine that nothing will force us to hike long distances for any reason, be it weather-related or man-made.  But I can't tell you how much comfort I derive from knowing that my Altama's are safely tucked away on the top shelf of my closet.   I figure if our military men and women can live in theirs, they are good enough for me.  And they're made in the USA!  These boots are made for survival!
1 Samuel 2:9       "He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness."      

August 9, 2012

Montie Gear Slingshot For Women

     I have crossed over into a new frontier!  I have gained some level of competence in my survival and firearms training, and I've learned more about red dot sights, one-point slings, and concealed carry holsters than I ever thought possible.  But now I've added a very important skill to my repertoire.  I have mastered the operation of the slingshot!
     Once the exclusive domain of Huck Finn and generations of boys with pockets full of marbles, I can honestly say that I believe women can master this many-faceted tool as well as any man.
     While surfing the net, I came across the ultimate in slingshot design.  It is called the Slingshot, Y-Fork, and is available at www.montiegear.com.  Being a female, I have to admit that I was drawn to the design, colors, and individual elements of the slingshot.  The aluminum frame looked modern and high tech; the flat band looked more substantial than the ones I remember my brothers using; and I especially liked the aspect of paracord that wraps around the handle -- both for comfort of holding the slingshot, and as a very versatile tool for emergencies.
     In addition, these guys know how to appeal to women of all ages.  You  know we like choices, right?  Well you can choose between black, desert camo, woodland camo, digital, green or pink for your paracord.  If that doesn't tell you that slingshots are not just for guys, I don't know what does!
     I was so excited to receive my slingshot and couldn't wait to put it to the test.  Having never shot a slingshot before, I figured I would need several practice runs.  Wrong!  The construction of the frame and the comfort of the paracord make it a natural fit for your hand.  And I shoot a bow, so the action of pulling back the band was familiar.  I lined up several water-filled Solo cups and started aiming.  After a couple of adjustments to my aim, I was able to consistently hit my target, and I started thinking about what a great addition it will be to my self-defense options.  It may not be the most destructive course of action, but it worked for King David, didn't it?  Believe me, this simple weapon is no pushover!
     And it could very easily be used for small game hunting.  Rabbits, squirrels and game birds are all targets for hunting with a slingshot.  
     You can also order the slingshot with an additional component; an arrow rest.  That substantially opens up your choices for hunting.  Ammo (ball bearings) can be ordered in 1/2" or 3/8"diameters, and believe me, when you hit your target, they do the job.
     In the light of full disclosure, I must tell you that this is not your Dollar Store variety of slingshot.  At $99.95, it may be more than you're looking to spend.  But I would not let the price keep you from experiencing its power, durability and versatility!  It will last for many years of fun and self-defense purposes.  The only thing that will keep you from continued use will be the fact that you just can't stop shooting it, resulting in a serious lack of ammo.  Stock up!
     So guys, if you're reading this and your wife is a sincere prepper, here's a unique one-of-a-kind gift.  And get ready ..... for the fiercest slingshot contest of your life!  Go to my youtube channel to see a video of this slingshot in action.

1 Samuel 17:50     "So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him."

July 17, 2012

A Day Without Water ....

     I know we've all imagined what it could be like when TEOTWAWKI becomes our "new reality".  We've planned, in our heads, how we would get along without all the modern conveniences and trappings of society.  Well, a few days ago, PLW and I got the chance to experience a small slice of what that new existence might be like.
     As many of you know, when you live in the country, you can be assailed by all kinds of pests and plagues.  Our foremost nemesis are gophers!  Just like Carl Spackler in "Caddyshack",  PLW can be found setting his traps and sneaking up on them in his best Bill Murray imitation.  But this time, the gopher won!
     When we moved onto our little piece of property four years ago, we were blessed to receive the land and improvements.  Apparently, there had been a temporary home on the property at one time, so with minor upgrades, we were set to go.  We trenched new electric lines from the pole to the house we built, but since the water well was functional, we didn't have to make any changes there.
     And that's where the gopher outwitted us.  The previous owners of the property, as so many landowners do, just dug the trench from the meter loop at the pole, to the electrical box on the water pump, and just laid the electrical wire in the ground and buried it without conduit .... nothing inherently wrong with this method; it can last up to 20 years like that.  Unless Mr. Gopher decides he's going to chew through the insulation on the wire.  
     Who knows how long it's been like that?  We've been so dry and subject to a drought; but as soon as we started getting our tropical rain this week, the wire shorted out.  One minute we had water.  The next, we didn't.
     I have to admit that with my current mindset, I didn't panic as I might have several years ago.  I guess I've been a "survivor-in-waiting".  And I say "I", because everyone knows that women don't usually respond to these kinds of situations as calmly as men do.  PLW reacted as he always does; he's a man, and men fix things.  But this was a little present from God to me.  It was another of His teaching moments.  And this is how I responded:  I immediately started assessing how this was going to effect us.  The first thought was .... the toilets.  I could manage without water for the dishwasher or washing machine for a few days, and we had bottled water to brush our teeth.  I was immediately thankful that we had purchased our hand pump!  I knew that all we had to do was pump buckets of water for all of our needs.
     We could pour buckets of water through our AquaRain water filter and have drinking water; we could pour a bucket of water into the toilet tank and have bathroom facilities; we could heat water on the stove for baths, washing dishes and even clothes, if we had to.  Bottom line:  with our hand pump, we were only slightly inconvenienced.  And I have to tell you a few years ago, I would have been overcome with a sense of panic.  I would have been fully ensconced in my "normalcy bias", unable to comprehend how to get through any kind of breakdown or collapse of my modern lifestyle.
     I was surprised at how quickly I shifted into "prepper" mode, and started evaluating our living situation in a different light.  In the past, I would have dreaded dealing with all the consequences of such a failure of services.  But I found it stimulating to figure out how to adapt familiar practices, and I actually felt grateful for the opportunity to evaluate if we are properly prepared, and where we still lack solutions.
     We were fortunate.  It only cost us the price of a spool of 12-guage electrical wire to get us up and running.  This next week, after the ground dries out, PLW will trench a new line, encapsulate the wire in conduit (to better confound Mr. Gopher!), and bury it anew.
     Granted, if it had been the water pump itself, we would have suffered a greater financial loss.  But we still would have gained much more than it cost us.  Because I realized that even without the water pump, we would still have access to water with our hand pump.
     The only way we will ever be without water is if the water level drops below our simple pump, and more tubing will solve that problem.  While the drought is far from over, receiving over 6 inches of rain this week, has been a further blessing.
     So now I think God gave us this little trial, so we could test ourselves and see, not only how we would respond, but where we are on our scale of "preparedness".  I am happy to know that we passed this "easy" test, and instead of bemoaning the inconvenience and the disruption to my orderly life, I accepted the challenge and saw the situation as a learning experience.  I know that this is just a dress rehearsal, and the future that awaits us will demand more of me.  But I think I'm up to the challenge; because I no longer have any expectation of "normal" in its old terms.  I've taken one more step towards acceptance of the inevitable.

James 1:3-5      ".... because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

July 2, 2012

Bug Out vs. Get Home

     Just in case you're wondering, I am not ignoring the Supreme Court decision on The Affordable Health Care Act.  I have been traveling the last few days, and letting the dust settle and my thoughts formulate on this critical ruling.  Rest assured, you will hear from me in the next couple of days.  In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this post.  
     This may seem like a no-brainer, but it has dawned on me that with all the talk of having a bug-out bag to leave an unsafe environment, I wonder how many people think about including some items to get you home?
     As I have told you before, I never leave home without a bag that carries essential items should I find myself stranded.  But one day, as I was leaving the house for a trip to the grocery store (which is 16+ miles away), I found myself imagining how I would fare if I suddenly had no means of transportation.  If my car became incapacitated due to a busted radiator, or there was a true SHTF event, was I prepared to make it back home?
     Yes, I had a weapon to defend myself, fire-starter, flashlight, a couple bottles of water in my BOB, a knife, etc.  But is that all I would need?  The first thing that became crystal clear was that my cute little summer sandals and comfortable sundress would not be ideal.  Our summers are brutally hot (hence the cool and casual clothing).  But if I suddenly found myself having to walk home in the heat of the afternoon, I was woefully unprepared!
     So now I make sure that I carry an inexpensive "beach bag", that can hold a pair of tennis shoes (or hiking shoes), a couple of pairs of socks, an extra pair of underwear, a T-shirt and lightweight pair of jeans, a bandana, and a ball-cap.  I make sure there is sunscreen in my BOB, to go along with my ever-present sunglasses, and I will now have at least a six-pack of water in the car at all times, so I can add a couple extra wherever I can carry them.  High-energy food bars should already be a part of your BOB.
    And should I find myself unable to get home before nightfall, I would need bug spray and a long-burning flashlight.  These should be added to your "get home" bag, as well.
    Keep in mind that this will not be an extra bag to carry on my walk home, since I will be changing into these clothes and leaving the summer outfit behind.  It is just an additional, small and flexible bag to keep in the car at all times.  Of course, in the winter, I will add a lightweight jacket and a pair of gloves to this "garment bag", and make sure I have some nice, warm wool socks.
     Maybe some of you had already thought of this.  I thought I was pretty prepared if I got caught away from home; my BOB would allow me to defend myself, light a fire and feed myself, erect a portable shelter, and generally take care of myself in an unfriendly environment.  But I didn't take it far enough.  My ultimate goal will be to get home, if it is at all possible.  Chances are, I may not be able to reach my husband or other family members to come rescue me.  I will need to make my way home by myself.  And to accomplish that I need to be suitably attired.  The image of all those unfortunate people streaming out of lower Manhattan on 9/11 should be burned into your brain.  Those women who were wearing heels and dresses that day were at an extreme disadvantage.
     And it taught me something else, too.  I now quiz myself in all manner of situations, to see if there is any area that I fall short.  Whether I'm at church, visiting relatives hours away, or driving across the state to attend a meeting with a business client ..... do I have everything I need to try to get back home? Have I made arrangements for my animals to be fed?  Is everything as secure as I can make it?  I know it's hard to believe that we have arrived at this state of affairs, but living in denial will not get you the results you want.  So live in that moment .... what if I had to get home from this spot, at this moment..... could I do it?  Your answer will show you where you need to focus your attention.  And that answer is the difference between success and failure.

Psalm 23:4        "Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

June 27, 2012

Product Recommendation: SunDanzer Solar Refrigerator

     Ever since I read the book, One Second After, by William Forstchen, I have been haunted by one particular scenario.  Without spoiling the book, it's a tale of what society will be like after an EMP, and the different situations we will face.
     If this country is ever targeted with an EMP (Elecromagnetic Pulse), the results could be catastrophic.  Because an EMP is an oversized outburst of atmospheric electricity, the resultant intense magnetic fields can induce ground currents strong enough to burn out power lines and electrical equipment across the country.  At risk are the more than 200,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines that cross North America, supplying 1,800 utilities that power TVs, lights, refrigerators and air conditioners.  Let's not forget that support systems like hospitals and police stations will also be affected.
     But among the most seriously affected will be those people who rely on life-saving medications; Diabetics being impacted the most.  Insulin cannot be exposed to direct heat or light.  And unopened, not-in-use insulin should be stored in a refrigerator at a temperature of 36-46˚ F; opened, in-use insulin stored at room temperature below 86˚ F.  Without refrigeration, the insulin will be ineffective!
     So, even if you don't buy into the possibility of an EMP, you can easily see that any kind of pro-longed catastrophe is a life-and-death-situation for a Diabetic.

     But here is a product that could solve that problem!  It's called the SunDanzer Solar Refrigerator.  It is a battery-free solar refrigerator that connects directly to a solar panel without other controls or batteries.  This solar refrigerator will maintain temperatures safe for refrigerated perishables for four to five days of cloudy weather without the need for a battery.  It contains a built-in ice bank that freezes when the sun shines. It acts like a battery, but will never wear out.  It cannot be damaged by overcharging or undercharging like a normal lead acid battery.
     The cost of this refrigerator  (at $1450 plus $400 for a Solar Kit) may seem a bit pricey, but the higher initial cost replaces what you’d spend on your first battery and charge controller. After that, there is no scheduled maintenance for the life of the refrigerator other than normal cleaning.
     And if you're a Diabetic, I would venture to guess that the cost will seem insignificant if it provides you with a chance to survive.  If you know someone with this disease, please let them know about this product.  That is the first thing I thought of when I received notice of it in my Inbox.  And of course, it has great importance for the rest of us, too.  The more information we have about these kinds of products, the better we can prepare.

1 Samuel 25:6      "Say to him: ‘Long life to you! Good health to you and your household! And good health to all that is yours!"

June 5, 2012

Light Up The Night!

     This past weekend, my friend Terri (who, like me, has jumped fully onboard the "crazy train") and I went to a class on canning and preserving.  I will be featuring a post on our class later this week, but that is not the point of today's message.
     Terri and I live two hours apart, and our destination for this class was another two hours beyond her home.  So, naturally, we made our plans to be prepared in case we had some kind of emergency while on the road.  We had our BOBs, plenty of water, some food, comfortable walking shoes; and being CHL holders, a means to defend ourselves.   (In fact, this is becoming a bigger part of my consciousness these days.  Even six months ago, I would have thought that the necessity to carry all these items with me every time I left the house was still a couple of years away.  But not anymore.  It is becoming an everyday ritual.  But I digress -- back to our trip.)
     Before we left, my husband determined that we were missing one item that might come in handy.  Our class ended at 5 pm, and with a two-hour trip back home, if we encountered any kind of car trouble (or other emergency), we very well could find ourselves walking in the dark.  The less we had to carry in our hands, the easier it would be to travel and defend ourselves, if necessary.  So while carrying a flashlight was an option, it wasn't the best choice.
     So now I am a happy owner of a Petzl Tactikka XP Headlamp!  It's lightweight and compact, fitting on your ball cap; perfect for backcountry hiking and hunting --- or in our case, walking at night if we suddenly found ourselves afoot.  My husband graciously agreed to model it for you, so you can see how effective the light is.  In fact, I really love this headlamp!  It has a powerful single LED bulb, with three different light levels, plus a "boost mode", if you really need an extra blast of light to find something in the dark (casting a 164 foot beam for 20 seconds!)
     For all you techies, the 1-Watt LED bulb produces a maximum brightness of 40 Lumens.  You can regulate the length of the beam from 59 feet to a maximum of 114.8 feet, which allows you to maximize efficiency, increasing burn time from 60 hours to 120 hours.  The Petzl headlamp also has an additional setting that offers a strobe light for emergency signaling.
     The versatility of this light is amazing!  There's a hinge on the housing of the Tikka XP that enables you to aim the beam where you need it the most.  Whether you need a flood beam or a spot beam, you have it at your fingertips with the Petzl.  Besides the standard clear lens, you also get red, green and blue filtering lenses, although the red lens is best for night walking -- it's not as harsh, and it limits your visibility by others.
     The elastic headband is comfortable and adjustable, and the entire apparatus is water-resistant (Note: not "waterproof" - there is a difference).  If you get caught out in the rain, be sure to open the unit and empty the batteries to let it dry thoroughly and avoid corrosion, which is not covered by the warranty.  
     The Petzl Tactikka XP only weighs 3.35 ounces, including three AAA batteries, so it's a no-brainer to add this item to your BOB.  It's a little pricey, at around $60, but when I envisioned Terri and I fumbling with a flashlight, and even dropping one in the dark, I figured the Petzl was worth its price in convenience, portability, and user-friendliness.  It's just one more item that gives me a sense of security and peace of mind; and that is priceless!

2 Samuel 22:29     "You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light." 

May 30, 2012

Precious Water!

      But as we're beginning to grasp, the tried-and-true implements of yesteryear may soon be our salvation.  I reported to you a week or so ago, about the Simple Pump, today's version of that reliable hand pump.  And I'm thrilled to tell you that we installed one this last weekend.  It was a group project; like-minded neighbors not only wanted to help, but see how it was assembled and how well it worked.  We were lucky enough to have friends who had just recently installed their own Simple Pump, so we were able to cut the learning curve in half.  I imagine that this gathering of folks resembled a similar assembly when the reverse installation occurred.  Instead of mimicking my grandparents receiving water pumped into their home by means of an electrical pump, here I was celebrating a brand new hand pump!  The irony was not lost on me!
     But it was an amazingly simple operation, and the following pictures illustrate the process:

4 " well cap with three ports. 

Drop pipes with embedded sucker rods are layed out and sorted.

Sucker Rods are tightened inside PVC before next link of pipe is attached.

Each additional link of PVC is then tightened,  until you have lowered
it far enough to reach your water level.

The stainless steel piston rod is added to the last link of PVC
and lowered into the well shaft.

The handle is assembled and attached to the piston rod.

Sweet Water!
     I must confess that we ran into a little bit of a snag at the end.  We ended up using the two extra lengths of pipe that we had reserved in case we suffered a drought and our static water level dropped, and we needed to lower the well pump.  It can be a tricky maneuver to correctly guess the depth of your well.  As we finished the entire process and attempted to pump our first splash of water ..... nothing!  The parts and assembly is so fool-proof, we knew we hadn't left out any steps.  Our only conclusion was that we still needed more pipe --- that our well was deeper than we thought.  
     So we decided to wait until the next business day and order a couple more links of pipe and sucker rods to finish our installation.  Well, my husband went out a couple of hours later and decided to try pumping again, and discovered that while the tension on the pump is much lighter than the old-fashioned heavy iron handles, you still have to apply some muscle to your stroke!  He pumped vigorously for 75 or so strokes, and felt the pressure building until about stroke 120, we had water!  The last piece of pipe has a drain hole that allows water to drain out of the pump assembly.  This prevents freezing of your pump in the winter.  It takes about 10 pumps to re-prime before the water starts flowing.
     So now to finish out our project, a new well house will be constructed; large enough to be able to stand up inside of it and have the room to extend the full length of a handle stroke.  And I have to admit that it gives me a huge satisfaction to know that, short of a dramatic God-like drought, we will always have water.  It truly is the elixir of life!
John 4:13-14        " Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

May 29, 2012

A Stitch In Time

     I owe today's post to our friend "Lisa" who is sharing the activities of her preparedness group.  Through her ingenuity, she has forged a community of people who are interested in teaching others time-honored skills.  Those willing to teach have come together with those yearning to learn, and together they are encouraging each other.  Lisa recently sent me this email, and the personal experience she has to share will surely light a few lightbulbs above some heads across the land.  Here's what Lisa had to say:

     Belle, thank you so much for bringing our little group to your reader's attention, and I'm hoping and praying that someone will take off with what we're doing and make a difference for themselves, their families, friends and neighbors. I just want to say that it takes a team effort and those that are in our group really do pull together to help make things happen. Even a very small group can make a difference.  Little by little, we move ahead!
     We've had a very busy three days here on the farm.  It's shearing time, and since last year, we have decided to save ourselves some money and do the shearing ourselves.  We ended up saving quite a bit, but it can also be a trade-off --- it takes a lot of practice and strength.  Last year I sheared two of our animals myself, but the clippers get heavy after a while.  Though they don't look like it, they are!  They are deadly dangerous, and they can practically take your finger off, so you have to be very aware of how and where they are being moved around.  We have sixteen animals at this time, having lost two through age and illness.   I had the help of my son Jason and his girlfriend, as well as my friend Myrna in getting them onto the shearing table.   My husband then did the shearing as I controlled the head of each animal.   They were extremely strong for their size and this leads me to the point of my story, and the lesson for your readers.
     We ended up having to call our vet out the first day, as my dear husband cut one of our males pretty good.   "Princeton" (yes, we name them!) jumped and the clippers went into his skin and opened up a six-inch gash.  Though it was an open skin cut, it freaked everyone out of course, except me.  It was on the flank-belly area. I worked for a couple of vets years ago and I did some help with suturing, but I couldn't remember how to do it when the question came up...."Okay, so now what?".... everyone was looking at me and saying that I should sew it up.  Oh no... that wasn't going to be!  I made it clear that the vet should be called because I told them that I truly didn't remember how, though I had all the supplies on hand to do it.  That sent a bell off in my head at that very moment!  
     I knew then that I needed to re-learn how to do it (and properly) as a skill for just such an event in the future.  We have the ability to call a vet today, and have him come and do the suturing.  But as I hung up the phone and walked back to the barn to inform everyone the vet would be there quickly, and all was well;  I knew that I could be put in that same position if something in the future happened to a person and there was no medical help available.  There were four people standing there, and none of us felt competent to take care of that wound.  That told me we had a problem!
     Well, the vet came and we got "Princeton" all taken care of and he is doing well. The doc brought out a surgical staple gun which I've seen, but never used myself until that morning. It was a super little gadget to have on hand and super easy to use.  He left me with one that was new; still in the package, if we needed it in the future.  I will be buying a few more of those dandy little devices to have stored in my emergency medical supplies to have on hand for either our own use or for our pets/livestock, if for some reason medical services aren't available. 
     And I'm taking it a step further .... I am going to go to my friend's vet clinic and have him let me stand in on a couple of surgeries --- to at least observe, and hopefully, to recall the suturing technique.  I want to know that I "can" do it, and if needed, I can step up to the plate. 
     I understand that I can handle a minor wound like "Princeton's", but any serious deep wound; that would would have to be cared for by a doctor.
     I would also suggest that folks keep Betadine solution on hand to go along with this tool. Because I have livestock, I always get the livestock medical supply catalogs and I can tell you that you can get so many items in there for a much cheaper price than you can elsewhere.   A few years ago I ordered a lot of supplies from one particular company, and the woman on the other end told me we must have a lot going on at the farm and I told her things "do happen" and I was more or less preparing for the future!   She laughed, but she didn't get it. The less they know, the better!

     So, as you can see by Lisa's letter, day-to-day tasks can reveal areas that you need to consider should the SHTF.  As you go about your day, evaluate how your life would be effected if the unexpected happened.  Do you have an extra pair of tennis shoes, a ball cap, and extra water stored in your car if you get stranded and have to walk?  Do you have extra medication stored, in case you were unable to fill next month's prescription for your thyroid or heart medicine?  Have you talked to your children, or your parents, about a plan to meet up at a safe location?  These are times that cannot be taken for granted!  Nothing is to be assumed.  Our senses need to be sharp and our minds aware of all kinds of possibilities.  But through sharing our experiences and our knowledge, we can grow and improve our state of readiness.  As Lisa found out, we can do it!  The closing sentence of her letter to me says it all:  Thanks, Belle, for letting me share my story.  It's great trying to reach people with the Spirit of our Lord leading and guiding us along our way!

FYI, you can purchase a disposable skin stapler from Amazon, for under $10.  Buy several to keep on hand.  They are a great supplement to your medical kit.

1 Peter 2:24      "He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed."

May 17, 2012

Recommended Product: The Simple Pump

     My greatest concern in preparing has always been the availability of water.  We all know that human beings can live several weeks without food; hunger strikes are proof of that.  And it is fairly easy to store up extra food.  But the human body can only last a few days at the most without water.   Assuming you're in reasonable shape and in ideal conditions -- that is, not in the heat or cold and not exerting, a human can probably live for about 3 to 5 days without any water. Healthier humans can live another day or so longer.  But I wouldn't depend on those outside numbers if I were you.
     That's why, for me, one of the biggest issues in a SHTF scenario has been making sure we had enough water.  Whether you are facing a man-made cataclysmic event, civil unrest or natural disaster, maintaining a reliable supply of water is essential.  Obviously, those in the city will be the most vulnerable.  Water treatment plants can be destroyed, electricity and utilities are susceptible to outages.  Those of us in the country have wells and may think we are exempt from a lack of supply.  But remember, those water pumps are run by electricity.  And if, for whatever reason, the electricity is terminated (grid down scenario), you will not have access to your water.

     But I am happy to report to you that there is a way to sleep at night and check this item off your worry list.  It's called the Simple Pump.  You can use this modernized version of your grandmother's hand pump as a backup for your submersible pump, or even use it as your primary source if you want to be totally off-grid.  You can also upgrade to a motorized or solar version if you choose.  But you never have to worry about losing access to your water again.
     Simple Pump gives you full use of all your home's plumbing; including taps and fixtures.  You can easily pump into a pressurized plumbing system; or uphill; to a gravity-feed tank; or into a pressurized irrigation system.  You can retain use of your home's plumbing system, while pumping from a 350 foot water level!  The Simple Pump is affordable, easy to install and freeze-proof.  One of the nicest benefits is the hand-motor-hand conversion option.  You can purchase a motor extension kit and motorize your hand pump, but switch back to hand-operation in a matter of minutes, if you so desire.
     Your grandmother did not have to worry about an EMP, and now with this modernized version of her hand pump, you won't have to either.  You are assured a reliable source of water, and that can be the difference between surviving an event and facing life-threatening challenges.  With a dependable source of water, you can grow food, and your odds of surviving TEOTWAWKI grow exponentially.
     So whether you are only concerned about a multiple-day power outage due to ravaging storm conditions and floods; or worried about some other event that is much worse and lasts much longer, you can solve the situation of water availability with the Simple Pump.  Visit their website, check out the product and read their section on Preparedness.  You will know if this is a solution to your water worries.

John 4:14     "But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

May 4, 2012

Get To The Point

     I am an unabashed fan of survival shows, including Man/Woman/Wild; Man vs. Wild; Dual Survival, etc.  And from the time I was a little girl, I loved the adventures of our pioneers and their stories of settling our frontiers, surviving the wilderness and living off the land.
Mykel Hawke
     So I ask you, what is the one tool that Bear Grylls, Mykel Hawke, and yes, even my favorite, Daniel Boone, would not leave home without?  A knife!
     A knife is the single most important tool that any prepper or survivalist can have -- and it must be maintained!  It is your primary line of defense on so many fronts.  Food preparation, meat processing, the ability to create fire, and various weaponry all depend on the use of a knife.  And the ability to effectively use a knife relies on one aspect .... a sharp knife!  A knife with no edge is just a metal club with a pretty handle.
     My husband, Peace-Loving Warrior, is a master at knife-sharpening.  In our culture, a boy is given his first knife as early as he can handle one without cutting himself; usually around 7 or 8.  Boys become young men, who become old men, and all the while a knife is their constant companion.  But I am continually amazed at the number of his big, tough buddies who have been hunters all their lives, yet walk around with the dullest of blades.  It's a matter of pride for PLW to always carry a sharpened knife, and he is forever sharpening the blades of those less disciplined.    
     In the realm of survivor skills, if you know how to correctly sharpen a knife, you will be in the smallest of percentages for people with a usable skill.  Consider this:  This one ability gives you a "Post-Collapse" skill that will allow you to trade for barter items.
     "So, what's the big deal?" you ask.  "Anybody can buy a sharpening tool at Cabelas, Northern Tool or Sears.  Knife sharpening isn't magic!"
     You're right ---- it's not magic.  But it IS an old-school skill that continues to decline in the wake of the latest and greatest technological advances in knife-sharpening.  These advances, (in my opinion), are an effort to skip the easy, time-tested techniques that are, in reality, the simplest and most effective methods.  All it takes is a bit of effort and a little time.
     I convinced PLW to show me the steps he uses to sharpen knives, and the following photos exhibit each step that took him a total of 6 minutes to go from a dull to a shaving edge.  I admit it doesn't look as fancy and impressive as "two swipes and split the tomato" that you'll see on a late-night infomercial, but 6 minutes to get a sharp blade isn't a huge time investment.  What do you need?  It's simple; just three items:
1.  A 5" or 6" carborundum stone
2.  A 6" Arkansas Oil stone
3.  A bottle of honing or machine oil.

     Here are PLW's instructions in his own words:  "Start with the Carborundum Stone.  I like to use plain tap water on mine.  The stone will suck up water; just add a few sprinkles now and then.  Just like in PHOTO 1, you pull the knife from the bottom of the blade to the tip.  The series of photos (1-6) shows you the exact process.  Go slow and follow my sequence..... bottom to tip on the draw stroke (photos 1-3); bottom to tip on the out stroke (photos 4-6).
     These are the only two motions required to hone any knife.  The only other factor is angle.  And this is where the nail-biting and mystery of this craft come in.  You will find that utility knives usually sharpen anywhere between 15- and 24- degrees, but don't obsess over getting the right angle.  The specific angle is not as important as keeping a constant angle. 
     Just remember to lay the knife flat on the stone, then lift the back of the blade about 1/4" off the stone and start the draw stroke.  Repeat this motion for the out stroke and continue until your blade is sharp."
     PLW likes to work his dull blades about 2-3 minutes on the carborundum stone to get his blade shaped, and to create a rough sharpened edge.  The carborundum is able to sharpen so fast by removing more metal, and these 2-3 minutes are usually all it takes to make a dull blade ready for the oil stone.

     He adds 1/2 teaspoon of machine oil or honing oil to the Arkansas stone, and repeats the series of draw strokes and out strokes.  After 2-4 minutes on your oil stone, you should have a "shaving" sharp edge.  The oil stone removes all burrs and polishes your final edge.  The oil serves to lift the tiny particles of steel you are removing and floats them to the surface, keeping the stone from becoming clogged and losing its cutting ability.
     That's it!  If you will take the time to learn these methods and purchase the three items listed above, you can service any knife; from a straight razor to a 12" Chef's Knife.  And you will be widely sought after for your valuable skill!

 Ecclesiastes 10:10     "If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success. "  

May 2, 2012

The Tippy Tap

     I am always on the lookout for methods of doing things that can be adapted for our use in the case of weather-related catastrophes, national crises, or emergency situations which limit our access to modern conveniences.
     I stumbled across this technology, called "The Tippy Tap", that is being used in third-world countries by relief organizations.  Hygiene, as you can imagine, is a problem in under-developed countries, where disease takes its toll on human life.   The Tippy Tap is a hands-free way to wash your hands that is especially appropriate for areas where there is no running water, which could easily be a scenario in any of the above described circumstances.
     It is operated by a foot lever and reduces the chance for bacteria transmission because the user touches only the soap.  The water source is left uncontaminated.
    It uses only 40 millilitres of water (which is a little over 1/4 cup) to wash your hands.  Additionally, the used “waste” water can go to plants or back into the water table.  The first ‘official’ Tippy Tap was built in the eighties by Dr. Jim Watt in Zimbabwe using a gourd.  Since then, many variations  have come into existence depending on local materials and aesthetics.
     The illustrations below, show you just how easy it would be to set up a Tippy Tap:

     I was so impressed with this technology that I just had to pass it along, and I'm sure you engineering geniuses out there can come up with ways to modify it.  But if we are ever faced with a crisis that results in rampant disease and infection, personal hygiene will be at the top of everyone's list of "survival" demands.
     Diarrhea and gastrointestinal infections are responsible for 2.2 million deaths worldwide each year; and mostly in children in developing countries.  But we all know that a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado, can disrupt our sophisticated water treatment facilities.  Add the possibilities of terrorist events or other national emergencies, and we will all realize just how much we took for granted the simple task of washing our hands.  The spread of cholera and dysentery would not be out of the question.
     But with this simple design, everyone has access to a bar of soap and unpolluted water, which will go a long way to keeping these life-threatening diseases at bay.  Back to the basics works for me!

2 Samuel 22:21    "The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me."

April 19, 2012

Product Recommendation: "The Puck"; A Multi-Purpose Tool Sharpener

     I decided to interview my husband, the Peace-Loving Warrior, for this post.  He was a knife-maker in a former life (both fixed blades and folders), and is really the expert on this specific product.
     "The Puck" is a compact multi-purpose tool sharpener and we both feel that it is an invaluable tool for the self-sustaining person, whether you are a man or a woman.  "The Puck" is made by Lansky, and in the interest of full disclosure, PLW wants you to know that he has generally not been impressed with Lanksy's products.  Here's what he has to say:
     "I think the Lanksy sharpening system is functional, and may fill a small void for the basic beginner, but all in all, I find Lansky products overly complicated and relatively expensive and gimmicky.  With that being said, Lanksy's newest product, called "The Puck" is outstanding for the niche it fills."
     For those of you interested in leading a completely self-sustaining lifestyle, as well as those who are weekend gardeners, "The Puck" is designed to sharpen large work blades .... hoes, shovels, axe blades, mauls, grubbing hoes, mower blades, hatchets and machetes.  They are all well-served by this simple tool.
     PLW wants to emphasize that "The Puck" is not a knife sharpener, it is a tool sharpener.  "What I like about "The Puck" is that it easily maintains the edge on your implements.  In the past, I've typically relied on a mill file or carbide pull-type sharpener for this kind of tool sharpening.  And there will be times when these two items are the best solution.  But the file and carbide sharpeners usually remove too much metal from your implement and shorten its life; especially machetes which have thin, flexible blades.  Files and carbides should be used to remove nicks and gaps, and preparing extremely dull blades for final sharpening with "The Puck".
     See why I relied on his knowledge and expertise on this topic? Instead of just passing on this information to you, I felt it was important for you to hear from someone who has had experience with the product.  And we all know that dull tools create more work and generally make your efforts more difficult.  I think we can all agree that if TEOTWAWKI hits, having your hand tools sharp and in tip-top shape will make short order of your work.
     Sharp hoes make weeding and maintenance a breeze; dull hoes only push offensive weeds deeper into the soil.  Sharp shovels, in even the most packed soil, lessens the pressure on your back and legs.  According to PLW, where "The Puck" really shines is with machetes, axes and hatchets.  "I like a sharp, but somewhat ragged edge for these tools --- much like sharp tin.  The Puck's medium grit side is perfect for those edges.  Let me explain:  The Puck has a dual grit; a coarse side for badly worn edges that need to be reshaped; and a medium grit side for finer blade work."
     As you can see from the photos below, PLW demonstrated the use of "The Puck" and he used a few drops of honing oil to make short order of his little Norlund kindling hatchet.  The honing oil serves to lift the tiny particles of metal that the stone is removing, and keeps them from clogging the stone and therefore, reducing its effectiveness. 

     "The Puck" is inexpensive (about $5-$8); compact and easy to carry in your pocket, toolbox, or backpack.  So I hope you will consider adding it to your stash of prep gear.  If the zombies breach your perimeter, a sharp machete might be the perfect answer, don't you think?  And according to PLW, "The Puck, a 10 inch mill file by Nicholson (with handle), and an AccuSharp carbide pull sharpener are the three necessary items to meet your tool needs."
     So take it from my expert and order "The Puck".  Your edges will be sharp and you'll never have another excuse for a dull blade again!

Hebrews 4:12     "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."