Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Do Instead of Plan to Do-Month Twelve

It’s Christmas time, yay! I love Christmas. It’s a time of renewal, birth, rebirth and light… you get the picture. It’s the everything wonderful season. It’s also busy and provides a generous amount of buying, doing and scheduling stress. Hopefully this month’s list will not just be another stressor for you, but a helpful conclusion to these 12 months of getting prepared.

I think there are so many lessons in the Christmas story and of course, I even see lessons for family preparedness in the nativity story. The most obvious lesson that applies to food storage is that even the greatest accomplishment (the atonement) and the greatest life ever lived, all started with a baby. The way of truth always starts with something small and grows. Never are we asked to do everything and be everything all at once. Line upon line and day upon day and babyhood before childhood and so forth. Preparing a home and family are accomplished in the exact same ways, one small goal at a time.

Even this article series is based upon that principle. First accomplish a great 72 hr. emergency survival kit and then add regularly until an entire food storage system is in place to bless your family. Doing it faster than you have time and means provided is very unwise and leads to giving up, or having nothing at all. As you hold the following Family Home Evening and accomplish this, may I suggest that first and foremost you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior. Enjoy your precious family whether they be many or few or just you. Let the doing of preparedness this month be a very distant second to the place of Jesus Christ’s birth and life.

December Preparedness

Family Home Evening

Opening Song:
O Little Town Of Bethlehem, LDS Hymns, pg. 208

Anything big or wonderful or powerful you want to change or do in your life begins with small steps and by small things. The scriptures tell us by small and simple things are great things brought to pass. Jesus Christ was an example of this eternal principle. He was a simple man. He never received a high school diploma or a college degree. He never wrote a book or earned a great title given by his peers in this life. The lists of all the things He never did and places He never went and so forth is long, but by His perfect life and growth in wisdom and stature and His growth in favor with both God and man, He developed a life of perfect service, example and love and fulfilled the mission He promised to fill… Savior of all mankind.

Ask family members to think about the great things they would like to do with their own lives and then have each family member write down the baby steps that they will need to do first in order to bring those great things about. Read the first paragraph of this article to them and ask them to also think of small ways they can help the family to become prepared with food storage and a 72 hour preparedness plan.

List 12

Place all the information parts of this list in the notebook you have in your 72 hr. kit

Plan an evacuation procedure with your family and also discuss what you would do in an emergency if you were not all together. Discuss with children that they are to stay at school for instance, and follow the instructions of teachers and the school officials. Express your confidence in those who care for your children. Discuss different scenerios such as fire, earthquake, flood or security lockdown.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Do Instead of Plan to Do-Month Eleven

It’s already November. When did that happen? Here we are just weeks away from Christmas and the holidays once again. Lest any of you think this is a time to get way over-programmed and stressed out, take heart. This month we will get you safely back on track and make the reaching of your 72 hr. preparedness goal very reachable.

Thinking positive thoughts can go a long way to lift spirits at this busy season. When we think of all the reasons we may need a 72 hr. kit, often the thoughts that come to mind are not all that positive. We have been told over and over again in the scriptures to be of good cheer. And who does the Lord tell to be of good cheer? His saints… those who are keeping His commandments are in a position to relax, trust the Lord and be of very good cheer. It’s simple, systematically do those things we have been asked to do and then the peace can come. But this time of year, what can I possibly do when so much is being asked of me, you might ask. Today I’ll give you a few helpful ideas. We will keep it simple.

November Preparedness Family Home Evening

Opening Song: "Thanks to Our Father", Primary Children's Song Book, pg. 20

Thought: Be of good cheer and think positively if you are doing the things the Lord has asked of you. Our dear prophet Gordon B. Hinckley grew up in an era much like the one we are facing. There was a time when he remembers the hopelessness of The Great Depression, when people were in a very “what’s the use of even living” mentality. Gordon caught himself being a part of that thinking for a small period of time. With little money he set out for a mission to England. Missionary work was not going well and he felt that he was just wasting his time and his parents’ money. He wrote home asking for advice. We all know the transformation he made in his thinking when his father wrote him a letter and told him to “forget himself and go to work“. He did and after that he said that the rest of his life he took this approach to things. Go to work and then have a positive outlook that things will work out somehow. One thing that President Hinckley always said was this, “I get up every morning and I say to myself, everything is going to be OK”. That is the message we need right now I think. Do the things we have been asked and get our houses spiritually and financially and physically in order (or rather we could say, “go to work“) and then come what may the Lord will be on our side and we can say, “everything is going to be OK”.

List 11

List 11 has activity aspects to it… please do the following:

Do each of the following at least once a year.. General conference in October could be a good time to routinely do these things:

Check all batteries for power and replace as needed….
Check wipes for wetness
Check jogging suits and clothing and shoes to see if sizes still fit
Check perishable foods like granola bars for freshness and replace if necessary
Check your family facts and important numbers sheets to make sure facts are current and accounts are still active etc.
Consider buying a new crank flashlight, lantern or flashlight and radio combination so that batteries are no longer needed
Review lists 1-10 that we have already shared with you on this web-site and make a list of those items you still need to complete your 72 hr. kit
Check out the web-sites given in earlier months about food storage requirements for each family member
Review where your family is in relation to this goal and make reasonable goals for acquiring more this New Year

Note: Now, here comes the fun part. A suggestion that can help a lot, ask for the needed items for Christmas gifts from your immediate family or your extended family. The reverse could be a great idea as well. Give some of these very useful emergency storage items as gifts to your immediate or extended family or friends. The gift of preparedness may be the most thoughtful gift they or you ever receive.

May this be an awesome holiday season for you and your family. May November be a month of true thankfulness for each of us. How grateful we should be to have a chance to prepare and to live in a country that allows each of us the choices of where and how to live and to acquire and store foods and supplies. I am grateful that I even have the knowledge that being prepared is necessary and good. I am grateful for prophets that warn us years in advance of all the ways we need to be ready for the events that may come. Making a list of all that we are grateful for is a good idea and will surprise you. One year my mother gave me a piece of paper numbered to 100 and challenged me to write down 100 things I was grateful for…. I did it and by was I surprised. I couldn’t stop writing and didn’t really slow up or run out of things until I hit about 700 items on my list. Try it. It would be a great conclusion to your November family home evening and each member of the family could make their own list. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Do Instead of Plan to Do - Month Ten

Here we are in the most beautiful season of the year, in my opinion. The season of color, change and drama. Of course being an artist, color is very much my passion. But what can we learn from autumn?

The list of things I learn from autumn is long. Here are just a few:

1. The season of color and change doesn’t last very long so enjoy it.
2. The trees and plants are not ready to endure winter without these changes. It is a preparatory season.
3. My home, deck, yard and garage aren’t ready for winter without the fall clean-up we do before winter.
4. The change of the seasons makes me anticipate and deeply enjoy each upcoming season all the more.

Of course, you can already see where I’m going with this line of thinking. There are parallels in nature with our lives. The Lord’s way was to teach from parables of nature and to observe nature for truths that apply to so much more than just the outdoors. What are the preparedness truths we find in the fall season?

1. The season to prepare doesn’t always last very long. When the signs of change are upon us and we are warned to begin, we must diligently and quickly prepare.
2. Our homes are not ready to endure major catastrophes or economic changes with-out this preparation.
3. Our homes, in regards to 72 hr. preparedness and home storage, often require cleaning up and getting rid of items to make room for them in our lives.
4. Getting ready “every needful thing” does make us able to enjoy the rest of our lives. It gives us a basis of feeling ready and peaceful despite the possibility of more turbulent times. And if the time ever comes when we are called upon to use these preparations, the experience wi
ll help us deeply appreciate the May seasons of our lives that have been filled with ease, prosperity and comfort.

October Preparedness Family Home Evening

Opening Song: Scripture Power (Friend, October 1987, 10-11)

Thought: A possible fun thought with Halloween could be used. Have each member of the family make a list of scary things that they think of when they think about the fun holiday, Halloween. Their lists will more than likely include things like ghosts, witches, vampires and so forth. Explain to them that these are fun to decorate with and dress-up like etc., but in reality the last days are filled with real scary things that may happen. Don’t over sensationalize this part of the lesson but point out the recent events in the news that are impacting families everywhere on our earth. Mention that the Lord has such love for us that He has forewarned us and is trying to prepare us to be ready for things like, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and so forth. From the list of actual scary things that can happen, ask your family what they can do or what they have been doing to prepare for these times should they come. Guide them to a conclusion that a 72 hr. preparedness kit and a good home food storage system can give them a sense of peace and readiness.

List Ten-The Five Minute Pack List

(The purpose of this list is that you will have a written list to think for you if you should be caught off guard or be upset and unable to think clearly… I have even forgotten my own phone number at times of severe stress)

The children
The dog, cat or other pets (most shelters do not accept pets so make another plan if at all possible)
72 hr. kits
Shoes for each member of the family… worthy to work or walk in
Coats, hats and gloves if the season calls for it
Sleeping bags and possibly a pillow (not critical)
Current medications
Cell phones
Tent if you think you may need one
Keys to the house, car etc…… be sure to unplug major appliances, T.V., and computers
Lock up the home, cars and other sheds or out buildings
Water… this can be heavy, but load water bottles or water storage in the trunk or a kid’s wagon
Work shoes or boots for the adults… winter boots for children if weather calls for it
Purse, wallet, I.D. and some cash
Glasses or contacts
Maps if needed… with instructions on how to get to the nearest shelter
Get your radio and batteries out of the backpack and listen for ongoing directions and instructions
Shut off the water main, gas main, and electrical to your home (you should have become familiar with these before hand, see list seven)
Grab the CDs or DVDs of your household inventory, major keepsake photos etc., you should have collected and transferred these as outlined in list seven if that is something you want to do
If time permits…. Take very breakable and precious objects of art or other meaning to you and lay them on blankets in the floors of your closets… (This can sometimes protect them in case of earthquake or after-shocks that follow a major quake)

It is important to remember that you follow the instructions you receive at the time. Much life could have been saved if people had followed the advice they received to leave in the Hurricane Katrina ordeal. If you have 5-10 extra minutes to load the car or yourselves, that is great, if not, take the 72 hr. kit you have already prepared and grab your children and leave. This preparation alone will have you ready far and above what most of the others will be.

One other thing, our family always prays before we go on a trip. May I suggest that there will never be a better time to call your family together and whether you are asked to stay or leave, have a short heartfelt prayer. As you prepare in everyway, you will feel a peace that is priceless!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Do Instead of Plan to Do - Month Nine

I know a young woman who works in a medical facility. She sometimes tells of humorous situations that come up. One such situation, if you can call it humorous, was when a woman came in with a very sick little boy and demanded free medical care. When the doctor agreed to writing off everything but a co-pay, she was angry…. She just did not have the money for it.

Now if this had been entirely true, we could understand her concerns, but let me further paint a picture for you. The woman was wearing expensive clothing, her hair had been processed and triple processed and professionally done, her nails had been very expertly done as well and included decals and glitter, the works! She had a fancy car and a new I-Phone, get the picture. She had the money for the things she really wanted.

A lot of us really don’t have extra money. But most people have enough for the basic needs and more than a few spend a lot of money a month on anything and everything but needs. I look at families that not only have cell phones for every family member, but also cable TV, eat out often and have each kid in one or more lessons and sports. Where am I going with this? Much like the woman with the sick little boy, are we living like this on the one hand and saying that we don’t have money to begin a emergency preparedness or home food storage program on the other? We had better really get honest with ourselves today while we can. Let’s not be more concerned with supporting a life style and having fun than we are about our preparations to support life itself. We pretty much can buy what we want most to buy.
Of course there are times when this isn’t so. We lost our job some months ago and I understand what that means. But, actually even in this time of frugality, I have continued to keep my eyes open for adding even small things to my storage program.

My grandmother used to comment as she watched people come out of the local K-mart or Wal-Mart, “Yep, people are really having tough times. Their carts are so full they can barely push ‘em.” She was right, just because some really struggled with the recession, most continued living and spending the American way, to excess. Surely we still live in a blessed land of prosperity. We wish it would stay that way forever. And while our hearts truly go out to the ones who are without means to support their families, we as a nation are still among the richest in the world. The days may come when that will change and now, not another day, is the time to put some of our excess not into more recreation, but into the very basics that will sustain life. Let us be wise and fill the storage areas of our home even if that means under the beds, so that we will be ok when our pantries are bare.

September Preparedness Family Home Evening

Opening Song:
Keep The Commandments, Primary Song Book. Page 146

Thought: We have been asked over and over to lay aside some food, money and provisions for a day of want. Whether that day of want will come as a huge community wide disaster or a personal family one, is unknown to us at this time, and really unimportant. This command is just that, a command from the Lord. His commandments, when kept, always bring forth the blessings and protection of Heaven. “Keep the commandments, in this there is safety and peace.” Read the words of the song you just sang together and talk about the kind of peace and blessings that come to those who do not just rely on their own knowledge, but are obedient to the Lord’s directives.

Adam, after leaving the Garden of Eden, was commanded to offer sacrifice and so he did. He was asked why he was doing this thing and he responded that he didn’t know why, but was doing it because the Lord commanded it. What a perfect and beautiful example of being completely obedient.

We may know some of what lies ahead, but we do not know all. It isn’t necessary for us to know everything that will befall us in the years to come. It’s probably even for the best that we don’t know everything. But what we do know is what we have been asked to do. Let’s commit to simply do everything we are asked to do. Then can we sit still and calmly know that the Lord will be mindful of us and help us always.

List Nine

Find a small booklet on first aid

Water purification tablets or a purifying water bottle


Chap stick or other lip balm


Over the counter medication for diarrhea

Sun block

Electrolytes… sometimes you can find powdered Gatorade type drink mix

Kotex or other sanitary pads for female needs, also makes great bandages for large wounds

Stronger pain pills for pain if you have them

Have a 3-10 day supply of all the prescription meds.

Container of pet food (for those with a pet)

Pet I.D. and a plan for their care (for those with a pet)

Hair elastics and clips

Old towels and old wash cloths that can stay in the kit

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Do Instead of Plan to Do - Month Eight

Last month we talked about spiritually preparing the family for whatever might come. I hope you took the time to really discuss this vital aspect of home preparedness with your family. This time I’d like to talk about physical preparedness. Aside from just having food, water, and emergency items in our homes in times of emergency, we need to think about our physical selves and the preparations that may be needed there.

I know several young kids who are taking medications for types of anxiety. Now, I want to say for the record, there are definitely times when real disorders exist, where medication is really needed. But by in large, I think we are way over-doing the "use medications for every little thing". I even know of a young mother who gives her children sleeping pills every time they can’t easily fall asleep. The U.S. Army goes to great trouble and expense to put each soldier through combat stress training and provide them with the chance to see how they will really do under extreme stress. I wish we too could do this for our families, but it isn’t really possible.

What we can do is to cut out any and all medications we do not absolutely need and teach our children to manage stress without these aids. Also, we can greatly minimize or do away with the use of stimulant drinks all together. Yes, I know that there are many of you that will be a bit offended by this idea. But think of it, if we are in the middle of a disaster and we can’t get those caffeinated drinks we drink each day, we are going to be frustrated, have severe head-aches and be shaky… does that sound like being physically prepared to you? None of us want to be in that spot. And there may be times ahead that a clear head, a steady hand and a calm strong body may be essential.

Further more, even health conditions that we can work on improving like weight loss, blood sugar control, cholesterol control, blood pressure control and even endurance, can and will make us a better tool and more likely to make it through whatever the future holds.

August Preparedness Family Home Evening

Opening Song: LDS Hymns,
In Our Lovely Deseret, page no. 307

Thought: Please discuss the following and have each member of the family think about their own physical health and endurance levels.

1. What things am I doing that are preparing me to be a physically healthy and strong member of my family and community in a time of great stress?

2. What things can I do to strengthen my body?

3. What things can I give up that are doing me no good and in fact might impair me?

4. Am I addicted to anything? If so, what plans and real goals can I make to get this addiction out of my life?

List Eight

Coffee filters to filter real dirty water before boiling it

Jar of peanut butter… cannot be stored for years, must rotate and replace every year

Crackers (same as above)

Cereal bars like granola bars…. Several for each person in the family

Bag of dried fruit

Baby formula if you have a baby

Extra pkg. of diapers if you have a baby… choose bigger size so that they fit all year

Bag of raisins or nuts… also rotate once a year

Aluminum foil… good for cooking and eliminates need to wash pans

Butterfly bandages… excellent to pull together a cut and eliminate need for stitching very small cuts

Medical tape… paper variety

Nasal spray

100 percent wool blanket...excellent for keeping warm and puts out flames

It has been a very busy summer for my family and me. I am sure it has been for you too, but keep up your momentum on this preparedness goal. It will feel so great to be really prepared and will give your children such a sense of peace and security too. Good luck!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Do Instead of Plan to Do-Month Seven

Obviously there is a type of preparation that every family needs that cannot be put into a back pack or a bucket in the storage room. I saw this up close and personal as I observed a family over years of time.
It was your typical American family. The brothers had been raised on hard work, hunting, fishing and being together. As the family aged, one of the young men in this in-active L.D.S. home developed a testimony and a desire to serve a mission. When he returned and married, his value system now somewhat altered from his formulative years, he made up his mind to attend church every week.
As extended family trips came up, there were often times that he had to excuse himself and his new little family to return home for church. This didn’t always go over too well. Even his children were sad to leave cousins to return early so they could attend meetings. But the years came and went and the foundation that those firm commitments made on his family were now noticeable. The brothers had great family recreational memories, but some of their children floundered spiritually. There is today, regret and heartache in those families. All the fun fishing trips in the world doesn’t bring the opportunities that are now gone. There are no guarantees that going to church every week will keep your children from ever wandering, but constant steady spiritual food does give us the best chance of keeping them spiritually safe.

Spiritual preparation does not come all at once. The Lord uses the parable of the ten virgins and oil in their lamps for a reason. It takes time, real time. One drop at a time. Heavily studying the scriptures for a week or so does not fortify a family for a lifetime. But day by day and droplet by droplet we accumulate spiritual oil, we build a supply that can light our way and our children’s way in the decisions and challenges that come to every life.

July Preparedness Family Home Evening

Opening Song: LDS Hymns, More Holiness Give Me, no. 131

Thought: Please read and discuss the introduction to this article. Ask each member of the family to tell the ways that they think your family is adding “drops of oil” to the spiritual preparedness family lamp.
Discuss the following together:
1. How can our family do better with regards to spiritual preparedness?…. Prayer, scripture study, church attendance, paying of tithing etc.
2. How can we each individually do better?
3. How would this type of preparation really help us in times of want or crisis?

List Seven

This month is a bit different from past months in that you will be collecting information. Please use the notebook I asked you to get for one of the earlier months. Paper punch all the sheets or make copies of them and keep these in this notebook which will always be kept with your 72 hour emergency kit. Include everyone in the gathering of this information so they can be aware of what is in your kit and also so as not to lose the family momentum towards your goal. They will find a sense of peace in having this knowledge on hand.

There are so many different forms for the gathering of these facts that I am simply going to list the data you should be collecting. You may wish to find forms on the internet that are already done, or you may want to use this list and type up a custom one for your family.

For each vehicle, list: year, make, model, vin. #, license # and insurance policy number and company

For home, list: homeowner’s insurance policies, company and claims phone numbers, policy numbers, copy of mortgage papers

For family, list: all life insurance, annuities, investments, wills, trusts, checking and savings accounts, possible copies of driver’s licenses and social security cards, and any other important family papers.

For medical purposes, list: any current medications being taken by family members and where possible, a prescription number for meds. taken; a list of doctors and phone numbers; a list of major surgeries, diseases, allergies and medical conditions for each family member.

Now, here are some extra areas of concern to also go over with your family at family home evening:

1. Each family member should know where the water valve in the home is, how to shut it off and practice doing so.
2. Each family member should know where the water main in the street or outside of the home is and where to get a tool to shut it off and then practice doing so.
3. Each family member should know where the gas valve is on the outside of your home and how to turn it off. Many fires could be avoided after an earthquake if people would immediately go and turn off any gas coming into the home. After the damage is assessed by a qualified person and you are sure that no pipes have been broken, then the gas can be turned back on.

For the very most enthusiastic among you, here are yet additional ideas :

Recently I have been very concerned about my records and photos. Next to the safety of my family, I don’t think there is anything in my home more precious to me than my photos… they are obviously irreplaceable. Here is an idea that I am doing and it is working very well. I have a very tiny, 10 mega pixal digital camera. It is not an SLR, but it is a pretty good little point n’ shoot. I got an idea to take pictures of my best pictures with it, and it works! Surprisingly well too. Just hold steady and shoot. Don’t take everything you have ever photographed, but at least a variety of the best ones. Then download on a computer and burn an archive cd of this collection. Place one cd in your fireproof safe and one in a protective sleeve in your 72 hour kit. It may be worth it to you to even leave a copy with a family member or friend who doesn’t live in your home, that way, in the event of a fire or other disaster, you will have all your best photos. Be aware of copy rights.

Using this same technique, go from room to room and photo each room, inside each closet and drawer. This is a wonderful insurance archive in the case of loss. By the way, a very large photo archive will not fit on a regular cd and so I use a dvd to hold massive amounts of information. Anything you wish to archive can be done this way. Even close-ups of your papers could be done if you do it right. Enjoy this idea and play with it.

Doesn’t being prepared feel great? You are more than half way done with this year’s 72 hour kit project. If you are now just joining us, take heart, print off the last 6 month’s lists as well and get going. There isn’t anything that will make you feel more peace and satisfaction than simply being ready.
You can do this.
Just Do Instead Of Plan To Do!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Do Instead of Plan to Do - Month Six

My grandmother Mary Jane and my grandfather Carl were, and still are, two of my very favorite people. Both of them had only an 8th grade formal education and yet, I think of them as two of the very smartest people I have ever known. Mostly, they were common sense smart. I respect their ideas so much that you may see me refer to them in more than one article. What I want to share with you today is one insightful little morsel of wisdom they taught me. I think it applies very much to 72 hour preparedness and food storage.

In the great depression, which so many of our ancestors and grandparents lived through, my grandparents grew onions and every other thing they could fit in-between the flowers in their garden beds. They also kept baby chicks warm in the kitchen. Grandmother would tell me these stories and about these times and chuckle a little. She would always tell me that you can find room and creative solutions when you need to do something bad enough. Grandpa would take the produce they grew and whatever else they could raise and sell it door-to-door. People loved the produce and my grandparents loved every dime it provided their little family.

Recently, I was talking to a young man who lives in a small apartment. I was telling him quite plainly that even he needed to store a bit in his small living space and have a 72 hour emergency supply backpack for the things that might come along. He assured me that I just didn't understand. He told me he had absolutely no room. We explored the idea for a few minutes and I suggested various places including under the bed, inside of covered barrels or end tables, etc. Then I remembered grandmother's words, "When you really want and need to do something there is room". This young man, like so many of us, needs to think of creative ways to "grow onions" in-between our flowers sort of speak.

It is my strong belief that when there is faith and effort, our Father in Heaven will inspire us with amazingly creative answers to our storage problem questions. He will not only help us find the peace, but also the means and the time.

June Preparedness Family Home Evening

Opening Song: Nephi's Courage, Primary Song Book, Page 120

Thought: Let's think beyond the immediate family and our extended families. We must realize that some of our friends, our neighbors and strangers may come to us during hard times and they will be hungry; they will need shelter and may need to be nurtured back to normal health. If we are to have the capability to be Christ-like and to help meet their needs, we must be prepared. Henry D. Moyle

List Six

Space blanket

Buddy burners or something else to cook on

Mess kits

Canned meats like tuna...2 per person

Tang or other powdered drink mix which provides Vitamin C

Can opener

Beef or chicken bouillon cubes

Big bag of beef jerky

Book 0r magazines

Small soft brush for scrubbing wounds

Bulb syringe

One white flat bed sheet to cut up for long bandages or slings

One white bath towel to cut up for bandages...very good to absorb like gauze compresses

Wash the sheet and the towel with laundry soap and bleach. Tear into strips and large triangles that can be used for slings. Then package these sterile bandages into zip-lock bags and place in your kit.