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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Living Like TEOTWAWKI Could Come at Any Time, by Mrs. C.J.

Crossed wires shorting out, Troy, Illinois. Af...Image via Wikipedia
If you even so much as glance at the news or if you're like me and check out The Drudge Report every morning, you can't help but realize the world is becoming more and more uncertain. It seems that anything could happen at the drop of a hat and without little, if any, fore-warning. Volcanoes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods seem to be changing or taking the lives of unsuspecting people almost daily. The threat of nuclear warfare is always just beyond the horizon. If we ever experience an EMP, we could be without power and [utility-supplied] water for months. Most of western civilization isn't nearly prepared for something like that!
My family and I don't live in fear, though, because we take comfort in God's word which tells us to not to fear or be anxious about anything. However, He also tells us to have understanding of the times we live in. My family and I live day to day with an awareness in the back of our minds that we're living in uncertain times and need to be diligently prepared for anything that might happen. For my family, preparedness is a part of our daily lives. I've noticed over the last few years that the more we practice living prepared lives, the more naturally it comes.
My hubby and I keep two large green totes in the back of our van at all times. We packed these totes (which we got at a local hardware store) with MREs, cases of bottled water, a large first aid kit, hand sanitizers, blankets, tools, and other things that might be necessary if we have to leave at a moments notice or, if for some reason, we just won't be able to go home because of an unforeseen emergency.
We always keep "to-go" bags packed, too. We have four young children (twin girls who are six years old, a daughter who is five years old, and a little boy who is two years old.). Needless to say, things need to be as prepared as possible when there are such young children in the picture. The girls have one bag with numerous articles of clothing. My son's bag is simply his huge diaper bag which has been fully stocked since the day he was born. We also keep small totes filled with clothing that we could easily throw into the van at a moment's notice. My own personal bag contains a few days worth of clothing along with weeks' worth of toiletry items for the whole family (those handy to-go toothbrushes with the toothpaste already in them, single use Clorox wipes, soaps, etc.) These bags don't just sit around in a closet forgotten. We use them often and keep them "updated." They come in handy when my hubby and I decide to take a getaway to a hotel or camping trip while the kids stay the night with Grandma. We can make plans with minimal notice and everything's all ready to go.
Two years ago, we had a power and water outage that lasted five hours. The kids were already in bed but the sudden pitch-blackness woke them up and they started crying. We let them get out of bed to play with flashlights and glow sticks for an extra hour. We gave them a small LED light to use as a nightlight. Thankfully, everything was right where it was supposed to be and we had everything we needed. Once they got used to the power outage, the kids went peacefully back to bed.
While it's hard to imagine living without power or water for weeks or months at a time, I have to admit that a short power outage can be a bit of an adventure. It's also a learning experience. Let me pass along one interesting tip I learned during our "adventure." By the time my hubby and I had put the kids back to bed, we were getting thirsty. It was August in the southwestern desert and the house was beginning to get a little warm. I was only too excited to use some of the bottled water from one of our emergency totes in the garage. I opened my bottle and took a nice big gulp before rushing to the sink to spit out what was left in my mouth! The water, which had been stored with candles for about two years, tasted distinctly of Glade Vanilla. I'm not sure if it was dangerous to ingest but it sure tasted like it! Note to the reader: never store bottled water with scented candles!
Besides candles and bottled water, it's also a good idea to have some good, old-fashioned items handy. Do you have a washer-board and a clothesline? You just might need that. Do you have a battery-operated or wind-up radio in the house? You just might need that, too. Do you have a water filter? Do you have a dehydrator? Use them now! Use all of these things now. Especially if you have kids, using these things can go hand in hand with a history lesson and can be just plain ol' fun and interesting.
Just this year, we began growing our own fruits and vegetables in our backyard. We don't have as much yet as I would like, but it will help supplement our food stores. I home school my children and based an entire month long curriculum on gardening and cultivating our own food. The children love it and it's helping to prepare us for anything from inflation to a deflated or non-existent marketplace. My two year old son was incredibly excited when he got to pick his own blueberry from one of our bushes and eat it. Besides being a good preparation for a future catastrophe, gardening is daily rewarding (especially if you live in a warmer climate where you can grow food year round). It is also possible to turn one of your rooms into a greenhouse. I don't know much about that myself since it's always so warm here, but that might be worth looking into if you live in a colder climate.
Since my four children were born (the first 2, six years ago), I haven't spent more than a few hundred dollars on clothes for them and those few hundred dollars were spent on holidays and birthdays. I swap for everything. I very rarely buy anything new and no, we don't run around looking like vagabonds wearing someone else's cast-off clothing. I don't have to do this but since I do, I can spend the money I save on more important things. Certain friends brag about the good deals they get at garage sales. I get just as many things as they do but don't spend nearly the money! Once in awhile, I pay a small postage cost to mail something to someone, but often I'm getting something for nothing at all but my time. I can use those extra funds to store up canned food and other necessities. I can invest in charities and my church, storing up treasures in Heaven where there is no rust or moths to destroy. Because frugality is already so much a part of my life, I'll be more able to adapt to a lifestyle of bartering and trading if TEOTWAWKI ever comes.
I think most people reading this blog are prepared to learn, considering the wealth of useful information on this web site alone. There could come a time, though, when the Internet might not be accessible for weeks, months, or even years at a time. You might not be able to call friends for help. You might not even feel that it's safe enough to venture out of your house. You need your own special survival bookshelf to go to in case of an emergency. Even a very well-prepared and knowledgeable survivalist may not know how to create a solar still, or remember which mushrooms are edible off the top of his head. Books like the SAS Survival Handbook by John "Lofty" Wiseman are a necessity in case of TEOTWAWKI. Cookbooks like "Food at the Time of the Bible" tell you how to prepare, store, and trade food like they did back in the day. These are just a few references I want to always have near, but there's such a wealth of good survival books out there! Build up your library now, while times are good (enough) and bookstores are easily accessible. Someday, they might not be.
Maybe it can be like that old REM song: "It's the End of the World as We Know it and I Feel Fine." I'm being a little facetious; I don't know how fine I'll feel if and when TEOTWAWKI really happens. I hope I will be able to sing. Singing brings joy when there is none, peace when it seems distant, and comfort in uncertainty. In any case, there is quite a measure of comfort in knowing that you're living as prepared as is practical for you and your family. Living this way is rewarding in itself even if that day never comes. For me, living diligently prepared, having things ready, acting frugal, practicing for unexpected changes to life's plans, and gardening makes each day richer.

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