Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Responses to "I'm coming to your house!!!"

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that…I might have enough money to feed something to all of the unprepared people who said it to me! These words are generally said when an unprepared person discovers someone that is preparing and then exclaims “I know where I’m coming when there’s no food. I’m coming to your house!!!”
Perhaps I am hypersensitive from being abused with those words so many times...but I believe those words to be like a slap in the face to anyone who is trying to prepare...and a major disappointment to people that are trying to influence others to prepare their own families (especially don't say it to your ward preparedness specialists!!).

as if many of them are saying “I know full well that it is the right thing to do to prepare my family. I know that you are spending your time and resources now to get your own family prepared…instead of spending your money on frivolous stuff like I am. I may even believe to some degree that God has commanded me to prepare for my family…still…I will waste this time of prosperity…and plan on making myself a burden on your family one day and thereby demonstrate that I am not a true friend but in fact a leech that will come to your home to consume your priceless goods!” That may sound harsh but I don't think it far from the truth in many cases.

Now I do know that there are those who say it as a joke…but to me it is no joke. If there is any inkling of seriousness to their plan to be a burden on someone else...I don't think myself out of line saying that they have cause to repent. It is not my desire in this post to get into the “should we share or not” topic…(I’ll tackle that one another day) but to share some thought provoking responses…not meant to demean…but to help to awaken someone to have a desire to prepare...and for the prepared person to not just to stand there with their mouth agape wondering how the unprepared person could be so inconsiderate.

I made up a few of these responses and saw a few on a forum I visited where a few preparedness people were venting frustration. Some are really bold…which may be necessary in the right spirit…and others were softer…but made the point. While some may feel that a few of these lack charity because they require the person recieving food to work…please know that this is in keeping with the principles of the Lords welfare program. Remember that if you really love someone...and care for saving yourself...you need to speak up and say what needs to be said...even if it's not easy to say. Enjoy.

Brother Smith says to you “I’m coming to your house!!”…and you respond…

1. “Brother Smith, instead of planning on coming to my house…why not let me help you learn how to prepare for yourself?!”

2. “Brother Smith, I'm under obligation from the Lord to provide for my own. You are under obligation to provide for your own.”

3. “Brother Smith, I would be happy to feed your family…but please know that the Lords welfare program is not a dole…and neither is mine. Cut and deliver a cord of wood to my home and I will feed you for x days.”

4. “Sure, I'd be happy to feed your family. But you'll have to work for me... and you won’t like working for me. You may have to sleep outside to guard the garden or chickens…or you may have to grind all of the wheat with the hand grinder…or you may have to dig up the yard to plant…or I may have you take care of all of the sanitary needs of the house...etc...etc...”

5. “Brother Smith, I’d be happy to feed you. Here is what you can expect” (Hand a ziploc bag of wheat to him). “Soaking it makes it easier to chew.” [He might be inclined to store his own food just so he doesn't have to endure yours!]

6. “Yes Brother Smith please do come…and bring whatever you have to trade me for some food. I could probably use every battery in your house…or maybe we could trade all of the camping gear you've got…or I could use all of your shovels…I will definitely want all of the toilet paper you’ve got…and I could use all of your plastic silverware…etc…etc.”

7. “Brother Smith, it is a commandment to have food storage.”

8. “Brother Smith, you may want to read 1Timothy 5:8.”

9. “Let’s hope that there is not a pandemic where you can’t come over!”

10. “Let’s hope for you that the Lord hasn’t led us out with our food!”

11. “I hope that there is food left after all of the other unprepared people line up in front of my house who said the same thing to me. I hope that I have enough work projects for everyone who shows up or that I need something they have to trade.”

12. “So you want me to give you my temporal oil from my lamp…let’s hope that the bridegroom doesn’t shut the door!”

13. "So your plan...is to not plan...and to eat my food when there is no amount of money that could buy food...is that right...?" (restating the question may help them to see that it is an unreasonable thing to say)

. "So while I spend every extra penny on storage...and you go on expensive vacations...buy motorcycles...huge TV's...etc...etc...I'm supposed to plan on feeding your family too! Let's hope I'm feeling generous when you show up!"

. "Brother Smith, you may want to check out the Doctrine and Covenants section 42:42"

. "Brother Smith, you may want to check out the Doctrine and Covenants section 1:14"

"Brother Smith, would you mind if I shared with you some of the words of the prophets? I think that if you were familiar with their words you would never have said such a thing."

"Should I expect you on your knees crying or in a mob with a pitchfork?!"

"You might want to check out Luke 6:46"

. "You might want to check out D&C 83:2 and D&C 75:28"

21. "Don't come to my home when there is no food. I'll be giving what I can spare to the bishop to feed the poor and needy...perhaps you could ask him for it when the time comes?"

. "Let's hope that the streets are safe from war...not filled with mobbing people...or unsafe from toxic spills...weaponized biological agents...etc...etc! You may not want to come over!"

I'll stop there. I could make these up all day! I omitted the ones that say things like "Yeah...and I'll be waiting with my guns"...thinking they might be in poor taste...and not in the right spirit of charity! I do know people who have said that! Like that one...there are probably a few of these you would not say. Perhaps there is one that you would feel comfortable with...that you could decide to use...so that you will have an answer when the time comes.

The Rising Cost of Food

A good friend of mine does bulk orders of food from a place called Walton Feed. In mid 2007 he did an order and purchased a "years supply for an adult" (see photo). That years supply cost $345...which included shipping. He contacted me a few weeks ago letting me know that he had ordered again...and that Walton's "years supply for an adult" (with a few minor changes) now can be purchased shipped...for $620!! In a year and a half...the price has gone up $275!! Ouch.

This sharp increase in food prices is not only true of people food but animal food as well. Another good friend of mine...who keeps goats recently told me that she was going to sell her goats. I asked her why and she said it was because the hay had "tripled in price". While I don't keep goats...I did find that when I went to purchase rabbit food at the feed store...it went from $8...to $24!!! Exactly tripled in price. Many livestock producers are delaying passing these expenses onto the consumer.

From various sources I have read how Americans now spend the smallest percentage of their income on food...in US and world history. Which basically means that to live in any other country you would work a better portion of the day than you do now...just for food. Here...where the dollar value menu reigns supreme...we have traditionally been able to use the saved money to purchase things that are of worth and to fool away our money on meaningless things that cannot satisfy.

This is changing for many Americans as a rise in the cost of living has made it where they must change their spending and eating habits to make ends meet. Many are cutting back on the quantity and quality of their food.

These inexpensive and poor in nutrition foodstuffs have led to all kinds of problems healthwise in our country. Ezra Taft Benson said it well..."To a significant degree, we are an overfed and undernourished nation digging an early grave with our teeth, and lacking the energy that could be ours because we overindulge in junk foods."

Perhaps you don't hear much about it on the news...but there is a lot of concern regarding the worlds food supply and the future of food. While we do know that "the earth is full, and there is enough to spare"...because we are "agents unto ourselves" we need to use wisely the means that the Lord has provided to us...to provide for ourselves.

When countries find themselves short of food they go to various measures to try to stabilize the food markets. Ezra Taft Benson spoke out against using ineffective price controls in General Conference...saying...

The Saints have been advised to pay their own way and maintain a cash reserve. Recent history has demonstrated that in difficult days it is reserves with intrinsic value that are of most worth, rather than reserves, the value of which may be destroyed through inflation. It is well to remember that continued government deficits cause inflation; inflation is used as an excuse for ineffective price controls; price controls lead to shortages; artificial shortages inevitably are used as an excuse to implement rationing.

When will we learn these basic economic principles? However, “… when we really get into hard times,” said President Clark, “where food is scarce or there is none at all, and so with clothing and shelter, money may be no good for there may be nothing to buy, and you cannot eat money, you cannot get enough of it together to burn to keep warm, and you cannot wear it.” (Church News, November 21, 1953, p. 4.)

Food supplies have become low enough in many countries to spark riots. There are economists...even mainstream economists...that are predicting the same for the US in the near future. Here is economist Gerald Celente....

Even now the government is laying the groundwork to have 20,000 troops deployed in the US to serve as crowd control for "potential civil unrest following a total economic collapse or a mass terror attack."

While these things may cause you alarm...and you may have a difficult time finding the truth through the controversy as to why food prices have risen worldwide...or why food may be scarce. It is wonderful to have the word of our God...leading us to safety...encouraging us to Heed his commandment to lay up in store against a day of want. By heeding that voice...and doing your "very best" you can have peace...because you have your "food insurance". You have kept the commandment to lay up in store and will reap the promised blessings. My hope...and prayer is that all people will Heed His voice and will have chosen to have food to eat...and "items of real intrinsic value" rather than worthless toys and fiat money in hand when hard times come.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Got Diapers?

Anyone who has had children knows what a crisis it is to run out of disposable diapers. It usually happens at the most inconvenient time. Everything else...no matter how important...is set aside until diapers can be found. For now...it just takes a quick trip to the store to pick up some more...but what about when (as has been prophesied) "There is no store" and "production ceases"?

Let's say that you wanted to store enough disposable diapers to get through your newborn babies diaper career. How many disposable diapers would you have to store? Some estimates put it somewhere between 5,000-11,000 diapers!!! That is a LOT of diapers to store! How about if not having a store goes on for years and you plan to have more children? Are you going to store 22,000 diapers just in case!!!? What if you have twins!! Unless you have a warehouse to store the diapers and a lot of money to buy those expensive diapers...you may want to ask yourself....

How did people get along before there were disposable diapers?

The answer is that people through time have either wrapped something around the baby...or gone with nothing at all!

More than likely most of the parents of the people reading this...had cloth diapers as babies. A piece of cloth held on by safety pins. I can almost hear you saying "Yuck! Those leak...and you have to clean them!" The answer is "Yes they did leak...and yes you do have to clean them".

Now times are different. Though you will not get around having to clean the diapers...the ease of use and functionality of modern cloth diapers are far superior to the old days. Think model T compared to Ferrari.

There has been growing interest in cloth diapers in the US. Check out this site to see 7 reasons why many are switching over.

There are also a variety of manufacturers to choose from. Personally I like a brand called "Fuzzi Bunz" because I know it is a quality product that works. I don't have any hands-on experience with the other brands.

In my estimation...modern cloth diapers....given in a variety of sizes...is one of the best preparedness gifts that a person could give to a baby and the parents of that baby. The recipients of the gift may look at you with a strange look...but may thank you later! (You may want to put a note with the gift as to why it is important!)

alternative is "elimination communication"...or "infant potty training"...or whatever you want to call it. There are a variety of groups training on how to do this...and offering their videos and books. A friend of ours did this and said that it worked for her. It seems to me that it takes a parent with a lot of time and patience...but man...if you could get it to work...it would be a huge savings in money...and even time in the long run.

My personal plan at this point is to have a big pile of disposable diapers on hand...a pack to grab with our 72 hour kits...and miscellaneous sized Fuzzi Bunz to use along with the disposable. Perhaps one day we will try to do the infant potty training! We'll see.

Start now by stocking
up on diapering needs...not just for your own baby if you have one...but for grandchildren or others that may come to you for help. Don't forget the wipes too! Have an abundance of those in storage. A baby wipe is also a shower in a box. If you don't have access to water to bathe it's amazing how much more fresh you can feel just with one baby wipe!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Appreciating our Shoes...

I recently watched a documentary on a tribe of of hunters that live in Africa. As the camera crew followed them on a hunt...one could often catch a glimpse of their bare feet as tracks of animals were observed. I was amazed as I saw them run full speed on those bare feet through some really rough terrain. Nothing seemed to slow them down! Their feet had to have been like leather to take that kind of abuse every day. Back in the village after the hunt I noticed that rest of the tribes feet were bare too! Even the smallest child started off life walking on gravel.

Contrast that with the U.S.! Apart from just walking around a pool...or a quick jog to get our mail...we rarely go without shoes. The most destitute of homeless people has a pair of shoes. Even the immobile newborn baby in a crib begins it's life sporting the new Air Jordans! Not only do we all have and wear shoes...we have multiple pairs of shoes...and shoes for different activities! We've got our shoes for walking...our beach shoes...dancing shoes...church shoes...leisure shoes...etc..etc... Heaven forbid we would ever go without shoes and have our feet callous! Well...if they do callous we have special salt rubs and files to take care of that! The result of this pampering...is that our feet...as a nation...have become baby soft, manicured, and wimpy!

This relationship that we have with shoes is facilitated by how cheaply (generally) shoes can be purchased in the states as well as how readily available they are. They have become a disposable commodity to us. If your soles start to wear out...you just toss the shoes in the garbage and buy some more. The cobbler business is pretty darned slow these days.

So where do all of these shoes come from?

China makes somewhere around 80% of the worlds shoes and around 90% of the US's shoe supply. Many of the shoes that are "made in Italy" or other places are in fact made in China. They get around letting you know about it by hiding the "Made in China" tag deep inside a pocket...or printing "Made in China" in black ink on black leather...or other ways.

With such a dependence on foreign made shoes...the prudent should stop to consider "What would happen if China stopped supplying us with shoes"? "Is such a circumstance possible?" It is not wild speculation to consider that perhaps one day...relations between America and China could become strained and that imports from China would cease. It is also not without merit to think that strikes...wars...economic disasters...pestilence...etc...etc...could also stop those imports. All of these things would more than likely make the existing shoe supply vanish...or increase exorbitantly in price.

It brings to mind this prophecy and exhortation from Elder Orson Pratt...

"And the time will come, when we shall find ourselves restricted, and when it will be very important indeed for us to patronize home productions, and cease sending our millions abroad for importations, for the gate will be shut down, and circumstances will be such that we cannot bring things from abroad; and hence, the necessity of the exhortation that we have received from time to time, to engage with all our hearts in the various branches of industry necessary to make us self-sustaining and to carry them out with all the tact and wisdom which God has given to us, that we may become free and independent in all these matters, free before the heavens, and free from all nations of the earth and their productions, so as being dependent upon them is concerned." (Elder Orson Pratt: Deseret Evening News, vol. 8, #265, October 1875.)

And this one (bold added for emphasis)...

"So far as temporal matters are concerned, we have got to go to work and provide for ourselves. The day will come when you will see the necessity for making your own shoes and clothing, raising your own food, and uniting together to carry out the purposes of the Lord. We will be preserved in the mountains of Israel in the day of God's judgment.I therefore say to you, my brethren and sisters, prepare for that I which is to come.Have you made that preparation? Have you become a self-sustaining people? We were warned to be so by a man whom we sustained as the representative of our Heavenly Father here upon this earth. Today we are suffering from difficulties between capital and labor. Are you aware that our leader of nearly forty years ago told us something that if we would have heeded would have guided us safely past some of the ills of the presenttime." (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff pg. 166)

So...the prophets have told us that the day will come that "importations" will be "shut down" and that we will "see the necessity of making our own shoes"! So. How good are you at making shoes? Do you have some good shoe making tools? A tiny fraction of our population could say that they had ever even tried to make shoes...or have shoe making tools.

While I do think that shoe making will be a valuable skill to have...I think that for most the advice is best said by President Gordon B. Hinkley...

"We can set aside some water, basic food, medicine, and clothing to keep us
warm."(President Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear,”
Liahona, Nov 2005, 60–62)

It is a lot easier to "set aside" extra pairs of shoes...which are a part of "clothing"...now than to try to make them later! It is wise especially if you have growing children to have the size shoes on hand that your children will be growing into. You might consider purchasing shoes that are well made so they will last...and are comfortable for walking distances. It would also be wise to have on hand some supplies to repair your shoes as an alternative to trying to make a new pair from scratch. A piece of leather on hand now in storage to cover a hole in a shoe is a lot better than sticking a piece of cardboard over the hole so your foot doesn't touch the ground!

Those that do want to make steps towards having "thy garments" be "the work of thine own hands" (D&C 42:40) may want to try to make these simple tire sandals.

Or check out this book that a shoe making friend of mine recommended (no he's not an elf).

Provide for your feet now...and they will thank you later.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Anyone need a little motivation to lay up in store?

Have you ever opened one of those cans of orange juice concentrate...taken off the metal lid...and stuck it to your tongue? POW!! Your taste buds reel back and you instantly come to life!! That is this book!

was written by Neal Leash...whom a lot of people in our area know because he was in a Stake Presidency in Sacramento. Neal documents the Lords command to lay up in store over 150+ years of church history. It serves to clarify the doctrine that laying up in store is a command from God and not just a "good idea". If you need motivation to get going...THIS IS IT!! It is not a big book...and it is an easy read.

I recommend buying this book, reading it, and then being a missionary to your own people by lending it out to everyone you know!

Monday, December 22, 2008

What will we eat when the lights go out? Donuts!!

Every week I make bread from scratch for my family and the preschool that my wife and I run. We no longer have a need to purchase any from the store. Often when this comes up as a topic of conversation people look at me like I'm the greatest magician the world has ever known! "How do you do it!" they say. Or they say "I used to do that 20 years ago"...or "I love homemade bread...can I have a piece!!"
My response is "I learned it by reading a cookbook"..."You ought to do it again!" and..."OK".

I think that we all could agree that a lot less people know how to make bread now than just a short time back in history. Many of the people that do still "make bread" rely upon bread machines that have taken the place of their kneading hands...and packaged bread mixes have taken the place of measuring and mixing the ingredients. I guess the reason why most people don't make their own bread comes down to 3 major reasons. It takes time, they don't feel confident that they can do it, and it takes work.

So if we currently are having a hard time making our own bread...even while we have all the resources at our fingertips...how are we going to make our own bread when those resources disappear? When there is no store to buy bread or just to buy the ingredients? How about when the power grid goes down and we have no electricity?

I have a solution! It takes a ton less time to make than traditional loaf bread...it doesn't require a bunch of kneading and waiting...you don't need an oven to make it...you can make it from food storage basics...and it is soooo easy! The answer is....DONUTS! Well actually Indian Fry Bread.

Have you ever had Indian Fry Bread before? There are many recipes...but they are all basically the same. A small batter ball is put into a pan of frying oil...it puffs up...is removed with tongs to dry...and then can be made to be "donut-like" by adding sugar, cinnamon, jam...or whatever sweet thing you have to add. You can also add herbs to the batter or eat it with another meal like you would a bread.

Indian Fry Bread will be devoured by even the most finicky of children! Seriously...you won't be able to make them fast enough to keep up with people eating them.

While I do think that Indian Fry Bread is a great hard times/survival food...you should know that it is rich. Just like I wouldn't tell you that a diet of just chocolate cake is a good thing...I
won't tell you that you should make fry bread your only source of food. Fry bread has come under fire to some degree because there is an issue with many tribes eating so much of it...they become overweight.

I recommend seeking
out a frying oil that is low in saturated fats. Take note that olive oil...which is what a lot of us store is not the greatest cooking oil because it smokes at lower temperatures. I also recommend getting together the supplies needed to make Indian Fry Bread...namely...the ingredients found to the left on the "recipes for Fry Bread"...and a way to fry oil other than your stove...

Happy eating!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Putting First Things First in Family Home Storage...

"What should I do first?" the sweet young mother asked me with a bit of frustration. "Do I work on a 72 hour kit first...or should I be putting my limited resources towards purchasing all the long term stuff...or should I be working on the 3 month supply...or is there something else!!?"

Many people who start on the path to getting prepared voice the same confusion and frustration. They want to get going...but the path is not clear.

The church has actively taken steps to simplify the information that they give to us to make it easy to begin. The church's provident living website has very easy to understand...basics of preparedness. Their desire as mentioned in the FAQ of that site is to "eliminate the perceived complexity of home storage."

That same FAQ section also answers the sweet young mother's question on what to work on first. (You may find a lot of your questions answered there too!)

Cut and pasted from the FAQ (bold added for emphasis)...

"Where do I start?

Start by adding a few storable items that you typically
eat, storing some water that is safe to drink, and saving some money, if only a few coins each week.

Then over time, expand these initial efforts—as individual circumstances allow and where permitted—by storing a longer-term supply of basics such as grains, beans, and other staples."

So there you have it! First priority is 3 month supply, water storage, and savings...followed by the longer-term supply. See the church's site on how to get this going here...

Where can I put my 3 month supply?!

"Relief Society stands for self-reliance. The best food storage is not in welfare grain elevators but in sealed cans and bottles in the homes of our people. What a gratifying thing it is to see cans of wheat and rice and beans under the beds or in the pantries of women who have taken welfare responsibility into their own hands. Such food may not be tasty, but it will be nourishing if it has to be used."(Gordon B. Hinckley, “In the Arms of His Love,” Ensign, Nov 2006, 115–18)

Food under your bed is a great place...but where do you go after that? Many members struggle with finding a place to store their food...especially when they live small homes.

I know of a few families that have "no space" to store food...but believe that it is so important that they have buckets and boxes stacked up high in their living rooms...draped with sheets...as a permanent fixture. Such families...while not "en vogue" with Better Homes and Gardens...and who will suffer the scorn of people who do not see the importance of food storage...will have great peace of mind knowing that they will have food to eat when times of adversity come!

I think that many of us don't have to go to that extreme...if we are creative and really look around we could find many more places to store food without having to trip over boxes and buckets!

Here is a great idea on a "do it yourself" can rotator that is very concealed...accessible...and still inside the home where the elements won't spoil it.

The same woman who did this video has a blog with some great money saving tips.