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January 27, 2016
Totally Ready for Anything
We Have Been Warned - What’s Your Excuse?
by Carolyn Nicolaysen

For eight years I have been encouraged and supported by Kathy Kidd as I have written and trained groups concerning self-reliance. On occasions when I became discouraged she assured me my articles were helping many, especially her. She told me how much she was learning and how essential she felt the self-reliance message was during these troubling times.

I have cried many tears on the weeks since we lost this amazing lady. I have thought, debated and prayed about the next step for me. I will be revitalizing my blog and I will increase the amount of information on my facebook page. I hope you will join me as we continue our self reliance journey together. I will make announcements concerning our new website on the facebook page so check in often.

I few years ago we took our family to see Horton Hears a Who. Truthfully, I was not looking forward to it as so many of the Dr. Seuss books have been ruined by the Big Screen. However, I could not stop thinking about it for days afterward. 

Horton is happily playing in his own world when all of a sudden he thinks he hears a call for help. Then again, he hears someone calling out. It is a faint, small voice. Those in his world repeatedly say to him, "If you can't see it or hear it or touch it, it doesn't exist." Over and over again he is told "If you can't see it or hear it or touch it, it doesn't exist. So don't talk about it, or people will think you are crazy." But Horton is not deterred. Even when his best friend fails to believe him, he stands by what he heard, and won't - no, he can't deny it.  

Horton finally makes contact with the small voice, who is the mayor of the tiny town of Whoville, a small world of people who live on a small speck of dust in Horton's world, that has been tossed into the atmosphere and is now unprotected. Horton must help them! The mayor realizes the people in Whoville are in grave danger and he warns them to prepare and seek shelter. The city counsel, like the citizens of Whoville, cannot see the danger, and tell the people "Nothing bad has ever happened in Whoville, and nothing bad ever will."  

In the end there is a disaster that could have destroyed Whoville. Horton stuck with it and helped even when everyone around him said, "If you can't see it or hear it or touch it, it doesn't exist." They mayor warned even when those around him said, "Nothing bad has ever happened in Whoville, and nothing bad ever will."  

I remember writing an article in which I recounted my memory of living thru a hurricane in New Jersey. A reader commented that hurricanes don't happen in New Jersey. I thought about him during hurricane Sandy. At another time a reader commented that I should move to Arizona because there are no natural disaster there. Since then there have been massive wildfires and destructive dust storms. "Nothing bad ever happens here and nothing bad ever will." Really?  

Lt. General Russel L. Honoré (Retired) who was the 33rd commanding general of the U.S. First Army and commander of Joint Task Force Katrina said:

"Each of us has a personal responsibility to be ready. We need to prepare our families and our homes. In many cases, family and personal preparations can be fairly simple. All it takes is a shift in our thinking. For example, when Granny's birthday comes around, we have a tendency to get her one of those little silver picture frames with a photo of the kids. We need to stop giving Granny those picture frames and give her a weather radio. And on Father's Day, instead of giving Grandpa those funky colored ties, give him a weather radio, too.

"In this new normal, we have only two options: We can exist in a culture of fear and dependency, or we can do the responsible thing: Live comfortably in a culture of preparedness and readiness; a culture where individuals can save themselves and empower their local, regional and national governments to better respond to any disaster. It's time for America to adopt this culture of preparedness."¹

We, however, want more than just a culture of preparedness - we are striving for a culture of self-reliance. What is the difference? Preparedness: State of being ready, possession of adequate resources. Self reliance: reliance on one's own resources, decisions and abilities. While the prepared person may have the goods they will need to survive an emergency, the self-reliant individual has in addition the capabilities, judgment, and resourcefulness to manage their own affairs, independently.

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them. Those who smugly think these calamities will not happen, that they somehow will be set aside because of the righteousness of the Saints, are deceived and will rue the day they harbored such a delusion." 
"The Lord has warned and forewarned us against a day of great tribulation and given us counsel, through His servants, on how we can be prepared for these difficult times. Have we heeded His counsel?" Ezra Taft Benson

This quote has always haunted me, "Those who believe this are either not acquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." We cannot claim to be unacquainted with the revelations of the Lord, so does that mean we just simply don't believe them? 

I worry about those who live in nice homes and drive nice cars and dress their children in new clothes, but who claim they just don't have the money to prepare or who think they will just run to the store and buy what they need because they have a savings account. 

"Cash is not food, it is not clothing, it is not coal, it is not shelter; and we will get to the place where no matter how much cash we have, we cannot secure those things in the quantities which we may need. … All that you can be certain you will have is that which you produce. We must purge our hearts of the love of ease; we must put out from our lives the curse of idleness. God declared that mortal man should earn his bread by the sweat of his brow. That is the law of this world." (In Conference Report, Apr. 1937, p. 26, quoted by A. Theodore Tuttle, Ensign, May 1978). 

Why prepare? My question is why not? 

I just don't have the money.  

Who does? Have you purchased new clothes for the kids? New jewelry or clothing for yourselves? A new sofa? Taken a vacation? Gone to the movies or eaten out in the last month? Then you have the money.  

We do have the money. It is desire we lack. We can always borrow a movie from a friend and watch at home. We can eat a breakfast menu for dinner one night a week and take the money we saved to purchase food storage and become prepared. I am not suggesting we incur debt to purchase food storage and generators, only that we re-prioritize what we are already spending.  

"Let's do these things because they are right, because they are satisfying, and because we are obedient to the counsels of the Lord. In this spirit we will be prepared for most eventualities, and the Lord will prosper and comfort us." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Chapter 11: Provident Living: Applying Principles of Self-Reliance and Preparedness, From The Life of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 115). 

I don't know how to cook with stored food.  

Then it's time to learn a new skill. If you store a three-month supply of foods you normally eat and supplement with other storage foods to reach your one-year supply, you should have no trouble rotating your storage.  

I have had some people tell me they only eat fresh fruits and vegetables. If that is the case, maybe it is time to expand your menu, because in most places it is difficult to get enough fresh fruits and veggies year round to maintain your 4-5 servings a day. Be creative and ask a great cook you know to help you develop some recipes your family will enjoy.  

And why not include stored foods? Incorporating stored foods in your diet now will enable your body to get used to processing these foods. During an emergency you will have to eat stored foods, either your own or others. Wouldn't you rather have the foods you like? I for one really enjoy knowing I have brownie mix in my food storage, as well as beans and rice.  

You will also be eating a much more balanced diet now that your food storage is well rounded and you are making it a part of every day cooking. No more preprocessed foods - and, it really doesn't take that much longer to cook from scratch. With childhood obesity at an alarmingly high rate, doesn't it make sense to eat more balanced meals? Just think of the savings in medical costs. And think of the gift you are giving your children - a healthy lifestyle. 

Another benefit of learning to use stored foods is less waste! No more throwing away foods that have spoiled while waiting to be consumed. I can't begin to imagine how much wheat, rice and dehydrated foods have been tossed in dumpsters.

Even worse than throwing away food, is the risk of serving foods that may be unsafe because you have stored them too long.  

The Church will take care of me. 

Think so? I remember a few years ago when my husband was serving as a Bishop and he received word that the church was dangerously low on supplies in the storehouse. It had been a year full of natural disasters, famine and drought. 

"What does it really mean when we say the church will take care of us? Consider the following: "My brothers and sisters, throughout the history of the world, the Lord has been concerned for the eternal welfare of the souls of his children. Over the past fifty years, inspired leaders have taught welfare principles to help us plan ahead for difficult times that may come in our lives. The Church has grown and is now spread over many countries throughout the world. But the strength of the Church and the Lord's real storehouse is in the homes and hearts of his people." Robert D. Hales, "Welfare Principles to Guide Our Lives: An Eternal Plan for the Welfare of Men's Souls," Ensign, May 1986, p. 28. 

Will the church take care of us? Yes. Through the storehouse - the Lord's most effective storehouse - the homes of the members of the church. When family and friends need our help, the bishop can call on the members to help one another, or the community. It may be a disaster in our own neighborhood, or those who evacuate to our community to seek refuge from a nearby calamity. Will we be ready when the Bishop or Stake President asks us to bring our 72-hour kits or food storage to the chapel to care for those in distress?  

"For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40). 

Nothing ever happens here and nothing ever will. 

Did you know there have been major earthquakes in Missouri? Major hurricanes in New York and New England? Droughts and dust storms in the Midwest? Tsunamis in Oregon and Washington? Of course you did. Have you forgotten about the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, Flight 93 or the Paris attacks? We did not want to believe that could happen either, but such events are fresh in our memory.  

"The time has come to get our houses in order… There is a portent of stormy weather ahead to which we had better give heed." (Gordon B. Hinckley, Ensign, Nov. 1998, p. 53). 

And why not prepare? With the state of today's economy, is it impossible for you to lose your job? Could you or a family member become ill and deplete all your resources? Could there be a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or even a house fire in your future? Could you be stranded on the road, or the victim of a power outage? You probably already have had some of these experiences. So why not prepare? Why not be ready? 

Will we be like Horton's friends in the Dr. Seuss story, and fail to heed what we cannot hear, see, or touch? Or will we be like the people of Whoville who did not believe the warnings until disaster struck their world? 

We could instead be like our scriptural hero Nephi: "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:6). 

Why not prepare? Why not indeed!

Let us create a culture of self-reliance within our homes. To create a culture of self-reliance, a yearning for independence in temporal matters must become a constant in our homes. It must become second nature in everyday living. As with a diet, we cannot starve for a short time, lose a little weight and then assume we are done. Self-reliance needs to be a change in our lifestyle in the same way weight loss requires a change in lifestyle. It means not just a change in our habits but a change in the very way we think.

When the Lord asks us to do something he always provides a way. He will provide a way for you.

This week at Totally Ready we have tried to help those on the east coast prepare for the historic storm forecast. Please check in often so we can help you achieve your self-reliance goals.

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