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Why Prep

dohWhen did you last have one of those “Doh!” moments? You know, one of those Homer Simpson slap-yourself-on-the-forehead, what-an-idiot-I’ve-been moments? Sometimes it’s because of something that you’ve said. More often it’s because of what you forgot to say.

Sandy and I were on national TV recently. We were featured on a show called Biblical Preppers that was broadcast on the Destination America cable channel. Many of you are probably reading this as a result of seeing us on the show. (Welcome. We hope you like what you see. Be sure to subscribe by filling in your email address in the box at the top of the column on the left. Thanks.) Those of you who have seen the show have the advantage over me. I haven’t seen it yet. I didn’t find out that it was being broadcast until the show was actually on and I missed the first half of it. That would be, of course, the half in which we were featured. I’ll catch one of their many reruns.

The production company sent a producer and video crew to our home for two days in December 2013. Two days after the crew had packed up and left, I slapped myself on the forehead and shouted, “Doh!” I had just realized that I left something out – probably the most important thing I wanted to communicate. I didn’t tell them what I believe about the things that are happening and the real reason why I became a prepper.

I believe that God’s hand of protection has been taken away from America.

America has its detractors and it’s easy to find fault with it at any time in its history, but I don’t think you can find a better place to be in the 200-plus years of its existence. That’s why people have flocked to its shores and continue to do so by the millions. Those who are critical of America ignore or discount all of the good things that this nation has done for the world. You can’t be on Facebook for fifteen minutes without seeing that someone has put up the poster that says the only ones who would freely die for you are Jesus Christ and the American soldier.

Yeah, we’ve been just that kind of place. We’ve been just that kind of people. But things are changing, and they are changing rapidly. This was once a nation that knew God and sought to follow Him. It used to be that when the word “God” was spoken in a room with 100 people, about 90 of them would have the same thoughts about God go through their heads — who He is, what He’s like, etc. That is far from the case today.

At work I am required to ask people what their religion or denomination preference is. Overwhelmingly, the most common answer is “none.” For some people that means that they see no distinction in one religion from another – any one is as good as another. For others it means that they want to be free from religion and any thoughts of God at all. They don’t want to be ultimately accountable to anyone. To them, God is dead or never existed in the first place. But increasingly, especially among people under the age of 35 or so, when I ask the question about their preference, they don’t even understand the words that I’m speaking. I repeat it, thinking that they didn’t hear me, but it’s not the volume that’s the problem. It’s the vocabulary. They don’t know what the words “religion” or “denomination” mean. Honest to God! They live in a society that is so far removed from God that they have no words for Him or His culture. And friends, while it may not be the case around you and your immediate family and associates, it’s the society in which you live today, too.

God has been systematically removed from America for the past 50 years. My company held its annual Day of Prayer yesterday during which we prayed for our employees, clients, and key contacts by name. We prayed for one woman at a client company who, if you mention a problem or difficulty, will openly tell you that’s she will pray for you, and always closes every call with a “God bless you.” We marveled that she is allowed to get away with that at a major U.S. corporation in this day and age. Such speech is increasingly becoming prohibited in America today. Someone might become offended. We shouldn’t pray for people. We should never bless them in the name of God. Not in the workplace. Someone might complain. Or they might even file a lawsuit against us. This is the kind of place that America has become in my lifetime. Keep God to yourself or suffer the consequences. You will be persecuted prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Nature abhors a vacuum. Culture does, too. If you take something out, something else will move in to take its place. America is increasingly removing God from our society. People are turning away from the God who has blessed them, led them, and protected them. So what takes His place? Lawlessness. A casting off of all restraints. Corruption of moral standards, justice, and God’s word. (For more on this, see this hard hitting article.)

How does God feel about? A close reading of Jeremiah chapter 2 will spell it all out:

The word of the Lord came to me.  “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the Lord says: “‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown. Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’” declares the Lord.

 Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel.  This is what the Lord says: “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’ I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.”

That second paragraph tears my heart out. God is asking the people He has loved and cared for and who have turned their back on Him, “What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols.” Some might hear that spoken as an accusation. I hear it as spoken from a grieved and broken heart. Still, God’s justice demands that He judge such behavior. Read his response to being abandoned by the people from the latter half of Jeremiah 2:

“Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the Lord. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children. Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.

Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,” declares the Lord. “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder? Lions have roared; they have growled at him. They have laid waste his land; his towns are burned and deserted. Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skull.

Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the Lord your God when he led you in the way? Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates? Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.”

Jeremiah is the story of God calling His wayward people to repentance over and over again, and their stubborn refusal to listen to God, heed His warnings, acknowledge that they had strayed from Him, and return to Him. As a result, God disciplines them by sending the Babylonians to eat their lunch in the bag they brought it in and carry them off to captivity for 70 years.

I believe that America is guilty of everything that brought judgment and destruction on the Israelites. I believe that God is calling us to repentance, but America is stepping up its resistance to Him instead of returning to Him. And I believe that God is removing His hand of protection from America.

That’s why I prep. I believe judgment is coming. Like Noah, I’m building an ark, so to speak. I trust God, but I see trouble coming and I take action.

And that’s what I forgot to say on TV.


The question “what are you prepping for” has just about been worn out. There is no shortage of threats in our world to be concerned about and to take steps to prepare for. Take your pick. My pet threat is economic collapse. Yours might be a nationwide power grid failure or terrorists with suitcase bombs attacking several American cities simultaneously. All of these are valid threats. I’ve joined the growing rank of people who have decided to not be caught by surprise, but rather to be as well prepared as possible if any such disaster should strike. Since you’re reading this, you’re probably in that camp, too.

But one question that doesn’t get asked very often is whether the thing that you’re prepping for is an event or a process. What do I mean by that? And why would it matter?

SHTF Event

An event would be a sudden occurrence, like an earthquake on the San Andreas Fault that causes a significant part of California to go bye-bye. Or an EMP (electromagnetic pulse), either solar or nuclear, that wipes out all of our electronics. Everything is fine one moment, then in an instant it’s not.

What would be the results of an SHTF event? There would be a significant loss of lives, followed by widespread shock and panic. Supplies and services would be disrupted for a long time, perhaps for a very long time. Panic buying would empty store shelves in a matter of a few days. Multitudes would be unemployed. No amount of government intervention would make a dent in the level of catastrophe affecting our world. Virtually every aspect of our lives would change from anything we had ever known before. Ready or not, everyone would be thrust into full-scale survival mode.

Spices02If an SHTF event occurs, you’re stuck with what you have. If you don’t already have it, you’re not going to be able to get it. If you’ve planned to buy a good multi-fuel rocket stove, you’re too late. You won’t be able to get one anywhere now. Still working towards acquiring a top-notch first aid kit? Kiss that plan goodbye. You’ve probably got a good supply of rice and beans and wheat on hand, but have you also stocked the spices and seasonings that you’ll need to make it taste good? That ship has sailed.

There are a lot of SHTF event scenarios that have a chance of occurring in our lifetime. That’s why we prep. But the bottom line for an SHTF event is that prepping time is over and implementation time has begun. If you don’t already have it when an SHTF event occurs, you’re not likely to ever get it from that point on. The key to making it through an SHTF event is to already have the things you want and need.

SHTF Process

It’s possible that the world won’t go out with a bang (event) so much as a whimper (process). A global financial collapse may have begun 15 years ago with the tech bubble and crash of 2000. While it appears that our economy plateaus or even rallies for a short time since then, it seems to me like we’ve been on a trajectory of steady economic decline ever since 2000. The years 2001 and 2008 saw the greatest losses in stock market history. Much has been written about this 7-year cycle, with warnings of a bigger crash to come in 2015.

An SHTF process wouldn’t come about suddenly like an event would. Instead, it would take years or decades to play out — a slow, steady decline. Money gets tighter gradually. There may be a series of bubbles that burst, but we ride them out. Businesses adapt by running “leaner,” squeezing more productivity out of fewer employees. Families adjust by taking fewer vacations. Many people are out of work, and those who have jobs have been cut to part-time so employers don’t have to pay for the benefits that full-time workers get. First and second-world countries start looking more and more like third-world countries. We find ourselves like a frog in a beaker of water on a bunsen burner. The heat gets turned up so gradually that the frog doesn’t react to the changes — and then he finds himself thoroughly cooked.

Unlike an event, an SHTF process could give you years and years of opportunity to stockpile the things you want and need. That’s the good news. The bad news is that if (when) you find yourself out of work, instead of adding to your supplies, you start tapping into your preps to get by until the next job comes along. But it doesn’t. And what you can’t eat you sell in order to get money to meet your family’s needs.

An SHTF process is not a pretty picture. Slow death never is. Yes, you are better equipped to deal with the problem than those who don’t prep, but it just delays the inevitable.

So what is the key to surviving an SHTF process? Sustainability. You will need self-reliance skills, the kind of mojo that the pioneers had 150 years ago. Do you know how to grow and preserve food? Raise animals? Use and repair tools? Prepping isn’t just about storing stuff. The best preppers would say that it isn’t even primarily about stuff. It’s about skills.

Which one will it be?

Of course, your guess is as good as mine. Sandy and I lean toward process but we are strongly aware that it could be an event and that event could occur tomorrow. We don’t let that worry us. Rather, we do what we can while trusting the Lord for what we can’t. At the beginning of each year we look at where we are, re-consider where we want to be and set priorities for the year. Yep, that’s what we’ll be doing in the coming week.

Comment below or on Facebook to let us know whether you think SHTF will be an event or a process.

Whatever your SHTF scenario, make the most of your time by getting (right now) the top priority items that you need to ride it out, and continually work on building the skill sets that you will need to sustain yourself and your loved ones through tough times ahead. You’ll find links to our favorite suppliers in the sidebars. (Yes, we make a small commission from the sales that are generated from this site. Thanks for supporting TheApproachingDayPrepper.com.)

I apologize for this posting being such a buzz kill. I hope you all have an exceedingly blessed, healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year, and that next year finds you in a better place than you are right now.

As we step into 2014, what are you thinking about prepping? How are you thinking about prepping? It seems a great time for each of us to review how we approach the world differently because of our preparedness mindset.

Awareness
Awareness means different things depending on where you are on the prepping continuum. For beginners, it means becoming aware of the need to prep. It’s that first knock on the door of your consciousness that gets your attention. When you open the door, it says “Hey, things might not always be as they are now. What do you need to do to get ready?” If you haven’t reached awareness yet, check out our Why Prep page – you’ll find a compilation of our blogs on that subject. If you’ve just reached awareness and are wondering where to begin, check out our blog Getting Started with Prepping – How Do I Begin?

For more experienced preppers, awareness goes beyond the initial insight of the general need to prepare for a game-changing event. Awareness becomes being vigilant – always alert to what’s going on around you locally, nationally, and globally. It means monitoring shifts in political, economic, social, and environmental conditions. As preppers, we learn to be observant in every situation, thinking ahead to how we might need to adapt to new realities.

Determination
Having come to an understanding that the world is in fact changing – that it will not go on the same as it is right now and may become a more challenging place to live – we’ve decided that we will take steps today that will position us to survive – even thrive – in a new and less friendly environment. We’re deciding today that we won’t be victims – people who need to be rescued by someone else. And I hope you’re like me and not planning on just being a “sole survivor,” but also being one who helps others survive as well.

Emergency ChecklistIntentionality
Preppers plan for the future. We live today as if tomorrow may be different. There are two parts to that sentence.

  • “We live today…” – Our approach to prepping isn’t so future-focused that we fail to live for today. Enjoy the day! Don’t miss it. Don’t race ahead of today. God has given it to you and put things into it for your pleasure. Don’t let them go by without appreciating them.
  • “…as if tomorrow may be different” – While enjoying the blessings of today, we are also gathering things and learning skills we might need in that different world. That means planning how we use our time and finances for future benefit. It means being proactive instead of just reactive. It means living intentionally.

Readiness
No one can be prepared for everything, but we can all do something today that will make us better prepared for tomorrow. Our goal is to take measures to ensure that not only are we are able to survive, but we can also help others in an emergency. So we live our lives differently from those who haven’t yet become aware.  We buy and store water, food and other necessities. We intentionally buy things we might never use in our everyday lives (our manually-operated grain mill comes to mind – will I ever use it to grind wheat if nothing happens? I don’t think so). We determine to learn skills we don’t absolutely require for survival today, but which might become indispensable in the days to come. (We took up raised-bed gardening, not because we were looking for an excuse to do more yard work, but because it’s part of our prepping. Canning comes next.)

So as preppers, we live aware that tomorrow may be different from today, determined to live as well as we can in that day and ready for whatever that tomorrow looks like. That sounds wise to me. That’s a lifestyle I can be happy with today and tomorrow.

I’m aware, though, that I often get distracted by bright shiny objects – whatever new and interesting thing crosses my path in a given day or week. To help keep ourselves on track, we’re preparing a 2014 Prepper’s Calendar. Watch for it early next week.

Header-ForSquareGraphicGreat questions!

About Us
You’ll find the more interesting version of our stories here. The short of it is that we’ve become convinced that the world is a fragile place and we don’t see it tipping toward stability. We don’t want to be unaware or caught unprepared for future challenges. Making preparations now gives us some assurance that we will have things like food, shelter, and heat whenever life-as-we-know-it changes significantly. And the more we prepare now, the more we’ll have to share with others later.

Are we putting our hope and trust in these things? No. Our hope and trust is in Jesus. But we believe that He’s made us aware for a reason – so that we can prepare wisely. So we are preparing. And we’re sharing our knowledge with others. We’re not experts. In fact, in some areas we’re just getting started. Perhaps that makes us uniquely suited to create such a site – we understand where the prepper newbie is coming from.

If you’d like more on the question “Why prep?” check out these two articles:

About Our Site
Welcome! We’re just launching the site, so there’s a lot of content that is planned, but not yet in place. You’ll see that the menus have many, many pages identified. Not all of those pages have content yet. We’re working on it! We’ll be blogging about twice a week as we fill the site. We also hope to have a “Prepper U” page that takes newbies (and not so newbies) from prepper kindergarten through graduation. But that’s still just on the drawing board. In the meantime, browse around the site and check out the content. Let us know what else you’d like to see or the topics you’d like us to blog about first.

We’ll also be letting you in on specials, sales, and deals by various vendors we’ve used or who have a good reputation. As with everything else in life, prepping takes time and money. Our goal is to help you save both. We’ll do the research so you don’t have to and we’ll let you know when things go on sale.

Wondering how to approach our site? I can understand that. We’ve had quite a challenge organizing it.

  • If you’re brand new to prepping:
    • Go to the Getting Started page and you’ll find an article titled Prepping for Beginners.
    • Then head to the article titled How do I Begin in the Getting Started section.
    • Don’t miss the section titled Proverbs for Preppers – you’ll find Christian studies and devotionals related to prepping.
    • From there, roam around the site reading about anything that peaks your interest or needs.
  • If you’ve been prepping for awhile:
    • You’ll probably want to head directly to the Prepping Topics area. This is the heart of this website. You’ll find articles and blogs about many topics, with more on the way.
    • Check out the Proverbs for Preppers – you’ll find Christian studies and devotionals related to prepping.

About You
We hope you’ll visit often. Sign up to receive our blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. If you find the information helpful, we hope you’ll share it with a friend. And we’d love to hear from you. What areas of prepping would like to learn about?

Everyone is preparing for something. Some of you are preparing for a storm that could cause you to lose electrical power for several days. Others are stocking up to prepare for the possibility of being laid off from their job for an extended period of time. Other folks are preparing for more exotic calamities like draught, an economic collapse, war, widespread civil unrest, solar flares (the cause of the beautiful aurora borealis in the slideshow above), pandemic disease…you name it.

The possibilities are endless. Sadly, the probabilities of one or more of them occurring in our lifetime is increasing steadily.

Our concern is that the only thing many people are “preparing” for is to stand in line for the government to rescue them when hard times come. Instead of pre-planning and saving for their own rainy day (or week, or year), too many people are planning to make their problem everyone else’s problem.

I understand that line of reasoning. We’ve worked hard, paid our taxes, and seen Wall Street banks and big corporations be bailed out (with our money!) for too long. So now when we need a bailout, we expect the government to be there for us, too. But the government no longer has any money. They broke the piggy bank long ago. They can’t just “go to the bank” and get more.

There comes a time when there is no justice as we’ve known it in the past. There’s “just us.”

I remember Hurricane Katrina. Families relocated by the government to another state. Living in motel rooms or small trailer homes for months and months after the storm. And those were the lucky ones. How many others endured the refugee camp environment of the New Orleans Superdome?

What all of those people had in common is that they didn’t provide for themselves. An overwhelming need arose that they hadn’t prepared for and suddenly their need for food, water, shelter, security, and more became someone else’s responsibility. Their desperate need caused them to lose the ability to make their own decisions and plot their own course, and placed those things in the hands of overwhelmed government agencies. Their desperate need and unpreparedness also caused them to lose the ability to help others.

I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be put in that situation. I don’t want to live like a refugee. And I don’t want you to, either. I can’t guarantee that developing an emergency preparedness plan, stocking some extra food, and learning some new skills will save you and your loved ones from everything that might come your way. You could be out for a night at the movies and return to find your house burned to the ground. But I strongly believe that doing something to become more prepared for the things that you think may adversely impact you is better than being doing nothing and finding yourself helpless to meet your own basic needs.

The people of New Orleans were warned repeatedly, days in advance of the coming storm. Some didn’t believe the warnings and went about in business-as-usual mode. Others just didn’t seem to care and allowed their problems to become someone else’s problem. But others heeded the warnings and took action. Which would you rather be?

I believe that the warnings are sounding all around us today. I believe that it’s time for all of us to take some steps to get ready for the approaching day.

 

Events to Prep for - a Collage Within the community of those who are preparing for The Approaching Day, you’ll find a broad spectrum of speculation about what will bring about that day and therefor what that day will look like. Each of us has our own answer to the question “Why prep?” Each of us must decide for ourselves what we anticipate and those expectations will guide our preparations. Yes, in all scenarios you will want to have an adequate amount of food and water stored. But how much of each and how or when you expect to replenish your stock when it’s gone will depend largely on what you expect will happen.

Here are some examples of events that preppers anticipate and are preparing for:

Severe weather — Recent weather patterns have shown us how unexpected and far-reaching these events can be. Having food and clean water, a heat source and backup communication plan makes your experience of these events significantly better than those who have not prepared.

Economic collapse — Whether it is a collapse of the US economy or the world’s, such an event will usher in a time of high unemployment, scarcity and civil unrest.

Terrorist strike similar to 9/11 — Such an attack could hit anywhere and could bring about chaos and scarcity.

Nuclear strike — A generation ago, the population was trained in how to react to a nuclear strike. Most people alive today aren’t. But you can see how preparing for a nuclear attack would be significantly different in many ways, yet similar in many ways, to preparing for an economic collapse.

Pandemic —A pandemic is a widespread outbreak of deadly disease. Thousands of people could be infected before they are even aware that they are sick. Thousands more would be infected before the sickness was diagnosed. A rising death toll could cause worldwide panic, chaos, and food shortages.

Electromagnetic pulse (EMP) — An EMP would wipe out all electronic devices over a widespread area. That means nothing operated by electronics will work — not only your computers, laptops, and smartphones, but also the power grid (that means you now have no electricity), sanitation systems, gas pumps, and all electrical service. A power outage in our town a few years ago left our local gas station unable to close its doors, run its cash register, or pump gas. They had merchandise they refused to sell because they had no way to process the transaction, yet they had no way of protecting the merchandise. It was an odd and exceedingly uncomfortable experience. An EMP would take that experience and multiply it exponentially because the outages would be over a much wider area. Again, scarcity and chaos would quickly result.

Civil unrest — Any of a number of events can precipitate civil unrest, but once it takes hold it is difficult to contain. Looting and violence are typical.

There are other events that could occur, but you can see that each of these events have several things in common: scarcity and civil unrest are common denominators. Regardless of what you anticipate the cause of The Approaching Day to be, your preparations should consider these things. Beyond that, your preparations will be directed by your expectations, your resources (both money and time), your skill set, and your degree of motivation.

What event are we prepping for? Phil and I have approached prepping with an “it’s anybody’s guess” attitude! So we go with what we know. What we know is that the world is becoming more dangerous and more fragile. We also know that most preparations we make now will be helpful in a variety of different scenarios. And we know that we cannot be prepared for everything and we’re not to be anxious about what we can’t be ready for. What does that mean for us? It means we are preparing for scarcity of food and water. It means we are preparing for a world with limited electricity, heat and gas. It means we are gradually expanding our preparations to include other precautions.

What are you prepping for? What steps are you taking now? What time frame are you working within? We encourage you to keep reading here to learn more about being ready for when a calamity of any sort occurs.

Why prep? Well, there are many reasons or potential reasons. All fall into one of these three areas. Here’s the top three reasons to the question “why prep?”

Because the world is a fragile place – Phil did a great job of discussing these in his story. You can read it here. We also discussed it a bit in the article titled What are You Prepping For? So for this short introduction, suffice it to say that the world is a fragile place.

Because you want to be able to care for your family in a disaster – Prepping gives you peace of mind that you and your family will have food, water and shelter in an emergency. It doesn’t matter whether that emergency is caused by an extended power outage, losing your job or a significant disruption in the food distribution chain. Providing for your family by prepping makes as much sense (or more) than providing for your family by purchasing life insurance.

Because you want to show Christ’s love to your community in a disaster – Starting now gives you an opportunity to prep items that will be more than enough for your family – food and water that you can share with friends and neighbors. Disasters are opportunities for the Church to shine.

You can read Sandy’s answer to the question “Why prep?” in her story here. Phil tells you his reasons immediately following Sandy’s story. And of course, you’ll find tidbits of our thinking throughout the site.

Events to Prep for - a Collage

Everyone is preparing for something. Some of you are preparing for a storm that could cause you to lose electrical power for several days. Others are stocking up to prepare for the possibility of being laid off from their job for an extended period of time. Other folks are preparing for more exotic calamities like draught, an economic collapse, war, widespread civil unrest, solar flares (the cause of the beautiful aurora borealis), pandemic disease…you name it. Or read more about it here.

The possibilities are endless. Sadly, the probabilities of one or more of them occurring in our lifetime is increasing steadily.

Our concern is that what too many people are “preparing” for is to stand in line for the government to rescue them when hard times come. Instead of pre-planning and saving for their own rainy day (or week, or year), too many people are planning to make their problem everyone else’s problem.

I understand that line of reasoning. We’ve worked hard, paid our taxes, and seen Wall Street banks and big corporations be bailed out (with our money!) for too long. So now when we need a bailout, we expect the government to be there for us, too. But the government no longer has any money. They broke the piggy bank long ago. They can’t just “go to the bank” and get more.

I remember Hurricane Katrina. Families relocated by the government to another state. Living in motel rooms or small trailer homes for months and months after the storm. And those were the lucky ones. How many others endured the refugee camp environment of the New Orleans Superdome?

What all of those people had in common is that they didn’t provide for themselves. An overwhelming need arose that they hadn’t prepared for and suddenly their need for food, water, shelter, security, and more became someone else’s responsibility. Their desperate need caused them to lose the ability to make their own decisions and plot their own course, and placed those things in the hands of overwhelmed government agencies. Their desperate need and unpreparedness also caused them to lose the ability to help others.

I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want to be put in that situation. And I don’t want you to be there, either. I can’t guarantee that developing an emergency preparedness plan, stocking some extra food, and learning some new skills will save you and your loved ones from everything that might come your way. But I strongly believe that doing something to become more prepared for the things that you think may adversely impact you is better than being doing nothing and finding yourself helpless to meet your own basic needs.

The people of New Orleans were warned repeatedly, days in advance of the coming storm. Some didn’t believe the warnings and went about in business-as-usual mode. Others just didn’t seem to care and allowed their problems to become someone else’s problem. But others heeded the warnings and took action. Which would you rather be?

I believe that warnings are sounding all around us today. I believe that it’s time for all of us to take some steps to get ready for the approaching day. Are you ready to take some first steps toward becoming prepared?