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By Kellene Bishop

I’ve often had the question asked of me, “Why do we need spiritual preparedness for an emergency?”  I also frequently hear requests for a clarification of what I mean by “spiritual preparedness.”  Fortunately spiritual preparedness does not mean you need to have the Bible memorized, nor do you necessarily need to be able to interpret the Book of Revelations.  When I list the ten components of emergency preparedness, I assure you there is a deliberate reason why it’s at the very top of the list.  Bottom line, after all you can do, it may be your only source for survival.  Allow me to explain what I mean by that.

Stress, chaos, confusion - all byproducts of an emergency. Photo c/o stressrelatedillness.com

Stress, chaos, confusion - all byproducts of an emergency. Photo c/o stressrelatedillness.com

I anticipate that in virtually any emergency, chaos, confusion, upheaval, and stress will accompany the scenario.  You could have plenty of food, water, family, and physical comforts, but nothing will be able to take the place of what you have “stored up” spiritually.  If you’re not in the habit of reaching outside of yourself for comfort and peace, the likelihood of you being able to do so successfully in the midst of chaos is unrealistic, and yet I assure you that it will be just as vital as will your food and water.

Spiritual preparedness cannot be accumulated overnight.  It takes diligent and consistent effort.  Just like 1,000 sit ups in one sitting won’t prepare you physically, neither will a periodic drop to your knees in prayer.  In fact, chances are, if you’re not already in the habit of strengthening your spiritual standing, you won’t be likely to take any such efforts in the midst of a disaster.  To me that would make a person just as vulnerable during a disaster as a wounded deer out in the wild of Africa.

Think of it this way.  The children of Israel left the captivity of the Pharaoh with all of their provisions.  They took their clothing, their family, herds, water, seeds, agriculture and construction knowledge, and essentially everything they would need to survive a long trek.  But, when they came upon the edge of the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s armies close behind them, could any of these physical provisions save them?  No.  What did save them?  Spiritual preparedness on the part of Moses.  He wasn’t prone to panic and pacing.  Instead he relied on something outside of his own physical abilities.  

I know several individuals who dabble in building model airplanes, train sets, and boats.  I assure you that Noah’s building of the ark had nothing to do with a “little hobby of his.”  He was not a shipbuilder.  He was a spiritually prepared man.  I’m sure it was the result of his spiritual preparedness that he was able to break the news to his wife that her backyard was going to be consumed by a large vessel and hoards of animals, and not a recent “marriage class” he attended.

Five of Them Were Wise by Walter Rane

Five of Them Were Wise by Walter Rane

What made the difference between the 5 foolish virgins and the 5 wise virgins?  All 10 of them had vessels in which to hold oil.  All 10 of them fully expected to be granted access to the wedding.  And yet it was the spiritual preparedness that motivated the 5 wise virgins into action to actually fill their vessels with oil.  Didn’t even the 5 foolish virgins have every intention of filling their vessels with oil?  Surely you have the intention of filling your water jugs, your pantries, etc, right?  (What spiritual preparedness causes some to fill their pantry and their water jugs as opposed to others who just let them sit empty?)

In an emergency, situations will arise that we cannot possibly be prepared for otherwise.  Spiritual preparedness is often the only thing which can fill in the gaps of what we can and can’t do.  I find that it enhances my physical preparedness efforts as well, so long as I do all that I can.  Periodically I come up with ideas that I know I have never read in a book or heard of otherwise.  I’m certain that it’s as a result of my efforts to prepare spiritually for tough times ahead. 

spiritual-preparedness-911-from-the-groundI consider spiritual preparedness to be a key component to my “warning system.”  Some call this “women’s intuition”, or a “gut instinct.”  I hope you don’t mind my telling you that I usually refer to it as a “prompting of the Spirit.”  After 9/11 occurred, we heard stories of numerous people who avoided this disaster as a result of their spiritual preparedness coming in handy.  Some avoided getting on the plane.  Some avoided going in to work that day.  Many similar credible stories circulated before and after Hurricane Katrina.  For example, last week as I was heading out of town to teach some classes, I felt an unexplainable sense of angst.  I had no idea what it was attributed to.  Sure I get a bit nervous before teaching a class.  And sure it was a lot of work ahead of me.  But frankly I’m used to that.  As it turned out I felt the urge to ask a friend of mine if she’d like to join me on a road trip.  Surprisingly she did.  We ended up having TONS of people at the training events.  The effort and time that I had anticipated to be the necessary preparation work for the events ended up doubling!  I literally could not have done what I did without her.  (Thank you so much, Vicky!)  This is just a small example of what I mean by spiritual preparedness.  If I was more wrapped up in watching Oprah on TV, or staying busy 24/7 instead of taking time to listen to what’s really going on around me, I assure you I would have been in tears and a big emotional mess.  I’m sure such a state would have given me NO credibility as a “Preparedness Pro.”

Peace Amidst the Chaos in Iran, June 2009 photo c/o time.com

Peace Amidst the Chaos in Iran, June 2009 photo c/o time.com

Take time to pay attention to how you’re feeling.  Take time to be quiet so that you can listen to your instincts.  Take the time to instill habits which bring you a peace that may otherwise be foreign or in short supply in the midst of an emergency.  For those of you who believe in God, I assure you that He does not intend for those who are prepared to be panicked and helpless.  I figure that there’s a darn good reason why He urges us to be prepared.  Peace in the midst of chaos is what makes men great.   I’m certain that this is what He means when He tells us “if we are prepared, we shall not fear.”  Fear is debilitating and crippling.  I’m certain that if my spiritual preparedness is in short supply, I will be useless, and even a dangerous liability to those around me in the event of an emergency.  I am committed to being as much of an asset to my family and loved ones as possible.  How about you?

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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This blog has moved. Please visit us at www.preparednesspro.com.

By Kellene Bishop

food-storage-shelvesHere’s one simple tip so you never have to worry about HOW to cook what’s in your food storage. 

Many folks just plain don’t know how to cook with their food storage.  When I hear this, I ask people why they’re storing foods that are unfamiliar to them or their family?  Sure there are ideal lists which include long lasting grains and legumes, but if you’re not using such ingredients now to feed your family with, it’s not going to be helpful to them in an emergency.

Think for just a moment what kind of chaos a financial collapse, an earthquake, an act of war, or some other kind of disaster could bring into your life.  Do you really want to complicate things by adding more stress into your life by consuming “foreign foods”?  You and your family are going to crave as much “normalcy” as possible.  Unless you’re already serving your family “Boston Baked Wheat” you don’t want to try it out on them while they are being quarantined for 90 days as the result of a flu pandemic.  In fact, it is exactly these kinds of times that you will want to provide the most comforting favorites for your family.  But…yes, there is a but…

Part of being prepared is being ready to live off of foods which are most nourishing and longer lasting than what your diet may currently consist of in your household.  (To this end I implore parents of picky eaters—or spouses of such—to do all they can to get them to embrace more nourishing foods.)  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are great now.  But how will they be when you have to make the bread from scratch?  Will your family even touch them?  Don’t panic.  Just start learning the lost art of bread making now.  I can tell you from experience that it’s a heck of a lot more rewarding than besting someone at an online game of Scrabble.  

Try sprouts on a meat sandwich! Photo c/o scanwiches.com

Try sprouts on a meat sandwich! Photo c/o scanwiches.com

Slowly introduce your family to new things.  For example, my husband, who I can’t get to eat a vegetable unless it’s on a slab of beef, has agreed to try and start putting sprouts on his meat sandwiches.  Why?  Because I am trying to get him used to eating this easy and widely accessible source of nutrition so when we are in the midst of an emergency, he can handle it—not only emotionally, but physically as well.  Being ready to live off those foods doesn’t involve just having the appetite for them.  We need to be prepared to use them and work with them as well.  If you’ve never tried sprouting, don’t think that the sprouter you’ve got in the basement is going to do much for you in a time of crisis.  Using it under such circumstances will only cause you more stress due to its unfamiliarity and you’ll avoid it at all costs. 

You also need to get your body accustomed to eating such foods.  In fact, if most people attempted to go from their existing diet to one containing whole wheat at the majority of their meals, they would actually DIE inside of 30 days due to the dehydration and diarrhea their body would experience in so drastic a dietary change.  This is one reason why I counsel people to store what they eat—at least a 90 day supply—and then work on introducing other, more stable storage foods, into their diet along the way.  Yes, it’s a lot less expensive to store a year’s supply of wheat, legumes, honey, and powdered milk as opposed to the ingredients for your favorite casseroles, Navajo Tacos, and brownie mixes.  But I assure you that those items won’t get used for much of anything if you haven’t already familiarized your family with them prior to a disaster.  So be sure to have at least 90 days of the familiar and then work on familiarizing your family with other foods that will have a great shelf-life in your home.  Remember, stress alters the mind.  It races the heart.  It breaks down the immune system.  If you’re in a quarantine situation, for example, can you really afford to expose anyone in your family to any of these physical stresses simply because you weren’t prepared with a realistic menu for them?  Perhaps now you may better understand why I go to great lengths to learn how to make bread, sprout, store M&Ms, make sour cream out of powdered milk, wax my own cheese, store eggs long-term, and create recipes out of what’s on my shelves, etc.  I do it in anticipation of a situation in which food and nourishment will be a comfort to the mind and the spirit, not just sustain life.  (And yes, there are indeed those times in which M&Ms sustain me. :))

I’ve been asked how I remember where all of my food storage is since it’s scattered all around the house.  I remember because I’m always in it—except when I’m on that blasted diet.  I’m always using what I store.  I’m rotating it.  (In fact I have a Mason jar full—er, half full—of almond M&Ms next to me on my desk as I write this.)  Other than the years supply of MREs we have stored in the back of the basement, there’s not a single nutritional item in my home that is “uncommon” to me.  If you have anything that’s uncommon to you in your food storage, it’s nearly useless.

kuhn-rikon-pressure-cookerPoint being, no one should have trouble cooking with their food storage, because their food storage should contain what they are already consuming and thus what they are already familiar in preparing.  Practice making your food in a Dutch Oven, or in a pressure cooker over a small butane stove, or in a solar oven.  Go to classes to learn how to make the essentials.  They are usually free.  Go through cook books and experiment with “less than fresh” items as substitutes in recipes, such as canned chicken for frozen, canned green beans for fresh, etc.  Find out from your family what their absolute favorite meals are and then find the most efficient way to stock the items for those meals.  We’re not in the dark ages here, folks.  Cooking with your food storage doesn’t have to involve an Indian dance and an archaic tool for grinding your flour.  Even without the luxury of electricity, we still will have the benefit of the luxury of knowledge and technology galore. 

Keep in mind that in a previous article I wrote, I recommended that folks start their food storage by storing their food in “meals” as opposed to “pounds of items.”  In other words, if your family loves waffles, then be sure you have the makings for waffles.  If you have such ingredients sufficient to make them 12 times, then you only have to come up with 29 other meals.  (Or less, depending on how often you want to eat waffles.  I recommend coming up with a great variety for your family though so that they don’t suffer from “appetite fatigue.”)

It all boils down to this: Store what you eat and eat what you store.

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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