The road to this path was not linear. In fact it was almost random at first. Like many people my age, I grew up thinking about “preparedness” as updating a 72 hour kit every once in a while, some extra food on hand, and that room in my mom and grandma’s house that rivaled Costco. As I became an adult, I planned on having the storage room with food and some necessities, because let’s be real, it’s really nice to have that extra bottle of Ranch dressing on hand when your toddler is freaking out, because she needs Ranch to eat her chicken nuggets. But over the last couple of years, I have seen how those little steps and little moments have been stepping stones to help me realize how much more there is to being prepared, and how to use those experiences to guide my journey to preparing my family for whatever lies ahead.
As a child, my parents got a divorce, and my mother, brother and I ended up moving in with my grandparents for several years. My grandparents were a major influence on the beginnings of my preparedness journey. Grandpa was a Ham Radio operator, and I woke up and went to sleep to check ins almost every day. He would have fire drills, and have us evaluate our 72 hour kits at least once a year in case of an emergency. My grandmother would shop sales like case lots, and spent many nights during the fall canning and preserving food. We loved canning season, because although it meant a lot of work after school, it also meant Grandpa cooked (which meant he was bringing home pizza or hamburgers). I learned the importance of having a little extra, not only as we ran out to get the next box of cereal in the morning, but also watching family members and neighbors come “shopping” in the storage room in times of need!
When I was a teenager, my mom remarried. My stepfather soon became the father that had been missing in my earlier years. My dad is also very preparedness-mind. Every Christmas, we would get flashlights, and sometimes other things like survival knives, pepper spray, LifeStraws, or sleeping bags. He also paid attention to the ‘what if’s’ going on in the world. One Christmas, my dad spent making sure our house had a secondary heat source by building my mom a beautiful fireplace. I remember sitting on the garage floor with my mom laying out the river rock to be attached to the wall.
He would plant a big garden with all the things. This worked as a way to teach us hard work, but also helped us build up our storage. We would harvest and freeze things, like blanched corn, or make salsa to can. (This also taught me I enjoy blanching and freezing a lot more than canning, haha.)
My Own Journey
After college, when I moved out on my own, I started to slowly build up a food storage with case lot sales, and runs to Costco, like I had seen my parents do. I had a small supply of canned goods, packaged food, some water, and household items. There was one winter we had a significant snow storm that closed our roads, but after a week of it snowing, it suddenly warmed up, (like instantaneously was 50 degrees Fahrenheit) and all the snow melted causing huge lakes and floods, which *gasp* closed our roads again. It was hard to get to the store, because unless someone with a truck or raised vehicle came to get me, I couldn’t go anywhere. The snow or water was too deep, so I would ask for rides into town once a week or so with my parents or friends, and then live off what we already had at home. It wasn’t hard, but it was definitely nice to have a little variety on hand.
Throughout my life, I have witnessed the importance and benefits of being prepared. But the moment it really sank in for me, I think the moment where I really solidified my testimony of being prepared came right at the beginning of the pandemic. My husband and I had just run to Sam’s Club to stock up on a few things (like toilet paper) about a week before the shortages showed up. As alllll of the toilet paper known to man disappeared overnight, we had family and neighbors who ended up running low, or completely out that we were able to help. We had enough that I knew I could give it away, and just watch for more to have a little extra on hand, without having to stress about it. (And in college I lived in an apartment that ran out of toilet paper…. it’s not pretty haha) And that’s when it hit me. I want to be so prepared, that whatever, whenever something comes up, I am ready and able to help, without having to have a thought about “But what if there’s not enough?”
So I began to really seriously look at what preparedness actually means. Clearly, being temporally prepared was essential. These experiences in my life had taught me that having some food storage and emergency supplies on hand not only bless our lives, but can bless those around us. But I also thought about how the prophets and apostles have been strongly encouraging spiritual preparedness the past few years. I thought about the other areas disasters and the pandemic were affecting people around me. And that is when I started viewing preparedness from a five-facet view point. I believe that preparedness actually comes in several forms: spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and temporal.
Now, I realize that it is impossible to prepare for every scenario ever. None of us has a house big enough or the resources, or even the stamina to accomplish that. But, we can prepare as best we can, and that is what I’m here for. I want to help you look at the different areas, and find ways to be a little more prepared, a little more ready for what lies ahead. I want to help us identify areas to work on to make little changes, so that when hard times come, we can face them with faith.