Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Skills vs. Gear & Supplies vs. Atitude vs. Health & Fitness

This is a multiple choice test. Choose one.

Q.  Which of the following is most important for survival and preparedness?

    A-  Skills
    B-  Gear & Supplies
    C-  Mental Attitude
    D-  Health & Fitness

Its a trick question. The correct answer is E- All the Above.

The simple fact is that skills, gear & supplies, the right mental attitude, and health & fitness are all important. Have one, or two, without the others, and you're going to be in a really tough situation when the S hits the fan.

The reason I bring this up is that I often see folks with long lists of gear, tools, and supplies that they recommend for survival. Then I see where others criticize them saying that skills are more important. Then others pipe in saying that what is needed is the right mental attitude, or health & fitness. This argument misses the point, in my  opinion.


Gear, tools, and supplies are useful, but without the right skills, they aren't going to be of much use, especially over the long term. Likewise, those wonderful skills aren't very useful if you don't have the right tools and supplies for the the job.

Likewise, mental attitude is essential. After all, if you panic in a bad situation, your skills and supplies won't be of much use. The same thing can be said about health & fitness. You simply cannot isolate one of these as essential over and above the rest. They all are essential.

The bottom line:  What I'm trying to get at in this article is to encourage folks to have a balanced approach to their preparedness. Work on all areas, not just one or two. Buy your tools, gear and supplies, but also learn skills. And don't forget your health & fitness, as well as the mental aspects of preparedness. Balance is key. 

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

SecuringYour Current Assets Before the Next Economic Downturn

Here are some ideas for securing your current assets before the next economic downturn:

1) Make sure the banks and insurance companies you use are financially healthy. There are rating services you can use, such as Bauer Financial and BankRate for banks and credit unions, and A.M. Best Company, Inc for insurance companies.

2) Pay off your mortgage if at all possible, or at least refinance into a fixed rate. For most people, their home is their largest and most important financial asset. Yet, in 2009 over 3 million homes were foreclosed on.  Don't be one of those in the next economic meltdown.

3) Pay off your vehicles, and anything else that you are making payments on that you don't want to loose. Can't pay off your vehicle anytime soon? Then trade down and get out from under that car payment. That clunker you own outright may look embarrassing, but it will be of more use to you than that shinny new car that gets towed away because you missed a payment. Same goes for other things that your making payments on that might get repossessed in a crisis.

4) Pay your taxes on time and in full. The government has given itself extraordinary powers to seize your paycheck, savings, investments, and property to collect back taxes.

5) Put a portion of your savings into silver, gold and/or other hard assets. How much? Depending on which "expert" is talking, anywhere from 5% to 20%. I lean on the high side of that range. Remember, certificates that say you own X amount of gold or silver being held for you by some bank or investment company will only be worth the paper they are printed on during a severe financial crisis. Take physical possession of your gold or silver before the crisis hits.

6) Guard against identity theft. Identity theft is a $20 billion dollar a year industry, and it will only increase as the economy worsens. Be careful who you share your information with. Shred or burn financial documents instead of just throwing them away. Be especially careful online, and keep your antivirus updated daily.

7) Take steps to protect your current job. Check out the article Fifteen Commandments of Keeping Your Job. Don't give your employer a reason to fire you.

8) Get ready now to look for a new job. Don't wait until you are fired. Keep your resume constantly up-to-date. Make sure you have updated contact info for all your references. Start networking now - you will be more likely to find a new job through a friend or colleague than from the classifieds or even employment services. Building a network is essential career advice, good times or bad. 

9) Learn new skills. Realize you may have to find a new job in a different field from your current job. Or you may have to go into business for yourself. Learn new skills. Take some classes at a local community college. Take a marketing and/or public relations class (surprisingly useful to most jobs/careers). Learn to sell (read the book SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham - considered a business classic). Brush up on your computer skills. Learn coding. Learn bookkeeping & accounting. Learn Spanish for the workplace. Consider learning a trade (electrician, plumber, welder, HVAC repair, etc.) as a back-up to your current career. The more you know, the more employable you will be. 

Don't wait until the next financial crisis hits to protect your assets. Start preparing now.
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Monday, August 19, 2019

A Survival Lesson from Everybody Loves Raymond

Ray and Debra Barone
This morning while eating breakfast, I happened to catch a repeat of Everybody Loves Raymond.  This particular episode opens with Ray and Debra sitting on the couch watching TV. Debra is eating a piece of fruit when she gets choked on a bite. She jumps to her feet, coughing and wheezing, obviously having trouble breathing. Rather than patting her on the back or performing the Heimlich maneuver, Ray simply turns up the TV. Finally, Debra is able to dislodge the fruit from her her throat. Needless to say, she gets mad at Ray for not saving her, calling him useless in an emergency.

Ray, in his typical fashion, starts whining that he is indeed "good in an emergency." Its just that Debra's choking wasn't a real emergency, since she was able to cough up the piece of fruit on her own. If it had been a real emergency, he would have stepped up and saved her. Debra isn't buying Ray's spin, and again tells him he is useless in an emergency. Ray gets mad at this, and later goes to his mother, seeking comfort.

However, much to Ray's surprise, his Mother agrees with Debra, and tells Ray that she would rather have his father (a Korean War vet) or his brother (a police officer) around in an emergency. This only upsets Ray more, and the rest of the episode is centered around his whining and trying to prove himself (quite incompetently, of course).

The Survival Lesson - Taking Personal Responsibility

At one point in the episode, Ray's brother Robert, the police officer, tries to show Ray how to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Ray  doesn't listen, instead getting mad at Robert for trying to "show him up" in front of Debra. Ray had no interest in learning what to do in an emergency. Rather, he just wanted people to treat him like he could handle an emergency, even though he clearly couldn't. He felt he was entitled to the credit and respect without having to do anything to actually earn it.

What Ray should have done, instead of whining and getting mad, was to take personal responsibility for his weakness - his lack of survival instincts and knowledge. He then could have done something about it. He could have listened to his brother, learned
the Heimlich maneuver, and even taken a first aid or emergency preparedness course. By actually doing something to correct the problem, Ray would at least have had a legitimate reason to hold his head high. Debra, and the rest of his family, would have renewed reason to respect Ray. But, Ray never really took personal responsibility. 

The episode ended, as most of their episodes ended, with Debra forgiving Ray despite Ray never learning, never changing, never growing up, never taking responsibility for anything. Well, it is just a sitcom.

The Bottom Line:  Survival is about attitude as much as anything else. Part of the survival attitude is the ability and willingness to take personal responsibility for your life. Its an attitude that is missing form most people's lives in the modern world. Like Ray, many people are too busy watching TV, or demanding respect they haven't earned. Don't be like Raymond.
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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Spiritual Preparedness

I've talked about this topic before, and I realize that some folks just aren't interested in it, but it is important. Here is what I want to share with my fellow preppers about Spiritual Preparedness:

I.)  Figure out your relationship with God.  This is the most important prep you can make, because the one SHTF event we are all guaranteed to face is our own death. Think about that for a moment. All the things we may be concerned about - an EMP attack, the collapse of the dollar, nuclear war, the Yellowstone super volcano, a worldwide pandemic, or whatever - may or may not happen in our lifetime, if it happens at all. But death is guaranteed to come for us all. We spend a lot of time and effort preparing for events that might not happen, so shouldn't we spend at least of little time and effort preparing for the one event that will happen? 

Not sure about God? I understand. It certainly took me a long time to figure out my relationship with God. I'm still figuring it out. My suggestions? Pray (a simple "God, if you exist, help me find you" will suffice for now). Read the Bible. Talk to a Bible-believing pastor or priest about your doubts. Make sure they don't compromise on the Bible being the inerrant Word of God. Too many modern (read: liberal) "pastors" and other "Christians" try to compromise with worldly ways by deciding that certain passages (the ones that they don't like or that make them uncomfortable) are irrelevant today. Run far from these fake believers.

II.)  All believers should pray daily. "Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2). Prayer is the heart of our relationship with God. 

III.)  All believers should read/study the Bible daily. "It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God,’" (Matthew 4:4, in which Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3).

IV.)  Keep the Sabbath. God created for six days, then he rested on the seventh day. Later, He engraved this pattern of one day in seven for rest in His Commandments. Set aside the Sabbath as a Holy day of rest, family, and worship. Join with other believers in worship on a regular basis. Christianity isn't meant to be a "do-it-yourself" religion. Christians are meant to be a part of the Church, supporting, encouraging, and helping one another.

V.)  Men, be the spiritual leader of your family. Leaders lead by example. Set the example of regular Church attendance, daily prayer and Bible reading. and living by God's ways instead of worldly ways. Institute daily family devotionals. Pray for your family. Pray with your family. Read the Bible to your family. Better yet, read the Bible with your family. Take responsibility for raising your children to be godly men and women. 

A real men is steadfast in his love for his wife and family. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" (Ephesians 5:25). We are to put our wife and family first - even to the point of being willing to die for them. This means to put them above ourselves, our career, our friends, and our hobbies. Above even our own egos. [Questions: Men, do you pray for your wife everyday? When is the last time you lead your wife in prayer?]

Commit to live God's way, rather than by the world's standards. Learn and obey His commandments and teachings. A line form an Orthodox prayer puts it wonderfully: "Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments." Don't compromise with modern world. Don't be embarrassed by accepting the authority of God's Word over the whim of public opinion as the standard for right and wrong. It won't be easy, but will be worth it!

Quick, can you name all Ten Commandments without looking them up? Do you know how Jesus' answer regarding the most important commandment fits in with the Ten Commandments? Hint: the first four tell us how to love God, the rest tell us how to love others.  
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