Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule

Reliable transportation in an emergency is a must have for any prepper or survivalist. After all, the best laid "bug-out" plans will fail if your bug-out vehicle simply won't go.  Although break-downs can occur anytime, following a regular auto maintenance schedule will go a long way to make sure your vehicle is ready to go when you really need it. Here is a suggested maintenance schedule for most vehicles (check your owners' manual for specifics relating to your vehicle). You may also need to adjust this schedule if you drive a lot more than normal, or engage in a lot of hard-driving (off-roading, mountainous terrain, extreme weather, etc.). If you don't know how to do any of this maintenance, please take the time to learn how to do so safely and correctly.

Before Each Trip (no matter how short)

Take a moment to walk completely around your vehicle. Look at each tire (is one going flat?). Glance under the vehicle (is it leaking fluid? Or, in the case of many older vehicles, is it leaking more fluid than normal?). Is there an obstacle in the way of your path (a bike, toy, fallen tree branch, sleeping pet)? When you start your vehicle, make a habit to immediately check the gas gauge. I recommend that preppers never let their tanks fall below half-full. You might have to fill up more often, but you never know when an emergency will hit. You don't want to have to bug-out with your gas gauge approaching E.

Weekly Maintenance

1) Check the vehicle's fluid levels. Top off as necessary.
  >> Oil
  >> Engine coolant
  >> Brake fluid
  >> Transmission fluid
  >> Power steering fluid
  >> Windshield-washer fluid
2) Check your tire pressure (also a good time to make sure your spare tire and jack are in the vehicle and in good condition).
3) Check the lights and turn signals.

NOTE: Fluids are the life-blood of any vehicle. Many breakdowns occur because fluids are allowed to get low or dirty. Check all fluids weekly, and get them changed on a regular basis (follow the specific recommendations for your vehicle, if different from what is listed here).

Monthly Maintenance

1) Visually inspect the battery cables, clamps, and terminals. Is any corrosion starting to appear? (If so, learn how to safely clean the terminals yourself.) Notice any damage or fraying of the battery cables? (If so, get them replaced.)
2) Check the vehicle's belts and hoses. Are any damaged, frayed, chipped, or loose?
3) Check the air filter.

NOTE: Deal with any dashboard indicator lights (warning lights) as soon as possible. Yes, you can often continue to drive with the warning light on, but it may worsen the problem. Dealing with a problem sooner, rather than later, is usually cheaper.

Every Three Months

1) Change the oil and oil filter.*
2) Check the tread on your tires.
3) Check windshield wipers.
4) Inspect your radiator and cooling system.

* Due to a recent experience, I am now a firm believer in using a quart of Marvel Mystery Oil with each oil change, particularly if you have an older vehicle. Just a suggestion.

NOTE: Many modern vehicles require the engine to be puled in order to replace the water pump or timing belt. If you have to replace one, you might consider replacing the other at the same time to save money in the long run.

Every Six Months

1) Check/rotate tires.
2) Check chassis lubrication
3) Inspect battery and charging system.
4) Inspect muffler and exhaust system.

REMEMBER: Presented here is a general schedule for maintenance. Specific recommendations vary according to vehicle, so consult your owner's manual. Your driving style and conditions may also impact your needed maintenance. Consult your mechanic if you have questions or concerns.

Every Year

1) Check/adjust the brakes.
2) Check differential fluid.
3) Replace fuel filter.
4) Check wheel alignment.
5) Inspect steering system.
6) Inspect exhaust system.

NOTE: Check the antifreeze level in the vehicle's coolant each autumn to make sure it is ready for a harsh winter.

Every Two Years

1) Service the transmission (change fluid & filter).
2) Service the power steering (change fluid & filter).
3) Repack wheel hub and bearing grease.
4) Replace spark plugs and spark plug wires.

Again, if you don't know how to do any of the maintenance listed here, please take the time to learn how to do so safely and correctly. If you don't want to learn, or don't have time to do it yourself, it is worth paying a mechanic to do your maintenance. In my opinion, you are likely to save a lot of money in the long run by avoiding costly break-downs.

Want to learn how to do your own vehicle maintenance and repairs? There are lots of videos on You Tube. Most community colleges offer courses in basic (and advanced) auto maintenance and repair. A good, easy-to-understand book is Auto Repair for Dummies

NOTE: Information presented in this article is based on a variety of sources, including the manufacturer's recommendations for my Nissan Pathfinder, recommendations from a couple of auto repair books and websites, and my own personal experiences with other vehicles I've owned over the years. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dealing With Type II Diabetes - Lessons Learned

In early July of this year, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. This was a surprise because I lived a healthy lifestyle (or so I thought) and didn't have a family history of diabetes (or so I thought). This article is about the mistakes I made and lessons I've learned.

The bad news is that my A1C level (a measure of blood sugar over the previous 3 months) in July was extremely high, and likely had been for quite a while. The diabetes was beginning to seriously affect my vision, so much so that I had to undergo a series of injections in my eyes (as in needles piercing the wall of my eyeballs and injecting medicine directly into the liquid centers).

The good news is my blood sugar levels have come down sharply in the 3+ months since my diagnose, and the improvement to my vision is dramatic.

Diabetes Symptoms

According to the American Diabetes Association, "the following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.

Common symptoms of diabetes:
  •     Urinating often
  •     Feeling very thirsty
  •     Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
  •     Extreme fatigue
  •     Blurry vision
  •     Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  •     Weight loss - even though you are eating more (type 1)
  •     Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of developing the complications of diabetes."
Why My Diabetes Wasn't Diagnosed Earlier

It was my fault. I made two mistakes.

First, I avoided doctors most of my adult life. In fact, during the 20+ years of my adult life prior to my diabetes diagnose, I went to the doctor only once. There were a number of excuses why I avoided doctors - didn't want to waste money, too busy, didn't have time, wasn't sick enough to go... Perhaps I was even too macho. After all, many of us guys think we are supposed to always be tough and never admit weakness. We tend to "walk it off" and "play through the pain" rather then actually dealing with it in a constructive fashion.

Second, I made some false assumptions about my health. I thought I was just getting older because what I now know as symptoms of diabetes actually started not long after I turned 40. Many of the symptoms I had - blurred vision (I needed reading glasses), lower energy levels, more frequent urination, especially at night - can be common as people age. In essence, I wrongly self-diagnosed my symptoms to mean I was simply becoming middle-aged. 

It wasn't until earlier this year, when my symptoms became much more severe, that I began to suspect something else was going on. Eventually, my worsening vision forced me to go to the doctor, where I learned that I had diabetes, not just normal aging.

Family Medical History

Research shows that people who have a family history of diabetes are more likely to get diabetes. Many other diseases also have a genetic component. This is why it is very important to know your family medical history. In my case, it turns out that my grandfather, who died when I was much younger, had diabetes, as did an uncle (also deceased). I was unaware of this family medical history until talking to my mother after I was diagnosed with diabetes.

Healthy Diet and Lifestyle?

I thought I had a relatively healthy diet and lifestyle. I didn't smoke, do drugs, or abuse alcohol. I was fairly active physically.  I rarely ate fast food or drank sodas. I wasn't much for sweets (except ice cream). I even liked salads and vegetables. Good, huh? Well, maybe not. There is more to having a healthy diet and lifestyle, and I made a number of mistakes.

Despite not eating sweets (other than the ice cream), I had way too much sugar in my diet. Most Americans do. The food companies put huge amounts of sugar into our food. They have too in order to cover up the taste of the massive amounts of salt they add to extend shelf-life. Its not just the massive amounts of sugar in our processed foods, even basic foods such as most canned vegetables have lots of added sugar.

Starchy foods - such as potatoes, flour, bread, cereals, pasta, corn, and rice - contain carbohydrates that are easily and quickly converted into sugar by the body. Even "whole grain" foods are quickly converted into sugar by the body. (Personally, I don't agree that whole grains are healthy, as much of the current health advice advocates. Instead, I consider whole grains to be only somewhat less bad than refined grains.) Starchy foods made up a significant portion of my diet.

It also turns out that I had no real understanding of what a serving size it. A serving is not as much as you can pile onto one plate. Instead a serving size is much smaller. Before my diabetes, my typical serving of rice (one pile on my plate) was really equal to  two or three actual servings. A typical serving of oatmeal for me in the morning was one bowlful. It turns out that a serving of oatmeal is only one cup cooked, or about half my typical bowlful. Americans, including me, have supersized our food for so long we no longer have a true sense of serving size, and therefore tend to eat way too much. This taxes our body's ability to cope, and has contributed to the current epidemic of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

I will go into much more detail about a healthy diet and lifestyle in future articles, including the changes I have personally made to get positive results.

Lessons Learned

Here is a quick summary of the lessons I've learned in having to deal with my diabetes:

  • Visit your doctor regularly. Had I been getting regular checkups, even if only once every couple of years, my diabetes would have been caught much earlier (and I likely wouldn't have had to let an eye surgeon stick needles into my eyes). You are NOT wasting money or time by going to a doctor.
  • Never self-diagnose. In today's Internet world, its easy to look up symptoms on a website and decide that you have this problem or that disease. But many different diseases have very similar symptoms. In most cases, doctors are still necessary to determine what is wrong with any degree of certainty.
  • Know your family medical history. Don't assume, like I did, that you know all the important stuff in your family's medical history. You might be aware of your immediate family's history, but do you really know all the medical conditions of your grandparents, great-grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and other relatives? Probably not, unless you've actually asked people. I suggest talking  about your family's medical history with several of the elder matriarchs (women seem to be more aware of these things)  on both sides of your family tree.
  • Understand what actually constitutes a healthy diet and lifestyle. Sure, most people have some basic idea. But, like me, they have large gaps in their understanding (and perhaps an even larger gaps in what they are actually doing). I'll be writing more on this in future articles. There is also a lot of misinformation out there, and what we think we know is often wrong.  So be careful - read various sources, consider the sources and their possible biases, look for good information (not just information to fit your predetermined point of view), try to integrate the best of both conventional medicine and alternative medicine, and think! 
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, and nothing presented in this article is intended as professional medical advice. This article is only intended to relay my personal experiences and opinions in dealing with my type II diabetes. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be diabetic, PLEASE seek a diagnose and advice from a qualified medical professional as soon as possible. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Review: What Could Possibly Go Wrong???
Survivor Jane (on Twitter: @SurvivorJane) is the author of a new survival/preparedness book, What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? How To Go From Completely Clueless To Totally Prepared, aimed especially at women (but can be useful for anyone). She is the creator of the popular #preppertalk hashtag on Twitter, is the proprietor of the website, and was featured on season 4, episode 5 of Doomsday Preppers.

This book tells you, as its name implies, what could possibly go wrong, and more importantly, what you can do about it. But what makes this book stand out from the many other preparedness and survival books on the market today is the style in which it is written, a much more conversational tone without the doom-and-gloom so common in other books of the genre (which often come across as lecturing their readers, rather than talking to them). She also uses less technical jargon and acronyms, fully explaining them when she does. She makes use of humor and personal experiences to make her points. This style makes her book less intimidating to those new to preparedness and survival. Coming from a woman's perspective, with a woman's tone, women might find it speaking to them in a way that is more natural and comfortable.

A quick look at the chapter titles gives an idea of the scope of the book:
  1. Disasters Come in All Size
  2. Mental Preparedness
  3. Self-Defense
  4. Survival Mindset
  5. Health and Hygiene
  6. Fitness
  7. Medical- First Aid
  8. Food
  9. Survival Gear
  10. Sustainable Living
  11. Finance
  12. Survival Skills
  13. The Government
One aspect I really like about Survivor Jane's book is that it covers several areas in detail that are often given little attention elsewhere. For example, mental preparedness is an area I find to almost always be mentioned, but rarely discussed, in most survival books. Typically, survival authors give a line (or, at most, a paragraph) stating that mental preparedness is important, then go on to completely ignore the subject for the rest of the book. In Survivor Jane's book, mental preparedness is given an entire chapter (ch. 2), or two if you count the closely related Survival Mindset (ch. 4).

The chapter on Self-Defense (ch. 3) thankfully goes beyond the typical guns & ammo (which are very useful, but are actually the last line of defense after the other lines have failed). She explains what can happen (knowing is the first step in preparing, as Survivor Jane notes). She gives some great ideas on improving your situational awareness (critical for self-defense). She discusses improvised weapons for when you don't have your gun for whatever reason. There is a section of cheap (or even free) ideas for improving your home security. And there is even a section on women disguising themselves as men for protection (something I had never thought of before reading it in her book).

This book makes a great general introduction to survival and preparedness. It is especially useful to those folks who might find typical survival and preparedness books uninteresting, intimidating, or otherwise difficult to understand. You can find What Could Possibly Go Wrong??? on Amazon in either paperback or kindle versions.

Other Books By Survivor Jane:

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jesus, Self-Defense, and the Pajama Boy

Luke 22:35-38 English Standard Version (ESV):

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 

36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.
37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 

38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough. 

The Context: This teaching takes place immediately before the events at the Mount of Olives and Gethsemane, including the arrest of Jesus (which is described in verses 39-53 of this same chapter).

Tim’s Comments: Earlier in his ministry, Jesus had sent out his disciples “without money bag, knapsack, and sandals.” The idea was to trust God to provide for their needs. And, indeed, they did not lack anything. 

Yet, difficult times are coming. Jesus forewarns His disciples of future persecution, and tells them to prepare for whatever may lie ahead.  But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” (During this time, travelers carried swords for self-defense against robbers.)

Different interpretations of this passage are possible. First, that Jesus is speaking metaphorically, warning His disciples to prepare spiritually for the spiritual battles ahead (see Ephesians 6:10-17, the “Whole Armor of God” passage). Second, that Jesus is speaking literally, suggesting that His disciples need to prepare for the difficult times that are ahead of them, including arming themselves for self-defense. Both of these possible interpretations have merit (see the following paragraphs), so a third interpretation is that Jesus is speaking to both ideas – metaphorically of spiritual battles, and more literally of physical preparations for future difficulties and persecution.

The editors of the ESV Study Bible give two reasons for  the metaphorical interpretation: “(1) In Luke 22: 38 the disciples misunderstand Jesus’ command and produce literal swords (v. 38); on this view, Jesus’ response that “It is enough” is a rebuke, saying essentially, “Enough of this talk about swords.” (2) Just a few minutes later Jesus will again prohibit the use of a literal sword.

Additionally, they also give reasons for the literal interpretation: “(a) The moneybag and knapsack and cloak in this same verse are literal, and so the sword must be taken literally as well. (b) Jesus’ response that “It is enough” (v 38) actually approves the swords the disciples have as being enough, and Jesus’ later rebuke in vv. 49– 51 only prohibits them from blocking his arrest and suffering, that is, from seeking to advance the kingdom of God by force. (c) The very fact that the disciples possess swords (v 38) suggests that Jesus has not prohibited them from carrying swords up to this point, and Jesus never prohibited self-defense.

Jesus is clearly drawing a distinction (“but now”) between the way His disciples went out to the people early on in His ministry, and the way they must go out in the difficult times ahead.  Father Lawrence Farley, in his commentary The Gospel of Luke – Good News for the Poor, writes: “Difficult times are indeed coming, and Christ forewarns His disciples of the dangers to come. He asks them to compare the time when He sent them out with purse and bags and sandals (9:1f) to the coming days. In those earlier times of mission, did they lack anything? They answered “Nothing” – they had all they needed, being supplied by the hospitality they encountered. But now, things will be different. They cannot count on receiving hospitality or help but must rely solely on themselves. Persecution, not welcome, would be the order of the day.

The point Jesus was making is that the disciples must now rely on themselves for their needs. But, what does it mean for the disciples to rely on themselves? Earlier, Jesus sent His disciples out without anything other than the clothes they were wearing. They were to rely on the hospitality of others for their needs. But now, they “must now provide for their own needs and not rely on receiving a friendly welcome” (Fr. Farley). In contrast, Jesus now tells His disciples to prepare – to take money and knapsack and sword (even if they had to sell their clock to buy one). 

Certainly, a major part preparedness for the followers of Jesus is spiritual preparedness (the metaphorical interpretation). But, spiritual preparedness had not been among the things forbidden by Jesus earlier, only physical preparations. Allowing spiritual preparations, therefore, would not be a contrast to the earlier way, only a continuation of the same. A purely metaphorical interpretation fails to provide the needed contrast. Since Jesus obviously intended his statement  show show a contrast, it has to be more than just (or only) a metaphor.

It also, as the editors of the ESV Study Bible point out, makes little sense for the sword alone to be a metaphor, while the other items in the same sentence are meant literally. 

Specifically about the sword, Fr. Farley writes: “Literally speaking two swords among eleven disciples are nothing and will be quite inadequate to defend them against actual armed attack. But Jesus was not referring to actual armed combat, but to their using their own resources in reliance on the power of God. Therefore, He answers “It is sufficient,” for even such small resources are sufficient if accompanied by faith in God.” 

God can use our preparations - our actions and resources - meager as they might be, to accomplish His will. But, this doesn’t mean that we aren’t supposed to make preparations. Indeed, the Bible is replete with examples of God requiring His people to prepare for future difficulties. 

But what about Jesus’ rebuke of Peter later that same night? When the authorities came to arrest Jesus, Peter used a sword to defend Him, cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest (Luke 22:50). This resulted in a sharp rebuke of Peter from Jesus (Luke 22:51). This rebuke is often used to paint a picture of a pacifist Jesus, who prohibits even self-defense. 

The problems with that interpretation are many: 1) Jesus never prohibits self-defense in any of His teachings; 2) it goes against the nature of Jesus, who is shown to act forcibly when the situation called for it, such as His attack on the money-changers at the Temple (see John 2:13-16), when He made a whip and used it against the money-changers, overturning tables, scattering money, and driving the money-changers from the Temple; 3) Jesus never forbids His disciples from carrying swords, as shown by the fact that at least two of them were carrying swords during the events recorded in Luke 2.

Jesus taught love and forgiveness, but never taught pacifism. Loving our neighbor does not in any way preclude self-defense or forceful actions when necessary. Forgiving others does not mean we must allow them to continue hurting or threatening us.

A more accurate interpretation of the rebuke of Peter is Jesus was upset at Peter for not realizing what must happen to Him for scripture to be fulfilled.  Jesus’ death and resurrection, not armed rebellion or the establishment of an earthly kingdom, is what must happen. This lack of understanding on the part of the disciples was a long-standing frustration for Jesus. It was this lack of understanding that Jesus rebuked, not the sword itself.

Conclusions:  There are many lessons that can be learned from Luke 22. One lesson is that the followers of Jesus are NOT guaranteed easy times ahead. In fact, persecution at the hands of the worldly system is to be expected, as Jesus warned His disciples. Another is that the followers are Jesus are told to prepare for difficult times and persecutions ahead. This certainly requires spiritual preparations (growing in our relationship with God through prayer, reading scripture, worshiping Him, etc.). It also requires physical preparations, including preparations for self-defense when necessary. 

The Pajama Boy is not Jesus
Finally, let me give warning against a non-biblical presentation of Jesus that is in vogue among many Christians today. Remember the Pajama Boy Internet meme from a few years ago? Many Christians see Jesus as kind of an ultimate Pajama Boy – a super-sensitive, in-touch-with-his-feminine-side, person solely about love, peace, and forgiveness. This is NOT the biblical Jesus.

Yes, Jesus was about love, peace, and forgiveness. But He was also a man of action, a forceful personality, aggressive when He needed to be, uncompromising in His values and expectations, willing to stand up against evil, willing to upset the authorities and the status-quo, willing commit civil disobedience, unconcerned with public opinion, strong, fearless, a true man’s man...

Yes, Jesus was quick to forgive, but at the same time He also demanded repentance - that those who received His forgiveness turn away from their sin and turn back to the ways of God. Forgiveness of the sinner never meant acceptance of the sin. Too many Christians today so emphasize the forgiveness part, that they forget about the repentance that must accompany forgiveness.

The Pajama Boy Jesus is preferred by many people today despite its incompleteness. Many folks are simply uncomfortable with those aspects of Jesus that clash with modern worldly sensitivities. But we ignore the fullness of Jesus’ personality and teachings at our own peril. 

Agree? Disagree? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Finding Inexpensive, Good-Quality Tools

Regardless of the type - hand tools, power tools, woodworking tools, yard & garden tools -  quality tools can be quite expensive. Yet, having the right tools is essential for anyone trying to be self-reliant, as any homesteader or DIYer can attest. The question is: How can we find quality tools at an affordable price?

I've had a lot of luck finding good quality secondhand (used) tools at some very reasonable prices. Sure, there are some potential pitfalls in buying anything used, which I'll address in this article, but there are some incredible deals out there if you are willing to look for them.

Where do you look for good-quality secondhand tools?  Try yard sales, garage sales, flea markets, thrift stores, consignment shops, pawn shops, and salvage stores. Check online with sites like eBay, CraigsList, FreeCycle, etc. Check the classified ads in your local newspaper (especially good for the more expensive power tools).  Many mom-and-pop mini-marts have a bulletin board where folks can post items for sale, so check out those places, too.

How much should I pay for a good-quality secondhand tool?  Typically, you should expect to pay 30% to 50% of the new price for a quality secondhand tool that is still in good condition. The better the tool, the higher the price. If you don't know what the price of new tool would be, then take a notebook around to places like HomeDepot, Lowe's, Ace Hardware, and Sears. Jot down the type of tool, brand name, size, and price. Then take your notebook with you to use as a reference when you shop for secondhand tools.

For what I call Lending Tools (no-name screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, hammers, etc., that you wouldn't mind lending out to others), I would pay no more than $1 each, less if you can. And it is worth putting together a lending set, in my opinion.

What is a good quality tool?  What makes a good quality tool is the materials and workmanship that goes into manufacturing it. You'll eventually learn to tell the quality of a tool by eyeballing it, but if you want some idea of name brands, here's a quick but incomplete guide (ultimately it is a matter of opinion, and opinions vary):

Power Tools - DeWalt, Bosch, Ridgid, Makita, Milwaukee (all considered “job site” tools and used by the pros), as well as Hitachi, Porter-Cable, Skil and Delta.

Hand Tools - Craftsman, Snap-on (including Williams), Wright, Armstrong, and Blue-Point are among the best hand tools. Stanley (including Proto) is also good quality, though maybe a half-step down from the others listed.

How do I know if a secondhand tool is still in good shape?  Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware.

For hand tools, watch out for rust, dents, bends, and other signs of neglect, misuse, or damage. For cutting tools, such as saws, be sure to check the cutting edge to see if it is dented, warped, or dull. Same goes for the edges of tools like shovels and hoes. Look for cracks or other damage wherever two parts fit together (for example, the handle and blade of a shovel).  Make sure any moving parts still move without difficulty.

Remember, you may be able to sharpen or fix damaged tools. However, be realistic about your skill in doing so, and always pay the lowest end (or less) of your price range for damaged tools.

For power tools, be sure to always plug in and test the tool to make sure it works. Walk away from any seller who doesn't want you to test it before buying it, no matter what their excuse. Be sure to examine the entire length of the power cord for fraying or crimping (big dent), and check for bent or broken plug prongs. Check for rust, cracks, and other signs of neglect or damage. Make sure all safety features are still intact and working. Don't buy tools with safety features removed or altered, no matter how cheap. 

Other Articles You May Like

Basic Starter Tool Kit 

Prepper Workshop and DIY Safety

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Proof that preparedness is a waste of time? Lessons from a quiet September.

Most of this year saw a great and growing concern within elements of the prepper, survivalist, and conspiracy theory worlds about this Fall, and about September in particular. There was great concern among some that the various events happening in September would result in TEOTWAWKI. But, it didn't.

September has come and gone, without any major incident.
  • The anniversary of 9-11 occurred without any terrorist attacks or ISIS invasion in the US. 
  • The Jade Helm 15 military training exercise ended without martial law being declared, guns were not confiscated, no mass arrests were made, and no Wal-mart became a concentration camp.
  • Shemitah resulted in nothing cataclysmic happening.
  • The Blood Moon came and went without the world ending.
  • The Large Hadron Collider (nor any other physics experiment, for that matter) didn't blow up the world.
So, is it fair to say that the relatively calm September was proof that Preparedness is a waste of time and money? That preparing for The End Of The World As We Know It is only for nutjobs?

Of course not. There are very good reasons to continue to work towards preparedness - hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, economic problems, wars... History is replete with both everyday and major long-term disasters.

Besides, there are legitimate problems in the world today.*

When disaster does happen, and history proves that it will at some point, you are going to want to be as prepared as possible.

Lessons From a Quiet September
What should we learn from a relatively quiet September?
  1. Disasters are impossible to predict. Trying to predict that Disaster X will occur on Date Y is foolhardy. Sure, it is easy to do in hind-sight, which makes some of us think we can predict the future. But such predictions never work out, as September proved. The most we can learn form history that some disaster will happen somewhere at some point. History cannot teach us the details beforehand.
  2. Think logically, not emotionally. Fear, not reason and logic, was behind the elevated anxiety over September. Let reason and commonsense keep you alert to the possibilities, but don't let yourself get panicked by fashionable conspiracy theories or the latest in a long-line end-times prophecy. 
  3. Some folks push "fear-porn" for the money they can make off it. Take the Jade Helm fears, which were largely pushed by a small handful of  people who have built their careers (books, websites, radio shows) off frightening folks with their conspiracy theories. These folks claimed with absolute certainty that Jade Helm was a cover-up for NWO activities (martial law, gun confiscation, etc). They claimed to have inside information from folks who were in a know the TRUTH. Of course, they have now been proved to be wrong, and their so-called sources have been proved to be liars. Yet, somehow I think their careers will continue on, as many folks will continue to follow their discredited words with blind loyalty.
 What To Do Now

My best advice is to continue to prepare for whatever future disasters may occur, whenever they may occur. Preparedness is actually about survival, and to me survival increasingly means ending my reliance on the worldly system (unsustainable & evil) & following God's system instead. It means not just storing up enough food and other stuff to get me through the first few weeks, or even few months, of a disaster, but to develop the skills and resources I need to provide for myself, my family, and others, long after the stored supplies are consumed. It means the freedom to survive happily outside of the worldly system, largely unaffected by it no matter what may happen.

For more on this idea of getting out of the worldly system, see my articles Getting Out of Babylon! and Getting Out of Babylon! (part 2).

*The world's economy continues to teeter on the brink of collapse. China is experiencing a major slowdown. The US economy is doing worse than the "experts" are willing to admit. Much of Europe and the so-called Emerging Markets are already in recession. Economic freedom in the US, and around the world, continues to be impeded. Massive government debt levels in the US and around the world continue to grow. China is acting aggressively in the Pacific region. Russia is acting aggressively in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle-East. Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons continues without much resistance from the rest of the world. ISIS remains an active threat. The Obama administration remains determined to pursue their failed "lead from behind" foreign policy, and their naive policies fostering military weakness. The world system is in chaos, and chaos makes disaster mush more likely.