Saturday, April 09, 2016

Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Fear and Fretting

I've been reading, watching, and listening to prepper style viewpoints more often the past few months and they are not for the fainthearted.  There is a lot of bad news in the world today.  Although following such news and discussion doesn't increase my own fear, I have an odd way of being able to put distance between me and that kind of discussion.

However, let there be an ambulance fly down my County Road when a family member is late coming home... then I'm into serious prayer and intercession.  When the tornado sirens go off, I feel anxiety (we don't have a basement in this house).  I actually find following that kind of news far better for my psyche than listening to election news.  Which I don't.  Unless I can't avoid it.  But I digress...

I was thinking about comments here on the Saturday posts, which off and on have been about our own fear or the fear people we care about are experiencing due to news head lines.  We feel helpless as decisions are being made which are throwing the world into chaos.  The more helpless we feel, the more we tend to experience anxiety.  It is just the way humanity is wired that way.

One truth you will find on all prepper-pantry sites is the more you can be prepared for an emergency, usually the less anxiety you have about it.  But how much do you have to be prepared?  What if your budget is limited and your energy is low and your on your own and people think you are a little crazy, anyway?  What then?

Well, I know what not to do.  If you have read more than a few Saturday posts here then you probably know the answer.  The one thing not to do is... to do nothing.  I think some survivalist prepper sites that instill fear actually do cause some people to freeze up and do nothing.  Because they can't do it all...

When you read a website or a blog and every single post is about a possible EMT strike, or nuclear war, or some other TEOTWAWKI event... then you tend to get overwhelmed because there is no way in the world that you can completely prepare for such an event.  I don't care how much money you have available.

Now, there are those people whom I believe God has led to move to the country, or do some homesteading, or buy a farm, or even go off the grid.  They did so because God was leading and not because they were afraid.  They developed a rural lifestyle because they desired to live it... they did not buy guns and canned food and hide in the mountains until Armageddon.

Wise people who live in major cities may very well own a place they can go to should they see civil unrest is coming but they are not currently hiding in caves.  I know you probably are not hiding in a cave at the moment because caves are not known for having good wi-fi. Unless you are a Microsoft executive, then you may have a wired cave.

So what can you do to prepare without being afraid?   First, ask God to lead you in the way He wants you to prepare.  I told you about my good friend in pre-Y2k months who felt God was leading her family to buy a generator and just a little extra basics.  She already did a lot of canning so she had a good pantry.  I felt God was leading my family to stock the pantry deeper but we did not invest in a generator.  We ended up using all of our pantry due to a job loss and her family ended up moving to an area where there often was power outages.  God knows...

If you are just beginning to live a pantry lifestyle (that is one of being prepared given your ability to do so and without fear), then think through what is the most likely event in your life that would require using preps.  For most people that would be an event that would keep you in the house for perhaps a week or so such as bad weather.

Then put back what you would need to begin with and usually that is food (that requires no cooking) and water for your family and your pets, a good can opener if you are using cans, prescriptions for a week, a way to know what is going on in the world (I have an inexpensive emergency radio but you can use any battery operated radio),  flashlights and other light sources, blankets and warm clothing (in season), and perhaps a way to cook food although that is optional.

That is it.  One week's worth of essentials. The basics.  You probably have most, if not all of them, already.  

Then deepen your pantry and add other emergency supplies as you believe God is leading you.  He will provide the funds you need and the resources as you ask and believe.  For instance, I found my emergency radio on the clearance table at Meijers the same week I had extra money to spend.  God is always doing that for me.  He is amazing.

As you deepen your pantry, think of ways to get the most out of what money you have to spend.  I've now put back one bucket of converted rice and I have one I'm using that is open.  The two bags of converted rice came from Sam's Club and the buckets from Menards.  Think of food that can extend other food you have on hand. 

Should you live in an area where you may have to leave home quickly, your week's worth of food and supplies would have to be more portable and they will need to be in one place and ready so you can grab them and GO!  There is a lot of information about grab and go bags online and I've written about it here but the one thing I would warn people just beginning to assemble such a bag is this... treat those lists as Wish Lists.  They often are so long they will make you give up, turn your computer off, and grab a pint of ice cream from the freezer.

I've been using Amazon credit (thank you!) to purchase a couple bags now and then of food used by backpackers.  I have basic dried veggies that could make a soup as well as a few packages of freeze dried meals.  There are just two of us so we don't need a lot but it gives me peace to know they are available for a true emergency situation.  One of the packages is Biscuits and Gravy* and yes... I tried a package and they are surprisingly good. 

There are very few people reading this blog today that could prepare for an EMP attack.  I mean, really... that would require at the least a great deal of resources and at the most a different lifestyle.  If God calls you off the grid, go for it!  Otherwise, just do what you can with what you have.  Most people will be led to live a pantry lifestyle on a much simpler scale.

What is your most important preparation?  What do you have to have first whether you can spend one dollar or one million dollars?  You have to spend time now with the only One who can keep you calm. 

True Peace is only found in a Person. 

Peace exists for those who have accepted Jesus as the Lamb God gave to cover the sins of Eden.  I feel like St. Paul who said it is fine to stay here and fine to go to be with the Lord.  You cannot buy that peace at the Survival Store.

It is not necessary to purchase items prepared for storage for your pantry but I've found there is a place for them should you desire. They especially work well for those living in small places and do not have much space for a pantry, for households of just a few people or less, and for those who do not want to be concerned about regularly rotating food in the pantry.  Many buckets of freeze dried food will last unopened for twenty years.  The food I purchased for a grab and go style emergency lasts around two years or more, according to the product.

*I have bought a few of the Mountain House products that are packed for two people (or one very hungry man) for a grab and go bag.  Since they are made for backpacking, you only have to add boiling water and let it sit according to instructions.  I tried the Biscuits and Gravy out of curiosity but I also bought a couple packages that have less carbs and more veggies.  Although in an emergency, I'd need the carbs, too. 

I also used credit at one time to purchase one box of the Harmony House dried veggies that backpackers use.  I haven't tried them as they are for an emergency but they have extremely high Amazon ratings.  I do plan to try some of them soon.  They come in individual small packets that are stored in one box.  The kit I bought has dried vegetables and dried legumes.  As per usual, most links to Amazon are Associate links and I thank you

Any of these items would make a great addition to a grab and go kit or simply a 72 hour emergency kit.  Although buying in bulk and in buckets is much more cost effective, this is a way those of us on a limited budget can buy a few products at a time to put together our own emergency kit.

Mountain House products... here.  This is the link to the Biscuits and Gravy but by following the "What People Also Bought" section, it shows a wide variety of products.  I bought a few of these to provide one meal to split between us a day, to be an addition to simpler food that does not need to be cooked.

Harmony House Backpacking Kit... here.  This is a great way to store some food in a very small space and for a reasonable price.  Any of these packages can be added to boiling water or stock to make a soup.  There are numerous ways they are used if you read through the Reviews.  Harmony House also has a variety of food stuff you can learn about by following the "What People Also Bought" section.


Anonymous said...

These are wise words and well balanced! Thank-you! I wish more in my family would take notice and prepare even a little, as you suggest. We have tried to prepare as much as we can, knowing if/when something happens (earthquakes/power outages in our area), they will be dependent on us. (if they can get to us!) I have to admit, however, I have succumbed off and on to fear, in preparing, but Jesus is my source of Peace and I know He will guide us and help us should such an emergency occur.
I'm so thank-full you are back to your regular blog posts and have been enjoying them all. Last Sunday's was so good, too! Spring has arrived in the PNW, and it's the gardening season, so the chores are keeping us busy!
Hugs and Blessings,
Laura C. (WA)

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Always good to remember our peace is a Person. I have a little sign beside my sink that says, "Be calm and focus on Christ." Good advice for any situation! I liked your humor too. Ahhh yes, if either of our sons lived in a cave, it would definitely be wired for wi-fi! Grin. Pam (SD)

mdoe37 said...

And don't forget a little stove to boil the water for those little packets of Mountain House. I found a cheap holding stove and added some sterno cans from the Dollar Tree.

My personal favorite? Chicken Teriyaki


Sandi said...

While I think it makes good sense to keep a few extra things on hand, there is a line of teaching out there in Internetland that binds many people up in fear. Fear is not of God. We have to be careful. I believe it is a plan of the enemy to make people cower. I know someone who is always waiting for the next date on the calendar that has been predicted to be some coming disaster. When that date passes, there is another prediction of some other event. It is heartbreaking to hear her.

Sorry, it touches a nerve. You said clearly here that your personal motivation is not fear, but I do think there is a danger in this line of thinking that grips so many people. We have to be careful. People get lost in it.

Throughout history mankind has had tough times. These are tough times too, but like you said we have to keep our eyes on the Lord.

Lee Ann said...

Great post! I know I can one week. Preparing for months is so intimidating. Would you be willing to list some of the prep sites you go to?

BTW so glad your computer is fixed and you are back.

Vee said...

The biscuits and gravy sound wonderful and I am considering buying a packet or two for my son's birthday. They don't camp outdoors, but they do go to camp every summer and are always looking for easy, nutritious meals.

I stopped worrying about stocking up for "the end" when I learned that the government can legally confiscate food and medical supplies in such a scenario. When I stock up, it is against some future tight financial time...the car needs repair or the furnace is on the fritz.

Sherry said...

excellent post!
now perusing the links.

Sherry said...

back to share that i've added a few items to my amazon list. will talk with the hubs and hopefully purchase soon. we've been discussing just this subject and desiring to view it in a healthy (not fearful way). think i'll ask him to read your blog post. :)

tealady said...

I also keep enough food for my family to go about a month and that is because everyone should be able to take care of themselves for a short period of time, Water would be my only concern well and also other people. But in the end it is all up to God,