Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Life Begins When You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

I had to do something today that strikes fear in my heart every single time I have do it.  My forehead sweats (eewwwww), my mouth gets dry, my hands shake, I feel a little clammy and feel like I might just pass out.  I stutter.  I stammer.  I twitch.  I itch.  I feel like running away, hiding, going on a very long vacation to a place where no one will ever find me...and CERTAINLY to a place where no one would ever think of asking me to do IT.  I'd spend my days hanging out on the beach, the waves crashing on the white sand, the nannies keeping the boys busy while I sip on a nice, cold glass of iced tea, toes in the water, jump in for a swim and... oh... wow... that was nice.  OK... so, if I have to come back to reality, I'm going to tell you that not only did I itch, twitch and all that stuff, but I had to eat before hand (not an easy task for many reasons, not the least of which being that I'm a bit of a food snob and if I don't know what is in something, I'm not going to eat it... I have a dairy allergy and an egg allergy and eating a bite of the wrong thing is just not worth the hours-long migraine that will happen if I have the dairy and it isn't worth the hives and upset tummy if I get the eggs...)  Anyhow... any guesses on what I had to do today that has my feathers so ruffled?  Driving in Chicago rush hour traffic?  No - I'm a pro at that.  Specialist appointments for all three boys at the same time?  Please... I do that all the time.  Any REAL guesses?  Did you guess Public Speaking?
   The mention of the words alone - 10 hours after I finished speaking - is still choking me up.  How did this happen?  I'm somewhat intelligent, I'm kind of funny-ish, I'm articulate and I TOTALLY have God on my team... and I'm terrified of speaking in public.  I recited Bible verses when I drive to these talks.  I tell myself that I'm doing a good thing for advocacy for children with special needs and educating people about service dogs... and then I panic.  And self sabotage.  I don't mean to do it... but (Every time, without fail...) I get that dry mouth and I drink.  Anything I can get my hands on... I drink it fast.  Today's intake was 2 glasses of iced tea (my constant companion), another 2 glasses of water and a big gulp of Jonah's Pepsi - which I thought was my iced tea but surprised me in a big way when I got bubbles.  So, I should learn the lesson that when I'm nervous to begin with, drinking copious amounts of fluids is just not a good idea.  Because, invariably, the inevitable occurs right before I'm supposed to speak. UGH. 
   Anyhow, today I had Jonah (one of my 10 year old twins) and Lyla (his seizure alert/response dog) with me.  We didn't know the room, the layout of the building and Jonah saw to it that we had *just* enough time to get to where we were going, so we couldn't scope out the lay of the land.  In general, I try to do this so that when we "show off"  Lyla's skill at "Go Get Help, Get Mom",  I know where I am going to hide and Lyla knows where the doors lead... it just helps things go more smoothly.  So we didn't have the opportunity to check the place out and the time came for us to speak.  I did my usual talk and then it was time for Lyla to show off.  She feeds off of energy and she knew the room was full of people who were calling her "Pretty" and "Beautiful", she knows they're talking about her and she likes it.  She sits a little taller, puffs out her chest a little more, in what Jonah calls her "Noble Stance".  So we get out treats and get ready to show off her skill.  It goes off without a hitch, she couldn't have done a more perfect job, completely focused on finding me because her boy told her that he needed me.  The strong bond and love between them is breath - taking and mind-boggling.  She put aside her pride and her intense desire to be completely and utterly adored and set out to perform the task at hand.  She came to me, leash in her mouth... ready for me to take it from her and lead me back to her boy... he needs me, she tells me with a grunt and an urgency in her movements.  We rewarded Lyla for being such a good girl and took questions from the audience and then, we were done. 20 minutes that seemed to go on forever.  Looking back, and looking ahead, I don't know what I could have done differently or what  I  can do differently next time, but the one thing I do know is that God is standing with me.  I know that I'm supposed to be doing this.  I don't know why.  I don't know why God would use someone who truly despises speaking in front of people to speak in front of people... but I do know that it is not mine to question and that these are opportunities to bless and be blessed.  Jonah and Lyla were amazing, as always and I know that I can talk about them for a very long time, it comes naturally.  But adding the other dimension, today that was a crowd of about 60 people, is enough to throw me completely off kilter.  My silent prayers were once again answered, I stepped completely out of my comfort zone in order to do what needed to be done.
    When I am stressed or nervous, I have one book I reach for.  It isn't the Bible.  When I'm fearful, I can't interpret the Bible, it might as well be written in Swahili.  But I reach for a book called Letters From God For Women.  It gives me the exact Bible verses I need at a time that is stressful and uncertain.  These verses are then a good starting point for me to do further study when my mind is more open and ready to take in The Word.  This morning, I randomly opened the book, knowing that I would receive exactly what I needed, and, indeed, I did.

    My Own,

  The concerns of daily life often trouble your heart. You think that you are alone in your worries and must handle everything by yourself.  I long for you to know that I walk beside you through every dark valley and with every halting step you take as you struggle to keep going.  I long for you to know that when you stumble or feel weary, I am there.

  I will never abandon you, dear one!  I am with you, waiting for you to  let Me help you through every
troubling moment of every circumstance in your life.  Lean on Me, My daughter, and know that My promise to be with you will last through all eternity.

  With deepest love,
The One Who Will Never Forsake You

  This letter is wonderful in and of itself and was certainly what I needed this morning.  My favorite part of this book is the Bible verses that are chosen to go along with each letter.  The following are the verses that go with the above letter and are just wonderful reminders that God is, indeed, with me even when I'm anxious and not listening for His voice.  Deuteronomy32:4, Psalm 9:10,  Isaiah 42:16, Isaiah 54:10, Hosea 2:19-20.

  Once again, I find that life begins when we step outside of our comfort zone.  I can't grow as a person if I continue to hold myself back and am fearful of doing what it is that I am supposed to be doing.   I always have a rambling journal entry or blog post on the day that I have to make a presentation... I hope that it is not too confusing, maybe providing a little insight into the insanity.  I pray that each of you is able to take a step outside of your comfort zone.  By it's very definition, it is uncomfortable, it hurts a little, I feel slightly roughed- up and a little bruised, but I know that I did the right thing for the right reasons and I pray that maybe next time, getting out of my comfort zone might be a little easier.  I'm excited to think that God knows what His plans are for me... I have to keep following and obeying, keep on being willing to extend my comfort zone a little further...step an extra few paces outside of the box.  God has been faithful to me and my intentions are to keep being faithful to Him.  My momentary discomfort is a small thing in exchange for living the life He wants me to be living.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

You're NOT Helping...

Hello Friends,
It sure has been a rough week. I just wrote the following entry for the collab blog I write for and hope it explains my absence this week.  It has been exhausting, mentally and physically exhausing and I am, during these times, so thankful that things are not always like this.  I think the statement  "We need rain or we would never get to experience rainbows." fits very well... I know that I won't always feel this stressed and uncomfortable in my skin, but when I get back to feeling myself, I will appreciate it all the more. 

 As the mother of three children with special medical needs, I can say very honestly that there are times when I just want to crawl under a rock and stay there for a very long time...or lock myself in the bathroom for several hours and hope the kids don't find me.  This past week has provided me with so many opportunities to show grace and patience and, in my mere humanity, I failed.  In fact, it is an ongoing joke among my friends that I have "lost" my imaginary charges "Grace" and "Patience", lately, those metaphorical children have found themselves buried in various locations.  It is the perfect description for how I feel when things are so out of control in my world and there is nothing I can do to fix the situation, not even anything I can do to make it a little bit better.
  This week has seen a few seizures, a medication shortage that will have devastating results if I can't get my hands on some of the med within a short amount of time and  my "extra special" child getting "very autistic-y" on me - which is very difficult, a precursor to his seizures, when he's not feeling well, he gets very obsessive-compulsive and it really is awful for him, he has to roam the house, fixing things that "bother" him... moving around everything from his birth certificate (grrrrr) to the toothpaste and soap in the bathroom...making sure pens and pencils are pointing the "right way" and just an endless number of other details that don't make a darn bit of difference to anyone but him.  He, as a toddler and very young school age child, would do this a whole lot, with the introduction of a new medication for his metabolic disorder (same medication, for the record, that is seeing a current nation-wide shortage), many of these symptoms have gone into hiding and generally do not raise their ugly heads more than a few times a year. So, the pacing and talking to himself and "fixing" things is a lot of nervous energy that, frankly, makes me very anxious... I know how bad it can be, and I don't want to be there constantly.  I feel helpless... I can't "fix" things for him because I can't see through his eyes... these things don't bother me, so I can't fix them, but as his mother, even more heartbreaking is the fact that I feel so completely out of control that I can't "fix" him. 
   Most of the time, my nerves aren't shot and I can very clearly state that it isn't my job to "fix" my children.  They're not broken. They are exactly as God intends and intended for them to be.  Part of it is the optimist in me, part of purposeful living is realizing that negativity has no place in our world.  It makes life much more pleasant to not be constantly dwelling on the negative of every situation.  And in a few days, I'll be back to my usual self, I will be able to laugh off this slump in energy, I will see the role fatigue has played in my current state of being and I will be right back to just enjoying my children and not worry about having to fix them.  In these "low" points, I  clearly see how I don't want to live... I don't want our world to be obsessed with what is "wrong" with our world, I want to make the very best of what we do have and live contentedly, raising my children to be the men of God that I want them to be.  In the "dark" times, I have to remind myself that the light of Jesus is shining so brightly through my children... I need to be receptive and welcoming to that light.  When I allow my heart to be dark, I am not only not helping my children, but I'm literally turning away from Jesus.  Talk about unintended consequences!
  A little over a year ago, my youngest son decided that he wanted to paint his room.  We chose the paint and prepared the room for the project.  Always the adventure, we set about painting.  When I had had just about enough of my 5 year old little "helper", I got to the point that I felt like saying, "SAM, You're NOT HELPING!"  Can you imagine how crushed my little boy would have been if I had actually said that to him?  It kind of brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.  We practice gentle parenting and yelling is reserved for raising my voice to get the attention of 5 wrestling boys or calling them in for dinner... so the mere thought of crushing his sweet spirit by saying these words, when he was SO proud of himself and in his world, he really was helping, the spilled blue paint on the antique hardwood, the bright green hand print on his bed's headboard, my frayed nerves.... all unintended consequences.  But I couldn't help but think... MY GOODNESS!  How often does God bite his tongue and NOT tell me that I am NOT helping anything?  OUCH!  None of it is about me having control - and I know this - because I do believe it is all in God's sovereign hands.  But in my human-ness, I internalize and rationalize and I seek to control things that are not mine to control.  And when I write it out, and it is always the physical process of writing it down, speaking the words does not have the same effect on my attitude, but writing the words... a release, a calm.  And not a moment too soon... I think someone just put the tube of toothpaste and hand soap in the washing machine again.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The One Jenni Didn't Write, But Laughed At. You Might Be A Counterculture Mama If...

Hello Friends,

  I didn't write this, but, oh boy!  Did it ever make me laugh... and I might just be included in this for more than a few of the reasons!  Enjoy this fun list... AND GET YOUR FREAK ON Anti-Mainstream Mamas!  There is an ever - increasing number of us and I see it as a good thing... Back to basics!   ♥



You Might be a Counterculture Mama if . . . .

Image by "Playing with Brushes"I've never considered myself strange. In fact, I've always just wanted to be normal and mainstream. But after having a twitter converstation with @TheLeakyBoob about the many uses of breastmilk, I realized I'm just not ever going to be. So here's my tribute to all the counterculture mamas out there, reluctantly or otherwise:
You might be a counterculture mama if:
1. The only thing a crib has ever been used for in your home is to store clothes (if you own one at all).
2. You consumed sushi, raw cheese, deli meat, beer, or wine (or all of the above) while pregnant.
3. The first doctor your child saw was a chiropractor.
4. When you open your medicine cabinet, you find various essential oils and a neti pot, and not much else.
5. Your placentas are buried somewhere in your yard, if you didn't eat them.
6. When you ask your children how babies eat, they lift up their shirts (even the boys).
7. Dr. Bronner's is the only commercial cleaner in your home, and you use it for everything.
8. You know was EC means.
9. The only time your child is strapped into a car seat is when they're in the car.
10. One or more of your children were born in the water.
11. You drink a beer a day while you're nursing.
12. You own at least three different baby slings.
13. You know why that kid is wearing an amber necklace.
14. When you weaned your baby at 15 months, you were the first of your friends.
15. When you change a dirty diaper, you take it to the toilet, not the garbage can.
16. You've squirted breastmilk on your child's eye/ear/nose/butt.
17. The Environmental Working Group's Cosmetic's Database is bookmarked on your computer, and you don't buy anything over a 2.
18. Your toddler doesn't know what cow's milk or juice tastes like.
19. You own a Moby or similar wrap and know how to tie it.
20. You can't watch "A Baby Story" or "Deliver Me" because you end up yelling at the television.
21. When the Hyland's Teething Tablet recall was announced, you ran out to the store and bought every bottle you could find.
{The following were added after the original list was posted -- thanks to LisaJulia, Liz, Ashley, Alexis, Grace, Jean, Rachel, Christy & Danielle for the suggestions!}
22. Your child only weaned because he was too busy running around to remember to breastfeed anymore.
23. You know what arnica is and you know how to use it.
24. When you go to the pediatrician's office, you bring your own printed copies of the WHO growth charts.
25. You know what tandem nursing is, and you've done it.
26. Your child's first solid food was avocado, banana, sweet potato, or meat that you cooked and pureed yourself.
27. You know what a Diva cup, sponge beads and mama cloth are.
28. You have no idea how many times a day (or night) you breastfeed your child(ren).
29. You own a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
30. You educate your children but don't send them to school.
31. You can walk and breastfeed at the same time.
32. You're going to have to explain to your boy children why their penises don't look like their dad's.
33. The staff at the pediatrician's office knows you as THAT patient.
34. You cook things from scratch because you want to be able to pronounce every ingredient.
35. You know how to breastfeed your child while they're strapped in a carseat in a moving car.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The One Where Jenni Gets All Serious About Emergency Preparedness

Hello Friends,

  One of the topics I hold most near and dear is preparing for an emergency.  The nature of the emergency is relatively unimportant as our needs as humans are universal: water, food, shelter.  I'd go even farther and say our needs continue and include community, spirituality (including those who choose to not believe in anything, making a conscious choice to exclude spirituality is a life choice), entertainment and comfort.   The way all of this looks in an emergency situation, whether it is power going out for a few hours, the fall of civilization as we know it, job loss, the zombie apocalypse or whatever else is in store for us matters very little, sure, the details will be different, but our ideas of all of these things, with the exception (personal exception for me) of spirituality... these things will all look different... water will be different, we may have to boil or treat water before drinking, food - folks, the vast majority of people these days are eating fast food and prepackaged convenience foods.  I'm sorry to be the one to break it to you... but this is NOT what "food" is going to look like in an emergency.  I'm certain these days to include "taco rice" as a menu item for my children - and THEY LOVE IT... my "dirty little secret" is that this is but one way to present beans and rice, a way that tastes very good, in the event that food stores must be used in an emergency.  People who are used to opening a box or can and heating and then eating are going to be very sorry when there are no cans in any stores.  You'll find cans in a stockpile, but we, as a society, need to better prepare ourselves for the event that arises when we need to make "real food".  Making bread is not something reserved for hippies and Amish women...I make it all the time (although... come to think of it, I've been called both of those things and don't take them as insults... get your groove on and put your apron on and BAKE, my friends!).  Shelter - it may look the same, but you may be forced to "get out of dodge", in which case, your "GOOD" kit should by all means include a tent, some tarps and some solar/reflective blankets... life in a tent, will not be a comfortable thing...and it is not outside of the realm of possibility for something to happen that means you'd have to leave your home.  Community will be very different, my guess is that we'll see hard core survivalists, survivalists who are going to help their community, folks who are completely unprepared for any emergency and they are in the same category as infants, children and the elderly and disabled who we are obligated, in my ever so humble opinion, to care for,  except these folks are choosing to not be ready for an emergency.  By lumping those two groups together (those who are unprepared by choice and those who are unable to care for themselves), I'm simply saying that they are just that, unable to care for themselves.  I'm much more likely, however, to help someone who, not by their own choice or doing, needs help.  The reality, however, is that there are going to be people who need help... so consider community (people at large) changes in society that will occur in an emergency.  Spirituality, for me, will stay the same... Same God, always Good despite the situation.  It may change for some people and we hear all the time "How could God allow this to happen?" - Last I checked, people are causing the destruction and chaos, not God.  So, for me, this is a comforting constant.  Entertainment... we need an outlet for stress.  Times in an emergency will be stressful.  We may not have video games, computers, new magazines, news, television, etc.  We're going to have to release stress in much different ways than we do now.  Family movie night might be replaced by family book night, or an old-fashioned game night...card games, dice games, board games... non-technical crafts and hobbies are going to become en vogue again.  Comfort... I venture to say that our picture of comfort will change.  Whether it is us living in tents (which is pretty extreme) or us having to live in one heated room that has a wood stove or fireplace - and don't minimize how difficult this would be... right now I am envisioning our whole family in the basement where the fireplace is... granted, it is a comfortable basement, a couch, a chair, carpet, a cold storage room, a game area... but it is a mighty small area for 9 people to be smooshed together in for any length of time. But, if something happens when it is cold out and we have no furnace... the fireplace will provide not only heat, but a means to make meals as well.  Comfort will be different than it is now, but keeping warm, keeping fed, keeping community will take priority over our current level of creature comforts.  
So, this is my take on emergency preparedness.  It is something I take seriously.  I came across a great article today that outlines pretty well the skills that will be necessary for a survival situation.  Other than the things I've added above, I'd also add protection to the list contained in the article.  It isn't pretty to think about but there will most likely be looting, people trying to steal things from others and violence that most of us have never witnessed.  I like the statement that I've heard:  Some people say I'm paranoid because I have a gun.  That's stupid.  If I have a gun, why do I have to be paranoid?   Sums it up pretty well, I'd say.  Here's the article... it is pretty detailed and might make some a little uncomfortable...especially the parts where the writer describes the things that could go wrong.  Personally,  I choose not to worry all that much about the "what" as in "what can happen?", but am generally prepared for things that can go wrong.

10 Skills Needed to Thrive in a Post-Collapse World

by John Bush
Post image for 10 Skills Needed to Thrive in a Post-Collapse World Knowledge is something that no one can take from you. It’s the eternal wealth that will help you thrive in a Post-Collapse world.
By: Jeffrey Green from ActivistPost.com

Some experts see the perfect storm emerging for a dramatic collapse of Western civilization claiming we’ve reached environmental, economic, and geopolitical tipping points. Clearly, some skills will be far more valuable than others if this societal breakdown occurs. Sorry bankers, lawyers, and accountants, there won’t be a need for you in a post-collapse world.

Before we quantify the skill sets that will be viable, it is important to define the severity of a “post-collapse” scenario. When taken as a whole, together these tipping points could potentially converge to create a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-type world for the vast majority of humanity. However, given the advanced technology that we possess today, it is unlikely to ever become quite that primitive ever again. Surely there will be pockets of energy and food independence no matter what possible scenario unfolds, but the vast majority may be left to fend for themselves.

It would take a serious cataclysmic earth event like a super volcano, a meteor impact, major electromagnetic pulse event, or dramatic pole shift to affect the entirety of humanity. Man-made events like nuclear war, environmental damage, or total economic collapse, no matter how devastating, will be somewhat isolated and contained to specific areas and populations. Incidentally, every nation or territory that has experienced these man-made catastrophes has roared back to life in less than one generation. The only example of nuclear survival was in Japan, while the largest recent economic collapse was the break-up of the Soviet Union. In both cases those countries went through a very tough period, but ultimately they persevered.

For sake of this article, let’s assume that some level of devastation is caused by each type of tipping point in the United States. Our ever escalating wars finally reach our shores by way of long-range nuclear missiles, total economic collapse occurs rendering the dollar worthless, and we would likely have less electricity and water than Iraq did after Bush’s “shock and awe” campaign. Gasoline and oil supplies would likely be down to a trickle, halting all supply lines of food and other goods to big box stores. Factory farming will be impossible without cheap oil products readily available. The suffering will be dramatic.

The only question will become, how do the citizens react? Both the USSR and early 1950s Japan were far more agrarian, and far less dependent on big box stores than America currently is. American dependence on long supply lines, interconnected yet vulnerable electric grid, and pharmaceutical-based healthcare may lead to a more severe breakdown of society than witnessed in those countries. Although, innovative technology for alternative energy and agriculture practices will play a part in surviving; but they can only help the few with the knowledge, means, and stability to use them. And stability will be in low supply for some time, resulting in only small groups with relative comfort — those who planned for the worse. However, as an optimist, I believe that after the initial chaos Americans will rediscover solidarity for one-another, much like they did after 9/11, but this time it will be more sustained out of absolute necessity.

Many articles have been written about how to survive the coming collapse, or what is needed to survive, but not many articles have been written about what skills will have value in a post-collapse world. Imagine fulfilling human necessity without consistent fuel or electricity, large-scale food production, or fully-stocked pharmacies and hospitals. The only form of wealth in a collapsed civilization is the knowledge and skills to produce something of human value.

Here are 10 invaluable skills that will likely help you sustain yourself in a hand-made local world:

1. Organic Gardening and Seed Saving: Skills involving food production will be the most valuable in a post-collapse society. Learning to grow your own food is a must. Obviously, it is necessary to feed your family, but you will also be able to trade your abundance for other items. Additionally, learning to save seeds will also provide another excellent means of trade.

2. Food Processing and Preservation: Learning to process and preserve foods will be another huge skill in a post-collapse world. Taking seasonal abundance and preserving it for future consumption or trade will be vital. Remember, learning to do this with limited electricity is a must. This can also include learning to brew beer, mead, vinegar, or other alcoholic beverages from meager ingredients.

3. Hunting, Fishing, and Gathering: Learning to fish and hunt is essential to survival. Having the proper gear and training will be priceless after the collapse of modern civilization. Having reference guides for edible plants in your region, repairing weapons, trapping wild game, and fishing are great tools to have if you haven’t the time to learn them now. In regards to weapons, your ability to use them also gives you the skill of working security.

4. Animal Husbandry: Notice the first four categories are related to food production. It’s that important. Just gaining knowledge of one of these categories will give you an invaluable skill to thrive in a post-apocalyptic world. Knowledge of animal husbandry can provide endless amounts of sustainable meat, eggs, and milk to you and your tribe.

5. Construction: Construction skills will be very important in a shattered civilization. These skills, especially without power tools, are not something you learn overnight. If you have some basic skills it may be worth learning a few techniques for building small structures with crude hand tools. There are many books teaching anyone how to build basic cabins, sheds, and composting outhouses.

6. Alternative Energy and Fuels: Having the knowledge to implement alternative energy systems will make you a wealthy survivor in a “dark” world. You can learn to build your own alternative energy systems, or you can purchase back up solar generators in preparation for emergencies. There are also small fuel refinery systems available like the biodiesel Fuelmeister, and the new invention from Japan that turns plastic into oil. Knowledge of how to create energy would be invaluable when oil is scarce.

7. Water Purification: Since it’s difficult to pump well water without electricity and with surface water likely to be contaminated, clean water will be in very limited supply. Learning to purify waterwill allow you thrive during this time. You can also purchase water filters for your go-bag that will last weeks, and you can have back-up tablets should you need them. However, the skill and knowledge to purify water should be the goal as that can never run out.

8. Basic First Aid and Natural Medicine: This is another skill that can take years to develop and learn, but that will be crucial when supply lines of pharmaceuticals are cut off and hospitals are over-run. Knowledge of growing herbal gardens for making medicine at home will prove to be very important. Learning basic procedures for stitching wounds, CPR, and more will also be of great assistance. Being the tribe’s shaman with a natural medicine chest is a prestigious position

9. Mechanics: Mechanics for cars, motorcycles, tractors and other machinery will likely be in high demand. In addition, bicycle mechanics will also fair well in world where fuel is very expensive or hard to come by. These are also skills that are not learned over night, but it will be wise to at least have access to books or how-to videos.

10. Soap and Candle Making: With long supply lines decimated and electricity on the fritz, soap and candle makers will provide a valuable product. Clearly some preparation of storing raw materials may be needed to achieve trade-able levels of these goods. Even if you just had the knowledge to make soap or candles just for your immediate tribe, you will be much better off for it.

You’ll notice that many of these skills also fall into the category of what you would need to be self-sufficient. Again, learning all of these skills will be virtually impossible, especially if the collapse isn’t that far off as many predict. Determine which skills that most appeal to you and focus on them by studying and acquiring the tools needed. Since you can’t become an expert in everything it may be wise to recruit tribe members with various survival skills. It will also be beneficial to build up your library of “how to” books and videos for tasks that you are not proficient in. You can download any video from Youtube by using Keepvid.com and build your library into an external hard drive.

Remember, knowledge of and skills to produce human necessities will be the only form of wealth creation in a hand-made world. Knowledge is something that no one can take from you. It’s the eternal wealth that will help you thrive in a Post-Collapse world. Get Prepared Now!

Source:  http://f4fs.org/  (The Foundation for a Free Society website) 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The One With The Funny Stuff

Hello Friends,

  I'm just (snowed in) bored and have come across a few very funny videos and you'll really have to excuse my punch-drunk humor... but these are too good not to share.  Some new (to me) ones, some old favorites.  I mean...really, how can you not ADORE Crank-Yankers on a snowy (or any) day?  Good Stuff.  ♥

    It needs to be said that I do not condone the bullying or tormenting of people with special needs.  I am the mother of  children with special needs.  This is just funny stuff... because... well the "special" kid is actually pulling one over on the Normie.  Way to go Ed!

  This is so funny, I almost had an asthma attack from laughing so hard.

OK, that's it for now.  Just thought I'd share. :)

The One With ALL THAT SNOW !!!

Hello Friends,
  Its been a few days, we've been keeping busy on the (Funny) Farm!  Not that we're not always kind of busy, but you might have heard about a little blizzard that made it's way through the Midwest and North.  Yeah.  It was AWE-SOME!  I can say that because we did not lose power... which, in and of itself is some kind of act of  God.  For real... if the wind blows here, power goes out.  Once, the dog sneezed (the LITTLE DOG) and it went out.  Seriously... we are on a VERY old grid, so we are used to the power being off for, at a minimum, several hours at a time.  So, we sure did prepare for the power to go out - when we heard that we would be getting hit, we got the wood in and stacked, got the sleeping bags in the basement by the fireplace, set up a cozy little area where we could all stay nice and warm and "weather" the storm.  (Get it... HA HA HA...ahhhhh I do crack myself up.)

 In the past several days, I've also been dealing with physical pain... OUCH!  I have sciatica and am having a flare up of that condition and last night was so bad... it was just bad.  It was bliss when I finally fell asleep - just to be rid of the pain.  A friend of mine recommended tart cherry juice - her husband was injured in an accident years ago and swears by the stuff... so I picked some up. It isn't cheap, but I found a small bottle for about $8 (Didn't want to drop $20 on juice, even if it is really good juice, if it wasn't going to help), and started taking it.  I do have to dilute it a bit more than it says because it is pretty sour, but a little more water and I can get it down.  So... get this... I got the bottle on Saturday night and started with a dose a day that evening.  I took it every day and pain wasn't noticeably better, but it wasn't any worse...until last night - and I realized this morning that I didn't drink any of the juice yesterday! So, it might just be helping some.  I thought that was worth mentioning because anything natural that helps is better than medications, which even if I wanted to take, upset my stomach horribly and I end up with pain AND being sick to my stomach... So I try to go the natural route any time I can.  Also, I've been using an arnica gel on my old, arthritic knees (as well as my back) and just today, I felt a difference after I used it... so, as with most natural remedies, give it some time to work, it is not going to work like a drug does.

 Upcoming, possibly even today, and later on in the week as well, in my blogging plans: emergency preparedness, emergency first aid kit supplies and building a stockpile of food and other necessities on a budget.  I'm sure there'll be some recipes thrown in for good measure.  It is hard to post some recipes, because, as with our dinner last night, Chicken and Dumplings (oooohhhhhhh soooooo goooood), I don't really have a recipe for the dumplings, I just make them and depending on the humidity, it might take 5 eggs and half a cup of milk or 8 eggs and  1 cup of milk... and My GOODNESS.... I can't even estimate the amount of flour and salt... I just eyeball it.  But it was good.  Nice, warming comfort food when there was a raging blizzard outside the comfort of our cozy home.

And now, without further ado... some really stinkin' cute and funny pictures of the snow and our activities outside today.   Sending you my warmest wishes, and prayers for comfort, peace and health. ♥

Daniel in a large snow drift.

This is the road in front of our house! LOL - CRAZY!!!

This is my father (Papa) falling from the playset.
He was not injured and after we stopped
laughing, we did help him get up.

This is Papa jumping on purpose.  He really
should know better at his age.

And this is my Daniel jumping... I would
think he should know better... but
he is a boy, so apparently not.