In the parable of the ant and the grasshopper, the ant diligently prepared for the coming winter while never stopping to enjoy the summer. The grasshopper only enjoyed the summer, without thought to the coming storms of winter. When winter hit, the grasshopper nearly starved before the ant took him in to the carefully prepared nest. While the ant saved the grasshopper’s life, the grasshopper brightened the ant’s long winter.
What does it mean to be daily prepared, living today while prepared for tomorrow? Simply put, preparedness as a lifestyle encompasses the skills, attitudes, preparation and self-discipline to be the ‘ant’ while singing like the grasshopper. The two are not mutually exclusive if you simply remember that tomorrow will come and we do not necessarily know what it will bring. Living a lifestyle of daily preparedness actually allows you to better enjoy the sunny days! Being prepared means that the short-lived storms of the proverbial summer do not disrupt your entire life. You are prepared; you deal with the storm, learn from the storm and move on. You think ahead of ‘today’ and you live with little or no fear as you have already visualized much of what could happen and are pro-active in preparing for it! You don’t waste valuable time on searching for lost keys, being delayed by a car out of gas, stressed out by over-due bills or wonder where your next meal will come from. You build strong families as you work on common goals and you learn the simple pleasures of family, friends, wholesome food and a home brimming with love, laughter and security! You work as hard as the ant, you face the realities of the coming winter and yet, you are happy, fulfilled and self-confident. You can play today because you are prepared for tomorrow!
This website is a collection of articles that will explore varied methods and areas of preparedness. We will not be limited to just the concept of food storage nor stretch into the world of a doomsday survivalist. Instead, we will approach preparedness as a daily process that will enable each of us to live more freely as we face the challenges of today and the unknowns of tomorrow. We will also address some ‘knowns’ about what tomorrow may very likely bring such as aging, medical issues, identity theft, and child safety. Preventing a storm is much better than coping with it! Along the way, we’ll discover how to make every dollar you have stretch as far as it can. My Dad once told me that every dollar he ever gave me seemed to turn into elastic. That was one of the greatest compliments he ever paid me! And frugality can be fun!
My interest in daily preparedness stretches back to my early childhood. Coming from a family with limited means, I learned very early that resources used wisely were resources that stretched and that being able to create was a gateway to freedom of choice. In first grade, we were required to wear dresses everyday. My Mother, being frugal herself, often made our school dresses from small pieces of fabric picked up on sale or from the remnant table. When I told Mom about my inability to play freely on the playground due to my modest disinclination to show off my undies, she started making bloomers that matched my dresses. I played happily and remember realizing that if you could make what you wanted, you could get what you wanted. In second grade, I received a gift card from a family friend for Christmas. My Mother, sisters, Grandmother (Nana to me) and I spent an afternoon shopping at Sears. I remember looking at toys, ‘pretty things’, and a new bedspread–all of the treasures I could buy with my money. It was almost too much to take in. Nana (a wise and frugal woman) carefully guided me to the clothing department and pointed out the beautiful dresses available for school or church. She showed me the clearance rack and explained that I could get three dresses for the price of one if I shopped on that rack. Nana and I looked at every dress in my size. We compared prices and tried to see how far we could stretch my little gift card. I tried on dresses and we talked about how much wear each one would provide me. When we left store, I had four brand new dresses! A Bargain Shopping Diva was born!!
In addition to bargain shopping, wise family members tutored me in basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning, hard work, budgeting, money management, learning how to learn and that old-fashioned attitude of ‘work before you play.’ When the work is done, play with great gusto! Enjoy life and, if possible, turn your work into play!
As I ventured out into adulthood, I was amazed to see how many of my peers had no concept of the basics of life. They suffered because they could not live within their means. They seemed overwhelmed by every little hiccup that life threw at them. Many seemed to run in circles, accomplishing little other than to make themselves very dizzy and those around them very frustrated. Even the simple acts of caring for a home, preparing meals, doing laundry or tending to children were insurmountable tasks for them. The more I saw of how other’s lived, the more thankful I was for the upbringing I had. And the more I wanted to continue to learn!
My quest for learning has allowed me to learn from many that are wiser and more experienced than myself. Friends have taught me to can, quilt, bake bread, decorate cakes, build an outdoor shelter, keep my family safe, perform first aid, cook in a Dutch oven and the list goes on. The internet has lead to a revolution of discovery, learning and instant knowledge at our fingertips. Along the way, I have taught others and continue to proclaim that living today while preparing for tomorrow brings security, hope, comfort, financial freedom, peace and spiritual well-being. Just as Noah was instructed to build an ark and Joseph was told to prepare for seven lean years, I believe that a loving God wants all of His children to be prepared for whatever may come! So come on, join in… let us listen, learn, and share while we live safely and happily.