Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Preparedess: Business and pleasure

It can be a challenging thing, running a blog. The number one rule for keeping a blog lively is to post frequently, which can often be difficult. What should I write about? Are photos of chickens sitting on top some canning jars too cutesy and fluffy? Who cares how to can meat? Oh no, not more doggy pictures!

As my blog manager, my husband often reminds me to temper the “fluff” on my blog with more serious and thoughtful pieces. I have an obligation, he reminds me, to provide my readers with nuggets of wisdom, not just pretty pictures of sunrises. And since many of my readers are preparedness-minded, he thinks it’s wise to post frequently on that topic.

But it occurs to me that I do. Sorta. Just about everything on this blog, in one way or another, relates to preparedness.

You see, preparedness isn’t just the amount of beans, bullets and Band-Aids we have stored away. Being prepared is a balanced whole that includes everything we do: reading scripture, teaching our children, making a living, getting ready for winter.

It’s the trivial everyday things that add up, you see. If we’re too skewed in any one direction, then we’re off balance. If we do nothing but stockpile ammo, we’re off balance. If we do nothing but read the Bible, we’re off balance. If we do nothing but focus on our kids, we’re off balance. Our lives are meant to be full and whole and inclusive of many things, which hopefully include stockpiling ammo, reading the Bible, and focusing on our kids.

Don, being a guy, admits he sees things from a nuts-and-bolts perspective. That’s what guys do. For example, in the last couple of weeks he’s been pulling together our GOOD (Get Out Of Dodge) bags. These are emergency grab-and-go bags that will ensure minimal comfort in the event we need to leave our home instantly (wildfire, earthquake, that kind of thing). These bags take a great deal of planning. They must be tailored toward weight (Don and I can carry a lot more than the girls can) and must be inclusive of any number of weather conditions (heat, bitter cold, pouring rain, whatever). The bags must include provisions for heat, shelter, food, water, and protection. It’s no small feat to pull together a well-thought-out GOOD bag. (Don’t worry, I’ll blog about them when they’re fully assembled.)

Since he’s been so focused on the nuts-and-bolts of how to assemble the bags, Don is naturally impatient every time I post something fluffy like sleeping babies or canning pears. It’s not that sleeping babies or canning pears aren’t important; it’s just that, as a guy, he’s less interested in seeing such things on my blog.

This is when he admits he has to step back, take a breath, and acknowledge that babies and pears aren’t such bad things to blog about (just not all the time). If I posted on nothing but where to find the best prices on lentils, how to store ammo, or what should be in a comprehensive medical kid, then I would soon lose my readership (except for those with a particular interest in beans, bullets, and Band-Aids).

Preparedness isn’t just having your GOOD bags packed and ready to go. It’s not just spending time at the gun range. It’s not just an inventory of how many jars of food you have squirreled away. Such things tend to focus attention solely on the dark and dire possibilities that may (or may not) be in our future.

But that’s not all there is to life. If you have a 9 to 5 job that you hate, and then you come home and spend your time crouched over a computer screen getting depressed at the state of the world, you’re missing the point. You’re missing more than the point: you’re missing life. You’re missing the attitude that there’s a better world out there. You’re missing that God has given us some mighty spiffy gifts, such as babies and pears and chickens and dogs and sunsets.

You will not succeed in preparedness if you allow the really bad things to convince you there is nothing good left in the world. If you’re so overwhelmed by the evil that you can no longer see the good, then the evil has already won.

There are some absolutely wonderful sites on the internet dedicated to survival and preparedness (such as my favorite, SurvivalBlog), but for all our predictions about the woes of the future, we still can enjoy the present. We can appreciate the beauty of the morning, the loveliness of an oat field, or the cuteness of a dog.

On the flip side of the coin, we can’t fall for the nonsense that everything can be left in God’s hands and we don’t have to participate in our future at all. God expects us to help ourselves, not sit like slugs and wait for Him to put the very food in our mouths. We should also take the time to thank Him for what he has given us; not only beautiful sunrises and cute babies, but also for the foresight to prepare for hard times.

So, in these broad terms, my blog really IS all about preparedness. It’s about what’s we’re doing to defend and protect ourselves, and how we’re preparing (with God’s guidance) the tough times we feel are coming. And while we may be preparing to face evil, we can still recognize and appreciate the good.  That's balanced.

In other words, we’ll take joy in just living our ordinary mundane lives. We’ll go about our business of watching the sunsets, dealing with a failed garden, taking a trip to town, and ultimately being prepared to meet our Maker.

And maybe that last point is the most important one of all.


  1. Yup, that last o ne is the most important one of all.

    Bill Smith

  2. Here it is, middle of the night, I've got a nasty head cold and I couldn't sleep, so I got online! Of course, I went to your blog. Don's right about the "fluff." But he's also wrong in thinking you might be posting too much fluff. You post plenty of non-fluff stuff, too. If I didn't think so, I wouldn't keep coming back to your blog. Don's used to your down-to-earth common sense and good wisdom. He might not realize that a lot of folks don't have a spouse like you, but wish they did. Heck, even those of us with a sharp wife of our own (like me) still like to know there are others out there and we like to hear all that you have to say. In my opinion, you're doing just fine, Patrice. The fluff is balanced very nicely with plenty of good, sensible articles. Please keep at it!

  3. Great post, Patrice. Balance is so important in all aspects of life.

    : )

  4. I am a serious beans-n-bullets kind of guy, ex-Army, daily reader of several blogs on survival. I think the content on your site is absolutely the perfect combination of grit and fluff. In addition to the normal guy stuff, I love nature photography, and appreciate your wonderful pictures. I work together with my wife to raise a garden and can a lot of vegetables. We have pets that we love, too. Please, don't change a thing! I look forward to every frequent post, and appreciate a woman's perspective on survival topics. Thanks for all that you do.

  5. That last one is the most important of all. I'm glad you said so. =) If all our preparedness fails us, our prepared hearts will live on with the Father forever, and that's what makes the difference.

    Also, i can't begin to figure out how canning pears can possibly, in anyone's mind, not qualify as a lesson in preparedness. Your husband (and mine too) will be mighty glad for canned pears after having eaten beans and rice for a couple of weeks/months in said "hard times."


  6. Patrice,

    I love your blog just the way it is, and that's why it's the first one I check every day! I appreciate the combination of information AND who you you are as a person (wife, mom, business owner, and preparedness guru). I can't tell you how many blogs I've read that provide good nuts and bolts information, but after I feel I've gleaned all I can from that site's informational posts, I move on. Not because there isn't more to learn down the road, but because I don't get a sense of how that person lives every day - how they put all that knowledge into play.

    Both you and Enola Gay have done so much to change my perspective on what is truly important. Not just in a preparedness sort of way, but in the way I look at things, the value I give things/people/experiences, and the choices I make with regard to how I spend my time. There is immense value in the smile I and others get from a photo of your hen "guarding" your canning jars, the free sunrises God provides every morning, and the shots of your canning students learning a new skill. (And if you ever open a canning class to the public, sign me up!)

    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the information I get, but information alone is useless if I can't see someone using it to improve their life every single day. And your friendly, personal style makes me feel as though we're (almost) neighbors!


  7. Awesome, post, Patrice!

    That's what makes your blog enjoyable for me.
    I enjoy reading about all the different aspects of what you share....whether it be the pressing issues of the day in politics, family life, farm life, homeschooling, making a living, a funny bumper sticker, or the beauty of Gods green earth, it all makes for REAL life reading.

    In these troubled times, I want to remember to look at babies, and sunsets, and cornfields, and dew drops. I want to remember that God is ever in control, and that I am not alone.
    I want to remember that there are other people out there preparing for what may come, being vigilant, and aware, yet somehow managing to live full, rich, lives, tending their children, helping their neighbors, and living a life dedicated to God.

    Somehow that gives me strength and encouragement to do the same!

    Keep up the good work, Patrice!

    Donna G.

  8. I love it just the way it is too! But I read your blog last. Saving the best for last!

    Andrea S

  9. Dearest Patrice and Don, I love you both just the way you are. Each of you needs to be different because, quite frankly, the world doesn't need two Patrices or two Dons, just as it doesn't need two of me. God only made one of each of us and He is pleased to use us as He made us. We need both of you just as God made you, right? So, that's settled. Now, two important items to consider: For all of you folks who might think 'prepping' is silly or unnecessary...may I ask each of you to go out right now and remove the spare tire and first aid kit from your car and perhaps cancel your health, life, and home insurance. You may never need it, right? (Sarcasm intended to make a point). Secondly, if you read your Bible you already know that God's eye is on the sparrow and that He provides for each of His creatures each and every day - BUT HE DOESN'T THROW THE FOOD IN THEIR NESTS EVERY MORNING! They get up each morning, usually with a song, and they go about the business for which they were created. Even the lowly chipmunks and squirrels around my house are busy getting ready (prepping!) for our heavy New England winter. I think it is what the Lord wants us to do. The Lord also wants us to have joy (every day!) and see the beauty in His creation all around us. I love Patrice's photos! I work 3x11pm so I am blessed to be able to watch the sunset, and I am struck by the beauty of this event every day. Stop, look up, and thank your Creator. Remember 'balance'. Sunrises are magnificent and so are sunsets, and there is a whole lot of life happening in between.

    God Bless,
    Janet in MA

  10. Don't change a thing. I read your blog and Paratus Familia because I get the thing called real life and not just preparedness. I want that, yes, but I love the hopefulness of your blog. It's warm and cozy and as our family prepares their getaway, I know, from reading you, how I want to prepare it, and how I want to live the life.

  11. Patrice, Keep up the fluff - as an animal lover, I enjoy seeing your dogs, horse, chickens, etc. Also love seeing the gorgeous scenery. It's interesting hearing about your planting and harvesting, and I also enjoy hearing about your daughters and homeschooling. In other words, don't change anything! (BTW, did you get your Ford 8N working again?)

  12. Well, there's not much left to add to the opinions already expressed, except to say that I completely concur with them. Patrice, you
    have a great blog - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Your blog ain't broke, please don't try to change it - leave perfection alone!!

    And thanks for all that you teach and share, it's appreciated more than you can know.

    Anonymous Patriot

  13. Patrice
    Your blog is my balance. I have learned more about balancing the overwhelming task of staying faithful and focused in my preparations from your posts and your "fluffy pictures".
    Especially the pictures. They bring me back to a place of peace and remind me not to forget to live each day with joy and respect for what God has given us.

    Not to mention your pictures give me and my wife a glimpse into what our life outside of a tourist area could be like. And it is definitely something we want to strive for.

    So please keep things the way they are. I feel more at ease with my own preps knowing there are people like you willing to spend the time to teach and share with people like us who look forward to reading what you write and seeing what you see through your camera lens.

    God bless and stay warm.

  14. You are very fortunate to have a man at the head of your family who cares and will be out front come what may.

  15. Sorry if I went into private territory Patrice. I am relieved in that you will pick off comments that do not seem to flow with what you think will add to the discourse. I wish you all well and that is the end of that. Please don't hate me. Hah !

  16. Ditto to all of the above! Do not change a thing...Survivalblog used to be my number one, until they posted a link to yours...now yours is my number one. You can only take so much of the intense preparedness reading. With you, I learn that pears can be water bath canned (didn't know that) and get to see a glimpse of the kind of life that I hope to someday live. You're the best!

    Blessings, Nina

  17. Everyone's mentioned my thoughts as I read this entry......The intricate details on prepping can get so technical, sometimes, it's nice to have a reminder of WHY anyone would want to prep - the sunsets, the nature gifts, the people still out there to meet.....I have no idea what form(s) "the disaster" will present as, but the memories of all the "fluff" (because fluff may be disrupted in the process) will serve to remind us of why we want to survive & come out the "other side".....

    Knowledge is the most important part of prepping, what's been so great is to "meet" the people who share that info....no worries, you have the right balance here......

  18. The keys to having success as a blogger are writing quality stuff people enjoy reading and posting frequently. The two can at times kind of oppose each other. I remember that I just don't have the time and energy to do a deeply thought out post with lots of prior preparation every day. It just wouldn't work. So often you go for the base hit and every once in awhile you bunt with a picture quote.

  19. Is your blog not a reflection of your life? You should write about what inspires you. Guns or canning jars. It is all your journey in life and preparedness. I posted a funny pic about a pumpkin the other day. Not all gloom and doom. Your blog is wonderful. I like the balance you have.
    Thank you for all your nuggets of gold!