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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Preparing for End of Life

I'm not sure how to begin this post as end of life is such a taboo topic in American culture.  As Americans, we've created a false, outward society where youth, beauty and health is everything and we're removed from dealing with the ugly, the old, the sickly, the feeble, the dying.  Since we're a major industrialized nation, Americans act as if death is an abstract that doesn't apply to us; after all, modern medicine can take care of everything.  We simply go on like we do everyday and let someone else handle the ugliness, the sickliness, the old and the dying.  But at some point, the ugliness and the sickliness catch up and we're forced to face it head on.

That's where my family is right now. 

We're watching helplessly as my husband's mother makes her way toward the end of her life.  No doctor can help her.  No medicine can cure her.  No amount of rest or nutritious food can reverse the course.  All she has is time;  maybe months if we're blessed and her will persists.  This has been such an unsettling experience for us, watching a youthful, playful grandmother deteriorate in front of our eyes.  And yet, there are so many lessons to be learned.  So much knowledge to be gained.  After all, preparing for death is merely an extension of preparing for life.

Here's what I've learned:

It's up to you to take care of you.  Care for yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.  Kick those bad habits.  Practice your faith.  Find something you love to keep yourself active!  If you don't do it, no one else will. 

Life is too short to worry.   Why worry about the house or the car or the promotion?  Why fret over a disagreement?  All that matters is that we lived and we loved.

Faith matters.  Choose this day whom you will serve.  Practicing one's faith can be such a comfort; both for the departing and for those left behind.

You can't take it with you.  That's a tough one for our culture; to spend a lifetime accruing and then to leave it behind, that's tough!!  I believe you can take 2 things with you; your faith and your relationships, so spend time enjoying them.

The little things count.  Preparing a meal for an infirm might not seem like a big deal, but it can mean the world to someone else.  Pay a visit, make a phone call, send a card in the mail, take a plate of homemade cookies; sometimes the little things mean the most.

You can't prepare for death.  You can make the arrangements, but you can never truly be prepared to lose a loved one.   

Every day counts.  Every.  Day.  There is no time to kill.  Every waking, breathing moment is a moment that we can share. We can rejoice.  We can mourn.  We can praise.  We can fellowship.  We can explore.  We can dance.  We can sing.  We can laugh.  Enjoy everyday.  

Say what you need to say.  With love, say those things that you need to say.  Apologize.  Ask questions.  Make peace.   Make ammends.  Swallow your pride and do what needs done.  You may never have another opportunity so don't put it off. 

Above all, love one another.  That includes Crazy Uncle Eddie and that neighbor who dumps dog poo in your compost pile.  It also includes your pain-in-the-keister sister, the guy at church with bad breath and your nose-picking nephew.  It's hard sometimes and all too often, we let petty differences get in the way.  But in the end, loving one another is all that matters.

In His Service,
Andrea
       

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Guarding the Family

I can't tell you the number of hours I've spent online over the past 2 weeks doing research. Weighing pros and cons. Investigating maintenance costs and general upkeep. Calculating size, usefulness, expenses, spatial requirements.

No, we're not investing in a generator.

We're considering a dog for family protection.

We live in what I considered a very safe area. We're rural, on a road to nowhere, surrounded by family. There's no businesses, no large thoroughfares. Just quiet, peaceful, safe. The perfect spot to raise a family!

Well, that's what I thought til this summer when my neighbor's house was robbed of dozens of antique guns while his wife was running an errand. And 2 cars were broken into. And the guy up on the hill went stark-raving mad and pulled a gun on a neighbor. I'm starting to wonder if there's something in the water :) After putting off the inevitable for many years, I've conceded and my husband and I are actively researching the various breeds of dogs trying to find the best option for our family. Now, we've had several dogs before, but not since the children came along, so in many ways I feel like we're starting at square 1 in terms of knowledge.

What I don't want is a 'Guard Dog'. You know the kind. Menacing, slobbering, just looking for a reason to attack. Not a good fit, right there. I'm looking for a pleasant addition to our family:

-A dog for both the good times and the scary times.

-Patient and playful enough to be a joy to the children...think Mary Poppins in canine form.

-Possibly a working variety...something that could pull a small cart, be helpful during hunting season or at very least, herd the children.

-Friendly and docile enough that we won't have to be afraid of it.

-Large and impressive enough that an intruder would think twice.

-Loyal and family-oriented, willing to protect its people to the end if necessary.

-Able to go for help if little Timmy falls down a well.

Wait a minute. I may have watched too much Lassie on the TVLand channel.

You can Google 'personal protection dogs' and come up with thousands of hits on the best and worst choices. The irony is that the same 5-10 breeds are often on BOTH the best and worst lists for personal/family protection dogs. German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Akitas are tops on both lists in many cases. Check for yourself and see!

So, by means of elimination, we've come up with our own list of possibilities for the best family protection dogs. (In no particular order.)

1) Anatolian Shepherd- A friend has one of these dogs on her farm. Very friendly dog. Doesn't know how to play fetch(?) and can sometimes get nippy.

2) Plott- I love, love, love the looks of this dog. Animal Planet Dog Breed Selector has wonderful things to say about it...but where would you find a Plott Rescue?

3) Great Dane- We had a Great Dane when we got married and he was the BEST DOG EVER. Loving, playful and very protective of his people and pets. And the only drawback: when Boone laid around the house, he really laid around the house. What a massive dog!

4) Scottish Deerhound- Sounds very family friendly, but may require more grooming than I want to take on.

5) Hounds- I love hounds! Any sort, but especially Foxhounds. The only thing I worry about with a hound is that if she caught a whiff of the wild turkeys, rabbits, coyotes, deer that are plentiful in our area, there'd be no stopping her. Once a hound is on a scent, all bets are off.

6) Rhodesian Ridgebacks- Again, I love the looks of this dog, but maybe it's a bit too boisterous for small children?

We're in no rush to get a dog as it's such a huge commitment...a lifetime commitment! But I am curious to hear other family's experiences with their 'nanny' dogs. In your opinion, what are the best breeds for family protection?

In His Service,
Andrea

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How To Join The Ohio Preppers Network

Come learn survival, preparedness and sustainable living with us!

The Preppers networks are all about volunteering our knowledge and skills with each other. We share ideas, tips and basically network with each other to survive any type of disaster whether natural, man made, or economic. Information that you learn and share with others will help everyone learn how to find "Freedom Through Teaching Others Self Reliance."

Joining the Ohio Preppers Network is simple, and most of all, it's Free! To join, just follow these few steps.

1) Register to become a member of the American Preppers Network www.AmericanPreppersNetwork.net The registration page is here: http://americanpreppersnetwork.net/ucp.php?mode=register


2) Once you have your account, go to the index page of the forum and do your first post by introducing yourself in the new members area. http://americanpreppersnetwork.net/index.php


3) Once you know how to do posts, visit the Ohio forum and introduce yourself. The Ohio forum can be found by scrolling to the lower section of the index page where you will find a list of states, or you can go directly by following this URL: www.OhioPreppersNetwork.net

4) After you've visited the Ohio forum, follow this link to learn how to join the Ohio Preppers Network group:
http://americanpreppersnetwork.net/viewtopic.php?f=564&t=2738


APN's success depends on your contributions. If you would like to donate to our organization by becoming a Gold Member you can join the APN Gold Members club by following this link:
http://www.americanpreppersnetwork.net/page.php?p=apn-gold-membership&sid=5b241e92a767cdfbe7a345c54dd55127
Gold Membership is only $5 per month. For a list of Gold Member benefits go here

Thank you for your support!

Monday, September 13, 2010

TEST YOUR PREPPER TRIVIA

Ready to break up some some of that prepper monotony. Head over to Wolfe's Blog for a fun prepper crossword puzzle. Wolfe will be doing this every Sunday and the answers will be posted the following week. Thanks Wolfe for such a great idea.

Shelly



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Thursday, September 9, 2010

BACKUP WOOD FOR WOOD BURNER


With summer winding down and fall just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about home heating. As preppers we are always looking for innovative ways to save money, prepare for the future, without sacrificing creature comforts. Recently my mother in law was out at a garage sale, and called to tell me about a paper roller she picked up for us. The paper roller looks like the one in the picture above. Knowing that we are preppers and in the process of installing a wood burner, she thought this would be a nice addition to our preps. We currently heat our home with fuel oil, and knew with the rising cost of fuel we had to make a change. I am really excited about this paper roller, and am hoping this turns out to be a nice addition to our preps.

I had never heard or seen this type of thing before, so I decided to do a bit of research. I was surprised to read that this is not a new innovation, but never living in a house with a wood burner or fireplace, I have not been exposed to newspaper rollers. The newspapers are put into a slot and as you roll the paper, pull up on the paper to make the roll good and tight. Keep adding newspapers till you get the desired thickness and tie with a piece of twine or a large twist tie. A few websites said the paper could be soaked in water or fabric softener, then rolled, then let sit for couple months to thoroughly dry. Many people have reported that these paper logs burn long and hot. I have not personally done this before, but will be doing so in the near future. I researched the cost of these newspaper log rollers and they retail at about 40.00. Not a bad investment, if you have a supply of newspapers or some family and friends to get them from. This could also help keep the cost of wood down to a minimum.

If anyone has ever used these log rollers before, I would appreciate any input on these. Did they work? Were you able to supplement between the paper rolls and wood, and any tricks that worked for you. This blog is about sharing knowledge and skills and yes we do learn from you too.

Blessings,

Shelly





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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

101 Reasons To Use Coconut Oil

Okay. I concede. I can't really come up with 101 reasons to use coconut oil. Maybe 10 or 20. Maybe more if I really give it thought. Nonetheless, I'm finding that I love coconut oil and here's why every prepper should have a supply of it in their pantry.

1) It's a great moisturizer. I can hear our lady readers shuddering, but give it a chance before you reject the idea. I love coconut oil for moisturizing. It's very thin and light and soaks right into the skin, leaving it feeling 'dewy' for lack of a better word. I use it at night and in the mornings under make-up. It's also nice because it doesn't burn when you apply it to irritated skin, freshly-shaved legs or sunburned faces.

2) It's a great hair treatment. I use it for smoothing fly-aways, as a protectant before I heat style and as a deep conditioner. No weird chemicals, no offensive smells, just shiny, silky hair. And I've heard things about coconut oil and grey hair, but I have yet to see it for myself.

3) It has a long shelf-life. Among oils, coconut oil has one of the longest shelf-lives; 2 years or more if stored properly and even longer if stored in the freezer.

4) It's good for you. Emerging science suggests coconut oil is beneficial to the body, even more so than olive oil. Look it up for yourself; there's just too much information to list here!

5) It's great for frying. Use it in place of butter for grilled cheese, or for pan-frying chicken. No, it doesn't necessarily make everything taste like coconut. Some brands may, other brands, not so much.

6) You can use it to condition leather. My poor old 'wear-em-everyday' leather sandles were looking shabby, so I polished them with a bit of coconut oil and they look so much better!

7) You can use it as a carrier oil. Coconut oil is a nice, neutral carrier for potent essential oils like tea tree oil or mint. It would make a great base for homemade massage oil.

8) It's great for baking. Coconut oil, used cup for cup in place of other oils/fats, makes wonderfully moist baked goods. And if substituting coconut oil for vegetable oil makes brownies healthier, then I'm all for it! Imagine: brownies; a health food!

9) A little goes a long, long way. For beauty purposes, just a couple dabs will moisturize your face. Just a couple drops will make your hair shiny and frizz-free. Coconut oil may be a touch expensive in some areas, but a small container will last for a long time.

10) You can find it most anywhere. Kroger, Walmart, Meijer, Amazon.com sell coconut oil. Check the organic/baking sections of your local grocer or health food store and see if they keep it stocked.

So have I convinced anyone to try coconut oil? If you already have coconut oil in your pantry, what are your favorite uses?
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