Thursday, December 18, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip Of The Week - Beauty and The Beast

How do I know if I stepped on her toes? 

One of my favorite fairy tales of all time is Beauty and the Beast. The way Disney portrays it is that Belle softens the heart of the Beast and he becomes kind, and that beauty is only skin deep. blave...and when the beast is changed into a man at the, what a looker!

There is a Beast prophesied in the last days. The Beast might symbolize a person, a group of people, or countries (or all three, symbolism is funny that way). This particular beast will not however become kind. There are certain things we need to watch out for when it comes to the "sign of the beast" because it can affect every aspect of our own lives and the lives of our family. 

What I am about to say might sound a little Sci-Fi'ish (is that even a word?) because frankly...40 years ago you might have been laughed out of a room for what I am about to say; however, how can we avoid something if we don't see it coming (kind of like a smart-car)?  Let's do a little background check on this humdinger of a "fella" . We find a lot of our information from Revelation's 13.

Elder John Patmos ( The Apostle John who was sent to remote desert peninsula of Patmos as a prisoner) around the age of 92 had this crazy vision about all kinds of things that would take place in the last days. Daniel had the same vision. This vision is loaded with literal and symbolic things. Sometimes the symbolism can throw any reader for a loop...unless you know what certain symbols mean. Then, like a parable, it can open up and be as easy to understand as your favorite movie. 

The heading to chapter 13 in the Bible says, "John sees fierce-looking beasts that represent degenerate earthly kingdoms controlled by Satan—The devil works miracles and deceives men. "

 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Symbol meanings: 

  • seven - is the Hebrew symbol (throughout scripture) meaning "whole or complete" 
  • head - your head is who you are - who you choose to be. 
  • ten - a whole part (part of something else, but is also complete by itself) example could be a child, the child is complete by itself, but is part of something else - the parents
  • crowns - their authority, royalty, kingdoms

Here are some other juicy tidbits about the second less powerful beast: 

 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
So, these beast...things... are pretty ugly, but he/they appear(s) to do miracles and deceive those that dwell on earth. It sounds like our favorite felted strawberry (the anti-christ) is a part of the whole process. If I were a betting woman, I'd say that is the "blasphemy" written on the heads of the beasts. This "beast" also has a financial system:

 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Six - means incomplete (because 7 is whole and complete) so triple six is complete incompleteness (how does that sucker compute?) 
Here is where I apply this to our day. Picture this...a world in economic upheaval, a great need to become "unified", a financial system in need of "rescuing"...

What if all your financial, personal, and health information were located in one convenient place? A little microchip smaller than the size of a grain of rice literally in your hand? Below are two real commercials trying to sell this very idea. If I were trying to sell someone on an idea that they weren't on board with, I would use these marketing strategies to sell it (see if you see any of these in the commercials):

  • Convenience - why carry a wallet or keys? Your money, ID and electronic key are with you all the time. 
  • Safety - Do you have a family member with a memory illness that you want to know where they are? Or a wayward teenager? Problem solved. Just track them.
  •  Everybody is doing it - that one speaks for itself. 
  •  Freebies! - How would you like your credit score cleared? What would you say to free fuel or groceries for a year? Healthcare? Would you do it then?
  • We will get you a job!
  •  It is for your own good - We really do care about you *wink wink*    and a   * tooth sparkle*

This is an IBM commercial: 

This is a verichip commercial: 

How can families avoid being a part of this? 
  • Get and stay out of debt 
  • Be self-reliant
  • Be aware
  • Refuse to be a part of it
The funny thing about symbols in scripture is that often times, it happens more than once. The things prophesied also happened in the days of Nero, but know...the latter-day story of Beauty and the Beast also has a happy ending (minus the mushy kiss). Good will triumph. That is Heavenly Father's plan. 

If you would like to learn more about some of the questions Joseph Smith had in regards to John's "Revelations", read D&C 77 :

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Yes Officer...I Killed My Garden

"We've got a live one here...."

"Ma'am, do you know why I pulled you over?"

My futile search for a peace offering pastry ends quickly. "Yes," I say. "I killed my garden. IT WAS MEEEHEEEHEEE!!"

"You'll have to come with me." 


Many of you know that I have struggled for a long time getting a productive garden to grow where we live. I have tried for many years to get tomatoes to do more than stare at me and make me GUESS what I'm doing wrong. The plants look fine, they just don't give any fruit! I've heard advice much like, "Have you given it enough water?" Yep. "Have you given it fertilizer?" Yep. "Have you prepped the soil with mulch." YESSS! Etc...etc...etc. It is a good thing that they can't put you away for killing...plants. Because I'd be on death row right now. As I look at the jury, "I really didn't mean was an accident!" Mmmhmmm!...TO THE GALLEYS!!! 

Some of my problem is the bermudagrass fairy, some of it is the clay, or some of it might even be chemicals added to the water (when it rains, my plants sometimes come back from the dead... zombie plants? Maybe). Even though I seem to be full of excuses, I really have tried. When we lived in the junk yard (you might think I'm kidding) we had a little garden, and even with all the ground squirrels, our garden did way better. So, I know it isn't me...per say. When we lived there, the dirt was more loose and sandy. That might have something to do with it. 

I recently came across a gardening system that I can digest (step by step with promised yields) - but you have to follow the instructions. You can pay for CD's to teach you how to do it, orrrrrr.... you can watch how Youtube channel LDSPrepper does it. He and "Mrs. LDSPrepper" take it step by step and show you where to download the guides, fertilizer recipes and all the juicy details. You should see their tomatoes (...suppressing the jealousy....and....ok its gone)! You can't get this kind of juice reading tabloids at any supermarket!

Here is a playlist of several videos. There are many hours of watching enjoyment. 

Already I have learned some tricks that I am going to implement in my winter garden. 

#1 - Clay doesn't work to grow anything productive. Equal parts sand and pine shavings are a great medium that leaves a nice loose place for roots to flourish. This is done in a "grow box".

#2 - If you fertilize once a week, the plants will have enough energy to not only produce, but to GO NUTS!!!!

#3 - If your fertilizer has all 16 nutrients that plants need (actually only 13, because they get 3 from the air) - they have enough to do their job.

#4 - Vertical gardening can save you TONS of space. 

#5 - Much much more!

This video shows his harvest of potatoes when he used 3 sweet potatoes he harvested 139 pounds of them! CRAZEE!!

Why would I care so much that I have a producing garden? President Spencer W. Kimball said this:

We encourage you to grow all the food that you feasibly can on your own property. Berry bushes, grapevines, fruit trees—plant them if your climate is right for their growth. Grow vegetables and eat them from your own yard. Even those residing in apartments or condominiums can generally grow a little food in pots and planters. Study the best methods of providing your own foods. Make your garden as neat and attractive as well as productive. If there are children in your home, involve them in the process with assigned responsibilities.10
I hope that we understand that, while having a garden … is often useful in reducing food costs and making available delicious fresh fruits and vegetables, it does much more than this. Who can gauge the value of that special chat between daughter and Dad as they weed or water the garden? How do we evaluate the good that comes from the obvious lessons of planting, cultivating, and the eternal law of the harvest? And how do we measure the family togetherness and cooperating that must accompany successful canning? Yes, we are laying up resources in store, but perhaps the greater good is contained in the lessons of life we learn as we live providently. 11
So, planting and harvesting food is only half of the reason we've been asked to have a garden. It is about teaching these valuable skills to our children. What better way to teach "you reap what you sow" than for them to actually do it!

I am very lucky that I can't be sent to jail for killing my garden plants...( I think it is in the 3rd degree for negligence or indifference). I'm not even going to address how many pets have lost their lives in the cause of teaching my kids responsibility though... The good thing is, I can keep trying. If all I have to do with this system is feed and water (with the right medium for the roots to grow), I hope to have more success. I will let you know how my experimenting goes. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - When "Wonder" Becomes "BAM-azing"!

Most of you know how much I LOVE my Wonder Oven. I love it so much that I almost had it sit next to me during our family pictures this year. I love it so much, sometimes I sit and talk to it. It is a GREAT listener and gives "Wonderful" advice. The only problem is...I've found another. 

It has been known by many names...Wonder Bag, New Cooking Bag, Cute Cooker...but the job it does is the same. It is self-reliant and frugal in the fact that it does not waste a joule of heat to keep food not only hot, but cooking. BAM-azing!!

Don't get me wrong, I still love my Wonder Oven. I still use it often. Picture it as a faithful dog that is 75 (in dog years), and I just got a new puppy. They still serve the same purpose, but I just don't have the heart to put the old one down yet. :)

There are a couple of reasons I like the "Cute Cooker" more than the traditional "Wonder Oven":
  • It is more compact
  • You don't have to hide your oven under inside an 18 gallon bucket (it fits perfectly on a counter)
  • It uses less insulation to retain the heat than the "old faithful" Wonder Oven
  • They're just down right fun!
Here's how it works: 

Bring your food to a boil over a heat source ( stove, rocket-stove, volcano stove, etc. ) - what your cooking depends on the length of the boil. 

As a general guide things need to be cooked according to hardness (except bread...I'll splain' later):

Boil Time 
(over some type of fire)
Oven Time
Just heat water to make the lid hot
15 minutes
5 minutes
30 minutes
5 minutes
30 minutes
Raw meat pieces (chicken or beef)
10 minutes
20 minutes
Beans (soaked over night)
15 minutes
3 hours
Whole chicken
25 minutes
3 hours (until center reads 180 degrees)
Small misbehaving children
You can’t eat those…
… they’re gamey…

When I first started cooking with a Wonder Oven, I was actually a little scared. It was new and I didn't want to mess up. Consider it better to practice now and get the quirks figured out, or waste ingredients when you REALLY need them? I'll hold your hand...we'll do this together :). 

Here are some recipes from "My Food Storage Cook Book" website. SHE IS AMAZING!! I love it when people find a hobby that benefits not only themselves and their family, but unknown numbers of people who read their blogs or other media outlet. That is a HUGE key to self-reliance! And a bonus?...all of the ingredients are FSF!!! (food storage friendly!)

Wonder Oven Lasagna

Potato Stroganoff

Cajun Read Beans and Rice

Overnight Oatmeal

Cheesy Italian Shells

Mexican Tortilla Lasagna


A variation of cooking meat pieces without actually "boiling" the meat:

Bread is a bit of a different beast. Here are some great step by step instructions - bread needs a separate container (you'll see with the link), but here are
detailed bread instructions - best part...NO CRUST! (boil 10 minutes cook:

Muffin instructions (boil 10 minutes - oven time is 3 to 4 hours):

If you would like to make your own cooking bag or wonder oven, let me know. I can make them for around $50. If you have one and you need motivation to get started (or re-started) using it, let me know. I will get the information to you. It really is an excellent source (with a bit of a learning curve) and can be one of the greatest tools you'll ever own!