Friday, May 27, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Five Loaves and Two Fishes

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Hey four lookin' at me?

Sometimes life can get so overwhelming with just the normal, everyday, seemingly tedious activities we must complete. When a trial shows up at our door, it can add more distress to us and our families. It is easy to loose hope and dream to just eat chocolate ice cream on the couch and wish for re-runs of "I Love Lucy" to grace Netflix with their presence. She makes craziness look so fun and after all, by the end of the day, everything is ok again. 

At our stake conference recently President Sanders talked about drowning rats (yes, that does sound like something Lucy might accidentally do, but...) there was actually a study done on how long rats could tread water until they (almost) drown. After about 15 minutes, the rats would tire and give up and (nearly) go belly up. The researcher(s) would then take the rats out, dry them off, let them rest and then see what happened when they went in the water again. This time, they stayed afloat for 60 hours!! Whaaa? Super rats? Why and how could that happen? What was the difference in the first and second "laps" in the little rat pool? The study concluded that it was because the rats had hope. Hope that they would be rescued again. 

Where are we without hope? Hopeless. Without hope, faith really struggles to fit in our lives too. 

When Christ was teaching the 5000 men (and their families) he used an amazing tool to help them He had seen a multitude of people and had already had a long day and was tired. He asked Phillip where they could buy enough bread to feed the people.

Phillip said they couldn't buy food for all these people (he was thinking logically...). Then Andrew, the brother of Peter said, "There is a lad here who hath five barley loaves (yuck) and two small fishes. That was all there was. He looked to heaven, blessed the food and broke it to share among the people. They were filled. The miracle is that there was enough to fill not only baskets for the apostles to distribute the food, but had 12 baskets of leftovers!! Incredible!! Sadly though, it was quickly written off and forgotten. 

James E. Faust in a talk in 1994 called, "Five Loaves and Two Fishes" explains that when we seem to not have much, but we offer it to the Lord, He can work miracles through us. He says that technology is miraculous and should be regarded as such. It is easy to be written off.  People who may think they have little talent but develop more because they were asked to by Him witness mini or mighty miracles. 

 He says:

 "Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands."

We don't have to be beautiful, with spotless homes and seemingly perfect lives to "feed" others. We can be the vehicle to feed hope to others. We can spread messages of good. We can serve where others may not dare tread. We can pray for the leaders of the countries of the world. We can also accept the Lord's will no matter how hard it might be to accept.

We can be like Phillip and say any number of things were impossible.


We can be like Andrew and say, "This is what we do have. How do we make it work?"

It is easy to be Phillip. I have been Phillip. I try not to be like Phillip was in this case and see beyond what is in front of my face, and see situations and people as the Savior would have me see it/ them. It is tough, but like Andrew took a leap,  saw a sliver of silver lining, he helped serve well over 5000 people in the process (only with the help of Jesus Christ of course). 

Some of the talents that will be able to bring hope in the future and multiply miracles are people who:

  • Can build and repair
  • Can organize
  • Can calm
  • Use various spiritual gifts
  • Can mediate
  • Can motivate
  • Basically live the Law of Consecration etc.

Though I still "Love Lucy", her stories are still fictitious. When it comes down to it, and someday we may have to live on what we have stored (spiritually and physically) we may witness miracles when there is enough and even to overflowing. This is real, even when it may have seemed impossible before. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Ford (Owners) To The Rescue

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I Have the Powwer!

My husband's family likes to joke about Ford vehicles. We sit around and giggle and change the names of the vehicles such as: Ford Explosion = Ford Excursion or Mercury Mistake = Mercury Mystique, and of course Ford Power Stroke = Ford Power Joke and so on. I am sure others have heard the acronym that Ford stands for Found On Road Dead and the like. Recently I saw a Facebook post that made me cry for joy. 

A lady named Rhonda Clark Bignell posted the story:

On May 3, 2016 nearly 90,000 people were evacuated to Edmonton which was the closest major area, more than 4 hours away. There were only a few gas stations along the way, and thousands of evacuees ran out of gas and were stranded along Highway 63.

We all waited for authorities to step in and solve the problem. We waited, not wanting to get in the way of the agencies that would be helping. We tried calling several agencies to see how we could help, to see what was being done. Nothing happened. People were now stranded on Highway 63 nearing 12 hours with their children and pets, on a very hot day, with no food or water. Stranded evacuees began asking for help on social media.
That's when something amazing happened. There was a group on Facebook called WESTERN CANADIAN POWERSTROKES. 

As far as anyone knows, this is just a facebook group of proud Ford diesel owners. On the morning of the second day, the WCP group arranged fuel tanker trucks and purchased fuel and water and other supplies and sent them to Highway 63. Word was, by the end of the day, the WCP group supplied over 60,000 liters of fuel. Dozens and dozens of WCP members went out with fuel tidy tanks in the back of their trucks and would fill up at the tanker trucks and go to stranded vehicles. Dozens more brought cases and cases of bottled water in the back of their trucks, towed cargo trailers of supplies, and towed horse trailers. Each time someone went out to Highway 63 to help out, they were looking at least at a 800 km (500 mile) round trip.

 By the end of the second day all the stranded motorists were finally on their way. However, over the next several days WCP continued to supply free fuel to anyone heading south from Fort McMurray, no questions asked.
Pretty soon word was getting out about WCP. On day 3 of the evacuation, WCP began to realize pets and livestock weren't getting out of Fort McMurray. Many people had to leave immediately from their work, so many animals would be out of food for days and running out of water. WCP then became involved in helping with rescue pets and livestock, and pushed for horse trailers to be able to get into the evacuation areas to rescue horses.

This story sounds a little crazy, it sounds like maybe it's a bit exaggerated, but I kid you not, Western Canadian Powerstrokes was the main presence on Highway 63. Before the disaster I never heard of WCP. But in the 6 days that people and animals were being evacuated from Fort McMurray, WCP was the only group I heard about that was providing assistance along Highway 63.

On May 8th, every person and pet possible was evacuated from Fort McMurray, the city is now sealed and nobody will be able to get in until the fires are out. When that will be, nobody knows. Right now, on May 9th, fires are still burning inside the city and the forests around McMurray are still raging. Now Highway 63 is taken care of, Western Canadian Powerstrokes are now busy hauling supplies to the huge number of evacuation centers spread throughout northern Alberta.

Part of the miracle of this story (that only happened last week...actually it is still happening...) is that these "Lovers of Ford" were going into a fiery danger zone WITH TANKERS FULL OF FUEL!! I am not quite sure if I realize the magnitude of that...I need some chocolate. 
I was so excited to read this post because I re-learned a few things from it. 
  • Always have my tank half full
  • One person can make a huge difference 
  • Look for the heroes*
  • Waiting for agencies to help may take longer than I want to wait in an emergency
  • How high on my list is extra fuel?
  • If the WCP hadn't come when they did, it is possible people could have died without much needed supplies.
  • Emergency vehicles and personnel can't get to thousands at once

The Rest of the Story....

I also read an article about this same fire emergency in Alberta, Canada written by a man named Mathew Clements. They could see warning signs but were unprepared when they actually evacuated. He says he could see the smoke, but kept living life because they were in no immediate danger. Within an instant they were in trouble and needed to get out now! 

He says, "Looking back on it now, it feels like that metaphor of the frog in the slowly boiling pot of water. We were so focused on getting settled in our new home, preparing for a catastrophe wasn't on our minds. Brush fires happen, there's no need to panic, we're find. We were fine until we weren't."
He started packing, but was in a panic "What should I pack? How much? Clothes? Passports?" 
When he getting ready to leave, "This radio station said go North, another said to go South. Family says to go North. Friends say to go South." They eventually headed South. 
They made it safe, but his wife kept saying, "We should have been more prepared."
Reminders in this story:
  • Keep my car 72 hour kit up to date (when did I rotate food and water last?)
  • Keep my personal 72 hour kits in a place I can get them
  • Again, keep that tank at least half full
  • Do I have my PIP (Plan In Place) up to date?
  • If it looks as though we might need to evacuate...err on the side of safety and evacuate.
  • Do I have a fresh battery for my scanner/ radio?
  • Am I in close contact with the Holy Ghost so I can make a good decision between North or South?
It is unlikely that where I live (in the middle of the hot barren desert) that I might have to evacuate because of fire...however, Mother Nature has many, many tricks up her sleeve so there could be many reasons to leave everything behind and be ready for such an occurrence no matter where you live. 
Here is more on what a PIP is and how you can get your very own. :)

Though I will still continue to drive my GMC, hats off and many thanks to the WCP and all those who came to the rescue. You touched the heart of a little gal thousands of miles away. They are incredible examples of courage and service which the world needs more of. 

* This asterisk is to clarify "Look for the Heroes". When we went to Boston several months ago we attended a church service in Cambridge. One of the speakers spoke about the then recent incident of the terror attack in San Bernardino, California. The speaker had been talking to a loved one asking how it was allowed to happen. These people were innocent. The response was,"Look for the heroes." There will always be bad things that happen (natural or man made). There will also always be those who protect and lift in times of trouble. "I got you" is what Mr. Shannon Johnson told Ms. Denise Paraza as he shielded her from bullets. That is what we need to focus on. The good guys and life savers.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Self- Worth and Self-Reliance

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Hey! Could I get some service here?

Through some busy, stressful, trying and lazy times, I seem to have fallen off the "Tip of the Week Wagon" and want to get back going. So, with some patience on the part of the reader, I'd like to get started again. :)

My husband and I enjoy  a good documentary now and again. We have found a series that is part documentary, journalism, and eatery show (akin to Diners, Drive Ins and Dives with Guy Fieri...kind of). A guy named Anthony Bourdain works for CNN and they visit these crazy mostly politically unstable countries. If people think America is "politically unstable" right now...we have NO idea. It is called "Anthony Bordain: Parts Unknown".

This guy will try any kind of food and is always polite. Some of the food looks amazing and we look at our "Midnight Bowl" of cereal with a desire of some Colombian style BBQ chicken. Some of them make me want to throw up in my mouth a little. Though Mr. Bourdain has a bit of a potty mouth now and again, we've learned some pretty crazy things from his research. (Note: if you choose to check out this show, skip the one on Morocco...I mean really Morocco.)

Over and over I am amazed at viewing the war- torn parts of the world that I see on the news . I am tempted to halfheartedly think "How sad!" And then I move on with my life, and stress over why my network took a 10 second dive. These people day after day have to face these trials of unstable governments, tyrannical leaders,  the possibility of becoming refugees...again, broken economies and broken lives. Yet, overall they are good people. Many don't like a camera in their face, but they care about their families, and try to make the best of a continually stressful situation. 

A common thread in most of these countries is, the people are waiting for the government to step up and provide their basic necessities. Now remember, I am not judging their situation because I have never been there. How do you undo the decades and even centuries of oppression? However, when we wait on someone else to provide something for us, we tend to wait A LONG TIME. When we buckle down and make things happen for ourselves, it blesses us and those around us more. 

  • When we plant our own garden, we do not have to take frozen veggies (on a recall) out of our freezer and throw them away. 
  • When we have our own chickens, we do not go without when a chicken disease makes the price of eggs skyrocket. 
  • When electricity goes out, we have alternatives for cooking and washing our clothes.
  • If an evacuation comes our way, we keep the gas tank always half full and 72 hour kits handy.
  • When we have to go without something, we know we will live (except food and water that is :) ) 
When people serve each other, and at the same time are reliant on themselves it lifts entire communities. When the government steps aside and helps in only small ways so people can gain independence and self-worth then we will see communities rise even higher. Again, I am not making a judgement on anyone who needs assistance. When communities resist the things that bring them down like drugs, trafficking of any kind, and other crimes no matter the money or power that could be made and make it honestly, they will become unstoppable. That is an amazing thing. 

Part of home-school that I have done with my kids is finding places to serve. Volunteering has been really good for them even though they kind of moan about it at first. Now they love it!! When our youth learn to serve, they are given skills they may have otherwise not learned. This website will take you to places you can serve in your own community. What an incredible way to get to get adults and kids alike involved!

"The Law of the Harvest" is alive and well. When we sow seeds of service and giving, it comes around to bless us later. Its pretty amazing.