Monday, September 13, 2004

Preparing for an Emergency

Hurricane Ivan is barrelling down on us on the Gulf Coast. We expect him to start showing us what he's made of Wednesday. Tomorrow, Tuesday, everything is shutting down as people evacuate. We think we are staying put. With no income coming in right now, it is expensive to leave and we have lived here long enough to know that a hurricane can turn at any moment. We'll wait and see how dangerous it looks, then head to a local shelter if need be.

You, too, should have an emergency plan and at least a list of what to buy for an emergency. Here, we get warnings about our storms, so we don't have to keep the hurricane items on hand at all times. If you live where tornadoes and earthquakes are, you'd want to keep these items around:

oil for lanterns
canned food
boxed food like crackers
grill or other cooking device
water to drink
water in your tubs
important papers ready to go

Now, I'll tell you some things I am doing on a limited income, since some of you also may not be able to just go out and buy all of those things:

1. Look at what you already have, for example:

a. I don't have enough candles, but I do have candlemaking supplies. Since I will have power for the next two days at least, I will make candles rather than purchasing them.

b. We're making do with our under-cabinet kitchen radio rather than buying another one. We will just unscrew it from the cabinets to carry it throughout the house with us.

c. I'm baking bread and making cookies. We don't have the extra money to buy convenience items already made. I will store the baked items in containers like Tupperware. I will make some healthier items like whole wheat bread and blueberry muffins.

d. Rather than purchasing water, we are going to fill pitchers and water containers with the drinking water that we can get out of the faucet now.

e. We don't have a tarp, but we have a roll of plastic that we bought for Hurricane Opal years ago. We'll use that, if need be.

2. Natural disasters create a mess! Don't start out with a mess, or it will be much worse for you. Start now to clean the house:

a. Mopping and vacuuming.
b. Do all laundry.
c. All important paper items need to be stored in waterproof containers. We are using some Rubbermaid totes that we have already.
d. Pick up loose items that will hurt your feet when you walk around in the dark when the power is out.
e. Put books and other papers in waterproof containers or at least get them off the floor if your storm is a watery one.
f. Do the dishes.
g. Make the beds.
h. Straighten up anything you can. With the power out, you need everything to be already in its place so you can find it when needed.

3. Be prepared. If you have the luxury, as we do, of knowing a storm is coming, you can start getting ready days ahead. Here is my list:

a. Charge the chargeable flashlights.
b. Charge the cellphones.
c. Charge the digital camera and clear it for ample storage after taking photos of the house (pre-storm) for insurance purposes. Email those pictures to someone in another state for safekeeping, or create a photo CD and keep it with the important papers.
d. Bake items now for eating when the power is out.
e. Have insurance and emergency information in a place where you can find it easily.
f. Pack a bag in case you have to get out fast. Put in a change of clothing for everyone, snacks, water bottles, and a special blanket or animal for the kids.
g. Pack another bag with important papers and medications along with your purse/wallet and car keys and cell phones. You will grab this bag if you have to evacuate.
h. Email or call someone to let them know of your plans.
i. If your emergency is a water one, dig any needed ditches for water run-off, clear gutters, have tarp ready.
j. Have a plan for the outside animals. Our chickens are going to the garage (yuck!) if they are in danger from the high wind speeds. Bring in the cat and dog in plenty of time.
k. Fill Ziploc bags now with water and place in the freezer. They will ice, keeping the freezer colder longer if the power goes out.
l. Fill prescriptions and place medicine in the bag mentioned above (g).
m. Fill the gas tanks of the cars (gas stations can't pump without power).
n. Get some extra cash out of an ATM (ATMs don't work without power).
o. Gather any loose items from the yard (we have lawn chairs and a deck box and planters)and place them in the garage or in the house.
p. Cover windows, if you are preparing for a windy storm, with plywood. If you can't do that, as we cannot this year (plywood is too expensive for us now, and all stores are out of it anyways), then create a plan for what you'll do if the windows shatter. For example, as soon as the power goes out, we are moving the television to a safe room without windows. We will move the living room furniture into safer rooms, also.
q. Create a "Storm Central." We will create a space in either our master bathroom, which is large, or in the hallway. We will bring in blankets, pillows, snacks, water, emergency lighting like flashlights and candles, games to play, my crocheting needle and yarn, the radio, paper and pen, and the children will each bring a small bag filled with favorite toys.

If I think of more things to add to this list, I will. I hope all of you stay safe. If you read this before Hurricane Ivan comes to the Florida/Alabama border where we live (around September 15, 2004), please say a prayer of safety for us. I rather love a good storm as it reminds me of the power of God. But I don't like a deadly storm, nor do I like the mess it causes.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Homekeeping Site to Visit

On first impression this evening, I really like Laine's Letters, a website. I've only read her introduction and a couple of the letters, but wow!, God has given her a gift for writing from the heart. See what you think.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Hope When Life is Hard

We are now going through a hard time with a job loss, but my heart is still overflowing with these blessings I have been given. Daily, I think back to when times were especially hard. I don't think back for negative reasons, but because I don't want to forget. I don't ever want to be poor again, but I also don't want to forget what it's like.

Our future is uncertain while we face a future with unemployment, but I still see many blessings surrounding me. I could weep for happiness as I hear the birds chirp, my chickens cluck, and the wind in the pine trees. We were so broke at one point, living on little, and literally "robbing Peter to pay Paul." The stress was all-consuming. When we first moved here, our six-year-old said, "We don't get into trouble much at this house."

It's true. They don't. The extra space helps immensely, but so does my stress level.

It is often the poor who seem the most messy, the most impatient, and the most angry. They are not wanting to be like that. The stress of being poor is just so great that they cannot see past their problems. It is the lack of hope that keeps them there.

I don't want to go back to joining the poor, but I do want to help ease their burdens. I want to help them see that there is hope. I have hope because of God and His promises. He says for us to not worry about what we will eat or what we will wear. Look at the sparrow, He says, how it does not stock up on food yet it is daily fed. Look at the lilies, He says, even King Solomon in all his finest was never dressed as one of these. (Matthew)

Monday, September 06, 2004

Getting Kids to Help Clean

I can remember telling my mother in frustration, "You only had us kids so you could have servants!" Many years later, I sure am happy that I have some of those servants of my own! The servants are my children, of course. I don't really treat them like servants, but I do make them do plenty of chores around the house.

The main goal is to establish habits in the children, since the MAIN goal is to raise them to be, among other things, responsible adults. Routines help achieve that goal. If you train your child to brush her teeth before bed each evening, and if she hears you remind her to do that each evening of her first ten years of life, chances are that she will grow into an adult who habitually brushes her teeth before bed.

With that in mind, train the children to do chores around the house which will become habits to them. I like to call this list of chores a "routine". My children have a Morning Routine and an Evening Routine. Now that they know the rules, I only have to say, "Do your routine," and they are off to work.

The Morning Routine consists of getting these items done, in any order:

Eat breakfast.
Brush teeth.
Make bed.
Get dressed.
Pick up 2 floor areas (hallway, boys' room, girls' room, library, kitchen, or living room)
Clear your items off the breakfast table.

The Evening Routine consists of:

Get into pajamas.
Clear your items off the supper table.
Brush teeth.
Pick up 2 floor areas.

In the beginning, the routines had to be written down and posted on the refrigerator. The children now know them by heart. They are very quick at getting them done now. And because they are clearing all of the floors for me, I only have to pick up the surface areas, like the countertops and couches. Sometimes I'll sneak an item off the surface and place it on the floor, but don't let the kids know if you try that little trick!

I have noticed that routines have reduced the grumbles to none. Since a routine becomes a habit, the kids don't grumble about it at all. Rather, they probably don't know that life could be different.

You now know my little secret to house cleaning - my servants.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

How to Have Friends

Stone told Brittany tonight that Katie and Alyssa like her more than they like him. Brittany is the one who repeated that to me. She seemed a bit shaken with it, like she wasn't sure she should have people liking her more than they do someone else.

Brittany is liked by everyone she meets. The reason is that Brittany is friendly. Proverbs 18:24 states: "A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother."

Today, Brittany walked out of Sunday School with two vanilla cookies in her hand. Her big brother saw her cookies and immediately mentioned that it's not fair, there weren't any cookies given in his Sunday School class. Within a second, Brittany said, "Here, Brenden. I have two. You can have one."

We walked downstairs to pick up the baby and then Stone, the four-year-old. Brittany pushed us aside so she could be the first to see Stone as he came out of his class. "Here, Stone. I have a cookie for you," she said, as she handed over her only remaining cookie.

Incidences like that, which happen frequently, are why Brittany has as many friends as there are kids to meet. She "shows herself friendly."

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Drag Queen Chicken

July 13, 2002 journal entry, copied here to introduce you to our chickens so that I can write about their antics:

Princess crowed. For the first time, she crowed. Then seven more times. We were wondering why her comb and wattle were so big. We wondered why she developed more quickly than the other 9 chickens. We wondered why her tail feathers were so long.

She could not be a he! We discussed the possibility now and then, but always with a dismissal. She is a Golden Sex Link. She was a yellow chick, and in the Golden Sex Links, the yellow chicks are girls and the black ones are boys.

Princess apparently was a drag queen chickie, dressed in yellow to save her skin from becoming Puppy Chow. It worked, her life was spared at the hatchery. It worked again, her cute yellow drag queen attire, when I let each of the four children pick out a chickie "that Mama won't stew." Yes, even if it quits laying eggs, and even if it becomes old.

And if she is a he? Yes, even then, although I never thought it could happen. Golden Sex Links are for sure girls when they are yellow, and those chicks were bright yellow. We thought Princess was more healthy, more mature. We thought Brittany, who chose that chick, just babied her and gave her extra food.

We thought wrong. Princess just crowed again.

There is hope - God blesses

Written July 5, 2004 (copied from my journal):

Whenever I'm out here at the riverside, I just want to cry because I've been given so much of what I've dreamed of having. That the neighbor's blue broken-down car across the street from the edge of our house is my major annoyance shows how blessed I am by this location. I hear wild turkeys or pheasants or whatever they are in the woods now. I feel a cool breeze off the river, even though it is 3:30pm and the rest of the Deep South is sweltering.

I want to let others know to not give up hope for their dreams.

God blesses.

Sometimes He seems slow. He seemed slow when we prayed for a van for two-and-a-half years. He seemed slow when I prayed to live in the country for 8-1/2 years before it happened. I want to tell others, but when I try I feel as though I am only giving them despair.
"Why can't I get a break like they?" they might say.

No! It's not that we got a break, but that God finally said, "Yes!"

God does bless, but in His timing.

The following is written September 4, 2004:

It is good for me to read the above this evening. My husband lost his job 9 days ago, on August 26th, just 5 days after his 34th birthday. The past week has been a painful one for us, facing the unknown. We have bills, we have four babies to feed, and we have a house that we prayed 11-1/2 years for, but that we've only gotten to enjoy for 7 months. Will God allow it to be taken from us down the road? What would he have Tim do for a new occupation?

In the first few days following the termination, I tried to trust God but could not. I kept saying, "I trust you," but I'd catch myself worrying again within minutes. Finally, it dawned on me to say, "I choose to trust you." Now, when I start to worry, I just say that again: "I CHOOSE to trust you."

However it happens, I know God will bless us again.

"Naked I came into this world, and naked I shall return. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job said this in Job 1:21)


This is the first post of my blog. This blog is a way for me to get thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I write on paper, usually in my journal, every night before I sleep. But I don't write the articles that I need to write. I just don't get them done. I'm hoping this blog will help me get those articles written. If you see an article in a magazine in the future and it seems vaguely familiar, well, who knows? Maybe I blogged it first! :)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Photo of Me

Lori Seaborg
Lori Seaborg 2005

Lori Seaborg
Lori Seaborg 2005