My blog, my blog, my blog; an evolutionary whim of written thoughts and quips of things that happen within my personal life. And, as life goes, they shift and ebb with the tides, the moon phases and mother earth’s cleansing schedule.
This time my blog was going to be about parenting teens. But as it always goes, right before I hit the publish button, something changes and bam, I’m back to the drawing board.
As you may well have heard on the mass and social media news that Southern Alberta has been hit bad by Mother Nature’s recent cleansing ritual. The worst, it is said, in written history.
Canadian Flood History Alberta Disasters: The Worst Natural And Man-Made Disasters In The Province’s History
So, as I mentioned, I started a long and degradingly tedious blog about my point of view on raising teenagers, then, for the next 5 days I was bombarded with tales of woe and disaster, of families separated from each other and from their homes. I saw devastation and loss amongst heroism and genuine human kindness. I knew my blog was just a spew of unnecessary when there were other things to worry about at this point.
We were lucky; my community was under watch and in a state of emergency but it was not hit nearly as hard as those in Calgary, High River and etc. So as I sat back and read one disaster story after another, I decided I needed to reiterate, for myself, what is truly important in one’s life.
I meandered through the hallways of my own home yesterday taking in the bits and pieces that I own. Pictures and frames, trinkets or knickknacks, books and movies, all pieces of furniture, lovingly made, painstakingly bought or delightfully recycled. I ran a finger over dusty hand rails and hand-carved built-ins and knew that at one time a man created these with his own hands for his family. So easily it could be gone. I knelt down to view a small shrine of rocks, gems and feathers all kept in a sacred spot in a small shelf lighted by a simple rock lamp that is never turned off, always shining its orange healing light, keeping our wee mementoes of special moments in our lives safe in its brilliant warmth. I shuffled through hallways opening one door after another peeking into rooms often unused, teen bedrooms very well used and rooms filled with the echoes of laughter, arguments, sadness, grief, or happiness and joy by current and past families that had all resided there at one point. As I opened each closet and each drawer, I could only stare at its contents, managing to find a story or know where some of the these ‘things’ had come from. I asked myself, was any of it worth going back for in an emergency? It most certainly was not.
I watched my fat cat bath himself in a late sun rays that peeked through a storm muddied window. I patted my dog as she zipped by with a toy in her mouth hearing one of the kids coming through the front door in hopes of some much-loved attention. Both my girls were giggling about something or another and their friends were well amused and following suit. They would toss their stinky Toms into the doorway without thought and retreat to one of the many rooms in our home. There is a sound you take for granted; laughter, of a child, at any age. And I closed my eyes to listen. Yes, I said to myself. These are the important things; sun rays and cat baths, playing with the dog and laughing children. I scanned the home for any sound from my husband and found him walking through the garden, tugging at the endless invasion of weeds and checking out the damage the latest hail storm may have caused. I smiled at him, a smile that hinted of the question??? He gave me a smile with a nod… our garden had made it through what we envisioned was the worst we would see this summer, thank goodness. More grateful things to add to my list; a garden of vegetables and a man who cares enough to baby them after a storm. Not many people on this day in our sunny southern Alberta will be saying the same. But they will be grateful, I’m sure, that they are all together and safe.
All of these moments of gratefulness lightened my heart and set me on a minor mission. I found myself searching my lap top, of which, I realized, I would not miss if I had lost it, for some heartfelt recommendations for living in a world that is slowly changing. Not bad nor good just changing and I wanted to create a list perhaps of what one would require to be a bit more prepared for these more frequent radical weather patterns (man-made or no, it was obvious these were only going to become the new norm), and I found a link. Not exactly what I was envisioning, but the list to prepare your outer and inner life were well presented and easily adaptable. So I will add them here with my own spin. The website is a blog about the Great Waves World, so if you are a theorist of sorts, like myself, this site may appeal to you. Me? I just took what I needed and moved on this time..
Outer Life Preparations: What you can do right now to ensure your safety and your family’s health through a disaster.
- Conserve Energy: This is easy enough to do with a family. For example, make sure all lights and hardware are shut off when not in use. (I need to remember do this myself). Have your kids walk or ride bikes to their friend’s home and find out what local stores are nearby so that you could do some shopping, limiting your use of driving to the large food chains and etc.
I do have a personal pet peeve in energy conservation and that’s water. My husband is the WORST offender of water wastage. To do dishes, he will run the tap as he squirts the soap, rinses, squirts the soap, rinses, each and every dish, the equivalent of 10 whole case of bottled water… AUGH, it makes me cringe at the needless loss. And if you want to witness my inner rage.. just watch how many curse worse spew from my lips when I see the city has the sprinklers on in public areas when its raining!!!!…OMG makes my heart ache to see such waste.
Ok… Now, see here, I am being a slight bit of a hypocrite. I do leave the bathroom light on… frequently… and my husband is often the one to turn it off. We all have our work cut out.
Here is a clip on 20 Things You Can Do To Conserve Energy.
- Maintain a supply of food, water and medicine: This goes back to my grandparent’s day when food was scarce. They learned to conserve and stock pile for those “just-in-case” moments. I too have a small stockpile of food but I find that most canned foods (unless you can them yourself) are just empty calories so my mission has been to find healthy, nutritious stock piling type foods. The rule of thumb is to have enough food for 90 days to feed your family.
Even though I’m NOT into MLM kind of companies, I do LOVE this particular company’s packaged and long-life standing food choices.
Thrive Life – I am not a seller, I just buy from them so this is not me trying to sell you on anything. It’s just plain good food is all.
- Build an emergency cash fund: This is hard with teens afoot always looking for money to support their social habits. I do NOT have this but I will start. It is crucial. I do think that not only cash but trading items would be helpful too; you could go back to #2 and have a small section for trade-able foods if necessary.
- Available medical services: I am very familiar with many of the what I call the traditional forms of healing such as energy healing, use of herbs and plants, trees etc. and homeopathic approached to self-preservation, and I would suggest you look in your own communities for just such individuals as they would know what weed in your garden you can actually eat and which one will stanche the flow of blood, for example. As for the non-traditional ‘modern medicine’. I would be ever grateful for a doctor on hand who has the necessary skills to stitch a wound and assist with chronic illness of which, some would need a ready supply of prescribed medications.
- Grow your own food: I can NOT stress this enough. If you have one sunny window you can grow a tomatoes; greens just need a room that has natural light, it does not need to be in direct sunlight. Anyone can grow food on a patio, in a yard, even in the darkest, coldest winters it can be done with some knowledge and ingenuity.
- Own fewer things: keep your life simple, keep it simple for your children. You cannot grab everything you have in a moment’s notice but you sure can grab one or two precious items. As my children got older, every time they wanted a new stuffy or a new toy they had to get rid of an old one. It was often a very difficult choice and it taught a small bit of value of what they had and how easily things could be replaced by other things.
I am currently in the mode of removal in my home. And I’m working on leaving this current home for a smaller more eco-friendly version SOON! Come hell or high water!
- Consider your neighbours and friends: Do you have elderly neighbours or families with small children. Are you, like me, in a neighbourhood where all are just getting by? I have a very large garden and currently, a home with too many rooms, in a disaster. I would not hesitate for a second to give up space or food. (My kids may be mortified but alas, what can one do?) I do know some neighbours, however, are a little shady and I would be hesitant. That is just honesty folks. Scary individuals.
- Learn where your essential resources come from: Are you able to acquire any of these in case of an emergency? Could you possibly have a place to set up to catch rain water or put up solar power panels for long-term uses? Referring back to #1, do it now?
- Have contingency plans for you and your family: Know where the closest shelter is or what family and/or friend you can rely on who are close by? Talk with them and your children to make a plan in case you get separated. Knowing there is a safe place somewhere is a load off, believe me. Many many times my children and I walked home together from school as I pointed out homes of people I knew and homes they could go to in case of emergency and which ones to avoid. (In case you haven’t noticed, my neighbourhood is a bit on the sketchy side).
Inner Life preparations: We can plan and plan and think we are ready with our emergency kits, freezer full of frozen water bottles and endless supply of those disgusting canned peas but what is most important is your reactions to just such moments. Here is a list of things to prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
- Take a quiet moment for yourself EVERY SINGLE DAY: A must must MUST! And if, at random, in this moment of quiet, something brilliant pops into your head that is noteworthy, by all means please write it down, blog it, post it, tweet it..
- Simple meditation: As per #1… you can combine these. Just calm the mind. At first you don’t succeed try try again, just giving your brain a break is like feeding it its weight in nutrients times 100,000,000.
- Fewer Opinions: As long as your opinion has solid backed researched data and information and you’re not just spouting charts and equations… this is acceptable BUT please try to keep them at a minimum. Willy nilly remarks made on the spur with assumptions must be limited. My daughter is a PRO at this! hehe. She comes by it honestly as both my parents are fond opinion givers and therefore, as am I. I’m working on it! DILIGENTLY!
- STOP complaining: AUGH! This has been a battle I have been fighting for AGES (I know its a complaint). And as I have found my complaints becoming less and less or just simply not important enough worth saying out loud, I find that steps #1 and #2 become much easier and step #3 is pretty much eliminated as, in my own personal, home-based, biased opinion, most complaints start the debates of which opinions are born.
- Re-assess Goals and Plans: If there is going to be radical changes on our planet in regards to weather, then many things can be affected. I’m currently in this phase. If you are following anything on my blog you will see that what my goals and plans are include off-grid living (of which I can grow a whole garden of food within an earth friendly home in all seasons, anywhere in the world), writing (some way perhaps to make a little cash) and vegetarian eating (it is easy to grow and all I need to nourish my body, after all I don’t hunt for my food anymore so the amount of protein and etc. I need to sit at my computer all day can all be found in a nice sprig of broccoli, a slice of avocado and an egg.
- Forgive yourself and forgive others: This is just plain nice to do. It releases you from harming yourself and others. Letting things go with forgiveness is like losing those last 10 pounds, it may be hard at first but once you have done it! You feel like a million bucks!
- Honour your parents: This included honorary folks, adopted folks, you friend’s folks and etc. They knew what they knew and that is how they lived. If they have harmed you in any way please go back to #6. I have made some parenting doozies along the way and I’m pretty sure they will come back to haunt me so I will forgive myself and move on.
- Build pillars: I like this one, I wasn’t going to add it to my list as I did not want to offend any religion or cult or sector or alien. But it just makes sense. Build pillars of 1) relationships, of 2) health, of 3) work and providing and 4) spiritual development. It’s just that simple isn’t it? And try your damnedest NOT to sacrifice one for the other. No one likes to travel in a tractor on a gravel road with only three wheels. It’s dangerous! And it’s really hard to knit with only one needle… So keep all four pillars solid.
- Do NOT fall for the fear: there is nothing on this planet that is more fearsome than your own imagination. Let your kids go out and have fun. Let your teens go to that party. Go on that vacation you have been dreaming about and go ALONE! Why not?? Nothing but fear is stopping you. Do not let the what if’s and but’s muddle your plans. Just do it!
- Build self-confidence: See what is necessary and take action… Oooh it’s that take action part. Ya, I get that. I am always the super hero in my mirror, AFTER the fact. Next time don’t think, zip past hesitation and just go for it. The worst case scenario? In most cases is the word no, a very small insignificant word and yet we are all afraid of it. Got to step #9 here.
- BE change: if you want change you must first implement this change. Not unlike opinions, anyone who can spout what we should be doing and how we should be doing it better be doing it and doing it well already. Included here are religious leaders, politicians, health care workers and the list goes on…
- Assess your relationships: Would you eat a rotten potato? All green and gangrenous? Unless you were on one of those crazy reality shows and on a dare, I think not… so why would you keep living in relationships that have gone rotten. Either find a way to refresh the old potato or move on.
- Knowledge: follow it, have faith in it and take from it all you need. You are smarter than you give yourself credit for. All of us are. We all have great strengths and great weaknesses. In case of dire straits though, you may want to have a few fun skills under your belt. Want to learn how to build? Take a course. Want to try your green thumb and grow a garden? Read about it. You want to find an easy and simple ways to utilize recycled material, find a crafty book and use your imagination a bit. We can live with nothing and make do, or we can live with nothing and rebuild. For example, It is amazing what can be crafted out of crates… Homes that are built with old tires and pop cans. Really people.. learn. You will be amazed at what we have done with much less.
- Recognize: Realize and recognize that we are in a time of change. It’s not bad or scary it’s just change. I always say I despise two things. Things that stay the same and things that change. I am not in control of either one so I may as well just live with them.
In conclusion: We are in times of great change whether you can see it or not. Chaos reigns in the middle of a big clean up (if you have teens all you need is to spend one Sunday afternoon cleaning their rooms and you will completely understand this statement). But the end result is Utopia, Heaven on Earth, Paradise. Let’s strive for that. Shall we?
Again I give thanks to the Google images and every blog or website I used this day. Much appreciated.
- Alberta flood information round-up for Sunday (beaconnews.ca)
- Floods Awash Around the World: India’s Toll Exceeds 1000 as Canada and France Mop Up (goldenageofgaia.com)