What Did You Prep This Week (Month)?

Walk With God

I bought a new Bible, mine disappeared in the flood. It survived the flood itself but I can’t find it anywhere. It may have been accidentally tossed out or, most likely, it is packed away somewhere and will show up when we finish rebuilding and move back downstairs. To be honest, I do most of my reading electronically but sometimes it helps to have a real book in your hands. On top of that it is a study Bible with plenty of notes to help me understand and focus on learning. I also purchased a study guide for the book of Job. Given many of the circumstances I thought it would be good to understand this particular book of the Bible a little better.

Finished another round of praying for my neighbors having prayed for 100 of my closest neighbors by name. Attended church and lead Sunday school except when I was sick on Sunday.

Self Defense/Hunting

I purchased a 50 rubber bullets an the associated cartridge cases. Loaded with primers but no powder these are safe to shoot indoors (except for the fumes) and won’t damage walls and such. If they work OK, I might set up a range somewhere in the house (that is well ventilated).

Found a deal on 350 rounds of .38 Special ammunition. It was on sale for less than most ball ammo but it is loaded with semi-jacketed hollow points so it could actually double as self-defense ammunition if need be.

I also picked up 100 rounds of .22 LR, 20 rounds of .308 hunting ammunition.

I picked up the latest edition of the Hornady reloading handbook. There is a lot more data on 300 Blackout in this one and as I start to reload this caliber that will be very helpful.

I made it out to the range time for Wonderful Wife, my mom and son for some much needed practice.

And, yes, I bought another gun. I have been wanting a Ruger American Rimfire chambered in .22 Long Rifle for quite a while and came across a smokin’ deal. It does not have the threaded barrel I was hoping to get but I am willing to trade thta for $100 off any day. I think I will take it to the range at least once before I add a scope to it. Just to see how I do with open sights. I did go ahead and pick up the weaver mounts and scope rings as I am definitely planning on mounting a scope on this little guy. It will probably be the rimfire version of the Vortex Crossfire II that I have on the .308 and 7.62×39 versions of this gun.

Supplies/Gear

During a recent trip to the northeast I discovered my work backpack and travel kit were was missing quite a few items. I ordered the items online from Amazon and they were waiting for me when I returned home so I am now resupplied!

As part of a monthly subscription Wonderful Wife gave me for Christmas I now have a RATS tourniquet to add to my EDC bag…once I learn to use it properly. The subscription also included a nice little neck knife that sits flat against my chest and can be either a supplement for my daily carry or a replacement in restricted areas.

Security

I usually group this kind of thing in Supplies/Gear or Self Defense but I think in some cases this deserves its own section. We are replacing all the door knobs and hardware downstairs that was lost in the flood. So, Wonderful Wife has seen this as an opportunity to update the look of the house and we are replacing them all through the house. Since we are replacing things anyway I decided to take the opportunity to make a few upgrades. I have already replaced the lock on the front door replacing it with a new WiFi enabled model with a keypad. I also replaced the standard knob on my office door with a key lock.

While I understand there are potential risks associated with door locks that are connected to WiFi there are also a number of advantages that I think are worth the risk. With the (re)construction going on in the house I can unlock doors remotely or even set up limited access codes for contractors. I can also check and make sure that the doors are locked even if I am away from the house. If someone forgets to lock a door I can do so remotely. The new lock has a chime on it alerting me if the door is opened and an alarm if someone is trying to break it. I made sure to buy one that is compatible with the new alarm system I am looking into purchasing as soon as the (re)construction is finished. At that point, the alerts will go to the company monitoring the alarm as well as my phone.

I keep a lot of stuff in my office that little fingers shouldn’t get into. Reloading equipment and supplies, firearms, ammunition, knives, and all sorts of other gear and of which could be hazardous for little ones who get in. Up until now, I relied on keeping a close eye on my grand kids when they were over and a “childproof” door knob cover to keep them safe. As they get older, more independent and more numerous I decided to go ahead and put a key lock on my office door to help ensure their safety and my peace of mind.

Finances

Our money has been going into home repairs and the savings is going down…

Fitness/Health

This is the area I am failing in the most. My diet is abysmal and I have not been exercising at all for quite some time. I NEED TO FOCUS ON THIS!

I am not sure of the correct category but as I have aged I have noticed my eyesight beginning to fail (again). Given our family history of cataracts and glaucoma it was well past time for an eye exam. While there are some early signs of cataracts it is too early to do anything about them. I have another appointment in six months to check the rate of growth.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week. How about you? What did you Prep this week?

Take care and God Bless

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2018 Preparedness Assessment (Part 4: Death)

“Wait? What? I thought the point of being prepared was to avoid death!”

-Anonymous

The one disaster that is guaranteed to happen to each and every one of us is that we will die…as will our loved ones.

Yes, that is depressing…but it is a cold, hard fact and since the probability of death is 100% I am planning and preparing for it. In fact, I am preparing for it in three different ways. First, I want to ensure that my passing will be as little of a burden, financially and logistically, on those I leave behind as possible. Second, I want to make sure that I “get right” with all the people around me. Finally, I want to make sure I am “right” with God.

1 – Finances and Logistics

I want to make sure that those I leave behind are able to focus on each other and not on funeral arrangements and the thousand bits administrivia that go with such a loss. To that end I have created a file with a statement from each of our financial accounts along with any needed login IDs and passwords. Each of my children and one of my son in laws know where this is stored and two of them know where the keys to it are. A backup copy of just the account information is kept on my desk (no passwords or IDs in that one!). To make sure my grand children have a little leg up in life we have started a savings plan for each of them and have scheduled regular deposits in their accounts. We also make additional deposits when we can. There are also life insurance policies on both myself and Wonderful Wife to help financially.

We also have some things still on our “to do” list. First and foremost is a will to make sure that our “stuff” is divided ahead of time. It is amazing how often families are torn apart fighting over silly little keepsakes after a family member passes away.  Next on our list is to choose and purchase a burial plan. That way our funeral expenses will be covered. I have seen the pressure some funeral home employees can put on the survivors to purchase all sorts of elaborate and expensive stuff. Nothing sells flowers and fancy caskets like the guilt these folks can lay on folks already struggling with a loss. It’s disgusting and my family will not have to deal with it. My body will be dead and a pine box is no worse a container to bury it in than a fancy gold and silk lined casket that costs more than my car…

2 – “Getting Right” With Loved Ones

To paraphrase an old country song, will they know how much I loved them if tomorrow never comes? Never leave anything unsaid that needs to be said. Never leave anyone guessing about how you felt towards them. Period.

No one leaves the house without a hug and an I love you. Period.

Being prepared for this is the cheapest and most rewarding prep of all. That doesn’t always mean it is easy but it is simple.

3 – “Getting Right” With God

As most anyone who has read this blog knows, I am a Christian (seriously, just look at the title!). As such, I believe that the end of this mortal life is just the beginning of an eternal afterlife and that certain choices we make during our lives here on Earth determine the nature of that afterlife. We can choose to accept the gift of salvation and live eternally in His presence, or, choose permanent separation from God and godly things.

I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross in payment for my sins and, on the third day, rose from the grave and ascended into heaven. He made this sacrifice for any who chose to accept it. It is presented freely as a gift, a gift of forgiveness, of Grace. I have chosen to accept the gift of Grace, the undeserved forgiveness of our sins. Although I am made perfect in His sight (made clean) I am far from perfect. That’s kind of the point. I finally realized that I couldn’t be as good as I should be or as perfect as I should be. I realized I was a sinner and, finally, accepted his Grace instead. That’s not an excuse to give up resisting temptation and sin. In fact, by accepting it I commit strive even harder to be more like Him…every…single…day.

To me, this is the ultimate and most important bit of preparedness.

God bless

2018 Preparedness Assessment (Part 3: TEOTWAWKI)

To paraphrase the Thoughtfully Prepping Blog, after the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI) the world will still be here.

There are a lot of scenarios that could bring about the end of the world as we know it; a successful EMP attack against the US, a solar CME on the scale of the Carrrington event that strikes the northern hemisphere, plague (natural or man made), a large scale nuclear exchange, an eruption of the Yellowstone super-volcano, an asteroid impact of sufficient size, the zombie apocalypse (every preppers favorite), etc., etc., etc. I am not preparing for disasters of this scale.

What?!

Sacrilege, you say!

Nope, I am not a “doomsday” prepper.

Do I think that these events are possible?

Yup.

Do I think they are likely?

I am 100% positive that the Earth will experience one or more of these events at some point in time.

So, why am I not prepping for them?

Simple, I lack the resources and the knowledge to prepare for such events.

Should there be a successful EMP attack against the US or a massive CME hit the Amish may not even notice. They may be overrun by hordes of their neighbors trying to take what they have but their way of life would be, essentially, unaffected. If I had the money to buy a farm and the time to learn all the ways of the Amish I could survive as well. I don’t have either of those. Especially since I would also have to build an underground bunker capable of surviving a nuclear blast and stock it with months or years worth of supplies underneath said farm in order to survive a nuclear exchange. I would also need an arsenal within the bunker and walls around the farm to survive the zombie hordes. I could save some money on preparing for the Yellowstone volcano because, we’d be within the zone of destruction, depending on the size of the blast. To survive the asteroid strike I would need a space station…

You start to get the idea.

By definition, we have no idea what conditions will be like and what it will take to survive once the world as we know it is gone otherwise we would call it something other than the end of the world as we know it. We can make some suppositions but the reality would be that strength, cunning, creativity, perseverance and a heck of a lot of adaptability would be more valuable than anything else at that point.

So, like I said, I lack the resources and the knowledge.

Instead, I focus on preparing for the situations we have an actual possibility of surviving with the resources I can put together.

Will the preparation I have done for smaller disasters give me a bit of a leg up on surviving “The End?”

I would think so but who knows…

God bless

2018 Preparedness Assessment (Part 2: Christianity And Preparedness)

A lot of folks, Christian and non-Christian alike, have questioned whether trying to be more prepared contradicted my claim that I have faith in God. Basically, whether preparedness and Christianity are compatible points of view. Most of the time they say something along the lines of:

If you truly trust in God you would trust in Him to provide for you in disasters too.

For those who are familiar with the Bible, they will generally toss out a Biblical reference like this one:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

-Matthew 6:26

However, few will carry on to the very next verse:

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

-Matthew 6:27

In the context of verse 27 it becomes pretty clear (to me anyway) that Jesus was not encouraging us to lay around and wait to be fed and clothed. He was just pointing out that worry and stress accomplish nothing. Worry and stress, we know today, not only won’t add any time to our lives they steal time away in the form of any number of physical ailments.

A few verses later Jesus says:

…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

-Matthew 6:33

What I believe that He is saying here is that we, as Christians, need to make God our first priority; that we need to focus on him rather than fancy clothes or fine foods. He is talking about our priorities and where they should be.

Besides that, the Bible is full of examples of preparedness in action. Of course, when this topic comes up Noah is typically brought up but there were others including Joseph (of the fancy coat) who counseled Pharaoh (interpreting his dreams) and helped Egypt prepare for the famine to come by storing up food during the times of plenty (Genesis 41).

The book of Proverbs has several passages that would encourage being prepared:

The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.

-Proverbs 21:20

and

A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

-Proverbs 27:12

and

Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!
Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work,
they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter.
But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

-Proverbs 6:6-11

The New Testament has fewer verses (that I know) that encourage preparedness other than spiritual. However there are numerous passages that guide us to take care of our families and provide for their needs. To be watchful for the difficult times to come.

From this, I don’t see where there is any conflict between preparedness and my faith. As long as it doesn’t become my “god,” it doesn’t become the focus of my life. For me, the challenge will be how to balance charity and the clear directive to love my neighbor against preserving my own supplies for those who are entrusted to my care…

I pray I never have to make those decisions and if I do, I hope I will have the courage and strength to follow His will and not my own.

God bless.

SIG P365

The first 9mm self-defense handgun I ever purchased was the SIG P250. While an awful lot folks didn’t like that gun, I love it. Smooth, buttery trigger like a revolver but with the capacity of a mid-sized semi-auto (15 rounds).

For a number of reasons I switched to Glocks over the years. The G19 replaced the P250 as my “nightstand gun.” I tried the G26 as a daily carry but It was always a but too heavy and bulky so when the G42 then the G43 came out they became my daily carry pieces. I really like shooting those little guys but the announcement of the P365 from SIG may have me rethinking that at some point.

Sig P365

This little SIG is very similar in size and weight (see the exact specs here) to the G43 but with the 10+1 capacity of the larger M&P Shield!

 

The capacity is 10+1 with the flush fit or extended magazines but they will also be offering a 12 round extended magazine for this little guy. The trigger, from what I am hearing, is just as awesome as the P320 trigger which is a very good trigger (no word on whether it comes with similar safety concerns). It does come standard with three dot night sights and two magazines and from what I am seeing and hearing it is at a pretty competitive price point with the G43.

Now, I am not one to jump platforms quickly or easily. Above and beyond the price of the firearm itself I have a decent investment in holsters and spare magazines for the Glock 43 platform and don’t really want to start all over again with that but I might have to give this little guy a serious look.

God bless!

2018 Preparedness Assessment (Part 1: Overview)

Every year I try and reassess my preparedness plans and goals to make sure I am still on track and prioritizing my efforts and dollars appropriately. Last year I turned this assessment into a six part series. We’ll see how many posts I need this year…

The process is fairly straightforward.

1. Re-evaluate what scenarios or situations I am trying to be prepared for.

2. Assess what I need to do to prepare for these scenarios.

3. Identify any gaps I have in being prepared for those scenarios.

4. Work to close those gaps during the year.

Sounds pretty easy and straightforward right? Yeah well, actually it is. Being more prepared is not rocket science. In fact, for the most part, it is just basic, good old fashioned common sense. Our parents and grandparents would probably have laughed that we make such a big deal about “prepping.” For most of them it just would have been a logical part of their everyday life. In fact, based on Aesop’s fable “The Ant And The Grasshopper” we can pretty well assume that being prepared for adversity has been a part of the human good sense for at least the last several thousand years. It is only in modern times that the majority of people scoff at the idea.

For the most part the situations/scenarios I am preparing for have not changed. The one big addition for this year is flooding. This part of Houston has not flooded for over 20 years but this year we did…in a big way. Whether that was a complete a once in a lifetime event or a result of changing flood areas to to continued development is up to the engineers, meteorologists and lawyers to determine. For me, I am just going to add it to the list and see what I can do to be more prepared should it happen again.

So here is the list:

1. Death

Man born of woman is short of days and full of trouble.

He blossoms like a flower, then withers; he flees like a shadow and does not last.

Job 4:1-2

While it may come as a surprise to some of you, we are all mortal. We will all shuffle off this mortal coil at some point. For those who do not believe in a higher power, I guess that means that we will just cease to exist and become worm food. As a Christian, my views are a little different than that and so the most important preparations I can make are for where I will spend eternity. That is why my I include my “Walk With God” as my most important preparation of all. Regardless of which one you believe, death comes to us all and we need to be prepared for that fact.

2. Retirement

Some folks look forward to retirement. They can do that because the properly prepared for it ahead of time. For others retirement sneaks up behind them and bites them on one of any number of body parts and they end up as a burden on their families or eating dog food (cat food is way too expensive). I don’t think counting on Social Security counts as being prepared and we are doing what we can to prepare for retirement. Because we were poor for much of our marriage, Wonderful Wife and I are off to a late start on this.

3. Hurricane

I was arrogant and overconfident that I was prepared when Harvey blew through. I will be taking this much more seriously in 2018 and reassessing what I have prepared, where the gaps are and what I can do to be better prepared moving forward.

4. Flood

When the rain stopped from Hurricane Harvey I though we were good to go. Then I noticed the rising waters at the end of my street. The water rose for almost a day AFTER the rains stopped. Short of building a dam around my lot (the neighborhood association would NOT be pleased) and hoping I can pump water out faster than it comes down there is not much I can do to keep the waters out. The best we can do is make sure we protect what is most valuable and what cannot be replaced and have a plan for how to escape. We can also plan to make the recovery easier and quicker.

5. Financial Disruption

Three and a half years ago I was laid off. Wonderful Wife and I delayed our wedding several times over the span of a couple of years because stuff happened and what we had saved for the wedding needed to be used for something else. Personal financial disruptions happen everyday around this nation. Those entrusted with spending other people’s money (our money) are not being very good stewards these days and that will, at some point, cause some very serious economic impacts on the rest of us.  It is important to be prepared for if and when any of these begin to affect us.

5. Social Disruption

A quick glance at social media, the “real” news media, or the “peaceful” protests around our nation should be able to see why this one is important. Those caught unaware and unprepared will, like Reginald Denny, pay the price. We plan to do everything possible to see that we do not face his (or a worse) fate.

Those are the scenarios we are preparing for. Next week we’ll start looking at each of these scenarios in more detail and begin to share our plans for dealing with them.

God bless.

 

What Did You Prep This Week (Month)?

Walk With God

Prepared for and taught Sunday School then attended church.

Started a new Bible reading plan that will take me chronologically through the Bible in one year. I have done a better job with my prayer time and time spent studying the Bible.

Self Defense/Hunting

I prepped some 300 Blackout brass that I have been collecting.

My son gave me a set of dies to reload 300 Blackout for Christmas. I am sure the fact that he shoots way more 300 Blackout than I do has nothing to do with it. On the flip side I gave him a 1934 Mosin with a hex receiver and a few hundred rounds of ammunition. I bought powder and bullets so I can get some 300 BLK ammo reloaded before too long.

I found a 10.5 inch pistol length upper in 7.62×39 and couldn’t resist. That gives me three caliber choices for my AR pistol; 7.62×39, 5.56/.223 and 300 Blackout. I also purchased (another) snub-nosed revolver, a Taurus Model 85FS.

Bought 160 rounds of 7.62×39 ammunition. 40 rounds of brass cased S&B soft-points, 100 rounds of Monarch FMJ and a box (20 rounds) of Monarch hollow points. The S&B can be reloaded and the Monarch is made by the same company (Barnaul) that makes the Brown Bear ammunition that I have had such good luck with. I also picked up 300 rounds of 9mm practice ammo.

I made it to the range and spent some time practicing with the Glock 43 and a variety of revolvers.

Supplies/Gear

We installed “dusk to dawn” security lights over both exterior doors.

I replaced a WiFi repeater that was destroyed in the flood and configured it so our video doorbell is back in service.

Finances

Increased the amount of my paycheck going into 401K by another 1%.

Fitness/Health

I was able to get a little exercise in over the last month. Still not where I need to be but it it is a step in the right direction.

I also went to the dentist to start getting some much needed dental work done. Healthy teeth are important in so may ways. I also had my eyes checked out. I have a few floaters that bear watching (I’ll be back in 6 months for a check up) and my vision has degraded with age so I have a prescription for glasses for the first time since I had lasik. I am not happy about that but at least I only need them for driving.

That’s it for me. That’s what I prepped this week (month). How about you? What did you Prep this week (month)?

Take care and God Bless

P.S. Because of some business travel and some other commitments I am going to stay on the monthly schedule for What Did You Prep for a little bit longer.