Take Up the Cross and Follow Him

Matthew 16:24-25 New King James Version (NKJV)

24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

30 Days of Knowledge Day #25

1) Dr. Charles F. Stanley's 30 Life Principles
            Life Principle 25
God blesses us so that we might bless others.
How would you complete the following three statements?
1.   God saved me because _________________.
2.   God’s purpose for me is _______________.
3.   I am most like Jesus when I ________________.
This little quiz is not to put you on the spot, but it is to set the proper framework for this life principle:
1. God saved me because He loves me.
The sole reason God sent His Son to this world to die for our sins was because He loved us. When we acknowledge our sin and need for a Savior, He forgives us, grants us eternal life, and gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit out of His immeasurable love and grace. There is no other reason.
Many people seem to believe that God saves a man or woman because of the person’s good works or service. Nothing could be further from the truth. No amount or type of service can earn salvation. The apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8, 9). Even the faith by which we believe that God forgives us and saves us is a divine gift that flows from His love!
This point is critical to understand. Any good we do is in response to God’s gifts of salvation, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit—never in order to earn, win, or warrant salvation.
2. God’s purpose for me is to bring Him glory.
God saved you and me so that we would serve as examples to others of His love and mercy at work in and through a human life.
Many people seem to think the only reason for salvation is so that a person will go to heaven when he dies. Eternal life is part of God’s plan of forgiveness, but that is not the sole reason for our salvation. God saved us so that we each might reflect His nature—that we might be His people on this earth, doing the kinds of works that Jesus Himself would do if He were walking in our shoes, through our world, during our lifetime. He desires to manifest His character through our personalities and giftedness.
When we allow His Holy Spirit to work in us and through us to others, we become vessels of His love in action. We begin to reflect His compassion, love, and mercy to others. And in so doing, we become His witnesses. We bring credit, honor, and glory to Him.
3. I am most like Jesus when I serve others.
The foremost characteristic of the life of Jesus Christ was and is service. We are most like Him when we serve as He served.
Many seem to think that a person is most like Jesus when he preaches like Jesus preached, teaches like Jesus taught, heals like Jesus healed, or performs miracles like Jesus performed miracles. They look only at the outward manifestation of a person’s witness and ministry.
They need to look beyond the outer manifestation to the motivation for Jesus’ life. That motivation was always love. Jesus preached, taught, healed, and performed miracles in order to help others, never to call attention to Himself. He poured out His very life so that others might be saved. Paul wrote, “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
God calls us to serve one another just as Jesus did. He didn’t save you or call you to service so that you might be exalted, praised, glorified, or put on a pedestal. He saved you so you could serve Him and others. When we do this, we honor Him with our lives. The most important thing you can do outside of accepting Christ as your Savior is to give your life to Him and allow Him to lead you each day.
Some mistakenly think that what we do is unimportant to God, but this is far from true. He has a plan for each one of us. When we make a decision to walk by faith, He will reveal it to us. And that plan always includes service and dedication to Him and to those He brings into our lives.
God loved us so that we might love others. He blesses us so that we might bless others. That’s what the Christian life is all about.

2) The 30-Day Reading List That Will Lead You to Becoming a Knowledgeable Libertarian by Robert Wenzel

Everything You Love You Owe to Capitalism

by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. .Rockwell, Jr.
This talk was delivered at the Mises Circle in Seattle on May 17, 2008.
I'm sure that you have had this experience before, or something similar to it. You are sitting at lunch in a nice restaurant or perhaps a hotel. Waiters are coming and going. The food is fantastic. The conversation about all things is going well. You talk about the weather, music, movies, health, trivialities in the news, kids, and so on. But then the topic turns to economics, and things change.
You are not the aggressive type so you don't proclaim the merits of the free market immediately. You wait and let the others talk. Their biases against business appear right away in the repetition of the media's latest calumny against the market, such as that gas station owners are causing inflation by jacking up prices to pad their pockets at our expense, or that Wal-Mart is, of course, the worst possible thing that can ever happen to a community.
You begin to offer a corrective, pointing out the other side. Then the truth emerges in the form of a naïve if definitive announcement from one person: "Well, I suppose I'm really a socialist at heart." Others nod in agreement.
On one hand there is nothing to say, really. You are surrounded by the blessings of capitalism. The buffet table, which you and your lunch partners only had to walk in a building to find, has a greater variety of food at a cheaper price than that which was available to any living person — king, lord, duke, plutocrat, or pope — in almost all of the history of the world. Not even fifty years ago would this have been imaginable.
All of history has been defined by the struggle for food. And yet that struggle has been abolished, not just for the rich but for everyone living in developed economies. The ancients, peering into this scene, might have assumed it to be Elysium. Medieval man conjured up such scenes only in visions of Utopia. Even in the late 19th century, the most gilded palace of the richest industrialist required a vast staff and immense trouble to come anywhere near approximating it.
We owe this scene to capitalism. To put it differently, we owe this scene to centuries of capital accumulation at the hands of free people who have put capital to work on behalf of economic innovations, at once competing with others for profit and cooperating with millions upon millions of people in an ever-expanding global network of the division of labor. The savings, investments, risks, and work of hundreds of years and uncountable numbers of free people have gone into making this scene possible, thanks to the ever-remarkable capacity for a society developing under conditions of liberty to achieve the highest aspirations of the society's members.
And yet, sitting on the other side of the table are well-educated people who imagine that the way to end the world's woes is through socialism. Now, people's definitions of socialism differ, and these persons would probably be quick to say that they do not mean the Soviet Union or anything like that. That was socialism in name only, I would be told. And yet, if socialism does mean anything at all today, it imagines that there can be some social improvement resulting from the political movement to take capital out of private hands and put it into the hands of the state. Other tendencies of socialism include the desire to see labor organized along class lines and given some sort of coercive power over how their employers' property is used. It might be as simple as the desire to put a cap on the salaries of CEOs, or it could be as extreme as the desire to abolish all private property, money, and even marriage.
Whatever the specifics of the case in question, socialism always means overriding the free decisions of individuals and replacing that capacity for decision making with an overarching plan by the state. Taken far enough, this mode of thought won't just spell an end to opulent lunches. It will mean the end of what we all know as civilization itself. It would plunge us back to a primitive state of existence, living off hunting and gathering in a world with little art, music, leisure, or charity. Nor is any form of socialism capable of providing for the needs of the world's six billion people, so the population would shrink dramatically and quickly and in a manner that would make every human horror ever known seem mild by comparison. Nor is it possible to divorce socialism from totalitarianism, because if you are serious about ending private ownership of the means of production, you have to be serious about ending freedom and creativity too. You will have to make the whole of society, or what is left of it, into a prison.
In short, the wish for socialism is a wish for unparalleled human evil. If we really understood this, no one would express casual support for it in polite company. It would be like saying, you know, there is really something to be said for malaria and typhoid and dropping atom bombs on millions of innocents.
Do the people sitting across the table really wish for this? Certainly not. So what has gone wrong here? Why can these people not see what is obvious? Why can't people sitting amidst market-created plenty, enjoying all the fruits of capitalism every minute of life, not see the merit of the market but rather wish for something that is a proven disaster?
What we have here is a failure of understanding. That is to say, a failure to connect causes with effects. This is a wholly abstract idea. Knowledge of cause and effect does not come to us by merely looking around a room, living in a certain kind of society, or observing statistics. You can study roomfuls of data, read a thousand treatises on history, or plot international GDP figures on a graph for a living, and yet the truth about cause and effect can still be evasive. You still might miss the point that it is capitalism that gives rise to prosperity and freedom. You might still be tempted by the notion of socialism as savior.
Let me take you back to the years 1989 and 1990. These were the years that most of us remember as the time when socialism collapsed in Eastern Europe and Russia. Events of that time flew in the face of all predications on the right that these were permanent regimes that would never change unless they were bombed back to the Stone Age. On the left, it was widely believed, even in those times, that these societies were actually doing quite well and would eventually pass the United States and Western Europe in prosperity, and, by some measures, they were already better off than us.
And yet it collapsed. Even the Berlin Wall, that symbol of oppression and slavery, was torn down by the people themselves. It was not only glorious to see socialism collapse. It was thrilling from a libertarian point of view to see how states themselves can dissolve. They may have all the guns and all the power, and the people have none of those, and yet, when the people themselves decide that they will no longer be governed, the state has few options left. It eventually collapses amid a society-wide refusal to believe its lies any longer.
When these closed societies suddenly became open, what did we see? We saw lands that time forgot. The technology was backwards and broken. The food was scarce and disgusting. The medical care was abysmal. The people were unhealthy. Property was polluted. It was also striking to see what had happened to the culture under socialism. Many generations had been raised under a system built on power and lies, and so the cultural infrastructure that we take for granted was not secure. Such notions as trust, promise, truth, honesty, and planning for the future — all pillars of commercial culture — had become distorted and confused by the ubiquity and persistence of the statist curse.
Why am I going through these details about this period, which most of you surely do remember? Simply to say this: most people did not see what you saw. You saw the failure of socialism. This is what I saw. This is what Rothbard saw. This is what anyone who had been exposed to the teachings of economics — to the elementary rules concerning cause and effect in society — saw. But this is not what the ideological left saw. The headlines in the socialist publications themselves proclaimed the death of undemocratic Stalinism and looked forward to the creation of a new democratic socialism in these countries.
As for regular people neither attached to the socialist idea nor educated in economics, it might have appeared as nothing more than a glorious vanquishing of America's foreign policy enemies. We built more bombs than they did, so they finally gave in, the way a kid says "uncle" on a playground. Maybe some saw it as a victory of the U.S. constitution over weird and foreign systems of despotism. Or perhaps it was a victory for the cause of something like free speech over censorship, or the triumph of ballots over bullets.
Now, if the proper lessons of the collapse had been conveyed, we would have seen the error of all forms of government planning. We would have seen that a voluntary society will outperform a coerced one anytime. We might see how ultimately artificial and fragile are all systems of statism compared to the robust permanence of a society built on free exchange and capitalist ownership. And there is another point: the militarism of the cold war had only ended up prolonging the period of socialism by providing these evil governments the chance to stimulate unfortunate nationalist impulses that distracted their domestic populations from the real problem. It was not the cold war that killed socialism; rather, once the cold war had exhausted itself, these governments collapsed of their own weight from internal rather than external pressure.
In short, if the world had drawn the lessons we should have from these events, there would be no more need for economic education and no more need even for the bulk of what the Mises Institute does. In one great moment of history, the contest between capitalism and central planning would have been decided for all time.
I must say that it was more of a shock to me and my colleagues than it should have been, that the essential economic message was lost on most people. Indeed, it made very little difference in the political spectrum at all. The contest between capitalism and central planning continued as it always had, and even intensified here at home. The socialists among us, if they experienced any setback at all, bounded right back, strong as ever, if not more so. If you doubt it, consider that it only took a few months for these groups to start kvetching about the horrible onslaught that was being wrought by the unleashing of capitalism in Eastern Europe, Russia, and China. We began hearing complaints about the rise of a hideous consumerism in these countries, about the exploitation of workers at the hands of capitalists, about the rise of the garish super rich. Piles and piles of news stories appeared about the sad plight of unemployed state workers, who, though loyal to the principles of socialism their entire lives, were now being turned out onto the streets to fend for themselves.
Not even an event as spectacular as the spontaneous meltdown of a superpower and all its client states was enough to impart the message of economic freedom. And the truth is that it was not necessary. The whole of our world is covered with lessons about the merit of economic liberty over central planning. Our everyday lives are dominated by the glorious products of the market, which we all gladly take for granted. We can open up our web browsers and tour an electronic civilization that the market created, and note that government never did anything useful at all by comparison.
We are also inundated daily by the failures of the state. We complain constantly that the educational system is broken, that the medical sector is oddly distorted, that the post office is unaccountable, that the police abuse their power, that the politicians have lied to us, that tax dollars are stolen, that whatever bureaucracy we have to deal with is inhumanly unresponsive. We note all this. But far fewer are somehow able to connect the dots and see the myriad ways in which daily life confirms that the market radicals like Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, and Rothbard were correct in their judgments.
What's more, this is not a new phenomenon that we can observe in our lifetimes only. We can look at any country in any period and note that every bit of wealth ever created in the history of mankind has been generated through some kind of market activity, and never by governments. Free people create; states destroy. It was true in the ancient world. It was true in the first millennium after Christ. It was true in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. And with the birth of complex structures of production and the increasing division of labor in those years, we see how the accumulation of capital led to what might be called a productive miracle. The world's population soared. We saw the creation of the middle class. We saw the poor improve their plight and change their own class identification.
The empirical truth has never been hard to come by. What matters are the theoretical eyes that see. This is what dictates the lesson we draw from events. Marx and Bastiat were writing at the same time. The former said capitalism was creating a calamity and that abolition of ownership was the solution. Bastiat saw that statism was creating a calamity and that the abolition of state plunder was the solution. What was the difference between them? They saw the same facts, but they saw them in very different ways. They had a different perception of cause and effect.
I suggest to you that there is an important lesson here as regards the methodology of the social sciences, as well as an agenda and strategy for the future. Concerning method, we need to recognize that Mises was precisely right concerning the relationship between facts and economic truth. If we have a solid theory in mind, the facts on the ground provide excellent illustrative material. They inform us about the application of theory in the world in which we live. They provided excellent anecdotes and revealing stories of how economic theory is confirmed in practice. But absent that theory of economics, facts alone are nothing but facts. They do not convey any information about cause and effect, and they do not point a way forward.
Think of it this way. Let's say you have a bag of marbles that is turned upside down on the ground. Ask two people their impressions. The first one understands what numbers mean, what shapes mean, and what colors mean. This person can give a detailed account of what he sees: how many marbles, what kinds, how big they are, and this person can explain what he sees in different ways potentially for hours. But now consider the second person, who, we can suppose, has absolutely no understanding of numbers, not even that they exist as abstract ideas. This person has no comprehension of either shape or color. He sees the same scene as the other person but cannot provide anything like an explanation of any patterns. He has very little to say. All he sees is a series of random objects.
Both these people see the same facts. But they understand them in very different ways, owing to the abstract notions of meaning that they carry in their minds. This is why positivism as pure science, a method of assembling a potentially infinite series of data points, is a fruitless undertaking. Data points on their own convey no theory, suggest no conclusions, and offer no truths. To arrive at truth requires the most important step that we as human beings can ever take: thinking. Through this thinking, and with good teaching and reading, we can put together a coherent theoretical apparatus that helps usunderstand.
Now, we have a hard time conjuring up in our minds the likes of a man who has no comprehension of numbers, colors, or shapes. And yet I suggest to you that this is precisely what we are facing when we encounter a person who has never thought about economic theory and never studied the implications of the science at all. The facts of the world look quite random to this person. He sees two societies next to each other, one free and prosperous and the other unfree and poor. He looks at this and concludes nothing important about economic systems because he has never thought hard about the relationship between economic systems and prosperity and freedom.
He merely accepts the existence of wealth in one place and poverty in the other as a given, the same way the socialists at a lunch table assumed that the luxurious surroundings and food just happened to be there. Perhaps they will reach for an explanation of some sort, but absent economic education, it is not likely to be the correct one.
Equally as dangerous as having no theory is having a bad theory that is assembled not by means of logic but by an incorrect view of cause and effect. This is the case with notions such as the Phillips Curve, which posits a tradeoff relationship between inflation and unemployment. The idea is that you can drive unemployment down very low if you are willing to tolerate high inflation; or it can work the other way around: you can stabilize prices provided you are willing to put up with high unemployment.
Now, of course this makes no sense on the microeconomic level. When inflation is soaring, businesses don't suddenly say, hey, let's hire a bunch of new people! Nor do they say, you know, the prices we pay for inventory have not gone up or have fallen. Let's fire some workers!
This much is true about macroeconomics. It is commonly treated like a subject completely devoid of any connection to microeconomics or even human decision-making. It is as if we enter into a video game featuring fearsome creatures called Aggregates that battle it out to the death. So you have one creature called Unemployment, one called Inflation, one called Capital, one called Labor, and so on until you can construct a fun game that is sheer fantasy.
Another example of this came to me just the other day. A recent study claimed that labor unions increase the productivity of firms. How did the researchers discern this? They found that unionized companies tend to be larger with more overall output than non-unionized companies. Well, let's think about this. Is it likely that if you close a labor pool to all competition, give that restrictive labor pool the right to use violence to enforce its cartel, permit that cartel to extract higher than market wages from the company and set its own terms concerning work rules and vacations and benefits — is it likely that this will be good for the company in the long run? You have to take leave of your senses to believe this.
In fact, what we have here is a simple mix up of cause and effect. Bigger companies tend to be more likely to attract a kind of unpreventable unionization than smaller ones. The unions target them, with federal aid. It is no more or less complicated than that. It is for the same reason that developed economies have larger welfare states. The parasites prefer bigger hosts, that's all. We would be making a big mistake to assume that the welfare state causes the developed economy. That would be as much a fallacy as to believe that wearing $2,000 suits causes people to become rich.
I'm convinced that Mises was right: the most important step economists or economic institutions can take is in the direction of public education in economic logic.
There is another important factor here. The state thrives on an economically ignorant public. This is the only way it can get away with blaming inflation or recession on consumers, or claiming that the government's fiscal problems are due to our paying too little in taxes. It is economic ignorance that permits the regulatory agencies to claim that they are protecting us as versus denying us choice. It is only by keeping us all in the dark that it can continue to start war after war, violating rights abroad and smashing liberties at home, in the name of spreading freedom.
There is only one force that can put an end to the successes of the state, and that is an economically and morally informed public. Otherwise, the state can continue to spread its malicious and destructive policies.
Do you remember the first time that you began to grasp economic fundamentals? It is a very exciting time. It is as if people with poor eyesight have put on glasses for the first time. It can consume us for weeks, months, and years. We read a book like Economics in One Lesson and pore over the pages of Human Action, and for the first time we realize that so much of what other people take for granted is not true, and that there are exciting truths about the world that desperately need to be spread.
To consider just one example, look at the concept of inflation. For most people, it is seen the way primitive societies might see the onset of a disease. It is something that sweeps through to cause every kind of wreckage. The damage is obvious enough, but the source is not. Everyone blames everyone else, and no solution seems to work. But once you understand economics, you begin to see that the value of the money is more directly related to its quantity, and that only one institution possesses the power to create money out of thin air without limit: the government-connected central bank.
Economics causes us to broaden our minds to look at the commerce of society from many different points of view. Instead of just looking at events and phenomena from the perspective of a single consumer or producer, we begin to see the interests of all consumers and all producers. Instead of thinking only about the short-run effects of certain policies, we think about the long run, and the spin-off effects of certain government policies. This is the essence of Hazlitt's first lesson in his famed book.
By the way, let me interrupt here to make an exciting announcement. This book was written more than 60 years ago, and it remains the most powerful first book on economics anyone can read. Even if it is the last book on economics you read, it will stick with you for a lifetime. It is a hugely important tool, and though I'm glad that it has stayed in print, I've not been happy with the edition that has long been distributed. We had long hoped for a hardback version of this amazing classic to make available at a very low price. Now we have it.
For a person who has read in economics, and absorbed its essential lessons, the world around us becomes vivid and clear, and certain moral imperatives strike us. We know now that commerce deserves defense. We see entrepreneurs as great heroes. We sympathize with the plight of producers. We see unions not as defenders of rights but as privileged cartels that exclude people who need work. We see regulations not as consumer protection but rather cost-raising rackets lobbied for by some producers to hurt other producers. We see antitrust not as a safeguard against corporate excess, but as a bludgeon used by big players against smarter competitors.
In short, economics helps us see the world as it is. And its contribution lies not in the direction of the assembly of ever more facts, but in helping those facts fit a coherent theory of the world. And here we see the essence of our job at the Mises Institute. It is to educate and instill a systematic method for understanding the world as it is. Our battleground is not the courts, nor the election polls, nor the presidency nor the legislature, and certainly not the wicked arena of lobbying and political payoffs. Our battleground concerns a domain of existence that is more powerful in the long run. It concerns the ideas that individuals hold about how the world works.
As we get older and see ever more young generations coming up behind us, we are often struck by the great truth that knowledge in this world is not cumulative over time. What one generation has learned and absorbed is not somehow passed on to the next one through genetics or osmosis. Each generation must be taught anew. Economic theory, I'm sorry to report, is not written on our hearts. It was a long time in the process of being discovered. But now that we know, it must be passed on — and in this way, it is like the ability to read, or to understand great literature. It is the obligation of our generation to teach the next generation.
And we are not merely talking here of knowledge for knowledge's sake. What is at stake is our prosperity. It is our standard of living. It is the well-being of our children and all of society. It is freedom and the flourishing of civilization that stands in the balance. Whether we grow and thrive and create and flourish, or wither and die and lose all that we have inherited, ultimately depends on these the abstract ideas we hold concerning cause and effect in society. These ideas do not usually come to us by pure observation. They must be taught and explained.
But who or what will teach and explain them? This is the crucial role of the Mises Institute. And not only to teach but to expand the base of knowledge, to make new discoveries, to broaden the reach of the literature, and to add ever more abundantly to the corpus of freedom. We need to expand its proponents in all walks of life, not only in academia but in all sectors of society. This is an ambitious agenda, one that Mises himself charged his descendents with.
You are helping us take up this task, and for this we are so grateful.
May 19, 2008
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. [send him mail] is founder and president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, editor ofLewRockwell.com, and author of Speaking of Liberty.

3) Roger’s Rangers Rules or Plan of Discipline by Major Robert Rogers
Rule #25

25. In paddling or rowing, give orders that the boat or canoe next the sternmost, wait for her, and the third for the second, and the fourth for the third, and so on, to prevent separation, and that you may be ready to assist each other on any emergency. 

4) 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington

          Week 41 of 52: Self-Reliant Skills

I have often emphasized how important it is to understand that preparedness isn’t about how many items you have stored away – it’s really about learning the skills necessary to survive. Ultimately, we want to be self-reliant and able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In order to adapt and transition more fluidly into self-reliant living, our efforts must lie in our learned skills, abilities and knowledge.
I realize the time constraints of our daily schedules can put a dent in our availability; but it is vital that you find the time to learn. When making the decision on what skills you should learn, think sustainability.
This is a basic list of skills you should learn in order to survive in a longer-term disaster.
1. Medical Training
Medical training should be a priority for those preparing for extended emergencies.  Due to the increased use of sharp tools (and weapons for that matter), there will be more medical emergencies involving deep lacerated cuts and infections from open wounds. Additionally, there will be an increase in burns from being in closer contact to fires.  These injuries can become infected very quickly, and knowing how to treat them will keep your family healthy.
There are online courses offered for basic CPR/First Aid, however, learning some advanced medical skills will give you more of the fundamental training needed to thrive during a long-term emergency. Find an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class that is offered for paramedics to better equip you to handle emergency medical situations.
Further, invest in medical handbooks such as The Doom and Bloom Survival Medical Handbook by Joseph Alton, M.D. and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P. or When There Is No Doctor by Gerard S. Boyle, M.D. Both resources are will help you learn what needs to be done in an emergency medical situation. Practice these techniques now in order to perform better under pressure.
2. Disaster Training
Learning how to plan and prepare for a disaster, as well as understanding how your community plans to respond to emergencies (and the after effects of a disaster), will help us adapt to the situation more quickly in such an event.  Disaster training is typically offered by FEMA, the American Red Cross and other disaster organizations.  The American Red Cross offers extensive courses in disaster safety and training, as well as basic First Aid/CPR courses.  Thanks to the Information Age, information is at the click of a mouse. Online disaster courses are now offered through a variety of websites.
3. Gardening Skills
It’s time to get your hands dirty and get back in touch with nature. In a long term survival situation, seeds will mean the difference between life and death. When a disaster occurs, start some sprouting seeds to ensure that you have a natural source of vitamins and nutrients until your seeds bear their fruits.
Learn necessary gardening skills such as companion plants, crop rotations, beneficial insects, natural ways to replenish soil with compost and earthworms, and which gardening tools will be beneficial in an extended emergency.
4. Medicinal Plants
Another relevant knowledge source is understanding the medicinal value of plants and herbs.  It is amazing how many uses there are for plants besides spicing up our entrees.  Researching natural medicines is another major need in a survival situation, especially if a person in your group has a pre-existing condition.
Click here to read about the Top 10 Medicinal Herbs.
5. Firearm Certification and Training
There are dozens of firearm courses offered through the National Rifle Association as well as at self defense businesses and at some local colleges. This skill is easily lost if you do not practice regularly. Also, practicing gun safety, especially around children will help them learn how important it is to be mindful around weapons.
6. Canning and Food Preparation
As Carla Emery, a homesteading author once said of our pioneer ancestors, “If people’s labors were fruitful, they put away a long-term food supply as a matter of common sense; their food was wholesome, hearty, and healthy.” Knowing how to can and preserve foods to eat during the long winter months is essential.
Canning and food preservation measures will be extremely useful in a longer-term disaster. Having food preservation tools such as jars, lids, pressure cookers, and supplies to preserve foods can help you keep your harvest edible for a year or more! Check www.craigslist.com, garage sales and even at second hand stores for these essential items. Canning jars would also make an excellent bartering item.
Further, having knowledge on how long foods last will help you preserve foods when they are at their best. This convenient food storage chart is a great tool to have in your kitchen to ensure your pantry foods are within expiration.
7. Amateur Radio Classes
Each of us have read enough survival books to know that the “comm down” scenario is a very real threat, and happens more often than not. Experts from the private and public sector warn that we are just one major catastrophic event away from an incident that could take down the grid. The best way to prepare for this serious situation is to equip yourself with the knowledge and with the tools for emergency communication. Having a radio is encouraged by many disaster relief organizations.  And having knowledge on how to work and maneuver a HAMM radio will provide a person with an emergency communication source during a time when most communication is down.  The National Association of Amateur Radio provides information based on a person’s location and course information on their website.
8. Sewing Classes
Everyone has heard stories of how their great grandmothers would sew quilts out of material harvested from worn-out clothing.  Not many of us have this skill anymore.  Typically fabric stores offer sewing classes and sewing events for their customers.  Sewing classes will not only teach a necessary skill, but it will also help you get the survival mindset in place.  Instead of buying something, make something new out of what you have available. For instance, rather than throwing away torn jeans, salvage the non-worn areas and turn them into patches for clothing.  Use other sections for pieces for a quilt, and make rags from what is left over.
9. Outdoor Survival Skills Courses
Learning necessary outdoor skills will provide a person with fundamental knowledge on how to better survive.  The Boy Scouts offer adult classes, and you can also find relevant courses at some community colleges.  Get creative and search around the internet.  There are some survival courses offered online (some are even free survival courses) that a person can take from the comfort of his or her home.  Look for courses on how to forage for food in the wild, essential survival skills, and wilderness medical courses. Some of these courses are  offered at local colleges, the YMCA, community park and recreation facilities, etc.  Additionally, finding books, and  e-books on survival skills is another way to gather information on this topic and practice what you learn later.
10. Homesteading Skills
There is a range of preparations and skills that are absolutely necessary for running a successful farm or homestead. That is why our forefathers often screwed up and starved to death. If all the pieces are not there then the potential exists for failure. Now is the time to get these skills in order. Learning about livestock care, how to fix essential machines, how to use non-electric or turn of the century tools,  how to render lard, and how to make soap and candles. These are all lost art forms, in my opinion and need to be learned in order to sustain your family or group for long-term scenarios. YouTube and online websites can do wonders for helping you learn the basics of these skills.
11. Hunting Skills
If you plan to hunt wild game for a food source, you will need to learn how to gut the carcass, skin the fur or remove feathers and properly cut the meat. The “hunter-in-training” will also have to have a proficient knowledge on the different types of hunting tools used to prepare animal carcasses (and these tools come in different sizes based on the animal). TheNational Hunting Association is a portal that can take a person to their local area hunting association in order to get more information for their specific area. Also, this website offers the hunting guides for all of the states within the USA.
I’d like to conclude by offering a few pieces of advice on learning new skills – practice any chance you get and give yourself time to learn it. Like any new thing you try to do, there is a learning curve involved. Give yourself time to make the necessary mistakes and learn from them. Process of elimination is usually the way we learn best. Finding others in your area who can help guide you through these new skills can be such a blessing, and can open the door to some new mentors.

Preps to Buy:

  • Written books on skills you want to learn
  • Tools or accessories needed to learn these skills
  • Extra printer paper to print out any information you find online
  • Binders for organizing your information (To help you organize this binder, click here for tips)

Action Items:

5.           Start looking online for any online courses you can take.
6.   Make a goal to start learning a new skill set.
7.   Purchase written resources for your survival library.
8.   Equip yourself with essential knowledge.
9.   Get and stay current in any certifications.
10.                Continue to educate yourself on skills you feel are pertinent to your survival.

          Week 42 of 52: Characteristics of an Ideal Retreat

By now, each of you are keenly aware of the different disasters that could affect our way of life. Some of these disasters even have the capacity to cause widespread destruction, panic and suffering. Given the pandemonium that would ensue in the more populated areas of our country, some of us are ready to take the necessary steps to be more self-reliant.
As a result, many are selling their suburban and urban dwellings to move to more rural settings to start their survival retreats. Preparing your home to be a survival retreat allows you to stock more supplies, and be more prepared for longer-term emergencies. This resource, by M.D. Creekmore has excellent book reviews and shows readers how to build a survival retreat on a low budget.
Deciding exactly where to relocate is not an exact science. You can gauge the potential threat and plan accordingly, but you can never be completely certain what will happen and where the safest place will be. However, knowing that you have researched and prepared the best retreat possible puts you at a far greater advantage than many others.
Location and land characteristics are crucial factors when a person is considering purchasing land for a survival retreat.  According to James Rawles, author of How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, the decision to have a survival retreat should be a “well-prepared and defensible redoubt with well-planned logistics.”
Experts agree on the fact that the area we  should choose for a retreat property needs to be a semi-isolated location with steady water supply and a fair amount of timber for heat in a woodstove/fireplace. If we find ourselves in a grid-down scenario, we want to be able to support our basic needs. These will be the top priorities in the beginning.
While walking the property note what resources and obstacles your site has before you make a plan. Keep in mind that you want to find a property that can be sustainable. Ask yourself questions such as:
  • “What’s there that you can use? Trees, bamboo, stones, sand, soil, clay…?
  • Is there plenty of wood or coal for fire?
  • Is there a natural water supply?
  • Can you work with those materials? Can you learn to?
  • Can the retreat property be seen from the road?
  • Is there a major highway nearby?
  • Can you protect your land, if attacked?
Keeping these questions in mind will help you determine whether the property is appropriate for surviving long-term disasters.
Climate is another consideration. Although many believe that living in the warm climates of the south will be an ideal area for retreats, keep in mind that most southern states are susceptible to damage brought on by hurricanes, tropical storms and flooding. As you can see from the map below, most our states are exposed to one or more climatic issues. Therefore, keep this in mind when determining where you want to set your retreat up.
Map provided by Redcross.org and Noaa.gov
Another aspect to factor in is whether any major cities are in your desired retreat area. Ideally, you want to choose an area that has low population density. If a major disaster occurs, living in a more isolated area (especially from major highways) will help to protect your from transient mobs leaving the cities. You don’t want to be on the lines of drift from major cities, as towns along these roads will be hit hard by hordes of people, some of whom might not be friendly. See the map below to view the major cities of the United States.
Map provided by the Survival Blog
U.S. Major Cities
Some other important factors to consider are:
  • A long growing season
  • Property backs up to a state or national park
  • Low population density and away major cities and suburban developments
  • Sufficient year-round precipitation and surface water
  • Rich topsoil
  • Sunny area for solar panels
  • No major earthquake, hurricane, or tornado risks
  • No flooding risk
  • No tidal-wave (at least two hundred feet above sea level)
  • Minimal forest-fire risk
  • Away from interstate freeways and other channelized areas
  • What type of employment is in the area
  • A diverse economy and agriculture
  • Low taxes
  • Non-intrusive scale of government
  • Favorable zoning and inexpensive building permits
  • Minimal gun laws
  • A lifestyle geared toward self-sufficiency
  • Plentiful local sources of wood or coal
  • No restrictions on keeping livestock
  • Defensible terrain
  • Not near a prison or large mental institution
  • Inexpensive insurance rates (home, auto, health)
  • Upwind and away from major nuclear power plants
Consider searching within an active farming area. This is beneficial because the barter systems are already in place, not to mention an abundance of livestock and produce.
When thinking about where you’d prefer to buy your retreat and/or retirement home, look at all the factors and whether the piece of land can sustain you and your family’s needs.
Use this mapping tool to:
  • Look into if there are any underground aquifers in the area
  • If there are any environmental or climatic issues in the area
  • Maps the vegetation growth in the area
Further Reading:

Preps to Buy:

  • Topographic and geographic maps of the area
  • Farmer’s Almanac to find out growing season

Action Items:

37.        Research! Compare counties that you are interested in moving to.
38.                Look into the local governments and what local laws are in place.
39.                Research websites like www.city-data.com to see what the statistics are for the location you are considering.
40.                Find out the condition of the soil.
41.                Determine if there is a barter system.
42.                To learn more about understanding the principles of a retreat, consider reading this page from Survival Blog.

5) 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation by George Washington
#73 - Think before you Speak pronounce not imperfectly nor bring out your Words too hastily but orderly & distinctly.

#74 - When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended.

#75 - In the midst of Discourse ask not of what one treateth but if you Perceive any Stop because of your coming you may well intreat him gently to Proceed: If a Person of Quality comes in while your Conversing it's handsome to Repeat what was said before.

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