Thursday, February 23, 2012

In Utah, Religious Leaders promote attending your upcoming Caucus.

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In Utah, we have a blessed and unique Caucus system that truly encourages and actually allows true grass-root involvement of you and your neighbors. I love this system because it is very difficult to use money to influence the election of the several delegates per Caucus in Utah's approximately 2000 precincts who then represent their precinct/area and elect the candidates.  These delegates, your own neighbors who you elect, essentially vet the candidates running for office.  They are invited to listen to all of the candidates in a variety of settings, learn their views, & help made a decision that is in keeping with your local area.  These delegates can, and should, take your input into consideration and also share what they are learning with you.  In my precinct, we have a blog and a facebook page to help with disseminating information and our constituents state that they really appreciate being kept in the loop.  

This process is under attack by many special interest groups who appear to have either deep pockets or wish to promote their own ideals and candidates over the choice or choices you might make.  Many of these individuals have complained that the ordinary citizen is not informed enough to make decisions about who should run and that essentially a select group of individuals are better prepared and more knowledgeable to to make this choice for you.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Who better can know your area than a delegate who resides in your area?  In my view, the events of our last election cycle with Senator Bennett point to the effectiveness of this system.  The thousands of delegates, vetted and voted to represent their own areas and constituents.  No amount of money could have influenced all of these people to vote as they did.  In the end, the incumbent was not elected to be the candidate, and a primary was necessitated between now Senator Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater.  In that Primary, you voted for the candidate that best represented you after all of the candidates had been vetted by your delegates.  

How important is this system? Well, don't just take my word for it, see what many of our leading religious leaders are saying to their congregations. They too seem to recognize and encourage the exercising of your individual rights.  See their comments below (Courtesy of Bill Barnes from Intermountain Healthcare):

Faith communities urge participation in precinct caucus meetings

Intermountain Healthcare is encouraging all employees to attend and participate in their precinct caucuses.  The Democratic Party will hold their caucuses on Tuesday, March 13 at 7:00 p.m., and the Republican Party will hold their caucuses at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday March 15.  So called "third parties" will also conduct caucuses - check their web sites for information.

It is interesting to me that the leaders of several of Utah's faith communities have also issued statements encouraging their followers to attend their neighborhood political caucuses. I am sure I have not seen all the statements that have been made, but I have gone through my files and found several statements from the past few years.  Here are three of them.

From a few years ago:

To members of the Jewish community,

Our tradition teaches: "Do not withdraw from the community" (Ethics of Our Ancestors, 2:5). We have been blessed as full participants in political life of this country, and we have a responsibility to work toward a just and equitable society. As the Torah teaches, "Justice, justice shall you pursue, that you may thrive..." (Deuteronomy 16:20)

In Utah, the election process begins at party caucus meetings . . . Locations will be listed in the newspapers or you may contact the political party of your choice for the neighborhood locations. Those who attend caucuses play a critical role in nominating candidates and set the stage for important party and public policy decisions. We encourage your participation in a caucus for the party of your choice.

Rabbi Tracee Rosen, Congregation Kol Ami


From the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this year:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:


On Tuesday, March 13, and Thursday, March 15, 2012, political parties in Utah will hold precinct caucus meetings.   Precinct caucuses are the most fundamental grassroots level of political involvement.  They are best served by a broad representation of Utah citizens.  Those who attend play a critical role in selecting candidates for public office.

We are concerned with the decreasing attendance at these caucus meetings in Utah in recent years.  We therefore ask that local leaders not schedule meetings on these Tuesday and Thursday evenings so that members may attend a caucus meeting of their choice.  The locations of these meetings can be found on the websites of the respective political parties.

Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of the various political parties.  We encourage members to attend their precinct caucus meetings.

Sincerely yours, the First Presidency. 


And, from the Catholic Diocese (again, from a couple of years ago):

There are some 2,000 voting precincts in the State of Utah and each will hold one caucus for each political party. . . They usually last approximately an hour. Locations will be . . . posted on the web sites of the political parties.

The main purpose of the caucuses is to elect delegates to the conventions and precinct officers (who serve on the county party Central Committees). Delegates, meeting in convention, then select which candidates will be the nominees for each respective party at every level of government.

Precinct caucuses are the most fundamental grassroots level of civic involvement in Utah and participants not only play a critical role in nominating candidates, but guide important party policy and public policy. They are truly your chance to be heard.

In the Catholic Tradition, responsible citizenship is a virtue, and participation in political life is a moral obligation. (See "The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" at Participate in public policy will enable you to read, listen, and watch the news knowing that you have done your part to make Utah a better place! ___________________________________________

It is obvious that these caucus meetings are an important part of the political process here in Utah. We would encourage you to make the time, attend your caucus meeting, and be a part of the process. If you really want to exercise significant impact - run to be a delegate! It is easy. Take a few friends and go for it. It's fun!!

Call your County Clerk (number in the blue pages of your phone book) to find out your precinct number, then go to the web site of the party of your choice to locate your precinct location.

Not only are religious leaders teaching and encouraging their congregations to become involved, but employers are as well.  Who better to represent the interests of local religious beliefs as well as those who are employed in our state, than you!  

Please make the date of your local Caucus a priority and attend!   You have much to protect and promote.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Doomsday really have watched those commercials...haven't you?

Okay, admit it.  You really have peeked at those commercials on the National Geographic Channel about the Doomsday Preppers.  It really did pique your interest...didn't it? Well, I was intrigued when I caught a good portion of one of the shows featuring a local gal, Kellene Bishop.  I have read her blog for years and have even been a participant in an online course.  Even though I don't follow all her suggestions (for personal reasons), I agree with a great majority of them.  She is a force to be reckoned with.

Here are 10 steps to preparedness that she shared on the shows website. I think there is wisdom in her choice and hierarchy.  It seems that many of us just get overwhelmed with the thought of being prepared.  However, you will have a sense of peace when you are preparing and when you do have enough resources on hand.  What is the cost of peace?  Just know your stress level greatly reduces when you do get your 'stuff together'.  Here are her suggestions:

Attempting to be more self-reliant in any one area of our lives can feel a bit overwhelming. Even more frustrating can be the litany of advertisers who scare the bejeebies out of us in hopes to get us to buy their new and improved disaster prevention thingamajig. But if you stick to two key fundamentals of preparedness, you’ll be able to avoid the countless pitfalls.
Prepare for today, be ready for tomorrow. Avoid looking toward a single specific event for which you’re going to prepare. Self-reliance applies very personally to each person’s life. If you can prepare for the everyday, then you’ll find yourself prepared for future events as well. Instead of dwelling on the myriad of horrible possibilities, take it one step at a time. As you go through your daily routine, challenge yourself with questions that make you think differently about the access and freedoms you presently enjoy that make your daily routine possible. For example, as you’re driving ask yourself what you would do if your ability to drive that particular route was compromised. “What if” scenarios are much more powerful than simple child games, they give our brain the resources to use in the future when we are suddenly faced with a challenge, allowing us the chance to better function when faced with stressful situations. Also, allowing yourself to think of the “what if “scenarios, will naturally help you to take measures to be ready with countermeasures when you’re thrown a curveball.
Prioritize. There’s a natural progression of events that unfold in the face of a trial. Understanding this natural progression is key to properly preparing and will ensure that you don’t ignore a key principle or overemphasize another. History provides us with an abundance of these examples. For example, while most people think about stocking up on food, when it comes to “preppers” such a principle is no where near as critical as access to proper medical care. No one gets into a car accident and immediately dials for pizza delivery, right? So strengthen your self-reliance efforts by focusing on the natural way that vulnerabilities will unfold in times of distress and take actions according to the level of importance to such priorities.
Here’s a list of 10 Principles of Preparedness in the order of their prioritization. Try as you may, you’ll be hard pressed to switch their order of influence in your life. Ensuring that you address all of them with the proper level of prioritization, will give you a balanced self-reliance result:
1: Spiritual Preparedness: Your core values and belief system will be the first point of strength in the face of any challenge and will no doubt determine how you respond to those challenges.
2: Mental Preparedness: Your level of knowledge, skills, and fortitude to endure a challenge will be closely linked with the first Principle of Preparedness. All of the tools and supplies and protections in the world won’t help a person without the mental ability to exercise the use thereof.
3: Physical Preparedness: Your level of physical mobility, fitness, and how you’ve prepared to address your physical vulnerabilities is crucial. A fitness guru can be just as compromised as a person who’s seriously overweight if they lack the muscle memory, dexterity, and physical skills needed to travel or defend themselves in the face of a challenge.
4: Medical Preparedness: Something as simple as a hang-nail, minor scrape, or running out of critical medication has killed a person more than once. Preparing for such instances in the form of first-aid knowledge, alternative methods of care, battle field triage skills, and stocking up on essential first aid supplies can eliminate a host of unpleasant possibilities.
5: Clothing/Shelter Preparedness: Personal and structural soundness, safety, and protection. You may think of water as more important than most anything, but you can perish from heat exhaustion or freezing to death much sooner than you will thirst. How will you control your environment if you lack the luxury of electricity or gas?
6: Fuel Preparedness: Light, heat, travel, cooking, sanitizing, and environmental control all require some form or another of fuel—whether it be your own physical energy or that provided by a resource such as propane, batteries, or wood.  Do you have alternative resources along with the equipment to use such resources?
7: Water Preparedness: While it’s not accurate that 72 hours without water will kill a person, itis accurate that 72 hours without water will begin to damage vital organs in the body. Be sure you have reliable water sources in your shelter, easily accessed, as well as plans for filtering and treating other resources of water.
8: Food Preparedness: Be sure that you also have the knowledge and resources to prepare and serve food with absorbable nutrition. Simply storing food is only the first step. True self-reliance only comes in this area when you’re able to produce food as well. Also, don’t underestimate the need for familiar foods for your family, as well as comfort food.
9: Financial Preparedness: Ridding yourself of debt and having the ability to purchase what you need under a wide set of circumstances is critical, as is having 6 months reserve of your monthly income and setting aside items with which to barter.
10: Communication Preparedness: When trouble strikes, the first thing you want to know is that your friends and loved ones are well, however, there are many circumstances in which your traditions communication methods are compromised, so prepare for alternatives. Coordinating efforts, commerce, and safety are also compromised without sufficient low-tech communication alternatives.
Kellene Bishop, The Preparedness Pro, has been educating on panic-free, practical preparedness information for over 12 years. You can find more information or Kellene’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Our Third Birthday!

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Well, turning 3 is a big deal when you are a child. You get to go to more places, have learned a little bit more, get to do more things, and are a little more grown up. Yes, when my children turned 3, we all cheered!

This blog is like a family member at times.  I think about it when I am doing other things.  I see ideas for it when I go places, I can do more things with it now than when I started it 3 years ago. I guess, for me, this is a time of celebration.

Since I started to track the statistics on this blog, hundreds of thousands of visitors have come calling.  What have they shown the most interest in?  Take a look below:

  1. As was the case last year, the post on using Clear Jel continues to be the most viewed.  I get the most questions and comments from this post as well.  I love this product not only for its performance, but its versatility and indefinite shelf life.
  2. A new surprise in the line-up is the post of Mother's Day done in 2011.  Why this is, I am unsure.
  3. Still in the top five is the post on using Mylar Bags.  I love the versatility of this product and have used them in a variety of ways, even for gifts! 
  4. Number four is the post on Canning Hamburger.  I can't tell you how very convenient this item is to have on hand.  You can make a variety of meals with very little time by having this item on your shelf.  
  5. The next winner in our line up is a post on making your own cake mix with ideas for Gourmet Cupcakes.  
  6. Another personal favorite in our line-up is the post on Canning your own Beans.  Again, if you are looking for convenience and a real time-saver, this is a great option!
  7. Another surprise to me is the post that is coming in at number seven, entitled "What is a Relief Society Coordinator?"
  8. This post is about a controversial subject.  It is on canning butter.  This is an area where some feel it is acceptable and others say it is too low in acid to do.  I am asking you to research this subject on your own and make an informed decision. You will find plenty of resources on the web. 
  9. And rounding out the most popular posts of all time is a post on Shortening Powder.  Make sure that you read the comments below as some wonderful readers have left some very helpful hints!
My thanks goes out to those wonderful Bloggers who have put a link to our site on their own blogs.  Thank you so much for your faith and confidence!  I am humbled greatly by this. The reason I started this blog was to be of help to my own ward/congregation at the time. Everyone is so busy, so I thought that making information available 24/7 might help them in their quest to be prepared. I no longer have that calling or assignment, but I have been bitten by the "preparedness bug" and continue to learn and see opportunities in all facets of my life.    

I look forward to learning more and going more places together this year.  Thank you for visiting.  I hope that I have made you feel welcome and that you have been able to take away some helpful information.

I look forward to the upcoming year....who knows what we will learn together?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mary's Treasure Box....a new Christmas Tradition

You may be wondering why I am talking about a Christmas Tradition in February.  This is a book written by Carolyn Walz Kramlich.  It tells the Christmas Story from the point of view of Mary, relating the events of the Savior's birth to her Grand-daughter.  Well, the fact of the matter is that this book can be quite costly if you are not looking throughout the year for it.  I was first introduced to this  book a couple of years ago.  I attempted to get it in that Christmas season, and the cheapest I could find it was for around $80.00. I decided to wait until the following year.  

I purchased this book, along with a companion book called Benjamin's Box around Easter of last year.  I guarantee that it was much more reasonably priced at that time.  Even as of this writing, it is running between $23.00 and $25.00 on a number of websites.  You can see how I made my own Benjamin's Box by going here.  

Well, I used some of the items from Benjamin's Box and added the other pieces to accompany Mary's Treasure Box.  

I wanted to be authentic, so I found real Frankincense and Myrrh in this beautiful set sold at our local Catholic Supply Store.  I also found these online.  Don't wait until the last minute, I learned that I was lucky to have purchased the last set in the local store. 

Some of the items that are needed are boxes/containers for the Frankincense and Myrrh.  Initially I found little cardboard boxes at my local craft store.  However, I came across these ring boxes that seemed to fit the story best. They were not very expensive either. The gold bracelet that is called for in this story is actually a hanging earring base that is intended for additional beads etc to be attached to it. (I have, however, cut off a small circle that was on the opposite side of the small circles that is intended for the earing hook to be attached too).  I guess that I felt it looked a little 'regal' with the other small circles still attached..  

I made "Treasure boxes" for each of my married children who have had little ones at home.  I placed Frankincense in one box and Myrrh in another.  I learned that I needed to put a rubber-band  on the round box as the lid easily slid off and the contents would spill.  (I gave my adult children instructions to remove it before the story was read to the grandchildren). 

You will also need a 'flute' (a small toy whistle), and wool.  

I took poly-fill (like you would put in a quilt or a pillow) and rubbed a sharpie marker in certain spots.  I them just rubbed the poly-fill against itself to make the grey wool.  In addition, you will need a piece of linen which I found in my fabric scraps.

The book essentially calls for 2 different bundles.  I put the stated items into squares of maroon and gold fabrics with blue and maroon ribbons (as shown in the book).  

Place both bundles in a wooden box (which I picked up at the craft store)

So, how did we read this book to our grandchildren in different parts of the country?  I made a power-point with the pictures from the book.  I scheduled an on-line meeting (from a free service) so that they could see us.  I should have uploaded the power-point a day or two or ahead of time, but didn't. It took too long to upload and we were trying to read this to them before they went to Church etc.  (We only had 30 minutes that might have worked for everyone on both coasts and in between) Thus, we winged it and read the story and showed the pages.  (Lesson learned for next time).  

As we came to each point in the story where each item was needed, the children and their parents took them out of their bundles and experienced the story with actual items.  I think we all really liked the real Frankincense and Myrrh!

Now, the parents can purchase their own copy of the book if they wish, or let us read it to their children's up to them.  

However, if you wish to do this, start early.  It is worth the effort.  

Good luck!

"Nonnie....let me show you our......Chickens!"

I recently traveled to the east coast. I was visiting a new little family member who had just made an appearance.  While there, my grand-daughter wanted me to meet.....her chickens! I knew my son had been trying to raise chickens to be a little more self-reliant.  Well, it appears that he has succeeded.  The family often gets 'green eggs' (and no ham!). My grandchildren are quite enthralled with the egg laying venture.  

I wondered how much it cost to feed them.  I came to learn that they keep their vegetable scraps as well as the egg shells.  They break the egg shells into very small pieces.  They take the vegetables and shells and feed them to the chickens.  Reportedly, the egg shells help the eggs that are laid in the future to have hard shells.  I kidded them that they were teaching their!  

These folks live in a temperate climate, but still provide 'housing' for their flock.  

I haven't taken this step yet, and most likely will not due to the restrictions of the area that I live in.  However, I am very pleased to see one of my children make this choice to be more self-reliant.  Maybe one or more of my kids did learn a thing or two when they lived with their Dad and I.  We can only hope:)

Consider it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is it cold outside?

I took this picture in a Museum in Sunriver Oregon while on a family vacation.  Don't you just love the designs and dyes?  Thankfully, we are not required to sheer the sheep and make such beautiful blankets today.

There are a variety of different types of blankets.  Certainly, we can purchase many different types...and I sure have over the years.  Some have had Star Wars, Disney, or Flower-power designs.  However, I have learned to make them over when the 'fascination' for the themed design had long since past.  Learn how to make a Duvet cover for blankets or comforters that are not longer in vogue.  I measured the blanket, added 1/2" to 3sides and 2 Inches to the fourth side.  Then I cut 2 exact pieces and sewed them up on only 3 sides.  I finished the raw edges on the fourth side and then stitched in some velcro every few inches to close the fourth side.

Pillow shams can also be made over, just unpick the back from the front, topstitch on a new front, then sew the back on again.   Simple as pie....really.

So, re-use and recycle those themed blankets and comforters....give them a second life!

Friday, February 3, 2012

New Videos' from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Do you remember the fabulous videos unveiled during the First Presidency Christmas Devotional?  Well, there are two more Bible Video's that have been produced and are now available for viewing.

Jesus Teaches a Samaritan Woman

Jesus Teaches about the Widow's Mite

They also have wonderful photo's that can be viewed as well.  These are wonderful!
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