Often-Overlooked Readiness: Preparing for Joy, by Carla

I am sitting here and it is raining, and raining and raining and… Four inches so far, nobody can water like God can! After our last rain, everything in the garden had a tremendous burst of energy. The dreary, raining day for some folks though, is especially depressing. I enjoy those occasional days, when I feel like I can actually sit down at the computer without feeling guilty because there is so much to do outside that I really shouldn’t be here.

It got me to thinking again about “what if?” How can we defeat those occasional bouts of dreariness, especially if and when TEOTWAWKI comes along? Making sure every ones attitudes stay uplifted might be one of those things that make living in a very, very hard time a little more bearable.

You’ve always heard the saying, “if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Well, momma, start with yourself first. Make sure your priorities are straight, your head, your body (I’m especially in need of that), your spiritual life, and your relationships are in great shape. Remember, you and your family are a team. It is going to be you and them against the world. Ya’ll will possibly be the only ones you engage with for a while. Your relationships to each other is of vital importance. Pick your battles, which is something I have to be very conscious of. Make sure everyone in the family knows how vital their contribution is. Even if it is just the little ones trained well enough to know how to mind and do their chores. It will save a lot of added frustration especially if things are in really bad shape.

Make sure you have something that is special to you stored back–I know this may sound irrelevant and maybe even a little selfish, but just a small bottle of perfume, or a little lipstick, after you come in from a long, hot, sweaty day in the garden, to clean up and smell and look pretty, will give you (and him) a nice, uplifting feeling. You are the heart of the home, make it a place that gives your family a feeling of warmth and welcome when they are there. Grow a few hardy flowers that like hot weather and do well without much rain. We never know from year to year how much rain we will get. Cut them and put them on the table. Save your dish water to pour on them if the weather is dry. It will lift everyone’s spirits to come to the table with a nice tablecloth and flowers. Your conversation makes a difference, too. Talk about memories, funny stories, you might even start writing them down so you won’t forget them when they happen. You will be the one who makes a vital difference in attitudes, and this is true even when things are normal. Make plans for birthdays or other special days. Birthday candles do not take up much space and cost very little , they are a very important part of birthdays, especially the little [single digit] ones. Folks like me have to have permission from the Fire Department! You know what is important to your family as far as holidays and families times. Prepare for those special times.

What about things to do [at quiet times]? My husband loves puzzles. I will have some puzzle books put back. My daughter is like me: she loves art. If you have a child who loves to draw, make sure you have some art supplies on hand. A reader? G.A. Henty is one great author, especially for your boys. Even my daughter loved his books, lots of history in great mysteries. Get online and find some of the older books or look at used bookstores, thrift shops, or your local library. They get rid of older books every once in a while, so be on the look out for those old classics. Don’t do the “fast food” type of books that you can read in 15 minutes. Give them something that takes a while and better yet, have daddy read to the family at night. Just a few chapters, discuss it and enjoy a peaceful evening.

Games are a great family time and some of them are just for fun, some help learning skills. Whatever your family enjoys and make sure you have a few for all ages. You need those old fashioned ones, because the computer may not be working. We have made our own games. We’ve dug some small holes in the ground and found some old washers and used them similarly to horseshoes. Since we home schooled, geography was taught by buying plastic posters of the continents. Each person would have a different place and we would ask about rivers, mountain ranges, countries, anything that was on the map could be formed into a question. Charades, an old game is great if you have visitors. Music is wonderful. Maybe you have a musician in your family. Sing together. It makes a light-hearted atmosphere and gets everyone away from all the talk about news and what is going on. There are web sites on line that can give you many more ideas, and now would be the time to prepare.

If you have folks who like to sew, knit, crochet, woodwork make sure they have a few items that could give them some time to be creative. All work and no play makes a really bad attitude. It is a good way to make gifts as holidays and birthdays come along. Make your own cards and stick one on a bed or on the mirror to tell your family how much you appreciate their hard work and their good attitude. A little praise goes a long way.

Preparing for fun and relaxation is as important as preparing for physical needs. Fear and bitterness are some of the worse life threatening things that will bring the whole household down. Having a lot of time on your hands, gives time to think about what I don’t have, or what I’m missing. Just adding some of the fun items will keep your family occupied in good, clean, happy, useful business.

Don’t forget rest~satisfying rest. When you are overworked, tired, hungry and worried your responses to folks can be well, not nice. That can lead to arguments and a lack of teamwork. Making sure everyone gets a restoring night’s sleep will help get them ready for another day of taking care of business. Don’t forget to say your prayers. God has got you through another day.

Your relationship with God, knowing that you belong to Him and that your family does, is the first thing you need to have total faith in. Know that although you have prepared to the best of your abilities, that nothing happens to us that does not pass through God’s “hands” first. You must know that what He allows in our lives, He has either caused, or will use for our good and His Glory.

These are just a few ideas. There is so much information on the web now, that finding other ideas are only a mouse click away. Make a notebook and keep ideas in it. If you do not have the time right now to get things together, with the notebook you won’t forget about them. This might be good for the kids to do.

Depression is a killer, of the spirit and sometimes of lives. Just a little joy in hard times makes things go so much easier. When you can laugh during adversity, it might make a difference in getting your life back to normal. “A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine.” So remember while you’re storing up the beans, rice, tools and ammo, don’t forget to store up some joy. – Carla