Tag Archive: mindset


swatLife just tends to bump along at its own little pace…we get into our own habits, routines and ways of being and then THUNK! WHACK! BOOM! Our habits, routines and ways of being and/or thinking about and in the world get rocked to the core…something totally out of the ordinary and unexpected happens and you are left with zero ways of coping with the situation…such is the case when you or someone you once loved/do love has done something so ‘bad’ (and I use that term relatively and loosely) that the ‘government’ makes the decision to go full shock and awe and break bad on you, the innocent person who has just been bumping along.

This coming January, 2014 will mark a month that changed my life and way of looking at the world. I always believed that cooperating and doing the right thing would keep me and mine out of harms way. I believed until that point that we were still free to say and do things without becoming subject to police action, that the First Amendment was REAL. With that said, I do understand that you can’t run around making specific threats, or yelling fire in a movie theater or bomb on airplane. I get the fact that you can’t make death threats either…okay, I get the idea and purpose behind that…but merely stating one’s opinions and feelings? Geez? Really? Two years ago I believed that my opinion could be mine and I could, within reason, express my thoughts, opinions and feelings openly. But that all changed in January of 2012.

 

One cold morning in January of 2012 I was visited by an investigator with the State Police…I fully cooperated with them, after all, I had done nothing wrong…why not cooperate? If you got nothing to hide then you got nothing to fear right? They weren’t after me (per se) but my ex whom I have spoken of previously…they wanted to talk to him and they wouldn’t say why…well, okay, no biggie, as a bailbonds man (my ex) I could see how they might want to speak with him and while I knew there were issues going on between my ex and a magistrate about the way he did business (and to be honest, I never knew him to do anything illegal at least business wise) I didn’t really think anything about that ‘visit’. I told them what they wanted to know (ie his cell phone number and where he was staying) and even got my ex on the phone so they could talk. End of subject right?

Dead wrong….a few mornings later I was up and getting my children ready to go to school, doing my usual routine, not yet dressed, cup of coffee in hand going to the side door of my home to smoke my morning cigarette before getting dressed.

At 8:15 in the morning with coffee in hand I see out of my kitchen window in the corner that looks out in the back yard a couple of guys with assault rifles in hand, red dots coming through the window, dressed all in black with face masks on rounding the corner of the house to the back deck area. I register this slightly as I keep going to the door and then get the shock of my life…several red dots on my chest and shouted commands…door busts open and there I stand with my mouth open being drug out of my house roughly, to see a slew of law enforcement of all types all over my yard, driveway, etc…right down to the fricken’ dog catcher. No joke…my hands are zip tied behind my back and all I can do is freak out…what the hell had I done? Then the worst…as I am trying to gain my bearings while freaking out I see a bunch of armed SWAT go in my house fully armed…my kids, then ages 1, 6 and 8 are at the table eating breakfast. It goes on and on, but suffice to say that it was a very unpleasant experience and no one gives ANY information and if you think getting robbed by someone is violating…try having the FBI, State Police, local law enforcement and ATF in your house at 8:30 in the morning with your pajamas on knowing full well you have done nothing wrong and being asked a billion questions and being told nothing. Have all your personal items gone through, frisked in front of your kids, a bomb sniffing dog that wants to eat your dogs in your house. Have 2 3 month old puppies yanked out from under the bed and put into the back of the doggie catchers truck. Have people you KNOW drive by your house and wonder what is going on…try standing there talking straight to some guy who claims authority with no bra on and everything on your cell phone, computers, laptops, tablets and ipod down loaded for review. You need to ask me why I developed PTSD? Have strangers ask you about your sex life, your tattoos, your reading material, why you have camping propane and where the timers are…REALLY? YEP! And this is the short story…and by the way, you are also in charge of making sure your kids are safe and sound at the sametime cause honestly, at this point they don’t care.

Just writing that still makes me mad, angry and scared that maybe, just maybe this will get me in hot water again. But the truth is the truth…It got resolved, but not before the damage was done. I also forgot to mention that they didn’t bother to give the search warrants (which were EXTREMELY VAGUE) until right before they left, as an after thought I think.

Did I do something wrong? Nope…I just happend to be ‘collateral’ damage in their quest to get my ex out of the bailbonds business where we lived. He didn’t even live there, but because he had previously I was suspect. Come to find out he had posted rants and raves on Facebook and some really demeaning things about women. That was it. Things were blown out of proportion because ‘they’ take everything seriously. Welcome to the New Age of Homeland Security. In all fairness, after the initial rush and invasion, when they felt safe, it wasn’t too bad, a lot of questions, a lot of watching my things gone through by strangers…not like I had anything of question in my house or on my computers. And I will say that I got good and pissed after I figured out WHY they were there and what was going on (though no one ever said it outright). And I wasn’t just pissed at my ex, but at them too for the complete overkill…but that is what they do…act first and assess later.

A couple of months later they pulled the same crap at another guy’s house, for the same reasons, but that guy was smart and prepared…everything was caught on video tape. Good for him. But I see more and more of this happening around the country, even to 11 year olds who are making statements on Facebook…really? Big Brother is watching and ready to pounce like a big cat.

Long and short, I do believe we will see more and more of my experience happen as more laws and executive orders are put into place in the name of ‘public safety’ and in the interest of ‘national security’. While I understand the need for safety and security I do question the reasoning, laws and tactics that this ever growing ‘need’ for ‘safety and security’ are beginning to dictate. I question the militarization of our police force through various means. I question what it is that ‘they’ are so afraid of that they feel the need to send in 40 people to a house where there is no threat and children present when contact was already made and cooperation was given. That single event changed my LIFE forever and not necessarily in good ways and it set in motion a string of other life changing events that have left scars that will never be healed. But after this passage of two years since this occurred I have found a strength of will that I did not know fully know I had. I survived and am ready for what may come in the future since I will not be quiet nor compliant in the future if attacked unjustly in the future. Hell, I even joke that ‘next time they better come in the middle of the night with helicopters’ because their last invasion has made me aware and wiser. And there is some truth to that statement. Not that I go around doing things to provoke the beast, I live a law abiding life (okay, I don’t always wear my seatbelt and do speed on the highway) and try not to make provocative statements. But I am aware that my political views and my lifestyle have probably got me on the ‘potential terrorist’ list. Sigh…and? I can’t go around being afraid of living and living authentically and according to my beliefs just because someone in authority might have an issue with my opinions and lifestyle (which at this point in time is not illegal).

 

So my point here to you and your take away?

 

  1. Law Enforcement when set in motion is a machine that will not stop and does not care. It is like a pitbull in a fight…it will use any and all means to subdue you. Be ready for that in the coming years. Know that they can and will do whatever it takes to make themselves ‘safe’. YOU are nothing and in fact, simply by breathing a potential threat and/or enemy.

 

And before anyone gets their dander up about that statement, understand that I UNDERSTAND what law enforcement is facing today in this world. I know law enforcement officers, hell, I have a background in criminal justice! There are a lot of good men and women in law enforcement who are there for the right reasons…but they have a job to do and they WILL DO IT regardless.

 

  1. Be careful of what you say online…even jokingly…because ‘they’ take nothing as a joke. Texting, emails, all of it…if you have learned nothing just look at Eric Snowden and other examples over the past couple of years about the extent of big brother watching you. This isn’t to say that you can’t express yourself, just do so with full knowledge that anything you can and do say will be held against you in the future. Running your mouth publicly WILL get you in trouble…save the emotional crap for private.
  2. Know those around you, and know them well, especially be watchful of your partners and children. If you see a problem or even THINK there is a problem, please, take care of it before something happens or things get out of hand and ‘officials’ become involved. You are responsible for your own life and while you can’t stop people from doing things you can take measures to protect you and yours and others.

 

Now that may sound a bit like the ‘see something, say something’ campaign DHS       has got going, but its not meant to be that way. I am specifically speaking to you being willing to seek help for your family members if you are seeing things that could point to a problem. I know, easier said than done…but you gotta at least try. And if you can’t then YOU take measures for your own safety.

 

  1. Be polite, be cooperative as much as possible, but be firm and don’t allow yourself to be twisted into a pretzel. This takes a mind set and strength of character to stick to the facts. But that’s what you want to do. Don’t be a jerk if you ever find yourself face to face with tyranny. Resist but do so in a polite way okay? No sense in making matters worse.
  2. Know your rights and make sure they are being observed and if need be, don’t be afraid to speak up. Don’t be rude, just speak up.
  3. Be aware that our law enforcement is being trained and funded with money and ‘help’ from DHS and thus has become a defacto extension of  them. It is what it is people, just sayin’. And again, don’t get your panties in a twist if you are one of the good guys okay? I am just making a statement of fact, no matter how nasty it may seem.
  4. Be aware that there is a whole generation of law enforcement that has combat and/or military experience. That does not mean that they (law enforcement or the military) is bad, it just means that the days of the ‘officer friendly’ is on its way out. The mindset being brought to you via law enforcement is everyone not on your side, ie my buddy, is a potential threat/enemy and is thus treated so.
  5. Run through some potential senarios in which you may find yourself on the wrong end of the stick, be it a traffic stop or home invasion as in my case. It won’t be ‘real’ but it could help you get through it with minimum problems (just like a fire drill).
  6. Be cooperative, but don’t roll over. That is important!!! The more you roll over and bend over backwards to be ‘nice’ in the hopes that they will just leave you alone the more liberties will be taken with your civil and lawful rights.
  7. Know the laws in your area/state and at the federal level so that you don’t unknowingly trip some wire unintentionally. Also, pay attention to other little things. I have a concealed carry permit. In my state, that concealed carry is tied to my drivers record (meaning if an officer runs my tags he sees that I have a CC license). If I am stopped for some reason, the officer will be on guard. Best to head off a potential ‘problem’ and let them know up front if you do or don’t have a firearm on you, even though by law you don’t have to. It just makes life easier and them less likely to see you as a threat.

 

Lastly and probably most importantly, develop a solid relationship with yourself and your higher power. Because in the end, that is really all you got between yourself and them and they can’t take that away from you. It will give you a sense of peace if and when you find yourself with that red dot on your chest and maybe, just maybe, if your open to it, you just might be given the knowledge of how to handle your particular situation in the moment.

These are just my thoughts on my experience. There are books, videos and other material out there that deal with what to or not do in given situations that go in depth and maybe helpful to you too so if you are interested in going there, go there on how to protect yourself further….

 

Stay safe and good luck…

The internet is a wonderful thing….I will be the first one to admit it…I like, no let me say, LOVE the internet. Oh the things you can find on it for free! Information, friends, family, like minded individuals…it has revolutionized how people communicate, do business and make connections with others. No more need to go down to the local library to do research, no more hanging out at bars or going out on the town to find ‘that special love’ or make new friends. No more need to drive around town trying to find something that you need. Got someone who doesn’t answer the phone (like me lol!) or ‘never writes’…not a problem…shoot them an email. Networking has become a breeze…MySpace and Facebook, Linked In and don’t forget the dating sites, of which there are now even specialized ones aimed at like minded individuals such a preppers! In the 20 some old years that the internet has become widely available to the general public, it has changed our lives in ways that are so good and used to be unimaginable.

However, there is a darkside to the internet that is rarely discussed or I dare say even thought about…The  Craigslist murders, identity theft, pornography, and the very seeming anonymity of the internet which allows individuals to say and do things that in ‘the real world’ they might never say or do.

Everytime you log into the internet and do a search on a subject, your unique computer address is logged and attached and stored. Google has admitted to ‘red flagging’ and passing along the computer addresses to a certain government agency for certain search terms such as collapse, economic, human to animal, infection, and we can only guess at other terms.  For more information you can check these links out:

http://www.courthousenews.com/2011/12/27/42572.htm

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/04/fbi-twitter-data-mining

Basically, they are doing what is called data mining. They are looking for certain terms to identify potential threats, reasonable enough I suppose on the surface, but then they go ‘surfing’ on social media sites too looking for people and groups that may or may not fit a particular profile of a ‘threat’ such as domestic ‘extremism’ …if you would like to see more on their ‘terms’ you can find them here:

http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/lexicon.pdf

http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/dhs-risk-lexicon-2010.pdf

The above just gives you an overview of what they are looking at in order to identify potential risks…not a big deal on the surface, but if you really read it and do a bit of homework you might, with just a few strokes of the keyboard and posting something on facebook or another online forum get yourself looked at no matter how innocent your comment is.

And if you are a ‘prepper’ well, read the following article…

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/preppers-are-now-considered-to-be-potential-terrorists

If I really have your attention now, I dare you to google this phrase:

‘potential indicators of terrorist activities’ and see what you pull up…all kinds of potential indicators from tattoo shops to Costco to motel/hotels…

Okay, now I have covered that end of the darkside of the internet as related to government activities and what they are watching for just a tad bit which is just good knowledge to know…knowledge is power people.

In recent months, there have been cases in the news where people have been charged with crimes from stalking to harassment to extortion (making threats) using the internet and more specifically, facebook or other online forums. Which gets me to the REAL point of this article…the internet is not anonymous, it not ‘secure’, and its not PRIVATE!!! A few angry rants on Facebook or an online forum could be taken the wrong way by someone and then reported to the proper authorities and the next thing you know you got someone knocking at your door and you are looking at some sort of crazy charge simply for venting online or saying something that someone didn’t like. Maybe you have heard of that 15 year old who made a comment about Obama on facebook and wound up answering questions posed to him by the secret service? Or that woman who  was charged with manslaughter of a 15 year for comments made on facebook about the girl (who killed herself by the way), or the ex-boyfriend who ranted on facebook about his ex-girlfriend and almost got himself 5 years in jail…I could go on and on about cases where people have found themselves on the wrong side of the law because of rants and raves left on social media sites and in forums.

Another aspect is that employers are now looking online for YOU and what you say or do, hmm…your private life is no longer private once you post it people and if you post YOUR business online it is not private and they don’t need a search warrant because the internet, social media sites and forums are PUBLIC. That is what you to understand and know and wrap your brain around today. Just because you are sitting in the privacy of your home doesn’t make you anonymous, doesn’t make what you put ‘out there’ private and it is being looked at by who knows who. Criminals, law enforcement, employers, friends, family….if you post it, you own it, you did it, you said it, period…it is not private. And even if you DELETE it, or close the account or erase your computer or whatever, it is still out there somewhere in cyber space…forever….

I don’t say any of this to scare you, but to make you aware to make you think before you type or post a picture. The internet is just like the real world except even more so because anyone can find out what you have said or done with a few strokes of the keyboard, for good or bad purposes. Think before you speak used to be the saying, now it should be think before you type or upload that image…its called using your head and observing OPSEC. It’s not a Polly Anna world anymore and criminals can track you online, the officials can find you easy, or anyone else for that matter, again, for good or bad purposes. Heck, google earth shows your house right online! (which btw you can blur it out so they can’t see your home anymore).

I am not advocating pulling away from the internet, social media or from saying your opinion, but what I am trying to make a point about is to think first and then act. You wouldn’t go down to the local grocery store and post a sign that you are going to be out of town this weekend would you? Then why the heck would you post that for the world to see on Facebook or some online forum? You wouldn’t send pictures of your ‘fun’ weekend to your employer would you? Then why would you post it somewhere online? You wouldn’t make a list of every prep you have with your name, address and phone numbers and make copies and then go stand in the middle of the closest largest city and hand it out would you? They why would you tell everything online? And you certainly wouldn’t handwrite and hand deliver an angry rant about someone or something that happened expressing all your anger and thoughts about what you are thinking about doing (even though you never would) in person…then why the heck would you post something like that online for all to see?

We are all entitled to our opinions and to live our life the way we see fit, by the Constitution we are allowed the pursuit of happiness…but when we put it ‘out there’ (literally) we can open ourselves up to misunderstandings, criminals, predators and set balls in motion unintentionally. We, as Americans do still the right to free speech, but, as has been clarified by the courts, we can’t threaten or harm others with our speech…its one thing to think something and its another to ‘say’ it. Think before you type and upload.

I do believe in the saying, “see something, say something” especially when it comes to the erosion of civil or Constitutional rights or someone breaking the law, tyranny happens when good people ‘see’ but don’t speak up. However, “see something, say something” does not mean that I am allowed to use hate speech, make threats nor harm anyone in reporting what I am saying…think wisely and choose wisely in your words.

I am a big advocate for social networking and sharing ideas and knowledge and opinions, but in the right way, with security and safety kept in mind at all times. The internet is PUBLIC and the internet is FOREVER. Think before you type or upload and keep in mind that not everyone is like you…the internet is a tool, a tool that cuts both ways…lets keep it cutting safely eh? Lets share ideas and knowledge and come together for the common good. Let us share with each other in such a manner that is helpful, not harmful. Let us communicate our thoughts, opinions, knowledge and beliefs with calm, clarity, good intention and forethought. Let us USE the internet to help and support and uplift those that we may come into contact with even unintentionally. Let us not lead ourselves down a slippery slope when using the internet that may find us looking at the wrong end of a gun barrel or open ourselves up to a criminal or predator via the internet. Let us use the internet with safety, security and our future in our minds first and foremost…express yourself and share but be wise.

Life altering event, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI….all things that in the end, mean the same thing…our life has changed and not in a good way and will most likely never go ‘back’ to the way that we knew it to be ‘before’.  The past year for me personally has been like a long, drawn out SHTF event…a series of events that culminated in a real, honest to God, NOT GOOD SHTF event. My life turned upside down and inside out for good.

While most of the world was rolling on at the end of January, I found myself dealing with law enforcement, the state, personal issues and facing life threatening, life altering, never to be the same again events. I truly did nothing wrong, (heck, I am so up tight about doing things right that you will rarely find me speeding or not paying a bill on time) but it was someone close to me who, unbeknownst to me, who was sticking his head up to get it mowed by ‘them’. He didn’t really do anything other than run his mouth (and I will say he RAN IT)…but the saying ‘loose lips sinks ships’ is apt here. And the Titanic went down.

Misunderstandings occurred, miscommunication happened, no one was stepping back or down, everyone was right and everyone else was wrong…things got out of hand…people got scared and people got angry. People over-reacted and people shied away or looked the other way. Communication either did or didn’t happened and not in a good way…it became a my-way or the highway type of deal…the ball rolled and gained speed and then the ball hit the wall and splat happened and oh my, what a mess…and here I sit on the otherside, my life changed, altered and forever different (hmm… I just realized as I finished writing these sentences just how much that sounds a lot like what is happening all over the country and world now for various reasons…a recipe for kaboom).

The actually event was horrible…never in a million years did I ever believe I would find myself on the wrong end of an assault rifle, my house gone through inch by inch, being asked tons of questions about things that I had no clue about or hadn’t given much thought to, personal property taken and what SHTF really is. I don’t want to say too much about ‘the event’ and what caused it, sometimes allowing sleeping dogs to go back to sleep is the best policy, but I have, in the past three months, learned a lot about the world we live in that previously, I had only theory and ideas about… I have learned a lot about power and influence of social media and the internet, law enforcement in my area (and trust me when I tell you I do believe they are still the good guys. All people involved were very polite, respectful and did things ‘right’. I have no issues with how anyone did their job and I cannot stress that enough to you), the judicial system, how much fear is truly out there in the world, power plays and my own reactions to life threatening/altering events. My life changed at the end of January to never be the same again. My perspective has changed and things will never be the same again. Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some things that have become crystal clear to me about the world we live in now such as knowing (and I mean KNOWING) what your friends and family are up to (transparency is very important), the good and bad of social media/the internet and other such goodies and nuggets of gold that I have found in the pile that I have been swimming through as of late.

Why am I writing this? Because there are lessons that should be shared with the world, conclusions that I have come to that should be shared and an underlying need to say to many, ‘you may THINK you are prepared’ but you never know how prepared you are until it happens to YOU.

Much is said and made of in the preparedness world about beans, bullets and band-aids. Many talk about making plans, thinking ‘what if’ and then making plans based upon ‘what if’. This is all well and good…but the truth is this…you never KNOW how you will react, what you will do, if you have done things ‘right’ and planned well until you are neck deep in the doo-doo and cannot ‘do’ anymore to ‘be ready’. Stop and think about that for a minute. It is like a hidden secret that many of us don’t want to face…the unknown factor if you will…YOU in the middle of ‘it’. We are all born with the fight/flight response and we all have a certain amount of resiliency available to us. We all have our own faith (or lack there of), sense of trust and individual constructs of the world (how we see and make sense of the world). Many of these things that I have just mentioned are developed over time and vary from person to person based upon our personal histories and backgrounds. And this is what I want you to think about while you are ‘preparing’. Take an inventory of yourself, take stock of those around you and take the time away from doing to go within and think about yourself, how you personally react to normal, run of the mill stresses and even some of the bigger ones (divorce, loss of job, etc.) How do your friends and family react to these things? Thought provoking yes? Let me say this…in ‘the big one’, the ‘big’ event, those things you see in yourself and others will be magnified tenfold.

Sometimes I think as people who are ‘preparing’ we get way too focused on the doing and having and ‘things’ that we loose our perspective on the most basic, most important element…US. Who WE are deep down inside. Our own strengths and weaknesses. Our own personal demons and angels. Ourselves, exactly who we are as an individual which will be the MOST important thing in any SHFT or TEOTWAWKI event. And then taking stock of who is around us will be next most important. All the plans and preps will be for nothing if you freeze or fall apart or go ballistic when it hits because you won’t be able to respond or respond appropriately. Again, ask any police officer or vet if this is a true statement. So first and foremost in all of your prepping is to know thyself and the others around you.

Knowing yourself and those around you…this is just as important as having beans, bullets and bandages in your preparedness kit. Just ask any combat vet, police officer or anyone else who has a ‘dangerous’ or high level of risk job about this and they will tell you the same…you never know until it happens, but the more you know the better off you will be, the safer you will be and the better able to respond you will be. If you know in your heart of hearts that you could never take another’s life, well, then by all means make sure you have a way to insulate yourself from having to do so. If you know that your husband can’t handle more than one thing at a time then accept it and adapt your plans. If you know or come to realize that Billy-Bob next door has an explosive personality and can’t even handle a dog taking a whiz on his grass, figure on him being one of ‘those’ that you may have to defend against. If you know that your son or daughter falls apart at the least little bit of change in plans…well, then make some of your now daily routines fit into a prepared/SHFT routine. Why? Why take a step back and take a look at yourself and others on a deeper level? Because what you don’t know or don’t want to see or accept can get you killed or into trouble that you don’t need and what you do know can be changed, adapted, molded or fixed so you and yours can survive and thrive.

I understand that you or nor I will never truly know what we are made of unless or until the something wicked this way comes arrives on our doorstep and doesn’t bother to knock. But like storing beans, bullets and band aids, we also have our ‘personal stores’ to take stock of and treat similarly to the material things we collect. We do not live in a bubble and all of our preps will be for nothing if we fall apart or someone we count on goes MIA.

I am okay, not untouched, not unchanged, but have found a new balance and perspective and am putting my life back together piece by piece…I have a new found respect, appreciation and insight into/for law enforcement, the judicial system and the power of the internet/social media. I also have a new found appreciation and respect for myself and my own strengths and resiliency, and where I am challenged personally. I have yet again, found holes in my own preparations for the changing world, but at the sametime, I have found new ways of doing things and new ways to prepare that I had never even thought about. A new awareness has become apart of me and new spoke of being prepared has been added, and for these things, I am grateful for the SHTF.

SHTF- My Money

Been away (again) for a while, just absolutely unable to attend to this blog due to personal issues that created a really nice perfect storm in my own life, in other words the crap hit and came at me from so many directions…sigh….from kids to family to money to work to my health…it is all settling down for the most part now and my head doesn’t need to be where my hands are so much today so I thought I would start sharing…which, by the way is something that all of need to do to help each other through storms, through sharing our own experiences we can learn from and help each other…

First and foremost, and probably the biggest lesson…don’t ever put all your eggs in one basket and don’t believe for one minute that you are ‘safe’ and can just go around without a worry because ‘they are taking care of it’. As I learned the HARD WAY, nothing is sacred, nothing is safe (no matter they tell you!) and when it comes right down to it, protecting yourself against financial calamity is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY up to and including being paranoid about things. I will be honest, I was a slackered when it came to finances. I became comfort, and got busy doing other, ‘more important’ things. I let my vigilance drop (first mistake). I trusted the system to work (second mistake)…ha! I know better now…

 I work for myself, have several streams of income, but over the past few months as things got really busy for me I didn’t pay too much attention to my paypal account that I use on a regular basis. In short, I got hacked…someone stole my debit card number and well, let’s just say that I LEARNED the hard way.

Financial institutions are on top of things (for the most part, after all, they HATE loosing money worse than we do) and honestly, very quick to notice unusual activity and then call you. They block activity that they feel is not in line with your typical usage (which can absolutely irritating when it is you). HOWEVER, as I discovered, the financial thieves of today are getting ahead of the curve…Paypal denied a transaction, cancelled my card and somehow the thieves were still able to force a payment through (I will not bother describing the financial hell that ensued but suffice to say, I spent days closing things down and having to redo a lot of things to fix the problem).

Now, I had become comfortable and trusting and ignored my first impulse when I first became aware of the situation which was to close everything down and start all over to protect myself…but I didn’t listen to myself and well, SHTF happened and here I sit, 2 weeks out still unraveling the mess.

As a note, and something else I became aware of during this time, thieves are actually able to steal your debt card numbers right from your wallet! Yep, that is right people, there is technology out there that allows them to read your card without having to have the card in hand. After talking to friends of mine this has happened to at least 3 people I know in the past 6 months. Mental note to self (and you too) get a metal wallet to carry your cards in if you have to take them with you…this is the only way to stop the scanning and stealing of your number.

LESSON LEARNED: Pay attention to your gut! If your first impulse is to do something then do it. I saw something that seemed a little off a few days before these jerks got into full swing, but I didn’t think much about it. I ignored that ‘little voice’ because I was busy and hurting physically and just didn’t want to deal with another hassle that evening (I should listen to myself more often!)… I learned that I need to stop accumulating large amounts of money in just one place (such as my paypal account). Typically I don’t do this but I became lax (actually comfortable and very busy)…you cannot let your guard down, especially as things become progressively worse economically. In fact, as suggested by many, keeping cash on hand is wise in the event you have thieves steal your financial information. I tell you, going one week without $$ was hell and they didn’t even get all my money…I just couldn’t get to it myself!

 And what does this have to do with SHTF? Truly and honestly, for a time money/cash will still be the way we do business. But if banks close down (and don’t for a minute believe that to stop panic they wouldn’t close their doors!) or the Feds decide to kill the internet (which btw is how most financial transactions occur) then you are SOL. If you watch the news, pay attention and get ‘a feeling’, don’t hesitate to yank your money out or leave just enough to cover the automatic drafts that occur and pull the rest. You can always put it back in.

Also of note, as things get worse financially (and it will, you can count on that) you may find it harder to find a working ATM or that safety using one is getting harder. Figure out where the out-of-the-way ones are and use those. Safety first!

Also, keep records and copies of EVERYTHING having to do with your financial information in a secure location (or even better, 2 or 3 places, just in case!) This means, bank statements, pictures of debit cards, credit cards, blank checks, etc. You may have to ‘prove’ one day what was where and when.

 I would also like to bring to your attention the possibility that 401k’s and IRA’s may become nationalized to prop up the stock market. (This up and down is not over and the trend that I am seeing is just down). IF you can find a way to make your savings accounts ‘untouchable’…tangibles, private banking accounts, etc. Now this may seem a little paranoid (and maybe I am) but with QE3 getting ready to roll out (inflation/deflation) the downgrade in the US credit rating, the volatility of the market and little return percentage wise on most 401ks and IRA’s (they are all tied into the stock market) and the biggest buyers right now being the very people who issue the stocks…well, a little paranoia might be wise. I am not saying to run right out like a chicken little right this moment…just BE AWARE and ready to move if you have to. I don’t wish the end of the world as we know it, but I want to survive as I am sure you do too and making changes or just even having a plan could be the key to this survival.

Things are changing, including the availability of funds, fees, length of time it takes to get things done when it comes to money, etc. I have to wait a MONTH before I will receive another paypal debit card (excuse me?) and 3 weeks for a new bank debit card and checks… I had to wait until every transaction went through before I could even begin the process of filing for fraud protection and even after THAT I had to WAIT before I received my money back even though it was obvious it was fraud. You may find yourself in a position where time is of the essence so that you can survive a SHTF scenario…even a hurricane can create financial hell…so be on top of things please! Don’t wait, don’t not listen to your gut instinct…and ignore the party ‘feel good line’ (if you are being handed that then you really KNOW something really isn’t right).

 These are times when we have to pay attention and be ready to act on gut instinct to protect ourselves, not only physically but financially too. THEY ARE OUT THERE (and by ‘they’ I mean those who absolutely could care less about YOU and your well-being) just waiting for the right moment to strike and steal from you what you have worked hard for in order to take care of themselves or their own interests. Am I paranoid? Nope, not one bit, but I am just very aware now of the possibilities.

Rarely do we think about banks, accounts and such, we depend upon their security to protect us, but as I learned, even the best security can be circumvented, even their best efforts to protect you can fail. And trust me when I tell you, their interests come before YOURS. They really don’t care about you, that is a veneer that is fading fast as things all over the world turn upside down.  The big boys will protect themselves first and you are on the bottom of the food chain when it comes to money.

Protect yourself please, get a plan, make changes now, because this happened to me so quickly and escalated beyond my span of control so quickly that I sit here blogging still without much access to my money (which is driving me bats). Better to loose a little than a lot…better to have to get a money order and mail a payment than have to try and explain to those you owe money to what happened (they don’t care and trust me when I tell you that your mortgage company really doesn’t care what happened, evidence those poor people down in Joplin, MO whose homes were destroyed and still had to pay the mortgage on time). Better to be offensive than have to react. Be PREPARED!

Okay, I admit it, somedays I feel like chicken little, ‘the sky is falling, the sky is falling’, not that I am Chicken Little, but many around me make me FEEL this way, so hence, I feel like Chicken Little. There are just TOO MANY SIGNS to ignore and I wish that somehow I could just wave a magic wand and go back to being unaware and asleep. But I know better than to fall back asleep. To sleep, or ignore what I see would eventually mean that I would be ‘one of those’ caught in the chaos of the change…

Change is coming, without a doubt, it is coming, one way or another. It is a natural cycle of life and all things are cycles…what goes up, must come down…and surely this includes civilizations, money and life in general, but I have to add this too, what goes down will come back up. It is this thought that helps me get prepared for when the down happens so that I can be around when it goes back up. And IT WILL, perhaps not as I know it to be now, most likely not, but it will eventually ‘get better’ and a new ‘normal’ will be established after freefall. But it is tiring, feeling like Chicken Little all the time. Going around on ‘alert’ status all the time is not very conducive to my mental health which has a direct correlation to my physical health. But I know that I need to be aware of what is going on so that I am ready for ‘it’ in whatever form it may ‘come’ ‘in’. Getting a plan is supposed to HELP me feel better spiritually and mentally, it is not supposed to drag me under. But somedays it just overwhelms me…that the cycle is going down and there will be problems as society sorts itself out into something better, into a more sustainable way of being. So, with this in mind, I have thought about how I can stop feeling like Chicken Little and lower my stress/alert status and I hope you find something here that will help you too if you are feeling a bit SHTF fatigued.

1)      Get a Plan—yeah, yeah, yeah…I know, kinda redundant and makes you focus on the problem instead of shifting away from thinking about it, but I do know that when we start to get a plan and generate ideas that we feel more in control of the situation which in turn makes us feel better. Maybe you have a plan already but maybe it just time to do it instead of worrying.

2)      Write it down! It is one thing to ‘think about it’ but another entirely to put it into writing. But I do know this from helping others with ‘problems’ and in solution finding, that when we write down our plan of active it allows us to ‘dump’ it from the brain so its not just ‘something out there’ and thus ratting around in our brain all the time.

3)      Turn off the news for a bit…no brainer here…junk in junk out, fear in fear out, etc. While it is prudent to pay attention to what is going, a constant stream of ‘bad news’ stimulus is not exactly the making of a healthy attitude nor does it lower the stress, only increases

4)      Leave the bone alone! If you have a plan and are doing things to make sure your plan is in place for ‘when the sky falls’ down then drop it and leave it alone. If you are really committed to surviving it becomes a lifestyle and a lifestyle is something you ‘don’t think about’…so have you made it a lifestyle yet? It is easier of course to have the same lifestyles within the home so maybe its time to have that sitdown with your spouse or partner and other family members so that you can all get on the same page. A problem or burden shared is halved.

5)      Do what you can, when you can, where you can and if you can’t, put it on your list.

6)      Take time out to enjoy TODAY…the past is gone and woulda, coulda, shoulda are mean little monsters best not played with…the future is not yet here and isn’t promise nor set in stone…miracles do happen you know and more often than you think.

7)      Count your blessings and ‘be grateful for’ everyday…it is amazing what focusing on the ‘thank you’, ‘thank goodness’ and ‘I am grateful for’ can do for you. And by the way, writing these down in a journal helps alot.

8)      Learn TRUST…you haven’t been brought this far only to be drop kicked or punched in the face. Faithfulness and trusting in what you know to be true is a bedrock to feeling better in uncertain times.

9)      Lastly, do something each day that is NOT preparedness oriented. It can become an OCD this preparedness and prepping. Take a break each day, read something uplifting, take a nap, go swimming or meditate…something that takes the mind away if only for a few minutes.

 

Anyway, I hope this gives you some ‘plan’ on not feeling like Chicken Little yourself and becoming TEOTWAWKIt fatigued. It’s a long-term race my friends and no long-distance runner just runs flat out everyday…that would kill’em.

Take a mental health day or moment and relax, what will come will come without you worrying about it. Its all about Just For Today in the end isn’t it?

I grew up in a family where we kept months of basic food stuffs on hand and only went ‘shopping’ 2 or 3 times a year and yes, this included toilet paper, dog food and laundry detergent. My father was a Reservist and we didn’t have access to the commissary all the time, so we just ‘stocked’ up when he was ‘on’. At the time, I didn’t think anything about it, but my mother tells me that this was drilled into their heads by the military during the ‘60’s ‘just in case’… so it was natural for me to carry this behavior into my adult life, even when I was living on the edge as a young mother and wife in my early 20’s. You just kept food in the house beyond your immediate needs. You only went to the grocery store to get bread, milk and eggs twice a month. I was just what I did and I was very happy to have that mindset in me as I started my own businesses…I always had at least a month’s worth of food on hand and tried my best to have more, but never let it fall below that level…you never knew or know when or if ‘pay-day’ would come and you have to eat right? So I was quite comfortable with my food storage even though I wasn’t a prepper, it was just the prudent thing to do given the circumstances of my life. But over the past few years, and especially this year, it has really come to my attention that our way of life here in this country is in a very precarious position and looking at my ‘storage’ which seemed so smart to me just even a year ago, I now realize just how unprepared I am/was when it cames to food storage and even I must do something to ‘fix’ that to be prepared for more than what I am now.

For those needing help in getting started, I have made some suggestions below to get you started:

Getting Started:

First, check your mindset: If you are not running to the grocery store every other day then you are probably already ‘storing’ food! Perhaps only for a week at a time, or even for just a few days, but you can take that and turn it into a solid food storage mindset and easily start extending that time out of what you already do to ‘store’ food. Instead of 6 cans of green beans that week, get 8. Instead of just 1 package of rice, get two and so on and so forth. Start looking into bulk storage items such as ‘staple’ dry goods or cases of canned goods that you use regularly this if you can afford it. Sam’s Club and Costco are great places to buy in bulk (just be aware that sometimes they aren’t the cheapest).

However, if you don’t already keep more food in the house than is needed on any given day then you need to ask yourself why you don’t keep a bit of food beyond the cheese-its on hand.

Ask yourself this:

What would happen if a storm hit and you couldn’t get out? Being a part of the stampede at the market before a storm hits isn’t too smart is it? Long lines, not enough food available and can be dangerous in the wrong conditions.

What would happen if you lost your job? Having a bit of food on hand for this emergency can save you money and give you a peace of mind that is priceless.

What would happen if your sole source of transportation (car) broke down or you couldn’t get gas?

Next I want you to think about these things:

Remember Katrina? There were people who DID all the right things, had extra food, water, basic first aid and STILL had problems surviving after a week.

Look at what is and what did happen inJapanin the aftermath of the earthquake and resulting tsunami…the shelves CLEARED in less than 6 hours and this country was considered ‘prepared’.

Then look at the list below:

Natural Disasters
Terrorism
Labor Strike

Economic Depression/Collapse
Drought
Crop Failure
Personal Tragedy
Civil Unrest

Unemployment

Inflation/Hyperinflation

What would you do if any of this happened to YOU? Do you really want to be apart of the horde that descends upon the Walmart or local grocery store? Or have to ‘get in line’ just to eat? I don’t mean to be a fear monger, but these things DO happen and they happen almost everyday somewhere in the world. You buy auto insurance, medical insurance and all sorts of ‘insurance’…just think of storing extra food as ‘insurance’…after all, without food you can’t live! So next time you are out, just pick up an extra meal or two. Get in the HABIT. Its pretty easy once you get going.

Now that you are getting the mindset…

Get a plan!

With pen in hand and paper in front of you (or your keyboard)…figure out what it is that your family LIKES TO EAT on a regular basis. Fresh fruit and veggies? Heavy meat eaters? Rice and pastas? I am not referring to fast food or convenience foods (though they do have a place in your food storage plan), but what I am referring to is this: what does your family eat if you MAKE the food yourself?

Staple items such as cereal, milk, rice, beans (or not), pasta, vegetables and meat will make the ‘core’ of your food storage preparations and you need to know what they are…my family doesn’t do beans that much so I won’t be ‘stocking’ up too much on these, but we do eat meat, so I spend my money ensuring meat and the occasional beans.

If you don’t cook yourself and rely upon convenience foods, take out and such that is okay! There is a solution for you too! Just figure out what types of foods you like to order  or pick up to eat at home (or microwave at home).

Make the LIST of your most common foods, from this list will come all your food storage items. List the drinks, the bread (if your family does sandwiches or eats rolls), the types of veggies and fruits, diary products, etc. You want a list that would show your dietary habits.

After the ‘LIST’ is made you then need to sit down and make another list…this time I want you to write down all the condiments that you use daily and even occasionally…ketchup? Salt? Vinegar? Spices? Mixes? The little things in your food life that often times we overlook as ‘using’ and being a part of our diet.

With both lists in hand you can then move onto the next stage of planning…just how much do you use and of what in any given week? (you can then plan from there on how much to buy and of what). This might seem challenging at first to figure out, but a simple way to figure this out is take the time to think about what your meals over the past week have been…this will give you a good idea of ‘how much’ you use in any given week, if need be, write a family food diary for a week, noting the ‘what and how much’. This even works for those of you who eat out a lot or use a lot of prepared food items.

For instance, if you eat cereal for breakfast each morning…how long does a box last for you or your family…1 week? A few days? A month? And don’t forget the milk! If you eat sandwiches and soup for lunch each day (lets say on the weekends) then how much do you use for you or your family? 1 can? 3 cans? For dinner, lets say you eat a steak, rice and salad with a veggie on the side or baked potato. How many steaks? How much rice? How many potatoes? You get the idea now…even if you eat out a lot or bring home meals that are ready made from the grocery store or buy those TV dinners you still know what is in them and you know what you like to eat. Just write it down. What is in your normal meal?

If you are into meal planning then figuring out what you will need should be easy. If not, make the lists to figure out what you need to get started. We can worry about drilling down to the details later.

Put your list into action!

With both lists in hand now you are ready to get going on your preparedness food storage…you know the basic ‘what’ and about how much without too much effort exerted. An extra box of mashpotatos, a few extra cans of green beans, an extra bag of rice, canned meat if you are meat eater. If you are a shopper who makes ‘lists’ when you go shopping, pick up an ‘extra’ of each of the basics you buy each time you go out. If you coupon or shop sales, more the better! Saving money is a great way to go and get prepared at the sametime.

For those who don’t know how to cook from scratch or don’t cook at all, go with can goods and MRE’s or other prepackaged meals that all you have to do is add water, like the ready made meals that many campers use. You can google MRE’s or camping food to find out where to get these. Walmart sometimes carry them in their sporting goods section. Ebay and Amazon are good places to look also as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods. But only buy what you KNOW you will eat. Or maybe its time for a change in your habits…learn now how to cook and prepare food yourself, only you can make that judgment call. But don’t let the fact that you can’t or don’t cook stop you from storing food.

Don’t try to do it over night, each time you go to the store add to your storage. Make a goal of having 3 extra days worth at first, then a weeks worth, then a months worth. Just keep at it. I understand that for many it may be hard to find the extra money to be able to store food…use coupons, shop sales, buy in bulk, cut back on fast food, eat a ‘cheap’ meal. Examine your expenses to find the extra money. It is there if you look. Do what you can when and where you can. If you find meat at a reduced price then buy all that you can afford and either dehydrate it or freeze it for food storage use. But make the commitment to have your food storage ‘just in case’. It will give you peace of mind by taking one less worry out of your life if something were to ever happen.

There are lots of ways to prepare your preparedness pantry…some people buy in bulk and store large quantities of ‘raw’ food stuff such as wheat, powdered milk, rice and beans and gather freeze dried foods in #10 cans. Others pick and choose between store bought items (can goods) and ‘raw’ food stuffs, #10 cans and canning and dehydration (this is what I personally do). Others go with can goods only. Others still go the MRE route entirely and there are a whole host of in betweens. No one ‘way’ or ‘type’ of food is perfect for everyone. That is why I ask you to make a list of what you normally eat and then buy that for your food storage.

 

REMEMBER the GOLDEN RULE OF FOOD STORAGE!!

 

Get what you will use!  people have this funny habit of NOT eating when they aren’t used to eating it. In fact, children will starve themselves rather than eat something unfamiliar. If you don’t eat beans, don’t get beans, if you don’t eat pineapple then I don’t care how good of a deal it is, it will go to waste and don’t fall prey to the ‘this is what is recommended’ food storage guidelines that are found everywhere. Store what you use and eat ONLY…it can’t be repeated enough…if you won’t it eat or use it, then you are wasting your time and money. As a by-product of getting what you will eat and use, you will also gain a sense of comfort and stability when things aren’t so good. Familiarity gives a sense of well-being that is priceless, and this includes food too!

At this point I should address something. If you like to eat bread or like ‘fresh’ veggies or fruit and want to incorporate pressure cooking or baking into your food preparedness plan, I will offer this caution. Learn to do it now and stock up while you are learning how to make your own basics. I can tell you that making breads and canning is more difficult than it seems and I applaud those who can do it with the grace and ease that escapes me at the moment. So for right now, I am buying a bit of the ‘from scratch’ basics and putting more money and effort into getting what I know I can cook with with ease until I am sure that I know what I am doing with the ‘basics’. This goes back to the ‘get what you will use’. If you can’t or don’t know how to use it then it will not be used.

General Guidelines for Food Storage

Once you are getting into the swing of the food storage mindset and acting upon it you will need to use the following guidelines:

If you decide to buy in bulk such items as wheat, dry milk, rice or other such items (dry goods) then be sure you have containers and packaging ready when you get home to put them into storage. There are a few ways to store dry good long-term such as bucket, mylar bags, air tight plastic containers, mason jars etc. You will need these items if you store in bulk. Do your research to select what will work best for you, your needs and what you will be storing.

Learn proper storage techniques: general rule of thumb, no extreme temperatures, no moisture. Food lasts longer the cooler and dryer it is.Think about where you can store your food storage. Your cabinets and pantry will get full. Think about the garage, under beds, in closets…I know some people who even put can goods behind books on the book case! Get creative.

LABEL your storage with what it is and date you put it into storage. This is especially important for bulk storage.

Rotate your food storage! The MOST IMPORTANT thing I can tell you about food storage is that it is necessary to ROTATE your food. Use the container (or can or package) that’s been stored the longest and replace it with newer stored containers behind the older ones. Food storage that spoils or lies untouched is garbage. This is especially important if you are freezing any items such as meat or buying frozen veggies. Don’t waste your time, effort and money by forgetting to ROTATE YOUR FOOD! Develop a method to rotate your food that works for you. Use what you store…this helps to rotate the food so you don’t waste your time and money.

So that is the ‘get you started’ basics in food storage. It is really just about recognizing the need, figuring out what you do eat and then getting a little more than you normally do. If you can afford to do so, do it quickly and if you are like me, do it one trip at a time, one item at a time as you can afford to do so. Just get started.