18.9.08

Preparedness

Are you prepared? For what scenarios are you prepared? Do you even know how to be prepared? Are these questions even presenting themselves in conscious thought?

Landslides. Tsunamis. Tornadoes. Earthquakes. Blizzards. Famines. Pandemics. Terrorist attacks. Genocide. War. Hurricanes…in the Miami Valley… If you think you can continue to live in blissful ignorance while the rest of the world suffers through these experiences, then this week and its events have taught you nothing. Let me tell you what I have learned, or rather what I have had reinforced. You need to prepare yourself and your loved ones. You need to be prepared to survive.

Am I exhibiting a heightened state of paranoia? You bet. I was born in the 70’s and grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. During this time I have witnessed a major shift both in the threats to our country (not to mention humanity as a whole) and our ability to turn to our government for assistance through difficult times. Our grandparents dealt with The Depression and a world war. Our parents came of age during Vietnam and the Cold War. Those of us in my general age group watched the Berlin Wall come down and the Soviet Empire with it. We then watched as hostages were taken, embassies were bombed, and planes were hijacked and flown into buildings, murdering thousands of people. We no longer have a clear enemy. We are surrounded by people, by entire nations, that hate our faith and our way of life to such a complete extent that their desire is for our complete destruction.

But, you say, this was a natural disaster! The waters that engulfed and the winds that destroyed were natural phenomena! People, you must remember that we are in end times and things are only going to get worse. How many more news stories depicting the destruction of property and person do we need to witness before we wake up and realize that we are just as vulnerable to environmental disasters as to those which are man-made?

Yes, I understand that, you say, but I have faith, and my faith tells me to trust in God to protect and provide.

I am reminded of a story that I am sure most of you have already heard. A man is stuck on the roof of his house during a flood. Another man comes by in a boat and offers to help him. The man on the roof turns him down. “My God will save me!” he says. Later another man in a boat comes by and the situation repeats itself. The waters continue to rise. A helicopter hovers over the man and drops a ladder. Again the man turns down the help. Again he says “my God will save me!” What happens to the man? He drowns. When he meets God he asks “why didn’t You save me?” To which God replies, “I sent two boats and a helicopter to save you. What were you looking for?”

When we pray for help what are we expecting? A holy host of angels to come swooping down and whisk us away in a cloud of heavenly glory? I don’t doubt God’s ability to make this happen. I do realize however, that He answers our prayers in myriads of ways, and more often than not in ways we do not expect.

We have been blessed with a land of great bounty. We have resources at our disposal in this country that many countries cannot fathom. With this bounty comes responsibility. We have been given a great gift, but we are supposed to nurture and care for it. We can reap its bounty, but we have to work for it. We must also remember that everything we have is temporal and temporary; it can all disappear in an instant.

On Sunday afternoon hurricane force winds blew through our state damaging homes and businesses, uprooting trees, and knocking out electricity to hundreds of thousands of people. Everyday life has been disrupted as people empty their refrigerators of spoiled food, wear dirty clothes, and miss work. The economic effect of this far- reaching loss of power will be felt for some time. We cannot control the weather. We are not able to repair fault lines, change the direction of wind, or stop rain from falling. What we can control is our reaction to these events. We can be prepared.

What do you need to be prepared? What do you need to survive?
Potable (drinkable) water
Non-perishable food
Shelter
Clothing
Here are some sites to assist you in your preparedness:
www.ready.gov
www.redcross.org
www.prepare.org
www.72hours.org

4.9.08

Say Hello to My Little Friend


I have a new friend. His name is Morimoto[i]. No, not the world renown Japanese chef of Iron Chef fame (though that would be seriously cool) but my new knife. Morimoto is a Global vegetable knife, and he is wicked sharp. I also believe he has Jedi skills. I am sitting here writing about my new knife, and I feel a small twinge of pain on my right index finger. I look down and spy a small cut. Now, it looks and feels like a paper cut, but I am typing. On a computer. I am not using paper. I am telling you this knife has mad skills beyond merely chopping celery and carrots.
I decided to buy this knife on sort of a whim. Hannah and I were on a rare trip to the mall, and I just happened to have a Williams & Sonoma gift card still burning a hole in my wallet (thanks Sarah and Chris!). After walking the store and weighing my purchase options, I eventually gravitated back to the knives. Besides the fact that good knives are absolute essential tools for the kitchen, knives are just so cool. I had had my eye on a Global for a while; this particular line of knives is much revered by chefs and was created by the Japanese in the tradition of the Samurai, so wielding this knife would make me cool in the Uma Thurman Kill Bill kind of way (and thankfully not in the Tom Cruise Last Samurai kind of way).
Let me reassure you that I am experiencing absolutely no buyer’s remorse over this purchase. Although I love my W├╝stof chef’s knife, it is no match when it comes to chopping vegetables. The Global features a hollow ground blade with indentations which reduce sticking while cutting, and as I mentioned before it is incredibly sharp, which makes proper chopping a breeze. As I chop loads of vegetables on a weekly basis, this particular knife is fast becoming an indispensable member of my food prep team.
Let me close by making a point that I am sure I will harp on again and again in future posts. People: if you are going to pursue any craft, make sure you have the right tools and make sure they are of quality. You may have to make a bit of an investment up front, but chances are you will never have to buy a replacement and your work will be that much easier.

[i] Although I don’t make a practice of naming inanimate objects, every now and then I feel inspired to do so, mostly based on the object’s profound impact on my daily life.