Monday, March 8, 2010


The other day I happened to turn the TV to our local county cable channel, Channel 4. They have documentaries on Las Vegas history, show the Clark County Commission meetings, desert gardening info, etc.

When I turned to Channel 4 that day they had a Clark County emergency preparedness show on. I was interested. As a Mormon, emergency preparedness is something we know a little about and I figure I can always learn more. I was interested in what Clark County’s plans for a disaster would be, especially with all of the natural disasters happening in the world lately. The female host, a Clark County Emergency Preparedness employee, was discussing emergencies and what people in our area should do if a disaster strikes.

Then a word flashed up on the screen in big letters as she was talking. YOYO. The host calmly explained the meaning of this acronym---You are On Your Own. In the case of an emergency situation, she said, you are on your own. We cannot depend on the government or any agency to help us if an earthquake, flood, fire, act of terrorism, or other major disaster strikes Clark County. The show then cut to pictures of Hurricane Katrina’s disaster victims in New Orleans as the host described supplies every household in Clark County should have on hand.

This stunned me. YOYO? Are they for real? How can they say this? Are we really on our own? Yes, I realized, we probably are. How many people in this county realize this though? I had never given this much thought until that moment.

Our house is fairly prepared, but I’m still worried. We have several months of food on hand and six 55 gallon drums to store water in, but what about our neighbors? My students? Family? Friends? People at church? I don’t have enough to help them all. Our family plan was to provide for our immediate family. We have enough for our family and hadn’t even considered helping other people who may need it.

If we are able to stay in our home after a disaster strikes, we’ll probably be okay, but I doubt many people in our county have several weeks of food, water, and first aid supplies on hand. After watching the nightmares that the earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Turkey have caused lately, not to mention the mess Hurricane Katrina caused years ago, I shudder to think of something of that magnitude happening here in the Las Vegas valley. (In addition to the 2 million or so people in Clark County, think of the tens of thousands of tourists just visiting here each day.)

I challenge everyone reading this to get yourselves and your homes prepared. Have at least 3 months supplies of food and water on hand. Gather first aid supplies. Buying a little extra food and first aid items every time you go to the store will help you stock up on needed supplies. If you’d rather buy a bunch at once, stores like Costco sell emergency supply kits and food storage items.

Prepare a backpack with clothes and food for each member of your family. (Think New Orleans and all of those people walking out of town on the freeways with no food, water, or clothing.) Make copies of all of your important documents and keep them in a central place that is easy to get to and quick to grab and go.

Have a family emergency plan. Where will you meet if you are apart during a disaster? Where is an alternative place to travel to if your home is destroyed?

Those people who seemed extreme with their food storage to me as a kid aren’t that extreme to me anymore. In this day and age they seem prepared. I’m not a wacko or an alarmist when it comes to emergency preparedness, just a worrier. We have had warnings from our prophets, civic leaders, and scientists about impending earthquakes and natural disasters, not to mention acts of terrorism. It’s time to listen and become prepared.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Loved 2 quotes my mom sent me. (See below.)

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately. Hope is something I've always had plenty of---until lately. The economic issues myself, family and friends are dealing with is sometimes overwhelming. I feel frozen and helpless. (Not good for an action minded person.) I also see and hear a lot of very upsetting stories about young people in my line of work. Thinking about these things I take them on and have spent many hours crying over the pain and suffering of myself, my family, friends, and these children of God I teach.

As a child my mom would "pick" my worries off of my shoulders. It worked to ease my stress and make my worries seem smaller. I've taught this to Josh and it helps him. (Another worrier in the family.)

As I've grown older, picking the worries off of my shoulders still helps, but I need something more. That is when writing, prayer, scripture study, and great quotes like the ones below come to my rescue.

So have hope. Things will get better. Our economic times will improve. My students will grow up and make good choices. My boys will become happy, well-adjusted young men. I have hope.

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"[God] loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God's love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked. "What this means is that, regardless of our current state, there is hope for us. No matter our distress, no matter our sorrow, no matter our mistakes, our infinitely compassionate Heavenly Father desires that we draw near to Him so that He can draw near to us." ----Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Love of God," Ensign, Nov. 2009, 22–23.
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"Since 'God is love' (1 John 4:8), the closer we approach Him, the more profoundly we experience love. But because a veil separates this mortality from our heavenly home, we must seek in the Spirit that which is imperceptible to mortal eyes. "Heaven may seem distant at times, but the scriptures offer hope: 'Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart' (Jeremiah 29:13)." ----Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Love of God," Ensign, Nov. 2009, 23.