First, I have a deep, abiding faith in God. He has led us to this place and inspired us to learn much. That is my foundation upon which all else is built.
Second, I have had many experiences along the way that have led to a confidence in my ability to do and learn. Frank and I have always been 'learners'. A partial, but not all inclusive list of our experiences include:
Frank is a proud veteran of two branches of our Armed Forces.
Small scale, personal farming - The opportunities to learn are limitless and for us have included things like gardening; food preservation; pasture rotation; growing forage for specific animals like sheep or goats; teaching ourselves to sheer, process and spin wool; milking goats and making edible
(usually) products from the milk; attempting to grow fruit (not a lot of success there yet); incubating and hatching chicks, which grow into a replacement flock, as well as meat that is in the freezer or in a jar or digested the same day; training a livestock guardian dog; making sure there are enough cats on hand to control the mice population; sewing clothes, knitting, and quilting; and on and on.
Volunteer Reserve Law Enforcement - The reserve police academy taught us a great deal about ourselves and our surroundings. Then when we volunteered to serve and protect our community, it gave us a different mind set.
Teaching school for many years - When you teach, you learn everyday.
Volunteer Rescue Squad - The EMT class was very intensive and very enlightening, not to mention putting it into practice when we were on call. Our motivation for pursuing this was for our own personal knowledge as well as serving the community. Our very first call was a small plane crash with nine souls on board. Frank's last ambulance call was one of his students that did not survive. We learned a great deal.
Volunteer Fire Department - Frank had some great training during this time.
|Nunam Iqua, Alaska|
Bush Alaska - Remote living in harsh conditions, sometimes without running water (for nine months), taught us a great deal about our own internal tenacity, as well as many survival skills.
Radio communications - Frank has had a basic knowledge of radios for many years, but the ham radio portion of our experience only started a year ago. His learning curve in the last year has been tremendous and extremely valuable. It will be most beneficial in the days to come.
Third, most of these experiences occurred while we both worked a full-time job. Our volunteer experiences were pursued in conjunction with the farm, garden and working. This required organizing time and effort to get everything completed. It also tested our commitment to the things we were pursuing at the time.
These are just a few things in our lives that have helped shape who we are. Sometimes these opportunities seem to kind of fall in our laps, and others we intentionally pursued just for the chance to learn the knowledge and skills involved - like becoming EMTs. There are always things to be learned. Some of them may be used now, or may not be used until later, when you least expect.
Finally, back to peace and contentment. Am I totally satisfied with my current knowledge and skills? No. I blog about what I am learning regularly. There is not enough time in a day, week or year for me to learn all I would like to know. But.....What I have been able to learn has made all the difference in the world for me. Am I ready for a collapse or life changing disaster? No. Can anyone be? I don't think so. I only know that I have done what I could, learned what I could, and continue to do so every single day. And as long as I have done that, I believe that God will see to the rest. In that I have peace and contentment. I pray that you do as well.
Until next time - Fern