Don’t turn your home into a crisis center

Expanded my container garden, because the plants needed more space.

Finding inner peace can be hard in challenging times, so it’s important to find ways to relax, focus on the positive and most of all work hard to keep calm in your home. Your home should be a place of refuge, not turn into a 24/7, all hands on deck, crisis center, where frantic emergency preparedness efforts take over.

Back during the beginning of the pandemic lockdown craziness in 2020, I recall a news pundit tweeting that she was so upset that she was crying all the time and not knowing what to say to her child. I quote tweeted she should turn off the news and focus on keeping her home as normal as possible. I’ve written blog posts on my views about this, which are based on my experiences as an Army wife and having my husband deployed to war twice, plus the many years of moving frequently with military life and my husband being away from home frequently for more than a month at a time, while training. He was always an infantryman – in the 82nd airborne when he was young, and that’s a dangerous job, soldiers do get hurt occasionally during training, so there’s always some things to worry about. And soldiers do die in combat and even in training accidents sometimes. The same is true in everyday life – accidents and bad things happen.

Zinnias starting to bloom.

There’s a lot of well-meaning advice on prepping, gardening, homesteading online and naturally a lot of people offer different opinions on what road they think leads you to being “prepared” for bad times. I also see a lot of alarmism and dire economic predictions every day, both in the news media ecosystem and in the online social media ecosystem.

Fear is more contagious than Covid. That’s the truth. Each of us has the ability to boost our immune system against fear, but it takes some practice and some people are naturally worriers or more prone to getting worked up than others. Of course, millions of feminists will likely disagree, but it’s been my experience that women, especially women in groups are way more prone to getting emotional and also in a group, they are experts at spreading fear and panic. I saw spreading of fear and hysteria many times over the years dealing with Army wives when their husbands deployed and I’ve seen it in everyday life. I saw it during the pandemic and now, I’m seeing it in social media, as people go bonkers about the economic crises. Although, in fairness, I see some male online preppers who spread fear and paranoia every day too, especially a guy who quotes zerohedge constantly, so there are some men who race into panic mode too. I found zero hedge to be a far-right site when it first began (long before Biden) and I think the sole agenda of that site is to undercut belief in America and stoke distrust in America. Zerohedge is big on spreading conspiracy theories about global cabals and entities.

Yellow crookneck squash. The grow bags work fine, but it’s already very hot here and the tomatoes and squash dry out quickly in these grow bags. We had some rain last night, which perked up everything in my garden.

Perhaps, some of the hype on social media is clickbait to draw attention and attract views, but it’s amazing to watch the conspiracy theories spread online, both on the left and on the right. As I keep saying, if you’re a right-wing person and you shook your head at the Trump derangement among the left and then were disgusted as the facts came to light that the Trump-Russian Collusion narrative spread by the Clinton campaign and liberal news media was a deliberate false narrative meant to inflict political damage on Trump, well, this same thing is happening among the right-wing now as they race to buy into conspiracy theories about Biden, Democrats and global elite cabals.

The modern global economic system is both vast and complex, with lots of moving parts, in fact, it’s really multiple complex systems – not a single system. Most countries in the world are players in this system, so there are a multitude of countries, corporations, financial institutions, goods and services, and even geopolitical events affecting world economic events. There are certainly rich and powerful people and entities who have a lot more influence on economic situations than you or me, but the complexities of a vast, global system can’t be harnessed by a handful of elites. There are billions of people, who play a part in the world economy, climate, weather events, war, disease and yes, even fear and hope play a big part. Human emotions impact the economic system, especially if fear starts spreading. To use an analogy, just think of how quickly bad Covid social mitigation ideas spread among world leaders, as medical experts and scientists stoked fear about this new virus and world leaders rushed into imposing more and more restrictions on people in their own countries. Fear is taking hold with the economic crises brewing too and likely many of these actions will exacerbate economic problems, as world leaders fall prey to fear-driven actions.

I accidentally dropped some birdseed in an open bag of potting soil and picked out all of it I could. I missed some sunflower seeds and they grew in my bowl of salad greens.

Fear is one of the most powerful forces in human life. If you let fear into your heart and home, it will literally start stealing all the hope and happiness from, not only you, but especially from your children. Parents should set the tone of hopefulness in their own homes. It’s important that no matter how much awful stuff is going on outside your doors, you keep your home a place of refuge – a place of calm, a place of hope and a place where your family feels safe.

When we moved around the Army, I carted around certain things after we had kids, like I travelled with a large, deep skillet, a large pot that I could cook soup, stew or pasta in and a lid (plus a few kitchen utensils). If we stayed in a motel or temporary lodging, I’d be cooking normal family meals rather than getting fast food. I considered wherever we were staying as “our home” and tried to maintain as normal a home routine no matter where we were. My husband used to tease me about this whenever we stayed in a place more than one night, because I would start setting up our things like it was our home. He would tell me we were only sleeping here, not living here. I did this during long road trips too. I packed food, drinks, pillows, blankets, coats, rain gear, etc. I wanted to be sure that if we broke down somewhere, we could have managed a couple days living out of our car.

If you turn your home into a crisis center, where all you think about or talk about is “the coming collapse” and about how awful everything is, you have surrendered your family’s peaceful refuge to fear.

I bought a cheap planter on amazon, not the Greenstalk, for some bareroot strawberries I bought at a local store. As you can see, no strawberries, not a single one grew – so I filled the bottom sections with stuff I started from seed in square Dollar Tree containers and I bought three small portalaca plants for the top.

Yes, it’s important to prepare and stock up, but it’s important not to lose sight of what it is you’re trying to preserve, besides food and supplies to get you through the coming hard times. Most of all, we should be trying to preserve our way of life, our family traditions, our joy and our happiness. If you let the fear and anxiety take over your mind, it will take over your home and rob you and your family of peace every single minute.

I think it’s important each day to rejoice in the many blessings in my life, not just obsess over the bad news and each new conspiracy theory racing through the social media and news rumor mill.

Bell peppers growing.

Stocking up food and supplies is very important and working on other ways to be prepared, like gardening and learning new skills are important too, but it’s really crucial to not turn your home into a crisis center, where you overreact to every bit of bad economic news, online rumor and let panic and anxiety have a seat at your kitchen table every day. The entire point of emergency preparedness, especially food storage is to give you peace of mind and it’s insurance that in an emergency you can feed yourself and your family. Often I feel the online “Pinterest perfect” images many people post of their vast, organized food storage create a “keeping up with the Joneses” attitude, plus can fuel unrealistic expectations.

My life is filled with lots of trial and error learning and plenty of failures. This spring I decided to attempt gardening by myself and it’s not anything like the garden my husband set up decades ago. I hadn’t gardened in years, as our life changed. For many years I was working full-time after our kids grew-up and my husband and I both had lots of health issues. The garden was still a dream that lived on in my mind, but in reality, as my husband’s condition worsened over the years, he needed more and more assistance with daily tasks and I didn’t have the time or energy to take on a garden.

At first this spring I kept thinking up excuses about the heavy-lifting tasks I couldn’t handle and I was missing my husband being there to just go ahead and do stuff – he didn’t like a lot of sitting around discussing stuff. He wanted action. I had been walking around my backyard since last spring, after my husband passed away, feeling loss and thinking about how dead and lifeless the backyard looked. Things had changed over the years, like I had our sons take down the clothesline, take down the chain-link fence and gate around the garden area, my husband built and I had them take apart two large three-tiered raised beds my husband had built for me. One was filled with strawberries and one had herbs. We hired a lawn service to mow and weed-eat, so streamlining the backyard for easier maintenance made sense, but it broke my heart a little.

I started with some “winter sowing” effort in empty gallon water jugs, which was a waste of time in my growing zone, then I bought a shelf and some grow lights to start some tomato and pepper seeds inside. I kept thinking about how I wasn’t up to tilling and doing all the amending soil required to start an in-ground garden like I used to have. Then I got to thinking about a patio garden with containers, but quickly that expanded to lots of grow bags. I bought two small bags of seed potatoes and planted those in cheap Dollar General 18 gallon plastic totes, plus two grow bags for a few extra potatoes.

Each time I expanded a bit, I felt a little bit more optimism about this container gardening effort and all along I kept trying to keep things neat and tidy, so the backyard didn’t look like a disorganized mess, because I am prone to clutter things up fast and my husband liked the yard looking nice.

The pot with five succulents comes with a garden inspiration story.

I have an elderly friend, who is 85 and on home hospice care. I visit her often. She has elderly neighbors across the street and the man is 81, his wife told me. She is in her 70s, I think and she’s from Korea, but has been in the States decades. She’s always bringing Korean food to my elderly friend and I have talked to her many times. I’ve admired her yard for a long, long time, because it’s a showcase type yard with stunning flower beds and her knock-out roses are gorgeous. It’s been an inspiration garden image for what I hope to create.

Several weeks ago, when I was visiting my friend, her neighbor was working in her flower beds, so I told my friend I was going to be nosey and go across the street to talk to Me-Su, because I wanted to see her flower beds close-up. She was delighted to show me around and I didn’t see her gigantic clay container of these succulents from the road view. That container was at least two feet across and filled with these succulents, which have an orange tint around the edges. In the terra cotta container they were stunning. I absolutely love succulents and have several kinds, but I didn’t have any like this. She started breaking off pieces and giving me planting tips. At five I told her that was plenty and I am so grateful for her kindness. She even wanted to show me her vegetable garden in the backyard. She showed me how she saves her radish seeds. She also insisted I taste some herbs she has growing, which I have no idea what they are, but she uses them in cooking. And she wants to cook Korean food for me sometime. What a lovely lady and I’ll think of her kindness and generosity every time I look at this pot of succulents.

Store up hope and optimism, as much as you work to store up food and supplies.

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Filed under Emergency Preparedness, Food for Thought, General Interest

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