I was just in the grocery store yesterday and picked up two large jugs of vinegar. Why vinegar? I purchased it for two reasons.

mormon helping hands1) It was my symbolic (although very real) demonstration that every day I am seeking a preparedness lifestyle.

2) Vinegar can be used for many, many purposes if you can’t go to the store to buy (for example) cleaning supplies, health aids, or even beauty aids.

1) Symbolic Purchases

Why was it my “symbolic” purchase? Every it has surprised us.

The first time, my husband had been promised that during the company’s pending layoffs his job position would be safe. Well . . . it wasn’t. We felt “out on our ear” because of the experience. I was pregnant at the time and it seemed the layoff could not have come at a worse time. (Parenthetically speaking, I’m sure there are always worse times, but at the time it did feel fairly dire.)

The second time layoffs came to our family, my husband was in the middle of a huge presentation. Literally. It was during a celebratory time at the company. My husband had saved the company nearly a third of a million dollars in recent contract negotiations. He literally was in the middle of presenting the new software acquisition during an important meeting when a secretary interrupted the proceedings. The secretary announced that my husband needed to follow her now to a Senior V.P.’s office, of whom my husband was only vaguely familiar. My husband learned in that far-flung office his position was being dissolved due to company financial needs.

Again, we felt “out on our ear.” We scrambled, trying to pick up the pieces, trying to understand what the Lord had in store for us. But through all the confusing, difficult re-piecing of our lives, we felt the sustaining hand of the Lord. I’m not sure why, but in His mercy He helped us.

You could say from these experiences that preparedness for any eventuality is essential. That is why, nearly every time I shop, I make a symbolic “preparedness” purchase. I am always looking for doubles. What do I mean by that? Well, if I’ve gone to the store to buy toothpaste, instead of buying one tube I buy two. If I need one jug of vinegar (you guessed it), I buy two.

2) Wise Purchases

Which brings me to, “Why vinegar?” Above and beyond the fact that I actually needed some vinegar, vinegar in and of itself makes a great addition to a larder of stored goods. (Do a google search to learn some of the handy uses of vinegar.)

Just think: If your local Target or Walmart suddenly closed due to an emergency (or whatever your favorite store might be for household goods), how long could you function? And how well do you know substitutions for shampoo, substitutions for skin cleansers, etc.

Take some time now to begin learning what would constitute wise purchases for your home storage program. Wise purchases are those items that can double in utilitarian purposes. This kind of knowledge takes some time to learn; I’m still exploring options and learning things every day. Thus, it is good to start today studying these kinds of issues.

Also, being aware of “wise purchases” means recognizing the difference between a want and a need. A new flat-screen TV might be cool, but you can’t eat it. So perhaps you choose to forgo wanted items until you have at least a solid store of food, etc. Practice going with out your usual goods, perhaps once a month, so you could see what you lack in knowledge and essential items.

Try living one day, for example, without using any electricity. Or try living one day a month only eating from your 72-hour kit (which, by the way, the government now recommends to be a 2-WEEK kit). It is through simple, wise preparations like this that you’ll soon see the gaps in your family preparedness items . . . and correct those life-giving measures.


I know. Trying to think on these things can raise blood pressure numbers. Emergency thinking isn’t “fun” (usually). But it becomes more fun and much more of an adventure if you push past those initial feelings and start approaching each store you visit with a “1&2” preparedness plan. By making symbolic and wise efforts every day of the week, you’ll be much more prepared for any unpleasant eventuality.

Make it a game. Think:

1) What can be my symbolic preparedness action today (put a 1st aid kit in the car, put emergency phone numbers in my kids’ backpacks, etc.)?

2) What can be my wise preparedness action today (i.e. make each symbolic action potent by making it a wise one)?

May you never face a layoff or any other unpleasant event in your life. But if you do, these two daily steps will make a great difference for you and your family . . . if you do them every day!

About Cindy B

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