Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Food Storage

Back to basics . . . from lds.org.


"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to ‘prepare every needful thing’ (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we may care for ourselves and our neighbors, and support bishops as they care for others."

"We encourage members worldwide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise, and do not go to extremes. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve."
What am I supposed to have in my food storage?
There are three main components of food storage:
·         Food supply (three-month and long-term)
·         Water supply
·         Financial reserve
Store foods that are a part of your normal diet in your three-month supply. As you develop a longer-term storage, focus on food staples such as wheat, rice, pasta, oats, beans, and potatoes that can last 30 years or more. 

How much food storage do I need?
Take the amount of food you would need to purchase to feed your family for a day and multiply that by 7. That is how much food you would need for a one-week supply. Once you have a week’s supply, you can gradually expand it to a month, and eventually three months.
When calculating how much you might need for your family in long-term food storage, multiply the number of people in your family by 2. That is an estimate of how many cases you will need of each of the main food staples (wheat, rice, etc.). Then double the number of cases of either wheat or rice, depending on your preference, to complete your long-term storage.
Where should I store my food storage?
Make sure your food storage is properly packaged and stored in a cool, dry place.
If water comes directly from a good, pretreated source, then no additional purification is needed; otherwise, pretreat water before use. Store water in sturdy, leak-proof, breakage-resistant containers. Consider using plastic bottles commonly used for juices or soda. Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight. 
How much does it cost?
Costs may vary depending on where and how you purchase your food storage. It is important to remember that you should not go to extremes; for instance, it is not prudent to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. Develop it gradually to diffuse the overall cost over time so that it will not become a financial burden.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Our Path to Spiritual and Temporal Self-Reliance

Additional information can be found at lds.org.
There are great needs among us. A recent survey of LDS church members in several countries showed that many worry regularly about having enough food to feed their children and themselves. To survive life’s challenges, each of us will need to grow our faith and trust in the Lord.
The Savior invites us all to act, to stand independent, and to become as He is. He will help us. He has promised: “It is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine. But it must needs be done in mine own way” (D&C 104:15–16). His way includes learning and living the principles of self-reliance.
Principles of Self-Reliance
Accepting and living the following principles will help you to receive the spiritual and temporal blessings promised by the Lord.
1. Exercise Faith in Jesus Christ.The Lord has all power. He can and will work great tender mercies among those who trust Him in all things.
► Ask yourself: How will my faith in Jesus Christ affect my spiritual and temporal self-reliance?
2. Be Obedient.Obedience to God’s laws, principles, and promptings leads to spiritual and temporal blessings.  
► Ask yourself: Do I obey the promptings of the Holy Ghost in both temporal and spiritual matters? Is any lack of obedience keeping me from receiving blessings?
The Savior invites us all to act, to stand independent, and to become as He is. He will help us.
3. Act. Individual accountability and action activate blessings.
► Ask yourself: Why does Heavenly Father want me to take personal responsibility for my life? Am I acting or being acted upon?
► Read: 2 Nephi 2:16, 261 Nephi 3:7Helaman 14:30; D. Todd Christofferson, “Free Forever, to Act for Themselves,”Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 16–19: “God will not act to make us something we do not choose by our actions to become”.
4. Serve and be united. Service and unity build Zion—this is the way of the Lord.
► Ask yourself: What does it mean to “be one,” and how does this relate to self-reliance? Who have I served in the last week? Who can I serve this week?
► Read: Moses 7:18Doctrine and Covenants 104:15–17;38:2782:17–19Jeffrey R. Holland, “Are We Not All Beggars?Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 40–42: “Rich or poor, we are to ‘do what we can’ when others are in need”.
Prophetic Promises
The First Presidency invites you to study and apply these principles of self-reliance and teach them to your family members.
“We invite you to diligently study and apply these principles and teach them to your family members. As you do so, your life will be blessed. You will learn how to act on your path toward greater self-reliance. You will be blessed with greater hope, peace, and progress.The First Presidency has said: “The Lord has declared, ‘It is my purpose to provide for my saints’ (D&C 104:15). This revelation is a promise from the Lord that He will provide temporal blessings and open the door of self-reliance, which is the ability for us to provide the necessities of life for ourselves and our family members. …
“Please be assured that you are a child of our Father in Heaven. He loves you and will never forsake you. He knows you and is ready to extend to you the spiritual and temporal blessings of self-reliance” (First Presidency letter, in My Foundation: Principles, Skills, Habits [2014], 2).
New Resources

Over 1,100 stake self-reliance centers in international areas of the Church can help members learn and live the principles and habits of self-reliance.
A new booklet, My Foundation: Principles, Skills, Habits, has been prepared to help members of the Church learn and put into practice principles of faith, education, hard work, and trust in the Lord. Accepting and living these principles will help you to receive the temporal blessings promised by the Lord. The booklet and accompanying videos are available online.
During 2014, over 1,100 stake self-reliance resource centers were established in the international areas of the Church to help members learn and live the principles and habits of self-reliance. Many of these centers are shared with local family history centers. These resource centers help participants learn how to start and grow their own businesses, find better jobs, or create education plans that will lead to better work. Over 5,000 members have already volunteered to help mentor their brothers and sisters to become self-reliant. For more information see srs.lds.org.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Glory of God is Intelligence

"Education is the only temporal means we have to accomplish our life's goals." Watch this video to be inspired to make your life one of continual learning.


Starting a Savings Plan

Starting a savings plan may seem like an overwhelming thought, especially when you consider the need for emergency funds, car or home purchases, children’s education, retirement, and the myriad other needs on the saving list. But a few simple action items for today will get you on the right track for tomorrow. 

Action Item #1: Start where you are
Determine an amount - any amount - that you can begin setting aside and do it regularly - starting now. In the beginning, the amount is less important than the habit and the earlier you start the better off you will be in the long run. You can work on increasing the amount of the regular contribution over time. You should begin by contributing to an accessible emergency savings fund. Once you have reached your emergency fund target (usually between 9 and 12 months of living expenses), you can divert those funds to your longer-term savings goals.

Action Item #2: Segregate your savings
“Out of sight, out of mind” is a powerful concept, particularly when it comes to money. You should segregate your savings dollars from those used for regular expenses so you do not consider them to be “available” for routine needs or wants. Many employers will facilitate this effort through direct deposit, which often allows you to direct your pay to more than one account. If your employer does not support direct deposit, you can use your bank to set up an automatic monthly funds transfer into a savings account.

In addition, you should take advantage of your employer’s retirement plan that will not only facilitate the “out of sight, out of mind” approach, but may also help you to increase your savings rate through pre-tax contributions and employer matches. A common target for retirement savings is 10% of your gross income. If you are working on your emergency fund and retirement at the same time, contribute to both until you have reached the desired emergency fund level and then divert those dollars to your retirement savings.

Action Item #3: Save your raise
When you find out about that next raise or bonus, resist that urge to think about what you will be able to buy with those excess funds. Instead, plan to save as much of that raise as you can by increasing the amounts being direct deposited from your pay check to segregated savings or to your employer sponsored retirement plan. Certain cost of living increases may require you to utilize some of your raise or bonus for regular expenses, but it is likely that a good chunk of it can be stashed away for later.

Action Item #4: Practice intentional buying

Before you head to the store for any reason, prepare a thoughtful list of the items you intend to buy. Once you are at the store, stick to your list. If you see something that is not on your list, determine quickly if 1) this is something you simply forgot to put on the list or if 2) this is something you didn’t know you wanted/needed until you saw it. If it falls into the second category, use the 30-day rule. Wait for 30 days, and if at that time the item is still something you want/need and you can fit it into your thoughtful shopping list using your normal spending funds, then move forward with the purchase. Many times, you will find that the 30 days will pass without another thought about the item you thought you wanted. Other times, you will find that you still want the item, but it cannot be purchased with your normal spending funds. In those cases, you can start a short range saving goal for that item and work toward its purchase.

Remember that saving is a habit, and like most good habits, needs to be nurtured more in the beginning. Put some effort into developing a solid saving habit today and you can rest a little easier tomorrow. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

5 Things to Know When Entering the Job Market as a College Grad

Graduating from college and entering the job market is an exciting time. You have many new decisions to make as you search for a job and continue on the path to building your future. You probably feel accomplished now that you’ve graduated from college, but in the back of your mind you may still have that nagging uncertainty of whether or not you’ll be able to find a job in your field. As you work through this process, you can rely on Heavenly Father to guide you. Seek His help and direction through prayer, temple attendance, scripture study, and service to others. 

As a college graduate, you have already started the process of looking for employment and have likely discovered that a job and a career are not always the same thing: jobs are the employment opportunities that should further qualify you for a career in your desired field or industry. Here are five principles to help you transition from being a student to a full-time working professional.

1.     Do your research and know what you want

As you begin your job search, you should target positions based on research you have completed for the career you are ultimately seeking. The following are some potential questions to ask yourself as you identify job titles you are most interested in: 

·         What types of positions require my degree?
·         What is the future outlook for those positions?
·         What industries and companies am I interested in?
·         Which skills are required for the positions I’m interested in?
·         Which skills do I still need to obtain?
·         What is the typical salary for those positions?

 As you answer these questions, you will start to gain a good idea of what jobs are available and how those opportunities fit into your long-term career plan. You will also be better prepared to communicate to potential employers how your strengths can benefit their companies.

2.     Have realistic expectations

While you shouldn’t lower your expectations, you should have a realistic mindset as you map out your career plan and start applying for jobs. This is why research is so important. Some graduates who haven’t researched their field expect to start making a large salary immediately after college; however, you will most likely need to work your way up to your ideal position or salary. While professional success is attainable, it doesn’t come all at once. During your education, you have gained skills and a degree that will open up many opportunities for you to succeed, but you likely have a limited amount of work experience. It is helpful to consider your qualifications from a potential employer’s perspective so you can better understand their expectations. Think of your first job after graduation as a new opportunity to gain valuable work experience.

3.     Set meaningful job search goals

Goals drive our actions. Develop daily job search goals that will help you meet your larger employment goal, which you have set based off your research. Daily goals help you stay organized and allow you to use your time effectively. The 15-10-2 job search technique is a proven method to successfully find employment faster than you would with a normal job search. This approach consists of finding 15 resources, making 10 contacts, and having 2 face-to-face interactions each day with people in your network or employers. As you set measurable goals such as these, it is important to evaluate and re-evaluate your progress. Write your goals down and share them with a job coach who can help keep you accountable and make improvements to your job search goals.

4.     Look for opportunities to network

It is important to remember that you can’t do your job search alone. Entering the job market as a college graduate is a prime time for networking, and you already have a large network of connections that you may have not even realized existed. Friends, family, people in your ward, classmates, and your social media connections are great resources for networking. Ask yourself if you already know anyone currently working in the industry, at the company, or in the position you are interested in. Take the time to build your contacts and create new relationships with the people you associate with. In your interactions with people in your network, be clear about your goals and what you are looking for. Use any resources provided by your college to network, such as job fairs and alumni events. Talk with everyone and don’t be afraid to let them know you are searching for a job.

5.     Continue to expand your horizons

Once you’ve found a job, continue learning and setting career goals for yourself. Be proactive and engage in opportunities to learn from your employer. Ask questions, gain more education and acquire new skills. Employers notice those who take initiative and those who are willing to do more than the minimum amount of work required. As you seek to further your career, also remember to support and help others with their own employment goals. Continually update your résumé and online employment profiles. Build long-lasting relationships in your profession by demonstrating your value and work ethic; these relationships can help you in your current organization as well as in future positions.

Making the change from college to the workforce is a process, but you will succeed as you put forth the time and effort in applying these principles to your job search. Remember that finding employment is a full-time job and it requires work to find a job that will advance you along the path to your career. Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who act.

For more information, visit providentliving.org.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Winter Skin Care

Even though we can feel that Spring is just around the corner, our skin still needs special care during these drier and colder months. Some suggestions:

1.       From WebMD
a.       Find an “ointment” moisturizer that is oil-based, rather than water based.  The oil will create a protective layer on the skin that retains more moisture than a cream or lotion.  Many lotions labeled as “night creams” are oil based.
b.      Drink water!!!!  Drinking water helps your skin to stay young looking. 
c.       Mint lotions are great for summer months, but in the winter your feet need something stronger.  Try to find a lotion that contains petroleum jelly or glycerine.  Also use exfoliants to get the dead skin off.

2.       From Huffington Post
a.       Brush your lips with a toothbrush to get rid of excess skin from chapped lips
b.      Have dry patches under your eyes?  Try Aquaphor, it is part of the Vaseline family but specifically for those areas
c.       Ditch the drugstore makeup remover wipes and use the cold cream cleanser.  The towlettes do their job, but the cleanser moisturizes and removes makeup.  The towlettes can tend to dry out skin especially in the winter.

3.       Pinterest
 Here is a link to help cure your dry cracked heels from Pinterest. Lots of ideas to prepare for sandal season!

4.       From Readers Digest Best Health, here is a link for 21 tricks to young and healthy skin:


1.     PLAN for the types of disasters that can happen in the area where you live.  You may need to plan for a snowstorm instead of a hurricane.
2.     CREATE your own personalized list.  You may not need everything included in “ready made” kits and there may be additional items you need based on your personal situation.  For example, if you have pets, you may need special items.  Don’t forget to have supplies in your car and at work.
3.     BUDGET emergency preparedness items as a “normal” expense.  Even $20.00 a month can go a long way to helping you be ready.  Buy one preparedness item each time you go to the grocery store.
4.     SAVE by shopping sales.  Make use of coupons and shop at stores with used goods.  Don’t replace your ready kit items annually, just replace and cycle through those items that have a shelf life (e.g. batteries, food).  You may want to test the radio and flashlight every September to make sure they are in good working order.
5.     STORE water in safe containers.  You don’t have to buy more expensive bottled water, but make sure any containers you use for water storage are safe and disinfected.
6.     REQUEST preparedness items as gifts.  We all receive gifts we don’t need or use.  What if your friends and family members gave you gifts that could save your life?  Don’t forget to protect them by sending preparedness gifts their way, too.
7.     THINK ahead.  You are more likely to save money if you can take your time with focused and strategic shopping.  It’s when everyone is at the store right before a storm hits that prices are going to be higher.  Use a list to avoid duplicating items when you are stressed or panicked.
8.     REVIEW your insurance policy annually and make necessary changes.  When a disaster strikes, you want to know that your coverage will help you get back on your feed.  Renters need policies too, in order to cover personal property.
9.     UPDATE contact records.  Have an accurate phone list of emergency contact numbers.  If you are prepared, you may be able to help friends and neighbors who need assistance.  By sharing preparedness supplies, you can help each other.
10.  TRADE one night out to fund your 72-hour kit.  Taking a family of four to the movies can cost upwards of $80-$100.  Just one night of sacrifice could fund a 72-hour ready kit.