Five years ago a fire that started in Mexico tore through the Huachuca Mountains and in a week's time we were told to evacuate. It's a strange and scary experience to have a deputy knock on your door and tell you to leave your home--now! The weather conditions were tinder dry, 11 per cent humidity and lower, and 40 mile an hour winds. We were thankful the fire was stopped less than a mile from our house. Evacuation is not a lot of fun, but I learned about the importance of the "Go Bag." I'll share some tips to get organized in case you ever have to evacuate for any reason--hurricane, flood, tornado, fire, earthquake, etc.
Here’s a breakdown of necessities for evacuation:
· Insurance policies (house, car, life)
· Wills, trust documents (originals)
· Vehicle titles
· Real estate documents
· Birth certificates, marriage license, passports
· Pet documents
Although some of the documents aren't irreplaceable, some are a real pain to replace and can be expensive. If you have originals of wills and trust documents, they are irreplaceable and you’ll have the expense of redoing them if they’re lost. Maintaining a good filing system where these important papers are categorized properly in file folders will make your life a lot simpler if you have to grab them and run.
We were fortunate to stay with friends while we were evacuated, so we didn't stay in a shelter like hundreds of others. If a shelter is your only option and you have a few more minutes to prepare the list below will help ease the stress:
The above lists aren’t exhaustive, but they give you the basics of preparation. Other sources are the FEMA (fema.gov) and American Red Cross (redcross.org) websites. Check with your local sheriff’s department or emergency services department for more information unique to your location.
For #TBT This devotional has been one of the most viewed when my blog was on blogspot.com. I thought I'd share it again.
Here are a few of the well-used excuses: "I'm a victim of circumstances. "The situation is impossible." "The circumstances are beyond my control." "Under the circumstances"...fill in the blank.
Funny how principles, self-control, and positive thinking can go out the window when we're "under the circumstances." And lest you think the author is above blaming circumstances, she is not. I've used most of the excuses above, whether spoken or unspoken.
An imprisoned and wrongly accused Jewish Christian talked a lot about circumstances in a letter to some men and women in the ancient city of Philippi roughly 2,000 years ago. If there was ever a situation you could get upset about or bitter over, this was it. He was a Roman citizen, awaiting trial that for one reason or another didn't materialize for about two years. His rights had been trampled upon. He'd been bad-mouthed by so-called friends and beaten.While writing the letter he was under house arrest, at the mercy of the Roman government, dependent on friends for housing, food, everything. Life itself was uncertain and he knew it. He'd had a lot of bad circumstances before that and more would follow after the writing of the letter.
He was surprisingly unaffected by what was going on, demonstrating confidence and peace. Here's what he said about the situation:
I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4 NLT
He encouraged the men and women to do the same:
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4 NLT
I think this was Paul's secret of living in "every situation." I'm still learning that secret. God is never under the circumstances and He is the Source of peace, who guards our hearts and minds. With Him, the circumstances don't have to matter. That's good news because unknown conditions are ahead.
It's that time of year! Vacation plans are forming like clouds over the mountains. With travel comes some stress, so here's a list to follow when you're closing up the house and hitting the road. There's nothing more annoying or frightening than forgetting some essential task, only to remember it when you're 20 miles down the road.
Inevitably my husband will turn to me on the way to the airport and say, "Did you pack...."(fill in the blank) or "Did you remember to..." (fill in another blank). Agghhh!!! Sometimes one of us has forgotten something we'll desperately need on the trip. Other times it's been a household task. To help others avoid frustration, stress, and getting off to a bad start on vacation, here's a handy list to check BEFORE you leave home.
1. Stop newspaper and mail delivery.
2. Lock the windows.
3. Turn down the hot water tank to "vacation" mode if you'll be gone for several days.
4. Adjust A/C or heat to vacation mode too.
5. Turn off power strips to electronics or unplug them during summer T-storm season.
6. Take out the garbage.
7. Have a light on a timer which will turn on for a few hours in the evening. Your home won't look vacant while you're gone.
8. Let a neighbor know you'll be away. If you're in a Neighborhood Watch area, notify the local police of your vacation dates. Exchange cell phone numbers with the neighbors for emergency contacts.
9. Make sure all passengers are in the vehicle before leaving and that the dog is at the kennel.
Vacation Prep and Packing Tips
1. Lay out all chargers for electronics where you can see them and then pack in the same suitcase. It's so much easier than tossing them in randomly.
2. Meds should be double checked before going out the door. Make sure you have a couple of extra days of prescription medicines--just in case. Keep those meds with you and not in checked luggage.
3. Make sure your camera battery is charged before departure.
4. Be certain you've then packed your camera with the battery inside.
5. Use a white noise machine for sleep? Pack it!
6. Have some ready cash in your wallet with smaller bills. You'll be prepared to tip the luggage handler or the the airport shuttle driver.
7. Throw some gum or breath mints in your bag. Traveling makes your mouth dry.
8. Individual snacks are always welcome. Crackers, baby carrots, apples, fruit and nut mixes are perfect for munching.
Walk through the house before you leave to double check that you've done all of the above. This saves a lot of questions in the car.
Lock all the doors. Watch the garage door go all the way down before you leave the driveway. You don't want to wonder if you left it open when you're almost to the airport.
Bon Voyage! If you have any travel prep tips, please share them in the comments.