• Total Eclipse: Beautiful Moon or Dreadful Sign?

    Eclipse - What does it mean to you?On the evening of September 27th/28th, 2015, the Sun, Moon and Earth will once again align in such a way that they “turn the moon to blood” in a total lunar eclipse. Of course, there will be no more blood involved in the moon’s condition than there is green cheese. But the deep red hue of a total lunar eclipse is why such an event is often called a “Blood Moon.”

    Millions across North America will witness this phenomenon as the earth’s shadow obscures sunlight from illuminating the moon in our night sky. As it does, many will ask, why can I still see the moon? And why is it red?

     

    How Do Blood Moons Happen?

    Eclipse - How it works Courtesy of NASA

    To best understand why the moon is red you must imagine yourself standing on the surface of the moon. Looking up, you watch the earth move in front of the sun, casting its shadow upon you and the entire sunward side of the moon. The shadow grows until the earth has obscured almost all the light of the sun from reaching the moon.

    The key word here is “almost.” While the earth conceals the sun from the moon, the glow of the sun’s corona still radiates around the earth, creating a glowing ring of bright red light in the lunar sky.

    Eclipse - All the sunsets!“But why red light?” you might ask. The answer is simple when you realize that the ring of light you see is all the sunrises and sunsets occurring on our planet, visible all at the same time. Since these early morning and late evening skies are often bright red and pink, the only light reaching the moon is bright red. As the lunar surface is bathed in red light, the normally bright full moon is turned into a “Blood Moon.”


    What Makes This Blood Moon Special?

    As interesting as this eclipse promises to be astronomically, this blood moon holds much deeper meaning for millions worldwide. Both Jews and Christians alike recognize that this eclipse will be the fourth consecutive blood moon in 18 months, or a “Blood Moon Tetrad.” What’s more, each eclipse of this tetrad falls on a Jewish Feast Holiday—a coincidence so rare that is has occurred only 7 other times over the last 2,000 years. Of particular interest to these millions of believers is that each previous Tetrad/Feast Day occurrence has been accompanied by some history-changing world events.

    Eclipse HistoryFor example, the Blood Moon Tetrad of the year 162 ushered in the Antonine Plague, a widespread epidemic throughout Europe and the Mediterranean that marked the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. Bad for Romans, great for Christians, as this was also when their religion began its spread into Europe.

    The Tetrads of the 795, 842 and 860 each saw great shifts in power and territories between the peoples of Europe and Arabia.

    Still impacting us today, the Tetrad of 1493 was observed by sailors sailing from Spain to the newly discovered Americas. Virtually every facet of history shifted that year, as this the old world confronted this “New World.”

    Almost 500 years later, the Tetrads occurring through 1949 and 1967 accompanied the most pivotal events in the history of modern Israel—the very establishment of the State of Israel and their milestone 6-day War, respectively.

     

    Oh…One Other Thing

    So what might the Tetrad of 2015 bring in its wake? One clue might be found in another cycle of Jewish custom unrelated to the moons; Shemittah. Shemittah is a Jewish Sabbatical observance wherein every seven years adherents elevate their thoughts, words and deeds to build their relationship with God. Wrongs and debts are forgiven, lands lie fallow, and people focus more upon their spiritual needs and less upon material pursuits.

    Interestingly, over the last several decades this seven year cycle seems to coincide with a pattern of societal disruption and economic unrest, e.g. stock market crashes, recessions, energy shortages, even the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. This Shemittah ends September 13th, 2015—15 days before the Blood Moon Tetrad.

     

    So What Does It All Mean?

    Looking up at the beautiful and mysterious Blood Moon of September 28th will mean different things to different people. To some, that evening will denote nothing more than an entirely predictable astronomical event. For many others, the Blood Moon Tetrad and the end of the Shemittah year falling just over two weeks apart mean that this particular astronomical event should be taken as a sign. Millions regard this as the crucial and long-prophesied period of calamity and disruption that will precede the end of times, as foretold by the Hebrew prophet Joel:

    Eclipse - Sun and Moon“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel 2:31, Holy Bible, KJV).

     

    Whatever the moons and the calendars and the cycles all mean, however, is somewhat irrelevant. Whether or not the Blood Moons/Shemittah phenomenon means the end is near, a simple examination of history reveals one constant and lasting truth; Earthquakes, fires, floods, whirlwinds, drought, cyclones, storms, wars, pestilence, and disease happen, and often, in every time, season and generation. Odds are pretty good you will have to deal with at least one of these “Big Ones” at some point in time.

    Even more likely, however, is the fact that one of a dozen other calamities will strike closer to home—accident, illness, job loss, divorce, death of a loved one…no one sidesteps all the trials and troubles of life.

    Sorry…unless you’re still standing on the moon…welcome to earth.

    Eclipse PrepareSeptember 28th will be the same as last week, the same as last year, the same as it ever was; It will be a good time to be ready. As we like to say around here, “The best time to prepare was yesterday. The next best time is today.” Because tomorrow is and ever has been uncertain, it’s always time to prepare.

     

    How will you be watching the total eclipse? Let us know in the comments below!

     

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    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios Tagged With: eclipse, September 28, sign, tetrad, blood moons, Shemittah

  • Why You Should Use Essential Oils in Emergencies

    When Laurie Klem, of Goodland, Kan., leaves home, she carries 10 essential oils in her purse for emergencies. When she travels, she takes a dozen or more.

    Essential OilsKlem, who has been using essential oils for 19 years and teaches classes about them, said they have come in handy. One day her husband was having pain in his rotator cuff, the muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint. She had peppermint oil that she carries for headaches.

    “I took three drops and spent a couple of minutes massaging it in,” she said. After a few minutes, his pain subsided.

    “He said, ‘Wow, I had no idea just straight peppermint worked that well.’ ”

    Now you can find essential oils here at Emergency Essentials.

    Here are a few that Klem keeps in her purse as a first aid kit.

     

    Lavender

    Essential Oils - Lavender“[Lavender] is at the top of the list as good for anything relating to the skin,” Klem said.

    A few years ago, she accidentally overturned a pot of boiling water on her arm.

    “I doused it with lavender oil,” she said. She feels multiple lavender oil treatments were the reason she has no scars on her arm.

    She also said it helps her relax. After all, many bath products contain lavender.

    “Lavender with Epsom salts (in a bath) is great for unwinding at the end of the day,” she said.

    A few cautions: Lavender essential oil can cause irritation if applied directly to the skin and is poisonous if swallowed, according to Homesteading, a 2009 book edited by Abigail Gehring.

    Elementa Essentials, our brand of essential oils, recommends cutting most essential oils by putting 3-10 drops in an ounce of vegetable oil or lotion before applying it to skin.

    Klem said lavender oil is the one of the most common “faked” products on the market and recommended avoiding products with the word “scented” on their labels.

    “It’s not coming from the actual plant,” she said. “Scented equals fake.”

     

    Peppermint

    Essential Oils - Peppermint

    Klem uses peppermint essential oil for headaches, stomach aches, and muscle pain, as well as a decongestant.

    She used to dilute it and rub it on her children’s knees when they had growing pains. She joked that when she’d rub the oil on one of her children’s joints, “the next thing you know, everybody has growing pains.”

    A drop could also help soothe stomach pain. Klem believes a daily concoction of peppermint oil and lemon oil in water, in combination with a careful diet and healthy sleep habits, has kept her husband’s acid reflux under control.

    Peppermint oil has some of the most reliable evidence suggesting it could be effective for treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome, according to a 2014 review in the journal Digestion.

    Don’t use too much, though. Peppermint oil is considered fairly safe in small doses but can have side effects of allergic reaction and heartburn, according to Homesteading.

     

    Lemon oil

    Essential Oils - Lemon“I hardly ever drink water without lemon oil,” Klem said. “When I’m traveling, especially, I always add it because it will help to neutralize impurities in the water.”

    Lemon oil is a natural cleanser. It contains d-limonene, a compound found in citrus peels that can help reduce some types of cell damage, according to a 2015 study in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. D-limonene is used all over the place, from cooking to cleaning to cosmetics.

    D-limonene is safe but has a slight possibility of skin irritation when used in large amounts in cosmetics according to a 2013 study in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.

     

    Melaleuca

    Essential Oils - MelaleucaMelaleuca – or tea tree – is one of Klem’s “go-to” oils.

    It could have antibacterial and antifungal properties, she said, so her family uses it to treat cuts and athlete’s foot. Klem’s family runs a bison ranch, and she uses it to treat wounds on livestock.

    Elementa Essentials suggests using it in small amounts to clean skin and nails. Its strong smell might also work as an insect repellent.

     

    Rosemary

    essential oils - rosemary

    Klem finds rosemary a useful multipurpose oil.

    She puts it on her temples or forehead to help her concentrate. She also uses it for colds, dandruff, healthy hair, and headaches. When she has a migraine she applies it all around her scalp along the hairline. She says it could help heal a yeast infection, but recommends it only after consultation with an expert.

    Not all uses for rosemary may be entirely effective. Like this “Lotion for the Cure and Prevention of Baldness,” from a Victorian-era advice book, Enquire Within Upon Everything: Eau-de-Cologne, two ounces; tincture of cantharides, two drachms; oil of rosemary, oil of nutmeg, and oil of lavender, each ten drops. To be rubbed on the bald part of the head every night.

     

    Health Defense

    essential oils

    Health Defense is an oil blend sold here, and contains orange peel, cloves, cinnamon bark, lemon peel, rosemary and eucalyptus leaf. Klem said she uses a similar oil blend more than all of her other essential oils combined. She says her family members apply it or spray it in their throats at the first exposure to illness.

    “When winter starts, I try to have ten bottles of the stuff around,” she said.

    We suggest rubbing it onto wrists, misting it into the air and dabbing it in spots near food storage, door entryways, and campsites.

     

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says essential oils may be used in three different ways: internally as a dietary supplement, topically and aromatically.

    Elementa Essentials does not recommend using any of its products internally without a doctor’s approval. The same caveat applies if you’re pregnant, on medication, or have sensitive skin.

    It’s not a great idea to apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. Elementa Essentials recommends you put 3-10 drops in an ounce of vegetable oil or lotion. Klem said she sometimes dilutes with almond oil because it is thinner oil with smaller molecules that absorb more quickly into the bloodstream. Since children’s bodies respond more quickly to medicines, she prefers coconut oil for them because its molecules are larger and take longer to get into the bloodstream. She also uses olive oil, with an absorption rate between the other two oils.

    Aromatically means using a diffuser to spray a diluted oil mixture into a room. Diffusers are available at many online retailers, Klem said.

    No matter how she dispenses it, she uses very little oil at a time because it’s so potent.

    “All you need is one drop most of the time, for most things,” she said.

     

    - Melissa

     

    Do you use essential oils for emergencies? Is it something you would consider? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

     

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    Other Sources

    Interview with Laurie Klem, 8/19/15

    Gehring, Abigail R. (2009-11-01). Homesteading: A Backyard Guide to Growing Your Own Food, Canning, Keeping Chickens, Generating Your Own Energy, Crafting, Herbal Medicine, and More (Back to Basics Guides) (Kindle Locations 2-3). Skyhorse Publishing. Kindle Edition.

    Enquire Within Upon Everything: The Great Victorian Domestic Standby (Kindle Locations 8689-8691). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

    Posted In: Emergency Kits Tagged With: rosemary, lemon, lavender, peppermint, melaleuca, essential oils, health, emergency kit

  • 5 Lessons Learned from Hurricane Katrina

    Katrina Damage 01When Hurricane Katrina hit, nobody was ready for its destructiveness. Almost 10 million people were affected, more than a million evacuated, 1,800 were killed, and damage was estimated at $151 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Since the monster hurricane season of 2005, when Katrina and two other major hurricanes hit the United States, we have not seen one major hurricane. Even Hurricane Sandy, which did so much damage to the northeast in 2012, was only a category 1 hurricane, the weakest type. Does anyone think the lull will last?

    In addition to the emergency preparedness things you already do, here are a few additional preparations that Katrina taught are especially important in a hurricane-prone area (here’s looking at you, Florida).

     

    Keep a full gas tank, or a few.

    Katrina Gridlock

    When Sandy Whann, president of a New Orleans baking company, closed his plant ahead of Katrina and left New Orleans for Baton Rouge, he was surprised by the gridlock. A trip that normally took two hours took seven. Imagine if he’d run out of gas.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends you keep your car’s gas tank full if an evacuation is likely for your area and at least half full all the time.

    Even if you don’t live in a hurricane-prone area, be prepared for fuel shortages after a major hurricane. The Gulf Coast is a major center for processing oil. After Katrina, producers had to deal with broken equipment and devastated transportation infrastructure. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in response, waived its requirement to use summer gasoline in all 50 states so there’d be enough fuel.

     

    Keep the sanitizers handy.

    After a hurricane, bleach and hand sanitizer are your best friends.

    Flood water is a gumbo of debris, chemicals, dead animals, waste from overflowing drains and untreated sewage. About 1,000 evacuees in Texas and Mississippi came down with diarrhea and vomiting in the weeks after Katrina, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reported many other illnesses.

    The CDC recommends you use hand sanitizer every time you contact flood water. Also sanitize any object that has touched flood water. That’s where bleach is your friend. One cup to every five gallons of water is sufficient to sanitize most things like undamaged food and water containers, toys and nonporous surfaces. Wood items and bottle nipples and pacifiers should be thrown out along with any food that may have been contaminated.

     

    Load up the fridge and freezer – with ice.

    The Food and Drug Administration says throw away any perishable food left at more than 40 degrees for more than two hours.

    An unopened fridge will keep food cold for only about four hours. A half-full, unopened freezer will keep food cold for about 24 hours. However, food in a packed, unopened freezer will stay cold for twice that long. So freeze water bottles and ice cubes to pack around freezer food.

    Before an emergency, find out where to buy dry ice. Fifty pounds will keep a fully stocked fridge cold for two days. During a power outage, keep the fridge and freezer closed.

     

    Be prepared to wait more than three days.

    Katrina and the Superdome - Texas Tribune via Texas Tribune

    When the Superdome general manager agreed to open the building as an emergency shelter, it was originally intended to hold fewer than 1,000 patients with special medical needs for about two days, according to a story in For the Win, a subsidiary of USA Today.

    It eventually held 30,000 people for almost a week and became a symbol of devastation.

    Debris, water, and destroyed transportation corridors kept food, medical supplies, and fuel from getting to New Orleans. Phone service, including 911, was almost nonexistent.

    “When roads are flooded, washed out, blocked by trees and power lines, etc., it takes a while to get them back in order. That means you need to be prepared to get by for at least a few days and, much better, at least a couple of weeks on your own,” wrote Glenn Reynolds, an editorial contributor to USA Today, in a piece about Katrina lessons.

     

    Have an emergency kit with contact information for each family member.

    According to Save the Children, more than 5,000 children were reported missing from their families after Katrina, some for months.

    FEMA recommends each family member carry a contact card with personal and family information. Save the Children has a free, printable emergency contact card. It includes a child’s name, age, home address and phone number, medical information and emergency contacts. The card fits in a child’s backpack or wallet. Teach children how to contact you and where to meet if you get separated.

    By the way, Florida, hope you were ready for Tropical Storm Erika. Be prepared for flooding as rain is forecast to continue. Be safe.

     

    - Melissa

     

    Hurricane Katrina

    Posted In: Disaster Scenarios Tagged With: 10 years, katrina, hurricane katrina

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