Life-Styles of the Prepared and Famous

“They’re getting prepared, and we’ll see how!” exclaimed Robin Peach. Thus began our ward’s “Life-Styles of the Prepared and Famous.”

It all began when our bishop in Mesa, Arizona, directed us to devote a homemaking meeting to emergency preparedness. As a homemaking committee, we wanted to use a novel approach that would spark interest in the topic and motivate the sisters to prepare their families. We also wanted to give them positive reinforcement for what they were already doing.

We decided to make a videotape demonstrating preparedness skills, and then show the tape at homemaking meeting. We came up with the following ideas for the tape:

  1. 1.

    Giving a tour of a garden and an orchard, showing how a family can organize, water, weed, and harvest produce.

  2. 2.

    Showing methods of home storage.

  3. 3.

    Demonstrating water storage.

  4. 4.

    Showing the contents of a first-aid kit.

  5. 5.

    Demonstrating how to prepare for travel in the desert in summer or in the mountains in winter.

  6. 6.

    Grinding wheat and baking bread.

  7. 7.

    Telling why a teacher should keep her teaching credentials up-to-date.

  8. 8.

    Explaining how helping a self-employed husband to manage his business keeps a wife prepared to take over in case of his illness or death.

  9. 9.

    Telling how a single parent can use her education to provide for her family.

  10. 10.

    Explaining how keeping out of debt and keeping financial records can prevent economic stress, especially after a husband dies.

After getting approval from the Relief Society president, we chose sisters in our ward to feature and adapted our idea to fit their situations. We taped our interviews using a different woman for each segment of the videotape. Each shared her own experience; there was no major preparation involved and no pressure to speak as an expert. At the end of the tape, we recorded the bishop giving his counsel on preparedness.

On the night of our meeting, we set up the cultural hall to look like a movie theater and served popcorn and snacks made from food-storage items. “Life-Styles of the Prepared and Famous” was a huge success. It not only taught us about emergency preparedness, but it also helped us to experience an extra measure of fun and deep feelings of sisterhood.Beth Black Esplin, Logan, Utah

Home Evening in Lehi’s Tent (Almost)

As I cleaned up the lunch dishes, I wondered what we could do for home evening. It would have to be simple: three-year-old Julie had the lesson, and five-year-old Nathan had the treat. The day was hot, and as I looked out the window, my eyes fell on the tent. It had been up in the same spot for two and a half days now, and I thought to myself for the tenth time that day, “That thing has to come down. The grass underneath must be half baked!”

Then I remembered when my husband, Steven, and I had taught the nursery in our married student ward. One Sunday, we had hauled our two wooden clothes racks and a blanket to the nursery and had set them up as a “tent” for a lesson on Lehi. The children had loved the lesson, and they asked for weeks afterward if we had brought the tent.

I knew immediately what we could do for family home evening that night, baked grass or not.

Nathan and I scrounged in the storage room for treats, and we came up with raisins, nuts, dried plums, and dried apples. Nathan was not impressed with this assortment of “desert” treats, but a quick trip to the store for a package of chocolate-covered raisins brightened his outlook. We placed the treats in containers and put them in a small cloth bag. Julie and I dug through the file cabinet for the picture of Lehi finding the Liahona in the wilderness, and we practiced the story and the names all day. I asked our oldest child, Suzanne, to pile up the sleeping bags in the tent to make a couch, and cautioned her not to tell our home evening secret to the other family members.

Just before home evening was to begin, I called each child into my bedroom individually, safety-pinned a clean diaper on his or her head to make a desert headdress, and sent each one out to the tent.

That night as Julie and I gave the lesson, we talked about Lehi and how hard it would have been to leave home and live in a tent. We talked about the heat, and how easy it would have been to complain, and that some of Lehi’s family did. The discussion went longer and longer, and still the Spirit remained, so we blessed the treats and ate them as we talked.

Several months later, in the dead of winter, Nathan asked me, “Mom, can we have family home evening in the tent again this summer?”

“I’m sure we will,” I answered. And by the end of this summer, that tent will also remind us of the tents King Benjamin’s people stayed in when he gave his last great discourse.Marivene Zohner, Idaho Falls, Idaho

[illustrations] Illustrated by Lynn Rogers