It’s summer vacation! Now is the time to play and vacation as a family but unfortunately, also the time to hear: “I’m so bored”. Summer is a great time to help our family, children, and grandchildren, prepare for the challenges that will surely come. This summer, take time to prepare. Examine the following suggestions and check them off as they’re completed.

Let us begin with some ways to become spiritually prepared.

  1. As a family, research ancestors. Visit with extended family and ask them to tell you two or three stories they know about ancestors who overcame challenges. Record the stories and enter them into the ancestors account on FamilySearch.
  2. Index records on Family Search.

I invite the young people of the Church to learn about and experience the Spirit of Elijah. I encourage you to study, to search out your ancestors, and to prepare yourselves to perform proxy baptisms in the house of the Lord for your kindred dead. (see D&C 124:28–36). And I urge you to help other people identify their family histories.

As you respond in faith to this invitation, your hearts shall turn to the fathers. The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will be implanted in your hearts. Your patriarchal blessing, with its declaration of lineage, will link you to these fathers and be more meaningful to you. Your love and gratitude for your ancestors will increase. Your testimony of and conversion to the Savior will become deep and abiding. And I promise you will be protected against the intensifying influence of the adversary. As you participate in and love this holy work, you will be safeguarded in your youth and throughout your lives.

President Bednar: The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn

  1. Have each member of the family journal a time when they overcame a challenge and what they learned from it.
  2. Visit an elderly neighbor or member of the ward and spend time. It is wonderful to make cookies and doorbell ditch, but if you really want to feel the spirit spend some time helping people feel less lonely, sit and visit.
  3. Send a handwritten letter of appreciation to a grandparent or someone who has inspired you.

President Spencer W. Kimball, himself a great example of service, said: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another mortal that he meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other in the kingdom.” …. “None of us should become so busy in our formal Church assignments that there is no room left for quiet Christian service to our neighbors.” Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball (2006), 80-82.

  1. Watch the movie Horton Hears a Who. The people of Whoville were warned of an upcoming disaster but their response was; “nothing ever happens here and nothing ever will”. Remind your family that like the Whoville residents we have been warned, by modern day prophets and in the scriptures.

“Nothing in life is to be feared it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more that we may fear less.”  Marie Curry

  1. Listen to uplifting music and sing along. This does not need to be hymns, but it may be, there are many songs that bring the spirit. Knowing songs such as these during a difficult time can help us feel the Lord’s presence
  2. Memorize an uplifting scripture each week and discuss it as a family.
  3. As you are gathered around the dinner table every evening, share a way in which the Lord has blessed you that day.
  4. Ask each family member to choose a favorite hymn and explain why it is a favorite.
  5. Choose a hymn and look up the scriptures that are noted at the bottom of the page in the hymn book.
  6. List all the names by which Jesus is known. There are dozens. Choose two or three and discuss how and/or when in the scriptures He exhibited those qualities and attributes.
  7. Choose a few more names by which Jesus is known and do some more discussing and researching. You can spend many nights doing this. It is a great way to get to know Him.

While addressing church leaders in Santiago, Chile, Elder Ulisses Soares taught, “This generation needs to feel something in their hearts. They need to serve…This connects them to the Savior”.

  1. It is amazing how service helps us to feel the spirit and grow our testimonies. Find a project on JustServe, make ornaments (had to throw that in there), make lunches for the homeless, take cold drinks to workers at a construction site, clean up the yard of someone no longer able to do that, raise money to donate to a pet rescue or crisis center. There are so many ways to serve.

Temporal preparedness is not just about the items you store and have ready for disaster but also the skills and knowledge you possess.

  1. Learn to build a fire. There are many ways to build a fire and many ways to light a fire. Review several to develop the skills you will need during a power outage, or when camping or stranded. Discuss several ways to start a fire and the variety of items that can be used for kindling.
  2. Make foil dinners. Now that you know how to build a fire, learn the ways in which a fire can be used other than to provide heat.
  3. Make a meal or dessert in a Dutch oven. Again, you know how to build a fire, so know how to use it.
  4. With your children, practice calling 911. Warn a friend or neighbor that you will be calling and have each family member practice what they would say should a medical or other emergency arise. *
  5. Visit a fire station and learn to use a fire extinguisher.
  6. Read the article Don’t Forget the Birds and discuss what was learned.
  7. Create a family evacuation plan and make assignments using the article, Don’t Forget the Birds as a guide.
  8. Assemble a Preparedness Binder. You can purchase a binder or sections and print them, copy articles at, copy articles published here at Meridian Magazine, or copy articles from other reliable sources. A binder is a must during a power outage. Be careful where you get your information. There are good sources and there are sources with information that is not accurate and even harmful if followed.
  9. Hold a scavenger hunt and search for items around your home to build a Five-Day emergency kit. You will be surprised how much you already have at home. A list of items to be included in kits can be found at
  10. Teach family members how to open the garage door during a power outage.
  11. Teach everyone how to turn off the water and power to the house. Show family members where to turn off the gas to the house but do not do it. You would need the fire department or a professional to turn it back on safely.
  12. Test all smoke detectors.
  13. Create a phone tree with family in case of an emergency.
  14. Get a good First Aid guide and practice splinting, compression to stop a bleed, make a sling out of a scarf or piece of clothing or fabric.
  15. Copy the signs of dehydration and discuss as a family. When finished, add a copy to your kits and where it can be easily accessed in your home.*
  16. Copy the treatment for dehydration and discuss as a family. When finished, add a copy to your kits and where it can be easily accessed in your home.*
  17. Copy signs of hypothermia and discuss as a family. When finished, add a copy to your kits and where it can be easily accessed in your home.*
  18. Copy treatment for hypothermia and discuss as a family. When finished, add a copy to your kits and where it can be easily accessed in your home.*
  19. Copy signs of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke and discuss as a family. When finished, add a copy to your kits and where it can be easily accessed in your home.*
  20. Copy treatment for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke and discuss as a family. When finished, add a copy to your kits and where it can be easily accessed in your home.*
  21. Place a whistle, sturdy shoes and a light source next to each bed in case of a nighttime emergency.
  22. Learn the signs for poisoning and place the number for the National Poison Control in several places in your home. Teach family members when and how to use it.*
  23. Purchase book lights or headlamps for every family member. Reading or even playing a game by candlelight is difficult when the power goes out.
  24. Purchase clothesline and clothes pins and teach children how to hang clothes to dry.
  25. If you don’t already have a stash, purchase mylar blankets after reading “Survival In Your Pocket-the Amazing Mylar Blanket”. Once you have your blankets review the uses with your family.
  26. Make a list of all the items in your home needing batteries and the size and numbers needed. Examine your battery supplies to make sure you have enough for all the clocks, flashlights, etc. that will need them if the power fails.*
  27. Make a list of all the items in your home needing electricity. Create a list for how you will replace them in a power outage? Example: Dishwasher…paper plates, bowls etc. and dishwashing liquid for pots.
  28. Play what if. What if you were not at home when an emergency happened? You can substitute the emergency most likely to occur in your area. Ask each family member, including the adults what they would do. What if you were at a friend’s home when an __________ happened? What if you were at work? What if you were at school? What if you were shopping? What if you were home alone? This will give you the opportunity to make sure your family knows who to call and where your meeting place will be. Fill out emergency cards for each family member to keep in their wallet or school backpack. These should include work phone number, cell phones, home address, phone number of nearby friend or relative and an out of state contact. Remember everyone should have the same out of state contact and phone them immediately during a disaster to check in. That person can then relay messages to the rest of the family as they check in.
  29. Have children practice calling your out of area contact family. Children may be alone at home or at a friend’s home during a disaster and unable to contact you. Be sure all family members have the phone number and know when to call this person.*
  30. Hold a fire drill and practice getting out of the house and meeting at your meeting location. Do this a few times blocking various exits so the family understands alternative ways to escape.*
  31. Inventory a room in your home each week. Open all doors and drawers and take photos. If you lose your home to a fire or other disaster this is essential for insurance claims.*
  32. Each week, get cash. Cash should be in small denominations for use during a power outage when credit cards and debit cards cannot be used. Stash enough to pay for a few meals while evacuating and for a hotel room for a night or two. Also, water and groceries may be available but again, you will need cash.
  33. Teach children or grandchildren a skill, sewing, cooking, canning, gardening, changing a tire, budgeting, etc. Every skill you teach now will make the future more peaceful and successful for those children.
  34. If leaving on a vacation, review Vacations Are Great: Is Your Home Safe?
  35. Research disasters that could happen in an area where you will be vacationing and prepare for them. Earthquakes happen on the west coast of the United States and in Hawaii and Alaska and they come without warning. Would you know what to do? Fires seem to be happening everywhere and we have seen terrible conditions due to fires in Canada affecting the east coast in the last few weeks. Would you know what to do?*

Preparing does not have to be overwhelming and you can accomplish a lot by devoting just a few minutes each day to preparing both spiritually and temporally. Preparing now will help your family deal with a disaster with less fear and more confidence. Challenges will happen. The prepared will thrive and not just survive.

*Instructions can be found in your Totally Ready Binder

Please let Carolyn know if you have any preparedness challenges she can help you with by messaging her on her Facebook page or commenting here or on her blog. If you would like to serve disaster survivors, please visit Operation Christmas Ornaments on Facebook or the Totally Ready blog at