Emergency Essentials: Be A Wise Virgin

Essential is quite a thought provoking word.  What do I think is essential to my life?  My happiness?  My safety?  My sanity?  Emergency essentials, now there’s a list to make!  Let the Parable of the Ten Virgins inspire us all to learn new skills and gather necessary supplies as we enjoy National Preparedness this month.Gather Emergency Essentials l Be a Wise Virgin and Prepare with These Tips and Skills l Homestead Lady (.com)

If you read this article and still need some more preparedness information and incentive, be sure to check out The Prepared Homestead chapter of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead.  Don’t just stop at preparedness information, though!  With eight different chapters and over 400 pages of homesteading instruction and how-to’s, there’s bound to be something here for everyone.  If you’d like a free sample from the book, just email me at Tessa@homesteadlady.com and I’ll get you set up.  Or, click below for more information on the book:

Be a Wise Virgin

If you’re a Christian, stop me if you’ve heard this one; everybody else, I have a little story.

The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Well, really it’s a parable told by the Master Teacher, Himself.  If you turn to Matthew,  chapter twenty five, in the Bible you’ll find this story with a double, even triple or more, meaning.  For those of us who are not that religious, don’t worry; I’m not whomping up a sermon, I’m just making a point.

Here’s what Matthew recorded:

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  

While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.  

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

What Does it Mean?

Now, there are about 67 different Sunday School lessons we could pull out of this one story but I’m going to focus on the most basic and that’s this:  stuff happens.  Big stuff, life changing stuff, stuff we plan and stuff that just comes out of nowhere.  There’s no way we can have emergency essentials lined up for every potential personal, familial, political, professional or natural disaster.  Even the coolest prepper-dude and the most conscientious mom is not going to be able to do everything.  BUT, we can all do something to, as Matthew goes on to write, “watch therefore”.

Put Your Big Kid Pants On

The Bridegroom wasn’t asking for the moon; He just needed the wise virgins to have oil in their lamps.  Now, some might look at this story and think those wise virgins were a bunch of selfish brats.  Why couldn’t they just share their oil so that everyone could have some and they could all go party?  I have several responses to this but one prevails.  Want it?

Grow up.

It’s nobody else’s job to take care of you, just like it’s nobody else’s job to take care of me.  A certain amount of oil was needed to last the night; some brought enough and some didn’t.  Its not brain surgery, its oil.  We prepare to take care of ourselves because nobody is obligated to do it for us.  Period.

And look, it was the Savior who said five of them were wise and five of them were foolish – if someone has a problem with that, they can take it up with Him.

It’s a Journey AND a Destination

Beyond that rather pragmatic line of reasoning there are some simple truths about gathering emergency essentials for our families:

  1. It’s more about the experience and process than it is about the list of items in your basement or bug out bag.
  2. Living in a provident manner, preparing and providing for ourselves, is a lifestyle and there are skills to be learned as well as food to be put by.
  3. Somehow this process always seems to include learning to live more frugally, more thankfully, more practically.
  4. The lessons learned and the lifestyle changes that occur aren’t something that you and I can simply gift to another person.  Even if we could somehow download our emergency preparedness efforts into someone else’s head, its most likely that the information wouldn’t make any sense because it would have no personal frame of reference.  As Linda Burton, a spiritual mentor of mine recently noted, “Spiritual [or intuitive] oil can’t be shared.  Personal acts of dedication can’t be given.”

Emergency Essentials

Many of us already know that developing a pattern of preparedness is vitally important and then there are those of us who just aren’t there yet.  Either way, its hard to know where to start.  Never fear!  I know awesome bloggers and when I asked them to share with me their best preparedness posts, I had a huge list in a matter of minutes.  Brace for impact.

Why Prepare Emergency Essentials?

Are you still not quite convinced?  Are you still imagining “preppers” as those weirdos in tin foil hats?    Or, do you have family members that aren’t quite on your same bandwagon?  That’s ok – its only a place to start.  Here are some articles to help you out:

Start with B.O.B.

A good place to start, if you’re new to the whole preparing emergency essentials thing is a BOB – Bug Out Bag.  They’re also known as 72 hour kits, grab and go bags, emergency packs and that kind of thing.

Preparing emergency essentials for three days is a manageable task, but no less vital to emergency preparedness.  Besides, BOB is a nice, friendly name – start with BOB.

To help you get started:

Emergency Essentials

Some emergencies are events like natural disasters, which tend to be more motivating to prepare for because they’re scary.  It’s just human nature to need a push to do something  new or hard.  Here’s some fire to light under your tushies because I love you.

  • Lil’ Suburban Homestead shares their preps for a winter ice storm – I lived in NC for six years and I KNOW about ice storms.  Its not hail, y’all.  They’re ICE.  STORMS.  And they’re just not right.
  • Common Sense Home shares what they do to get ready for any winter storm.  Now that I live in Utah, I take winter very, very seriously.

Food Storage

Another good motivator is food.  I don’t know anybody who actually enjoys being hungry.

Like many religious people, our faith observes fasting days (once a month usually) and I love the process of that.  I learn how grateful I become for a piece of toast or a glass of water.

BUT, I wouldn’t want to do it for more than 24 hours (a typical fast), and certainly not long term.

What to store?

When deciding what and how much to put into your long-term food storage supply, take it nice and easy.  “It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength,” so says one of my canonical books.  Buy just a little something extra at the grocery store this month and then start reading this list of articles:

You’re welcome.  Now, don’t forget the water storage, too.

Grow Food – just a quick note

Learning how to Grow Your Own Food can save you money (especially if your family is large) and provide you with food that is pesticide and GMO free.  Yes, growing food takes work but you’re reading an article on emergency preparedness.  Clearly, you are under the impression that taking care of yourself and your family requires work.  You’re smart that way.

We have an entire chapter on The Homestead Garden in The Do It Yourself Homestead, just so you know.


Another motivator to get emergency essentials together is our health.

  1. Mom With A Prep shares 10 Frist Aid Skills Every Parent Should Know.
  2. It’s not something we’re comfortable thinking about but there is the possibility of large scale illnesses striking and overwhelming our medical professionals and facilities – what then?  That’s a long answer, but here are a few ideas from Food Storage Moms (number 12 is important – just sayin’)
  3. And Herbal Prepper (Yeah, that second herb won’t be hard to come by – just visit my lawn!).
  4. For some simple herbal combinations for health that you can make yourself, just visit our link on the topic.
  5. Here’s how to encapsulate your own herbal supplements – money saver!  For more herbal information on the homestead, just search the medicinal herb garden section in our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead.
  6. To prepare ahead of time to use herbal plants medicinally, I suggest you take the beginner courses through The Herbal Academy.  Just click below for more information:
    Herbal Courses from beginner to advanced

Off Grid

So what if the grid does go down?  It doesn’t have to be caused by a political coup – a computer hacker or an earthquake is probably more likely to cause us to loose public works.

Have you ever run electricity drills with your family?  You shut off the electricity to everything and see how long you can go before you go nuts.

It’s a particularly powerful lesson in summer when you shut off the AC, or in winter when you shut off the heat.  Don’t assume that if you use natural gas, you’re completely safe from service interruption.  Survive Hive has a really good article you might want to check out called Natural Gas: Can you Depend on it?.

Have you Tried Off Grid Cooking?

If you decide you want to be proactive, you can practice your outdoor cooking skills now:


Did I lose you back there or are you ok?

If you’ve read to the end of this article, you’re probably one of those who is ready to begin to gather these emergency essentials in earnest.  Or, you’re ready to step up the preparations you’ve already made.

Religious leader Bonnie Oscarson said, “Where much is required, much more will be given!”

There are so many mentors out there – you do not have to try and organize this venture all on your own.  Providing for your family, filling your lamps with oil, is a big task but there are countless people able to help along the way.

This time of year is all about gathering, isn’t it?

We’re bringing in the harvest and soon we’ll be gathering our families together to celebrate our bounty and the coming festive season.  Before that happy time descends upon us, let’s take a few moments and examine what we more we can be doing to prepare to care for those we love to the best of our abilities in any circumstance.

We can’t do it all, but we can do something.  And it’s time.

DisclaimerInformation offered on the Homestead Lady website is for educational purposes only. Read my full disclaimer HERE.

*Cover art gratefully attributed to this Wikimedia Commons user.

Share All Good Things.

9 thoughts on “Emergency Essentials: Be A Wise Virgin

  1. When I was growing up my family would try to go a week without lights once each year. It was fun for us kids! Of course, kids don’t stay up at night which makes it easier 🙂 We never turned it completely off though.

  2. Wow! This is amazing! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the part about preparing is more about the process, than just gathering things together! I needed this today. We have been learning all about preparedness the last year or two. We have 8 kiddos, that range in age from 17 to 8 months old. The only problem we have is that the willing ones are the youngest and can only do so much. Our olders are wanting to spread their wings and be *doing* important (to them) things, not working in the garden or milking the goats. It is hard to impress upon them the importance of this being a lifestyle, something we need to always be working on. Some get it, some don’t. We don’t know too many people who think being prepared is something that needs to be lived. A few people that have mentioned that they agree, won’t talk past that. Sigh.

    Anyways, all that to say…..I really needed this post today, and am so glad you took the time to put all this information together!


    1. Thank you for sharing that, Kerri! Sometimes you wonder if you’re helping at all, so I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      I know what you mean about trying to get your children on board. My son, strapping lad that he is, really is more of an indoor person so getting him to do outside chores has been…a chore. I recently discovered that he likes to cook, though – I didn’t think to ask the ten year old boy if he likes to cook and that was my mistake. The other morning I asked if he wanted to make breakfast while I went out to harvest the plums and tomatoes, which he really didn’t want to do. He said yes! We ate excellent waffles and the harvesting got done.
      He still has outside chores just because he lives here but I’m grateful to have found something he’s passionate about that is also helpful to the home.
      Now, if I could just find a kid who was passionate about ironing. Ugh.

  3. Just quickly wanted to add that the “oil” the virgins ran out of was not necessarily physical resources. It was the Holy Spirit… They neglected to get to know the Lord and therefore receive the oil. When the “bridegroom”, who is an analogy for Jesus Christ returned, they were caught unaware. You cannot share your oil because it’s personal and it is dependent on your relationship with the Lord Jesus. So, is it good to be prepared? Yes, however if you have a relationship the Heavenly Father, I belive He will provide. Fear Him, the One who controls everything, and know that there is nothing else to fear. God bless (:

    1. Yes, that was the main point, of course – everything is spiritual before it is temporal. I love the parables because they have so many layers of learning.

      Thank you for stopping by and adding to our discussion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.