I think we can all step back somewhat and look our grandparents because in their generation, they were self reliant. Look at the example of the pioneers.... they couldn't just drop in a store and buy whatever they needed for food, they had to plant, nurture and grow it to sustain their families, not only for their food source, but to provide income to live.
This year has been a particularly crazy weather year, with way too much snow and water, and we are seeing the results. Lots and lots of flooding. I was just barely able to plant my own little garden, but I have read about farmers who do this for a living have had to really delay their planting because of the rain and snow and floods. What would happen to us, if we couldn't just drop in at the grocery store and purchase our food? What if the farmers couldn't plant their crops this year at all, what would happen to us? We take for so much for granted and we should take a leaf out of the books of our ancestors and learn how to do things for ourselves, in case we have to!
I have to share a story of my own mother. My Mom and Dad raised 8 children on a very limited income. Dad was a milkman and later a janitor. Mom taught violin lessons. Together there was barely enough money to pay the bills, and feed the family, but somehow they did it. Mom cooked from scratch, and made homemade bread, pancakes, and other wonderful things. Mom made sure that every year she would plant a garden, and that garden became a winter source of food for our family. Dad built the food storage shelves, and Mom filled them. Her industry was taught to her children, and all of us learned how to bottle and freeze fruit, and vegetables. My favorite was the grapes that she juiced and we enjoyed this fresh grape juice every Thanksgiving.
It was a blessing that she was industrious enough to plant, and water by hand the garden that produced so much. Yes, I said by hand, she had no sprinkling system but herself. After all her children married or moved away, and my father died, Mom still continued to plant her garden. That large home became too overwhelming to take care of so she moved to a smaller little cottage, and at her new home, she still plants her garden every summer. She really has no garden space to speak of but uses spots between the bushes in her driveway, and plants pots with lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and tomatoes. My husband loves rhubarb, and she always brings over a rhubarb cobbler for him to enjoy from her garden. Mom is a wonderful example of self reliance. It is interesting too, that she always has enough for herself and also to give to others. Mom still drags the hose to water her plants, but they are growing and will produce some fresh vegetables.
My daughters ask me every year to get together to do canning of spaghetti sauce, and salsa, peaches, and other items. Because I was taught by my mother, I have been able to teach my daughters as well this wonderful homemaking skill. It is lots of fun to spend entire days canning together with my daughters. Our scene in my kitchen reminds me of the memories I have canning in mom's kitchen.
|Grammy Great top Right, my mother bottom Left.|
My Grammy Great, whom I have written about in my blog posts, was also a wonderful example of self reliance. She bore 13 children, 2 of which died in infancy, as did her husband when she was pregnant with her last child. She even took in another boy to raise. Grammy Great had to be self reliant. She saved every scrap of fabric and made beautiful rag rugs that she sold for money to provide for her family. Her children helped too, as they stitched the long ropes of fabric together. There was never idle time, as Grammy Great used her precious time prudently. She picked the fruit off of the trees on her yard, and bottled them and all winter long, there was delicious peaches, apples to make her special "Thing in the oven" recipe, and beans, and all manner of vegetables and fruits. I can't think of anyone who would have been as needy as my Grammy Greats family, but it was Grammy Great who was first to take food to those in need, and help in anyway she could even outside of her own family. None of her children really ever knew just how needy they were, because she was so grateful for everything and the Lord provided, and gave her the skills, strength and industry to accomplish all she needed to do. This is self reliance, and charity!
The Visiting Teaching lesson teaches ..."When the Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, President Brigham Young (1801–77) counseled sisters to assist those in need and to learn skills that would allow them to take care of themselves. He said, “Learn to sustain yourselves; lay up grain and flour, and save it against a day of scarcity.” 3 Under the direction of the priesthood, Relief Society continues to teach self-reliance, to safeguard the family, and to encourage personal righteousness and acts of charity, the pure love of Christ."
May we become more self reliant, may we broaden our mind and skills to learn and become self reliant, and may we reach out to help others do the same, though acts of charity and kindness. May we all have the pure love of Christ in our lives, as we strengthen our families and others,through becoming self reliant!