Lights Out , 2

camp_fire_cookingMany of you know that my family just completed our annual ‘Lights Out” week. During Lights out we don’t use our car. We shut off the heat, hot water and tape the fridge shut. We don’t use anything that is electric or battery operated. We basically take all modern conveniences out of our life for a week. It is our way of focusing on the basics of life. When we our technology dominated world is in full swing we often take the simple things in life for granted. I hadn’t seen the sun rise in years. One morning I woke up and stood in my living room watching the beauty of the rainbow colored clouds as God introduced light to our day. Then that night again I watched as the day came to a close and the sun set. I hadn’t don’t that it many, many years. It was a gift I will cherish for a long time. It is simple and it happens daily but often life's schedules, routines and worries prevent me from noticing Gods creation. My mind is so busy I forget to stop and listen to the birds sing. hilo-sunrise-3

This lights out week for me and I hope Kirsten and the children will be memorable. We froze as the house dipped below 48 degrees and we could see our breath. I honest have no idea how cold it got inside but we survived. I heated rocked on the camp fire and provided a little bit of warmth for my family. Kya loved the hot rock on her feet and It was amazing for Kirsten. Her ice toes were wicked cold until we got a rot rock on them. Kirsten’s Grandma shared that wonderful idea and I know everyone appreciated it. We had a lot of laughs and we managed to get a lot of work done.

Kirsten and I tilled our 15’ x 15’ garden by hand. The kids helped by breaking the large chunks up with various hand tools. Everyone got into the process of working the land like they did back in  the 1800’s. I wish the kids had been a bit more helpful but I’m confident as the years go by they will get into this lights out “work” more and more.

I’ll get to the why we do it in a bit. Back to the how. Kirsten and I leave our circuit breaker on. and unplug anything that isn’t required to run. Our freezer needed to run so we just tape that shut. Anything that might be used with a flip of the switch gets tape over the switch. Electronic toys get boxed or placed “away”. I powered down my pc (for the last time) and unplugged all the power strips. The whole process only takes a few minutes and you’re in the dark. All our food was cooked on our outdoor fire pit. I’ve practiced making fire in the ran and can pretty much get a fire going in any condition. I managed to make bacon and eggs in a freak snow storm this week. I was getting pelted with giant snow clusters as I tended to our breakfast in the back yard. My fire pit cooked all our food and beverage this week. I sawed and chopped the wood I needed each day to keep the fire going. Kirsten would prep bread and I would get the coals ready to back it. We worked very well together this week but that isn’t unusual. We are a great team.

As far as keeping busy, most days we walked to the store for the days groceries and we worked the land and cleaned out our garage. My garage is so clean now. I love it. On the one day it was overcast and rainy with snow, we stayed inside and tried to get warm. I read a bit and we talked. It was peaceful. Even in the rain we had the usual chores to accomplish. Make fire, cook food, feed kids an ourselves, get supplies, prepare for next day, get hot water ready to wash up and get to bed. It was challenging and fun.

Now back to the why. Why would I shut off my electric and make life harder. Well, Kirsten and I originally thought it would be a good idea for the kids. They would appreciate all that has been provided for them. They all have a lot of toys and gadgets and its important to Kirsten and I that they realize just how much they have. They do take it for granted or at least they did before we started these lights out weeks. This year Kirsten and I talked about the world and how this week is the beginning of teaching our kids how to survive if they find themselves in a challenging situation. Looking back at resent catastrophes that have left people without power, our lights out week is a way for us to prepare our kids to survive if they ever needed to. Kirsten and I talked about how so many people we know would get lost if they didn’t get there make up on just right or there hair wasn’t blow dry or if they couldn’t txt a friend. My kids got past the superficial and dived head first into survival this week. Kirsten and I are teaching life lessons to our kids. I hope they never are put into a situation where they need the knowledge we are sharing with them but as a parent I’m glad I can prepare them for what ever the future hold.

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