Well, all good things must come to an end … and this is my last column for WND.

I started writing these weekly columns a little over two years ago for the express purpose of helping people to see both the benefits and the necessity of preparing for the bad times I believe are coming. Given the many comments and emails I’ve received during that time, I’m gratified to think I might have made a difference for some. The 100,000+ words I’ve typed with my two fingers is, in many ways, a primer on prepping.

I want to thank WND, Joseph Farah and my editor for all of their encouragement and assistance. There’s no way I could have gotten my message to such a large audience without them.

I was trying to think of how to finish this all off. I actually considered starting a new series on what to do with that newly-acquired prepper property we’ve talked about in the last few columns; but then I realized it’s pretty much what the other 100+ columns already covered. So I was in something of a quandary about how to say goodbye.

Then I read the comments made on last week’s column … and I knew how to close.

A commenter named KevinR became involved in a short debate with another commenter called FreetheBirds. In a nutshell, FreetheBirds was lamenting that prepping was difficult or even impossible for those with very limited income. Her opening salvo began with the words, “Prepping is for the wealthy, or at best, the comfortable.”

Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”

I have to refute her first sentence with the very best evidence that I can provide: personal experience.

While much of my early life could best be described as “country poor” (meaning, self-sufficiency wasn’t a choice, but a way of life), it wasn’t until about 27 years ago that my new bride and I began a dedicated and voluntary walk toward self-dependence. After our wedding, we were both employed in well-paying jobs, but a fair amount of our income was paying off student-loan debts and very little of it was going into savings. We were living in a large western city and hated it. But we finally reached a point where we decided – together – it was time to head out and make our prepper dreams come true (although at this point, the term “prepper” didn’t exist).

After a diligent search, we found a property in a more rural state that met our needs. That property wasn’t really anything to write home about. It was four acres of undeveloped land in a wooded canyon. Its assets consisted of a shallow well, an old but functional septic system, and power. Its largest liability, at least as far as the sellers were concerned, was an 800-square-foot “shack” that was the remnant of a home built in the late 1800s. The walls of that shack were about an inch thick and uninsulated, the haphazardly shingled roof was a sieve, and the structure had long ago sunk onto bare earth. The loan we got for the purchase was an interest-only builder’s loan with a balloon payment due in five years. We got that loan easily, because everyone assumed we were going to raze the building. We also got that loan on the lender’s mistaken assumption we would remain gainfully employed. Ultimately, they were right, but not in the way they thought.

Understand I didn’t follow my own advice in preparing to make that move, meaning allowing a year to get ready for it. Part of that year should have been spent living as poorly as possible to save up cash for our new location. Because we had very little money in savings, we moved into that shack with little but the clothing on our backs. One of our first purchases was a series of pots and pans from a local thrift store to catch the indoor leaks when it rained. Both of us found what work we could (neither of us found jobs that came anywhere near our previous salaries), and we spent the next 10 years living at or below the poverty level.

And we prepped.

It was in that humble shack that we learn to can food. The small fields of our homestead became the training grounds for livestock. I built a shop out of salvaged wood where I started one of my many businesses. We had our children there, paying cash for their hospital births and homeschooling them until the day they went out into the world. We worked 12 to 14 hours every day, and did it in such a way that we never had a need for daycare or a babysitter.

We never prepped for disaster. We prepped so we could live every day to its fullest potential.

After 10 years of hard but fulfilling labor, we sold that place for three times more than we paid for it. Then we took that money and our experience to a new and better place using the methods I’ve outlined in the last few columns. We’ve been here for the last 15 years, still with what many people would consider to be an inadequate income, but more than sufficient for our simple needs. During that time, with very little expense, we’ve created a one-acre garden and orchard. We’ve built barns and outbuildings. We’ve repaired and remodeled our home. We fenced and cross-fenced our fields. We’ve made friends and helped develop a tight community of fellow preppers.

Practically every evening, my bride and I will take time to sit down and talk about the day’s adventures and how far we’ve come in the past 28 years. Sometimes we’ll sit on the porch and look at the snow on the mountains or enjoy a Milky Way that’s so bright it casts a shadow. And without exception, we thank God for bringing us together and leading us on the path we’ve walked.

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FreetheBirds, we’ve never been wealthy or even comfortable in the way you meant it, but I’m the richest man on earth.

It’s really up to you. There is absolutely nothing stopping you from taking the same path. But if you decide to take another, don’t feel alone; most people do. It’s really all a matter of priorities.

I’ve discovered money is the least of the tools in my toolbox. I added drip irrigation to my garden by finding many of the parts for free on Craigslist. We built the raised beds for the garden from material being thrown away by others. We’ve raised our livestock by allowing them to graze on our own lands and on the properties of our neighbors who were delighted by the fire control the grazing provided – or for a few cuts of really good meat at butchering time. The livestock provides fertilizer for the garden. Our stock pond (dug for us by a friend at a discount) can also provide all of the water we need for the garden each year.

We’ll keep walking our path joyfully until it ends; and then we’ll take the one we’ve been promised by God with a glad heart. May your path give you all as much.

All it takes is getting prepared.

PS. While I’m going to end my time here on WND, it doesn’t mean I won’t still be out there writing. I’ve got a blog page that’s been parked for a while, but I promise to start posting to it regularly. Feel free to drop by and say hi.

And thanks to you all. God bless you.

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