The old adage of "Always Be prepared" has been weighing heavily on my mind of late. Between friends dying unexpectedly to a rash of earthquakes in the region to the threat of severe storms this week - I keep hearing those three words in my head, and I'm wondering if we're prepared enough - as a family, as a community, as a country - for whatever lies ahead.
My husband and I have taken many precautions to be able to ride out a bad weather event, such as the 2009 ice storm and the 2008 tornado -- we have a generator, food stores, water stores, a wood stove for heat and propane lanterns for light.
The community is getting prepared, forming the Local Emergency Planning Committee, running disaster drills and preparing local buildings to become emergency shelters when needed.
But is our country really prepared for what may lie ahead? The Arab Spring continues, with Syria the next hot spot to potentially oust a dictator from power. But what happens after the dictators, a known quantity, are replaced by new governments - an unknown quantity?
Will there be true democracy taking shape in these areas, or anarchy? Will diplomatic tolerance between countries be replaced by hatred and fanaticism?
The good news is our brave men and women in Iraq are coming home. But countless others are still fighting a daily war in Afghanistan, with no true end in sight.
And what of our "ally" Pakistan, which harbors many terrorists and training camps - what if our ally suddenly turned into our enemy?
And here at home, the uncertainty of the political process is heating up, as candidates for next year's Presidential election begin proclaiming and speech-making, and then hemming and hawing. What will the next year of political turmoil bring to our own shores, as the unrest overseas continues to boil over?
I remember something my grandfather often said to me -- "Take care of your own." And so my energies will be put towards taking care of my family and my community. Where will your energies be focused in the coming months ahead?