My eyes opened this morning to a new scene — at least, new since June. Twisted oaks, high grasses, all being baked in the hot Texas sun, unlike the most squishy moss-covered grass in the Adirondacks. My tender toes burn as I hit the deck outside and hop rapidly to my old brown wicker couch. A bead of sweat hits my forehead and rolls down my nose like a rogue rollercoaster. I’m simply not used to summer in Texas. The cool Adirondacks have spoiled me.
I came here to host my Pastel Live conference, which ended last night, and today, as soon as we can get on the road, I’ll drive my daughter to her second year of college and the first “in-person” year she will have. Laurie and I thought we were empty-nesters last fall when school began, but alas, Zoom classes are easier from home than from a 10” x 10” cinder block dorm room, and the food is better. I’ll return to the Adirondacks for summer and fall tomorrow and we’ll try this empty nest thing one more time.
Between segments at my event, I’ve been glued to my screens, watching in horror as we all see a helpless situation we cannot control. I’m so used to being able to control things or help in some way, yet I’ve been racking my brain with no solutions.
But I ask myself, what if I were there? What if I were in that situation? What would I do?
How would I protect my family?
How would I escape?
I also ask myself, could that happen here?
What Would You Do?
Growing up Rhoads, my dad would always ask us questions like that. What would you do? He trained us for contingencies and always told us the unexpected often happens, and things you don’t think can happen, do happen.
Do or Die
I can remember talking to my father-in-law, who was a German soldier in WWII, who told me that the atrocities that happened surprised them all because, as he said, things like that don’t happen here. Suddenly he found himself forced to be in an army that supported things he did not support, things he did not want to be a part of. And he watched men in his line who were insubordinate be shot on the spot. He could not believe his eyes.
Those living in the Land of the Free have not seen a war on our soil since the Civil War. We’ve been blessed. But just because it has never occurred will not prevent it from happening. Which is why I have to ask my preparation questions. What would I do if..?
Though I usually preach positive thinking, some will say my contingency thinking is negative. Perhaps, but it’s better to have some ideas, some plans as a backup.
Watching the news, we’re seeing disaster because they underestimated the situation and did not have enough contingency plans.
What about you?
Contingencies relate to every part of your life. What would you do…
- If you lost your job?
- If the banks crashed and there was no access to your money, and ATMs did not work?
- If there were unexpected food shortages or stores were closed?
- If the power went out for a couple of months?
- If city water plants were shut down for a month?
- If there was no cell phone service for days, weeks, or months?
- If the Internet no longer existed?
- If GPS stopped working?
- If another country attacked our homeland?
- What if my house burned?
- What if someone broke in while we were sleeping?
- What if my house flooded?
As I ponder these things, I wonder if I could even drive somewhere to get away. I have not had a paper map in a decade, and I would not be able to access the addresses of my friends and family because my phone has died, Google doesn’t work, and online maps are no longer available.
My kids have probably never had a map in their hands.
Am I telling you this because I’m expecting something? Absolutely not. But history tells us that the unexpected happens and that sane people can become crazy fast.
And contingencies don’t have to be about the things mentioned; they can relate to anything in your life. Let me give you an example. One year, when I was living in Florida, I got stuck in the middle of a hurricane on the turnpike. It was a dangerous and scary situation. I thought I was going to die. So after I survived, I told myself, “Never again.” When future hurricanes were coming, I’d leave town two days before everyone else did. Sometimes they hit and I escaped, sometimes they missed and I had a nice weekend in a hotel somewhere. For those of you in New York and Boston and along the East Coast, there is a storm that might be headed your way. Are you ready? Have you thought about the contingencies?
I recall a storm that knocked power and water out for three weeks. You could survive with a contingency plan.
Last year during “Snownado” in Texas, we were snowed into an area that had no plows, no power, no water. In hindsight, we saw it coming on radar. We should have taken a vacation to Florida.
The last thing you want to do is have an unexpected disaster and to do what everyone else does. By thinking of every possible solution years in advance, you’ll know exactly what to do the second it happens while others are trying to figure out solutions.
As a parent, I feel an obligation to play out scenarios in my mind. I may never tell my kids about them, but in some cases I’ll be ready, have solutions, and be prepared. In other situations, I’ll be blindsided.
More Than One Solution
In any case, it’s worth a discussion. What are five things you could do if any of those situations actually happened? The worst thing you can do is say, “That will never happen,” because when you say it, BOOM, it will happen!
Most will stare with their jaws dropped in disbelief, which is valuable time lost. There are stories of people who predicted the Holocaust and were mocked as crazy conspiracy theorists, but they escaped and survived. The rest had cognitive dissonance. They just refused to believe this would ever happen among people they trusted.
Rumors and Clues
My dad once told me of meeting a cab driver who had been a wealthy farmer in a country where they were hearing rumors that farms would be taken over. She urged her husband to take a family vacation, just in case. He told her she was nuts: “It won’t happen here.” They took out the cash they could, took a vacation to another country, and while they were gone all the farmers, including their friends, were killed. They had to survive on their vacation money until they could get jobs. They were the lucky ones who paid attention to the clues because, as my dad said, “There are always clues.” He once said, “Always consider that the opposite of what you’re being told will happen. What then?”
Am I trying to scare you? Of course not. But I care, and I want the best for you, and if you think things through, this little note could save your life someday. Of course, I hope it never comes to that, but being prepared is never a bad idea.
PS: Speaking of being prepared, hundreds and hundreds of people are now prepared to do pastel painting because of our online Pastel Live conference, which we just completed. The next one is Realism Live, which will prepare you for all kinds of painting. Check it out.
My Fall Color Week artist retreat is going to happen in late September in the Adirondacks. It will be a week of fun, painting, and meeting new friends, no matter what level of painter you are. Come join us.
Also join us on our Fine Art Trip to Germany and Austria this fall, and my Russian Painting Trip in September. At the moment, it looks like both will happen.
That really touched me. I saw this email come in on my phone at the weekend, and Friday night I narrowly survived an accident when a drug driver crashed his car through the outdoors restaurant where I was sitting with my coworkers for a leaving party. The car, traveling at 60mph, missed me by about 8 inches, and miraculously I was unharmed, and all but one of my colleagues were unharmed also – one of our guys was hit but is recovering in hospital with a broken femur. Life is so short.
I hate to have to ask this question, but to which of the current disasters unfolding in our world are you responding to in this post? I say that I hate to have to ask only because there is so much happening now.
A friend forwarded your latest edition of Sunday Coffee to me.
So pleased to see you sharing ideas about planning for the unexpected with your audience. How lucky you were to have a father who asked, “What would you do?”
In my post-retirement career, I guide professionals & business owners in creating their contingency plans so that they and those who depend on them are prepared for the unexpected.
Thank you for raising awareness of this critical adult responsibility with your audience!
Excited to be connected and receive your Sunday newsletters!
Some great pondering, we never thought we would live to see some of what we have seen over the past few years. It makes all of us stop in our tracks and ask some of the hard questions, simply because here in Melbourne I used to be able to trust, trust the police, trust what I was seeing flashed on the screen, but that very quickly changed when I saw human rights ignored or abused. I was just listening to a court case where the AVN are trying to stop the gov giving an experimental vaccine to babies as young as 6 month. The Barrister said “People are dying.” The judge replied ” Where is the duty to stop?” I ask any sane person if our courts wont uphold the law of not harming anyone who will. I love the article it makes people think and critical thinking is a dying art. My father-in-law was in Holland during the occupation and I once asked him how did Hitler do it, his answer “Slowly” one step at a time.
Good article. Different. Back in 1975, I and some friends were preparing for a disaster. We bought food, thousands of 22 rounds for amo and hunting purposes and bags of silver coins. We got pretty worked up. Then one night I dreamed I was leaving the city heading north on 37. I could see the rat race of man and all of the confusion about me and the what ifs. Then God showed me in that dream on the frontage road a small pond with baby ducks playing and swiming in the water without a care. Then I realized man had a problem but God was taking care of these ducks. Through faith, I belived God would take care of me. Matthew chapter 6 came to mind. But, But I always rember the story of Joseph in Egypt and Noah how God told them to prepair.
I am always learning how native people survived in Texas. What they ate and what they used for medicines.
So what tragedy is he watching on TV. We’ve had so many. January 6, firenados in CA, Ulvade shootings, which one.
It’s so weird to hear him watching a “tradegy” and we don’t know which one.
Eric, your in the unique position for others to pay attention to yours words…today, these words are more important than ever. I once asked my son, ten years old at the time if he believed in God…his answer…I’ll think about it. Three day’s he said this….”I choose to believe in God….just in case….
When we see that Russia has its own version of the French foreign legion (WAGNER) who were the most likely to have shot down the Malaysian airliner; we need to be ready for any contingency. I have been wondering what became of the previous indigenous peoples of Taiwan; i-e Formosa And to what extent the free-thinking democracies of the world will be willing to resolve the problem peacefully! Or is it a case of blessed are they who expect nothing “for they shall not be dissapointed!”
This is a very good commentary on what could happen and how much we take it for granted that it won’t happen. We need a wake-up call and it never hurts to prepare ourselves for what might happen with things that are out of our control. Power grids, mother nature, technology, inflation, etc.
Eric, are you and your family O.K.?
That is a good list, and we could add many other situations to it. For example, if we had no telephone or internet, we could forget mailing a letter – might not have a stamp, fuel/repair for the mail trucks, passable roads, postal workers physically able to deliver our letters, or a P.O.! Emergencies tend to be cumulative. “For want of a nail, the horse was lost….” Did you include unavailable prescriptions, lack of medical equipment/supplies, loss of physicians & other medical staff, or entire hospitals?
You are right; making a plan is important, but we will never have all the resources we need for every emergency. If we did, it wouldn’t be an emergency, would it?
Top 5 solutions on my list – for any emergency:
(1) Pray (while I work). God already has a solution.
(2) Reach out to others. We need each other – are stronger, safer & smarter, together.
(3) Take inventory – and don’t leave out the “intangibles”.
(4) Share what I have, even if it is only a kind word. Everyone will be under stress.
(5) Be thankfully patient – endure in hope.
Don’t duck the fact that emergencies will occur, but realize that choosing to live our lives in fear of them can drain all the joy out of just being alive. It can cloud our minds, sap our strength, confuse and paralyze us when we most need to take action. Choose life.
It wouldn’t hurt to find the funny side. I am not trying to trivialize a serious situation , but sometimes a good laugh can cut it down to a more manageable size. I was in the middle of one of those tense emergencies when my phone rang. It is one of those fancy new phones for people like me who , too often, have to ask friends to repeat what they have just said. But the robot that captions my calls doesn’t hear very well, either. He began his cheerful message with, “Hello. This is the devil and Warren. Definitely.” The fact that Warren is our good choir leader made it even funnier – and the little devil was so sure of himself, too. I laughed uncontrollably for more than an hour before I caught my breath long enough to return my neighbor’s call. (Her name is Evelyn Warren. Think about it.) I hope you will forgive me for saying it was “damn” funny. Funny is where you find it. I think it was meant to be. nv
WHERE DID MY ENTIRE COMMENT GO!??!! WISH we could delete what WE WRITE, when messes like this happen…SO..I’m back to finish the 9 points! HOPE all of this one PRINTS!!
QUOTE by NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV:
“Your children’s children will live under communism. You Americans are so gullible. No you won’t accept communism…but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you wake up and realize you have communism. We won’t have to fight you, we will so weaken your economy until you fall like over ripe fruit into our hands. The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not….socialism leads to communism. You create a socialist state, thru 9 levels of control:
#1 Control HEALTH CARE, you control the people.
#2 POVERTY, increase it as high as possible because people are easier to control, and will not fight back if you provide everything for them.
#3 DEBT, increase to an unsustainable level, so you can increase taxes which will increase more poverty.
#4 GUN CONTROL <obvious reasons … in order to create a POLICE STATE.
#5 WELFARE: take control of every aspect: food, housing, clothing of their lives so they are fully dependent on the gov’t
#6 EDUCATION: tell they what they can read & listen to, and what children are taught.
#7 RELIGION: remove God from gov’t and schools, so people have to rely and believe in the gov’t to know what is BEST for the people.
#8 CLASS WELL FARE: eliminate the middle class leaving only the poor and the wealthy, creating more discontent, and thus be able to take more the wealthy more
#9 CONTROL THE MEDIA
SOUND FAMILIAR? We are RIGHT AT THAT POINT in our gov't! And once freedom is lost in the USA, FREEDOM will never again be seen on the face of the earth!!
For some reason I am no longer on your list for Sunday coffee, i dont know how that happened, but put me back. I got a copy in the mail about plans for disasters from one of my friends. Who I put on the list to get the letters. I loved the Sunday chats and knew others not artists would be interested. So that was a good thing. So please put me back on the list.
VIDEO-2022-05-05-21-15-49 (3) (4).mp4 divide into poor & wealthy, will eliminate the middle class, causing more discontent >so the wealthy can get taxed higher with the support of the poor. 9. CONTROL THE MEDIA!!
WELL, anybody know any of this!! Yep, that is where we are at. SO, Eric, just strange that you brought what you did up, today… AND BELIEVE ME, I am one artist that HAS NEVER gotten into ANY political issue…rather be painting!! ‘
And like Eric, don’t like bringing this stuff up…but we can’t keep sticking our heads in the sand, and HOPE things get better!
ONCE FREEDOM is lost in the USA…it will NEVER OCCUR again on the face of the earth!!
Odd, to read this today from you. I’ve thought of what you shared for the past few months.
And then today found this online: a quote from mid 1900s! > VIDEO-2022-05-05-21-15-49 (3) (4).mp4
IT IS HAPPENING now! WAKE UP AMERICA !!
This is frightening, but you are absolutely correct. We bought an aerogarden to grow greens and tomatoes. It is a god idea to stock up on what you can. I was alarmed at how expensive the electric was and it will only go up. Prepare and stay alert. In Kentucky some rivers reversed their flow. Alarming. Paint and pray.
Thanks for this. We have just found out my husband’s cancer has returned. I am caught in the position of believing he will recover versus what do I do if he doesn’t. A difficult situation.
You are so correct. Thanks so much for having the courage to write this article.
If I had the money I would publish this article for all to see.
Thank you for all the warnings. A lot to think about and we are so accustomed to our many creature comforts it’s hard to imagen not having them. I’ve been without power for three weeks due to hurricanes in South Georgia but we kept our refrigerators going with generators. I haven’t thought much about not being able to get to our bank accounts. Don’t know what the best advice is for that. Keeping a lot of cash in the house doesn’t seem safe either.
I meant imagine.
We live on an island in Maine.Our house sits at the edge of the bay.. I truly believe in being prepared for Hurricanes, High seas, Power outages, ice storms, etc. it’s hard to know everything we should have just in case. We have a “hurricane closet” that is full of canned goods and water. including dog & cat food. candles, flash lights.I don’t know what we’d do with our freezer contents! Cook now and refreeze? Anyway, it makes me often remember how small we are & quite powerless . It’s a good thing to remember! Nothing really matters in the long run when there’s a disaster/war. However, I’d mourn my studio, my paintings and my students’ and friends work! Your taxi driver managed to start over. being optimistic, we need to have faith ( not necessarily God) in ourselves & the world’s humans to eventually grasp the most basic thoughtful being & becoming! I’m truly worried about what’s happening to so many people, but I must have faith…other wise I’d have debilitating fear!
the way things are going politically in our country right now, I’m going to have to give some thought to a contingency plan. I appreciate your taking the time to put your thoughts down. Right now, I’m looking forward to the Pastel Live classes coming up.
Was not expecting to see this in your emails about the art world. But, damn, you are absolutely right. Can I convince my grown children of this? Doubtful, but I will try. Thank you!
Still a timely column…and probably one that should be run annually!
Thanks Eric. Wise words
Eric, you have done and continue to do so much and to prevent terrible warlike sentiments from taking control through your promotion of art and beauty which are among the world’s greatest healing forces. Thank you
Right on Eric! Many and most of us get, “dug in too deep” and become complacent thinking ,”it can never happen to me”. We’ll wake up folks we live in a living, ever changing planet and no one has stability stamped on their lives. The only thing constant is change so best option is to be prepared.
YOUR WORDS ARE VER Y APT AND WISE. wITH CLIMATE CHANGE DISASTERS ALL AROUND THE GLOBE. wE NEED TO BE WIDE AWAKE AND READY WITH QUIICK I CLEAR THINKING IN EMERGENCIES. pERHAPS WE SHOULD BE TEACHING SURVIVAL STRATEGIES IN SCHOOLS.
Absolutely true and wise advice!!!
Exactly being prepared is always an excellent idea
The world is full of amazing images and things to do. From Canada I observe the politics in America with a certain group of people that like dictatorships as long as it does not affect them of course. If they destroy your voting system over next couple of years, Americans had better have a lot of Plan Bs as it will never be the same again. It is hard to believe that these people want to follow in the Nazis footsteps. They do not realize that destroying the education system by outlawing books, taking away women’s right to decision and stopping people from voting including at gun point as they want to guard polling stations. I would be very happy to see all their plans fall apart and people can just get back to normal stuff but its going to be an uphill battle. If the good side wins we can get back to deciding which shade of blue will have the most impact.
Eric thank you I look forward to your comments every week and yes these past few years have shaken us all and should have opened ALL of our eyes ! I have thought about contingency plans and hope they will not be necessary however. Keep writing
Sobering thoughts! Thank you for this, today, Eric. There are too too many clues, out there, right now. Like your Dad has said. Think we will start a family discussion. Important to be of two minds about all of these things that are going on. So, at the same time, we will remain hopeful and steady and rooted in Faith. Plein Air painting is just a wonderful pursuit to aid in staying balanced! May God see us through anything that could potentially come up. While still focusing on the old saw, “God helps those who help themselves.”
In my private life I always have back up plans. Living in northern Michigan and being a lifelong camper means being ready for anything in summer, fall, winter and spring. As a psychologist I always urge my clients to have a plan A,B,C etc. Having contingency plans helps reduce anxiety. As an artist I also have contingency plans. I know that if something happens I probably have a plan. It helps me sleep at night.
Of course we’re all doomed. Read “The Sixth Extinction – An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert. Just sit and ponder for a moment how interesting (and fortunate) we’ve been to have lived this life. Try to make the most of each day while we can. Avoid mean people. Do what you love.
Thank you for your message this morning! My career was in emergency management. I have spent a life time preaching preparedness, not from fear but from cation and prudence. Your dad was right, there are always clues, writing on the wall, or just plain old awareness.
Keep saying it loud! And thank you for being so brave.
Love and Thanks,
Food for thought, Eric. Preparation and reading the signs are just wise. You are affirming a tough decision I made last week. It was difficult to react to the signs. It was a little bit scary. I think it will pay off in the long run. Thank you!
I like most of your stories,but some of them are so depressing &negative,lighten up a bit!
I’m always looking for signs, whether it’s health related for anyone in my family or the dogs, or me, or weather events, or political misfortune. I have been formulating loose contingency plans. I’ve been on alert for a handful of years now, and ended up in the hospital from stress after a certain event that happened 19 months ago. If civil war were to break out in the United States, what then? Move to Canada? Possibly. Civil war is an outcome that doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it once did largely because of successful propaganda campaigns that have lasted for decades and have intensified in our electronic world. People are armed to the teeth. When people have “toys” they are not far from wanting an excuse to use them. Dehumanizing language is the precursor to loss of a moral compass. All of those things are happening, loudly, unabashedly, frequently. And then there are the other things you alluded to. I speak solely about the U.S, but if you look around the world it doesn’t take long to see that things are desperate for many, that humans will make the choice to behave atrociously, again and again. So yeah, being prepared is vital. I happen to live in the ADKs, year-round, and count myself lucky to have a lot of water available to me, trees for fuel (if needed), local farms for food, and a backyard garden. This region has been part of the contingency plan. But that only goes so far. On top of all of that we have climate issues that may render all of this moot in the next 50 years. I paint, in part, to get away from these thoughts for a while, and hope that the good that fills some peoples’ hearts will be enough to overcome our current travail, but it may not be.
Great advice! Loving reading on Sunday mornings and joining you with my coffee…
Thanks for sharing,
Kim Hill Moppert
Eric, great insight and warning. Thank you!
I agree 100%. Thank you for actually putting in writing thoughts I have had for a long time. With climate change & life in general continuously changing you have many points that everyone should take seriously.
Your German Father-in-law saying The Germans had no idea the atrocities were being committed?
6 million people go disappear requiring the work of German citizens and the Germans had no idea?
Not too believable.
I agree with you 100%!
Be prepared & not surprised.
Several years ago, when I was in the US Navy, stationed at MCAS Quantico, I had a close friend who was born in mainland China under Mao. One morning, when he was 3, his mother took him into the rice fields with her to get a head start on their daily routine.
As they were beginning their work the Red Guard came roaring into the village, woke everyone in the village, took them into the village square and machine gunned them all. His siblings, his grand parents, uncles, aunts, the entire village was killed.
His mother hid in the rice fields until the Red Guard left. He and his mother were the sole survivors of this massacre.
They traveled hundreds of miles to the outskirts of Hong Kong, swam across the bay, and stayed with family members who had escaped earlier. Eventually, he and his mother got to the USA. He learned English in the Marine Corps boot camp. His language was pretty colorful, since he had no idea what, and there were several incidents that now are laughable.
I asked him, “Chester, where do you call home now that your village was wiped out? Where’s home?”
Without batting an eye he looked at me, “Home is where you make it.”
That was a lesson I never forgot, “Home is where you make it.”
An excellent column to repeat. Thank you. I had forwarded it to several family members; it’s a great thought piece.
I will admit that I am the one staring dumbfounded at the news, shaking my head in disbelief. Can this really be happening?? I have no idea how to help us return to a world where roses are red, violets are blue. This reversal of truth is confounding. Does anyone have a plan for this?
I think the scenarios you imagine could very well come to pass. We are so dependent on electronics, we don’t recognize our vulnerability. We do still have a transistor radio around here somewhere!
You inspire us in art and in life! Thanks for sharing your energy and enthusiasm.
Dear Eric Rhoads, I was speechless the first time reading this, as well as everyone’s comments. Tim and I believe in the overwhelming power of good and people. Good always wins but the opposite of good always leaves a wake of unnecessary destruction. Thanks for your words, and thank heaven for art !!!
Timely essay, food for thought in these unsettled times
Eric your thoughtful essay today is my rational for keeping two tubes each of ultramarine blue and carbon black so if by chance I run out of Payne’s grey I have a back up ! lol Thanks for another thought provoking Sunday morning.
Good advice, have been prepping
Thank you, once again Eric. You are the 3rd source, sharing the “what if” situation, in regards to the freedoms we U.S. Citizens have had for over 200 years! Simple things: like having WATER, or POWER or stores to buy food. Where I live, daily is a survival environment, living 30 miles from town, at the end of a dirt road…have water ONLY if we have power, etc. But lately have received (by accident, not looking for it) information, with great concern about our future survival here in the USA!
And most recently, that our gov’t may be demanding all CASH being turned in, and then issued some sort of “FAKE” money…WHERE are the HONEST people of influence??
So yes, taking action, to “prepare” “in case of” < you bet!
So sad, that the humans in this world, cannot get along as gently, and respectfully as many wild animals have learned to do!! THANK you, for the gentle reminder!!
You bring up some interesting, but scary things! I do not like even thinking of some of them… but I shall..
Any resources you know that might help in putting a plan(s) together?
So glad I’m not the only one feeling uncertain in these days and climate. My family may be thinking I’m paranoid but being prepared (even just a bit) is never a bad idea. Thanks for posting this
Thank you Eric! Your words are ‘right on’ at any time but especially at this point in America today. If we just watch on the sidelines without a plan and safeguards, the current trend may well be irreversible. Speak up and stand up for what’s right. Have an action plan!
Just loved reading this blog today. Truer words were never spoken.My father was a WWII pilot and I bet he never imagined what he was getting into. But unfortunately his plane was shot down over Paris and he never survived.
Keep writing these are everyday things we all have to conquer.
I get so much from your coffee talks, Eric. This one was especially instructive and on point; I’d thought about some of them and have been pro-active in a few things, but your advice and experiences are so appreciated. It struck up a whole conversation with our friends/neighbors.
Thank you, Eric. There is always a good message in your Sunday Coffee.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”……as Charles Dicken’s famous novel starts (A Tale of Two Cities). Thank you, Eric for your insights and stories. They help.
Thanks. We all need to plan for the unexpected but usually don’t. How blessed we are to be in this country compared to some others. Yet we have the terrible losses from Covid, fires, and flooding in some areas.
Pastel Live was a wonderful event. I have been a pastelist for 20 years studying with many acclaimed artists for all around the country. I had never seen a demo of pan pastels. Those flowers were amazing. I had not seen a demo on large waves. I learned a great deal about colors that can produce the magic effect of sun through waves and while I used a toothbrush to speckle watercolor, I never thought to use alcohol and rub the toothbrush on a pastel stick to make the spray of water at the top of the wave. Those are just a few things I learned. I have Albert Handel’s video from you, but I could watch him forever. His demo for pastel live reinforced the joy he has with every pastel he does. He has the best self talk of anyone… He just marvels when one little mark of the right color makes his work sing. Thanks for pastel live , it was great. And thanks for talking with me on the last cocktail hour. All the best. Linda
Thank you for that insightful reminder. My husband and I go through scenarios like this all the time and know from experience how much a little forethought can save you from disaster. Last year my husband became disabled from a back injury and then Covid hit and lockdowns. Though both things through us for a time we have been able to survive because we had contingency plans. Some of our friends and family make fun of us, but we are more at peace knowing we can survive tough times. I always enjoy reading your Sunday Coffee posts! Many blessings to you!
Eric, I think about this often. In our nation, we are blessed to live removed from strife for so many decades. Food, drinking water, indoor plumbing (!) warmth and shelter are readily available. We have not seen a war fought on our soil in our lifetimes. As a woman, I have been able to
pursue my dreams and travel safely about the land, even solo. Rarely in human history has this been the case. We truly all benefit from “American privilege”. Yet there is no guarantee life will always be so civilized.
Great advise, always good to be ready. Have been preparing for some time.
So true Eric
As an 80 year old I cannot believe how society has changed here in Australia since Covid.
At times I am so ashamed that Australians have become so selfish.
I have really enjoyed your coffee break and now realise we are not the only country experiencing the same situation.
Thank you Eric
You as usual have given me pause to think. And think I will.
I am still a little over whelmed with all I witnessed, experienced and internalized during Pastel Live. I did the beginners day as well and was glad I did! What a value.
Have to admit being a bit tired at the end of each day. I cannot imagine how exhausted you and the Streamline are feeling at this moment. I am grateful, thank you!
Thanks for putting this advice out. I have forwarded this article to friends and family. In addition, having been in an earthquake, I would recommend keeping your vehicle gas tank filled.
Wow, that’s a lot. But you are so true. I’m 67 so old enough to remember all the way back to party lines, growing did in a garden, canning for winter, making clothes, fixing things when then broke instead of buying a new thing, sharing meals with neighbors – actually knowing your neighbors because there was community, reading a big atlas to get from A to B, taking food in your car because there might not be places to eat asking the way – or it is too expensive, wearing shoes till the sole had holes and only having 2 pairs – everyday and Sunday shoes, Rolodex, reading real books and then saving them to reread, playing outside for hours, family meals at the table and holding hands to pray then talking and sharing our day – conversation!
Sometimes when I consider the state of America now, I think should anything dire happen, it would be every man for himself and anarchy. We just aren’t connected anymore. Technology had been a blessing, but it’s also a curse. I think I’m going to find a rolodex on eBay and buy an Atlas. Thank God my art materials aren’t digital, so they will continue to take me away to my imaginative world. Thanks for all you have done and continue to do Erik. You amaze me. Wish I had half your energy and diligence. You are a blessing.
Your absolutely right Eric, things aren’t right in the world at the moment, I think there are a lot of us sensing this, I’ve made a few contingency plans, hopefully my fears will come to nothing, but doing nothing is to become a lamb.
Good advice. And if we prepare we’re in a better position to help others.
Eric, while I have enjoyed your columns for years, been moved to tears several times, I think this column is by far the most important column you have ever written. People can benefit so much by thinking through and then acting on what you write about, and finding solutions before the need arises in their personal situation. There are always some things that cannot be foreseen, however, there are many small steps that can be taken ahead of time to make most situations play out personally better than if no prior action and thought had been applied. I think a lot of us in the US have a tendency to ignore the signs or freak out; concrete action in timely manner can go so far to helping not only you but family, friends and neighbors. Bless you and your family, for warning people with your platform, may they pay attention asap and take action, being safe. And, BTW, I resonated deeply to a number of your columns, on do it now, time is never a given. Thank you!
Hi Eric, Thank you for these timely words of wisdom. I spoke to my husband yesterday about being prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best. I expect that you are aware that the Prime Minister of Canada has called a federal election. Week one has been nasty and I expect it will continue to heat up until the votes are in on September 20th. This no longer feels like our Canada. Please pray for us as we continue to pray for our American neighbours.
Your thoughts remind me of Hurricane Sandy that nobody dreamed that a disaster will happen, we were living in Brooklyn at that time by the ocean on Brighton beach, we were lucky that we were in Vienna, Austria by my in laws, it was really a blessing, because the flooding was a disaster
Thank you for this heart felt and honest review of “what if”. Your heed to awareness and caution is appreciated and a better part of wisdom. During the Texas blizzards, our friends who had just moved from lush NW Washington State had a scary time with his wife, two little ones, no power, water, food or heat – all systems sheathed in ice and unworkable. He took to visiting every neighbor he could get to, checking in, inviting over, praying with and for, taking what rations they had to share – just in case.
– Human behavior is unpredictable. So often we hear of the Mad who reign. But there are those who, in spite of the circumstances, stand in the gap. I would hope that in the face of fear, desperation and insanity, that I would be one of those.
Eric, thank you for bravely saying what many are thinking. My family and many friends are having these conversations often. You’re right, we need to have contingency plans. I hope we never need them but it could happen. See you soon at Fall Color Week!
Well said, at age 82 I remember WWII and how it impacted my family and neighbors. My kids laugh at the Atlas tucked in our car and a state map. They also laugh that I know what “weeds” are edible. I point them out. I hope they never need to remember.
No more trips around the world for a 101 yer old. So sorry!
In my late 30s, I finally got a real job after years of scraping by. As my situation improved I gave thought to how to survive a breakdown of society. I’ve always been a history buff, and one thing I took away from reading about survivors of many different tough situations, was that they had small valuables to trade for getting someone to hide them, or a guide to help them cross a border.
So I bought gold coins. It’s been 30 years and I haven’t needed them yet, but I feel better knowing I could grab them and go on a moment’s notice.
Very good advise. I overthink sometimes and over plan and have been known to have a plan abcdefghi……… just in case. I rest better when I do that, then I can relax and focus on living . Then if something terrible happens I will take a deep breath , give thanks have faith and move on. I am 58, I have never experienced upheaval until the covid toilet paper and food shortage. I couldn’t believe the panic and empty shelves, very scary. Those are not alarmist questions though, they are for your safe survival. There are floods , tornados, fires and events we don’t want to think about. Its nice to know there are others out there with the same worries, its okay to be prepared. Noah was prepared. Lastly make sure to have at least pencils and paper to write and draw. Art is our safe place, artists need that to keep sane, or at the least balance our sanity. I pray for blessings to all , a calm happy heart and many pleasant days of painting.
Eric thank you for Pastel Live, it was so inspiring. I needed a push to get me back to painting, so I cleaned up my pastels and have a painting on my easel ready to finish. I signed up for next years Pastel Live. Perhaps Richard McKinley will be in the next one, he is a great teacher.
On your suggestions what would you do if? I have always had plenty of non perishable food on hand and water.
Thank you for all you do for the arts. I will be watching. I am also signed for Watercolor Live and Plein Air Live next year.
The best thing I read this time. I think if people don’t have problems, they create them. As a result, they suffer and cry.
I enjoyed reading your piece this morning, lots to think about even though it is difficult. We are completely dependent on too many segments of our society over which we have no control. Thanks for your thoughts!
“One earth” should be “on earth”— apparently, my autocorrect hasn’t had its coffee yet 😆
Truth. We are seeing the unprecedented loss of Liberty in the USA— something so extreme, we would’ve laughed and said, “you’re insane” if someone said this to us 20 or so years ago. What you say is very sobering— and you are certainly not a “conspiracy theorist” or extremist prepper for pointing out this truth. Problem is, the only people who would call you that (or others) are the ones who are so sheltered and privileged, they believe the USA is its own planet and not just a country that is susceptible to all the same evils every other country one Earth is…thank you for bringing truth to light.
With anguish, I agree with you, HJ! How eloquently you put it all. Thank you for speaking your mind. It is so important as many are still in Cognitive Dissonance, as Eric pointed out! It’s crucial that people do not just take a back seat, but that they see clearly and become vocal for our shared future. And that they take a considered approach to life, instead of just going with the flow. Thank you again, to you HJ and again to Eric for opening and illuminating the state of things, as they are. So important!
I’ve always advocated for “Alternative.” Same thing. You have got to know what your alternatives are.
I got my BA in Art and later realized that I would starve if I did not have something else to fall back on.
So, I got my Masters’s Degree in Urban Planning and had a successful career. I never gave up my art
but could not devote the time to painting until I retire.
Enjoy your Sunday coffee chats.
Spreading kindness and friendliness with every one we meet. Stay healthy. Nurture our children. Promote Scouting. Get in touch with nature and the creation. Learn how to cook and survival skills. Have fun.
It’s always good to have a plan B. Also, Thanks again for a great 4 days of Pastel Live. Thank you.
Incite fun should be “inciteful”
Thanks so much for your latest issue of Sunday Morning Coffee! So incite fun! Most of us in the USA have not had to deal with many of the potential issues you discussed! It really made me think about how blessed most of the people I know are.
I wish I had been able to view the pastel sessions, but summer is an incredibly busy time for me. Do you have any plans of just selling a download of the pastel sessions? I think I would be quite interested in viewing it at my leisure.