In the news and even in the lives of some people around me, I’ve been observing a number of recurrent issues that all seem to point in a similar, negative direction. Here are just some of them:

The price of oil and gas is rising, rising, rising – on the news just a day or so ago, I heard the comment that filling a tank of gas could soon cost $100. [I don’t currently drive a car – anyone have a comment on this?]

The price of rice and other crops is rising and some U.S. stores are strictly limiting how much rice a customer can purchase at once.

There is a potential danger to the the world’s wheat crops.

Honeybees (needed to pollinate crops) are disappearing or sick – and scientists aren’t quite sure why.

Aquifers and rivers are running dry.

We’ve all heard about the house foreclosures that are turning some neighborhoods into ghost towns.

I know a number of people who very recently lost their jobs. These were all very smart, qualified, hard-working individuals – but financial industries and other sectors of the economy are experiencing crises. Some companies respond to these difficulties with layoffs. It’s the kind of thing that could happen to anyone.

Also, there’s the ongoing question and concern of national security. We simply don’t know when a group of dedicated psychos might try to pull off another 9/11 type of attack – or what impact such an attack could have on our economy and the world’s economy.

Oh, and our country is currently at war in Iraq. I shouldn’t forget to mention that.

There’s a part of me that says I shouldn’t be an alarmist. Usually I’m a very upbeat, optimistic kind of person. The sky isn’t falling or at least hasn’t fallen yet, I tell myself.

However, there are enough negative indicators swirling around us – it just seems to me that the addition of one more serious problem OR a slight tweaking of the ones already in play could lead to that perfect storm that could truly be a devastating blow to our society and civilization. It also seems to me that maybe I’m even underplaying the seriousness of all this when others in the world, and even in our country, are clearly suffering.

Many of us are still in a position to do something that is helpful and edifying to our families. Certainly, this is a great time to listen to the longstanding wisdom and counsel of our prophetic leaders. That is, many of us are in a position to be getting (or staying) out of debt, amassing food and water storage and being prepared in case of an emergency.

Personally, I went out this morning and purchased some large bags of rice for our food storage. When I brought the rice to the checkout counter, the lady warned me about the price of the rice. She said some customers hadn’t been aware of the rise in cost and didn’t want to purchase the rice once they knew what it was costing them. She didn’t want to ring it up until she had talked to me about it.  This led to a little more conversation on the topic and she summed it up nicely by saying “everything is going up in price.”  I think the checkout lady at the grocery store is in a position to know.

When I got home, I also ordered some heavy duty plastic containers for food storage and another water container. Our food storage could be better, I think, and soon I’ll probably take some additional steps as well.

Having said all this, let’s end this post on a humorous note, a cheery excerpt from Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show”: