Getting Started with the Letter A

Getting Started with Henry Clay

There’s a story told of the great American orator Henry Clay. After giving a rousing speech, he was approached by an awestruck young man who wanted to be like Clay, but who admitted that he could not even read. Clay grabbed one of his lecture posters and said, pointing at the ‘A’ in his name, “That’s an A. Now you’ve only got 25 more letters to go.”

Getting started with your provisioning seems like an almost impossible task. There are so many pieces to it—food, water, fuel, clothing. “Where do I keep all this?” “How do I know if I have the right stuff?” “What about solar panels?” “Do I really need all this duct tape?” There is a lot to know.

But not right now.

Right now—this week—you just need to know the letter A. We can cover B-Z some other time.

Getting started means breaking the huge task of getting provisions down into manageable pieces—26 of them (one for each letter of the alphabet)—and let’s spend a week on each one.

I know: you want stuff done now, and you’ll say that 26 weeks is a long time. But the reality is that 26 weeks is only six months. And here’s the secret: those six months will pass whether you are making progress on your provisions or not. You’ve been thinking about this for more than six months; and if you’re honest with yourself, you probably admit that if you don’t do something this week, in six more months you’ll be in exactly the same place.

Am I presuming too much about you? I doubt it: I’m in exactly the same place, and the process I propose is the one I’m going to do, so I will be writing in the first person. If you want to follow along and learn with me, click here and I’ll send you one letter lesson each week.

So let’s get started with our first principle. It will be easy—you don’t need to buy anything or even leave the house.

Week One—the letter A


Abundance means ‘a large quantity of something,’ and recognizing the abundance in our lives may be the most important step in preparing for emergencies. This is because knowing how much we have now allows us to confidently put more away for later.

I’ve often said that even the poor in our society live in a manner unimaginable to kings and emperors of 200 years ago. For all their riches, even those royals could not turn on an electric light, prevent their child from dying of smallpox, flush a toilet, get fresh food out of a refrigerator, or binge watch the first season of Alias.

Ok, but how does this help prepare for emergencies?

The Assignment: Learning “A”

When we believe that we live in the midst of abundance (and scripture tells us, “The earth is full and there is enough and to spare”), we become less fearful and we recognize what we have in surplus that we can store for a future rainy day.

So here’s what I did this week (click here to see my worksheet). You can do this, too; just download the blank worksheet.

  1. I made a list of my resources, financial, educational, social, etc. (e.g. Good health, money, food, friendships, skills)
  2. I noted whether I thought these resources are increasing or decreasing in the future. (e.g. I am getting older and will probably be less healthy and strong in the future, but I will probably have more money and social skills. This helps me understand what of the abundance I can store.)
  3. I noted how valuable each resource would be in an emergency. This gives me an inventory of what I can use or trade in some future emergency and helps me prioritize.
  4. Finally, I made a judgement about whether I should focus on storing more of that resource.

This is my inventory of abundance—my point for getting started and the basis for all my future provisions.

That’s it

Week one. The letter “A” done; 25 more to go. Next week we’ll do the letter “Q” (we don’t have to learn the alphabet in order).

Want to follow along and get your provisions mastered one letter at a time? Click the button to get a weekly reminder and instruction post sent right to you.

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