Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Did God Do This to RobCo?

"No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather." Michael Pritchard

Please keep my friends in Lumberton, NC, in your thoughts and prayers My hometown is underwater and without power. It may take a week to restore power in some areas. Over 1,000 people were stranded and are being rescued by boat crews. Many of the stories I've seen on the major network news shows have focused on the poorer neighborhoods, but from what I understand many of the homes in a couple of the nicer communities have 5 feet of water in them. Few have been spared from the damage.

Makes you kind of wonder about the grand scheme of things. Lumberton is the county seat of Robeson County, one of the poorest counties in the nation. Any list of negative community issues you see will probably have Robeson County somewhere in the Top 10.

The event sets up some interesting questions/thoughts; some of which are based on faith...nor not:
1. Some of my more literal-thinking friends might ask, "What did RobCo do to deserve this?" Things were already incredibly difficult for a lot of folks.
2. "Why would God do this to us?" Good question. Followed by, "What's God trying to tell us?" And then, "Is God punishing us and, if so, what'd we do?"
3. "Why didn't someone plan for this possibility?"...another good question...
4. "What can we learn from this?"
5. "Who will help us?"
6. "What's next?"

Here's my stab at answering some of them
1. RobCo didn't do anything to deserve what happened; that's a knee-jerk, emotional response.
2. God didn't do this--if He/She/IT did it at all--to punish anyone or teach a lesson (other than, if you live near a river in an area blessed with hurricanes every year you'll get some flooding). I'm about as far from a Bible-thumper as you can get, but I can tell you that whatever that Spirit is that's out there--if you believe in IT--doesn't do things to punish us. IT's all about good.
3. If you have a highly-paid group of county commissioners who squabble and can't come to decisions about things that really matter it's hard to...do things that really matter. Also, if your county is one of the poorest in the country it's highly likely that the resources to create an infrastructure that can withstand what hit RobCo won't be available on the local level nor allocated on the state or federal level until it's too late.
4. See Answer #2 above...if you live in low-lying areas and it rains this is what happens. That sounds cold-hearted, especially to folks who can't afford to move, but it's a fact.
5. You, your neighbors, RobCo folks who left but will return to help...to some degree the state and feds. The key to the state and fed money, though, will be to watch it very closely when, or if, it does show up.
6. Two news areas to watch: In 48 hours you won't see any more stories in the national news. The silliness of the election will continue to overwhelm the media and there will be the usual murders/carwrecks/disasters-on-the-other-side-of-the-world that will dominate the news. In a week you'll see very few in local/regional news. A year from now someone will do a retrospective to show how people have or have not recovered. Locally, some folks will rebuild, some won't be able to rebuild and they'll live with what they have left. Some will move.

Considering the economic situation in RobCo the bigwigs won't pay much attention to it as time moves on. To the big boys and girls the damage in Lumberton is not 9/11. But, what we need to remember is that to the people who live in Lumberton, to the people of Godwin Heights, Tanglewood, East Lumberton, North Lumberton, and South Lumberton, this IS a 9/11 event.

Here's what we need to consider: Right now emergency teams from the National Guard, power companies, EMTs, DOT, and other government agencies are focused on RobCo and, especially, Lumberton, in order to get the area back to minimal levels of power and living conditions. When a lot of us need to get involved is when the teams leave. A month from now those of us who are Lumbertonians and are living outside the area need to come together to see what needs to be done and how we can help.

Again, keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers. Go Pirates.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Flan and Busting Her Fanny

During Hurricane Matthew’s visit to North Carolina a friend and I visited some folks for dinner.  Among the guests were two sisters, 13 and 10. They were a delight; high energy, smart, articulate, and engaging!

As you can imagine, these young people, closed up inside a house during a storm, were zooming around the house burning up energy. They were both wearing socks and they enjoyed sliding on the hardwood floors…until…Flannery, or Flan, the younger, took too quick a turn.

As seems to happen in moments like this time slowed down. I looked over just as Flan’s feet flew out from under her. She was too far away for me to reach out and grab her, and it seemed to take forever for her to hit, butt first, on the floor. 

In an instant after she hit the floor, though, her face went from stunned and surprised to…a big smile! She reached under a couch and said, “Lisey (her 18-month old cousin), I found your ball!!”

Instantly, she had turned what could have been a negative situation (she crashed and burned in front of her sister and a group of adults) into a wonderfully positive one. 

I immediately thought, if most adults could exhibit Flan’s coolness under pressure we’d all be in much better shape.

What kind of challenge are you running into now? What's the silver lining? Whose ball can you find under the couch?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Today I Will Do....

This is a quote you see in a lot of gyms...I've always loved it:

"Today I will do what others won't
 So tomorrow I can do what others can't."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Wisdom of 2-Ply

To be honest, I’ve fought writing this blog for a couple of weeks. It’s one of those topics where a lot of folks will see the title and automatically go, “ick!”

But, you're still here reading aren’t you?

Here’s the deal. A couple of weeks ago I got home really late, was draggin’ tired, and I’m…sitting…and…mmm…thinking about the fact that 2-ply is one of life’s wonderfully simple pleasures. And, I must say, I congratulated myself on appreciating this small, seemingly insignificant gift from the paper companies.

Even though Queen Elizabeth I's godson invented one of the first flush toilets in 1596, commercially produced toilet paper didn't begin circulating until 1857. Quilted Northern, formerly Northern Tissue, advertised as late as 1935 that their toilet paper was “Splinter-Free!”

Which brings to mind the fact that the 1-ply in my elementary school definitely was not Quilted Northern!

But, I digress…not long ago I had the opportunity to again encounter 1-ply; I think it was at a highway rest area. And, I’m thinking that, yeah, if you’re buying a gazillion rolls of tissue for the whole state, then 1-ply is a good use of taxpayer dollars. 

Later that week, though, I ran across 1-ply in a friend’s home. Now, this is someone for whom the choice of 1-ply or 2-ply, if it’s based on financial factors, is not going to have trouble buying 2-ply.

And I’m thinking…why?

Why not treat yourself to 2-ply if the difference in cost is so small? Now, my more logical, mature, financially astute friends will offer, “Well, if you add up the difference over the course of a year…” I get it. If I add up the difference in 1-ply and 2-ply over the course of a year it’s probably enough to buy another 8 rolls of 2-ply. So what? 

Buying 2-ply vs 1-ply is a wonderful example of doing small, inexpensive things to treat yourself. To remind you that YOU are a good person, you deserve good things, and you deserve to be happy!

I don’t know what it is about paper products, unless it’s the fact that they are relatively inexpensive, but another friend said that one of the small things that makes her feel prosperous is having Kleenex in every room.

What small purchases, gestures, items, and/or activities help you feel positive and prosperous? They don’t have to be expensive in terms of money, time or space, but they connect with you and make you feel good.

So, I’m going to continue to buy 2-ply; AND LIVE IT UP!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mother Teresa and Your Dream

Today, September 4th, Mother Teresa was declared a saint by the Catholic Church.

Few of us expect to be declared saints (although we all know some folks who believe they are already there) and Mother Teresa was no different. She simply--and that word certainly seems to be inappropriate in this case--did what she saw needed to be done, and in doing it she helped thousands.

If you read some of the reports about her organization, though, you don't get totally glowing descriptions. The comments range from extraordinary and wonderful to frightening and hygiene conditions resembling a concentration camp.

So often, if we have the courage to live our dreams life may not turn out to be blue birds and lemonade. Sometimes it comes out as vultures and battery acid. The key is to keep trying; to keep moving toward what your vision of the dream might be.

Mother Teresa heard the critics but, to her, the cries of the needy--the people whom her dream told her to help--were louder.

Mother Teresa:

If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
There are no great things, only small things with great love. Happy are those.
Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Where's Your Crack?

"There is a crack in everything,
That's how the light gets in."

from Anthem, by Leonard Cohen

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Boogie On for Better Brains

Ok, so it’s Thursday in my world and probably in yours. The weekend is close, but still a day away for most of us. If you live where I do, near the coast of North Carolina, it’s hot as blue blazes right now…and God Bless the people who have to work outside.

So, how can you get a little bit of summertime, a little bit of joy, a little stress-reducer right now? Music on youtube.com . As soon as you finish reading this you need to go to youtube.com and play some music. 

I’ve spent part of my morning using youtube.com as the background for my work. So far, I’ve hit the Moody Blues (Question), Gene Chandler (Does She Have a Friend for Me?),  Nickleback (Just to Get High), Billy Joel (You’re Only Human) and a bunch of others.

Now, you’re smart folks so you know that music affects us in all kinds of ways.  It affects a wide variety of areas of our brains which I will not go into unless you want to spend the rest of this blog reading phrases like “dorsolateral frontal cortex,” which…I’m just sayin’…make MY brain hurt.

But, the fact that music can instantly put us somewhere great in our minds (and the cool thing is that part of our brain actually thinks we are there) is such a miracle…and we can access it anytime we want…come on!!! That’s about as cool as it gets!

And, right now, we could use some cool.

So, I’m clicking on the soundtrack from Happy Feet and watching the penguins dance to Boogie Wonderland.

Stay cool!

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