Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Plugging Back In...

Well that was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Yesterday, I wrote that I was taking a Sabbath from all things online. After I finished writing, and posted the blog, I shut everything down and walked away. I've said on here before, and I mentioned it again yesterday, just how dependent I am on the internet. The reality of that was driven home again over the last 24 hours.

I admit, it was nice to just get up and walk away. I actually felt the stress level drop...for a while. I got the motorcycle out, actually put some sunscreen on this time, and took off. Being on the bike is different than driving in the truck. When I'm two wheeling, I can't even answer the phone or a text, so there is a definite disconnect. (Not that I text while I drive, of course) It's just different.

After a while, I wound up in Murray at the Dairy Queen (I still haven't figured out how that happened) and after a footlong chili dog, rode on up to our house. Still disconnected, still unplugged. Then I spent the afternoon just kind of hanging around our place. I fished a little, mowed a little, and just sat on the front porch a little. Then it was date night with my favorite girl, and we had an appointment with a bunch of pirates on the big screen. A good day.

Now the tough part...I have no idea how many times I thought "I need to get online and check this...or that...or whatever." While I was not online physically, I couldn't get my mind to disconnect, and honestly I don't know how to fix that. Have I become so dependent on technology that I no longer know how to live without it?

I don't think so, but I do think it's time to take care of me a little more than I have been...physically, emotionally, and spiritually. If that includes an intentional unplugging once a week, that's what I'm going to do. But hey, I've said that before.

So, today I plug back in...some. I've already read my Life Journal texts for today. I've checked email. Now to start research for sermon prep. I can stay online to do that, can't I?


Monday, May 23, 2011

I Think Facebook is Making Me Fat...

Yep, that's right. I think facebook is making me fat...but wait there's more...

I read an article this morning on Elephant Journal written by Dr. Sara Gottfried. That's where I get my daily dose of fairly new age, alternative, sometimes out there, sometimes even Buddhist (I do think we can learn from other faiths, so shoot me), but many times full of common sense blogs and articles.

She said that Facebook is tearing her hormones all to pieces, so she took a digital Shabbat. Ok, it's not just facebook that was keeping Dr. Gottfried all out of whack, it was being online period...hooked up...connected digitally. She said that it was raising her cortisol (kinda bad hormone) levels because plugging in kept her stressed. At first, I thought, "What?! That's stupid!" But I kept reading, and some of the things she was talking about sounded remotely familiar. Then she told us that from sundown Friday through to sundown Saturday, she unplugged.

Now, I'm not a doctor, nor did I play one on TV, and I didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night...

...but I think I can see what she's saying.

I've started noticing things. My pants fit a little tighter now than they used to. Maybe I'm just eating too much, but I don't think so. I was training for a hike this summer but then the storms and the flood hit and I got distracted. I feel the stress hovering somewhere around my adam's apple. I just feel "blah" most of the time. Tired. Disinterested. Whatever. Evidently, stress raises cortisol levels, which is bad. But too much stress burns out the endocrine glands and then cortisol levels drop and you feel even worse. I did not know that.

Now, in a little while my wife is going to read this and I'll hear her say something like, "See? I told you, didn't I?" You would not believe the stress facebook has caused me over the last 9 months or so, it's been insane, and ridiculous. She has accused me of being too accessible, and has been trying to get me to unplug for a couple years. So, I'm going to.

Dr. Gottfried unplugged for 25 hours, so I think I'm going to as well. It's 8:00 in the AM right now. I'm almost through writing, then I'll post this, shut the laptop down, and not get back online until tomorrow morning. Or, at least, I'll try.

It's going to be hard, N'kay? I do everything online. I balance my checkbook online. I get my daily devos online. I keep up with friends online. I check the weather online. I minister online. I do all of my sermon research online. But evidently, it's killing me, slowly...and not softly with a song like Roberta Flack sings about.

But I'm going to try. So, whatever comments, criticism, or questions this darn blog inspires, I'll read them tomorrow. Now, where did I park that darn motorcycle?

Peace out, literally,

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Not As It May Seem...

Have I mentioned that I'm a huge Monty Python fan? I think I probably have, but if not, I am. Huge fan. I know, I know. It's mostly stupid and inane, and some of their skits do seem to kill brain cells, but I just can't help it. I love it, love it, love it.

In the opening scene of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," King Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot, King of the Britons, defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of all England, rides up to the walls of a castle on a horse, and much hilarity ensues.

Now, I know you may be thinking, "Big deal! A lot of people rode horses!" Yeah, well, except he wasn't really on a horse. He was skipping...on foot...and his trusty servant Patsy had two empty coconut shells and was banging them together to make that "clip clop" sound. Arthur sure thought he was riding a horse, but the castle guard just would not be convinced, and Arthur would not hear that he wasn't really on a horse.

So there they were, arguing over whether Arthur was or was not riding a horse. Sounds kind of stupid, doesn't it? I mean, just watching the scene on the telly, it's obvious to anyone with eyesight, that Arthur was, in fact, not riding a horse. Now, were one to close their eyes and just listen to what was happening, they might not be so easily convinced. Patsy made a fairly decent "clip clop" sound with those two coconut halves. Does that sound at all familiar? You know, the arguing over what is or isn't?

Now, I must make a confession. I made fun of Howard Camping over the last week or so...a lot...I mean, A LOT. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but it happened, Lord forgive me. False prophet, he has been called. I think I can totally agree with that, and might even add Kook, Loonie, Betsy Bug, and any other derogatory name that means crazy. Still and all, I commend his boldness. While you can believe something with strong sincerity and be completely wrong, it is better, I think to believe in something and be wrong, than to believe in nothing. I may get hammered over that statement, but...well, yeah.

Today's lectionary text is from Acts 7, and is the last section of the story about Stephen's martyrdom. Now I'm in no way comparing Camping to any of the martyrs of our history, not even I would do that, but part of me wonders if the world thought they were loonies too. I mean, think about it, Stephen...stoned to death, when all he would have had to do is say, "Nah guys, I was just kidding."

...Or the ten martyrs in the gallery above Westminster Abbey. Surely folks must have thought they were crazy, giving up their lives for someone they have never met face to face. It just makes me wonder sometimes. I don't know what convinced the martyrs that dying really was gain, and I don't know, well, ok I do know what convinced Camping...a bad literal interpretation of scripture. I feel kind of bad for the guy because things weren't, well, they just weren't what they seemed. Still...

So, I will probably still make a jab every now and then at the non-rapture yesterday. While I'm doing that, and calling Camping a kook, false prophet, or whatever, I actually hope that I am devoted enough to a life in Christ that folks will think I'm crazy too. I hope that I can be dedicated enough to step out of the boat, to go where I'm sent, to reach into people's hurts, to spend time with the marginalized, to help make a difference, and not just show up once a week and check the box.

When you think about it, it really is crazy. Crazy good.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Last Blog Post...

I know, it saddens me too, but I'm afraid this will be my last blog post...or not...depending on if Camping was right. It's been a great run, though. Well over 200 posts in way under a year and a half. We've covered a whole lot of scripture, and a bunch of different topics. I've been patted on the back for things I've said here, and I've been, well, not patted on the back at other times. In fact, I've had folks pretty upset with me over things I have thrown through the gate. But hey, that's alright too.

I've spent a lot of time in introspection as my fingers worked the keyboard. I've wrestled with my own demons, sins, and shortcomings. I've celebrated the high points in life, in my family, and in my church...and I've ranted over my frustrations. I've learned that words can be weapons whether that's what the writer intended or not. I've learned truth hurts, and that laughs are far too few. But, at the same time, I've had a blast coming in and out of the city gate.

We are less than 12 hours away from the rapture, if you believe in the rapture, (Personally, I don't) not to be confused with the second coming (which we have done a lot). So, the countdown is on.

I read a friend's blog yesterday, Cap'n Dave, as he's known to his mates, and he mentioned the "If you knew you only had 48 hours left what would you do?" question that so many good pre-apocalyptic folks are asking. Then his answer was, "...just because the end of the world is supposed to happen on Saturday doesn't mean I would change anything."

See, I admire Cap'n Dave. He's a friend, a mentor, and a colleague. He also has taught me not to take myself so seriously (Insert the Joker's "Why so serious?!" here). I appreciated his answer. So, inspired by Cap'n Dave, I thought I'd let you in on how I plan on spending my last 12 hours.

I'm going to start by writing my last blog post (ok, it's not my last but I may do some restructuring. I love blogging, actually). I've already read my life journal texts like I do every morning, with my first cup of coffee. I'm going to finish my second cup of really good coffee while I watch my cat watch the birds. (He does this funny little chirping thing when a bird lands on the railing outside the window). I'm going to do a final edit on the sermon I'm preaching tomorrow (yep, tomorrow...after the rapture event).

While I edit, I'm going to sit here and listen to the birds in one ear(the A/C is out so we have the windows up) and The Cartoon Network in the other (the windows are up, so is my youngest daughter). Since it's Saturday, and possibly the last Saturday, I may have a third cup of really good coffee and not feel bad about talking about it.

I'm going to spend a little time with my girls this morning, and then go to Hannah's piano recital this afternoon. Who knows, if we get done in time, I may run up to our place and mow the yard (Don't want to check out with a shaggy lawn, ya know.) Then, after a little TV with my girls tonight, Steph and I will send them off to bed, hold hands for a while like we do every night, then go to bed ourselves...ma in her kerchief and I in my cap.

In other words, as Dave said, doing anything different during my last day or couple days would imply that I'm not satisfied with life as it is, and I have to say, I'm pretty happy with my life.

Now, since Camping said the rapture would be time zone specific and happen at 6:00 PM in each time zone, I'm going to check to see if folks are still hanging around in Jakarta.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Saturday Night Alive...

Nope, not Saturday Night Live, as in NBC, as in Steve Martin, John Belushi, Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal, Jane Curtain, Chris Farley, as in over 30 years of nonsensical hilarity...Saturday Night Alive, as in "Dang I hope they're wrong about this weekend and I'm still alive Saturday night."

You see, I have tickets to see U2 in concert in July thanks to a dear friend of mine. I'm going to watch a minor league baseball game with my girls this summer. I've lost a little weight and feel better than I have in a while. I've just recently reconnected with some old friends. You know, I've got a lot going on right now and the rapture coming Saturday would really mess that all up.

Ok, all kidding aside, some folks haven't heard about this yet, some are scared to death. Now, just in case you've been wrestling gerbils, fighting elves, or cross-stitching with Elvis and have missed all of the hype about the end of the world swiftly approaching (as in this Saturday), let me fill you in real quick.

Evidently, Family Radio (whoever that is) has infallible proof (that's right, infallible) that the rapture will happen Saturday with judgment day beginning at the same time. It's a numbers game. They, whoever they are, have determined beyond any doubt that Christ was crucified on April 1, 33, and that the bible says beyond question that there will be 722,500 days between the crucifixion and the rapture. Do the math...figure in the leap years we've had since then, carry the one, subtract Pi, multiply by 1/2, and there you have it, the date of the rapture is May 21, 2011. Which just happens to be this Saturday.

Now, please understand I'm not making light of people's fears. But something in me just keeps going back to one particular verse in scripture, and I'll get to that in just a second. You see, I'm not a literalist, well, at least not anymore. I used to be. This doesn't mean that I don't take scripture seriously, I do, very seriously. I'm just not one to sit around and draw out a Revelation time line. I'm not a fan of Hagee or Lindsey, or any of those other guys who thrive on fear mongering, and who have profited greatly from it, I might add. I'd rather take scripture and look at the ways it can help me live better and just maybe make a difference in the world, without worrying about when it's all going to end.

Still, part of my job as pastor is to help alleviate fear...fear of dying, fear of living, fear of the end, fear of stepping out in faith, fear of getting out of the boat, and others. So, in that spirit, out of love for my flock (present, past, future), I'll say this: Go ahead and make your plans for Sunday lunch. Here's why: Matthew 24:36 says this "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." It could happen Saturday, or tomorrow, or a week from Tuesday, or 1000 years from now. There is only One that knows when...and that's good enough for me.


Monday, May 16, 2011

It Can't Be That Simple, Robert Fulghum...

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and
dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes
up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup -
they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the
biggest word of all - LOOK.

It can't be that simple, Robert Fulghum. Or can it? Robert created a list of things he, and we, needed to get through life; things that he just happened to have learned in kindergarten...or Sunday school. Now, I don't know Robert, nor do I know if he even went to kindergarten (I did not. That may explain some things.) I haven't even read his book...yet, but I'm assuming that list is actually found within its pages.

Still...I have learned that, yes, Robert Fulghum, it really CAN BE that easy. Unfortunately, it is often human nature to take the unbelievably simple idea, and turn it into something much more muddled and complicated in practice.

I mean, seriously? All we have to do to make this spinning ball we call home a better place is to follow this little list? Come on, man! Don't be ridiculous. Well, ok, maybe we could follow some of them and make it a little better, but do we really need to follow all of your advice, Robert Fulghum?

How about this...let's tweak the list a little, and see if we can't find some common ground between the reality we live in and your crayon scattered, cookie crumb littered, nap taking Eden that you have left us all slobbering over. How about that? So, with that in mind, and in a spirit of reality dusted with a whisper of cynicism, and tossing in a splash of smart aleck just for giggles,(shaken, not stirred) here is my take on the list of things we need to get through life; things that we should have learned in kindergarten.

Share everything... No. Not going to do it, wouldn't be prudent, at this juncture. Why? Because if I give away some of what I have then I won't have as much. Duh. How about instead, if I share the stuff I don't want anymore? You know, like, umm, used underwear, half empty lotion bottles, and leftover food? Oh, wait...can I get a receipt for that charitable donation of used underwear, half empty lotion bottles, and any other stuff I don't want anymore?

Play fair... No. How in the world am I supposed to climb the ladder if I want the same for everyone else that I want for myself? That wouldn't be fair to me. What if I play fair to those folks who can help me get what I want? Would that work?

Don't hit people. Ok, that one I can do. Not a biggie.

Put things back where you found them... Why? I mean, think about it. If I put things back where I found them, then there would be no job market for folks who spend their days going around cleaning up after folks like me. I'm doing them a favor really. So what if we do this; how about if I put a few things back where I got them instead?

Clean up your own mess...ok, obviously you didn't notice the previous retort.

Don't take things that aren't yours...you mean like slave labor, natural resources, native lands, or a pretty young lass's innocence? Come on, man. Now you're talking crazy. Where is your sense of progress? That's the way the world works. Ok, so how about this...what if I downsize from a Hummer to a smaller SUV. I mean, my Explorer gets 19.7 mpg, isn't that good enough? (I don't really have a Hummer, but if I did I'd downsize to a smaller SUV like, oh, my Explorer.)

Say you're sorry when you hurt someone. Oh, for crying out loud. You mean, actually take responsibility for the way I have treated another human being? Get out! We don't want to do that. Instead, we say what we want and hide behind anonymity. That way no one knows it was really me that said those awful, hurtful words. (That's actually one thing I like about Facebook. Your mug is right there beside everything you say.)

Wash your hands before you eat...Ok, the germ-o-phobe in me totally agrees with that one.

Flush...Ok, my OCD greatly appreciates that one as well.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you...now you're talking. So are other things, but I'm not going there. One of these days we can talk about the other.

Live a balanced life: learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play every day some. Well isn't that special? Actually, that sounds like fun. I'm keeping that one.

Take a nap every afternoon. Finally! Yes!

...and then the others, well, I'm out of cynical comments so I'll just skip them.

Ok, actually I think Robert is dead on right. I think he has absolutely nailed what it takes to create a better world for everyone, the only addition I might make is a little prayer. Unfortunately, we're not going to share, or play fair, or apologize when we've hurt someone. Most of us won't take responsibility for the hurtful things we say, or for the role we play in depleting the earth's natural resources (and, alas, I'm guilty too), or for keeping the marginalized on the margins, etc, etc, etc.

So, Robert Fulghum...keep up the good work. Keep telling us about how simple this really can be. Now, I'm not some misplaced hippie, but dog gone it, this stuff ain't rocket science (My apologies to my rocket scientist friends. What? I have friends who actually are rocket scientists.). It really is that simple. Paul reminds us of that in his letter to the Thessalonians (You didn't honestly think I was going to write a whole blog without mentioning scripture?). Isn't it funny that some of the most life changing and world changing advice we've ever gotten came to us before we even hit 1st grade?

Kindergarten, Sunday school, around the dinner table. They all work, if we listen. So, take some time today, ponder Robert Fulghum's list, listen to your mum, and read 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. Seriously. Do it.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why Social Media is like the Top Ten Comic Book Superweapons...

I'm a fun loving kind of guy. I love to laugh and cut up, and generally try not to take life too seriously. I spent way too much of my childhood being too grown up, so I'm trying to make up for lost time now. I love to laugh at myself, and sometimes at the unsuspecting other, and try to find something to get tickled about every day. Some days that task is tougher than others.

I'm also a pastor, which means that I'm resigned to a life of solemnity and a face full of brow wrinkles instead of laugh lines...NOT. However, I do understand that as a pastor, I'm scrutinized more than the average Joe (My apologies to anyone named Joe who considers themselves either above or below average, or any Joe left out of said scrutinizing). Alas, I did not realize this until I became part of the social media underworld.

It's a great ministry tool, and honest to Betsy (again, my apologies to any Betsy who is not honest) that was why I signed up and set up a facebook account. I'm beginning to rue the day. Yet, I return time and time again to the times (sorry about all the times I mentioned "times" there) that I have been able to minister to someone through social media...and it happens a lot more than some folks realize. If I'm home and working, researching, writing, etc, etc, etc, I leave my chat box open so that folks who need to talk to me can reach me easier. I've done marriage counseling through chat, and have even seen folks come to a relationship with Christ through the same.

But...I'm thinking it's time for a change. I have learned that there are great pros and massive cons to social media. I have also learned that there are many similarities between social media and comic book superweapons, so, in the spirit of humor, and in the style of David Letterman's Top Ten List, here is my list of reasons why social media is like comic book superweapons. A lot of the descriptions have been "borrowed" from techrepublic.com. Here we go.

Number 10...Social media is like the Helm of Nabu: it grants knowledge to the social media-er (is that even a word?) yet with a price...it also forces the user to hear those people who post things that actually make sense and causes said user to weigh the consequences of their own actions. BAH!

Number 9...Social Media is like the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak: it causes the user to feel invincible, much like the Juggernaut. Unfortunately, also like a person who becomes the Juggernaut remains the Juggernaut for life, once something is out there on social media, it is out there f.o.r.e.v.e.r.

Number 8...Social Media is like The Witchblade: it's user is advised based on information given by previous users (I was going to copy and repost that but decided to just type it). The down side is that if used wrong, the Witchblade will blow your arm off. Hmm, maybe it's more similar than I thought.

Number 7...Social Media is like The Mother Box: it speaks only in pings and seems to have a mind of its own...'nuf said

Number 6...Social Media is like The Anti-Life Equation: it requires 12th-Level Intellect to comprehend. For the life of me, I can't figure out some of these posts, or the reasoning behind them.

Number 5...Social Media is like Mjolner, Thor's Hammer: well, because it can actually be a weapon.

Number 4...Social Media is like The Ultimate Nullifier: you haven't been dissed until you've been dissed on Facebook. Bring it...(complete with head bobbing from side to side)

Number 3...Social Media is like the Green Lanter Super Ring, oh that's right. It converts your will power into pure green ownage. It's only problem is that it is sometimes vulnerable to the color yellow, and that is why yellow makes me sad.

Number 2...Social Media is like The Cosmic Cube: in the mind of its user, it converts thoughts into reality, thereby lulling the user into a false sense of omnipotence. Unfortunately, it also eventually warps the users mind. Yeah.

And the Number 1, Numero Uno, comic book superweapon Social Media is like is...(Drumroll please. Drumroll)...The Infinity Gauntlet...because it does, yes, does, grant omnipotence to its users (or at least makes one think they know it all). The only problem is it also makes you a target of every person in Marvel Comics. Oh wait, that's the real Infinity Gauntlet.

There you have it folks, straight from the home office in Wallawalla, Washington, or a phone booth in Metropolis, or some other possible real/possible fictional locale.

Now, I mentioned earlier that I thought it was time for a change, and here it is. I have set up a second, that's right, a second facebook account in preparation to begin shutting down my original account. If you are fun loving, if you like to laugh at yourself and the occasional other (but only in a spirit of love, of course), if you try not to take yourself too seriously and are afraid too many others do, if you like pirates and/or pirate movies, if you think Jimmy Buffet's face should be on some form of U.S. currency, or if you're just generally tired of BS, shoot me a friend request...same name, different profile picture.

On the flipside, if you are a facebook stalker, if you are looking to be offended, if you think the Lord of the Rings trilogy was a waste of film, if you think Davy Jones' tentacles looked fake, if you have never laughed at a Monty Python flick, if you can't laugh at yourself, if you thrive on drama, or if you generally like to complain, don't bother. Many thanks to the folks at techrepublic.com for the list of top comic book superweapons and their descriptions.


(top twelve comic book super weapons found here www.techrepublic.com)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Holy High Water, Batman...

"Historic river levels..."
"The flood of a lifetime..."
"We've not seen water like this since 1937..."

Those are some of the things I've heard, and you've heard a lot over the last few days. Personally, I hope it is the flood of a lifetime, because I'd really rather not see this again. The Mississippi here at Hickman was projected to hit historic levels and I guess it probably has. I'm not sure exactly where it's at right now, but I can't get down to my favorite walking spot if that says anything. Well, I guess I could but I'd probably get arrested.

Folks have been calling me and hitting me up on facebook for over a week wanting to get out and help, and they have...by the busloads at times. Here in town, we were asked to activate our emergency shelter at the church due to mandatory evacuations in the downtown area, West Hickman, and the entire lower bottom. Within just a couple hours my flock, along with some folks from the community, had the shelter completely set up, stocked with food, and staffed with volunteers. I am very proud of them.

Folks have been filling, toting, and stacking sandbags all over Western KY. Unfortunately, homes were still flooded, and the loss has been great. I can't remember a greater outpouring of support for the neighbors around us, at least not that I have seen personally. Wait, I forgot about the ice storm. The help that came in during that time was amazing.

Many of my folks here at church are affected directly, as most of them are farmers. Still, I have not heard one complaint from my folks. I have farmers with thousands of acres under 15 or 20 feet of water, and I know they are stressed about it. I know they are worried about whether or not they are going to be able to get a crop out. But would you like to know what they have been doing? Sandbagging for other folks. I've seen them...and it makes me proud.

I have had folks from over 100 miles away call to offer help. Even the Lowe's store in Union City called me yesterday and offered help for the folks needing to evacuate. This last week or ten days has been a testament to the lengths folks will go to help other folks when there is a need.

...and then I looked at my facebook page.

Well, not actually my page because I try to be real careful about what I put on mine...you never know who's watching. What I saw yesterday broke my heart. I've been keeping up with the Bird's Point New Madrid Joint Information Center through facebook. It has been a wonderful source of information about plans to operate the floodway, hopefully relieving some of the pressure on the entire river system, and I'm assuming it is operated by the Corps of Engineers.

From what I understand, the floodway from Bird's Point to New Madrid was designed during the early years of the last century to help ease flooding in the event of water levels like we are seeing now. That was it's design. Folks were allowed to move into the floodway with an easement attached to the property deeds that stated the property could be flooded if the need presented itself. I'm sure, like most of us, they thought it would never come to that, and that it would be ok to build a home and life there. Still, my heart breaks for those affected when the floodway was activated.

Now, I'm not a very smart man. I admit that readily. I do hold 3 degrees, and have a little common sense, but I never claimed to be real smart. I do know this...if you build your home in a flood plain, every now and then you have to expect a little water. The same holds for fault zones. If you build your home on a fault line, every now and then you have to expect the ground to shake a little. It's just common sense. Evidently, for some, common sense washed downstream with the flood waters. Folks are looking for someone to blame. "Wipe out Cairo, it's going down anyhow."...that's the most common one I've seen. Blame is being laid on everyone from the governor to the Corps, but I haven't seen anyone say, "You know what, I took a chance building my life next to the river, and it blew up in my face."

...and then God was brought into it. That actually took longer than I expected, but I can't even comment on the stupidity of the comment made about that.

The point is this...it's been a rough week or ten days for a lot of people. Frustration and fear run rampant. Folks are suffering. But, this is bigger than New Madrid, or the floodway, or Cairo. Folks are being affected all along the entire river system, and now is not the time to focus solely on what's going on in our own backyards.

So, to those folks who are out filling sandbags, helping their neighbors evacuate, bringing food and water to shelters, or anything else being done in the name of easing someone's suffering, thank you...and may God bless you.

To those folks who would rather sit around on your computers and gripe about the decisions being made...get off of your butts, realize that you are not the center of the universe, recognize that a lot of people are suffering, and go help someone. It's amazing how small my problems look when I get out and see what others are dealing with.

Ok, I'm stepping off of my soapbox now. Next.