Disaster….

Neither words nor pictures can express the depth of my grief or breadth of my condolences for our neighbors in Mayflower and Vilonia — and all across the nation — who had loved ones and homes taken violently from them by the devastating storms that struck on the last Sunday of April.

The road to recovery can be long and deeply exhausting; too often lashed by horrific feelings of depletion, emptiness and overwhelm. I know, because I’ve personally traveled the emotional path too many times.

And somehow, with the encouragement, kindness and empowerment of friends, I’ve manage to muddle through. Although I remember that the first time (subsequent to tragedy) that I experienced true feelings of joy, it was usually with a twinge of guilt…

As Solomon’s Wise Men advised about how to get through the highs and lows of life -and- keep a sane head: Always remember, whether good or bad, this too shall pass.

And still, right now is the time to start converting tragedy to opportunity… and under this heading I would like to personally acknowledge the ‘public information coverage’ being given to local disaster relief by Jeff and Lisa of Little Rock radio B-98.5 (KURB-FM).

As a fellow journalist, I understand and appreciate the amount of time, thought, energy and stamina it takes to comprehensively inform the general public about any significant upcoming event, and these two popular radio personalities have gone the second hundred miles in their efforts to spread the word about relief and recovery activities and events.

For this, from the heart, I say “Well Done…!!!”

None of which should be taken as discredit to any and all of the other various Arkansas and national media who have also given generously and comprehensively of their coverage and support… I say “Well Done…!!!” to each and every one of you, too…

And still, Jeff and Lisa are an outstanding example of effectively doing ‘good works’…

On my personal homefront, the storm felled a couple of trees, which is not a big deal and in fact I was thinking about taking them down. Still, the clean-up is huge, so I’ll be spending the next week with my Craftsman wood-chipper !!!!

However, way back at the end of February, my youngest daughter and I attended a Helen Reddy concert at the Alma Performing Arts Center and the article posted at the link was calendared to appear in print in the April edition of a well-known Arkansas publication.

But then, as such stuff sometimes goes in the ‘freelance writing’ business, things changed … and thus now I share it with you at the link above…

Which also brings me to clarifying a bit about my direction and intentions as such have evolved over the months since my ‘official retirement’ commenced, and that one of my goals is to transition from my full-time professional career in media & marketing to a part-time ‘freelance travel writer’ vocation… which was, in part, what prompted the Helen Reddy adventure referenced above…

And was also the provocateur of my video entry in a recent travel contest…

And no, if you’re wondering, I didn’t win … Though it would have been nice, I am just as happy doing what I”m doing right here at home for now. And still, some soon day at just the right time, I will head out on another Great Gozarkian adventure…

Retorical thinking: The folks we’ve put in prison deserve a whole lot more than what we’re giving them… And not ‘more’, really… Just ‘better’…
It is up to us — yes, this means you — to do something about this… which is as simple as making a phone call to your elected representative(s) and telling them you endorse the practice of Restorative Justice.

For more info on this (critical to the healthy well-being of our WHOLE community) topic, have a look at this (excellent) Think Progress article.

To get your thinking more involved as action here in Arkansas, connect with Arkansans Organizing for Justice and End Mass Incarceration Now.

Until next time, may all of your days be meaningful, productive, comfortable, relaxed, joyous and filled with good cheer… now and forevermore…