If you are reading this over a cup of coffee or with a bowl of cereal in front of you, may I be one of the first to wish you a very Happy Mayan New Year as another doomsday has come and gone. Hopefully the world hasn't lost its collective mind in the 72 hours since I wrote this. Of course there is always the chance this page of the newspaper has been found several hundred years from now buried deep in the earth where Carbon County used to be and some archaeologist is reading this. In that case, you should know the majority of the planet didn't believe that there was going to be a cataclysm so we were busy partying on Mayan New Year's Eve. At least we went with a smile.

Of course if you were one of the people who believed the world was really over yesterday, here is a checklist of things you might want to do to catch up with the world at least until the next doomsday event which will probably be in a few years.

First, it might be a good idea to take advantage of the three shopping days before Christmas you still have left to get your presents. Of course you could wrap empty boxes and blame the Mayans for spending your present money on the ponies since the world was ending. While you are at it, maybe sending those Christmas cards you left on the shelf all month would be a good idea. A few might arrive before Christmas morning and save your social status.

With regard to all that food and water you stockpiled for the subsequent zombie invasion, you probably could eat it now since society sidestepped Armageddon. On second thought, you may want to wait on this until the politicians in Washington figure out how far they are going to throw the country's economic future under the bus. It might be a good idea to pay those bills you left sit for a few weeks in case you needed the cash on hand for evacuation or other immediate concerns.

If you are disappointed that the world did not come to a grinding halt, don't feel too bad about it. You are part of a large group of post-apocalyptic predictors and in good company with the Jehovah's Witnesses, Harold Camping, Hal Lindsey, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and many more. All have predicted the world would end as we discussed a few weeks ago, but now life must continue. Looking back we will all admit this was one interesting experience to share during our lifetime.

In other news, it has been a very long and difficult week for so many people suffering loss in Connecticut after the violence of last Friday's events. There is no deeper or lasting pain than that of losing a child, and I cannot fathom how much worse it becomes to have a healthy child taken away in such a cold, violent manner. While the pain is tremendous right now, time may take away the intensity, but it never removes the sadness. One can draw some comfort though from knowing those little angels are safe in God's arms now and will never be harmed again. I do believe they will look down on their families and comfort them, but all those lost moments, unopened presents and missed milestones will continue for the poor families long after the heinous event fades from our collective memory. All we can do is pray for them and ask for healing.

We must also remember and hold up those brave teachers and principal who gave their lives to save their young charges. The selfless actions those professionals showed that morning should be remembered for each one's sacrifice was as brave as the firefighter entering a burning building, the soldier on the battlefield and the policeman in the middle of crisis. It is even a more admirable since these educators were unarmed and courageous in what they did. There are children who survived this horror because of those actions and I have no words to describe such valor. They are my heroes.

I think this should also be a call to have a serious re-evaluation of how we are dealing with mental illnesses today or not dealing with them. This is yet another case in which if the warning signs were heeded and there was a legal means to stop and treat this shooter, this tragedy may have been avoidable. Ill individuals do not just walk out or a vacuum. They just don't wake up and decide to create such horrible tragedies. We need to pay more attention to each other and care for one another better. We also need to ensure our laws help us to treat these people and not limit our ability to help those who cannot or will not help themselves. If we do not have this difficult and honest dialogue among ourselves, then we may not be able to stop the next person who needs help in time once again.

On a final note, I wish each and every one of you all the best for a happy healthy holiday with your family and friends. Thank you for the gift of your readership. Merry Christmas.

Til next timeā€¦