Monday, April 15, 2013


A city I love,
was the scene of horrific tragedy today.

a place where
my family roots run deep.

In 1676.
that is 337 years ago,
my ancestors came to Marblehead, Massachusetts.
The first ancestors in my family to live in this part of America over three hundred years ago. 
They walked the streets of Boston.
They were born, married, and died in places like Cambridge, Salem, and Boston.

the Boston area is where 
my youngest son, his wife, and my youngest grandson live.
my nephew, his wife, his daughter, and his son live in this area.
Everyday, my son, my nephew, my daughter-in-law 
travel by train into or through the city to go to work.

My nephew, an architect,  just designed the newly constructed
  Liberty Mutual Bridge in downtown Boston.
He was three blocks from the explosion when it happened.

I find it hard to wrap my head around what happened today.

Whenever I have the chance to visit Boston,
I begin to think it truly is the 
Hub of the Universe
 just as Oliver Wendell Holmes once said it was.
I love everything about the city.
I love the parks,
the historical landmarks,
Dunkin Donuts,
Fenway Park,
The Boston Red Sox,
the crowds,
the people,
the museums,
the art galleries,
the food.

If my grandson is with me, to guide the way, I can navigate the subway system.
I can find landmarks.
I know the train to take to my favorite places.
I know the train to take to get back to my son's home.

I have my favorite places, the ones I must always visit.
I have my favorite restaurants, delis, and bakeries.

I have so many happy memories of the times I have spent in this city visiting my son.
Duck Tour
Boston 2006

I finally made it to Boston in 2006 when my son Jonathan began work on his M.A. at 
Boston College.
Jon & Atticus
Boston College, 2006

At the same time, his wife Samantha was given a full ride to work on her PhD at 
Northeastern University.
Dr. Samantha Christiansen
Northeastern University,
Boston 2011
Whenever I am in Boston, I try to connect with my nephew and his family.
Mini Family Reunion
Quincy, MA
Mini Family Reunion
Quincy, MA
I am so proud of the the educational and professional achievements these young people have had while they have spent time in Boston.
I am grateful for the educational institutions that have educated my son, his wife, 
and my nephew and his wife.
This city,
the city of Boston,
has been good to them.

It truly seems impossible to believe that we are seeing and hearing of such horrific tragedy in this great city.

Those who run the Boston Marathon, 
are premier athletes.

We have many runners in our family.
I know of the determination, the courage, the training, and preparation that is required to run a marathon.
To think that dedicated, courageous runners were maimed today is heartbreaking.
My heart goes out to those innocent bystanders who were killed today, or suffered life changing injuries.
My prayers are with the family who lost an eight year old child.
My prayers are with all those who are in a state of shock because suddenly their lives were turned upside down.

Today, when I first heard the news of what had happened in Boston,
my first thought was of my family.
Were they all ok?
I was nearly sick with worry.
I then thought of the chaos that those involved would confront physically and emotionally.
Immediately, the words of Psalms 46: 1-2
came to mind.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved to the heart of the sea,

It is my prayer that those in distress will be comforted,
given courage and healing,
and that this act will not stop us all from joining each other in celebrating 
and the pursuit of happiness
in the public square.

I hope we can continue to celebrate all that this great city has to offer and do so in a manner that reflects the beliefs and values of those early Americans who established this city and the surrounding towns in the hope that their children and all those born in the generations to come would have a place of 
and safety.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Change, Structure and Blogging

I've never done well with change.  I like things to be the way I like them to be.  It seems I have a difficult time with change because creating structure for my life is extremely difficult for me.  Once I establish a system and create structure for my life, I feel less chaotic if I stick to to my system or structure.  I would like to say it is in my DNA not to conform to structure, but where would I be without the structure of my DNA?

As I write these words, I realize how conflicted I am over the roles that change and structure play in my life.   I need structure and hate change.  I love change and hate structure.  Deep down inside I have always resisted rules, structures, and schedules.  I feel very trapped if I am not free to do what I want to do when I want to do it.  My daily struggle involves one where I try not to do things as the spirit leads because if I only did things when I am inspired, a lot of things that need to be done would never get done.

If you read that previous rambling paragraph, you may be saying to yourself, "This girl is really confused.  Does she like change or not?  Does she like structure or not?"  My answer would be, "I truly am confused!  You've got that right.  I am a mess.  I love/hate structure.  I fight against structure because I feel it confines me.  I must have structure to do well.  Change scares me.  Change is exciting to me when I am in control of the change."  Can any of you relate?

As a teacher, I relied on structure in order to have good classroom management.  As a ninth grade English teacher, much of my task was to teach order and structure.  Much of my day consisted of teaching the structure of a sentence, a paragraph, an essay.  Other days, my focus in teaching was on teaching the structure of a story.  I loved teaching structure to my students.  I insisted that structure was evident in the way my classroom was maintained, and that it was evident in all writing assignments except for journals.

After retirement, I struggled most with structure.  I now longer lived by the bell.  I no longer had to stick to a lesson plan.  I was free to do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  Since I needed a hobby of sorts, and because I love to write, I took up blogging.  I had a slow start, but then, I found myself spending at least an hour a day blogging.  Blogging connected me to an entirely different life.  I soon found that a day just was not complete without visiting my blogging friends.

Since we moved in October, blogging has really taken a backseat in my life.  This is not because I don't love reading blogs and writing blog posts.  This is not because blogging is no longer important in my life.  It is because of change and a lack of structure in my life that blogging has been pushed to the back.  I so admire those of you who write blogs on a daily basis filled with photos, sayings, and family events.  Here it is a week after Easter and my camera full of photos taken on that day is still upstairs untouched. I have not downloaded the photos.  I have not written a blog post about our wonderful holiday, and now the news is a week old!

When we first moved, I couldn't even find my desk.  I didn't turn my computer on for days.  I didn't clear off a place for it on my desk and plug it in for weeks.  Then, I actually was unhappy with the location of my office space and my desk.  The room selected by me, and the only room suitable for such an area, is in the basement in what seems to me to be the most disconnected from life corner of the house.  Needing connection to life to write, I find I have a very difficult time even wanting to enter my office.

Realizing my dislike of my office space, I purchased a desk for the upstairs guest room.  This has caused me to feel a bit more connected to life and blogging, but so far, the location is still not totally working out for me.  I don't want to move my entire office upstairs, so I continue to feel disconnected to my space for writing.

Then, there is the lack of structure in my life these days.  Jim and I have really struggled with this.  We found that a new house means that life get lived a little differently.  The routine was disrupted when we moved.  We are beginning to adjust to our new environment, but it has taken us some time.  We have both dealt with multiple health issues in the past year.  These issues have not gone away since we moved.  These issues have also disrupted our routines in life.

At times, during the past five months, I've thought of giving up blogging since I just could not keep up with reading blogs, commenting, and writing my own posts.  I have not given up blogging, but my blogging life has certainly changed.  I hope to get some structure back when it comes to blogging.  I hope my blogging friends will bear with me.  Know that I think of you often, read your blogs as I can, and write when I finally am able to set the time aside to do so.

As I have thought about my future in blogging, I have been pondering adding a new blog.  This blog will remain, but I am exploring the idea of adding a second blog.  This seems like nearly a crazy thing to do since I can't keep up with this blog, but I hope to create a blog with a different theme and with more structure.  Again, don't give up on me as I explore this idea.  Stay tuned.