Thinking of Houston

Art Sign in downtown Houston 

I have never been faced with a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey.  I’ve weathered minor, but still frightening, earthquakes in Santa Barbara, a wildfire that licked the edges of the city and flooding that closed the highway underpasses but none of these caused me anything more than anxiety or inconvenience. I’ve never had to flee my home, leaving behind possessions or pets, or risk my life getting to safety. I’ve never spent a night in a shelter surrounded by other displaced people.

So I’m not going to say that I understand what the people of Houston, and other coastal towns in Texas are going through right now.  I can’t imagine the enormity of the recovery effort that is in front of them. The clean up, repair and rebuilding will be a difficult and lengthy process as will the mourning for those lost.

I really feel for the people who have lost nearly everything. Who have lost their homes and don’t have insurance or the wherewithal to rebuild. The renters who no longer have an apartment which to return. The person who lives paycheck to paycheck and who no longer has a job because the place they work has shuttered its doors. The homeless, already displaced but pushed now even further to the edges as services are overwhelmed by those newly in need.

I do know what some of these people will go through. The difficulties they will face keeping their families together, housed and fed. The anxiety as funds diminish and needs accrue. The despair over lost dreams and derailed lives. The unending and unrelenting hardness of it all. I hope that by ending up in this situation due to a catastrophic natural disaster that has garnered the attention of the nation they have more help and resources available to them and a community to which to turn for comfort.

Posted in compassion, disaster, flood | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

To Blog or Not to Blog?

That is the question! If I were to answer just from the data in front of me (extremely long periods without a blog post) I’d have to say my response apparently is to not blog. But (gasp) data isn’t everything. When faced with the decision to pay the blog hosting fee one more year I considered pulling the plug. I have a reasonable sized audience with whom I interact on Facebook; perhaps that’s enough. Facebook, however, seems to prompt quick ‘of the moment’ posts, suitable for some topics but not for all. And not everyone is on Facebook (some days I wish I weren’t). So I went ahead and paid for another year (which also gives me time to figure out the best way to download and archive all the Boxcarkids blog posts for my kids (and theirs if they opt to have/adopt any). Their memories and perspectives of the events that played a major part in shaping their childhoods are different from mine. I hope reading the posts when they are adults will help them figure some things out.

Regardless, I still face obstacles to blogging. I don’t have as much time for the pursuit as I once did. This year I not only have my relatively new job (STEM Coach) but also another new boss and I am teaching two new classes only one in which I’ve had sufficient training. I took on a second job last spring to help cover expenses (we are slowly getting out from under medical bills but of course new ones, and new car repairs and home issues keep cropping up), working 20 hours a week as a cashier at a local grocery shop. The pay is not great – about $6.50 an hour after deductions but it helps as does the small discount on store brands. Three hungry teenagers can really put a dent in one’s food budget! And those teenagers, busy with extracurricular activities (especially my middle daughter who is a senior this year) eat into my ‘free’ time with all the requisite chauffeuring I do as the only licensed driver in the household.

So time is one issue, but another is the feeling that the blog has outlived its purpose. It was a lifeline for me when our world was cast asunder and I was on shaky ground in so many aspects of my life. It gave me purpose and connections and I felt I was a voice for the many people facing similar hardships who weren’t being seen or heard. But we’ve graduated from the slightly newsworthy family fallen from respectable heights of home ownership to living in a cramped RV. We’re now just one more poor family living in a mobile home in rural Indiana. Drive on folks, not much to see here! Our struggles aren’t particularly interesting (to me they are merely mind-numbing and frustrating) and our few ‘triumphs’ are really just getting over one more hump or through one more hoop. Yawn. Not the stuff novels are made of that’s for sure.

So whether I will continue the blog is still an open question. I do plan a series of short updates when I can get time (and the computer away from my daughter – we are now a one computer household) but I won’t promise they will occur with any regularity. I will continue those short Facebook posts so if you’re on that platform check in with me there.

Posted in blogging, jobs, teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Quick plug for Prime Day

Today is prime day at – all sorts of deals for prime members! If you shop from any of the Amazon links on the blog we will earn a small commission which will help with our back to school shopping.

Update coming soon!


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments