Angels in Shipwrecks - Kaitlin Murphy-Knudsen
Angels in Shipwrecks: Place, Politic and Spirit in Modern Life

Blog Update

The blog is on hiatus for a while as I work on other projects. Thank you for reading!

Erudite Analysis of Post-Voting Behavior in Social-Media Using Americans (Or: Jump, Click, Sticker!)

I loved the collective jump-and-kick-your-heels together feeling that few Americans could resist proclaiming after voting this week. My own moment of glee included a sense that I had fulfilled my purpose as a human being for the day (enough to justify shirking all other responsibilities to stay home, eat leftover Halloween candy and nerdily watch election coverage on tv? No?)

On Election Day, all voting adults get to revert back to elementary school, earning a sticker for participation and wearing it proudly for everyone to see.

Freedom of Speech

Two political conventions to elect a president. Microphones and megaphones. Facebook stands and Twitter wit. Speeches and rhetoric. Protesters, pundits.

On the last day I saw this photo. After all the words that have filled the last two weeks, it gave me all I wanted to add.

Freedom of Speech: Messy. Beautiful. Complicated. Necessary. 

Credit: Kansas City Star, also printed with this caption in the Tampa Bay Times, Sept. 6, 2012:
"Two protesters at left stop to share a kiss Wednesday in uptown Charlotte, N.C., while a man protests against homosexuality. Just steps away, people protest in favor of abortion rights."

What is your longest standing friendship? (To Meredith Rhodes Pecci on her 40th Birthday)

Author with friend MeredithMeredith Pecci (Brooke Mayo Photography)Meredith with her husband Matt
On my first day of the second grade, I was the last one to arrive to class. I was the new kid and there was only one seat left, next to a girl with a short haircut identical to my own, and a gap between her two front teeth that braces would close years later. 

Almost thirty-two years of friendship with her, I am thinking about friendships that last. As in most long-standing friendships, this one has seen its seasons of drift, sending closeness dormant as lives go in different directions, then suddenly come together again as friendship grows green and alive from softening, unfrozen ground.

Find your tribe. Chase a dream. Go to a conference?

Dallas (Credit Newscom via, America's Fastest Growing Cities)

I love the change of pace that comes with attending conferences. They gently jar us from everyday routines and remind us that no matter how old we are, there is always more to learn and we always have the ability to change. 

My first conference was in Tokyo, Japan, a short distance from where I was teaching middle and high school on a U.S. Navy Base in the late 90s.  Last year, I attended a conference to learn about websites, SEO optimization and other eye-glazing skills I had to severely twist my own arm to learn (via a ticket to San Francisco,

Omelettes, Pancakes, and Resurrection - Happy Easter

SunflowersSun Through WoodsFlowers and WaterfallEaster Brunch, Author and her Father

This year, for the first time in a long while, I did not go to church on Easter.  I had no clear reason why. I had been working hard on a project in the weeks beforehand, and when I finally came up for air, it was 1:00am on Easter morning. I had just emerged from that luxurious place of concentration so complete that you forget the rest of the world is there−when you sit down to work for a little while in a coffee shop, and the next time you look up, the room is empty but for the person sweeping the space around you, gently reminding you they closed ten minutes ago.

To My Forties (From My Thirties, With Love)


In the months before I turned 40, I felt little of the angst I’d heard was supposed to come with entering mid-life. I had a lot to be grateful for, including the opportunity and ability to do work I enjoy, the countless faces and kinds of love I’d been shown over the years, and the expectation of more good things to come.   

Then, a week before the big day, I remembered how my childhood self had viewed this decade. In her eyes, forty was for people who were done growing up, for parents who delivered clear rules to live by and spent the majority of their time driving kids to softball, track and field hockey practice.

The End of Rain - What will it mean for you?

Skagit River Valley, WAEnd of Rain blog photo - Angels in ShipwrecksEnd of Rain Blog Photo Angels in Shipwrecks

(April, 2011) Last weekend I saw where all the pictures of Heaven were taken. You know them: they run across movie dreamscapes, fill panoramic frames in the fluorescent-lit offices that claim our winter skin, and stock the marketing photo files of the Calgon and Summer’s Eve back offices.

An hour north of Seattle, every year theSkagit River Valleystreams impossible color across fields waiting hard all year for daffodils, tulips and irises to fill the vast spaces they become in winter. If the sight of them breaks you open with gratitude, you were probably waiting for something too.

My Christmas Wish For You

Three Christmas Candles, Credit: http://crazy-frankenstein.comIraqi Christians Pray Rosary, Credit: Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images, via

I never loved the structured, pre-written prayers of my Catholic upbringing. The Our Father, Hail Mary, The Nicene Creed...I resisted words proclaimed in lock-step with a congregation who knew every phrase and inflection by rote but may or may not have felt the words.

As I saw it, prayers that had been pre-written and approved for repeat recitation always rang, well, a little lazy to me. After all, what did it say to God if I couldn’t take a minute to formulate my own words, if I leaned instead on stoic turns of phrase that matched cement pillars, austere arches, and vast church spaces more than they matched me?

How to Stretch Gratitude Past Thanksgiving - Find Your Shrinky Dinks

SunsetMorgan and Sugar When Irish-Puerto Rican Eyes are Smiling (a few shrinky dinks in author's life)A tree that survived the snowMorgan and author's brother

A few weeks ago I visited a friend whose husband had just lost his father. They have a five year-old boy and a girl of seven months. While I was packing for the trip, my friend sent me a text sharing her son’s effort to brighten her husband’s day.

“Daddy,” he said, “I have two surprises for you!”

“Really? What?”

“I got Shrinky Dinks, and Kaitlin is coming!”

My heart warmed to be included with the esteemedShrinky DinksI remembered from childhood, even more so when I pulled onto their street to see her son standing in the driveway waiting for me.
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Recent Posts

Blog Update
Erudite Analysis of Post-Voting Behavior in Social-Media Using Americans (Or: Jump, Click, Sticker!)
Freedom of Speech
What is your longest standing friendship? (To Meredith Rhodes Pecci on her 40th Birthday)
Find your tribe. Chase a dream. Go to a conference?


April 2011
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