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!

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.

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.

Ways to Fall in Love - We Don't Fall in Love With Just Anyone. Why Would it be Different With Pets?

Georgie (left) and Timmy (right)Timmy, Georgie and BoysGeorgie in Later Years, Summer 2009

For Timmy, Georgie, Karen, Scott, B & B

I don’t fall in love with other people’s pets easily. I need to see what they’re made of before they’ll be enjoying my undying affection, and I want to feel connected to another soul before it will cuddle on my lap.

If people gravitate toward pets that are similar to themselves, I was surprised to fall hard for two pitbulls who were not even mine. When a close girlfriend got married ten years ago, dogs Timmy and Georgie came with the husband.

I did not like pitbulls.

Architects Among Us – What are you building?

Church in Brooklyn Heights, NYChicago BuildingsGrace Building, NYCChicago Tribune BuildingSpider Web with Dew Drops,
Wave Building, ChicagoTrump Tower, Chicago
For two months a spider has been trying to steal my car. Every night it builds, and with a few days of absence from me, it constructs whole cities of webs along the outside: from antenna to side mirror, side mirror to door. I walk into its spun doorways, tricked again by the thin webs and forced to part the strands like beaded string entryways of new-age shops.

What the spider builds by night, I destroy by day. My weapons are stacks of Tim Hortons napkins, which I swipe through the air broadly until I can open all four doors without eating the webs or the bugs caught inside.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace (For Margaret, II)

Margaret P (d Aug 9, 2011)South Buffalo Pizza & Wings With NanHappy Birthday NanOur first "light" month, with 'homebound' rules lifted from insurance company, and end to regular physical therapy, occupational therapy and social worker visits

Hail Mary Full of Grace
For Margaret, II

The week before last, I held my grandmother’s hand while she died in a quiet room at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo, New York. Her son and his wife, my uncle and aunt, stood on her other side.

She had seen her mother, she'd said.

“It’s ok to go with her, Mom,” my uncle said. “You did a good job. We love you. We’ll see you again.”

We repeated how much we loved her.

Windmills, Truckstops and Transitions - Living in the In-Between (For Margaret, I)

Windmills in Western New York, Route 20AWindmills in Western New York, Route 20A, SunsetTruckstop for Ice-Cream

Soon after I drafted this, I made the 911 call that would bring my grandmother, Margaret, to the hospital on the last day of her life. I had been living with her since June, sharing primary caregiving for a brief time with my uncle and nearby family members, while she healed from the severe leg injury resulting from congestive heart failure she’d suffered from for decades.

While my gut had been telling me she would go before enduring another Buffalo winter, to protect her privacy I was reluctant to post what I’d written while she lived.

A Piece of Vacation for Your Day - San Francisco, Redwoods, and Winds that Rally Silence

Sailboat in SF Bay : Sailboat in San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz BackgroundSailboat and Golden Gate : Sailing in San Francisco Bay, Golden GateMuir Woods : Redwood in Muir Woods Nutella Crepe at The Crepe House, Polk Street, San Francisco : Nutella Crepe at The Crepe House, Polk Street, San FranciscoRedwoods in Muir Woods : Redwood in Muir Woods
Inside a Redwood in Muir Woods : Redwood in Muir WoodsSan Francisco Bay : San Francisco BayGhirardelli Square from SF Bay : Ghirardelli Square from San Francisco Bay

RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner

Recent Posts

Blog Update
Freedom of Speech
What is your longest standing friendship? (To Meredith Rhodes Pecci on her 40th Birthday)
My Christmas Wish For You
How to Stretch Gratitude Past Thanksgiving - Find Your Shrinky Dinks


April 2011
New Blog


January 2014
September 2012
July 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
August 2011
June 2011
May 2011

powered by