Showing posts from 2017

Big Problems for 2018

Oh dear. I am in the vortex of New Year's Resolutions. In years past, I have eschewed resolution-making easily, tossing aside the urge like so many flyers home from school, avoiding the pull of self-improvement without a care. But this year is different.  This year, I want to change ALL THE THINGS.  I want to be better in ALL THE WAYS.   I feel the desire to be better and the temptation of resolve, and I strongly suspect that waiting for me on the other side is disappointment and failure.  As a woman who has increasingly lived by the mantra "The Secret to Happiness is Low Expectations," I am confused and concerned by this sudden urge to set the bar high and reach for the goddamn stars. Let's put the devil in the details.  Let's list all the ways in which I seek to be a better human being in 2018. Pray more. Read more books. Exercise more. Write more. Eat better: includes eating more vegetables and fewer carbs, and drinking more water and less wine


First I want to thank everyone for being here to honor my mom and support our family.   We are incredibly appreciative of your love and support. The thing I most want to say today is thank you mom.   Thank you for giving me the life I have, the faith I have in a loving God, and the experience of being raised by someone who worked quietly, consistently, and with great integrity, for her family, community, and world. Thank you mom, for the gift of laughter .   Many of my favorite childhood memories are of laughing.   Laughing really hard at Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, and especially MASH.   Laughing at the Sunday comics, the Far Side and Bloom County.   Even Doonsebury, which I rarely got, but which I knew must be funny because my mom and the rest of my family sure thought so.   Laughing about our family lore – the inside jokes and stories that made me so glad I was a Murphy.   Looking through family photos this past week, I was struck by how many of them capture all of us


Charlottesville is consuming me. I admit to being obsessed with all the coverage and interviews. It cannot be good for me to watch too much CNN and listen to too many talking heads, but I cannot look away. I am fascinated by how human beings can grow such hate in their hearts and minds, hate that leads them to see others as less than human. It’s a specific kind of selfishness that is truly terrifying. It’s fear. It has always been fear and it will always be fear. Look into your own family, look at the people you love. Why do they lash out, why do they do hurtful things, even to people they love?  Fear.   I look at my own children, who I know are good and kind people, and I’m shocked multiple times a week at how vicious they can be with each other, how immediately defensive they are when they feel threatened and fearful. If they are about to get in trouble, if they know they did something hurtful, if they think they are about to get steamrolled -- they are virulently defen

Thank God for Freezing Soccer Mornings

We were up at 6am, in rural Turlock, California, ready to cheer on a field full of 10-year olds competing in their early morning State Cup Quarterfinal. It was 34 degrees outside -- not so impressive if you're playing winter soccer in Chicago, or New York, or Kansas, but pretty freakin' cold if you happen to be 10-year old California girls and their parents. The grass crunched beneath our feet. We blew frosty smoke rings from our mouths. We stomped our feet and talked about how it was damn cold but WOW it could be even colder, and at least the sun was out. We cheered on our girls, hoping to will them to victory with our support and encouragement. And then, we felt heartsick and helpless as we watched them go down in defeat. We fretted to each other that they deserved this win, that the score didn't tell the real story. We joked "At least we'll get our Sunday back," since by midway through the second half it was clear that we weren't returnin

What Can Be Our Response?

Here is an unspeakable secret: paradise is all around us and we do not understand. It is wide open. The sword is taken away, but we do not know it. I am present without knowing it at all, in this unspeakable paradise, and I behold this secret, this wide open secret which is there for everyone, free. – Thomas Merton  Thank you, Thomas Merton, for your words, and thank you to my friend Linda for sharing them on Facebook this morning to usher in 2017. Perhaps this is what all angst and anxiety stem from: we are present in unspeakable paradise without knowing it, even while we search for it high and low, with desperation and urgency.  We are searching for that paradise with every resolution, every firm decision to be better, do better, love better.  Paradise is all around us: why don't we see it?  Why aren't we aware of every moment we are living in it?  Why don't we know it? That existential crisis will be even more palpable in this, our beloved country, as we watc