Category Archives: thoughts

Improv 101

yay!I took my first improv class last night.

It was a hoot.

I think anybody could do it. Maybe everybody should do it.

There are so many life applications I’ve already learned in class, like accepting (and even welcoming!!!) failure. When you fail it means you’re trying something new and taking a risk. You create a space for vulnerability and you invite others to fail with you. It’s also about taking the attention off of you and giving it to someone else. How can I make Shana look the best right now? It’s about being present. When you’re present, you’re not planning. When you plan, it’s you focusing on you, to protect you or give you the ego boost of having said the funniest thing. We lose opportunities to collaborate that way. Since you have to think fast, you’re probably going to piggyback off of what’s already been done (this is a good thing). You give it a new twist. You add to it. You morph it. All that plus commitment, and blammo! Hilarity ensues!

I’m only one deep, but I think I’m going to get into it. Good stuff.

I’ve always wanted to try it. Though it was one of the scarier things I’ve signed up for in the last few years, once I got there, it was a breeze.

I wonder how much I don’t do because I fear the initial getting-used-to-it phase. How long do we stay at jobs we outgrow because of this? Relationships? Miss out on rock climbing and sailing, because we don’t know how and it’s “hard to learn”? We’re not afraid of the new thing; we’re just afraid of the beginning of the new thing—the going through puberty with the new thing.

Well folks, it’s going to be awkward.

But after one class/month/trial, it’s probably going to be worth it.

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My One Thing

`~*bAcK 2 BlOgGiNg*~`

I’ve been making excuse after excuse as to why I don’t have time to draw/write/blog/etc. Enough is enough. It’s time to get back into shape, even if it’s ugly and awkward.

Every day my roommate and I tape a note card to our door that says, “My one thing” then there’s a column for each of us and we have to do it. Maybe it’s scheduling a doctor checkup, starting a research paper or finishing some business cards. But it gets done because it’s ONE THING.

It has to be tangible / measurable. Ideally it’s something we’re tempted to put off day after day.

One thing means no excuses.

Baby steps + focus.

It gets done.

Like this post. 

Because starting from somewhere is better than starting from nowhere.


like diamonds

tumblr_m4rl16wkw21qa7qx6o1_500Need I say more?

*via Oh, Pioneer!

t: @beckycmurphy  |   i: @beckz_

micro funk evolution

My friend Amy said, “If we unlock our past, we have the key to our future.” She was talking about the bigger scope, but it still holds true for the day to day.

I am amazed at how often I embark on a routine that is destined to fail, yet I do it over and over again. You’d think I’d learn by now. Until I step back and deconstruct it like a child, I will keep running in circles. Simple example:

Monday was a torpid day. I was unmotivated at work and unmotivated when I went home to work on the book. That didn’t make me especially excited to tap into Tuesday.

Typically I would roll my eyes and remember that it’s just one of those days. This time I took note of several lapses. Since I only got a few hours of sleep, the day started out with tired eyes and a womp womp attitude. I also didn’t give myself time to unwind between day job and book illustrating. The worst part about said funk is that it doesn’t cure itself without reformation. Typical Becky: “Wasn’t productive today, therefore I will stay up late so I can go to bed feeling accomplished. TOMORROW WILL BE DIFFERENT, self.”

Keeping that in mind, I made sure to redeem Tuesday. Woke up early, went to the gym (even though I was lazy bones — probably gained non-muscle weight, BUT I WENT. Really though, I ate food while doing sit ups. I yawned when it was time to go home.) I slept twice as long and I had a a treat-yo-self hour between work and book (ice cream + watched Tiny Furniture). I even wrapped up at a reasonable hour, despite not getting as much done as I hoped. Guess what else I did…I read. For 30 wonderful minutes. And I didn’t even feel bad about it.

More posts regarding time & being intentional with it & why it also doesn’t matter & why it also does.

photos from here | Follow @beckycmurphy for more twitter goods.


beginning a blog makeover

It would have been cooler if I unveiled this when it was actually finished, but that’s not how I roll when I’m on a roll.



via Oh Pioneer & Jesse Harding

just dream already

“Unreasonable and unrealistic goals are easier to achieve for yet another reason. Having an unusually large goal is an adrenaline infusion that provides the endurance to overcome the inevitable trials and tribulations that go along with any goal. Realistic goals, goals restricted to the average ambition level, are uninspiring and will only fuel you through the first or second problem, at which point you will throw in the towel.” — Tim Ferris

Remember: even if you only achieve 30% of what you set out to do, you are still 30% closer than you were prior to such ridiculous goal. I have some personal accounts of this that I will be glad to divulge in the future.

*photo from The Year in Food

Happiness yes?

Great idea from Julien Smith:
“Start a gratitude journal. Studies show it is the one thing that produces the largest change in happiness. I’ve had one for the past month and it’s been awesome.”

*photos via Roxy Qwerinto

“Just a Diddy”

My friend Erin wrote this. She emailed it to me a couple weeks ago. The subject said, “just a diddy”. Yeah. JUST a diddy. Pfffft. I asked if I could use it and it kind of caught her off guard. Well Miss Erin, this is straight up good and Chipper Things is going to be the vehicle to your international fame and glory.

So familiar is this emotion, this circle, this undeviating rotation of thoughts. Once around the bend and once again into infinite burrowing, chiseling depths. Ruts.
A rut, by definition, is a “sunken track or groove made by the passage of vehicles.” It is that or, “an annually recurring condition or period of sexual excitement and reproductive activity in male deer.” The former is what I am currently sorting through, though I am sure I have encountered the latter (metaphorically, of course.)
A groove, a rhythm of dissonant displeasure. Purrrrr, and hummmm, and screech are my weary tires against the deepening red clay of my mind.
Wail on you wiley siren. Sing me into my depravity.

A voice says, “will you trust me?”
Will I? How do I? My response is littered with skepticism and fear.
“Let go.”
What? How? Of what?
“Me. You. Your worries and your mind. Yourself. Let go.”
Again I have to ask, how? Do you, voice, not see my feet and my wheels and the deep walls that surround me as I spin in this unceasing ring?
“Trust me.”
I let go.
Fingers, unclench your tiring grip.
I let go.
Mind, stop.
I let go.
Black. Cosmos. Stars. Beginnings. New life.

There are no ruts without control, and there is no control when we lack gravity. Thank you, voice, that I defy gravity. The fall feels like floating before I spread my wings and fly.

*photo via Bleubird

I’d Recommend

It’s Friday and you know what that means…only three more days until Monday! I hope your day is off to a good start. What is the best thing that has happened to you so far? [Your answer] is very cool. I’m glad.

Since I don’t get paid to blog, I make these recommendations because they are too good to contain to myself. Four for now:

music: Fiona Apple‘s The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.
movie: Holy Rollers. Documentary about a group of Christian card counters. Fascinating for anyone. Netflix instant queue.
book: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller OR Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.
habit: One goal per day. Every morning, write it down on a notecard. Simple or scary. Then do it.

a pal’s wisdom

Grounders are rough. They move fast and they can break your nose if you let them have their way with you. A good fielder doesn’t let this happen because a good fielder has soft hands. They gently scoop in the wild turkey and coddle it until they get that punk out sneaking onto third (obviously I am not a sports writer).

I ran into a dear friend last night and told her about some cool things happening in my world. After a bit of rapport, she reminded me to have soft hands. No matter how good or how bad things turn out, remember to be flexible and have soft hands. Thanks, Amy.

*illustration by Lisa Congdon

Organization Station

Practices I’m trying to implement:

1. Never leave a room without taking something with me.
(i.e. pile of letters on the kitchen table that need to filed.)

2. Tidy for the length of one song every morning. Preferably before I get ready and preferably to an awesome song.

3. Always remember my father’s words: everything has a place.

*Above poster-in-progress ironically sat on my living room floor for weeks before I found a place for it: under my bed. In a box. Someday I’ll come back. 

3 things worth noting

1. Just read this really good post, “20 Things I Should have Known at 20“. I was going to pick out a few points, but I think it’s all worth reading. Don’t overlook the links throughout the article. There is a lot of goodness embedded in that site.

2. Tim Ferris says we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. I am one lucky lady.

3. Good techniques for gaining better memory. Not one of those duh-I-already-knew-that sort of things. (ex: have a scent or fragrance with you while you study. Bring that same scent with you to the test.)

image by Jon Contino

Is a bad poem worse than no poem?

I have been thinking about the Kurt Vonnegut quote I posted yesterday.

The problem with writing is: A) starting B) finishing C) doing it well.

I am grossly aware of how unqualified I am to write about the things I deem most important to write about. We are all experts at ourselves, so lifestyle blogging is hard to mess up. You can’t fail at your own genre and you get to choose your level of difficulty. While that is an honest and true, it isn’t challenging. It doesn’t mean that everything has a Full House moment at the end, but if it doesn’t have substance, it is like ice cream cake for lunch. You freaking enjoy the quick sugar high, but all you’re left with is an empty stomach and type 2 diabetes. And you can’t get those minutes back. And yeah, I had ice cream cake the last three days for lunch.

I have toyed with the romantic idea of simply not posting if I have nothing worth noting.

There are a few schools of thought here. On the one hand, Anne Lamott says to write about what you’d love to come upon. For me this means truth spoken honestly and humbly. I piggyback that onto this Mike Monteiro quote from a few days ago, “You are responsible for the things you help put in the world. If you do not think something should exist in the world, do not participate in it.”

I’m not sure where I land ideologically. Is it better to create a half ass paragraph for the sake of habit forming and consistency? Or to be my own best editor and Minister of Quality Control? Do I make this a place where I vow to never participate in what will waste my / my readers’ time? Or do I contribute to the internet’s black hole in the name of discipline? Thoughts?

Via Things Organized Neatly


“You are responsible for the things you help put in the world. If you do not think something should exist in the world, do not participate in it.”

Mike Montero on the things you make during Creative Mornings on June 11, 2012.

via occasional musings

Free SNL sketch ideas

1. Commercial: protein powder for beer. Perfect for health-conscious bros who still want to enjoy a night out with the guys.

*Bonus: cut to shot of Bill Hader secretly emptying white powder into gin and tonic at the bar. 

2. Paula Deen host. This was not my idea. I think it was Kate’s. Fantastic idea.

3. Foot weight loss cream for summer sandals.

4. Liz Lemon host.

5. Kanye and Jay-Z at coffee shop writing. Both focused. Kanye looks up and sheepishly asks Jay Z if the line, “Tell me what’s next, alien sex” is ‘cool’ or ‘just okay’. Jay Z shrugs his shoulders and says, “Just okay.”

*Funnier if familiar with Katy Perry and Kanye’s song, ‘E.T.’

6. Carrot’s perspective: how it feels to be good enough only when you’re all dressed up. Investigate parallels with Toddlers in Tiaras. Makeup vs. hummus. Veneers vs. ranch.

7. Office meeting in tiny break room. Someone has runny nose. Boss doesn’t understand general irritability.

5. Bachelorette party where the gifts reveal way too much about the giver. Wait — I think this has kind of been done. When Emma Stone hosted? Maybe?

7. Digital Hoarders: fear of deleting recycle bin and temp files. “SHE HAD 42 GB!”

*Don’t think tech can be funny? Remember Nick Burns, Your Company’s Computer Guy?

What are your favorite SNL sketches? Are you sad Kristen Wiig is done? What ideas do you have stashed away?

A brief defense for long-winded voicemails

You call your friend to ask a couple of questions on your way home from work. She doesn’t answer. Do you just hang up? Do you just tell her to call you back? NO. Leave friend a 1-4 minute long voicemail. Here’s why:

1. What if that was the last opportunity you had to communicate with said friend? Wouldn’t friend appreciate it, like, a lot?

2. Ever heard of writing letters? Ever heard of audiobooks? Okay, cool. Just making sure it’s still 2012. Felicity and Sally communicated via recorded cassette tapes. J.J. Abrams couldn’t stand to let Felicity be conventional enough to even write letters like most people probably did in the drabby 90’s. If Keri Russell got to do it, then you sure can in the progressive 21st century.

3. Maybe voicemails are a safe place to practice story telling. Maybe they’re a safe place to spill big news. Voicemails are an opportunity to not put friend on the spot.

4. It’s an email with the inflection. With a voicemail letter, you don’t have to use ten exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!! Or wonder if your smiley faces are creepy ;) You control the tone.

What are your thoughts? Do you disagree? I’m easily provoked, you know.


A brief defense for using this picture:

1. When else will I get to use this felicity drawing from months ago?

2. No short post today. Come on, people! I’m just supposed to have 30 before April is over. Please check back soon.

This just in! The web is sometimes wasteful!

The internet is exactly like wine. It is wonderful most of the time, but best when not over-consumed. Then it becomes a black hole. My list from yesterday was going so well…until the internet happened. I called my mom (and left a voicemail). I wrote some letters (and didn’t send them). I ran hard (at the end of the day). I even spent time with with Madison as she colored her fuzzy posters and I cut out cards. The day was mostly a success until I binged on the world wide web. I think I will start turning off my computer. I said that once before, but I mean it a little more this time. Except for now. And when I clean out my inbox. And when I double check my bogus spelling.

Books: best enjoyed when available

As I was reading Wit and Delight  a few weeks ago, I stumbled across a post about a friend of hers looking to bring some books to the kiddos in Costa Rica. We come across these sorts of charities all the time, but this one stuck with me. Even in America, nearly two-thirds of low-income families don’t own any books. (via RIF) It’s hard enough to get some children to want to read, but not to be able to because you just don’t have any?

Here’s the deal: Hailee is going to Costa Rica in April and she wants to bring 100 books with her. If you choose to participate, you can buy Spanish books from anywhere, but I recommend the easiest route: Amazon. Ages 4-8 & 9-12 are more than welcome. Even just one book is moving forward instead of staying idle.

Ship to:
Hailee Rustad
11665 Surfbird Circle
Jacksonville, FL 32256

All books must be delivered by March 30th. If you choose to buy, I would suggest commenting on her blog post so she knows what to expect.

photo via here

Please tell me when I write like a fool, because I have no idea

I don’t know what to write about today. I am not a writer and I have no idea how to do it good well. If I have tricked you into thinking I am, then ravioli holy cannoli! Congratulations! You have finished this post early and now you may go visit your other internet friends.

I forget / mostly don’t know the rules of grammar and punctuation and all that other hullabaloo. Period in or outside parentheses? To who or whom? Not ending a sentence on a preposition…don’t get me started. Okay, I have already started. I know that banner I have on the left is breaking that rule, and I keep meaning to change it, but I always find something better to do. I am also a terrible speller. If I ever get married, I will be haunted by my Google search history. “Oh the words she doesn’t know how to spell!” he will sob.

Heartfelt conclusion: your encouragement has lifted my spirit. I have never been so affirmed that I could write, make people laugh or expound on something insightful. I knew I had too many thoughts to contain to myself (hence this online teepee). I just didn’t know I would have smart people with diverse backgrounds tell me that it works. I have a lot more to say, but I would rather end this post like Friends than Two and a Half Men. Wait — Two and a Half Men still exists…and I’m still writing…fiddlesticks.

Note to reader: Google did not pay me to mention them in this post.

photos via here

Lessons from my mother

1. Take your vitamins.

2. Don’t buy because it’s on sale. If you wouldn’t want it at regular price, what difference does the money make? (I have a feeling that this isn’t an aha-moment for the male readers.)

3. Don’t be trendy  just to be trendy. If the “cool patchwork jeans” look unbecoming on you, then it is not your trend. She told me that middle parts were all the rage — but not for Crystal. Crystal is not a fool. Crystal is not going to be fooled by the masses and she sure as hell isn’t going to be fooled by a hair stylist. She has rocked the side part her whole life and hasn’t looked back.

4. Keep your jewelry. It takes minimal storage and your high school daughter [me] just may go through a phase where loud and dated jewelry is, “like, seriously the coolest thing ever.”

5. Know what colors make you glow. I am a winter. Only crisp and cool colors were allowed when growing up. I felt guilty whenever I bought yellow or orange. I knew in her heart she was disappointed, but then she probably remembered that my idea of rebelling was buying yellow and orange. “I think Becky is going to be okay,” she must have said to my dad.

6. Pray fervently. Then pray more! This is a woman of faith and I have no idea how she has stayed so strong.

7. If you want French silk pie for dinner then eat French silk pie for dinner. (I didn’t need to be taught this, but as I proofread I realized that I skipped #7).

8. Don’t let under garments show. Keep the whale tales hidden in the deep denim sea.

9. Posture is imperative to those lacking a tall stature. Stand as if there is a string pulling you up. Every time I go home, I get this talk from my parents. I think they are still surprised that I’m not taller.

10. Being involved in the community should be normal. Don’t talk about change. Just do it. School board? PTA? Volunteer firefighter? No problem. (except for the firefighter)

I just want to have fun all the time always

This weekend someone asked me what my dream is in life. After a long-winded and verbacious answer (like this sentence already is), I settled on, “I just want to have fun all the time.” I felt dissatisfied with my response after I pondered the question the next day. That isn’t everything I want in life.

Oh? He didn’t take that literally? Okay good. That answer is fine then.

via here / here from here

Victory in Quitting

I love making lists, but recently found that my lists have become a burden. Something I would like to do becomes something I have to do. Then the list grows and I feel dissatisfied with my progress. This week I snapped. It is time for a paradigm shift and I am excited to start saying no.


Mantra turned doodle turned back into mantra

I did this little sketch in the airport on my way to Asheville over Thanksgiving. The kid sitting next to me (I think his name was Elijah) said that he could “never draw like that.” He told me he was 12. I asked him if his five-year-old self would have believed he could draw like he is now, seven years later. He said, “Probably not.” I suggested that since I am twice his age — a lifetime ahead of him — I just may have more practice. He said he is going to start drawing again.

I wonder how many times I too have assumed checkmate. All for no reason!

Let us take baby steps, receive grace and expect victory.

Humility Check

“For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” — 1 Timothy 6:7

Turning off my computer now

I went to life group tonight and it refreshed my soul. Community is underrated. I think God wants me to remember that I am loved and I am free. I need to turn off my computer more often.

photos via here and here

Bachelorette Dream Team

Consider this is my official pitch for the next season of the Bachelorette. My fantasy league. My dream team.

I already got all these guys to sign on and they’re real excited. These men are intelligent, funny and talented. My optimism also points me to believe that they can even make gingerbread pecan pancakes.

Unfortunately, not everyone can make the show. Several contenders mailed in outstanding audition tapes. Those men are as follows:

  • Ryan Merriman. Star of Disney Channel Original Movies such as Smart House and Luck of the Irish. Ryan was a hit ten years ago, but I’m afraid he would cling to his acting resume like that college freshman who wears his varsity letter jacket the first week of class.
  • Christian Bale. What’s there not to love? (except his anger management). Rumor wagon says that Mr. Bale is disrespectful to his mother. Disrespectful in the he-assaulted-her kind of way. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I like my men like I like my almonds: mostly healthy, and mother-approved. Almonds have nothing to do with Christian Bale, but Christian Bale has everything to do with almonds.
  • Ryan Gosling. I’ve been hemming and hawing for a good reason that he can’t be on the show. Though I’d love for this man to compete for my heart just as much as he would love to compete for my heart, Ryan must be omitted simply because he’s too cliche. Also because he has the same name as my brother. What if I picked him and then I accidently texted something cute-sy to the wrong Ryan? The whole things has disaster written all over it.

For now, let’s stick together and keep indulging in the current season. It was hard to see Monica go, but I’m sure she found her true-love-soulmate-partner-best-friend-lover-baby-daddy by the time she got to the airport. She didn’t start enough fights anyway.

Food for thought: who would you put on your dream team?

I ♥ Ira Glass

Yeah yeah Christmas is over. That was SO 2011. The good news is that the “see ya next year” jokes are over. The bad news is that the Mayans must be pretty disappointed. The other good news is that Ira Glass (This American Life) is the man. He made the above comment in the 1997 Christmas episode…I’m a bit of a fan. So profound. You’re welcome (says Ira).

same heaven as the saints

Just to clear something up, I sometimes feel like total shit. I know that is not very tactful or ladylike, but “total shit” is the exact crass and unrefined sentiment that I am referring to. To quote Anne Lamott, “My mind is a neighborhood I try not to go into alone.” All I am saying is that if I do get to go to THE Heaven, it isn’t fair to everyone else who actually earned it. (i.e. the saints.) As I type this, I know how I am starting to sound. I sound like the questioning-unbeliever who is practically rehearsed and role-played at Sunday School. “But I’m not good enough. My works will never get me in. Womp womp blah blah.” YES, I know I am saved by grace! I know! You keep saying that, but I am still a human who takes that grace for granted and just wants to hug it out at the end of the day.


I monstered myself

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