“Oh geeze. This is going to be one of those God-things.”

Yeah. This one is going to have God stuff in it. Sorry. I just gotta.

So yesterday I took myself on a most excellent little hike in the North Cascades  (the Table Mountain trail). We (me and I) were feeling a little selfish because we brought no one else with us. But me and I were feeling the need for some alone time yesterday.

A couple miles from the Heather Meadows parking lot (where the trail begins) I saw a couple of hitch-hikers, and pulled over to see if I could be of help. Alice and Sally asked if they could snag a lift up to Heather Meadows with me – they planned to hike back down to their car from there. I said sure and they got into Rosalita Ipswich O’Molenovich (my Ford Fiesta) for the short ride up to the parking lot. We exchanged particulars  – they were from Whidby Island and were planning to finish the Chain Lakes trail that day. I told them I don’t always feel comfortable about picking up hitch-hikers – but they looked pretty harmless. There was this little pause, and then I added, “Of course, it’s the harmless-looking ones they tell you to watch out for…” and Sally and Alice started laughing.

Once we got to the parking lot they let me take their picture before they headed out on their adventure:

 

Alice Sally

Alice and Sally

And then I started on my own hike up Table Mountain…

Table Mountain luminex (2)

Table Mountain

The trail is pretty steep – but it’s a short hike, and I soon found myself on top.

And here’s where the God stuff comes in. As I was tromping around up there – butterflies landing on my shoe, my eyes full of blue skies and magnificent vistas – I became aware of a playful, loving presence with me – what I would call “God.” I realized I wasn’t really alone – that I’m never really alone – that this presence of Love has always been with me, and always would be. And then I thought of my old hiking partner – my cousin, Skip, who passed on 15 or 20 years ago – and, in that moment, I felt close to him – like he was with me, too. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “In Science, individual good derived  from God, the infinite All-in-all, may flow from the departed to mortals…” – and that’s what it felt like – it felt like Skip’s joy was reaching out to me, up there on that trail. But it wasn’t just Skip I was feeling this connection with – it was bigger than that. It was cosmic, universal. A connection with all Life.

Anyway. So that’s the God stuff.

And here are some more pictures from my day…

My Olympic Moment

Today I had my own Olympic moment AND I learned a key to winning: Don’t tell your competition that there IS a competition.

Scott and I rode our bikes into Edison for a snack and then back home. He led the entire way – until we came to the home stretch – the last 400 yards. Then I got it into my noggin that this was my Olympic moment – I started pedaling really fast and zoomed past Scott for the driveway. He just had time to say, “Hey!” before I surged ahead and got to the “finish line.” Yeah. It was pretty epic, as you can imagine. Thunderous applause and a standing ovation and flags waving and stuff. Well… you know… in my mind. But still… I am overcome with emotion here. Wiping the tears from my face and expecting the TV crew to appear on my doorstep at any moment. I probably should vacuum and dust. I have a paper plate that I think might make a nice medal.

Olympic flag

There were two stories that came out of the 2016 Olympics that really touched me: The first one was the story of the South African athlete, Wayde van Niekerk, who went to the Olympics to represent his nation, his mother (a gifted black athlete who hadn’t been allowed to compete outside South Africa  because of the apartheid in that country at that time), and his 74 year-old white coach, Anna Botha, who he said treated him as her own child; The second story that really touched me was the story of the two women (one from the U.S.A. and one from New Zealand) who stopped to encourage each other to keep going in the 5000 meter race after they both fell. Now, for me, those two stories are what the Olympics are all about, my friends – not proving you’re “better” than everyone else, not winning personal glory and accolades and praise – but working together, working for each other, competing for something or someone other than your own ego.

The Olympic athletes inspired me – not just the ones who won the medals – but every athlete who gave her or his best, who showed heart, who displayed kindness and courage.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Eagle in Flight (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

…they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
– Isaiah 40: 31

(The image of the Olympic flag can be found at this URL:
http://www.pe04.com/olympic/trivia/flag_t.php)

Dazzling Days of Daring-Do

Remembering days when we played hide and seek
in the parking lot at Mount Rainier on summer nights –
my fellow park employees and I slithering
under trucks and dodging behind cars
and laughing so hard our bellies hurt.

Or we might go looking for bears on the trails
in the evenings – hoping we wouldn’t actually
find any, but enjoying the idea of it –
my friend, Dan, pulling me in front of him
for protection, as we encountered imaginary beasts.

We were young. The world was full of adventure
and laughter, and daring-do.

Forty years have brought changes –
marriage, motherhood, responsibilities.
My body seems more matronly than springy
these days. I will be entering my sixth decade
in a few weeks. I felt some trepidation about this.

Would I never have another adventure?
Were the dazzling days of daring-do done?

I went for a walk around the lake yesterday.
I wanted more. Walked from old town to the park.
I wanted more. Walked from the park to downtown,
and back again. Then Scott came home with an idea:
Let’s walk the trail to the beach when the sun sets.

I was all stretched out from nine miles of walking,
and ready for more. A walk in the evening cool.

Darkening trail, lovely roots and rocks to climb
smell of fir and cedar and briny bay
and the sunset – brilliant reds and golds
and blue filling my eyes in the west as the full
moon rises in the east, shimmering silver on the sea.

Crashing waves, sparkling light from sun and moon,
peace and perspective from the stars dotting the above.

And then flashlights come out of our pockets
and we find our way back through the woods,
rocks and roots, joking about what we’d do
if big eyes glowed towards us at eye level  down the trail –
and we’re laughing and brave and young again.

The adventures haven’t ended.
There are still dazzling days of daring-do.

– Karen Molenaaar Terrell

 

 

Finally – A One Star Review!

Yes, my friends, it’s true! After years of boring old four star and five star reviews I have finally earned my first one star review! It took me 11 years, but I have at last entered the dangerous, high-octane world of REAL authors – a world of controversy, intellectual debate, and take-no-prisoners searing critiques.

Of course, I always thought the one star review would be for one of my Madcap Christian Scientist books – I never would have guessed that Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom would be the recipient. Frankly, I never guessed anyone except my family and friends, and maybe other people with aging parents, would even be interested in READING that book. (And, actually, I’m pretty sure the person who gave me the one-star review DIDN’T read the book – there’s no “verified purchase” with the review and I think this might be someone I kicked out of a Facebook group for telling my friends to eff off – but beggars can’t be choosers and I’ll take the one-star however I can get it.)

The reviewer was really detailed and blistering in her/his offering. I mean. Well… okay… maybe not so much detailed. Or blistering. Alright, alright… it consisted of two words: “Total snoozefest.” As an author this was really helpful to me. I’m wondering now if I should have maybe added more car chases and fiery explosions and scintillating romances and stuff. I’ll have to keep that in mind for my next book.

Anyway. I just had to share. An author doesn’t often get this opportunity to brag.:)

book covers 2016

 

A Message from the New Owners

Love inspires, illumines, designates, and leads the way.
– Mary Bakery Eddy

Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.
– Mary Baker Eddy

My parents had lived in this house, and on this land, for 48 years. They’d planted and nurtured trees, kept the local birds supplied with a steady stream of bird feed, Dad had painted a mural on the garage, and Mom had planted a rose garden. Now it was time for Dad (97 then) and Moz (87 then) to transition into a new chapter in their lives. It was time for them to leave the old homestead and leave it in the hands of new owners.

When my husband, brothers, and I looked at what needed to be accomplished in the next few months it was over-whelming. Daunting. It looked to be impossible.

There was 48 years of accumulated life to sort through – mountains of books, artwork, correspondence, journals, music, photos, mountaineering paraphernalia. As a well-known mountain-climber my dad has led an extraordinarily rich life, hobnobbed with celebrities, traveled around the world – we couldn’t just throw stuff in the dumpster willy-nilly – there might be a letter from Bobby Kennedy or Edmund Hillary hidden in the flotsam and jetsam, or a National Geographic with Dad’s picture in it. And there was so much! Three stories filled with memories.

Also – a new home needed to be found for our parents, and their old home needed to be sold. We worried: Would we be able to sell the parents’ old home in time to pay for their new home? And would we find new owners who would appreciate the homestead, and care for it, and love it the way my parents had?

I threw out our hopes and needs to God, Love, and trusted that the power of Good in which I believe would direct us and open the way. Nothing, I told myself, is impossible to Love. Nothing is beyond the reach of Love. Love would provide.

I invited two of Dad’s friends to come over and sort through books and artwork for us – to help us know what was important and needed to be kept safe and what could be donated to the Goodwill. Then my siblings and I each pledged to tackle a different floor in the house – my husband and I took the main floor, my brothers took on the attic and basement.

My husband and I gave ourselves one day to empty the first floor, and dust, sweep, vacuum, and mop it. We got there at 8:00 in the morning. About 2:00 I was exhausted and ready to give up. My husband said, matter-of-factly, “We can’t. We don’t have a choice. We’ve got to get it done.” And then he picked up a mop and disappeared. He was a huge inspiration to me that day. I couldn’t have done what I needed to do without his calm, steady, can-do attitude. At 7:00 pm – 11 hours after we’d started – we were done. It felt like I’d just summited Mount Rainier – I had that same feeling of happy accomplishment.

My mom had given me the name and number of a real estate agent, and when I called, she agreed to take us on. We couldn’t have found a more perfect person to work with us! She was kind and patient – never pushed my parents to do what they weren’t ready to do and always put their needs and wishes first.

Two weeks after putting my parents’ home on the market, it had new owners. I teared up when I read the note they sent to Mom and Dad:

Dear Dee and Colleen,

We just want to thank you both so much for choosing us to inherit this property. We fell in love with it right away. It’s our dream house. We promise to respect it and keep the spirit of love alive here. We appreciate the spirit of adventure and have the utmost respect for the incredible things you’ve done. What a beautiful life!

Dee, your art is gorgeous. We will forever treasure the mural on the garage. Colleen, we will continue to nurture the birds you’ve brought to the property. It was magical to see so many, and of such variety, during our short chat on the porch.

On a more practical note, PLEASE don’t worry about cleaning the place out. Anything you need to leave is fine. We will take care of it. It must be bittersweet to be moving on to a new chapter of life and we are in no way wanting you to feel pressured.

Of course, you are welcome any time. Thanks again. We’re pinching ourselves with the good luck of finding this home!

With love,

Chris and Janel

My parents’ old home was meant to belong Chris and Janel. They were meant to live there now. You know that old saying “What blesses one, blesses all”?  This is a perfect example of that.

My parents got full price for their old home and were able to move into a retirement community, and, more recently, closer to me – in an artsy, active little town where they can take walks along the water and visit art galleries, and get the services they need for this new chapter in their lives.

***

I recently called Janel to find out if I could use her letter in my new book, Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom. She cheerfully gave me permission, and then told me how much her young family is enjoying their new home. Oh man, that just warmed the cockles of my heart. Blessings all around.

Love is good.

Dad and his mural

Dee Molenaar and the mural on his old garage.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God (Love), to them who are the called according to his purpose.
– Romans 8:28

It’s Not About Being PC

It’s not about being “politically correct” –
it’s about being kind,
being thoughtful, being generous.
It’s about caring.

Being “un-PC”
isn’t brave, or heroic.
Bigotry isn’t something
to admire or applaud.

It takes courage to be kind.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Being PC