Waiting for the Christmas Spirit

The kitsch and spangles
and baubles and bangles,
And department store Santa,
just really can’ta
Seem to bring me
the spirit of Christmas.

And I’ve been waiting to feel it –
the real Christmas spirit
Hoping it’d come by now.
The stockings are stuffed,
the tree is all buffed,
The cookies are baked
and frosted and fluffed
But there’s still something missing –
a feeling, a tingling
that’s supposed to come every Christmas.

Except…
Maybe that Christmas feeling,
that energy and tingling
Is something I can have every day –
It doesn’t depend on spangles,
or jingly-bell jangles
Or jolly men dressed all in red.
It comes in the sharing
of laughter and caring
And the comfort in words with love said:
To all – Peace! Joy! Hope!
Every moment of every day.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

Morning Prayer (December 3, 2022)

You are my precious child.
You are loved. Don’t be afraid.
You are strong and confident,
healthy and happy and whole.
Right now you have everything
you need for life. You are fed
and sheltered and clothed
and warm – held safely
in the palm of My hand.
Karen Molenaar Terrell

Mama Robin and babies on our porch. (Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Do You Hear Love Singing?

Shh. Be still and listen.
Do you hear the voice of Love singing –
assuring you Good is Endless Everything?
Do you feel Love’s song around you,
surrounding you – good and whole and true?

The song of the Cosmos fills all space
in the eternal Now – embracing
all of Creation – the manifestation
of Love everywhere and always.

There is no separation
in Love’s creation.
We dwell in Love’s song, live within
endless life –
never divided by death or strife
or separated by time or space;
or shattered or fractured
or decaying or doomed.
We can’t feel hatred, confusion, fear, or pain,
hopeless, unwanted, unloved or shamed.
All we can feel is what Love feels.
We can’t be dishonest, greedy, or disorderly  –
all we can be is what perfect Life made us to be.
We can’t be misled or misguided by Truth’s foes
– all we can know is what Truth knows.

All that Love creates is perfect, complete, whole
– maintained and sustained by omnipotent Good.
And all the good that could, would, or should
already is and always has been.
Forever and ever and ever. Amen.

Shh. Be still and listen.
Do you hear Love singing?
We belong to Love.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

An alpine butterfly flits among the flowers on Table Mountain. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

New Shoes and a Louise Penny Novel

I’ve been struggling the last couple weeks. There’s been tragedy and killing, death and loss. There have been reminders that human life is fragile and short and I’m well beyond half-way through mine.

But in the middle of these morose musings I needed to get new shoes. It was time to make my yearly pilgrimage to the REI shoe department.

These days I have mixed feelings about going to REI. On the one hand, I love being surrounded by mountain people and mountain equipment and mountain clothes. On the other hand, I am not the person I was when I first visited REI all those years ago. I no longer have a need for new crampons or ice axes. There are no major mountain climbs on my horizon. I no longer fit in REI’s little clothes.

But I can still fit in REI’s shoes.

And so I presented myself to Jesse, a salesclerk in the shoe department. I could not have asked for a friendlier, more helpful clerk. I told her I’d worked at the old REI on Capitol Hill years ago, and we bonded in our REI kinship. She brought me three or four pairs of shoes until I found the just-right pair – a pair of shoes that made me feel like I was walking on clouds. A pair of shoes that made me want to run and skip and dance. A perfect pair of shoes.

When I went to the cashier to pay for the shoes, I told him that my dad had been one of the early members of REI. His REI membership number was 38, I told him. The cashier looked up #38 and found it belonged to someone else. Oops. So much for family legend. Hmmm… I gave the cashier my Mom and Dad’s old phone number and he clicked the number into his computer. He looked up and smiled and said that Dad’s number is 946 and that it’s still active! The idea of that really tickled me. Dad died almost three years ago – at the age of 101 – but his REI account lives on. How cool is that?! I said that 946 was still pretty good, right? And the cashier laughed with me and said, yeah, it was pretty good.

***
Louise Penny’s new book came out yesterday. I googled to see if there were any stores near me with her book in stock and, this morning, I went on a quest to our local Target to see if I could find one. I rushed to the books displayed in the front of the store – but no Louise Penny there. I hurried to the book department at the back of the store and scanned the books there – but no Louise Penny. Finally, I went to the customer service counter and inquired about the book – both the attendants there got on their phones to see if they could find any books in inventory, and pretty soon a nice young man told me that it looked like they should have some somewhere – maybe still in boxes in the back room. I told him Louise Penny’s books were great – funny and smart and kind – and I highly recommended them. He nodded and said he had some free audiobooks coming to him – maybe he’d get the audiobook version. He led me back to the book department and looked with me on the book shelves. Then he told me to wait there and he’d see if he could find what I was looking for in the back. A couple of minutes later he appeared with another Target employee, who immediately walked up to a book shelf and plucked Louise Penny’s book off of it for me! Hurrah!!!

***
I’ve started Louise Penny’s *A World of Curiosities* now. Eight pages in I come upon this:

“He held the younger man’s eyes, inviting him to set aside for a moment the great brutality that existed and to remember the acts of greater courage. Of integrity and decency. Of self-control.

“Of forgiveness.

“Not by moral giants, not performed by superhumans. These were men and women of human size and proportion. Some were cops. Some were not.

“What blinded us, he told Beauvoir, were the horrific acts. They threatened to overwhelm us and obscure the decency. It was so easy to remember the cruelty because those left a wound, a scab that hid the rest. Hid the best. But those appalling acts, those appalling people, were the exception.”
– Louise Penny

***
Just the words I needed to read today.

Karen Molenaar Terrell

“God is natural good… Truth should not seem so surprising and unnatural as error, and error should not seem so real as truth.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

Ed Webster (March 21,1956 to November 22, 2022): Author, Climber, and Human Being Extraordinaire

“I saw the flowers growing alongside the trail. Big, beautiful blooms of rhododendrons and azaleas. Pink, red, and white bouquets of richly perfumed flowers reached out to me, as if in answer to my revived optimism. I entered the thickets of flowers like I was wading into crashing waves at the beach, letting myself be alternately immersed and then carried up by their sweet fragrance and vivid color.”
Ed WebsterSnow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Mount Everest

“Several steps later, I was also avalanched. I brushed myself off. We continued.”
Ed WebsterSnow in the Kingdom: My Storm Years on Mount Everest

“Thanks for my birthday (63 !! ) wishes…. and Happy Spring back to you. Not much Spring here in Maine as of yet. Karen, I’m going to have to hire you as my publicist, putting up all those pithy EdW quotes from SNOW on Facebook !
– Ed Webster (in an email message to me).

How hilarious ! After I emailed you that note, I went online to Amazon….. went to SNOW’s book page…. and saw your review ! I really should hire you to do PR for my book.
– Ed Webster (in an email message to me).

“I’m so glad to hear that you & your dad enjoyed flipping through the K2 book together. That warms my heart ! Please do give Dee a warm hug from me. I wish I cold fly out here to see him again. I looked at his 100-year Birthday party video at Mt. Rainier…. just fantastic, esp. the yodeling !
-Ed Webster (in an email message to me).

Hi Karen, What a sweet photograph of your dear Dad reading the card ! I wanted to pen him some kind words and words of thanks for what he’s given to me — and to other climbers too.  As I get older myself, the more I realize what inspiration the climbers of your father’s generation gave to us collectively.  And I just wanted to add my hug to that chorus of thanks and praise ! For his beautiful art and his kind, knowing ways. “
-Ed Webster (in an email to me).

Ed Webster (March 21, 1956 to November 24, 2022) was a gifted writer, accomplished climber, remarkable human being, and friend.

Below, Dad (Dee Molenaar) opens a card from Ed Webster.

Ode to Black Friday

I do not like Black Friday, sir
I do not like the brrr, grrr, whirrr
I do not like to fight over socks,
I do not like to get crammed in a box
store, you will not see me at the Mall
I do not like it, no, not at all.
The crazy, scrambling, hunter’s race
doesn’t fit my ambling, gatherer’s pace
I like to feel, I like to sniff
I like to take my time and if
I take more time than Sally and Sam
it’s the way I shop, and it works for me, ma’am.
So you will not find me camped outside the store
You will not find me standing at dawn at the door
You will not find me wedged in the mall’s lot
or crammed in traffic, with wares newly-bought.
For I do not like Black Friday, friend.
Well, except online shopping maybe – they’ll send.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

And now a shameless plug. To order any of Karen’s books, click here.

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving

cozy time of year
tea kettle whistling
and kitties curled on the couch
leaves dancing on the winds in the woods
and rain pattering on the windows
warm fire in the woodstove
smell of apples
and a pie baking in the oven
full of gratitude
for rain and dancing leaves
for kitties and warmth and pie
for family and love
and you
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Autumn photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

A New Photo in Mother Earth News

Another of my photos is on the back page of Mother Earth News. (I think this is the sixth time?) My photo is the one with the barn and snow-covered Brussels sprouts – taken in Bow, Washington, last year. But I’m loving all the photos on that back page – check out that pika with a mouthful of greens! This issue of Mother Earth News should be arriving in stores in December.

Feedback for *Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy*

Feedback from Writer’s Digest for Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy:

This book is exemplary in its structure, organization, and pacing.

Very nice pace, with the narrative gliding along, a healthy forward pull in the structure. We see no jumpy parts or dropped-off parts. Just great transitions between sections. Watch out, though, that if you’re taking blog posts and turning them into a book, you have to say, ‘I’m starting this book’ instead of ‘I’m starting this post’. That happens right up front, throwing the reader, and also throughout. Give the book the identity of a book, not a repurposed collection of blog posts.

This book has spelling, punctuation, and grammar corresponding with the region of the world from which the author hails (ex. British English or American English) or with where the book is set (including slang, vernacular, or dialect). These choices are intentional and implemented consistently throughout with few, if any, errors.

Good work in making sure that typos are edited out of the manuscript, so that the reader is not distracted by this as well.

This book is exemplary in production quality and cover design. The physical materials, printing, and binding are of professional quality and traditional industry standards. The typesetting and page layout (including illustrations, images, or figures) are easy to follow, thoughtfully designed, and error free. The cover appears to be professionally designed and is compellingly related to the content/genre of the book.

Lovely cover with the butterflies on her vibrant running shoes. That ties into the book’s title, with serendipitous events such as this feeling like it has to be a cosmic connection.

This book is exemplary in its choice of topic or theme of the story. It is unique but still has strong appeal for most readers in its intended genre.

Overall, the theme is kindness, and connection. Author brings together so many signs and forces of positivity. Author walks us through her days as she notices things about people, establishes connections and questioning of others. We get bright energy and some surreal moments like we’ve gone through a time portal. Very fascinating and high energy that keeps us immersed. Well done.

This book is exemplary in its voice and writing style. It has a unique voice, and the writing style is consistent throughout. The style and tone are also consistent with or will appeal to readers of the intended genre.

Author writes with a bright energy, lifting us with her voice as she elevates the narrative through enthusiasm and eye-opening observations. It’s a feeling of impressive presence here in the story, as author paints so much realism and sensory detail.

I love how the author brings out the little details like a pumpkin spice latte and snow geese. Author paints a gorgeous setting and populates the story world with remarkable detail. Nice work. I love how several of the segments open with a breathless excitement: ‘something really amazing happened.’ I saw that a few times, and it had such a great energy to it, a nice opener. Very nice choice for last page’s entry. Sensory details stand out.