“God bless you, too!”

Some powerful (and really unexpected) magic happened today.

I woke up feeling unwell. Yesterday I’d had my second Pfizer vaccine and it had hit me hard. I did not feel on top of my game. I drove to the post office to mail off a package and to pick up my mail from the post office box. There was a letter from the IRS in there – telling me I needed to verify my deceased father’s identity (he’d died in January, 2020, at the age of 101).

The last couple of weeks have been crazy with paperwork: Papers to notarize; papers to co-sign; papers to attest to this and papers to attest to that. So when I got this letter from the IRS, I felt my heart sink. I wasn’t sure I could handle even one more piece of paperwork. And, because of the vaccine, I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to take that on today, anyway. But I figured I’d give it a try and see how far I could go.

I tried going to the website the letter told me to go to – but in order to verify Dad’s identity there I’d have to provide numbers for his credit cards/mortgage/student loans/etc. – and… Dad is dead. He doesn’t have any of that stuff anymore. So I called the number that was given on the letter. The first time I called I was told to try again later – maybe tomorrow – because the IRS is really busy. But when I gave it a chance and called again half an hour later, I was given the option to put my phone number on a waiting list and was told the IRS would call ME back in half an hour.

I used that half hour to prepare – not just gather all the tax stuff I was going to need for the phone call, but to prepare myself with prayer, too. I made a choice. I was going to see this phone call as an opportunity to make a new friend – to connect with another someone who was calling to help me. I would be cheerful. I would be friendly. I would be kind. I would be grateful. I would find healing.

When my phone rang and I answered it I heard a voice on the other end that was warm and rich and a little southern – she sounded kind of like Viola Davis. I explained my problem to the IRS lady and, as she asked me questions, we began to share laughter with each other. She asked me my Dad’s birthdate and when I told her Dad was born in 1918 and said, “Isn’t that crazy?!” – she laughed and agreed that it WAS crazy. She asked me my name and I said, “Well…ummm…this is not a good time to have my name, but I’m Karen.” She started laughing and told me she was sure I wasn’t THAT kind of “Karen,” and when I assured her that I wasn’t that kind of “Karen” – that I actually have marched in a BLM rally – she thanked me for doing that. When we’d started our conversation it hadn’t sounded like I’d be able to verify Dad’s identity right then – that I’d maybe need to fill out other forms first – but by the time we’d ended our conversation the IRS lady had led me through the verification process and I was done! I told the IRS lady that she had been “delightful” and thanked her so much for all her help. “God bless you!” I said.

She said, “God bless you, too!”

Isn’t that lovely?!

I have no idea what this woman’s name is or where she lives or what she looks like – but I felt the love coming through the phone today, and I felt like I’d met a new friend.

And after I hung up the phone I realized that I was feeling much better physically, too.  Love heals.

For Those Who Dare to Get Out of Bed

For Those Who Dare to Get Out of Bed

So I’m lying in bed this morning
and I realize I have a choice –
I don’t HAVE to get out of bed today.

If I get out of bed there are sure
to be problems and complications.
I am almost guaranteed to make
SOMEbody angry today.
I am pretty much guaranteed to say
the wrong thing to someone
at the wrong time in the wrong place
in the wrong way.
I may get in someone’s way.
Someone may get in MY way.
I may lose my temper today.
I may be thoughtless and unkind.
I may die if I get out of bed.

On the other hand, I may die
if I stay in my bed, too.
I may miss out on a chance
to be thoughtful and kind.
I may miss an opportunity
to learn something new and to laugh,
and meet a new
friend, and see an eagle soar,
and enjoy the sunshine
on my face.

It takes courage to get out of bed
each day.

To all the courageous people who dare
to get out bed and face whatever comes
between now and tomorrow –
I wish you all the wonder and magic
you find today
because you got out of bed.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Walk at Twilight

Last night:
Went outside and took a walk around the house and let the twilight wrap itself around me. Listened to the frogsong, and birds chirping to each other. Breathed in the cool evening air, filled with the scents of apple blossom and just-mowed grass and damp earth. And a flood of memories rushed into my thoughts: sitting outside with Dad when I was a little girl, looking at the stars and watching for satellites; Camping out at Mount Rainier – the family sitting around the campfire while Dad played his accordion. Family trips into the Canadian Rockies. And I felt Dad with me, right now, looking at the evening sky with me. Always with me.

(Photo of a Skagit County, Washington, sunset by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Tulip Town 2021

My husband and I visited Tulip Town (Mount Vernon, Washington) on Thursday. The tulips aren’t quite in full bloom, yet – but it was a sunny, blue-sky day; everyone was friendly and full of good humor; and get this – I asked a random person to take our photo and he turned out to be a professional portrait photographer! Can I pick ’em or can I pick ’em?! I’ll attach his photo of us at the bottom with a photo credit for him – he did a great job!

Here are some of the photos I brought back back from Tulip Town. (Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Below: Photo of Karen Molenaar Terrell and Scott Terrell by professional photographer, Bob Wachtendonk, of North Bend, Washington.

So There’s This Photo Contest…

National Wildlife Federation is hosting a photo contest and I’ve entered five of my photos in it. True to form, I got ’em in just under the wire yesterday. If you would like to vote for any of these submissions (hint, hint), here are the links:

Heron at Sunset

Otter Family at Boulevard Park

Otter Family

Marmot at Mount Rainier

Marmot on Mount Rainier (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Trumpeter Swan Landing

and
Trumpeter Swans Landing

Trumpeter Swans in Bow, WA (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Thank you!
Karen

Getting the COVID Vaccine

“In the end, it was actually my background in Christian Science that gave me the courage to get the vaccine.”

Several folks dear to me – family and friends – have asked me if I was planning to get the COVID vaccine. To those dear ones concerned about my well-being: I already got my first dose last week.

If you know me, you can probably imagine the thought that went into this decision. In the end I got the shot for my community – to help the people around me feel safe and comfortable, and to help alleviate any worries they might have for me. And I got the shot so I could travel and be with my friends and family without the guilt and responsibility I might feel if I didn’t get the shot.

I had to address a lot of fear in my thoughts before I got the vaccine. To be honest, I was more scared of the vaccine than the virus. I’ve always been less than enthused about getting vaccines – and not because I’m a Christian Scientist (pfft) – but because I’ve had this belief that my body was designed to heal itself naturally and I didn’t want to interfere with that “healing process.” In the end, it was actually my background in Christian Science that gave me the courage to get the vaccine. As I was thinking about my fears, metaphysically, it came to me that it made no sense to think it’s unnatural to put humanly-made vaccines in my body, but to accept the virus as “natural.” Metaphysically, none of it is natural, and none of it can touch my real, spiritual identity as the expression, idea, reflection, image, likeness, manifestation, and child of Love and Truth. I am safe in God. We all are hid safely in our Father-Mother.

So. There you have it. My second vaccine is scheduled in a couple weeks.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“The temporal and unreal never touch the eternal and real.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Let not your heart be troubled…”

– John 14

“Your life is hid with Christ in God.”
– Colossians 3:3

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
– Matthew 22:21

“Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself.”
– Mary Baker Eddy


Cosmic Give and Take

He was waiting outside the store
when I came out with my groceries
and I said hi. He smiled and said hi back.
Give and take.
Who taught him to smile? Who taught me?

I started to wheel my cart to my car
mentally scrolling through my shopping list
to see if I had anything to share with him.
Tangerines!
I rolled my cart back towards him.
You want an orange?
Sure!
Can you catch it?
Yeah! And he smiled at the idea
of a game of catch.
I tossed. He caught.
Who taught me how to throw?
Who taught him how to catch?
My dad? His dad? And now our dads
are connected in our give and take.

As Scott drove west, a train engine
went west in reverse. Our car
passed the train as the engineer
sat facing me and I smiled across
the tracks at him and he smiled
and waved back to me.
I caught his wave and returned it.
Who taught him how to wave?
Who taught me?
All the cosmos connected in a giant
give and take.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Marriage Equality

I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.

On Wednesday my husband and I will celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.

You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing the just right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue for her “big day” – those shows where every minute detail of the wedding production is analyzed, critiqued, and judged for its merits on visual perfection? Where the ceremony is somber and refined and the highlight of the whole shebang is the dress the bride wears?

Yeah. That wasn’t us.

My engagement ring was a little garnet ring I picked out from a small jewelry shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and the man who sold it to us was cheerfully, flamboyantly, hilariously gay – he had us cracking up the minute we walked into his shop. My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on from the sales rack at our local Bon Marche. Cost me $120. Our minister was a hoot – we’d met with him for a required counseling session, and when he told us that anything he had to say to us would be pretty much useless at this point – because it’s really only AFTER the wedding that the bride and groom realize what they’ve gotten themselves into (we later learned that he’d just recently been divorced), we immediately recognized the man had a sense of humor, and he was, for sure, the minister we wanted officiating our nuptials.

The wedding was a joyful, light-hearted affair in a small Methodist church in Gig Harbor – I remember the minister asking us if we really wanted to hold the service in his church – it was very small – could maybe hold 100 people – and very old (it’s since been torn down and a larger church built in a different location) – but, for our purposes, that little church was perfect – I liked the cozy smallness of it and the stained glass windows – and from the church’s steps we could look out across the water and see Mount Rainier rising above the hills in the distance. The wedding itself was simple, joyful, and natural. We weren’t too concerned with “perfection” – we just wanted our guests to feel comfortable and loved. The reception was held in my parents’ backyard – with the sound of laughter, and the smell of daffodils and plum blossoms, filling the air. And we played volleyball in the pasture – the groom’s team won, but it was a close game.

The minister came to the reception, and fit right in with our hooligan families and friends. Before he left he told us that sometimes he’s really worried about the future of the newlyweds he marries – they often seem more concerned about the wedding than the actual marriage – but, after watching us yukking it up with our families and friends, he felt good about being a part of our ceremony. He knew we were going to be alright. We knew how to laugh.

When I think about that day, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny other people the right to a wedding, and to a life-long commitment in marriage with the partner they love. I can’t understand why any heterosexual couple would feel their own marriage is threatened by giving everyone else the same rights that they have. I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

***

“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.” –
from the chapter titled ‘Marriage’ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy