Women’s Peace Fellowship and Potluck

A remarkable group of women came together last night and laughed and sang, shared inspiration and “broke bread” together. There were poems and one-liners, songs of hope, and a feast for the stomach and soul.

Ann shared a poem by James Crews called “Tenderness”:
You know how a half-buried stone
in the yard will clear all the snow
from around itself, little by little,
leaving only a hollow of warmth
and a cushion of moss you want
to rest on, until winter finally ends?
That’s how tenderness works in us,
some heat rising up from beneath,
then spreading outward to touch
the lives of anyone who comes near –
slowly, softly, making a safe place
for them to stand in, melting away
the coldness that gathers around us.

Carmen shared the prayer of Saint Francis of Assissi: “O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.”

Rebecca shared a poem by Clarissa Pinkola Estes called “How to Silence a Woman.” Here’s an excerpt:
When someone says, “Your ideas are dangerous.”
Say, “Yes, my ideas are dangerous, and why are you
so afraid hombre o mjure?”

When it is said, “It’s just not done.”
Say, “It will be done.”

When it is said, “It is immature.”
Say, “All life begins small and
must be allowed to grow.”

When it is said, “It’s not thought out.”
Say, “It is well thought out.”

When they say, “You’re over-reacting.”
Say, “You’re under-reacting, vato.”

Rosemary and Deidre shared the beauty and opportunities of the transitions they find themselves in, and all they’re learning from these transitions. Claudia was asked about her work on “The Kindness Project,” creating the label of “The Kindness Town” for her town of Edison. Peggy passed out the inspirational hand-woven “HOPE” tapestries that she creates on her loom. Bev shared the poem by Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata”: “…Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

And the amazing Tracy Spring moved us to tears with the beauty of her songs: “Little Rock in the River,” “Love Doesn’t Care Who You Love,” “Walls Come Tumblin’ Down, ” and TR Ritchie’s song, “Somewhere to Begin.”

It was a wonderful evening with talented and inspiring women. I really needed this.

Here’s the poem I shared:

I wake and feel Life quivering
around me and through me.
The presence of Love is here
and I am within the presence,
connected to the Cosmic Body.
Not a “Borg” body –
not a matter-body of
computer chips and nanoprobes –
but the Body of Spirit,
the Body of Love.

Faces pass in front of my vision –
loved ones who’ve died and loved
ones who are with me, here.
And I’m connected to all of them still
– not separated by time or space or place
in this Body of Love,

I feel Earth breathing through my window
smell her sweet breath of dew and life
and know she is embodied in God’s body, too,
and we are connected – all of God’s creatures and I.

We are nothing less than the perfection of Love.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Trying to Look Perfect

How freeing it is
to be able to see
my own pettiness,
insecurities, vanity –
helping me forgive
others their egos
in uncovering my own,
helping me let go
of the burden
of trying to look perfect.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Using My Highly-Honed Detective Skills

There are all these TV shows where there are detectives and body guards and lawyers who are constantly on the alert for suspicious activity – I enjoy these shows. Sometimes I try to imagine myself as an observant detective, myself. So, at the supermarket this morning, I decided to observe – only I decided to look for evidence of good things.

As I stood at the end of a long line at the cash register I had a lot of time to observe. I saw cashiers who were friendly and efficient. I saw people smiling at each other, and making room for other customers to go around them. And in front of me in line I saw a little boy sitting in the shopping cart, reaching up to hug his mom. Oh, it was so sweet and beautiful – that little hug. I felt my heart melting at the sweetness of it. I leaned in and told the young mother that I was a mother of sons, too, and that I remember those precious moments when my sons were little.

Then the little boy got out of the cart and turned to me. He had important things to say to me. He pointed to the Oreo cookies in the shopping cart and told me these were his favorite type of cookies. I told him they were mine, too! So we talked for a bit about the wonder of Oreo cookies and the proper way to eat them. Then the little boy pointed to the primroses in my cart and told me that they were pretty. I asked him which one of the primroses was his favorite, and he said he liked the pink one best. He told me his name was “Benjamin” and said something I didn’t quite catch about “Georgia.”

By this time, his mom’s groceries were all packed up and they were ready to go. I thanked Benjamin for chatting with me, and he said, “Good bye!” and waved at me.

I was so tickled by this happy exchange with young Benjamin.

My highly-honed detective skills helped me find just what I needed this morning.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Thyme four a Homonymese Tail

Thyme fore a homonymese tail, write?

Wants upon a thyme their lived a we buoy named Peat. Peat liked two run threw the fourest inn the mourning when the mist was still lifting from the earth and the day creatures were just waking up. Hee wood all weighs run two the top of the hill too watch the sun rise over the land below hymn.

Won mourning hee saw TOO suns rise over the land.

(Eye am now going two end this won like every student at sum point in grade school has ended an impossible story.)

And then hee woke up.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Haiku Prayers

A friend posted this idea in a Facebook group: “Today, write a prayer in the form of a haiku. A haiku is a Japanese poem that has three lines, each with a set number of syllables: 5-7-5. No need to rhyme, but notice how the structure helps focus your attention and conversation with God.” (A quick “google” tells me that this idea comes from a book called Good Enough: 40ish Devotionals for an Imperfect Life by Kate Bowler and Jessica Ritchie.)

And what a great idea!

Here’s what I came up with…

Universe waking
We are part of Love’s body
embracing all Life
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Feel the presence
of infinite Love filling
all space and time, yours
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

the world wakes to Love
all-encompassing power
hugging us with joy
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

What have you got? 😀

The First Word

Me, thinking.

Who spoke the first word
and who first heard?
Was it a word of warning?
Or a word of love?
Was it a grunt of fear,
or a coo like a dove?
Was the word-creator
the one who noised first
or the noise-imitator?
And how quickly
did that first word spread?
Did it crawl or leap
from head to head?
Over a million years passed
from the first word to Wordle
where you succed by jumping
over five-letter hurtles.

Me, thinking.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Celebrating International Women’s Day!

“This is woman’s hour, in all the good tendencies, charities, and reforms of to-day.”
– Mary Baker Eddy, Miscellaneous Writings, p 245

This month is Women’s History Month, and today is International Women’s Day. So I thought I’d use my blog to talk about women today – the concept of “womanhood”; my mom – one of the greatest women I’ve ever known; and the surge in support I’ve seen towards women’s equality.

In the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Man and woman as coexistent and eternal with God forever reflect, in glorified quality, the infinite Father-Mother God… The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence, and to Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love. In divine Science, we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity.” (p. 517)

My mother was a wonderful expression of God’s motherhood. She was born at the end of 1927 – just seven years after women got the right to vote in this country. There were certain expectations from society for women of her time, but she never accepted the limitations that society might have tried to foist on her: She ran on the women’s track team in college; graduated college with a four-year degree; worked outside the home; and proudly voted in every election – all things that women in some countries are still fighting for the right to do.

When Mom learned that I was planning to march in the 2017 Women’s March, Mom proudly conveyed this news to her friends in the assisted living place where she and Dad lived. One of her friends knitted a pink pussy hat for me, and I proudly wore that hat in the march. I’m so glad Mom got to see me in that pink hat before she died, a month later.

Women from all over the world participated in the 2017 Women’s March. It’s estimated that over five million people (of all genders) might have participated in the march in the United States. It’s estimated there were 6,000 people in the march that I walked in, in Bellingham, Washington. I can still remember the power I felt in the people around me that day, and the joy. People of every gender and race, both young and old, participated in the march that day – all coming together in support of women. That felt good. At the end of the march I thanked the police officers who had supported us, and said to one of the officers, “We did good, didn’t we?” He smiled and said, “Yes, you did!”

Today we’re seeing support for women’s equality everywhere – in Iran, where men and women fill the streets to protest the death of Mahsa Amini; in the United States, where people of every gender protest for the rights of women to have control over their own bodies; in the Green Wave movement in Latin America; and in those heroes who work to bring education to the girls of Afghanistan.

As manifestations of God, we will not be oppressed, and we will not allow the oppression of others.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Learn to do good. Seek justice: help the oppressed; defend the orphan; plead for the widow.”
-Isaiah 1:17

“Lord, you listen to the desires of those who suffer. You steady their hearts; you listen closely to them, to establish justic for the orphan and the oppressed, so that people of the land will never again be terrified.”
-Psalms 10:17-18

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one and the same in Christ Jesus.
– Galatians 3:28

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
-Genesis 1:27

Here are some photos from the 2017 Women’s March…

Be Done

It is just what it is –
no worse than that –
it doesn’t portend –
it’s not the start or end –
it’s a stand alone
piece of life –
don’t make it a door
to something more –
deal with it now and here
and move on
without packing it along
with you

Be done.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell