T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

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T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was two weeks afore Christmas and all through Eff Bee
not a creature was stirring – not a she, he, or me
We were prostrate and spent from the holiday bustle
not a twitch could be seen from the teeniest muscle.

We lay all unblinking in our respective beds
while visions of gift-wrapping swirled through our heads
And clad in our jammies and our way cool madcaps
we had the vague hopeful hope our bodies would take naps.

Holiday jangles and jingles pinged through our brains –
Presley, Crosby, and Mathis taking us down memory lanes –
and would we remember every member to be gifted?
We mentally went through our lists, hoping none were omitted

There were homes to be decorated and cards to be sent
parties, caroling, and cookie-making, and we hadn’t made a dent.
But with a collective sigh we remembered there and then
that it’s really about good will to all creatures, women, and men.

And so our thoughts finally settled and our bodies relaxed
as we thought of those we love and a world festooned in pax.
With our hearts wrapped in kindness and the world as our ‘hood
We’re all brethren and sistren – and verily, It’s all good!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

via T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas 

christmas tree 2015

Christmas Lights

“Trust.”

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Revisiting this one from 2016. This experience I had on the night of the presidential election has kept me going for the last three years…

Trust

Taking the dog for a walk,
the shooting star got my
attention when it flew across
the heavens on the evening
of November eighth. I stopped
in my tracks, looking skyward,
alert now, and the voice said,
“Trust. Everything is happening
as it needs to happen.
Don’t be afraid. Trust.”

And crap. I knew then. I knew
who’d won the election – why
else would I need to be reassured?

I went inside. And saw my fears
confirmed. And felt weirdly
stilled inside. Holding on
to that message: “Trust.”

The voice didn’t say what was to come
would be easy, or without struggle
or challenge. It didn’t provide
details of how, where, when or why.
It just said, “Don’t be afraid. Trust.”

And the earth rises now.
Thirsty for Truth. Joining in Love.
Crying for justice.
In the streets. From the rooftops.
Through the wires of computers
across the world.

“Everything is happening
as it needs to happen.
Trust,” said the voice of Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

via “Trust.”

Feedback from Writer’s Digest for *Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad*

I received feedback from “Writer’s Digest” today for my book, Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad. The feedback meant a lot to me and was encouraging. In an effort to be honest, I’m going to post everything here – all the ratings, and all of the judge’s commentary – with nothing omitted. I think the judge gave me some useful feedback.

From Judge #34, 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards:
***
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 4
Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary:

What a lovely story about your dad. I enjoyed how much of a hero he was to you. I also liked how you ended your narratives with you and your dad expressing your love for each other. That was very heartwarming and rang true. You set your book up almost as though you were writing poems to him, reflecting how much he meant to you. Through your compassionate writing, you showed how important it was to keep that poetry going as he began to lose his mental faculties.

Having said that, because you brought me into your story and into your relationship with your father, I would have liked a small paragraph at the end of the book letting me know whether he’s still alive, if he’s passed, how he’s doing. You could preface it by saying, ‘At the time of this writing…’ I make this suggestion because, in the previous pages, you’d allowed me to be a part of your family and witness the deep love you had for each other. That’s why it’s important to let me (and future readers) know what happened at the end of your story. It’s a fitting close to a sweet book and an equally sweet relationship.

*Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad* can be ordered through your favorite book store or ordered online through Amazon.

God Doesn’t Need Evil to Accomplish Good

To my fellow Christians –

If you are under the belief that God needs lies, dishonesty, and concealing the truth to accomplish His will then I believe you sorely underestimate God. If you believe that God allows corruption, hypocrisy, misogyny, racism, greed, bigotry, bullying, mocking the handicapped, inequity, injustice, greed, bribery, and extortion in order to bring “salvation” to our nation – then I believe you are missing, entirely, the whole point, the fundamental message of the Christ – “love your neighbor” – “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them” – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” – “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me” – “behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”

The God I worship doesn’t need the help of evil to accomplish Her will.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“…on earth peace, good will toward all.”

Rejoicing in the Truth

It seems to me that – whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican – you’d want an opportunity for the truth to be revealed, right? Who wouldn’t want that? The truth can prove guilt OR innocence. It seems to me the only people who wouldn’t want an opportunity for the truth to be revealed would be those people who believe someone is guilty and want to hide that.

“Love does not rejoice in evil but rejoices with the truth.”
– I Corinthians 13:6

“…he who loves will love Truth not less than men. He will rejoice in the Truth—rejoice not in what he has been taught to believe; not in this church’s doctrine or in that; not in this ism or in that ism; but ‘in the Truth.’ He will accept only what is real; he will strive to get at facts; he will search for Truth with a humble and unbiased mind, and cherish whatever he finds at any sacrifice.”
– Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World

 

Truth

Dad and I and a Flock of Snow Geese

When I arrive at Dad’s house he’s still in bed and looks to be sleeping. I lean over and kiss his forehead and his eyes flutter open. He squints up at me.
Dad: Is it time to eat?
Karen: Yeah. Are you hungry?
Dad: Yeah. I’ll get up.
Karen: Okay.

I let Amanda know that Dad’s ready to get up. I ask her if she thinks he’d be up for a drive today and she tells me she thinks he’d like that. She says he gets bored staying at home all day. It’s harder now because he needs to use a wheelchair – but Amanda tells me she and Dietrick will help me get him in the car.

Before long Dad appears from his room, sitting in the wheelchair – he looks kind of majestic – like a king on his throne. He’s dressed and shod and is wearing his alpine hat. Dietrick and Amanda roll him down the ramp and out to my car, and, together, manage to get him in the seat. I buckle him in and we’re good to go.

As we’re driving out of town and onto Chuckanut…
Dad: I haven’t had breakfast, yet.
Karen: Let’s get you a breakfast sandwich. (I head down Chuckanut Drive for Sisters Espresso. On the way, Dad says something that I can’t quite hear. I lean over and ask him what he said…)
Dad: I love you.
Karen: Oh Daddy! I love you, too!
(We arrive at Sisters Espresso and I order Dad a cocoa and a sandwich. I hand him his breakfast and we get back on the road.)

There are no volcanoes visible today, but I figure Dad will just like cruising through the countryside for a while. As I’m driving along Field Road I spot some waves of snow geese taking off and landing – it looks like they might be off Sunset Road – so I head that direction. Sure enough! Soon we come upon a lively flock of snow geese doing snow geese stuff. I pull over to the side of the road and roll down Dad’s window so he can hear them and watch them performing their flight maneuvers, and I grab my camera and take some photos. Then it’s back on the road again – heading for Dad’s home.

When we get to his home I wheel the wheelchair over to Dad – I’m going to try to get him in the chair without bothering Amanda – I know she’s having a busy morning. I have some trepidation about this, but Dad seems to understand what we need to do together, and I know I have a good partner in him. I hold out my hand to give him something to leverage himself on and he manages to turn himself in the seat a little. I gently grab one foot and help him lift it over the car’s side and onto the ground. I know it’s his other leg that gives him some trouble – so I am especially gentle as I help him lift the other foot over the side of the car. He winces and groans a little. I look up at him anxiously and touch his cheek with my hand. He holds my eyes with his and says, reassuringly, with quiet conviction, “I’m fine.” I know he doesn’t want me to feel bad. I have learned some tricks for lifting him up in the last few years and, together, we manage to get Dad standing and then sitting in the wheelchair. I feel inordinately proud of us.

I wheel him around the house to the ramp, tilt him back, and push him up the ramp and into the house. We settle down in front of the TV – I’m sitting on a chair behind Dad, rubbing his shoulders. He reaches up and grabs my hand and gives it a gentle squeeze. When Amanda comes out to take Dad into the bathroom I know it is time for me to leave.
Karen: I love you, Daddy.

This Has Been Bothering Me for Three Years

Here’s a letter I wrote to The Seattle Times back in 2016:

My eighty-nine year-old mom just called me in a panic. She wanted to know if we’re “all going crazy.” I asked her what was up. She said she’d just heard that “they” were going to get rid of Medicare. I asked her where she heard this, and she said on the news. I told her to turn the news off right now. She said she would, and we bid each other good night.

Eighty-nine year-old mothers are allowed to turn the news off and go to bed. I wish I was. 

And ARE we all going crazy?! What has happened to the nation I love? 

Karen Molenaar Terrell

***
And here’s how the letter appear when it got published in The Seattle Times.

News Creating Medicare Panic?

My eighty-nine year-old mom just called me in a panic. She wanted to know if we’re “all going crazy.” I asked her what was up. She said she’d just heard that “they” were going to get rid of Medicare. I asked her where she heard this, and she said on the news. I told her to turn the news off right now. She said she would, and we bid each other good night. Are we all going crazy?! What has happened to the nation I love? 

Karen Molenaar Terrell

***

You see what happened there? Yeah. That’s been bothering me for three years. I figured it was time to say something.

Moving on…