She Asked a Really Good Question

In an email message I received this morning a friend of mine asked me a really good question. She wrote:  “I’m preparing an address this winter and am asking long-time CSsts why they’ve remained so very long in Science?  When the smoke of battle clears, why is CS still our passion?  What is it that makes it matter so much?”

I probably need to start a response to her question by being honest: I haven’t always been the most disciplined practitioner of Christian Science. There have been long periods when I haven’t stepped inside a church building or read the weekly lesson-sermon, and there have been times when I’ve stepped back from the organized religion called “Christian Science” and wondered if I really wanted to be part of it. There was even a time when I wondered if God was leading me to atheism – which probably tells you something about the way my pointy little noggin works.

But “when the smoke of battle clears” – after a life-time of daily skirmishes with sickness, ego, lack, guilt, anger, hate, and fear – this Science still stands upright on the battlefield, unmarred and whole. I have seen that an understanding of Christian Science heals, and that it heals in a most effective and reliable way.

Christian Science is really, for me, a way of looking at the world – a way of living. It’s taught me that I don’t need to buy into any and every man-made theory about health, supply, and success. It’s helped me come to understand that my health and happiness, in fact, aren’t dependent on matter at all. Divine unchanging, never-ending, ever-present Love has been proven, through Christian Science, to be the only power and presence I need. When I’ve used my understanding of the Science of the Christ to let go of fear and anger, and align my thoughts to Love, I have experienced healings such as these in my life: an instantaneous healing of bronchitis; the disappearance of what my eye-doctor diagnosed as melanoma; a hugely-inflamed hand that deflated in two days – results that came back on the third day from a blood test led the doctor’s office to call me and recommend I see a rheumatologist – the nurse was surprised to learn that my hand was no longer inflamed and was completely fine; the natural birth of my son after I’d been brought down to the OR for a cesarean – one of the surgical nurses told me she’d never seen anything like that – she was crying because the experience was “so beautiful”; the healing of a dog who’d been shot through the head – two weeks later she was running and chasing balls; and finding meaningful and happy employment.

Every new friendship, every happy new adventure, and every new opportunity to experience and share good in my life is proof, for me, of the power and presence of Love – of what I’ve learned to call “God” in Christian Science.

Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Christian Science destroys material beliefs through the understanding of Spirit, and the thoroughness of this work determines health.”. I have proven this statement to be true in my own life.




Freeway Friends

Two hour drive on the freeway through clogged-up traffic yesterday. Husband driving, God bless him. So I sit and look out my window and watch people. This happens to be one of my favorite activities. I’m curious about folks. I wonder about them – where are they going? Why? How do they feel about driving? What strategy do they use to stay calm as they drive through traffic jams?

We’re in the far left – in the commuter lane – and I notice this brown delivery truck two lanes over to the right. The driver has his window down and I wonder about this until I notice that he’s smoking – and then I realize he must be trying to keep the smoke out of the cabin. My heart goes out to him – I’m thinking he must be cold with the window down like that. And suddenly he turns and looks right at me. I smile at him, and he smiles back and waves. This, I decide, is a very cool way to spend one’s time.

So now I’m looking around for my next victim of friendliness. And – boom! – I see him right away! A state patrol car is moving into the lane next to us. I smile and wave, and he gets a kind of surprised look on his face, then smiles at me, and returns the wave before pulling forward and ahead of us.

Now we’re moving like molasses through the thick of a traffic jam. A car with Canadian license plates is coming up on our left. The driver – a friendly young man smiling one of those beautiful smiles you might see in a Coca-Cola commercial indicates that he has a question, and my son rolls down his window, “How do I get to Seattle?” the man asks. My son points to the Space Needle coming up on the right, and answers with a grin,”You’re there!” The man thanks the son, waves and smiles his Coca-Cola smile, and moves forward in his lane.

Sometimes one meets the nicest people on the freeway. 🙂

Okay, I know soda pop is not good for one’s teeth or one’s waistline and I don’t often drink it – but I cannot help myself – I love this commercial (from 1971) –


A No Car Day

Home is the dearest spot on earth, and it should be the centre, though not the boundary, of the affections.
Mary Baker Eddy

The sons, husband, and I had a No Car Day yesterday. It was lovely. We went for a walk to the old cemetery, and then came home and made a fire in the wood-stove, and brought our the old board games – Stratego, Monopoly, RISK. We filled the DVD up with old favorites – Christmas Vacation, The Christmas Story, Pirates of the Caribbean – and our bellies up with garlic mash and turkey. The cat sat on top of the chair, the dog lay on her bed at our feet. Christmas lights sparkled from the mantel and the Christmas tree, and reflected off the wrapping paper littering the floor.The sound of convivial board game competition and laughter filled the air.

Ah! Bliss! 🙂


photo of Christmas wrapping paper (Karen Molenaar Terrell)



Ode to Boxing Day

It’s a humble holiday, tucked in between
Christmas and New Year’s, but it’s really keen.
Things look a little bedraggled, it’s true
The tree’s a little droopy and no longer new

The movies and music of the Christmas season
Are getting on our nerves now, and we’re seeing no reason
To eat even one more sugary oversweet sweet
It’s time for broccoli and carrots (maybe hold on the beets)

The pressure for perfection comes off on this day,
The toys have been opened, and it’s come time to play.
And if before we were wearing faux holiday cheer
To blend in with the others and not Scroogey appear

It’s time now to be genuine, and honest and real
The food banks are empty, people still need a warm meal
The homeless and hungry and jobless and alone
Still need love and caring, still need a home.

So maybe we can celebrate the day after Christmas –
By keeping the spirit of hope alive, we might make that our business.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Happy Boxing Day, my dear hooligan Humoristians! Let’s continue in our conspiracy to spread good will and humorosity throughout the universe!

(excerpted from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book)

My Address Book

I brought out the old address book this weekend to work on my Christmas cards. I’ve had that book about 30 years – I can no longer remember exactly where I got it or when  – but when I first started writing names and addresses in it I’m sure I didn’t realize how significant it would one day become to me. It has become a chronicle of sorts – a record of friendships and family ties.

My mom was the youngest of ten children and my dad the middle of three – at one time I had 11 aunts and uncles  – and their names and addresses are still in my address book, though they are all gone now – Mom and Dad are the only ones remaining in their generation. As I l started flipping through my address book, this was brought home to me. “I don’t have any more aunts or uncles to send Christmas cards to,” I told my husband, sort of in shock.  My cousins, Julie and Skip and Chris, are gone now, too. And Craig and Mark. And I’ve lost friends through the years – Kim has passed, other friends have moved away and on, and I’ve lost my connection to them.

For a moment I was overwhelmed by sadness as I realized how many dear ones are no longer walking this earth with me.

But then, as I started working my way towards the back of each alphabetized section, I started finding more recent names and addresses – a record of new friendships and a younger generation of family members with their own homes.  There was something about that discovery that lifted the sadness from me a little. Yes, I’ve lost loved ones through the years, but I’ve also gained new friends and new family. In the last ten years I’ve added the names of new friends living all over the world – people I’ve met through the internet or through my books  – addresses  for new friends in Minnesota, Michigan, Florida, Ontario, Nova Scotia, England, Kenya – people I never could have imagined knowing when I first got my address book all those years ago.

Although the book is pretty full now, I am happy to note there is still room for more addresses, more friendships. There will always be room in my address book. If I have to, I’ll just tape in more pages.  It’s cool to think of all the new names and addresses my address book might hold in the future.

Happy Solstice!

“We are sometimes led to believe that darkness is as real as light; but Science affirms darkness to be only a mortal sense of the absence of light, at the coming of which darkness loses the appearance of reality.”

–  Mary Baker Eddy


“Eternal Truth is changing the universe. As mortals drop off their mental swaddling-clothes, thought expands into expression. ‘Let there be light,’ is the perpetual demand of Truth and Love, changing chaos into order and discord into the music of the spheres.”
 Mary Baker Eddy

We Are Family

I had an experience a few years ago that has stayed with me. I was at a local Starbucks – drinking cocoa and working on some stuff at one of the little tables there when a pair of young policemen came in and sat at the table next to mine. I – being who I am – couldn’t help but listen into their conversation. I expected them to talk about their work – busts they’d made, “bad guys” they’d caught. But they began to talk about their wives – meeting and courtship and marriage. Then one of them told an hilarious story about a trip he’d taken to Alaska – I started chuckling at this point and they both looked over at me. I explained that I was really enjoying their conversation – they grinned at me and carried on. I realized as I listened to these guys that I’d been carrying around some prejudices about law enforcement types – and that these fine fellows didn’t fit the stereotypes I’d maybe built up for police officers. It was eye-opening for me.

I was really blest as I was growing-up to be raised by parents who took a very dim view of prejudice. There weren’t many African-Americans in my community when I was a child,. but I do remember one time when Mom and my brothers and I were walking through a Sears store at the local mall, and a young black family with small children walked by. A white man standing near us turned to my mom and said, “Those people should stay in their own place.” My mom – I am proud to say – was trembling with anger at his words. She told the white man in no uncertain terms that that little family had as much right to be there as anyone else and that we were all God’s children.

I think I’ve shared before the story of a trip I took down to Los Angeles with my dad back in 1975 – only a few years after the Watts race riots. Dad had decided to return to his old neighborhood and check out the home he’d grown up in, and soon we found ourselves driving through an area of LA that was very similar to Watts. I noticed this. Dad did not. And even if he had noticed, he wouldn’t have noticed – if you know what I mean. Dad is one of those people who doesn’t take much note of differences in skin color. He pulled up next to his childhood home, and without hesitation walked up to the door and knocked. A black woman opened the door to us and seemed a little surprised to find these white people standing on her stoop. Dad explained that he’d like to check out his childhood home, and Ruby opened the door wide to us, and let us in. Dad glanced around the home and then walked out the back door and into the yard he’d played in as a young boy. I remember him looking around the yard, commenting on the avocado tree growing there, and mentioning how much bigger the yard had seemed when he was growing up. Then he came back inside the house, shook Ruby’s hand, and thanked her for letting us in. On the way out of the neighborhood we stopped at a gas station to get gas, and the black attendant there seemed as surprised to see us as Ruby had been. After he’d filled up our gas tank for us he thanked us for coming, and said, “Come back again!”

When I think about those policemen at the Starbucks and Ruby and the gas station attendant in Los Angeles, it occurs to me that there’s not really all that much difference between them. Ruby’s home was full of pictures of her children – it was obvious her family was important to her – and the policemen’s stories were full of anecdotes about the people in their lives whom they loved. Ruby and the policemen and the gas station attendant had all been friendly and kind to me. All of them had a sense of humor and knew how to laugh.

Humanity walks on a common ground.  I think almost all of us have people we love and care about in our lives. We all laugh. We all grieve. I think most of us want to do right by each other.

It might be helpful to humanity to remember our common ground – to see that whether we’re black or white or red or yellow we are all the children of Love. It might be useful to try to see each other as loving parents might see their offspring – to see each other through the eyes of God, Love, Life.

With one Father, even God, the whole family of man would be brethren; and with one Mind and that God, or good, the brotherhood of man would consist of Love and Truth, and have unity of Principle and spiritual power which constitute divine Science.
– Mary Baker Eddy