Karen in the Kitchen

First, I will don my way cool apron that my friend from Canada sent me, and that has the Canadian word “Eh?” written on it in really flamboyant letters.  Of course, putting on the apron isn’t going to actually keep me from having flour all over me by the end of my culinary adventure – but I think I look sort of cute in it. And that’s the important thing.048

Next I will haul the turkey out of the fridge, where it’s been thawing since Sunday. I will dice home-grown onion and garlic, apples from our orchard (yes, apples – using apples in turkey stuffing is a Karen tradition – because I, traditionally and invariably, FORGET TO BUY CELERY!!! and then I find myself scrambling around the kitchen, looking for something crunchy I can throw in the dressing… and… yeah… well… apples …and, true to tradition, I just realized that I, once again, FORGOT THE CELERY!!!), and toasted Dave’s Killer Whole Grain Bread (the bread will be toasted, not Dave).  I’ll sprinkle sage and rosemary over everything that’s within arm’s reach (this includes the dog, the cats, and the sons). Then I will yank out the turkey’s innerds, and replace it with toasted Dave, and put the whole shebang in a pre-heated 325 degree oven.

Pie-making comes next. I love making pies. There’s something kind of comforting about pie-making. I especially love making pies when there’s rain pounding against the windows, and a fire in the woodstove – the rain adds a certain ambiance, and it looks like we might be getting a lot of ambiance today.  I’ll combine the flour (2 cups), and butter (2 tbs, plus 2/3 cup) and water (6 tbs) in a bowl, and then grab half of it and roll it out on a floured cutting board, and lay it in the bottom of my glass pie plate. The bottom crust will be a picture of perfection – it will be seamless and smooth. Next, I’ll put the frozen blackberries that I picked last summer into the pie shell. I’ll add 4 or 5 tbs of flour, and 6 tbs of sugar, and loosely mix the pie’s filling.  Now it’s time to roll out the top crust and place it on top of the pie. The top crust is the crust that everyone will see. It will have holes and tears in it. That is another Karen tradition. Once I’ve got my holey crust attached to the pie, I’ll lightly sprinkle sugar over the top, to make the pie look sort of sparkly when it’s done.

By the time we sit down for our feast, our plates will be full of turkey, stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes with butter and cinnamon, and cranberry sauce, and we’ll be half-way through dinner before someone – probably one of the sons – will ask me about the dinner rolls. And they will either be burning in the oven, or still sitting in the cupboard. It is another Karen tradition.

May your holidays be filled with a feast of love and laughter.  And don’t forget the dinner rolls.

– Excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

An Unremarkable and Sweet Exchange

Okay, to be honest, I debated whether I should share this moment or not. In a way, it seems almost silly for me to share it – because it SHOULD be just a matter-of-fact thing – a “no big deal” thing, really – but… after some other news I’ve heard tonight, I’m feeling impelled to put this out there…

So I’d helped my dad out of the car, and was helping my mom out, when I heard Dad say, “Thank you!” to someone who was opening the door to the apartment building for him. I looked to see what was going on back there, and saw that these two young black men with Seahawks hoodies were holding the door for Dad so he could maneuver his walker into the building. Dad nodded to the young men, and smiled, and thanked them again as I watched him go through the doors, and the young men smiled back and said, “You’re welcome!” and then went on their way. It was a small, insignificant moment, really. But… and I can’t even explain why… I find myself getting teary-eyed as I sit here recalling that simple, unremarkable, sweet exchange between a 97 year-old white man, and those two young men in the hoodies.

You know, there are a lot of really good people in this world who want to do right by each other. There is hope for us.


earth 2

Do We Want a Bully in the White House?

From The Washington Post: “At one point, Southall fell to the ground and was surrounded by several white men who appeared to be kicking and punching him, according to video captured by CNN. A Washington Post reporter in the crowd watched as one of the men put his hands on Southall’s neck and heard a female onlooker repeatedly shout: ‘Don’t choke him!’

“As security officers got Southall on his feet and led him out of the building, he was repeatedly pushed and shoved by people in the crowd.”

This is NOT okay. It is not okay to punch and kick someone who is practicing his First Amendment rights at a political rally. And when someone who is running for President of our great land says, “Maybe he should have been roughed up” I am beyond words. Well, beyond words that can be posted on WordPress, anyway. This is America. This is not Nazi Germany. Our President is elected to represent and serve ALL the people who live here – not just white men with money in the bank. Our President should expect that people will disagree with him now and then, and protest, and expect to have their protests heard by their President – this is what keeps America healthy. Any man who tries to bully others into bending to his will – who throws out people who disagree with him instead of listening to their concerns – is not a man I want sitting in the White House. 




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
from A Poem Lives On My Windowsill
(available from Karen Molenaar Terrell’s Amazon author page)





“Literary Effort” Might Be A Little Exaggeration

There are far, far better poets in this world – but I’m pretty sure you will find few that are schmaltzier than me… and that’s something, right? Just published a new book on Amazon. Here is my latest literary effort (okay, I might be exaggerating a little when I use the word “literary” in reference to this work):


(It is also available on Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Poem-Lives-My-Windowsill-ebook/dp/B0185U3X5A/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8)

Here is the title poem –

A Poem Lives On My Windowsill

There is a poem on my windowsill.
A treasure found, unfolding grace,
a cup full of fruition.
And love.

I see the caramel-colored agate I found
glowing on a beach in Bellingham,
and the tomatoes nurtured
and ripened on our back deck.
The rose blossoms were picked dew-laden
from our front garden this morning
and placed in the vase I bought for myself
in a rare “impractical” purchase
just because it made me happy
to imagine filling it with future buds.
And there are the ruby-red vases
trimmed in gold that my beloved Aunt Junie
gave me before she left this world
and that I will pass on with love
when that time comes.

A poem lives on my windowsill.

Windowsill (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Windowsill (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)



Love Is With Thee

“Fear thou not; for (Love) is with thee: be not dismayed; for (Love) is thy God: (Love) will strengthen thee; yea, (Love) will help thee; yea, (Love) will uphold thee with the right hand of Love’s righteousness.” 

– Isaiah 41:10 and I John 4:7

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Simple and Unremarkable Perfection

It is a miracle of perfection.
I am warm and fed and I can hear
my loved one tapping the keys on his laptop
and clearing his throat
near me
I have chamomile tea with cream and a chunk of
sourdough bread and the wind is moving
the rain-splattered screen on the window
and making the lights behind it look like they’re dancing
I feel no pain or fear
I know I’m completely safe
and I imagine coming through some terrible danger
and finding myself in this room
and what a miracle that would seem to be
and how much I’d appreciate the simple unremarkable
perfection of it
and I am filled with gratitude

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“I have wrestled with the beast and emerged victorious! Mostly.”

I have wrestled with the beast and I have emerged victorious! And in one piece. Mostly. Okay, so there’s a teensy chip out of my forehead. But other than that… I’m good.

I got it into my head that today I would go through the mountain of mail we’ve been accumulating on our counter over the last several months. And when I say “mountain” I am not exaggerating – it over-flowed a basket I started putting it in, and then slowly crept along the counter, working its way west like some insidious beast.

It took more than four hours. I filled up a quarter of our recycle bin. I finally got to a place where I was sorting what was left into files and notebooks. I put one of the notebooks back on its shelf, the notebook knocked a framed poster above it, which knocked the framed poster above IT, and the top poster came crashing down on my head. Glass everywhere. I sort of crumpled up underneath the frame and squatted there until I felt my senses come back to me…

… and felt blood coming down my face…

My husband tried to help – wiped the blood off my face – put a towel to my forehead…

I started laughing.

I went into the living room and started singing hymns to myself. My husband poked his head in to see what I was up to in there, and started cracking up when he saw me. We are a fine pair.

I started taking stock of myself then: Still bleeding? Nope. Still breathing? Yup. Able to think? Yup – well, I mean… as well as I ever did. Has anything really changed here? Nope. Okay. I think you’re good to go…

The son and I had been watching an old Disney movie together – Robin Hood and Little John – and reminiscing about those years when he was little and we’d watch old Disney movies together. We were having a cozy, nostalgic time together tonight. Eating pop corn and drinking cocoa while I worked my way through the flotsam and jetsam on the counter, and he did homework for his university classes. And I felt so completely wrapped up in the warmth and coziness and love all around me that the crashing poster just didn’t seem a part of my night – it couldn’t touch me, or take away from the sweetness of the night in any way.

It was like the whole thing had never happened.

And, speaking metaphysically, I guess it never really did. 🙂

“Accidents are unknown to God, or immortal Mind, and we must leave the mortal basis of belief and unite with the one Mind, in order to change the notion of chance to the proper sense of God’s unerring direction and thus bring out harmony.”
– Mary Baker Eddy