Two Earthworms

I came upon two earthworms on the sidewalk today –
their noses suspended in the air, frozen by the heat
of the sun – dried out and stiff
and I reached down and plucked up the first
and carried him to the dirt.
I dug a little hole for him and covered him
with earth – a grave to bring him back to life.
Gently I used my fingers as tweezers and pulled
the second worm from the sidewalk
and lifted him to the moist soil, laid him down,
and covered him with a wet leaf.
Fare thee well, my new friends –
May you revive and spend the rest of your days
happily leaving a trail of rich earth in your wake.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, earthworm lover

“Patience is symbolized by the tireless worm, creeping over lofty summits, persevering in its intent.”
– Mary Baker Eddy


Karen’s Doodle

Years ago, when I taught a Peace unit, I’d ask my students at the beginning of the unit: “What IS peace?” and then I’d ask them to draw pictures of what peace looks like for them.

I’ve been puttering around on the last couple days – doodling pictures – and when I finished this doodle I remembered my old Peace unit, and thought, “This is what peace looks like for me!”

art 2


Karen’s Pre-School for Grown-Ups

We all know I have enough flaws, faults, and foibles to fill pages and pages of blog posts. But… yeah… I am not going to talk about those things at this time. Nosiree Bub. I want to talk about something good I’ve discovered about myself.

My discovery began when I became aware of how much fun I was having driving Moz and Dad around on the local backroads in search of views and birds last weekend. Their glee at busting out of the retirement community for a day filled me with glee, too. I realized I had that exact same feeling when my sons were youngsters and I would take them on “field trips” and hikes and introduce them to new places. And THEN I realized I get that same feeling when one of my students grasps a new concept and her eyes light up with the wonder of it. And all this led to my epiphany: I love helping people escape.from whatever confines them. It brings me great joy.

I posted this epiphany on Facebook, and one of my friends, Allen Nelson (always thinking, that one), responded with this comment: “There’s a business model in there somewhere: Uber meets TripAdvisor. Instead of shuttling people where they expect to go, taking them on short, ‘Madcap’ adventures. I suspect that there’s a large, untapped desire for adventure out there.”

And isn’t that just a FANTASTIC idea?!! .

I’m thinking maybe I could open up a kind of “pre-school” for grown-ups. The day might look something like this:

Nine-ish: We load up in the Madcap Adventure Van and head out for a field trip. This could be a search for views and birds from the van, or I might take us all some place where we can get out of the van and go for a nice little hike ((depending on my clients’ physical abilities and general state of health, of course).

Noonish: Back to my house for lunch. If it’s the right time of the year we can forage for food – gather eggs from our chickens, pick fruit from the orchard, and vegetables from the garden – I’ve found that most people find something kind of satisfying in the idea of “living off the land.” Of course, we’re only going to actually do this for one meal, because… like… a few hours after “living off the land” we are going to be craving some actual food. But by then my clients will be back in their own lives and can take care of themselves. 

After lunch: Arts and crafts time. This is when I might bring out the fingerpaints, the coloring books, the beads and pipe cleaners and pop sickle sticks and set my clients free to create something to bring home at the end of the day to give to their parents. Or children. Or friends. Their loved ones will be forever grateful to me for this. 



Two-ish: Math. 🙂 We might factor some polynomials at this time. That’s always fun. I especially like factoring polynomials that look like this: x^2 -15 + 36.  “Ooh!” I’d exclaim, “What are the factors of 36? Remember that you can multiply two negative numbers and get a positive one, so the factors of 36 include negative numbers, too. Do any of those factor pairs add up to a negative 15? Bingo! Good job, Grasshopper!”

Three-ish: Bring out the kazoos. 

Three-thirty-ish: Time to wind down and get the grown-ups ready to return to their families. We can all sing one last song together – maybe Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life – and then bid a fond farewell to one another. I’d be sure to pin any important notes to families on my clients’ jackets – stuff like: “David played well with the other grown-ups today” and “Kathy really knows how to rock a kazoo!” 

Yeah. I think this might actually work. 



No Apologies Necessary

“Owe no man anything, but to love one another…” – Romans 13:8

In the last couple of days I’ve come to this really freeing realization that I don’t owe anybody anything, and nobody owes anything to me. I’m not talking about money here (although that’s always nice, too) – but I’m talking about… well… I don’t owe anybody any explanations for why I don’t want to do this, or why I want to do that; I don’t owe anybody my silence when I disagree; I don’t owe anyone an apology if he chooses to get offended by something I say or do. And no one owes me an apology, either, if *I* choose to be offended or affronted or aghast or indignant by something someone else says or does. And isn’t that just GREAT?!!!

I am under no obligation to please others. 

“There is a difference between trying to please and giving pleasure. Give pleasure. Lose no chance of giving pleasure; for that is the ceaseless and anonymous triumph of a truly loving spirit. ‘I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.'”
Henry Drummond, The Greatest Thing in the World

real friends 4


My dear Humoristian hooligans,

As the sun dawns over another day, may you rise with hearts full of benificent (I’m pretty sure that’s a word, right?) good will to all – armed with jocularity – ready to bring humor to the humorless, to transform the stodgy and stingy wherever you may find them, and to lighten the burdens of the scared and lonely. May your good-natured love of life bring a smile to all whom you pass on your journey today. May the barbs and slings of envy, impatience, anger, and fear clink harmlessly off your armor of joy and kindness. And may you see all the beauty and feel all the love surrounding you. Go out there and make them smile!



Millenials Rock!

Quick stereotype – because, like, what would the world be without them, right?: The Millennial generation rocks! There’s just something about this group of people that… I find myself trusting in them to do the right thing. They seem to lack a lot of the prejudices and nonsense that came before them, and they don’t seem at all intimidated or daunted by the idea of forging massive political change. More than that – I see kindness in them. Yesterday on my walk back from the post office a “Millenial” stopped his car to ask me if I needed a lift. I told him I was enjoying my walk, but thanked him for asking. He laughed and said he’d figured I was out for a walk – but he’d seen me when he was driving the other direction and just wanted to make sure I was alright. Yup. I think our future is in good hands.

(Click here to read   The Six Living Generations in America, an interesting piece by Dr. Jill Novack.)

“What would your ten commandments be?”

I was scanning through the Amazon Religion Discussion Forum the other day and came upon this question: “If you could rewrite the Ten Commandments, what would yours be?” I love questions like that – questions that ask us to think in a deeper way about concepts that we often just accept without question.

So I thought about the question – and then, using the original Ten Commandments as a sort of framework, I came up with these:

1) Thou shalt have no other gods but Love.
2) Thou shalt share your wealth: Thou shalt not make unto thee any tax-free institutions or corporate loopholes to acquire money or power; Thou shalt not bow down to money or corporations; Thou shalt bring fairness and equality to the disenfranchised, the down-trodden, the underpaid, unemployed, and homeless.
3) Thou shalt respect the power of Love and Truth, and use that power to bring peace to your planet.
4) Remember to set aside time every day to appreciate all the good around you, and to use your talents – whatever they may be – to share the beauty you see in the world.
5) Honor all those who have nurtured and cultivated the best in you, and nurture and cultivate the good in others, also.
6) Love without discrimination, prejudice, or condition.
7) Keep your integrity
8) Be grateful for all that you have.

9) Look for the good in others.
10) Care for your environment and your fellow creatures.

I’d love to hear what any of my readers might come up with for this question. Care to share? 🙂

To help you get started, here are the original Ten Commandments (from Exodus 20):

1) Thou shalt have no other gods
2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images or likenesses… Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them
3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain
4) Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy
5) Honour thy father and thy mother
6) Thou shalt not kill
7) Thou shalt not commit adultery
8) Thou shalt not steal
9) Thou shalt not bear false witness
10) Thou shalt not covet

Thou shalt have no other gods but Love

Passing Thoughts

Passing Thoughts

Lingering, flitting, wispy, clear –
thoughts passing through me today:
Aunt Junie’s laugh filled my mental ears
and my heart filled with love when I
remembered her support through the dark years;
Then my thoughts turned to a man
I once thought a terrible trial  –
I saw him last week as I sat in the bank
and he came up to me and smiled
and I smiled back and we
made small talk for awhile, 
and I felt nothing – not anger, nor tension –
and I was kind of surprised by that.
I guess Life has moved me past
the past, and the love has stayed,
but the bad didn’t last.

– Karen Molenaar Terrell



Deli Market Singer

“The soul is healed by being with children.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

I’m at a deli market buying a sandwich when this young mother comes in with two small children. The little boy – he’s maybe three years-old – looks up at me for awhile, kind of speculatively, and asks me if I can sing the “Papa Song.” I tell him I don’t know that one, but I’ll sing him another one if he wants. He nods and I start to sing “Zippity Dooh Dah” for him. He gets this big grin on his face. His mom is totally cracking up. As I’m leaving, the sandwich lady says to the little boy, “Looks like you picked the exactly right person to sing for you! She has a great voice and everything!”

Made my day.