Present Magic

Driving to work this morning –
lost in my thoughts
anticipating traffic, trials, and trouble
chewing on my worries and fears
enclosed in my own gray bubble –
when suddenly a cosmic moment –
the music in my CD soared up
and brought me with it
in the exact instant when a flock
of trumpeter swans winged
over me, their wings beating in time
to the music – and the clouds
diffused pink light, bursting through
my ruminations and waking me
from my trance to the present magic
going on all around me, always.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Bow Sunrise

Sunrise on the way to work. October 2, 2017. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

“Oh! I Love These Things!”

Dad is in his recliner in front of the television when Scott, Dave, and I arrive.
Karen: Hi, Daddy! (I give him a hug.)
Dad: Hi, Karen!
Karen: Look who else is here…
Dave: (Gives Dad a hug.) Hi, Dad.
Dad: (His eyes light up.) Hi, David!
Karen: Do you want to move to the dining room table so we can talk?
Dad: (Nodding.) Yes.
(David brings Dad his walker and I get his headset and we all help him move to the dining room.)
Dad: (Situated now at the table.) I’ve been watching Pete (his son, my other brother) play football. He’s always in someone else’s jersey, though. His name is never on his jersey. Did you watch the Cougar-Husky game?
Karen: Yeah.
Dad: Were you rooting for the Huskies?
Karen: I went to WSU, so I was rooting for the Cougars. They lost. Your Huskies won. But it was a really good game.
Dad: (Thinking.) I’m ready to leave here.
Karen: This is your home.
Dad: You’re always saying this is my home. This isn’t my home. I have three homes near the Canadian border.
Karen: And this is one of them. This home is near the Canadian border.
Dad: (Nodding.) Oh.
Karen: And I live 15 minutes from here.
Dad: (Nodding.) Good!
Karen: Don’t leave here because then none of us would be able to find you!
Scott: (Smiling.) Yeah. Don’t go anywhere. We like having you near us.
Dad: Oh. Okay.
Karen: (The white cat, Skittles, has jumped up on the table and is going from person to person for a pet and scratch behind the ears.) And Skittles the Cat, is here. She sleeps with you. She loves you. She would miss you not being here.
Dad: (Nodding.) Yeah. She’s my little companion.
(Megan brings Dad a root beer. Dad takes a sip and burps. He starts chuckling, and we chuckle with him.)

David talks with Dad about the move he’s going to be making from Boise to Olympia in a couple weeks. Dad nods and smiles when he understands Dave will be closer soon.
Karen: We brought you over for Thanksgiving a couple days ago. Do you remember that?
Dad: (Nodding and smiling.) Yes.
Karen: David’s kids, Claire and Casey were there. And Andrew and Xander. And Claire’s husband, Michael, and Casey’s girlfriend, Alex.
Dad: (Nodding.) Yes. Your children are good people. And my children are good people.
Karen: And we have a good father.
(Dad smiles and nods.)
David: (To Dad.) In seven months you’ll be 101.
Karen: Do you remember when we brought you to Mount Rainier for your 100th birthday?
Dad: (Nods.) Yes. (Thinking.) Kenny Foreman was there.
Karen, David, and Scott: Yeah! That’s right.
David: And the Whittaker brothers were there…
Dad: (Nods.) Yeah.
Karen: And Rick and Jana Johnson. We stayed at their place.
Dad: Yeah.
Karen: I don’t know if we’ll be able to get back there for your 101st birthday, though.
Dad: (Nods in agreement.) Yeah. That’s too far to go.
Karen: But we’ll do something to celebrate.
David: Can you sing the Dutch Christmas song?
Dad: (Singing.) Sinterklaas Kapoentje, Le waat in mijn schoentje, leg waat in mijn laarsje, Dank je Sinterklassje!

Karen: It’s time for us to take David to catch his shuttlebus now.

Dad nods and gets up. We help him back into his recliner in front of the television. Megan has brought in a bowl of cheese balls for Dad.
Dad: (Seeing the cheese balls.) Oh! I love these things!
Megan: (Laughing.) He does!

We give Dad hugs and tell him we love him and Dave says he will see him again soon for Christmas. Dad nods and smiles. He knows Christmas is not far away.

Dee Molenaar and David Molenaar

Dad (Dee Molenaar) and David Molenaar in conversation.

Dad singing Sinterklaas Kapoentje.

For more stories like these, click here: Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad

Someone to Blame

There once was someone else to blame –
– “Toblame” was the name of the game
– the Millennials, the Boomers,
and media with “fake rumors”
were targets for the blame and the shame.

There once was someone else to blame –
Just fill in the blank with a name –
the Jews, Muslims, Christians,
atheists, or immigrants from immigrations
were handy to blame when they came.

And then one day there was a metacognition
we shared in a moment of clear vision
when we saw we each held the key
– a better world could start with each “me” –
and we laid down the blame for our mission.

There once was something else to blame –
Anonymouses or those who had fame,
the poor and the rich,
or a computer glitch
– things never got fixed
when we had something else we could blame.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

earth NASA

Grandmozzy’s Blue Sweater

Warmth and peace, gentle
laughter and playful exchanges
father mother son daughter
niece nephew brother sister
friend grandpa nestled around
the dining room table in
a cozy glow of love and
grandmozzy’s blue sweater
on the back of a chair adding
to the sweetness of this
Thanksgiving.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

moz blue sweater

In the Kitchen with Karen

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

The Thanksgiving Sunflower

I was hoping I’d find some sunflowers to bring into our home for Thanksgiving – there’s something so cheery and wholesome about sunflowers – they instantly light up a room with their sunshiney faces. But, alas, there were no sunflowers to be found in any of the local supermarkets, and my last sunflowers had died off in the freeze a week ago.

Or so I thought…

A few weeks ago I’d leaned a sunflower stalk that had blown down in the wind against the corner of our house. I’d clipped off the sunflowers that were in bloom and put them in a vase in the breakfast nook – but had tossed the flowers out a week ago when they died.

So today, after I gave up on finding sunflowers in a store, I was wandering around the yard looking for something – anything – that might still be flowering that I could bring into the house for Thanksgiving. And as I walked past the sunflower stalk I’d leaned against the house weeks ago I saw there was one little sunflower beaming its happy little face up at me!

It’s amazing how much joy it gave me to find that little sunflower waiting for me right there – at the corner of our house! She’s now shining her golden beauty from the windowsill in my kitchen.

I got a sunflower for Thanksgiving, after all!
glowing sunflower 3 this one

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Better than Christmas.
Better than Easter. Better than Halloween.
It’s pies made from berries I picked myself, and golden
squash Scott grew in the garden, and healthy food smells
filling the kitchen. It’s family and friends and love
and laughter over old memories and memories in-the-
making. It’s Aunt Junie’s china and Aunt Elsie’s teacups
out of Grandma’s old maple china cabinet. It’s the sons
playing music on the piano I learned to play on fifty years
ago. It’s improv in the living room, and board games
on the dining room table after the food’s been cleared.
It’s wearing Moz’s sweater and feeling her arms around me
and Dad watching football while he eats his pie
with ice cream on top. It’s a fire in the woodstove and a cozy
room filled with amber light as it grows dark and cold outside.
It’s being filled up with gratitude so rich I want to cry
with the joy of it.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell