A Poem: Wordle Word Rolling Behind My Eyelids

A thank you to all my friends who’ve gotten me into the wordle word craze. What would my life be without you?

Thanks to all of you
I now close my eyes to sleep
and see wordle words
rolling behind my eyelids
instead of counting sheep

I wake in the middle of the night
with wordle words in my head –
“sight, tight, write, fight,
light, might, right” – is “shite”
a wordle word? I ask as I lie in bed.

One of you mentioned “octordle” last week
and I felt myself getting ascared –
What next? I asked myself in a panic –
will there be Spanish wordles and French ones?
Oh, merde.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Originally published in Humoristianity.wordpress.com)

The Beauty of Humanity Is Everywhere

I’m in the checkout line at the supermarket. In front of me is one of those shopping carts that looks like a little car and there’s a youngster – maybe a year old – sitting in the back of it. While his older siblings help his mom load things onto the conveyor belt, I play peek-a-book with the toddler. He’s smiling at me – he gets that I’m having fun with him. And is there anything better than getting a smile from a child as you play peek-a-boo?

Now it’s my turn to unload my things onto the belt. I glance to the man behind me as I reach for a People magazine and say, embarrassed, “Pretend you don’t see me reaching for a gossip magazine.”

He laughs and says, “I’m not going to judge. You get whatever you need to get.”

I point to the cover. “It’s Helen Mirren. I love Helen Mirren.”

“Oh,” he says, “me, too!” He adds, “You know who I really miss is Betty White!”

We talk for a bit about what a wonderful character Betty White was – and share some of our favorite Betty White scenes with each other. Then we talk for a bit about our parents – I mention to him that my dad lived to be 101. I tell him that when my mom died at 89, Dad said, “I always knew she’d die young!” And he laughs with me about that. “Old” and “young” are relative terms.

Before I leave, I run into the family with the car-cart again. The little boy is still sitting in the back of it and his siblings are playing with him. I tell his mom that I’d played peek-a-book with him earlier while they’d been at the checkout counter, and I’d gotten a smile from him. She laughs and looks over at her son, and agrees that he’s a lot of fun.

I love people – old, young, on the cover of a magazine, or sitting in the back of a car-cart – the beauty of humanity is everywhere.

Always Here

I wake with a sense of Love
surrounding me –
a palpable presence, lifting
me from my bed –
leading me to a place of peace
and joy.
Always with me. Always here.
Protecting, guiding Be-ing.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“The lightnings and thunderbolts of error may burst and flash till the cloud is cleared and the tumult dies away in the distance. Then the raindrops of divinity refresh the earth. As St. Paul says, ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God’ (of Spirit).”
-Mary Baker Eddy, S and H, p 288

Instructions to a First-Time Mom

Instructions to a First-Time Mom

My mother tells me that when I was born and she held me in her arms for the first time, the weight of the responsibility of raising and caring for me suddenly filled her with great fear. She was so afraid she’d mess it all up somehow.

She looked up at the doctor and shared her fears with him. The doctor smiled at her sweet face and said, “Love her. Just love her.”

This was something my mom knew how to do – and do really well.

My brothers and I may not have had the most conventional up-bringing – but none of us could have asked for a mother with more love in her heart. We grew up witnesses to how she expressed love to others – seeing her voice her protest for those who were being treated unfairly, watching her take in stray animals and make them part of the family, seeing how a room would light up as soon as she entered it and smiled her love on everyone. And the love she expressed wasn’t some feigned thing, either. It came from deep inside her – true and pure. She truly loved mankind and all God’s creatures – and we saw this, and incorporated her example into our own sense of how to live a decent and moral life.

As I think back on my younger years, there’s one moment that stands out for me. I think I must have been in my early twenties, and there was some sadness about a break-up with a boyfriend or something – dashed hopes of some kind – I can’t remember the specifics now – but I was feeling lost and alone – not sure what direction I was supposed to take in my life. I was home visiting Mom and Dad, and had gone out into the backyard to look up at the stars and pray. Mom must have known I was out there, and came and stood beside me. I shared my sadness with her then – I think I shared how I was feeling like a “surplus” person – like there seemed to be no place for me. My mom reached over to one of her rose bushes and gently plucked a rose from it and handed it to me. She looked into my eyes and said, “This is you. I see you unfolding into a most beautiful rose.” And then she went back into the house.

Wow. Those simple words, spoken with perfect love, totally reversed my thoughts about myself and my circumstances. Mom loved me. Mom thought I was unfolding like a beautiful rose. How cool is that?!

Moz knew me the longest of anyone – she knew me before I was born! – and nobody loved me like Moz loved me. I’m so glad I got to have her on earth with me for 60 years before she passed on. I was truly blessed to have her for my mother.

As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings…”
– Deuteronomy 32: 11

A mother’s affection cannot be weaned from her child, because the mother-love includes purity and constancy, both of which are immortal. Therefore maternal affection lives on under whatever difficulties.
– from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

Here’s Moz pregnant with me…

Mom pregnant with me.

The Ties That Bind

Mother’s Day Story #2. (Originally published in 2005.)

THE TIES THAT BIND

“Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.” – Mary Baker Eddy

In 1953 my dad was on a mountaineering expedition on K2, the second highest mountain in the world, and considered by many climbers the hardest in the world to climb. A member of his climbing team fell, ropes got tangled, and five men found themselves careening down a steep and icy slope, out of control, with no hope of being able to stop themselves.

Fortunately for them, Pete Schoening was a member of their team. Pete kept the five falling men from certain doom with a belay that has come to be known as “The Belay” in the annals of mountain-climbing history. Because of Pete’s courage, quick-thinking, and strength, my dad and his comrades survived that fall and made it back to civilization where they took up their lives and proceeded to reproduce.

I’ve often thought of the children born to these men at least nine months after this expedition as the “Children of the Belay” and, although I’ve never met all the other spawn of these adventurers, I feel a certain connection to them.

One of the Children of the Belay is Pete’s daughter, Kim. Besides the fact that our dads were both on the expedition to K-2, Kim and I have many things in common. We both were raised in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest by our dads, raised in Christian Science by our moms, and married men from the east coast. When Kim married she moved to upstate New York with her husband, Rich. When my husband’s parents retired they moved to a place about forty miles away from Kim and Rich, and so our trips to the east coast have often included visits with them.

Another thing Scott and I had in common with Rich and Kim was the desire to have children.

You know how when something good happens to you, you want it to happen to your friends, too? When Scott and I became parents for the first time with the birth of our eldest son, it felt like a miracle. I so wanted my friends, Kim and Rich, to experience that miracle, too. So every morning when I woke up I would talk with God about Kim and Rich, and how it seemed such a pure and right and natural thing for them to have a child. I knew they would be great parents.

Two months after my son was born a former Sunday School student of mine asked to speak with me after church. Coincidentally, my former pupil was named Kim. Although no one would have been able to guess by looking at her, Kim was seven months pregnant. With tears in her eyes she told me that she loved the baby she was carrying, but she’d come to feel that the baby didn’t belong to her. She asked me to pray with her to know that the baby would be brought to his rightful home.

So – picture this if you will – every morning I woke up and talked with God about Kim Schoening and her husband and what great parents they’d be, and in the next breath I was praying for Sunday School Kim’s baby to be brought to his right home.

I’m embarrassed to admit that it took a week for me to see the obvious.

Sunday School Kim went through an hour of labor and after two pushes (no, I’m not kidding) gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. She told me it was as if she’d never been touched by the pregnancy or the birth. Because the baby was born early, Kim agreed to nurse him for a few weeks. But even as she nursed him, she knew he didn’t belong to her. When it came time to put him in the arms of Kim Schoening she was able to do so with nothing but joy.

Kim Schoening’s family gave a baby shower for the new baby. When I visited them later I asked Rich to show me the gifts they’d received at the shower. Rich held up a little shirt in awe and said, “We got this.” Then he carefully laid it down and picked up a little sweater, “And this,” he said, handing me the sweater. He continued, reverently showing me each pint-sized t-shirt and each pair of booties and overalls. There was something very touching about seeing this grown, bearded man tenderly handling each of his son’s gifts.

It’s been almost thirteen years now since the adoption. Today Sunday School Kim is happily married with two healthy young sons of her own. Kim Schoening and Rich were blest with the birth of a second son two years after they adopted their eldest. And Scott and I were blest with our second son not long after they had theirs.

Pete Schoening passed away last year. I miss his energy, and his positive approach to life. And I will always be grateful to him for keeping my dad alive on K2. I once pointed out to Pete that if he hadn’t saved my dad’s life on K2 he wouldn’t have been blest with his grandson. The idea made him smile. Pete’s wife says, “These are the ties that bind.” I like that thought – that we’re all bound together with love. And how awesome that the good Kim’s father did for my father came back to him thirty-eight years later in the form of a grandson. You just never know how the good you do today will affect your future, do you?

-Karen Molenaar Terrell, from Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist

(Among the people in this photo of the “Children of the Belay” are Scott and me and our sons, and Rich and Kim and their sons.)

The Children of the Belay

One of the Two Best Days of My Life

I thought this Mother’s Day weekend might be a good time to share, again, one of the two best days of my life (the other best day being the birth of my eldest son) :

“O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.”
From the Christian Science Hymnal, words by Mary Baker Eddy

I’d hoped that with the birth of my second child I would have a full night’s sleep before going into labor (having experienced a sleepless night in the birth of my first son) and that, unlike my first birthing experience, this time the process would be quick and easy. Having taken no pain medication in the birth of my first son, I’d also decided that I would ask for an epidural with this one, reasoning that even Christian Scientists usually get Novocain before letting dentists drill their teeth.

It all began as I’d hoped it would. I got my full night’s sleep, started feeling labor pains at nine in the morning, and, according to the midwife who met my husband and I at the hospital, was proceeding very smoothly and quickly through the birth. I asked for the epidural and was given one. Life was looking pretty good. Even the nurse attending me commented on how great it was to have a nice, normal couple to work with and to have a nice, normal birth to witness.

But not long after I was given the epidural, something started to go wrong. Apparently the baby’s cord was wrapped around his neck and he was in distress. It was decided to give me a caesarean section to get the baby out quickly.

As they wheeled me down to the operating room (my rear sticking up in the air in a very undignified position), I called back to my mom, who was following behind the gurney, to phone the Christian Science practitioner at the Christian Science Reading Room and ask her to pray for us.

Once they got me down to the O.R. I was attached to machines to monitor the baby’s heart rate and blood pressure, the staff took Scott away to don him in surgical garb, and the surgical team prepared to slice me open. Everything was happening very quickly, and there was a lot of bustling activity surrounding me, but, strangely, I felt very calm. I knew that no matter what happened, God was in control and the baby was moving at Her direction and guidance.

Now I was surrounded by a team of medical staffers whom, aside from my midwife, I’d never before met. Their eyes flicked from the monitor to my belly and back to the monitor again. I saw they were all puzzled by something. There was a moment of quiet. Then suddenly they all began yelling, “Push! Push!” – like they were spectators at a sporting event. I felt surrounded in Love – love from the medical staff who only wanted the best for my baby, love from my husband, and love from God. In a matter of moments our son entered the world in the old-fashioned way and the medical staff whooped like their favorite team had just won the championship. One of the nurses was crying. When I asked her why, she said that as an operating room nurse she’d never before been able to witness a baby being born naturally, and she felt she’d just witnessed a rare and special thing.

When I asked my midwife what had happened that had enabled my son to be born without a caesarean section, she said, “We don’t know.”

Later my mom shared what the Christian Science practitioner had told her when she reached her on the phone: “Life loves that baby!”

***

For a few hours we called our son Pieter Dee. Then we tried out the name Nicholas Piet. Finally, after a day in his company, we realized that this baby had big presence – his body was small, but something of his irrepressible identity was communicating itself to us – and we knew he needed a big name to match that identity. So we named him Alexander Raymond Dee Terrell. His name had more syllables than he had poundage, but it fit him just right all the same.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell (from Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist.)

(Below, my mom with her grandson Xander.)

Sex and Stuff

(Originally published August 31, 2017)

Yeah. I know. That got your attention, right? 🙂

So those of you familiar with me know that I believe every citizen of this country should have the same rights as every other citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – and that includes the right to an education; the right to gainful employment; the right to serve your country; the right to live in a decent home in a decent neighborhood; and the right for consenting adults to marry and create lives together with the people they love.

I have never understood why allowing others to share in the same rights they have should be such a problem for some people.

Anyway.

So as I was reading the Christian Science Bible Lesson Sermon this morning I came upon a passage in the Christian Science textbook (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy) that I don’t remember reading before – although I’m sure I must have (I’ve read Science and Health three or four times from cover-to-cover). Get this:

Mary Baker Eddy writes: “God determines the gender of His own ideas. Gender is mental, not material… Gender means simply kind or sort, and does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or femininity. ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 508)

Eddy writes: “Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique.” (Science and Health, p 475)

And boom. Right there. As I was reading those passages I felt like I was having a conversation with Eddy about God and the nature of man, male and female. For me, what she had to write about gender clarified, and reinforced, my own thoughts about our gender identities. “God determines… Gender is mental… does not necessarily refer either to masculinity or feminity…”

I think we need to keep things in proportion, and I think sometimes we get so focused on the “sex” part of gender that we lose sight of the bigger, more important, part of peoples’ identities and lives – men and women as the expressions of Love. Eddy writes: “The ideal man corresponds to creation, to intelligence, and to Truth. The ideal woman corresponds to Life and to Love. In divine Science, we have not as much authority for considering God masculine, as we have for considering Him feminine, for Love imparts the clearest idea of Deity. ” (Science and Health, p 517)

Union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness. The masculine mind reaches a higher tone through certain elements of the feminine, while the feminine mind gains courage and strength through masculine qualities. These different elements conjoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness. Both sexes should be loving, pure, tender, and strong.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Thoughts on Abortion (Do I post this or do I not?)

I have never had an abortion myself. (And at my age, that’s not something I need to worry about anymore.) But I have dear friends who have had abortions – it wasn’t something any of them had ever WANTED to do – for all of them it was something they felt they needed to do, given the circumstances of their pregnancies. If you’re not a woman’s physician, her medical situation is none of your business. Her body doesn’t belong to you. Worry about making yourself a better human being and leave her alone.

You Meet the Nicest People Waiting in Line

(This post can be found as an audio podcast at this link.)

I stopped by Tecalitlan Restaurant to pick up some tacos to bring home to Scott, and met some really cool people while I waited there:

A lady of about my age approached the restaurant – she was covered in mud and dirt and looked like she’d just come out of battle – but she was beautiful, too – she had an open face and a beautiful smile and long silver hair. I smiled and asked her how she was doing and she laughed and said she’d just spent the day burning slash on her property and now all she wanted was dinner and a hot shower. I learned she was a gardener and we talked a bit about gardening and how healthy it is for people to work the earth and walk barefoot on the ground. She was very wise.

A young man in glasses approached the order window and we exchanged smiles. I’d already ordered so I moved aside so he could get in front of me. After a while I became aware that I was moving from side to side on my feet – putting my weight on one foot and then the other – and I realized I was making a tune in my head – that there was a rhythmn passing through my thoughts that was making me move back-and-forth. And then I became aware that the young man in front of me was moving from foot-to-foot, too, in the exact same rhythmn. I asked him if he had a song going on his head and he laughed and said no, but he just has a hard time staying still. He asked me if I had a song in my head and I told him I did, but I was not going to sing it out loud. He laughed with me and we both continued with our foot-leaning.

And then this man came out of the restaurant with a little gray puppy in his arms. He set the pup down on the patch of grass in front of the restaurant so the puppy could stretch his legs and pee if he needed to. The puppy’s tail was wagging and his little body was rolling over itself and he was just so cute and friendly and the urge to pet him was irresistible. So I asked the pup’s human if I could pet him, and he smiled and gave the okay. And awww….

The silver-haired lady had collapsed in a chair, by this time, as she waited for her take-out. I told her she was almost there. Soon she’d have a meal and a hot shower. She laughed and nodded her head, and just about that time her take-out order appeared at the window. We rejoiced together in the magic of a warm meal.

My own take-out came soon after. The young man in the glasses wished me a good night and I took my bag of tacos to my car – which I found was blocked in on every side. There was no way I was getting out of that parking lot as things stood. I went back to the restaurant and explained my situation to the people waiting there and very soon a young man detached himself from the crowd, grinning, and pointed to his car and told me he’d parked in the spot in front of me – he couldn’t find anywhere else to park – and he’d go move his car for me. I was so grateful to him. “Thank you so much!” I said. I found an empty parking space for him while he got in his car and asked him if I should stand in it to reserve it for him. He said that would be great.

He moved his car for me and parked it in the empty space. I thanked him again and he smiled and said “No problem.”

You meet the nicest people just waiting in line at Tecalitlan’s.

The End.

A Pup Named Blue