About Karen Molenaar Terrell

Karen's stories have appeared in *Newsweek*, *The Christian Science Monitor*, and *Pack and Paddle Magazine* and she's the author of *Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad*, "The Brush of Angel Wings*, *The Madcap Christian Scientist* series, *A Poem Sits on my Windowsill*, *Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom*, and co-author of *The Humoristian Chronicles: A Most Unusual Fellowship*. Her photos are featured in the spring 2014 edition of the *Bellingham Review*, and the "Photos from the Field" page of the April/May 2017, December/January 2018-2019, and April/May 2019 issues of of *Mother Earth News*. Her photos can be found at fineartamerica.com. Her books can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Molenaar-Terrell/e/B0044P90RQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1312060042&sr=8-

Fricasee Fracas Flummoxed

fricassee fracas flibbertigibbet flummoxed
prestidigitation preposterous obsequious
bovine blunderbuss balderdash brouhaha
cacophony kiester kerfuffle
discombobulated debacle
ubiquitous shenanigans hooligans
twitter-pated rutabaga gesundheit doh
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

I just felt it needed to be said.

White Privilege: If You When You Then You

If you
don’t have to worry about looking suspicious
when you
walk around eating Skittles, wearing a hoodie
when you
go on a run through a suburban neighborhood
when you
carry assault rifles into a government building
then you
know white privilege
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Black Lives Matter Rally in Burlington, WA

I’m so glad I could be a part of the Black Lives Matter rally today. I ran into some of my favorite people: the Templetons, Bailey, Summer, Charles, and Pam. I cried (The “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” chant especially got to me). I laughed (when one guy gave us the finger – I pointed to my sign – “TRUTH JUSTICE KINDNESS” – and wondered what part of this he had a problem with). I waved to the people passing in cars – the support from the people in their cars really inspired me – there were a lot of thumbs up and there were a lot of horns being honked. At one point Salvation Army volunteers came through with a wagon of free water and snacks for the protesters – that was cool. As I was leaving I stopped to thank the police officers for coming and giving us their support and that’s when I saw Iris was there, too – she was chatting with the officers – and they all let me take their photo. There were also a few guys with assault rifles and whatnot standing off to the side in a clump. Not sure what they were all about – but I took their pictures, too.

So Grateful I Was Raised by These People

Missing Dad and Moz today, but so glad they’re not here to see what’s happening to our poor country.

I spent an hour today driving around to the places Dad and I used to go on our drives together – feeling the echo of his presence still there, talking to me. I had a flashback of a time when a young black man in a hoodie stopped to open the door for Dad, and I remember how Dad took the time to stop and thank him before he went into the building. It was a brief exchange – very quick – but the power of the brotherly love I felt being exchanged between Dad and the young man is still with me.

Thinking of Moz and imagining her shaking with indignation and anger at the injustice and racism we’re seeing – just as she did when I was a little girl and we encountered a racist at the Sears store. The man had nodded his head towards a little black family and said they should be shopping in their own store. When Moz understood what he was saying she was furious – “They have as much right to be here as you or me!” she told him, trembling with rage. The man realized, then, who he was dealing with in Moz and got all red in the face and scurried away. That was a moment I will never forget – it had a huge impact on me. I remember feeling very proud to be Moz’s daughter.

I remember how Moz and Dad celebrated the night Obama got elected – they were both so happy. Dad said he never thought he’d live long enough to see an African-American in the White House – his whole face was lit up with pride in his country. Moz had tears in her eyes with the joy she felt that night.

I’m so grateful I was raised by these people – so grateful I was brought up to see beyond the color of someone’s skin to what was in the heart of people. My parents gave me a kind of freedom with that.

Here’s Moz in her Obama hat. 

This picture of my mom, wearing her Obama cap, always puts a grin on my face.

“I don’t need to claim these thoughts!”

From December 2018…

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

“Stand porter at the door of thought.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

I was in a funk today. There’s been another Christmas tragedy. Don’t want to talk about that, really. But it led me to some dark places in my thoughts. I stopped by to see Dad, hoping that would cheer me up. But he was struggling – questioning the veracity of a Christmas card I brought him from a friend, saying it seemed “fishy” – questionable – and he didn’t trust it. He argued with me about the background in a photograph – insisted it was a stadium with bleachers – which… it wasn’t. I told him I loved him, and he told me he loved me, and I left.

As I was driving home dark thoughts came knocking on the door of my consciousness – thoughts of despair and discouragement and fear for the future. Thoughts about death. And…

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“Trust.”

Revisiting this one. Originally posted in November 2016.

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

“Peals that should startle the slumbering thought from its erroneous dreams are partially unheeded; but the last trump has not sounded, or this would not be so. Marvels, calamities, and sin will much more abound as truth urges upon mortals its resisted claims; but the awful daring of sin destroys sin, and foreshadows the triumph of truth.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Taking the dog for a walk,
the shooting star got my
attention when it flew across
the heavens on the evening
of November eighth. I stopped
in my tracks, looking skyward,
alert now, and the voice said,
“Trust. Everything is happening

as it needs to happen.
Don’t be afraid. Trust.”

And crap. I knew then. I knew
who’d won the election – why
else would I need to be reassured?

I went inside. And saw my fears
confirmed. And felt weirdly

stilled inside. Holding on
to that message: “Trust.”

The voice didn’t say what was to come

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The REAL Trickle Down

The REAL Trickle Down

I doubt we’ll ever see money, wealth, and riches
trickling down from the top to the bottom –
strangely, wealth always seems to get stuck at the top.
But there’s other stuff that trickles down –
stuff I pray will stop. When a leader fans the fires
and gets the hatred burning, and uses fear and lies
– I feel a real yearning for a future that holds
wisdom, love, and understanding – a future with
a fountain of hope at the top – cascading joy
and peace, and creating a rainbow of beauty
on its way down to the base.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Rainbow Over Padilla Bay

How do you argue with Love?

You can’t argue with Love.
There’s nothing in Love to insult, offend or attack.
There’s nothing in Love to be hurt or to hit back.
Love doesn’t see skin color – not white or black.
Love fills all space – and that’s a fact.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Of Pea Soup and Spinning Heads

(Reworked from a post originally published in 2014.)
I’ve never seen The Exorcist, but I have seen that scene with the pea soup and the spinning head – and lately I’ve seemed to encounter a lot of what I would put in the “pea soup and spinning head” category. There have been times, recently, when personalities have seemed to spin themselves out of alignment with the individuals they really are, spewing out all kinds of hell – anger, frustration, jealousy, fear, revenge, hatred, finger-pointing. And I’m embarrassed to say that on at least a couple occasions recently I myself was the spewer – feeling really angry and hurt about someone I felt had treated me unfairly.

It none of it felt good.

But then I came across yet another spewing-spinner on a discussion board, and found myself just stepping back and kind of observing in interested fascination as the pea soup flew and the vitriol sprayed. The pea soup and vitriol had been intended for me, but they were so over-the-top and spewed so high in the air that it simply erupted above the spewer’s head and ended up landing back on her. It didn’t touch me at all. And, standing there on the outside of the mess, it became really clear to me that the spinning-spewing personality was not at all the real individuality of my fellow poster. It was obvious that what I had just witnessed was nothing but a spinning-spewing counterfeit of the real man and woman, made in God’s likeness – made in the likeness of Love.  And it also became clear to me that I had no desire or need to spend my time engaged in conversation with a counterfeit. I was able to step back and move on and find other interesting dialogues that better served me.  I didn’t give the counterfeit the power to push me OUT of a space where I belonged, and nor did I give the counterfeit the power to pull me INTO a space where I didn’t belong. I didn’t have to react or respond to the counterfeit at all.

This encounter with the counterfeit poster helped me come to terms with my feelings of anger and wish for vengeance towards the personality who had treated me so poorly in the past. I had to recognize that the real man is the child of God – that God loves him no less than he loves me – and that God is instructing him, and leading him down his own path in life, with its own lessons waiting for him. And none of that is any of my business.

My business is keeping watch on my own thoughts and actions. Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, – to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”

As Paul says, we all must work out our “own salvation.”  It’s rewarding work. It’s satisfying work. And it’s also enough work to fill my moments and my days for eternity. Who has time to worry about working out someone ELSE’s flaws and foibles, when I have enough of my own to worry about?

Spinning heads and pea soup, be gone!