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 Second Hundred Years: Further 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, April/May 2019, and June/July 2020 issues of of *Mother Earth News*. Her photos can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/60803140@N06/ 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-

Spoiler Alert: This Has a Happy Ending

Spoiler Alert: This has a happy ending.

I have felt really stretched and fragile and on the edge the last little while. I know the last few years have been challenging for all of us – and we each have our own slant and perspective on the challenges. A lot of my perspective comes from the point of view of someone who is hard of hearing.

Imagine being someone who depends on hearing aids and smiles and reading lips and facial expressions to communicate with others. And then imagine lips and smiles being covered, voices being muffled through masks, and hearing aids getting all tangled up in mask strings and falling out. I have been conscientious about wearing a mask when I knew it was helping others and helping allay fears – I felt it was something I could do for the good of my community. But I think two years of feeling shut off from the voices and smiles of others had slowly pushed me to the breaking point. So when a loved one suggested I wear THIS kind of mask because it had THESE kind of strings that wouldn’t get tangled in my hearing aids – I reacted more strongly than I might have two years ago. NOOOOOOO!!!!! No, no, no, no, nope. I pointed out to my loved one that he has hair that’s an inch long – and I have hair to my shoulders – how was I going to get those strings through my hair? And and and… earrings, hearing aids, sunglasses…. NOOOOOOOOO…. it was, like, the last straw for me. I told my loved one I never, ever wanted to hear another word about masks. I’ll wear them when I need to, but I don’t want to talk about it. He got the message and we moved on to happier topics.

So a couple days ago a friend called for a chat on the phone. I have to take off my hearing aid when I’m on the phone so it doesn’t whistle at me. I was sitting in the dining room, picked up my hearing aid from the window sill, and moved to the family room while I was talking to my friend. And somewhere between the dining room and the family room I lost my hearing aid. I mean. It completely vanished. Disappeared. Poof. Gone.

I felt like I had finally broken. I wondered if I was going crazy. I had a kind of panic attack about it. I might have made a sort of cursory prayer about it – “there is nothing lost that won’t be found” and “nothing is lost to God or outside Her consciousness” and “everything is exactly where it needs to be – nothing is misplaced in God’s universe” – but really, I felt like I couldn’t even deal with one more thing right then. So I gave up and went to bed and hoped for happy dreams about smiling unmasked faces.

Fast forward to Father’s Day. We’re all sitting around the table – the husband, the sons, and the sons’ wonderful wives – and I start talking about my missing hearing aid, and my youngest son gently taps me on the arm and says, “Kyla is wondering if that might be your hearing aid over there?” And I look over to where the son is pointing – and there’s my hearing aid! – sitting on top of a candle on the window sill!!! My daughter-in-law, Kyla, had been listening to me tell my story and her eyes had gone to the window sill behind me and she saw the hearing aid sitting right there!! (Insert the music of a heavenly choir here and rays of light shining down on the hearing aid.)

Hugs and rejoicing all around! For me, that hearing aid had come to be symbolic for my life, and it was found again!

Amen.

My Father-Mother never stopped loving me,
or took a break from being All-Good, everywhere.
She is always now, always here – Love Be-ing.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Father’s Day: Public Tribute to a Private Man

public tribute for a private man –
thank you for your love for us –
thank you for sharing in our adventures
and helping us clean up our mess
after our misadventures brought us less
or more than we’d anticipated or guessed

thank you for helping us laugh
in a world that sometimes seems daft
and thank you for your perspective –
for helping us see what seems
huge is just a mole hill in the grand scheme
of things – a small blip in the human dream

thank you for being with us through
the joys and the terrors of living
thank you for your constant being and giving
and not running away
when we needed a hero who would stay
with us and be our safe place –
our stable base –
in a hurled, spinning world

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

circa 1995

It Is Time, My friends

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

It is time, my friends. It is time to blast the world with over-the-top joy. It is time to roll out our big cannons of jocularity and good will and rain humongo missiles of love and kindness upon the mental landscape. It is time to step up to the front and lock arms with one another and protect the battered, bullied and beleaguered with the unbreakable shield of Love and Truth. We are in control here. With Love leading the charge, we are not the beaten, but the unbeatable. May the bullies, bigots, and busybodies be transformed by your unbreakable courage. May the stodgy and stingy be transformed by your irrepressible good will to all.

The time for the kind-hearted has come!
Amen.
Karen

 “Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable. Evil is not power. It is a mockery of strength, which erelong betrays its weakness and falls, never to rise.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good.”
Mary Baker Eddy

Flower Doodle by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Rembrandt, I Ain’t

This is what happens when you give a little kid (me) a virtual pack of crayons. Rembrandt, I ain’t. But I needed something cheery on my wall, and I ain’t apologizing.

The promise will be fulfilled –
joy, peace, love, hope – all of
creation living in rainbow light.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

The most romantic, over-the-top feel-good marriage proposal I have ever seen in my life. Ever.

This is an old blog post (September 14, 2013), but it came to my thought just now and I thought maybe Pride Month was a good time to repost it:

Okay, I just watched a youtube clip that still has me wiping the tears from my face.  I was so moved by this clip – so completely inspired by it.  It went waaaay  beyond your typical proposal of young man on bended knee proposing to young woman – no, this proposal included a choreographed dance to Billy Who’s upbeat song, Somebody Loves You, and an ensemble cast of parents, friends, youngsters, oldsters – all there to support the handsome couple. This marriage proposal was testament to the power of community and the power of love. And part of what made the proposal so extraordinary, for me, was that the couple wasn’t a man and a woman at all – the couple was a man and a man… in Salt Lake City… Utah. And… did I mention that their mums and dads were there? Friends? Little girls in pinks tutus doing cartwheels? Babies? If you haven’t seen this clip, you gotta watch it – you just gotta!:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4HpWQmEXrM

This is the way it’s supposed to be. Acceptance. Support. Celebration. Love.

I look forward to that day when every citizen can share in the exact same rights as every other citizen of our land. 
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Gift of Being Trusted

It was a busy intersection in bustling mid-day traffic and I’d just pulled up to a right-turn yield sign, ready to slide myself into traffic when there was a break in the flow. I glanced to the right and saw a young Black man with a shopping cart full of belongings, waiting to cross to the island on the other side of me. He saw me look at him – I think I smiled – and he pointed to the island – he was asking if he could go ahead and cross in front of me. I smiled and pointed to the island, too, and raised my eyebrows and nodded my head – indicating that he was good to go. He nodded his head at me and crossed in front of me – trusting me – and we gave each other a “have a good day” wave.

And I know this seems like just a litte thing, but I can’t tell you what it meant to me that this young man trusted his life to me as he crossed in front of my car.

That’s how communities function, isn’t it? We’re all trusting each other with our very lives – every day of every month of every year that we’re out there, moving amongst each other.

Dare to Live

Dear young friend,
I remember thinking my life was over
at your age
when he no longer loved me
I couldn’t imagine how I’d go on
how it would be
what the future would hold for me
I thought I’d never find anyone else
who would love me like he had
I imagined going through life alone
without love, without connection,
without a family or home
of my own

I wanted to die

And now here I am forty years later
and so grateful that relationship
didn’t last
because I wouldn’t have what I have now –
my family, my home, my career –
if that first relationship hadn’t crashed
and all the time between then and today
all the distance traveled
all the lessons learned
has made me see
what a laughably small part
that relationship held in my life
or my heart

dare to live
dare to move on and see
all the magic life holds yet for thee
as long as YOU can love
you have a reason to be
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“This Moment I Lived and Breathed and Loved and Was.”

This moment you’re living and breathing,
loving and wondering and being.
Take note of this.
Mark it on your calendar with a grateful kiss.
“This moment I lived and breathed and loved and was.”
Because.
I could.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Let’s Say We Had a Choice

So let’s say we knew, for instance, that our world was heading towards its doom. Let’s say, for instance, that a superpower had invaded, unprovoked, a neighboring country and was pulling other nations into a world war. Let’s say that a tyrant had somehow managed to build a following and get himself into power in our own country, and, after losing a legitimate election, was doing everything he could – criminal, illegal, dishonest things – to get himself back into power. Let’s say that there were more guns than people in this country (120.5 for every100 people, let’s say) and that it didn’t look like our country’s leaders were going to try to get control of that any time soon. Let’s say that more than 311,000 students had experienced gun violence in schools since Columbine. Let’s say that plastics, fossil fuel consumption, overuse, misuse, and abuse was destroying our oceans, land and air. Let’s say that even the basic right to have control over our own bodies was being threatened. Let’s say there was talk of Civil War. Let’s say things looked like complete crap here.

What then? Would we give up? Would we just resign ourselves to our collective fate and spend our time here shivering in fear, waiting for death, holed up in our hidey holes? Or… would we use our time here to try to find solutions? Would we view every new day as another chance to love and be kind and to make a new friend and make something beautiful?

Let’s say we had a choice.