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 *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 April/May 2017 issue of *Mother Earth News*, and can be found at fineartamerica.com. http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Molenaar-Terrell/e/B0044P90RQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1312060042&sr=8-

“Tell her I love her.”

It was a challenging day in a challenging week. I was at school, working with a student on an essay. My phone rang. It was Hospice calling. When I know a call is from Hospice, I always answer. The caller introduced herself as Trish, the nurse who was visiting with Dad today. She said Dad was doing well – she said she was with Dad at the kitchen table and he was eating a good breakfast. I heard her turn to Dad and tell him she was talking to “Karen.”
Dad: (A happy sound in his voice.) Karen? You’re talking to my daughter, Karen?
Trish: Yes. I’m talking to your daughter.
Dad: Tell her I love her.
Trish to me: He says he loves you.
(I started tearing up – there’s just something so touching about hearing his quavery 100 year-old voice coming through the line.)
Karen to Trish: Tell him I love him.
Trish to Dad: Karen says she loves you.
(I heard Dad talking in the background…)
Trish: (To me.) He wants to know if we’ve met. (To Dad.) No, I’ve never met Karen.
(I heard more talking in the background.)
Trish to me: He says if I ever meet you I’ll love you.
(And now I was all choked up. I felt myself begin to sob. Oh Daddy. You gave me exactly what t needed today.)

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Response to Presidential Address

Mr. President, YOU are the humanitarian crisis. Return the children to their parents. Let those seeking asylum into our country. Let the government workers get back to work.

It is Time for Him to Resign

I’m not one of those folks who has a need to see our current President led away in chains and locked up – I don’t have a need for anyone to suffer – but I really hope that this man will resign soon so our nation can begin the process of recovery and healing from the injuries he and his administration have inflicted on us. Our environment has been trashed. Literally. Children have been separated from their parents – and some have died. Hate crimes against minorities have increased. Federal employees have been thrown aside like they don’t matter. Our economy is going down the toilet. We are in trouble here.

Mitch McConnell: Do the Right Thing

Mitch McConnell –

You were elected to serve the people who live in this nation. You were entrusted with great power, and with great responsibility. People are trusting you to do the right thing – to put the well-being, rights, and prosperity of the people you were elected to serve ahead of politics. End this government shut down. Put the bill that the House just passed that would end the shutdown (the same bill the Senate approved unanimously a few weeks ago) in front of the Senate for another vote and get our government running again. It’s time to stop holding the lives of the American people hostage.

Sincerely,
Karen Molenaar Terrell

Bring Joy in with the Sad

Sitting in sadness and worry
with a free day ahead of me
I ask myself – what do I want
to do? What do I want to see?
what will bring me joy?
Photos, I think. I’ll find
swans or snow geese.
A drive with Dad.
A walk in the fresh air.
Get dressed. Get out.
Bring joy in with the sad.

I go to Dad’s and find
him asleep at the table.
I ask him if he wants
to go for a drive, he
says he wouldn’t mind.

Dad beside me in the car
we pass trumpeter swans
before we go very far
in a muddy field – Mount
Baker and a red barn
in the background – and I
pull over so Dad can gaze
at Baker, and I can take
photos of the swans
as they graze.

Next a stop at the post office –
a package for Dad there
from my cousin, Debby.
Dad pulls out a pair
of cinnamon-scented discs,
wrapped in aluminum foil.
What do you think it is?
Speculaas, he guesses,
and smiles. He slowly
unwraps the treat – foil,
plastic wrap – pulls a chunk
of soft, spicy, speculaas free
and brings it to his mouth
Is it good? Yes, says he,
and nods. I pull off a piece
for me.

Back through the flats
and fields, along the shore,
over the hill and down
the other side, past more
swans, and through town
I bring Dad back to his
home, and into the recliner.
I love you, we tell each other.

As I’m driving back to my own
home, I realize I’m not done, yet.
On impulse, I exit onto I-5
and head for Bellingham to get
my walk in the sunshine.

Seagulls – a dozen, maybe more! –
call to each other and soar
overhead as I walk down
the ramp to the boardwalk.
A little further and I spy
an otter family scampering
and playing on the rocks
A woman passes by
and I point out the otters –
she stops and we talk
for a moment about the joy
of otters – before we each
continue on our own adventures.

I reach the end of my journey
and head back and the thought
I’m thinking at that moment –
the painful pebble that’s caught
in the bottom of my mental shoe –
is, “I haven’t felt like I belonged
for fifty years” and right then
I hear a woman call my name:
Karen!
I turn and recognize a new
friend from a sharing circle I
went to a month ago in a town
forty minutes away from here
and we come together and hug
and laugh and shed a tear.

My new friend and I walk
back together through the park,
down the boardwalk, past the dock,
up the ramp – we share and talk –
and she says she’s happy we met
today and I say, “It’s magic, isn’t it?”
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

 

 

 

Ode to Boxing Day

It’s a humble holiday, tucked in between
Christmas and New Year’s, but it’s really keen.
Things look a little bedraggled, it’s true
The tree’s a little droopy and no longer new

The movies and music of the Christmas season
Are getting on our nerves now, and we’re seeing no reason
To eat even one more sugary oversweet sweet
It’s time for broccoli and carrots (maybe hold on the beets)

The pressure for perfection comes off on this day,
The toys have been opened, and it’s come time to play.
And if before we were wearing faux holiday cheer
To blend in with the others and not Scroogey appear

It’s time now to be genuine, and honest and real
The food banks are empty, people still need a warm meal
The homeless and hungry and jobless and alone
Still need love and caring, still need a home.

So maybe we can celebrate the day after Christmas –
By keeping the spirit of hope alive, we might make that our business.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Good Wall or Good Will?

I took a course in Peace and War one time. One of the things the instructor talked about was how a country’s security depends on the prosperity of its neighbors. Helping our neighbors (on the other side of the border) have what they need to prosper makes it less likely for them to want to invade our country, or seek asylum in it. In other words, according to my instructor, it’s not walls that create safety – it’s caring for each other and “Good will to all…”

“Peace on earth; good will to all.” – Luke 2:14

earth NASA