Ode to Black Friday

I do not like Black Friday, sir
I do not like the brrr, grrr, whirrr
I do not like to fight over socks,
I do not like to get crammed in a box
store, you will not see me at the Mall
I do not like it, no, not at all.
The crazy, scrambling, hunter’s race
doesn’t fit my ambling, gatherer’s pace
I like to feel, I like to sniff
I like to take my time and if
I take more time than Sally and Sam
it’s the way I shop, and it works for me, ma’am.
So you will not find me camped outside the store
You will not find me standing at dawn at the door
You will not find me wedged in the mall’s lot
or crammed in traffic, with wares newly-bought.
For I do not like Black Friday, friend.
Well, except online shopping maybe – they’ll send.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

And now a shameless plug. To order any of Karen’s books, click here.

Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving

cozy time of year
tea kettle whistling
and kitties curled on the couch
leaves dancing on the winds in the woods
and rain pattering on the windows
warm fire in the woodstove
smell of apples
and a pie baking in the oven
full of gratitude
for rain and dancing leaves
for kitties and warmth and pie
for family and love
and you
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Autumn photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Feedback for *Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy*

Feedback from Writer’s Digest for Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy:

This book is exemplary in its structure, organization, and pacing.

Very nice pace, with the narrative gliding along, a healthy forward pull in the structure. We see no jumpy parts or dropped-off parts. Just great transitions between sections. Watch out, though, that if you’re taking blog posts and turning them into a book, you have to say, ‘I’m starting this book’ instead of ‘I’m starting this post’. That happens right up front, throwing the reader, and also throughout. Give the book the identity of a book, not a repurposed collection of blog posts.

This book has spelling, punctuation, and grammar corresponding with the region of the world from which the author hails (ex. British English or American English) or with where the book is set (including slang, vernacular, or dialect). These choices are intentional and implemented consistently throughout with few, if any, errors.

Good work in making sure that typos are edited out of the manuscript, so that the reader is not distracted by this as well.

This book is exemplary in production quality and cover design. The physical materials, printing, and binding are of professional quality and traditional industry standards. The typesetting and page layout (including illustrations, images, or figures) are easy to follow, thoughtfully designed, and error free. The cover appears to be professionally designed and is compellingly related to the content/genre of the book.

Lovely cover with the butterflies on her vibrant running shoes. That ties into the book’s title, with serendipitous events such as this feeling like it has to be a cosmic connection.

This book is exemplary in its choice of topic or theme of the story. It is unique but still has strong appeal for most readers in its intended genre.

Overall, the theme is kindness, and connection. Author brings together so many signs and forces of positivity. Author walks us through her days as she notices things about people, establishes connections and questioning of others. We get bright energy and some surreal moments like we’ve gone through a time portal. Very fascinating and high energy that keeps us immersed. Well done.

This book is exemplary in its voice and writing style. It has a unique voice, and the writing style is consistent throughout. The style and tone are also consistent with or will appeal to readers of the intended genre.

Author writes with a bright energy, lifting us with her voice as she elevates the narrative through enthusiasm and eye-opening observations. It’s a feeling of impressive presence here in the story, as author paints so much realism and sensory detail.

I love how the author brings out the little details like a pumpkin spice latte and snow geese. Author paints a gorgeous setting and populates the story world with remarkable detail. Nice work. I love how several of the segments open with a breathless excitement: ‘something really amazing happened.’ I saw that a few times, and it had such a great energy to it, a nice opener. Very nice choice for last page’s entry. Sensory details stand out.

Like a Happy Pinball in a Pinball Machine

A friend lost her granddaughter in the University of Idaho tragedy last week. I’ve been feeling shaky and ungrounded since learning about this. Yesterday I woke up needing reassurance from the Cosmos.

The Cosmos gave me a joyful hug and told me to get out of bed and get ready.

Soon a phone call came from our youngest son, Xander. The car he and his wife, Kyla, share had a flat tire and he needed a lift. I could help him with this – I had nothing on my schedule – a completely free day – and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend time than helping my loved one. So I drove up to Bellingham, picked up Xander, stopped at the co-op so he could buy groceries for their restaurant, and dropped him off at his business.

But now that I was already up in Bellingham I thought maybe I could park at Waypoint Park and walk up to the Farmers Market – get a little exercise and explore. So I parked at Waypoint Park, but before I started up to the Farmers Market I decided to give my oldest son, Andrew, a call to see what he was up to. Turns out he and his wife had just that moment decided to go to lunch at the Vietnamese restaurant a few blocks from where I was parked, and they invited me to join them. They said it was their turn to buy ME a meal. I humbly accepted their invitation.

I had a lovely meal at the Soy House Restaurant with Andrew and Christina. A healing peace surrounded me in the restaurant. Vietnamese music played in the background and pretty paper lanterns of autumn colors hung from the ceiling. And there I was – with loved ones – eating good food and sharing stories.

I told Andrew that his dad was installing our dishwasher and the dishwasher had come with extra pieces, and pieces that didn’t align with other pieces, and that at one point I’d suggested we bring our son with the engineering degree down to help – a rocket scientist might be useful at a time like this. Andrew said he’d be happy to come down and help and suggested that he ride down with me back home and then I could bring him back to Bellingham when I fetched Xander later on.

So we brought Christina back to their place, and then Andrew returned with me to the homestead to lend his support to the dishwashing project, and to work in our back field, clearing out blackberry vines.

We spent a lovely few hours together – tromping around in the frosted wetland – making plans about where we’d plant the cedar seedlings that keep popping up in our deck boxes. It was so wonderful to have Andrew with us for a while.

And then it was back to Bellingham to pick up Xander’s car and bring it to him at his restaurant. When we dropped off the key to Xander’s car, he and his wife, Kyla, invited us to join them for dinner later on – they would pay, they said. We humbly accepted the invitation, and then Andrew and I spent time until the dinner rendez-vous in his apartment, where he unfolded his little keyboard piano from the corner and regaled me with a private concert. “What instrument do you want?” he asked, as he prepared the piano, and I told him an oboe – so he pushed a button or two and I heard the deep, full tones of an oboe come out as he made his music. Peace filled the space.

We met up with Xander and Kyla for a vegan dinner – sat together at a table near the heating lamp – and laughed and talked and enjoyed each other’s company for the next hour.

And I shared how I’d started my day – by asking the Cosmos for reassurance. And I told Xander that – I know it maybe wasn’t under the best circumstances for him – but I was really glad he’d called for help. I’d spent the day like a happy pinball in a pinball machine – bouncing from one lovely moment with my family to the next.

The death of my friend’s granddaughter had really shaken me. I’d felt the loss deep in my own body and I’d wanted – still want – to somehow make it so that that tragedy never happened and no one had to feel the pain of it. But maybe that tragedy has also served to make me more grateful for the love and family in my own life – and maybe that’s one way I can honor the victims at the University of Idaho.

I asked the Cosmos for reassurance, and the Cosmos gave me reassurance over-flowing. Love still is.

Little by Little

“Old age” comes little by little, I think –
little surrenders of who we are
to the experts and authorities,
to convenience and comfort –
someone tells us we need to stay out
of the sun, to eat only certain foods,
to travel only at the right times
and to the right places,
and to wash our hands after every
handshake and human touch –
and we listen and obey.

And so we spend our days in “preventative”
exams – counting the pills into our trays –
hoping to increase the number of our days.
And little by little we relinquish
the small pleasures that make life
meaningful –  the joy of adventure,
noon-time lunch  with our faces turned
towards the sun,  whipped cream on
our cocoa, shaking hands  with new friends,
and listening to our own hearts to create lives
worth living.

And we lose our lives in a fear of death.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Originally published January 8, 2017)

I Hear You

Sometimes there just aren’t words.
But I’ll try.

I hear you.
I feel the pain you’re feeling
and want to fold you into a fierce hug
and absorb the pain into my own body
and relieve you of it.

I hear you.
I feel the joy you’re feeling
and want to dance and spin with you
under the stars until we drop together
from happy exhaustion.

I hear you.
I hear your weeping.
I hear your laughter.
I hear the music of your heart.
And I want you to know
you’re not alone in any of it.

We’re all in this symphony of life
together.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Originally published in September 2021.)

Karen in her twirly dress.

It Feels Good to Be an American Again

In the week after our midterm elections, I turned on the television to watch my beloved Seahawks football team play the Buccaneers in Munich, Germany. At the beginning of the game, members of the armed services unfurled a huge American flag and held it above the field, making it ripple in waves. And then a Black servicewoman stepped up to the microphone and sang our national anthem. I found myself singing along with her: “…o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave…” and, for the first time in a long time, I felt the truth of those words. My country has been through a lot in the last six years – the biggest trauma being the day of the violent insurrection on January 6th, 2021. But this week it feels, for me, like my country is finally rising from the ashes of that horrible day.

Later in the game, when the German members of the crowd in the stadium joined voices to sing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” tears filled my eyes.

It feels good to be an American again.

(The photo below is of Sean and his daughter, Imani, taken by me at a local 2013 Fourth of July footrace – it just feels like it belongs here.)

Hugged in Love’s Sunshine

Earlier I posted, for my friends, a photo of an agate I found on a walk around the block. Here’s a little more about that:

I’d been watching the Seahawks-Buccaneers football game on television. It was down to the last two minutes. I could see my beloved Seahawks were not going to win this one, but I was, weirdly, okay with that. They’d played well in the last half and I was proud of them.

It looked beautiful outside, though – sunny and autumnal – and I didn’t want to waste even one more moment in front of the TV. So I zipped up my coat and went outside to see what I might find out in the great outdoors.

I lifted my face to the sun and just soaked in the warmth. I actually felt like I was breathing in sunshine (maybe I’ll write a poem about that some time). And… I felt this… rightness with the world. I felt immediately enveloped in Love – pure, whole, unlimited, universal, undiluted Love. And I thought of my friends and family and brought all of the people I know into that hug of Love with me.

And then I looked down onto the street, and found this agate just sitting there, waiting for me, glowing up at me in the sunshine.

Magic!

They Can’t Buy Us Anymore

They can’t buy us anymore.

It was that anti-Patty Murray ad that Our American Century paid for – that ad snarkily mocking Sen. Patty Murray for voting to support LGBTQ+ rights and student loan forgiveness; criticizing her for supporting teaching the history of the Holocaust and slavery; and for denouncing white supremacy in the military – that made me realize how out-of-touch gazaillionaire conservatives are with the rest of us. After seeing that ad I realized that the people who paid for that ad either A) assume that everyone else sees the world the way they do, or B) assume that most American citizens are ignorant and uninformed racist/misogynistic/homophobic/me-firsters and, cynically, play to that group.

There seems to be this assumption made by the people who paid for that ad that we are all naturally inclined to be greedy, fearful, uncaring, and to think only of ourselves. But I don’t think they’re right. I think most people are drawn to what’s true and honest and fair. I think most people want to help others and I think it’s natural for people to be kind.

As Mary Baker Eddy writes in the textbook for Christian Science, Science and Health: “There is but one real attraction, that of Spirit. The pointing of the needle to the pole symbolizes this all-embracing power or the attraction of God, divine Mind.”

I see progress in my country towards equity and fairness. I have hope for America and Americans.

A Cat in My Lap

I was in some pain last night – I think it was from the digging and planting and hauling I did yesterday- and I couldn’t sleep. I came downstairs and sang the hymns Mom used to sing to me when I was a little girl and wasn’t feeling well. I could picture her face and hear her voice and feel her love as I sang to myself and it was comforting. I began to feel better and the pain faded away.

And as I was feeling full of gratitude for that, Sparky Cat suddenly jumped up and lay down next to me, leaned his head against my lap, and let me pet him. For you to understand what that meant to me you need to know that Sparky was a feral kitty when Scott brought him into our house five years ago, and he’s still very wary of being too close to people. He likes belly rubs from Scott and sometimes he’ll sit next to my chair and let me pet his head, but he’s not one of those cats that jumps in your lap and will allow himself to be picked up. He is skittish about too much contact. So this was huge!