The Burden of Ego Lifted

Humbled and inspired –
the burden of ego lifted
from me in a moment
and understanding came –
Hush. It’s your turn to listen,
to let yourself be supported,
to let someone else share
her talents and gifts with you.
And Love gifted me
with the expression of beauty
offered by another
of Her children. Blessings
abound and surround,
here, now, all around.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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I Could Feel Her with Me today

I could feel her with me today
as I sat on the pew surrounded
by song and peace and love.
I could feel her in the calm,
in the courage, and in the hope.
She was with me in that space,
with me in my thoughts,
and she was real – as real as you
and me and the music.
As long as I can love, she’ll be with me –
and her love will live on in me –
whether it’s on a trail in the forest,
lunch with dear friends, or a church
on the corner of 6th and Cedar.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God…”
– Romans 8

Quotes from the “Greatest Generation”

I’ve been watching The Right Stuff on television this rainy afternoon – and the men and women portrayed in that movie reminded me of the values, courage, and strength of my own parents – who were, like the astronauts and their wives, members of the “greatest generation.” My musings led me to dig up some quotes from my parents’ generation (and please feel free to add any quotes you find that you think would go well here)…

You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.
– Chuck Yeager (b. 1923)

My faith demands – this is not optional – my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.
– Jimmy Carter (b. 1924)

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
– Nelson Mandela (b. 1918)
I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said ‘yes,’ when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to somebody else.
– Mr. Rogers (b. 1928)

I can’t imagine a person becoming a success who doesn’t give this game of life everything he’s got.
– Walter Cronkite (b. 1916)

You never get tired unless you stop and take time for it.
– Bob Hope (b. 1903)

Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.
– Katherine Hepburn (b. 1907)

Tough times don’t last, tough people do, remember?
– Gregory Peck (b. 1916)

Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a Jimmy Stewart imitation myself. I’d like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said.
– Jimmy Stewart (b. 1908)

You’re blessed if you have the strength to work.
– Mahalia Jackson (b. 1911)

I believe in living each day as it comes, to the best of my ability. When it’s done, I put it away, remembering that there will be a tomorrow to take its place.
– Ginger Rogers (b. 

I love to laugh. It’s the only way to live. Enjoy each day – it’s not coming back again!
– Doris Day (b. 1922)

Getting old is not for sissies.
– Bette Davis (b. 1908)

People do not decide to become extraordinary. They decide to accomplish extraordinary things.
– Sir Edmund Hillary (b. 1919)

Why shouldn’t I be polite to other people? It doesn’t cost me anything.
– Dee Molenaar (b. 1918)

Said to the bigot in the Sears store: That family has as much right to be here as you or me! 
– Colleen “Moz” Molenaar (b. 1927)

 

 

Black Friday and Shameless Plug Day

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 (from A Poem Lives on My Windowsill)

Today is Karen’s shameless plug day. Yeah. I know. Stop cheering.

So here’s what we’ve got to plug right now (and all of these books can be found on Amazon, as well as ordered through other book stores like Barnes and Noble, etc.) –

Some of you may be familiar with my “Madcap Christian Scientist” series.

The first book in the Madcap series (published in August 2005) was Blessings: Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist. As I explain in the Introduction, I wrote this book “to introduce you to one Christian Scientist so that if you ever hear someone talking fearfully and ignorantly (feargnorantly?)  about Christian Scientists you’ll be in a position to say,  ‘I have a friend who’s a Christian Scientist, and, although it’s true she’s a bit of a nut, she’s also … ‘  and you can go on and talk about how your friend has used her study of Christian Science to try to make the world a happier place.”

I wrote the second book in the series, The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book, as I was nearing the end of an experience with a massive depression. As I write in the Introduction: “My son and I recently talked about my previous book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist. I told him that book was true for the person I was then, and I’m glad I wrote it, but I couldn’t write the same book now. Andrew told me I should write another book then, for this time in my life. I told him that my recent life experience has been kind of dark. He said I should write about that then, and he started talking about trilogies – how almost every life story has three parts – the first book is usually happy and innocent, the second one is dark and challenging, and the last book is the triumph book. Andrew said it was time for me to write ‘the middle book.’ He assures me the book about the golden years will come, but he says that book can’t come until the middle book gets written. So what you see here is me sucking it up and writing The Middle Book.”

I wrote The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New, the third book in the series, to celebrate the re-birth I found on the other side of the depression.  I wrote: “Two years ago I would never have been able to guess where I’d be today, what I’d be doing, and what new people I would be calling my friends and colleagues. Two years ago my youngest son was close to graduating from high school, my 20-year career as a public school teacher was winding down, and I was looking for a new job and a new purpose to fill my days. Two years ago I was starting over. It was scary. It was exhilarating. It was absolutely awesome!”

There’s a fourth book with “Madcap Christian Scientist” in the title, and that’s The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book, which is about… well… Christmas.

I’ve also published two books of poetry, A Poem Lives on My Windowsill (where you can find the poem featured on the top of this post), and The Brush of Angel Wings – published as I was working my way through the passing of my mother.  There’s also a book I wrote about the lessons I learned from Mom and Dad in the year before Dad’s 98th birthday, Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom.

Dad’s autobiography, Memoirs of a Dinosaur Mountaineer, is on the market, too. Dad has had an amazing life – he’s climbed some of the highest mountains in the world, traveled on six of the seven continents, and hobnobbed with some of the planet’s most interesting humans.

BookCoverPreview - Memoirs of a Dinosaur Mountaineer

And my son, Xander, also has a book for sale right now, Dream Voyage – which sells for $5.99 as an Amazon print book, and 99 cents on Kindle. I believe I shall close this shameless plug with one of Xander’s poems:

Where Happiness Lives

Golden lights
and the deepest shadows.
Smiling faces illuminated by life.
A commodity where I come from.
An inherent condition here.
Where joy runs rampant
like that one naked man who,
in the presence of a police officer,
streaked across the town in the wake
of the city-wide party,
the officer laughing in mutual enjoyment
before calling the man by his first name,
as a friend and a neighbor,
to get his shit together.
– Xander Terrell, Dream Voyage

xanders-book-cover-dream-voyage

Too Big a Day

Ten years ago I started my own religion on the Amazon Discussion Forums. Here is the opening post on the Humoristians thread:
On Aug 20, 2007 2:18:41 PM PDT
Alph Wingoov Karen says:
I’ve decided to create a new religion. People belonging to this religion will call themselves “Humoristians.” Here are the 5 tenets:
1) You must be able to laugh at yourself.
2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others.
3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe. (Editor’s note: Don’t let this one scare you. None of us is quite there, yet.)
4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those).
5) You must enjoy the humor of Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Tom Lehrer, and Jerry Seinfeld (if you’re a Jerry Lewis kind of guy, you might want to think about starting your own religion – although we wish you nothing but good).

Not long after my initial post a poster who went by the handle “Golden Oldie EK” joined our fledgling church with this comment:

Hello, nice people. I would like very much to join your church. But I do have a question. Is it okay in your religion to also love the comedy of W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Bugs Bunny, Tweetie Bird, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, and The Flintstones? Will you please accept my application for membership? (Actually, when I was a little kid, I always thought they should have made Walt Disney god. I mean, after all, here was a man who made the whole world fall in love with a drunken, lying frontiersman from Tennessee, and a little, black rat that wore white gloves and shoes. Church would have been so much fun: The Virgin Snow White and the Seven Apostles; “Our Father who art in Orlando, hallowed be thy name…”)

And if I am accepted for membership, do I have to be immersed in anything?

And so began my friendship with Randy, aka Golden Oldie EK. For several years Randy and my other fellow Humoristians did improv with each other on the Humoristian thread – playing off each other – sharing our beliefs, thoughts, opinions, and lives with each other. In some ways my friends in Humoristianity knew me better than a lot of my friends in my off-line life, even though we’d never actually met each other in the person. And eventually, as the Amazon forums began closing, we all met up again with each other on Facebook, and together authored a book, The Humoristian Chroniclesabout our experiences meeting each other on the forums.

Like me, Randy was a writer, and he shared his writing projects with me – looking for my editorial input – and I shared my writing projects with him. He was a wonderful support for me as a writer, and his encouragement meant a lot to me.

And this morning I learned, through a message from someone I’d never met, that Randy had died.

I needed a walk.

***

I went to nearby LaConner to pay my internet bill, and, after paying my bill, was drawn towards the Swinomish Channel on the west side of town. “I’m going to take you on an adventure with me, Randy,” I told my dear Humoristian friend. He’d always talked about visiting me out here. I decided today I’d bring him along with me – in my thoughts, if not in the person.

I walked along the boardwalk there, past all the touristy restaurants and gift shops. When I got to the end of the boardwalk I kept walking. I skirted an old warehouse, turned right on a side street, walked to the end of the street, and kept walking. I found myself at Pioneer Park. Stopped to check out the fish slide. And kept walking. I found a long driveway with a sign in front of it saying it was open to the public from 8:30 to 4:30, and turned onto the dirt road.

When I’d gone maybe 100 yards I passed a man coming from the other direction. “Am I walking down a private driveway?” I asked him. He told me yes, and no. It was a private driveway, but the general public had access to it. He told me that if I went further I’d come to a boatyard, and soon after that a trail that split – if I went left I’d find myself in the marshes where the hunters were shooting at birds – but if I went right I’d go on a trail that would take me to the top of a bluff and down to a beach. He suggested I go right. 🙂 I thanked him and…. yeah… kept walking.

A little further on I caught up with another walker. Like me, she had a camera with her, and I noticed her stopping along the road every now and then to take pictures. Not far beyond her there was a “boat graveyard” – weathered old boats piled up along the side of the road with blackberry vines growing over them. I began snapping pictures with my camera, and she joined me. We began talking then about photography, and the boats, and I asked her if she knew about the trail that would take me to the bluff. She did, and offered to take me there.

I’m glad I ran into her because I’m pretty sure I never would have found the trail without her – or I might have found myself on the bird marshes with bird shot flying around me – which would have made for an interesting experience, to be sure, but not the kind I needed today. We introduced ourselves to each other on the way – her name, she said, was Annabelle. She is from Paris, and works as a dance instructor and translator. As we talked we found we had friends in common – which is always fun – as well as a shared political perspective – which is, also, fun.

Annabelle led me to the bluff – which offered an amazing view of the Skagit Bay – and then down to the beach. After we snapped some pictures, Annabelle led me back up the trail and back into “downtown” LaConner – the two of us chatting like old friends the entire way.

Eventually we came to her house, where we hugged as old friends do, and I continued on my journey back to my car parked in front of the place where I’d paid my bill earlier. “How was that for an adventure?” I asked my friend, Randy. “We met a new friend today and found a new beach,” I told him.

As I drove home, with Randy still in my thoughts, I tinkered with the idea of just spending the rest of the day processing Randy’s death – trying to come to terms with it. But then I realized there was more good I could do for someone else today – I could take my Dad for a drive in the sunshine – and while I could still do some good for someone else, I might as well do it. So I put off processing Randy’s death for a little longer, and went to pick-up Daddy for a drive.

It wasn’t until maybe 3:00 or 4:00 that I finally found myself back home.

But the day – all of it, from start to finish – was just too much to process. I still can’t wrap my head around it – from the deep sense of loss that started my day, to the excitement of meeting a new friend later on. Today was just too big.

***

Dear friend – I brought you with me on an adventure today. We saw trumpeter swans and boat reflections, we made a new friend, and you talked with me about your latest story, and I talked with you about what I’m working on, and memories of you flashed into my head – your first appearance in the land of Humoristianity, the messages of support you sent me, your comic (and sometimes really profound) interjections on my FB posts, the night we all celebrated Obama’s win together, and the night we all realized that 2017 might not bring us the leader we’d hoped. I cherish all of the writing you sent me – I cherish your book of poems – I cherish everything you shared with me. I feel a deep loss right now. The world is not going to be the same without you in it. My FB posts are not going to be the same without your comments attached to them. I love you, brother.
Karen

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Sense

To be immortal, we must forsake the mortal sense of things…
– Mary Baker Eddy

It turns speech to singing
walking to dancing
the written word to poetry
It causes the yearning
for something more
than survival, it turns
us towards what’s true
and kind and immortal
and gives us the sight
to see beauty in the rainbow
and in Love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
– Proverbs

Lulled by stupefying illusions, the world is asleep in the cradle of infancy, dreaming away the hours. Material sense does not unfold the facts of existence; but spiritual sense lifts human consciousness into eternal Truth.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Advancing to a higher plane of action, thought rises from the material sense to the spiritual, from the scholastic to the inspirational, and from the mortal to the immortal.
– Mary Baker Eddy

Bow Sunrise

Sunrise on the way to work. October 2, 2017. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.