Today I Chose Joy

I woke up to find out that someone(s) had attempted to steal from me – long story involving trickery and someone posing as me in an email. Anyway. At first I was freaked out by this. But then this weird thing happened. I felt this kind of detached calm about it all. I took the steps I needed to take to to try to fix the problem, and then got in my car and drove up to Bellingham for a nice walk on the boardwalk. The sky still had pink in it when I got up there. There were goldeneye ducks and seagulls and cool patterns in the bay. Everyone I passed gave me a friendly smile for a smile. It was lovely.

I stopped at the Colophon and as soon as I walked in the hostess/server asked me if I’d like my favorite peach Arnold Palmer drink – she recognized me! And then she led me back to my favorite seat in the corner. I ordered some avocado toast and sipped my peach tea and just soaked up the happy vibes.

It came to me that I was in control of how I was going to feel. The person who had attempted to steal from me wasn’t the boss of me, and had no say in how I was going to feel about my day.

The server gave me another peach tea to take with me when I left, and I left a big tip in appreciation for the friendly kindness I’d felt at the restaurant – a reminder of all the good folks in the world with me.

Shakespeare wrote: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” And I saw how true that was today. I could choose to be all ruffled and affronted at the way my morning had started. Or I could choose to find joy for myself.

Life isn’t “out to get me.” Life is good.

(Photo below is of a goldeneye duck on Bellingham Bay this morning. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Affronted by Life

affronted by life
like it’s some spiteful human
bent on attacking

it flows on, heedless
while I grapple with
the human woes we

all experience
“Nothing is either good or
bad, but thinking makes

it so.” I choose how
I’ll respond to what comes my
way and what I’ll feel

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Drink Your Tea and Think and Be

Note to self:

You don’t always have to be “on.”
You don’t always have to be doing.
You don’t always have to be pursuing
some goal or ambition.

There are times when it’s enough
to sit in your chair
and drink your tea
and think
and be.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

What New Adventures Await?

Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, – this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

Little children are expert at leaving the old for the new. They progress from crawling to walking to running to leaping without making any conscious choice to do so. They lay down their toddler toys and graduate to new fun without agonizing over the decision: Does a ten year-old remember the last time she played with her Thomas the Tank Engine, or the last time she she laid down her dolly? Nope. I’m pretty sure not. It wasn’t an event. There weren’t balloons and fireworks and parades for her when she laid down her toddler toys. She just laid them down and cheerfully moved on to something else.

The changes and progress don’t stop with childhood, do they? I mean… we don’t stop learning new things or exploring new ideas or laying down old toys when we hit twenty. Or thirty. Or forty. Or fifty… right?

Every decade holds something new. Heck, every DAY holds something new. None of us have ever lived this day before – none of us have ever lived this MOMENT before – it’s all of it new territory. A new adventure.

What will we do with this new moment? What new adventures will we find in this new year? What new paintings will we paint or songs will we sing? What new books will we read or write? What new places will we see? What new friendships will we make? What new things will we learn?

What new adventure awaits?
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Originally published December 31, 2015.)

Sons swinging over Lake Padden.

Bring on 2023!

We really have no choice but to progress, you know?  You and I can no more go backwards than an oak can become an acorn, or a butterfly a caterpillar.  Grow we must.

Years ago I heard a lecture titled “Grow We Must” given by a Christian Science teacher named Harvey Wood.  I don’t remember much detail from the lecture anymore – but I do remember Harvey talking about asparagus. He said that just because we can’t see progress in our lives, doesn’t mean progress isn’t happening, and he used asparagus as an example of this – Harvey said that we don’t see the asparagus growing under the concrete in our driveways,  but once it starts growing nothing can stop it – it’ll break right through the concrete in its journey upwards. (If you don’t believe this – google “asparagus growing through concrete” and take a gander at the interesting photos that pop up.)

Entering a new year is symbolic of change and progress.  I’m looking forward to seeing what changes and progress we’ll find in 2023.

***

A flower unblown, a book unread,
A tree with fruit unharvested;
A path untrod, a house whose rooms,
Lack yet the hearts divine perfumes.
A landscape whose wide border lies
In silent shade ‘neath silent skies;
A wondrous fountain yet unsealed,
A casket with its gifts concealed;
This is the year that for you awaits,
Beyond tomorrow’s mystic gates.

– Horatio Nelson Powers

Happy New Year, my friends!

Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Updated from the original post of New Year’s Eve 2012.)

Confronting Evil

I can’t tell you the number of times, in the last decade, that I’ve been told to not talk about things that matter, to shut up, to stop commenting and posting (on my own wall and in my own groups!). That I’ve been expected to tip-toe around evil and ignore it like it’s not there. That I’ve been told the way to keep harmony and peace is to ignore disharmony and hate. I’m not going to even pretend to play that game anymore. The violent insurrection of January 6th, and the hatred, extremism, and “Big Lie” that led up to it, are evil. Racism is evil. Sexism is evil. Bigotry is evil. Greed and dishonesty and corruption are evil. And to pretend otherwise is evil.

We aren’t going to heal our world until we recognize the evil, strip off its mask, and expose it for what it is.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“A sinner is not reformed merely by assuring him that he cannot be a sinner because there is no sin. To put down the claim of sin, you must detect it, remove the mask, point out the illusion, and thus get the victory over sin and so prove its unreality.”…“If you venture upon the quiet surface of error and are in sympathy with error, what is there to disturb the waters? What is there to strip off error’s disguise?”…“Though error hides behind a lie, and excuses guilt, error cannot forever be concealed. Truth, through her eternal laws, unveils error. Truth causes sin to betray itself, and sets upon error the mark of the beast. Even the disposition to excuse guilt or to conceal it is punished. The avoidance of justice and the denial of truth tend to perpetuate sin, invoke crime, jeopardize self-control, and mock divine mercy.”
-Mary Baker Eddy
, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

 “Many are willing to open the eyes of the people to the power of good resident in divine Mind, but they are not so willing to point out the evil in human thought, and expose evil’s hidden mental ways of accomplishing iniquity. Why this backwardness, since exposure is necessary to ensure the avoidance of evil? Because people like you better when you tell them their virtues than when you tell them their vices.”
-Mary Baker Eddy, Pulpit and Press, p. 15

Love is the Only Cause and Effect

Love is the only source;
the only cause; the only effect;
the only power; the only presence;
the only creator. Love is All.

We come from Love;
we are the effect of Love;
we manifest the power of Love;
we express the presence of Love;
we reflect the perfection of Love;
we are the image and likeness of our creator;
we are the ideas and children of Love.

Anything that would keep us
from being the reflection of perfect Love
is a lie
for we are Love being Love.

Love is omnipotent, omnipresent, glorious All.
And we are Her children.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

An 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, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

Christmas Has Landed in My heart!

It’s 3:00 in the morning when I awake
to find it arrived while I slept!
Christmas has landed in my heart!
I slip out of the bedroom
and go downstairs and the cats
greet me in the hall.
I think they feel it, too.
I plug in the Christmas lights
above the mantel and settle
into my chair near the woodstove.
Black cat rubs his head against my hand.
Calico cat jumps up in the chair
next to mine and tucks her paws
underneath her and closes her eyes –
we are enjoying each other’s company.
The Christmas lights sparkle off
the smooth surfaces around me.
I sing “Silent Night” to the cats
and they turn to me and listen.
Magic is here! Incredible good beyond
imagining is here and more on its way!
Peace! Joy! Love! Hope!
It’s here! It’s here! It’s here!

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Christmas Lights