My Friend, Jack

You may remember our dear friend, Jack Arends, who made national headlines last December when he fought his way through a terminal medical diagnosis to cast his electoral college vote for president. Jack has, with honesty and incredible courage, been keeping us updated on his condition since his diagnosis/prognosis and let us know early this week that he was admitted to the hospital. He has not been far from our thoughts this week. I included a chapter about Jack in the book, Scrapbook of a Year and a Day. Here’s an excerpt:

December 15, 2020

There’s a story about my friend, Jack Arends, in the Huffington Post. I’d recognize that hat anywhere. Jack’s friendship with the Molenaar family goes back more than 60 years – his mother worked in the same office as Dad – Jack’s mom was pregnant with Jack at the same time as my mom was pregnant with me (I arrived on earth a couple months before him). Our families have shared both tragedies and celebrations over the years. Yesterday Jack was my hero.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“A Washington state elector who has a terminal health issue broke down in tears Monday after casting his vote for President-elect Joe Biden, telling a local media outlet that being an elector is part of making his time left ‘count.’…A retired aviation industry analyst, Arends entered the floor of the state Senate in a wheelchair and wearing a brimmed cap reading ‘Play Nice.’ He took a less-than-subtle jab at Trump by bringing two Sharpie markers ― the president’s writing tool of choice on several headline-making occasions – to cast his vote for Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”
– Curtis M. Wong, Huffington Post, December 16

Climate Change

“The physical universe expresses the conscious and unconscious thoughts of mortals. Physical force and mortal mind are one.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
– I Kings 19:11-12

“God quieted the storm to a whisper; the sea’s waves were hushed.”
-Psalms 107:29

From a human standpoint, our planet is in a bad way and in need of urgent care. Some of our most important heroes today are those people committed to saving our planet and its inhabitants from environmental destruction : Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough come immediately to mind. And I’m thinking the planet needs us ALL to be heroes right now.

We all know that there are things we can do, humanly, to help our planet: reduce; reusue; recycle; compost; buy local; get hooked up to solar or wind-powered energy; use an electric or hybrid car; use reusable shopping bags; and etc. (A good resource for ideas can be found in Columbia Climate School‘s article “The 35 Easiest Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint”).

And, as a Christian Scientist, I also believe it’s important to align ourselves mentally with the power of Truth and Love to help our world. Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the textbook for Christian Science: “The physical universe expresses the conscious and unconscious thoughts of mortals.” If Eddy is right, when our thoughts are full of fear, greed, carelessness, and apathy – that’s what we’re going to see expressed in the physical universe. And, contrariwise, if our thoughts are full of kindness, gratitude, appreciation, and the desire to nurture what’s good in the world – THAT’s what we’ll see manifested in our physical environment.

Maybe one thing the human race has to work on is the problem we have with taking good for granted. I believe it’s a positive thing to have an “expectancy of never-ending good” – but part of that expectancy should include gratitude for the good we already have. Mary Baker Eddy writes: “We plead for unmerited pardon and for a liberal outpouring of benefactions. Are we really grateful for the good already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more. Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.”

The race in our culture to acquire and accumulate more matter has not led us to a healthy place. It seems to me that if we really trusted in God, in Love, to supply our daily need, we wouldn’t be driven by fear to hoard matter. In the Bible, Jesus tells his followers: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” (Matthew 6.) And Mary Baker Eddy begins Science and Health with this line: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.”

As a Christian Scientist, I believe it’s possible to use the power of Love (God) to control our environment and to bring health to our planet – to transform the world. I believe nothing is impossible to Life, Truth, and Love – to God. I believe it is never too late to change our mental environment, and so change our physical environment. But I also believe it is never too EARLY to change our mental environment. As Anne Frank says, “How wonderful it is that nobody need waste a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Through discernment of the spiritual opposite of materiality, even the way through Christ, Truth, man will reopen with the key of divine Science the gates of Paradise, which human beliefs have closed, and will find himself unfallen, unpright, pure, and free, not needing to consult almanacs for the probabilities either of his life or of the weather, not needing to study brainology to learn how much of a man he is.

“Mind’s control over the universe, including man, is no longer an open question, but is demonstrable Science.”
– Mary Baker Eddy (p. 171)

“Is there no divine permission to conquer discord of every kind with harmony, with Truth and Love?”
-Mary Baker Eddy (394)

“When Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. A huge storm arose on the lake so that waves were sloshing over the boat. But Jesus was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, rescue us! We’re going to drown!”
He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you people of weak faith?” Then he got up and gave orders to the winds and the lake, and there was a great calm.
The people were amazed and said, “What kind of person is this? Even the winds and the lake obey him!”
– Matthew 8:23-27

“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass…”
Deuteronomy 32:2

“Adhesion, cohesion, and attraction are properties of Mind. They belong to divine Principle, and support the equipoise of that thought-force, which launched the earth in its orbit and said to the proud wave, ‘Thus far and no farther.'”
-Mary Baker Eddy

“The true Logos is demonstrably Christian Science, the natural law of harmony which overcomes discord, — not because this Science is supernatural or preternatural, nor because it is an infraction of divine law, but because it is the immutable law of God, good. Jesus said: “I knew that Thou hearest me always;” and he raised Lazarus from the dead, stilled the tempest, healed the sick, walked on the water. There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

Genesis 9:
11 And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.

12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:

13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:

15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.

16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.

“In atmosphere of Love divine, we live and move and breathe…”
Christian Science Hymnal #144

I Taught History for Two Decades…

“Covering iniquity will prevent prosperity and the ultimate triumph of any cause. Ignorance of the error to be eradicated oftentimes subjects you to its abuse.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

I taught history for two decades. My students learned about the Holocaust, slavery, the Trail of Tears, attacks against Chinese railroad workers and miners, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the killing of Charlie Howard. They watched “The Grapes of Wrath” and learned about the struggles and inequity the poor faced during the Great Depression. They learned about the Constitution – about their rights and the rights of others. They practiced being lawyers defending clients against injustice. They created their own presidential candidates out of construction paper and words, and learned about the qualifications their candidates would need to run for president. My students learned about heroes in history, too – they learned about Georgio Perlasca, Irena Sendler, Oskar Schindler, Ghandi, Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, Susan Anthony, Harriet Tubman, and the unheralded acts of kindness “common” people showed to others during times of challenge and struggle.

My students learned about these things and people to help give them tools to be heroes themselves one day.

To force teachers to skip over the ugly parts of history – injustice, inequity, racism, political and corporate greed and dishonesty – is not a help to our world, our country, or our students. It is not preparing our young people for the challenges they and/or their friends will be facing in their lives or helping to create the heroes our world so desperately needs.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“The history of our country, like all history, illustrates the might of Mind, and shows human power to be proportionate to its embodiment of right thinking.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

A Prayer for Government

“…let no mortal interfere with God’s government by thrusting in the laws of erring, human concepts.”
-Mary Baker Eddy

Feel the unending, enduring power of Truth
enveloping all of creation with wings of Love
sure and all-knowing, without fear or doubt

See the shoddy, shaky, shabby walls of sham
and lies come crumbling down into dust
and blow away in the changing winds –
returning to the nothing they came from

There was never a need for the lies
evil is never a solution; error solves nothing;
Hate serves no purpose.

Government of justice rises from the dust
and rust as it must. In Truth we trust.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell





Dear Balogna and Dicker,

So here’s what I just chose to waste precious life-minutes doing: I looked up the most popular names for 1980 so’s I could make a meme for people with those names. My intent was to shame them and blame them for all the crap our poor world is dealing with right now. I thought I’d do my little part in making the world a better place by finding us all a Generation X scapegoat this time. (I figured it was GenX’s turn now.)

Here’s what I found: The most popular names for boys born in 1980 were Michael, Christopher, and Matthew. The most popular names for girls born in that year were Jessica, Jennifer, and Amanda.

And, when I saw those names come up, all my nefarious plans for name-shaming just melted away. I thought of all my students over the years with those names and I smiled at the happy memories. I thought of how my young friend, Amanda, stood next to me at the local BLM rally and chanted, “Black lives matter!” with me. I thought of my former student, Michael, who’s all grown-up now and lives across the road and volunteers his time and energy in keeping our neighborhood spruced up by planting trees along the street and giving us gravel to smooth out our driveways. I thought of my journalist friend, Matthew, who wrote such a nice story about my dad. I thought of my former student, Jessica, who always greets me with a cheery smile when we run into each other at the supermarket. And I thought of my friend, Jennifer, who I’d met while she was walking her sweet dog, Maya – a dog she’d rescued from euthanasia at a shelter.

And I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do the name-shaming game – even if it meant diverting attention from people named “Karen.”

Dear Balogna and Dicker, I wish you would stop – I wish you would stop perpetuating the “Karen” meme and the name-shaming. “Huffington Post” is supposed to be one of the “good guys” of the magazine world – a bastion of progressivism, fairness, justice, equity. You guys are supposed to stand up to the bullies – not be bullies yourselves. Yet, just when I think the meme has died out and I’m seeing headlines that refer to “racist woman” or “Tennessee woman” or “maskless woman” instead of “Karen” – “Huffington Post” will publish a story about “Karenting” or “anti-mask Karen.” And…I just don’t get it…what’s the point? How is that helping anyone or anything? I don’t see the Karen meme helping the LGBTQ, Asian, or Black communities. I don’t see it saving our environment or ending wars or helping our veterans, or lowering health care costs. I don’t see it helping women find equity, or see it promoting compassion for the elderly or mentally ill or vulnerable. I don’t see the Karen meme adding anything good to the world at all. It’s as helpful as talking about a “maskless Balogna” or an “anti-vax Dicker.”

In the last week I’ve had to notarize papers, and co-sign other papers, and call the IRS to verify the identity of my deceased 101 year-old father and talk to a bank manager about an ATM machine with a glitch – and, believe me, none of this was stuff I WANTED to do. In my personal experience, I’ve found myself talking to managers because I’ve had life-responsibilities that gave me no choice but to talk to managers. I’d rather have gone on some nice walks.

Sincerely,
Karen

Here’s a photo from a nice walk.

Getting the COVID Vaccine

“In the end, it was actually my background in Christian Science that gave me the courage to get the vaccine.”

Several folks dear to me – family and friends – have asked me if I was planning to get the COVID vaccine. To those dear ones concerned about my well-being: I already got my first dose last week.

If you know me, you can probably imagine the thought that went into this decision. In the end I got the shot for my community – to help the people around me feel safe and comfortable, and to help alleviate any worries they might have for me. And I got the shot so I could travel and be with my friends and family without the guilt and responsibility I might feel if I didn’t get the shot.

I had to address a lot of fear in my thoughts before I got the vaccine. To be honest, I was more scared of the vaccine than the virus. I’ve always been less than enthused about getting vaccines – and not because I’m a Christian Scientist (pfft) – but because I’ve had this belief that my body was designed to heal itself naturally and I didn’t want to interfere with that “healing process.” In the end, it was actually my background in Christian Science that gave me the courage to get the vaccine. As I was thinking about my fears, metaphysically, it came to me that it made no sense to think it’s unnatural to put humanly-made vaccines in my body, but to accept the virus as “natural.” Metaphysically, none of it is natural, and none of it can touch my real, spiritual identity as the expression, idea, reflection, image, likeness, manifestation, and child of Love and Truth. I am safe in God. We all are hid safely in our Father-Mother.

So. There you have it. My second vaccine is scheduled in a couple weeks.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

“The temporal and unreal never touch the eternal and real.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Let not your heart be troubled…”

– John 14

“Your life is hid with Christ in God.”
– Colossians 3:3

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”
– Matthew 22:21

“Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself.”
– Mary Baker Eddy


Marriage Equality

I believe that every citizen – regardless of race, ethnicity, social and economic status, religion, non-religion, gender, or sexual orientation – should have the exact same rights as every other citizen – including the right for consenting adults to marry whom they love.

On Wednesday my husband and I will celebrate our 37th wedding anniversary. Every year about this time I find myself thinking back to that happy day and the days leading up to it.

You know those shows you see on television where the bride spends HUGE amounts of time, thought, and bucks choosing the just right ring, dress, caterer, flowers, music, photographer, and reception venue for her “big day” – those shows where every minute detail of the wedding production is analyzed, critiqued, and judged for its merits on visual perfection? Where the ceremony is somber and refined and the highlight of the whole shebang is the dress the bride wears?

Yeah. That wasn’t us.

My engagement ring was a little garnet ring I picked out from a small jewelry shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle, and the man who sold it to us was cheerfully, flamboyantly, hilariously gay – he had us cracking up the minute we walked into his shop. My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on from the sales rack at our local Bon Marche. Cost me $120. Our minister was a hoot – we’d met with him for a required counseling session, and when he told us that anything he had to say to us would be pretty much useless at this point – because it’s really only AFTER the wedding that the bride and groom realize what they’ve gotten themselves into (we later learned that he’d just recently been divorced), we immediately recognized the man had a sense of humor, and he was, for sure, the minister we wanted officiating our nuptials.

The wedding was a joyful, light-hearted affair in a small Methodist church in Gig Harbor – I remember the minister asking us if we really wanted to hold the service in his church – it was very small – could maybe hold 100 people – and very old (it’s since been torn down and a larger church built in a different location) – but, for our purposes, that little church was perfect – I liked the cozy smallness of it and the stained glass windows – and from the church’s steps we could look out across the water and see Mount Rainier rising above the hills in the distance. The wedding itself was simple, joyful, and natural. We weren’t too concerned with “perfection” – we just wanted our guests to feel comfortable and loved. The reception was held in my parents’ backyard – with the sound of laughter, and the smell of daffodils and plum blossoms, filling the air. And we played volleyball in the pasture – the groom’s team won, but it was a close game.

The minister came to the reception, and fit right in with our hooligan families and friends. Before he left he told us that sometimes he’s really worried about the future of the newlyweds he marries – they often seem more concerned about the wedding than the actual marriage – but, after watching us yukking it up with our families and friends, he felt good about being a part of our ceremony. He knew we were going to be alright. We knew how to laugh.

When I think about that day, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to deny other people the right to a wedding, and to a life-long commitment in marriage with the partner they love. I can’t understand why any heterosexual couple would feel their own marriage is threatened by giving everyone else the same rights that they have. I feel a real yearning for other folks who love one another, and are brave enough to make a commitment to each other, to be allowed to have what my husband and I were allowed to have.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

***

“Happiness is spiritual, born of Truth and Love. It is unselfish; therefore it cannot exist alone, but requires all mankind to share it.” –
from the chapter titled ‘Marriage’ in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy

Scrapbook of a Year and a Day: January 19, 2020 to January 20, 2021

Scrapbook of a Year and a Day: January 19, 2020 to January 20, 2021 is now available as an ebook AND a paperback.

On January 19, 2020, my 101 year-old father (Dee Molenaar, a well-known mountaineer) died. Two days later, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in the United States – in a town 40 minutes to the south of my home. Ahmaud Arbery was murdered the next month, and George Floyd was killed a few months later. We watched as our friends went insane with QAnon conspiracies; our president ordered peaceful protesters tear gassed so he could hold a Bible in front of a church; and white supremacists marched in our streets waving Nazi banners and Confederate battle flags. Then – because 2020 wasn’t done with us, yet – murder hornets were found in the United States – this time in a place 40 minutes to the north of my home. And on January 6th our country was turned upside down and our democracy almost shaken out of its bag.

In an effort to process Dad’s passing, and the year that followed, I began combing through news stories, Facebook posts, and my own blog. I found moments that made me laugh out loud, and others that were gut-wrenching for me. I found moments that had me shaking my head – wondering what the hell had happened to my country – and other moments that inspired me and made me proud to be an American. At some point during this process, I realized I was creating a book.The book, Scrapbook of a Year and a Day: January 19, 2020 to January 20, 2021, consists of news stories, personal anecdotes, essays, poems, and observations of what we all lived through in 2020.

A Year and a Day

On the nineteenth of January my father died
And so began the roller coaster ride
that was 2020 and 20 days –
a year we struggled to find our way.

At first there were empty streets and quiet weeks
of smogless skies and distant peaks
I found peace in the stillness – peace in the calm
That time alone was a much-needed balm.

But after – a montage of images flashes
now through my mind –
much of it dark, some of it kind –
exploding up, crashing down,
fire and rage all around
Our nation boils and seethes
and a Black man gasps, “I can’t breathe”

Veterans protect fathers with leaf blowers
who protect the mothers who protect our Black sons
and daughters from tasers and guns.
Ahmaud, Breonna, and George – say their names
Black Lives Matter – our nation sits in shame
as bigots and bullies scramble to shift the blame –
and settle on “Karen” (which is really lame).

And a just woman with a doily collar
and a selfish man who keeps up the holler
and lie of “Stop the steal”
and refuses to let the nation heal –
our neighbors reel and keel in their zeal –
fed rumors and news that are not real.

Dye runs down a lawyer’s face
a narcissist screams, “Show your strength!”
NAZI and Civil War flags fly in our streets
D.C. police pummeled and beat.
Racism and bullying and bigotry and hate,
caskets of COVID victims, rioters climb gates
Long lines for vaccinations, as people wait.

In the end the heroes win – as heroes always do –
they step up and vote and stop the coup –
they wear masks to protect each other – me and you –
they stand up for Breonna and Ahmoud and George –
and in the fiery fire a stronger land is forged.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Let’s Stop Dehumanizing Each Other

At a time when we desperately need to come together and support the good in each other – at a time when we need to do away with stereotypes and stop dehumanizing each other – it was very disappointing to see the headline in the paper today. It felt like a punch in the gut. It’s time for people of privilege to stop using “Karens” as their scapegoat – as a way to show that they are allies to the disenfranchised and that they aren’t bigots. In actuality, people who use “Karen” as a pejorative are revealing their bigotry – their sexism and ageism – by using the name in this way.

Using “Karen” as a label for a racist isn’t funny or clever. It’s mean. Those named “Karen” feel pain; they cry and mourn and grieve and deal with mental health issues just like everyone else. And this kind of bullying hurts – I have at least one friend named “Karen” who has contemplated suicide in the last year. Using “Karen” in this way does not add anything good or kind to this world. And this world is in desperate need of kindness.
Karen Molenaar Terrell

Tell Me Again Why You Need an Assault Rifle?

Another rampage. Another rapid fire assault rifle used (an AR-15). Ten more people dead. Tell me, again, why you need an assault rifle?

When the second amendment was added to the Constitution, rapid fire weapons did not exist. (The guns available then were muzzle-loaders.) The first rapid fire, mechanical-loading gun – the Gatling – didn’t appear until 1862. It was created for the Civil War – to kill large numbers of people in a short amount of time. That is the purpose of rapid fire rifles. So, tell me again why YOU need one?
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Below is a photo of my favorite gun in my gun collection. Circa 1977. Quickly tossed to me by a guy named Brad (or maybe Phil?) so I could defend myself during an epic squirt gun battle at Washington State University. It didn’t hold much ammo, but it was quick and light and the water could actually go pretty far. It was a state-of-the-art weapon for that time and highly dependable – it did what I needed it to do for me – it got a lot of people wet.