Heading into 2022 Without Betty White

We’re heading into 2022 without Betty White and I find that kind of disorienting. Betty White was like family for a lot of us, and learning that she has passed has hit hard.

White was an amazing example of how to live a life. She was brilliant, witty, kind, talented, funny, generous, lively, bold, brave, spunky – just a beautiful individual.

She was just two weeks shy of her 100th birthday, and I guess – like my Dad, who lived to 101 – instead of making me think she was coming to the end of her life, her many years just reaffirmed for me the idea that she would go on living forever. I found myself wiping away tears tonight when I learned I was wrong about this.

I’m sure going to miss her.

Our world is not going to look the same without her in it.

The Snow Crunches Under My Boots

The snow crunches under my boots 
as I walk alone under the stars
shining above clouds in a navy blue sky.
It’s twenty degrees Fahrenheit and my breath
turns into steam as it leaves my mouth.
I keep my eyes on one star and let it pull me
into space with it. Feeling at one with infinity.
=Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Snow Falling on My Face

I lie on my back in the snow
and wave my arms to make angels.
It’s quiet and still, and I’m alone
except for the snowflakes that blow
and drift and dance gently towards me.
Peace.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Here’s a video of snow falling on my face.

(Photo below by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Snow Reflection

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

Deflated Santa

The Pressure to Feel Merry

(Originally published in 2012, but I think it works pretty well in 2021, too.)

It has been a challenging month for a lot of people. Yesterday when I was running around, doing last minute Christmas shopping, I ran into three friends who teared-up when I asked them how they were doing – one had lost a husband not long ago, the second had lost her mom, the third her dad. The husband of a fourth friend is going through medical treatment for cancer. And then there is the tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut. It just might be that some of us are not inclined to feel all jolly-cheery right now. And I’m here to tell you, if you are one of those folks – it is alright. It’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling. There’s no need or reason to judge your feelings, or to try to force them to be what they’re not. That’s just silly.

At Christmas there’s a lot of pressure on people to feel “The Christmas Spirit.” No one wants to be the Christmas Scrooge. I think we all want to share in the spirit of joy and generosity and hope. But pressuring ourselves to be happy, trying to force ourselves to be jolly, is maybe not the best way to get there. Then it becomes a battle, rather than a natural unfolding.

Here’s the good news: There’s no law that says we can’t feel the Christmas spirit on December 26th, or December 27th, or March 1st – we‘re not limited to feeling joy, generosity, and hope on this one day a year. So even if, this year, we just can’t seem to get there on December 25th, we still have the opportunity to feel the spirit whenever or wherever it unfolds for us. And here’s another bit of good news that I’ve discovered in my own adventures with sadness and grief: I have found that it is possible to be happy even when you’re sad. Which. Yeah, I know that sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? But it’s true!

May joy settle upon you gently, moment by moment – may you catch it in the playful grin on a child’s face, in the uplift that comes from Beethoven’s Joy, in the smell of something good baking in the oven, in the hug from a friend – may you relax and enjoy those moments for what they are, and what they give you. And may any pressure you feel to somehow make those moments bigger, or brighter, or louder, ease and lift from you.

Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

And there’s a new review for The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book!

Jeff Chase writes:5.0 out of 5 stars
This book is a gem.
Reviewed in the United States on December 18, 2021
Verified Purchase
It’s my second Christmas with this book, and I think I’m enjoying it more this year, perhaps because it’s already feeling like a tradition. Karen’s stories, poems, and musings are full of warmth, humor, and love. There’s much to relate to here. I find myself recalling my own Christmas stories from years past. This book is a gem, made for relaxing. Enjoy!

Joy to the World!

There’s this joy in my heart – this sassy sense of unstoppable cheer – that’s risen in me the last couple of days. It’s a joy that doesn’t depend on who wins what football game, or where I am or what I’m doing – a joy that doesn’t depend on everything being “perfect” in my life. It’s a joy I don’t feel guilty feeling. I like this joy. I think I’ll keep it.

Think of all the beauty that’s still left in and around you and be happy!
– Anne Frank

Christmas Peace

On Earth Peace

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. – Luke 2: 14

Christmas Eve, 1914. World War I. The trenches in Belgium. 

The Germans begin setting up Christmas trees with lighted candles along the trenches on their side of the line. They begin singing carols, and although they’re singing in German, the allies on the other side of the line– the French, Belgians, and British – are able to recognize most of the carols. Soon voices are raised from both sides of the dividing line, joining together to sing “Silent Night.” A truce is called. Weapons are laid down and replaced with soccer balls.  Gifts are exchanged – chocolate and postcards and tobacco and newspapers. 

I love that story. I love the hope of peace it represents. Although the soldiers were not able to maintain their truce – within the week they were forced, under orders, to pick up their weapons and begin shooting at each other again – the end of the Christmas truce in 1914 doesn’t diminish the power of what those soldiers were able to bring to each other for that week.

May our world find that peace again, and next time may it be lasting.

“… and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
– Isaiah 2: 4

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”
– Isaiah 11: 6

        One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, “Love thy neighbor as thyself;” annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, – whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.
Mary Baker Eddy

May the Christmas Spirit…

May the spirit of Christmas awaken in me
dormant hope; dormant joy; dormant kindness.
May the spirit of Christmas help me see –
open my eyes from their eyes-closed blindness
to behold the ties of love that bind us.
Amen.

  • Karen Molenaar Terrell

Waiting for the Christmas Spirit

The kitsch and spangles
and baubles and bangles,
And department store Santa,
just really can’ta
Seem to bring me
the spirit of Christmas.

And I’ve been waiting to feel it –
the real Christmas spirit
Hoping it’d come by now.
The stockings are stuffed,
the tree is all buffed,
The cookies are baked
and frosted and fluffed
But there’s still something missing –
a feeling, a tingling
that’s supposed to come every Christmas.

Except…
Maybe that Christmas feeling,
that energy and tingling
Is something I can have every day –
It doesn’t depend on spangles,
or jingly-bell jangles
Or jolly men dressed all in red.
It comes in the sharing
of laughter and caring
And the comfort in words with love said:
To all – Peace! Joy! Hope!
Every moment of every day.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was two weeks afore Christmas and all through Eff Bee
not a creature was stirring – not a they, she, or he.
We were prostrate and spent from the holiday bustle
not a twitch could be seen from the teeniest muscle.

We lay all unblinking in our respective beds
while visions of gift-wrapping swirled through our heads.
And clad in our jammies and our way cool madcaps
we had the vague hopeful hope our bodies would take naps.

Holiday jangles and jingles pinged through our brains –
Presley, Crosby, and Mathis taking us down memory lanes –
and would we remember every member to be gifted?
We mentally went through our lists, hoping none were omitted.

There were homes to be decorated and cards to be sent;
parties, caroling, and cookie-making, and we hadn’t made a dent.
But with a collective sigh we remembered there and then
that it’s really about good will to all creatures, women, and men.

And so our thoughts finally settled and our bodies relaxed
as we thought of those we love and a world festooned in pax.
With our hearts wrapped in kindness and the world as our ‘hood
We’re all brethren and sistren – and verily, It’s all good!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book and A Poem Lives on My Windowsill.

via T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas 

Christmas Peace