It Is Time, My friends

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

It is time, my friends. It is time to blast the world with over-the-top joy. It is time to roll out our big cannons of jocularity and good will and rain humongo missiles of love and kindness upon the mental landscape. It is time to step up to the front and lock arms with one another and protect the battered, bullied and beleaguered with the unbreakable shield of Love and Truth. We are in control here. With Love leading the charge, we are not the beaten, but the unbeatable. May the bullies, bigots, and busybodies be transformed by your unbreakable courage. May the stodgy and stingy be transformed by your irrepressible good will to all.

The time for the kind-hearted has come!
Amen.
Karen

 “Your influence for good depends upon the weight you throw into the right scale. The good you do and embody gives you the only power obtainable. Evil is not power. It is a mockery of strength, which erelong betrays its weakness and falls, never to rise.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“At all times and under all circumstances, overcome evil with good.”
Mary Baker Eddy

Flower Doodle by Karen Molenaar Terrell

The Intrepid Little Sunflower

(The audio podcast for this post can be found at this link.)

Recent events in the world have made me think about my irrepressible, intrepid little sunflower of two years ago. I’m thinking it might be time to retell that story…

(Originally published on July 13, 2020.)
One happy story has emerged from the Slug Battles this summer: The Story of the Intrepid Little Sunflower.

The slugs and snails have been voracious this year. When my little sunflowers first sprouted I covered them every night with jars. When they outgrew the jars I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and go on Slug Patrol – looking for any snails or slugs that might be chowing down on my sunflower youngsters (in the morning I would take the slugs and snails out to our wetland – what I’ve dubbed my “Snail and Slug Refuge” – and ask them to please stay down there). Eventually I started wrapping copper tape around the bottom of the sunflowers’ stems and that seemed to work pretty well – UNTIL one morning I found a slug or snail had chomped through the stem of one of the sunflower youngsters and the top three inches were hanging from the bottom three inches by mere threads. I tried to tape it together, but that didn’t work well. Finally, I pulled the top part off and – finding I didn’t have it in me to toss it in the compost – I put it in a little bottle filled with water and put it on top of a book case, and waited for nature to take its course.

But the little sunflower did not die. In fact, it appeared to me that it even grew a few inches.

A couple weeks went by and the leaves started turning yellow. It was obvious to me my little sunflower teenager needed nutrients. On impulse, I put about half an inch of soil in the bottom of the bottle and made sure the bottom of the sunflower stem touched the soil – I hoped the plant would somehow suck up the nutrients it needed – maybe it would grow roots? I wasn’t sure how that worked – but it seemed possible to me.

And today when I looked over at the sunflower teenager he seemed to have grown six inches overnight! I looked at the bottom of the bottle and there were roots in there!

I planted him in a planter out on the deck. Right now he is out there, straight and getting taller, and waving happily in the breeze at me.

(Originally published on September 13, 2020.)
You may remember the story about the intrepid little sunflower who was sawed in half by a slug earlier in the summer and grew new roots in a bottle. I transplanted her to a pot and put her out on the side of the house by her sister – where she’d originally been when she was attacked in the infamous Slug Wars. She thrived and grew out there and now she’s blooming!

Because she’s in a pot I was able to move her away from the dark background of the house for a photo of her in the sunlight. Check it out…

(Here’s a photo history of the Intrepid Little Sunflower.)
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Ukraine: Field of Sunflowers and a Nightingale’s Song

a field of gold sunflowers
Ukraine’s national flower
tenacious, unbending,
showing the irrepressible power
of beauty and joy that grows
beyond boundaries
grows beyond war

the song of a nightingale
Ukraine’s national bird
uplifting, soaring, free-sailing
singing a song heard
beyond boundaries
over battles
above the clamor of war
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

A Ukrainian woman, a Russian tennis champion, a Russian hockey star, 13 Ukrainian soldiers on Snake Island, and the president of Ukraine have emerged as heroes in the last week. We see all of them confronting the world’s schoolyard bully – sometimes with sorrow, sometimes with anger, and always with unwavering courage. I pray for them, for the people of Ukraine, and for the Russian soldiers, too, who don’t want to be there – who were told by their commanders that they were going on “training exercises,” never wanted to be part of an invasion, and now just want to go home.

“Bloodshed, war, and oppression belong to the darker ages, and shall be relegated to oblivion.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

“Love for mankind is the elevator of the human race; it demonstrates Truth and reflects divine Love…” –
Mary Baker Eddy


sunflower and bee




Unhooked from the Mother Ship

I’m feeling weirdly untethered –
like I got dropped from the sky
and am in free fall
or got unhooked from the line
that connects me to the Mother Ship
and am floating off into space.
It is scary
and also kind of exhilarating.

Retirement ain’t for sissies.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Blue Cosmos (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

For Those Who Dare to Get Out of Bed

For Those Who Dare to Get Out of Bed

So I’m lying in bed this morning
and I realize I have a choice –
I don’t HAVE to get out of bed today.

If I get out of bed there are sure
to be problems and complications.
I am almost guaranteed to make
SOMEbody angry today.
I am pretty much guaranteed to say
the wrong thing to someone
at the wrong time in the wrong place
in the wrong way.
I may get in someone’s way.
Someone may get in MY way.
I may lose my temper today.
I may be thoughtless and unkind.
I may die if I get out of bed.

On the other hand, I may die
if I stay in my bed, too.
I may miss out on a chance
to be thoughtful and kind.
I may miss an opportunity
to learn something new and to laugh,
and meet a new
friend, and see an eagle soar,
and enjoy the sunshine
on my face.

It takes courage to get out of bed
each day.

To all the courageous people who dare
to get out bed and face whatever comes
between now and tomorrow –
I wish you all the wonder and magic
you find today
because you got out of bed.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

The World Is in Need of Your Courage and Kindness

My dear Humoristian hooligans –
The world is in need of all the love and courage you can shine on it today – the world is in need of your reflection of all that is good and decent. You are important – each and every beautiful one of you – in your expressions of kindness, honesty, and irrepressible, unstoppable, insurmountable joy. May the scared, misguided and misinformed be awakened by your unwavering wisdom and unshakable faith in Truth. May the bullies and belligerent bigots be transformed by your buoyant, unbreakable belief in the brotherhood and sisterhood and kinship of all creatures. May we all help our world find peace.
Amen.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Only Five More Days

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

Only five more days. Whatever befalls, know that your humor and wit, courage and honesty, compassion and kindness, have mattered. You have made a difference in our world. None of the good you’ve done has been wasted. I am so grateful to know you – each and every radiant, rascally, raspberry-blowing rapscallion one of you.

The world needs you. May those weary wanderers athirst for a kind word in a desert of rudeness find comfort in your good-natured cheer. May the ascared and lonely find hope in the smiling eyes above your masks. May you bring laughter to those in desperate need of a healthy guffaw. May the the bigots, bullies, braggarts, and busybodies be transformed by your irrepressible, irresistible joy and good will.

Polish your kazoos, bring out the whoopee cushions, don your Groucho glasses and your Lucy wigs – avail yourselves of every tool in your Humoristian bag of tricks – and go out there and work your magic!
Karen “Wingoof-Wingoov” Molenaar Terrell

These Days I’m More Concerned With How I Feel About Myself

“Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

There have been several times in my life when I have had the opportunity to learn more of who I am by being put in a position where I needed to respond to violence, or the threat of violence.

– Once I was waiting to pick up my son from a movie and I saw a young man sitting on top of another young man, pounding his head into the parking lot pavement. Without thinking, I walked into the ring of young spectators watching this happen, and tried to pull the attacker off his victim. I yelled, “Stop it! You’re killing him!” And one of the spectators said, “Lady, you better be careful. This guy could have a knife!” I turned on him and asked him why he was just watching, why he wasn’t trying to help. And then I put my hands on my hips and announced, “I AM A TEACHER!” – like I was some kind of super hero or something and that was going to make them all stop. The guy who was smashing the other guy’s head into the pavement sort of paused then, and looked up at me for a minute, and then went back to doing what he was doing. There were other people there – outside the circle, watching while this was happening – but at one point I remember looking up to see another parent – the mother of one of my son’s friends – had stepped into the circle with me. I remember being amazed by this and she said, “Well, I wasn’t going to let you be in here alone!” That’s always stayed with me – that this woman I didn’t know well had stepped into the circle with me to back me up. Anyway. Pretty soon the police came out and took care of it all. Afterwards I realized what I’d done was pretty foolish – but I was glad I’d done it anyway. I’d learned something about myself that night.

– I remember feeling some fear as I drove to participate in the local BLM rally last June – there’d already been some stories of guys with pistols and rifles showing up at other rallies to intimidate the protesters and I’d heard rumors that there’d be some of these guys at this rally, too. But I remember coming to terms with that as I drove there – praying for the safety of EVERYone there – protesters and gun folks alike. When I pulled into the parking lot, sure enough, there were guys with rifles slung over their shoulders and holsters with guns and assorted other black metal things tucked away in belts and pockets. I got out of the car, pulled up my mask, and made eye contact with a man with a rifle – raised my eyebrows and pointed to my “TRUTH JUSTICE KINDNESS” sign – and I remember he kind of smiled and said, “We hope so.” And in that moment – maybe when I realized these guys with the weapons were the ones who were really scared – all fear just vanished for me. The rally was a peaceful one.

– And this is a story I haven’t shared until now, but I think now is the right time. One time when I was working at a nonprofit school another teacher came out of her office – still talking to the student that was in her office as she approached me – and handed me the note you see below: “We are not SAFE.” I’m going to skip everything that happened after this, except for this one part: At one point I had a clear choice – one choice brought sure safety for myself, but left my colleague on her own (this is the choice I know my colleague wanted me to make for myself) – and the other choice brought possible danger to myself, but meant I would stay by my colleague through this experience. I took a deep breath and chose to stay with my friend. I’m so grateful I made that choice. I don’t know how I’d live with myself if I hadn’t.

And I’m happy to say that’s what it all comes down to for me now – I’m no longer so concerned about how other people feel about me – these days I’m more concerned with how I feel about MYself. I know I won’t always make the “right choice” – I still mess up majorly sometimes – but I’m learning more and more I can trust myself – and there is a certain power in that, you know?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell