The Connections that Come from Sharing

It occurs to me that if I hadn’t agreed to sing at that wedding back in December 1982 I never would have met Scotty. If I’d never gathered my courage and published my first book I never would have stumbled into the Amazon forum and met all those amazing hooligans who have since become such an important part of my life. If I’d never put my photos out there I never would have connected with my fellow photography buffs. If I’d never shared my stories about my drives with Dad I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to connect with the dear people who have entered my life in the last year because of those stories. And If I’d never started this blog I wouldn’t have met YOU. Even if nothing more comes from my creative endeavors than these connections with others, my life has been made so much richer because people opened their hearts and let me share with them. And my life is so much richer because YOU all have had the courage to share your gifts with me!

Thank you! ❤


More about the Humoristian hooligans –
So back in 2007 I was checking my first book out on Amazon and at the bottom of the book page I saw this list of Amazon discussion forums it was suggested I might be interested in. I thought I’d take a peek and see what was going on there. I stuck my toe in one of the forums – the “Christianity” forum – and my toe almost got bitten off right away – there was indignation and huffing and puffing and sermonizing and talk of hell and… yeah… so I pulled my toe out of there and tried out the “Religion” forum – and that is where I found my home – a wild and wonderful mix of atheists, agnostics, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, pantheists, and all flavors of Christian – Mormons, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Baptists, Catholics, and at least one Christian Scientist – and what these people all had in common was the ability to laugh at themselves and get along with each other. They weren’t afraid of talking about their beliefs and debating them – they weren’t easily offended if people questioned them, and they could talk about stuff in a way that was straightforward and genuine – and they were willing to listen to what other people had to say, too – It was like a micro United Nations.

I started my own religion on there: Humoristianity. Here are the 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.

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… (here we had some internal conflict within the faith – but 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).

I met some of the most amazing people on there – and I still consider these people my dear friends – they got to know me, and my beliefs and thoughts, in a way that a lot of folks in my off-line life weren’t able to do – I mean, how often do you talk about religious beliefs with your co-workers and neighbors, right? All of them were writers, too, and together we wrote a book, The Humoristian Chronicles.

And some of my Humoristian friends I’ve actually been able to meet in the person! I shall include a collage below… along with the cover from my latest book, and a picture of the evening sky from last week. My offerings for today…


One Hundred Years from Now

Did you know that in the 15th and 16th centuries people invaded countries, killed each other, and started wars over spices?! Yeah. That’s right. People killed each other over cinnamon and nutmeg. Today we might look back on those times and think, “What the heck?! Seriously?!”

And I’m thinking that 100 years from now when people look back on THESE times and learn that we invaded countries, killed each other, and started wars over oil, they’ll maybe say a 22nd century variation of “What the heck? Seriously?!” and they’ll ask in shock, “They killed each other over fossil fuels?!”

Or maybe they’ll be shocked that we hated each other for the color of our skin or our religion or our political party. Maybe when they learn that people of the 20th and early 21st century zipped alongside each other in earth-bound metal containers, traveling at speeds of 70+ mph, with only human-controlled steering wheels and brakes keeping us from colliding with each other, they’ll say, “Are you kidding me?! How did any of those people survive?!!”

When I try to picture the future, I like to picture a place of peace and equality. I like to picture a world that’s clean and fresh – powered by energy that doesn’t pollute and isn’t owned by corporations. Everyone has access to affordable health care and higher education. Everyone has food and shelter and clean water and safety. People work because they want to work, and they spend their time creating art, music, poetry, beauty – nurturing the good in themselves and each other. No one is owned by Big Business. People don’t feel the need to claw and kick each other for the scraps that politicians throw under the table. Everyone has access to education, and information. And people are kind – they wouldn’t even think of being otherwise.

I like to think we can get to that future. Maybe I won’t live to see it, but I can be part of the wave that takes us there.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

earth NASA


Ripples by Xander Terrell


Faded trees blown by the breeze so gently
Shaded spots on the trail where the sun takes a break
Where critters hide in the dirt and running shoes land

A bright lake that doesn’t miss a thing when it reflects
Precious surroundings surreally cloning them
And placing them at my feet

If I sketch this lake and take it home with me
Will I steal its beauty or duplicate it
As it duplicates the leaves and the mountains

Sketches all its own marred perfectly with ripples
Places where tiny forces play god with the landscape
Proudly asserting their own artwork as supreme

– Xander Terrell

(cover art by Xander Terrell)

Where Happiness Lives by Xander Terrell

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, from Where Happiness Lives

(cover art by Xander Terrell)

“Beauty is a thing of life…”


“The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.” – Kurt Vonnegut


Oldest son is home from university for spring break. As I’m upstairs, working on some photos I’ve taken this morning, I hear him downstairs, practicing snippets of songs on the piano. I go down the stairs half-way and sit on the steps around the corner – positioned so he can’t see me – and settle in to listen. Soon he gets up and moves around and sees me sitting there – I’m busted! He grins. “Will you play some more?” I ask. “Sure,” he says – he is a good sport, my son. He goes back to the piano and I make myself comfortable on the sofa, stretched-out horizontal, eyes closed – and listen to the perfect beauty of Pachelbel. After a minute or two I open my eyes and glance into the dining room – and there’s the youngest son, finishing up a project for an art class. Two images flash into my memory: The oldest son sitting at the piano as a toddler, a big grin on his face; The youngest son on his knees on a chair in front of the dining room table, a paint brush in his little two year-old hand, creating a watercolor.


Oldest son is three-fifths of the way through War and Peace. Something has just struck him – he’s been wondering why everyone is learning to play music in this book – and at first he’s thinking – why is it so important?  And then it hits him – oh… yeah… if you wanted to share music with your friends 200 years ago, you had to be able to play it yourself!

I am surrounded by expressions of Soul. I feel wealthy beyond description.

        Whatever inspires with wisdom, Truth, or Love – be it song, sermon, or Science – blesses the human family with crumbs of comfort from Christ’s table, feeding the hungry and giving living waters to the thirsty. – Mary Baker Eddy

Beauty is a thing of life, which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color. – Mary Baker Eddy


“Go into the arts…”

??????????photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something. – Kurt Vonnegut


I love the Vonnegut quote above.  It expresses really well how I feel about the creative arts in my own life. I’ve come to feel that art is the purest expression of Soul, and I’ve found that the older I get the more important the expression of Soul has become in my life.  Photography, singing, writing – these things help me stay focused and help me stay sane. Literally help me stay sane. Looking back, I think photography was a big help in pulling me out of the whatever-that-was several years ago. When I’m out taking pictures I’m always looking for the magic – for the beautiful and joy-filled – for the “idea of truth”; and the other things – the things that would distract me from the beautiful and good – are stilled in my thought. When I’m out and about with my camera, the dialogue of mortal mind is silenced for a while, and I’m on a vacation from it.

In photography there’s that moment when the photographer spots something remarkable and captures it – to get that moment the photographer has to have appreciation for the beauty around her- she has to be able to recognize it when she sees it. And then the photographer takes home that moment and downloads it to the computer and does the art thing – crops and contrasts and highlights and saturates and leaches out the color until the artist in her recognizes that something has popped out that’s just perfect. And then she gets to share that moment with other people – gift an audience with that moment, too.

The audience is a huge part of the art – the people who read the books, or listen to the music, or look at the pictures, become, themselves, a part of the expression and experience.  When the audience members laugh or gasp at the right time during a play – they are working with the actors, helping them create their expression.  When the artist’s audience applauds or writes a review – laughs and cries and feels and learns because of the art – the audience becomes a part of the artistic endeavor, too.  🙂

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes: “Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create.”  I’ve found that when what I’m seeking in my work is applause or personal recognition – when I’m creating something to show-off and impress – rather than to share and express – the work never turns out quite right. It’s lacking something genuine in it. Something real.  It’s a stilted, self-conscious, self-indulgent, self-absorbed, SELFED and ridiculous thing.  It really stinks.

But when the work comes from the inspiration of Love (God) – from the beauty, joy, and kindness I see around me and just HAVE to share with everybody else – then it’s real. Then it’s WORTH sharing.

Whatever furnishes the semblance of an idea governed by its Principle, furnishes food for thought. Through astronomy, natural history, chemistry, music, mathematics, thought passes naturally from effect back to cause. Academics of the right sort are requisite. Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive and should promote the growth of mortal mind out of itself, out of all that is mortal. – Mary Baker Eddy