“And Now You’re Saving Lives!”

There’s a large part of this story that’s not mine to share and I’ll leave to my friend to share if she wants. But I think I can share this part:

Looking back on Facebook at the history of our friendship, it looks like we met on November 8, 2018, and became immediate friends. I was taking my walk on the Bellingham boardwalk when I first met her. It was a cold day. She wore a hat, I remember. I recognized a kinship – I saw in her expression a shared experience. I opened my heart to hear her story and she poured her heart out to me. Heart-to-heart. I felt so privileged by that – by her trust in me.

I understood some of what she was going through – I’d gone through a similar experience about ten years before. I’m not sure what I said to her. I might have told her that I understood – that I’d been there, too – that I knew she was in a scary place – but that she was also in a really amazing place – that she was completely free to create a whole new life for herself and that I knew that was scary, but that I thought she’d find it was also really exhilarating. An adventure!

I went home and found her on FB and discovered we had a bunch of friends in common. That was cool. And I asked her to be my FB friend.

Through the last four years we’ve sometimes run into each other by magic – not purposefully, but always perfectly. We’ve come upon each other at rallies and in the supermarket and walking along a street. When it was my turn to get a COVID vaccine, I was a little freaked out, and I contacted my friend because I knew she was working at the vaccination site and I knew I could count on her to help walk me through what I had to do. She was a blessing to me during that time.

And today I ran into her at the supermarket. She shared with me that last weekend, through her new role at work, she was in a position to help someone who told her that she “most likely” had saved his life.

As she was sharing her story I started crying. And then she started crying. And we hugged and cried and laughed together. She asked me if I remembered where she was when we’d first met, and I nodded and said, “And now you’re saving lives!”

In the last few days, I’ve felt the Cosmos reaching out to me with hope and reassurance and love. I’m being constantly reminded of all the Good in the world. I’m so grateful for that.

Did You Really Think?

Really, Karen? Did you really think
everyone who knew you would like you?
And did you really think there was
something wrong with you if they didn’t?
P’shaw. Get over yourself.
People’s lives don’t revolve around you
and what you said
and what you did
and what you thought.
For God’s sake, move on, woman!
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

You Meet the Nicest People Waiting in Line

(This post can be found as an audio podcast at this link.)

I stopped by Tecalitlan Restaurant to pick up some tacos to bring home to Scott, and met some really cool people while I waited there:

A lady of about my age approached the restaurant – she was covered in mud and dirt and looked like she’d just come out of battle – but she was beautiful, too – she had an open face and a beautiful smile and long silver hair. I smiled and asked her how she was doing and she laughed and said she’d just spent the day burning slash on her property and now all she wanted was dinner and a hot shower. I learned she was a gardener and we talked a bit about gardening and how healthy it is for people to work the earth and walk barefoot on the ground. She was very wise.

A young man in glasses approached the order window and we exchanged smiles. I’d already ordered so I moved aside so he could get in front of me. After a while I became aware that I was moving from side to side on my feet – putting my weight on one foot and then the other – and I realized I was making a tune in my head – that there was a rhythmn passing through my thoughts that was making me move back-and-forth. And then I became aware that the young man in front of me was moving from foot-to-foot, too, in the exact same rhythmn. I asked him if he had a song going on his head and he laughed and said no, but he just has a hard time staying still. He asked me if I had a song in my head and I told him I did, but I was not going to sing it out loud. He laughed with me and we both continued with our foot-leaning.

And then this man came out of the restaurant with a little gray puppy in his arms. He set the pup down on the patch of grass in front of the restaurant so the puppy could stretch his legs and pee if he needed to. The puppy’s tail was wagging and his little body was rolling over itself and he was just so cute and friendly and the urge to pet him was irresistible. So I asked the pup’s human if I could pet him, and he smiled and gave the okay. And awww….

The silver-haired lady had collapsed in a chair, by this time, as she waited for her take-out. I told her she was almost there. Soon she’d have a meal and a hot shower. She laughed and nodded her head, and just about that time her take-out order appeared at the window. We rejoiced together in the magic of a warm meal.

My own take-out came soon after. The young man in the glasses wished me a good night and I took my bag of tacos to my car – which I found was blocked in on every side. There was no way I was getting out of that parking lot as things stood. I went back to the restaurant and explained my situation to the people waiting there and very soon a young man detached himself from the crowd, grinning, and pointed to his car and told me he’d parked in the spot in front of me – he couldn’t find anywhere else to park – and he’d go move his car for me. I was so grateful to him. “Thank you so much!” I said. I found an empty parking space for him while he got in his car and asked him if I should stand in it to reserve it for him. He said that would be great.

He moved his car for me and parked it in the empty space. I thanked him again and he smiled and said “No problem.”

You meet the nicest people just waiting in line at Tecalitlan’s.

The End.

A Pup Named Blue

Dunbar’s 150

These are the people who know me
and love me anyway – just as I am.
I don’t need to hide away the pain
and be the ever-smiling savior
for them – they don’t dump shame
on my head for being human
or for saying the wrong thing
or sometimes making the wrong choice
or sometimes raising my voice.
They know what’s in my heart
and trust me. They see the good in me
and help me see it, too, through
their eyes. They are my refuge
and my shelter, and my home.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

About Dunbar’s 150.

Home



Meet My New Friend, Bridger

(Originally published on bellinghambayblog.)

So a cool thing happened this morning: I was up in Bellingham, doing my walk, and when I got to Boulevard Park I saw a man using one of those ball launchers to fling a tennis ball to his dog. I was smiling at the dog as I came around on the path. And then – to my surprise and delight – the dog nabbed the tennis ball his human flung to him and brought it to ME! He laid it down at my feet and looked up at me, hopefully. I’m pretty sure the dog was smiling. I picked up the ball and threw it back towards the dog’s human – but the ball only got about half-way there. The dog picked it up and brought it back to me again! I was so tickled that the dog chose to include me in his game. I threw it again and the dog went chasing after it.

Birch, the dog’s human, told me his dog’s name is Bridger – like Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. (One of my mountain-climbing dad’s favorite places.)

Bridger made my day.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Here’s a picture of Bridger smiling at me…

First Review for Cosmic Connections

Hey! Check it out! I’ve now got two five-star ratings AND a written review for Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy! Thank you to the “Amazon Customer” who took the time to write this review. If you’re an author, you know how much that means…

Amazon Customer writes:
5.0 out of 5 stars
Delightful book!
Reviewed in the United States on October 12, 2021
Verified Purchase
“Cosmic Connections” follows the excursions of an extraverted author and photographer who befriends nearly every person who crosses her path. This uplifting read highlights life’s small moments of connection — with strangers, old friends she meets by chance, the hapless, friendly dogs and former students. The author uses brief anecdotes—one or two pages—to show how much goodness permeates life. One entry describes meeting a stranger, only to find out she is the daughter of the minister who married her and her husband (in another part of the state) 30 years before. Her warm writing style and enthusiasm for life is infectious.
AMAZON.COMDelightful book!

Robin’s Egg

Another excerpt from Cosmic Connections (soon to be released):

Robin’s Egg

He comes towards me on the trail–
a big, brawny man with a bald head
and tattoos on his arms. I turn away
to take photos of the ferns on the forest
floor and when I turn back he’s passed me.
I glance back at the same moment he glances
back at me. He uses his walking stick
to point to a place on the path near me.
I turn in the direction he’s pointing –
not sure what he wants me to see –
and find myself looking at the remnants
of a tiny, fragile blue egg. A new nestling
has pecked open her shell. “Robin’s egg,”
the big man rumbles in his deep bass voice,
a sweet smile on his face. I smile back at him.
“It’s beautiful,” I say. “Yes, it is,” he agrees.
And he turns and continues down the trail
.-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Magic at Tweets

I’m getting ready to publish Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy. This book has been really fun to work on. I got to revisit a lot of really magical moments.

Here’s an excerpt:
Magic at Tweets

I have had a most weird and wonderful morning. I rode my bike over to Tweets in Edison for breakfast – and magic happened!

I brought my vanilla breve out onto the back deck to wait for my breakfast muffin, and was greeted by one of my former eighth graders, Reed, who was sitting with his sister and friends at one of the little tables out there. It was so fun to see Reed again – it’s always a kick to see my students all grown-up and making amazing lives for themselves. Magic!

I sat down at the table next to Reed and his friends and sipped my breve and watched life happen. Soon a young woman came out onto the deck, looking for a place to sit. There were no more tables out there, so I asked her if she’d like to share my table. She sat down and we chatted for a bit – I learned Marlo lived in Bellingham, was majoring in English at Western Washington University (what a coinky-dink! – my youngest son is also majoring in English at WWU!), and worked at the Woods Coffee shop in Boulevard Park – one of my favorite stops when I’m in Bellingham. Marlo’s friend, Hannah, joined us then and we chatted a bit more – she, too, is a student at WWU, majoring in graphics design.

As we talked and laughed together another former student of mine walked by, and smiled and gave me a hug – it turns out he works at Tweets now! Magic!

When Reed and his friends left I moved over to their table so Marlo and Hannah could have their own table. And then another woman came out on the deck looking for a table for her and her partner, Joe. I told her that, if she liked, they could join me at my new table, and they did. Liesyl and Joe were very cool – they’d traveled to Edison from Seattle on scooters! We talked about their scooter adventures, where they came from, and where they were going. Liesyl mentioned that she’d once lived in Bow (the little community I live in now) – her father had been a minister at the United Methodist church in Bow. And here comes even MORE magic…

Thirty-one years ago – before we’d ever suspected we’d someday be living in Bow – my husband and I were married in Gig Harbor (a town two hours away) by a minister who’d once been a Methodist minister in Bow. “Is your dad’s name ‘Russ’?” I asked her. Her mouth fell open and she nodded yes. “Is his last name ‘Meyer’?” I asked, and she said yes! “Your dad was the minister who married my husband and me 31 years ago in Gig Harbor!” I told her. And I told her about the wedding – how her dad’s sense of humor had fit right in with our event – and how he’d seen us laughing and yukking it up with our friends at the reception and told us that some couples he worries about – but that he knew we’d be alright.

Liesyl told me her dad had passed on suddenly fifteen years ago – and I was sad to hear this. We shared stories with each other, then, about her dad and celebrated him as we ate breakfast together.

As I was leaving I stopped to ask the man who had taken my order if I could take his picture for my blog. He graciously agreed. I asked him his name – he said “Charles” – and we realized that we were actually already Facebook friends. I’d been enjoying his posts and comments for many months! I love that!

Magic!

(Here’s the photo I’m going to use for the cover.)

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