I’m praying, but I can’t seem to find God in my thoughts. I can’t hear Her voice. It’s 3:00 in the morning when I head downstairs to read. I sit on the couch and pull a blanket around me and open my book. Timid black cat jumps onto the couch and slowly moves closer to me until I pull him next to me and he lays down, belly-up, trusting me, expecting kindness, and his trust fills me with joy. And I realize that this is God talking to me. I pet his belly and click on Facebook’s messenger on my phone and see new messages waiting for me. I open them and find words of love and comfort and caring and connection in the voices of my friends. And I know that this is God talking to me. The night is still, but I can feel it gently pulsing with Life and Love. And I am enveloped in the joy of be-ing. This is God talking to me.
I woke up to find out that someone(s) had attempted to steal from me – long story involving trickery and someone posing as me in an email. Anyway. At first I was freaked out by this. But then this weird thing happened. I felt this kind of detached calm about it all. I took the steps I needed to take to to try to fix the problem, and then got in my car and drove up to Bellingham for a nice walk on the boardwalk. The sky still had pink in it when I got up there. There were goldeneye ducks and seagulls and cool patterns in the bay. Everyone I passed gave me a friendly smile for a smile. It was lovely.
I stopped at the Colophon and as soon as I walked in the hostess/server asked me if I’d like my favorite peach Arnold Palmer drink – she recognized me! And then she led me back to my favorite seat in the corner. I ordered some avocado toast and sipped my peach tea and just soaked up the happy vibes.
It came to me that I was in control of how I was going to feel. The person who had attempted to steal from me wasn’t the boss of me, and had no say in how I was going to feel about my day.
The server gave me another peach tea to take with me when I left, and I left a big tip in appreciation for the friendly kindness I’d felt at the restaurant – a reminder of all the good folks in the world with me.
Shakespeare wrote: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” And I saw how true that was today. I could choose to be all ruffled and affronted at the way my morning had started. Or I could choose to find joy for myself.
Life isn’t “out to get me.” Life is good.
(Photo below is of a goldeneye duck on Bellingham Bay this morning. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
It’s 3:00 in the morning when I awake to find it arrived while I slept! Christmas has landed in my heart! I slip out of the bedroom and go downstairs and the cats greet me in the hall. I think they feel it, too. I plug in the Christmas lights above the mantel and settle into my chair near the woodstove. Black cat rubs his head against my hand. Calico cat jumps up in the chair next to mine and tucks her paws underneath her and closes her eyes – we are enjoying each other’s company. The Christmas lights sparkle off the smooth surfaces around me. I sing “Silent Night” to the cats and they turn to me and listen. Magic is here! Incredible good beyond imagining is here and more on its way! Peace! Joy! Love! Hope! It’s here! It’s here! It’s here!
I just had a wonderful drive with Alison Krauss. Well, okay, Alison Krauss wasn’t actually in the car with me. But her voice was. And it was lovely.
I was driving home, after a visit with my parents, and just as I got to Seattle big, fluffy snowflakes started floating down around me. It was like being inside one of those glass bubbles that has “snow” trapped inside it. It was dark, and the snow made it even more difficult to see, but I was suddenly filled with such a sense of peace and joy, that driving felt more like a celebration than a hazard. I’d put an Alison Krauss CD in my car’s CD-player, and, as the snow started falling, her delightful riff leading into the Beatles I Will filled my car with a playfulness and a joy that was almost tangible. I realized that the cars around me were moving in complete harmony with me and with the song – it was like we were all doing a happy dance together – perfectly-timed and choreographed.
“Who knows how long I’ve loved you? You know I love you still…” I’d always thought those words and that song were romantic – it was a song I’d sung at least once at a wedding. But now I found those words and that song taking on a different meaning for me. My mom’s sweet, smiling face came into focus in my thoughts and I held her there for a moment – just completely filled with the joy of the love we share for each other. Then my dad came through my thoughts, and I mentally hugged him; then my husband, my sons, my co-workers, my bosses, my neighbors, my friends – even those with whom I’d had conflict – one-by-one passed through my thoughts. And as each new face appeared I mentally wrapped love and joy around my thoughts of that person. The playful, irrepressible joy of that song, and Krauss’s performance of it, simply could not be overthrown or trampled down. Anger and frustration had no choice but to melt away before the happy onslaught of banjos and love.
It was a transforming experience for me, and when the snow finally stopped falling and the song had ended, I felt like I’d just been privileged to be a part of something magical and wondrous. The feeling of joy still lingers.
Later I thought some more about the song and its words:
“Who knows how long I’ve loved you You know I love you still Will I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will. I love you forever and forever Love you with all my heart Love you whenever we’re together Love you when we’re apart. And when at last I find you Your song will fill the air Sing it loud so I can hear you Make it easy to be near you For the things you do, endear you to me Oh, you know I will, I will”
And it occurred to me that God, Love itself, could sing those words to you and me. How long has God loved us? Forever and ever and for always. She loves us when we’re near Her in our thoughts, and She loves us when we’re not. She loves us when we know Her, and She loves us when we don’t. And we are dear and precious to Her. “I will, I will,” are our Father-Mother God’s words and promise to us. Unconditional, unfailing love is ours to give, and ours to receive.
(Originally posted February, 2012 and now a part of *The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Middle Book*.)
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.
T’was ten days afore Christmas and all o’er the Earth human kinds were scrambling to find Christmassy mirth. We looked under our beds and up to the North Pole, looked in our attics and in our cookie dough bowls.
We looked to see if we could order the spirit online or find it at the supermarket or in a Christmassy pine. We looked in the fridge and under our car seats, looked for it in old movies and in peppermint treats.
And then we stopped and settled our searching thoughts, and it occurred to us that Christmas couldn’t be bought, and that it wasn’t hiding from us here or there – Christmas was in this moment, in our hearts, and everywhere!
And the Christmas joy spilled out of us, joining the joy of the Cosmos, reaching out with love to the darkest, farthest outpost. And hope filled our hearts, and love broke down the walls. And we heard the Cosmos proclaim: “On earth peace, good will to all!”
This book is exemplary in its structure, organization, and pacing.
Very nice pace, with the narrative gliding along, a healthy forward pull in the structure. We see no jumpy parts or dropped-off parts. Just great transitions between sections. Watch out, though, that if you’re taking blog posts and turning them into a book, you have to say, ‘I’m starting this book’ instead of ‘I’m starting this post’. That happens right up front, throwing the reader, and also throughout. Give the book the identity of a book, not a repurposed collection of blog posts.
This book has spelling, punctuation, and grammar corresponding with the region of the world from which the author hails (ex. British English or American English) or with where the book is set (including slang, vernacular, or dialect). These choices are intentional and implemented consistently throughout with few, if any, errors.
Good work in making sure that typos are edited out of the manuscript, so that the reader is not distracted by this as well.
This book is exemplary in production quality and cover design. The physical materials, printing, and binding are of professional quality and traditional industry standards. The typesetting and page layout (including illustrations, images, or figures) are easy to follow, thoughtfully designed, and error free. The cover appears to be professionally designed and is compellingly related to the content/genre of the book.
Lovely cover with the butterflies on her vibrant running shoes. That ties into the book’s title, with serendipitous events such as this feeling like it has to be a cosmic connection.
This book is exemplary in its choice of topic or theme of the story. It is unique but still has strong appeal for most readers in its intended genre.
Overall, the theme is kindness, and connection. Author brings together so many signs and forces of positivity. Author walks us through her days as she notices things about people, establishes connections and questioning of others. We get bright energy and some surreal moments like we’ve gone through a time portal. Very fascinating and high energy that keeps us immersed. Well done.
This book is exemplary in its voice and writing style. It has a unique voice, and the writing style is consistent throughout. The style and tone are also consistent with or will appeal to readers of the intended genre.
Author writes with a bright energy, lifting us with her voice as she elevates the narrative through enthusiasm and eye-opening observations. It’s a feeling of impressive presence here in the story, as author paints so much realism and sensory detail.
I love how the author brings out the little details like a pumpkin spice latte and snow geese. Author paints a gorgeous setting and populates the story world with remarkable detail. Nice work. I love how several of the segments open with a breathless excitement: ‘something really amazing happened.’ I saw that a few times, and it had such a great energy to it, a nice opener. Very nice choice for last page’s entry. Sensory details stand out.
I am mostly oblivious about what I look like these days. I take a quick look in the mirror in the morning and then go about my day. This seems to work for me. But yesterday I saw a photo of me taken by Scotty as I walked through the Longmire parking lot, unaware I was being photographed – and…it really depressed me – I was looking at an old lady and I was like, “Who IS that person?!” (Scotty didn’t see what I saw in the photo – he told me I looked “cute,” but I saw something different.)
I almost stayed in bed this morning. Embarrassed about presenting myself to the world. But here’s what happened instead:
I thought about what the voice of the Cosmos has been telling me in the middle of the night for the last year: “You are not a body; you are a part of my body.” I realized I could make a choice to not let mortal ego impose itself on me. It hit me that – although I maybe can’t instantly change the appearance of my physical form – I can instantly change my attitude, my thoughts, my mental approach to life: My joy isn’t dependent on my physical form, or what others think of me, or my age or gender or weight. I don’t have to stop having adventures or living my life or sharing joy with others because I’ve gotten older. There are no limitations to joy or love or kindness.
“Oh! Someone said the snow geese are back! Let’s go check that out!” I said to myself.
I got dressed and got in the car. I’ve been listening to the same CD for the last six months, and thought maybe it was time to change it out – but I realized I’d brought my other CDs to Scott’s car when we went on our trip to Rainier. So I settled in to listen to my old faithful CD, and pretty soon I was on the road to Fir Island. And pretty soon I saw a pair of eagles sitting in a tree. And pretty soon I saw some way cool old barns. And pretty soon I heard snow geese honking in the air above me – and saw flocks of them winging through the sky in perfect formation. Such joy to see them again!
I decided to stop at the supermarket on the way home. When I was loading my groceries into my car, I moved a bag that had been sitting in there for who knows how long and found it was filled with old CDs! There was a John Denver one in there that was still wrapped in its cellophane – it was priced at $5 and I’m thinking I must have picked it up as an impulse item somewhere and then forgotten about it. I stuck that baby in my CD player and listened to the folksy tunes of John Denver singing about climbing Colorado mountains and farming Kansas wheat fields and the country roads that lead to West Virginia. A flood of sweet memories came back: My friend, Perky, playing her John Denver Christmas album as we celebrated “Christmas in August” at Rainier; my friend, Renee, playing her John Denver “Rhymes and Reasons” record in our dorm hall; going to a John Denver concert in Seattle with my friend, Carol. And here was John Denver, singing , “Yes, and joy was just the thing that he was raised on/ Love is just the way to live and die…” in my car. John Denver, who died almost exactly 25 years ago, still lives in his music.
Magic! Nothing – not age or ego or even death – can stop the magic.
Photos below taken by Karen Molenaar Terrell in Skagit County on October 17, 2022.
Today I heard, again, the story of the servants who were given a sum of money by their master, with the expectation that the servants would increase the sum and help their master prosper while he was away on a trip. There are times when I’ve heard this story and felt sympathy for the man afraid of loss – who buried his talent, afraid he would lose it, afraid of his boss. There are times when I’ve looked at the other servants – the ones who increased the talents they were given and wondered how they’d done that – had they gotten involved in pyramid schemes or the stock market or gambling or something?
But today when I heard the story again, another thought came to me: What if the talents symbolize life itself? What if we’ve all been given a life – one life, let’s say – do we bury it in the dirt like the scared servant – afraid of losing it? Is that the way? Or do we let go and release ourselves from fear and witness the good increase – watch it unfold and appear – as we invest our lives in love, joy, truth in the now and here. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
It says 3:33 on the clock beside the bed and when I look at the clock sideways I see birds flying on the canvas in my head. I think, “Somewhere in the world a new life has just been born!” I’m filled with hope – not “hoping-for-the-best” hope, but expectancy- of-good hope – hope bigger and vaster, reaching me faster than the speed of light. -Karen Molenaar Terrell
Love’s celebration feel the joy surrounding you never-ending Life -Karen Molenaar Terrell