Shameless Plugs: 2021

It’s that magical marvelous magnificent season of giving – the season of shameless plugs.

So here’s what I’ve got…

I’ve written three books about my adventures with Dad: Are You Taking Me Home Now? Adventures with DadThe Second Hundred Years: Further Adventures with Dad, and Finding the Rainbows: Lessons from Dad and Mom. Are You Taking Me Home Now: Adventures with Dad has 15 ratings now – all five stars! Here’s what some of the reviewers had to say about the book:

“This book was so good, I bought copies for family members and friends. It perfectly captures the love between a father and daughter. In short vignettes, the author tells us of her drives with her dad, and recounts some of their conversations. It warms my heart to read of a relationship as good as this.”
– mojavesage

“As always, Karen Molenaar Terrell delivers a poignant tale that gives wonderful glimpses into her life. This novel features the author’s adventures with her now 100 year old father, a famous mountaineer and climbing expert.

“Through short stories, we are given a lovely look at a beautiful father-daughter relationship that will leave you happy, teary eyed and wanting for more. The stories let us see the love a daughter has for her elderly father, and the love he returns to her. A beautiful book, and I loved every page.”
– Princess Mei Mei

“Betcha can’t put this book down! Even if you do not know Dee Molenaar, or know of his life of adventure, the pure love and joy of a father-daughter relationship done right shines through on every page. This is a wonderful read, full of root beer floats and day trips including Dee’s 100th birthday return to Mt. Rainier. Karen writes so effortlessly and we can only hope she brings us another book on Dee’s 101st. And, in such often indecent times, this book will reaffirm the power of a family that loves one another and is never shy about saying it. Buy several copies; you’ll want to share with friends…and family.”
– Dr. Bill

Are You Taking Me Home Now? Adventures with Dad

I have three books of poetry out there now – A Poem Lives on My Windowsill and The Brush of Angel Wings, and my latest endeavor, Since Then – which I just published earlier this month. Here’s the title poem from Since Then:

Since Then

It’s been almost five years since then,
but it feels like yesterday that you left,
brushed by me as I slept, on your way
to the other side of infinity.
There are still days when I think I should
pick up the phone and give you a call.
But I know I don’t really need a phone
to talk with you. I feel you with me –
here and now.
The sons are both married now; and Dad
has gone – joined you on the other side
of infinity; I’m retired, sort of; and we have
a new president. Everything has changed
and nothing has changed since then.
I feel your love. You must feel mine.

I am also the author of The Madcap Christian Scientist series. The first book in the series, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist, has 35 ratings and 4.6 stars! Here are what some of the reviewers had to say about Blessings:

“To echo the reviews of others, I did laugh, I did cry, this book touched my soul. My wife and I read it out loud on a snowy New Hampshire day and there were numerous times when I had to pause as the lump formed in my throat. I’ve been a Christian Scientist for most of my adult life and this book tells my story and the story of many fellow travelers. I recommend this book highly for anyone who would like to see how prayer can make a difference in your life, in ways both large and small.”
-RobertJ

“OK, after reading the reviews, I thought this might make a nice Christmas present for a friend. When it arrived I decided to ‘peek’ at a few pages, but couldn’t put it down. I finished reading it in one sitting. But how to review the book is a challenge. It leaves you with such a joyful uplifted feeling and one of appreciation and relevance. At first I found myself saying, ‘I want to know this woman’ and after I finished the book I felt I did.

“Karen brings very positive reinforcement into the reader’s experience and the easy flowing style just melts in your mouth like comfort food. I found dozens of instances where I saw a parallel in my own life, that were entertaining and inspirational in a down to earth sort of way.

“I’m wearing a smile having read this and can’t think of a better way to pass an evening than this quick roller-coaster ride through another’s eyes of refreshing gratitude.

“It touched my heart and soul. Highly recommended.”
VolP – Dragon User

“This book was wonderful! I enjoyed it so much I hated to have it end and am re-reading it from the beginning. It is a fun, funny, happy/sad story about the author’s life experiences, and how her faith in God helped her in many ways. It felt honest and REAL without any preaching or over-simplification. I felt as though I was making a friend, maybe because her experience is a little like my own and her point-of-view is so comfortable, non-judgemental, encouraging and practical. I hope she writes more books!!!”
– crazylegs


I have two other books I published in 2021 (the pandemic has given me a lot of time to write and publish this year). One is Scrapbook of a Year and a Day: January 19, 2020 to January 20, 2021. This book consists of news stories, personal anecdotes, essays, poems, and observations of what we all lived through in 2020, starting with the day of my father’s passing on January 19th, at the age of 101.

Maryjmetz has this to say on Goodreads about Scrapbook of a Year and a Day:

“Karen Molenaar Terrell’s Scrapbook of a Year and a Day is, essentially, a compilation of Facebook posts written between January 19, 2020 and January 20, 2021. If I were to collect my FB posts, it would be very, very dull indeed, but Karen eliminated the silly cat videos, if she ever posted any, and has instead put together a moving and coherent account of the tumultuous year we all lived through and her personal experience of the year following the death of her father, Dee Molenaar. What I particularly love about Karen–and this book–is her perspective on things and her constant striving to live up to her ideals.”

The other book is Cosmic Connections: Sharing the Joy – a book about the wonderful people I’ve met, and the joy that comes from sharing and connecting with each other.

“Amazon Customer” has this to say about Cosmic Connections:
“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.”


To find any of these books you can go to my Amazon Author Page.

Thank you – so much! – for taking the time to read through my shameless plugs. Writing the books is the easy part for me – it’s the shamelessly plugging them I sometimes find challenging. I mean…. how awkward, right?! On the other hand, it’s when we gather up our courage and share our art (whatever form that takes) with others that the magic happens, isn’t it? That’s the connecting part! That’s the cosmic part!

May infinite blessings pour down upon you and yours.

Karen Molenaar Terrell

Cosmic Give and Take

Here’s another poem from my latest book, Since Then – when I remember this day I still get a smile on my face:

Cosmic Give and Take

He was waiting outside the store
when I came out with my groceries
and I said hi. He smiled and said hi back.
Give and take.
Who taught him to smile? Who taught me?

I started to wheel my cart to my car
mentally scrolling through my shopping list
to see if I had anything to share with him.
Tangerines!
I rolled my cart back towards him.
You want an orange?
Sure!
Can you catch it?
Yeah! And he smiled at the idea
of a game of catch.
I tossed. He caught.
Who taught me how to throw?
Who taught him how to catch?
My dad? His dad? And now our dads
are connected in our give and take.

As Scott drove west, a train engine
went west in reverse. Our car
passed the train as the engineer
sat facing me and I smiled across
the tracks at him and he smiled
and waved back to me.
I caught his wave and returned it.
Who taught him how to wave?
Who taught me?

All the cosmos connected in a giant
give and take.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell


New Collection of Poems

Hi everyone!
I just published another collection of poems. This one is titled “Since Then” and is a collection of poems I’ve written since my mom’s passing in 2017. The book contains poems about home and our kinship with others; poems from the pandemic; poems praising our connection to earth; and poems that celebrate the joy of being alive.Here’s a quick sample:

Can I Take Your Picture?

“Can I take your picture?” I ask the folks who sit
in a line of rocking chairs in front of a Cracker Barrel
store in Indiana. And they grin for me and I click.
“Can I take your picture?” I ask Joanna and Mitch
in the Anoka Independent Grain and Feed and they
give me broad midwestern smiles and I click.
“Can I take your picture?” I ask the international students
in front of Mount Rushmore and they quickly
line up in rows for me and beam and give me hope
for the world – maybe we’ll survive after all – and I click.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Review for *Scrapbook of a Year and a Day*

It means a lot to me that Mary Metz took the time to read and review my book, Scrapbook of a Year and a Day: January 19, 2020 to January 20, 2021, on Goodreads and on her blog. If you are an author yourself, you know what her words meant to me. Mary wrote:

Karen Molenaar Terrell’s Scrapbook of a Year and a Day is, essentially, a compilation of Facebook posts written between January 19, 2020 and January 20, 2021. If I were to collect my FB posts, it would be very, very dull indeed, but Karen eliminated the silly cat videos, if she ever posted any, and has instead put together a moving and coherent account of the tumultuous year we all lived through and her personal experience of the year following the death of her father, Dee Molenaar. What I particularly love about Karen–and this book–is her perspective on things and her constant striving to live up to her ideals.

I’m really not a dog-earrer–I find it a vile habit–and yet I folded down the corners on several pages. For example:

August 25, 2020
Please do not tell me what I believe, feel, and think.
-Do not assume because I am a progressive and tend to vote for Democrats that I don’t believe in God, “hate the Bible,” and want to kill babies and take away your guns.
–Do not assume because I believe in God that I am anti-science, believe the earth is flat and the world was, literally, created in seven days.
–Do not assume that because I’m white, middle-aged and named “Karen” I am racist and want to talk to your manager.
–Do not assume because I identify as “Christian” I am conservative, opposed to LGBTQ rights, opposed to women’s rights, travel heavily armed, and am voting for you-know-who.

I think that if we see each other in terms of stereotypes we miss out on some beautiful friendships and kinships with our fellow humans.

My biggest challenge right now is myself. I guess that’s always my biggest challenge, isn’t it? Stay kind, Karen. Stay true. Keep loving. Look for ways to bring humor to those in desperate need of a good laugh. Don’t hate. Never hate. Be wise–but don’t be cynical. Be discerning–but don’t be cruel.

Love, help me be what you need me to be.
Amen.

October 17, 2020
{A lot of anecdote, involving buying shoes for a guy on the street, deleted here because there’s only so much typing I’m willing to do. But it’s a beautiful story.}

People WANT to do right by each other, don’t they?

I felt like I was walking on holy ground today. I think . . . I think it all balances out, you know? –Good disperses itself throughout the cosmos–and I know that I’ll always have what I need–there’s no lack–there’s no competition–there’s no need to go through life clutching and afraid and feeling like Good is limited and finite, and if someone else has enough then I won’t have enough.

Solace at the Cemetery
In these panicked times
In these fretful, frenzied, frantic times
I have found solace at the cemetery.
The shells of those who’ve lived
here and moved on
to whatever comes beyond
no longer need to distance themselves
from anyone, from me.
I find peace with them–the chrysalises
of my friends–Mike, Rachael, and Debby.

I wander amid the tombstones, snapping
photos of them, and the spinning wheels–
the bright spinners are the only movement
in the cemetery and I feel
drawn to the movement of their rainbow
spinning, faster and faster as I approach,
in a show just for me.

I’m allowed to be here. In the sunshine.
In the peace of the cemetery.
And no one disturbs me as I wander
through the final beds
for the shells of those who
are no longer scared of what lies ahead.

I’m not saying it’s a flawless book–there are a lot of commas I’m itching to add to these excerpts–but it’s a truly beautiful book, full of genuine goodness and kindness. These days, I’ll really, really take that.

Mother’s Day at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship

I’ll be speaking to the Skagit Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship on Mother’s Day via Zoom at 10:30. This will be the third time I’ve had the opportunity to be the speaker there – and it’s always such a joy for me! It’s like being in a comedy club. The SUUF folks know how to laugh.

Here’s the announcement in their newsletter:
A Love Story for Mother’s Day
Karen Molenaar Terrell returns to SUUF to share some of the memories and stories from a love-filled life with her mother, Colleen “Mozzy” Molenaar, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 89. As a visitor to SUUF that year, Colleen was so impressed with our church that she immediately declared that it was where she wanted her final memorial to be held… and it was, just months later. Her grandson, Casey, described her as “… a giving and goofy woman.” Today we’ll hear from Karen about this, her “great taste in shoes” and much more.

Moz and Einstein.

A Walk at Twilight

Last night:
Went outside and took a walk around the house and let the twilight wrap itself around me. Listened to the frogsong, and birds chirping to each other. Breathed in the cool evening air, filled with the scents of apple blossom and just-mowed grass and damp earth. And a flood of memories rushed into my thoughts: sitting outside with Dad when I was a little girl, looking at the stars and watching for satellites; Camping out at Mount Rainier – the family sitting around the campfire while Dad played his accordion. Family trips into the Canadian Rockies. And I felt Dad with me, right now, looking at the evening sky with me. Always with me.

(Photo of a Skagit County, Washington, sunset by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Tulip Town 2021

My husband and I visited Tulip Town (Mount Vernon, Washington) on Thursday. The tulips aren’t quite in full bloom, yet – but it was a sunny, blue-sky day; everyone was friendly and full of good humor; and get this – I asked a random person to take our photo and he turned out to be a professional portrait photographer! Can I pick ’em or can I pick ’em?! I’ll attach his photo of us at the bottom with a photo credit for him – he did a great job!

Here are some of the photos I brought back back from Tulip Town. (Photos by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

Below: Photo of Karen Molenaar Terrell and Scott Terrell by professional photographer, Bob Wachtendonk, of North Bend, Washington.

It’s Here! It’s Here!

Mother Earth News is using another one of my photos on its “Photos from the Field” page! This one will be in the April-May edition. I got my copies in the mail today. Check it out – my photo is of the heron at sunset…

Pushing Me Into the Now

The winds blew across the bay –
creating stretch marks on its surface –
and great cleansing gusts blew through me, too –
rowdy and playful – forcing me from thoughts
of the thens and fears of the tomorrows
and pushing me instantly into the now
of doing what I could to not blow away.
Putting everything in perspective for me again.

There is no problem too big it can’t be solved.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Photo of Bellingham Bay Boardwalk by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

Introduction to Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist

Introduction to Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist:

Years ago an old boyfriend said to me, “I can’t see that Christian Science has made you any better than anyone else.”

“I know!” I said, nodding my head in complete and happy agreement, “But can you imagine what I’d be like without it?!”

He raised his eyebrows and laughed. What could he say? He was looking at a self-centered, moralistic, stubborn idealist who saw everything in terms of black and white. But I could have been worse. I believe without Christian Science I would have been worse.

Let’s get one thing clear from the start: I am not the best example of a Christian Scientist. I’m not as disciplined as I could be. I have fears and worries and doubts. I’m a little neurotic. I am the Lucy Ricardo of Christian Scientists.

I should probably put in a disclaimer here, too—the views expressed in these pages are not necessarily the views shared by other Christian Scientists. Christian Scientists are really a pretty diverse group of people—there are Democrat Christian Scientists and Republican Christian Scientists, “Green,” and “Red,” and “Blue” Christian Scientists, and Christian Scientists with no political affiliations at all. Frankly, I like that about us. We keep each other on our toes.

I should also tell you that this book is not an authorized piece of Christian Science literature. If you want to actually study Christian Science you should probably read the textbook for this way of life, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.

My purpose for writing this epistle is really two-fold (I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “two-fold” in my life, and using it now is making me feel sort of professorial. I like the feeling.):

First-foldly, to introduce you to one Christian Scientist so that if you ever hear someone talking fearfully and ignorantly (feargnorantly?) about Christian Scientists you’ll be in a position to say, “I have a friend who’s a Christian Scientist, and, although it’s true she’s a bit of a nut, she’s also…” and you can go on and talk about how your friend has used her study of Christian Science to try to make the world a happier place.

Second-foldly, I feel the need to acknowledge God’s blessings in my life. I don’t want to be like those nine lepers in the Bible who couldn’t take the time to thank Jesus for healing them. I want to be like that one leper who “fell down on his face at his feet” before Jesus and gave him thanks (Luke 17). Through my study of Christian Science I’ve witnessed some incredible proofs of our Father-Mother God’s love for Her creation in my life. God has filled my life with infinite blessings and it’s time for me to acknowledge these blessings to others.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell