Today I Chose Joy

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.)

Affronted by Life

affronted by life
like it’s some spiteful human
bent on attacking

it flows on, heedless
while I grapple with
the human woes we

all experience
“Nothing is either good or
bad, but thinking makes

it so.” I choose how
I’ll respond to what comes my
way and what I’ll feel

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Little by Little

“Old age” comes little by little, I think –
little surrenders of who we are
to the experts and authorities,
to convenience and comfort –
someone tells us we need to stay out
of the sun, to eat only certain foods,
to travel only at the right times
and to the right places,
and to wash our hands after every
handshake and human touch –
and we listen and obey.

And so we spend our days in “preventative”
exams – counting the pills into our trays –
hoping to increase the number of our days.
And little by little we relinquish
the small pleasures that make life
meaningful –  the joy of adventure,
noon-time lunch  with our faces turned
towards the sun,  whipped cream on
our cocoa, shaking hands  with new friends,
and listening to our own hearts to create lives
worth living.

And we lose our lives in a fear of death.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Originally published January 8, 2017)

I Hear You

Sometimes there just aren’t words.
But I’ll try.

I hear you.
I feel the pain you’re feeling
and want to fold you into a fierce hug
and absorb the pain into my own body
and relieve you of it.

I hear you.
I feel the joy you’re feeling
and want to dance and spin with you
under the stars until we drop together
from happy exhaustion.

I hear you.
I hear your weeping.
I hear your laughter.
I hear the music of your heart.
And I want you to know
you’re not alone in any of it.

We’re all in this symphony of life
together.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

(Originally published in September 2021.)

Karen in her twirly dress.

In the Body of Life

sustained
and maintained
by the body of Life –
we are nothing less
than the whole
perfection
projection
reflection
affection
of Love
held in the never-ending
connection
with all that is Good
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Blue Cosmos by Karen Molenaar Terrell

Investing Our Lives

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


An alpine butterfly flits among the flowers on Table Mountain. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.

On the Clock Beside the Bed


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

Playing Like a Child Again

Finding magic within the bounds that life gives us
finding magic in the right here, and the right now –
in the sunlight and the rain, a walk around the ‘hood,
in a baby’s smile and a bird’s song and how
a butterfly flits towards the sun.
Creating adventures in the backyard
when life keeps us from the mountains,
bushwhacking through the overgrown garden,
imagining the birdbath is an Italian fountain.
Playing like a child again – simple, organic, free –
without a need to travel far, or for life to bigger be.
-Karen Molenaar Terrell

Everything I Need in Front of Me

What would it be like
To not be weighed down
With the detritus and memories
Of decades and generations ?
Hats and shoes and awards
Artwork and photos and earrings
Scarves and letters and books?
What if I just traveled like a turtle
With my home on my back
And everything I needed
In front of me?
-Karen Molenaar Terrell