As I Wait for My Breve

So I’m at Fred Meyer’s waiting to get my breve. This woman comes into the produce section next to the Starbuck’s stand. I’m sort of fascinated by what she’s wearing – what looks like a towel with flaps is wrapped around her head, and she’s got this really loose, comfortable top and what looks sort of like jammy bottoms, but not really. She glances my way and I smile at her. She’s hesitant to smile back. And that’s okay.

I turn my attention back to the espresso stand. But I catch some abrupt movement out of the corner of my eye and turn my attention back to the comfortably-clad woman. A bunch of grapes have fallen out of a grape bag she’s holding and she’s a little flustered by this. I come over to help – crouch down and start picking grapes up for her and handing them to her – I’m in no hurry – my breve isn’t ready, yet – I have time.

“Oh! Thank you! Thank you!” she says, in what I’m guessing is a Spanish accent. I smile at her – and this time she smiles back.

And then my breve is ready.

The end.

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Suspended in Time Between Teacher and Student

So here’s a cool thing: I’m sitting at my table at school, working with one of my favorite students, when my cellphone rings. It is my fifth grade teacher, Peravena! Last night I’d found her phone number and called her and left a message – and now she’s calling me back!

I hadn’t heard from Peravena, nor seen her, for probably 30 years – it was amazing to hear her voice again! As I’m telling her what having her as a teacher meant to me – and the impact she had on my life – I’m looking at my student’s face and I find myself tearing up. I feel suspended in time between my teacher and my student.

It was cosmic.

That is all. Carry on then..

We Are Made of God-Stuff

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
– Genesis 1: 27

…God is love.
– I John 4: 8

Morning prayer –
All we can be is what God, Love, made us to be – all we are made of is God-stuff. If it isn’t a part of Love then it can’t be a part of us. It’s not possible for even the teensiest tiniest piece of us to be unlike our Creator – we are perfect and beautiful and joyful and love-filled and free. Amen.
And now a hymn and a sunrise…

sunrise on the way to work (2) this one

Sunrise over Bow, WA

He Made My Day

From yesterday

So when I was getting ready to pull out of the Sisters Espresso parking lot this morning another person got out of his truck and started walking up to the espresso stand. He looked serious and grim. From appearances he was pretty much everything I’m not: male; tall; young; of a different ethnicity. And as I was thinking these thoughts, and feeling a little intimidated by the serious expression on his face, he glanced my direction. Without thought I smiled at him through the car window – and he smiled this beautiful charming smile back at me – totally took me by surprise!

He made my day.

“…Love is reflected in love.”
– Mary Baker Eddy

The Rebirth Ring

I wore my “rebirth” ring the other day. A barista ringing me up complimented me on it and asked me about it. I told her it was my “rebirth” ring – that I’d bought it after I’d come through a really challenging time. I pointed to the sapphire on one side – “I was born in September – and that’s the stone for September” – and the pearl in the middle – “pearls are created from struggle – something beautiful from something challenging” – and the sapphire on the other side – “I came through the challenge and was reborn.” She said that was really beautiful, and I thanked her and nodded, and remembered, again, my Year of Insanity…

Ten years ago I went through a massive depression – I’d never experienced anything like that before – I’d always been a kind of naturally happy person – but I went through a year that was, literally, a life and death struggle for me. I couldn’t eat, contemplated ending my life, had a constant dialogue going on in my head, seriously doubted if I would ever feel happy again. It is not an exaggeration to say I wasn’t sure I’d make it through.

It was during this time that I discovered I had a wealth of friendships and love and people who cared about me. It was during this time that I also discovered how strong I am. I gained a confidence that I hadn’t really had before. I came to appreciate what’s really important in life – not material stuff – but love and kindness and integrity and the ability to laugh at ourselves. I have never felt impoverished since going through this. I’ve come to see I’m wealthy beyond anything I’d imagined.

People sometimes talk cavalierly about “choosing joy.” During the Year of Insanity it didn’t feel like joy was a “choice” for me. But now that I have my choice back – yeah, I choose joy. I’ve come to realize that life really is a matter of perspective – of how we look at things.

People have told me that they want my life – or that they love my life. And I guess I should feel flattered by that maybe. But…the thing is… love your own life. Make something of that precious gift you’ve been given. By saying you want my life you discount my struggles, and you discount your own possibilities.

I’ve never wanted to be anyone else. Never. Not even when I was going through my Year of Insanity. I knew, even then, that EVERYone has challenges in their lives. I knew, even then, that most of the challenges in my life were ones I’d created for myself and that it was my job to learn from them.

You – yes, you – have the power to bring love and kindness to someone else – even when you’re going through your own times of insanity. You have a purpose, and a reason for being here. As long as you can love there’s a reason for you to live – I realized that during my challenging time – and it helped me get through it. Let me repeat that: AS LONG AS YOU CAN LOVE THERE’S A REASON FOR YOU TO LIVE. There are people who need you here. Please don’t give up on your life.

You are loved. ❤

First Review!

Okay – Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad is back in stock. The editing never seems to end with this one – I’ll think I’m finally finished and then I notice that I repeated myself or I didn’t put a space where there should be a space or I used the wrong tense. I’ve been feeling a little discouraged – and then the book got its first review! Five stars! Check it out! (And I didn’t even pay him! ) Bless Dr. Bill.

“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.”

adventures with dad book cover

 

“You’re always telling me all these places are my home.”

I pick Dad up for his eye appointment.  Dietrick helps him into my car and we buckle him up. Dad turns to Dietrich and says, “Thank you.” Dietrick tells him he’s very welcome.
Dad: Is this a doctor I’ve visited before?
Karen: Yes. He’s a mountain climber, too.
Dad: A mountain climber? What’s his name?
Karen: Dr. Saperstein.
Dad: (nods) Oh. (Thinking.) I have to be in Bremerton tonight. I’m getting together with my sister, Jo.
Karen: (nodding) Oh! Okay.
When I turn down the road to the doctor’s office, Dad nods his head in recognition, and says, “Yeah, this is the road.”

Dr. Saperstein’s office is really good about getting Dad into the system right away. There’s not a lot of waiting time there. Soon Dad is sitting in the chair in the examination room. The assistant introduces herself as “Brittany.” I speak into Dad’s ear and tell him her name is “Brittany.” He still can’t hear what I’m saying, so Brittany shows him her name tag.
Dad: Oh! Brittany. Are you from Brittany?
Brittany: (Laughing.) No, I’m a local.

Dad reads the letters off the eye chart. He does well until he gets to the third line. He recognizes there are five letters and one of them is an “S.”
Dad: House. (He looks at me for confirmation.) House.
Karen: (I nod my head and give him the thumbs up.)

We move into the room where Dad gets his eyes photographed – he knows the drill now and knows exactly what to do once he gets in there. And then he’s moved into the final room where he gets the injection in his eye.

A technician comes in to put drops in Dad’s eye. She lets me know that she checked Dad out on Wikipedia and found out a lot of cool stuff about him. I love this place. The technician leaves and Dad and me are alone…

Dad: My hearing is my worst problem. I can see. I can see you moving your feet. Stop moving your feet. (I stop and await further instructions. Dad starts grinning.) I can still give commands. (I start laughing.)

The song Anything Goes has been stuck in my noggin the last couple days and while we wait I start singing it to myself. Dad can see my lips moving, but he doesn’t know what I’m up to…
Dad: You don’t need to pray for me.
Karen: (Laughing) I’m not praying for you. (I get out of my seat and go up to him and say into his ear…) I’ve had this song stuck in my head. I’m singing. (And I start singing the song into his ear. The doctor comes in to give Dad his injection and I return to my chair.)

The doctor checks the photographs and says Dad’s good eye has much improved. The doctor says Dad’s sight is good enough for him to pass the driver’s license test now.
Karen: Noooooo!!!
(The doctor starts laughing.)

The doctor tells me that Dad’s eye has improved to the point that, after today’s injection, we don’t have to come back for another injection for 10 weeks. I go up to Dad to explain to him, directly into his ear, what the doctor just told me. Dad nods his head in understanding. I look at the doctor and ask him how I did – he laughs and tells me I’m hired.

Dad gets his injection and we schedule the next appointment for him and then, holding hands, Dad and I head back out to my car.
Karen: Do you want to get a root beer float now?
Dad: (Nodding.) Yeah.

I get Dad his root beer float and begin the drive back to his place. I pull into the driveway and park in front of the front door to his home. I speak into his ear: “Another adventure under our belts.” He smiles. I come around to help him out of the car. When he’s standing…

Dad: What are we doing here?
Karen: This is your home.
Dad: You’re always telling me all these places are my home…

Dad goes into the home and I help him up the stairs. He heads right for Moz’s old recliner in front of the TV and I help him settle into it. I leave him for a moment to return his alpine hat to his room, and when I come back to Dad, Skittle, the white cat, is ensconced comfortably on his lap. I pet Skittles and ruffle the fur behind her ears.
Karen: I love you, Daddy.
Dad: I love you, Karen. Thank you for taking me to these appointments.
(I kiss Dad’s forehead and he smiles up at me.)

(For the new book about some of my other adventures with Dad, click here: Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad.)

adventures with dad book cover