T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

Quote

T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was two weeks afore Christmas and all through Eff Bee
not a creature was stirring – not a she, he, or me
We were prostrate and spent from the holiday bustle
not a twitch could be seen from the teeniest muscle.

We lay all unblinking in our respective beds
while visions of gift-wrapping swirled through our heads
And clad in our jammies and our way cool madcaps
we had the vague hopeful hope our bodies would take naps.

Holiday jangles and jingles pinged through our brains –
Presley, Crosby, and Mathis taking us down memory lanes –
and would we remember every member to be gifted?
We mentally went through our lists, hoping none were omitted

There were homes to be decorated and cards to be sent
parties, caroling, and cookie-making, and we hadn’t made a dent.
But with a collective sigh we remembered there and then
that it’s really about good will to all creatures, women, and men.

And so our thoughts finally settled and our bodies relaxed
as we thought of those we love and a world festooned in pax.
With our hearts wrapped in kindness and the world as our ‘hood
We’re all brethren and sistren – and verily, It’s all good!
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, from The Madcap Christian Scientist’s Christmas Book

via T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas 

christmas tree 2015

Christmas Lights

These Cosmic Connections

Something really amazing happened this morning. And just when I really needed it, too.

I think I need to back up for a moment to 2011. Eight years ago I was in a transition between one job and the next. It was a scary, exhilarating, audacious, crazy wonderful time for me – rich with possibilities. I was unfettered and open to whatever new opportunities came my way – ready to create a whole ‘nother career for myself. For the first time I went to a counselor – and she helped me discover for myself what it was I needed to do to bring sanity to my life – what I needed to discard, and what I needed to nurture. My financial advisor (of all people!) suggested I meet a local woman named Laura Lavigne – the originator of the Happiness Sprinkling Project – and Laura showed me how to make a vision board for myself. Creativity moved up to the front of my life – photography and writing and music.  The insane stuff – nonsensical edicts (stuff like that scene from Office Space), schedules and bureaucracy, fear and anxiety – got tossed.

And, once I opened my thought to all the infinite possibilities, cool things started happening: I was offered a small salary to work as my church’s Reading Room librarian; I got a contract to proofread and write for an educational publishing company; I made note cards of my photos and started selling them at a little coffee shop; my book, Blessings: Adventures of a Madcap Christian Scientist, was bringing in a small amount in royalties every month. I wasn’t making a LOT of income at first – it was more of a symbolic income, really – but it was enough to give me hope that there was something waiting for me beyond the career I’d left behind. And soon I was offered another job, teaching at an alternative high school, that brought my life purpose and great joy for the next seven years – until I retired last June.

Which brings us to today and the amazing thing that happened this morning.

I woke up at 5:30 this morning and went downstairs to feed the cats and check out the news online. The news was disheartening. Greed. Corruption. Dishonesty. Crises. And I felt myself getting discouraged and going to that dark place – asking myself what in the heck we’re doing here, and what’s the purpose of it all, and etc.

Still feeling discouraged, I went to my Facebook notifications and found there was a message waiting for me on my Author and Photographer page from a woman named Floriane. Floriane wrote: “Hi! Just wanted to reach out to you because I purchased a picture of yours in 2011 while stopping on a Greyhoud bus from Vancouver to Seattle. I love it to this day and wanted to say thank you.”

Whoah. I tried to figure out where Floriane might have found one of my photos to purchase, and asked her for more details. She sent me a picture of the photo she purchased and told me she remembered buying it at a coffee shop while she was traveling around on her own for two weeks – moving between Vancouver and Seattle and Portland – before starting an exchange program in Texas. She said the photo is now in Normandie and will soon be in Paris. Like. France. Yes. My little photo note card of Bellingham Bay will soon be in Paris, France.

As you’ve probably guessed by now, this was one of the cards I sold at the coffee shop during the months I was transitioning from one career to the next. I’d almost completely forgotten about those note cards and that little coffee shop. But look what that card did for me! It connected me to a woman who lives across the Atlantic, on another continent, 5,000 miles away! I never could have seen THAT one coming.

Cosmic.

What in the heck are we doing here? We’re sharing joy and beauty with each other, that’s what we’re doing. And what’s the purpose of it all? To connect and discover each other, and bring each other hope and love.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Standing on the Corner with the Peacenik People

Yesterday was such an awesome day! One of the cool things that happened was… I was walking through Mount Vernon, enjoying the trees changing color, heading for the co-op, and I saw John the Peace Man carrying his sign and walking towards me down the sidewalk! So I say hey to John – kind of remind him who I am and how we’ve met and etc. – and then I stop in at this place to talk about my flyers and while I’m in there – I remember! “Oh! It’s Friday! That’s why I saw John the Peace Man – he’s going to the Courthouse to stand there with his friends from noon to one and hold signs about peace and kindness! And I’ve rarely been able to do that – because I’ve always been teaching. But… I’m retired now!”

So. Yeah. I walked to the Courthouse and joined my peacenik friends with their signs – Jim opened his hatchback and pulled out a “GOOD WILL TO ALL” sign for me to hold. And it was so fun! People waving and honking and giving the thumbs up. I saw former colleagues – Stan came through in his car from one direction, waving and smiling, and Eric came through from the opposite direction and waved and mouthed “We miss you!” – that meant a lot to me.

I love my community.

Can I Take Your Picture?

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

 

I felt completely content.

I had one of those perfect moments in life today – the kind of moment where I felt at total peace with the world. I was sitting in the shade of a maple tree on a bench in Boulevard Park – there was a cool breeze that brought the briny smell of the bay and I could hear laughter and seagulls and people chatting cheerily with each other. It wasn’t too cold or too hot. I wasn’t hungry. I had everything I needed. I felt completely content.

And I had a flashback to a day 11 years ago – when I was in the middle of a severe depression and walking through the same park, watching people smiling and laughing, and wondering if I would ever feel happy again – wondering if I would ever feel at peace and content, and be able to laugh again with my friends like the people around me were doing. I remember feeling sort of in awe and wonder at the happy faces around me. I remember sort of letting myself ride on top of the joy of other people for a while. And I thought if I could ever find the joy again I would be sure to share it – like the people around me were doing for me.

I am really conscious of my joy now – and so very grateful for it.

(Seen in Bellingham this morning: Bee on Big Blue Sea Holly flowers. Photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)

bee on sea blue holly thistle like this one really

Picnic Table at Tweets

Picnic Table at Tweets

I move from the sun to the picnic table
in the shade under a striped canopy
in a leafy orchard beside Tweets restaurant.
I ask the young man if he’d like me to take
a picture of all of them – the woman, the dog, him –
and he smiles and says yes, please, and hands
me the camera – just push that button there –
it’s that simple – and the dog looks up at the man
adoringly and I snap that moment for them
and go back to my picnic table and my breve.
A rainbow flag flies from a window across
the street. A little red finch hops near my table.
I close my eyes and listen. A dove coos from
a roof somewhere. An engine starts. Finches
chirp to one another. Laughter and voices
come from the restaurant’s deck. Motorcycles
pass by. A soft cool breeze blows across
my arms and I open my hands to all of it –
the breeze, the laughter, the joy, the peace.
And just before I leave Charles appears – I hadn’t
wanted to bother him as he worked – but there
he is! And we hug and I tell him that he is one
of those people who attracts and creates peace –
even the animals know they’re safe in his space.
And he tells me he is feeling verklempt. I wipe
tears from my eyes and say, “Me, too!”

– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Snow Days

I love Snow Days.  I love waking up to a world bedazzled in sparkling white. I love the laughter of rosy-cheeked children building snowmen, and the sound of the teapot whistling on the range. I relish the cozy contrast between the warmth of the dancing fire in our woodstove, and the cold of the snow falling softly outside our windows. I love school closures, and cancelled appointments, and the chance to slow down and take a break from the hurry and rush. I love the peace.

It’s really easy to get caught up in the “have tos” of life, isn’t it?  – the meetings and expectations, the driving, shopping, and human busy-ness.  Snow days shut the busy-ness down and give us time to reflect, and take stock in what we already have.

Today I looked around at what I already had, and, feeling like a pioneer woman living off the land, pulled from my freezer a bag of blackberries I’d picked last summer, got out the flour and butter, and created a mighty fine blackberry pie.  I give credit to the snow for this. If I hadn’t had to cancel two appointments, I wouldn’t have had time to make that pie.

Some people may think they see “the hand of God” in earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, but I don’t believe my God, Love, has anything to do with that stuff. Nope. Give me a Snow Day, wrapped all up in sparkling white, and filled with peace, and I’ll show you an expression of my God.
(originally published in January, 2012)

Here’s a clip of yesterday’s snow day as seen from our back deck.

And some photos from this week’s snow…

And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
– I Kings 19: 11-12