“You have a beautiful home.”

Dad’s big 98th birthday bash was yesterday. I spent the week before the party trying to get the house ready for our guests – dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, washing curtains, washing windows, battling cobwebs, pulling weeds, planting flowers, de-cluttering, and policing every horizontal surface in the house to make sure no new piles of stuff started growing on them. But frankly, when one lives in a house full of active, busy people, it ain’t easy to hang onto one’s feng shui. By the day of the party I was completely wiped-out.

And my house was still… well… how shall I put this? Let’s just say my house is not something you would find in Good Housekeeping magazine. It is not a show house. It has been lived in, and it looks like it: The ottoman has chunks out of it from when the dog was a puppy; The ceilings have hand-prints from the sons jumping up and tagging them; And the windows on the french doors have perpetual smudges at about the same level as the dog’s nose.

A couple hours before the party I went to fetch my parents and bring them back to the house. When I returned with my parents I found my sons, Andrew and Xander, and my eldest son’s girlfriend, Sierra, had arrived and were ready to help in any way they could. The sons moved furniture around for me, and, with the flip of a sheet and a strategically-placed pillow, Sierra was able to turn a battered old chair into an attractive piece of furniture. Then the three went outside to set up the volleyball net (because what is a summer party without volleyball – am I right, or am I right?), my husband, Scott, put the salmon on the grill, and Mom and Dad got comfortably settled to await their guests.  Who soon began to arrive.

I hadn’t told my parents about most of the guests. I hadn’t told them, for instance, about the nephew who was flying in from Chicago; the niece who was coming up from San Francisco; the niece and her husband from Oregon; the other niece and husband from Vancouver (Washington); Dad’s old climbing buddies from Seattle; musician Tracy Spring – the daughter of their old friend, Bob – and a woman they hadn’t seen since she was probably seven or eight; the son of the man who had saved my dad’s life on K2, and his wife; the daughter of a niece and her husband; and the two young women who worked for Mountaineers Books and wanted to return original artwork from Dad’s book, The Challenge of Rainier.

The house was soon packed full of people. Interesting, well-traveled people. Fun people. Amazing people.

I soon forgot all about the aesthetics of my house – my focus shifted, instead, to all the generous, wonderful folks who had taken the time and made the effort – some of them traveling hundreds of miles! – to be with Dad on his special day. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of that.

Near the end of the festivities, Tracy Spring got out her guitar and sang for Dad a song she had written herself. It was the absolutely perfect song for that time and that place and I started tearing up when Tracy got to the last verse. Then another guest, Roland, brought out his guitar and he and Tracy strummed the song Summertime, while I sang it.

Ohmygosh. It was such a fun day!

At the end of it all, as Dad was sitting in the car, waiting to be driven back to his apartment, I asked him if he’d enjoyed his birthday bash. He said yes, he had. But he was surprised. Had all those people come for him?! Why?! “Because they love you, ” I told him, and kissed him on the cheek. He blinked at me, trying to process it all.

***

At some point – a couple hours into the party – two or three different people came up at separate times to tell me what a “beautiful home” I have. I thanked them, but… yeah, I was surprised. They saw my puppy-chewed, son-tagged, dog-smudged house as “beautiful”?! Wow. That was very nice for them to say, but… really?!

***

This morning Mom called to tell me that Dad has been asking her all morning if yesterday had just been a dream. Each time he asked, Mom assured him it had all been real.

I thought again to those comments about my home and had an epiphany. My home HAD been beautiful – not because of its physicality – but because it had been packed full of beautiful people. It had been filled full of love. How could it NOT have been beautiful?

-Karen Molenaar Terrell

(originally published on madcapchristianscientist.com)

Dee bday group

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Snippets from the Week

A caregiver came in to wake my 97 year-old Dad up and tend to him this morning. “Don’t wake me up. I’m having a dream that I’m driving,” he said.

***

Uprising at The Home: Apparently Moz is rabble-rousing at the retirement home. “Yam chips are not supposed to be served cold,” Moz told me indignantly, and then told me that she let the cook know her feelings about this matter. She said the other ladies at her table in the dining hall agreed with her. “We need to make our voices heard!” Moz told them.

Right on, Moz! Power to the people!

***

I have discovered a new espresso place near Moz and Dad’s – a cheery little walk-in. After I’d ordered my lavender-flavored green iced tea I turned around to find a place to sit while I waited for it, and settled myself into a comfy chair. It was then I noticed I was the only woman in the shop – every other seat and sofa was occupied by a man. “I’m the only woman!” I pointed out. The men said they’d scared all the other women away. “I ain’t ascared,” I said, bravely.

“Not, yet,” came the quiet reply. Laughter all around. 🙂

***

I was in the detergent aisle of the local supermarket. I do not like the detergent aisle. It makes my eyes water. I hid my nose behind the front of my coat, and went on a search for laundry soap. My favorite detergent is All Free and Clear – no scents, no dyes – and I was comparing the price of the smaller one to the larger one when a woman leaned down, picked up the large All Free and Clear from the bottom shelf and moved on. I looked at the man following behind her and said, “There’s a woman who knows what she wants!” He started laughing, and the woman turned around and grinned. She told me that she doesn’t like any detergents that have perfumes in them – and I told her I held the same opinion – and we had a lovely conversation about chemicals and so forth – and realized we were kindred spirits.

***

Snippets and connections all around. Highlights from my week. Who knows what the next week will bring? 🙂

And here’s a photo from the week because people always like photos in the posts.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Full Moon in Branches (Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Another Day to Laugh and Love

My dear Humoristian hooligans,

You have a reason to live today. A purpose. You woke up this morning with another day to be alive and to love, and to create healing laughter for those around you. Today may you share the laughter that puts things in perspective. May you learn what you need to learn from your mistakes ( ahem… I mean… on the off-off-chance you should make any),  and may they bring you a good laugh afterwards. May you be open to the bountiful, over-flowing love and joy that surrounds you.

You deserve to be here.

-Karen Molenaar Terrell, The Great Goof

grateful for another day

 

“Laugh when you can, and especially at yourself…”

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

As another day begins in the western hemisphere of Planet Earth, may you find yourself eager to greet the new day – ready to face every challenge, to laugh in the face of danger (and non-danger, too – just, basically, laugh whenever the opportunity presents itself and it’s not inappropriate – well, I guess even sometimes when it IS inappropriate… never mind… just laugh when you can, and especially at yourself), and may you feel hope in your heart at what the future holds. You are alive, my hooligan friends. You are loved. Spread the joy. Spread the hope. You deserve all the good you experience today.

-Karen Wingoof

Arise go forth and conquer

 

Dear Humoristian Hooligans

My dear Humoristian hooligans – as the sun dawns over another day, may you rise with hearts full of benificent (I’m pretty sure that’s a word, right?) good will to all – armed with jocularity – ready to bring humor to the humorless, to transform the stodgy and stingy wherever you may find them, and to lighten the burdens of the scared and lonely. May your good-natured love of life bring a smile to all who you pass on your journey today. May the barbs and slings of envy, impatience, anger, and fear clink harmlessly off your armor of joy and kindness. And may you see all the beauty and feel all the love surrounding you. Go out there and make them smile! Amen.

Bow Sunrise, Washington State (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

Bow Sunrise, Washington State (photo by Karen Molenaar Terrell)

http://madcapchristianscientist.com/2015/10/15/my-dear-humoristian-hooligans/