What I forgot to tell you

IMG_0775I have my own advent calendar. No, that is not true, I have two advent calendars,if you do not count my calendar candle, that makes it three, I guess.  I am the only one in the family still childish enough to enjoy counting down to Christmas.

IMG_0313To me it does not have so much to do with expectations anymore though, it is my tool to stay present, to enjoy each day and take time to stop, reflect and pray.

The third calendar is the marked candle on my kitchen table. I light it when we are in the kitchen, for meals and for work. It’s single flame, reminds us, be here, now.

The second calendar is my music collection. For years I have collected Christmas music. Every day, when having after dinner coffee, we listen to one CD. Another reminder to take time, to listen, to be here, now. Not rushing ahead thinking of all the things that could have been done.

IMG_8333 julemarkedThe first calendar is our advent blog. My brother Trygve, and I write every day at Julefryd ,our norwegian advent blog. This is our fourth year. This year we are pondering and wondering on the theme “gifts and giving”.

As I try to calm down before Christmas, I do not write much on my other blogs during advent and Christmas, I’ll be back in 2015.

Until then, peace be with you in the holiday season and in the new year, see you!

 

Driving in LA

IMG_1680 trafikklysYou will not be able to drive in LA, it’s the craziest traffic, our friends in the Midwest told us, just as we were going to move to California.

I believed them. The first week I got my CA drivers license. Did I go anywhere? Hardly. Half a mile for groceries doesn’t count does it?

The first month I gradually drove further afield. All the way staying away from the highway, taking the very scenic route for everything.

Then one morning I was going to the doctor’s office, and I could not find it. I drove in circles, the GPS insisted I was close by, I was getting late, and suddenly I was on my way onto the highway. I stopped.

Then a police officer on a motorbike drove up on my left side. He stopped too, leaned over, and said, very quietly :You may go now….

And I did. I still did not go into LA though.

Until the last week of our stay. My husband was driving down to have  his Harley shipped and I took the car to pick him up. And suddenly I was driving alone in LA. The tarmac was just like any other paving. The signs were the same as the rest of the state, the cars behaved like cars all over the world. The sun was shining, I had the top down, and I was driving through LA. I even arrived at the shipping company way before my husband did.

I keep telling myself that story. Never let others define what you can do or not. At least give it a try! And I’ll let you in on a secret, a lot of others were driving in LA, and they do it every day….

Now, when a whisper tell me it can’t be done, at least not by me, I get my LA cup, have a sip of coffee and just go for it. You can see me on the cup can’t you!

IMG_7579 LA cup

Great expectations- the heart beat of Christmas

IMG_0782In april we were working like crazy to hand in a tender for a new clinic. The deadlines were looming, no breaks, little sleep and intense teamwork. In the middle of some calculations I heard myself singing Christmas carols. I was not surprised. My favorites are songs like “In the bleak Midwinter” and others with a slow, calming rhythm and with texts that places the Christmas wonder in the middle of our lives. No matter how hectic Christmas preparations may be, I hum these carols and know in my heart that it does not matter at all what you do or not do. Sooner or later Christmas will come, and I will be happy and content.

In fact Christmas never leaves my heart completely, and as I was finishing the spreadsheet in the spring sunshine, I hummed along, “Frosty snow did fall” .My song reminded me of all the times chaos has ended in cosmos and all the times we have been able to finish in time. Of course we did this time too, working through weekends and nights, but we did it, and succeeded. The new rehab clinic will open in January.

In december I write an advent blog in Norwegian together with my brother, Trygve. This year our theme is Gifts. My thinking will go along these lines, how to strain the ears of your soul to listen through the stress, through what you have to do, to who you are. Having read the books by Jan-Phillip Sender this fall, I call it listening for the heartbeat of Christmas. To me, that is the peaceful, comforting, steady pulse that makes me able to stay through real challenges. I just have to listen past the jingle bells, through to the falling snow.

I will occasionally post the texts in english too, but not every day. For those of you who want to see my photos in advent or who understand norwegian, this is the link www.julefryd.com see you there!

 

 

A new day, a new world

IMG_8083 julefuruOn friday I was in hospital. The test, to walk for six minutes without collapsing! And I did fine. I am well enough to travel, I will be well enough to start working on Tuesday. I am well enough to  live and enjoy one day at the time, which is actually the only way for all of us. We just tend to think everything is different when words like crisis, diagnosis and serious are uttered.

IMG_8087forventingFriday night we drove into the mountains to spend some days in our cabin, my husband, me, the dog and a vast unending winter sky. Celebrating new beginnings, hope and joy.

Saturday we woke in magic. I did not even wait to get dressed to start taking pictures, and it only got better. It was cold, damp and sunny. IMG_8108The fog from the lake and the river froze to crystals that covered a broad band down in the valley, then there was an equally broad band of frozen golden fall, from there the mountains were towering dusted by the first snow. Then night fell, early as it does in november. The stars came down almost to be touched, the northern light was dancing from one end of our world to another.

Filled with awe, gratitude and peace, ready for the world!

IMG_811åpenport

 

 

 

 

What you do is who you are

A couple of times every year I see A Weird Person in the mirror, she has a mix between a lampshade and a crow’s nest on her head and looks very surprised at what she sees. That is when I call the hairdresser and tell her I need to cut my hair, now.

Even so, having got an appointment early yesterday morning, I was running late because I was doing the beds and tidying up the kitchen.

frossen bilComing out I discovered that my car was ready for a part in Dr. Zhivago, being transformed from black to pearly, glittering, frosty magic. How beautiful! I went inside for may camera before removing the ice. Then I saw the rubies in our rose hip hedge, I was so happy, and of course had to grab some shots. As I did I felt my whole being filled with wonder and joy, as I often do when I stop and stay in the moment of something beautiful.

rubinnype 2I was late for my appointment of course, which is bad, because others will be kept waiting too. I apologized and settled for a lovely talk with the sweet hairdresser who loves dogs, nature and christmas as I do.

Soon my hair was done. I was back in my garden just in time to catch the sun as it was raising, turning the hedge into gold filigree.

gullhekkOf course, we tend to think bigger when we try to define ourselves. I know for sure that I want to be a person that does good deeds, that take part in building a better world. I find the truth is that any “big deed” consists of tiny, everyday choices, that adds up to a life. What we do show our true priorities, even when our schedule tells us something else is important.

The challenge, to me at least, is to create a life where the things I just have to do, no matter how “busy” I am supposed to be, add up to something making life better for all of us. At least as long as I do not have to put getting my hair done as my top priority.

IMG_8013 filigran

 

 

Five ways to care

rose i sol“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it”
William Arthur Ward

These last weeks I have been wrapped in comfort and carried by love, all materialized in different ways. As I lay in bed smelling the summery honey laden scent of freesia on my night table I was marveling at how creative my friends and family have been in showing how they cared. This post is a gratitude post, sharing why it worked on me, hoping to get more ideas from you on when you feel cared for.

Bukett 2Flowers
Small bouquets perfect for the nightstand. The joy of seeing beauty through waking nights.
Armloads of roses filling the windowsill. The joy of a rose-colored view on life.
Creatively made arrangements from artistic florists. The joy of discovering new ways of combining color and texture. The joy of getting gifts like this when I have time to marvel.
Riots of color and scent in yellow and orange freesia and gerberas. The joy of giving not only me, but every nurse entering the room a moment of pleasure as they commented on the summer in my room.
Potted plants. The joy of knowing that some of the beauty will last.
And every flower there for me to play with, enjoying the light through the petals, trying to capture it with my mobile camera.

Fun, joy, colors, scent – Thank you!

tekoppFood
Homemade buns. My youngest baked buns and served us afternoon coffee in the hospital. Enforcing in my heart the joy of having an ordinary, blessed, everyday to long for.
Lunch in a bag.  A dear friend bringing delicious rolls, cheese, my favorite jam and a tin of special tea. The necessary lesson of allowing myself to be served.
Breakfast with colors. The nurse who took time to slice grapes, peppers, cucumbers, apples to decorate my breakfast plate. The healing force of being treated with respect.
Breakfast with friends. The friend who collects me and takes me to breakfast in a shared friends home. The strengthening of ties that makes it worth while to get well.
Chocolate. A golden box with belgian luxury tucked into a bouquet. Double delight.

Comfort, energy, revival, healing- Thanks a lot!

bukett 3Words
Prayers. Being wrapped in a blanket of comfort and blessings, people sharing what they pray for.
Text messages. The comfort of a message that can be answered with a smiley
Long emails. The comfort of knowing the sender also will take time to read a detailed answer.
Information. The thoughtfulness of friends and family who take time to understand so that I do not have to explain.
Visits. The gratitude for dear ones showing that time together is worth more to them than any other thing they could have been doing just then.

Knowledge, wisdom, friendship- Thanks to all!

gerberaReading
Garden magazines. My daughter bringing me garden magazines. Strengthening my will to grow strong. Making my room a place for possibilities and colorful plans.
Books. Giving me other stories to think of, pulling me back to basics.

Dreams, creativity, plans- Thank you!

Time
Driving. My son taking time off to drive me to the doctor, giving me the gift of resting in our own car, of peace.My friend collecting me.
Offering. The friend offering to go for a walk, knowing I would never ask anyone to go as slowly as I still do.
Asking. The friend asking what errands she can do while she is doing her own which makes it possible to ask her pick up the things only she will know where to find.
Patience. When others allow me time, I allow myself to let time do the work.

Friendship and love- words of thanks is not enough.

 

 

 

 

 

The happy corner of my eye

imageI posted this picture of the truth on Instagram. It is the view from my bed. What I did not mention that if I looked the other way, this is what I see.

imageAnd of course I did not tell you that if I just look straight ahead, where the loud noice and serious action is, the coming picture is the true view.image

The first picture is the truth about me though, and what I look for. This last week I have been in hospital with embolisms in my lungs. The serious condition tries to crowd my mind and vision like the rescue helicopter commands my view. I do not allow it though. I accept it, I handle it, I do what I have to do, but I keep looking for the happy corner of the picture. The glimpse of beauty and love that tells me, this too is true.

The pulsating, vibrant fall colors that insists, we are all dying, take care that you live with love, truth and beauty before you do.

image