The wall as a mirror

We have pictures the kids painted years ago

We have pictures the kids painted years ago

Our kids used to call us the Mac Museum family, as galleries and museums always was on our program when we were travelling. They still are of course. I have often wondered at the fashions of art, how people are willing to pay and display the weirdest things to show wealth, power and connections. I used to think it would be better to choose the pictures that really meant something to the owner and expressed some of her (well mostly his) values and feelings. Then again isn’t that just what it does?

We have newly painted pictures

We have newly painted pictures

If I choose something because everybody else likes it, that too says something about my eagerness to be accepted, that again is rooted in something else than mere art. On the other hand it could be just as conceited to try to be different from every body else. A person not owing up to the feelings and sentiments we all share as human beings  might be just as insecure and attention seeking as the conformist. Today I think it all boils down to this, our walls tell about longings, hopes and achievement, both those we want to share and those we in fact are part of.

The arctic bird playing with be tropical ones

The arctic bird playing with be tropical ones

We have lived in a lot of houses belonging to someone else. Just now we are happy to rent a house furnished almost in our own taste, we just had to make a collage of the kids, us and our dog on the wall to make it ours.
Last time we lived in a home where I prefered bare walls to the paintings the owners had found it fit to have. Another time we thought the pictures were OK, while our visitors kept commenting why do you keep that up? Of course your walls also says something of which culture you belong to or want to belong to. Our landlords have been Dutch, Moroccan, Chinese and American.

My values quilt

My values quilt

As I am in our own home in Norway this week, this daily prompt got me thinking, what is it really that hangs on our walls? I went for a photo safari at home. There is art made by the children, now or when they were kids. There are enlargements of my own photos, there are inherited plates, there are the antique tiles we brought from Holland, there are plates decorated by my brother, there are quilts made by me, embroidery by my mother. At my office wall there’s the embroidered wallhanging that my grandparents had in their hallway: “Yesterday is gone, you have not seen tomorrow, but today the Lord will help you”.
Then there are lots of pictures of us a family and the kids as babies, at school, at their confirmation. All this tells of a love of beauty, of the blessings we are grateful for, everything is hung with purpose.

My memo board

My memo board

Nothing surprised me, until I came to my sewing room. I have not realized before that a whole wall is filled of what I hope to be true, what I strive for and the palette of future artwork, all found in two objects. As I work with values and strategies I have verbalized the values of my home making, and made them into two quilts. Now the summer one is displayed, have nothing in your home, but love, truth and beauty ( a slight nod to William Morris).
On the other part of the wall is my memo board, with cards, bits of lace, the music score of the aria my brother-in-law performed at my 50ieth birthday, lace, snippets, buttons, cards, a calligraphic Bible verse from a dear friend.

The house is a fantasy version of my grandparent's home

The house is a fantasy version of my grandparent’s home

Totally without plan, but a mirror straight into my heart. I have always had those boards and find it a wonderful way to stay with my dreams and true longings, to show myself who I am, to get me back on track. You see the most important thing on this board is the card my family gave me for my birthday ( it is up in the corner) a mosaic made of hundreds of my pictures, making a picture of me. It tells me of the beauty of being human, we all have so many facets to our personality, so many colors in our character, so many possibilities to choose from.

To be the one we are meant to be we need wisdom to  know what to keep, what to strengthen and what to weed. We live in a fragmented world, we need to stay where we are made whole. If my walls would tell that tale, I would be happy.

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The more the merrier, a daily post on a cloned me

Old computers at Bletchley Park

Old computers at Bletchley Park

I do remember an old Duck tale story my children used to love. One of the ducks is so fed up with his duties that he constructs a robot to do his chores. The problems start when the robot self duplicates and his other selves takes over his life, until he starts to wonder which of those ducks am I? That’s the moral take of course.

The enigma

The enigma

The thing is that I already have a lot of totally obedient clones. The one who works most is happily whirling along in the laundry room and will deliver clean towels in an hour or so, thanks to her I do not have to spend my days in a cold brook swirling clothes in the stream and hauling then back. The great thing, when she is done she shuts up until needed.
I do have some stand ins too, some grow food, some spend days on the road to deliver it to me, and some take care of the food in the store until I need it. Wonderful, I can do cooking and baking for fun, knowing we will not starve if I decide not too for a day or two.
IMG_2778 hullkortThe only clone I am having trouble with is my thinking clone, this glass tablet that I spend my days fingering is luring me to think that lots of stored facts are thinking. My clone’s infinite capability of storing information and giving it back on the slightest nudge, is fooling me into thinking that I possess knowledge.

IMG_2768 kretserEven if my computer is totally non intelligent I tend to trust her more than my own mind. Perhaps we are letting the clones take over? I know for sure that the more tasks I do not perform, the more knowledge I do not possess, the more important it is to guard as a great treasure what makes me me. Is it what I do, is it what I know, is it what I remember, or is it just what I am?

The strangers that knew me – a postaday on the daily prompt

IMG_0718 seascapeI was on my way to Norway from Indiana to attend my mother’s funeral. She died quite unexpectedly while traveling, which meant there were weeks from her death to having the body back home  for burial. Weeks of intense grief and stress. During those weeks I experienced to be part of a caring society, I have told many stories of the many ways people we knew only vaguely were a great comfort. I did not know all the ways one could be a comfort to others before then, I guess that is another post.

IMG_0728 landscapeEven so, I was totally exhausted. I was traveling alone, as the boys had their finals and my husband was staying with them. Of course there were delays. In the most unorganized way, as only airports can muster, we went back and forth between the gates at Newark, not having time for eating, being lined up and then dismissed for several times. When we finally were at a promising gate, I was so tired my legs were shaking. I tried to rest against a pillar while trying not to think sad thoughts as I had no strength for crying.

IMG_0294 purpleThen from the other side of the crowd a woman came over and stood beside me. She started to talk, softly, comfortingly, not asking any questions. Turned out  she knew a wonderful person I had worked with, I got her card, and while we boarded the plane she disappeared. I never found that card again, and I my friend had never heard of her.

IMG_0697 brownThen I got to my seat, a small crowded plane and a transatlantic flight. My heart sunk as I saw who  I was to share the row with. A young couple with loads of hand luggage, guitars, bags, pillows, everything spreading into my seat too. I needed just a small private space, and it seemed that even that would be denied me. I sat down with a sigh.

IMG_2528 greenThen it was as the scene changed before my eyes. Turned out the young man was blind, and his girlfriend was also taking care of things. Before long all the paraphernalia were stowed away, they both sent me warm smiles and settled into their seats, the girl in the middle, me in the aisle seat. Then she turned towards me and had a closer look. You are cold, she said, let me get you a blanket. And she did. Put it expertly around me, turned towards her boyfriend and went to sleep. I am normally  a person who takes care of everything and everybody. It is not easy to help strangers though. Even so, when I needed it most, someone else listened to the small voice in their heart that showed them what to do  and did it.

IMG_0292 sunnyI do believe in angels, and if this was fiction I would have given this persons an added glow. They were humans though, as I am, given new possibilities every day to give a gift of comfort to a passing stranger.

IMG_2808 light

Up! Weekly photo challenge

IMG_0038 staying upTo me the best films made for children are those that are not childish but are able to be simple and profound at the same time. The best of those in my mind is the Pixar film Up! by Pete Docter. Funny, action, great animation while all the way showing a way to deal with grief, sorrow, loneliness and rejection. How do you get up and going when your wife dies? When your father does not show up? When your home will be demolished? When your goals are much bigger than your abilities?

IMG_0866 long wayI know from counseling, from a lot of persons I have met, that the films solutions will work.  To be able to let go, you have to get hold on what you are leaving. To be able to go on, you have to face anger, bereavement, bewilderment and weakness as part of your grief. To be able to live a true life you must stand up for your truths. To find true friends you should open your mind and heart, as they are not always given where you are looking for them. Some goals are meant to be shared and achieved with others.

IMG_2939 long and winding roadI had the film and these words in my mind when I went looking for UP pictures this weekend. Perhaps you can see that, perhaps you see something else! Even without going to South America with your house tied UP with balloons….

IMG_2936 to be up

The song of my heart – a daily prompt on ear worm

All alone

Sometimes it feels we have to manage all alone

I went to a new ( to me) hair dresser last week. Not vintage looking but vintage being, not overly cool and fashionable, but overwhelmingly and positively warm and welcoming. A surf board on the wall, a guitar in the corner, smile, laughter and comments that I for once believed (like Nice! This looks good on you!) On the radio they were playing : we all need somebody too lean on.

I always have a song in my heart, sometimes sad, sometimes jubilant, sometimes heard by others, sometimes just felt in my moves and steps. Some times the song in my ears and the song in my heart collides. I hear something that I do not want to support, do not want to be a part of, and still it goes on and on. Then again, sometimes I hear music that I happily allows to stay, not always profound or “quality” music, but music that in a simple way reflects parts of the truth I hold important. So, we all need somebody to lean on!

Sometimes it may be difficult to see that we are worthy of support

Sometimes it may be difficult to see that we are worthy of support

To me, that is not about one being weak and others strong, it is about being together, strengthening the bonds between us, so that we know that I can be a support for one, even when somebody else is a support for me. And I do not think this is so much listening and counseling as it is about leading a life that is true and whole.

Sometimes we just need a railing, even if the steps has to be climbed

Sometimes we just need a railing, even if the steps has to be climbed

Being true to myself so that I know when and how to ask others for support. Being true to my self so that when others turn to me for support they will know I will be true to them. The salon I visited, the people and the song had the same message, let us be here for one another, it all felt true. I was not going there for neither comfort nor coaching, it felt good just to soak up the atmosphere.
I do think it all adds up, the settings we are in, even the mundane and ordinary ones, like grocery stores or hairdressers.

Sometimes we can be a support to others, even when we need to lean on someone

Sometimes we can be a support to others, even when we need to lean on someone

More basically the atmosphere at home, school, church and workplace will either make us closer or drive us apart. They could  make us able to be a support and also have someone to lean on when we are weak. Or we could end up  forlorn, unable to support ourselves or others and without someone to turn to. It is never about what those environments claim to be, it is always about what they are in their core. What we need is wisdom to soak up the good and let go of the bad
I do believe the song in our hearts shows in our steps, I try to keep it songs worth living. And I do know there are songs worth singing!

Song of my heart

Song of my heart

The charmed life – postaday thoughts on Freaky Friday

IMG_2830 search dog benI met a wonderful dog yesterday, Ben, look him up on Facebook at Ben Darling, so this is my story for freaky Friday.

There’s the old indian saying : do not judge a person until you have walked a mile in their moccasins. That works both ways, a sentence I read somewhere is stuck on my mind, there are no charmed lives. This author was saying do not wish for somebody else’s life. Everyone has their troubles. That is true where the charmed lives are lived too, in the fairy tales. Quite often the hero wins because she is able to work magic from humble beginnings by staying true and loyal, accepting help from friends and always acting from the core of her soul. I think that is true in real life too. There are people who answers the call to make the world a better place, working through great adversities and troubles to do so. Not charmed, but almost magic. I would like to be that way, I do want to grow wiser and kinder through every difficulty, I do want to share, to comfort and be a peacemaker. I am one of the people you could think was charmed when you look at what I have got, that most of the world will never experience. I am  one of those you could write long stories and sad books about if you knew the truths about illness, deaths and tragedy. As is true for most of us. I know I would lose my chance at living if I thought I would be better off living someone else’s life. This is my life, these are the lessons I need to go through to be the person I  and my fellow human beings need me to be.

I do look at other people for inspiration though. So here’s the thing about Ben.
Or rather about Wilma Melville. I heard about her yesterday night, we were at a HOG meeting ( For Harley Drivers). There was a guest speaker introducing us to their chosen charity, the Search Dog Foundation. Wilma was retired, a grandmother, who was present with her dog to search the buildings after the Oklahoma bombings in 1995.  She wondered why there was not enough dogs and did something about it. She started a foundation that rescue dogs from  dog shelters, trains them, find jobs for them and gives them to fire fighter and search units through the country. Her first goal is to train a dog for every victim in Oklahoma. She is getting closer.

IMG_2827 Ben and eric

That is what a charmed life is to me. That is my wish for my own life, not to despair, not to give in, but to look for solutions bigger than myself, not only on Fridays.

Change for better and worse, for good and for bad – weekly photo-challenge

Symbol of change

Symbol of change

One night I heard something rustling in our garden. I looked out and locked eyes with a racoon eating an orange. Some time later a heard a thump and next morning an orange was lying on the patio floor. That all symbolizes change to us. Living where oranges grow abundantly, living where raccoons roam the trees at night, living where there is a patio floor, a wonderful change, an exchange from cold norwegian winter.

IMG_1292 moden og umoden appelsinEven change needs a seed to grow from though. To me the seed is the happy memory of our honeymoon 31 years ago. We went to Florida, and the warm nights were scented with orange blossoms. I even brought orange blossom perfume home. For years one of my drawers smelt like summer, like fun, like love. Through better and worse, through the growth and change of our relationship, I could go back and let that happy scent accompany me through the day.

IMG_1331 appelsin blomstEven change could go unnoticed if we are too busy to cherish it. To me it is a gift to live a place where I smell oranges everyday, every orange an eye-opener to the possibilities of change. Every orange blossom a happy note of thankfulness for the things that are still the same, through all the times that are changing.

IMG_0501 appelsin tre