Content of being content

IMG_6499 (1280x853)There’s a fountain in our garden, the drops form a triad of continuous music, one drop that hits the water, one that hits the grass and one that hits the paving stones keep playing together.

There’s a wind-chime in our copper-beech. Six carefully baritone tuned pipes sounds softly, one after another.

There’s a dog under the birch-tree. Snoring the midday heat away.

IMG_6467 (1280x853)There’s a charming husband high in our cherry tree, collecting everything out of my reach.

There’s a pick up truck in our yard as our oldest son arrives with more sugar for the cherry jam.

In the middle of this am I. Standing at a garden table, tanning my back in the sun, pitting cherries. Bucket after bucket.

I am content. I am happy.

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Doing nothing

IMG_5851 (1280x853)Working from home today. It is 11:17 and I have not done a thing.
I woke up, showered and dressed. That’s nothing. I stripped the beds, did the laundry and hung the sheets on the line to dry in the sunshine. Not really a thing is it?
I cleared the breakfast table, and tidied the kitchen. As my husband had made breakfast, that is not really anything at all.
I walked the dog for an hour, and stood for a while watching band practise at the school yard. Philosophizing on the strange fact that even a thing that started ugly, may end up as innocent and meaningful activities. The young boys in uniforms are not marching to war, they are just donning uniforms, playing war music and heeding their leader to add joy and fun to this sunny day.
Then the dog and me went home, scrubbed the garden furniture ( bird droppings), had a coffee (me, that is) and I posted on my Bible blog.

I still have not done a thing, my account is still unbalanced, and my reports are still quite unfinished. The important projects are totally unplanned. Which makes me think. Except for watching the band and doing my blog, everything else I have been doing today are things I sooner or later will have to pay others to do for me. If I live long, perhaps even the shower and dressing bit. So is this true: do I work to be able to  pay others to do the work I do not appreciate being able to do today?

I do not. Sometimes though, my mind, and people around me think that is a way to live. Then I’ll have myself listen to my heart. Realigning my priorities, just now, by going outside to hang the next load of laundry and really smell and enjoy the first sunny day for ages. In a moment, by opening my job mail, while all the time hearing the dogs content sighs and snores as he dreams of his long walk.

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Viking ways

IMG_5834 (1280x853)This is how I felt today, crowded. By things I should do, by things I would have loved to be doing, by things I have to do, by things I never will come around to do. In short, from where I stand the only calm person to be seen is the viking surveying his town, sword in hand. I have to admit, if a slashing, sword-swinging bout of action could clear my lists, I would do it. As you can see, I am not in a position to do that. I took the picture while wheeling my heavy laden bike through the market of my town Trondheim, the only way to get going was by carefully weaving my way, stopping, waiting, smiling, not hurrying. I had one item to buy at the market, my summer breakfast favorite, honey cake, and kept going.

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But wait, I had the best clutter-clearing, worry-killing, task-quitting weapon at my side. Invisible to you, I was walking with a dear, wise and kind friend, Anita. We were heading home after coffee in town. Slowly we worked and talked, shared and sorted through big and small. Halfway we stopped for another coffee with waffles, kept talking, kept laughing, and suddenly we were home. I was ready to tackle my crowd.

IMG_5842 (1280x853)Then I saw it, the crowd was not an illusion. I had tried to make lists like some of my friends do, I even had bought a sweet blue notebook for it. They just add everything as they think of it, and handle it when they get to it, one item at the time. It did not work for me at all, the tasks felt like a swarm of bees or a crowd of vendors crying for my attention.

IMG_5841 (1280x853)I had to sort, not only by talking and sharing. I still and forever is the indexy type. Admitting for the long lists, I found four bigger index cards, still honouring my thought that what I do should be the four cornerstones of my life. Still knowing  the fact that more than that is simply too much. I sorted my tasks, divided them on the cards and are on my way to conquer them. Grouped like that I see what I do as part of a bigger picture and an ongoing life, not as irritating tasks that keep me from living.

No viking way of getting it done, no way to conquer and subdue for ever. As in life, if its is worth doing, keep at it. If not, let it go! And by all means, have some waffles with a friend while deciding! By the way, I did not find my cake, so instead I’ll find my grandmothers recipe book and make one myself, even if it is not on any card.

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Summer snow

Midsummer in Oppdal

Midsummer in Oppdal

As we arrived at our cabin, it was snowing. As we made a fire in the fireplace the wind was howling. As we hoisted the banner to tell the world that we were in place to celebrate midsummer the hail came hammering down. Midsummer? Midsummer!

IMG_5773 (1280x853)I had to go looking for it. Dressed in windbreakers, muffler and gloves, boots and hat, dog on leash I went to search for the summer in hiding. I found flowers, wildflowers shaking in the wind, but still blooming. I lost count after finding ten different kinds on three square feet. I heard the cuckoo somewhere in a fir-tree. When I was a kid, the first cuckoo was the sign we were allowed to run barefoot in the grass. I met a flock of ewes with their month old lambs, the sheep-bells clinging in the wind even when the animals were standing still to figure who I was.

IMG_5736 (1280x853)We came home, to the warm cabin. Put the midsummer bouquet in a water, lighted the candles, rekindled the fire. I had found summer, I just had to look for it.

Saving for a rainy day

IMG_5627 (1280x765)Being inside, with an open window, listening to the patter of raindrops on green summery leaves.

Walking outside, like passing through layers of soft silk, feeling the warm rain drenching  and reviving my whole body.

Digging the garden, sensing the energy of every seed stretching to make the most of the moisture.

No need to save anything for rainy days, which are so full of their own blessings, even so I had done that. I had saved one task for the first rainy day, that was also a day off, and yesterday was it.

IMG_5701 (1280x853)As a true clutter quitter, organizer and striving to get orderly person, some of my treasures brought back from the States was red and green fabric boxes for my Christmas stuff. For ornaments, for wreaths, for strings of light, for wrappings.

I carried the old boxes, bags and what nots up from the basement and had the most lovely, sentimental, tearful, joyful, de-cluttering day, with the window open, the leaves rustling and the rain falling.

The rest of the family thought I was overdoing it, could it not wait until packing away the ornaments in january? It could not. My sorting days are my way of getting grounded, getting back on track, getting ready. Now, I am ready for summer, knowing that Christmas is ready to be taken down from the shelves in all its orderly glory, hopefully not on a rainy day. But if it rains….I’ll have another favorite task to handle that day in the coming December, and that’s my secret, making the most of any day, especially the rainy ones.

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You’ll never walk alone

IMG_5662 (1280x853)Yesterday I was present when the congregation at Tiller started to use their new liturgical clothes. The process of designing and making them is worthy of several blog posts that maybe will be told, one day. Today I’ll just share the beginning and the end.

I always start with the biblical texts for the Sundays when the liturgical clothes, or paraments, will be used.IMG_5618 (1280x853) This set is red, the color of blood, the color of martyrdom, the color of fire, the liturgical color for Pentecost, for ordination, for the day of the apostles. The texts speak about being a witness, about martyrdom, about baptism by fire and by the holy spirit. To me, most of all it speaks about the God who walks with each and one of us through all this. Be not afraid, one texts says. I will not leave you fatherless, another tells us. Yet another, I will stay with you to the end of the world.IMG_5641 (1280x767) So I wanted the textiles to show God surrounding us, enfolding us, walking with us, in every moment, in sorrow and in joy. Which made me start with the Fibonacci numbers. Fibonacci did not invent them, but told the west about ancient indian and arabic knowledge, the sequence and order you’ll find in nature, the golden ratio. Like the seeds of a pine cone or a sunflower, every row being the sum of the two before it. IMG_5639 (1280x853)To later theologians this sequence became a witness of how God’s ordering principles rule nature. To me, I used this sequence to make a cross, and the world where we live. Sometimes you do not immediately see it, like in life, it may look chaotic, it may look without order. If you keep looking, it is there to be found.IMG_5651 (854x1280)

 

17th of May- happy trails through Trondheim

IMG_5356 (853x1280)Today is our constitution day, actually our bicentennial. We are celebrating, as usual, with children’s parade, music, flags, traditional food, and traditional costumes.IMG_5376 (1280x910) We are celebrating more than ever, having used the last months for public  discussions and reminders, adding depth to the values we do promote in our Constitution. IMG_5407 (1280x853)Telling each other what we do well, where we need to improve, what we have to keep, no matter what.IMG_5411 (1024x829)

Stig and me dressed in our traditional costumes and walked into town.IMG_5416 (853x1280) We enjoyed the parade, we attended the service in the cathedral, we talked to friends, now we are at home relaxing, getting ready for dinner.IMG_5418 (1024x683) I just thought I’d show you some glimpses of our day. Celebrate freedom wherever you are!IMG_5419 (928x521)

Finse, May 9th, the hash mash of truth

IMG_5269 solskinn1This has been the most “eavesdroppingly” week of my life. It is not that I do not want to listen to the person I am talking to, but I want to listen to everyone, and this truly has been a week of strange confessions to listen in to. We’re at a small hotel, surrounded by ice and snow, and in every corner, at every table something exceptional is being told.

IMG_5291småhusAre they going out for a smoke? My friend asked me. The sunburned anorak clad guy in the breakfast room is putting two fingers on his lips. No, he is telling her to put sunscreen on her lips, I tell her. Being in the lucky position of knowing the language. The other information I gathered this week is more uncertified, and I keep wondering, how often do we think we know something as fact, that never was one? I have had several test groups this week.

First the group of code experts from all over the world, there are no limits to how I am able to combine their knowledge into total rubbish.

Then the group of explorers, even inside, they are fighting the arctic winds when they share their stories. One tale taller than the other, how they survived, and how they almost not. The glimpses they give into their hearts are cruel, cold and terrible, or brave, courageous and impressive, depending on your mindset.At breakfast this morning their plates were piled with eggs, bacon, sausages and porridge, their boots stomped on the floor, and then they were off into the white.

Then the group of actors and crew, impressive to witness all the people working to get that going. Then the tidbits, on how you train a hen to play ill ( you do not, but you are not allowed to drug it without an veterinarian present). Or me, sitting next to an Academy Award winning actor at breakfast, my favorite from several films, and not recognizing her. She told me she was a french actress, and I thought she was joking.

IMG_5295solskinn3But that’s another tale, if I got that one right. For now, I am off into the mountains, as her departing salute was.

Finse on the 8th of May

I had planned to sleep in today. Having a late breakfast, taking my time deciding what to do. Then, at six thirty, I happened to look out of our bedroom window. The blinds were up, and the window was open, the whole world was there to see, from my bed. And what a world! Covered in white, only   some rocks showing through the snow. Steely grey skies, except from a single beam from the morning sun, hitting the side of the mountain just as three small avalanches rolled down towards the lake.

Indexyourlife Finse2I grabbed my camera and got some pictures while still in my nightie. Not perfect from a technical view, but gorgeous for me being in the middle of it. The beauty made me wide awake, and as soon as the sun was hidden again I was out of bed and ready for the day. You see, we are at Finse.

Finse, that is where Schackleton, Nansen and Scott trained for their expeditions.
Finse, that is where snow kiters, glacier walkers, mountain skiers and terrain bikers form all the world love to challenge themselves.
Finse, that is where film crews find solitude, ice and snow. As in Star wars, as just now with “Nobody wants the night” with Juliet Binoche and Gabriel Byrd, cast as Robert Peary and his love.
Finse, the highest point on the Oslo-Bergen railway at 1222 m. above sea level, with an historic hotel from 1909, teeming with life and energy.

IMG_5213 Finse skitur1At Finse where we are this week it is still winter, still enough winter to pretend it is Greenland in winter. I have spent the week visiting with friends from Santa Barbara. My husband and 30 other of his kind have been sharing insights and wisdom on computer security and coding.

Today I rented mountain skis and went out in the white. even when overcast, the glare makes you wear sunglasses.  Just now I am blogging as somebody else is preparing a delicious meal. Today have been happy trails, indeed.

 

Feeding the boys

IMG_4577 (1280x853)One sunday evening, more than 60 years ago, my grandparents went to chapel, as they did every sunday. Church in the morning and chapel in the evening. Except this sunday they were surprised to see some young soldiers attending. We’re glad you have found time to join us, they told the young boys. We would come every sunday if we could, they answered. So why can you not? They was almost ashamed to admit the truth, having to walk the sixteen kilometers made them so hungry that it was extra hard to miss the evening meal in camp. No  buses, no cafe and no meal from noon to next morning, hard.

I am sure my grandmother laughed and was surprised that this could be a problem. Of course you’ll join us for supper!

And of course you are welcome to do so every sunday, and of course you may bring your friends! And they did. From then on a steady flow of sandwiches, kringle, coffee and lemonade sustained young soldiers, year after year. My mother and her sisters grew up having lots of big “brothers” from all over the country. When my parents took over this service, I grew up having lots of big “brothers” to play with. And my gran kept baking kringle, sending them by the bus in the morning, so my mother could keep up feeding the boys.

IMG_4581 (1280x853)Some weeks ago, my aunt gave me my grandmothers recipe book. As many housewives of her day she had a year training at a household academy, and carefully wrote down everything they were taught. Through all her years these were the only recipes she used. As for me, I have several shelves of books on cooking, as well as her kringle recipe. I have her coffee sets, as well as several others. I have a much bigger house. I have much more money. Neither of that will bring the blessings my grandmothers suppers brought.

To me, I pray for the wisdom to leave the big plans, and just do the small service in front of me, with a laugh, with an open heart, one step and one kringle at the time.