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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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.