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

What’s now won’t be then

IMG_7611When I woke this morning, the sun was lower than the rowan outside my window. From my bed I could see the rays illuminating small bits of bark, every branch and single leaf from below, almost from the ground and up. Specks of copper floating in the morning breeze.

IMG_7608When I woke again the sun was shining straight into the trees. The branches were black, the leaves were golden, a wonderful but still quite ordinary fall day. I tried to reproduce the spectacular light by altering my angle of shooting, no luck, the copper moments had gone.

Sometimes you just have to get out of bed to catch the magic!IMG_7621

Time and tide- and the truth about life

IMG_3331 clear view 7januar

Because of the tilt of the moon on its axis, at the equinox the sun appears to be over the equator, and if there is a new or full moon at about the same time then all the forces contrive to create the highest of high tides. If the moon is also at perigee, closest to the earth in its orbit, then that will produce the biggest tides of all, the King tides.

In short, when the pull of the water is at its most extreme, we get to see what is at the bottom. We experienced this last January in California.

Where we thought there were sandy banks, there is pointy, jarred cliffs and stones. Where we had only seen dolphins, whales, pelicans and seals dominating the seas, we could now see the teeming myriads of life. Anemones, shells, urchins, crabs,schools of tiny fish, actually what really sustains the big life forms. But only at the extreme tides.

Tidepooling and marveling I got to thinking, isn’t that what happens to us humans too? After a big holiday we do not always feel refreshed, actually sometimes a bit washed out. An old norwegian saying is that you do not know a person until you have tried to divide an inheritance with him. I would phrase that differently, you do not know another person until you see what turns up in times if extreme stress. And then, why should I allow their worst behavior to be the truth about anyone?

Just now I am using crutches due to a minor injury. Absolutely not anything serious, but adding stress, more that I would like to allow. My workload is pretty extreme, and all the nice things that I normally do in-between are not done. Tidying, watering, weeding, baking, straightening. No way. Our home, my garden, my desk and myself is at King tide indeed.

Is that how life really is? When I saw all the tiny creatures crawling and sprawling, longing for water to cover them again. I realized this, we thought we saw life as it really was, while in truth we saw what we were not supposed to see. As among us humans, when life appear chaotic, why not add some slack to our judgement?

As I want to be judged as I am when I am at my best, why is it so difficult to allow that grace in my judgement of others? Why not wait for the tides to roll back?

 

IMG_3315 tidepool life 7januar

Do you really care?

2014-07-31 at 04-59-58I was tired, coming into my hotel late at night, the hotel who has big signs all over their walls saying “We care”.
I was walking through endless corridors where slogans, like “you are finally here”, were painted on the floor.
I stumbled into my room, to discover that it was stuffy, tiny and dark.
I went to open the window, and looked straight into a corridor.
I tried to adjust the air-condition, but there was none.
I did not even sit down at the minuscule desk while I called the reception. I was right, there was no way to adjust the airflow, and there was no other room to be had. The receptionist was kind and tried to be helpful,but he could do nothing. I did not even think it was funny when I saw the folder announcing the values of this chain, “with energy, courage and enthusiasm, we create a better world.” I sat down to search for another hotel nearby, one where you could breath, one with two sockets so you could recharge both the phone and the computer, one where you could walk around the bed without getting stuck. I had to give in. No rooms to be had, and I was too tired to  go out for dinner, so I just went to bed. Bad night.

2014-07-31 at 05-08-53Next morning I had a cold and a headache when I went down for breakfast. As I passed the front desk, the receptionist called me. “I am so sorry I could not help you last night, thanks for being so patient” and “I’ll find you something better tonight”. And he did, and I slept well, and I had a nice chat with him, and I guess I’ll stay there again. I can not help but wonder though, how much nicer it would have been if the building, the technical installations, and the very booking system showed that they really cared? The people were doing their best, but the bricks and stones got in the way for their very best. Sometimes we have to do with what we got, but why would you give your employees a bad hand just to make it harder to make something good?

I ended up having a good time. I was cared for.
Thanks to the people who were not only repeating slogans but trying to live them.

The pictures are from the old church at Lom, the true test on integrity, to do what we say we believe.

The hotel made it in the end, so I will not tell you where it was. I’d rather question myself: where, when, how or even if, do I do what I say I will do?

2014-07-31 at 03-25-14

Have another look

IMG_7414 (1280x1030)Last weekend I joined a photowalk in my own hometown Trondheim. A two hour stroll along a stretch less than a mile, the theme Contrasts.

I know those streets.

IMG_7416 (1280x853)

I have shared photos from these walks for years.

My family has walked on the same cobblestones for a century.

IMG_7409 (1280x818)And yet, always something new, even when everything is old.

Always something I have never seen, even if I have seen it all.

IMG_7362 (1280x1079)Could it be that way with people too? Do we ever take the time to really look for something new in the people we love or in the people we see every day?

IMG_7425 (1280x1042)What would we find if we spent two hours concentrating on seeing another side of the persons, the conflicts, the situations, the very life that we think we know?

IMG_7370 (1280x853)

Be the rain

At Tindevegen, driving to Bergen

At Tindevegen, driving to Bergen

We were having coffee after dinner, it was May. I was going to Bergen on a business trip and was googling for a hotel. As usual I was distracted. “Guess who is coming to Bergen?” I asked Stig who was seriously studying something important and was not able to shift into quiz mode before I gave him the answer: Neil Young and Crazy Horse! “We’ll go”, he said.

Glacier in the mountains

Glacier in the mountains

A month later he said, did you buy those tickets? I had not, but immediately saw the solution to luxury problem number one, what to give him for his birthday. ( It’s not really a problem to have a guy you want to give gifts to and even have the means to do it, is it?) Some minutes later I was done, Happy birthday! I said. Well, Neil was playing on the 1st and Stig’s birthday is some days later, but who cares! I reserved rooms in a nice hotel too ( as Stig and his buddies would have been happy camping, and I’m not).

Lærdalstunnelen, at 24.51 km, the longest road tunnel in the world

Lærdalstunnelen, at 24.51 km, the longest road tunnel in the world

Thinking of buddies, do you think our rock loving friends will go? I added. “Of course, we’ll go together”, he said instantly. Just some texting later the loose plans were laid. We were indeed going together, in some way or another, and we all wanted both concert, sightseeing, adventures and comfort.

Lærdalsøyri, still blooming after the fire this January

Lærdalsøyri, still blooming after the fire this January

Another month later we met for planning. We ordered one night’s stay at an old farm in Voss. We decided which way to go. We decided where to meet for lunch the first day, for the rest we were going to wing it. And we did! In between frequent stops, where all of us “oohed and awed”, Stig and my friend talked and me and her husband were taking pictures.Lots of pictures! Then we met for coffee at a place we thought would be delicious, found out it was all but, and went on to find a fairytale village.

The first night we were disappointed, an old grey barn, rain and nobody about. Then we entered and were enchanted, Store Ringheim is a tiny hotel with only six rooms, but deliciously decorated and beautifully situated. I was so happy that I spent most of the tasty breakfast taking pictures. Until I discovered I had taken video of a set of old plates. Not all movies manages to be so at the point as this one does!

Voss

Voss

Next morning we moved on towards Bergen. Stig and me stopped to enjoy the knit wear factories along the route. At Oleana they make my favorite cardigans, based on old, norwegian embroidery and weaving patterns.What a treat! I could talk to everyone, feel the yarns, browse the patterns and marvel at the colors.

Oleana, of course I bought something...

Oleana, of course I bought something…

Then Bergen, I’ll write a travel post from that lovely town another time. This saturday it was all crowded with people enjoying the sunshine and looking forward to the concert. Warm, sunny skies. Then the “Waterboys” were on and the rain. Of course Neil Young  had to start with “Be the rain”, and we were…every part and particle of every person soaked and drenched in rain, thunder, rock’n roll and companionship. Say no more!

Bergen, with us, without rain

Bergen, with us, without rain

If you ever want a spectacular drive through the wildest part of Norway, I’ll give you my highlights, even if I think you’ll have just as much fun by just starting to drive and see where the road takes you. Even, and perhaps mostly so, when you have to be the rain!

going back, along the Hardanger fjord

going back, along the Hardanger fjord