Done is dead – a daily prompt on imperfection

Quite imperfectly perfect

Quite imperfectly perfect

There was a time, when I was young, that I could read the 13th chapter of Corinthians, the one about love endures everything, and think: I will find that love.

There came a later time, when I was older and thought: If I show perfect love, I will be given perfect love in return.

There came an even later time, when I read the whole chapter, and saw that Paul was telling a story about maturing and understanding what life and love is all about.

Who lived here, what would they tell?

Who lived here, what would they tell?

He says that love will never end, and then that we understand in bits and pieces.When I was a child, he says, I thought as a child ,I understood what  a child may understand. But now, as I am grown, I see that I see everything as pieces, as glimpses in a clouded mirror.

Not quite clearly

Not quite clearly

And then he goes on to say that love is still  the greatest. He relates to the love and complete understanding God has for each of us. While doing so he tells me, it is OK not to be perfect. To be grown is to know that we see different pieces of the puzzle of life. To love is to live that truth, tell me what you see from where you’re at!  I’ll tell you what I see, together we see more, but still pieces, still through a glass darkly.

Then I read Aristotle,the book where he tells his son Nichomachus, about what’s most important in life. One swallow makes no summer, he sais. To us it is a proverb telling us not to be too optimistic, thinking spring is here. To him it was a profound truth, the truth about the deepest wisdom, what he called phronesis, or the practical wisdom.

IMG_2850 dark trees

The true meaning of life, the essential ethical question, he tells me is: What can I do, to contribute to  “the good life ” for everyone? Anyone can learn things through reading or doing, he continues. To be wise, to know what to do in a given situation, to use the phronesis needed to create this good life, we need to reflect. Every situation will teach us something that could be better, every new person we meet is a potential source of reflection, a way of knowing more.

OK, close to perfect...

OK, close to perfect…

Every time we do contribute in a good way, every time we know what to do, our deed is a swallow, a token of a summer to come. To grow and to mature, to come closer to the good life, takes reflection on practise and reflection in practise. It will never be complete though, only when our life is over, is it possible to judge if it was a good life, still according to Aristotle.

A room for reflection

A room for reflection

Then I remembered what we were thought in physics in high school, the law of reflection. The angle of reflection equals the angle of incidence. Perhaps that’s true for mental reflection too? It is not very complicated, it is not a challenge, it has nothing to do with brain power, and it has nothing to do with perfection. For every angle there is another picture, from every soul there is another thing to see, as we all see what we see from where we stand.

In bits and pieces

In bits and pieces

The greatest puzzle of them all, never perfect, still imperfect, life and love. So what do I cherish about imperfection? The fact that imperfect means not quite done yet, which means I got my whole life to collect and gather wisdom. Every day to live this truth, that in the middle of imperfection we get to create the good life for each other.

Never perfect, still working on that....still alive!

Never perfect, still working on that….still alive!

Index or indexy? A postaday prompt to publish a draft

Yesterday's card

Yesterday’s card

Some of my old midwestern friends told me their organizing secret, always carry index-cards in your wallet.

As if…I thought. When I finally got around to use the calendar and address book on my phone, why should I return to paper? Then I met someone who invited me over for coffee, and before I could make a note on my gadget she pulled out a card, drove a map, made some helpful notes ( ..and I know my GPS would not have told me to watch for the cute mailbox) and gave it to me. Hmm, neat. When I had been there I did not need the note anymore and could discard it (literally). I also know that I never go into my digitalized notes and organize or delete them.

Plowers and pipers, totally unorganized and happy about it.

Plowers and pipers, totally unorganized and happy about it.

Then I needed some material for a new project, snippets of what I got  stapled on an index-card, add the new bought stuff ,and I had the start of a project archive.

Then I needed a list of directions for a bicycle ride, write on card, tear out and tape on to my handlebar.

Then I was waiting for my husband for lunch and come to think of one of the things I do not do and that  I probably should do….write a diary. Nothing  serious. Just as a memory trigger for pictures I take and thoughts I am not through with thinking. I do not want to carry more in my bag, I do not want a prestigious project, and I do love the concept of all-in-one.Index cards, and the idea and theme of this blog was born together with my “Indexyourlife- diary”.

Where I sat yesterday

Where I sat yesterday

Once a day, when waiting for something, I pull out my spiral bound index cards. I write the date and a heading. Yesterday it was ” At Coal Point” then I write what I am doing just then, a thought that is passing through my mind or just some facts. NEVER more than one small card. The beauty is that I can do all other indexy stuff on the following pages, and not ruin my diary, as I will pull them out and sort them when the stack is up.

The waves were great, no whales at whale point though

The waves were great, no whales at whale point though

The true beauty is that this is just at the core of what I think organizing should be about. Not de-cluttering and buying organizing tools, but taking care to use my resources on my true values, and not let my own or other people’s clutter de-energize me or make me waste my precious time. Indexyour life is my way of taking stock, stopping in the middle of my day, saying: I am here, this is what I do, this is what I think. Doing this I turn what could be irritating ( waiting for someone) into a precious moment of reflection.

The thing I never do is putting information on them and index it…..that is one thing machines can do better than me. I am indexy-ish not a robot!

Not me! Interesting at the computer museum at Bletchley Park

Not me! Interesting at the computer museum at Bletchley Park

Weekly photo challenge – color

In some minutes sunset will start, everything is here, except the light

In some minutes sunset will start, everything is here, except the light

Norway was the last country in Europe to introduce color TV, not until 1972. Actually they removed the colors from bought productions for several years, while the politicians discussed the dangers of color. Finally we were ready for it, and my father had ordered a set. He told of us of the wonder of colors, how everything like Flipper and Skippy now would be in colors. My younger brother looked at him with a surprised look, are they not already?

Then suddenly, where did the color come from?

Then suddenly, where did the color come from?

Somebody then told him that only the most creative people dreamt in color. He looked at us as if we were truly strange creatures, “curiouser and curiouser” as Alice would have said. Don’t everybody do that? Well, we found the fact a bit weird too, as we all were dreaming in colors, and never actually had missed them from our series either. Neither did I miss them when I started using the dark room, there just was so much more to a picture than the colors! I still think that, even if I love colors, even when I crave colors, even as I fill my house with colors.

colors in the water

colors in the water

Then  again, as photography means drawing with light, an essential part is to understand light. As color can not exist without light, or rather that the light decides the character of the color ,the balance keeps challenging me.

Colors in the sky

Colors in the sky

To illustrate this I made a series of pictures taken during an hour, the same afternoon and the same angle. Before sunset, just as the sunset colors were emerging, and then some exaggerated details to show how different the same light is reflected differently from different surfaces. And then we are back to the beginning. We do see colors differently, that too is like reflections, it all depends on where we are standing.

And then...its gone

And then…its gone

By the way, my brother is an artist now, so perhaps he really saw something the rest of us did not?  You may decide for yourself :  http://www.trygveskogrand.com

I’ll run into the water! On sharing the love

Britt Arnhild's green house, we share the love of gardening

Britt Arnhild’s green house, we share the love of gardening

Summer camp, we were 14, we were sharing thoughts, beliefs, singing, joy, addresses and then we went home. Some days later I got a letter in the post from Britt Arnhild. I think we would make friends, she said, tell me about your life!

Our friendship grew through the years, through shared secrets, joys, sorrows, travels and belief. We are now both mothers of four and live in the same city, most of the time.

We share the joy of quilting, reading and coffee

We share the joy of quilting, reading and coffee

Then we moved to the US. Tell me about your life, she said. Why don’t you start a blog! She had been blogging for years and have made friends all over the world, her posts are truly inspiring and accompanied by her own great photos. Wonderful! I just did not feel up to it, and kept sending travel letters by e-mail.

We came back, I kept reading her blog, she kept laughing and saying, why do you not start a blog! And then I did. I have been blogging for some years. I have had so much fun making advent calendar blogs together with my siblings. I have had private blogs with my children. I have used my blogs as training grounds for speeches and presentations, and I have a new way of sharing the pictures I take.

Reading in the green house

Reading in the green house

Almost, ok then, totally addictive!

Then we moved to the states again, and Britt Arnhild says, hey why don’t you get to know and love my blogging friends over there! Yes, why not indeed?

And here I am, planning adventures with, and getting to know her friends.

Shared faith

Shared faith

I just heard the lyrics of that old country song,” I’ll be waiting on the far side banks of Jordan” and knew that on the other side of Blogging Jordan, Britt Arnhild will be waiting, running through the shallow waters reaching for my hand, to encourage, to share, and keep me blogging.

Why don’t you visit? http://www.brittarnhildshouseinthewoods.typepad.com

Her latest project is a monday series of portraits of the friends she has made through blogging. She won’t be running out of subjects any time soon.

Where the roses grow and carrots thrive

Another rose , another time

Another rose , another time

Time is relative, and childhood is the proof. The fact is that I did not spend many summers at my maternal grandparents home, a couple yes, but not all summer, and absolutely not every summer. The truth though, in my heart, is that the greatest part of my childhood was an eternally long, sunny summer spent with my aunts and my grandparents. My parents obviously was somewhere on the scene too, must have been, then again in my memory they were just part of the set up.

Summer at Christmas, with my grandmothers plates

Summer at Christmas, with my grandmothers plates

Then there was Christmas and sledding and skiing of course, but that must be occupying another part of my brain. At least this two parts of my growing up do not share the same olfactory memories. Today, I need only the smell of scraping carrots to take me back to my grandfathers garden. I was allowed to pull the freshest tiniest roots out of the earth, rinsing them under the garden tap and enjoy them at once.

Another happy garden

Another happy garden

That is how summer tastes! And then the afternoons, there was coffee and kringle in the garden. I am sure my aunt would tell me how it was raining and how the Flammentanz did not bloom through the whole year, I know. To me, I need only the smell of a rising dough on my kitchen counter to take me back to the expectation of sitting on the white wooden bench, between some grown ups, listening to their talk and laughter, smelling and enjoying the overhanging roses and biting into the sweet icing on the still warm cinnamon kringle.

In my own garden

In my own garden

It was never so much about doing, as about being. That is what I aim for in making a home for my own family too, not only giving them memories of the things we do, but creating a treasure of homely smells, colors and sounds. Being aware of that what is only a fleeting moment for us adults may be what defines the whole childhood for our children. That will not happen if it does not ring true, no child is fooled by fake happiness. That will not happen if what I aim to do is setting a scene for something rather than making the trivialities of life itself pleasant. Perhaps that is why my memories linger and fills up an inappropriate big place in my heart, these summers were never activities to while away time, it was life itself, being allowed to take part, being useful, being in the middle of it, to belong.

Roses in old pitcher

Roses in old pitcher

No matter where you go, there you are

Botanic Garden Cambridge UK april 2012

Botanic Garden Cambridge UK april 2012

On my first trip to England (30 years ago) I was seated next to  a woman who held on to her hold-all, as if her life depended on it. Which it actually did. I could of course not help myself and had to ask, what on earth do you carry in that bag? She was more than willing to show and tell, as this was the kit her father had told her would take her anywhere and through every situation. Band Aid, sweater, books – I could have guessed those. Then came a big serious looking knife. I edged away but had to see the rest, out came an enormous coil of heavy-duty rope. Your hotel could catch fire you know, she said. I sort of left her alone after that.

Old street, Cambridge UK, april 2012

Old street, Cambridge UK, april 2012

She comes back to me every time I pack for traveling though, as a reminder of the words of Confucius. You can not escape from yourself. Not that I want to. It is just that it easy to forget our part in what we are going away from. Everything will not turn out OK somewhere else, the lessons I still have to learn in life will pop up again and again. The wonderful thing with going away is that even if we are given the same lessons, it is as if they are reframed. Life is a wise teacher, when the student does not understand the task or the lesson, she does not repeat the lesson just as she framed it the first time. She gives another example, another way of putting it, another hint of what it is all about.

Biking at Nantucket, June 2012

Biking at Nantucket, June 2012

And then, like in school, even if I do understand the task, even if I know I have to do it, I just need a break, to look at it all from a distance. I am still there though. Even if I carry less and less physical stuff as the years go by, I now and then stop and ask myself what emotional luggage I carry. I know some are essential and allows me to engage with the people I meet. I also know some of my hangups that keeps me back from relying to much of others. If I do not trust at home, I will be even more distrustful abroad, if I am not able to make friends at home, there is no reason why I should do it anywhere else.

Stone steps, Oppdal, Norway september 2012

Stone steps, Oppdal, Norway september 2012

There could be added extracurricular lessons abroad, the challenges and hardships I never meet at home, it will still be me who have to face it though. It is like a scientific experiment, trying to isolate the different factors to know what really reacts on what. As to travel, I am the constant, the essence of life’s challenges are the same, the environment the big X. Come to think of it, that’s what I love about traveling, no matter where I go, I am still there.

Indiana, October 2012

Indiana, October 2012

To give is to keep – a daily post on prized possessions

Things tend to fall apart...

Things tend to fall apart…

Before going on my bike ride this morning, I read the daily prompt, what was you most prizes possession as a kid and what became of it? The question kept mulling in my head, even if I had written a post already today…I think I could be called a transient hoarder. That is ,I have always liked to have a lot of something, but I also like to give it away. Like in having enough plates and cutlery for  a big party on the ready in my pantry, and lending it to everybody. Or baking an enormous amount of cookies and let the boys and their friends have it all. Or giving away most of my books when I have read them. One time I gave away all my summer clothes in fall and forgot all about it, when next summer came around I got to clear out and sort through every closet in our house looking for them, added bonus! It has nothing to do with generosity. It has all to do with having moved a lot and knowing that it is what you use your things for that it is important. Plates are for serving friends and family, not for storing.I love it if someone needs something I am able to give.

I own the the beauty if not the plates!

I own the the beauty if not the plates!

On the other hand I love beauty. While I subscribe to the idea of William Morris ” have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”, I have transcribed it for my own use to “have nothing in your home but love, truth and beauty”. As my friends know, that makes me obsessed with having lovely dinnerware, table linens and cutlery…and flowers. The point is that the things I treasured in childhood are gone, the settings and the atmosphere the things were used in lives as fresh memories in my heart. I remember the blue china children’s tea set….how I longed for that, what parties I planned! I got it and we had so much fun. Years later my brothers used my play house for raising turkeys, and I found a blue cup used as scoop for their feed. I just laughed, I did not need that. Quite accidentally I still have three items from my childhood though.

Somebody else's treasures

Somebody else’s treasures

They were all treasured in their time and they each tell a tale of what truly makes something precious. The one is a sterling silver porridge scraper, don’t you know what that is? My mother did not either, I got it for my baptism. My mother tried to find a way of using it both for me and for all my siblings, but never got the hang of it. It was constantly referred to as a most valuable item though, it is still in my silverware drawer. I keep it as a reminder that monetary value is a funny thing. The other is the small rocking chair that I got for my fourth birthday. I loved that chair and was able to sit in far up in my teens. I have read so many adventurous stories in that chair! My brothers turned it upside down, unhinged the door of a closet and made a slide of it, someone has cut letters in it, it has moved with me into eleven different houses. Now it sits in the living room of our cabin, waiting for  new adventures.

These brothers do not make slides of chairs anymore! Still playing though!

These brothers do not make slides of chairs anymore! Still playing though!

I keep that one because it is so well done and is still doing its job. It also reminds me that even things that keep, never grow, while a human has to grow to keep. And then I remember the same birthday, a friend gave me a tiny mercury glass bell to hang on the Christmas tree. That was a totally new idea to me, that I as a child could own  something so grown up, something not a toy! Through all those years and all those moves that is one of the few Christmas decorations that have survived in my family. I took it with me when I married,  for 31 years it has been shining on the up most branch of our Christmas tree. One day it will break, or one day I will give it to one of our children for their Christmas, neither way it does not really matter. The treasure to me is not the bell itself, rather  the reflections of all the Christmases that bell has mirrored. Those glimmers of joy are for always a part of who I am.

watering can

And then some years ago I got my grandfather’s watering can, never a treasure , always the one thing that reminded me of his steadfast nurturing and caring for every living thing, me included. A life filled with memories of love, my true and lasting childhood treasure.

Second thoughts

bare trærIn Norway every holiday has its second day, a great invention. It used to be a necessity, churches were far apart and ministers were few and each minister was serving many congregations.Then the minister had to travel and services in the far out places were long between, some places only at the holidays, and then on the second, third, fourth day. This still lingers on, now the second days are part of the regulated vacation days and everyone wants to keep them, even if the ministers often have the day off now a days.
bare marker A second day, that is a wonderful tool for getting back on track.Not quite holiday, not quite workday. Try it, even if they are not in the official calendar! Do not rush into your normal schedule, as schedules tend to get in the way of real life they need to be tweaked and pruned ever so often. Most of us live a life where we have to establish time for reflections and transition, our surroundings expect us to be ready for totally different tasks without changing gears.I think that attitude has its root in considering man a tool or a piece of machinery, ready to be used for whatever purpose.

vinstokker
If man is indeed part of nature the most elementary knowledge about life is that there is a season to everything, that growing and maturing has to come before bearing fruit. Second days are the perfect opportunity for second thoughts. Not necessarily radically new thoughts, but a chance to stop and to think. Instead of rushing from bustling celebration to hectic workday schedule, take time to let the joy of the holiday settle and take root in your heart so that your life will be richer.

kale

Come to think of it, while we know that time is what makes good fruit in a simple tree, one could be forgiven for thinking we value the fruits of our life to be of lesser value than an apple. Why else do we demand instant results and rewards, why else do we not take time for the reflection that combines knowledge and experience, wisdom and love into fruits worth sharing?

Weekly photo challenge: a day in my life

This is just what indexing and organizing and de-cluttering and getting a grip on life is all about, you have to understand this: life does not come in neat and tidy packages. How could you label your life and say: this, this is IT? Life, comes in heaps and  bundles. The thing with trying to get some order, is all about not letting details rule your life, so that you will have energy to handle, confront and enjoy whatever challenges, setbacks and possibilities you’ll encounter. To put it short, you can not go anywhere until you find your car keys, but knowing where your car keys is, won’t take you anywhere either.

I have been thinking about this on different levels for  quite a long time, and this photo challenge just got me started again. No matter what level I choose, something of my life will not be in it. Some instances, yesterday we spent hours trying to solve some software problems….we have nothing to show for that struggle. Except it did not make us especially happy, even then we went on an excursion to the court-house ( a wonderful storybook building) and to the art gallery. Do the pictures I took show my enchantment with the place or my impatience of not having solved my problem? Another instance, we did not see any of our children yesterday, still they are at the heart of everything I think, feel and do. And lastly, it was Good Friday yesterday, which is at the core of my beliefs, I did not go anywhere near a church though, so how could my pictures show it?

Even then, to me, every picture I take, is a reflection of my soul. Every image I share and every word I write is an invitation to listen to your soul, what do you think when you see this? How will we grow when we share our reflections? There then, the glory, and wonder of humankind, we are able to reach out to each other, to understand more, to love more, just form glimpses, just from tiny sparks and ideas. So – ten images from yesterday, from my day, what do you see?!

Living index – library saturday

entrance but not where you actually enter...

Entrance – but not where you actually enter…

Spring Break means going places, so as we were not going anywhere else, we went to have a look at  a beautiful place in our hometown, the Santa Barbara Public Library.  I love almost any library, everything is in order and at hand, and the more books I can borrow at the library the less books will fill my home ( in theory, that is).

Arched windows today

Arched windows today

The wonderful Spanish Revival building was completed in 1924, only to be severely damaged during the big earthquake in 1925. I just checked out old newspapers on that, they said books were falling out of their shelves at the library. Looking at pictures from the time, that must be the understatement of the year. Of course when the dust was settling the catastrophe was clear to everyone.

And this is the library after “some books fell out of the shelves”

Anyways, most of the books are back on rows upon rows of wooden shelves, free to be enjoyed, at the many reading tables or in the deep leather chairs around the enormous fireplace.

I wonder if the fireplace is lit in winter?

I wonder if the fireplace is lit in winter?

Most, but not all, there are a lot of book filled totes on the floor, why? That is the Book Club in a bag, how cool is that? The library packs a tote with 8-10 copies of the required book, reading notes and questions and extra information on the author, just collect and you are ready to host the next book club!

innestigfrode

The library is not listed as a “must see” in Santa Barbara, perhaps because it is not enough to see it, it must be savored, in peace, with a good book. Even so, it is truly a see worthy building. And yes, when you have seen it, you may visit the neighbor, the Santa Barbara City Courthouse, nicknamed the most beautiful public building in the US. Wonderful saturday, without actually going places, just staying.ute