Go with the flow – the expected unexpected in a postaday post

Go away!

Go away!

My theory that life is so much better if you are just enough organized is grounded in the basic fact that life seldom is what we expect it to be.

When I am in a realistic/pessimistic/blue/ just too tired mood, I expect the worst to happen, that an unexpected call will be the police telling me of an accident or our vicar to tell of a death. It almost never is.

You are not welcome

You are not welcome

When everything is going my way and I feel happy, expectant and relaxed, I do expect callers that brings news of new-born babies, love that is found, competitions that are won and invitations that are given. Quite often it is. Most of the time unexpected calls are neither, but just interruptions. Someone wants me to buy things, do something, sign up for almost anything. Even so, the calls are made by people who do deserve that I listen and am polite.

Not today

Not today

And then to most of us life is just that. Someone will try to sell you car insurance even when you are ill in bed. Others will want to share their joy when your soul will shed only tears, as grief and sorrow will not wait at the door until we are through with our party. Of course one cannot expect and plan for all this, if you do anxiety will cripple your attempt at living.

I want you to feel like this

I want you to feel like this

Even so, knowing that the unexpected are to be expected, gives a relaxed way of living that makes room for both joy and sorrow. Even if most of my callers are expected, I want even the unexpected to feel wanted and cared for. To be organized for this is something I work on being better at.

Let us just sit down

Let us just sit down

I do it like this: I try to leave open spots in my schedule so that I always have a real possibility of taking some time off for the unexpected call, even if it is not the catastrophic sort who forces everything else away.

I normally have something nice to eat in the freezer, either to add to our meal or to make a new meal when guests show up unexpectedly.

I try to keep my house in order, not only for guests, but so as not to waste time running in circles when I really need to respond to something.

The more the merrier

The more the merrier

Most of all, I sit down. I used to be so happy when the cordless phones came, which meant I could keep on doing whatever I thought was important when somebody called. I thought the caller could not feel my resentment  for being interrupted. I surely was so preoccupied with trying to do things when listening that I completely missed the blessing of walking a part of the road   with a fellow human being. I did not stop doing that until my son answered the phone the first time. As soon as he had said hello he rushed to the window and started to deadhead the potted plants, then he tried to water them all the time listening to his grandmother. Afterwards I asked him why he did that. That’s what you do, he said. As soon as the phone rings you start to run about, you never do that when people are visiting!

Who were that on the phone I said, I do not know he said, looking puzzled. To him the phone was the signal for rushing, not for relating.

Who was that?

Who was that?

I am not an angel, most of my friends or people that call me are not either, I think. I like to think of the verse in the Bible who says we should not forget to show hospitality as we could be hosting angels (Hebrews 13:2). That would certainly be unexpected, but if even that is what should be expected, I think I’ll just go with the flow, receive whoever is calling, and expect some surprises.

You are very welcome! See you! You are always expected!

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Why do the birds sing? Or a postaday answer to Why do you blog?

Blogging is reflection

Blogging is reflection

Carl Barks has this legendary story about why birds sing. His character Gyro Gearloose starts an experiment with a bird and three theories:

May be it is sad, maybe it is happy, maybe it just sings?

IMG_1120 sandpiper

What would the sandpiper tell us?

After having trapped the bird, in the ordinary way ( you did know how to do that did you not? By sprinkling salt on its tail of course!) he questions it by wiring it’s head. The answer is : May be I am sad, may be I am happy, may be I just sing.

Perhaps I am sad

Perhaps I am sad

Just like with blogging. The thing is the communication, to share into the world regardless of who is listening. Which to me is what being a human being is all about, to communicate, to share and to learn from another. Whether I am sad, whether I am happy, whether I just want to sing.

Perhaps I am happy

Perhaps I am happy

The beauty of it, both in talking and writing, is that by arranging my words and sorting through my mind, I get closer to understand  why I am singing just now. The best part of it is to grow wiser both by knowing myself and by listening to the thoughts of others. Blogging is like a big campfire, where there always is a new story to listen to, new wisdom to take part in and a new song to join.

IMG_0352 sharing joy

And then again, sometimes I just want to sing.

Press it! Sharing blogs that make a difference

Other people may show me when I am too narrow-minded

Other people may show me when I am too narrow-minded

Prompted by the postaday prompt to share and recommend three blogs that I loved, I am happy to recommend these three persons who all makes a difference in the world through what they do and what they blog.

Some years ago I asked my brother, who knows this kind of things, is it possible to earn money on my pictures? I was aching for some new gear, a photo safari in Lofoten….you name it, I needed cash! But most of all I ached for a job closer to my heart.  He gave me a book by David du Chemin, Visionmongers. It was not so much about photography as it was about finding, sharing and living by one’s true calling and abilities, the vision and passion. David writes so well, is an astonishing photographer and comes through as a genuine caring person. That book meant a lot to me, and of course I was happy to discover his blog. One of the guiding stars in my life is “give, and it shall be given unto you” . This is the spirit of David’s work too. He writes so poignantly about that today. “Let them steal”,he says, talking about how the fear of being the victim of theft kills the creative energy we could have used for creating. Have a look at his work and words your self!

David du Chemin-world and Humanitarian Photographer

Other people may show me new steps to take

Other people may show me new steps to take

Then there is an norwegian blog I’d love to share, the MD Maria Gjerpe, writes so well, combining medical knowledge with her own experience about chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).  I do not have that illness myself, but have family members who suffer. Maria’s first hand , balanced and sound advice is just what I need. Just now she has started a project to  crowd fund research on CFS. If you do understand norwegian, have a look!

Maria Gjerpe

Listening to others may even give me a new perspective

Listening to others may even give me a new perspective

Last night I got a like on my own blog from someone I had not seen before. I checked out her blog and followed immediately. Pat is a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. She shares so many of my hobbies, hiking, walking and photography. Then again she has chosen a different way of living her belief than I have done, which makes it a gift to me to be able to listen in on her perspective. Her poems and pictures are like a spring of fresh water on a walking trip. You might like it too.

Her post today is about optimism, go visit OPreach!

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.