Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I am a December lover. So was my mother and her mother before that..And I am pleased that Serina also seems to appreciate the busy time of advent and in fact is passing on the tradition of arranging a Christmas work shop with her fellow students in Drammen. I packed and sent her the advent calendar midst of November, and my big little girl was never so grateful for so little..
First weekend in December Serina had some days off and went by the night train and coast buss for approximately ten- twelve hours to come visiting friends and her parents. It was an undivided joy to light the first advent candle together while reciting the familiar verses.
Outside our kitchen window the sparrows are fed with seed, apples and cornballs.
On the seminar I attended in November I was strongly encouraged to allow myself to set my own priorities and make clear limits. I am doing my very best not to let every body think they can feed on me. Making a memorable December for my closest family is my clear goal and I do focus on that aim. I have had say no to other people's wants or cravings. It's not being easy, cause I hate to disappoint or not fulfill friends' expectations. Then I tell myself how really worn out and ill I've become the previous advents, and I think I shall manage to keep my mind made up.
This is a blog in reverse and ends with last week of November.. Gunnar is about to redecorate Serina's room.
To do that he had to empty to room entirely, and many a hidden treasure popped up. The flute had been gone for five years,and was found under a huge writing table. Serina immediately regained her long lost love of playing, and within a few minutes she was playing from Mozart's Magic Flute,- by heart. Wonderful!
Because of the hallway was being occupied by Serina's furniture, I told on the phone that there might not be any Christmas decoration displayed for the first of December. She sounded so disappointed in that far away place, that Gunnar made the Red Sea divide and fetched down six huge boxes from the attic.
The crib has been developed through 37 years. There's a lot of happy memories combined with these small figurines.
The advent calendar was sewn by my mother, my brother and me in 1957. My mother had a book with cross sticks patters. We were allowed to choose figures. I remember protesting strongly against that lilac rabbit, but my mother democratically let her animal loving son have his will in that matter. I do admire her for that now.
Mostly Norwegian Youlenisser are sitting on our trunks. They are more rural dressed than the former bishop St. Nicholaus, and they are reminiscences of old Norwegian traditions where amongst other trolls and nisses were a part of people's daily life. The youlenisse lived in the barn and was treated with porridge and other goodies Christmas night.
A newer crib, where the most spectacular is Serina's self made rehaired Barbie inspired angle.
The big nisse is wearing a jumper that both I and Serina wore as three yearlings. Gunnar and cousin Kristine are still a bit jumpy when they meet the old guy.
Two hours before the first candle was lit.
The days are getting shorter and darker till December 21. Now the sun rises about nine in the east. What's worse is that it's getting dark about four in the afternoon. My mother use to say that the Lord is wise to send white snow in our darkest hours.
Gunnar having a few moments' rest with a box of doughnuts and some uninteresting TV.
Husband Gunnar made it. New wooden floor has replaced the smelling carpet in Serina's room.
The bed which was partly being stored away in the attic and partly in the basement has been put together for homecoming princess.

The hallway is still blocked by important memorabiliaes.

Who would believe that we have stored away thirty boxes in the attic and given away a trailer with Serina furniture. There's more to go!The old rug is about being removed.
We've had snow for a few days two times now. Tradition says third time it will stay until spring.
Leaving Mom and Sauda in sun. The Hoofland peak in the background was mounted by my father and me in 1965. I always think of it as our peak.
Dramatic change in the weather on the way in. We drove into a tunnel of ca 500 meters. One minute there was heavy rain, coming out the road was covered with snow, the sight was zero, high mountain on one side of the road, and the fjord 400 meters steep down on the other side.
Our old car was shoed with summer tires.
My hands were trembling with fear, I could hardly hold my cell cam.
Gunnar has been out a winter's night before and kept his head calm. We arrived at my mother's without any incidents.
We had to stay one more night to wait for the roads to be scraped and salted for our safe return.
Former colleague Kirsten is a keen bridge player
with a lot of humor. She's writing poetry and painting vividly. Always brings a lot of fun and interesting subjects.

Norway was occupied for five years by the Germans in WW2. There are unpleasant memories from that time all along the coastline. The Germans called it "Festung Norwegen" and put a huge effort in "defensing" the country from the Allied Forces.
Here we are on a hike to a fortress with bunkers, cannons and on the heights :the tower of command.
Our freedom was dearly paid for.


Meg said...

You know I am forever grateful for your work.

I love you.

See you in 15 days

Felisol said...

Dearest Heart of Mine,
I enjoy your work even more..
I'm so looking forwards to sharing Christmas with you and the rest of the clan.

Pilot Mom said...

Felisol, your home looks so warm and inviting! And, Serina's room is a delight!! How she will love it for sure!

Those snowy/icey roads can be scary without the proper tires! Like you I would be praying mightily for safe travel mercies.

The tv may have been uninteresting to Gunnar but those doughnuts sure looked interesting to ME!! ;) Lol!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year too! Then when Easter comes, I say the same thing! You can't have one without the other!

Blessings to you dear Friend across the pond! :)

Felisol said...

Dear Pilot Mom,
thank you for kind words.
I guess our home is primarily filled with happy memories and stuff we care about. We are in total lack of status symbols, but we like to entertain guests, that's for sure!
Especially the elderly and the for some reason single.
Our priorities are the same on that subject.
I really should not been writing, but baking. A Norwegian housewife should make at least seven different cookies or cakes for Christmas.
I usually make two or three. This year I will reduce it to one!
The rest we can buy at the baker's.
We are trying very hard not to loose focus of the Christmas celebration.
Being moderate about the food, gift and pre-Christmas partying.
Many kids of today don't even know why or what we are celebrating.
It's such a shame and great loss.
I therefor always set up the crib first thing in advent.
I've had two generations of children making figurines for the crib.
I'm not good at preaching but through the figures I get a chance to tell about the great wonder. That God sent his son the earth, so that everyone who believes shall have everlasting life.
I love the old Christmas Carols praising Child Jesus, born in a stable.
In Dulce Jubilo!

Amrita said...

I love your photos and description of the norwegian advent. It lovely to get to know what traditions you have there. I like the dolls younissi, are they fairy people?

Serina 's room looks so cool.The draps over the bed!

and you crib or manger scene as we call it is pretty.And of course your advent calendaer is so precious.Holding on to memories like that makes me feel so nostalgic. We used to have lots of people home for Chjristmas and now everybody lives so far away.

Cliff said...

Hi, I'm here from Jim H. blog. He'll be here on our farm for lunch tomorrow.
You have a lovely home and should be very proud of it.
Your weather looks just like ours. It is currently snowing hard right now.
Merry Christmas!

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
our youlenisse (julenisse Norwegian)
belongs to the little people, the ones who we cannot see but who can cause a lot of harm, if not treated properly. Old superstition, we all know hat, but he's the one Norwegians connect with youl (Christmas) traditions. The sun is turning December 21th. That's important for a country situated this far north. Ancient prechristian traditions are still remembered in our country, even though we were Christened thousand years ago.
Back to the nisse. He's a small somewhat moody duy living in the barn of tha farms. If reated well on Christmas Eve he'll take good care of the animals and the barn. If neglected, the milk may go sour the horses' tales full of knots, in severe cases the barn might even burn down.
No wonder the farmers never have forgotten these tales and still serve the nisse porridge..
Later he's been mixed with the tales of Saint Nicholaus, and been given the honor of deliver gifts on Christmas Eve.
He's dressed in old famer's clothes, but always with a red knitted top-cap.
During ww2 when Norway was occupied by the Germans, the anti-nazies used this knitted top-cap as a sign of resistance.
The German Master people were so insecure that they proclaimed death penalty for wearing the red nisse cap.
Sounds weird now, but this happened only sixty years ago.
Shows the true spirit of the despots.
Well, I think that must be all for now..
Yours Felisol

Anonymous said...

Dearest Mrs.Ljung,

I just saw your post on Pals, and since I have some spare time, I am stopping in to say, "Hi!".

It is interestin you mention about the young people, wondering if they know what Christmas is really about. I noticed with much sadness at a recent craft sale my family attended as a vendor, that the Christmas drawing adorning the wall of the rec room was full of gifts, trees, lights, stars, and Santa...but no nativity scene, not even angels! In my family we believe that Christmas is a pagan holiday, a belief shared by the Pilgrims who first came to America...they outlawed that day which they named as "pagan". The observation only began a few hundred years after the birth of Christ. It is VERY difficult, et me be honest, after celebrating Christmas for about 15 years of my life, the last several my family didn really celebrate it, but at the same time we children rebelled and hung on to some aspects, such as gift-giving...but when God convicts the heart it is so amazing: only He could get through to me, because I rebelled against my parents' recent belief. I have no problem with Christians who celebrate Christmas. I still say, "Merry Christmas." But in my heart I know the day is not a holy one... but there is no reason to impose my belief on anyone else, of course! I am used to being different...and it isn't fun :)

My dear father has been in the hospital's emergency room since yesterday morning. I miss him dearly. I did not get to kiss him good-bye, as he rode in the van with us, and then my mom dropped him off at the hospital while we went to the funeral for a neighbor who died (at age 55) of a brain aneurism. My father was constipatd for several days...they are keeping him until he is empty, and then he can return home. Last evening was the lowest in my life...I cried as I reflected on the 2 years I knew my neighbor who died, an the thought that I, like his son Avi, might easily lose my dad, too. I visited the family today and wanted so hard to comfort the boy I only met yesterday, but I felt wordless and helpless. Today my mom left for the hospital at 7 AM, and I had my hands full until she returned a 2 PM. I was so stressed and weary, but when she came in, it was as if a huge burden was lifted. I was smiling, refreshed, happy, and ready for anything....I was no longer in charge!!

Pilot Mom wrote an amazing post about God's sufficient grace...my prayer is that I will accept that grace, and not wallow in the mire of self-pity.

I love you dearly!

May God bless you richly!

Love and Prayers,

Felisol said...

Dear Lil Pilgrim Pal,
Aren't you a rich, colourful, intelligent and empathic woman.
I do admire people thinking for themselves and making up their own minds, even if I do not always agree.

I am so sorry both to hear that your father is seriously ill and the untimely death of your neighbour.
You sure have had many a heavy burden this last half year, Lil Pilgrim.
I will be praying for your dad, the family of your neighbour and yourself. I so do hope you can keep your courage up. Also praying that your health must improve.
We have a mighty father, almighty as a matter of the fact.

About pagan/holy celebrations. I don't have any problems with which is holy or not. Most holidays have elderly pagan origin. Easter was a jewish feast and by us a fertility feast. Important is what we choose to celebrate. The old Midwinter blut was replaced by celebration of the Holy Night when Christ was born. I find that marvelous. I am, however not happy when God's greatest gift to the world is drowned in Santas, glitter and wrapping paper. Not to mention the billions spent on unnecessary junk gift while the world is starving.
That's so sad, really.
Yours Felisol

Amrita said...

thank you Felisol for tellingme about the nisse. In India we also have our gnomes and goblins, but of not of our faith.

But we 've had close brushes with evil spirits too.

The commercialization of Christmas is not to my liking.In India its at a much lower scale but its there and it makes me uncomfortable.Just empty traditions.Even our non-Chrisatian friends celebrate without any meaning.

I like what you say about appreciating people who think differently from you. In my family and wider circle it was a sin to think outside the box. I"m getting out of it. Always had trouble with my folks on that.

Felisol said...

Dear Amrita,
Yeah, I like multitude.
Where everybody's thinking the same, nobody's thinking very much.
I feel enriched to learn to know Christians from India, Canada, the USA, Ireland and the Netherlands.
My Monk Brother Ole is even more fascinated by the different branches of the vine than I am.
He's living in a Benedictine Monastery, and will continue to do so. Recently he has been learning icon painting in a West Syrian Monastery. Their church was founded by St. Peter 7 years before he went to Rome. It's known as the congregation in Antioch.
I like when paste and present meet.
I also like to get my horizon broadened.
For you, dear Amrita, I hope you'll continue your thinking and exploring. It's not possible to be acknowledged by all of the people all of the time. I think o's better off being oneself than a bad copy of the mass.
Love Felisol

Jim said...

Hi Felisol -- This is a refreshing post. Thank you. I don't know too much about dolls younissi. I will have to Google that. They are pretty nice.
Your nativity set got complex with all the figures you have added. We keep the manger, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph up all year. Then when we get back to Texas we will put up the rest of the figures.
It is a wood set with the tallest people about six inches high. We have added a camel and an extra shepherd carrying a lamb.
The set was carved in Bethlehem, Israeal. We picked it up there in 1980.

Thank you for the nice comment. The farm did sell today, for a really good price for us. That is a relief that it sold nicely.

Early this morning I put up just three pictures on my PHOTO BLOG
of our visit to the Burt County (Nebraska) Museum. Two are snow pictures of the house, one is Mrs. Jim, my sister, and the curator.
My father was on the board of directors for a long time.
I will post more of that visit later.

We had lunch today at Cliff Morrow's. He did the cooking and we all enjoyed our nice visit. (Cliff left a comment here yesterday. He got me started in blogging.)

Felisol said...

Dear Jim & Cliff,
I'm just so happy that your good friend Cliff sent me a message when I heard of the shooting in Nebraska. Tragic anyway, but I was indeed relieved to hearing you and Mrs. Jim weren't there.
I briefly visited Cliff's blog. Seems he is a genuine red blooded farmer.
I'll have to read more about this man from Nebraska.
I just might have a first cousin in Nebraska, breeding horses. Daughter of my mother's eldest brother. I must contact my Norwegian cousins to find out some more.
I am happy you got a fair price for your farm. These days the USA is famous for a huge drops in the real estate market.
My Mom will always claim that land will never loose its importance.
She's an earth lady...Digging in her garden is her best medicine.
Well, I hope you are having a good time up were your roots are.
I will go and check out your photoblog.now.

Saija said...

i think that Norway (and Finland too), celebrate the spiritual side of Christmas more than we do here in Canada (or the U.S.) ... i know that my family in Finland do some of the advent traditions too ... and i find it refreshing ...

blessings on you! as always, i enjoyed the lovely visit to your home and country ... thank you for taking the time to share!

Jim said...

I liked the BD card that Terry made for you. I just saw it tonight. So (sorry, LPP, but I can't remember the nice song you tried to teach me),
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY late, Felisol and Gunnar!

And many more!

Felisol said...

Dear Saja,
you are right, the Finns and the Norwegians do have similar traditions for Advent. Our first alphabet, the rune, came to Norway through Finland. There are rune script on a stone in our neighborhood, and we all are familiar with the huge treasure found in Karelia.
Our ancient calendar, the prime stick,has a mark for most days in December. Tomorrow we are celebrating the feast of Italian St. Lucia. Maybe I'll blog about that.
There are certain days for doing the slaughter, for brewing the ale, for rinsing and washing..
Now the Finns and the Norwegians are having a quarrel about where the youle nisse does originate.
We know he's lining on every Norwegian farm, but the Finns were smarter. They placed the youle nisse in a specific town in Finland, and now thousands of tourist are traveling to that town every year.
Yeah, the Finns sure know how to make gold from greystone.
I'm fine with that.
They came first and we should let them have the honour.
December is galloping.
I've got to go and do something useful.

Dear Jim,
I love your birthdaysong.
How come I imagine your not singing with a quite clear tone?? I may as often be all wrong. You're singing the same line so many times just because you love to sing. A youTube song might be requested for your stunned audience.
Terry is a photo wizard, I love her pictures as dearly as your songs.
It's about spreading happiness, eh?
I spent my day in bed with kidney stone, but Gunnar's day we do hope to celebrate. Then Serina will be home to enjoy the feast too.
Yours Felisol