Monday, December 31, 2007


Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred Lord Tennyson
and Felisol

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Christmas remains the major feast in the Lutheran Church,like it or not.
Guess I like it despite all the junk and glitter.
Christmas is above all coming home. To church and songs, foods and games, gathered family and finding an oasis of peace despite pains, loss and sorrows.
Today is December 13th. The feast of the Sicilian Santa Lucia. The arch-protestant children are dressed in white clothings, flaming candles and going from door to door singing and giving away Lucce-cats (buns).
Serina is fronting this row (aged four, I guess) in our staircase.
The dark winter afternoon was icy, but the warmth of the surprised neighbors who were becoming something instead of tricked or treated, I'll never forget it.
Hope the children also still remember.
Angles, homemade all over the house.
"Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God," Luke says.
Great! I like that expression.
In twenty years we've only stayed twice in Haugesund. First year of our marriage I became ill, and the faily gathered Here.
About eight yeaars ago my father had to undergo an unforeseen hip operation in Christmas. I made him this angle, and Gunnar went to the hospital late, after my father had fell to sleep to make the night nurses help himheng up a sock with a present in.
The most wonderful smile met us next day when we came to visit.
Christmas workshops and Christmas Children's TV still are essential parts of pre Christmas activities.
And all kinds of choirs, amateur and professional artists, filling the churches day after day for a whole month.
Isn't that a worthy way of preaching the gospel to all mankind???

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.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Vår Frelsers Kirke
There is Messiah and there is music. There is the Bible and there are lyrics and librettos. I might also add there are conductors and there is Boris Brott, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

For two years in a row Boris Brott has visited four Norwegian towns, including small Haugesund. He has conducted a choir rooted in a Lutheran Bible School, together with four of the best soloists we,ve got. In the spirit of Handel the money acquired is donated to "Mission without border" .
I don't quite remember first time I heard the Messiah. The Hallelujah choir must have been in in my ears, in my head from childhood on. My father used to say he longed for the day he could join the Hallelujah choir in heaven.
He's there now. Hopefully conducted by Handel himself.

The story of how the Messiah was written, is a story of a well known composer, miraculously recovering from a brain blow about 260 years ago. In Karlsbad, Germany he met Jesus and fought his way back to life. Back in London he sunk into a deep depression, could not write, would not eat or drink.
A friend of his, Charles Jennens dropped by with a new libretto for an oratory. The words directly quoted from the Bible.
Handel, laying faced towards the wall, would not even turn around to have a look at it.

Eventually he took a peek, moving around restlessly.
The opening words :"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God" did the wonder of opening Handel's long shut mind.
In 23 days he composed what should be remaining The Masterpiece in the history of music.

Handel's trials was not yet over. In London he found himself out of fashion. Nobody wanted his newly written Messiah.
Then came words from Dublin. The not unknown Jonathan Swift, author and vicar of St. Patrick's Cathedral, needed an oratory to perform in a Dublin theater to collect money to Dublin orphanages. Handel was in. He dedicated his masterpiece to God, and the money earned to be given to homeless children.
The two choirs from Christ Church and St. Patrick united and after a not so overwhelming first night, the success was phenomenal. The audience was told to leave their sables and crinolines at home to make space for more people.
I've seen the original music sheets in the crypt of St. Patrick.
It gave me goose skin.
Back in England Handel's fame and wealth rose above former hight. King Georg 1 was his tone deaf mesén.
The first time the king heard the Hallelujah choir, he startled and stood up in firm salute.
That tradition reminds to this very day.
Yesterday, in Our Savior's Church in Haugesund, we the audience were allowed standing to sing along with the choir, conducted my Boris Brott.
If you're only to attend one Christmas concert this year,
go and be a part of the Messiah experience.

(Pictures stolen from Wikipedia. Story partly from Stephan Zweig "Sternstunden der Menschenheit". uTube must have some Messiah recordings)

Georg Friedrich Händel


A Sacred Oratorio

Words by Charles Jennens


1. Sinfonia (Overture)

2. Accompagnato

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.
Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.
The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

(Isaiah 40: 1-3)

3. Air

Ev'ry valley shall be exalted, and ev'ry moutain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain.
(Isaiah 40: 4)

4. Chorus

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
(Isaiah 40: 5)

5. Accompagnato

Thus saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts: Yet once a little while and I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land.
And I will shake all nations; and the desire of all nations shall come.

(Haggai 2: 6-7)
The Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the Covenant, whom you delight in; behold, He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
(Malachi 3: 1)

6. Air

Alto or soprano
But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner's fire.
(Malachi 3: 2)

7. Chorus

And He shall purify the sons of Levi, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
(Malachi 3: 3)

8. Recitative

Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Emmanuel, God with us.
(Isaiah 7: 14; Matthew 1: 23)

9. Air and Chorus

O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up into the high mountain. O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, behold your g od!
(Isaiah 40: 9)
Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
(Isaiah 60: 1)
O thou that tellest. . . etc.

10. Accompagnato

For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people; but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.
And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

(Isaiah 60: 2-3)

11. Air

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light;
and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

(Isaiah 9: 2)

12. Chorus

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
(Isaiah 9: 6)

13. Pifa ("Pastoral Symphony")

14a. Recitative

There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night.
(Luke 2: 8)

14b. Accompagnato

And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.
(Luke 2: 9)

15. Recitative

And the angel said unto them: "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

(Luke 2: 10-11)

16. Accompagnato

And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying:
(Luke 2: 13)

17. Chorus

"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men."
(Luke 2: 14)

18. Air

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is the righteous Saviour, and He shall speak peace unto the heathen.
Rejoice greatly. . . da capo

(Zecharaiah 9: 9-10)

19. Recitative

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing.

(Isaiah 35: 5-6)

20. Air (or Duet)

(Alto &) soprano
He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; and He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.
(Isaiah 40: 11)
Come unto Him, all ye that labour, come unto Him that are heavy laden, and He will give you rest.
Take his yoke upon you, and learn of Him, for He is meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

(Matthew 11: 28-29)

21. Chorus

His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
(Matthew 11: 30)


22. Chorus

Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.
(John 1: 29)

23. Air

He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
(Isaiah 53: 3)

He gave His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that plucked off His hair: He hid not His face from shame and spitting.
He was despised. . . da capo (Isaiah 53: 6)

24. Chorus

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows!
He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him.

(Isaiah 53: 4-5)

25. Chorus

And with His stripes we are healed.
(Isaiah 53: 5)

26. Chorus

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way. And the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53: 6)

27. Accompagnato

All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn; they shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, saying:
(Psalm 22: 7)

28. Chorus

"He trusted in God that He would deliver Him; let Him deliver Him, if He delight in Him."
(Psalm 22: 8)

29. Accompagnato

Thy rebuke hath broken His heart: He is full of heaviness. He looked for some to have pity on Him, but there was no man, neither found He any to comfort him.
(Psalm 69: 20)

30. Arioso

Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow.
(Lamentations 1: 12)

31. Accompagnato

Soprano or tenor
He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgressions of Thy people was He stricken.
(Isaiah 53: 8)

32. Air

Soprano or tenor
But Thou didst not leave His soul in hell; nor didst Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.
(Psalm 16: 10)

33. Chorus

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in.
Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glory.

(Psalm 24: 7-10)

34. Recitative

Unto which of the angels said He at any time: "Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee?"
(Hebrews 1: 5)

35. Chorus

Let all the angels of God worship Him.
(Hebrews 1: 6)

36. Air

Alto or soprano
Thou art gone up on high; Thou hast led captivity captive, and received gifts for men; yea, even from Thine enemies, that the Lord God might dwell among them.
(Psalm 68: 18)

37. Chorus

The Lord gave the word; great was the company of the preachers.
(Psalm 68: 11)

38. Air (or « duet and Chorus »)

Soprano or alto (or soprano, alto and Chorus)
How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.
(Isaiah 52: 7; Romans 10: 15)

39. Chorus (or air for tenor)

Their sound is gone out into all lands,
and their words unto the ends of the world.

(Romans 10: 18; Psalm 19: 4)

40. Air (or « Air and Recitative »)

Why do the nations so furiously rage together, and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against His anointed.

(Psalm 2: 1-2)

41. Chorus

Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us.
(Psalm 2: 3)

42. Recitative

He that dwelleth in Heav'n shall laugh them to scorn; The Lord shall have them in derision.
(Psalm 2: 4)

43. Air

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
(Psalm 2: 9)

44. Chorus

Hallelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.
(Revelation 19: 6)
The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord,
and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.

(Revelation 11: 15)
King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
(Revelation 19: 16)


45. Air

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand
at the latter day upon the earth.
And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.

(Job 19: 25-26)
For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.
(I Corinthians 15: 20)

46. Chorus

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

(I Corinthians 15: 21-22)

47. Accompagnato

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
(I Corinthians 15: 51-52)

48. Air

The trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality.
The trumpet. . . da capo

(I Corinthians 15: 52-53)

49. Recitative

Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
(I Corinthians 15: 54)

50. Duet

Alto & tenor
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.

(I Corinthians 15: 55-56)

51. Chorus

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(I Corinthians 15: 57)

52. Air

Soprano alto
If God be for us, who can be against us?
(Romans 8: 31)
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is at the right hand of God, who makes intercession for us.
(Romans 8: 33-34)

53. Chorus

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us to God by His blood, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom,
and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
Blessing and honour, glory and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.

(Revelation 5: 12-14)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


This fall has galloped along with yours truly dangling helplessly behind. I sure would like to show some of the things that have been occupying my time and mind for the last month.It's hunting season. The deers seem to know that they are not safe in the woods. This one visited Turid's garden early one morning. (Photo Turid)
Serina is doing well at her school. She played around in Photoshop and sent me a sweet greeting. (Photo Serina)
Gunnar and I like to go strolling on the quays of Haugesund.
Wind in his hear. He should be putting on warmer clothes.
Gorgeous Ruby, step niece of mine, is closest to my heart. She visited to watch Grey's Anatomy with me 2 days before she left to study to be a pet vet at a university just outside London.
Serina visited her on November the second. The two have been friends for ten years now, and were perfectly happy on their own in London.
Ruby has a special project nursing two tiger-babies. She's my tiger girl!!!
After a heavy storm came the frost and the snow.
My kitchen window facing north (and Serina's veranda) is white from sea salt.

Second Sunday in November is Father's Day by us.
I brought Gunnar breakfast in bed (and new clogs). Serina woke him up with a telephone call early in the morning.
Snow outside our living room window. We used to say that the snow had to fall three times before it would remain. That was in my childhood. Now we're lucky to see a few snowflakes now and then. This year frost came too early. I have not yet finished planting tulips..
After 20 years of marriage I am getting a room of my own. Gunnar has cleaned out a former guest room and bought me new bookcases.
I inherited two thousand copies after my father.
Those are books he collected almost one by one. He used to have a list in his wallet with books and authors he was looking for. We've had many a happy chase together. One time he used his stick to stop Turid from passing him in the queue to a market. Well, he learned not to mess with my friend. She simply threatened to steal his cane if he would not let her pass on the stairs.
The blue jar is a gift from my German friend, Christa. We've managed to keep out friendship for 37 years, even though she's living in Germany.
I being my old weird lucky self decorating my room for hobby work, music listening and reading. Finally I can see what has been hidden in chests and boxes for decades. I feel very rich indeed.
Serina brought me flowers in her autumn vacation. They have been greatly appreciated.

On our weekly hikes. Ducks swimming on the Eivind's Water.
Here's the troll guarding The Deep Valley, favourite recreation area for the 30.000 inhabitants of Haugesund.
Too cold to take a swim. The ladder is there in case someone falls through the ice in wintertime.
Last living insect in this part of the country. Even the snails are gone for now. That is, they hide two inches under the ground.
Very old friends gathered before Elisabeth, sitting at Turid's right hand side, sets off for two months in Thailand.
In Norway we have all kinds of churches, and then in addition assembly houses for low-church people, called prayer houses. Gunnar's aunt Lilly and I went to a bazaar there. That's what we call it when house wives knit, embroider and gather all kinds of stuff and sell lottery tickets for, in this case, a hospital. Aunt Lilly won a pillow, a jumping rope and a toy moose. Kaare, sitting next to her won at least ten items.
Eight gentlemen by six of them were singing barbershop melodies. Cute.
It's dark outside before six in the afternoon. Turid smiling on board the ferry from Bergen.
Turid, Liv and I joined a healing session in Bergen. Here's the very sympathetic hostess Aslaug.
At the dinner table. Turid sitting left in a new classy Oleanna jacket.
Near by a large shopping center, under the bridge separating Haugesund from Karmoey
five bauta stones (stone monuments) have been placed by the druids, prior to the viking area.
They look a bit spooky, and are called the five foolish virgins.
Every autumn art exhibitions are flooding.
Gunnar and I managed to visit three in one day.
Paintings of all ages, qualities and techniques. I fell for a small needle etching called "We are my dream." I bought it, on Gunnar's approval, but have not yet received it
On our way out into the woods.

Gunnar is enjoying fresh boiled shrimps on the chest my grandfather brought with him from Sweden to Norway 102 years ago.
Now king Winter has definitely arrived.
In a week or two our home will be in advent mood, day by day transformed into Christmas delight.