Wednesday, December 30, 2009


It's that time of year. The summing up and contemplating season. Don't look back, Bob Dylan said. “Life must be lived forward, but understood backwards”, was Soren Kierkegaard's device..
I tend to agree with the latter.

1 Family.
The ones closest to my heart; Serina and Gunnar are still growing nearer and dearer day by day. Love doesn't fade as years go by, it's burning clearer as wisdom grows and more bonds are tied. My mother and my brother are also doing better and that is nothing less than a wonder. God is great!(and they are stubborn fighters)
Aunt Lilly went home to celebrate with Jesus as Terry puts it, December 21st.Her daughter, Gunnar's dear cousin Doris, said in the funeral;" Be not sorry she is gone, Be happy she was here.Other highlights: Concert with cousin Bjorn and his mrs. listening to Jonas Field performing Bjorn's song "The Two Elderly."
That song was published in our local newspaper as a memory to my father. The chorus was written while cousin Bjorn waked over his own dad the week he lay in hospital, dying.
Cousin Arne, named after my father, visited us for a few days this autumn. I don't remember how long he had hiked, but he sure is a trooper with lots and lots of smiles and stories.
Meeting with cousin Sig and his mrs. coming all the way from Montana was huge. Of course cousin Margunn was the hospitable hostess to this great gathering. She's one of a kind. I so appreciate what she's doing.
Ruby girl is finishing her third year on Writtle college north of London.She has performed wonders both in studies and self development. A beautiful and strong Dandelion, even trusted to care for Bengal tigers.

2 Friends
The holy clover from 30 years back are still sticking together, celebrating birthdays, doing some wining and dining, sharing laughs and tears like we always have done.
Hiker girls, also a group of basically four fantastic, enthusiastic, adventurous and loyal 60+, are gathering every Tuesday, come sun come rain. best thing is, they don't give up on me, even though I unwillingly have to spend some Tuesday in bed.
This last autumn I've also made a new friend; lovely Cecilie who is following us to late Friday afternoon bathing.
In May we had a 40 years jubilee of students from nursing school. Amazing how little people had changed and how we still enjoyed being together. The happy and enthusiastic 69ers still had much of their spirit intact. We decided not to wait more than 5 years till next gathering.

3 Blogworld/Facebook
Terry has become a central link in my blog-world. She's always there, with smiles, encouragements, prayers and laughter. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf has broadened my horizon socially and spiritually. I thank God for my new sisters and hope we get to travel together for a long time. Teach Mary has challenged me to go new roads when it comes to photographing as well as watching my surroundings. How I love being busy being born.
John Cowart, an author one of his kind, also challenges me with new ways of thinking and understanding God & life. I am so thankful.
I have taken up a low scale face booking. It is a good way of maintaining contact with the ones I already care about.

4 Travels
Not many, not long, but inspirational and cope-able. Oslo once, Bergen 2 times, Stavanger 3 times, Jaeren 2 times and Sauda about once a month. The faithful Rover is ferrying us around in the local scenery as well. Gunnar is an expert finding interesting off road sites. We are indeed pathfinders and also all the time looking for traces back to the past.

5 Hikes
Likewise the hiker ladies are also looking out for new goals and new experiences. We've been sailing out to the islands out in the North Sea, trotting out to remote lighthouses, walking windblown sandy beaches, exploring old uranium mines high up in the mountains and conquering a few hilltops as well.

6 Art experiences
I don't know how to rank them. The Oslo concert with Bob Dylan, Dubliners singing here by the quays one beautiful summer afternoon, Norwegian world class pianist Leif Ove Andsnes playing Mussorgsky one week before Christmas, Metropolitan soloists performing in Beethoven's 9th in Bergen, the local chamber music ensemble playing in the remote
off,off road old church, folksinger, poet and violinist Sondre and Annbjorg forever influencing our minds and hearts on our pilgrims travels, the Russian balalaika orchestra playing along with two local choirs making the Church of Our Savior boil with joy, or standing on a bench in a tent in Skudesnes with Serina singing out of a full heart along with Kaizers Orchestra "Ompa till you die" (and no, Lina Kristine neither of us had tasted a single drop of alcohol!)

We have enjoyed our local art gallery over and over again. Some pearls are always nice to revisit, like dear friends. Young art sometimes also make us moved, especially at Haa old vicarage. They have a taste for values down south. In Bergen the costly galleries are stringed up like pearls on a row. Never a dull moment. Most impressive? The vast Chinese collection. There's still so much to see. We don't buy much. Gunnar bought me some beautiful photos picturing the "Leaving of Sauda" this autumn. I treasure them highly, sentimental reasons, maybe. Most youths growing up in my birth town have to seek education and work elsewhere.
The leaving is both an adventure, but to most also a final goodbye to one part of life.
One new hobby developing from all the recent concert; Visiting "new" and interesting churches both in the neighborhood and when we are out of town. Great architecture, great histories, great congregations a well.

7 Garden
Our garden is where I gain power and my main source of recreation. I set the last bulbs in February and started outdoor living in March.
The herb garden can be harvested from April till November. Though rather chilly it also was a good year for the roses. (meaning all kinds of flowers from April till early November)I managed to set 200 new bulbs in October. Now I just have 80 more to be planted this February. We are getting older and more tired though. This year we'll have to rent help to cut the hedges. Even though I kind of like it, our garden is looking more or less like that of Thornrose.

8 New wisdom
Being chronically ill doesn't mean stop developing. On the contrary. To survive one has to look for new solutions and ways to go.
Meeting with my Feldenkrais physiotherapist has been a major turn for the better this year. I have sessions once a week and it' amazing what wonders she has worked to my old and broken limbs. I both move, walk, sit and sleep better than in decades. Best thing is bringing new hope and enthusiasm for my future.
When things are turning for the better one also get inspired to seek further. Gunnar brought this book about the Silva method forth. I thought I might give it a go. I have not reached further than to exercise two, but that too is working out just miraculously for me. Imagine, me!
Mrs. Mac is an inspiration to develop new
ways of domestic working and thinking, so is my friend Turid and Gunnar's cousin Doris.
This is why I have taken up bread baking, filling the freezer with herbs mixes, berries and black currant juice.
What a pleasure. Even my mom is impressed.

9 Books
definitely are readers more than watchers. Our home is gradually bursting with all the books we cannot avoid buying. Best read this year? John Coward's Glog, Flogstad's Grense Jakopselv, Falcones' Cathedral of the Sea and the ones I got for my birthday by Cecilia Samartin.
Gunnar just got a heap of art history books, and yes, I mean a heap. The old julenisse is literally buried in books. I have just been browsing so far, but wow, what a gift!

10 Health
Ups and downs for the whole family. Getting a wash-lady sure was a major help to take off the daily overload,as Paul so wisely puts it.
We have a good doc and have not in anyway given up, so I'll have to claim, we are in a rather optimistic mood.

11 New skills
Serina is half way to a bachelor grade in media and communication. She is doing better and better. In writing moment she's celebrating New Year in London with her two best friends from junior high.
She is indeed having a ball.
Gunnar has developed his skills in Tai Chi. He's
got this strong will, never giving up. I admire him enormously. He's also found new ways of using his limited forces in home decorating.
Always reaching forwards to new goals and never giving in, that's my hubby.
We've both bought new cameras this fall and are further inspired by that. Serina took upon the job both of painting our house and remodeling grandma' garden this summer. She's a girl growing with the challenges. At school she suddenly found herself a technical leader for a film festival,- and guess what; she made it with flying colors.

12 The Lord's prayer
I always have found great strength and comfort in praying. Unloading burdens and seeking help, wisdom and forgiveness-, I don't think I could manage life without it. Neither would I.
He who prays shall get, is the promise. I have been richly blessed, this year too.
The hardest as well as the most rewarding prayer, still i the Lord's Prayer.
I often find myself praying "Help me forgive", cause I know in the bottom of my heart I am struggling doing so. Likewise I pray help me not being evil, cause I know I sometimes am.
And it is relaxing praying "Thy will be done."
Handing over the responsibility to the only force able to protect and love and care for all of us in this world and into the afterlife.

Wishing you all a blessed New Year
From Felisol

Monday, December 28, 2009


Overseas Christmas is over once the gifts are opened Christmas Day.
Not so in my country. The Norwegian Jul, pronounced Yule,is not over till 20th Day of Christmas, January 13th. Then comes Santa Knut and chases Christmas out the door.
Today is the first workday since Christmas Eve.

Our small family has as always been gathered.
Home for Christmas is a privilege, not an obligation.
From my first year my mother, Monten, has been Mater Familias, and head of the celebration. Even when regular guests like my grandparents or my aunt and uncle who later immigrated to America
were visiting, my mother did the all preparations, the cooking, baking, silver polishing, decoration and purchases on her own.

Things have gotten easier lately, but the spirit is the same. Also the habit of crushing me in Chinese Checkers.
My mother here posing in her red chair, wearing a blouse Serina bought her and proudly presenting much appreciated gifts from America.

Join in for Ruby Tuesday at teach Mary's

Monday, December 21, 2009


Usually we are dreaming of a White Christmas. This year we seem to have got it, despite the depressing news from the climate conference in Copenhagen. Time to visit the cemetery and place burning lights on the graves of loved ones.
A girl in red is the alibi for this pic.
An angle came with the good news to the world.
Serina is carrying lights for outdoor decorations. Norwegians are modest decorators. Somehow I think this does the trick. Some red in darling daughter's jacket.

Join in for Ruby Tuesday at teach Mary's


I first heard this story told by my uncle Leif in Sunday School 55 years ago. My uncle spellbound 155 mercury children with his interpretation of this story. I hope the adults of today, even how busy and filled with prechristmas stress they might be, can take 7 minutes to read this wonderful story.

Where Love Is, God Is

by Leo Tolstoy


IN A CERTAIN TOWN there lived a cobbler, Martin Avdéiteh by name. He had a tiny room in a basement, the one window of which looked out on to the street. Through it one could only see the feet of those who passed by, but Martin recognized the people by their boots. He had lived long in the place and had many acquaintances. There was hardly a pair of boots in the neighbourhood that had not been once or twice through his hands, so he often saw his own handiwork through the window. Some he had re-soled, some patched, some stitched up, and to some he had even put fresh uppers. He had plenty to do, for he worked well, used good material, did not charge too much, and could be relied on. If he could do a job by the day required, he undertook it; if not, he told the truth and gave no false promises; so he was well known and never short of work.

Martin had always been a good man; but in his old age he began to think more about his soul and to draw nearer to God. While he still worked for a master, before he set up on his own account, his wife had died, leaving him with a three-year old son. None of his elder children had lived, they had all died in infancy. At first Martin thought of sending his little son to his sister's in the country, but then he felt sorry to part with the boy, thinking: 'It would be hard for my little Kapitón to have to grow up in a strange family; I will keep him with me.'

Martin left his master and went into lodgings with his little son. But he had no luck with his children. No sooner had the boy reached an age when he could help his father and be a support as well as a joy to him, than he fell ill and, after being laid up for a week with a burning fever, died. Martin buried his son, and gave way to despair so great and overwhelming that he murmured against God. In his sorrow he prayed again and again that he too might die, reproaching God for having taken the son he loved, his only son while he, old as he was, remained alive. After that Martin left off going to church.

One day an old man from Martin's native village who had been a pilgrim for the last eight years, called in on his way from Tróitsa Monastery. Martin opened his heart to him, and told him of his sorrow.

'I no longer even wish to live, holy man,' he said. 'All I ask of God is that I soon may die. I am now quite without hope in the world.'

The old man replied: 'You have no right to say such things, Martin. We cannot judge God's ways. Not our reasoning, but God's will, decides. If God willed that your son should die and you should live, it must be best so. As to your despair -- that comes because you wish to live for your own happiness.'

'What else should one live for?' asked Martin.

'For God, Martin,' said the old man. 'He gives you life, and you must live for Him. When you have learnt to live for Him, you will grieve no more, and all will seem easy to you.'

Martin was silent awhile, and then asked: 'But how is one to live for God?'

The old man answered: 'How one may live for God has been shown us by Christ. Can you read? Then buy the Gospels, and read them: there you will see how God would have you live. You have it all there.'

These words sank deep into Martin's heart, and that same day he went and bought himself a Testament in large print, and began to read.

At first he meant only to read on holidays, but having once begun he found it made his heart so light that he read every day. Sometimes he was so absorbed in his reading that the oil in his lamp burnt out before he could tear himself away from the book. He continued to read every night, and the more he read the more clearly he understood what God required of him, and how he might live for God. And his heart grew lighter and lighter. Before, when he went to bed he used to lie with a heavy heart, moaning as he thought of his little Kapitón; but now he only repeated again and again: 'Glory to Thee, glory to Thee, O Lord! Thy will be done!'

From that time Martin's whole life changed. Formerly, on holidays he used to go and have tea at the public house, and did not even refuse a glass or two of vódka. Sometimes, after having had a drop with a friend, he left the public house not drunk, but rather merry, and would say foolish things: shout at a man, or abuse him. Now, all that sort of thing passed away from him. His life became peaceful and joyful. He sat down to his work in the morning, and when he had finished his day's work he took the lamp down from the wall, stood it on the table, fetched his book from the shelf, opened it, and sat down to read. The more he read the better he understood, and the clearer and happier he felt in his mind.

It happened once that Martin sat up late, absorbed in his book. He was reading Luke's Gospel; and in the sixth chapter he came upon the verses:

'To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloke withhold not thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.'

He also read the verses where our Lord says:

'And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth, against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.'

When Martin read these words his soul was glad within him. He took off his spectacles and laid them on the book, and leaning his elbows on the table pondered over what he had read. He tried his own life by the standard of those words, asking himself:

'Is my house built on the rock, or on sand? If it stands on the rock, it is well. It seems easy enough while one sits here alone, and one thinks one has done all that God commands; but as soon as I cease to be on my guard, I sin again. Still I will persevere. It brings such joy. Help me, O Lord!'

He thought all this, and was about to go to bed, but was loth to leave his book. So he went on reading the seventh chapter -- about the centurion, the widow's son, and the answer to John's disciples -- and he came to the part where a rich Pharisee invited the Lord to his house; and he read how the woman who was a sinner, anointed his feet and washed them with her tears, and how he justified her. Coming to the forty-fourth verse, he read:

'And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath wetted my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but she hath anointed my feet with ointment.'

He read these verses and thought: 'He gave no water for his feet, gave no kiss, his head with oil he did not anoint. . . .' And Martin took off his spectacles once more, laid them on his book, and pondered.

'He must have been like me, that Pharisee. He too thought only of himself -- how to get a cup of tea, how to keep warm and comfortable; never a thought of his guest. He took care of himself, but for his guest he cared nothing at all. Yet who was the guest? The Lord himself! If he came to me, should I behave like that?'

Then Martin laid his head upon both his arms and, before he was aware of it, he fell asleep.

'Martin!' he suddenly heard a voice, as if some one had breathed the word above his ear.

He started from his sleep. 'Who's there?' he asked.

He turned round and looked at the door; no one was there. He called again. Then he heard quite distinctly: 'Martin, Martin! Look out into the street to-morrow, for I shall come.'

Martin roused himself, rose from his chair and rubbed his eyes, but did not know whether he had heard these words in a dream or awake. He put out the lamp and lay down to sleep.

Next morning he rose before daylight, and after saying his prayers he lit the fire and prepared his cabbage soup and buckwheat porridge. Then he lit the samovár, put on his apron, and sat down by the window to his work. As he sat working Martin thought over what had happened the night before. At times it seemed to him like a dream, and at times he thought that he had really heard the voice. 'Such things have happened before now,' thought he.

So he sat by the window, looking out into the street more than he worked, and whenever any one passed in unfamiliar boots he would stoop and look up, so as to see not the feet only but the face of the passer-by as well. A house-porter passed in new felt boots; then a water-carrier. Presently an old soldier of Nicholas' reign came near the window spade in hand. Martin knew him by his boots, which were shabby old felt ones, goloshed with leather. The old man was called Stepániteh: a neighbouring tradesman kept him in his house for charity, and his duty was to help the house-porter. He began to clear away the snow before Martin's window. Martin glanced at him and then went on with his work.

'I must be growing crazy with age,' said Martin, laughing at his fancy. 'Stepánitch comes to clear away the snow, and I must needs imagine it's Christ coming to visit me. Old dotard that I am!'

Yet after he had made a dozen stitches he felt drawn to look out of the window again. He saw that Stepánitch had leaned his spade against the wall, and was either resting himself or trying to get warm. The man was old and broken down, and had evidently not enough strength even to clear away the snow.

'What if I called him in and gave him some tea?' thought Martin. 'The samovár is just on the boil.'

He stuck his awl in its place, and rose; and putting the samovár on the table, made tea. Then he tapped the window with his fingers. Stepánitch turned and came to the window. Martin beckoned to him to come in, and went himself to open the door.

'Come in,' he said, 'and warm yourself a bit. I'm sure you must be cold.'

'May God bless you!' Stepánitch answered. 'My bones do ache to be sure.' He came in, first shaking off the snow, and lest he should leave marks on the floor he began wiping his feet; but as he did so he tottered and nearly fell.

'Don't trouble to wipe your feet,' said Martin 'I'll wipe up the floor -- it's all in the day's work. Come, friend, sit down and have some tea.'

Filling two tumblers, he passed one to his visitor, and pouring his own out into the saucer, began to blow on it.

Stepániteh emptied his glass, and, turning it upside down, put the remains of his piece of sugar on the top. He began to express his thanks, but it was plain that he would be glad of some more.

'Have another glass,' said Martin, refilling the visitor's tumbler and his own. But while he drank his tea Martin kept looking out into the street.

'Are you expecting any one?' asked the visitor.

'Am I expecting any one? Well, now, I'm ashamed to tell you. It isn't that I really expect any one; but I heard something last night which I can't get out of my mind Whether it was a vision, or only a fancy, I can't tell. You see, friend, last night I was reading the Gospel, about Christ the Lord, how he suffered, and how he walked on earth. You have heard tell of it, I dare say.'

'I have heard tell of it,' answered Stepánitch; 'but I'm an ignorant man and not able to read.'

'Well, you see, I was reading of how he walked on earth. I came to that part, you know, where he went to a Pharisee who did not receive him well. Well, friend, as I read about it, I thought now that man did not receive Christ the Lord with proper honour. Suppose such a thing could happen to such a man as myself, I thought, what would I not do to receive him! But that man gave him no reception at all. Well, friend, as I was thinking of this, I began to doze, and as I dozed I heard some one call me by name. I got up, and thought I heard some one whispering, "Expect me; I will come to-morrow." This happened twice over. And to tell you the truth, it sank so into my mind that, though I am ashamed of it myself, I keep on expecting him, the dear Lord!'

Stepánitch shook his head in silence, finished his tumbler and laid it on its side; but Martin stood it up again and refilled it for him.

'Here drink another glass, bless you! And I was thinking too, how he walked on earth and despised no one, but went mostly among common folk. He went with plain people, and chose his disciples from among the likes of us, from workmen like us, sinners that we are. "He who raises himself," he said, "shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be raised." "You call me Lord," he said, "and I will wash your feet." "He who would be first," he said, "let him be the servant of all; because," he said, "blessed are the poor, the humble, the meek, and the merciful."'

Stepánitch forgot his tea. He was an old man easily moved to tears, and as he sat and listened the tears ran down his cheeks.

'Come, drink some more,' said Martin. But Stepánitch crossed himself, thanked him, moved away his tumbler, and rose.

'Thank you, Martin Avdéitch,' he said, 'you have given me food and comfort both for soul and body.'

'You're very welcome. Come again another time. I am glad to have a guest,' said Martin.

Stepánitch went away; and Martin poured out the last of the tea and drank it up. Then he put away the tea things and sat down to his work, stitching the back seam of a boot. And as he stitched he kept looking out of the window, waiting for Christ, and thinking about him and his doings. And his head was full of Christ's sayings.

Two soldiers went by: one in Government boots the other in boots of his own; then the master of a neighbouring house, in shining goloshes; then a baker carrying a basket. All these passed on. Then a woman came up in worsted stockings and peasant-made shoes. She passed the window, but stopped by the wall. Martin glanced up at her through the window, and saw that she was a stranger, poorly dressed, and with a baby in her arms. She stopped by the wall with her back to the wind, trying to wrap the baby up though she had hardly anything to wrap it in. The woman had only summer clothes on, and even they were shabby and worn. Through the window Martin heard the baby crying, and the woman trying to soothe it, but unable to do so. Martin rose and going out of the door and up the steps he called to her.

'My dear, I say, my dear!'

The woman heard, and turned round.

'Why do you stand out there with the baby in the cold? Come inside. You can wrap him up better in a warm place. Come this way!'

The woman was surprised to see an old man in an apron, with spectacles on his nose, calling to her, but she followed him in.

They went down the steps, entered the little room, and the old man led her to the bed.

'There, sit down, my dear, near the stove. Warm yourself, and feed the baby.'

'Haven't any milk. I have eaten nothing myself since early morning,' said the woman, but still she took the baby to her breast.

Martin shook his head. He brought out a basin and some bread. Then he opened the oven door and poured some cabbage soup into the basin. He took out the porridge pot also but the porridge was not yet ready, so he spread a cloth on the table and served only the soup and bread.

'Sit down and eat, my dear, and I'll mind the baby. Why, bless me, I've had children of my own; I know how to manage them.'

The woman crossed herself, and sitting down at the table began to eat, while Martin put the baby on the bed and sat down by it. He chucked and chucked, but having no teeth he could not do it well and the baby continued to cry. Then Martin tried poking at him with his finger; he drove his finger straight at the baby's mouth and then quickly drew it back, and did this again and again. He did not let the baby take his finger in its mouth, because it was all black with cobbler's wax. But the baby first grew quiet watching the finger, and then began to laugh. And Martin felt quite pleased.

The woman sat eating and talking, and told him who she was, and where she had been.

'I'm a soldier's wife,' said she. 'They sent my husband somewhere, far away, eight months ago, and I have heard nothing of him since. I had a place as cook till my baby was born, but then they would not keep me with a child. For three months now I have been struggling, unable to find a place, and I've had to sell all I had for food. I tried to go as a wet-nurse, but no one would have me; they said I was too starved-looking and thin. Now I have just been to see a tradesman's wife (a woman from our village is in service with her) and she has promised to take me. I thought it was all settled at last, but she tells me not to come till next week. It is far to her place, and I am fagged out, and baby is quite starved, poor mite. Fortunately our landlady has pity on us, and lets us lodge free, else I don't know what we should do.'

Martin sighed. 'Haven't you any warmer clothing?' he asked.

'How could I get warm clothing?' said she. 'Why I pawned my last shawl for sixpence yesterday.'

Then the woman came and took the child, and Martin got up. He went and looked among some things that were hanging on the wall, and brought back an old cloak.

'Here,' he said, 'though it's a worn-out old thing, it will do to wrap him up in.'

The woman looked at the cloak, then at the old man, and taking it, burst into tears. Martin turned away, and groping under the bed brought out a small trunk. He fumbled about in it, and again sat down opposite the woman. And the woman said:

'The Lord bless you, friend. Surely Christ must have sent me to your window, else the child would have frozen. It was mild when I started, but now see how cold it has turned. Surely it must have been Christ who made you look out of your window and take pity on me, poor wretch!'

Martin smiled and said; 'It is quite true; it was he made me do it. It was no mere chance made me look out.'

And he told the woman his dream, and how he had heard the Lord's voice promising to visit him that day.

'Who knows? All things are possible,' said the woman. And she got up and threw the cloak over her shoulders, wrapping it round herself and round the baby. Then she bowed, and thanked Martin once more.

'Take this for Christ's sake,' said Martin, and gave her sixpence to get her shawl out of pawn. The woman crossed herself, and Martin did the same, and then he saw her out.

After the woman had gone, Martin ate some cabbage soup, cleared the things away, and sat down to work again. He sat and worked, but did not forget the window, and every time a shadow fell on it he looked up at once to see who was passing. People he knew and strangers passed by, but no one remarkable.

After a while Martin saw an apple-woman stop just in front of his window. She had a large basket, but there did not seem to be many apples left in it; she had evidently sold most of her stock. On her back she had a sack full of chips, which she was taking home. No doubt she had gathered them at some place where building was going on. The sack evidently hurt her, and she wanted to shift it from one shoulder to the other, so she put it down on the footpath and, placing her basket on a post, began to shake down the chips in the sack. While she was doing this a boy in a tattered cap ran up, snatched an apple out of the basket, and tried to slip away; but the old woman noticed it, and turning, caught the boy by his sleeve. He began to struggle, trying to free himself, but the old woman held on with both hands, knocked his cap off his head, and seized hold of his hair. The boy screamed and the old woman scolded. Martin dropped his awl, not waiting to stick it in its place, and rushed out of the door. Stumbling up the steps, and dropping his spectacles in his hurry, he ran out into the street. The old woman was pulling the boy's hair and scolding him, and threatening to take him to the police. The lad was struggling and protesting, saying, 'I did not take it. What are you beating me for? Let me go!'

Martin separated them. He took the boy by the hand and said, 'Let him go, Granny. Forgive him for Christ's sake.'

'I'll pay him out, so that he won't forget it for a year! I'll take the rascal to the police!'

Martin began entreating the old woman.

'Let him go, Granny. He won't do it again. Let him go for Christ's sake!'

The old woman let go, and the boy wished to run away, but Martin stopped him

'Ask the Granny's forgiveness!' said he. 'And don't do it another time. I saw you take the apple.'

The boy began to cry and to beg pardon.

'That's right. And now here's an apple for you, and Martin took an apple from the basket and gave it to the boy, saying, 'I will pay you, Granny.'

'You will spoil them that way, the young rascals,' said the old woman. 'He ought to be whipped so that he should remember it for a week.'

'Oh, Granny, Granny,' said Martin, 'that's our way -- but it's not God's way. If he should be whipped for stealing an apple, what should be done to us for our sins?'

The old woman was silent.

And Martin told her the parable of the lord who forgave his servant a large debt, and how the servant went out and seized his debtor by the throat. The old woman listened to it all, and the boy, too, stood by and listened.

'God bids us forgive,' said Martin, 'or else we shall not be forgiven. Forgive every one; and a thoughtless youngster most of all.'

The old woman wagged her head and sighed.

'It's true enough,' said she, 'but they are getting terribly spoilt.'

'Then we old ones must show them better ways,' Martin replied.

'That's just what I say,' said the old woman. 'I have had seven of them myself, and only one daughter is left.' And the old woman began to tell how and where she was living with her daughter, and how many grandchildren she had. 'There now,' she said, 'I have but little strength left, yet I work hard for the sake of my grandchildren; and nice children they are, too. No one comes out to meet me but the children. Little Annie, now, won't leave me for any one. "It's grandmother, dear grandmother, darling grandmother."' And the old woman completely softened at the thought.

'Of course, it was only his childishness, God help him,' said she, referring to the boy.

As the old woman was about to hoist her sack on her back, the lad sprang forward to her, saying, 'Let me carry it for you, Granny. I'm going that way.'

The old woman nodded her head, and put the sack on the boy's back, and they went down the street together, the old woman quite forgetting to ask Martin to pay for the apple. Martin stood and watched them as they went along talking to each other.

When they were out of sight Martin went back to the house. Having found his spectacles unbroken on the steps, he picked up his awl and sat down again to work. He worked a little, but could soon not see to pass the bristle through the holes in the leather; and presently he noticed the lamplighter passing on his way to light the street lamps.

'Seems it's time to light up,' thought he. So he trimmed his lamp, hung it up, and sat down again to work. He finished off one boot and, turning it about, examined it. It was all right. Then he gathered his tools together, swept up the cuttings, put away the bristles and the thread and the awls, and, taking down the lamp, placed it on the table. Then he took the Gospels from the shelf. He meant to open them at the place he had marked the day before with a bit of morocco, but the book opened at another place. As Martin opened it, his yesterday's dream came back to his mind, and no sooner had he thought of it than he seemed to hear footsteps, as though some one were moving behind him. Martin turned round, and it seemed to him as if people were standing in the dark corner, but he could not make out who they were. And a voice whispered in his ear: 'Martin, Martin, don't you know me?'

'Who is it?' muttered Martin.

'It is I,' said the voice. And out of the dark corner stepped Stepánitch, who smiled and vanishing like a cloud was seen no more.

'It is I,' said the voice again. And out of the darkness stepped the woman with the baby in her arms and the woman smiled and the baby laughed, and they too vanished.

'It is I,' said the voice once more. And the old woman and the boy with the apple stepped out and both smiled, and then they too vanished.

And Martin's soul grew glad. He crossed himself put on his spectacles, and began reading the Gospel just where it had opened; and at the top of the page he read

'I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.'

And at the bottom of the page he read

'In as much as ye did it unto one of these my brethren even these least, ye did it unto me' (Matt. xxv).

And Martin understood that his dream had come true; and that the Saviour had really come to him that day, and he had welcomed him.

Monday, December 14, 2009


My American blog friends have been decorating for Christmas since end of November.
I have been waiting for Serina to come home. She is half the reason we are decorating, and she is indeed my best helper.

After running up and down our attic ladder with a zillion boxes, she makes the decorations and also does some modeling for her mama.
The old youle-nisse is sitting on his place in the library. Gunnar was almost not scared at all this year. I bet niece Kristine Maria has adjusted to him as well after 20 years.
He may be the youngest family member, but the sweater he's wearing was originally made for me and later carried by Serina. He has occupied my favorite book, Glog, written by blog friend John Cowart.
The Strawbucks are offering the birch nisses a cop of.....Starbucks, I guess.

Join in for Ruby Tuesday at teach Mary's

Friday, December 11, 2009


I was born December 8th 1949. I was blessed to be the first and a wanted child. Since this autumn has been extremely exhausting, with our house turned upside down, due to renovating, I decided to celebrate with only my nearest and dearest; Gunnar and Serina. We sneaked off to the city of our liking; Bergen.
Somehow my bestest must have found us, I don't know how, because a couple of hours after we arrived, this parcel was delivered at the hotel. Champagne and glasses in a nice bouquet, exquisite confection and even a gift card for coaching lessons. Wow. If you take a close look, I had tear in my eyes.

No time for waiting; The celebration started at 08oo p.m. the seventh and didn't stop until 0800 p.m. Decmber the 10th.
With three loaded cameras we started out next morning.
The Church of St. Mary is a must.
I know, I know; I should have photoshopped. Maybe some other day.
Such a peaceful quarter of the town.
Serina taking a break with her Dad's newest love; Cannon Eos 7D.
At the Bryggen Museum we met one of Gunnar's forefathers. The picture talks for itself about genes and the likes.

Lots of items found in layer under layer at the Hansa Brygge sites.

Christmas in the old city.
The Gingerbread City. Made twice through a huge common effort from kindergartens to high tech companies. It was completely crashed by a poor boy last week. Creating headlines greater than those of Obama and his peace-price.The Bergeners didn't mourn for even a day, before they set out to make a new Gingerbread town. As you will see it's placed so low, to be at eye level for the preschool children.

Walking and watching made us hungry.
A room at the top floor with quite a view.
Serina didn't complain for a second during three days of walking through new and older art. An art dive for hungry souls.
Kitty Kielland painted my Mother's Jaeren more than hundred years ago. My mother and her family also had to do hard work in the turf moors to find fuel for the winter.
From Joelster at the end of the Sognefjord, longest fjord in Norway, the painter Astrup lived with his wife and children, also a hundred years ago. He was poor, had lots of children,- and a lovely wife, but managed to share love of nature and family in a magic way.

The apex of our celebration was December 9th in the Grieg Hall. Conductor and soloists famous from Metropolitan, Covent Garden performed Beetoven's 9th Symphony; To Joy.
I hope I never get so senile, that I'll forget those magic hours.
I humbly thank blogfriends, local friends, family and the great God for making these days unforgettable .

Monday, December 07, 2009


Advent orange with 24 tacks and a fur cone nisse mother accompanied by fresh juniper.
Hiker ladies gathered for Christmas workshop in my kitchen.

The Christmas in Cobbler's Street was sent back when Norway only had 1-one- TV channel. Young and adults gathered to celebrate advent time with cobbler Andersen, his little lodger Slipperius, and young & old living in Cobbler's Street.
Andersen invented the advent orange with 24 tacks in it. One to be removed each day in December till the 24th.I think I've had my own Advent orange ever since. It smelling so wonderfully of Christmas memories.

Join in for Ruby Tuesday at teach Mary's

Friday, December 04, 2009


The Norwegian Youlenisse usually lives in the barn. One can easily imagine a whole nisse family living thee, like in this Advent series from the NRK. I prefer watching Youle on the Moon peak to any late night crime series. The nisse family are singing a goodnight song.
It's not that many years ago people in Norway actually believed in both nisses and trolls.Superstition lived side by side with Christianity. Few farmers dared to celebrate Christmas without leaving a huge pot of porridge for nisse daddy. At least till about 150 years ago that was the tradition on farms, maybe even longer. Now our Youle nisse has been mixed with St. Claus till something nobody can relate seriously too. maybe that is a loss, especially to those, to whom Christmas only is gifts and food.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


We have lit the first candle in our Christmas wreath.Time for meditation and peace of mind.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


November 29th and we are celebrating the first Sunday in Advent.
In summer we have blond nights,in Advent time both dusk and dawn are dark blue.
The seven lights are shining from window candlesticks all over Norway, in private as well as public buildings. It's pure magic how young and old, rich and poor, businessmen, military, seamen in ferries and passenger boats, police, hospitals, all, choose to place these lights of waiting and expectation wherever they stay.
Some wants to make us believe that faith and hope are dead, that Christmas is just good for business. The advent sticks tell otherwise.

Originated by MaryT, check hers for today.

Monday, November 23, 2009


We get to see a lot on our hikes. This mountain farm is still operated, only from a second farm down by sea level.Tractors have made life a lot easier for the farmers. Still they have to fetch water outside and do a little bit of laundry under the open sky as well. The antique sink tub is not for exhibition, but a piece of utility. On the other hand the farmer has installed double glassing!
Homage to Rose. Reflected in the window; an old pit shed where there once was a mica quarry. (We "harvested" quite a lot of mica for our collections)

Originated by MaryT, check hers for today.

Monday, November 16, 2009


If I had to live my life over - by Erma Bombeck

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's." More "I'm sorry's."

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it , live it and never give it back.

The wonderful ting is; we all have the opportunity to live the rest of our lives this way. We need not look back on our mistakes, but ahead for our possibilities.

Originated by MaryT, check hers for today.

Friday, November 13, 2009


If I'm only going to buy one more CD this year, it will be that of Susan Boyle!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


My friend Mia shot this pic 2 weeks ago.
I tell you, laying in my mother's arms made me feel like 6 instead of 60.

Monday, November 09, 2009


Our town, Haugesund, is situated at the utmost south-west in Norway, with only a few small islands outside to protect us from the rage of the North Sea.One of these islands, Roevaer, actually is a part of the main city, same mayor, same council e.t.c.

About 100 people have their home here. There's a school, a museum, a couple of painting artists, viking grave sites, a small store and a spa hotel.To keep the small society alive, they are advertising for new inhabitants, preferably with children. Some Dutch people have settle down and are thriving well. Main occupation is fishing combined with minor farming. The men go fishing, their wive tend the handful of sheep and cows. The women are a strong breed. Many a husband have not returned from stormy days at sea. Once 11 men drowned on their way to the mainland (Haugesund)to bury a friend there.
After the last disaster in the 1990ies, a light way was set up to mark all the dangerous under water rocks. The boat trip takes about a quarter of an hour from Haugesund's inner quay. The hiker ladies have been there repeatedly. We enjoy island jumping. These pictures are from early October this year. As you can see there's nothing but the endless sea that meats the eyes. Further west lies Shetland and the North Hebrides. During ww2 brave young men set out in small vessels to join the British Army from places like this.

Originated by MaryT, check hers for today.