Thursday, November 17, 2011

Daily Manna

I can sympathize with Steve E's concern; "is there food on your table"?
Like most Norwegians we have placed our kitchen table beside a window. We like streams of daylight, and we like to know what's going on outside.
I know I should have tidied up before taking the pictures, but this is how we live. Eating bread, smorgaas,orange juice, meat, reading morning paper, telephoning, listening to the radio, discussing, making notes in the Moleskin, reading loud Corrie ten Boom, "This is the Lord's day." Short and straight to the point words for the day.

Dinner; water, fried fish, onion, potatoes, fresh herbs and butter. Fruit and cheese. The paper still not done with.
Here's the place we like to gather and also when having guests. Plenty of place for six once the books and papers are gone. The candles and figurines get to stay.
Days like this (yesterday), are more valuable than anything I can think of.
And then there's coffee.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Our mispel hedge in the front yard doesn't care if it's mid November.
The red berries are brightening my days both indoors and out doors. They look so wonderful, but I doubt that they're edible.
Wouldn't it have been wonderful if they were??
I could have filled my freezer in no time.

As it is, I use them for decoration. They need no water and a little twig makes the world of a difference on our kitchen table.
Great joy # two this week, when I received my Mazawattee tea box, which I ordered in a second hand internet shop. "Old Folks at home" is the title. My grandmother used to have a similar box filled with wonderfully coloured and shaped buttons. When I got too restless for her taste, she would hand me the box to play with and also tell about the items in the box. A pearl in my memory book. I have placed it in front of my couvert. Just seeing it, brings sun into my heart.

This Carl Larsson girl, modelled after his paintings, is also having a good time on our kitchen table between mispel berries, foliage, pine cones and pebbles brought home from various hikes.
Heaps of delights assembled on a tin tray.

Autumn in the Garden by Henry Van Dyke
When the frosty kiss of Autumn in the dark
Makes its mark
On the flowers, and the misty morning grieves
Over fallen leaves;
Then my olden garden, where the golden soil
Through the toil
Of a hundred years is mellow, rich, and deep,
Whispers in its sleep.

'Mid the crumpled beds of marigold and phlox,
Where the box
Borders with its glossy green the ancient walks,
There's a voice that talks
Of the human hopes that bloomed and withered here
Year by year,--
Dreams of joy, that brightened all the labouring hours,
Fading as the flowers.

Yet the whispered story does not deepen grief;
But relief
For the loneliness of sorrow seems to flow
From the Long-Ago,
When I think of other lives that learned, like mine,
To resign,
And remember that the sadness of the fall
Comes alike to all.

What regrets, what longings for the lost were theirs!
And what prayers
For the silent strength that nerves us to endure
Things we cannot cure!
Pacing up and down the garden where they paced,
I have traced
All their well-worn paths of patience, till I find
Comfort in my mind.

Faint and far away their ancient griefs appear:
Yet how near
Is the tender voice, the careworn, kindly face,
Of the human race!
Let us walk together in the garden, dearest heart,
Not apart!
They who know the sorrows other lives have known
Never walk alone.

Visit teach Mary for more Ruby Tuesdays here

Sunday, November 13, 2011


For more than two months our small, but closely knit family has been constantly living with a death sentence hanging over us.
I've not been comfortable with the way my mother has deteriorated since early spring. She is both bold and stubborn, and has pulled herself immensely together every time we have visited. She also managed to put up a bright face during our daily telephone calls.
At the end of August she agreed to spend some days at the short-time nursing ward in Sauda, for physical training and some vitamin shots.

The following day we received a telephone out of the blue, "Your mother is having severe ventricular fibrillation. Do you want us to interfere if she most likely goes into a cardiac arrest?" My dinner jumped up and down the oesophagus like in an elevator. "Just what are you trying to tell me?"
"Your mother is having a heart attack so severe, she's most likely going to die on the two hour drive to the hospital. Do you want us to use a defibrillator?" "Yes of course, why should you not?" No sensible answer.

At the ER a new doctor is asking the same question, but now I am more conscious. "Why is that a question at all?" "Sometimes the patient can get a brain damage if she's without oxygen for too long. We therefore want the family to decide." "I want for my mother to live as long as God lets her live and I also want you to use your professional skill to help her the best way you possibly can."

After some nerve wrecking hours my Mom was admitted to the heart emergency ward. Serina and brother Kel were on their way and we started on our ten day long surveillance, never leaving our Mom alone for a second.
The third day they cut Mom off water, oxygen and medical supply after having pumped her full of medication the previous days. She also was denied the handful dose of various pills prescribed her by the family doctor.
Everything was shut down and the bed wheeled into a dark room with nothing in it. No monitors, no alarm; just silence.

Room without a view. "Am I in prison"? Mom asked.

I decided I wasn't going to let my mother die of thirst, so I got some water and a straw. She drank a glass in one big sip. For 36 hours we continuously gave her water and Coca Cola, 1,5 litres, plus tiny bits of milk chocolate melting inside her mouth.
Our Mom continued to breathe and live. She opened her eyes and asked, "Am I going to die?" "Maybe," we said honestly, "if God will."

The doc found out this "trying to let my mother slip into coma and sleep in," had gone on long enough. He put her on medication and nutrition and let her stay for nine days. Serina and Kel had to return to their schools. Gunnar and I worked shifts by her bed.
Before she was to be discharged Gunnar and I went to Sauda to fetch gear, lots and lots of gear, so that Mother could stay with us after her hospitalization was over.
Imagine our horror when we returned to find Mom was moved to a geriatric ward before being sent to our home. There she fell out of the hospital bed and seriously injured her head and right ankle. They didn't even bother to x-ray the injuries.

How helpless a person is, when ill and only pros to take action.
Somehow hearts and feelings are all lost in the battle for survival.

Mother stayed with us for over a month, we dined on the terrace, made walks in the garden. She and Gunnar even went for a car trip, before we had guests, who mother glitteringly entertained with her favourite poetry.

Then came the day I knew would come; she decided it was time to move home to Sauda to get physical treatment. After all, she had one broken left hip and one sprung right ankle. Kel followed her home. She was sent back to the local short time ward the next day. This time for three weeks. Nothing much was done. We had to call a meeting with eight persons in charge. Eight persons of whom only three were working at floor level.
Now my mother is back in her home with nurses helping four times a day. We have been there once, but the fear will not let go.
We all have adjusted to the fact that our mother may die in the near future. We will never accept that she shall suffer, hunger, live in fear or in pain.

Prayed? All the time. With my Mom and together. Looking backwards; God hasn't let us down. The daily manna has been provided us day by day.
Walking on promises only, isn't easy for one who thrives being in control.
We have experienced, we are never alone. Angels have been surrounding us all the time.
We, who are slow to learn and who forget so easily.
This is partly why I'm writing this post, for my own good.
On the threshold between life on earth and eternity wonderful things do happen.
The way we measure and value our lives inevitably changes. Money helps buy service, but only so much. A smile, a shared meal, a story, a picture, a hug, some hours of sleep; all the wealth of King Solomon cannot buy or replace these treasures.

Now is time for retreat. Tomorrow will meet with it's own demands and blessings.