Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Seems about right

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Another sort of Independence

It seems I have made the cardinal sin of blogging - not posting in a long while. Yes, I have been on the computer. Yes, I have even visited my blog. I just didn't feel like posting. Naughty. Naughty.

But never fear, I am here (now) and with pictures!!

Unlike those of you in the States, I got to celebrate the 4th of July twice. Not only was there the independence celebration at the ambassadors (see previous post), but we also had a Sunday afternoon of good ole' US fun and celebration and eatin' at FrognerPark here in Oslo.

The American Lutheran Congregation had a booth - for the very first time. Look its me!

And the kids had a watermelon eating contest - I got to be a judge!



And after...

Let me tell you, being a judge was not as fun as it sounds How do you decide when the child has eaten enough to be the winner, compared to the others? See all those people squishing in? Most of those are parents, some Norwegian, some from the US, but nonetheless pushy and protagonists for their children. I had parents physically trying to move me out of the way to get a picture. Or saying right next to my ear, "she's not looking at him (their child). He should've won, but she's watching everyone else." Yes, I can hear and understand you, proud parent, even if you don't think so. Parents everywhere! Please remember that these games are for fun. Please be kind to judges, referees, and coaches everywhere! They are just trying to help your children.

There were even cheerleaders! Yes, Norwegian cheerleaders. They don't really cheer for sporting events, but compete in competitions. I'm told that this team has done quite well in those competitions too.

And the youth of our congregation sold softdrinks as a fundraiser. They did quite well and were so cheerful and helpful!

I was even dragged up to do some line-dancing. Learned a new one too, must be the Norwegian line dance. Sorry, I haven't seen a picture of this yet. But we were facing a stage, with everyone sitting behind us watching the loveliness of our backsides trying to follow our very excited Norwegian line-dancing teacher. Oh what a vision!

Happy Independence today to you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Small Pond Life

Part of serving at the American Lutheran Congregation, is that I am part of "the American Presence in Oslo". Sounds quite official huh? Well really, it just means that my swimming pond has shrunk a little. As an intern, I'm not really a big fish in a small pond, more like a medium size fish, or one of those helper fish. Or something.

But in real life, it means that I get to attend events that I wouldn't even really know were occuring in the States. My latest fun, strange, is this internship? event was the Independence Celebration (4th of July) at the US Ambassador's residence last week.

Its quite a cultural and language switch to attend these events. You come in with your Norwegian mindset and ears to hear Norwegian. But then speak only, or mostly english. Then, feeling quite comfortable in your cultural skin, you leave the event, but then remember that you are living in a country other than your own culture and have to readjust. It's almost like a time warp, but of culture.

Even though the Ambassador's residence is technically US soil, it was still a Norwegian / US affair. The cake had marzipan frosting. Yummy!! Or you could have McDonald's soft serve ice cream - but with fun toppings. I chose the cake, even though I wanted to eat both.

The Marine band played, we ate hamburgers, corn on the cob, wine (its still an embassy event), and tootsie rolls. And talked with all sorts of people, including a quick 'hi' to the Ambassador, who are also living in this small pond we call Norway.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cultural Oslo

When one thinks of Norway, most people have visions of Norwegian sweaters, lutefisk, lefse, and tall blonde haired people. Well, in the past couple weeks I have encounted and lived in a Norway that is anything but this stereotype.

A couple weeks ago, on a bright sunny day I was walking downtown when I heard some drumming. What is that? I wondered, and wandered across the street to check out the commotion. It turned out to be a Korean Drum and dance group. They were fantastic.

I was quite impressed with the man wearing the hat with the streamer out of the top. To make it swirl he both moved his body and his head. Oh my dizzy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Not Nothing

I was on the phone with a friend the other night, and he asked what was going on my life. I responded with my usual response, "oh nothing all that exciting. Its just life as normal."

Naughty naughty. If I ever give you this response on the phone, I give you permission to laugh at me, or shake your finger at me.

I realized after I got off the phone that much is going on in my life, I just tend not to remember it when I'm on the phone. I suffer from the little known problem of 'phone freeze'. Whenever I'm talking on the phone, I forget everything else going on in my life except the current conversation. A good listener I do make, but not a good conversationalist. This may be why the phone is not my favorite piece of technology.

So, what has been going on in my life?

Well, as you can see from previous posts:
*my parents came to visit
*I celebrated my 29th birthday

*I rejoiced upon learning that a good friend from home is pregnant (causing me to also freak in realization that we are supposed to be honest to goodness adults - i'm almost 30!!)

*I smiled when a good friend was honest and true

*I attended a meeting with the Norwegian State Church to help them understand the real lives and real faiths of assylum seekers from Afghanistan living in Norway

*I preached a not-so-fabulous sermon

*I went to an amazing concert at the music high school here where one of the youth at church sang an amazing song she wrote

*I am learning to pray, honestly

I can't remember any more right now. But never fear if you think your life has no exciting bumps. You might be suffering from brain freeze!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Gratulerer med dagen!

I turned 29 today. I'm not sure what to do with this age.

Am I supposed to freak out?
Am I supposed to begin feeling like an adult, since I will soon be 30?
Am is this my free pass year, to live it up since this is the last year of my 20s?

I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with myself.

Guess I'll just be the me that was created on this special day!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Cowardly Lion

I wore my collar all the way home from church on Sunday.

I was nervous. I was paranoid. I was a little brave, to me.

Gasp!! "What is so special about this?" You might say. "Did something traumatic happen?"

No, it is not special, no nothing traumatic happened. I was just not such a coward as usual.

You see, I normally take the little plastic collar part of my clerical shirt that identifies me as a pastor off either before leaving the church building on Sundays, or when I'm partially down the road. I am scared to wear it in public. (That was me, in the back row, breast pleats and all...)

I have yes, worn my collar in public before. During my chaplaincy summer, my friend and I made sure to wear our collars in public for a week. We even went to Target. All to conquer or learn from our fear of the pastoral collar.

So, while I have been wearing my clerical collar on Sundays and at all 'official' type gatherings, I tend not to wear it in public. I'm a wuss.

In the States, when you wear a clerical collar in public people either stare at you (for a long time), stop to talk with you, sometimes confessing all that is wrong with their life, or look away quickly, as if I wield some sort of sin detection laser beam. But here in Norway, no one even looked twice. It was so strange. Maybe people couldn't identify the clerical collar. Maybe people didn't care. Maybe I am paranoid. But it was strange to me.

The one difference I noticed is quite subtle, so maybe it wasn't really true. But, usually Norwegians won't really look at you in the street. Instead, they seem to look at you in appraisal, checking what you are wearing, doing the summary glance. But on Sunday, people just seemed to move casually by. I think I was just paranoid though.

We'll see. Now that its nice out and I can't cover the collar with a scarf, I'm going to try to be brave and wear my collar at least to and from worship on Sunday morning. If nothing else, maybe it will remind people that communal worship occurs every Sunday morning, not just on Christmas and Easter.

Your friend the cowardly lion.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Swedish Beauty

I just returned from vacation with my visiting parents. It was great fun - full of many adventures, sites, and more family.

On the 17th of May, we enjoyed the Norwegian Independence Celebration. It was a rainy and cold day, but we survived. We waved to the King, Queen, Prince, and Princess at the Royal Palace while watching all the school kids and bands parade up to the palace to pay their respects to the royal family. On the 17th of May, everyone also wears their 'bunads' - traditional Norwegian costumes that originate from the different areas in Norway. It was so amazing to see all these people walking around looking like they got dressed in the wrong century.

We then took the 'Norway in a Nutshell' Tour on the train up through the mountains of Norway onto the ferry through the cold waters of the fjord and then a bus up 12 switchback turns and eventually arriving by train to Bergen. Amazing landscape. I don't think I've ever seen so many waterfalls and rocky cliffs. On the ferry fjord, we went through the area my mom thinks her family immigrated from - Aurland, on the Sogne fjord. Rough country with limited land for farming.

Over the valley and through the mountains we then went to Stockholm, where we met my 'cousin' (somewhat removed) for dinner and a tour around Stockholm. We spent the next couple days exploring the city. It was fascinating how much more cosmoplitan and lively Stockholm is than Oslo. I was told that this is partially because Norway gained independence not long ago and so tries to hold on to tradition more than Sweden. As a country, Norway has been more isolated in the past too. My mom and I got in some good shopping in Stockholm too!!

Then, our final leg of the journey was south to Småland, the home of my Swedish relatives and land my Great-Grandfather left for the United States. Also the home of IKEA, in case you are wondering. One of my 'cousins' works at their headquarters too! We rode only in Volvo's and Saab's, something my dad was proud of. I even rode in a trikked out Volvo with 20-inch rims. Soomehow a trikked out Volvo seems like an oxy-moron.

We also visited the Växjö Domkyrke (Central Cathedral) to see the amazing altarpiece. The Småland area is the glassmaking area of Sweden (think Orefors), so this altarpiece was made of glass and metal, and utterly amazing.

Sweden was gorgeous. Reminded me of northern Minnesota with maybe a bit of Holland thrown in (not that I have ever been to Holland)! It was strange to see the areas where my family is from and wonder what might have been if they had not emmigrated. We will never know.

More pics are posted on my Picassa site, if you want to see more.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Early Morning

This morning the workers arrived at 7:15am to replace the front door of my apartment. I knew this was coming, so I got up mighty early, ate, showered, and dressed before they arrived. But, I wasn't sure what I would do with myself when they arrived. Yesterday, when they were working on the doors upstairs, it was quite noisy. But bearable, like living in a dentist's office.

So, after they had taken off my door, and received the keys that will open my new door when I return, I set off from my apt. It has been warm and sunny here in Oslo for the past week, so I set off for my local park, FrognerParkeren. Even while on my way to the park, I noticed that many many people were on their bikes going to work. Normally I leave my apt after most commuters have arrived at their offices, so I don't see this phenomenon.

But, as I found a bench at the park and started to read my book, I became amazed at the number of bicycles passing by. They just kept coming, and coming, and coming. I knew that many people biked, especially since there is a high toll to drive your car into the city of Oslo. But, goodness, the bikers never stopped! Such a fun site to see on a sunny morning.

Even if you don't own a bike in Oslo, you can join in the biking fun. All over town are stationed these kind of rent-a-bike stands. You just insert your bankcard, or special card (I can't remember). Rent a bike for the time you need (commuting to the office). And then replace the bike in the nearest stand to your destination. Cool, huh! I haven't done this yet since I don't have a bank card. But, I think I can get a special card. We'll see. My walking legs are working just fine for now.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Some pics

I've put some pictures from Ghana up on my Picassa site. Not everything is up yet, but I'm working on it.

Is that God Calling?

After reading my last post, my brother asked me if I would go back to Ghana as a pastor in the future. Oh, the question of the day! While we were still in Damongo, I was trying to figure out the answer to this question, or more correctly, trying to figure out how I could finagle my answer to this question.

I loved Ghana. I loved Damongo. Yes, loved. On our way out of Damongo, I said to Jim, the leader of our trip and the project. OK, I've figured out a way for me to get back to Damongo after I graduate from seminary, I could __________. (No, I won't fill in the blank. What I dreamed up doesn't even exist yet, among other reasons.)

But in reality, I was only in Ghana for 2 1/2 weeks. I stayed in pretty nice guests houses with running water and air conditioning. I was hosted by amazing friends, who took care of me. I didn't even have to cook for myself! I was spoiled. I wasn't living true Ghanaian life (whatever that stereotype might be). So, I worry when I wonder if I might be called back to Ghana. I haven't really experienced real life in Ghana for an extended period of time!
Church leaders in front of the church in Bowena.

But, you never know where and how God might call you. I never wanted to be a pastor, but look at me now. I really really didn't want to be a pastor because I didn't want to preach, or at least figured I wouldn't be anywhere decent at it, but surprise surprise, I can preach (did I tell you that I preached in Damongo!).
So, who am I to say where God can or cannot call me to serve. I believe that God calls us where we are meant to be, where we should be. God doesn't call us to endeavors that would be horrible, that we would hate. Sometimes its like God is the ultimate talent scout. So, might I have the gifts for ministry in Ghana. I'm not sure. I hope maybe, but maybe part of that hoping is just nostalgia from my great visit to Damongo and Ghana as a whole. I've also wondered about Canada. Hmm...

By the way, to receive a call back to Ghana would be quite the ecumenical hopping. I'm guessing its residual from colonial days when the mainline denominations divided up Africa for missions, but the Presbyterian Church is most active in Ghana. The ELCA, or a lutheran church associated with Lutheran World Federation, is not so active in Ghana. Guess we'll see what God might be up to!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Safe Return

I have returned to Oslo safe and healthy, at least for now. The trip to Ghana was fabulous and more. Words don't quite work in this situation. I met so many amazing and warm people, lived in hot hot hot weather, was dusty and dirty from the moment I stepped out of the shower, and even learned some Gonja.

I think I left part of my heart in Ghana, as I was ready to hop on the plane and return to Ghana as soon as I returned to Oslo. Ghana is quite developed and peaceful in comparison to many of its neighboring African countries, but the differences between Ghana and Norway are still quite glaring.

Its strange for me to walk down the street and see everything paved, and without the probability of running into a break in the concrete. Its strange to get in a car and have a smooth ride. Its strange that we don't all say hello to each other when we meet. Its strange to see so many new and overly expensive cars. This culture shock is harder than when I moved to Norway from the US.

I'll put up more later. Right now am too tired and too much that needs to get done here at church. We were mostly in Damongo, Northern Ghana. About 45 km west of Tamale, not far from Larabanga. We spent most of our time at Redemption Children's Home and New Life Prepatory School, among other things. Will share more later.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

April Showers Bring More Travels

April showers bring May flowers. We should have lots of flowers here in Norway, come spring!

Experienced only my second funeral as a pastoral person yesterday. A beloved woman of the congregation passed away after a 2 year battle with cancer. It is good that she is no longer in so much pain and suffering, but hard on her family.

This was my first service to go to the cemetery. Interestingly enough, most people in Norway are now cremated - mostly because there is not enough land or space for people to be buried.

When I die, I think I would prefer to be buried as the Vikings, or maybe the Scots, practiced - to be put on a log raft, sent out to sea, and then burned. I don't like how burying someone costs so much money. Its just my physical remains, no one is going to look at them again, I don't think.

In other news, I leave for Ghana (Africa) on Sunday morning. My congregation sponsors / leads a project in Northern Ghana that includes building an orphanage, supporting a school, supporting Bible translation to the Gonja language, and sending children to Bible camp in the summer. The mother/wife of the family who I stayed with here in Oslo when I first arrived is from Ghana. Their family is kind of the leaders of this project.

It will be interesting to see first hand and experience this project. I have met the man who started and runs the orphanage when he visited Oslo in the fall. It sounds like the leaders of the project are working to integrate the projects into the community and make them sustainable - not just people from the North giving money or aid. But instead working to develop relationships and support the local people as they see fit. Will be interesting, for sure!

So, I have my malaria pills ready to go. Have been immunized against Yellow Fever. Been told not to even touch standing water and to drink only bottled water. Bought roll on mosquito repellent and high levels of sunscreen. Borrowed a mosquito net. And finally found a light weight long sleeve shirt (gotta keep those bugs away!) and a hat (keep the sun away!). It took forever to find these last two items. The whole sporting industry of Norway is still in skiing season, not travel clothes. Fleece fleece everywhere!

I think I am about ready to go. Keep me in your prayers! We fly into Accra and then will be driving north to Domongo (near Tamale, if you are looking on a map.)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Familiar Much?

Hmm, why does this cartoon make me laugh so much?

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Hmm, not sure why this cartoon was ever drawn. It surely can't be true. Maybe I need to do some more internet research to figure out why this cartoon resonates so.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Easter Dress

Some people get a new dress for Easter. A pretty little number, sometimes with bows, sometimes with lace, sometimes with a matching hat. Others of us 'get' to wear the same clothes 4 days in a row. This grand fashion event culminates on Easter, when you would so much rather wear something besides the clerical collar, but well, this is a calling, and its not always up to you. And so you put on the clergy shirt again (I only have 2 to choose from) and off you go, not a tough choice.

So, while others buy the new Easter dress, others of us, well, we buy something else new for Easter. My seminary roommate suggested a snazzy new pair of paints. But as a tall, non-stick figure woman, I don't like buying pants. They never fit. So, that would not be Easter fun.

Instead, I purchased a 'Do It Yourself' garmet. Yes, that is correct, I bought some more knitting stuff. I actually bought a knitting kit, even though kits make me feel constrained and uncreative. But, this particular knitwear designer only sells her patterns as kits, with the yarn included. Once I did some research and learned that these kits are cheaper here than in the US (they come from Denmark), and are not too expensive considering the amount of yarn required, I decided that this, named 'Promenade' would be my new Easter Dress.

No, I haven't yet finished that fancy Norwegian mitten. But, I decided that for Holy Week, I would need something simple, yet fun to take away some of my stress and to help me relax without a complicated pattern. And I quite enjoyed it. A woman I met at Husfleiden, the handcrafts store where I purchased my garmet, told me that she had purchased the same kit a couple years ago. She knit the back panel last year and is now working on one of the front panels. We'll see if I get this garmet finished before leaving Norway!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Good Friday Reflections

Our Good Friday service was a joint service with St. Edmund's Anglican Church. We journeyed through Eight Stations of the Cross as part of a traditional Way of the Cross' devotion and meditation service.

I meditated on Station 3 and Station 8. For those of you who are still working through Good Friday, or who are like Thomas (who I get to preach on this coming Sunday) and can't quite yet believe the resurrection, or need to stay at the tomb for a bit longer, I've posted my reflections below.

The Third Station: The Cross is Laid on Simon of Cyrene

As they led Jesus away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from teh country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. "If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

“If any want to become my followers…” But who said that Simon wanted to follow Jesus? It seems like he was really just in the wrong place at the wrong time. A bystander, a gawker, who must’ve looked like easy prey for the guards. Simon didn’t volunteer to carry Jesus’ cross. Who would? Dressed in his finest clothes to come into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, surely Simon did not want to follow Jesus to the cross that day. This is no eager to please disciple.

But still, his nice clothes got dirty, not to mention bloody from Jesus’ wounds. His hands became full of splinters, his pride trampled on by the crowd laughing, pointing, spitting. Simon didn’t volunteer, but he still became a follower, a disciple of Christ. He even became like Christ, carrying the very cross Jesus would be crucified on, a helper in the redemption of the world, of you and me. Simon didn’t volunteer, but God choose him anyway. God placed the cross of Christ on Simon when Jesus had become too weak, too near to death. And even though the cross was heavy, cumbersome, different, it was strangely easy, strangely light, as if Jesus was still carrying the cross for Simon.

And so too do we watch Jesus struggle by us, and we watch from the side. We are at once afraid and ashamed. Afraid that someone will seize us, like Simon was seized. Afraid that we will suffer like Christ, laughed at, spit on, the lowliest of the low. Afraid that if we pick up our cross, like Jesus, that our lives will no longer be our own, that we will lose precious control. A sense of shame makes our fear even worse. Ashamed that we do not really want to be like Christ, that we do not really want to lose control of our lives. Ashamed that we don’t want to stand out or be different. It’s become so much easier to just watch with the crowd, to blend in.

But maybe, just maybe God will chose us. God will give us the nudge to get over our fear, get over our shame. And so we are. We are claimed by God, pulled from the crowd like Simon. Called to follow this one who carries our cross. We are called to carry the cross with him. Called to follow behind this Messiah who is so weak, yet so powerful. So burdened, yet so light. A Savior, yet condemned to die on the cross. On his cross. On our cross.

And we are saved, even though we didn’t volunteer. But God volunteered for us. God is carrying our cross. Amen.

The Eighth Station: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joesph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tom, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away.

It’s quiet. It’s too quiet. The crowds have all gone away. The other disciples, they too have fled. Everyone is gone. The spectacle is over. Even Pilate seemed subdued, easily handing Jesus over to be properly buried. And he’s dead. Jesus, the one who was supposed to free us, who promised life, and justice, and peace. Who knew me like no other. He’s dead. And it’s so quiet.

He lies there even now, in the tomb I made for myself. The tomb I was supposed to lie in, but now he is there, dead and gone. But I would rather be in that tomb instead of Jesus. I would give all my riches, all I have to be in that tomb instead of Jesus.

It’s so quite. Life seems so empty now, so hopeless. No one to follow. No one promising life, and justice, and peace, and redemption. No one.

It was the least I could do, to give Jesus a proper burial, especially after he died in such a horrible way. Laughed at by the crowds, his last breath taken in the garbage dump, on a cross. It was the least I could do. But now he is gone and I do not know what to do or how to be or how to live. I am lost. It’s like I too am dead. Life has left us. God has left us. We’re alone. And it’s so quiet. So quiet. So quiet.

*A little note: Oslo becomes deserted during Holy Week, as most people go to the mountains or elsewhere for vacation.

'Christ is Helped with the Cross' by Geoff Todd
'Jesus is Laid in the Tomb': Through Nomadic Eyes: Stations of the Cross, Turkana Artists, Kenya

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

For Real

There's a new movie out in Norway called "Lange Flate Baller II" - yes it translates to what you think, but actually means 'Playing Wide'. But, its not the title that has gotten me, its the trailer or advertisement for the film that cracks me up. The trailer is actually a series of three trailers, but the first one gets the most play. Trailer #2 is quite funny too.

The main trailer stars George W. Bush sitting at his desk, presumably speaking to the Norwegian people - telling them to go see the film, or he will invade their country. This caught me quite off guard and in disbelief. I'm not sure why though. I keep waiting for the film studio to yank the trailer off the air, citing some offended person or political correctness.

I have actually heard Norwegians say almost the same thing as Bush in this trailer - oh, you better do what Bush wants or he will invade you. It seems that many Norwegians have a love / hate relationship with the US. Many people who I have met are intrigued with the US, have visited the US, and are very friendly to you as a person. But, most Norwegians don't tend to like US foreign policy. I can't say this is true in every aspect, but is my experience.

I'm continually amazed how much coverage US politics and events receives here in Norway. Every move of the primary campaigns is reported. Most weather events - snow storm, tornado, etc. Celebrity news. And more. We even get John Stewart - both on CNN international and on one of the Norwegian broadcasting stations.

I'm still not sure what to make of the United States from the perspective of Norway. I have learned that much of US media is watched not just in the US, but in other countries around the world. I have also learned that this makes for some great comedy and funny funny movie trailers!!

In case you are bored this Holy Week, you can see all three movie trailers for Lange Flate Ballaer II at http://www.langeflateballer.no/. Enjoy!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Lenten Internship

I've decided that internship is like lent. For those of you who are wondering what internship is like, just reflect on your own lenten journey (or the cartoon).

First, you are all excited and wait in eager anticipation for lent / internship to begin. Oh, those ashes on Ash Wednesday. I love those! Finally, a chance to be with others and remember our mortality in this world that tries to tell us we will be immortal if we buy more, be more, more more more!
The same with internship. I'm going to Norway! Yeah! I'll get to find out what it feels like, what life is like as a pastoral person. Finally, no more grades, no more tests. Oh, and the added bonus of getting feedback on one's ministry and even personhood from so many sources. Oh, this will be great, I'm sure.

And then we move into week 1 of lent: This is still great. We're starting a rhythm. Weekly worship gatherings that are a bit smaller and provide time for reflection, and maybe a communal meal. This is nice, it feels slower.
And the first quarter of internship: this is great! I get to schedule my own day. I'm meeting so many interesting people, who are sharing their lives with me. This internship thing should be a piece of cake.

And then the weeks start to blend together: week 2? week 4? what week are we in? Shouldn't Easter be coming soon. I think someone got the calendar wrong. We're tired of carrying the cross. Can't we celebrate. Uff-da, this lenten discipline is hard! How is this drawing me closer to God anyway. Yuck, who likes reflection anyway. Let's party!
And so too do the weeks of internship blur together, but in strange ways. This year that once stretched out in front of me like waving prairie grass, now seems like a muddy field. I am enjoying internship, but this middle time is so strange. So much left to learn, and be, and do. Yet, this time is already and not yet. I am viewed as a pastoral person, with responsibilities, with abilities, with trust. Yet, I am not yet a pastor. I am not yet given full responsibility. I am still developing my abilities. And I'm still not quite sure what this call is all about.

Time is blurring. This learning experience of internship is becoming heavy, just as lent is becoming heavy. Easter is just around the corner, but its not yet here. But, the big secret is that we know it is coming, Jesus has already died and risen again. We hope and trust in this.
The same for internship. Even though I have not yet been ordained - I don't even know for sure that I will be ordained - I hope that I will be ordained. I trust that this call from God is true. I hope and trust that my internship will be successful. In order for internship to be a success I must hope and trust.

Jesus has already died and and has already been resurrected. But, each year I wonder if we will get to Easter again or if we will be engulfed in lent. This is my first time through internship, but others have been through it before. I am surviving and thriving, but its not easy. I suppose its not supposed to be easy. But, like lent, it is true, it is good, it has reminded me that I am not God, but am called by God to live faithfully and truthfully. Yes, this is lent. Yes, this is internship.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Royal Wear

Living in Norway, I've gotten a bit more insight into the role of the royal family in a country that continues to support royalty. Yet, my independent roots from the rebellious United States continue to cringe at the thought and concept of royalty. It baffles and frustrates me that a family, just because they are born into a certain lineage, are supported monetarily by the taxpayers just for showing up to events.

Yes, I have heard the argument that with a royal family attending public events, the government officials / President / Prime Minister have more time and energy to do their jobs. But, the fact that one's tax dollars go to support one family just because they have been identified as special urks me. Not to mention that at several royal family events, the Prime Minister is also present. Now, I'm not a fan of celebrities in general either, but at least they act or do something (hopefully, but not always true) to gain that strange and unnecessary status of celebrity - not that I agree with the notion of celebrity in the first place.

But, I do have a bit more respect for the Norwegian family because they seem to be at least a little more normal, with somewhat 'real people' head's on their shoulders. At least this is the image they give off and is how the Norwegian people seem to perceive of the Norwegian royal family.

To illustrate, here is a picture of King Harald and his granddaughter, Princess Ingrid Alexandra leaving the World Cup ski jump competition at Holmenkollen, the ski jump in Oslo.

I like that he has big clunky boots on and a ski jacket that I could presumably buy in a sporting goods store, based on the brand. But, they do still get to live in the big house on the hill and are paid a salary by the state.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The housing situation

A certain someone (yes, my mother again) recently suggested to me that she would like to see more of my daily life - the interesting spots in Oslo I stumble across, my favorite Norwegian something, you get the picture. I was a bit reluctant at first because she will be visiting me in Oslo, so I didn't want to spoil the adventure of new discovery. But, oh well, I can never capture all the fun of Oslo. Plus, then the rest of you would lose out on the fun of my life in Oslo.

So, I've outed myself as the tourist, or just strange person taking pictures of strange things so that ya'll can see the little highlights of my life here in Oslo. I can't tell you all the strange looks I've gotten, especially from older women, as I take pictures of random houses!

To be honest, most of these pictures don't capture the beauty and joy that these little places bring me. Guess that's part of the beauty though, that there is life in these places and spaces beyond what might appear.

As I've started looking through my pictures, I think this will be the housing post, of all those norwegian houses that I think are quite fun.Really its the inside of this house that I love. The outside is typical Norwegian, but inside there are pictures all over and just seems like the place where some great Norwegian grandparents live. There's even a good size fountain on the side.

Right across the street from the yellow house is this building. I don't think its a house any more, not really sure what goes on here. But, it looks a little bit creepy and a little bit regal. Plus, the address is 'Professor Dahl's Gate'. I just love the name of that street!

Not so much a home as a hotel, but itsn't it grand? Looks like an urban castle to me.

I have absolutely no idea what this is. Is it a fancy garage? A former fortress? I don't know. Cars drive under the little archway, but I don't know if they go in this thing. Behind it, you can see an apt. building, but they are of completly different styles. Any thoughts what this could be? Oh, another mystery for my day.

I know you're thinking, what in the world is that. Well, its one of my favorite nighttime homes, at night - obviously. But, obviosly, it doesn't show up very well in a picture. But, oh well. Many of my favorite houses in my neighborhood look much more spectacular at night than by day. I think its the sparkly factor. But, this one reminds me of the glow of a fireplace at night. Wish you could see it!

I've also posted more pics on my Picassa site, if you want to see more! Next, I think I'll post one of my favorite things in Oslo - the blomster!