Moments of connection

I really like to feel connected. Connected to God, to the people around me, to nature, to my loved ones. I love when you all of a sudden can just feel a moment of real connection. You don’t know that it is coming, and you cannot plan for it, – all of a sudden it is just there!

It can happen when you read the Bible. Not every time, but all of a sudden, you can just feel how you are moved with excitement over a truth that so stands out to you, or something you had never quite understood before that now becomes very clear, – and you feel so connected to it, and to God who is behind it all!

I remember moments of dancing at the Kotel, singing together with people I don’t even know, looking up at the Wall which really is a connection point both with God and with generations past, – and all of a sudden just feel so connected to the Jewish people, those who are here now, and those who have gone before, and possibly also to those who are coming after us. Those moments also feel like connection points between heaven and earth. They are real highlights in my life.

FullSizeRender-17.jpg

The same thing can happen at Shabbat and the holidays. After major preparations, you find yourself around the holiday table, looking at the faces of loved ones, family and friends, in the light of the candles, saying traditional blessings. And all of a sudden you feel the connection with them and others around similar tables at that very time, and with those who have done so in ages past. It is a wonderful thing, experiencing this connection.

Growing up on an island, loving boat life, I can get this feeling when I am out on the water too. Smelling the fresh saltiness of the sea, hearing the wonderful sound of the waves, feeling the wind in my face, seeing the sun’s diamond-like reflection on the water. Oh, the connection with nature, and with generations past who have also travelled those same waters, between those same islands.

IMG_2841.JPG

Also, when preparing food in traditional ways, I can get a feeling of connection with those who have done this in ages past. Small and big moments, but I still find it exciting to feel part of something greater, part of a chain, so to speak.

The last couple of days I have noticed moments of sweet connection with my children. People talk about quality time versus quantity time. I like the idea that you spend quantity time with your children, and all of a sudden, you notice that it turns into quality time, – without even planning for it! Like the other day, when my son and I stood by the kitchen counter preparing coffee together. He was grinding the flavored decaf coffee beans, and I was getting the milk ready for frothing. I could feel how happy he was at that moment, and in spite of the simple everyday-life-ness of the whole thing, I felt the deep connection that I knew was part of strengthening our relationship.

IMG_1005.JPG

Another sweet coffee moment with this one

Yesterday my daughter and I were rearranging her room. And again, all of a sudden, it was there, – we were just cleaning off dust from some doll beds we had brought in from the treehouse, – but we shared the same satisfaction in the moment and I felt the connection that builds and strengthens the bond between us.

IMG_5744.JPG

I believe the feeling of connectedness has a lot to do with being present in the moment. Be where you are right now. Live now. I remember as a teenager loving the saying: – The one who never lives now, never lives.  So, I guess, when I get into these trains of thoughts, I feel a connection with myself too, the younger version of myself, who I guess is still who I am to some extent.

May you LIVE every day of your life! And may you be blessed with moments of connection!

Advertisements

Holding on to the moments

In a conversation with my son in the car yesterday, he expressed how impressed he was with my driving-abilities. (Oh, well, let’s enjoy it while we can! ;-)) Then, very fitting to his usual thought pattern, he started calculating how long it will be before he himself will start learning to drive. – In five years, I will be learning to drive a car, and in three and a half years I will learn to drive a small motorcycle… Then the conversation moved on to prices of motorbikes, and the insurance, and having an own bank-account and so on.

These types of conversations leave me with a thought of really wanting to hold on to the days we are living right now. We still have children who love hanging out with their parents, who really want to talk with us and share everything that is on their hearts. While I can go around hoping it will stay this way forever, I have to be realistic and realize that there are different periods and stages in life. And I totally love the stage we are in right now.

We have a ten year old daughter and a son who is just turning twelve. They are becoming more and more independent every day. Hey, – he cooked us Shabbat dinner last week! And this week he is actually not even home for five days, as he is gone on a trip with his grandparents! And as I was listening to her talking about rearranging her room this morning, I realized she is turning into a little me, in her own sweet way!

FullSizeRender-16.jpg

While I love that they are becoming more independent, I also totally love that they still want us to be a very central part of their lives. They want to process their thoughts with us, bringing up their big questions about life and everything. They love playing games together with us, and just hanging out. I love those moments, the days we are living right now, and I want to really hold on to them. I have a feeling there will come a day when I will miss them. So right now, – I want to make the most of the opportunities that these days give, – to invest, to enjoy and to make memories.

 

– Just sit here with me, Imma.

It is that time of the year. Various kinds of the flu, colds and unpleasant stuff are going around. This morning my little princess woke up with a high fever, poor one. She has been knocked out on the couch all day, and was only feeling worse come evening. (We will go to the doctor first thing tomorrow morning.)

IMG_5519.JPG

I didn’t take any pictures today, so here is one from New Year’s Eve when we had hot chocolates at the King David Hotel! 🙂

With both of my children, when they are sick like this, and I ask them: – Is there anything you would like? Anything I can get you?  All they want is for me to be there with them. – If you could just sit here with me, Imma…

And so I try to do just that. I have read out loud countless chapters of various books today. We have hugged, we have watched movies, and when she was feeling relatively strong because of fever reducing pain killers, we even started a new knitting project.

And this evening, I must have sat for more than an hour singing songs by her bed. But you know, I am thankful that these types of things actually seem to bring her comfort! It really seems to help! I imagine there will come days when it will seem harder to find something to do to help her, – now at least it is within my reach to do something that actually helps.

So at times like these, when my ten year old baby is in need of some tender loving care, I am so thankful to be able to give it to her, quite easily, in ways that actually comfort her!

At the same time, in between all the hugging and reading, I eat some chicken soup, drink some hot cider and do what I can to strengthen my own immune system. No time is a good time to get sick, but now especially so,  – I have a marathon to run in five days…

Living my dream

Do you remember what you imagined your adult life would be like when you were a child? Call it dreams, thoughts, imaginations, – I think we all had some sort of thoughts or expectations.

For me, if I were to think about it in a black and white type of way, I guess I would have to say that a lot turned out very different than I expected. But then again, – today there were so many moments when I just had to stop myself and think about it, – I am living my dream! What a blessing!

flowers and candles

Like so often, – I am reminded that it is the small things that matter. They make up life, really. Today was a beautiful day. Spring weather with sun from a clear Jerusalem sky. In the morning I got efficient work done for several of the different jobs I have, and still had time for a nice walk (and talk!) with a dear friend.

And it was especially in the afternoon that I was reminded of how this matches my childhood dreams for my adult life. The children both had friends over. The door was open, and they were playing inside and outside, everyone was getting along and there was plenty of creativity and positive energy going around. Two neighbor girls noticed all the fun going on in our yard, and it was decided that they would come and join as well. Meanwhile I was having tea and cookies with one of the moms.

It was one of those days. The kids ate well at the meals. No one got into a fight. Everyone played well and cooperated well. (I guess the fact that I notice these things, tells you that it is not always like that, but that is also part of life, right?)

And so it hit me, that even if the setting (country, language, culture etc.) is not the same as I imagined as a child, the content is still the same. I dreamed of being a mom, my children having friends over, me hearing them playing outside, opening the window to call them in for home cooked meals… Life. My dream came true!!

Even if not every day is like a dream, it is all part of life, and we will take what we get served. Enjoy the good days and grow on the more challenging ones.

And even the parts of my life that are different than I dreamed, – really, I could not possibly have dreamed of the turn my life was to take! It was too much, too good to be imagined!

I feel very blessed, and have so much to be thankful for.

With the Bible as our History-book

The wintery weather has made its wonderful arrival to Israel, bringing blessed peace and cosiness and all kinds of good things! (Yes, it is almost funny how rain brings peace, but it really does, – I guess stone throwers don’t want to get wet and cold!)

Candles

Right now I am sitting here in my warm home listening to the rain pouring down outside. In here it is so nice and cozy. Lots and lots of candles lit. I have fresh cream of butternut squash soup and yummy hot cider. Life is good.

hot soup

The last few days have been really nice. The children have majored on puzzles, we have enjoyed knitting and sewing, and I have been reading out loud to them from a book that was read to me (several times) when I was a child.

puzzles

I have to share one little conversation that developed from the reading. We heard about a girl who really liked the subject “history” in school. My children do not at this time have a subject called “history”, so they were trying to figure out what this would be. I suggested a subject they have where they learn about our country and our people, – because in “history” you sort of learn the history of your people, I explained. – Ah, they nodded in understanding, – that is what we call “Bible”! That is the history of our people! How precious, don’t you think? What a privilege to get to grow up with the Bible as your history-book, and that is where you find your ancestors and your identity!

sewing

The reality is that the messages in the Bible are really central in so much of what is going on here! Recently I was at a race with runners from most of the schools in Jerusalem, our son was a participant from his school, and I was a parent coming along to help out. I was really impressed with the music chosen at this event, – it had such depth and content! To give you an example, one of the songs went like this: “Israel! Israel! Trust in the LORD!”  And another one was the whole psalm 121 “I lift my eyes up unto the mountains, where does my help come from?” 

kids

I really am thankful to get to raise my children in a country where faith and the Bible are given such a focus, and are seen as really relevant for our lives! There certainly is no place like Israel! Am Yisrael Chai!

10402718_10204458024922618_5251960699081239876_n

 

Loving life, – challenges and all.

Often I find myself wanting to post a photo to instagram with hashtags like lovingfridays, lovingsundays, lovingeverydaylife etc. And, yes, this is how I feel; – I love my life! I love all the little parts of it; the beauty of a sunrise over Jerusalem, the satisfaction of flowers growing in the garden, the joy of laughing with my children. I have SO much to be thankful for!

sunrise over Jerusalem

However, – this does not mean that my life is free of challenges. And I wanted to share a thought I had on this challenge-part as I sat here in the quietness of the evening. The challenges come along to help us grow in our dependency on our Heavenly Father. For me they are a reminder that I cannot make it on my own, I need Him.

photo 4-52

When I look at challenges in this perspective, they receive added meaning, and they don’t seem quite as draining as they easily would have seemed otherwise. Now, when there is something that is just too big for me to handle, instead of being overwhelmed, I can be thankful for the reminder that I don’t have to handle it all by myself. I am just little me in the Hand of my Maker, and may I hear His guiding voice and walk in the ways He has for me, always.

photo 3-85

The real life

We have been home in Israel for a week now. It feels like way longer, and it feels soooo good! Not that we did not have a good time in Norway; -it was as always a very blessed time with family there, and there is no arguing about it, – it is one of the most beautiful places on earth. (Oh, and just to update you: After three weeks in Gaza, my husband was able to come and join us for the end of our time in Norway. #verythankful!)

My beloved ones on a fiord in Norway.

My beloved ones on a fiord in Norway.

But this, Jerusalem, Israel, this is HOME. This is where real life is happening for us. And this time we settled in in no time. Literally, as the plane landed on Ben-Gurion, and I turned my phone on, messages came in from the children’s friends who wanted to get together with them as soon as we would just get home. So there were playdates immediately, and sleepovers and water fights and lunch parties. Good times.

Wet fun.

Wet fun.

And it is not only the children who hit the ground running as far as meeting up with their friends. The day after we made it home, we hosted a large gathering for our weekly Torah-study. Good times indeed. And I am so glad that I was able to make it home before good friends moved into our neighborhood, so I could welcome them with fresh cookies! And today I was able to bring a meal over to another dear friend who just gave birth to an absolutely adorable little girl! So much happening in our community! So much building and growing and good stuff! There is surely very much to be thankful for!

And this is the life. This is the real life. Vacation is good. But this is the real thing. Life. Working. Building. Together. I actually feel that nowhere is life more real than in Israel. In more ways than one.

423A0909-FD48-491E-8ADD-4ECF0B4F51BF

We also had a chance to help a brand new family of immigrants here in Jerusalem buy a refrigerator. Again, – this is the life! Witnessing ancient prophecies happening in front of our eyes! God is bringing His people home and planting them in the land of their inheritance! And we get to take our little part in it! What a privilege!

photo 1-110

The children started school again this week, and the first three days have been really good. What a relief and a blessing for a mother’s heart to come and pick them up and hear about yet another really good day! May it stay that way!! I am majorly working on routines and building good habits now as we sort of get a fresh start on our everyday life again. And so far we are all motivated and it is all working really well. Again, – may it continue like that.

My dear husband started interning at the end of his law school-studies, and works VERY long days. He works on very interesting, very exciting and very big cases, which he can tell me NOTHING about, other than the fact that they ARE very fascinating etc. 😉

See, – now I have caught you up on my life. Now I can either drop out for another month or so, or I can write posts about tiny little things, as you are already up to speed. I don’t know which one will happen. We’ll see.