A candle for joy

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the first of 4 Sundays, the first of the 4 magic weeks, the time, the "waiting time" leading up to Christmas. Today we put up the Christmas star in the windows and we start to decorate, a little bit. Today we light the first of 4 candles. Today we light the candle for "joy"

This year, joy, to me, means gratitude

This year, I smile as I light my candle, and the warmth is spreading in my body as I watch the yellow flame grow strong and the dark room gets a soft warm shade of light. I smile, because I feel peaceful, content and strong. And maybe you will smile, reading on now, because my gratitude list may be something you take for granted in your everyday life. I did not. I do not. Not any more. 

This year I embrace and appreciate these simple things. Because I did not always have them. Neither did I know I was suppose to. 

This year I do. Now I do. 

This year I light my candle for joy and I feel humble and happy that:  
  • I can dry my wet umbrella wherever I want to dry it
  • I can leave the crumbles at the kitchen bench (if I want to)
  • I can go out with my friends without checking my phone every second
  • I can decorate my home for Christmas today (if I want to
  • I can light a candle when and where I want, without anyone stopping me

I am grateful for: 
  • Having freedom to be me
  • My two amazing children 
  • My parents
  • My sister and her family
  • My special friend who has filled my heart with love and joy
  • My amazing friends who are with me through tears and laughter. My wing-women. One for all. All for one. Always. 
  • My network of blogger friends: you mean more to me than you will ever know
Small gestures. 
Intense joy. 

Light a candle for your blessings. Count them. Light a candle for gratitude. For joy. 

Happy advent.


Just an evening

Just a normal Autumn Tuesday, rain in pouring down
I jog down to my waiting car, speeding to my friend's home

from there the road trip just goes on, like Thelma and Louise
we drive and reach our dear friend's house, our stress - about to cease 


what a world of warmth - to welcome us there
hugs and lights and colour - feels like heaven is near

she's a painter, our friend, how we love to see it all
the yellow, red and blue and green - filling up the wall

she opens up her world - of inner joy and peace
unites us like we're family, everything's at ease

it's just an evening, like the rest, a regular event
some candles, just a simple meal, some laughs, a gentle scent

and still it feels so special, 'cause life and love is here
to friendship, colour, sisterhood, I smile: be gone all fear!

'cause there is hope where there is will, I do know that for sure
an evening like the rest of them, may there be many more

like this one, special, yet so plain

with friends you care about

just an evening
just an evening

life and love

Here's to colours, life, love, friendship - enjoy your everyday moments:

Aren't her paintings wonderful?:

I loved this one. The village mirroring in the sea, but still not looking the same...:-) 

Hymn to Spring

Dancing with angels


Tread softly. Breathe peacefully. Laugh hysterically. (Nelson Mandela)


That's what friends are for

Through rain, through sun, for good, for bad
just by your side - happy or sad

oh, what a joy to spend a day
with friends like that, what can I say

to sit there on a mountain top,
to cry, talk, giggle - all non stop

the air is crisp, the sun is bright
the sky is blue, no clouds in sight

what a blessing to have friends like that
they lift you up, you feel all set

because you know them, they know you
they speak the truth, and you do too

they stick around, are family
a sisterhood of sanity

and blessings goes to them today
warm heartfelt thanks - what can I say

That's what friends are for

Always by your side

Family isn't always blood. It's the people in your life who wants you in theirs, the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, who support you and who loves you no matter what. Here's to those treasures, your wing-women, your friends.

That's what friends are for:

*signing off, feeling grateful


Be the light

- Remember Eli, over the dark clouds, the sky is always blue!
That is what my grandfather used to say to me. In those moments when the worries seemed unbearable and there was absolutely no light in the horizon whatsoever.

- There is always light in the end of that tunnel. No matter how long and dark it might seem to be. There is always light at the end of it. Was another one. He collected good quotes, my beloved late grandfather, and he never hesitated to shower us with them. Simple words of inspiration. Of encouragement. Of wisdom. Words that could lift you up on that grey day, in that dark moment and when you felt utterly totally in misery. My grandfather would be there and would not leave us alone until that feeling was there. The feeling that Everything Was Going To Be Alright.

He passed away many years ago, my grandfather, but I still miss him. Missing his wise and comforting words. I feel grateful for the legacy he left behind - maybe above all - the kindness and curiosity he met other people with. When he listened to you, he listened 100% , and he was there. Usually with one of his quotes.

- Always be the light in someone else's life, he would say, nodding and smiling like he let me in on the world's biggest mystery: - Always be kind to people. Be generous with your smile. Share a kind word and a question. Show interest - and what do you know - you might be the light in that other person's life that day.

These days, Diwali, the festival of lights, is celebrated in India. A beautiful celebration, the Mother of all Indian festivals. So vibrant, so powerful, so beautiful, so emotional, so filled with hope and prosperity... It's so amazing, and brings back only good memories to me. Happy Diwali to all!

And after Diwali, we are heading towards Christmas. Another celebration where lighting candles and light bulbs plays a big role. A candle for someone or something. A light for hope and gratitude. For memories, love and life.

Light a candle. Be the light.




to see birds flying high
up towards the blue sky
- makes her smile, she feels grateful, at peace

she got out of the cage
just ran off that fake stage
- with a force that grew strong from within

it just had to be so
'cause at last she said no
- and by that breaking free finally

and the world seems all new
so much joy to pursue
- she knew not that the sun was so bright

she just wanders around
taking in every sound
every taste every scent is so clear

and a bubbling feeling is just filling her up
from her tickling toes all the way to the top

and she giggles out loud for the cat to hear
she can sing if she likes, what she choose she can wear

she makes up her own mind, listens to her own voice
and she follows her heart, and will go for its choice

because her life is hers again now


Foreign food?

- I want to taste your food, says my friend, visiting from abroad, coming to Norway for the first time. I giggle: - Ok, ehm, why? - Oh, Elli, you know me! I am always curious about foreign food, she says. And I giggle again: "foreign food?" - does that include my local everyday dig-in? Yes, really?

Well, I guess it does. For her. And it's kind of funny. Foreign food for me is like anything but Norwegian food, but ok, I guess I have to set the table and serve my friend some foreign food... for her, that is..

And then I think back - to when I grew up: for dinner we usually had something with meat or fish with boiled potatoes. Always with boiled potatoes. Occasionally a vegetable soup with bread, and in the weekend something really foreign-food-like: an exotic pizza or - oh wow I can remember going to the first Chinese restaurant that opened in my home town - too exotic! Now, some of friends can't eat boiled potatoes or bread (carb reasons..!) Others have taco every Friday or steaks, burgers, sushi, ... Norwegian? Nahh...

It makes me think: about that "foreign food". In a curious way. And how exotic it was when we went for dinner at a Chinese restaurant for the first time, or went to have a pizza, not to mention tapas. And I remember my friend in Mumbai: when I suggested to go for Indian thali for lunch. - Oh, she said, that's a bit boring, why don't we go for some exotic Italian instead? 

So, is it so? Whatever is not our own food, is that the exotic foreign food we crave for? Whatever we have, we are not really that happy with, we still want that exotic touch? That foreign food, even while we are at home? What do you think? Do we maybe want - what we don't have? Hmm, so let me check: can you guess where these pictures are taken..? :

1. American burgers in...

2. Indian Delicious Dosas in.....

3. Yummy Italian pizzas in .....

Hahaha - how could you guess? It could be anywhere in the world right? How food travel borders, right? Well, did ypou guess that -:
1. American burgers in Norway
2. Indian dosas in Dubai
3. Italian pizza served in India.

So, my point is: food and recipes travel borders, and we can't stop it from happening. And even if we could, would we want to? It's great, isn't it? Whenever you leave your country you meet exiting exotic foreign food, and even when you are in your own country any foreigner can show up and ask for foreign food: foreign for them but not for you:-) Funny world:-)

So, what's your favourite cuisine by the way? And do you enjoy you "own" food? And what foreign food do you like? Please share. 


3 seasons in a day

Road tripping in Norway in October - that means nature and weather in many interesting variations. An adventure to watch, feel, live and just Be in. The circle of a year, the way of life: Summer, Autumn, Winter and (a pale promise of Spring).

And how wonderful (and a bit dangerous) to drive through 3 seasons in a day or two, which is exactly what I have been doing lately. That's how it felt like anyway. Wonderful, because of the constantly changing scenery, starting with a last warm good-bye hug of Summer; sitting down by the fjord, sipping a cup of tea and watching the sunlight hit the farm placed high up on the green mountain side on the other side of the sea.

Then driving on, and sensing how Summer is turning Autumn. The forest is not green anymore, it is showing off in glorious amazing shades of red, orange and yellow. Going for a hike on the hillside, in between trees shimmering in Autumn beauty, and above us: whitish clouds and mist hanging low, like they are hugging the hilltops.

Driving on. Reaching the high mountains. Snow is in the air, it is windy and the roads are icy. The sky is grey and it is like it's reaching the ground. Not a tree is in sight, only grey rocks and high peaks covered in snow. Everything looks pale.

Dangerous, only, if you like me, are driving and at the same time looking (or more like staring non-stop) at the nature along the road. Oh, it was so hard to concentrate on the road ahead, to put it mildly...

3 seasons in a day - pretty wild huh? And I feel like the most spoilt person on earth because up there amongst the snow, my mind started running towards Spring. What a lovely season that is; nature coming to life, green trees, flowers blooming, sun starting to warm. I think every season has it's charm? And the trick is, I guess, as with everything in life, to enjoy the one we have right now instead of longing for the one that is coming. Here and now. Here and now.

Last touch of Summer by the fjord:

A walk in Autumn forest:

Winter scenery... snow is in the air:

Summer, Autumn, Winter (or Spring (yes, you are allowed also to choose Spring)) - what's your favourite? 


In love

what a lovely feeling
it just fills you right up
can you eat? can you sleep?
you are smiling non stop

there is love there is hope
for a future to last
even though you might struggle
to let go of the past

But just dare to be open
to the gifts of your life
even though you might think
"can it be? how can I

how can I be so blessed
to see love once again?"

Its the wonders of life, friend
let it in, just surrend-

- just surrender to fate
and what life offers you
take a breath, close your eyes
take it in

its for you


Live your life

Hands are shaking
words come slow

Hair is grey

I told you so

- she says, with such a rusty voice
know who you are and make your choice

of your life How you want to live 
let go of bad, good stuff: you give!
surf happy off, and screw them all 
cause only you can make the call  

she sighs. Her voice goes weaker now
I move much closer, voice so low

the fire in her eyes is barely there,
she smiles a bit as I pull her near

and hug her tight

one last time

her wisdom is with me, I know it by heart
to live and let go
to love and let go
to let go
and live 
my life 
live my life 


AaA - are you a fan?

If you have followed me for a while, you might suspect me of being a fan of AaA ( = Adapt-and-Adjust). I do believe that an important element to living in balance wherever you are  - is to adapt and adjust. To a certain extend. Especially if you move to another country for a longer period of time. Or come think of it, even if you are just visiting for a short while or coming as a tourist. If  you make another country your new adopted country and settle there for a period, I believe its good to try to meet your new country with respect, positivity and an open mind. To adjust and adapt, more or less. Lately I had and very interesting discussion with some friends about this:

- Should you change your style of dressing because it is not how they dress in your "new" country?
- Should you change your diet to whatever they are eating where you are now?
- To what extent should you really AaA? Is there a limit?
- How can you AaA without "loosing" yourself?
- Can you risk adjusting so much that you jeopardize your own values and believes? And can that be harmful to you in the long run or not?

Personally, I think it can be pretty easy, or at least it should be. I am a fan of diversity, wherever I am. There should be room for people to dress, eat, drink, read, write and say what they like. But at the same time adjust and adapt. Yes, I do think that that is perfectly compatible, because if you know who you are and in balance, you are a constant learner to life, and will never cease to develop as a human being. You will know what matters to you, what is important, and what your values and beliefs are. If anything, living in different countries has taught me:

- Do not judge other people or cultures, and show respect.
- Let go of whatever you can not change or control
- Life is too short not to be be curious. Be open to new opinions, food, ways of doing things. Its fun! Then at least you can say you have tried. And you can choose: you can take with you what you like, leave behind what you don't like, and move on. That's the glory of this journey called life.

So out of my comfort sone. So out of my element. And still.... at home. 

So, are you a fan? Of adapting and adjusting?


Photo memory - what's with this one?

Do you like taking photos? If you do, do you have any favourite motives? Or some scenery that you like to capture in particular? Thinking about it, I enjoy taking pictures of people from behind.

Yes, it sounds I bit weird, I agree. But that's how it is, and I admit it. I like capture people sitting looking over the sea or water or admiring the view. They don't see me, and I like watching them watching something that they obviously like or feel strongly about. Without them seeing me seeing them, if you know what I mean?

Then I like to look at smiling faces, genuine smiles looking straight in to the camera lens. Right at me. People looking happy and relaxed. And smiling, not because of the lens, but because they simply feel like smiling, laughing. So I like having people in my pictures: old, young, women, men, kids. People.

But once in a while, I click a picture that I really really like, without knowing why. And I can just sit and watch it. Again and again. It is for some reason moving to me. It brings out an emotion. Let me show you a picture that does that to me. A photo memory. A moment captured. Is it the colours? The nature? The fluttering white sheets. The vibrant green trees. The blue sky. The red barn. The memory of the very day the picture was taken? The thought of strolling down that path on that sunny day? Walking from the shade and out in to the sunlight?

I don't know. It just speaks to me.

Do you like this one? What are your favourite photos? Please share. 


Vegetable soup - recipe

Yes, a soup can be exciting and full of flavors, and no, this soup will not take you forever to make.

It pretty much makes itself, and you can, like I do, chop the veggies the evening before. (which feels like an awesome idea that next day when you come home from work and will start cooking) And the best: it is fresh (you know exactly what you have put in there), healthy, and too tasty. That's what I think anyway.

I hope you will give it a try.

You need (for 2-4 persons):
4 chopped cloves of garlic
2 chopped onions
1 cauliflower, chopped in small pieces
1 broccoli, chopped in small pieces
(NB! you can replace the vegetables with tomatoes or other favorite vegetables)Salt, pepper 
1 spoon butter, 1 spoon oil
Cream and/or yogurt

In cauliflower/broccoli soup: add some dill and parsley
In tomato soup: add some chili

You do:
Fry the garlic and onion in butter/oil until they are golden. Add the chopped vegetables.
Pour over 1-2 l water and let boil until the vegetables are soft (10-15 minutes). Use a hand-mixer to mash the vegetables, but if you like, (I do) leave some of the vegetables in small pieces. Towards the end, add a few spoons of cream or yogurt.

Just before serving, lay on a spoon of yogurt in the soup bowl. Decorate with some fresh dill or parsley. Serve with brown bread. 

Do you like soup? Any favorites? 


Let it go

It is all in your past, let it be, let it go
it has happened, it's over, it was meant to be so

it was good while it lasted, now its time to move on
you cant change it, live with it, make a song of your own

find a rythm of your life, find a path, find a way
and bring with you the good things, - just like they say

but dont walk in the shadows of what used to be
look above all the dark clouds, look ahead - not for me

walk outside, take a deep breath, then look up, see the sky?
you are here for a reason, and don't linger with "why"

feel the rain on your forehead, sense the breeze in your hair
put a hand on your chest, this is why you are here

feel your heartbeat, sense your breathing, it is here, it is now
so enjoy, live the present, and let go. Let it go

Pic credit: my daughter:-) 


Kitchari - recipe

- If any food could wear a cape and fly, it would be Kitchari. (1)

The Indian dish Kitchari has become a big favorite of mine, a delicious meal which fills the kitchen with wonderful scents. Kitchari is best known as the all-star of Ayurvedic cleansing, and if you are a yogi, you might know the dish? - it is said to be the most wholesome food for yogis- balanced for body & soul.

Kitchari is known for the good ability to detoxify the body, it is nourishing and easy to digest. It has a perfect balance of healthy proteins and carbs. In addition, it may help healing digestive problems, balance the metabolism, clean your liver and assist in weight stabilization. Not bad?

There are so many different ways to make Kitchari (which means mixture, usually of two grains, by the way), but common for all is that it does not take a lot of time, and it is easy to make. I like it this way:

You need:
1/2 cup basmati rice
1 cup red lentils (Mung Dal, split yellow)
6 cups water
2 tsp butter (ghee, if you have)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 cm ginger root (chopped)
1 t coriander seeds
1/2 t salt
fresh cilantro leaves

If you like, you can also add 1 cup assorted vegetables. I have experimented at bit and tried with different vegetables. You can add carrots, potatoes, beans, but I liked it with zucchini or tomatoes - I think both works very well. Separately though.

You do:
Clean the lentils and rice, and set aside. Heat the butter in a pan, and add the seeds. Saute them until they pop, and then add the other spices. Add the rice and lentils, and pour over water. Allow it to boil for 20 minutes, but check that it has enough water. It shall be a bit sticky, but not dry!. After 20 minutes you can add chopped vegetables. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. (you can also precook them, and add them to the rest towards the end of the cooking time )

That's it, dear reader, it is ready - I hope you got tempted to try it out?

(1) Kate Lumsden- www.elephantjournal.com


Happy ILD day!

I love to write. I love to read. And I love thinking back to a childhood where I would dive into the mystery world of litterature. Be gone, travel off, be lost there. For hours. For days. Come to think of it, I can still do that. Oh, the wonderful joy of the written word. The amazing force of it. Powerful. Joyful. Provocative. Soothing.

I can not imagine how my life would be witout writing and reading. Can you?

Today is International Literacy Day (ILD). Today we focus on raising awareness for those who can not read or write. Today we give children and communities a chance to rediscover the joy of reading while raising awareness for those without access to education. Or as UNESCO says:

International Literacy Day
 was first celebrated in 1966. It's aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. On International Literacy Day, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women. 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out

As for me, on a day like this, my mind goes to Meena. It is unavoidable. To shy Meena, and her love for reading. Her love for books. To her humble gratefulnes of being able to take a book home with her. To her joy, enthusiasm and engagement. To my little book lover Meena. My mind and my heart goes to her and to all her fellow class mates. To the kids who couldn't believe it was true - that they could borrow a book with them. The kids who laughed and danced and celebrated vividly with me, when we established our little community library. What a joy! A library of our own. My fellow book lovers.

Today we celebrate the joy of writing and reading. May it never be taken for granted.

Today I want to celebrate Meena. For coming into my life. For teaching me. Gratitude. Joy. Compassion. This is for her and for all the Meenas of the world.

For Meena.


What a glorious day

What a glorious day this is,
she thought
running free running high running wild

and the grass is so green,
and the sun shines so bright,
she laughs out, feeling larger than life

because no more control,
no more fear, no more hate,
it's all gone, she broke free finally

she is here in this moment
it is now, it's all hers

she's the queen of her own life at last


3 days in Barcelona

So, for the first time ever I went to mainland Spain. For the first time I went to Barcelona. A city I had read about in the unforgettable book The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, (a book I wept dearly over when I was done reading it). And my urge to visit Barcelona was even more nurtured when I read the powerful Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones, a book set in the medieval Barcelona.

In One Word, my dearies: Amazing. Amazing Barcelona. The architecture, the food, the feeling... . Yup - this is a city I would go back to. But only 3 days, what to see, where to go? Not a chance that I am "done" with this city. Here are my top 3 days - 5 Barcelona moments:

1. Strolling at Mercat de la Boqueria. I do have a soft spot for market places like this: the whole atmosphere; strolling around in between stalls selling fruit, vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, sweets, oil, juice, ham etc. Yes, a bit touristy perhaps, located as it is just by Los Ramblas, but still a fun place to explore.

2. Exploring the churches and architecture in general. Oh yes, it was pretty amazing to see the breathtaking grandious churches from the books I had been reading. The gorgeous Santa Maria del Mar, and the one-of -a kind Sagrada Familia. I liked strolling around in the narrow alleyways of the area Barri Gotic, and to walklike a queen down the broad majestetic avenues.

3. A morning at Camp Nou. Yes, since one of my travel companions is a huuuge football fan, a visit to Camp Nou, the largest football stadium in Europe was a must. And it was fun! Together with almost 100.000 visitors you can watch Messi and his team.

4. A lazy afternoon at Barceloneta, the large beach located in the centre of the city. And what amazing combination: a sweathy morning in the city, and then a lazy afternoon on the beach, streched out, sipping a cold drink while watching the sun set over the sea. Beautiful.

5. Brunching at Rekons (Comte d'Urgell 32). The food in Barcelona deserves a chapter of its own really. In short: We Ate Well. Lots of Tapas: small dishes that just kept coming. Small grilled green peppers, ham, small pies, olives... Our favorites turned out to be the small places in the university areas. Places like Rekons, where they made our huge salad as we watched - all fresh, cheap and sooo tasty...

So long Barcelona. Hope to see you again:-)