History & Traditions, Motivational, Philosophy

Weekly Quote and Proverb

Proverbs and Quotes provide us with wisdom from days past.

These words, generally anonymous and uttered so succinctly, can teach us so much, in just a few words.

Here are this week offerings:

The greater love is a mother’s;

then comes a dog’s;

then a sweetheart’s – Polish Proverb

Schnauzer dog

In these times of pandemic and social distancing, we would do well to remember the Danish proverb:

No one is rich enough

to do

without a neighbour.

Danish Proverb
Dragør

As a second wave of Corona looks to be commencing in a southern state, the final word goes to Thomas Edison –

Stay safe.

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Christmas – Around the World

Merry Christmas from Something to Ponder About –

Here are a few snippets of Christmas past spent in various parts of the World. The spirit remains strong and the family connections, despite whatever corner of our globe we live in. May your Christmas be Merry and Bright!

Glædelig jul – Christmas in Denmark

Denmark

God jul – Christmas in Norway

A Norwegian Christmas

Norwegian National dress is worn at Christmas

European Christmas

Frohe Weihnachten! An Austrian, German and Swiss Christmas

Innsbruck christmas
Christmas in Austria
Christmas markets Europe
German Christmas Markets
Lucerne christmas
In Switzerland playing traditional horns
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‘Statues’ in Innsbruck at Christmas

Japanese Christmas

Merri Kurisumasu

Australian Christmas

And in Australia, we celebrate too even though it is hot and humid…. but we try to stay cool!

Christmas in our backyard pool!

Merry Christmas

from Amanda at Something to Ponder About

Merry Christmas is different around the world, and yet the same!!
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Proverbial Friday – Wisdom for Life

Weekly Quote

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.”

~ Unknown

 

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I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog.  Mostly anonymous, proverbs are a portal through time to generations past and echo a diverse range of cultures. They speak, to me, of the experiences of many lessons learnt and the wisdom from thousands of lives already lived.

Not only that, but they offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

 

Weekly Proverb

 

danish house

 

 

The house that is built after every man’s advice

seldom gets a roof.

~ Danish Proverb

What could the Danish proverb be telling us? Is it similar to the trite saying: Too many cooks spoil the broth?” Or could there be another layer of meaning to this quote?

 

I invite you to join in the discussion by leaving a comment.

Everyone’s opinion is important.

What is yours?

Stpa

Proverbial Friday – Something to Ponder About

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Photo a Week Challenge: Bridges

gargoyle gate bridge
The Entrance to a Machievellian House, perhaps? Gargoyles adorn the Bridge posts.

It has been a while since I posted a photography post, but I have been chatting to another blogger about hosting a photography challenge recently, so thought I would get back to the swing of posting photography. I will soon be leaving for Japan, so I will sneak in this post.

The Task: SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF BRIDGES.

Well, the blogger did ask.

Bridges are a popular motif.

A connection between two worlds.

A fascinating angle for photographers.

I tried to find some different photos in my collection for this challenge.

Mt Cook Merino sheep
A Bridge of Sheep – how often do you see that? 

I like the angle where it looks like the Merlion is hosing the folks on the bridge, and indeed on a humid Singapore day, that spray of cool water is indeed refreshing!

No need to tell you where this is

A rather abstract edited version, which seems to exude atmosphere.

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Walking the underworld of bridges

“A Bridge Too Far” – site of World War II battle over the Rhine and movie with Robert Redford.

John Frost Bridge, Arnhem, The Netherlands

A different type of natural bridge, except the arching rock pathway that led to this natural feature in Australia, completely fell down and left several Japanese tourists stranded on the rock for several hours,  or at least  until the helicopter came and airlifted them to safety.

Australia
London Bridge – true to its namesake, it fell down a few years back 

Read more about the stranded tourists here

Find instructions at Nancy merrill photography, if you would like to join.

Soender Felding, Denmark
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Poetry Challenge – OctPoWriMo

The following poem is the one I have always liked and I wrote it so quickly – it must be that writing from the heart, makes a difference.

I am submitting it for the October poetry month challenge. A little late but I have been occupied with hosting my own poetry challenge, which ends this month, well, last month, now that today is officially November.

You can check out another of my poems here/2018/11/01/poetry-challenge-october-prompt-2/

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

‘Still in my Heart’

Home Sweet Home afar from me,
At least 10 hours over sky and sea,

A fairy tale land of red and white,
of rain, and wind, and winter nights.

Yet still you send my heart a flutter,
And here, I can but get your butter,

Cos’ when I’m sad and feeling down,
You can lift my spirits like a children’s clown.

What is this strange longing and connection,
I feel for such warm and fuzzy introspection?

Of land and family long dead and passed,
Would they think me to be completely daft?

Yet I am of them, and they are of me,
This continual spreading of the family tree.

The branches are like the ancient Birch
Resilient, pervasive til one drops off the Perch.

If only I could stay or perhaps visit more often,
But my responsibilities and circumstances rarely soften.

So I must dream and wish and be ever so frugal,
And if I can’t afford to travel there, there is always Google!

~ The Sunshine Elves

Andrea Heiberg
Poetry Dedication:

In memory and thanks for a great friend, Andrea Heiberg.

You are watching now from another place, I place I cannot yet go.

Just what are you thinking, I do wonder.

~Amanda

Stpa

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Monday Mystery Photo Trondheim Grenadiers, Norway

Previous Mystery Photo

The photo here under, of me, standing beside a soldier from a historical re-enactment group. The challenge was to find the location for this military group, based on his costume.

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This re-enactment group is actually based in Trondheim, Norway. In those days, the King of Norway was actually Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark, so this soldier wears the yellow faced uniform of the Trondheim Regiment, of Northern Grenadiers, in the Danish Norwegian Army fighting the Swedes in 1809 – 1814. Read more about the re-enactment groups here.

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Norwegian soldiers had been fighting the Swedes for many years. As many as 3000 Swedish soldiers died out in the mountains on the border of Sweden and Norway near Røros, during a bleak winter as they were retreating back home, defeated.

Here the group are parading in the Constitution Day parade in Trondheim with their drummers. They look rather grand, I think.

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Their hats are rather unusual, and remind me a little of a feather duster on a beaver’s back!! And there is my friend from the Monday Mystery photograph – in the middle of the photo!

trondheim soldater

Monday Mystery

Something to Ponder About

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Wisdom

WindowI find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you think so too.

 

This week’s proverb comes from my beloved homeland of Danmark, yes it is spelt that way, over there!

There are many possible interpretations of this proverb and so, many possible layers. I see the proverb referring to the fact that fear might make us pro-active and desperate enough that it would motivate us when motivation is hard to find. It could also refer to escapism, an ability to avoid and remove ourselves from facing up to a responsibility or a challenge. Either in a positive or negative way. We find a way out of a difficult situation, or we procrastinate about a difficult or boring task.  Some of us might even delegate that task to avoid having to do it ourselves.

He who fears finds a way out.

 

What layer do you read in this Danish proverb?

 

He who fears finds a way out.

 

– Danish Proverb

 

Shipwreck

 

The following quote resonated with me this week:-

 

“Sufficient  are the worries of today.”

– The Bible

 

Whether one is religious or not, this quote refers to living in the present, and I do wonder what  it is we will worry about in the future.

Will we look back at our old worries and think how trivial, futile or ridiculous?

Or will, in decades to come, even  regard with horror, the worries of now.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Join in the discussion.

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Something to Ponder About

Vejen, Denmark
Book review, Community

Invisible Murder – Book Review

With the topic of refugees and terrorism very much in the news, this novel by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis, is written for our time and makes for illuminating reading.

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Two impoverished Roma boys are scavenging for something to sell in the ruins of an abandoned Soviet military hospital. Purportedly to improve the lives of themselves and their poverty-stricken families in a rural village of Hungary, one of the boys embarks on a radical plan. Far away in middle class Denmark, Red cross nurse, Nina Borg inadvertently risks her own life and those of her family, to assist a group of Hungarian refugees but little does she know her actions will have disastrous ramifications.

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Source: Economist.com

“Jobbik. It had to be Jobbik, taking to the streets to protest the Jews, Communists and Romas from ‘ruining out nation.’ Lusja straightened herself up pursing her lips as though she had found something disgusting on her shoe. ‘God spare us from any more racist, goose stepping idiots.’ The driver turned in his seat. ‘Jobbik aren’t racists,’ he said. ‘They’re just for Hungary.’ Lusja straightened up in her seat and stared daggers at the driver, 128 pounds of indignant humanism versus 260 pounds of overweight-but-muscular nationalism. ‘And what kind of Hungary would that be?’ she asked. ‘A Hungary clinically scrubbed of all diversity? A Hungary where you can be arrested just because you skin is a different colour? A Hungary where it’s totally okay for Romas to have a life expectancy that’s fifteen years shorter than the rest of the population?’

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Source: Hungarianfreepress.com

A novel that is carefully crafted and well-balanced, allowing you to understand both sides, their personal  motives and furthermore, to feel empathy for the characters woven into the story line: The studious brother who in one brief moment is denied a legal career and betterment for himself, and his family, only because of a racially slanted agenda, his quest to save his wayward orphan brother who, by way of contrast, chooses an extremist, crash-through course of action, and the consequences for each; the innocent bystanders; the well-meaning humanitarians in Denmark, the terrorist thugs and ordinary residents of homogeneous, suburbia integrating with ‘foreigners’.

Are they all helping or hindering the cause? What toll does it take, personally, on those who help the less fortunate, the traumatized, the dangerous, and those on the fringes of society?

In the face of a changing Europe, this Scandinavian novel illuminates some salient points to ponder about inter-related events that shape our modern lives.

Rating 8/10

Other Novels by these bestselling authors: The Boy in the Suitcase

 

pensive thoughful looking upward
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Travel theme: Paths

Walking is something most of us do, and we take it for granted. Our feet take us along paths of life, paths of careers, family and nature.

Come walking with me along my the paths of my travels in this fascinating planet:

Vejen, Denmark
Kicking the leaves in country Denmark

Paths can take you to new discoveries, and invite you to experience a sensory adventure. They instill a feeling of anticipation, or mystery, of what lies beyond.

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Boardwalk in Australia

A path might lead to a place where each of us will imagine something different, based on on own microcosmic experiences.

Sunshine Coast
Pandanas Palms shelter the stairs to the Beaches of the Sunshine Coast

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A stairway to where?

As a child, I was completely fascinated with spiral staircases. Not often seen in Australia, they are subject to strict building regulations but regulations have no impact on a child’s imagination.

Iceland
Path to the Magical Blue Lagoon in Iceland

This was a path I will never forget – a special memory for me and my daughter. A wintry swim in the geothermal waters.

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You never know how you might meet on the path in Austria

Site of the ancient fortress
A path to Else’s house and Viking history in Norway

Do you have a favourite walking path? Is it near of far from home?

Others share their path at Where’s My Backpack.

gardens
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I Knew there was a Dutch Connection

Tulips

I’ve always been attracted to the Dutch culture. After all, who doesn’t like cheese? But the attraction was more than that, it was the tulips, the food,  scenery, lifestyle and especially the folk culture. I felt such an innate ‘pull’ towards seeing the Netherlands, that I visited there whenever the opportunity arose.  For many years, I’ve practised and continue to be fascinated by  the Dutch styles of Folk Art painting, particularly that from the villages in the north, who have ties to the Hansa and Scandinavian culture.

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Dutch style Folk Art painting

But it was in researching my family that I discovered the potential Dutch connection in my family history. A DNA memory that might explain my fascination with Dutch culture. And I discovered it, not in The Netherlands, as one would suspect, but in fact, in Poland.

On a cultural trip to Poland, I learnt that several hundred years ago, Mennonite farmers from the Netherlands, were invited by the Polish-Prussian authorities to colonize the land near Poznan and Gdansk, (where some of my family lived),  due to their acknowledged expertise in farming very wet and poorly drained soils. They were given certain rights and privileges  not necessarily afforded to the local mainly feudal population, and thus quickly formed communities called ‘Olender.’

mennonite-houses-near-malbork
Mennonite farm in Poland

My historical curiosity wanted to know more. Was there a connection to my family?

In researching these Dutch communities in Poland, (many who came from Friesland), it seems that being ‘Olender’ could actually mean much more than just Dutch ethnicity, it could mean a town that followed a certain style of laws and religious practice. Olender , at first, seemed to be a contraction or parochial term for “Hollander,” (hailing from the Netherlands), but in time, Olender came to mean whole communities that followed a particular cultural or legal mode and could be a mix of Prussian, Polish and Dutch ethnicity. They really were embracing multiculturalism even then! But, unfortunately, it wasn’t all plain sailing.

mennonite-house-near-malbork
Mennonite community near Malbork Castle, Poland

They were often devout Lutherans, following old religious ways and were even referred to as ‘Evangelicals,’ in the Polish regions.
Towns that were once called ‘Klep….’ were later called  ‘Nowa …’ to sound more polish after independence was gained.  These areas it seems were areas that were settled by Mennonites from the Netherlands.

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A road side cafe in Elblag, Poland

 

Some of the Olender families from Zielona Gora, and Poznan, and in some cases, entire villages from Klepsk, in 1838,  emigrated to Australia, due to what they felt was religious persecution, or restrictions on their religious freedom.  In one document, requesting permission from the Prussian authorities to emigrate to Australia, the applicant family stated they could not ‘live in this world without being able to follow their old Lutheran ways.’  Religion and culture was extremely important to most people in the 19th century and indeed, also in earlier times. So one could see that it might be their high standards of personal freedom and their devout style of faith that led them to emigration to the New worlds.

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The influence of the Dutch was also present in communities in Denmark, especially the area on Amager, an island close to Copenhagen, where the international airport is located. Today, it is a treasured time capsule of cobbled lane ways and  yellow and white painted cottages, some still with thatched roofs.

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Once an area of sailors and their lady acquaintances, Dragor and the small villages such as Store Magleby, make for a delightful stop en-route to Kastrup airport. The dogs in the window were a sign to the sailors that the lady of the house was available for “visits!!”

So it seems that there was little coincidence in my visiting the very areas in both Poland and the Netherlands that were significant in my family ending in Australia. Although I can’t say that I would be over the moon to find out one of my female ancestors lived in Dragor!!!

Historic connections and DNA memory is Something I will often Ponder About

 

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A Life Quest

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In life, a quest might take us on unexpected paths, with possibilities that are open, wide or endless, or  narrow and constricted, limiting our options.

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The difficulty is to breathe in, and squeeze through the narrow tunnels of life.
It is then we can fully appreciate the exhilaration of achievement and persistence on the open road.

The longest journey begins with the smallest step

Quest photo challenge

Something to Ponder About

Save

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Proverbial Thursday – Global Proverbs and Sayings

Proverbial sml

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.  Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.

Each Thursday, I post a Proverb or Saying and a Quote that I find thought-provoking. 

I hope you will too.

This week the proverb comes from Denmark:

“The horse one cannot have, always has a fault.”

 

Confucius (551–479 BC) was a teacher, editor, politician, and Chinese philosopher. Confucius teachings deeply influenced East Asian life and thought.The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity  and this week, I am delighted to continue the series of Confucian sayings:

“I am not bothered by the fact that I am unknown. I am bothered when I do not know others.”― Confucius

 

Something Proverbial to Think About

 

 

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Enjoy Scandinavia without the long flight!

A while ago, I was invited to write a post about Scandinavian books and have reproduced some sections and updated others here:

Have you ever dreamt of visiting Scandinavia: the lands that gave us Ikea, Santa Claus, and Hans Christian Andersen? Perhaps you have thought of getting close and personal with a Viking in the fjords of Norway, or the unique landscape of Iceland, but have found neither the time nor the funds?

You can still experience the arctic world without leaving the comfort of your own home through the literary works of Scandinavians. Gaining popularity here not just because they write good crime mysteries, but also because they focus more on story and descriptive plot, giving the reader an impression of, “being there.”

So select your destination and read on:

Denmark

Visit the fairy tale land of Denmark through the eyes of writer Elsebeth Egholm, an excellent crime fiction writer, (Title: Next of Kin), set in the author’s hometown of Århus. Or you could get a feeling for Greenland and snow with Peter Høeg’s thriller “Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”, or even watch the 1997 movie version of the same name, starring Julia Ormond. But if historical fiction is more your thing, Per Olov Enquist will transport you to the Danish royal court of King Christian VII of Denmark and the 1700’s – the time of ‘enlightenment,’ with a tale of romance, lust, treachery and intrigue.

Sweden

A short train ride from Copenhagen, takes one to Sweden, across the Bridge over the Oresund, which is a central theme on the TV series, “The Bridge” (available on DVD). The first season was so popular a second one is set to come. Most people are familiar with Henning Mankell’s ‘Wallander’ books and film, but there are many other Swedish authors whose writings bring Sweden into your own home. Camilla Lackberg is an author who writes about Fjallbacka, a small town on the Swedish Bohuslan coast, with journalist turned home-maker Erica Falck, helping out her policeman husband solve puzzling murder mysteries such as The Ice Princess, which is first in the series.

No one can dispute Stieg Larson’s, ‘Millenium Trilogy’ has brought Swedish crime fiction to Hollywood, and the world, but not everyone likes crime fiction, even if it is Scandinavian. ‘Hanna’s daughters,’ (a story of three generations of woman and their journeys through life’s stages), together with  ‘Inge and Mira’, and ‘Simon and the Oaks’, are three fiction novels of human drama, peppered with a little history, and a central theme of  “friendship,” which the author believes, is more important than family.

Karin Altvegen’s describes marginal life in Sweden’s suburban fringes, in the psychological thriller, ‘Shame” whilst John Ajvide Lindqvist’s “Let the right one in”- is a horror fiction story about vampires, but don’t let that put you off. I would never read a story on vampires, yet this one is a more intimate account of childhood bullying than vampires themselves and, furthermore, was made into a successful movie, then remade by Hollywood. Very atmospheric and highly recommended!

Finally, Lars Kepler is selling out in bookstores as his atypical but brilliant Finnish detective solves even the most brutal and complicated crimes in a most unusual way. I would suggest The Hynoptist and The Fire Witness.

Hungry? Time for a coffee break? Enhance the full Scandinavian experience with an authentic Norwegian Waffle with Swedish Cloudberry Jam and cream?   Recipe found here

Norway

Waffles are delicious while reading works by Norwegian writers: Jo Nesbø with the infamous Harry Hole, Karin Fossum, whose character exist on the fringes of society, or Anne Holt, former Norwegian Justice Minister turned crime writer, with her detective Hanne Wilhelmsen series.Recently, I read “Finse 1222”, set at one of the highest points along the Oslo-Bergen train line, wherein Holt’s descriptions of a winter snowstorm are so real, that when you read it, you will be shovelling snow in your dreams. Again, if you prefer something that does not have dead bodies, I recommend Per Pettersen, (To Siberia, Out Stealing Horses) or Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World – a Fiction story that introduces you to philosophy in a fascinating way).

Iceland

Finally, your Scandinavian tour is complete when you get a taste for Icelandic landscapes and culture in Arnaldur Indridason’s police procedurals: Jar City, Arctic Chill, and Hypothermia. (my favourite detective stories), or a depiction of Icelandic rural life, is found in Halldor Laxness’, “Iceland’s Bell.”

Travel fiction of note:

Andrew Stevensen – Non- Fiction; “Summer light”; A Walk across Norway. Not a Scandinavian writer, but nevertheless a great travel account.

True North – Gavin Francis: Travels in the Arctic, following the travels of ancient Nordic explorers.

I recommend checking out Euro crime for seeking details of other Scandinavian authors and further listings of individual Scandinavian titles to ponder about. Bon Voyage!!

 

Something Scandinavian to Ponder About