Kid or smart phone?

Yesterday, the woman sitting in front of my family on the tram had to turn around to see if it was true… she had to witness it for herself… THAT I WAS ACTUALLY SPEAKING TO MY CHILD!

I was indeed talking to my 1,5 year old son, commenting on everything he was observing on the tram journey – people, other trams and buses outside the window, and, most importantly, the fire extinguisher at the front of the tram. My son was pointing excitedly to all the different items, saying the words or sounds he knew for each one. I was making eye contact with my son and commending him for his observations. My husband was sitting behind us.

“Aren’t you amazed at how much these little ones know?” the lady in front of us said. I agreed.
“Yeah, my son notices everything and talks a lot. At home he can point to the dishwasher, the coffee machine, the washing machine and loads of other things,” I told her. “I know kids understand so much more than they can express.”
“I just… I had to turn around to see that you were actually talking to your child because it’s so rare these days,” the woman said. “I constantly see parents busy on their smart phones, and it’s so sad, because children need attention, they need eye contact.”
“I couldn’t agree more”, I said. “When I am out and about with my son, I will only text someone if it’s a person I am arranging to meet up with. Apart from that, I focus on him and the things we see and experience. I guess I don’t have to explain that he does not have his own iPad!” I said, half joking but serious. My husband jumped into the conversation to tell the lady about a book he read called “Digital Dementia”. The book explains how children need to experience their physical environment before learning through a screen.

Although I took the lady’s comments as a compliment on my parenting, my heart is breaking for all those babies and children who see the backside of their parents’ smart phones more than their parents’ eyes. Millions of kids experience this form of rejection on a daily basis. I wonder how this will affect future generations. I find it both sad and alarming that interaction between a parent and a child has become so rare that other passengers turn around to check if it’s actually, truly happening.

How often are you talking to your child,
looking into their eyes,
simply being there with them?

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Tractors are one of my son’s favourite things at the moment.

 

 

Nora

Christmas Miracle

It’s not about one moment

It’s not about just one day

Christmas brings eternal gifts

of life and joy that stay

 

Although you may not see it now;

your hope sits on a shelf;

your heart is bruised beyond belief,

you´re still but Love itself.

 

The stage is slowly setting now,

though you can’t behold its scope:

Each moment holds Eternity

Each day gives birth to Hope

 

Darkness must relent at last,

cause you are made of Life;

You are the very core of stars:

The sparkle in God’s eyes

 

So don’t lose heart, do not lose faith!

Your story just began!

A child is always born to us:

The magical part of man

 

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Photo: Nora Graff Kleven

 

by Nora Graff Kleven

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyday choices

For the past few days I have been thinking a lot about choices. About trying to set a good intention for my day every morning.

I am easily overwhelmed by everything I have to do and everything I think I have to do. So three days ago I wrote my to-do list down on paper to empty my head and give myself a chance to be more present. Then I took a moment to set my intention for the day, as simple and as hard as it sounds:

I will do my best to be positive. I will respond as kindly as I can. I will breathe and take in the moment. 

And honestly, my days have been better since. I have indeed felt more present, like I am living «inside» my life and not just watching it drive by me.

I consider this conscious intention to be a building block of my life. As each choice is. Which «bricks» and what kind of «mortar» do I allow to become my life? It’s my choice to make.

Every day.

 

How do you build your life_funlit

 

Nora

 

Taking care of oneself

This summer I’ve decided to practise taking care of myself. I need to. Because I’m actually pretty bad at it. Putting myself down and denying myself the things I long for needs to stop.

Therefore, I am figuring out what I need in order to function my best. The time is ripe to find out. Oddly enough, I’m discovering that I am a better person when I’m kind to myself too – who would’ve known?! I’m a better mom, a better wife – all around a better Nora. And I love being the best possible version of myself!

So the top things I’ve realised I need to give myself is:

#1 – A bit of time alone. When possible, I’m gonna take that moment, those 10 minutes or that hour alone to read, write, have a coffee or just think. I function so much better when prosessing experiences and issues alone before sharing or discussing them with others.

#2 – Go to sleep when I’m tired! Being a mom of an infant, sleep can be pretty hard to come by.  So in order to combat my constant sleep-deprivation, I’m just gonna go to bed early. The next day is so much better when you don’t feel broken from lack of sleep.

#3 – Freedom from worry. I will do my best to solve issues that arise and then I will do my best to let them go. I have been a worrier most of my life, but by remembering that I am still worthy as a person, no matter my circumstances, I actually manage to worry less.

#4 – Allowing myself to enjoy life. When I’ve focused on letting go at #3, I’ve created space for #4: the joys in my life. Allowing myself to be in the moment with my son for instance, just watching him explore his toys, or consciously appreciating a beautiful day out in the city with my family, becomes a richer experience in which I am more present when I remember that I actually am allowed to enjoy life. No matter my circumstances. And when giving myself space and time to write – one of my favourite activities – I become less annoyed when others get to do what they love.

You might just be better for it.
You might just be better for it.

 

What are your top tips for taking care of oneself?

 

Nora

 

Live and let die

– Why and how I live by an A.J. McLean song

We all need something to hold on to – a kernel of hope. Mine happened to come in the shape of a boybander. Having looked up to A.J. throughout his Backstreet Boys career, wishing I could have the guts, drive and energy to follow my dreams like he’s done, you might say I was a liiiittle excited when he released his first solo album a few years ago. The title track, Have It All, quickly became my anthem.

Have a listen, and I’ll share below why this song means so much to me! (I’ve also included the full lyrics below).

Live and let die and you will have it all. I tattooed the words on my body and kept them in my Heart. When you don’t have a reliable source of safety within, you need to find it externally. My inner sense of security was definitely missing, or fleeting at best. I desperately needed something to hold on to. Interpreting the lyrics over and over, finding new meaning at each listen, the song revealed itself as a small yet mighty Light in the Dark that helped me reframe the pieces of my broken life into a coherent story I could accept.

Live and let die… What do I want to live for, and what do I want to let die? I’ve asked myself this question so many times. What parts of me will I give room to live and grow, which parts will I confront and let die? What do I want to keep in my life and what do I wish to get rid of? I do believe I am working towards «having it all» – inner peace, self-love, self-worth, stability and happiness within myself. By nurturing my inner world to become a place of joy and well-being, I hope and believe that the positive changes will filter through me and affect my outside world as well. The more I work on myself and become comfortable in my own skin, the more I realise who I truly am and what I value.

Everybody walks alone, they feel like they don’t belong. I never felt like I fitted in, so this sentence resonated with the part of me that identified as the odd one out. But as the lyrics say, everybody walks alone. Everyone is on their own journey, everyone has to find their own answers. And in that sense, I am not alone. Turning it around from negative, «I feel like I don’t belong», to positive, «this is MY personal journey and therefore my responsibility», I discovered empowerment and freedom. ‘Cause if my journey is my responsibility – which I now can acknowledge it is – then I also have the power to shape it the way I want it to be.

Don’t know where you going, but you know where you stand. A few years ago, I didn’t even know where I stood. Didn’t know who I was or who I wanted to be. Didn’t know what was wrong, why I felt miserable or how to address the situation. But by asking the tough questions, I now know where I stand. I still don’t know exactly where I’m going, but at least the road is opening up ahead. Blocks are removed. As for knowing where I’m going: One day I will know! And I don’t doubt that anymore. I’ll try my best to enjoy the ride while finding out.

Some people let it in, while others let the moments pass them by. I used to be really afraid to speak my mind, to be judged. The more important the issue was for me, the harder it was to speak the words that mattered. Nowadays I try my best not to let moments pass me by, but to speak my mind and grab opportunities that come my way. Perhaps most importantly, I figured out how to know when I was having a «moment». Whereas I earlier would have taken that nervous little flutter in my chest as a sign to shut up, I now know it means the exact opposite – speak your mind! Be truthful. Be direct. Manifest your thoughts into words. That little flutter tells you you’re having a moment in which to actually LIVE. Speak. Act.

Don’t hide.

 

I wanna to have it all, happiness and love all around
Always wanted finer things, but all that money brings is me down
Gonna walk around in your head, it’s time to start moving
And do what you said
Gonna walk around in your head, don’t know where you’re going
But you know where you stand
‘Cause everybody walks alone, they feel like they don’t belong
If only you try, then you can have it all
But you need to let go, of everything you know
If you live and let die, then you will have it all
Some people let it in, while others let the moments pass them by, oh why
And there’s never any question, it was always right in front of your eyes, oh why
I’m gonna walk around in your head, you know where you’re going
And you know where you stand
‘Cause everybody walks alone, they feel like they don’t belong
If only you try, then you can have it all
But you need to let go, of everything you know
If you live and let die, then you will have it all
And I’ll wait for you now, while you turn things around
I will wait for you now, to be ready, where you are
‘Cause everybody walks alone, and they feel like they don’t belong
If only you try, then you can have it all
But you need to let go, of everything you know
If you live and let die, then you will have it all

(Songwriters: Lundin, Kristian Carl / Falk, Carl Anthony / McLean, A.J.)

 

Always a reminder when I look in the mirror.
Always a reminder when I look in the mirror.

 

The words that have guided me in the right direction.
The words that have guided me in the right direction.

 

Meeting your idol is kind of a big deal!
Meeting your idol is kind of a big deal!

 

Do you have a life motto? Do you live by it? Who or what inspired it?

 

Nora