Må din väg gå dig till mötes (Irländsk bön)

Må din väg gå dig till mötes

och må solen värma din kind,

och må regnet vattna själens jord.

Och tills vi möts igen må Gud hålla,

hålla dig i sin hand.



May the road rise to meet you,

may the wind be always at your back,

may the sun shine upon your face,

may the rain fall softly on your fields,

and till we meet again may God hold you

in the palm of his hand.


Irländsk bön


The Lord’s my Shepard (Herren är min Herde)

The Lord’s my Shepard, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own Name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

My table Thou has furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me,
And in God’s house for evermore
My dwelling-place shall be.


Words by Frederick Swann


Hymn ”Abide with me” (Psalm 189 i svenska psalmboken)

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
when other helpers fail and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, O abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s dark sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Words: Henry Francis Lyte, 1847

Man in ‘coma’ heard everything for 23 years…….. Makes you think doesn’t it?

Man in ‘coma’ heard everything for 23 years

Mother says her son received wrong medical diagnosis after 1983 car crash

updated 5:27 p.m. ET Nov. 23, 2009


BRUSSELS – For 23 torturous years, Rom Houben says he lay trapped in his paralyzed body, aware of what was going on around him but unable to tell anyone or even cry out.

The car-crash victim had been diagnosed as being in a vegetative state but appears to have been conscious the whole time. An expert using a specialized type of brain scan that was not available in the 1980s finally realized it, and unlocked Houben’s mind again.

The 46-year-old Houben is now communicating with one finger and a special touchscreen on his wheelchair.

“Powerlessness. Utter powerlessness. At first I was angry, then I learned to live with it,” he said, punching the message into the screen during an interview with the Belgian RTBF network, aired Monday. He has called his rescue his “renaissance.”

Over the years, Houben’s family refused to accept the word of his doctors, firmly believing their son knew what was happening around him, and gave no thought to letting him die, said his mother, Fina. She was vindicated when the breakthrough came.

“At that moment, you think, ‘Oh, my God. See, now you know.’ I was always convinced,” she said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

The discovery took place three years ago but only recently came to light, after publication of a study on the misdiagnosis of people with consciousness disorders.

While a 23-year error is highly unusual, the wrong diagnosis of patients with consciousness disorders is far too common, according to the study, led by Steven Laureys of Belgium’s Coma Science Group.

“Despite the importance of diagnostic accuracy, the rate of misdiagnosis of vegetative state has not substantially changed in the past 15 years,” the study said. Back then, studies found that “up to 43 percent of patients with disorders of consciousness are erroneously assigned a diagnosis of vegetative state.”

The issue is fraught with difficult medical and ethical questions. Patients diagnosed as being in a vegetative state with no hope of recovery are sometimes allowed to die, as was done in 2005 with Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged Florida woman at the center of the biggest right-to-die case in U.S. history. Her feeding tube was removed.

“It makes you think. There is still a lot of work to be done” to better diagnose such disorders, said Caroline Schnakers of the Coma Science Group.

Houben was injured in an auto accident in 1983 when he was 20. Doctors said he fell into a coma at first, then went into a vegetative state.

A coma is a state of unconsciousness in which the eyes are closed and the patient cannot be roused. A vegetative state is a condition in which the eyes are open and can move, and the patient has periods of sleep and periods of wakefulness, but remains unconscious and cannot reason or respond.

Image: Ron Houben
Eurovision video
After 23 years trapped in an unresponsive state, Rom Houben can communicate using a special keyboard. He used the device to tell a reporter for the German magazine Der Spiegel that: “I screamed but there was nothing to hear.”

During Houben’s two lost decades, his eyesight was poor, but the experts say he could hear doctors, nurses and visitors to his bedside, and feel the touch of a relative. He says that during that time, he heard his father had died, but he was unable to show any emotion.

Over the years, Houben’s skeptical mother took him to the United States five times for tests. More searching got her in touch with Laureys, who put Houben through a PET scan.

“We saw his brain was almost normal,” said neuropsychologist Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse, who has worked with Houben for three years.

The family and doctors then began trying to establish communication. A breakthrough came when he was able to indicate yes or no by slightly moving his foot to push a computer device placed there by Laureys’ team. Then came the spelling of words using the touchscreen.

Houben’s condition has since been diagnosed as a form of “locked-in syndrome,” in which people are unable to speak or move but can think and reason.

“You have to imagine yourself lying in bed wanting to speak and move but unable to do so — while in your head you are OK,” Vanhaudenhuyse said. “It was extremely difficult for him and he showed a lot of anger, which is normal since he was very frustrated.”

With so much to say after suffering for so long in silence, Houben has started writing a book.

“He lives from day to day,” his 73-year-old mother said. “He can be funny and happy,” but is also given to black humor.

Recently he went to his father’s grave for the planting of a tree.

“A letter he wrote was lowered into the grave through a tube,” his mother said. “He closed his eyes for half an hour, because he cannot cry.”

There is little hope that Houben’s physical condition will get better, but his mother said she refuses to give up: “We continue to search and search. For 26 years already.”

Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg (Albania’s national hero)

Gjergj Kastriot Skanderbeg

 Gjergj (Albanian for George) Kastrioti (1405January 17, 1468) was born in Krujë, Albania from Gjon Kastrioti, lord of Middle Albania, who was obliged by the Ottomans to pay tribute to the Empire. To assure the fidelity of local rulers the Sultan used to take their sons as hostages and bring them up in his court. In 1423, Gjergj Kastrioti and his three brothers were taken by the Turks. He attended military school in the Ottoman Empire and was named given the title Iskander Bey (Albanian transliteration: Skënderbeu). In Turkish this title means Lord or Prince Alexander (in honor of Alexander the Great) and was given to him after repeated military victories for the Empire.

 Success in the Ottoman army

He was distinguished as one of the best officers in several Ottoman campaigns both in Asia Minor and in Europe, and the Sultan appointed him General. He even fought against Greeks, Serbs and Hungarians, and some sources claim that he used to maintain secret links with Ragusa, Venice, Ladislaus V of Hungary and Alfonso I of Naples. Sultan Murad II gave him the title Vali that made him the General Governor of some provinces in central Albania. He was respected everywhere but he missed his country. After his father died and his brothers were poisoned, Skanderbeg was looking for a way to return to Albania and lead his countrymen against the Ottoman armies.

Fighting for the freedom of Albania

In 1443, Skanderbeg saw his opportunity during the battle against the Hungarians led by John Hunyadi in Nis (in present day Serbia). He switched sides along with other Albanians serving in the Ottoman army. He eventually captured Kruje, his father’s seat in Middle Albania. Above the castle he rose the Albanian flag, a red flag with a black double-headed eagle, and pronounced the words: ”I have not brought you liberty, I found it here, among you.” He managed to unite all Albanian princes at the town of Lezhë (see League of Lezha, 1444) and united them under his command to fight against the Ottomans. He fought a guerilla war against the opposing armies by using the mountainous terrain to his advantage.

During the next 25 years, with forces rarely exceeding 20,000, he fought against the most powerful army of the time. In 1450 the Ottoman army was led by the Sultan Murad II in person, who died after his defeat on the way back. On two other occasions, in 1466 and 1467, Mehmed II, the conqueror of Constantinople, led the Ottoman army himself against Skanderbeg and failed to defeat him. The Ottoman Empire attempted to conquer Kruje 24 times and failed each time. In 1461, Mehmed II acknowledged him by a temporary truce as lord of Albania.

Papal Relations

 Skanderbeg’s military successes evoked a good deal of interest and admiration from the Papal States, Venice and Naples, themselves threatened by the growing Ottoman power across the Adriatic Sea. Skanderbeg played his hand with a good deal of political and diplomatic skill in his dealings with the three Italian states. Hoping to strengthen and expand Skanderbeg’s state, they provided him with money, supplies and occasionally troops. One of his most powerful and consistent supporters was Alfonso the Magnanimous, the Aragone king of Naples, who decided to take Skanderbeg under his protection as vassal in 1451, shortly after the latter had scored his second victory against Murad II. In addition to financial assistance, the King of Naples undertook to supply the Albanian leader with troops, military equipment as well as with sanctuary for himself and his family if such a need should arise. As an active defender of the Christian cause in the Balkans, Skanderbeg was also closely involved with the politics of four Popes, one of them being Pope Pius II, the Renaissance humanist, writer and diplomat.

Profoundly shaken by the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Pius II tried to organize a new crusade against the Turks; consequently he did his best to come to Skanderbeg’s aid, as his predecessors Pope Nicholas V and Pope Calixtus III had done before him. This policy was continued by his successor, Pope Paul II. They gave him the title Athleta Christi.

For a quarter of a century he and his country prevented the Turks from invading the Italian Peninsula.

Gjergj Kastriot’s Legacy

After his death from natural causes in 1468 in Lezhe, his soldiers resisted the Turks for the next 12 years. In 1480 Albania was finally conquered by the Ottoman Empire. When the Turks found the grave of Skanderbeg in Saint Nicholas church of Lezhe, they opened it and held his bones like talismans for luck. The same year, they invaded Italy and conquered the city of Otranto.

Skanderbeg’s posthumous game was not confined to his own country. Voltaire thought the Byzantine Empire would have survived had it possessed a leader of his quality. A number of poets and composers have also drawn inspiration from his military career. The French sixteenth-century poet Ronsard wrote a poem about him, as did the nineteenth-century American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Antonio Vivaldi composed an opera entitled Scanderbeg.

Skanderbeg today is the National Hero of Albania. Many museums and monuments are raised in his honor around Albania, among them the Museum of Skanderbeg in his castle in Kruje.


Adapted from Fan S. Noli‘s biography George Castrioti Scanderbeg and the 1911 Encyclopedia

Bonden Paavo av Johan Ludvig Runeberg 1830

                           Bonden Paavo                                                                                

av Johan Ludvig Runeberg 1830

Högt bland Saarijärvis moar bodde bonden Paavo på ett frostigt hemman, skötande dess jord med trägna armar; men av Herren väntade han växten.
Och han bodde där med barn och maka, åt i svett sitt knappa bröd med dessa, grävde diken, plöjde opp och sådde.

Våren kom, och drivan smalt av tegen, och med den flöt hälften bort av brodden;   sommarn kom, och fram bröt hagelskuren, och av den slogs hälften ned av axen;   hösten kom, och kölden tog vad övrigt.

 Paavos maka slet sitt hår och sade:  »Paavo, Paavo, olycksfödde gubbe,
tagom staven! Gud har oss förskjutit; svårt är tigga, men att svälta värre.» Paavo tog sin hustrus hand och sade: »Herren prövar blott, han ej förskjuter.
Blanda du till hälften bark i brödet, jag skall gräva dubbelt flera diken,
men av Herren vill jag vänta växten.»

Hustrun lade hälften bark i brödet, gubben grävde dubbelt flera diken,
sålde fåren, köpte råg och sådde.

Våren kom, och drivan smalt av tegen, men med den flöt intet bort av brodden; sommarn kom, och fram bröt hagelskuren, men av den slogs hälften ned av axen; hösten kom, och kölden tog vad övrigt.

Paavos maka slog sitt bröst och sade:  »Paavo, Paavo, olycksfödde gubbe,
låt oss dö, ty Gud har oss förskjutit! Svår är döden, men att leva värre.»
Paavo tog sin hustrus hand och sade: »Herren prövar blott, han ej förskjuter.
Blanda du till dubbelt bark i brödet, jag vill gräva dubbelt större diken,
men av Herren vill jag vänta växten.»

Hustrun lade dubbelt bark i brödet, gubben grävde dubbelt större diken,
sålde korna, köpte råg och sådde.

Våren kom, och drivan smalt av tegen, men med den flöt intet bort av brodden; sommarn kom, och fram bröt hagelskuren, men av den slogs intet ned av axen; hösten kom, och kölden, långt från åkern, lät den stå i guld och vänta skördarn.
Då föll Paavo på sitt knä och sade: »Herren prövar blott, han ej förskjuter.»                                                                                                                                            
Och hans maka föll på knä och sade: »Herren prövar blott, han ej förskjuter.»

Men med glädje sade hon till gubben: »Paavo, Paavo, tag med fröjd till skäran! Nu är tid att leva glada dagar, nu är tid att kasta barken undan
och att baka bröd av råg allena.»

Paavo tog sin hustrus hand och sade: »Kvinna, kvinna, den blott tål att prövas, som en nödställd nästa ej förskjuter.                                             Blanda du till hälften bark i brödet, ty förfrusen står vår grannes åker!»

Some questions just don’t have an answer

Riding His Harley


A man was riding his Harley along a  California beach when suddenly the sky clouded above his head and in a booming voice the Lord said, ”Because you have tried to be faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you one wish.”
The biker pulled over and said, ‘Build a bridge to  Hawaii ‘ so I can ride over anytime I want.

‘The Lord said, ‘Your request is materialistic, think of the enormous challenges for that kind of undertaking; the supports required reaching the bottom of the Pacific and the concrete and steel it would take! It will nearly exhaust several natural resources. I can do it, but it is hard for me to justify your desire for worldly things.. Take a little more time and think of something that could possibly help mankind.

‘The biker thought about it for a long time. Finally, he said, ‘Lord, I wish that I and all men could understand women; I want to know how she feels inside, what she’s thinking when she gives me the silent treatment, why she cries, what she means when she says nothing’s wrong, why she snaps and complains when I try to help, and how I can make a woman truly happy..

‘The Lord replied, ‘You want two lanes or four on that bridge?’ 

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