Forberedelse – Preparation

The date has been announced – June 16-18, 2022.

That’s the date our Kringen Lodge welcomes the Sons of Norway, District IV Convention to Fargo. Delegates from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Montana and North Dakota will gather to renew friendships, hear reports, take action on business, and celebrate our heritage.

Before the convention delegates arrive, our host lodge has a long list of things to get ready. The Norwegian word FORBEREDELSE means to “get ready in advance.” Zone Director, Kay Halverson, and I have been asked to serve as Co-Chairs. We have lined up a large team of committee members and volunteers to prepare for our guests. Responsibilities include inviting delegates, proposing costs and a registration process, planning menus and activities, lining up craft displays and vendors, creating training opportunities and workshops.

As we work together to prepare, we invite your input in the “forberedelse” process. We welcome your involvement and suggestions. Preparing together creates new friendships and lasting memories. Together we can move forward under the convention theme “Call to Action,” a tribute to the heroic summons of Prillar-Guri to call the Norwegian farmers into action in 1612.

Ready for “Slankekurset?”

During this Christmas season, the Julebord has been filled to overflowing with the finest foods. I suspect the homemade desserts have not been lacking in calories. For many of us, it is a lot
easier to pull our chair up to the table than it is to push ourselves away, or at least to say “no thanks” to second helpings.

Looking back at the julekake, rosettes, lefse, fattigman, sotsuppe, and perhaps even lutefisk, we try to correct our course for the year ahead with New Year’s Resolutions. A common confession is that we have indulged too often and really ought to cut back on our calories.

The Norwegian vocabulary has a choice phrase for slimming down after a season of eating. As if they are taking it seriously and going to enroll in a class of self-discipline, they say they are going to take a “slankekurs,” meaning a course in slimming down. In English, we say, “I am going on a diet!”

The Norwegians are about as serious as we are. It lasts until the next meal of delicious leftovers.

Happy New Year!

Betlehem Stjernen – The Star of Bethlehem

The Magi in the Christmas story focused their attention on a star to lead them to their destination. They looked beyond themselves for motivation and guidance. They looked to the heavens.

In 1812 a young Danish pastor, Nikolai Grundtvig, wrestled with questions about his calling in life. “Was he truly fit to be a pastor?” Harassed by doubt, but seeking guidance, he wrote his first hymn, “Deilig er den himmel blaa” (“Bright and Glorious is the Sky”.) As the Wisemen were guided by a star, he wrote “We too, have a star to guide us.” Grundtvig became an outspoken Danish reformer lifting up God’s Word as the star that illuminates our way through life. This Christmas hymn concludes with this stanza:

As a star, God’s holy Word Leads us to our King and Lord;
Brightly from its sacred pages
Shall this light throughout the ages Shine upon our path of life,
Shine upon our path of life.

As we journey together towards Bethlehem, let us look beyond the tinsel and the toys. Let us rest our gaze on the Star of Bethlehem and find our way illumined by the radiance of God’s shining Word.

Takksigelse – Thanksgiving

by John Andreasen, Lodge President

Early in life, we learn from our parents to say “thank you.” I still hear the echoes of “mange takk” (many thanks), “takk for maten” (thanks for the food), or “takk skal du ha” (thanks shall you
have). In the United States, November is the month for expressing thanks with a national holiday set aside to recall the blessings we have received. Although Norway doesn’t have a special day for Thanksgiving, they do have a word that is similar, “takksigelse”, (saying thanks).

As I look back on the heritage and culture passed on to me, I am grateful (takknemlig.) Core values were passed on as a child through loving parents. History and a cultural awareness came through education and travel, once again blessings to enrich life’s daily journey. In this community, I find friendship and partnership pursuing common goals through employment and volunteer opportunities. Our Kringen Lodge and Club becomes a meeting place where friendship grows and relationships flourish.

It is the season for thanksgiving (takksigelse.) Thank you (takk skal du ha) for being a member in the Sons of Norway. With the beauty of the fall colors and the ingathering of the harvest, our hearts overflow with gratitude (takknemlighet.) Take time this month to count your blessings and in the context of the Norwegian word, “takksigelse”, say thanks to those who have been a blessing in your life.

Happy October

The Klub board met on September 13th and I have been delegated to appoint committees for a Troll Lounge remodeling and exterior updates. The lounge remodel is planned for this winter and the exterior is planned for this spring. Another committee will be formed to investigate investments into a reserve fund. Please contact me if interested in getting involved.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Denise, our Klub cook, as she battles cancer. Thanks to everyone stepping up to fill her shoes, especially Patty Hagen, who came out of retirement. All are appreciated. Keep your eyes open for a fundraising event.

Have a boo-ti-ful month!

Hjemkomst – Homecoming

The Norwegian word “Hjemkomst” forced its way into the Red River Valley vocabulary because of the voyage of a Viking ship. The ship, built of North Dakota oaks, had its roots in Norwegian tradition. The journey to its native land was a true Homecoming.

For many, the word “Homecoming” brings us back to high school, college, or university to recall our formative years with friends and teachers. We remember milestones and events that seared memories in our minds shaping the way we lived our lives. Our childhood home and educational community molded our character and identity.

As descendants of an immigrant culture, we look back through our parents and older generations to place a marker on those meaningful indicators that define who we are: hard work, frugality, optimism, etc. It’s good to go back home, both in person and in our collection of memories. The moral teachings and the treasured values of the past are the guiding lights that lead us into the future. The highlights of our heritage offer hope for the remainder of our journey. Let your participation in Sons of Norway bring you back to the joys that refresh your spirit, much like a happy homecoming.

Medlemskap – Membership

The Norwegian word for “member” is “MEDLEM”. It combines two words “MED” broadly meaning “with” and “LEM” associated with our English word “limb”. We may think of a member as one who is joined to the tree. Membership in the Kringen Lodge connects you with a larger family united around a common identity and purpose. We are a part of the Sons of Norway family tree.

Members enjoy special opportunities and benefits. You may have already cashed in on several of them such as reading the Viking magazine or enjoying the financial security of a financial investment or insurance policy. Our Kringen Klub has established a quality reputation for excellent food service along with refreshments in the mystical Troll Lounge.

This month I draw your attention to the scholarships and grants available through the Sons of Norway Foundation. In keeping with our values of commitment to life-long learning and service, the Foundation awards approximately 25 scholarships to promising students. Eligible candidates may include your children and grandchildren. To project our heritage into the future and maintain the link to contemporary Norway, the Foundation awards over $20,000 annually to aspiring lodges or to individual members in need of disaster relief. You may check them out at or by calling Arnie Ellingson, our local Foundation Director, at 701-237-9537.

As a MEDLEM at Sons of Norway, you will discover “It pays to be a member!”

“Felleskap” – doing things together

Our mission in Sons of Norway got its beginning when a few good people joined together building a community to help others in distress. They referred to the organization as a “mutual benefit society.” By joining forces around a common concern, they formed a caring bond of fellowship. The Norwegian word “felleskap” signifies cooperation around a common cause.

A part of our Sons of Norway DNA reaches out to others. During the months of July and August, our Kringen Lodge meetings are designed to invite our neighboring lodges to join with us for a meal and a program. In July we had representatives from lodges in Mayville, Fairdale, Cooperstown, and Detroit Lakes. In August we look forward to visitors from Grand Forks, Wahpeton, Valley City, and Jamestown. Each lodge will contribute a portion of the evening program for everyone’s enjoyment.

Within our lodges, it is not unusual to hear someone say, “Well, you know, I’m not really a Norwegian.” To the credit of the Sons of Norway, people from all nationalities are welcome. Humanity is a common denominator. We learn from each other and we care about our neighbors. Our common bond is a working “felleskap”. A welcoming hand is extended to neighbors, friends, and visitors from around the world.

Velkommen til Sons of Norway!

Tusen Takk – A Thousand Thanks

When hearts overflow with gratitude the Norwegian language lays it on thick with not just one “thank you,” but with “a thousand thanks.” As we near the end of our Together at Kringen Campaign, we are ready to celebrate the generosity of our Sons of Norway members. Gifts to the campaign are closing in on our $1,000,000 goal to recover our Covid losses and rejuvenate our facilities. On Thursday evening, July 15th, we invite all who have contributed to join in a celebration banquet hosted by the Kringen Club.

Chris Carlson will brighten up the evening with his wit and humor as our Master of Ceremonies. In addition to recognizing the Campaign Committee and honoring the donors, we will be treated to music composed by Norway’s virtuoso violinist, Ole Bull. Tightening up the strings on her Covid-weary violin, Karin Andreasen-Gambell has been working to replicate Ole Bull’s Visit to the Mountain Cabin. After a delicious serving of fresh salmon followed by a taste of rømmegrøt, we will be ready for a virtual walk in the mountains.

The Kringen Club is still accepting donations to the campaign and would like to honor every donor with an invitation to the banquet. Please make sure we receive your name and your check by our deadline on July 8th. For all the support we have received through this campaign, we raise our voices to say “Tusen Takk!”

Til Seters – To the Mountain Cabin

by John Andreasen, Kringen Lodge President

From the Lodge President

The old-time family farm gets ready for summer by moving livestock and a few necessary items up the steep trails to the mountain pasture – the seter. Farmers cut the grassy hay lands in the valley to provide forage for the winter, but the lush mountain meadows welcome the goats, sheep, cows, pigs and horses to a summer pasture. The farming operation at the seter, often run by the women and the girls, milked cows and goats, churned butter, and made cheese. They herded the cattle with the help of a tinkling cowbell. Nestled in the mountains, along lakes and streams, the workers enjoyed the drawn-out evenings with the almost-never setting sun.

Today, many of the old seters still survive. Owners have fixed them up to be attractive year-round cabins, ideal for winter skiing and summer hiking. While there may still be a few cattle grazing in the summer highlands and hikers hear an occasional cowbell, the work at the seter has changed dramatically. The mountain cabin is now a place of relaxation and refreshment enjoying the beauty of Norway’s outdoor paradise.

As we move into another summer season in the Red River Valley, many maintain the Norwegian tradition of transitioning to a summer cottage or lake home. It’s a time to seek refreshment in the “lakes country” with water sports and family gatherings. May you find time and opportunities this summer to make a trip – “Til seters!”

Note: The Arvid Benson Seter conference room at the Kringen Klub, also known as the Viking Room, was decorated by noted Norwegian artist Arvid “Chris” Kristoffersen from Kragero, Telemark, Norway. It is styled to look like the interior of a traditional Norwegian seter.