What Is Love?

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Romans 12:9-13 New International Version (NIV)

Love in Action

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

That’s what love is to me.

I cannot love that way on my own. I am only truly sincere with the love of Jesus in my heart loving others for me. I can only hate evil with His heart inside me winning out over my fickle heart. I can only love and honor other people above myself, if I have surrendered my will to His and am asking for His strength and the power of His Life and Love to Reign in my life.

So how can we live our lives as this type of love in action? Only with our Lord. Not on our own. That is for sure. Even if we think we are doing good for other people. We may be doing it on our own. God may not have asked us to do it. We may just be winging it on our own strength. Kindness comes from within yes. From Jesus within in us, from our Lord’s kindness, not some fake niceties we have manufactured on our own.

On our own we are not genuine. We are only trying hard. Trying and falling short. This is what I have found. I want to serve others. I want to give. I want to live a life of unfettered giving and hospitality. I must do this as the Lord shows me, not on my own ~ or I will fall short. So each day I must surrender myself to him and ask him to show me the opportunities in each new day.

Opportunities to show love. To serve. Love in action. That was Jesus. That was His life. That can be my life, surrendered to Him. Hear my prayer, Oh Lord, precious Savior.

What is Love? You are Lord. Make me more like you and less like just me, I pray. Help me to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Faithful in prayer. That is a good habit. Joyful in hope. Those are beautiful words come true. Patient in affliction, that is a real tough one! Be my strength dear Lord to make me patient in the hard times. Patient in the bad moments. Patient in waiting for the end of the trials. Believing always in you.

And lastly, help me to share. Share of what you have given me always with others. Share myself, my time, my prayers, my resources with those who are in need…and keep my heart and home wide open to practice hospitality, generosity of spirit. For some I know have entertained angels unawares!

Thanks Lord, for your love. For your wisdom. Your teaching. Your blessing. I surrender all.

The Riches of Friendship

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
Elbert Hubbard

Heather's Pics 643-10  There is no one that fits this Elbert Hubbard quote better than my husband Mike. He is my love and he is my very best friend. I treasure him more than I can say. He is always there for me and that it saying something! I am an emotional person. I don’t glide easily through life. I feel things very deeply. The Lord knows this. Mike knows it all too well. And he is there for me through my troubles as he calls them.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful friend for life. He is almost as blessed to have me! lol! Today I am thankful for the many wonderful friends I have. I have reflected about them this afternoon. They bring great riches to life, great character, great depth and meaning. They also help a lot when the chips are down!

My dad is one of my best friends. He introduced me to this guy here. This is one of my very favorite pictures of he and I ~ took it myself. I’m not too experienced with cell phone self-photography!

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My dad knows me pretty well and I don’t want to leave him out. He loves me fiercely and with great  humor too! We are a bit alike and he also says I remind him of Grandma Dorothy, his mom. That’s a big compliment. She was a very strong woman and I thought very funny! My family is close-knit so let me just say they are all my dear friends. My sister was out-of-town when I messed up some medication I was taking and I almost didn’t make it without her to talk to. She is fantastic! I love her and we’ve been best buds since she was born. We are 17 months apart.

You are rich if you have friends, no matter what you have in the bank. When we had to move a while back, due to my health. My girlfriend Mary rallied behind me and got her husband involved. I didn’t realize he was a gifted mover! It’s not his trade, it’s his gift! One of many. He can look at a piece of furniture and know if it will fit in an elevator for instance. My poor husband had lugged our huge couch up three flights of stairs with my daughter and her friend ~ when we moved in ~ because of the tract lighting in the elevator. It simply wouldn’t fit. Mary’s husband and my brother got it out in the elevator. Easiest move we ever had and we thought it would be the most difficult. She had it on her heart to help us, so she did. That is a friend.

My dear friend Heather and I have been together through thick and thin and surgeries and many prayers together. We will always be best friends. Yesterday her daughter turned 12. She lives in Arizona and I couldn’t be there. She made me feel so much a part of things by rapidly posting pictures of the evening before I went to sleep that evening, with two hours difference in time it was a feat! That’s one small thing her big generous heart of love has done for me over the years.

I love my friends. Social media is a goldmine for making new friends and reacquainting us with old friends. I so like my friend Joe. We met on Twitter and have continued our friendship on Skype and Facebook so that now we are old friends! He likes to talk on the phone like me! I guess we are of the same era. We hope to work together someday. We love to talk “shop” ~ social media, marketing, product promotion, development, websites, blogging, you name it, we are discussing it! Now all we need is a company!

Kathleen and Debi and I went to the same High School. Now we are terrific friends thanks to getting reacquainted online and going to lunch together. We are drawing some more Edina High girlfriends into our friendship bunch to rekindle and develop new relationships where old memories exist and new ones are being built. This makes life so rich and exciting!

There’s an old Girl Scout refrain that keeps going through my mind, many of you know. I believe it was true for that time: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

I don’t think it is the case anymore. I think all friends are gold. A gift from God, as dear friend Heather says. She is so right. Friends are a treasure. Every moment spent with one is a gift. I am so blessed to have many good friends. I am so loved and I am also very grateful.

There is a whole group of people that haven’t been mentioned, the fabulous social media family I have in the #UsGuys group on Twitter and Facebook, many of whom I have met in person and many more I hope to meet. God bless all of you and thank you for making my life all the more deep and beautiful for knowing you all.

Thank you my dear friends. For your support. For your listening ears. For your wise words. And for your love and acceptance. We may not always agree, life would be a dull place if we did, but we will learn from each other and go on.

“Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.”
Sarah Dessen, Someone Like You

Thank you all for being a comfort to me when life gets difficult. For keeping things from being hard to bear. For your love and prayers when I need them. Be assured you are always in mine. And in my heart.

The Last Opportunity

“Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.”
― Max Lucado

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She was a forgiver. She forgave from the heart. She was a good example to us. My dad, the most generous man I knew. My brother Scott is like him. I knew him to give his shoes right off his feet to a fellow on the street who had none. When applauded for it, he shrugged. I kept my socks he said, I didn’t walk home barefoot. As if his sanitary streak showed less generosity! Even more extraordinary he gave his bike away to his younger cousin. A 12 speed, long before he would ever have a car to drive to replace it. I asked him about it. He told me he knew they couldn’t afford a bike for him. I asked him who would buy him a bike and he said he’d get by. He is a selfless guy my brother. My brother Bill is a loving treasure himself. Who gives to his children and family unrestrained. He threw a party for my kiddo’s 30th birthday in his wonderful house, when I couldn’t get the party room at our apartment!

With two loving, giving parents, not to mention two sets of the same style grandparents it’s no wonder we were taught by example to be giving, forgiving.

Yet this quote struck me hard tonight. Forgive and give as if it is your last opportunity. That is so important. Who knows if you’ll get another chance to see that person, that friend you’re taking for granted, judging, or thinking ill of. “People come and go so quickly here!” Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz. And it’s true in life these days! It’s a shame to take for granted even one moment with another treasured human being, or a friend, a gift to you in life.

Or a day of our life. I want to spend each moment of my life in gratitude. In peace with my friends and family. At peace with the Lord of All. There is violence and meanness in this world, that is true. Tonight many of us are reflecting on the violence in Boston. The sad and meaningless terror. Incomprehensible to us.

I’m thinking also of the good things in things in this life. My dear husband’s grandmother had a saying. I always smile when I say it because I knew her well. She was a woman of strength and faith and dignity. She said, “It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.” Now, the weakening part…that’s the trick. For we are all weak. Only strong as we rely on the one who made us. So, if I were so bold as to amend her saying, I would say, “It’s a great life, if when you weaken you cast yourself on the strength of the Lord! Not as catchy, but it works for me. When I am weak I am strong in Jesus. That’s catchier. And paraphrased but Biblical!

So now we are getting to Love. Love like there is no tomorrow and if tomorrow ever comes, love again! That is the best of Max Lucado, and the best advice of all. For Jesus fulfilled all of the commandments with one, Love One Another.

Love One Another.

If we but do that, with His strength where we are weak, we have forgiveness down, evil and violence beat and we have a wonderful life filled with all the things the Lord planned for us: Him, family, friendship, peace, fulfillment, forgiveness, giving and real living. Blessings and love to you all, Lib.

Life Is What You Make It

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“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soul mate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” ― Marilyn Monroe

I have said it before in other posts that I know Marilyn Monroe was a very wise woman. These words prove it. And they are very much similar to the way I feel about life. It is tragic that her life ended so tragically and a terrific blessing that mine is still going strong at almost 60 years old.

I have been blessed with wonderful sisters and girlfriends I call my sisters because they are so dear, Heather Siebens and Mary Triviski to name two. My sisters Suzy Miller and Sara Zeiss both Baker girls like me are dear and have been since the day they were born. Days I remember well, seeing as they are my younger sisters.

I have not had certainly the string of men in my life that Marilyn had, but I have an ex. He was not the best for me and I have a wonderful soul mate now whose life I cherish and celebrate and thank God for with each passing day.

She had a great attitude about failing. She expected it to happen, as do all great minds, Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” when inventing the light bulb. You just have to pick yourself up to start once more and try again.

She had a zest for life that I feel. I wake up every morning anticipating the surprises the day has in store. For each day is a surprise waiting to happen, a blessing from the Creator waiting to unfold. It is up to us to discover it and live it.

Believe in yourself. I do. I also believe in the One who made me and gave me a purpose on this earth. I believe I am here for a reason. For a plan. To give to others. To share love and life and joy. I live that plan every day. His plan for me. Because He believes in me, I have confidence. Lots of it. For if He who built the Universe has a plan for my life I can flow with it, love, live and fulfill it.

Now there you see a departure from the wisdom of Marilyn and the wisdom of Libby. And maybe the key to why I am here, about to be 60, and the world did seem to swallow her at a much younger age.

Perhaps a strong Faith is the difference. His presence, His Love, His Strength, His Peace and His Power. Ask me about that sometime. I will be glad to elaborate! Love to all….Libby

“People are oft…

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ― Mother Teresa

The Things That Matter

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Top-002UsGuys TweetupMike and I -- Happy Together!My Wonderful Daughter Abby!

When things go wrong, or heaven forbid we have a brush with death…it is said our lives flash before our eyes. When they do what will yours look like? It’s something to think about! Mine will be images like these: My first baby…my friends, my loving, dear husband, my best and beloved daughter! and so on. Images like these will keep flashing by.

I know I won’t remember shopping! LOL Or work, or school. I may think of writing. I will think about my parents and my sisters and my brothers and all the great times we share.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not going anywhere. It’s just my bump on the head in February and recurring symptoms have made me think of my mortality. I have faith in a life after this one with my Loving Lord, but what I will miss here! That is important for all of us to contemplate, don’t you think?

And then ask ourselves if we’re spending our waking hours spending time on and with the things and people that matter to us. Are we communing with our Lord, our faith…or ignoring our spiritual selves? Are we taking time for family, friends and faith I guess is the question.

The things that matter. I know in my own life that I am more sure today of what they are than before I took my spill and suffered the subdural hematoma that could have taken my life.

The things that matter to me are simply these:

  • A sunny, cloudy, slushy or wonderful ANY DAY I can share with my friends!
  • All the Time I can steal away to spend alone with my dear husband
  • Trips to and fro to see my FAV and very BEST only kiddo, Abby
  • Time spent talking to my loving and faithful friend, God
  • Phone calls and moments spent with my sibs
  • Any time I can see or talk with and hug my mom
  • Laughing and talking with my dad
  • Telling all of the people listed above: “I Love You”!

If you are my friend, I want you to know that I love you. In this way: I care about what happens to you and I want the best for you.
If you aren’t my friend yet, let’s get to know each other. There is plenty of time and love to go around.

Love you all, and I won’t say “very much” because it’s redundant, my love stands…but I will say this, I love you ALWAYS! Libby

Don’t Listen To Them: Be Kind Anyway!

Mom's 83 Birthday

Mom’s 83 Birthday

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”
― Mother Teresa

This world is getting too tough for me. You try to do someone a good turn and the naysayers are everywhere. People are afraid of kindness. Oh my brother and I didn’t get any flack for taking mom out to lunch for her birthday. We were rather a small party considering she turned 83. I don’t mean to sound judgmental, I’m just saying.

People are very busy these days and don’t take the time they used to help each other out it seems to me. This week I did some driving for a friend and the naysayers said, that’s his responsibility, why doesn’t he get a car? Never mind he’s just getting on his feet.

When did we lose our sense of community and helping each other out? What about friendship? What about kindness? What about caring and unselfish giving to our friends?

I feel like I’m on a bit of a rant here and you can take me with a grain of salt if you like, but ask yourself this question, when was the last time you went out of your way to help someone other than yourself or a member of your family? Do you think you should? I don’t mean with money, but with giving of yourself and your time?

I think we have lost this quality in our society. I think we are losing it. I don’t think we are connecting with our needs and helping people where they need help. I think people are afraid to ask because they are sure they’ll be turned down. I know I am sometimes.

We all need people we can count on. We all need fellow human beings we can turn to when we need help. We need someone to pitch in to help us get through the day. Do you have people like that in your life? Are you that person in someone’s life? In a few people’s lives?

I know we can’t all be a Mother Teresa. Be we can be helpful to others in some small way we are asked to be. I know we can. We can answer the call to be kind. If we do this world will change ~ at least our corner of it.

The next time you feel the urge to do a favor for someone else, do yourself a favor and do it! You will reap the benefits of feeling love for that person and feeling loved and appreciated back. You will reap the rewards of kindness. What are they? Happiness, joy, peace, blessing, little things like that!

Kind people have purpose in life. They are giving and receiving the blessing of doing so. Their hearts are expanding not contracting, getting bigger and fuller, and they are increasing their capacity to give of themselves.

Kindness grows, it echoes as the quote below demonstrates. So spread a little kindness with your family and friends and feel your heart grow. Love and blessings! Libby

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”
― Mother Teresa