Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Anything Can Happen!

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

― Shel Silverstein

So many of us spend most of the time in our thought life thinking life should go a certain way. That life is this way or that. This puts constraints on the way our life should go, limits us and disappoints us at the same time. The truth is that life is much bigger that anything our mind can imagine! Created by God and guided by Him if we let Him, get to know Him, release our mind and thoughts into His we find that Life is just as big as we can possibly imagine and our capacity to live and change much bigger than we ever thought possible.

So what constrains us? Our fear. Our biology. Our thinking. All of the above! I have bi-polar disorder, anxiety, insomnia and a small host of other physical constraints. Yet I can rise above many of them by not letting “stinking thinking” negativity limit me.

A year ago, last May I joined Weight Watchers and began to challenge a lot of the negative thinking that was tying me in knots. Weight Watchers is not just a weight loss program. It’s a way of life.  Its meetings teach ways to challenge your limiting thought life. This is important because many people who eat too much are often emotional eaters. This is tied to a thought life that is all twisted up. I’m very excited about my weight loss, but more than that I want to celebrate the loss of limited thinking in my thought life!

I am 45 pounds lighter… lighter now than I was in High School. I have new eating habits, but the biggest difference in my life is the way that my mind works. I don’t blame myself for things I have no control over. I don’t worry as much about life’s little troubles. How do maintain this? Even though I’m below my goal weight and a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers who needs only to attend meetings once a month and stay within two pounds of goal weight to maintain my free membership. (You only pay if you go over your weight goal.) Great incentive! I go every week to stay inspired and keep my thought life on track! It’s the best, cheapest (free) group therapy on the planet!

I’m sure there are plenty of groups out there doing the same thing and boasting the same results: AA, Al-Anon, Over Eaters Anonymous. Groups that teach healthy thinking and change the lives of their members: teaching that life is just life and needs to be dealt with as it is, not as we think it “Should” be.

I wish this type of thinking and change for everyone I know because it changes you and you reap the rewards with better health, more joy and a more active participation in the world around you!

I hope your day is real and your life a happy journey!

Advertisements

An Ode to Larry

I found out today that my good friend Larry Carolla had died. Over one month ago. On March 15, 2017 at approximately 10:38 a.m. he called his ex-wife to say he didn’t feel right. She was alarmed, told him to call 911 and that she would be right there. She was at his duplex in two minutes, the paramedics within 10, but he was dead instantly of a massive heart attack and unresponsive.

Unresponsive. Larry was the most responsive person I knew. Always. About everything. With that word in her email and subsequent phone call, I knew he was gone. Just that morning he had posted on his Facebook page beginning at 6 something a.m. some indignities about the Republicans and Obama Care. He was furious. He texted Sheri a few hours later and then he was gone.

I had missed his presence. There hadn’t been the usual opinions on Facebook. No emails since Valentine’s Day. I knew something was wrong. I assumed it was the hip surgery he had planned, so I emailed his ex. They lived 12 blocks away in a small Oklahoma town. I knew she would know and she did. How kind it was of her to call. And in her state of shock, console and try to cheer me…Larry’s friend since 5th grade at Wooddale Elementary School in Edina.

Larry and I could have argued about that. He said he met me in his 4th grade class. He remembered it distinctly. But I didn’t move to the East side of Edina until the middle of 5th grade. I didn’t argue with him. Larry could argue the pants off a brass monkey as my Grandfather would say. I couldn’t. Our arguments would end with me in peals of laughter or tears before I would ever win. I didn’t often partake!

Larry called me his “Sky Pilot” because of my faith. He loved my Faith. He loved my Christianity. He’d become Jewish in his adult life after being raised Episcopalian and attending Jesuit colleges. He loved the Jewish faith and people. So did I. We had much in common. And we were both bipolar. This was a big connection between us. Larry floated mostly manic. I strove for the even keel. He took lithium and was never, ever depressed. He was Larry, or a bit manic, or more so.

I take all my meds, on time always. Right now I’m in remission they call it. But for some years, I fought hypo-mania (slightly manic). I can’t take lithium and they had me on anti-depressants which pushed me hypo-manic. I didn’t really know the cause of it. My doctors weren’t aware of what was causing it. I fought the condition all the way. always striving for balance. Yoyo-ing between being a bit manic and depressed. It was tough. During this time I was on disability, worked part-time and opened two businesses.

Larry always worked, flourished often. talked up a blue streak and did quite well. A successful journalist, radio talk personality and entrepreneur. He was a genius. I’m smart, but I’m not a genius. I’m a hard worker and good at sales. Larry always wanted us to work together.

When he died he had another successful business venture he was building. He wanted me to come on board. Never happened. It never will. He’d gotten into some trouble a while back in Wyoming. He paid off his debt to society and all the restitution that went with it. He was no longer bound by any of it. Life had come full circle for him. He was happy and prosperous again. He had not a care, but the doctors weren’t happy. They wanted him to go on Statin drugs. He didn’t want to. I wasn’t privy to this conversation. I would have argued with him about that, but he would have won. He didn’t like hospitals. He didn’t like drugs. He was going to win by losing weight. He was on Nutri Systems. He’d gained 5 pounds on the diet so far. He was a genius. But not about everything!

Larry always said he was the type to give heart attacks not get a heart attack. Years ago, on the phone we were joking about this. I said I thought I was the same way. We fancied ourselves trouble makers in this conversation! He said when we were old we would have outlived out spouses and we would get together in the same nursing home and raise holy terror. Just one of his dreams about us. I went along, he was so taken with the idea. I guess you had to be there! LOL!

Dear Lar. You’re not here anymore to plot capers with. I’m far too well to get crazy with you again. I think it sounds like you were too. You were optimistic and bright about the future. You had your new duplex with a beautiful home office. Your precious Mollie dog was there with you that day. Dear Sheri and you were closer than ever and seeing each other regularly, dearest of friends.

I guess you could say you were at a very high point in your life. Sixty-four years old and you of the big voice of our High School, were living large like you like to live! You were at the top of your game. I’m so very sorry, dear friend that your body would not cooperate. As your Sky Captain I’m here for your winging your way home, my Jewish friend. I know you have by now found many great and intelligent people to debate! And you have a fresh perspective that will keep you from getting too upset, and a new heart that won’t be stressed if you do.

Thank you for the countless hours of conversation we have shared and the laughs!

Larry Gary and I at last Summer’s HS Reunion

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Dr. Seuss

My Untold Story

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I have a book almost written and it’s been in this condition for years. I have a screenplay almost completed as well. I have been reading Steve Harvey’s Book “JUMP” and I love it. He is so inspiring! He encourages the reader to live their dreams. I am going to begin to write again in earnest. I am going to blog. I am also going to finish my book, “A Mother’s Ring” and get it published! It is inspiring to think of. My whole attitude is more positive because I am writing again. The book was written on this blog. I’ll begin by copying each post, putting it in a word.doc and start editing. Wish me luck!

My plan is to finish the entire process including publishing it in 2017. It is an ambitions undertaking but I will have help. Nina Amir who wrote, “How to Write a Book on a Blog” is an email friend. One of my friends knows a woman busy publishing her own e-books on Amazon. I have begun my research on publishing. I am no longer going to bury my dreams. I am going to live them. I have wanted to write a book since I was a little girl and it’s time.

Next project, dusting off the screenplay!

I’ll keep you all posted!

Love, Libby

15966111_10211783168115180_8801089613767072399_n

It’s Been A Very Good Year! Merry Christmas!

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey

It’s been a year of challenges and triumphs! Abby was having back and knee trouble. She began eating right and exercising every day and getting some help from her doctor, losing 90+ pounds. I was having extreme High Blood Pressure, cut out salt, caffeine, went to Weight Watcher and lost 22 pounds. Counting the 10 I lost the year before, I am now 5 pounds from my goal weight. I’m also walking one mile a day, knees permitting. My new cardiologist changed every blood pressure medicine I was on and added one. It was a great combination. I now have normal blood pressure!

Mike is working out, taking good care of himself and as always: Us! He is such a sweetheart. He is still working full-time. He is an invaluable contributor to Falk Paper Company. He keeps up an ambitious reading schedule and walks our lively Lab mix, Riley the Pup ~ sometimes slowing down enough to bring me along! 😉

The Baker Clan is happy and healthy. Dad will be 87 the end of December and is doing very well! He plays as golf as much as he can and walks 1-2 miles per day!

We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Love, The Sweigers!

familypic

Early In The Morning, memories surround me

I’m thinking ’bout my mom…and my friend Heather, my painting partner who painted a complimentary painting for this one I did for mom’s Service Of Life. I’m frantically trying to locate it in my computer. I’m too tired to go to into storage! She died August 17th 3 years ago. I look so young in this picture. I feel I’ve aged so since she died. Or maybe just inside. I feel much older. Grown-up without my mom. My friend has moved to Florida and is moving to Arizona. Much has changed. I hold on to youth and dreams and hope and faith. Some times I’m sad. I wish I could call my mom on the phone like I used to almost every day. My daughter Abby came down this past weekend just because I said I missed her. What a dear, darling girl!

We had a sweet time together, Abby and Mike and I. My lonesomeness was quenched.

I got a call from Heather last night which got me thinking about Mom. The three of us did a lot together towards the end of her life when Heather visited. Some special bonding.

So did mom and my brother Scott and I. And my sister Suzy and Mom and I. It was helpful to double team her. The alone times were the best however …how I enjoyed those.

I remember them now and smile to myself! Before she got too ill, she and I had some adventures. Suzy and she did too, down at Lake Harriet. She and I went down to the Lake too and stayed in the car and looked at the Lake. I wasn’t as strong as Suzy and often just took her for drives. We’d stop and take pictures. Have a picnic in the car and talk.

Heather made wonderful videos of our times together…She’s a gifted photographer and picks fabulous songs to go with them. She put one on Facebook tonight. Fond memories!

It is fun to reminisce in the wee hours!

20130906_182426-001

Scott, Heather and I

63443_10200988819023199_103137263_n (1)

Mom and I

 

Jesus Heals Then and Now

20151120_151141

Luke 8:40-48The Message (MSG)

His Touch

40-42 On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.

43-45 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

46 Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

47 When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

48 Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”

I begin with sharing this verse because it’s integral to telling the account of a healing I experienced in my youth. When I was 15, I was sitting in back row of our church, Colonial Church of Edina, and our minister Dr. Arthur Rouner was preaching on the above verse. He was sharing through the end of the passage, vs. 56 where Jesus raises a young girl from the dead. I was riveted to my seat. I later realize that the Holy Spirit was resting heavily on me that beautiful spring day and that the Lord Himself was speaking to my heart. I show the picture of me at age 62 at the top of this post because it shows at age 62, 47 years later, I have flawless skin. I say it that way, not to brag, but because my skin is the miracle.

Because of the disfiguring acne I had at age 15, my skin should be pockmarked and scarred. But that spring day, I was so moved by Dr. Rouner’s   words as he read from the word of God I wanted to touch his robe for healing, like the woman in the bible touched Jesus’.  By the end of the service, I would hardly stay in my seat. I got up out of my seat. Walked down to front aisle to the front of the Church and touched his robe!!! My intent was to ask Jesus for healing of my skin. I hated it. Nothing helped it. It was uncomfortable, painful, embarrassing and disfiguring.

Dr. Rouner… told me later, he might been stopped in his tracks. No one ever had walked to the front of this independent Congregational Church! But I came up at the perfect time in the flow of his sermon and the service. Lovingly he asked if I wanted prayer. All I could do was nod. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. He then turned to the congregation to ask if others wanted prayer for healing or a touch from Jesus. This was 1970! Other people came forward. We stood up front, held hands, while he prayed for us all. This was the first time in church history there was any type of alter call.

The Holy Spirit moved that day. Dr. Rouner has told me many times since, that it had a spiritual impact on the church. People still refer to that day. It is she Spirit of the Lord at work. When Dr. Rouner prayed for me, the still small voice within told me He would give me “new skin”. I didn’t understand immediately. And I had a few more humbling years ahead. But, by the time I was 20 I had very pretty new skin. Not only did the crusty, icky acne clear, but there was no trace of it ever being there! No pits, that others get from this type of hereditary affliction, no life long scars. Just pretty, pink skin. Without dermabrasion, or botox! Which they didn’t have then! 🙂 I have received many compliments on my skin through the years. I remember always and often say: It is my gift from Jesus!

If you need a miracle, or know someone who does ~ usually for something more serious than this ~ please do not be afraid to ask.

Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same, Today, Yesterday and Forever!

Memories Are The Best Gifts

Christmas Eve Christmas.am.j“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

1-Christmas15.gChristmas Day, 1/2 The Celebration Showing in the Photo!

Christmas is a mystical and spiritual time. There is the mystery of gift giving still mixed in my mind and heart with my youth, my parents, Santa Claus, visiting his Summer Village with my dad. An event which caused me to believe in him until I was at least 10!

Christmas memories blogged about here:

“Mom’s Christmas Tradition” and “Dad’s Christmas Tradition”. Filled with such fun and adventure. A divorce cushioned with such positive memories of family  ~ difficult time made merry by their efforts.

My dad just loves to have fun. He remarked to me after this year’s extravaganza in my sister Suzy’s party room ~ how fun it was to watch the children and grandchildren  What intelligent, sharp people they are. How fun, how happy. Many years of love, many Christmases have contributed to that.

Our faith. Our churches. Our parents. Traditions. Dad and Uncle Dick’s free for all wrestling matches every Christmas Eve. The Merriment. The dedication to children. The laughter. The joy. Eyes twinkling. Bells jangling outside near the roof at dad’s house. The tremendous energy that went into creating occasions and memories for all the kids in our family.

I saw a movie this season. One of the characters told the father in the film something I found profound. “You cannot stop the bad things that happen to your children in life, but you can create good memories for your children.” And that is a Father’s gift to his family.

I believe that is true. And in believing that, I know our family is very rich indeed. Thank you Dad. It’s no wonder your birthday follows so closely after this sacred and mystical time of Christmas. This is a loving and giving time. This time when Earth received Jesus the greatest gift of all.

You are first and foremost a giver. I want to thank you today…12/29/2015 your 86th birthday for all the wonderful memories you created for me, the greatest gifts you have given me. Happy Birthday Dad!

Love you! Lib

Christmasparty.b

Open House Christmas Week with Son and Grandsons

Dad83

Signing off with a fave Christmas Photo of Dad and I

 

 

 

I Am The Most-Blessed Person I Know!

Right Now I Consider Myself The Luckiest Man In the Whole World

Lou Gehrig

1264073_10202182980316485_55436388_oSome people would look at my life and call it difficult. They would look at the outward signs: Health difficulties. Financial upsets. Things like that and say I’m not having a smooth go of things.

I beg to differ. I consider myself one of the Luckiest, Most Blessed people in the Whole Wide World! I have had the privilege of growing up in a very loving family. I have two loving sister and two extraordinary caring brothers. I have known the joy of carrying three beautiful babies, one of them are still with me and beautiful, loving and kind 32-year old daughter who I love dearly and who loves me and still calls me Momma.

I have a treasure of a husband of 36 years, Mike. He is a doll. He knows how to love and care for a woman, like very few men do. He is a source of constant laughter and blessing. He prays for me every night before we go to sleep and I’m sure many times throughout the day as I do him. He is a precious man, full of character and love!

I am 62 years old and am blessed to still have my father with me and all of my siblings. I have a dear aunt and many cousins. I have countless friends from school, a great glass of wise people I still keep track of online and off. Many many online friends, sources of daily laughs, support and inspiration and friends who call, keep in touch, send their love.

Spiritually, life is keep due to faith in Lord Jesus and communing with the Father God who I have known personally since I was 13. I have to say my cup is 1/2 full to brimming over and I wake up every day eager to face it’s new blessings and challenges.

There are valleys in everyone’s life ~ it is true. I know that when things get too tough the Lord carries me through the hard times. He has always proven himself faithful.

I thank the Lord for His many blessings to me. Blessings of Faithfulness, mercies, forgiveness, caring, supplying every need, healing, provision, and health!

Blessings of friendship, love, kinship, laughter, kindness! Blessings too numerous to count!

Abby came down for Father's Day & My bday!

Abby came down for Father’s Day & My bday!

What I Love About Father’s Day!

20140807_094555 (1)What I most love about Father’s Day is our Father God choosing the love of a Father to show us His love for us and sending His very own son to this earth to show us how much He loves us!

Secondly, I have and always will be a daddy’s girl so from the beginning, though I love and loved my mom with all my heart it is also my father’s love I sought. He was my hero, mentor, the one I followed around on Saturday mornings, went for hikes with ~ and on whose every word I dwelt.

Has this served me well in life? After all no father is perfect! Of course! Dad’s don’t have to be perfect to be good people to emulate and want to be like. Father God is the only Father who is perfect and who we should study and want to copy in all things. But Dad’s teach us lessons and show us the way in all aspects of their personalities.

I love my dad’s laugh. His witticisms, his personality, his work ethic, his outlook on life, his twinkle in his eyes, both of them, his stories, oh his stories! I love his way of laughing at himself. Laughing at my quirkyness. Our laughs together. Our conversations. His art of conversation. His tales of his young life, mid-life, yesterday. And of his tales. His writing. His speaking. His love of life. His love of his wife. His love of his children and his adoration of his grand-children. She has a really good heart, he’ll say of his generous wife. He’s a good driver he’ll say of his grandson on his latest job parking cars. You’re a good worker, he’ll say of me on my 102nd job. She’s so capable, he’ll say of my sister who is always on top of the family situations, so good with her children. He’s a worrier like me, but he doesn’t let that stop him from always asking what’s happening and keeping tabs on just what is happening. He cares so much for all his children and grandchildren. He must, but now have found a way to give things to God, or he wouldn’t still be here at 85-1/2!

We’re going for pancakes on Father’s Day. I tried to rally the troops and was unsuccessful. So many families. So many people coming in and out of time. We laughed together about it. He knows he’ll see all his children in and around Father’s Day. He’s not uptight about gathering all the chicks! I love my dad. His laugh. His ready smile. His laid back nature, he’s developed as he’s aged. He’s a wonderful Father. No matter how many Father’s days we have left. I will spend them all with him. My dad. My favorite first best friend. Love you dad!

2012-12-22 15.10.07

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Mother Teresa

This quote reminds me of my mom. Lots of things do. She was always doing little things to make life special for her children. She put signs and balloons up for our birthdays. She baked us Bisquick coffee cakes on the mornings of our birthdays. She put each four of us to bed individually. She told us she loved us each in such individual ways. She said my name with 15 exclamation points at the end of it! Well, at least five: Libby!!!!!

She was always excited to see me.

She made us all feel special, just for being us. And that’s not easy when there’s four of us. But, she managed somehow.

Two boys and two girls. All unique and she loved us all differently, not all the same. Each of us felt she love us each one of us more that the other. We knew she didn’t, but secretly she made us feel as if she did. I don’t know how she did that, but she managed. She was a good listener to her kids.

To other people too. I was struck by the stories at her memorial service at how many people she had made people feel that way and she loved them right into the kingdom of God. That is why when my brother Scott got this idea to put these words on her paver stone that would rest in the pavement at her favorite place, outside the band shell at the Lake Harriet Summer Music Pavillion ~ we knew he was inspired. We all agreed:

10367587_10203902810151156_3436913447906294846_n

That was what she said every time the Spirit moved her to everyone she met. Which was often. And that’s what her stone goes onto say long after she is Praising and Worshiping Jesus in Heaven this 2nd Mother’s Day since her Going Home Day in August of 2013.

Go to it Mom. We are praising with you. Missing you here. Celebrating with our children. Taking time to worship and be very thankful for knowing you.

Love you!

63443_10200988819023199_103137263_n (1)

Barbara Thompson Baker

3/2/1930-8/17/813

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: