Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Children”

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

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Signing off with a fave Christmas Photo of Dad and I

 

 

 

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

Never Alone With Brothers and Sisters!

When my good friend Lynn’s mom died she was all alone in the experience. She had her faith, like I do…but she had no brothers or sisters to lean on to help her through her darkest days, or even to laugh with, or make decisions with. She had a few best friends for which she thanked God and I thank Him everyday for mine, especially Heather who has been my rock in the best friend department.

But, brothers and sisters to go through the trenches with really do help and that is my subject tonight. Some days you are closer than others to your siblings, but the fact of the matter is you have known them all your life. My sister Suzy and I are only 17 months apart. That’s hardly anything. And Bill and I are five years apart and Scott and I seven. Now Sara, she came along with our new step mom and is fifteen years younger than I am, but she was so wonderful. She drove all the way from Madison on her own to be there for us for Mom’s service and all the way home again. She stayed with dad and Trisha and was a comfort to him as well. Dad had a hard time too. He’s been unmarried to mom a long time but they had a lifetime of friendship and respect and four kids they raised between them. A lot of history.

momvideo20History is the word. Shared history when it comes to brothers and sisters helping you through the loss of a parent. And they know you so well. My youngest brother Scott knew how close Mom and I were, best friends really. He was looking out for me as emails were flying about carrying out her wishes. He knew I would need a sit down and sit down we did.  At the very malt shop my mom hung out at as a teenager and discussed where to and how to scatter her ashes. My brothers split a chocolate malt and Suzy and I a coffee malt. Maybe it doesn’t sound reverent, but it was high Holy Baker Tradition as we reminisced, discussed the service and decided on what to do next. Mom had made it clear so it was a matter of doing what she wanted.

We’ll keep that part to ourselves because it’s private. Let me just say it was legal and beautiful and one of the most memorable days of my life as we let go of the earthly ashes that were our once glorious Mom’s outer shell and thanked God that He had given us such a great Mom and now had her with Him in Heaven.

While we thanked Him for her and what a great mom she had been, we remembered. I will never forget that day, neither will my sister or brothers. It was something we shared all the way together, in responsibility, in reverence, in relief and release as we said our last “so longs”. For it isn’t really good-by is it? We will see her again someday.

That is our “sure and certain hope” the scripture says. I believe it with all my heart because the Word of God says it, Jesus lived and died this truth and rose again and our Mom lived the testimony of this truth beautifully. We live it now. Daily. And will until we join her and those who have gone before us in the Faith.

Miss you Mom. I’m thankful I had such a great Mom. You will be missed every day until I see you again my precious: Mother, Sister in the Faith and Best Friend. Love, Libby!!!!!!!! (which is how you always said my name) 🙂

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

Daughter Abby’s 30 This Month! Slideshow Celebration!

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Happy New Year!

New Years Eve Lunch

New Years Eve Lunch

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I’ve played the friend, Have lived and loved and labored here, And made of it a happy year. ~ Edgar Guest

I have been busy online being a friend, wishing my online friends a Happy New Year and offline reflecting on the past year and planning for the year ahead.

I have not made any New Year’s resolutions, because this year they rather made themselves. I am turning  60 in 2013, and I had a bit of a crisis of the body and mind about my weight when I saw my blood pressure rising and the doctors having trouble keeping it under control. My internal medicine doctor suggested I join Weight Watchers for that reason as well as rising cholesterol readings, and aggravated arthritis.

I finally did, the week before Thanksgiving. I do not own a scale, not being fond of dealing with that particular reality. But I had been to the doctor’s office enough to know the general neighborhood I was creeping into! Let us just say that when I finally joined I was entering a neighborhood I would rather not live in at all!

I was glad I had made the decision at last. I am mentioning this in my New Year’s post because today was also the day of my Weight Watcher’s meeting and at noon today, I discovered that even though it was the holidays, I had lost a few ounces shy of 18 pounds!

Today is cause for celebration for me. Not just that I have lost weight, but that I know I can make changes in my life and habits that are significant and that I can be happy doing so. That alone, makes me positive and happy about greeting the New Year with anticipation and assurance that this year will be a better year. Filled with more accountability, discipline, good health and possibility than the last.

As for all the wonderful friends on and offline I Christmas’d with, sent and received cards from and greetings on Facebook and Twitter, exchanged many heartfelt love you’s and Happy New Year Eve and New Years over the past two days…I can only say I am thankful to a very loving God for bringing them all into my life.

Best of all, my wonderful Lord…who has given me the fabulous gift of a loving family, I thank Him for my dear husband Mike who is my very best friend and lifelong love, and my fun and giving daughter Abby who is a delight and bringer of joy into our lives and always has been!

I wish you all the happiest and brightest of all years in 2013. I pray they are filled with all the love and promise your heart and mind can hold and that this year brings you closer to God, friends, family and your dreams!

Love you all! Libby

The Only You God Made

“You are the only you God made… God made you and broke the mold.” ― Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life

So many people try to be someone they’re not! My daughter Abby never had that problem. She was true to herself. She liked computers and sports and dressing for the game not the sidelines! Her dad and I encouraged her to be the person we was not what a more traditional culture would have pushed her to be.

Like the culture one I grew up in. I liked to play sports and was called a “tomboy”. I was no kinda boy I just liked to run and play and move fast and climb trees and build forts. Fortunately I had two parents who encouraged me to be myself.

What if you are an introvert being pushed by this culture to be more outgoing? Take time for yourself. Be like my husband. He is strong and sure of who he is and happy to be himself. He takes the time to be alone and I honor him for it.

What part of your personality is unpopular to those around you? Don’t squash it, express it. God made only one you! Let us know you. We don’t want to miss the opportunity.

I have a friend, my very best really. We go way back. Friends since Junior High. She has always been true to herself. Always unique. So much so that many people in High School tried to be like her. She was popular, but for the right reasons. She is fun and funny and kind and thoughtful. We lost touch after High School, Cooley and I and I always missed her. Come our 10th Reunion time I got on the committee to help plan it, partly because she was on it and I wanted to see more of her. We renewed our friendship and kept it strong over the years.

I try to surround myself with people who are true to themselves. Genuine and honest. God has made them the way they are and they bring so much blessing to others. I’ve mentioned here my family and best friend in my life. There are so many I’ve met online. Stephen Caggiano, Heather Siebens, Mary Triviski, Dave Reynolds, Tom Wall, Denise Barlow, Mark Bernhardt, Mimi Baker and Sumner Musolf to name a few.

I hope you have been as fortunate. If not, start by being true to yourself. I believe you will draw the same kind of people to you! God bless and have a great day!

Christmas Magic and our Journeys to the North Pole

For young children there is no confusion between believing the account of the Christ child’s birth — the real meaning of Christmas — and the magical tale of Santa and his North Pole workshop and the toys he brings to little girls and boys.

“Oh east is east, and west is west,
And never the twain shall meet–
Until they come to the end of the earth,
To Santa Claus’ retreat.”
― Walter R. Brooks

In our family, we kids lived with this dichotomy for many years. Years longer than our friends. We knew Santa was real because our dad and mom had taken us to the North Pole and Santa’s Village, many, many times.

Santa Answering Letters at the North Pole

Somewhere in the state of Colorado, high up in the Rockies, my father knew of a village replicated after the storybook renditions of Santa’s Village at the North Pole. After many days of driving in the summertime, we climbed high into the Rockies above Colorado Springs, above Pike’s Peak, past the cabin my grandma Meme owned to the North Pole. It looked just like summer at Santa’s village and we delighted to travel there. My dad and mom were always excited to show us every inch of the beautiful village, introduce us to the elves they had grown to know so well over the years, and finally to Mr. and Mrs. Claus. We sat on Santa’s lap and told him what our hearts desired, and within reason, we always got what we asked for! Sometimes even if it was a puppy or kitty!

It’s no wonder then that we argued with our friends incessantly as they tried to tell is there was no such thing as Santa Claus…we had been to the North Pole and met the real Santa! Not his helpers, the department store Santas everyone else had met, but the very real one!

It’s no wonder I believed in Santa until I was nine years old! 🙂
That Christmas was the last Christmas my parents were together. When I think of that night I am overwhelmed with nostalgia and I wonder for just a moment, why they ever parted. I know the answer in my head, but my child’s heart twinges as I think of that night.

I awoke to a noise I heard in the family room of our new house. I tiptoed down the stairs and peered around the corner from the kitchen. I could see my mom putting the stockings up on the mantel. The stockings! Santa’s private domain. My dad was assembling a toy by the tree. They were talking softly and laughing. I thought, well there they are, they are Santa after all. My friends were right.

For a moment I felt foolish, and then I looked at the warm, loving scene before me. All seemed right with the world. I felt older and quite wise. I thought I was witnessing something beautiful: love. I tiptoed back up the stairs and went to sleep. The next morning dawned sunny and clear with new fallen snow. It was an extraordinary Christmas! God bless you all! I hope yours this year is as well! Love, Libby

My house now, this Christmas

I Just Don’t Want To Be There…LOL

“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” — Woody Allen — I have a little take off on this quote: “I’m not afraid of depression, I just don’t want to be there when it happens!” LOL — Libby Baker Sweiger

I have had bi-polar disorder, some of you may know for quite a few years. Since my early 20’s. That is when it usually manifests in a persons’ life. I have not been unusual in that way. What has been remarkable is that I have enjoyed a very high level of functioning nearly the whole time I have lived with this thing. So, while we are not friends, BP and I, we have a certain peaceful coexistence and you won’t hear me grouse about it much.

But I will admit to all of you and expose to the light of day that I have a low tolerance for depression. I really don’t like it. Mania isn’t fun for me, a bit scary, but depression I hate. If you don’t see me for a while, you may want to come looking. There’s a chance I’ve withdrawn because I’m depressed.

Eeek I hate to see the words, or even write them! Perhaps exposing this to the light of day is just what was needed. What could happen to make a happy extrovert withdraw from those they love? Something dark and dreary that should be kicked to the corner, gotten angry with and told never to return. Banished from the mind and heart.

But, its insidious self doesn’t leave easily. For now I’m enduring a med change and asked to wait. The threat of the hospital looms over my head. But I’m not going. I’m relying on God and all of you to pull me through in love.

I’m staying busy working, writing Christmas cards, helping others, loving, trying to make a difference…thrusting myself out into the world whether it feels right or not. Today I’m going to mom’s to do the Christmas cards I ordered for her to send out. We’re going to have fun doing them together!

My daughter is coming this weekend. I’d prefer this didn’t come up. I hope I will have normalized enough to keep my moods to myself and focus on the fun at hand and the delightful prospect of seeing my dear girl.

Hope with me will you? Thanks!

One of the pictures on mom's cards

The Arrival

The Mother’s Ring on my hand, babies Abby and Davey on Mantel

“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

I love this quote. I saved it for one of the last posts. It is how I try to live every day. I feel the key to loving is to love unrestrained with your whole heart and not let past hurts get in the way. I don’t dance much anymore, this is a good reminder. My daughter’s dog Spunky loved to dance with me to the praise songs on the radio! They both live in Duluth, MN now. I always sing (off-key some say) at the top of my lungs. I am certain living your life as if it were heavenly will give you the attitude to make it so.

My story has almost come full circle. I loved being in my family as a child in whatever form it took. I love my parents, and the extra parents God gave me in the form of ministers, grandparents, uncles and aunts and two dear step moms. Trisha is still with us and loving this family. I have two aunts and an uncle still here. I am so blessed to have my wonderful parents! I am thankful every day that I can call my mom and she still knows me. I call my dad often and we wise crack together, and tell each other I love you.

I am most grateful for my little family. My husband is without a doubt the best in the world. He loves me and spoils me rotten. He made me cheesy eggs this morning even though I overslept and he’d already made and eaten his hours before.

There have been some tough things to endure. My dad says he thinks I’m the strongest of his children. I don’t know about that. The stomach surgery I had in 2010 when my brain swelled afterward was about the worst thing that ever happened to me health-wise. I endured intubation. I was taught by a wise and caring nurse how to breathe with the tube my throat when I started to come out of it. The Lord brought me through that one. Whew!

The very hardest thing for me was losing my babies, Shirley and Davey. If you missed that story you can find it earlier in this blog. I think about them all the time and thank the Lord that I had the privilege of being their mom. Which brings me to today.

It had been a rough week. You know the type these days, groceries not going far enough, gas not lasting long enough, working a project to earn some money and it’s really slow going. Wait. God is with us. Let’s try this again. It was a glorious week! The Lord showed his faithfulness in providing for us in every circumstance.

Today, Saturday was a perfect day. Besides sleeping in and getting cheesy eggs, we went with Mike’s sister Cindy to get a gift for a cousin’s wedding next weekend. We all went for a late lunch together. We always have so much fun talking together. We talked for hours. It was a beautiful sunny, wonder-filled Saturday.

I was tired when we got home, but I remembered to get the mail. There was no mail the day before due to Veterans Day 11-11-11. I brought the mail including an intriguing package in and put it on my kitchen table. I got a scissors and opened it and there was MY MOTHER’S RING! A beautiful ring with the names: Shirley, Davey and Abby etched in it and the birthstones of each of their birth months: October, November and January!

I will never take it off. My life has come full circle. I have my family together, including Shirley and Davey. I am ready for new beginnings. My past has been glorious and challenging, my present is satisfying, productive and expanding the muscles of my heart, the future? Well the future will be in my next book. Thank you so much for listening. Love to all! Libby

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