Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Family”

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

So Thankful Tonight

Video Sharing on Facebook Right After Surgery February 2010

As this day draws to a close, I am so thankful for life and that I am here to enjoy it! You may think that strange…what did I do? Almost get hit by a truck today? Nothing of the sort.

This morning I went to the hospital for an ultrasound on the arterial bypass I have in my stomach. What?! Your stomach? Right, who has ever heard of such a thing? Let me take you back.

Five years ago, I was living with unbearable stomach pain. It was most severe after eating anything. Since I had trouble starving, it was hurting me lots of the time! I was finally diagnosed with celiac artery disease…something no one has every heard of. I certainly never had. Ligaments from my diaphragm had wrapped around the celiac artery  which feeds the digestive system choking the blood supply. In fact, it is the main artery bringing blood to the stomach, digestive system, liver and spleen and it ligaments were strangling it 98% closed. This was working the other two minor arteries that much harder and putting a terrific strain on my system. The result was giving me horrific stomach pain after eating and finally all the time.

It took the doctors a year to diagnose it, a year for me to put it off, because the risks were high and the outcome very far from guaranteed. I was finally operated on January 28th of 2010 by 4 vascular surgeons. The team was led by Dr. Mark Meline of Park Nicollet in St. Louis Park, Minnesota at Methodist Hospital.

It was a complex surgery and I came through it well. Afterwards, for some inexplicable reason my brain started to swell. I had to be trached and put on a ventilator. I almost died. Another brilliant doctor and the power of God pulled me through. I am here to tell the story. I am very grateful I came through it.

The next fright I was the anesthesia from the surgery had made me delusional. This is a more common occurrence. But that was little comfort. I went through a terrifying two week hospital recovery before finally coming home.

It was a long way back from the surgery. I was walking in the apartment halls to get my strength back. Three surgeries followed, all minor by comparison and only one on my stomach: a double incisional hernia surgery to repair hernias which developed around incisions from the stomach surgery.

I know, you’re beginning to wonder why I am so thankful. Well, because I shouldn’t be here. It was a miracle I was even diagnosed ~ it was such a rare condition. It was a miracle the surgery worked. My team presented it as a paper to the enter GI department afterwards. The patient was famous, but anonymous! Only a handful of surgeries of this kind had ever been performed and certainly not all successfully.

It was a miracle my husband and I had the courage to go ahead with it, guided by faith in God, my loss of ability to deal with  much more pain, and our confidence in the surgeon.

It is an even bigger miracle that three years post surgery ~ I am healthy. I am 30 pounds thinner. I take less medication for ailments because everything is absorbed better by my body. I am off all cholesterol medication.  And the bypass has held beautifully. That brings me to today. The state of the art bypass in my stomach has healed and holds beautifully allowing me not only to live, but to thrive.

So every April I will have an ultrasound to check on and report on this living miracle in my body. And I will give the glory to God. My surgeon does. So will I!

We’ve Moved To The Woods!

mywoods

This is now the view out of our living room window…and it’s very much like the view from the office/guest room and our bedroom. We have moved to an apartment with a “secluded wooded view” ~ and we love it!

We were living high on a hill before. It was windy and somewhat isolating. This is cozy and homey, and we feel a bit like Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh. No Eyores in this home though. We’re in too good of a mood ~ both of us.

We had vaulted ceilings in our other place, but only one bedroom. Most of the space was vertical! On the ground we were tripping over each other, LOL! Now, we have both air and space. We have room to put our things and put them away as well. There is very little clutter and plenty of room for pictures and art, my two passions. And music and collectibles, my husband’s!

We are happy little creatures now in our woods. I do not imagine we will leave. Oh, to go to work and visit friends. To call on family, so they will call on us. And go to church to feed our souls and spirits and keep us happy in our woods and serving God and others in the world around us.

Your home is not ever about things, but there is a definite mood or spirit about the place. And this one is very peaceful and happy. Please come and see us, if you are ever in this neck of the woods. We would be happy to show you the view from inside our cozy and happy home.

Blessings and Love, Libby and Mike.

Daughter Abby’s 30 This Month! Slideshow Celebration!

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Forgive Quickly!

momvideo20“Life is short, Break the Rules.
Forgive quickly, Kiss SLOWLY.
Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably
And never regret ANYTHING
That makes you smile.”
― 
Mark Twain

I love this quote by Mark Twain! I love all of it, but something has really hit me recently about it. Forgive quickly! That is so profound! This was a policy in my family of origin, with my brothers and sister above, that my mother strictly enforced. My parents had parted ways and it was too exhausting for my mom to be settling a lot of squabbling, and certainly grudge holding among us would be way too much. My dad, who saw us faithfully every weekend and lots in the summer and holidays, felt the same way. Bickering was to be expected at times with four kids and when my sister Sara came along five ~ but grudge holding and bitterness was not to be tolerated. The Bible’s directive “not to let the sun go down on your anger” was strictly encouraged!

What are the consequences of not forgiving quickly? I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have come to this daring conclusion: the stress of holding onto bad feelings defies any justification for having them!

I know this is logic and common sense talking. But what about at the time of the impact of anger and bad feeling? Well you are right…at the time you are not forgiving someone your emotions are in gear, not your brain. Or you might say the brain is slightly engaged, just enough to give you the pseudo-logic you need to justify your actions. Something is running through your head like this: “Well I am not really angry at so and so, and even if I were — they got me into a terrible mess — therefore, I am right to (ignore them), (withdraw my attention, or friendship), or whatever else you have done. You supply the wording in parentheses!

All this mental and emotional maneuvering is taxing to your system. It wears you out. We were designed to be true and genuine. We were meant by our Creator to be honest with ourselves and direct and honest with others. Anything else, any other way of behaving doesn’t do us justice, hurts our fellow human beings, and what we seem to forget damages our psyche, our bodies, our minds and crushes our spirit.

God knows this. This is why He tells us to forgive. It isn’t a suggestion, it’s a commandment and part of the Lord’s Prayer. “Dear Father who art in Heaven, forgive us our sins, and forgive those who sin against us.” Who is suppose to? Well yes God is supposed to forgive us, but we are clearly to forgive others, Jesus answers the disciple who asked him how many times to forgive ~ 70 x’s 7 or unlimited times. Just keep forgiving!

I don’t think God asks this of us because it’s difficult, just to make our lives hard, but rather because forgiveness sets us free! It sets us free from the smallness of our natures, the crippling effects of bitterness and the painful torment of a conscience that knows it has been forgiven many, many times, yet is sitting in judgment of a beloved sister, brother, friend.

So as for me I have made  a commitment and decision to love more and forgive more quickly in 2013 and for the rest of my life! How about you?

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

Striking A Chord — Do You Resonate?

Do your heartfelt thoughts when expressed reach others? Do you strike a chord? Resonate life and laughter in the hearts of others? I want to. I want to be so filled with life and love that the words that I write and speak bring people more meaning, joy and life.

God can do this. He can speak things into being. Of course, I am not God.  Not even close!  But, I want to emulate the way He loves and cares for others. Gives them joy and life and helps them. That, I would like to do.

How does one strike a chord in others with their words? How do you convey and connect to the real tune in your soul? I have thought about this a lot. My grandfather did this. He had a light in his eyes, a sparkle. A smile that showed he cared more about you than he did himself. Thomps for Thompson —  that is what we call him now that he is gone — out of respect for the name he bore, the daughters he raised and the grandchildren whose lives he forever changed.

I think the way to do it is to let the love in your heart shine through you, even when you’re writing. I hope readers can sense the light in your eye and your smile as you think of them. Especially the joy you feel at the privilege of sharing with them.

I smile when I write, a LOT. The 1981 Oscar-winning movie and true account “Chariots of Fire” takes me back to this idea. When Scottish Missionary Eric Liddell, a main character was asked why he was taking time out from his duties to run and train for the Olympics — he answered, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

We should all do what gives us that feeling inside and share that joy with others. The sharing of our souls, our thoughts, our love, our talents is what gives life meaning.

I know my daughter Abby feels joy when she plays softball. Oh she is a great hockey goalie too and loves that. But with the sun on her face as she connects with the ball and smacks it over the fence. WOW! That’s joy.

There would be a lot more joy in the world if all of us stopped to ask ourselves about what we really love to do and spent more time doing it. I haven’t blogged much this whole winter. I was so focused on other things. My life became so busy.  I was helping the world. But I cannot neglect the  joy I find in the writing chair. So I won’t!

Expect to hear from me regularly and know this: while I am talking to you I am smiling and there is a gleam in my eye just for you! Love ya! Libby

 

 

The Greatest of These is Love!

I  Corinthians 13:13

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (NKJV)

My husband Mike and I were  married on July 27, 1979 at Colonial Church of Edina. It was a ceremony that we planned ourselves, involved our dearest friends in and gave our hearts to in every way. One thing we did that was especially meaningful for is was to recite the entire love chapter from the New Testament, I Corinthians 13 back and forth to each other one verse at a time. It is a powerful, beautiful chapter and so much of it has remained in my heart and is there for meditation. I read it, and I treasure the memory of it. I like to try to recite it in my head to this day. “If I speak with the tongues  of men and of angels but have not love I am as a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” That part gave me pause today when I lost my temper at a circumstance in my life. Not at Mike. I was frustrated. But he heard the brunt of it. Boy was I a NOISY GONG. Not my best moment!

Later as we were reflecting on the evening before sleep, we remembered the doctor had given me a medication to take for a few days, effective in stopping rebound headaches —  a cortisone type medicine. The side effects are sleeplessness and irritability. AH HA we said. That’s where that came from. It’s not like me to blow my stack like that. I felt so badly for the calm dear man I married who heard me.

For better or worse, in sickness and in health. God has prepared us for the health problems that have taken their toll on both of us. Nothing so serious as to give is cause to fear for life or limb, except maybe once. But, they have been enough to be wearing and came mostly from me. Now we believe we are seeing the end of them for a while and rejoice in the goodness of our Lord and His faithfulness through it all.

I am especially thankful for Mike. Dear one, patient, strong and always kind. Best friend of my heart and mind. Caring and loving man that I married. I will always think the best of him, do the best for him and trust him with my life. He won my heart, earned my trust my faith in him and he is filled himself with the faith of the Lord. I honor, respect him and find him wonderful, funny and huggable. The rest is ours.

Thanks Lord tonight and every night for this good man you gave me. Bless him. Bless his days and his health and work. Lead he and I in your way everlasting. Thank you for the gift of unselfish, giving Godly love and all the wonderful kinds of love!

“When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

– (Harry Burns) WHEN HARRY MET SALLY

The Happiness Attitude

“Cultivate an attitude of happiness. Cultivate a spirit of optimism. Walk with faith, rejoicing in the beauties of nature, in the goodness of those you love, in the testimony which you carry in your heart concerning things divine.” 
― Gordon B. Hinckley

Libby

A Happy Day, Taken by: Someone who makes me happiest: Husband Mike

My parents taught us to be happy. Can you always be happy? Joyful? Paraphrase: You can always cultivate an attitude of happiness, by being optimistic, rejoicing in the beauty of God’s creation and living by design with the Divine who gives perfect joy! This makes for happy living. My mom believed in it. My father found much peace and happiness in the majesty and intricacy of God’s creation and taught us to both enjoy and appreciate it. He and my grandfather taught us how to look at the funny side of life. My cousins, we kids, taught each other to look at the whimsical. My dad helped us learn how to play. My sisters and brothers and cousins perfected it. With much laughter from my grandfather, encouragement from our mothers and the help of our collective imaginations!

Life was good for all of us, not without difficulty, but very good. Sure things went wrong, but optimism was easy to cultivate in our family and happiness too. You might think the divorce might have put a damper on our mood. Well my mom and dad were both very smart about it. That summer, the first summer we were to enjoy my dad’s company in a different place they did two things. My dad bought me a wonderful dog, our first, for my birthday and my mom got a summer girl for the summer. It’s hard to say which was better!

My dog was a delightful, a bounding white and caramel bundle of fun, a toy collie puppy! She trained easily, loved all the kids, housebroke fast and followed me everywhere on my bike. It was awesome!

Our summer girl Geri was like a big sister. She was going to Nursing College in the Fall and was from the Iron Range. She was a lot of help. She talked my mom into my first girl’s slumber party for my birthday. She did equally cool things for all the kids. She took us on long walks, bike rides, to the pool (mom came) and general helped cart the four of us around so mom could enjoy herself too! We had a blast!

Every weekend we went to my Dad’s new apartment and she stayed home with mom. And we had fun with Dad who still joked and played with us, but his spirits improved when he married Betty and they moved into a house. She was very nice to is as I’ve said. I loved her and the little sister Sara that followed a while later.

All this to say: Attitude is Everything. If you embrace the new and different in life with love, excitement and anticipation, you will be happy and not disappointed about anything.

I have a new job in my near future. Rather than be nervous, that’s how I’m going to approach it. Watch Out World! Here I Come!

Giving Thanks Daily: Precious Gift of Life

Dad being thankful for family at his 82nd Birthday party~

“Gratitude means to recognize the good in your life, be thankful for whatever you have, some people may not even have one of those things you consider precious to you (love, family, friends etc). Each day give thanks for the gift of life. You are blessed”
― Pablo

There are so many ways to be thankful and things to be blessed for. I am thankful for my dear Lord and my wonderful family. In this picture, my dad was thanking all of us, children and grandchildren alike for coming to his 82nd Birthday party, for planning it and was talking of the blessing of having such a wide, wonderful family. He was so joyous, so honest, so touched, he touched all of us and reminded us of what is truly great in life.

What if your family isn’t all it could be, do you still have something to be thankful for? The author of the quote says yes and I agree. We still have the gift of life and what a precious gift it is! The gift to exist and have our being. To reach out to others and be blessed with their response toward us. To enjoy this beautiful miracle of His creation everyday in whichever small way we can!

So throw open the blinders on your heart and let the sunshine in. Do what my friend did today and admit to your friends you need help and watch them come through for you. You’ll get your chance to reciprocate another day. Friends stick together and help each other. That is the way it should be!

There are many wonderful blessings this side of heaven and they are mostly found in loving each other. If you’re not on the LOVE BANDWAGON yet JUMP ON, ENJOY! the ride. It’s a beautiful time. Thinking about others rather than yourself. Your Happiness Quotient will skyrocket, if you begin to focus on others and forget about yourself. You will experience true joy. For we were all made in God’s reflection and loving and giving suits us! Try it on for size. Soon you’ll be giving thanks each day for the precious gift that is your LIFE!

Grandpa (Dad) hanging with the Grandsons JOYOUS DAY!

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