Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “friendship”

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

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.

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

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 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!

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!

The Danger Of The Little White Lie

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
― Mark Twain
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This quote had a big impact on me. Not that I’m a liar or anything, but I have been prone to the polite lies of peace-keeping society. Insidiously they can sneak into your mind and become a habit. And therein lies the danger. The more you allow the kind lies of polite society infiltrate your soul the more blurred the line between what’s true and not true will become. Suddenly you will catch yourself telling a whopper of a real lie for no reason. Now how did that happen?

You opened the door to deceit in your heart and in waltzes evil to take up residence. Now I have a girlfriend. A very good girl friend who I talk to daily on the phone. She just doesn’t lie. Then, I noticed she was telling me about a white lie she told the day before and right there on the phone she started to pray and ask God to forgive her. I was really touched. She was letting me into her personal prayer life — that we had both done before. Not only that, she was exposing a weakness and confessing it before me and God and repenting right then and there. She was making a decision to be genuine before people and before her Lord.

That is exactly how we should be with one another in love: transparent. Calling it like we see it. What she had done wasn’t so terrible, that wasn’t the point. The point was, it troubled her conscience and she wanted to make it right immediately, as soon as she thought of it, so she did.

Wow, if we could all be like that with each other, what an awesome world this would be. And if we offended someone — repenting and asking forgiveness right at the moment. Clearing the air and mending the situation with love and a hug. What a great way to live. I’m committing myself tonight to more transparency in life. More honesty with myself and with others. If we’re totally straight with people, we don’t have to try to remember anything as Mark Twain says. We don’t have to keep any story straight because there never was one.

Let’s not worry so hard about putting our best foot forward and looking and acting perfect that we’re telling polite little fibs all over the place, let’s conduct ourselves with transparency and honesty. Be real with each other. Honest. Meet each other with the truth and a genuine spirit of sharing. Not only will it keep us out of danger, it will improve the quality of all of our relationships by giving people the best gifts we have: ourselves and the truth.

Mare, my dear friend and I

Growing in Faith And Marrying Kind

2 Corinthians 3:18 “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

When I was almost 18 and a senior in High School, we had a Bible Study in our home for kids from my class. We were going to a new church that believed in following the practices and structure of the early church in the bible. We were growing, fueled in part by the Jesus Movement of the 70’s. The above was my very favorite verse. I loved to think about the idea of looking into the face of Jesus, like into a mirror, His word.

A year went by with the focus of my life being the worship at this church, helping my mom with the family and working. It was Spring of my 19th year and I signed up with at my good old Congregational Church to be on the work crew for High Schoolers on their spring ski trip and retreat. I got accepted. This meant I could ski by day and serve meals morning and dinnertime. I could also sit in on the spiritual sessions. I loved every aspect of the trip and participated all I could.

I noticed of one of the counselors on the trip. He spoke at a fireside chat and I liked what he had to say. He seemed very gentle and kind with a good sense of humor, so I asked him if he skied or anything. He said he stayed back with some of the campers who didn’t ski and worked on his teaching when we skied. I noticed up close he was pretty handsome. Well I must have grown on him a little because we road home to Minnesota on the bus together. Turns out he was in charge of the Jr. High drop in center at the Congregational church. And he was studying to be a youth pastor. Within a year we were married.

As you can see I remember our meeting fondly. I remember many things in a good light. But he was a very young man to go through all that we went through — and my heart goes out to him, too. How was he to know how well I would do in my life? My bi-polar on top of the death of our two children frightened him, I think in a time when our country was also in turmoil. At any rate, it is not for me to judge, or try to reason his actions. I have enough to manage taking care of my own.

Every day we have a choice about how we want to view our past and present. How we want to view our future. Are we going to look at our past with mercy and forgiveness for ourselves and others, as the Lord does — without bitterness? Are we going to live our present in love and our future in hope? I am. That is my intention. For I still love the verse,

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

Six Little Cowboys

“Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.”
― Mother Teresa

It was by brother Bill’s 50th Birthday Party. He didn’t look it. He didn’t act it. None of us were acting our age, it was a cowboy theme party! We were having a great time at my cousin Marnie’s house in Eagan with all my cousins assembled, my Aunt and Uncle, my sister Suzy, Sara was in Wisconsin, my mom and my dad and brothers Bill and Scott, and dad’s wife, my dear friend Patricia, who everyone called Trisha or Grandma Trish depending. We were all having a wonderful time and the cowboy hats and scarves were certainly helping.

It was so great to see my Dad and Uncle together. They had so much fun in the old days and every opportunity in between. Then Tricia started to gather my siblings for a picture with dad. We were shuffling around trying to follow direction and get into place and my mom saw us gathering for a picture and followed suit. Sweet Trish who was trying for a shot of dad and the kids shot this picture instead:

Middle (Me) Left: Suzy, Mom, Back: Scott, Dad and Bill on my right (6)

We all smiled! It was the first time in many years the six of us had been in the same picture together. Not by design, just by circumstance.

Here is the last picture taken of just the six of us:

Dad holding Scott, Bill, Mom holding Suzy, Me 🙂

My dear friend who I refuse to call step-anything, Trisha gave us a wonderful gift that day. Mom has dementia and doesn’t quite understand everything. The rest of us are very happy with the way life has turned out. Yet wasn’t it nice — on the day we all were together to celebrate my brother Bill and his matching cousin Muffy’s 50th birthday’s in our cowboy clothes — we were given a glimpse into the past and a moment of remembering?

It was a precious moment courtesy of one classy lady I call my friend. Thank you Patricia. You blessed our day. Hope we can do the same for you, next holiday! Love, Lib

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