Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Grandparents”

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

 

 

 

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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

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

 

 

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!

Summer Vacations with Pop

Scott (4) Bill (6) George Lake Summer

“Summer night–
even the stars
are whispering to each other.”
― Kobayashi Issa

Summer nights, summer days. When I was a child I thought summers in Minnesota were just as long as the winters. They were packed with so much fun. My grandpa Pop, my dad’s dad took the four of us to Willmar, Minnesota where he lived to a beautiful lake with an inauspicious name: George for a long week every summer. He rented out a wonderful lake home and spoiled us rotten the week long. Here are my brothers on the deck. More often they would be found down on the dock fishing and I would be keeping an eye on them, or Pop would be fishing with them.

I polled my brother Scott and we cannot remember much adult supervision on these trips. My guess is that meant a grandparent was delightfully in charge. Pop was a wonderful man. He was tall and gentlemanly. He talked a lot and told great stories. He loved to take us for drives and when he came back from the grocery store, he always had with him GALLON containers of ice cream. This is how little my brothers were when they started eating their ice cream out of cereal bowls, not ice cream bowls…a tradition which is carried on in our family to this day.

I’m quite certain these wonderful vacations involved shared visitation by both of our parents, courtesy and all expenses paid for by Pop. Pop was not a rich man. He sold insurance for Waseca Mutual Insurance Company and lived in Willmar, MN. Willmar is a nice town, where Pop was well respected and had lots of friends.

Willmar also is host of a Presbyterian Church were my ex-husband did his internship for a year to graduate from seminary. I lived there when I was pregnant with my 1st. And it is there that little Shirley Deborah is buried. I made many terrific friends for the 13+ months we lived in Willmar and I can see their faces now. It was my only taste of small town life and I was lucky to live in that gracious, friendly place.

But, back to Pop. He was a fun, generous and nice grandpa. We enjoyed the vacations on the lake he gave to us and the added time spent with him and dad on the weekends. We loved fishing for the sunnies. Tanning on the diving deck. Puttering around in the fishing boat. And we really liked the cereal bowls full of ice cream!

I miss Pop. He was fun to talk to. Easy going and kind. He was a mellower version of my dad. He told longer stories. He reminds me a bit of my husband. People tease my husband Mike to speed up his stories and get to the point. But most days, I love the relaxing, not a care about time in the world-way he tells his tales. Just like Pop.

Pop finished out his days in Rio Verde, Arizona in the resort home my dad bought with the intention of someday retiring there. Pop was the caretaker and main host of this home, at some point seeming to forget it was dad’s. Dad didn’t make a fuss. He let his dad keep his dignity and we all acted when visiting as if good old Pop were picking up the whole tab again!

Dad’s Christmas Tradition

“The light of the Christmas star to you. The warmth of home and hearth to you. The cheer and goodwill of friends to you. The hope of a child-like heart to you. The joy of a thousand angels to you. The love of the Son and God’s peace to you.”
― Sherryl Woods, An O’Brien Family Christmas

Christmas at Dad's

Christmas Eve at Dad’s was something to look forward to all year. You may wonder why he isn’t in the photo. He is probably taking it. However, Uncle Dick, his spirited brother is also AWOL. They could be recovering from their wrestling match.

Wrestling match? Now what does that have to do with Christmas, you may wonder. It’s a Baker family tradition. It was born out of the belief that Christmas is about children and giving them the best possible Christmas ever. One year, to our collective delight, my dad and Uncle Dick started rough housing right in the middle of Betty, my step mom’s impeccable decorations. We all squealed and laughed and clapped. It evolved into a wrestling match. And became a family Christmas Eve tradition. Uncle Dick usually won. When you consider he had at least a 60 pound weight advantage on Dad, was unbelievably strong and nearly 6 feet tall, my dad’s height — it’s not too surprising. But the sight of them was! They looked like two big bears rumbling around the living room. As I look back, I think their faces were red from the exertion involved in missing everything they could have hit, including their spell bound audience, and in not hurting each other! We laughed uproariously! It was so fun.

Shortly after the wrestling match, we were so wound up. Suddenly, there was the sound of sleigh bells coming from the roof. It’s Santa we all yelled! The excitement level in the room escalated. We all ran into the living room where the tree was to see that it was surrounded knee deep in presents. What lucky kids we thought, Santa visited us at our Dad’s and at our Mom’s.

On a side note. In this picture I was in 9th grade and too old to believe in Santa Clause. The babies in the picture are my darling sister Sara next to Scott on the floor, and my cousin Julie is in the back being held by my sister Suzy. Betty, the lady on the far left in beige and gold — is my lovely step mom and Sara’s mom. The lady in the red skirt is Marlys, Julie’s mom, Uncle Dick’s wife. In the back standing on the left is my wonderful Grandma Dorothy who my father says I am like, and my grandfather Pop is on the right, Dad’s dad.

What a beautiful blended family we were and we didn’t even know it!
We adjourned to a wonderful dinner, lots of conversation, and more laughter. I always love a party where wrestling matches, the entertainment of children, and general frivolity come before dinner. 🙂

We played with our gifts. We checked with Dad and Betty and Sara to make sure they liked theirs and finally said our goodbye to the Baker family Christmas. Oh, how would we wait another year? Dad drove us home. We were quiet and sleepy in the car. When my dad is happy he gets the urge to sing. He sang Mack the Knife to us, our favorite of his many renditions. What a treat! What a perfect evening!

Found! A picture of the Happy Wrestlers! Dad and Uncle Dick!

Christmas Mom-Style

“The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other. ”
— Burton Hillis

My Beautiful Regal Mom's Last Card 2009. Alzheimers, Still Knows Her Kids!

If my mom missed us on Christmas Eve, she never said so. We were over at my dad’s having an uproariously good time which I will tell you about. My mom stayed home alone on Christmas Eve and wrapped our gifts. She always built a fire in the fireplace for us to come home to. And made popcorn for us in a big wooden bowl with matching little bowls and hot chocolate. We all got to open a gift from her that night and we always knew what it would be: our new jammies.

We loved coming home on Christmas Eve to our cozy house and Mom. She loved Christmas and the whole biblical history of the night. Our crèche was out by the fireplace, our tree was decked out beautifully, a real one despite my mom’s allergies.

We would hug and all tell our story of being at dad’s and show mom our presents. She would exclaim over each one. Then we would open our Christmas Eve present from her and rush to put them on. We would all sit together by the fire and drink cocoa and mom would read the bible, about the very first Christmas. We would huddle together and drink in the warmth of the fire, hot chocolate and love. There weren’t any other presents around the three, for Santa hadn’t come yet.

Soon we’d say our good nights, hugs and kisses and go to bed. Mom stayed downstairs for a while. The next morning couldn’t come fast enough. We all had to wait at the top of the stairs until my grand parents arrived. They came with more presents perhaps, we couldn’t really see them, but I knew them so I’d say so! When we got the word — the four of us would charge down the stairs and into the living room for Christmas morning…It was beautiful, breath-taking.

Our stockings were stuffed and we opened them first. Santa had been generous (they were my mom’s favorite part!) And my grandparents brought more love into the house so that it was bursting with it. More gifts to spoil us with, their great smiles and laughter so that our Christmas morning overflowed with it.

Soon my grandmother left to go home to the huge turkey she had in the oven, my grandfather her always gentlemanly escort by her side. Later that day would be Christmas dinner with our wonderful matching cousins and more merriment than the heart could hold!

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