Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Gratitude”

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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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 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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