Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Hope”

My Untold Story

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I have a book almost written and it’s been in this condition for years. I have a screenplay almost completed as well. I have been reading Steve Harvey’s Book “JUMP” and I love it. He is so inspiring! He encourages the reader to live their dreams. I am going to begin to write again in earnest. I am going to blog. I am also going to finish my book, “A Mother’s Ring” and get it published! It is inspiring to think of. My whole attitude is more positive because I am writing again. The book was written on this blog. I’ll begin by copying each post, putting it in a word.doc and start editing. Wish me luck!

My plan is to finish the entire process including publishing it in 2017. It is an ambitions undertaking but I will have help. Nina Amir who wrote, “How to Write a Book on a Blog” is an email friend. One of my friends knows a woman busy publishing her own e-books on Amazon. I have begun my research on publishing. I am no longer going to bury my dreams. I am going to live them. I have wanted to write a book since I was a little girl and it’s time.

Next project, dusting off the screenplay!

I’ll keep you all posted!

Love, Libby

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Jesus Heals Then and Now

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Luke 8:40-48The Message (MSG)

His Touch

40-42 On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.

43-45 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens have touched you.”

46 Jesus insisted, “Someone touched me. I felt power discharging from me.”

47 When the woman realized that she couldn’t remain hidden, she knelt trembling before him. In front of all the people, she blurted out her story—why she touched him and how at that same moment she was healed.

48 Jesus said, “Daughter, you took a risk trusting me, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed!”

I begin with sharing this verse because it’s integral to telling the account of a healing I experienced in my youth. When I was 15, I was sitting in back row of our church, Colonial Church of Edina, and our minister Dr. Arthur Rouner was preaching on the above verse. He was sharing through the end of the passage, vs. 56 where Jesus raises a young girl from the dead. I was riveted to my seat. I later realize that the Holy Spirit was resting heavily on me that beautiful spring day and that the Lord Himself was speaking to my heart. I show the picture of me at age 62 at the top of this post because it shows at age 62, 47 years later, I have flawless skin. I say it that way, not to brag, but because my skin is the miracle.

Because of the disfiguring acne I had at age 15, my skin should be pockmarked and scarred. But that spring day, I was so moved by Dr. Rouner’s   words as he read from the word of God I wanted to touch his robe for healing, like the woman in the bible touched Jesus’.  By the end of the service, I would hardly stay in my seat. I got up out of my seat. Walked down to front aisle to the front of the Church and touched his robe!!! My intent was to ask Jesus for healing of my skin. I hated it. Nothing helped it. It was uncomfortable, painful, embarrassing and disfiguring.

Dr. Rouner… told me later, he might been stopped in his tracks. No one ever had walked to the front of this independent Congregational Church! But I came up at the perfect time in the flow of his sermon and the service. Lovingly he asked if I wanted prayer. All I could do was nod. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. He then turned to the congregation to ask if others wanted prayer for healing or a touch from Jesus. This was 1970! Other people came forward. We stood up front, held hands, while he prayed for us all. This was the first time in church history there was any type of alter call.

The Holy Spirit moved that day. Dr. Rouner has told me many times since, that it had a spiritual impact on the church. People still refer to that day. It is she Spirit of the Lord at work. When Dr. Rouner prayed for me, the still small voice within told me He would give me “new skin”. I didn’t understand immediately. And I had a few more humbling years ahead. But, by the time I was 20 I had very pretty new skin. Not only did the crusty, icky acne clear, but there was no trace of it ever being there! No pits, that others get from this type of hereditary affliction, no life long scars. Just pretty, pink skin. Without dermabrasion, or botox! Which they didn’t have then! 🙂 I have received many compliments on my skin through the years. I remember always and often say: It is my gift from Jesus!

If you need a miracle, or know someone who does ~ usually for something more serious than this ~ please do not be afraid to ask.

Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ is the same, Today, Yesterday and Forever!

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!

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Evil’s Destiny

cloud-computing “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have  always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem  invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NIV The Bible:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

These two passages, one a quote from Ghandi, one a passage from the New Testament, the Word of God, have two strong things in common. Everything turns out all right in the end. Good triumphs over evil. Life over Death. God over evil.

We who believe in the Bible as the Word of God then should not be living without hope no matter how dire the circumstances. Right? And true students of history should all know the end of the story whether they believe the Bible and have read the book of Revelations or not. Like Ghandi they should have observed that good triumphs over evil and rejoice. Obviously! They should be living without bitterness, hatred toward an unfair and unjust universe and be filled with hope.

Why then are so many people living with despair, hopelessness, depression, doubt and disillusionment, then. Where is the gratitude? Where is the optimism? Why all the heartache? Why is everyone so down?

The answer hit me as I was driving home in the dark down the freeway tonight. It’s because of EVIL. Palpable, Out-To-Get-Us, destructive, human-hating, despicable, LYING, wanting-us-down, dead and defeated, anti-God, anti-good, anti-life, joy-sucking evil.

That is the answer!

For many years when I have been seriously depressed one thought that plagued me was the biggest lie of all. I have a life insurance policy that when I die my beneficiaries get a lump sum to settle my affairs. It’s a pretty good policy. I got it when I was young and it’s going to help out should I die before my husband and obviously I will before my dear daughter. Now we have always seemed to struggle financially. So when I have suicidal lying horrid thoughts, the taunting I will hear is, “You know you are worth more dead than alive.” “You don’t even work, your family is better off without you, look at you, you’re a depressed, crying mess, why not end it all?”

What a horrid, evil, hideous lie!

But it wasn’t until today, driving home that I tore that lie to pieces and expunged it from my psyche for good. I was listening to KTIS Christian Music, as I often do, and I started to turn it down because I was praying louder than they were singing. I was suddenly thanking God with deep gratitude for all the wonderful blessings and richness in my life. Everything big and small, well they’re all big. I felt grateful for everything, even the challenges, because I just kept talking to God and using the word gratitude, my heart was getting more and more tender and I was starting to cry, but in a good way.

I started to thank him for making me and for all He had blessed me with. All I could do, write and paint and talk and share with people and pray and love and give and laugh and love my family and my friends and I began to see my worth to him, as a human, and with Him. I began to realize the infinite worth of one human life to God and to the world …so much that God send His son to die for that one life. There are Infinite things one life can accomplish in this world and the next! Then I got really angry at the evil for the LIE. I began to shout at the evil in this world to stay behind me then and always and never trouble my mind again or risk again getting kicked out of my thoughts ~ because it was so ridiculous to compare the worth of one human life to money.

I realized compared to a human life, money was refuse, garbage, worse than nothing, of no value to eternity and of little impact on this earth compared to what a human life can do. And I started to laugh at the silliness of the lie and the ridiculous premise of it. And I laughed and praised and thanked God for a long time, all the way down the almost empty freeway.

Wow! Evil. It is insidious. It had a hold on me. No longer. Not on that subject. What chased it away? Gratitude. A grateful heart put everything in perspective, God back on His throne and me where I belonged: worshiping and praising Him for the many blessings He has brought into my life always.

I’ve had my share of heartache, sure. I have also had double the share of comfort from my God. My Father in Heaven. My Savior Jesus. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Three in one. The Triune God. Always with me. He goes before me. He goes alongside me and as always: has my back. What can evil do unto me? Nadda. Nothing. Can I laugh in its face? Evidently. I just did. Hey, no room for despair. I know how the story ends. Love and blessings, Libby

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) 🙂

And There Were Still Six

Before:

Dad holding Scott, Bill, Mom holding Suzy, Me :)

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

I ran into a good friend of mine online this morning Veronica De La Cruz of MSNBC news. Her non-profit “And Then There Were Two” is sponsoring a campaign to keep families together called Stand Up Man Up to keep men in the home and families together.

Here is my Facebook picture supporting that campaign:
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Their website is: http://www.andthenthereweretwo.com/wordpress1/ Please check it out!

It affirms single motherhood and talks about the absentee father as the problem in today’s society…which for the most part seems to be true. But not in my family. Oh we have divorce. I divorced when I was very young. I remarried now for 34 years this month to a wonderful man. My two brothers are divorced and they both have shared custody of their youngest children. But they are their father’s sons. My sisters Suzy and Sarah both have long-term marriages to their high school sweethearts!

My parents divorced in 1963. I was 10 years old and the oldest of 4 children. Two girls and two boys. It was hard, but my parents made it easier. My father made some promises to us that he kept. He never moved farther than one suburb away. We saw him on weekends and holidays and took vacations with him and our stepmom, Betty and later on our new sister Sara. He had a big house and had us for sleepovers. He promised my mom alimony and child support for each one of the four of us which he paid until we went to work or graduated college, or got married. Sometimes longer. Never past marriage :). My mom’s alimony was until she remarried. She never did. She has Alzheimer’s now. I don’t know if she realizes it, but 50 years later he is still paying it to her custodial guardian my sister Suzy, who uses it for her care. My father is a man of his word. A man of love. A man of character.

My mom is one classy lady. She refrained from saying bad things about my dad when they split. She turned to her faith. They took care of us as always. They tried their best to keep a united front like parents should.

My parents weren’t good together as a married couple, but they were excellent parents to us. It shows. They have kids with pretty solid self esteem. Well adjusted enough to love each other like crazy and pose together in cowboy gear at my brother Billy’s 50th birthday. We hangout together at parties with both parents. No hard feelings folks. It’s okay. We understand about you being human and not being married. We can deal. Thanks for thinking of us first so very much of the time. And there were still six of us! Actually 7, but Sara wasn’t there that day! Come one move back to Minneapolis, Sara! 🙂 Well eight counting our newer vintage stepmom Patricia! 🙂 Poor Sara’s mom died when she was in her 20’s. We are one BIG happy together blended supportive family. American family.

If you want to encourage families to stay together please sign this petition for the SUMU campaign

http://www.standupmanup.com

Thank you!

After:

Center: Me, L to R Suzy, Mom, Scott, Dad, Bill

Center: Me, L to R Suzy, Mom, Scott, Dad, Bill

What Is Love?

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Romans 12:9-13 New International Version (NIV)

Love in Action

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

That’s what love is to me.

I cannot love that way on my own. I am only truly sincere with the love of Jesus in my heart loving others for me. I can only hate evil with His heart inside me winning out over my fickle heart. I can only love and honor other people above myself, if I have surrendered my will to His and am asking for His strength and the power of His Life and Love to Reign in my life.

So how can we live our lives as this type of love in action? Only with our Lord. Not on our own. That is for sure. Even if we think we are doing good for other people. We may be doing it on our own. God may not have asked us to do it. We may just be winging it on our own strength. Kindness comes from within yes. From Jesus within in us, from our Lord’s kindness, not some fake niceties we have manufactured on our own.

On our own we are not genuine. We are only trying hard. Trying and falling short. This is what I have found. I want to serve others. I want to give. I want to live a life of unfettered giving and hospitality. I must do this as the Lord shows me, not on my own ~ or I will fall short. So each day I must surrender myself to him and ask him to show me the opportunities in each new day.

Opportunities to show love. To serve. Love in action. That was Jesus. That was His life. That can be my life, surrendered to Him. Hear my prayer, Oh Lord, precious Savior.

What is Love? You are Lord. Make me more like you and less like just me, I pray. Help me to be “joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Faithful in prayer. That is a good habit. Joyful in hope. Those are beautiful words come true. Patient in affliction, that is a real tough one! Be my strength dear Lord to make me patient in the hard times. Patient in the bad moments. Patient in waiting for the end of the trials. Believing always in you.

And lastly, help me to share. Share of what you have given me always with others. Share myself, my time, my prayers, my resources with those who are in need…and keep my heart and home wide open to practice hospitality, generosity of spirit. For some I know have entertained angels unawares!

Thanks Lord, for your love. For your wisdom. Your teaching. Your blessing. I surrender all.

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

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!

Daughter Abby’s 30 This Month! Slideshow Celebration!

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