Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Hope”

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 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!

I Just Don’t Want To Be There…LOL

“I’m not afraid of death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” — Woody Allen — I have a little take off on this quote: “I’m not afraid of depression, I just don’t want to be there when it happens!” LOL — Libby Baker Sweiger

I have had bi-polar disorder, some of you may know for quite a few years. Since my early 20’s. That is when it usually manifests in a persons’ life. I have not been unusual in that way. What has been remarkable is that I have enjoyed a very high level of functioning nearly the whole time I have lived with this thing. So, while we are not friends, BP and I, we have a certain peaceful coexistence and you won’t hear me grouse about it much.

But I will admit to all of you and expose to the light of day that I have a low tolerance for depression. I really don’t like it. Mania isn’t fun for me, a bit scary, but depression I hate. If you don’t see me for a while, you may want to come looking. There’s a chance I’ve withdrawn because I’m depressed.

Eeek I hate to see the words, or even write them! Perhaps exposing this to the light of day is just what was needed. What could happen to make a happy extrovert withdraw from those they love? Something dark and dreary that should be kicked to the corner, gotten angry with and told never to return. Banished from the mind and heart.

But, its insidious self doesn’t leave easily. For now I’m enduring a med change and asked to wait. The threat of the hospital looms over my head. But I’m not going. I’m relying on God and all of you to pull me through in love.

I’m staying busy working, writing Christmas cards, helping others, loving, trying to make a difference…thrusting myself out into the world whether it feels right or not. Today I’m going to mom’s to do the Christmas cards I ordered for her to send out. We’re going to have fun doing them together!

My daughter is coming this weekend. I’d prefer this didn’t come up. I hope I will have normalized enough to keep my moods to myself and focus on the fun at hand and the delightful prospect of seeing my dear girl.

Hope with me will you? Thanks!

One of the pictures on mom's cards

Pause for Prayer

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40

Mike and I

Mike is having surgery today and I am calling upon the Lord. Not because the surgery is dangerous, it’s routine hernia surgery, but because Mike is my true north. He is what guides my day after I get my marching orders from my Lord. He is whom I live to please and the love of my life. He is also not usually the patient. For many years, I have been the patient and he has been the caregiver. Now the roles will be reversed for a little while. I hope I can be half or more as kind and loving as he has been to me. As patient and as much of a servant. As truly giving and caring and with me in sickness and health. It’s so easy to be with someone in health.

Tomorrow, I will be the one waiting and praying. I am praying for strength now to be as good as waiting on the Lord as my dear Mike has been for me. I love this verse, “…those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

I hope in the Lord for fast healing and great results for Mike tomorrow. For total restoration of his body and reinforcement of the hernia, his old Junior High one that “blew out” the doctor said. Lovely description! Reinforcement of stitches and the new mesh they use to make him stronger than before!

I entrust my life, my soul mate into the hands of the surgeon, into the hands of the Lord for safekeeping tomorrow that he will be restored to me better than new and that I will be a good nurse and helper I pray!

Thank you Lord, for the wonderful husband and help you have given me. Help me to be a great wife and the same good help to him tomorrow and in the coming days. Thank you!

A Dwelling Place

“You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it himself. (Quoted by C.S.Lewis in Mere Christianity)”

Some days you wonder at the discomfort of it all. God seems to be doing some major rearranging inside. Not just tweaking a good quality here to make it better, or goosing this bad quality to make it a bit more scarce. No he is ripping up floor boards and tearing down ceilings in your mind and heart. He is making of you a fit residence for the King of Kings. If this sounds painful it is. And disquieting.

This all reminds me of a story when Mike and I first got married. We were living in a beautiful old home in Northeast Minneapolis. It was structurally and to an artist’s eye, lovely, the artist being me. It had not been renovated, it had been remodeled. Mike thought it was fine. Frankly, I hardly noticed it until I moved into it after we were married. I then began ripping down the false lowered ceilings and the cheap paneled walls. I had Mike’s permission and he helped diligently. One day he said to me in a surprised tone, “I thought you liked this house.” I did and continued to, while restoring it to its former beauty. I loved the house. That is why I wanted it to look as beautiful as it was meant to look. And why I wanted it to be a true home for us.

Perhaps that is how Christ feels when He first comes to dwell in us. This is a beautiful place, now to make it a home. First this wall of rebellion must come down, it is blocking the view of the garden. Secondly, this paneling of false pride needs to be removed so we can see an honest heart for others beating beneath it.

I know there is a lot more work that my Lord needs to make on my dwelling place before he is completely comfortable living there. He needs to remove sins of selfishness and willfulness and pride and make the furniture tender-hearted to receive Him graciously at all times. My prayer is that I will surrender to His workmanship inside of me. That I will allow Him to make a palace in my heart for Him to dwell, unencumburred by the thorny wild growing bushes of my own will. Join me, will you? Thanks, my friends!

The Arrival

The Mother’s Ring on my hand, babies Abby and Davey on Mantel

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey

I love this quote. I saved it for one of the last posts. It is how I try to live every day. I feel the key to loving is to love unrestrained with your whole heart and not let past hurts get in the way. I don’t dance much anymore, this is a good reminder. My daughter’s dog Spunky loved to dance with me to the praise songs on the radio! They both live in Duluth, MN now. I always sing (off-key some say) at the top of my lungs. I am certain living your life as if it were heavenly will give you the attitude to make it so.

My story has almost come full circle. I loved being in my family as a child in whatever form it took. I love my parents, and the extra parents God gave me in the form of ministers, grandparents, uncles and aunts and two dear step moms. Trisha is still with us and loving this family. I have two aunts and an uncle still here. I am so blessed to have my wonderful parents! I am thankful every day that I can call my mom and she still knows me. I call my dad often and we wise crack together, and tell each other I love you.

I am most grateful for my little family. My husband is without a doubt the best in the world. He loves me and spoils me rotten. He made me cheesy eggs this morning even though I overslept and he’d already made and eaten his hours before.

There have been some tough things to endure. My dad says he thinks I’m the strongest of his children. I don’t know about that. The stomach surgery I had in 2010 when my brain swelled afterward was about the worst thing that ever happened to me health-wise. I endured intubation. I was taught by a wise and caring nurse how to breathe with the tube my throat when I started to come out of it. The Lord brought me through that one. Whew!

The very hardest thing for me was losing my babies, Shirley and Davey. If you missed that story you can find it earlier in this blog. I think about them all the time and thank the Lord that I had the privilege of being their mom. Which brings me to today.

It had been a rough week. You know the type these days, groceries not going far enough, gas not lasting long enough, working a project to earn some money and it’s really slow going. Wait. God is with us. Let’s try this again. It was a glorious week! The Lord showed his faithfulness in providing for us in every circumstance.

Today, Saturday was a perfect day. Besides sleeping in and getting cheesy eggs, we went with Mike’s sister Cindy to get a gift for a cousin’s wedding next weekend. We all went for a late lunch together. We always have so much fun talking together. We talked for hours. It was a beautiful sunny, wonder-filled Saturday.

I was tired when we got home, but I remembered to get the mail. There was no mail the day before due to Veterans Day 11-11-11. I brought the mail including an intriguing package in and put it on my kitchen table. I got a scissors and opened it and there was MY MOTHER’S RING! A beautiful ring with the names: Shirley, Davey and Abby etched in it and the birthstones of each of their birth months: October, November and January!

I will never take it off. My life has come full circle. I have my family together, including Shirley and Davey. I am ready for new beginnings. My past has been glorious and challenging, my present is satisfying, productive and expanding the muscles of my heart, the future? Well the future will be in my next book. Thank you so much for listening. Love to all! Libby

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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