Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Love”

God’s Love Is A Constant

“The great thing to remember is that though our feelings come and go God’s love for us does not.”
― C.S. Lewis

My daughter Abby and I.

My daughter Abby and I.

What is more constant than the love of a mom or dad? The love of God. I have learned this over my lifetime in tough experiences and not so tough.

My first big lesson came when my parents separated when I was nine. Out of love and respect for my parents and the considerate and loving way they handled their inevitable divorce, I often gloss over my feelings when I talk about it. I hurt. I loved my dad as much as my life. I was his sidekick. I followed him everywhere. I loved my mom so much too, but dad and I were two peas in a pod. I saw him every weekend, but missed him every second in between. I missed our relationship too. It changed imperceptibly, but my child’s heart noticed it. He was more indulgent, less strict. Part of me didn’t mind, part of me knew I needed a firm hand to guide me.

As I grew older, it became obvious that God was extending that firm hand of guidance to me in his place. If I stepped too far out of line, the circumstances of life disciplined me big time. I had received Christ as my savior at the age of 13 and had a wonderful pastor to mentor me. I began to see the hand of God in my life, literally. He didn’t just discipline me. He loved me beyond measure. My mother was a shining example of that to me. My dad was always there for me. I made adult friends through my church who taught me the bible and guided me over some rough spots.

I still managed to get in enough trouble. I was rebellious, stubborn and determined to learn things the hard way. I knew in my heart I could get away with the stuff I pulled without my dad in the house. Many times circumstances reigned me in. Upon reflection I would see Him again: my Father God keeping an eye on me, protecting and watching out for me.

“Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.”
― Mother Teresa

I must have worn out a couple of guardian angels some days! I probably still do, yet the Love of God is always there.

Our emotions will trick us. They try to rule our hearts and minds. They try to dictate to us what the reality is in our lives. Emotions do not rule our lives, God does.

I need to remind myself of this fact. God is the ruler of my heart and knows all things. He knows if I am in a depressive phase of bipolar disorder. He knows I will come out of it. He knows how to nudge me to lean on Him in the midst of suffering. He knows how to help me turn my focus outward and not in towards myself.

Loving other people as God loves us, helps us get our mind off of ourselves. We can only do this with His love, strength and by yielding our will to His in our prayers and attitudes. It’s worth it. Loving others fill our days with joy and our nights with peace and restful sleep. Loving God takes us out of ourselves and puts our souls at rest and filled with love, joy and blessing.

Constancy: we all crave it. We can find it in the heart of God. He is reaching out to all to give us the gift of His constant love. We need only answer.

Featured Bible Verse About God’s Love: Romans 8:37-39 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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.

The Riches of Friendship

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
Elbert Hubbard

Heather's Pics 643-10  There is no one that fits this Elbert Hubbard quote better than my husband Mike. He is my love and he is my very best friend. I treasure him more than I can say. He is always there for me and that it saying something! I am an emotional person. I don’t glide easily through life. I feel things very deeply. The Lord knows this. Mike knows it all too well. And he is there for me through my troubles as he calls them.

I am blessed to have such a wonderful friend for life. He is almost as blessed to have me! lol! Today I am thankful for the many wonderful friends I have. I have reflected about them this afternoon. They bring great riches to life, great character, great depth and meaning. They also help a lot when the chips are down!

My dad is one of my best friends. He introduced me to this guy here. This is one of my very favorite pictures of he and I ~ took it myself. I’m not too experienced with cell phone self-photography!

dadandI

My dad knows me pretty well and I don’t want to leave him out. He loves me fiercely and with great  humor too! We are a bit alike and he also says I remind him of Grandma Dorothy, his mom. That’s a big compliment. She was a very strong woman and I thought very funny! My family is close-knit so let me just say they are all my dear friends. My sister was out-of-town when I messed up some medication I was taking and I almost didn’t make it without her to talk to. She is fantastic! I love her and we’ve been best buds since she was born. We are 17 months apart.

You are rich if you have friends, no matter what you have in the bank. When we had to move a while back, due to my health. My girlfriend Mary rallied behind me and got her husband involved. I didn’t realize he was a gifted mover! It’s not his trade, it’s his gift! One of many. He can look at a piece of furniture and know if it will fit in an elevator for instance. My poor husband had lugged our huge couch up three flights of stairs with my daughter and her friend ~ when we moved in ~ because of the tract lighting in the elevator. It simply wouldn’t fit. Mary’s husband and my brother got it out in the elevator. Easiest move we ever had and we thought it would be the most difficult. She had it on her heart to help us, so she did. That is a friend.

My dear friend Heather and I have been together through thick and thin and surgeries and many prayers together. We will always be best friends. Yesterday her daughter turned 12. She lives in Arizona and I couldn’t be there. She made me feel so much a part of things by rapidly posting pictures of the evening before I went to sleep that evening, with two hours difference in time it was a feat! That’s one small thing her big generous heart of love has done for me over the years.

I love my friends. Social media is a goldmine for making new friends and reacquainting us with old friends. I so like my friend Joe. We met on Twitter and have continued our friendship on Skype and Facebook so that now we are old friends! He likes to talk on the phone like me! I guess we are of the same era. We hope to work together someday. We love to talk “shop” ~ social media, marketing, product promotion, development, websites, blogging, you name it, we are discussing it! Now all we need is a company!

Kathleen and Debi and I went to the same High School. Now we are terrific friends thanks to getting reacquainted online and going to lunch together. We are drawing some more Edina High girlfriends into our friendship bunch to rekindle and develop new relationships where old memories exist and new ones are being built. This makes life so rich and exciting!

There’s an old Girl Scout refrain that keeps going through my mind, many of you know. I believe it was true for that time: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”

I don’t think it is the case anymore. I think all friends are gold. A gift from God, as dear friend Heather says. She is so right. Friends are a treasure. Every moment spent with one is a gift. I am so blessed to have many good friends. I am so loved and I am also very grateful.

There is a whole group of people that haven’t been mentioned, the fabulous social media family I have in the #UsGuys group on Twitter and Facebook, many of whom I have met in person and many more I hope to meet. God bless all of you and thank you for making my life all the more deep and beautiful for knowing you all.

Thank you my dear friends. For your support. For your listening ears. For your wise words. And for your love and acceptance. We may not always agree, life would be a dull place if we did, but we will learn from each other and go on.

“Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.”
Sarah Dessen, Someone Like You

Thank you all for being a comfort to me when life gets difficult. For keeping things from being hard to bear. For your love and prayers when I need them. Be assured you are always in mine. And in my heart.

Life Is What You Make It

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“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends – they’ll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything – they’re your true best friends. Don’t let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they’ll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them – actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can’t give up because if you give up, you’ll never find your soul mate. You’ll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about.” ― Marilyn Monroe

I have said it before in other posts that I know Marilyn Monroe was a very wise woman. These words prove it. And they are very much similar to the way I feel about life. It is tragic that her life ended so tragically and a terrific blessing that mine is still going strong at almost 60 years old.

I have been blessed with wonderful sisters and girlfriends I call my sisters because they are so dear, Heather Siebens and Mary Triviski to name two. My sisters Suzy Miller and Sara Zeiss both Baker girls like me are dear and have been since the day they were born. Days I remember well, seeing as they are my younger sisters.

I have not had certainly the string of men in my life that Marilyn had, but I have an ex. He was not the best for me and I have a wonderful soul mate now whose life I cherish and celebrate and thank God for with each passing day.

She had a great attitude about failing. She expected it to happen, as do all great minds, Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” when inventing the light bulb. You just have to pick yourself up to start once more and try again.

She had a zest for life that I feel. I wake up every morning anticipating the surprises the day has in store. For each day is a surprise waiting to happen, a blessing from the Creator waiting to unfold. It is up to us to discover it and live it.

Believe in yourself. I do. I also believe in the One who made me and gave me a purpose on this earth. I believe I am here for a reason. For a plan. To give to others. To share love and life and joy. I live that plan every day. His plan for me. Because He believes in me, I have confidence. Lots of it. For if He who built the Universe has a plan for my life I can flow with it, love, live and fulfill it.

Now there you see a departure from the wisdom of Marilyn and the wisdom of Libby. And maybe the key to why I am here, about to be 60, and the world did seem to swallow her at a much younger age.

Perhaps a strong Faith is the difference. His presence, His Love, His Strength, His Peace and His Power. Ask me about that sometime. I will be glad to elaborate! Love to all….Libby

The Things That Matter

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

Top-002UsGuys TweetupMike and I -- Happy Together!My Wonderful Daughter Abby!

When things go wrong, or heaven forbid we have a brush with death…it is said our lives flash before our eyes. When they do what will yours look like? It’s something to think about! Mine will be images like these: My first baby…my friends, my loving, dear husband, my best and beloved daughter! and so on. Images like these will keep flashing by.

I know I won’t remember shopping! LOL Or work, or school. I may think of writing. I will think about my parents and my sisters and my brothers and all the great times we share.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not going anywhere. It’s just my bump on the head in February and recurring symptoms have made me think of my mortality. I have faith in a life after this one with my Loving Lord, but what I will miss here! That is important for all of us to contemplate, don’t you think?

And then ask ourselves if we’re spending our waking hours spending time on and with the things and people that matter to us. Are we communing with our Lord, our faith…or ignoring our spiritual selves? Are we taking time for family, friends and faith I guess is the question.

The things that matter. I know in my own life that I am more sure today of what they are than before I took my spill and suffered the subdural hematoma that could have taken my life.

The things that matter to me are simply these:

  • A sunny, cloudy, slushy or wonderful ANY DAY I can share with my friends!
  • All the Time I can steal away to spend alone with my dear husband
  • Trips to and fro to see my FAV and very BEST only kiddo, Abby
  • Time spent talking to my loving and faithful friend, God
  • Phone calls and moments spent with my sibs
  • Any time I can see or talk with and hug my mom
  • Laughing and talking with my dad
  • Telling all of the people listed above: “I Love You”!

If you are my friend, I want you to know that I love you. In this way: I care about what happens to you and I want the best for you.
If you aren’t my friend yet, let’s get to know each other. There is plenty of time and love to go around.

Love you all, and I won’t say “very much” because it’s redundant, my love stands…but I will say this, I love you ALWAYS! Libby

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!

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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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?

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