Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Mom”

Memories Are The Best Gifts

Christmas Eve Christmas.am.j“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
Laura Ingalls Wilder

1-Christmas15.gChristmas Day, 1/2 The Celebration Showing in the Photo!

Christmas is a mystical and spiritual time. There is the mystery of gift giving still mixed in my mind and heart with my youth, my parents, Santa Claus, visiting his Summer Village with my dad. An event which caused me to believe in him until I was at least 10!

Christmas memories blogged about here:

“Mom’s Christmas Tradition” and “Dad’s Christmas Tradition”. Filled with such fun and adventure. A divorce cushioned with such positive memories of family  ~ difficult time made merry by their efforts.

My dad just loves to have fun. He remarked to me after this year’s extravaganza in my sister Suzy’s party room ~ how fun it was to watch the children and grandchildren  What intelligent, sharp people they are. How fun, how happy. Many years of love, many Christmases have contributed to that.

Our faith. Our churches. Our parents. Traditions. Dad and Uncle Dick’s free for all wrestling matches every Christmas Eve. The Merriment. The dedication to children. The laughter. The joy. Eyes twinkling. Bells jangling outside near the roof at dad’s house. The tremendous energy that went into creating occasions and memories for all the kids in our family.

I saw a movie this season. One of the characters told the father in the film something I found profound. “You cannot stop the bad things that happen to your children in life, but you can create good memories for your children.” And that is a Father’s gift to his family.

I believe that is true. And in believing that, I know our family is very rich indeed. Thank you Dad. It’s no wonder your birthday follows so closely after this sacred and mystical time of Christmas. This is a loving and giving time. This time when Earth received Jesus the greatest gift of all.

You are first and foremost a giver. I want to thank you today…12/29/2015 your 86th birthday for all the wonderful memories you created for me, the greatest gifts you have given me. Happy Birthday Dad!

Love you! Lib

Christmasparty.b

Open House Christmas Week with Son and Grandsons

Dad83

Signing off with a fave Christmas Photo of Dad and I

 

 

 

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Dare to Run!

“Dare to Be”

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

20140812_195236I was trolling through Goodreads.com for great quotes as I often do and found this one Above, which I LOVE on so many levels. It’s how I want to live ~ fearlessly daring to be the best I can ~ following my Lord with confidence ~ my eye on the prize.

Like this verse in the International Standard Version:

Hebrews 12:1-2

We Must Look Off to Jesus

12 Therefore, having so vast a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and throwing off everything that hinders us and especially the sin that so easily entangles[a] us, let us keep running with endurance the race set before us, fixing our attention on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of the faith, who, in view of[b] the joy set before him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The Bold is mine and I bold the words that show HOW and WHY the race is run! Keep running, don’t give up. Run with endurance the race set ahead of us in life by our God, you may say circumstance, Fix our gaze on Jesus our Lord. Laying aside all things (sin) EVERYTHING that tries to slow us down and RUN the race of our lives for the JOY that is set before us: JESUS the PIONEER and PERFECTER of our Faith! who is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Gee, I should just bold the whole two verses! Because to keep our eye on the prize is to keep our eye on Jesus and where is He leading us? To the right hand of God’s throne where he will be and we will be with Him and worship our God throughout ETERNITY.

Back to Poem by Steve Maraboli. “Dare to Be” is a blueprint for staying on the track in life. Dare to keep trying. Dare to help others. Dare to stay in the race. Dare to be a friend. Dare to do the instinctive things within you, The promptings of the Holy Spirit Dare I say? Letting you know what the right thing for you to do is. Dare to do it and lead a daringly-successful right-on life!

I’ve got a Bible. I’m going to by Maraboli’s book. I want to see if more of it inspires, meshes and gives me hope and a kick in the pants to get going, The Apostles were no slouches. Neither were the early Christians, or Mother Teresa, or my Mom. I’m not going to sit back in fear using my anxiety disorder or bipolar as a convenient excuse to be too passive. I want to fly in my life, I want to run the good race. I want to kick it up a notch. How about you? Are you with me? On our good days and even our bad? Let’s run the race set before us!

Generous Souls

Mom's 83 Birthday

Mom’s 83 Birthday

On this page I have pictured the most generous souls I have ever known. The first being my mom. She and my father both were generous. My mom was giving of her time and energy. My father as I got older became busier and less able to give of his time, but he gave unselfishly as much of it as he could. He did however, become a very successful business person and gave tirelessly to his children of his earthly goods, as much and more as he could spare. He met our needs and then some. As he got older and retired, he was able to be very generous of his time again!

Then there is my brother Scott pictured with mom and I. He was always a very generous soul. I don’t mean to focus on the material. But since Scott was very young he was a giver. He would give you the shoes off of his feet and did so to a homeless man when he was living in California. More remarkably, when he was a young teen, he gave his younger cousin his 10 speed bike long before he could drive…when he still needed it. He felt somehow that his cousin needed it more than he did!

Generosity goes against the natural man, our selfishness so deeply ingrained within us.  Jesus was the first and most generous soul ever. All these souls I mention with their selfless generosity are showing the love of God, the love of Christ to others. I pray I will be more like them. More like my savior Jesus to others too. For that is the commandment He left us all with. To love the Lord Our God with all our Heart and Mind and Soul and our neighbor as ourselves.

Scott lives that way. I wish for all of you such wonderful people in your life. Thank you Lord for these blessings in my life and for my whole family of faith and my other brother and sisters. May they be blessed at this reading. My sister-in-laws too. My stepmother who is more like a best friend. Not one unselfish act goes unnoticed by the Lord, even if I fail to mention it in this little blog. Bless them all Lord and thank you dear God for the wonderful network of family and friends you have given me. Bless these Big Hearts, these Generous Souls too Lord and give back to them in joy and love and extra measure! Love them so much! Thank you Lord! AMEN.

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:
270506_10201578772331663_196604108_n
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

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.

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

Daughter Abby’s 30 This Month! Slideshow Celebration!

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Christmas Magic and our Journeys to the North Pole

For young children there is no confusion between believing the account of the Christ child’s birth — the real meaning of Christmas — and the magical tale of Santa and his North Pole workshop and the toys he brings to little girls and boys.

“Oh east is east, and west is west,
And never the twain shall meet–
Until they come to the end of the earth,
To Santa Claus’ retreat.”
― Walter R. Brooks

In our family, we kids lived with this dichotomy for many years. Years longer than our friends. We knew Santa was real because our dad and mom had taken us to the North Pole and Santa’s Village, many, many times.

Santa Answering Letters at the North Pole

Somewhere in the state of Colorado, high up in the Rockies, my father knew of a village replicated after the storybook renditions of Santa’s Village at the North Pole. After many days of driving in the summertime, we climbed high into the Rockies above Colorado Springs, above Pike’s Peak, past the cabin my grandma Meme owned to the North Pole. It looked just like summer at Santa’s village and we delighted to travel there. My dad and mom were always excited to show us every inch of the beautiful village, introduce us to the elves they had grown to know so well over the years, and finally to Mr. and Mrs. Claus. We sat on Santa’s lap and told him what our hearts desired, and within reason, we always got what we asked for! Sometimes even if it was a puppy or kitty!

It’s no wonder then that we argued with our friends incessantly as they tried to tell is there was no such thing as Santa Claus…we had been to the North Pole and met the real Santa! Not his helpers, the department store Santas everyone else had met, but the very real one!

It’s no wonder I believed in Santa until I was nine years old! 🙂
That Christmas was the last Christmas my parents were together. When I think of that night I am overwhelmed with nostalgia and I wonder for just a moment, why they ever parted. I know the answer in my head, but my child’s heart twinges as I think of that night.

I awoke to a noise I heard in the family room of our new house. I tiptoed down the stairs and peered around the corner from the kitchen. I could see my mom putting the stockings up on the mantel. The stockings! Santa’s private domain. My dad was assembling a toy by the tree. They were talking softly and laughing. I thought, well there they are, they are Santa after all. My friends were right.

For a moment I felt foolish, and then I looked at the warm, loving scene before me. All seemed right with the world. I felt older and quite wise. I thought I was witnessing something beautiful: love. I tiptoed back up the stairs and went to sleep. The next morning dawned sunny and clear with new fallen snow. It was an extraordinary Christmas! God bless you all! I hope yours this year is as well! Love, Libby

My house now, this Christmas

Mom Wasn’t Big On TV Watching

As my mother grew older she became more spiritual. Now this is no small thing. She was pretty much a giant in the faith when I was pretty young. She ate up everything in sight in the Congregational Church having to do with God’s word and the teachings of Jesus. She went to bible studies and prayer groups just about every day.

When we came home from school some days the kitchen table was piled high with bibles, concordances, notes and journal jottings. She was not kidding around. She was going to be close to God and that was all there was to it.

Even though she has Alzheimers at 81, you can see the Spirit is still alive and well in her, still shining:

Mom in quiet reflection

She was on fire for God while I was in high school. She could tell if I was up to no good before I could and would be praying for me to change my mind.

One thing she couldn’t abide was TV watching, especially at the dinner table. She said we all turned into mesmerized zombies in front of the screen. I can’t remember which one of us had the guts one night to nudge the TV into the dining room to watch a favorite show during dinner.

Mom had been out all day praying with the women in various bible studies in the new church she was taking us too. They loved Jesus there, but were also very big on the Holy Spirit. I can’t believe I’m going to tell you this, because I don’t remember telling a soul about this night. Now you may chalk all this up to superstitious nonsense, but I’m not one to criticize a fired up mother who believes she has God on her side.

The four of us kids were eating our dinner and watching some lame, but favorite program on the TV we’d smuggled in. In bursts my mom from the kitchen through the swinging door and spots the TV. She shook her hand and the TV and said in a loud voice, “Come out of that television right now devil in the name of Jesus!” The TV went black the moment she said it, a little smoke came out of it and it died on the spot!

Well you never saw four more drop-jawed children in your life. Me most of all. I would laugh now, but I’ve never been able to bring myself to do it when I’m alone. Oh when the four of us have been together we’ve had a chuckle, but never in front of Mom.

She grew in our esteem that night. Our respect knew no bounds. You can argue coincidence or even trickery and I couldn’t prove you wrong. I have no explanation for an exploding old TV set that died on cue. But it tells you something about moms, single ones especially. You can push the envelope with them for just so long and then you’d better toe the line — because they will surely get help from God above to make their point — if you don’t listen to them!

At least, that’s the message I took away from the night. That and that my mom isn’t big on TV watching, especially with dinner!

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