Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

Anything Can Happen!

Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

― Shel Silverstein

So many of us spend most of the time in our thought life thinking life should go a certain way. That life is this way or that. This puts constraints on the way our life should go, limits us and disappoints us at the same time. The truth is that life is much bigger that anything our mind can imagine! Created by God and guided by Him if we let Him, get to know Him, release our mind and thoughts into His we find that Life is just as big as we can possibly imagine and our capacity to live and change much bigger than we ever thought possible.

So what constrains us? Our fear. Our biology. Our thinking. All of the above! I have bi-polar disorder, anxiety, insomnia and a small host of other physical constraints. Yet I can rise above many of them by not letting “stinking thinking” negativity limit me.

A year ago, last May I joined Weight Watchers and began to challenge a lot of the negative thinking that was tying me in knots. Weight Watchers is not just a weight loss program. It’s a way of life.  Its meetings teach ways to challenge your limiting thought life. This is important because many people who eat too much are often emotional eaters. This is tied to a thought life that is all twisted up. I’m very excited about my weight loss, but more than that I want to celebrate the loss of limited thinking in my thought life!

I am 45 pounds lighter… lighter now than I was in High School. I have new eating habits, but the biggest difference in my life is the way that my mind works. I don’t blame myself for things I have no control over. I don’t worry as much about life’s little troubles. How do maintain this? Even though I’m below my goal weight and a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers who needs only to attend meetings once a month and stay within two pounds of goal weight to maintain my free membership. (You only pay if you go over your weight goal.) Great incentive! I go every week to stay inspired and keep my thought life on track! It’s the best, cheapest (free) group therapy on the planet!

I’m sure there are plenty of groups out there doing the same thing and boasting the same results: AA, Al-Anon, Over Eaters Anonymous. Groups that teach healthy thinking and change the lives of their members: teaching that life is just life and needs to be dealt with as it is, not as we think it “Should” be.

I wish this type of thinking and change for everyone I know because it changes you and you reap the rewards with better health, more joy and a more active participation in the world around you!

I hope your day is real and your life a happy journey!


An Ode to Larry

I found out today that my good friend Larry Carolla had died. Over one month ago. On March 15, 2017 at approximately 10:38 a.m. he called his ex-wife to say he didn’t feel right. She was alarmed, told him to call 911 and that she would be right there. She was at his duplex in two minutes, the paramedics within 10, but he was dead instantly of a massive heart attack and unresponsive.

Unresponsive. Larry was the most responsive person I knew. Always. About everything. With that word in her email and subsequent phone call, I knew he was gone. Just that morning he had posted on his Facebook page beginning at 6 something a.m. some indignities about the Republicans and Obama Care. He was furious. He texted Sheri a few hours later and then he was gone.

I had missed his presence. There hadn’t been the usual opinions on Facebook. No emails since Valentine’s Day. I knew something was wrong. I assumed it was the hip surgery he had planned, so I emailed his ex. They lived 12 blocks away in a small Oklahoma town. I knew she would know and she did. How kind it was of her to call. And in her state of shock, console and try to cheer me…Larry’s friend since 5th grade at Wooddale Elementary School in Edina.

Larry and I could have argued about that. He said he met me in his 4th grade class. He remembered it distinctly. But I didn’t move to the East side of Edina until the middle of 5th grade. I didn’t argue with him. Larry could argue the pants off a brass monkey as my Grandfather would say. I couldn’t. Our arguments would end with me in peals of laughter or tears before I would ever win. I didn’t often partake!

Larry called me his “Sky Pilot” because of my faith. He loved my Faith. He loved my Christianity. He’d become Jewish in his adult life after being raised Episcopalian and attending Jesuit colleges. He loved the Jewish faith and people. So did I. We had much in common. And we were both bipolar. This was a big connection between us. Larry floated mostly manic. I strove for the even keel. He took lithium and was never, ever depressed. He was Larry, or a bit manic, or more so.

I take all my meds, on time always. Right now I’m in remission they call it. But for some years, I fought hypo-mania (slightly manic). I can’t take lithium and they had me on anti-depressants which pushed me hypo-manic. I didn’t really know the cause of it. My doctors weren’t aware of what was causing it. I fought the condition all the way. always striving for balance. Yoyo-ing between being a bit manic and depressed. It was tough. During this time I was on disability, worked part-time and opened two businesses.

Larry always worked, flourished often. talked up a blue streak and did quite well. A successful journalist, radio talk personality and entrepreneur. He was a genius. I’m smart, but I’m not a genius. I’m a hard worker and good at sales. Larry always wanted us to work together.

When he died he had another successful business venture he was building. He wanted me to come on board. Never happened. It never will. He’d gotten into some trouble a while back in Wyoming. He paid off his debt to society and all the restitution that went with it. He was no longer bound by any of it. Life had come full circle for him. He was happy and prosperous again. He had not a care, but the doctors weren’t happy. They wanted him to go on Statin drugs. He didn’t want to. I wasn’t privy to this conversation. I would have argued with him about that, but he would have won. He didn’t like hospitals. He didn’t like drugs. He was going to win by losing weight. He was on Nutri Systems. He’d gained 5 pounds on the diet so far. He was a genius. But not about everything!

Larry always said he was the type to give heart attacks not get a heart attack. Years ago, on the phone we were joking about this. I said I thought I was the same way. We fancied ourselves trouble makers in this conversation! He said when we were old we would have outlived out spouses and we would get together in the same nursing home and raise holy terror. Just one of his dreams about us. I went along, he was so taken with the idea. I guess you had to be there! LOL!

Dear Lar. You’re not here anymore to plot capers with. I’m far too well to get crazy with you again. I think it sounds like you were too. You were optimistic and bright about the future. You had your new duplex with a beautiful home office. Your precious Mollie dog was there with you that day. Dear Sheri and you were closer than ever and seeing each other regularly, dearest of friends.

I guess you could say you were at a very high point in your life. Sixty-four years old and you of the big voice of our High School, were living large like you like to live! You were at the top of your game. I’m so very sorry, dear friend that your body would not cooperate. As your Sky Captain I’m here for your winging your way home, my Jewish friend. I know you have by now found many great and intelligent people to debate! And you have a fresh perspective that will keep you from getting too upset, and a new heart that won’t be stressed if you do.

Thank you for the countless hours of conversation we have shared and the laughs!

Larry Gary and I at last Summer’s HS Reunion

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
Dr. Seuss

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


It’s Been A Very Good Year! Merry Christmas!

“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

It’s been a year of challenges and triumphs! Abby was having back and knee trouble. She began eating right and exercising every day and getting some help from her doctor, losing 90+ pounds. I was having extreme High Blood Pressure, cut out salt, caffeine, went to Weight Watcher and lost 22 pounds. Counting the 10 I lost the year before, I am now 5 pounds from my goal weight. I’m also walking one mile a day, knees permitting. My new cardiologist changed every blood pressure medicine I was on and added one. It was a great combination. I now have normal blood pressure!

Mike is working out, taking good care of himself and as always: Us! He is such a sweetheart. He is still working full-time. He is an invaluable contributor to Falk Paper Company. He keeps up an ambitious reading schedule and walks our lively Lab mix, Riley the Pup ~ sometimes slowing down enough to bring me along! 😉

The Baker Clan is happy and healthy. Dad will be 87 the end of December and is doing very well! He plays as golf as much as he can and walks 1-2 miles per day!

We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Love, The Sweigers!


Early In The Morning, memories surround me

I’m thinking ’bout my mom…and my friend Heather, my painting partner who painted a complimentary painting for this one I did for mom’s Service Of Life. I’m frantically trying to locate it in my computer. I’m too tired to go to into storage! She died August 17th 3 years ago. I look so young in this picture. I feel I’ve aged so since she died. Or maybe just inside. I feel much older. Grown-up without my mom. My friend has moved to Florida and is moving to Arizona. Much has changed. I hold on to youth and dreams and hope and faith. Some times I’m sad. I wish I could call my mom on the phone like I used to almost every day. My daughter Abby came down this past weekend just because I said I missed her. What a dear, darling girl!

We had a sweet time together, Abby and Mike and I. My lonesomeness was quenched.

I got a call from Heather last night which got me thinking about Mom. The three of us did a lot together towards the end of her life when Heather visited. Some special bonding.

So did mom and my brother Scott and I. And my sister Suzy and Mom and I. It was helpful to double team her. The alone times were the best however …how I enjoyed those.

I remember them now and smile to myself! Before she got too ill, she and I had some adventures. Suzy and she did too, down at Lake Harriet. She and I went down to the Lake too and stayed in the car and looked at the Lake. I wasn’t as strong as Suzy and often just took her for drives. We’d stop and take pictures. Have a picnic in the car and talk.

Heather made wonderful videos of our times together…She’s a gifted photographer and picks fabulous songs to go with them. She put one on Facebook tonight. Fond memories!

It is fun to reminisce in the wee hours!


Scott, Heather and I

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Mom and I


I Am The Most-Blessed Person I Know!

Right Now I Consider Myself The Luckiest Man In the Whole World

Lou Gehrig

1264073_10202182980316485_55436388_oSome people would look at my life and call it difficult. They would look at the outward signs: Health difficulties. Financial upsets. Things like that and say I’m not having a smooth go of things.

I beg to differ. I consider myself one of the Luckiest, Most Blessed people in the Whole Wide World! I have had the privilege of growing up in a very loving family. I have two loving sister and two extraordinary caring brothers. I have known the joy of carrying three beautiful babies, one of them are still with me and beautiful, loving and kind 32-year old daughter who I love dearly and who loves me and still calls me Momma.

I have a treasure of a husband of 36 years, Mike. He is a doll. He knows how to love and care for a woman, like very few men do. He is a source of constant laughter and blessing. He prays for me every night before we go to sleep and I’m sure many times throughout the day as I do him. He is a precious man, full of character and love!

I am 62 years old and am blessed to still have my father with me and all of my siblings. I have a dear aunt and many cousins. I have countless friends from school, a great glass of wise people I still keep track of online and off. Many many online friends, sources of daily laughs, support and inspiration and friends who call, keep in touch, send their love.

Spiritually, life is keep due to faith in Lord Jesus and communing with the Father God who I have known personally since I was 13. I have to say my cup is 1/2 full to brimming over and I wake up every day eager to face it’s new blessings and challenges.

There are valleys in everyone’s life ~ it is true. I know that when things get too tough the Lord carries me through the hard times. He has always proven himself faithful.

I thank the Lord for His many blessings to me. Blessings of Faithfulness, mercies, forgiveness, caring, supplying every need, healing, provision, and health!

Blessings of friendship, love, kinship, laughter, kindness! Blessings too numerous to count!

Abby came down for Father's Day & My bday!

Abby came down for Father’s Day & My bday!

Happy Mother’s Day!

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Mother Teresa

This quote reminds me of my mom. Lots of things do. She was always doing little things to make life special for her children. She put signs and balloons up for our birthdays. She baked us Bisquick coffee cakes on the mornings of our birthdays. She put each four of us to bed individually. She told us she loved us each in such individual ways. She said my name with 15 exclamation points at the end of it! Well, at least five: Libby!!!!!

She was always excited to see me.

She made us all feel special, just for being us. And that’s not easy when there’s four of us. But, she managed somehow.

Two boys and two girls. All unique and she loved us all differently, not all the same. Each of us felt she love us each one of us more that the other. We knew she didn’t, but secretly she made us feel as if she did. I don’t know how she did that, but she managed. She was a good listener to her kids.

To other people too. I was struck by the stories at her memorial service at how many people she had made people feel that way and she loved them right into the kingdom of God. That is why when my brother Scott got this idea to put these words on her paver stone that would rest in the pavement at her favorite place, outside the band shell at the Lake Harriet Summer Music Pavillion ~ we knew he was inspired. We all agreed:


That was what she said every time the Spirit moved her to everyone she met. Which was often. And that’s what her stone goes onto say long after she is Praising and Worshiping Jesus in Heaven this 2nd Mother’s Day since her Going Home Day in August of 2013.

Go to it Mom. We are praising with you. Missing you here. Celebrating with our children. Taking time to worship and be very thankful for knowing you.

Love you!

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Barbara Thompson Baker


Courage To Continue ~ A Prayer

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston S. Churchill

“Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.”

~ Proverbs 3:13

Each new Day brings with it new challenges and for some insurmountable issues. So we pray. Some days are more difficult that others. I have been in love with quotes from famous historians and from the wisdom of the Bible, Proverbs and Psalms, the life giving words therein for many years. Those who go before us light the path with their words with acts of courage and steadfast Faith.

In times of trouble. In times of joy. It is good to know that others have walked the path before you.

Inspiration comes in the wee hours of the morning and in the bright hours of sunlight both. Wherever you may find it, if you are looking, seeking, praying.

It is only when we feel alone that we think we cannot continue. And of course, we are not alone. Gathering strength from the quiet voice within, we hear our Lord and Father God speak to us. Whispering to us in the stillness. Letting us know He is with us…always will be.

We are only to cast our burdens upon him and He will carry them for His Yoke is easy and His Burden is Light. (Matthew 11:30).

I have known his voice since I was very young…age 13…heard it in the sermons of the Congregational Church I migrated to in my young spiritual journey. Heard it in the mountain tops of Young Life camps. Heard it in my heart as I spent quiet time before Him, hear it even now as I quiet myself in the early hours. I was young and now I am older but the Lord’s voice has not changed. Still gentle, still wooing. Still calling to me to listen and hear the words of the heart. All will be well, daughter of mine. All will be good, gentle daughter…lean…lean…lean on Me.

It is lyrical tonight. Gentle. Calling my name. Calling me into perfect rest . . . peace. Confidence in the quiet ways of the Lord my God. My wonderful Giving, Loving Lord. Away from the streets of Baltimore. Away from the deafening voice of he world. Into peaceful, quiet, nurturing knowledge that He has a plan. That all will be well. That someday, sometime. all will be peaceful, serene in my soul as the deer pants after the water brook, so pants my soul after thee Oh God. (Psalm 42:1).

In quiet and meditation shall be your strength. Before the Living God. Before the Living God. You will always find strength to Continue.



The Water Bottle Flower by Libby Baker Sweiger, copyright 2015, Joyous Art Designs

My Journey on Social Media: Friendship to Falsehood to True Freedom

2014-07-11 15.08.17Alone, I began my journey

Out of pain I sought the comfort of other voices in the darkness.

Now they’re biting back.

in an atmosphere more hostile,

more dangerous….

slanderous and frightening

Can We Bring The JOY back? 

by Libby Baker Sweiger 3/27/2015

In January of 2009, I went on Twitter for the first time to learn something new and challenging and to distract myself from the constant back pain I was suffering before I finally acquiesced to surgery. It was a great move. I learned a lot and met so many fun people. I still love Twitter!

Recently I closed a large account on Facebook in favor of my smaller one to simplify my life and also frankly to dodge a few “friends” dominating my experience on that venue. I am now experiencing so much backlash in the case of breaking some ties there, you wouldn’t believe it if I told you. So I won’t.

I have been forthcoming in my daily and my advocacy for #mentalhealth with complete disclosure of my one and only challenge in that arena: bipolar disorder. I feel that is enough for one person to tackle in a lifetime and thankfully God agrees! If there were more, in the interests of education and enlightenment, which I wholeheartedly believe in, I would disclose it. There is not. Anything you read to the contrary is a fabrication, in fact more plainly put: a lie. I thank God daily for the Grace to live successfully and without encumbering disability with this particular challenge. I am thankful for a great husband, daughter, health team and a sense of humor that have carried me through the hard times!

I do not need friends spreading lies on social media. So let me spread some truth. I am happy, healthy, feeling better after a rough time in mourning this fall and winter, burgeoning into a glorious spring, some hard work and permanent fixes to the psyche behind me.

I feel stronger and better than I have in many years. Stronger as a person. Closer to dear husband Mike, true friends and family. Free of the burden of trying to take care of people who need to take care of themselves. Independent and very blessed to have the life that I do have. Proud of my daughter, close to my dear sisters and brothers and joyful in work.

For all this wisdom, I thank my faith, husband, family, friends and one of my favorite quotes of recent times from Facebook and High School friend Debi Beall ~ “Not my Circus, not my monkeys!” If you don’t get the deep insight in that, let’s talk!

And one more: If you do have a friend or two really dragging you down and have had a problem setting boundaries like I have had, ask yourself this question: Is this person my problem? Perhaps not! Perhaps they are really somebody else’s problem! So hand them over. Get them out of your jurisdiction. 😉

Have a great day!

Spread some JOY!

You Can’t Rush Grief

“We all want to do something to mitigate the pain of loss or to turn grief into something positive, to find a silver lining in the clouds. But I believe there is real value in just standing there, being still, being sad.” 
― John Green

I still miss my mom so much the feeling is palpable. At least once a day I think, “I had better call Mom, or I’d really like to call Mom.” Mid-thought I know I haven’t got that type of phone ~ one that reaches to Heaven! I miss her voice. Our short chats. Her dementia was worsening and our long chats were behind us. I miss her beaming smile when she saw my face. Seeing my brothers and sisters more often around Mom. Talking to them more about Mom. Thinking about Mom. Hugging and kissing Mom.

I don’t like being sad, but when you’re grieving someone you’ve loved all your life: 60 years in my case, you need to take time for it. The fellow with the quote is right. There is value in being sad. You need to feel what you feel. Experience your emotions, not stuff them and make yourself ill. You need to talk about it, talk about her. It’s been hard to do. I’ve been alone a lot. Maybe that is how God meant it so I would take my cares to Him. Spill it to Jesus so to speak. I’ve done that. It has helped. Helped a lot. I miss my wonderful siblings. I would like to see them more. I have been ill. I had a bad concussion and then a cold and stomach trouble. So I’ve been alone. With my trusty companion, the amazing Riley the doggie. And dear husband Mike after work and on weekends. Not a pity party here. Just thinking about Mom. Needing to talk.

Elizabeth Kubler Ross famous author on grief says it’s like a Taffy Pull. You’re going along okay for a while and then snap it pulls you back. I know what she means even if it’s a rather old-fashioned analogy for many of us have never been at a taffy pull. But, the general image is there. Basically one minute you have made progress and the next you’re crying in your iced tea. I don’t drink beer so I don’t say crying in your beer! 🙂

But you can’t rush the process that is for sure. It takes time to heal. A life time to heal from the loss of a child. A parent you will always miss. But it’s a bit more natural I guess. I miss my mom’s laughter.

Here’s a picture, judge for yourself about her smile! Such a sweet one!



I love looking at our pictures! I love remembering! It doesn’t make me sad. They were such dear times. Mom was always a woman of Faith in Jesus.  Such a dear one!

See you someday, sooner than we think … we do not know the hour, but in a twinkling of an eye we shall all be change and join Jesus in the air….Love you Mom, in HIS time, see you dear one, All my Love, Libby ❤

When we were young!

When we were young!

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