Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

It’s A Great Life If You Don’t Weaken

When we were young!

When we were young!

This post is dedicated to my sister Suzy of the blond pig tails and the pretty smile. Her birthday was yesterday. She is one of the strongest women I know and an avid reader of Laura Ingalls Wilder!

“The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”
― Laura Ingalls Wilder

When we were young, Laura Ingalls Wilder author of the “Little House on the Prairie” and many other extraordinary books like “On The Banks of Plum Creek” were family favorites. My mom would make a huge wooden bowl of popcorn with five smaller bowls to match. And we would all sit and eat popcorn by the fire and listen to her read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s wonderful stories. Suzy and I were a bit too old to be read to, but it did not matter, the tales were so engaging so filled with great stories and even though she and I had read them they were fun to hear mom read the great stories to the four of us before the warm fire.

We resembled the little family in the stories on nights like those. So close. Just spending time together. Without modern conveniences. Basking in the warmth of a good book and enjoying each other’s company. Imagine a family today trying something like that. Everyone would have their smart phone out to check their Facebook, text their friends, or play a video game!

But I’m probably selling today’s family short. There’s a lot more conversation, interaction and fun going on than I imagine I’m sure! There certainly is at our family gatherings and we have about 4 generations represented much of the time! So much changes and then again nothing does. Good values remain the same, honesty, making the most of what you have in life, whether it me material goods, your talents, your health or your resources. The best kind of happiness, true joy is found in simple pleasures, love and peace with your life and the people in it! And if you are brave and keep the faith and your courage up when things go wrong, nothing will destroy or crush you! Your psyche will stay in tact.

As my husband Mike’s grandmother Winifred use to say, “It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.” That sounds like her generation. But it works for every generation.

Weakening to her meant giving up I believe, on yourself and on hope and on faith and God and believing you could carry on. On believing that things would all work out. Don’t weaken in your resolve to have a good life. To make your life everything it can be by embracing the possibilities. Embracing faith, embracing hope, embracing love, embracing God and those whom you love.

It IS a great life!

Celebration of Life Month: Shirley and Davey

I always wondered why my son David always had that angelic look of Heaven. Then he died at almost eleven months and I understood. This quote explains it so well:

“My Tom died as babies do, gently and without complaint. Because they have been such a little time with us, they seem to hold to life but weakly. I used to wonder if it was so because the memory of Heaven still lived within them, so that in leaving here they do not fear death as we do, who no longer know with certainty where it is our spirits go. This, I thought, must be the kindness that God does for them and for us, since He gives so many infants such a little while to bide with us.”
― Geraldine Brooks

Sometimes these days were unbearably hard for me. October was month my daughter Shirley Deborah was born: stillborn many years ago when I was twenty-two and the month Davey died when I was 24. But as time when by, it became easier and I think of it now as a Celebration of Life month. Yes, I think of them, but with the blessing of the Lord on my heart and on my head. I cry a little, but not the big sobs of many years ago. I have so many blessings in my life and things to be thankful for, my husband Mike and dear daughter Abby. I wish they had the chance to have known Davey, but I know we will be united in Heaven soon enough! This is the sure and constant hope of our Faith. And it is such an incredible comfort. There is so much sorrow in life, we humans cannot forget the anniversaries of tragedies or trauma, but we can lean on Him through them, get prayer, reach out, and get through. And we do.

My dear mom died this August and I know she is with them which is terrific comfort. I was thinking about the three of them today and it dawned on me I was having a rough day of grieving them all. Sometimes I’m a bit late in catching onto what I am going through. That’s why I blog. At least one reason…sharing marks the day…helps me remember them and honors them. I believe it helps others. Grief is real. It is painful. It is part of life. It also steers us to our sure and certain hope: Jesus who will help us through and dear friends who we can ask to pray us through these rougher days.

This gallery of pictures shows some of my blessings in this life and in Heaven. If you don’t see yourself, I’m writing this late and night and you know you’re in my heart. Love you all. Thank you for the richness and love you bring into my life!

Abby and I NOW! :)

Abby and I NOW! 🙂

Mike and I -- A Dream Come True

Mike and I — A Dream Come True

Linda and I

Linda and I

Laura Lynn and I in June of 2010

Laura Lynn and I in June of 2010

Dad and I

Dad and I

Skipping to Today: Stomach Surgery January 28th

Scott baby, Bill with present, Suzy, Me Mom and Dad all smiling :)

Scott baby, Bill with present, Suzy, Me Mom and Dad all smiling 🙂

Mike and I :)

My 96 Yr Old Uncle Rog, the Inventor, Just Made His First Patented Prototype

My 96 Yr Old Uncle Rog, the Inventor, Just Made His First Patented Prototype

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Davey died 36 years ago this month...He's with Jesus and we'll see him someday

Davey died 36 years ago this month…He’s with Jesus and we’ll see him someday

Davey and I (6 months)

Davey and I (6 months)

Tribute To Mom

My Beautiful Mom 2010

My Beautiful Mom 2010

“When you look into your mother’s eyes, you know that is the purest love you can find on this earth.”
― Mitch Albom, For One More Day

“I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”
― Mother Teresa

I think of both of those quotes when I think of my mom Barb Baker. First of all the way she looked at me, looked at all of her children and people she loved was so very deep and loving, it made you feel so very, intensely wonderfully loved and special there really is nothing quite like it. And the way she said my name! “Libby!!!!!” with a number of exclamation points, but not loudly, just excitedly, like I was the most important person in her world. I love my mom. I always will. Probably more in some ways than anyone else I ever will know, I guess. It’s an intense, single-minded kind of love. Love for a best friend. Love for someone you admire. Love for someone who loves you so much you turn inside out when you see them. That was my mom!

Secondly, she was a love letter in the hand of God for this broken, hurting world. Everywhere she went she showed His love to others. We heard one account after another of it at her service. And as her daughter I lived with her open practice of love, volunteering, open door policy to neighbors, people needing to use our home as a bible study, a meal, you name it. She was a loving, obedient, vessel of Mom love and God’s love!

Many people commented on her Memorial Service.  I had friends call after and leave me voice mails. They call these services Celebrations of Life now, but I don’t know if they always are. Mom’s was. Her four children got up and talked about her and certainly celebrated her love for them and others. The pastor had known her and been encouraged by her since he was 19 and the church was very young. Many people stood up and talked about the impact she had made in their lives during the open microphone time after the service while we indulged in her favorite food: cookies! My father, who had not been married to her all that long in the face of a lifetime, got up and spoke. It was clear he had loved her all his life. They had difficulty as a married couple, but were wonderful friends and never spoke a cross word the entire time they raised us together as divorced adults. For our sakes and their love they built a beautiful friendship that lasted 50 more years. And kept four children and 14 grandchildren happy and healthy.

I love my mom, my dad, the family they created. My cousins, our friends, the 100 and more people gathered to wish us all well and celebrate my mom’s Homecoming. Because the most remarkable thing about my mom, wasn’t a thing at all, but a living Relationship, growing every year with her biggest Love: God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ who she had gone Home to be with!

Therein lies the Celebration of her Life.

No more dementia. No more tired body. No more frustration over forgetting. Rejoicing in Heaven. Dancing. In Praise. All the time she needs to be with her Love, True Love. So when I miss her, we miss her we will grieve. We will remember her happiness and feel joy through our tears. We’ll miss you Mom, but we will meet again. Love you dear one, precious lady, precious Mom.

Painting for My Loving Mom's Memorial Service 8/24/2013

Painting for My Loving Mom’s Memorial Service 8/24/2013

Love This Quote

C. S. Lewis on Life:

Actually, it seems to me that one can hardly say anything either bad enough or good enough about life.

Musical Talent Extraordinaire: Author Sam Wesst

Sam Wesst in Piedmont, OK for Photo Shoot

“Music is a total constant. That’s why we have such a strong visceral connection to it, you know? Because a song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in your or the world, that one song says the same, just like that moment.”
― Sarah Dessen, Just Listen

This quote reminds me of the music of Sam Wesst. He is a newly discovered talent. His first album should be released this fall, hopefully around the first of November. I talked to him yesterday about the experience of recording it. It’s titled, “A Lifetime of Lessons”. Like the quote, Sam’s music takes you back to deep feelings with his ballads, visceral experiences with his lyrics and storytelling, soulful renditions of life’s lessons, experiences deeply felt. This album he says is bluesy, and includes moving ballads that may make you tear up like the one “Ocean Blue” which is dedicated to his wife’s father now passed. Add in some country rock and it sounds great to me! I can hardly wait to hear it. I have heard a couple of the songs. I love “Six O’Clock In The Morning” a blues rendition and “Cotton Jenny” a wonderful ballad based on a true love story told to Sam when he was biking (we’re talking Harley’s here) in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It’s very moving like all of Sam’s music, delivered in a smooth, deep gravelly, yet very appealing voice, accompanied by his guitar, so at home in his hands.

He is a new author as well, having published his first book last year, “Wounded Warriors” with Tate Publishing. You can read more about that on his website. I’ll cover that more in another post. Sam is a prolific writer and is working on a couple of other books now. Today I’d like to talk about his music.

When last Sam and I spoke he told me songs are coming out of him at the rate of about 3-5 per day! They aren’t all “keepers” ~ but many of them are!
While as I said his first album is being produced by Tate Music and should be out around the first of November, he is already hard at work on his second!

The amazing this about his first album “A Lifetime of Lessons” was that he recorded it in the Studio in one hour and a half! Only three glitches had to be corrected! Tate Recording and Publishing had never experienced this before with any artist. A quality crew assembled ~ including musicians who record with successful artists in the industry ~ in their studio in Mustang, Oklahoma. Nothing about Sam says novice. He picked eight songs for the album and Tate took all eight. He planned out how he wanted each song to sound and which type of musician should come in when, they emailed his suggestions around and when it came to recording, everything went like clockwork.

Because it did, they had an extra day so they shot a Music Video!

Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Enjoy this first cut of Sam West singing Shovelin Coal, from his very first of many Albums to come! “A Lifetime of Lessons”

Coal Proof 1

The Last Opportunity

“Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there’s no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.”
― Max Lucado

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She was a forgiver. She forgave from the heart. She was a good example to us. My dad, the most generous man I knew. My brother Scott is like him. I knew him to give his shoes right off his feet to a fellow on the street who had none. When applauded for it, he shrugged. I kept my socks he said, I didn’t walk home barefoot. As if his sanitary streak showed less generosity! Even more extraordinary he gave his bike away to his younger cousin. A 12 speed, long before he would ever have a car to drive to replace it. I asked him about it. He told me he knew they couldn’t afford a bike for him. I asked him who would buy him a bike and he said he’d get by. He is a selfless guy my brother. My brother Bill is a loving treasure himself. Who gives to his children and family unrestrained. He threw a party for my kiddo’s 30th birthday in his wonderful house, when I couldn’t get the party room at our apartment!

With two loving, giving parents, not to mention two sets of the same style grandparents it’s no wonder we were taught by example to be giving, forgiving.

Yet this quote struck me hard tonight. Forgive and give as if it is your last opportunity. That is so important. Who knows if you’ll get another chance to see that person, that friend you’re taking for granted, judging, or thinking ill of. “People come and go so quickly here!” Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz. And it’s true in life these days! It’s a shame to take for granted even one moment with another treasured human being, or a friend, a gift to you in life.

Or a day of our life. I want to spend each moment of my life in gratitude. In peace with my friends and family. At peace with the Lord of All. There is violence and meanness in this world, that is true. Tonight many of us are reflecting on the violence in Boston. The sad and meaningless terror. Incomprehensible to us.

I’m thinking also of the good things in things in this life. My dear husband’s grandmother had a saying. I always smile when I say it because I knew her well. She was a woman of strength and faith and dignity. She said, “It’s a great life, if you don’t weaken.” Now, the weakening part…that’s the trick. For we are all weak. Only strong as we rely on the one who made us. So, if I were so bold as to amend her saying, I would say, “It’s a great life, if when you weaken you cast yourself on the strength of the Lord! Not as catchy, but it works for me. When I am weak I am strong in Jesus. That’s catchier. And paraphrased but Biblical!

So now we are getting to Love. Love like there is no tomorrow and if tomorrow ever comes, love again! That is the best of Max Lucado, and the best advice of all. For Jesus fulfilled all of the commandments with one, Love One Another.

Love One Another.

If we but do that, with His strength where we are weak, we have forgiveness down, evil and violence beat and we have a wonderful life filled with all the things the Lord planned for us: Him, family, friendship, peace, fulfillment, forgiveness, giving and real living. Blessings and love to you all, Lib.

“People are oft…

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ― Mother Teresa

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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Mike and I

Mike and I

Mike and I celebrate our 33rd Anniversary Friday, 7/27/12

“Love is the very essence of life. It is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is not found only at the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arched across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, and neighbors! Love, like faith, is a gift of God. It is also the most enduring and most powerful virtue.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley

Love has most certainly been our gift from God in our marriage. What is the secret of a long marriage. Believe that you will never have it any other way! That is the short answer. If separation is not in your frame of reference, it is not an option or a way of thinking, it does not become a part of your thoughts.

Mike, my sweet husband lives by this quote by Gayle Sayers, “The Lord is first, my family is second, and I am third.” That is my goal too! Similar goals and values are crucial to a happy marriage. But I’m  not here to give marriage advice, just reflect on the past 33 years and say WOW!

I am blessed! We are! Not to say we have not had difficulties. Health problems. Mine. I am blessed with the ability to forget the negatives. Mike has a wonderful memory for the good and bad of life. He has not been spared any memories of them and has been taxed more than I. It is always harder to watch a loved one suffer than to suffer oneself. I believe the surgeries and so on are behind me, the migraines, conquering the asthma by the grace of God.

I believe a new day is dawning of health, refreshing in the faith and newness in life. I am happy. There is a new job for me on the horizon and I am ready. Mike’s is going great. Another 15 years of work for me and 10 for Mike and we’ll retire. With nothing to do but laugh at each other’s jokes, read and write books…talk with you all…oh we’ll do that in between…and visit.

Yes we love to visit. Just talk. About anything and everything. Politics even now. World events. Our wonderful daughter. Each other’s days. Mike’s work stories are especially entertaining for me. He tells wonderful stories. Music. Mike educates me, he know so much more about music than anyone I know and I love all kinds. The plots on the movies or shows we might be watching. We guess the next moves before they happen. Probably would annoy some people!

Saturdays when we can, we love to go to breakfast together. And we like to run errands with each other. We always have. Ever since we were dating. I guess it’s safe to say we enjoy each other’s company! 😉 I hope you all have a great weekend and get a chance to enjoy friends and family. Love is a wonderful invention!

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