Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Archive for the category “Uncategorized”

I Call Him Dad!

Dad and I

 

“The greatest gift I ever had
Came from God; I call him Dad!”
~Author Unknown

There’s nothing quite like the gift in life of a really great dad! I tried hard this year to get the four of us Baker kids that were here in town to Celebrate Father’s day together, but it just wouldn’t click. First of all, the youngest, Sara, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin wasn’t coming until the end of the month, but Dad knew that so no worries. As for the rest of us, my brother Scott and I were trying to get us all together on Sunday for Father’s Day. I was convinced Dad was flying up from Texas specifically for his special day.

However, my sister Suzy was out of town right before Father’s Day and had about sixty things to do that day. She was having trouble making the brunch we were planning and wanted Dad to stop by later. My brother Bill was in his first Triathalon the day before and was having trouble imagining lifting his head up off a pillow on Sunday.

I understood them both. Scott and I thought we would bring Dad breakfast which would be a lot of fun. Yet something kept driving me to try to get the brood together like some mother hen. I couldn’t let go of it. I was stressing myself. Then I called Dad. He said, “Libby, I’m flying up for your birthday!” I couldn’t believe my ears! I thought he was kidding, but he didn’t seem to be. It never occurred to me — a Father’s Day baby — whose birthday was just two  days after Father’s Day this year, was in the forefront of his thoughts. Yet he was in mine!

We had a photo book ready for him and the photo card displayed below. We also had a special coffee maker he wanted. Here I was scrambling to make his day perfect in my mind, and he was coming up to make mine! What a guy! I love my dad!

I relaxed about all of our plans. He was delighted about the idea of breakfast at his condo made by Scott and I. And visiting at Suzy’s where he’d see his oldest grandson and new wife, along with a favorite son-in-law and Suzy of course. We then joked that he could swing by my Triathelete brother’s house and give him an adjustment by walking on his back! You have to know my dad, but we were laughing pretty hard. And I’ve no doubt he’ll do it. Swing by, not the back walk!

Families are funny and fun and ours is no different. I don’t know why I got so wound up about getting everyone in one place this year. I’m sure we will do so naturally when Sara gets to town the end of the month. Every day is Father’s Day when Dad is around.

I hope all you families out there with or without dads or moms around have a happy weekend and enjoy each other. For however much togetherness you can muster, it’s enough isn’t it? Or if you just decide to stay home ~ talk on the phone with a friend. Someone out there needs your humor and warmth this Sunday and will treasure the chance to spend some time with you, however they can.

God bless you all this Sunday! And for all you Dads ~ Happy Father’s Day! You are a Gift! Love, Libby

Father’s Day Is Coming!

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5×7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

I made this card for my dad and a photo book today! I’ll tell you more about the adventure when I wake up.  Meanwhile Happy Father’s day! 🙂

 

The Beauty of Friendship

“In friendship…we think we have chosen our peers. In reality a few years’ difference in the dates of our births, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another…the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting–any of these chances might have kept us apart. But, for a Christian, there are, strictly speaking no chances. A secret master of ceremonies has been at work. Christ, who said to the disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” can truly say to every group of Christian friends, “Ye have not chosen one another but I have chosen you for one another.” The friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.”
C.S. Lewis

I simply love this quote. The mysteries that bring friends together are boundless. Now, often we connect online and develop lasting ties. Was there a master of ceremonies at work? I believe so, regardless of our individual faith. But it’s amazing how many of the wonderful friends online who have become my dearest friends happen to share my deep love for God. Or they are curious. Perhaps it’s because my faith is who I am in so many respects.  The friendship are orchestrated as C.S. Lewis says. The bond is there. This picture is of two wonderful online sisters in the faith, now my dearest friends in life, Heather Siebens on Facebook and @AliveinMe on Twitter and @MaryJTriviski of Twitter and Facebook.

Photo by Heather Siebens

“Friendship is not a reward for our discriminating and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument by which God reveals to each of us the beauties of others.” C.S. Lewis — So true. — And I believe we find the beauty of God Himself in other people!

There are so many beautiful and loving people in my life. I have written often of my family. I want to acknowledge some of my online friends who mean the world to me: Thomas Wall, Joseph Gier, Meghan McDonald, Howie Hanson, Jeannette Barr, Mimi Baker, Mark Bernhardt, Stephen Caggiano, Kelly Loubet, Denise Barlow, Lois Creamer, dear Marla Schulman, Dean Clevett, Ed Milligan, Sumner Musolf, Dave Reynold, Rickie Tyler, Mila Araujo, Mimi Ortega, Josepf Haslam,  and many more I am forgetting.

Stephen I know very well now as he’s moved to Minneapolis from Orlando, I count him as a best friend. Local besties also include: Mary and Mimi Baker. Sumner is a blast! I’ve met Ed and Mark, both delightful! I’m going to close with more pictures. Because you can see the friendship and love on our faces!

Sumner, Stephen, Ed, Me, Mark and Mimi

Me, Mary and Mimi

New bestie Kelly Loubet

As you can see, I’ve been very fortunate in the friendship department. I hope to meet a lot more of you. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures and have a fabulous day! Love and blessings, your friend ~ Libby

Striking A Chord — Do You Resonate?

Do your heartfelt thoughts when expressed reach others? Do you strike a chord? Resonate life and laughter in the hearts of others? I want to. I want to be so filled with life and love that the words that I write and speak bring people more meaning, joy and life.

God can do this. He can speak things into being. Of course, I am not God.  Not even close!  But, I want to emulate the way He loves and cares for others. Gives them joy and life and helps them. That, I would like to do.

How does one strike a chord in others with their words? How do you convey and connect to the real tune in your soul? I have thought about this a lot. My grandfather did this. He had a light in his eyes, a sparkle. A smile that showed he cared more about you than he did himself. Thomps for Thompson —  that is what we call him now that he is gone — out of respect for the name he bore, the daughters he raised and the grandchildren whose lives he forever changed.

I think the way to do it is to let the love in your heart shine through you, even when you’re writing. I hope readers can sense the light in your eye and your smile as you think of them. Especially the joy you feel at the privilege of sharing with them.

I smile when I write, a LOT. The 1981 Oscar-winning movie and true account “Chariots of Fire” takes me back to this idea. When Scottish Missionary Eric Liddell, a main character was asked why he was taking time out from his duties to run and train for the Olympics — he answered, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

We should all do what gives us that feeling inside and share that joy with others. The sharing of our souls, our thoughts, our love, our talents is what gives life meaning.

I know my daughter Abby feels joy when she plays softball. Oh she is a great hockey goalie too and loves that. But with the sun on her face as she connects with the ball and smacks it over the fence. WOW! That’s joy.

There would be a lot more joy in the world if all of us stopped to ask ourselves about what we really love to do and spent more time doing it. I haven’t blogged much this whole winter. I was so focused on other things. My life became so busy.  I was helping the world. But I cannot neglect the  joy I find in the writing chair. So I won’t!

Expect to hear from me regularly and know this: while I am talking to you I am smiling and there is a gleam in my eye just for you! Love ya! Libby

 

 

Stomach Surgery January 28, 2010

True to a word given to me in my late teens by a man who walked very close to God in my Church, I would face waves and waves of trials and suffering that would seek to overwhelm me — but they would not touch me for the Lord would keep me safe. I had an unusual number of trials perhaps in my life, surgeries, ill health, challenges with jobs, financial challenges. My marriage was very sound and for the most part my husband and daughter had enjoyed good health. I was the challenging one, the worrisome one. Now I was 56 and about to face the most harrowing surgery of my life and I didn’t want to do it.

As a matter of fact, my husband and I had put if off for almost one year, but I was experiencing stomach pain that was unbearable. I was hospitalized just for the pain. I had to do it. It was vascular surgery. I had an artery designed to delivery blood to my stomach, liver and spleen and it was 90% blocked. There were two other arteries assigned this task, but this was the Celiac artery — the main one! I had been tested every which way. It was proven I had the condition and the only solution was to go in and repair or bypass the artery. So I finally yielded to the still small voice of faith within me and said, “Yes, let’s do it.” I had had quite a few surgeries before, but this was far more complex and required a team of 3 surgeons and as many hours to complete. All went well on Thursday — they did a bypass — and it appeared we had a success on our hands! Praise God!

However, on Sunday, three days, later I hit a crisis. I stopped being able to breathe on my own and my brain was swelling. They had to send me down to a Critical Care ICU and intubate me. My family was worried, very concerned and my brother puts it now, “He didn’t know if they were going to get to keep me!” These are the times in life when God carries you and I don’t remember much of it. They ran all sorts of tests on my brain and couldn’t find a cause. They discussed all sorts of remedies, including lifting the cap off of my skull to let out the pressure. I just found out about that one a couple of days ago! Not wanting to hear all the details right away can be a good thing! But, blessedly God intervened in the form of a brilliant doctor who found a medicine which reversed the swelling and a wonderful male nurse who coached me on breathing when I began to come back, with the tube still inside my throat. Together, with my beloved Jesus, they coached me back to life! Along with the prayers of my beloved family and a few alerted friends and pastors. I was so very blessed when I began to breathe evenly and restfully even with my intubation tube in. The following morning they took it out. Aside from chipping a bit of one of my teeth I was none the worse for wear!

We serve a mighty, mighty God! “He knows the plans that He has for us and they are for good and not for evil to give us a future and a HOPE!” Jeremiah! My daughter was down from up north the next day and spent the day with me in ICU! My husband came in the afternoon and the three of us went up to a less care-intensive ward together that evening. God is so good! The Glory and the lifter of my head! In Him will I rejoice and be thankful for my LIFE! And all that is to come!

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!

The ‘Fro

My Senior Picture

“In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

― William Saroyan

When I was young, I loved the works of William Saroyan. He was an Armenian immigrant who wrote of the things I love: stories of families, rich characters, loyal and loving friends, close-knit communities, love and laughter! I guess I love them still.

I think an explanation of my hair do is in order. When I was a Junior, my hair was kind of medium short and as always very straight. My mom and I thought a perm was in order. So we gave me a Super Curl Lilt Permanent Wave. I thought that was what the situation called for when I picked it out. My hair was very straight, not a bend it sight. It was also very fine. And I had a LOT of hair back then. For those of you who know permanent rinses and hair types, you are probably guessing the outcome. Not us, mom and I were never more surprised: Instant Afro! Well, we LOVED it. We thought it looked great. We didn’t know that it would instantly change my social status from straight to freak (or hippie). We didn’t know the type of backlash is would experience in my conservative High School.

I washed it, let it air dry. Put on big earrings and a pair of jeans and a top, my usual school fair since they abolished the dress code and off I went. Of course, my mom, President of my fan club thought I looked beautiful. MY girlfriends concurred. They said it made my eyes look HUGE and my cheekbones stand out. I do wish I had a picture of it! My Senior Picture was taken at the end of the summer and I agreed to go to my grandmother’s hairdresser for a hair straightening. But let me tell you a bit more about the ‘Fro first.

It got some violent attention. One of the older boys at lunch threw and apple at me at lunch and tore the earring off my face. Then a food fight commenced. I didn’t participate. It scared me. I ran out of there and went looking for a counselor. He told me that I shouldn’t be too surprised. I said what did he mean. He said, “Well, you’re not exactly keeping a low profile.” I was never so angry. I ran out of his office.

Then one of my “best” girlfriends said she heard a rumor going around the school that I was pregnant and the baby would be black, so I had done this so the baby would identify with me. Oh my goodness! High School is so silly. Where do they come up with this stuff? Then I remembered what the counselor said about my not so low profile.

The greatest things started happening. The biggest freak we called them (hippies) at our school, Michael came to Christ. He wanted to have a bible study…I volunteered our house after check with my Mom + God who said of course. Suddenly we had a houseful of hippies coming to know more about Jesus every week and I know they identified with me more thanks to my Super Lilt! That kept up through my senior year because we got a great guy from a new church to lead it. He was older and very grounded in the faith and word.

Before my senior year, as I said I agreed to get my hair straightened. Summer weekends at the pool with my grandparents and my ‘Fro were about all the family could take…so I was happy to do it. The only bummer was, he did a beautiful job straightening my hair and it was quite long under all that curl. I asked him just to trim it and he scalped me. Way too short. So in my Senior Year Picture I have flipped my hair back trying to give it some volume because it was short and sticking to my head.

Mike thinks it looks like some old ladies hair-do, not a child of the 70’s. I agree, it does rather stand out among all the long hair. But I don’t really mind being a stand out!

I had a lot of fun my senior year with a nice boyfriend as I’ve said. I let my hair be short and straight. I only flipped it for the picture. I tried to lived as we were learning in our bible studies and as William Saroyan said:

“In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

― William Saroyan

And as Mother Teresa says: “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

I’m Moved to Write A Book!

I feel compelled to write a book. Actually I’ve felt this way since I was five and first learned to read. But this time the drum is beating louder. I hear there’s a program online to write a post a day in October and a Novel in November or — a non-fiction in November if you should so choose. I would like to do it. I would like to write it online with the promise of instant publishing and critiques of every thought and chapter. It sounds wonderful and excruciating all at once. Of course, I could switch the blog to private in November. I don’t really know how to write a novel. Everything I’ve written has been autobiographical. We shall see.

Come along for the ride if you like!

Enjoy!

My Beautuful Daughter and her Pooch

Stomach Surgery January 28, 2010

True to a word given to me in my late teens by a man who walked very close to God in my Church, I would face waves and waves of trials and suffering that would seek to overwhelm me — but they would not touch me for the Lord would keep me safe. I had an unusual number of trials perhaps in my life, surgeries, ill health, challenges with jobs, financial challenges. My marriage was very sound and for the most part my husband and daughter had enjoyed good health. I was the challenging one, the worrisome one. Now I was 56 and about to face the most harrowing surgery of my life and I didn’t want to do it.

As a matter of fact, my husband and I had put if off for almost one year, but I was experiencing stomach pain that was unbearable. I was hospitalized just for the pain. I had to do it. It was vascular surgery. I had an artery designed to delivery blood to my stomach, liver and spleen and it was 90% blocked. There were two other arteries assigned this task, but this was the Celiac artery — the main one! I had been tested every which way. It was proven I had the condition and the only solution was to go in and repair or bypass the artery. So I finally yielded to the still small voice of faith within me and said, “Yes, let’s do it.” I had had quite a few surgeries before, but this was far more complex and required a team of 3 surgeons and as many hours to complete. All went well on Thursday — they did a bypass — and it appeared we had a success on our hands! Praise God!

However, on Sunday, three days, later I hit a crisis. I stopped being able to breathe on my own and my brain was swelling. They had to send me down to a Critical Care ICU and intubate me. My family was worried, very concerned and my brother puts it now, “He didn’t know if they were going to get to keep me!” These are the times in life when God carries you and I don’t remember much of it. They ran all sorts of tests on my brain and couldn’t find a cause. They discussed all sorts of remedies, including lifting the cap off of my skull to let out the pressure. I just found out about that one a couple of days ago! Not wanting to hear all the details right away can be a good thing! But, blessedly God intervened in the form of a brilliant doctor who found a medicine which reversed the swelling and a wonderful male nurse who coached me on breathing when I began to come back, with the tube still inside my throat. Together, with my beloved Jesus, they coached me back to life! Along with the prayers of my beloved family and a few alerted friends and pastors. I was so very blessed when I began to breathe evenly and restfully even with my intubation tube in. The following morning they took it out. Aside from chipping a bit of one of my teeth I was none the worse for wear!

We serve a mighty, mighty God! “He knows the plans that He has for us and they are for good and not for evil to give us a future and a HOPE!” Jeremiah! My daughter was down from up north the next day and spent the day with me in ICU! My husband came in the afternoon and the three of us went up to a less care-intensive ward together that evening. God is so good! The Glory and the lifter of my head! In Him will I rejoice and be thankful for my LIFE! And all that is to come!

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