Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

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.

AMEN.

2014-09-1715

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

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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 paper.li www.livingabovethemadness.org 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!

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!

I Love Birthdays On Social Media and Otherwise!

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

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

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
― Dr. SeussHappy Birthday to You!

 

Birthdays are a joyful time, not just mine…I love everyone’s Birthday.  I love that Social Media sites tell you when it’s someone’s birthday so you can say “Happy Day” to them. Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, it’s fun!

In my family we have a tradition…my dad always calls us kids and sings happy birthday. He still does. This year on  my birthday last Thursday, I missed the call and got his rendition on voice mail. At first I was disappointed, now I realize it’s great…I’ll never erase the voicemail. I’ll keep this one forever if I like!

On birthdays, like Dr. Seuss says, we honor the person for just being alive, just being them. They don’t have to accomplish anything that day but be YOUer than You. Birthdays don’t discriminate. Everybody has one. They are good for stopping to take stock of your like, or just having fun. I did both. Here is the video I made just before my birthday on my webcam where I waxed philosophical:

God is good…He holds the Future and Life is worth the Living, Just Because He Lives!

And I had lots of FUN on June 19th! My sister Suzy took me to Lunch, my husband Mike took me to Dinner! I went shopping with Suzy and got a new outfit! 🙂 I tried like everything to keep up with the well wishers, my friends on social media and couldn’t! Isn’t this a wonderful world we live in. Sure there are drawbacks and lots of times we think about the good old days, but when did hundreds of people wish you a happy birthday and many blessings and hugs before now? It’s a pretty great world in many ways, I think!

There were pre-birthday celebrations. When old friends got together:

Bday Party Beforehand!

Bday Party Beforehand!

 

 

 

 

 

Pre Bday and Father's Day with Dad!

Pre Bday and Father’s Day with Dad!

So I have to say that on Social Media and Off! With extraordinary family and friends…Birthdays can be Youer than You! And a BLAST! Happy Birthday to YOU!!!! Love ya! Libby!!!!! And thanks for attending this party! xoxoxo

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!

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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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With Jesus’ Help, I’m Writing Poems Again!

Davey and I Laughing!

Davey and I Laughing!

On We Go
A Poem by Libby Baker Sweiger
@April8th2014

Some questions have no answers,
Like why do people die.
Why do they up and leave us?
All alone, high and dry.

They go to be with Jesus,
We understand and know
But our poor hearts are helpless
To absorb it and keep our grief in tow.

We go on and try to live our lives
One day at a time
Sometimes overwhelmed and lost
Sometimes crying all the time.

I wake up wanting to call my dear ones
Reaching for the phone ~
Then I remember Heaven is
Way beyond my dial tone.

Many years ago two babies I carried,
One lived almost a year.
Went home to be with The Father
I cried so many tears.

It’s been so long now, I am rarely very sad
I remember them with gladness!
for the little time we had.

I’m so happy its not over,
That thanks to Jesus, Life never ends.
We believe on Him and trust in Him
And on we go to see them once again!

Another POEM:

Satan Came to Tempt Me 4/3/2014
By Jesus and @LibbyBakerSweiger2014

Satan came to tempt me,
He offered me wealth and ease
I wasn’t really moved my it,
I said “No thank you Please.”

He hesitated a minute and than upped his price
He said if you forsake the Christ 
I will give you three wishes on a dice.

I’ve never been the gambling type.
It was easy to say no.
I said I really wasn’t interested
In any of his show.

I tell you what ~ he sneered at me:
I’ll take away all your friends.
That began to get to me
There were many like bookends.

I told him Jesus was my only friend,
I would not bargain him away.
He’d better leave and not come back,
He was wasting his time that day.

He snarled and left a parting shot,
When you are all alone, You’ll cry for my company
And want me for your own.

Little did he realize the magnitude of his mistake,
For I belonged to Jesus, never His Company to forsake.
And in His Love there was one thing I knew I’d never feel~
The heartache of bereftness, the sadness of Alone!

(God bless your evening and your day, Take comfort in the fact that no matter what the enemy offers you, the Lord is sufficient to meet every need, answer every doubt and will never let you go, YOU ARE HIS! )

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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!

Evil’s Destiny

cloud-computing “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have  always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem  invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NIV The Bible:

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

These two passages, one a quote from Ghandi, one a passage from the New Testament, the Word of God, have two strong things in common. Everything turns out all right in the end. Good triumphs over evil. Life over Death. God over evil.

We who believe in the Bible as the Word of God then should not be living without hope no matter how dire the circumstances. Right? And true students of history should all know the end of the story whether they believe the Bible and have read the book of Revelations or not. Like Ghandi they should have observed that good triumphs over evil and rejoice. Obviously! They should be living without bitterness, hatred toward an unfair and unjust universe and be filled with hope.

Why then are so many people living with despair, hopelessness, depression, doubt and disillusionment, then. Where is the gratitude? Where is the optimism? Why all the heartache? Why is everyone so down?

The answer hit me as I was driving home in the dark down the freeway tonight. It’s because of EVIL. Palpable, Out-To-Get-Us, destructive, human-hating, despicable, LYING, wanting-us-down, dead and defeated, anti-God, anti-good, anti-life, joy-sucking evil.

That is the answer!

For many years when I have been seriously depressed one thought that plagued me was the biggest lie of all. I have a life insurance policy that when I die my beneficiaries get a lump sum to settle my affairs. It’s a pretty good policy. I got it when I was young and it’s going to help out should I die before my husband and obviously I will before my dear daughter. Now we have always seemed to struggle financially. So when I have suicidal lying horrid thoughts, the taunting I will hear is, “You know you are worth more dead than alive.” “You don’t even work, your family is better off without you, look at you, you’re a depressed, crying mess, why not end it all?”

What a horrid, evil, hideous lie!

But it wasn’t until today, driving home that I tore that lie to pieces and expunged it from my psyche for good. I was listening to KTIS Christian Music, as I often do, and I started to turn it down because I was praying louder than they were singing. I was suddenly thanking God with deep gratitude for all the wonderful blessings and richness in my life. Everything big and small, well they’re all big. I felt grateful for everything, even the challenges, because I just kept talking to God and using the word gratitude, my heart was getting more and more tender and I was starting to cry, but in a good way.

I started to thank him for making me and for all He had blessed me with. All I could do, write and paint and talk and share with people and pray and love and give and laugh and love my family and my friends and I began to see my worth to him, as a human, and with Him. I began to realize the infinite worth of one human life to God and to the world …so much that God send His son to die for that one life. There are Infinite things one life can accomplish in this world and the next! Then I got really angry at the evil for the LIE. I began to shout at the evil in this world to stay behind me then and always and never trouble my mind again or risk again getting kicked out of my thoughts ~ because it was so ridiculous to compare the worth of one human life to money.

I realized compared to a human life, money was refuse, garbage, worse than nothing, of no value to eternity and of little impact on this earth compared to what a human life can do. And I started to laugh at the silliness of the lie and the ridiculous premise of it. And I laughed and praised and thanked God for a long time, all the way down the almost empty freeway.

Wow! Evil. It is insidious. It had a hold on me. No longer. Not on that subject. What chased it away? Gratitude. A grateful heart put everything in perspective, God back on His throne and me where I belonged: worshiping and praising Him for the many blessings He has brought into my life always.

I’ve had my share of heartache, sure. I have also had double the share of comfort from my God. My Father in Heaven. My Savior Jesus. The Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Three in one. The Triune God. Always with me. He goes before me. He goes alongside me and as always: has my back. What can evil do unto me? Nadda. Nothing. Can I laugh in its face? Evidently. I just did. Hey, no room for despair. I know how the story ends. Love and blessings, Libby

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)

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