Libby Baker Sweiger

Weaver of Everyday Tales

Memories Are The Best Gifts

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

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

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

Christmas memories blogged about here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love you! Lib

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Open House Christmas Week with Son and Grandsons

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Signing off with a fave Christmas Photo of Dad and I

 

 

 

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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!

What I Love About Father’s Day!

20140807_094555 (1)What I most love about Father’s Day is our Father God choosing the love of a Father to show us His love for us and sending His very own son to this earth to show us how much He loves us!

Secondly, I have and always will be a daddy’s girl so from the beginning, though I love and loved my mom with all my heart it is also my father’s love I sought. He was my hero, mentor, the one I followed around on Saturday mornings, went for hikes with ~ and on whose every word I dwelt.

Has this served me well in life? After all no father is perfect! Of course! Dad’s don’t have to be perfect to be good people to emulate and want to be like. Father God is the only Father who is perfect and who we should study and want to copy in all things. But Dad’s teach us lessons and show us the way in all aspects of their personalities.

I love my dad’s laugh. His witticisms, his personality, his work ethic, his outlook on life, his twinkle in his eyes, both of them, his stories, oh his stories! I love his way of laughing at himself. Laughing at my quirkyness. Our laughs together. Our conversations. His art of conversation. His tales of his young life, mid-life, yesterday. And of his tales. His writing. His speaking. His love of life. His love of his wife. His love of his children and his adoration of his grand-children. She has a really good heart, he’ll say of his generous wife. He’s a good driver he’ll say of his grandson on his latest job parking cars. You’re a good worker, he’ll say of me on my 102nd job. She’s so capable, he’ll say of my sister who is always on top of the family situations, so good with her children. He’s a worrier like me, but he doesn’t let that stop him from always asking what’s happening and keeping tabs on just what is happening. He cares so much for all his children and grandchildren. He must, but now have found a way to give things to God, or he wouldn’t still be here at 85-1/2!

We’re going for pancakes on Father’s Day. I tried to rally the troops and was unsuccessful. So many families. So many people coming in and out of time. We laughed together about it. He knows he’ll see all his children in and around Father’s Day. He’s not uptight about gathering all the chicks! I love my dad. His laugh. His ready smile. His laid back nature, he’s developed as he’s aged. He’s a wonderful Father. No matter how many Father’s days we have left. I will spend them all with him. My dad. My favorite first best friend. Love you dad!

2012-12-22 15.10.07

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:

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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

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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

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! )

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