Jesus Heals Then and Now

Libby Baker Sweiger

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Luke 8:40-48The Message (MSG)

His Touch

40-42 On his return, Jesus was welcomed by a crowd. They were all there expecting him. A man came up, Jairus by name. He was president of the meeting place. He fell at Jesus’ feet and begged him to come to his home because his twelve-year-old daughter, his only child, was dying. Jesus went with him, making his way through the pushing, jostling crowd.

43-45 In the crowd that day there was a woman who for twelve years had been afflicted with hemorrhages. She had spent every penny she had on doctors but not one had been able to help her. She slipped in from behind and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. At that very moment her hemorrhaging stopped. Jesus said, “Who touched me?”

When no one stepped forward, Peter said, “But Master, we’ve got crowds of people on our hands. Dozens…

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Siblings Rock!

When my good friend Lynn’s mom died she was all alone in the experience. She had her faith, like I do…but she had no brothers or sisters to lean on to help her through her darkest days, or even to laugh with, or make decisions with. She had a few best friends for which she thanked God and I thank Him everyday for mine, especially Heather who has been my rock in the best friend department.

But, brothers and sisters to go through the trenches with really do help and that is my subject tonight. Some days you are closer than others to your siblings, but the fact of the matter is you have known them all your life. My sister Suzy and I are only 17 months apart. That’s hardly anything. And Bill and I are five years apart and Scott and I seven. Now Sara, she came along with our new step mom and is fifteen years younger than I am, but she was so wonderful. She drove all the way from Madison on her own to be there for us for Mom’s service and all the way home again. She stayed with dad and Trisha and was a comfort to him as well. Dad had a hard time too. He’s been unmarried to mom a long time but they had a lifetime of friendship and respect and four kids they raised between them. A lot of history.

History is the word. Shared history when it comes to brothers and sisters helping you through the loss of a parent. And they know you so well. My youngest brother Scott knew how close Mom and I were, best friends really. He was looking out for me as emails were flying about carrying out her final wishes. He knew I would need a sit down and sit down we did.  At the very malt shop my mom hung out at as a teenager and discussed where to and how to scatter her ashes. My brothers split a chocolate malt and Suzy and I a coffee malt. Maybe it doesn’t sound reverent, but it was high Holy Baker Tradition as we reminisced, discussed the service and decided on what to do next. Mom had made it clear so it was a matter of doing what she wanted.

We’ll keep that part to ourselves because it’s private. Let me just say it was legal and beautiful and one of the most memorable days of my life as we let go of the earthly ashes that were our once glorious Mom’s outer shell and thanked God that He had given us such a great Mom and now had her with Him in Heaven.

While we thanked Him for her and what a great mom she had been, we remembered. I will never forget that day, neither will my sister or brothers. It was something we shared all the way together, in responsibility, in reverence, in relief and release as we said our last “so longs”. For it isn’t really good-by is it? We will see her again someday.

That is our “sure and certain hope” the scripture says. I believe it with all my heart because the Word of God says it, Jesus lived and died this truth and rose again and our Mom lived the testimony of this truth beautifully. We live it now. Daily. And will until we join her and those who have gone before us in the Faith.

Miss you Mom. I’m thankful I had such a great Mom. You will be missed every day until I see you again my precious: Mother, Sister in the Faith and Best Friend. Love, Libby!!!!!!!! (which is how you always said my name) 🙂

CHRISTMAS: JOY AND SORROW

Christmas is a time of great joy.

“For unto us born a Savior who is Christ the Lord.

It is also a time of sorrow. For many people Christmas, Thanksgiving, holiday celebrations can overwhelm them with a sense of loss for those who aren’t there to celebrate with them. They have loved ones who have gone on before them in death, have left in divorce, have died prematurely before knowing a Christmas, or perhaps only knew one. People who lose children are very susceptible to the blues I think, being one of them. So how to handle the holiday blues before they handle you?

Sometimes you can’t. Sometimes you just have to let yourself experience them. But, fight going too low. The healthy hurting of a partly broken holiday heart is understandable. Full blown depression, no matter the time of year requires treatment immediately.

Well I’m writing in the abstract, let me just say, I’m having a bit of trouble this year. I’m missing my little girl and little boy who have unfortunately and unnaturally gone ahead of me. And as for the daughter I delightfully got to raise, it’s not looking as though she will be coming home for Christmas. Nor is my dad coming up.

So right now I am telling myself to snap out of it which is kind of a joke in our family. We are all so sympathetic and empathetic it’s rather the opposite of the way we relate to each other, but we’re fond of saying it to ourselves!

And I’m counting my blessings. I’m so thankful Mike came through his recent surgery so well. And I’m taking the focus off of myself and focusing on others and my Christmas projects, like Christmas cards and decorating and normal things like work.

And I’m praying for my friends to be well for Christmas. Friends who have much more challenging lives that I. Like Heather Siebens who lives in constant pain and Mary Triviski who has recurrent viral Meningitis.

And I am thanking God for the fullness of my life. The new client whose project I start in two days. And the Birthday party we’re having for dad in our party room on the 29th of December that will gather the whole family at last. I am the hub of party planning central.

So now I am smiling. Writing always makes me happy and I found this great quote about the bittersweet emotions surrounding Christmas:

“In this way Penelope’s happy and sad feelings got all mixed up together, until they were not unlike one of those delicious cookies they have nowadays, the ones with a flat circle of sugary cream sandwiched between two chocolate-flavored wafers. In her heart she felt a soft, hidden core of sweet melancholy nestled inside crisp outer layers of joy, and if that is not the very sensation most people feel at some point or other during the holidays, then one would be hard pressed to say what is.”
― Maryrose Wood, The Mysterious Howling (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1)

I wish all of you a very Happy Holiday Season, whatever you celebrate and a very Merry Christmas too! Here is a picture of Mike and I taken on Thanksgiving. Isn’t he looking well? Love to you all! Libby

Real Best Friends are Grown not Made!

My best friend and I celebrated our birthdays together the other day! We took time out from busy schedules, family demands from husbands, children and parents to be together for one long, lovely day…! These are the beautiful times, the special, time-stands-still golden times of life that should be marked my sparklers in the desert! Big Smiles and terrific memories.

We have been friends, Lynn and I since we were 13. That’s many decades ago. Sure I have other Best-Type friends, but we have something very unique. History. Time. We’ve gone through the dating years, acne, first jobs, college, young husbands, young children, many surgeries and challenges with our health, mostly mine. The building of our careers, the wearing out of younger bodies, the quizzical  nature of growing older, aging parents, you  name it we’ve been through it together. And looking back at all of it we laugh at the good and the bad times, hug, toast each other and for the moments we are together….ALL IS RIGHT WITH THE WORLD!

 

Halt the Bombing!!!!!

“Halt the Bombing” my best girlfriend yelled to the heavens when she heard I was having surgery on Friday, last week. Another year another surgery?

My husband Mike and I were beginning to wonder when starting in 2006 I kept getting hit with the need for one surgery after another. I thought it all had culminated in the most complicated surgery of my life in January of 2010 when I had a open Celiac artery repair. What?!! Exactly. Who’d ever heard about the condition I had anyway? Now this is where we miss the beat and forget to be thankful. A highly intelligent, gifted gastro-enterologist named Dr. Helou at my clinic: Park Nicollet in St. Louis Park discovered it. And another gifted vascular surgeon proved I had it by giving me an abdominal angiagram and mimicking the condition that was choking off the blood flow to the main artery attending to the digestive system, thereby causing pain and PROVED I had it. This, along with the grace of God, gave me the courage to have the surgery. It also provided him with the map he needed to do the abdominal bypass. It was a miraculous surgery. It was written up in a research paper and presented to all of the Upper GI Department at Park Nicollet, so other doctors would catch the condition typified by: stomach pain, nausea and weight loss, sometimes. Mostly pain, bad pain after eating. And now they had a test to prove the condition true before operating!

It’s hard to have the right attitude when you’re in chronic pain, but this comes close to the outlook I now have on life:

“Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth ‘thrown in’: aim at Earth and you will get neither.” 

 C.S. Lewis  

So I looked Heavenward when hearing I would be having another surgery for two hernias right on my incision line from my last surgery. I explained to my best friend, there was no bombing coming from heaven, just the usual pangs of a creation living after the fall. In other words, the world is NOT perfect and it is NOT God’s fault. That’s how I aim at Heaven in bad circumstances, remember that our God is not the author of Evil, that’s just not in his nature. Evil, decay, death, are a part of the world we live in but we are bound for a better place: Heaven and if we keep our eyes on that we can go through almost anything. I may be bold and say anything. Only if the Lord carries me, but I will go!

It helped a lot not to panic. Not to dwell on the brain swelling incident after my last surgery and some minor complications with anesthesia I would rather not repeat. So I didn’t. I aimed at Heaven and got the blessings this life can offer thrown in. Some people would say I’m very lucky to have come through this last surgery so well. Sailed through it.And though still in the throws of some post-op pain. I know I will be okay this time.

I am very thankful and blessed at the life I have. I have a wonderful husband and daughter Mike Sweiger and Abby Sweiger on Facebook. I am so happy for the many friends on Twitter and Facebook who prayed for me through both of these surgeries! Very grateful to have some new wonderful friends on Twitter, the #UsGuys tribe. One of whom is about my best friend: @JosephGier and @StephenCaggiano and @myagenda, Jeannette, and @Milaspage: Mila and so many many more. Friends like my #BFF for many years Heather @AliveinMe who’s blog is so inspirational: http://hiswill4me.blogspot.com/ and Heather lives in constant unbearable pain! And my dear friends Angie @angels510 and @SuuperG. And dear Rich @RichardBejah who had surgery right before mine. Now these friends are Facebook friends and friends in real life IRL and will be lifetime friends. And dear friend Mary J. Triviski who is a constant support and prayer warrior in life and on Facebook who intends to become a blogger to talk about her heath crisis and help others in the future!

If adversity brings us closer, and it does, then we have stood the test of friendship! If when next it hits we Aim at Heaven, I believe we will be closer to the biggest, best friend in the world and out of it! 🙂

Memorial Day Weekend 2011: So Much to Be Thankful for!

{EAV_BLOG_VER:ef4db6aef5abd6b4}What a wonderful weekend to give thanks for our freedoms! Freedom to speak our minds. Freedom of to share our faith and to worship. Freedom to enjoy equality in a world of inequities. Freedom to live and love and have our being in the Land of the Free.

I am so thankful today for our freedom to worship. To be vocal about our faith and hope and the love that we have for our country, Our God, our family and friends.

So many days we take these things for granted. As we think about the many blessings still afforded us in this the best country on earth, we also celebrate the soldier and the hard fought victories that keep it so. And we think of the people we love who have gone on before us. I always think of my dear children, Shirley and David. Little Shirley was a premmie who died seconds before birth. David was my beloved second born who gave me so much happiness during his short (11 month) life. They would both be in their 30’s now and my family would be much louder now, with the ruckus of 3 children rather than my only loving and most precious girl, Abby (28). Abby’s name means Bringer of Joy and she is aptly named! In her young life she has brought me more joy than a mom could imagine knowing! I smile as I write about Shirley and David. Thinking of them alive in Heaven which is the biggest freedom of all. We will have a joyous reunion and celebration — our family! Mike and Abby and I continue to enjoy such great times together!

I hope all of you enjoy and celebrate life this weekend. Those who have gone before us, the soldiers, all someone’s children would want us to. Celebrate our freedoms and the life we all share in this Country: Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!