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!

 

Social Media In The CEO’s Suite — #UsBlogs #UsGuys

Everyone wants their company to be up on the latest in Social Media, right? Tweeting the latest information about their growth, answering customers questions, branding, setting themselves apart from the competition with a Terrific Mind-Blowing SoMe Strategy! Not yet perhaps, but they’re getting there. How about the CEO’s — are they blogging and tweeting? Or have they relegating that task to an intern, or a manager adept in Social Media? I have a new client, a start-up, that’s going to be a big company judging from their business plan. They want to make sure when they roll out they’re on Twitter, Facebook and Linked-In ALL IN A BIG WAY! Social Media Strategy: still in development. That must be established first! Sooner than later, they want to interact with their Business-to-Business clients and Business-to-Consumer customers in Social Media. They want to be engaged, social, readily accessible and responsive to all! When I built their website we put in a blog for the CEO to post in. Right now he’s posting their progress. I will continue to strongly encourage his involvement, because I believe communicating his vision for their endeavor is vital to its success. One source which conveys this importance is in an article put out by Mashable in June of 2010: How CEO’s Are Using Social Media for Real Results. The article is very inspiring on what the CEO can accomplish by taking a leadership role in Social Media:

Carmen Magar, CEO of Chocri, a make-your-own chocolate bar company, says the exposure makes a difference. “While the competition can see everything (e.g. when customers suggest a new topping) and some of them seem compelled to copy my blog posts nearly word for word, it’s worth it because authenticity rules.”

Authenticity is the important thing above all else in life, marketing and of course: Social Media.  If your company’s CEO/leadership know this, it will help them to be more convinced of the importance of their presence in any Social Media strategy.
 
*This post was created for the #UsGuys on Twitter and their #UsBlogs initiative which seeks to communicate the importance of Social Media in the lives of companies and individuals.

 

THANK YOU SO Much! Two Years of Tweets and 10,000+ Followers!

I’ve had a very exciting weekend. Personally it’s been quiet and relaxing. Online it has been a total blast! Yesterday, April 30, 2011, my main Twitter account @libbytalks passed the 10,000 follower mark. I never would have believed it if someone had told me this would happen!

I have loved Twitter so much since I began tweeting in earnest in April of 2009 (I joined in 1/09, but hardly tweeted, didn’t get it!). In April, it clicked. For me it was like entering a whole new world. I used to just sit and watch the stream go by. I still abandon Tweet Deck, go online and experience the flow of the stream like I used to. I love the interaction, movement, new ideas flying by. Two years ago I was very ill. I was in a lot of pain. Twitter became a place where I could focus on something other than myself and forget the horrible pain in my body. I am an extrovert to the max and interacting with so many new people, lifted me out of myself and helped me to think about other things: what they had to teach me and how great they were to meet and tweet with.

Twitter is not a religion :). I have my strong faith to carry me through hardship. But it is a delightful gathering place of information, people, humor, living: an impassioned marketplace of ideas! And it’s fun. I remember fondly my friend @Fun2Tweet, now @DailyImage: Chuck from California gave me my first #FollowFriday. He tweeted about me and mentioned my bio…it was funny and sweet. I’ve participated in nearly every #FollowFriday since! I’ve had different accounts than @libbytalks, but they have come and gone. I remain @libbytalks observing, contributing, saying HI to friends, praying for friends facing sadness, exclaiming with joy and triumph their successes.

Who is @libbytalks? She’s just me. My voice. I go on Twitter now in good health, without pain. Whenever I feel the call and have a moment. I don’t schedule tweets. I don’t auto-follow. This account has grown organically and I’ve had great pleasure in the experience. I didn’t invent the moniker for Twitter. Libbytalks was my blogging name. I had been blogging for a few years and on MySpace and Facebook…but nothing flipped my switch like Twitter. I love the immediacy, the instant replies, the quick and yet satisfying interaction with friends who are courteous, caring and add blessing and great value to my life.

I’m celebrating this weekend what I consider to be a real milestone: 10,000 followers, friends I can talk with whenever I want and can share ideas and my loves and observations with day after day. And there is so much I am learning. Six months back maybe, I met a great bunch on Twitter, the #UsGuys tribe and stream. Their chats are ongoing 24/7 and they talk Social Media which has become my passion as well as my livelihood. Beautiful minds, young and not as young (like me) engaging and sharing their insights, blog posts, gems of information found on the Internet that day. A smaller group, a piece of Twitter yet contributing so much content and wisdom. I am proud to be in their ranks.

I’m most happy to be me and enjoy life…on I’m most happy to be me and enjoy life…on Twitter and off. Some of the people IRL (in real life) laugh or don’t understand why I’m on Twitter or how or why anyone would want so many followers. But, my dear mom understood. Eighty-one years old, battling Alzheimers and a recent stroke she said, “I’m not surprised Libby! You love to talk to people and meet new people…to do this every day –it must be so fun for you!” It is fun! A great big party…a 2nd college education…a family I couldn’t be without, and dearest of all: a circle of friends! Thank you for being there and welcome! I couldn’t be happier to meet you! Love, Libby aka @libbytalks

Making a Difference In This World: The Power of Social Media

During my 2+ years on Twitter, I have seen a great many causes supported and lives changed, due to the power of Social Media. It’s amazing how many can truly make a difference! The earliest cause and hash tag I was introduced to was #Eric #ETA. I became part of an awesome group of people supporting a young man, Eric De La Cruz, who couldn’t get a heart transplant due to preexisting conditions and a number of scenarios roadblocked by our current Health Care System. For a synopsis read: http://www.lifewithoutpants.com/the-inconvenience-of-change/we-love-eric-the-inconvenience-of-change/. 

A burst of tweets, fund-raising, non-stop efforts of his sister Veronica De La Cruz made a real difference. Regardless of your stance on health care reform, you must admire and support the efforts of these brave people instrumental in keeping #Erics story alive before and after his death on July 4, 2009 and their brave fight for change! For an update read: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/veronica-de-la-cruz/health-care-year_b_839542.html .

Today, the influence of caring hearts on Twitter never sleeps and the power to bring change in people’s lives and in our world is tremendous. #PrayerforJapan #CareforJapan —  the mobilization of thousands upon thousands of people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more — are raising money and awareness for the people of Japan! The vastness of support is beyond comprehension and the people on social media are bringing healing to an entire country! For more details on the vast world wide efforts of social media for Japan, please read: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/7868184/social_media_summoning_aid_for_disaster.html?cat=15.
What can be accomplished is enormous, it starts with just one person, just one tweet, one blog, one mention, one update. An avalanche of support later the world is changed. You can make a difference in this world thanks to Twitter, and all of the people involved in the many sites of Social Media!

#UsBlogs #UsGuys blog challenge for March 26th: “Social Media for Social Good”.

 

Happy 96th Uncle Rog!

My husband’s Uncle Rog who I call my Uncle too,  because we are very close and I say he is my uncle!  We share a passion for life, knowledge, computers, photography, people, family — and admiration and love for each other! Love between relatives and friends for the 32 years I have been in the family and married to his prize nephew. Years that have grown ever closer in the passing of time: his Birthday on St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on the closest weekend to the day! This year it was on Sunday, March 20th and all of us ventured to Southern Minnesota to Southern Minnesota for his annual party.

Fall days spent in the water, trying to swamp a pontoon boat equipped with his inventions and being unable to do so no matter how many of us leaned over the rail! I had perfect faith in him too. I remember I was wearing my new spring coat, my new glasses and carrying my latest, beloved phone!

The admiration part is just as tangible. I admire Uncle Rog for all the things he has accomplished in his life and all he still plans to do! I hope I have plans at his age and yet when you talk with him, you are constantly struck with the excitement in living in his manner, his speech, the animation in his voice, the power packed knowledge of his amazing mind. He is an inventor first and foremost and is having the prototype for a boat built that will hopefully revolutionize the way the Coast Guard deals with rescues. He admires me for ordinary things that come second nature to me: my blogging, my love of all things social media. The pictures I take with my camera and even phone that look so lifelike. He still can’t get over a camera in a phone!

Here we are squeezing my husband, Mike…Rog’s nephew into the picture! 🙂

After the party we were back at his house and he explained his patent again and the properties of his leisure boats, dreams for rescue boats — and the concrete plans he has for making the waterways safer for everyone. They are the plans and dreams of a much younger man you think, but then you see the intelligence in his eyes and know that there’s a reason this all has taken so many years to develop. Rog has been thinking, advocating, coaching and coaxing them along. Making something out of nothing, the inventor’s gift, his purpose in life, his legacy.