Waking Up Lost

Have you ever woke up not knowing where you are? This rarely happens to me, but last month when visiting a new grandson we stayed in a hotel. Admittedly, my husband and I reversed the side of the bed we slept on that night, but when I awoke, for a short time I was lost. It didn’t last long, and I knew where I was the second morning. Regardless, it was disconcerting for the time I couldn’t figure out where I was.

I don’t like to be lost. I doubt few people really enjoy that feeling. I’ve been lost when driving a few times, and it was hard on my sense of self, as I don’t usually lose my directions. Waking lost is entirely different. Usually it is in the middle of the night, in complete darkness. It is like waking to a bad dream.

Imagine how Eve felt that first day, waking to a world in which she had never been. There may have been light, but it was not a place she remembered. I suspect she didn’t even remember anything else. That would be extremely disconcerting. I have seen movies with people who were drugged not remembering. I doubt Eve was drugged. Something happened that she woke in an entirely new place. How strange it must have been for her. This was not a place she had been the night before then forgot about, this was an entirely new world!

I have imagined this, and wrote about it in my upcoming book, Eve Remembers. In the first paragraph I described what she saw. I suspect she doesn’t even realize this is all new. Does it sound like you imagine it?

“My first memory is green.
I opened my eyes to a world filled with green. Flowers of reds, yellows, purples, and oranges intermingled with green foliage. I laid there, my eyes adjusting to the light and color assaulting me. Noises filled my ears—it took some time to separate the different sounds. A large hand reached out, slipping under me, providing me support as I warily sat up. More wonders came into my field of vision. Creatures, black and white striped, yellow, black, gray, even orange and blue ones. So many shapes and sizes. I had no idea what they were called. A jumble of sounds came from them: squaws, chirps, brays, soft rumbling sounds, and loud barking sounds filled my ears.”–Eve Remembers (Angelique Conger)

How would you have reacted? I’m not sure I would have been as calm as she was. I’d love to hear from you.

Bread

I have a batch of bread rising on the counter. I love to make fresh bread for our family. I love the smell of bread baking, and the taste of warm, fresh bread. My men argue over the end, or the heel.

I grew up eating bread my mother baked; in fact, I remember mixing and baking bread for our family when I was four or five. My dad was very ill and we were out of bread, so I mixed up mom’s usual batch of eight loaves of bread so our family would have some for the week. Mom was surprised to find it rising on the counter when she returned home from the hospital from visiting dad that evening.

Today, dad is the bread baker in their home, and it is good bread. The day my aunt was buried he came home to tell mom he didn’t want to have to go without homemade bread if something happened to her. That day she taught him, and he has baked most of the bread for them since.

I haven’t always baked bread for our family. I haven’t always had the time. Now I have time, and I bake the bread. I like it better, and I know it is better for us.

Eve baked for her family. She couldn’t go to the local store, or even a local bakery to buy bread. There wasn’t one! I wondered how she figured out how to figure out how to grind the grains. Then, how did she learn to develop yeast? Maybe she didn’t. Certainly, she developed flat bread. I think it didn’t take her long before she developed “sour dough” creating bread that rises.

“I picked up the stone and purposefully rubbed it against the grains, grinding it against the larger stone. When I looked again, the grain had a fine, soft texture. It looked easier to eat. What could I do with it? I ground more until I had a small pile of ground wheat. Hmm. What next? How can I make something good to eat with this? I gathered it together, added a bit of salt, honey, oil, and water, mixing and kneading it.
What do I do with this, now? There was a hot fire inside the stove, so I dropped the mass on a flat stone and slid it in. A lovely odor soon exuded from the stove, making my mouth water. When the dough was browned I pulled it out and cut a chunk off the end. Lovely.”

(Eve Remembers, Angelique Conger, 2014)

It could have happened that way. I like to think it did. Most people enjoy bread of some kind with each meal. Do you? What kind is your favorite? And do you bake your own?

Grandchildren

I’m exhausted and want to be sleeping. Instead, I sit here watching late night television and my sleeping granddaughter. I care for her some nights while her daddy works. Though I’d like to be in bed, I sit here waiting—because I love her and her dad.

In the past few weeks I have spent time getting to know our littlest grandsons. There is nothing like a newborn’s laugh, or the laugh of one who is a bit older. I spent time with all but one grandson in the last month. Time with grandchildren is precious to me. We have been swimming, gone to movies, made cookies, played at the park. Each has been memorable for me, and I hope they will be remembered by them.

My mother talks of times with her grandchildren. Her best memories are of telling her grandchildren stories—stories of her life, stories about their parents. She has written books of those stories so her grandchildren will know her.

Some say grandchildren are God’s gift for surviving their teenage parents. I loved my teenagers, and I love their children. I’m happy to have the gift of grandchildren.

Have you ever wondered how Eve felt about her grandchildren? I know, silly question. She felt the same as grandmothers everywhere. She wanted them to be happy, she wanted them to learn and do the things she had taught their parents.

Eve had lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was blessed to have some of them listen and learn those vital teachings. Sadly, not as many listened as did not.

Over her many years on earth, about nine hundred, Eve did not meet all her grandchildren. When her children and grandchildren chose to listen to the voice of the destroyer, they moved away. Other children moved away just because they needed more room to live, spreading out across the face of the land. There was no way Eve could have met every great grandchild.

You are her grandchild. Mitochondrial evidence proves we all are descended from one mother—Eve. She is mother to all who live here on earth. She is truly our “great” grandmother.

I would like to spend time with her, as I have spent time with my own grandchildren, talking, sharing. I would hope she is happy with the choices I have made. I hope she approves of the story I wrote about her. I felt her near. It has been a special time for me. I like to think we have had some special, personal time together, with her telling me stories.

Someday I will write the stories of my life, and share the silly things my children and grandchildren have done. We will read them together and laugh and share in the joy of familial love. I will also share the things I learned about Eve.

Our Time: Different from Eve’s?

As I edit and prepare to publish my book, Remembering Eve, I find myself thinking of Eve’s life. It could not have been easy to live alone on this earth. I often wondered how she gave birth the first time, alone with Adam. Writing the book answered that question for me.

Other issues they faced are similar to those we face in 2014. Too many children choose to follow the lies of the destroyer, turning their backs on the light and truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Eve sorrowed, missing each child and grandchild, hoping for their return.

Men forgot the majesty their women brought with them and found ways to demean and diminish them. In their pain, many women turned from men and their gods. Women created female god-idols, seeking relief from grief and sorrow forced upon them by their men. Men and women found pleasure in one another without marriage, and often in spite of marriage, whether or not the woman welcomed it.

These brought Eve sorrow. Other things grieved her. She would not have liked that her children were enslaved, their right of choice stolen. Choice is a gift from the beginning, and all find themselves meeting the consequences of those choices, positive and negative. The enslaved are left with few choices. Sometimes their only choice is how they respond to their enslavement.

Eve would not have been happy when some of her family lost themselves in wine and strong drinks. Even then, addictions caused adults to forget the needs of their children in search of more addictive substance. Our addictions may be different, but some of the addicted still leave children in the cold—unfed, unclothed, and unwanted.

The poor have always been with us, certainly even among the children of Eve. I believe she was hurt that pride would cause her children to turn their faces from them, ignoring their needs, and allowing adult and child to suffer. In many ways we ignore our poor. Every school system is faced with homeless students. Some do better than others in helping to meet their needs.

How many beggars are on the streets of your city? I am confronted by beggars at almost every corner of my city. I help when I can, and wish I could help more. I see homeless sleeping under trees, under freeway overpasses, even along sidewalks—any place they can avoid police. These families and individuals should find more help from a country as wealthy as the United States. Food, homes, and other necessities of life should be more available, from individuals, groups, and governments.

As Eve’s children turned away from the teachings of their parents and the commandments of God, they lost truth and light, and its attendant joy. Many citizens of 2014 are similarly lost, searching through the darkness of sin and disobedience. Eve would tell you repent and come unto Christ. It hasn’t changed much in all these years.

Freedom, Rights, and Responsibilities

Parades, fireworks, barbeques, and fun are common activities on the Fourth of July. It’s a great summer holiday. Time to forget work, time to play. But, did you remember the real reason for the celebration?

Men and women determined to free themselves from the political control of a king who lived across the Atlantic. Distance and time prevented a real understanding of the problems, needs, and dreams of the citizens in this new land. The king’s army carried out his heavy handed orders, and our ancestors rebelled.

God gave His children freedom as part of the plan to obtain salvation. Each of us has the right and the responsibility to freely choose our actions. Freedom is God-given, and when it is prevented, we yearn for it. Political entities can take away many opportunities and rights, but no one can deprive us of our ability to choose our responses or our thoughts.

Freedom was freely given, with responsibilities tied to the rights. We are responsible to choose good leaders, to support those who fight to maintain that freedom, and to do our best to live freely. Freedom for our country, and many others, came at a price of blood paid by our best and brightest sons.

There always seems to be someone who thinks they know more, or better, and fight for control and the destruction of our hard-fought rights and freedoms.
With the right to choose comes the necessity of accepting consequences. Some of those are wonderful: a new job, more money or time, and greater happiness, while other consequences are difficult to accept: loss of freedom, choice, happiness. The results flow naturally and logically from our actions—hold a sparkler too long and you will be burned.

The fight for continued freedom must constantly be fought. It can never be left to others, or ignored, for when we do some “other” will cheerfully move us out of the path of freedom and into the pen of slavery. We cannot sleep through the battle for freedom. We cannot allow our freedoms to be slowly stripped away until none are left. If we do, it will not be easy to regain them.

Rather than reach the point of no return, when it will require a battle of arms and death, let us resolve to be aware of our freedoms and rights slipping through our hands. Let us stand for freedom. Let us be study the constitution and intelligently support freedom. Let us make our voices heard strongly by calling and writing our legislators and other leaders, demanding that our freedoms be strengthened.

Once lost, it will be difficult to make choices that bring happiness. Our choices will be made for us. There are those who are cheerfully working to make choices for us, to enslave us, slowly and carefully so we barely notice. Sometimes events are manipulated to encourage us to beg for our freedoms to be stolen.

Only effort on the part of every citizen will ensure our children and grandchildren will live in a gloriously free country, free to light fireworks, watch parades, and enjoy the freedoms we did only a few years ago.

The Present is the Place to Live

“The past of each of us is now inflexible. We need to concentrate on what has been called “the holy present,” for now is sacred; we never really live in the future. The holy gift of life always takes the form of now. Besides, God asks us now to give up only those things which, if clung to, will destroy us!”
-Neal A. Maxwell

It is only in the present that choices are made, wrongs repented of or forgiven, hugs are given, lives are lived. Life does not happen it the past. Though it may be forgotten, it is gone, and there is little to be done about it, except learn from mistakes or successes, and beg forgiveness if possible.

The future is similarly untouchable. We can plan for it, hope and dream of it, but not live there. No one lives in past or the future and truly lives.

The present is where life is lived. Here we make choices and deal with the consequences, whether they be good or bad. In the present we stay up too late, or rise from our beds early. We eat too much, or diet too intensely. We love those we are with, or ignore them, and forever wish we had spent more time loving and laughing.

Each moment of our lives is sacred; no second is garbage. Time spent playing silly games alone, or viewing horrible movies is a waste of our precious life. It would be better to choose sharing life with others, new friends or old, family, children, and grandchildren.

It is true that some of that time must be spent working. God placed us on earth to work, to learn, and to learn to love. Yes, work is often unpleasant; it often requires more of our life than we would like to give. It is needful, but it is more needful to remember that it is only a part of our life.

Some believe that sports are important and spend excessive hours following, watching, and thinking about a sport, or many. In moderation, and with loved ones, they are fine, but in excess, they do not build our lives. Other pursuits rob us of valued life.

It has been said that no one lies on their death bed wishing they had spent more time at work, or at a ball game. No one clings to a diploma or trophy. Everyone seeks for the hand of someone who loves them. The greatest sorrow is time not spent loving family.

Do all you possibly can to mend fences, travel distances to be with parents or grandchildren and children, give up time for your hobbies, read to a little one. Make the memories your family will have of you be positive and full of love. Teach them that of all the gifts of God, family is the greatest.

I have seen families torn apart by grudges and silliness. Those days are lost, never to be returned. But, the cause of the grudge can be forgiven, and great rents mended. Children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews need to know their families, need to know they are part of something important. And your family is important.

You may live to be 30, or 100, or somewhere in the middle. What are you doing to make that last breath a time of shared love? It cannot happen in a moment. Love takes time to develop. The love of a new child is instantaneous, but families require decades to grow. Will you have someone to love you, someone to hold your time at the moment you leave this earth to meet your God?