Tag Archives: Love

Where Do We Go When We Leave This Life?

Madeline L’Engle is one of my favorite authors and has been for a long time. My introduction to Ms. L’Engle’s works came through the children’s book, A Wrinkle in Time. I read it, and all the others in that series, and searched for more, reading many children’s and adult books by this wonderful author.

Recently, I found The Summer of the Great-Grandmother a memoir about the summer her mother’s decline into dementia, or arteriosclerosis, as it was known at that time. It became poignant as, during the time I read it, my husband and I attended three funerals, one for a sweet lady who had suffered from this horrible disease for the last year-and-a-half.

Ms. L’Engle is as passionate about her Christianity as I am about mine, though they are different. Still, I found her thoughts about the end of her mother’s life similar to those so many of us consider at the passing of a loved one from this life into the next.

We all think about life, at these times of passing, wondering where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going when this life is all over. Now is not a time to share my beliefs on that topic. Just know that I have a strong and firm understanding.

I love the poem by Wordsworth. From his Ode, Intimations of Immortality we read:

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home …

Ms. L’Engle worried about these same things. Her concerns were about where we go after this life, and will we be remembered, by others, or by our God. She said:

“To the ancient Hebrew the ultimate hell consisted in being forgotten, erased from the memory of family and tribe, from the memory of God. If God forgets you, it is as though you have never existed. You have no meaning in the ultimate scheme of things. Your life, your being, your ousia, is of no value whatsoever. You are a tale told by an idiot; forgotten; annihilated.

“How many people have been born, lived rich, loving lives, laughed and wept, been part of creation, and are now forgotten, unremembered by anybody walking the earth today?”

Certainly something to be concerned about. Who wants to think our lives are so unimportant, they will be forgotten? Not me, though I know that after I am gone, my children and grandchildren will the the last to remember me.

I find peace in knowing, as Eve did, that I will return to my Father in Heaven, a Father who loves me, cares for me, and as he knows my name now, he will know and remember me in the next life.

Sadly, our extended family is feeling the greater sorrow of the loss of a young teenager. He did not live his life to the fullest. He will never graduate from High School, will not kiss a girl for the first time. His parents feel his loss to their core. Preparations for his funeral and burial were not in their plans for this summer. Certainly, their hearts are broken, and they are asking if they will ever see their son again.

Eve struggled with the loss of her child when Cain slew Abel. Her sorrow felt palpable to me, as I wrote about this in Eve, First Matriarch. I felt the sorrows of other matriarchs, when they lost children. In my soon to be released book (book 3) Finding Peace, a mother faces the loss of her children to kidnapping and the inability to find them or know about them. This mother, overwhelmed by grief, was taught by Mother Eve to find hope.

She (Eve) tightened her hug and added, “This I do know, darling granddaughter, you will be reunited with them. Perhaps not in this world, but surely in the next. This is the promise and gift of the covenants we made. Our children will be ours once more. Ask Enos. Ask Seth. Ask Adam.”

This I believe with all my soul. This I know. We will be united with our loved ones. We will be remembered.

I hope we are at the end of our funerals this summer, but as our friends age, we will be faced with loss of friends and loved ones.

How about you? What do you think?

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Thoughts of Mother’s Day

For all you mothers, I hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day is always interesting in our home. In the early days of our marriage, we didn’t have children, though we wanted them. In those days, I spent a lot of time crying when the little children sang to their moms and talks were given honoring mothers. It filled me with despair, believing this would never be my joy.

After four years, and three miscarriages, I brought our first-born to church, gladly listening to the children and the speeches of honor given to mothers. Other years of songs and addresses followed, usually wrestling our little children. Five young children were not easy to handle in a long meeting on my own. My sweet husband spent many of those years on the stand, conducting the meetings, leaving me to deal with the children on my own. By child number 3, though, our oldest son and daughter were more of a help. For that, I was grateful. Each year became easier, until one day, they were gone.

Now, I am the grandmother, sitting with my husband with no children in church, again. My children and grandchildren live elsewhere and don’t come to my church building. One Mother’s Day in the future, we’ll all be together again. (A mom can always hope.)

This year, we left the next morning for Arizona to visit our youngest son and his family, including our youngest grandchild, a little guy not yet 2. We reveled in his joyous play, and spent time as adults together. We enjoyed a baseball game together—my first “big league” game.

Soon, we leave to visit the grandchildren north of us. It will be a time of love and joy. We’ll enjoy a couple more games there, a Little League baseball game and a softball game that our grandson and granddaughter will play in. I’m certain those games will be more fun than the professional game.

Over the past week and into the next, we will have seen all five of our children and seven of our nine grandchildren, plus all of our foster grandchildren. These times with the children and grandchildren are the best gift I receive from my family—time to love the little ones and share time and love with our children. I can’t think of anything better.

What did you do for Mother’s Day? Did you take the time to visit with your mother? I hope you spent a happy weekend together with your children and mother.

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Remembering Our Mothers

IMG_0679 (1)Mother’s Day is Sunday. I hope you plan to do something special for your mom. Not necessarily something expensive. I love it when my children remember to call me. For me, that is enough.

Mothers love to be remembered. It is nice that children remember the woman who spent 9 months carrying them withing their bodies. As the child grows, love grows. We moms spend those 9 months waiting to meet the baby. We knew you will be that amazing child we hoped for, regardless of any challenges you bring with you. I have yet to meet a mom of a disabled or challenged child who is not in love with that child.

When I think of mothers, after my own, I think of our first mother, Eve. She gave up Eden, a true paradise, to have a family. We know of two commandments given to her and her sweet husband—1) to multiply and replenish the earth and 2) to avoid eating the fruit on the tree of knowledge of good and evil. These seemed to be competing commands, as she could not have children in Eden, nor could she leave Eden to have children without eating that fruit and receiving the change brought about it. I don’t believe she understood this problem, as she and Adam were innocent.

No one knows how long they were in Eden. It doesn’t matter. Ultimately, she made the choice to eat the fruit, which allowed her body to make the necessary changes to have children and multiply. It was their decision to leave, to be ejected, so they could have children.

Children were important to this world, and they still are. We, as a people who love our earth, must stand for our children. We want them to be happy, to have good educations, to have a good life. These have been desired and hoped for through all of time, since Eve. We have to do all we can to help them achieve these things.

Unseen forces fight to destroy our children. They are evidenced by abortions, same sex marriages, loss of educator ability to meet the needs of our children in the classroom, addictions, and our depressed economy. We as parents and grandparents should do all we can to support our children against these challenges. Support your teachers as they try to teach your children in a way that will best meet their needs. Hope for, and do all you can, to help our country get out of the financial and employment depression. Be watchful for addictive behaviors. Help our children.

Things today are bad, and have been throughout the history of this earth. All those problems seem to be multiplying and compounding. Each year is like an earthquake in its scale of intensity where each decimal point doubles the intensity. Challenges and problems our children face, including addictions, intensify in a similar manner.

What can we do? Is there a way you can support the children and others in your life? Hold them close, love them, and remember your mothers.

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You Can Change the World

 

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The world isn’t what it was.

I know, I know. This has been said for many years. It’s said the ancient Greeks even said it. But have you noticed how sad and angry people are lately? Perhaps some of this is all the anger spread by the politicians this election. Perhaps it is the fear brought about because of the terrorist attacks around the world. Maybe, it is that men and women have lost hope.

I have started walking in the mornings lately. I make a point to smile and say hello to everyone I see. Most people look up, almost startled to have someone say ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’ Still they look up and answer.

I notice people driving, too. They don’t hear me say good morning. Some have frowns that make me wonder about how their day is going. They are struggling, or appear to be. It’s too bad, that people are so fearful, so angry, so out of hope, they have lost their ability to see the good in things.

I cannot change the world, but I can uplift those with whom I come in contact. I can share my smile, my cheerful greeting. My smile may help one person find hope, or happiness, maybe my greeting will take away some of the anger they feel.

Today I saw a meme on Facebook I’d like to share:

Every time you Smile at Someone, It is an Action of Love,A gift to the Person,A Beautiful Thing.--Mother Teresa
I am currently rewriting the part of Eve’s life when they discovered the murder of a righteous son, Abel, by his brother. That was a terrible time for her and her beloved Adam. They lost sons they loved dearly. One to murder, the other to sin. I think she was lifted by the hope she would be with him again, and the smiles of those in her community who loved her and wanted her to find happiness once more. In time, she was able to find hope, love, and joy.

It is not difficult to share the gift of love with a simple smile. Do something beautiful. Help another person out by sharing your smile. It is one of the few things you can give away without losing any part of it for yourself. When do you smile for others? Have you seen a change?

Tell me about your experiences. I’d love to hear about them.

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Immortality is Ours

This is the weekend Christians celebrate the most important event of the world, when the Son of God allowed men to cruelly take his life on the cross. Three days later, wonder of wonders, He took up His life again, so each of us will one day be resurrected. What a sacred and holy day.

We know it was not March 27th, this is the day religionists set. It does not matter, even, that Easter is the name of a Pagan god whose symbols of fertility were bunnies and chicks. All that matters is that the Son of God, even Jesus Christ, paid the price for our sins, pains, and sorrows in the Garden of Gethsemane, accepted the sacrifice of His life on the cross at Calvary, and rose again from the garden tomb.

He lives! And because He lives, we to will live. We do not need to seek strange and wonderful ways to extend our lives, as so many have, hoping for immortality. Immortality is a gift, given freely to each of us by a loving Father and Son.

I do not celebrate the cross that took His life, I celebrate the empty tomb, that represents His living. Because of the empty tomb, we, too, will live once more, eternally. This is the best gift we could receive.

Eve knew this. She and Adam taught their children to look forward to Jehovah’s coming, when he would take upon himself a mortal body, then lay it down again as sacrifice for us. The ultimate blessing, however, was his resurrection. Adam and all the prophets taught their followers to look forward to His coming and His resurrection.

As you celebrate this holy event, what will you do to remember the resurrection that will allow all men, women, and children immortality?

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Don’t Let This Happen to You

20150810_210057It’s amazing how things can change for you in seconds. I woke up in the middle of the night and bumped my arm on my nightstand drawer. No big deal. Because I have the thin skin of a hundred year old, I bled. I stumbled into the bathroom an covered it with bandages.

The tiny gouges were infected two days later, my arm swelling and red two days later. Now, after a second trip to the ER, I’m admitted to the hospital to receive IV antibiotics. Difficult for me, as I’m allergic to many antibiotics. (This is a poor excuse for a late blog.)

As I think of my silly little injury, that could be life threatening, I think of the people who have gone about their lives, attending concerts, Christmas parties, eating in restaurants, and other common events, only to have their lives disrupted by crazed people seeking infamy in deaths of others. I wonder if those who died remembered to kiss their loved ones good-bye as they left that day. Did they leave for work with an argument on their lips?

Eve’s life changed in moments when she chose to marry Adam and live on this earth—yes, I believe she had that choice. That time was a time of challenges and joys. Later, her life changed again when Cain killed Abel, this was not a happy change. Each time she was required to decide to make the best of the changes.

We never know when our lives will be changed suddenly. Though it may be difficult, remember to leave your loved ones with love rather than in anger. Don’t be the one to mourn if your life changes suddenly.

I’d love for you to share your tales of sudden life changing events. Please share, here in the comments section, or direct to my email: AngeliqueCongerAuthor@gmail.com

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Will You Give In to This?

20141211_163220War breeds hate and fear. Since the bombings in France last Friday, along with those in Beirut, fear and hatred is center stage. Two terrorists are still at large and refugees continue to pour across borders from Syria. (It seems at this rate, all the Syrians will have run from the war or blown themselves up in a suicide bombing.) Meanwhile, Americans argue over the safety of accepting refugees into our states. (I wonder where these refugees are finding the money to pay for the fight.)

I have seen posts on Facebook, suggesting this is the beginning of World War III. Others compare the actions of the terrorists to the actions of Hitler. I see the possibilities in each of these suggestions. Hatred is stirring up among the nations of the earth.

Horrors of war have spread through the world over the past two hundred years, to the point no day goes by without a war somewhere in the world. In most wars, citizens have fled the violence of raging war, seeking safety in other countries. Sometimes they found safety, sometimes not. It is hard to forget the ship of Jewish refugees returned from the United States to Europe, where half were victims of the Holocaust.

Thousands of Christians suffered from prejudice in those same wars, many slain, many struggled for acceptance in a new country. Thousands of Muslims and Hindus died in the battle for India. The challenge of refugees has been a problem from the beginning of wars. Men and women of every country facing war have sought refuge for their families in safer countries.

In all the years of our earth, the commandment has been to love and serve our neighbors. Who is my neighbor? Only the family living next door? Only those living in my community, state or country? Only those of my religion or particular shade of skin? I think not. I think all religious leaders advise their followers to show love to others and give service.

Not all refugees are terrorists; most are fleeing from terrorist activities. We cannot deny a group of people refuge because of their nation of birth or their religion. That would be like fearing all white men are bombers because Timothy McVeigh bombed the federal building in Oklahoma City.

The refugees need our help; they need a home free of violence and fear. They do not have a right to demand services or benefits. If there is a place for them, there certainly is a home for our veterans; if medical care and jobs are available for refugees, our veterans are as needy. These refugees can have homes, jobs, medical care, and other life necessities in line with others who are also needy.

Each one should pass a rigid background test, as much as is possible for one who has left everything behind in a battle torn home. Each should plan to accept life as it is in the United States, including our flag, our diet, and our lifestyle. They can do the same as many others, who eat what they choose without causing trouble for others; worship as they choose, without demanding special rights.

The United States has accepted people from all over the world, accepting their religions, their dress style, their choice of diet. We will continue to be accepting, though that becomes difficult when refugees and others who migrate to the United States demand we change and forget all that makes us unique.

Wars have been a part of the history of earth from almost the beginning of time. Eve saw her children fight wars, felt their hate, and probably accepted their refugees. These were her grandchildren, after all. She loved them all, but expected them to obey the laws of her community. Can we not expect the same of our refugees?

Will you be accepting of the refugees if they move into your neighborhood? Will you bring them cookies and casseroles? Will you befriend them? What will you do if they move next door to you? Please let me know.

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Babies Bring Out Our Best

 

20150929_164617 (1)I’ve spent the past few days with my son, his wife, and their new little son. It’s amazing how tender emotions resurface so quickly, when you snuggle a newborn grandchild.

The Savior said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Great is the love of a mother, who lays down her life, her time, her pleasures, her sleep—her all for her children.

I watch this new mother, bleary-eyed from lack of sleep, gently caring for the needs of her babe, only a few days old. Little ones, so new from their Father in Heaven, try to become acclimated to this new world of noise and light, struggling to control a body and learn to communicate.

It is no wonder that babies cry, for what, to us, seems no reason. How do you they share their needs, their feelings of sadness, loneliness, cold, or loss without the ability to communicate? Parents should be congratulated when they manage an outing with a new little one, more so if there are older siblings!

Long before the birth of my first child many years ago, I wondered about Eve. How did she and Adam manage the birth of their first child? Were they alone? Did angels help? How did they know what to do? These questions stimulated my thinking, my wondering. At last, I decided the only way to know, in this world, was to explore it in writing.

I wrote a book, Eve, First Matriarch, to answer those and other questions for myself. The first draft was highly instructive for me. In that effort of discovery, I see Eve as a young mother, much like my daughter and daughters-in-law, doing their best, loving and growing with their babies, seeking to find the best way to help them grow.

Eve and Adam were successful parents, allowing many of their children to choose, even when those choices brought them sorrow. Our lives continue, much as theirs, as we bring children to this world, teach them, and watch them have children of their own. Love is perpetuated, love is taught, love is learned. How can you not feel great love with a tiny child in your arms?

When do you feel great love? Share it, please.

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