Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Father's Praise for His Daughter,
On Her 12th Birthday

by Steve Edgley

As you know it's actually Ella's birthday today and as a father I have been reflecting on this day 12 years ago when I was a new father. At that time, looking at Ella, we committed to raise her to the light, so to speak. But looking back over the years it's actually been Ella who has brought the light in many ways into our family.

Ella is sweet, she is intelligent, she is talented, and she is kind. She espouses the 13th article of faith in that if there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, she seeks after these things.
Just to share a little more about Ella, we love the outdoors, and we have done many activities in the outdoors, from hiking, biking, skiing, waterskiing, rafting and kayaking. We have seen our share of good weather and sunny days. We have also seen bad weather days. But over the years, Ella has learned that you can have just as much fun singing and skipping in the rain as in the sun. Ella seems to know not to let external forces like the weather influence her happiness. She also seems to know that in life it's not always good weather, or smooth sailing, but that doesn't have ruin her day or impact her ability to find joy and happiness.  

Ella has brought light and joy to our lives and she's a tough little outdoors woman. I am excited to see her entering this new phase of life.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Tribute to My Grandma,
Emma Eliza Martin Schwartz

In Loving Memory of
Emma Eliza Martin Schwartz, 
February 3, 1921 - January 14, 2013

by Emi Dalton Edgley

I am named after my grandmother Emma Schwartz and feel a special closeness with her.  I will live my whole life trying to emulate Emma, and working to become the kind of woman that she was.

Grandma, your life of service and your strength – even in times of struggle – are lessons I have internalized. Grandma’s approach to life and response to challenges have guided me in my own difficult times and inspired me to work and persevere in matters of greatest importance.

Grandma taught me by example how to cherish the inherent joy in life and how to push through difficulties, a pattern she forged through years of patient practice.

Today, I speak on behalf of all of Emma’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Much of the credit for that which we, your grandchildren, are accomplishing can be attributed to your fantastic example of dedication, perseverance, diligence and discipline. 

Your pursuit of excellence has shown us the way.  You have accomplished so much in your life and have bloomed in circumstances under which others would have wilted.  You have established a legacy for us to follow. 

It is our hope that we can reflect your righteous influence for good.

You have so many talents, gifts and abilities, which you freely shared.  You have always made each of us feel so important and so loved. You have lived a beautiful life – one worthy of emulation.
Grandma, our most cherished memories involve you.  You sewed dresses for us and put together puzzles with us.  We never left your immaculate home empty handed or empty hearted.  We loved being with you and finding chocolate hidden all around the house: in the oven, on top of the fridge, in the coat closet and the cupboard!  We were always hungry, and you were always feeding us: whether a Hearty Harry, a Big & Tasty, a fish fillet, a Hot Dog on a Stick, a treat from See’s, or cup of juice. Really, you did a great job of making sure we were not hungry!  Additionally, you have fed us emotionally and spiritually.

We have loved vacations with you (even though you snore and get carsick!) to Jackson Hole and San Francisco.  And shopping trips for red shoes, striped t-shirts or absolutely anything navy with polka dots. 
We cherish your handwritten notes.  You financially supported many missionaries, and wrote faithfully every week.  You often tucked a few crisp dollars “for soup” or a twenty “for a burger” in your letters.  You taught us the importance of good handwriting, and that our signature is a direct reflection of us. 

You have taught thousands of children to read and write.  We always wished we could have been your first-grade students.  But instead, you taught us to correct student’s papers and urged us to get straight A’s, scholarships and college degrees. 

Your life is a study in beautiful contrasts – of gold and navy, of red and white.  Your softness and sweetness was equally matched with traits of sacrifice and persistence.  Your grace and elegance stood alongside strong-willed, uncompromising determination. Your charity and willingness to serve others was met with expectations of honesty, integrity, and exactness of action.  Through care and discipline, you commanded your classroom, your home, your heart, and your life. 

You took meals to “the widows” as a young widow yourself.  Your gifts to us often overflowed (especially on Christmas), yet, it was difficult for you to accept a gift from us.  You would say, “Oh, you shouldn’t have.  Don’t spend your money on me.  It’s just perfect!  But really, take it back!”). You were a connoisseur of life’s finest things (especially blue blazers and good chocolate) yet scrimped and saved the “widow’s mite” in order to then give freely to others of your substance (to support missionary grandsons, to feed hungry college students, and to contribute toward our educational costs).

You have always been here for us.  Your consistency is remarkable.  You supplied us, for years, with special Easter treats and Valentines for our classmates.  You always left Pepsi out for Santa.  You wrote to us as missionaries every single week.  Your perfect record of school attendance carried over into a steadiness that we have come to count on.

Grandma, you have taught us to laugh freely, to dance in circles, and to add a happy, carnival beat to life’s rhythms.  Yet we know from you, in converse, that life is not easy and that loss is real.  You taught us that if we remain true, we can overcome setbacks and difficulties. 

You have carried on the legacy of our pioneer ancestors and have made it clear to us that we too must press forward and follow in your footsteps.

You have always sought for heaven’s aid.  Following Grandpa’s passing, you gathered your children together to pray.  You taught your children and us to “Pray as though everything depended on God” and to “work as though everything depended on you.”  You are the hardest worker I know.  And the earliest riser I know.  It is our hope that your life will echo in the work ethic we have learned from you.

You taught us during hard times, rather than lingering in sorrow, to banish sadness with meaningful work.  You reinforced President Thomas S. Monson’s words: “There is no resting place along the path called faithfulness.  The trek is constant, and no lingering is allowed.”

We have depended upon you.  And now, as we follow in your ways here, we -- like you taught -- can continue to depend upon God.  Your example has taught us where to lean in times of uncertainty. 

Grandma, I picture that in the moments just after your passing, that Grandpa Schwartz took you in his arms. Together -- after more than 46 years apart (many more than you had together) -- hand-in-hand you traveled to survey your posterity, all who honor and bless your name.  I am certain, that in your humble ways, even you were proud of your legacy and surprised to learn of the profound and lasting impact you have had on so many others.  I felt you near that night.  I felt of your sweet sorrow at parting, and yet also of your joy for the opportunity to again be with and be able to do the Lord’s work with swiftness.

Grandma, your righteous influence for good continues.  We feel – and will continue to feel – your presence and influence in our lives.  We today, pledge to work to emulate Emma. 

We do so knowing that your life was a study of Christ’s life, and encompassed the high purpose and pursuit of emulating His example.  We are indeed grateful for our knowledge of the plan of happiness, for our Savior’s sacrifice for sin, and for His resurrection.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Power of God in Great Glory!

My mom and I spoke together about making and keeping sacred covenants at BYU Women's Conference on April 26th, 2012.  A link to the printed version of our talk can be found online, and a video recording of the session can be accessed at BYUtv.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

The Colors of Easter

When we picture the colors of Easter, I picture in my mind colored Easter eggs and brightly colored ribbons on baskets. I picture the rebirth of spring with the associated daffodils and tulips, as well as butterflies, birds and bumblebees.

We celebrate Easter with colors, because deep symbolism can be tied to the colors that represent this season!

I have compiled a document - and included it below - which I will use to teach Primary Sharing Time tomorrow, on Easter Sunday outlining the symbolism I see in the colors around us. It is my hope that we can use look at these colors with new eyes, and better appreciate what our Lord has done for each of us.

I feel a depth of gratitude for what Jesus was willing to suffer for me. God gave his Only Begotten son, and was willing to allow him to suffer and die for us, so Jesus Christ could come forth from the tomb, bringing the light and life of the Resurrection.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Confessions of a Pajama-Clad Mom

* I long for another child, and am working to reconcile my physical experiences (dealing with infertility and a lack of confirmation regarding proceeding forward on pursuing adoption) with spiritual experiences.
* If you were to come to my home on any given morning, you would likely find all the beds made, the dishes done, the laundry in process... and me looking like a wreck in either my pajamas or exercise clothes!
* I drop my girls off at school way too often with my teeth unbrushed, wearing my coke-bottle glasses and pajamas.
* I am missing the "cinema" section of my brain. I most-often (95% of the time) fall asleep in movies. On the rare occasion when I do remain awake, I rarely remember having seen the movie another or two down the road. Yet, I have a new-found, fond love for the Downton Abbey television series on PBS.
* When I am upset, I can usually find some way to tie Steve to the problem (who is not the problem). Poor guy. Yet he takes it all so lovingly.
* I clean my house way too much. I really need to start reading more books, making more quilts, and exercising with friends more often.
* I eat way too much candy. My favorites vices are all red: cinnamon bears, hot tamales and swedish fish.
* I hate spending money (except on my kids lessons, portraits of my kids, original art from relatively unknown (but famous to me!) artists, and picture frames {to display the art and portraits of the kids}), but I love the idea of spending other peoples money for them! If you know me well, I will often suggest what you should buy for your home, your kids or yourself.
* The opportunity to represent Utah as Young Mother of the Year has provided so many amazing opportunities, yet has placed a microscope for me on my faults as a mother. I am trying my best, yet often fall short and find myself inadequate and leaning on the windows of heaven for strength and guidance.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Today is Steve's dad's birthday! We celebrated yesterday with a lovely dinner and sweet tributes.

Grandpa received birthday hugs from his local grandchildren, as well as some touching cards.

We laughed so hard (and are still giggling now, in fact) when dad read Steve's letter out loud and ended the dictation with "Love your son, Stan." Steve says, "Now every time I write my name, I chuckle."

Louisa's Drawing

Ella's Letter
Ella wrote (spelling errors maintained):

Dear Grandpa,
Happy Birthday
I have loved all the fun filled hours we have spent together this year. I remember all of the smokey summer barbaques, your face when B.Y.U. wins a game, and most of all fun in the sun in Mexico. I am verry greatful that your surgery went well. These are golden years and I wish we could freeze time, but obviously we can't. Other than this I am not going to mention polotics. Do you remember when you used to push me in the swing high up into the cherry tree. I love hearing your talks and stories from around the world. And I hope the future is this bright.
Happy Birthday

Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Extraordinary Ordinary:
Looking Back at a Year of Opportunities
as Utah's Young Mother of the Year

Sometimes the most extraordinary things happen in the most ordinary places. We go about our daily routines and the things we accomplish may seem cloaked in the commonplace.

The poet Mary Jean Irion said: “Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may…”

* * *

This past year has been filled, for me, with ordinary days – school pickup and drop-off, instrument practice, cleaning, meal preparations, and laundry (lots of laundry!). And amidst these days, I have experienced moments that are meaningful in the most simply profound ways. Extraordinary moments, like the time when Louisa said, in her nightly prayers: “Dear Heavenly Father, I am so grateful that you sended me as a baby to come to this earth." Or the time when Ella said, “"The only bad thing about the word 'home' is that it is in 'homework'."

* * *

The opportunity to represent Utah as Young Mother of the Year has blessed my life with extraordinary opportunities including:

• Speaking engagements – including television and radio appearances, opportunities to attend AMI's national convention (held in my home town!), teach seminars in conjunction with the Power of Moms, to teach workshops on college campuses, and to speak on divine identity and mother-daughter relationships at youth gatherings. I have loved meeting women face-to-face and spirit-to-spirit – at locations that span from girls camp to the grocery store! Together we have discovered mutual predicaments that bring us closer and make the load lighter to bear.

• I sense a great yearning for instruction and have loved reaching young mothers in the online territories they frequent – through this blog and Facebook.

• I have studied your examples and have been tutored. I have loved learning from each of you, and especially from Sally Olsen (Utah's Mother of the Year). She is a woman of great strength and wisdom.

• I have had ample opportunities within this role to lean on the windows of heaven for strength and guidance. And I have been supported and surrounded.

Representing American Mothers has brought many opportunities for personal growth. This year:

• I have come to understand – even more – how important for my two daughters, my example and teachings are. Sometimes I learn this the hard way! One day last month Louisa was making terrible noises in the back of the car. I asked her, "Louisa, what are you doing? That sounds terrible!" She responded, "Trying to burp like you do, Mommy." Obviously, I still retain some remnants of my childhood training imposed by 5 brothers. Isn’t it amazing all that we inadvertently teach the next generation?

• I have learned and grown as I have watched my own children grow. The bond between my daughters and me and between my sweet husband and me has become more meaningful with this passing year. I marvel at the souls entrusted to our care.

• I often fall short and find myself inadequate, yet, this year I have had to search for answers to overcome my own weaknesses – made even more apparent by the title “Young Mother of the Year.” Despite my faults, thank you for placing your confidence in me.

* * *

The job of motherhood has challenged the far reaches of my soul, yet I am so grateful for these challenges and opportunities. Through our daily efforts as mothers, the ordinary can become extraordinary.

Truly, motherhood is the most extraordinary work I will ever do.

* * *
American Mothers Inc. has selected Utah's 2012 Young Mother of the Year!
Lori Conger is a remarkable, down-to-earth gal you definitely will want to meet.
Her blog - Making Motherhood Matter - is found here!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A Return to Virtue

Many of you have seen and read my mom's book: A Return to Virtue.

I am biased, but want to recommend it as reading that is pertinent to the lives we are living (and aiming to live).

In the book, my mom relays her experiences and insights gained by running multiple marathons with the race of life. Through spiritual insight and personal stories, she endorses a virtuous lifestyle of strict training, being more fit for the kingdom, and setting our course to focus on the finish.

Within the pages, she teaches how purity yields sustaining power. "I have embarked on a journey to reinstate the word virtue into our vocabulary and our lives," my mom writes. "We call for a social reform, but what is really needed is a moral reform—a call for a return to virtue."

"A Return To Virtue" can be purchased in Deseret Book stores or online.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Family Dinner:
Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This recipe makes a super easy, crowd-pleasing dinner. I assemble it in the morning and let it cook slowly in the crockpot, but it could easily be made over the stove a half-hour prior to being served!

We love to eat this with salad, rolls and oven roasted asparagus.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped (as a shortcut, I use Costco canned chicken - just 1 large can)
1 cup carrots, sliced or julienne
1 cup celery, diced
2 pkg. long grain and wild rice (Rice-a-Roni) with seasoning packets
5 cups chicken broth (I often use 5 cups water and 5 bouillon cubes)
5 cups water
1/2 cup cream

In small saucepan, make a roux with butter and bread crumbs (warm the butter until frothy, then gradually add crumbs and cook, while stirring, until golden brown).
In crockpot, combine all ingredients except cream (do include the roux). Cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours, or until rice is done. Add cream just prior to serving.

Makes 8+ servings.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Our Beautiful Earth
Reminds Me to Make Good Choices

Louisa's was asked to speak in Primary this past Sunday. I love her words and reasoning:

Every summer my family goes to Jackson Lake. And we see how beautiful the world is. When I see the animals and the trees, the lakes and mountains, I am reminded that Jesus created all of this world.

It must have taken so long for Jesus to make the world so beautiful!

When I see the mountains, they remind me of the temple. I want to choose the right so that I can get married in the temple someday.

When I hike in the mountains it reminds me of the pioneers. Pioneer children knew they were getting closer to the temple.

When I see a clear lake, it reminds me of choosing the right or getting baptized.

When I see the moon and the stars it reminds me to say my prayers.

In nature when it is quiet, I can feel the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost reminds me of Jesus and the beautiful earth that he made. I am so glad that the beautiful earth reminds me to make good choices.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Recommended Reading
for Princesses in Training

Today I sent out a query via Facebook:

A few of the books recommended by friends grace our bookshelves:
Fanny's Dream - We can't read Fanny's Dream without being reminded of how, despite life's ordinary beauty, it is so wonderful to have a prince-in-plain-clothes for a husband/dad.
The Paper Bag Princess - I love the message that our lives can take unexpected twists and turns and yet, still end "happily ever after." This book was given to our girls by their loving aunt Vickie years ago. So appropriate, now that I look back at the twists and turns our lives have taken in the span of years that have followed! For those who have read this book, do you think this book was the origin of that best-compliment-of-all, "You would look great even in a paper bag"?
Falling for Rapunzel and Waking Beauty - both darling twists on princess tales that are laugh-out-loud funny.
Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? - as my friend Kathryn said, this book "teaches the child that the princess is inside of them!" Plus, I love the idea of a princess being strong and active!
The Very Fairy Princess - a silly view of the life of a girl who believes she is a fairy princess, because she feels it deep inside! This tale shows that "real life fairy princesses" skin their knees and yet can still find ways to "sparkle."


I loved hearing people's recommendations! Some of the books shared that we have not read include:
The True Princess by Angela Hunt - a true princess is not the one who is beautiful, dressed in fine gowns, being waited on & pampered by servants. A true princess is one who is kind, loving, humble, and a servant.
The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop - about the importance of purity.
Princess Furball - variant of the Cinderella story, where a nurse teaches the princess "to be strong and capable and clever, besides being beautiful."
God's Wisdom for Little Girls - Biblical verses from Proverbs 31 applied to our modern-day lives.
The Way Home, A Princess Story by Max Lucado - a story of God's redemptive love. From the book, "Princess Anna, adopted by the king in her infancy and now a young woman, is intrigued by the world that lies beyond the lush, green hills of the kingdom. When Anna seeks to satisfy her curiosity, she falls under the influence of the Lowlanders and begins to resemble their haggard style. Never to let a child slip away that easily, the king follows her, and trades his life for hers in order to provide her with a way back home. Despite the king's sacrifice, the choice to return home is ultimately Anna's to make."
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters - An African variant of the Cinderella story, where two sisters, who are both beautiful, are invited by the King to his palace, where one will be chosen as his wife. The beauty of one sister is only external, while the internal beauty of the daughter chosen as worthy to be the King's wife, shines through in her kindness and generosity.
Daughter of a King - teaches children their divine identity, while reminding us, as adults, how we should behave.


Some books that look fun for the 3-5 year old aspiring princess:
Willa the Wonderful - Willa, a pig, wants to be a fairy princess. A fun book suited for younger children.
Belinda the Ballerina - never give up, follow your dreams!


One of our personal favorite "princess" books (not mentioned on Facebook, and given to our family by loving cousins) is The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury. This tale is about a how love always protects. The King selects a Knight for his daughter (the princess) to marry. The Knights make it through a series of tests. For the last test, the King asks them to pretend the princess is riding with them on their horse. They are to then ride as fast and hard as they can toward a cliff. "We will see which of you can take the princess closest to the cliff without going over the edge." The first two knights come shockingly close to the edge of the cliff. The third knight remains calm and whispers "I can do everything through God who gives me strength." But when the King asks him to perform the test, he says "Your majesty, I love the princess. She is more precious to me than anything in the kingdom...I wouldn't take her anywhere near that cliff."

I would love to hear if you have added recommendations
or would like to further endorse a book listed above!
Feel free to speak up - send your comments my way!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"What My Mother Means to Me"
Essay Contest

Each year, American Mothers, Inc. sponsors a National Essay Contest, "What My Mother Means to Me."

Would your child &/or 5th grade students at your child's school like to participate? Original essays (150 words or less) are due by February 10th.
2011 Essay Contest Winner, Andrea Perez from Oklahoma
Forms and regulations are available at the American Mother's website, or feel free to leave a comment here if you would like additional information!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Sledding at Sugarhouse

Lesson Learned This Day: Cherished memories can be made even when the laundry pile at home is high. The key is to walk away, join in on the fun, and forget about all the work that awaits!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Friday Afternoon Fun!

I love so many things about this video:
  1. This is the kind of fun that uses creativity (which, to quote Ella, "is celebrated at our house") but, thankfully is the kind of entertainment that does not make a mess (messes too often are the byproduct of creative endeavors around here)! 
  2. Louisa's laugh is showcased. Her laughter is contagious and lends such a bright, happy air to our home. 
  3. The video shows the silly, sweet and supportive nature of the friendship Ella and Louisa share… which, to me, is the real "magic" behind this little trick.

P.S. My embarrassment over the "wahoo" toward the end will (hopefully) keep me from commentary in future films.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Oly's First Family

Kona with her pups.

4 weeks old:

Puppy love.

Dame Kona. 

Sire Gunner.

At 6 Weeks:
It looks to me like Oly is the dog farthest to the right in this picture.

Oly at 6 weeks.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Dog Days!

Meet Oly... the newest element of the Edgley family!  Oly is 49 days old (his birthday was August 18th), and came home with us on October 5th, 2011. 

Oly was born on and is named after Utah's Mount Olympus, one of the most prominent and recognizable peaks in the Salt Lake Valley.  

We are finding great joy in caring for this sweet little Lab.

Sunday, October 02, 2011