Sunday, April 24, 2011

Approaching the Savior:
"The Master's Hand" Carl Bloch Exhibit

Earlier this week, as part of our Spring Break celebrations, we went to the exhibit "The Master's Hand" at Brigham Young University.

The exhibit itself is composed of collected works of art from the Danish artist, Carl Bloch. Breathtaking visuals of the life of Jesus Christ were transported (from Denmark and Sweden) beautifully displayed.

As we entered the gallery, there was a hushed reverence and a feeling as if we actually were in the presence of greatness - both the greatness of the artist's works as well as the grand Individual portrayed - that of Jesus Christ - in the magnificent works of art.

The first painting we viewed was "The Doubting Thomas". Rather than depicting Thomas' act of touching the resurrected Savior's wounds, Bloch captures the moment when Thomas first recognized Jesus as his personal Redeemer.


Though this picture makes it look as if we were the only ones viewing the paintings, it was Ella who separated herself from the crowd to closely approach the larger-than-life art. The crowd stood at a respectful distance.

Each of us differs in our approach to the Savior. Yet I hope that today we can take time to examine where we stand in terms of our relationship with the Lamb of God whose sacrifice unleashed the power of Resurrection.

As a result of attending the Carl Bloch exhibit, I grew in my appreciation of the Savior. I also grew in my appreciation of Carl Bloch as an artist. Bloch's detailed artistry is unparalelled. His use of light brings our Redeemer into a position of preeminence in each painting. I loved viewing Carl Bloch's depiction of moments or movements from the Savior's life that I may have otherwise underestimated or overlooked.

Because of the artist Carl Bloch, I have a new depth of appreciation today - on Easter - for what Jesus was willing to suffer for me.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Life; Long Life

Within a few days, this week we had the opportunity to spend time with two cherished members of our family - our new baby niece as well as our beloved 90-year old grandmother.


We adore the shininess of baby Hannah - fresh from heaven.


And we see that same shine in the eyes of our dear Grandma Schwartz, who is weak and weary of body yet strong in spirit.


Both individuals reflect the glory of a God who is good.

Each taught us this week lessons in cherishing the seasons of life.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yesterday's News:
Davis County Clipper & 71Toes


Yesterday I was featured, alongside Nona Haynie, Missouri's Mother of the Year, in Utah's newspaper, the Davis County Clipper.

The full text of the article can be found online at clippertoday.com.

***

Emi Dalton Edgley, Utah Young Mother 2011
and Shawni Eyre Pothier, Arizona Young Mother 2011

I also was flattered by a sweet shout-out from Shawni Eyre Pothier, American Mother's Young Mother of the Year from Arizona, who mentioned in her blog the opportunity we had to meet up at the Power of Moms Park City retreat.

You can read her post, titled "Motherhood Matters" at 71toes.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Than the Ultimate Hero


I was away the majority of the weekend (at an amazing motherhood retreat for Power of Moms). Sunday morning, I realized that Ella had been assigned to speak in church among the children. I was relieved when Ella let me know that we didn't need to throw a message together. She had - by herself - written her talk.

Her words:

"The topic that I have been asked to speak on is how Jesue is my Savior and Redeemer. The first thing that comes to my mind is that all that Jesus did takes love to the extreme.

I recently learned a very detailed description of the Atonement and I really truly can't imagine how hard it would be to do all that Jesus did. Even when I think about the Atonement, I feel very overwhelmed. Jesus' sacrifice is so crucial to the plan of salvation. Jesus sacrificed more than all he had so that we could return to Him. Jesus is more than the ultimate hero."

Ella's depth of appreciation and conviction for what Jesus was willing to suffer amazes me. Hearing her speak - and the power behind her words - reinforces for me the depth of knowledge that has come to her as a result of daily, consistent scripture study coupled with childlike faith and belief.

What a wonderful message for me to internalize on Palm Sunday and throughout the week preceeding Easter! I have so much to learn from my daughter.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Content

Sometimes the things we are searching for are hidden just beneath the surface...

We distributed "Lost Tent" flyers. We surveyed neighbors. We posted a facebook shout-out. We scoured adjoining backyards.

Just when all hope was lost for retrieving our lost tent, the sun came out, melted the snow and uncovered a hidden treasure.


We found our lost tent! It was in our backyard the whole time, smashed flat as a pancake by the weight of the snow.


One quick adjustment on the springbar and the tent sprung to new life.

Ella with our tent as well as our "Lost Tent" flyer.

We dried it out and it is as good as new!

Look at that happy camper!

We are anxious to share many more adventures (including return backpacking trips to the Tetons and Havasupai) in our great blue tent!

***

P.S. Although the girls had come up with an ingenious plan of baking and selling bread to obtain "replacement funds" for the lost tent, we think they have learned a priceless lesson on responsibly caring for posessions.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Marriage is not Just About
the Happy Times Together

Five years into our marriage and following graduation from medical school, my husband Steve suffered a stroke that caused him to be unable to speak or move half of his body. For a time, Steve and I faced a very uncertain future. However, one step at a time, he moved forward through the power of God and his great determination and faith. Sound-by-sound he again learned to speak; step-by-step he again learned to walk. Steve worked tirelessly to again be in a position to support and provide for our family.

This rare but major health crisis, which threatened his life and livelihood, reaffirmed to me that marriage is not just about the happy times together. It is sometimes about struggling, increasing in understanding and finding our way in the world together. Marriage is about covenanting and committing – come what may.
This life experience and the resulting knowledge gained have enhanced how Steve and I seek to enrich our relationship. Specifically, we believe (as is stated in “The Family Proclamation”, a statement regarding the importance of marriage and the family issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) that “successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work and wholesome recreational activities.”

Our faith has everything to do with our romance: we believe that we can be together as a family, both here on earth as well as after this life. This affects how we pray together, counsel as husband and wife together and worship together. In addition, this eternal perspective helps us to maintain humility by acknowledging our individual weaknesses, apologizing for errors made, practicing the Golden Rule and emulating the loving ways of our Savior.

Steve and I love to spend time together, especially away from the responsibilities of home. We enjoy stimulating conversation about philosophical, professional and personal matters, working on home-improvement projects, date-night dinners alone and with friends, as well as attending sporting events. Our favorite dates are when we are together and doing something active (such as hiking, biking or skiing).

Our marriage is filled with give and take: we often make concessions. Steve loves to entertain friends and family, so I attempt to undertake a few small events each month. I love a clean home, so Steve will play along with my game of “teamwork” (which we both acknowledge is more about me being the captain of home cleanliness than us working together as a team). Recently, Steve purchased a road bike for me. Now that it is Spring, he will be my “personal trainer” as I learn to overcome my fear of clipless pedals!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Lost Tent

The other day my sister and I set up our tent in the back yard. We didn't put it away, and yesterday the wind blew it away! Luckily, we weren't in it.

So, if a blue North Face two-man tent blew into your yard, please call us. Our dad would be so happy.

Thanks!
The Edgley Girls

Friday, April 08, 2011

How Do You Celebrate Mother's Day?

How do you celebrate Mother's Day? Do you take the day off and enjoy a little pampering? Do you attend church and cry when your children sing (either because they are so precious or just a bit too exuberant)? Do you plant flowers and hope that the last spring frost has finally past? Do you create a beautiful meal for your own wonderful mother or grandmother to enjoy?

I plan to stretch Mother's Day into a full weekend of celebration, and am honored to have the opportunity to speak at this wonderful event in Provo, Utah the morning of Saturday, May 7th.

Register to come if you can! Invite your mom (or another wonderful woman who has made a difference in your life) to join you!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Circling the Wagons:
Fighting Pornography


The phrase “circle the wagons” is a term associated with pioneer times. Mormon pioneers, when traveling west, would circle their wagons during times of danger, which afforded them protection from attacks from outside the circle and provided a place to keep their livestock and children safe inside the circle.

In today’s society, there are many things to protect our families from – but most importantly, we need to fight against pornography, the greatest destroyer of family, home and marriage.

We know that pornography is trying to invade every home. This has placed our homes at risk and when homes are at risk, society in general is at risk.

We can – like pioneers journeying into uncharted territory – establish concentric circles of support, starting with mothers in the home and radiating out: including government, community and religious leaders. We can educate individuals, especially our children – one at a time – about pornography. This education would include a discussion of:

• How harmful and addictive pornography is;
• The degrading and destroying effect of pornography on women and families; and
• How we can live healthier, happier lives with improved relationships without pornography.

I know that we, as American Mothers and families, can stand together against the attack of pornography upon the world. We admonish one another, encourage one another, love one another and support one another.

“Circling our wagons” against the dangers of pornography will in turn strengthen the moral and spiritual foundations of the family and the home.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

LDS General Conference:
We Pitched our Tent

We gathered this past weekend to hear the words of those whom we sustain as prophets, seers and revelators.

And just as in Book of Mormon times (when the people of Zarahemla gathered to hear King Benjamin), we set up our tent (actually, Ella and Louisa did this completely on their own - yeah for girls who like to "camp" and have the skills necessary to do so!).


"And they pitched their tents...that thereby they might remain in their tents and hear the words which [their prophet] should speak unto them" ((Mosiah 2:6).

Ella and Louisa enjoyed snuggling with their cousin Alice.


You can view highlights of Conference here. A few of my favorite talks included these from Jean A. Stevens, Quentin L. Cook and Jeffrey R. Holland:





Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Crocus in a Hidden Garden

This past fall, I purchased bulbs to plant - in anticipation of a fine spring display - at our new home. In my arsenal were multiple bags of tulips, daffodils and crocus bulbs.

Fall came and went, and I still have those unopened bags of bulbs neatly stored on my garage shelf. Throughout the winter I have walked daily past the bags and mourned this lost opportunity.

A few days ago, Louisa went hunting for signs of spring. As she hunted she found leaves beginning to bud and rosebushes losing their brown in favor of a green glow. She found an early-blooming daffodil - one among a clump that found more sunlight than the flowers surrounding it. Louisa relished in these details and would run to the open window where I was inside washing dishes to recount her discoveries.

Louisa, so proud of her discoveries.

Then it was quiet. Too quiet. And as a protective mom of an energetic 6-year old, I ran out to find Louisa - to ensure she was safe and happy.

I rounded the corner and saw her - eyes fixed on a small, lone purple bloom. I said, "Louisa, have you found a sign of Spring?" She replied, "Mom. This is more than a sign of spring; this is a sign from heaven!"


***

In October of 1998, at the memorial service for our daughter Eliza, my brother Jess carefully packaged crocus bulbs to give to those who attended her Farewell Service. Jess, in his perceptive sensitivity, hoped that each grouping of flowers would then be carefully placed and planted in gardens. That each year, when the flowers emerged from the seemingly dormant ground, we would remember the promise of an eternal spring - even a rebirth and reunion with precious family members.

After the Farewell and burial, Steve and I returned to Chicago, with memories and hope for a brighter future to sustain us through a dark winter.

Before that winter hit, together, we found a place of peace - a hidden garden with rich soil - within the Morton Arboretum where we planted our small packet of sweet flowers.

***

During our season of mourning, I received a gift from a dear friend, Heidi. A book she knew that I would not have the opportunity to read to Eliza, yet a gift that nonetheless gave me comfort as I read it. I found solace in reading this story aloud, just as I would have done were my daughter still in my arms.

This book starts, "Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away." The mother bunny tells her little bunny that if he runs away, she will run after him and find him. He imagines running away and disguising himself in all sorts of landscapes, including inside a crocus in a garden. No matter how imaginative his hiding place, his mother always finds him.


As I read, this line from the book spoke to my heart: “If you become a crocus in a hidden garden,” said his mother, “I will be a gardener. And I will find you.” (from The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown)


***

Crocus blooms remind our family that there will be a time when we will all be together again. And amazingly, though this fall I failed to plant the layers of blossoms planned, God found a way to speak to the heart of a little girl searching for signs of spring - even an Eternal Spring.

***

Much of our sadness regarding Eliza has turned to sweetness as years have passed. But for those of you for whose hearts are hurting currently, we share this quote:

"Parents who have surrendered the sweetest and smallest flowers from the family's garden need to remember our loving Heavenly Father. He has promised a special reward to those who now suffer in silence, who spend long days and longer nights through their trying times of bereavement. Our Creator has promised glory. He said, "For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand." (D&C 58:4)

"That promised glory includes the blessing of reunion with each little child who has left the family circle early to help surviving members of the family to draw nearer to God. Those little children still live and are a heritage of the Lord."


From "The Gateway We Call Death" by Russell M. Nelson

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Sun Will Come Out!

We push through the hard ground, grow and blossom.
Then snows fall,
And we droop under the heavy weight.

Yet surely sun will come.
We will lift our heads,
And strengthen our stalks...


And we will feel the warmth.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Family Time

Recently, I was asked to write about our rituals for weekly planned family time. I quickly penned my thoughts - focusing on the special time we set aside to gather as a family nightly for family dinner and weekly for Family Home Evening.

As I wrote, Steve and the girls each filtered into the room to ask questions or touch base. As I shared with them what I was writing, each contradicted my words. They said, "Sure, we do those things... but that is not our special time!"

Steve suggested that instead I write about Sunday dinners - a time when we gather at the homes of our parents and enjoy both delicious meals, delightful discussions, and time together with our extended families.

Ella and Louisa insisted that I write about our weekend ritual of snuggle time. Ella said, "To me, something that builds our family is snuggle time. It makes me feel loved and comforted when we gather under the comforters of my parent's bed. I feel peaceful and like no matter what happens to me, everything will be all right. When we snuggle, I feel like Heavenly Father's love is pouring down on me." Louisa said, "When it is snuggle time, we make a family sandwich where I am usually the jelly. Ella is the peanut butter and my mom and dad are the bread. I like it because it is family time that is fun!"

Frequently I focus on creating "magical moments" for our family that require a great investment of time and energy. Yet, this discussion taught me - yet again - that it is often ordinary events (the times when we gather together and take a moment to wrap our arms around each other) that can foster feelings of connection and help our children most to feel loved.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Favorite Budget Beauty Buys

Essentials for skin and hair survival in a dry climate:

Vanicream
$13.99 for a 1 lb. jar at Walgreens

Aussie Mega Deeeeep Conditioner
$3.99 at most grocery and drugstores