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.