Friday, May 30, 2008

My Mother's Obituary

This spring I've been in a slump. My second son went on a mission and I miss him. My knees have really been acting up and the pain has made me less energetic and responsible. I've just been barely treading water when I got a phone call from my brother that my mother was in the hospital. I should have fallen apart but I felt surprisingly peaceful. The next night she was gone. So this morning my sister asked me to write her obituary, which was tough. At first I wrote it completely sterile but then I couldn't resist and put in a little about the bright light my mother was. One of the well known stories she wrote was called the "Daffodil Principle," inspiring us to change the world one little step at a time. She was truly one of the noble and great ones and I'm honored to have been given the gift of being her daughter. Here it is.

Obituary for Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards

Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards, 76, passed away Friday morning, May 30th, at Utah Valley Medical Center after struggling valiantly with heart complications. Jaroldeen is survived by four of her five siblings, her twelve children, 76 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Jaroldeen was born on February 23, 1932 in Alberta Canada to Julia Russell and Charles Owen Asplund. She received her B.A. in English Literature from BYU in 1954, the same year she married the love of her live, Weston Eyring Edwards.
Weston and Jerry had twelve children and moved extensively throughout their marriage, living on both coasts and in Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Utah. She has served with vigor in every auxiliary in the church and served a mission in Johannsburg South Africa where she and Weston directed the institute and seminary programs. After her youngest child went to kindergarten, Jaroldeen began writing and published twelve books, five national releases and seven works with Deseret Book. She was a popular speaker at Women’s Conference and the National Mother of the Year awards ceremony. She was also awarded the Distinguished Emeritus Alumni Award from BYU in 2002.
Of all her accomplishments, Jaroldeen’s greatest achievements have been in the lives of her family and friends. She had a unique gift to recognize and appreciate the talents in others and to make them feel loved and lifted by her presence. Her creative mind, kind heart and brilliant smile allowed her to make everything from her Relief Society lessons to ward activities to a simple story told to the grandchildren sparkle. Her generous heart filled her home with love, fun, family and friends, including an attitude that there was always room for one more. She leaves all her children and grandchildren with the knowledge that they were truly loved and they know that she loved the Lord.
A public viewing will be held Monday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at ______________________. The funeral will be the following day at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Weston and Jaroldeen Edwards scholarship at BYU.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Just Hit 1250 Sales


My publicist just told me that I hit 1250 sales today on my book "The Crayon Messages." Considering the size of the Mormon market, that is a good start. I am happy but the number seems somewhat sterile.

In contrast, my sister emailed me yesterday and I danced around the room. Here's what she said, "Both my husband and I read your book while we were on vacation. We LOVED it. In fact, DH started it first. He kept saying, "Wow, Christine is a really good writer. She's able to say so much in a few words." Then the next time he read he'd say, "I'm so impressed with Christine, she is really excellent writer." SO that that was it, I took the book and finished it, before I gave it back and then he finished it. I have to tell you, I laughed out loud and I cried. I totally enjoyed it. Anyway, I'm totally impressed and so happy for you. Love you and Congratulations again!"

Now for me that was exciting. My other friend gave her mother-in-law one for Mother's Day. She said she loved it and couldn't wait for the next one. That made me thrilled too. My first novel is more than entertainment. It is a celebration of the role of women and their ability to touch the lives of those around them. I hope it is both empowering and eye-opening, making mothers realize the joy of their callings and the great force they can be for good.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Strengthen the Feeble Knees

This weekend we had a huge garage sale sponsored by the YW and YM in our ward to help pay for camp. In the past they have done a simple auction of service, most never performed, that was more like a hand-out than anything else. As YW's president I felt we needed a venue for some of these children to really earn their camp experience through hard work. We did a neighborhood pickup and filled our three-car garage to the ceiling.

For the three days before the actual event we sorted, brought over load after load, priced and displayed. It was a gift to watch three of our young girls come day after day, more willing and helpful than I'd ever seen them and after the sale was over, we earned our goal and then some.

The only problem is that I have arthritis in my knees and had really over-done it. I knew I was sore but had to play catch up for the next three days, doing all the things I had put off during the garage sale event. Needless to say, when I woke up this morning, my knees were done. One had actually swollen so large that it could compete with an imposing water balloon.When this happens, which isn't often, there is nothing to be done but to put up my legs for three stinking days until they can recover. I hate it, but there is no working through it- I just need to stop.

It is interesting how some issues we can just muscle our way through. If we ignore them, they go away and we find we are further up the path and life is good. Some temptations are this way, many of our moods and the complaints of our children aren't worthy of our focus and even some physical pain will simply heal on its own if we just keep doing the things we know that are right and keep moving forward. But every once in a while, problems don't go away like that and priorities must be shifted. Our lives need to adjust to help "strengthen the feeble knees and the hands that hang down"- but the hardest time to do that is when those knees and hands are our own.

Luckily, my fourth son had a sinus infection and is home for the day. He graciously served me a Belgian Waffle for breakfast and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. I've been able to review a fascinating manuscript that I had promised to look at for a friend but hadn't had an extra second to face and hope to finish a few chapters in my latest work in progress. It's all good- just terribly inconvenient.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My First Book Signing

Tonight was my first book signing. I have heard about these experiences where you sit at a desk with people who try to avoid eye contact and don't want to talk to you- and frankly, worried about living through it. Like a true chicken, I forced my fifth grade daughter to accompany me for moral support. (I told her it would be a memorable, once in a lifetime experience.)

In our town tonight it was also the "Art Walk." All of the downtown businesses displayed children's artwork and the eager parents rushed from store to store looking for their child's masterpiece. It felt a little like "Where's Waldo." Each store invites local talent to entertain and it's a great community event. So the little bookstore in town said I could come for a book signing. I set up my table with my poster, bookmarkers, framed newspaper article and reviews, and fresh flowers. I've heard from trusted sources that chocolate is a necessity and I had a little candy dish out, too.

Armed and ready, I sat for only a few seconds before a woman walked up to me, staring in my direction with a quizzical expression on her face. I thought she was interested and immediately began telling her about my story when she pointed behind me and asked me to move. Apparently I was placed right in front of the children's art display and I definitely make a better door than window, if you know what I mean.

I moved my chair to the side of the table and spent a wonderful night, complimenting many children artists and telling their mothers about my story. I sold three books but talked with many more incredible people. It was a great night. So maybe book signings aren't so bad, as long as I have a draw like the awesome pictures behind me. At least it let me dream of the day when my book is the draw instead of the alien spitting green acid or Skylar's fabulous snowman, reindeer and dog.