Wings to Fly With

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I came across this quote this morning and have been pondering it.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”  

– William Martin 

Yesterday the kids and I went to the stables where my daughter works with a few horses on a volunteer basis. She spent a good chunk of this summer training with my sister. For her, horses are freedom.

My two littlest kids love “the horse place”. They watched the goats, climbed on the rocks and had more fun in the dirt and sticks than you’d think possible.

The other day I had the joy of watching a child who is dear to us as he struggled to smile. It’s an effort that for most is simple, but for him has been a journey fit for a novel.

There is something true in the healing, nurturing power of simple things. All of us have a little trauma to overcome in  some degree or another. That’s the nature of life in this imperfect space. It’s the simple things that give us wings. Flight is in our nature. Being who we are, we can’t help but fly.

And that, is extraordinary.

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Birds in Flight – – Altar cloth lace in progress

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From the Treasure Box: My First Lace

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I found this in an old box in the garage, full of lacy bits and memories. I showed it to my husband. “Do you know what this is? It’s the handkerchief I made for the Mount Timpanogos Temple dedication.” So many memories attached to this lace.

The Timpanogos Temple was the first temple we’d ever had the opportunity to see built and dedicated. At the time, we were newly married, and students at BYU– barely scraping by on 500.00 a month part-time income. We lived next door to Mirla Thayne, who wrote the children’s hymn, “I Wonder When He Comes Again”.  It was about a year before she died. 

I also  worked, but from home, caring for our upstairs neighbor with Alzheimer’s.  Clyde.  I’ll never forget Clyde, he was a character, and as innocent as the four year olds in my Sunbeam class.  Oh the adventures we had with him– once we found all his clothes neatly hanging from the front door.  He’d mistaken it for the bathroom door, and by the time he got out of the house, forgot he was going to take a shower, and figured it was time for a walk.  Off he went, and after him I ran.  That job carried our rent, and Troy’s income paid for everything else. My mind can hardly wrap around those meager figures looking back, but Troy, who keeps everything, still has the pay stubs to prove it.

There’s a part near the end of every temple dedication that requires a clean, white, handkerchief.  I didn’t have one.  I looked at the budget.  No help there.  I wanted to make something special for the temple dedication rather than just order something I didn’t have money for anyway, so I bought thread, a hook, and a book of lace edging patterns with my meager budget instead. I began working the simplest pattern possible. I was nervous, but too new at this sort of thing to be daunted. Though I had seen others do it, this was my very first experience making lace.

After a few false starts, I began to get the hang of the smaller thread, and the lace started looking like something. When I finished, I was so proud of my work, I had no idea how rough and primitive it was. I only saw beauty, and it was beautiful.IMG_20140817_174312631_HDRLater, my mother-in-law sent me a few other temple handkerchiefs, finer in detail, and smaller in thread. The difference, rather than discouraging me, inspired me, and my interest in laces grew.

That was October 1996. Less than four years later, we’d graduated from BYU and moved to the east coast with Troy’s first job at BBN Technologies in Boston.  We watched and participated with interest as the Boston Temple took shape.  We lived in Waltham, Marlborough, and then Billerica, where I started and finished my first altar cloth.  In October 2000, I attended my second temple dedication–this time for the Boston Temple.

There’s something of yourself that gets put in things that you work hard for.  I don’t know which of my several lace handkerchiefs I used for that dedication, but I’ll never forget my first. I still can’t make a size 80 tatted handkerchief edging, but there’s always room to grow.

Of all the laces, bonnets, blankets, and edgings I’ve made over my life, I’m tickled to realize that even my very first, was for the love of the temple.

Two Temple Handkerchiefs

Side by side– my first size 10 thread crochet edged thick cotton handkerchief on the left. On the right is a size 80 thread tatted lace edged delicate linen handkerchief. Both beautiful.

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Progress.

IMG_20140812_093324This week I’m spending time at family reunion. I don’t know of another family that brings lace, hooks and thread, guitars, violins and auto harps camping, but we do. Proudly. 

This year three of our extended family members are making altar lace, and brought it with them to reunion. Sitting around in a circle, telling stories while our fingers fly is joy.  It reminds me of the old Irish lace circles in the later part of the 1800s,  when the potato crops failed year after year with blight and the people were starving. Those were the days when lace saved Ireland.  

Ireland lost more than half their population to starvation or emigration in the 1840s and 50s. Those who were left, learned to make lace to survive. Men watched the children while women sat in circles and made Irish crochet lace taught to them by inspired nuns.  The proceeds from those lacy sprigs and roses fed their families and saved a nation. 

I love the stories of our heritage. It adds beauty to the lace. 

The Spirit Is In The Details: from the Nova Scotia Temple

Halifax, Nova Scotia Temple

Halifax, Nova Scotia Temple

“A mechanical problem with the plane to be used by President Gordon B. Hinckley to travel to the Halifax Nova Scotia Temple dedication resulted in a historic first: the dedication of two temples on the same day. The Regina Saskatchewan Temple, scheduled to be dedicated by President Hinckley the next day, was instead dedicated by Elder Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, while President Hinckley presided over the postponed dedicatory sessions for the Halifax temple. Richard Moses, second counselor in the Dartmouth Nova Scotia Stake presidency and chairman of the local temple committee, noted, “When the dedication was postponed, members showed no irritation, but inquired what they could do, like opening their homes to help offset the expense of those who would need to stay an extra night to attend the dedication.” He added, “It is impossible – there are not words – to adequately express our gratitude for this temple. No longer do we just look at a picture of a temple. Now, when my daughters look out their bedroom window, they see the softly lighted figure of the Angel Moroni standing as a beacon over the area.”

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To attend the dedication, members in the Bay Roberts, Grand Falls and Corner Brook branches drove six to eight hours to a sea port where they ferried to Nova Scotia during the night, then drove four more hours to the temple. Members from Maine drove eight hours to attend. Members in New Brunswick and on Prince Edward Island also drove many hours. “These are faithful people who don’t consider attending the temple to be a sacrifice,” President Moses said.

The influence of the temple reached deep into the hearts of many non-members, continued Pres. Moses, noting the concern expressed by a reporter of the province’s largest newspaper. “After completing a tour during the open house, and obviously touched by what he was feeling, the reporter commented that there was no way he could write what he felt in the small space he would be given for the article.” On another occasion, “A man dressed in leather and sporting many tattoos came to the open house. He was quiet during the tour and sat by himself in the celestial room. Soon, tears were flowing.” A member brought his non-member mother to the open house. Sitting in the celestial room she said, “I’ve never felt closer to God.”

During construction, “we found the counsel of Elder Jay E. Jensen of the Seventy to be true: the Spirit is in the details,” said President Moses, noting how the members found joy in making the temple as perfect as possible. When several flecks of grouting were found on the bottom of the baptismal font after last-minute tile work done the day before the dedication, members were willing to drain, then re-fill the font.”

President Moses recounted an experience one evening in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, that demonstrates the love of the members for the temple. “We were taking a tour through the temple district to give a report on the progress of the temple and show them a sample of the granite stone. At one point, I asked for volunteers to crochet altar cloths. A blind sister sitting on the front row quickly volunteered. ‘I’d like to do this,’ she said, and rather forthrightly, requested a pattern. A hush fell over the others as they considered the sacrifice she was making. Then they quickly volunteered.” (Church News, 20 November 1999).

Gold Gleams in the Ashes

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As I was working on my altar lace last night, I remembered this poem.  It’s such beautiful imagery.  I’ve been thinking about the examples we have been given by those who came before us and left us this legacy of faith.

Sister Vilate C. Raile penned these words regarding the pioneers:

They cut desire into short lengths
And fed it to the hungry fires of tribulation.
Long after when the fires had died,
Molten gold gleamed in the ashes.
They gathered it in bruised palms
And handed it to their children
And their children’s children forever.

On my bathroom wall, I have quotes of all kinds taped.  This is one of my favorites:

“May we do as much with the blessings we have been given as [our ancestors] did out of the deprivations so many of them faced. In such abundance may we never “forget the Lord.”” –Jeffrey R. Holland

Yesterday I watched Only a Stonecutter with my children.  I love John Rowe Moyle for his work on the Salt Lake Temple.  Lace, gold, stone– somehow, it’s all applicable.