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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The Price is Worth It.

Family at the Los Angeles Temple

Family in bronze at the Los Angeles Temple

I took this picture today just before I went home. I have always loved this statue of a family at the Los Angeles Temple. It is a beautiful, timeless reminder of what it’s all about.

A Thought on the Work and Effort of the Lord’s Lace and His House:

When I was working with our temple matron a few weeks ago, she paused right in the middle of the laundry area– we were up to our eyeballs in lace, pins and measuring tape, all the washing machines were humming and six other ladies were working on the various stages of cleaning, steaming and pressing, categorizing and folding everything that needed to be cleaned down in the laundry.

In addition to all the baptistry laundering, and endowment laundry, they’d just had a wedding party come through the weekend before with 72 guests.  At the last minute, the bride decided she wanted her ceremony to be all white, so everyone rented the clothes and things they needed for the ceremony, creating quite a bustle for the laundry for several days afterward.  Every bit of everything that has to be done to have that happen, has to be done anew, and perfectly.

In the midst of all the bustle and hum, she paused and said, looking around:

 “All this effort.  All this work.  The Lord asks us to do all of this, with such precision, all day, every day, so His people can have the place he deigns right for His  children to obtain His knowledge.  I marvel at how blessed we are, and I can’t forget the strength of the saints in Nauvoo, laboring to finish their temple, with every detail, knowing they would be forced to leave it.  Or the saints in so many ages who worked in faith their whole lives, and still did not have the blessing of the temple.  We are so blessed.  Somehow all this is a part of it.  This is necessary work.  It is required of us, I don’t know why it is that way, but it is.  Is there a price too high to pay?  No.”

Two of the women she introduced to me there had been working in the temple laundry for more than 35 years.  Every day.  As we examined each altar lace, we noticed some were marked on the back with handwritten tags telling the name of the person who had made each of the older laces, and which altars that lace used to fit.  We noticed that some of the tags had E-1,2 written on them, or Endowment room one and two, which was perplexing because endowment rooms one and two do not have altars.  Martha, the woman in the laundry who had been there the longest (39 years) explained that there was a time when there were altars in those two rooms.

Most of the women whose names are on the laces are gone now. So much history and sacrifice there.

As I was thinking about my experiences working on this project, I remembered the quote by Thomas Paine:

“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.  Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods.”

In the original text he was speaking of the price of freedom, which for them, was steep.  Part of the price his generation paid, and many generations before him paid, enabled us to have our temple.

If knowledge is freedom, and it is, I suppose that is what the temple is about also.  Mortality seems to have this struggle as a theme, and the culminating fruits of that struggle are there, in those walls.  It is amazing what we are tempted to take for granted.  I suppose that is the reason for the work, to give us an inkling of the price and the value of what is there for us to become.

Love From the Past, in a Lost Treasure– Found

Celinda's grandchildren

Celinda with her children, twins Margaret and Mabel, with younger brother, Kent 

I was recently talking to a second cousin of mine who told me the story of how she found a piece of Grandma Olson‘s lost lace. Marian Olson Boag is a descendant of my grandma, Celinda Olson, a lacemaker.  Marian is the granddaughter of Kent Olson, one of Celinda’s sons.  

She says:

“I was climbing through the rafters of Kent’s old barn where we milked the cows.  I was cleaning out the loft, and found a metal box that had lost its lid.  I decided to rifle through the box to make sure there wasn’t anything important in there before I threw it away.

The box was full of garbage, magazines, newspapers, burlap sacks, twine, straw and it had, nestled in everything else, a mouse nest. There were mouse droppings all over everything in there.

In the old rusty box, I discovered a delicate hand-knitted bag. Rolled up inside the little bag, was this perfect piece of hand-knitted lace.”

Celinda Olson Knitted Lace

Gift From the Past–Celinda Olson’s Lost Knitted Lace, Found

I knew what it was as soon as I saw it. An incredible feeling came over me. It was pretty special. I imagine that Grandma was very happy the lace had been found.

The sack had a few holes in it from the mice chewing through it, so it really was a miracle that the lace wasn’t ruined. I figure it was at least 50 years old at the time, and I’ve now had it twenty years more. 

I cleaned it, and stowed it away for safe keeping. I told my mother about it years later.  She told me to keep it, which is good… because I would have had a hard time giving it back! 

No one had any clue that it even existed, and no idea why it was ever put in the barn.  Finding that lace was such a blessing, and to know the love that went into making each tiny stitch just makes me feel close to her. I don’t know how it was lost, but I’m so glad it was preserved so I could find it.  It’s such a gift to have something so beautiful of hers.  I love it.”

What a treasure.  Uncle Kent’s barn is not far from the log house my grandmother lived in as she knit her lace by lamplight.  A beautiful piece of her love, for her granddaughter, made it home.