Sunday, November 13, 2016

Road Trippin' Day 20

After spending the night in Ogden Utah, we awoke on Friday July 22nd excited to tour temple square in Salt lake.  Our first stop of the day was the conference center. We couldn't wait to let our kids take a tour and see were general conference was held. We were SO bummed when we learned that the conference center was closed in preparation for "an event".  We walked around the Temple for a bit admiring it's beauty then, decided we'd go to the Tabernacle and see if we could find out if  the choir was having any open preformences or rehearsals we could watch. Again, we were disappointed when we learned that the choir was preparing for "an event" and visitors were not allowed to observe.  Then, it dawned on us. We're in Salt Lake on  the weekend of Pioneer day!  We also found out that tickets for "the event" are snatched up weeks in advance and that it was unlikely that we'd get tickets. We were told that if we got in the standby line at 6:00 pm, we might be able to get in to the conference center for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day concert featuring the King's singers. We spent the rest of the day touring the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the Temple Square Visitors Center, the Tabernacle, the Lion house and we rode the elevator to the top of the Church office Building.

 We went back to our Hotel to rest for a bit, then made the decision to take our chances in the standby line for "the Event"! By the time we got back to Temple Square, found a parking spot, and got into the standby line it was well past 6:00. We had no sooner gotten in line, when we were handed five tickets for the concert! The tickets were for great seats on the lower level and were so close to the front. The concert was wonderful and the kids and the kids were amazed by the conference center and it was their first time hearing the Tabernacle Choir in a live performance. I am so grateful that our family recieved that tender mercy that night. We all felt so incredibly blessed.

Road Trippin' Day 19

Our Destination for the day was historic Martin's Cove.  The visitors center had exhibits and records that told of the tragic events that the handcart pioneers endured on their way to the Salt Lake Valley over 150 years ago.
We were able to hike with a handcart to Devils gate. Again, we were experiencing record heat, quite a difference from the weather the handcart companies experienced while they were there. The discomfort we felt from heat reminded us that like the pioneers, we can do hard things. As we hiked along the trail next to the sweet water Creek, I thought it would be horrible to cross paths with a rattle snake. Then, when we were just about at the waters edge near Devil's Gate, a snake slithered thru the grass right in front of me! It wasn't a rattle snake, but It scared me enough to keep me from going any further.  Adam, Eliza and Caleb went on closer to the Devils gate while Sarah and I hung . back for a bit. It was a beautiful area. 

We hiked back to the visitors center and enjoyed the rest of our stay in wonderful air conditioned rooms. Following our visit to Martin's cove, we had originally planned to go to Yellowstone park for a couple of days. Unfortunately, a wildfire had the road closed to the park from the south entrance and the West entrance was taking people hours to get through. So, we decided to skip Yellowstone this trip and we headed south to Salt lake.

Road Trippin' Day 18

On Wednesday July 20th we woke early and headed north west towards Rapid City South Dakota. Our destination for the day was Mount Rushmore. We drove for about three and a half hours before we reached our destination. Before arriving at the monument, we stopped at Rushmore Tramway Adventures and let the kids ride a tram up a large Hill and ride the slide down. They had a great time doing that. 

Then, we drove on to Mount Rushmore.  Unfortunately when we arrived, it was over 100 degrees outside. (That part of the country was experiencing record breaking heat.) All we wanted to do was get inside as soon as possible. We did stay outside long enough to get a picture of the kids, and then went in to look at the majestic monument thru the windows of the air-conditioned visitors center. We admired the monument, then watched a movie in the visitors center theater. The movie showed how the monument was built and included original footage from its construction and dedication ceremony.  If I'm being honest, we all felt that Mount Rushmore didn't live up to all the hype, but to be fair, it could be we felt that way because it was SO hot while we were there. We are glad we went though. We are grateful our children had the opportunity to see it in person.

The rest of the day was spent driving towards Casper Wyoming where we spent the night.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Road Trippin' Day 17

Our first stop on Tuesday July 19th was visit the Kansas City Temple in Missouri. It was another beautiful testament to how much things have changed for members of our faith in the state of Missouri.

Following our brief stop at the temple, we drove north-west to Council Bluffs Iowa and visited a replica of the Kanesville Tabernacle. The Kanesville Tabernacle was originally built by by 200 pioneers in just two and a half weeks. It was where Brigham young was sustained as the second prophet of the church. 

We then crossed the river to historic Winter Quarters visitors center in Nebraska. Winter Quarters was a temporary settlement where the early pioneers rested for a bit before continuing their trek west. We were also able to stop and see the Winter Quaters temple.

We made it to Winner South Dakota by nightfall and settled in for the night.

Road Trippin' Day 16

Monday, July 18.  We woke early and packed and tidied up the rooms we were staying in while Elder and Sister Johnson did their morning Chores. 
Sis. Johnson served us a delicious breakfast then we all took another tour of the Carthage Jail. This tour was the perfect way to start and end our Nauvoo church history visit.

After our tour, we said our goodbyes. I was very emotional as I embraced my Aunt Pam. I was so grateful to her and Elder Johnson and wished we could stay longer.

We drove west to the beautiful site of Adam-ondi-Ahman lies at a bend in the Grand River in northern Missouri.  A temple block was dedicated there by Brigham young, but no cornerstones were laid or temple constructed because just days after the land was dedicated the Saints were ordered to leave the settlement. The church Owns the land once again and it is a beautiful and sacred property.
President Saline, from our old stake presidency is serving a mission there as a grounds keeper with his wife. He met us at the entrance of the property and invited us to join him in his truck for a private tour of the area. It was a privilege to see that blessed land.

After leaving Adam-ondi-Ahman, we went to the Far West temple site. Like Adam-ondi-Ahmen, the site was dedicated for a temple. Cornerstones were laid, but before the saints could build a temple ther they too, were driven out. 

Our last stop of the day was Liberty Jail in Independence Missouri. It was where the Prophet Joseph Smith spent approximately five months awaiting trial. While there, he received many revelations which are included in the Doctrine and Covenants today.  We couldn't imagine the suffering that took place in that dungeon cell. How grateful we are for the sacrifices made by the Prophet Joseph and the other great men who endured all the suffering there with him.

That night we stayed at a nearby hotel in Kansas City. It was anther wonderful day.

Road Trippin' Day 15

Sunday, July 17 was a wonderful Day.  We attended sacrament meeting with the Johnsons. Afterwards we all went to the Nauvoo Grove. The grove is one of the places where the Prophet Joseph preached to the members in Nauvoo. 

Next we all walked the “Trail of Hope” to the banks of the Mississippi River.  The Trail of Hope is marked all along the path with uplifting and solemn quotes from the pioneers who lived in and left Beautiful Nauvoo.

Next we visited two historic sites, the Riser Boot Shop and Sarah Granger Kimball’s home. Then we went by the headquarters of Facilities Maintenance and were given a tour of the greenhouses. Even though most of the greenhouses are nearly empty for the summer, we still found a lot of colorful and interesting potted plants to see.

Our final stop of the day was at the Nauvoo Visitor’s Center to watch the performance of the Young Performing Missionaries in “Be Still.” The performance was only 15 minutes long and was very reverent  and spiritual. 

After the show, we followed Elder and Sister Johnson back to their home in Carthage where we would spend our last night in Illinois. We were fed a delicious meal and Before going to bed. We had fun visiting and playing "Go to Heck" with Elder and Sister Johnson
Words can't express how grateful we are for Aunt Pam and Uncle David. Having them there in Carthage and Nauvoo made our stay even more amazing than it otherwise would have been. They are wonderful missionaries and are taking such great care of the grounds in Carthage and Nauvoo. And they took great care of us too!

Road Trippin' Day 14

Saturday was filled with more tours, shows and fun! We started the day with a horse drawn wagon ride which took us around the outskirts of Nauvoo. It was beautiful and very informative. Then, we toured the print shop, tin smith, and Webb Brothers Blacksmith shop. 

Just after lunch, We met up with Elder and Sister Johnson at the main visitors center to watch "The  Promise” put on by the Young Performing Missionaries. "The Promise" was a sweet love story filled with amazing singing and dancing.

After the show we all toured The Heber C. Kimball home and the Wilford Woodruff home. 

Then, to show our appreciation to the Johnsons for their hospitality and for being excellent guides for our stay in Nauvoo, we treated them to dinner at the all you can eat buffet at our Hotel, the Hotel Nauvoo. The food and company was so great!

Our last stop for the day was to watch Elder and Sister Johnson preform in “Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo” at the Cultural Hall. It was a fun show that had us had us laughing out loud! We Loved it!

Road Trippin' Day 13

On Friday July 13th  continued our tour of Old Nauvoo. We spent more time in the family living center and toured the Brigham Young home, the Seventies hall, and many other restored homes and businesses. 

That evening we met up with Elder and Sister Johnson  for their performance of “Sunset by the Mississippi.” During the Nauvoo Brass Band’s pre-show music the audience is invited to come on stage and dance. Eliza was invited to dance with her Uncle David! The show was wonderfully entertaining, funny and moving all at the same time. The young preforming missionaries sing and dance with the senior couples. Elder and sister Johnson did a great job along with everyone involved.

“Sunset by the Mississippi” got over at 8:00 pm and the “British Pageant” started at 8:30 so we walked over to the other large outdoor stage a few blocks away to watch the “British Pageant". The “British Pageant” portrays the ministry of Apostle Heber C. Kimball, the assignment of all the Apostles to preach in England and the faith and sacrifice exhibited by early converts as they embraced the light of the restored gospel. It was a wonderful show! I hope to be able to see it again someday.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Road Trippin' Day 12

Thursday July 14th. We began our day touring the Carthage jail visitors center and Carthage Jail. It was a perfect way to begin our stay in Carthage/Nauvoo.  The last room of the tour was the room where Joseph Smith Jr. And his Brother Hyrum were martyred. It's where they sealed their testimony of the restored gospel with their blood. The spirit in that room was one of solemnity and peace.
After our tour of Carthage, we drove to Nauvoo and checked into The Nauvoo Hotel. We also had a little time to tour the Old Nauvoo cultural hall and the Family living center before meeting Elder and Sister Johnson at the Nauvoo temple. 
Before our trip, I had done some research and found several family names that needed the have their temple work done. The trio were able to complete all of their baptisms and confirmations. We all loved being in the Nauvoo Temple and didn't want to leave but we still had so much to do and so little time!

Next, we toured the historic Brick yard. During the tour each family is given a comemorative Nauvoo Brick, but our children recieved something special. They were each given a brick made special for them by Elder and Sister Johnson. Their bricks were personalized with their names and the year we visited stamped on the back. They treasure their bricks and are so thankful for them.

Following our brick yard tour, we walked over to the Pendleton log home and school for a brief "lesson" on the educational system of old Nauvoo.

We had a picnic dinner at the park then we all enjoyed the Nauvoo Country Fair followed by the Nauvoo pageant. We loved every minute of the fair and pageant. It was a perfect day!