The first 6 days of our trip was just Dave and I - it was fun and sometimes stressful as we tried to navigate around the east side of the US.
When we reached Boston (after our bus broke down and we had a little delay in Connecticut) we met up with a group of Seminary and Institute Teachers for a 6-day Church History Tour/Workshop.
We spent a lot of time doing this.....
But if you happen to know Seminary teachers - they are clowns, and they are also some of the best people on the planet. We made some lasting friendships, and we laughed, and we cried together. We all learned A LOT, and we were taught by some really amazing people.
I couldn't possibly express what a cool job my husband has, but working for the church has perks.
We may never be rich, but we are RICHLY BLESSED!
We were able to get in to places that NO-ONE else gets into.
We really had such wonderful experiences and we both feel like we came home changed.
We are better people because of what we learned and saw.
We went to so many places -
These are JUST A FEW of my VERY FAVORITES:
The Little log house in Palmyra, New York that Joseph Smith's family lived in with 9 children.
Standing in the main living area I could imagine the family sitting around the table discussing their day and reading the Bible. It struck me with force that if it wasn't for the many times the mother had certainly gathered her babies around her and read her favorite verses of scripture and fortified them for the hard days ahead, young Joseph would never have had those yearnings in his heart to ask God himself which church he should join. And if his dad hadn't gathered his young family around him to pray and ask God to protect his family, Joseph would never have known there was a God listening to his prayer. I think those things we do in our homes with our children are so important. I know their home was a normal place just like mine, but it was a holy place too.
The Sacred Grove, Palmyra New YorkThis was my favorite place on our trip.
I loved being there with my husband.
It was an experience never to be forgotten.
The Palmyra Temple
We were able to spend an afternoon with this wonderful Amish family. We were able to learn about some of their traditions and values. I think my favorite part was learning about the Rumspringa which is when their children turn 16 and they get to experiment with worldly things. They experiment with movie theaters, boom boxes or even driving lessons. They believe that if the child has the opportunity to learn about those things they will then return to the faith and choose on their own to be baptized into the faith. A very large percentage do get baptized (something like 99%). The director of our group was expressing concern about one of his children and was asking advice of the Amish father, who very wisely stated that the Amish believe simply that in Proverbs we are taught to "Train up a Child in the Way He Should Go and When He is Old He Shall Not Depart From It". And then he laughed and just said...... It never says how old they'll be!! Isn't that a wonderful thought!
I love that!
This was seriously the stop sign in Amish country!!
Since we were in the area we stopped here first and talked about Paul Revere and the many miracles that happened at the foundation of our great country.
There is a quote there by Robert Frost....
"Though the Thunder Bolt Hits but One Inch of the Ground,In the case of Concord one event ignited the kindlings of a revolution, at another place and another time, a humble prayer parted the heavens shining forth a light that will eventually fill the whole earth.
Its Light Brightens the Entire Sky."
Kirtland Temple, Kirtland, Ohio
If only I could share the wonderful things we learned about and IN the Kirtland temple. All I can say is that.... it may belong NOW to the Community of Christ, but it is STILL a dedicated HOUSE of the LORD, and HE is in control. I still feel like weeping when I think of our experiences there.
These are our great friends, the Watkins!
We had a lot of fun with several of the couples on this trip and I do hope we will meet up with them again someday!
You don't often meet people that have so much in common!
And this is what we did in my husband's words. Trying to keep things short and sweet here but we want to keep a record for ourselves also so you don't have to read all this if you're not interested......
· We stood at the site of the house in Sharon, Vermont where on Dec 23, 1805 Lucy Mack Smith and Joseph Smith, Sr. had their 4thchild and named him Joseph.
· We walked hand-in-hand through the same grove of trees at Palmyra, New York where a sincere, soul-searching 14-yr-old boy received the visitation of God the Father and Jesus Christ as an answer to his humble prayer. While there we read aloud, in a whisper tone, the words Joseph wrote to describe his experience there. We wept as we read.
· We stood at the very site of the log home, not more than a few hundred yards from the grove, where Joseph’s family lived when in the upper story of the house, where Joseph and siblings were sleeping, the Angel Moroni first visited Joseph.
· We stood on the mound of dirt in Harmony, Pennsylvania where the log house stood where Joseph translated nearly the entire Book of Mormon and near the location where John the Baptist and Peter, James, and John restored the priesthood to Joseph after being absent from the earth for more than 1400 years.
· We visited the actual building where The Book of Mormon was printed, the E.B. Grandin printing office.
· We stood at the very spot in Fayette, New York where The Church of Jesus Christ was officially re-established on the earth after an apostasy that darkened the earth for over 1400 years, but will never enshroud it again.
· We sat in the room, in the John Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio, where Joseph received the vision of the three degrees of glory – DC 76.
· In Kirtland, Ohio, we stood in the room in the second story of the Whitney store where numerous revelations were given to Joseph including DC 89 the Word of Wisdom and we were instructed in the room next door where the school of the prophets was held.
· We were taught in each of the three floors of the Kirtland temple, the actual building where Joseph walked and the saints received some of the most powerful manifestations. We sat just feet away from where the Savior visited Joseph and Oliver and where Moses and Elijah (in DC 110) returned to the earth to deliver to Joseph sacred priesthood keys needed to do missionary work and to seal families together forever.
· We sang through tears the hymn “The Spirit of God” in the very place, the Kirtland Temple, where it was sung for the first time at the dedication of that temple.
And many more amazing experiences. I am so grateful to be a part of this work!!! It is the Lord’s work, preparing the world for His Second Coming.
After 12 days away all I could think about was my babies..... especially MASON!!
The rest of the kids were so excited to see us. It was so wonderful to be back with them!
I knew it was going to be hard coming home for Mason - I figured he'd forget us and be a bit confused.
He looked at us weird and kind of reached out to Dave, and then cried and went back to my mom.
He wouldn't have anything to do with me for most of the night, and even the next day he felt more comfortable with Dave. I think it was just confusing for him to have "2 moms"!
I understood even though it kind of hurt my feeling - I'm so glad he bonded with my mom.
She was so good to him. It would have been horrible if he had cried the whole time I was gone.
It was hard, but it needed to be that way!
When we got home he wanted to hug and snuggle with me all day so it made up for the last 2 weeks!
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