Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Family Pictures

Craig's brother took these pictures last night at the Layton City Park. I can't wait to get one printed up, so we can update our family photo on the wall. Jessica keeps asking us where she is in it, so this should eliminate that problem!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Carthage Jail

One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Carthage jail. It's hard to explain the way I felt while there, or in any part of Nauvoo actually, except to say that I have such an incredible amount of gratitude for Joseph Smith and the Saints who sacrificed so much, including many of their own lives, so that we can worship without the persecution they faced. I truly love them with all my heart, and I don't think I came back the same person I was when I left. Our closing song in Sacrament Meeting today was "Come, Come Ye Saints", and I couldn't sing because of the emotions it brought to the surface. This trip has left a lasting impression on me!

A picture from inside the jail of the window that Joseph Smith went through after being shot. Even while standing there in the room, it was hard to really take in that we were actually standing where Joseph and Hyrum Smith had died. And I'll never forget the sweet couple missionaries that invited the Spirit every time they would share their testimonies at all of the historic sites at Carthage and in Nauvoo.

My favorite quote at Carthage Jail. In case you can't read it..."Patience is heavenly, obedience is noble, forgiveness is merciful, and exaltation is Godly; and he that holds out faithful to the end shall in no wise lose his reward. A good man will endure all things to honor Christ, and even dispose of the whole world, and all in it, to save his soul." Joseph Smith, Jr. and Hyrum Smith 1844

A picture of where we stayed. It was about 5.5 miles south of Nauvoo. It was a wonderful place. We all had our own beds (2 doubles in 2 rooms), 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, and a family room with couches and a tv. The tv went unused but the 2 bathrooms were life savers!

Our view from the back porch. Breathtaking! (Ok, so maybe not evident from the picture, but it really was!)

Arthur, Illinois and the Amish

Tammy Watts introduced me to reading about the Amish quite a few months ago, and I have just loved reading about the Amish people. When I planned this trip and knew Tammy was coming, I knew we had to visit an Amish community while in Illinois. Tammy did some investigating online and found an Amish lady, Ruth Yoder, who serves lunches in her home. Even though it was a 4 hour drive to Arthur, Illinois (the largest Amish community in Illinois) we decided that it was an opportunity that we couldn't pass up. This is the cute little sign Ruth had placed in her yard to show us where to park our car. There was another group of women, 11 of them, that ate with us. We had a wonderful time chatting with them, the food was fantastic, and Tammy was able to ask all of the questions she's had about the Amish and their beliefs and way of life. I have a great respect for them. Ruth is only 58 years old but appears to be in her 70's. A result, I'm sure, from the 4 am mornings feeding the animals and going to bed at 9 pm every day of her life. They certainly work hard. Their community does not use electricity. Her fan ran from an air compressor, propane was used for her lamps, and even their farming is done with horses pulling their plows. It was a fun trip!

The four of us in front of their horse and buggy.

After lunch we stopped at an Amish market where Tammy started up a conversation with an older Amish gentleman. She was trying to find out if we could get a ride in a buggy some way, and while she was visiting with him a gentleman named Cephais came along with this wagon and said he could take us for a ride around his property for a few dollars. He was supposed to be taking another group around, but they hadn't shown up yet. So, we got our ride. The following pictures are from his property (except the one of the laundry). Craig likes to tease me that I might leave him for Cephais and the Amish way of life, but I reasure him that it could never happen...because of the beards!!!

Cephais and his sisters actually run the market we stopped at, so we got a good glimpse of all they grow to put in their market. These are his tomatoes. I told him he needs to teach me how to grow tomatoes because I have failed miserably in the past. He assured me that if I lived there a month, he'd have me growing tomatoes! I almost took him up on the offer. ;-)

We happened to drive through on everyone's laundry day because no matter where we drove, this is what we saw.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nauvoo Trip

About a month ago, I decided I wanted to go to Nauvoo, and with Craig's permission I made it into a Girl's trip and took 3 friends with me! We planned the trip in about 24 hours, and left 3 weeks later. We had the most incredible trip, and felt the Spirit almost all day every day. I will never forget the trip.

This is a picture of myself, Lauri Pendleton, Jeff who portrays Joseph Smith in the pageant, Tammy Watts, and Wendy Brown.

When I originally planned the trip, my friend Tammy informed me that she had a dear friend who's family was in the pageant this year. So we called my parents and found out when they would be performing and was able to plan our trip so that we could watch them in the pageant. Tammy was so excited! Here she is with Jaron Packer and his sweet family.

This is the first night of the Nauvoo pageant this year. It was raining, and raining, and raining. They actually post-poned the pageant a half of an hour to see if it would let up a little. They finally were given the go ahead to start but the band that normally played the national anthem had already left, so one of the girls in the pageant sang it instead and did a beautiful job. The man to the right of her (looking at the picture) is Dallyn Bayles. He is performing with Phantom of the Opera right now and also performed at Women's Conference this year and also played Joseph in the pageant a few years back. He was in the audience that night and gave the opening prayer. The rain continued to fall pretty much the whole pageant, but people were good sports and stuck around and the cast acted as if the rain wasn't there.

Just one more picture of Emma, Joseph, and Hyrum walking through the crowd of Saints.