Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pioneer Past Times is officially closed and now the Browning Gun Shop?

I finished up the last four dresses just two days before FM (Facility's Management) collected all the cloths and toys that needed cleaning and storing for the winter.
 Initially, we had enough clothes for all but the youngest girls. These dresses are sizes 3 below and 6 above with the double buttons and Velcro in back for smaller girls. The dresses got good use the last day we were open. It looks like they will be a hit next spring and summer.
 Most of the dresses below needed remodeling and/or repairing. I only started from scratch on four of them. Three of which you see above. (A little girl was wearing the forth dress when these pictures were taken.)

We spend two days each week at the Family Living Center. I usually need to make bread both days. Keep in mind that we make it without electricity like the pioneers would have. That means Elder Johnson makes the fire while I mix and knead the dough by hand.

 Fortunately, we have a brick oven like the pioneers would have used.
 Once again, it turned out terrific! Guests get a sample so we go through it pretty regularly.

What? I need to give tours at the Browning Gun Shop! Yes, indeed. Sunday was the first time for me to work in the Gun Shop. Elder Johnson has done it quite frequently and knew the script well. (Don't tell anyone, but he adds a few pieces of information taken from the book, John M Browning American Gunmaker lent to us by our Orvin friends from Arvada.)
I was hoping to just get people started with history about Jonathan Browning's conversion story and his move to Nauvoo, trading a property on the bluff for this spot on Main Street where all the river traffic was. However, as it turned out, we had enough guests that I gave the whole tour a few times including how to make the barrel on a gun.

Well, at least we don't find ourselves in a rut!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A lot more love!

Last week I posted fall pictures concerned that I may have missed the best pictures. Lucky for you, I was wrong and this week has proven tobe absolutely breath- taking.

 We still haven't had temperatures cold enough to kill the annuals, and many of the trees glisten with color. I am spell bound with each turn.

 If you haven't been to Nauvoo in the fall, you have not yet lived and I invite you to put it on your bucket list.

 The Nauvoo Temple is closed now for a couple of weeks for deep cleaning. We have usually been able to attend the temple about three times a month. Granted, we are in a huge hurry, but none-the-less able to participate in the sacred work for people who have passed away. We love that the temple is so close and has such easy access.

What a glorious plan is in place for all of God's children whether they were born in an age when the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ was on the earth or not.

We were called to work in Carthage this week. What a treat to recall our old script as well as drive the river road along the beautiful Mississippi River.

What's this Elder Johnson? 
Two ties!!!!
What could you have possibly been thinking? 
Oh, I weren't thinking at all.
Many things about our life haven't changed much.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's all about love don't you think?

As often as our schedule will permit, I take a mile and a half power walk around the block. The views are breathtaking. I could capture a beautiful scene at every turn. With fall in the air, I chose a few favorites for you.
  As I walk, I have been memorizing scripture passages recommended in our guide book called, Preach My Gospel. This month the chosen scriptures are from the chapter on God's love for his children. They seem appropriate to accompany pictures of our beautiful world.

Believe in God, believe that he is; and that he created all things
both in heaven and in earth,
believe that he is all wisdom and all power both in heaven and in earth;
believe that man doth not comprehend all things which the Lord can comprehend. 
(Mosiah 4:9)

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son 
that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the the world,
but the world through him might be saved.
(John 3:16-17)
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God and everyone that 
loveth is of God, and knoweth God. 
(1John 4:7)
 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
(John 14:15)

We had Stake Conference today. For those of you who are not LDS, Stake Conference happens twice a year within the LDS Church. Stakes are similar to wards in that they are chosen geographically and are usually composed of about 6-8 wards or branches I think. The Nauvoo Wards are included in a stake that is composed of members from three different states. Anyone living close (30-45 minutes away) is invited to the church here in Nauvoo. Anyone located farther away for example Quincy, Hannibal, and Macomb experience the meeting via tele-conferencing in their own building.
 We heard a beautiful story today illustrating God's love for all of His children. I'll have to make it short so bear with me as there are various details that will come together and show you how by small and simple things, great things were brought to pass. The wife of Nauvoo Temple Mission President McArthur gave the story.
First, Sister McArthur went grocery shopping in Keokuk and left her favorite rice in the cart. She needed to make a special trip back to Keokuk which is about 20 minutes away to retrieve the rice. There was a tour of LDS members from Korea who had made arrangements to have a special early morning session in their Korean language in the Nauvoo Temple. Their contact person was Brother Sao. President and Sister McArthur don't speak Korean. :) Brother Sao doesn't speak English very well. All parties were aware of the language barrier. President McArthur made all the arrangements with the Nauvoo temple missionaries for the special session. However, Brother Sao called and cancelled all their plans the day before the event due to complications. Because of the change, President and Sister McArthur left their assignment at the temple early to pick up the missing rice. On their way home they passed a bus full of Koreans parked outside the Nauvoo Temple.
Making a few assumptions, President McArthur asked the driver if he could speak to Brother Sao. There was no one by that name on the bus. However, the passengers were from Korea, they were prepared to go to the temple in Nauvoo, but they had a problem. The temple was closed for the night, and the bus driver was on strict regulations on how many miles he could drive in one day. He did not have the ability to bring the group back to the temple the next morning since they were spending the night in Keokuk and he wouldn't be able to come through Nauvoo on their way to the airport. Many of the group were deeply saddened because they had saved for years to come here to Nauvoo and attend the temple. They were only going to be able to look at it from outside.

Well of course, this was no coincidence that the McArthur's were driving by the temple at this odd hour so they agreed to get missionaries to drive to Keokuk the next morning and bring all who wanted to come to  Nauvoo. You can imagine the joy that circled the tour bus.

To make things even more bizarre, Brother Sao called later the next day from Carthage and said, "Okay, we're here and would still like to go to the temple. When can we come?"

Is that wonderful or what? Both groups were from Korea and needed special translations. One group didn't get here in time but the temple workers had everything in place to accommodate Korean so another group from Korea who hadn't made arrangements were able to take their place.

Yep, God loves all his children even you!

Will you do something more this week to learn this truth for yourself?

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Costumes, Costumes, Costumes, and a Bike Race

Here is my progress so far on overhauling the costumes for Pioneer Pastimes.
I've repaired dozens of clothes but the dress below is the first I've downsized in a major way. The fabric was in relatively good shape but we had too many adult sizes used only occasionally for a family picture and not enough grade school sizes.
 As you see, the whole back is cut open with three choices of buttons for the top. Long strips of Velcro works well for the middle and waist line. Youth come in all sizes so the costumes need to also be flexible.
 We had quite a few skirts but only one blouse so I made seven more blouses sizes 3 to 10 that open all the way up the back and close with buttons and Velcro like the dress above.
 The lace was donated by the sewing department since the short pieces were too small for adult clothes. The fabric came from the Family Living Center set aside for cutting up into strips for rugs. White isn't a good choice for foot use so it wasn't missed.
 I took men's vests and turned them into boys sizes. They had to be re-cut and sewn to make them small enough. With a few more free hats I found, boys and men are set.

All the toys and games were made by the facilities management missionaries including the log school house and bucket carrier you see below. Actually, what you see is only the tip of the ice berg. They have done an amazing job with all the games, toys, and play equipment. 
 Check out the stick horses below made of tree branches.
 These cute girls were playing dress up when Elder Johnson was taking pictures. Almost all of their costumes were in my sewing room for some repairs last week. There are dozens more. I'll show more pictures next week. 

The log house in the back ground is home for baby dolls and dishes. It's fun to watch the kids interact between the different activities.I know, it's kind of a hardship for us to "play" all day one day of the week. Hope you all feel sorry for us. :) 

This may be the last week for Pioneer Past Times. It will close with the first snow fall. The clothes will be stored in a safer place during the harsh winter. That means I need to finish in the next week or so.

Bike Race
 Elder Johnson and Doctor Udall, who is the doctor for the missionaries here in Nauvoo, participated in bike race which started in Hamilton, Illinois and ended in Nauvoo (about 13 miles away). Elder Johnson and Udall have been biking together since we moved from Carthage to Nauvoo. For those of you who don't know, Elder Johnson has never enjoyed biking until he got here. On the other hand, I biked regularly in our old life, but haven't touched one here because I am either wearing church clothes or pioneer costumes.

 Check out the beautiful surroundings. Can't beat the well kept and green surroundings.
Neither of the men won the race but they did finish with a smile.  Well, actually, Elder Johnson just informed me that they both took first place for their type of bike. Since they are one of a kind, I suppose that makes them first, last, and middle. What do you think?

They were the only two from the mission that participated though many of the other missionaries helped at water stations etc. Proceeds were given to the food bank here in Nauvoo. Because of the poor economy, poverty is growing in leaps and bounds here in the mid-west. There is no getting around the hardships. Roads and side walks are in disrepair, vacant buildings are everywhere, and used furniture and clothing is everywhere and a must for them. 

We talked to President Gibbons today about taking a few days off for a trip home. He was very kind, but explained the situation that probably 90% of the missionaries could benefit from a trip home. We have an important responsibility to stay focused on what we're doing and can place our struggles at home in the hands of the Lord. Both Elder Johnson and I felt comforted and know that things can work out in Colorado without us. We'll be home in less than a year.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

New film--Meet the Mormons

During our training meeting this week, we were given the honor of previewing the new film, " Meet the Mormons". We loved it. Anything that can make both Elder Johnson and I laugh and cry is on the top of our list. When the movie comes to your area within the next week or so, it is a must see. All profits will be donated to the Red Cross so if you are not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, don't think you are donating to the Church. It is a great way to clear up misconceptions of the Mormon people and their life style.

Check out the trailer:

On our preparation day this week, we took the opportunity to travel one last time with our friends the Woods. They are finishing up their mission and will be heading home on Tuesday. We will be in their situation in just one more year. Our mission is passing quickly and we hope we are doing some good. Actually, we are meeting with our mission president this week to see if we can slip home for a few days in November. We don't have a big emergency, but told our employees that we would try to get home at least once. Initially, we applied for a six month mission and that is what we thought we would have. We agreed to an 18 month mission before receiving the call but not before notifying Allstate of our original 6 month plan. That was kind of a long and vague explanation, but bottom line is that we want to be true to our word. We'll see what President Gibbons thinks.

I got side tracked. Below are pictures of a fun store we went to called Iron and Lace. This talented husband and wife team throw beautiful pottery, weld iron, make rugs, and I could go on and on. Have you ever seen Queen Ann's lace? It's beautiful! Iron and Lace is located in Bentonsport, Iowa.

We also went to the Dutchman's Store in Cantril, Iowa. We have been there numerous times now. I love this place too. It is run by the Amish you see in the pictures below. These people are so sweet.

Check this out for a better description:

We also stopped at a cheese factory which is also run by some Amish. While shopping, we read a funny on a bulletin board that showed a man standing by an old dilapidated horse. The caption read, "So when did you decide to convert to the Amish religion?" The answer was, "After filling my car at the gas station."

The old school below is outside of Keokuk, Iowa along the Mississippi River.

This may seem strange to you, but I wanted to show you this coal dump. Mountains of coal are awaiting a boat ride down the Mississippi River. It is dumped here for future use.

Below is the next group of Missionary friends that are leaving Nauvoo. Their good-bye skit was a silly one as usual.

We hope you were able to listen to General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints this weekend. We were working Saturday in Donnelson, Iowa with Nauvoo on the Road (More on that next week) so we're still trying to play catch up with General Conference. We also worked Sunday afternoon but heard most of conference between guests. Hope you loved it as much as we did. If you missed it, it's not too late. Check it out on