Monday, May 25, 2015

Can't help myself take two...Spring in Nauvoo is breath taking, and Guests are arriving by the hundreds or at least dozens.

Peonies are blooming all around Nauvoo.

 These were taken at the Sarah Granger Kimball home where the Relief Society women's organization was organized in 1842.
 These were taken in front of our house.
 These were taken on our morning walk.
 Note that along the road and between the growing crops are beautifully manicured carpets of grass.

 Between houses and fields are more rolling hills of manicured carpet. Remember, that I was raised in Phoenix, Arizona where brown is the norm and green comes in colored rock or spray paint.

 This is not a golf course! No, it's just a normal Nauvoo neighborhood.
 The grape vines above have plastic coverings to prevent roaming deer from eating away at the plants. Note the grass carpet between the rows of grape plants.

Pioneer Pastimes:
We've had hundreds of school kids come to Nauvoo on field trips this month. This will be the last week since school will be out. However, as you see below, the kids have been replaced by families--lots and lots of them.

Kids, and families dress up in pioneer costumes for pictures.

Thought for the week. 
Remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son that Christ taught and is recorded in the New Testament? (Check out  the reenactment at the link  Prodigal Son .)

Well today in Sunday School, we studied the parable and spent quite a bit of time talking about the jealous older brother. I thought about the approach we took with our children when they showed signs of jealousy. It didn't always work perfectly, but our underlying philosophy was to reinforce the child's value when they were feeling jealous of someone else. Think how the father responded in the video above. He was gentle and kind reassuring his older obedient son that he will be well rewarded for his good choices. All that the father hath shall be given to him while his younger rebellious brother will get far less. However, all can rejoice over the prodigal son's return.

I think that in general most children feel insecure about their acceptance and self worth more than they feel jealous and don't want others to be successful or rewarded. Hence people generally respond better by addressing the "real" problem and building them up and reinforcing their value. It's probably true for adults too, don't you think?

So, my challenge to you and myself is to look in the mirror before attempting to correct anyone else. Then, focus on others' importance and value.

Inspiring quotes from Prophets:
Here are a few notes I took at church today.
If today you are a little better then you were yesterday, then that is enough.  (Elder Bednar)
If envy were an illness, all the world would be ill. (Didn't catch the author)
Life is to be enjoyed not just endured. (President Hinckley)
Happiness is in your own hands (Elder Holland)
Fill your mind with thoughts that give hope. (Didn't catch the author)
Never let a problem to be solved be more important than a person to be loved. (Didn't catch the author)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Nauvoo Missionaries aplenty, Ramus Illinois, and The Cokeville Miracle

 Remember a few months ago when I reported that we only had 115 missionaries here in Nauvoo? Well, that has definitely changed. Below are pictures of the welcome breakfast we hold to welcome new missionaries. The Young Performing Missionaries (YPM's) are here and mayhem will break loose in a week when they start performing. The "Yippems" (YPM's) as Elder Johnson and I call them, are amazingly talented. I heard reports that there were over 300 candidates trying to qualify to come to Nauvoo as a YPM this year.

 Two of our son's came to Nauvoo with their families. What a treat for us to have a break from crazy busy to be reinvigorated with family fun. While they were here, we visited a place that used to be called Ramus in which Elder Johnson's Great-Great-Grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Johnson, settled in the 1840's. It was renamed Macedonia after the LDS people left in 1846. and today it is called Webster.
This is the site of the very first meeting house built by the Latter-day Saints in Ramus. The Mormons built temples, a Mission Training Center, Cultural Halls, 2,500 homes, etc. etc. etc. but they  met as a congregation in groves of trees rather than  build a church. This chaple was the one and only one until the saints got to Utah. That's an interesting fact I think considering how many LDS churches there are in the world today.
 Ramus is about thirty minutes from Nauvoo in today's driving time. It is actually quite close to Carthage where Elder Johnson and I served our first four months.
 The church above was reconstructed next to the original church using some of the material from the old chapel.

The plaque below sits on the property near the cornerstone markers.

 In the last few years of Joseph Smith's life, he spent quite a bit of time in Ramus as he tried to avoid the angry mobs who sought his life.

The plaque below stands a few blocks from the site of the old church. 

In Ramos at Benjamin Franklin Johnson's home, two sections of the Doctrine of Covenants were revealed, Sections 130 and 131. Benjamin was 13 years younger than Joseph Smith and Joseph fondly called him "Benny".

Joel Hills Johnson mentioned above is brother to Benjamin Franklin Johnson.

Sure love family! We'll have more visitors in a few weeks.
 Grandchildren visiting our old home, Carthage Jail.

 Wagon rides are a winner for all the guests.

 Below is a picture of one of the "groves" where the saints met for church instead of an enclosed building. It is in the flats of historic Nauvoo near the stage where the pageants are performed.

We also visited the Historic Nauvoo Cemetery.

Mission Training center or 70's Hall as they called it in 1840's

Mississippi River in background below
A couple of months ago, the movie producer TC Christiansen along with prior missionary in Nauvoo and principal of the Cokeville Elementary school, Max Excell, came to Nauvoo. We were allowed to preview the movie coming out in your town Cokeville Miracle followed by a question and answer session. I feel that a tremendous effort was made to tell the story as experienced by those involved with very little embellishment. (The joke about the dog named Peaches did not happen.)

Amazing! Heart Rending! and Miraculous! 

Will you go see Cokeville Miracle? 
You'll love it I think!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Can't help myself....more spring, Pioneer Pastimes, and Sewing Up a Storm

Spring in Nauvoo:
With all the new missionaries in training, my usual lunch spot in the conference room was unavailable so I took my lunch outside.
Can't say I was disappointed! 
Lunch in the Women's Garden in the spring....can't beat that!

 The bronze statues were primarily sculptured by Dennis Smith, my mother's cousin.

 The garden is sort of out of the way and I hadn't visited it since the snow melted.
Breath taking!

Love has overcome hate here in Nauvoo. The prophet, Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum were shot and killed by mob violence. Sadly the killing didn't end when over 12,000 people were driven from their beautiful city and warm homes in the middle of winter. Now Mormon missionaries have returned to Nauvoo with love, joy, and celebration for life and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. It's all true. I invite you to find this out for yourself.

The Light of Christ touches all people until they refuse to listen. Then that light is extinguished. Do yourself a favor and listen to that still small voice within you and allow the Savior of the world to lift your load and bring you peace.

Pioneer Pastimes is open for school tours which is almost every day this month: We are the site leaders and work there part of every day except for our preparation day which is now Thursday.
 We have costumes that the families can use to dress up for pictures. Isn't this the cutest family?

 Check out the middle top section of this picture. Do you by chance see the handles to a rake and broom? Yes, Elder Johnson was trying to knock out some rings out of the tree. We suggest you don't use tools are needed to retrieve outdoor play toys.

Sewing Room:
As I mentioned earlier, we have new missionaries aplenty who all need costumes for the sites and plays. In the past month, I personally have sewn 21 dresses and twelve aprons. It's exhausting but rewarding.

Below are shots in my new home away from home. As you see we are well equipped with equipment galore.

 Below are the surging machines each with a different color for quick seam finishing.
 We have worked all winter to begin preparing the dresses for completion. Skirts have the pockets and pleats sewn in. The sleeves have also been sewn complete with cuffs, button and button holes as well as grow tucks. This planning ahead has made it all possible.

Grandchildren to spur us on.
Granddaughter, Avry took a sculpturing class. She named this creation, "Amy". Aren't I beautiful?

These two cuties are the sweetest things in Chicago don't you think?