Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mississippi River

This is not a field. It is the Mississippi River at Sunset. The white stuff is ice. You can see just a little bit of water, but it's frozen. This is what the Saints would have crossed when they left in February of 1846. I have come to have a whole new appreciation and love for them. When they left, it was 30 below zero and they didn't have a nice warm home to go back to once they started out, they were left to their wagons and tents and some to no cover at all as they crossed the river to Montrose. That was the first stop on the journey. Some of them had no food or provisions, so the miracle of the quails for the early Israelites was repeated. No wonder Brigham Young was called The American Moses.

Just an old wind bag

You'll never believe it, but I couldn't blow out ten candles in one breath. I am getting old.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

My Fifty Fifth Birthday

Thank you to everyone who made this birthday special. It was so nice to hear from so many and to have such fun packages. It's nice to know that I am loved.

Happy Birthday!!!

Happy Birthday Aunt Marcia! We love you and hope you have a GREAT birthday!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The eagle has landed

This is an annual event here in Western Illinois. Each year at this time of year the eagles come to town and feed out of the dam by Keokuk. I took a lot of pictures, but look how close I ame to these guys!!! One flew off the tree and right over me and I didn't have my camera ready. I felt so bad because they are so amazing in flight.

How many feet do you have?

This is much of the equipment a shoemaker would need to make shoes. But every time I serve in Riser Boot Shop, I think of an experience my sister, Melba, and I had several years ago. Her husband, Mike, had come to fix my cooler on top of my house because I won't get up there. He sent us to the store to get some tubing to replace the old. While we were measuring the stuff, my sister said, "You watch, she'll ask us when we get up to the register, 'how many feet do you have?' and I'll answer 'Two, how many do you have?' Sure enough, we got up there and that's what she asked. I was laughing so hard, I couldn't answer, and the poor cashier just stood there wondering what was so funny. If you're not at least smiling right now, I guess you had to be there, or at least know my sister and me.

George Riser

Unfortunately, the lady taking the picture didn't understand that the more important picture was the one above the mantle. George Riser was a German Shoemaker here in Nauvoo. He and his wife have an interesting story. They came here to check out the prophet, Joseph Smith. Their son, John Jacob, took sick and he was healed by the power of the Priesthood. That made them realize they loved this new religion and they were baptised in a hole cut in the ice in the Mississippi. Their baby died a little later, but they remained true to the faith all their days.

It's not Grandpa Soup

I was at the grocery store "Ducks" here in Nauvoo, and I saw this salsa and had to buy it, just for the name. If you can't read it, it says, "Grandpa G's Salsa". It made me think of my nephew, Ryan, when he was little, who always wanted to have "Grandpa Soup" known to the rest of the world as Top Ramen Noodle Soup. It was comforting to know Grandpa G is still around.

Stoddard Tin Shop

This was one of the first tin smiths in the midwest to use patterns in making items made of tin. It also contains a most interesting mouse trap. You take a tin bucket, put a ramp of wood up to it, put a swinging board across the bucket full of water with a piece of cheese on it, and wait for the mouse to come and drown. I seriously considered using it to catch our mouse, but my companion took care of the problem.

Old Post Office

The first post office in Nauvoo was in Sidney Rigdon's kitchen. Later, it was moved to the Elias Smith Print Shop. Often they were in Dry Goods Stores. This "mail box sorter" was in Nauvoo when the Saints were here. It's now back. Just a bit of trivia that I didn't know--people could either pay their postage up front or have the person who was receiving it, pay for it. Therefore, a lot of mail was left unclaimed. The prophet Joseph Smith used to get a lot of hate mail COD, so he had to take out ads in newspapers which essential said, "If you're sending me hate me, pay for it yourself, I'm not going to claim it". Postage across the USA would cost one fourth of a day's wages and they didn't use envelopes.

Brighter than the rest

This picture was taken from our front yard. I'm not the best photographer, but it's kind of impressive to see how brightly the temple shines out. I also thought it was cool to show it in contrast to the full moon. The building next to it is the Catholic Church here in Nauvoo.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

WIlford Woodruff and Me

Sorry, I'm standing in front of the hymn books. The dogs on the mantle belonged to Wilford and Phebe. This is how he looked when he lived here in Nauvoo. We are more used to him with the white beard that he had when he was President of the Church. I was reading in his journal and someone finished the last few days, but they wrote something that reminds me of Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium. When they noted the date of his death, they simply recorded, "He dies". What else could you say about such a marvelous man who devoted his life to bringing himself, his family and others to Christ? His work still goes on as he serves on the other side of the veil. And I'm sure Phebe is right there beside him.

Indoor Plumbing

Sitting in the corner you see a black chair. It is a potty chair. When you think of running out in the middle of the night, it was pretty amazing that they had all the comforts we have, except they had to empty the pot when the morning came.

Wilford's hat box

This traveled with him on the eight missions he served. I was thinking as I looked at it, I have brought nothing with me on this mission that went to Germany with me, except my love of missionary work and the German people.

Wilford's Reading Glasses and Bible

We are not allowed to touch these things, but it is enough to stand there and look at the very scriptures that were studied by a prophet of God and one of the most successful missionaries in the history of the Church. I don't think you will be able to see it in the next picture, but his hymn book is on the mantle of the fireplace--one of eight he built into the home. When he returned from England, he swore he'd never be that cold again, so he made sure his home was one of warmth. I'm thinking it was more than fire place warmth, but it was also warmed by the power of the Spirit that dwelled in that home.

Phebe Woodruff

Said Wiford of Phebe, "Phebe posesses too much firmness and faith in God and confidence in God to put her hand to the plough and lok back or to wholly give way to such trials. She is determined, like Ruth, to forsake her kindred and country for Christ's sake and my own, and the cause in which she is engaged. As I behold this principle beaming in her daily walk, heart and countenance, it binds my whole soul to her stronger than death or the bars of a castle." He wrote this just before they moved west after only living in their beautiful red brick home for 100 days as they had been serving on missions and doing the work of the Lord.

The Parlor at Kimball's house

When Heber and Vilate arrived in Nauvoo, they were penniless. They did the best with what they had. They lived in this lovely brick home for about 5 months before they had to leave it, and then lived in tents and covered wagons and log cabins for another 6 years before they got into their nice home in Salt Lake City. The clock and andiron belonged to the Kimballs while they lived in Salt Lake. The Kimball family brought it back to Nauvoo when Dr. LeRoy Kimball, great grandson to them came back and established Nauvoo Restoration, Inc. Just a note of interest, President Spencer W. Kimball was 5 years older than Dr. Kimball, but he was a grandson and Dr. Kimball was a great grandson.

Vilate Kimball

She gave birth to their son, David, in a lean to built from a barn that Heber C. had torn apart to make their home in the winter of 1839. She also encouraged Heber to serve his mission to England. She told him, "It's just a trick of the devil. If you don't go now, it will be something else. No, you go, we will be alright." That same son, David Patten Kimball, was one of the rescuers of the Martin Willie Handcart Company. Is it any wonder?

Heber C. Kimball

I have thought a lot about this man. He was such a loyal and faithful friend to the prophet, Joseph Smith, but also a loyal and faithful friend to Brigham Young. One of my favorite missionary stories is how he is deathly ill, laying in a wagon bed as he and Brigham take off for their mission to England. His family is ill except for a four year old son. Mary Ann Young and her family are there, too. Heber says, "I will comfort my wife." He and Brigham stand in the wagon and cheer, "Hoorah for Israel! Hoorah for Israel! Hoorah for Israel!" The women scramble to the door and wave, "God bless you!" Such is the faith of these early Saints.

Sunset on the Mississippi

It's hard to imagine how beautiful this really is, but this is what the sunsets are like every night here. This is taken from our back door. The little line through the snow is deer tracks. We have deer running through our yard almost every night.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Third President of the Church

Although it has not been proven that the watch stopped the bullets, or if the fall against the window by the bullets striking Elder Taylor broke the watch, this faithful man was willing to put his life on the line for the prophet, Joseph Smith. His record gives an invaluable account of the events of that awful day and even gives us the exact time of the martyrdom. He recorded in his journal, "My life has been preserved for a reason". That reason, among others, was to be the third president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Joseph James Taylor Rocking Horse

After the Saints left Nauvoo, one night their son was crying without consolation. Finally, John Taylor learned that it was over the rocking horse left behind. Under cover of night, Elder Taylor came back to Nauvoo and got the horse for his son. The Taylor family donated it back to the church and it sits in the nursery of the John Taylor home. What a dad! Reminds me of mine.

"Sister Leonora"

Everything I read about the women of Nauvoo leaves me in awe. Sister Leonora Cannon Taylor came to Canada because of a dream she had. She met and married John Taylor and then they joined the church together in 1836. One of the remarkable things about her was her willingness to support the work of the Lord. She lived in a log cabin that had holes so big skunks could run in and out of the cabin at will (let alone mice). She got really sick, but she kept on plugging. She lost children, but she didn't lose her faith.

John Taylor and Me

This is what President John Taylor looked like when he lived here in Nauvoo. This hangs in the parlor of the John Taylor home. When I was taking the picture, it put me in the reflection. I guess that made me realize how I should always be standing in the shadow of the prophet.
He was a Methodist Minister when Parley P. Pratt knocked on his door. He was a member of a group known as the "Truth Seekers". What a great experience to know how faithful he was to the commission given him of the Lord.

From Far West to Nauvoo

The printing press that was here in Navuoo was brought here from Far West. The Saints hid it under hay in one of the member's yards. After they got here, some of the brethren went back and got it and the presses were rolling again. The Book of Mormon was put onto sterotypes (I always wondered where that word came from) and about 2000 copies were printed here. This was thanks to the miraculous work of Ebeneezer Robinson. He went totally on faith and $105 in his pocket to Ohio, where he comissioned plates to be built. He also got some of the printing done. It was about a $1000 job, but he trusted in the Lord and got the job done. Isn't that what we need to do?

Nauvoo Neighbor Anyone?

This is one of two printing presses here in the print shop at Nauvoo. Although it is not original to Nauvoo, it was like the one that would have been used to print the Times and Seasons, which came out twice a month, and the Nauvoo Neighbor, which came out weekly. To print 600 copies of each, it took over 150 man hours. It took three people just to run this press. I am putting the printed page into the printer.

Don Carlos Smith

Don Carlos was Joseph Smith's youngest brother. He was a printer here in Nauvoo. He worked long and hard to publish the Times and Seasons. This was when the printer's shop was at the Corner of Water and Bain. They were in the basement of the building, which was always damp, and often they had to throw out the paper because it was too wet. He did when he was 25 years old, but he was ever faithful to the prophet and to the building up of Zion.

Christmas Morning

To all the non-believers out there, Santa Claus did come to Nauvoo. When my companion woke up and found her stocking filled with goodies and a group of presents sitting on the couch with her name on them, she really did believe. It was a lot of fun!