"I can tell God lives here," Carter said.
This week our family took a small trip to the city of Nauvoo, Illinois. We stayed over night, and took in many of the sights. It was wonderful, and next time we visit we plan on staying longer- there was simply too much to do and see!
We started our drive and stopped for lunch. The boys saw a Harley Davidson store and insisted on visiting and shopping for their dream vehicles. They are motorcycle freaks! Not sure where they get their passion from, but they sure love them!
When we arrived in Nauvoo, we immediately drove past the Nauvoo Temple. The kids were all quiet, and Carter gasped, and said, "Wow! Guys, I know where we are! This is Heaven! Yes, I can tell God lives here." It was quite amazing to hear his little voice seriously proclaim his feelings. Indeed, the very special feelings in Nauvoo could be experienced by everyone!
After dropping our luggage off at the Motel Nauvoo, we went to the Nauvoo Visitors' Center. We were greeted by Sister Missionaries who gave us a tour, and the boys were excited to sit near the beautiful Christus Statue and listen to scripture recordings.
After finishing at the Visitor's Center, we went into the Nauvoo Monument to Women.
After seeing the statues, and taking some pictures (Isn't Harrison a little ham?) we headed over to the brickyard.
We need to take a tangent now, and tell a story:
Years ago, when we only had one little child, Kurt and I were discussing Church Missions. Kurt was reflecting on his life, and postulating what would have happened to him if he had been raised a member of the Church, and called on a mission. He wondered where he would have gone, what he would have done, how some things may have been different or ended up the same. We talked about our children going on missions, and our hopes for the future. Kurt looked at me, and smiled, and romantically took my hand and said that he was excited for our future, because we would be able to serve as Senior Missionaries together someday. He gave a little sigh, and then wondered aloud about where we would be sent. I broke the moment's quiet reverence by literally jumping up and down and saying, "I KNOW! I KNOW!" Taken aback by my new enthusiasm, Kurt asked me where I thought we would be sent. "NAUVOO!!!" I practically shouted with joy. I then rambled on and on about how I could practically see Kurt in pioneer clothing, hands muddy, making bricks at the brickyard, and how I could smell the gingerbread from the cookies I would be passing at the bakery. I talked for nearly an hour about all the things we would do while there, where we would live, and the people we would meet. Kurt had never been to Nauvoo, but remembered this conversation well, and as we stepped into the courtyard of the Nauvoo Brickyard, Kurt took a picture. I asked what he was doing, and he smiled his most charming smile, and said, "I want to remember the first day I walked to what will be my job someday!" So, even before entering or taking a tour, the Nauvoo Brickyard held a special place in our hearts.
While at the Brickyard the boys discovered how to make bricks. Specifically, the children learned about hacking bricks, and where the term, "Can't hack it" comes from!
While on our way to the Blacksmith, we stopped to watch a barge float along the Mississippi River.
We then had a nice tour of the Blacksmith shop!
While at the Blacksmith, we were presented with Nauvoo Prairie Diamond rings! It was really sweet because later, at home, Kurt got down on one knee and proposed to me with one of them! My wedding ring still has not fit since I had Seraphina, so it was really sweet that Kurt was so romantic with our beautiful little souvenir! (Prairie Diamonds are nails that are hammered into rings. The nail head has a diamond shape, and the rings are called Prairie Diamonds!)
We saw a few more sites and then picked up tickets to the play "Rendezvous in Old Nauvoo!" The kids adored the play, and had a lot of laughs!
After the play, we went back to the motel and then decided to take a walk around the town. We went to the local school and the kids played at the park, and then we walked to the Nauvoo Temple and watched the sunset. It was a beautiful way to end the day!
We walked back to the motel, and enjoyed a peaceful night's rest!
The next morning, Kurt and I took turns doing Endowment Sessions at the Nauvoo Temple. Words cannot express the supreme holiness that resides within those sacred rooms, or the overwhelming joy and purpose that can be found within the House of the Lord. It is truly breathtaking and awe inspiring!
The Nauvoo Temple has a building next door for waiting families- it had toys, a crib, rocking chairs, and more! There were beautiful places to sit and read, and soft music playing. The kids enjoyed themselves, and it was really nice to be able to sit back while they played! Sorry for the blurry pictures of Seraphina- she is always on the move!
We then went back to Old Nauvoo and visited the bakery (Where I may serve, someday! Hey- I can hope!), the Family Center, and a few more sites. (**Pictures to come- they are on Kurt's phone) Before leaving we took a carriage ride! The boys loved the horses!
One of the many places to visit while in the Nauvoo area, is Carthage Jail. Carthage is a very special place. We arrived late in the day, and were fortunate to have a private tour. During our tour, we sat in the bedroom where the Prophet Joseph Smith, his brother, and friends, were horrifically attacked by a mob. The feelings in that room are incredible- and brought tears to Kurt and me. Our little infant, Seraphina, stayed silent during the recollection of the events that occurred the last night of Joseph Smith's life, and all of our children could feel the Spirit witness to them, and they stayed reverent and quiet.
The boys look through the window, where the Prophet Joseph Smith was killed.
It was a really wonderful trip, and rejuvenated us as a family. It was a welcome distraction as we continue to wait on job leads, and look to the future. The visit to Nauvoo made us remember that there have been much bigger trials than ours, and it humbled us greatly. While visiting, we were given a larger eternal picture- walking through the streets helped us remember that the past is never far behind, and our futures span eternity. Our earthly cares may currently be many, but our lives are aligned with God's plans for us, and in the end- that is really all that matters.