Monday, July 29, 2013


This morning we woke up and got all ready. We waited just a bit because we had ended up parking next to a Camping World, and I was hoping they could change our oil. But they couldn’t fit us in. So I went out to check on the oil, transmission fluid, etc. I was dismayed to see that there was some coolant fluid under our car. I checked stuff and it all seemed okay. But as the engine ran I saw the coolant start to run as well. We were definitely leaking. This is bad.
So we all loaded up, and ran to Walmart. I bought some stop leak, some coolant, some stuff to treat oil (since I’ve never been able to change it), some stuff to treat transmission fluid and help stop leaks, and some stuff to help belts stop squealing. I put it all in. Then we prayed that the radiator would stop leaking, and we drove an hour to Kirtland, watching the temperature guage the whole way. It was okay.
 When we got there it looked like there was no leak. 

We went in and had the tours of the various places of Kirtland. The Whitney store is a place with so many important things that happened there. It is amazing to be there. I loved it. Joseph Smith did so many things there, along with his family. In one of the most important rooms, where revelations were received, the School of Prophets was held, and visions of the Savior were seen. Jacob and Sabrina were not behaving well and I was sad that Julianne wasn’t able to enjoy it the way she should because of them. But for the most part it was wonderful. 

The family at the Whitney store in Kirtland
The room at the Whitney store where much of the JST was done
The room where the School of the Prophets was held
We toured the Whitney home, which was also great. And the Johnson Inn. And the ashery and saw mill. These were all wonderful places and we really had an outstanding time. The mummies and papyri were in several of these places, so we did a little filming as well. I was able to do some searching on some of their computers to try to find some of the places where they had been. I didn’t find them all, but several of them I found some good clues to. The Riggs hotel, where they were first seen by the Prophet, I found nothing about. They were in the Frederick G. Williams home for a while, which was right by the temple. And they were in the Huntington home for a while, which was by the Morley farm. There and the Johnson Inn and the attic of the temple were all places where they were. It was great to track these down.

During all that Julianne got lunch ready, and we had a nice little lunch in the parking lot. I checked the engine again, and we are not leaking anything. I think we have had another little miracle. I said several prayers of gratitude. I think our motorhome is held together by caulk and prayers. I think our prayers have been answered so amazingly. We have been amazingly blessed. I am so grateful.
 From there we went to the Kirtland Temple. That was a great experience. I enjoyed it and the RLDS/Community of Christ church did a good job with the tour. They wouldn’t let us up to the top. I tried and tried, but it just didn’t work. We tried to have a little spiritual thought outside of the temple, but Jacob and Sabrina and to some degree the others were behaving so badly that we just couldn’t. I had to get after them and walk away for a while. Then I pulled Jacob aside for a while and then Sabrina. Finally we got to where we could do something a little nice there. 

The Kirtland Temple

The family at the door of the Kirtland Temple

Then we walked across the street to where the Prophet had a home for a while and talked about things there and did some filming. We also found some relatives’ graves in the cemetery.

At the Joseph Smith home in Kirtland
Then we drove to the Morley Farm and had a great time. I was surprised at how wonderful it was there and how much I felt the Spirit there. It was in a meeting there that the Prophet said that the church would fill the whole earth.
Today we saw many places that the Savior had been. We often felt the Spirit strongly, and I think it was a great, great experience for us.

The family at the Morley Farm
At the Morley Farm

We got to the hotel early. Tonight was a night they were hosting a dinner for folks. We ate, the kids swam, they watched tv a little, and we had a pleasant evening.
It is hard that our trip is getting close to over. It has been a great, great experience.
I checked the car again, still no leak. We are blessed.

Getting back into our ever ready motorhome at the Morley Farm

Niagra, Travel and Lebron

We had a nice night. I didn’t get enough sleep, I have not been sleeping well lately. But it was a nice night all the same. We woke up and went and had breakfast with them. They had everything for breakfast you could imagine. It could not have been nicer. We visited for quite a while as Julianne did laundry. The kids played and played. They have had so much fun with so many families. Heather Howell made us a lunch and then another sack full of snacks to take with us. She is super, super nice. I cannot get over how much wonderful hospitality we have received. It was hard to leave, everyone enjoyed each other so much.

From there we went to Niagra Falls. It was a bit tough finding parking, but it worked out okay. We went on the Maid of the Mist ride to see the falls. 

Getting ready to go on the Maid of the Mist
Getting close to Niagra Falls

BJ and Jacob before we got drenched
More of us before we got drenched
It should have been called Maid of Drench. We got close, and we got totally soaked. But the falls were amazing, and we had a great time, and I think no one will forget it. 

After we got drenched at Niagra Falls

Then we drove and drove. We drove about 40 minutes past where we wanted to be because BJ really wanted to go to Lebron James’ high school. We went there and he and Kaleb got their pictures taken. 

BJ at the school
Still BJ at the school
Kaleb at the School
Kaleb and BJ at the school

 Then we went to our hotel. On the way we saw a Friendly’s ice cream. I have such fond memories from going there with my family. So we went in. We got a dish where we got 12 scoops of ice cream. Everyone got to choose a flavor. We got to choose 6 toppings on it, so each kid got to choose one. It all got mixed together, and really wasn’t that good because of the particular mixture. But it was fun. We had a lot of fun doing that. 

Excited at Friendly's
All of us at Friendly's
 Then we got to the hotel and the kids swam while Julianne ran to the store. We had a decent night’s sleep.

Palmyra, Sweet Palmyra

We woke up early and started out for Palmyra. Everyone got dressed as we went along. We got there early enough for me to change too. As we went in to church it started raining. We had a very nice sacrament meeting. It went a bit long, but it was very good. A lot of it was about fathers because it was Father’s Day. 

When church was over we went to the RV, changed, and drove to the Sacred Grove. We wanted to be there by ourselves if possible, and it worked out fine. It was raining pretty hard, so we did some of our talking in the motorhome. As it let up a bit we went into the Grove and the trees protected us from most the rain. 

Walking in the Sacred Grove in the rain
Alexia praying in the Sacred Grove

We had some wonderful, sweet, powerful moments there as we talked about Joseph Smith and what was going on and the vision and what it meant. We sang, we testified, we read, and it was wonderful. We let everyone have some time on their own to wander a bit and pray and ponder. It was perfect, just perfect. When we were done we let people have some time for their journals while I made lunch. The Spirit bears such a powerful witness of that vision. It truly happened.

The Sacred Grove where Joseph Smith saw God

The Sacred Grove, spot of the First Vision Joseph Smith had
Jacob thinking in the Sacred Grove
We hated to leave the Sacred Grove

When lunch was over we went to the Smith cabin and the missionaries helped us talk about Moroni. Then we went to the frame house and talked about getting the plates. It was great.
The Smith family cabin, where Joseph Smith first saw Moroni
Upstairs in the Smith family Cabin, where Moroni appeared

From there we went to the Hill Cumorah. We had a nice time in the visitor’s center. Then we hiked up the hill. 
The memorial of Moroni at the Hill Cumorah
Jacob tried to pry up a rock like Joseph Smith did when he found the Gold Plates at the Hill Cumorah

Our time was ruined for a while because a few of the kids started screaming and acting so crazy and so loud that they had to be reprimanded. Then we had people getting so afraid of spiders and poison ivy that we couldn’t stay together for a while. But we talked about some of the visits of Moroni there and had a bit of an okay time.

Going up the Hill Cumorah
Not sure that the Hill Cumorah was as wooded in Joseph Smith's day

From there we went to Grandin Book Store, where we learned about printing the Book of Mormon. We talked about how important the Book of Mormon was and how well it worked out for Joseph Smith to get it printed there and how miraculous it was. It was a "grandin" time.

The dumbwaiter at the Grandin Bookstore where the Book of Mormon was published
A replica of the printing press at the Grandin Bookstore, along with replicas of the printed sheets of the Book of Mormon

Replicas of the drying printed sheets of the Book of Mormon

Then we drove to the Howell’s house. This is a family we met in Jerusalem that we really liked. They were so very kind to us. We were able to stay in a Baptist church parking lot behind their house. They fed us very well, and the kids played and played. We talked and talked. They were so very, very gracious. It was a wonderful time. They took such good care of us and the kids had so much fun.

Playing at the Howells


Harmony and Fayette

We got up very early (4:40 am) and headed out to pick up Julianne’s dad at the airport. I was worried that we might have some trouble getting in and out of Dulles airport in our RV. But it was no problem, we made it just fine. From there we drove and drove. After a long time we made it to Harmony (now Oakland PA). We easily found the monument to the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. 

Our Family in front of the monument for the Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood

Kaleb did a great job of teaching us about that. We thought it was a great thing for him to be able to do since he is close to receiving that priesthood. We talked for a while about how important that was. 

Then we found the grave of Joseph and Emma’s first baby that died. We talked about how hard things were for them often. 

Looking at the memorial for Joseph and Emma Smith's first son, who died at birth

Jacob was tired by the time we found Emma's father's grave

We walked over to the foundation of the little house they lived in while they translated most of the Book of Mormon and talked about that.

Site of the Smith home in Harmony

Our little home away from home at the site of the Memorial for the Restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood

 We found the remains of the foundation of Emma’s parents’ house. 

Julianne's Mom and I at the site of the Hale home in Harmony
Alexia, Sabrina and Jacob at the site of the Hale home foundation in Harmony

Then we drove to the trail that we hiked for a long time to get to the Susquehanna River. 

We got in and out of the motorhome a lot here

It was an interesting hike down to the Sesquehanna River
There Sabrina taught us about baptism (she gets baptized in a few months). 

The Sesquehanna River near where the ordination and baptism would have taken place
This is where Sabrina taught us about baptism

Everyone loved it at the Sesquehanna River

We also threw rocks in the river like they used to when they needed a break from translating. Everything all around there is incredibly beautiful. We had a wonderful, wonderful time. It was a series of great moments.

Throwing Rocks was a great pastime
Jacob really got into it

We drove and drove and finally made it to Fayette. There we listened to missionaries and learned about the organization of the church and finishing translating the Book of Mormon. We had a lot of great moments there too. It also became clear that our kids need to learn a little bit about how to behave when missionaries are teaching them. But all in all it was a pleasant evening. We had a picnic just outside of the Whitmer home. 

The Whitmer home in Fayette
Inside the Whitmer home where the Church was organized
Still inside the Whitmer Home

Then we were off again.
We were going to stay at the Howells. But we figured out that they have one shower, and there would be 17 of us to get ready for church the next day. We drove past a little RV park and pulled in and learned it was cheap and kid friendly. So we stayed the night. We all showered there and we recharged the RV with everything it could need. We passed a very pleasant evening there.
I am thrilled to see my kids thinking about these important things and having it sink into their souls. They are getting along pretty well now. We asked for them all to change their behavior to make a difference in how we are getting along, and they all tried a bit. BJ really took it to heart, and has gone out of his way to make things good. It has made a huge difference, a huge one. I am so grateful for that. I can see the kids learning and understanding and developing a love for the scriptures and the Restoration. Sabrina has borne sweet testimony of how she feels about baptism. Others have been similar. It has been wonderful.