Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New England with the Fam

Kirtland, OH :: Niagara Falls, NY :: Palmyra, NY :: New York City, NY :: Mystic, CN :: Plymouth, MA :: Concord, MA :: Boston, MA

Church History Sites:

The Sacred Grove
We actually went there early in the morning first. Marianne and I jogged past the corn fields, past the temple, and my family walked through the grove together.

Wonderful. Beautiful. I really have a love for Sister missionaries as they were usually the ones to take us on the tours. They were delightful, shared interesting history, but most importantly, testified of eternal principles. They made what happened two hundred years ago meaningful to me. And not just because its my heritage as a Latter-Day-Saint. In Kirtland we saw the Ash Mill. I thought that was so fascinating. There were three steps to processing ash to make marketable products, each with increasing value. The first process yielded lye (used for soap), the second pot ash, and the third pearl ash, used for making china. Pearl ash had to be in a very hot kiln for a long time but is the most valuable. The sister told us how Heavenly Father refines us through trials into the most beautiful person we can be. The most impactful message I received was in Palmyra. As we stood in the kitchen in the Smith home the sister recited the first vision and I could feel the Spirit and I knew that my Heavenly Father really had appeared to Joseph Smith. In the bedroom of the Smith boys she for some reason read Alma 36:3.
The Smith Boys Bedroom
"Whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles."

And I knew at that moment that I needed to remember that this year. It is the most challenging semester I've had so far. But I am doing my best, and trusting the Lord. He has blessed me in so many ways.

Favorite Parts:

Seeing WICKED, in NYC. Mostly I thought NYC was really worldly and it wasn't my favorite. But WICKED is a fantastic show with the following ideas of note:
-Good deeds without sincerity are no good
-Fame isn't all it's cracked up to be
-Do what's right, not what's easy or most appealing

On our way to dinner before seeing WICKED in the Gershwin Theater

Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Death of Socrates!

Plymouth, MA
This was the site of some of my best memories of the trip. First of all, this was the point that marked the end of the planned portion of our trip. The rest was slightly up in the air, which is very strange for my family. We had a very good heated discussion regarding our plans that ended in Marianne coming up with the perfect plan which we affectionately began referring to as Obama's Health plan. This hotel was not a huge tourist trap. The most exciting tenants in the place were the five elderly women wearing matching "Cousin Reunion" t-shirts. : ) It had access to a beautiful beach that we walked on in the morning and at night. We stayed two nights. It was exactly what we needed. This is also where we received our father's blessings for the school year. As you can imagine, that is invaluable to me and contributes to my warm feelings for this particular part of our trip. I have priceless memories of sitting by the ocean watching the waves crash against the rocks and feeling like I had never seen the ocean before. I felt such peace. I sat on the rocks in my swimsuit as it began to rain. Such good memories.

Plymouth, MA, Cape Cod

Quincy, MA
We toured the home and library of John Adams. That was really neat. Those were good men who founded our nation. There was a good spirit about their home. And what a library! Two floors and fire proof walls.

Concord: The Literary Center
Concord was not part of our original plan at all but when I realized how close we were I felt we had to go. It was so thrilling for me to see Louisa May Alcott's house, the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a replica of the famous cabin of Henry David Thoreau.

Louisa May Alcott's house

Me in front of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Home

Thoreau's Cabin

Walden Pond, however, was a great disappointment. We walked down to that pristine lake only to find a water hole swarming with people! Thoreau must be rolling in his grave! It did look beautiful though, and I am a sucker for lakes.... I'd say they are my body-of-water of choice. So I actually found myself wanting to join all the rest of the tourists in desecrating the hallowed place...but it just didn't fit into our schedule.

Walden Pond, Concord MA

-As we drove along the New England Coast there were many bogs by the beach. I had the greatest urge to take a canoe or kayak through one of them. But it never happened because it just didn't fit into the itinerary. I was very disappointed.
-When we went through the Metropolitan Museum of Art we took way too much time in the beginning and didn't have enough energy to slowly visit the best part - 19th and 20th Century European art. There were all sorts of artists I recognized from my Humanities classes, such as the impressionists, etc.
-Not swimming in Walden Pond

Eating with PKU
In the past my vacation menus have consisted mostly of french fries and chow mein....that gets old really quick. I consider it a great tender mercy that on this trip, despite the complication of finding meals for a whole family three times a day, I was always able to find something yummy and varied. I believe I had french fries and chow mein a total of one time each.

Candid Pictures
I have come to really love candid pictures. They are so much more authentic and revealing than posed ones. I have all sorts of philosophies about photography if you should like to hear them. I really want to learn photography one day. My camera was actually broken for this trip. But I know it was meant to be. See, usually when I take pictures it kind of consumes me to the point that I am thinking more about the picture and posting on facebook than on the scene I'm actually beholding. For me, in the past, sometimes photography encourages quite glances. But on this trip I was able to truly enjoy things and walk through a place more than once to really take it in while I was there. So I know my camera being broken was God's way of letting me enjoy the experience in the way I needed. Besides, Marianne and my Dad took tons of great pictures.

On the Beach in Boston after a long day of walking

Hudson River, Palmyra, NY

Central Park. A very hot day.