Sunday, December 27, 2015

12 December 2015

December and where is winter? Idaho is covered in snow, Arizona has cold temperatures and Illinois is warm and green. We were able to golf this entire month.

There is not a month of the year that has more activities than December. We have been so busy with work and events around Christmas. Since the weather has been warm for this month (minus a few days in the 20s), we have had time away from the temple duties to be out of doors.

Deer Run golf course is but 12 miles down the road in Hamilton, Ill. For $8 one can golf 9 holes either front or back. It is a great 18 hole course and good exercise while carrying your bag. Dawn has been my partner and John Massey from Farmington, Utah is my other partner.

Birds are the next interest for this December. The area is full of birds wintering in this area. Geese, ducks, eagles, hawks and pelicans frequent this area on the Mississippi river. Our back yard is full of gold finches, crested titmouse, chickadees, woodpeckers, sapsuckers, wrens, blue jays and cardinals.

Well, I put out a feeder and they flocked in to eat the oiled sunflower seeds. I tried the seed bells but the woodpeckers tore them apart looking for the sunflower seeds.

Dawn and I adopted two sock monkeys for our family this month since we did not have any little ones to spend Christmas with this year. I also created a picture of Stephanie post op following her clavicle repair. Next we put up a Christmas tree we got at the Nauvoo post office left by someone leaving for the season. It was festooned by popcorn and paper chains made in our apartment.

Since we are in home at night we often read after work. I finished a book  Steph recommended “ A View of the Hebrews and followed by “The Mound Builders, Cahokia and Ancient American Archeology. I finished reading the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price since we have been in Nauvoo. I am now reading the 1840 edition of the Book of Mormon without chapter and verse. It is fascinating to read as text. I am also half way through Genesis of the Old Testament.

Throughout the week we often go to the Family Search Center next to the temple and do genealogical research. Dawn has collected over 100 family names and completed all the ordinances for each person. I have about 35 completed. We also have sent names to our older grand children to do the baptisms and confirmations.

Luckily we discovered a local exercise gym here in Nauvoo. Brandon Motley ( a young man  body builder) has invested a tremendous amount of money in equipment and located in the abandoned  Nauvoo grade school right in the middle of town. No more driving to Keokuk to work out at the YMCA.

The events of Christmas have been many. We visited the Nauvoo sites for an evening of celebration following the lighting of the Visitors Center Christmas tree and traveled by horse drawn wagon. We attended the rehearsal of the “Messiah”  in the Catholic church next to the temple. We have had a number of meals and Christmas programs with the combined Site missionaries.

We have also had meals and programs at the Arrival Center just for the temple missionaries. Also, a group of our missionary friends visited a live Nativity near Ft. Madison in an old barn as we were transported by horse and wagon.  It seemed like it never ended as our time was saturated with things to do.

We connected with our family by cards and Face Time. We sent money to each of our kids and asked they take our grand kids to dinner for Christmas. We also sent “Brick em Young” Lego set of the Nauvoo temple to Indy and the Russell kids. (Dawn and I have our own!). I personally sent bird identification books to the young kids hoping they will get a feeder soon. In addition, I purchased them a pair of binoculars to get a view of the birds.

December is spent and so are we! So glad Christmas comes but once a year! Now I can honestly say I am looking forward to a New Year here in Nauvoo.

Woodpecker and Cardinal for lunch

Golfing Deer Run standing of an ancient mound

Our adopted sock monkeys

Steph with reconstruction of her clavicle

Stole another day at the golf course in December

Dawn at Catholic Messiah

Another day on the golf course

Reading material

Dawn with her driver, she birdied this hole across the pond!

Squirrel attempting to steal the bird seeds

At the "Living Nativity"

Christmas dinner at the Arrival Center

Caroling at the temple

Caroling at the Arrival Center

Dawn with her Lego set 

Cold day for golf but no snow!

Our Christmas photo with our tree in the background

Home reading my books

Lighting of the Christmas tree at the Visitors Center

Nativity at the Family Center

Picking up the last of the leaves of  fall

Family File Cards!

Cardinals are many!

Galesburg hospital where Dawn was born

Breakfast after a work out at Motley Gym

Can we get one more golf game before the snow?

Christmas program at the Stake Center

Horse ride at the Ft. Madison barn

Indy with temple Lego

One more Christmas meal!

Beya doing family names in the Bountiful temple

Christmas decorations with our state bird

December evening in Nauvoo

Thursday, November 26, 2015

11 November 2015

The beauty of Nauvoo in November is in full color as we drive through the woods. There have been days we have been warm and comfortable out of doors. However, we have just 2 days a week we are not working an eight hour shift.

So this report is more about the work at the Nauvoo Temple. Our schedule like this:

Off Sunday but traveling 160 miles to attend church in Galesburg, IL. (More on our visits later on in this blog).

Off Monday: Clean the house, wash our clothes, after we get back from the YMCA in Keokuk, Iowa. Each  Monday Dawn and I spend an hour and a half exercising in the gym. I still lift free weights, use the machines and either jog on the treadmill or up on the elipse (for one hour). Then rest up for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Our assignments vary, we work in initiatory,baptistery, recommend desk or attend or officiate for endowments. We do lots of proxy sealings and endowments.

There are lots of things to do here and before we started Saturday afternoon shift we took a tour bus on the martyrdom trail to Carthage. Dr. Dunn has a tour business and travels about discussing the early pioneers and church history. This tour took us around the town of Nauvoo telling about the spots where Joseph and the saints held their meetings. Also, the Expositor printing house, the lot the militia would practice. Nauvoo, iL had 12, 000 men in the militia and nearly exceeded the state of Illinois militia.

We then took route to Carthage for Nauvoo and Dr. Dunn expounded on specific spots of significance. Finally we ended up at the Carthage jail and their the guide reenacted events of the martyrdom.

We did drive to Pekin one afternoon following stake conference. We wanted to see her great aunt who lives in that area. 

Unfortunately she was not home. But during the week our driving is from our house to the temple (7minute walk). You ask , why don’t you just walk to work if it is only seven minutes from your house? Well, we have until the second week of this month. Last night we had severe storm warning and possible tornado. The wind blows hard and we are getting off after 10 PM. I am tired and we want to get home quickly so we take the car. Also, day light savings time caused it to get dark earlier.

Now the temple is closed for 14 days, to be cleaned and electrical updates. So we have done some travel with our friends the Ludwigs. We went west to the small town of Cantril, Iowa. Just an hour away we arrived in an Amish community and stopped at the largest and only business open in town. The “Dutchman” general store. Inside the market place took up half the space. The other side of the building was clothing, tools, apparel, toys etc. We spent an hour in the market and filled our cart with customary food plus a few new items like, pickled eggs, Buckmister Beer (non alcohol), home-made bread, tons of spices and bags of specialty flour, seasoning and grains. 

Before we left the store I spent almost $200, but Dawn did buy new shoes (New Balance running shoes) which jumped up the expense.
We had dinner at the one and only local diner. I had a pork chop burger with lettuce, onion and tomato.

Next we traveled to the small town of Beauregard. It is significant because the saints travel through there on their way to Winter Quarters.  Just a little further and you come to historic Bentonsport, Iowa. All the shops, museum, eateries were closed. We spent only a few minutes there before driving home.

We decided to take a detour and visit Montrose, IO before crossing over into Illinois. Montrose is the area Joseph Smith crossed over to avoid the mobs. There is a terrific meat market there and the only store open. We bought beef, pork and no more pickled eggs!

Last weekend we left for Galesburg on Saturday stopping in Monmouth, IL to play golf at the Gibson Woods Golf Course. It was a beautiful hilly course. That evening we had dinner with Barbara Wynkoop at the Joy Garden Chinese restaurant, all before attending the Orpheum Theater.

Dr. Polay, the orchestra conductor had tickets for us on Saturday evening presentation. It was outstanding and especially the cello solo by Maurice Cohn. Then we attended church the next morning. Brother Dobson and I visited several families inviting them to church. Afterwards we ate a meal with he and his wife Becky outside Galesburg.

Heavy rain has come to Nauvoo. It is still warm and no snow. This month is closing in and we are returning to the temple on the 24th of November. We have seven new couples coming to serve at the end of the month. Dee and Linda Holmes are from Pocatello.
During the two week break while the temple was closed I helped install new TV, DVDs and bathroom exhaust fans in the apartments of the temple missionaries.

The way you end the month of November is to have Thanksgiving. We ended with a terrific dinner at the Arrival Center next to the temple. There were about 60 folks with two families visiting Nauvoo; President McArther’s family visiting from St. George, Utah and Elder Chapman with two young grand- children.  Dawn provided a pumpkin pie cake and dressing. I made the mashed potatoes.

Thus ends the month of November with the bikes put away for winter and the leaves raked off our lawn. Tonight is heavy with rain.

Cantril, Iowa (Mennonite store) 

Deaf Mennonite Sister

Shop till you drop at Dutchman's market

Last of the fall bike rides
Dr. Polay orchestra conductor

Galesburg theater

Our first snow

Carthage jail

Montrose, Iowa looking back at Nauvoo temple across the mighty Mississippi

Riding to Galesburg each Sunday 80 miles one way
Gibson Wood Golf course in Monmouth, Illinois on our way to Galesburg.

Driving in the fall to Keokuk, Iowa
Early morning jog with Sister Bailey

Carriage ride 

Last day golf in November at Deer Run Golf Course in Hamilton, Illinois

Thanksgiving dinner at the Arrival Center

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

10 October 2015
Nauvoo, Illinois is our place of residence. The first week here we were in training for three straight days. The operation of this temple is complex since it is a destination site and has so many visitors.

We have seen people from all over the world come here since we have arrived. i.e Istanbul, Hawaii, Japan are just a few examples of folks visiting here. It is amazing who come. Just last week Chad Stanger from Idaho Falls was here visiting his sister and brother-in-law the Archibalds from Shelley, ID.

Dawn and I have bicycles left over from her cousins the Brinleys. We ride in the mornings of our preparation day. There are side roads without traffic. This place is isolated and very rural. The Sylvestors showed us routes we can ride along the historic trails of the pioneers.

Last week we visited a large dairy in Missouri. The Hartland Dairy has 9000 cows and milks half of them along with several thousand goats. The operation uses inmates from local jails to rehabilitate them back into society. Not so successful, with only less than 5% ever break the drug habit.

We also have had time to do Family History and spend time at the Family Search Center with research. Dawn had had success and provided many names for us to do the ordinances between our work schedule.

We have also had several dinners with those on our temple missionary staff. Last week we were at President McArthur’s home (he is the temple president and the missionary president). He is a wonderful guy and speaks Japanese, so when the tour came from Japan he was able to take them through the temple ordinances successfully.

Today we went to church in Galesburg, Ill. some 80 miles to the east. It is a nice drive through the farmlands of this beautiful state. However, we saw many dead animals along the roadway (35 skunks, raccoon or opossums). Be more careful as you cross the road.

The big event so far for us was our 10K run on Saturday the 10th of October. It started in Hamilton (14miles away) and we ran down highway 26 for 3.1 miles then back to Hamilton. It was a very clear day but the temperature was mighty low and I was freezing before the run. Dawn and I stayed together and completed the entire distance in good time. She and I only stopped for Gatorade and water.

Our plans are to investigate the Indian mounds of the area. The entire heartlands are filled with evidence of people living here during the Nephite and Lamanite generations.   

Chad Stanger showed up at our home this week, he as visiting his sister on her birthday, Sister Archibald from Shelley. They are serving as Temple missionaries. I had not seen Chad for 40 years. He and I were teaching school together at Ammon Jr. High in 1969.

Dawn and I golfed yesterday at the Deer Run golf course in Hamilton. It was a wonderful course of 18 holes. We did 9 holes since we had to get back for temple service. It was a beautiful fall day and the trees are turning red and yellow with warm sunny days. I hope the weather holds.

Today we rode our bikes to the Sycamore Creek Indian burial grounds. We saw several of the “Hopewell” type mounds found in this area. It is fascinating to me to think these ancient civilizations could have been the ancestors of the Lamenite and Nephite peoples.
We also worked as site missionaries this week, Dawn at the Lucy Mack Smith house and I was in the Brickyard. We tell tourists about the life here in Nauvoo in the 1800s. Wish we had more time to spend in that part of the mission.

We are going to Galesburg each Sunday to help out in the ward. There is a new HPGL (Bro. Dobson) and I am helping him reactivate the members of the High Priest group.
The six month temple missionaries will be going home in two weeks. The shift changes and we go back to winter hours. This is good since we will be loosing about 80 workers.

Next week there is a Halloween celebration here and it is big in Nauvoo.  I might add we have had warm weather and a very nice rain yesterday the first since August. The cold has not arrived yet and we are still getting tomatoes off the vines.

The last Saturday of October we took a tour with Dr. Dunn (church historian) and traveled in his van during a heavy rain along the trail to Carthage where Joseph Smith was martyred. There is so much history in this area of the early church.
Next week is our last week before the shutdown for 2 weeks as they clean the temple. We will start on a new schedule when we return for the winter months.

Great River Road Run

Mississippi River in the fall


Browning Gunsmith Store

Last of the tomatoes

Heartland Dairy Tour

Chad Stanger visit to the Russells with Archibalds

Mike and Ned Percherons

Wagon rides at Nauvoo

Color change on the trees at the temple

Riding to the Indian mounds

Hopewell mounds throughout Illinois 

Lucy Mack Smith Hodgson Russell 
Golfing has been good due to terrific weather