12 November, 2016

New Hampshire and Vermont

Earlier this week we went to New Hampshire with some friends, and drove through Vermont to visit the birth place of Joseph Smith on our way home. 

It was such a wonderful three days! 

Road trips are not the same as they used to be when it was just us and Gage and Kjel. But they are fun in a new way. Lots of snack-and-water-passing (so fortuitous that Gage is in that strategic spot to be the passer-back-guy), compromising with Will (who insists on being naked in his carseat after a half hour or so of driving), and saying, "Shhh, just listen to the music and look out the window if you're carsick". The fun parts are chatting with Gage, listening to him coo and giggle with Merit, and snatching moments here and there to talk with Steven.

We had downloaded "Little Women" on audible during our Utah trip and still had like fifteen hours left of it, so we listened to it while I drove for a couple hours both ways. Everyone perked up when we heard both Mrs. March and Jo say our family motto this year: Hope and keep busy.

The scenery was UNBELIEVABLE. The covered bridges and pumpkin fields were majestic. I LOVE the northeast!

Our kids loved playing with some of their best friends. The first night they all stayed up late talking, playing, watching movies, and eating snacks. Super fun :).

We went to hike the basin on the Appalachian trail. It was cold and a bit rainy, but still absolutely beautiful!!! I can't wait to go back again when it's green.

On the drive home, we stopped in Sharon, Vermont to see the birth place of Joseph Smith.

My heart is really feeling full typing this. I've written about this before, but one of my deepest desires is to have a burning testimony of Joseph Smith. I've always believed that he was a prophet, and known that because I have a solid testimony of the Book of Mormon and the rest of the restored gospel, that I must have a testimony of Joseph Smith. But it's never been burning. Do you know what I mean?

I've spent the last couple of years dedicating study time to different aspects of Joseph Smith's life. One of my favorite resources are the Lectures on Joseph Smith by Truman G. Madsen.

I felt the Spirit as we pulled in the long drive to get to the visitor's center. The buildings are surrounded by woods, and there are speakers in the woods playing hymns. It was so peaceful and filled with good.

Do you want to know one of my favorite stories about the Prophet? It's from the talk The Abundant Life by Joseph B. Wirthlin.

One day, a group of eight African Americans arrived at the Prophet’s home in Nauvoo. They had traveled from their home in Buffalo, New York, some 800 miles away, so they could be with the prophet of God and with the Saints. Although they were free, they were forced to hide from those who might mistake them for runaway slaves. They endured cold and hardship, wearing out shoes and then socks until they walked on bare feet all the way to the City of Joseph. When they arrived in Nauvoo, the Prophet welcomed them into his home and helped each of them find a place to stay.
But there was one, a girl named Jane, who did not have a place to go, and she wept, not knowing what to do.
“We won’t have tears here,” Joseph said to her. He turned to Emma and said, “Here’s a girl who says she [doesn’t have a] home. Don’t you think she has a home here?”
Emma agreed. From that day on, Jane lived as a member of the family.
Years after the Prophet’s Martyrdom and after she had joined the pioneers and made the long trek to Utah, Jane said that sometimes she would still “wake up in the middle of the night, and just think about Brother Joseph and Sister Emma and how good they [were] to me. Joseph Smith,” she said, “was the finest man I ever saw on Earth.”7

I believe that Joseph Smith was exactly who and what he said he was. I believe that he was an honorable, noble man. I felt peace standing next to the place where he was born. I do not have no know every detail about his life to know who he was. After learning so much about him, I do feel like he is my friend. I am excited to meet him and to hug Emma in the next life. 

I loved this part of our trip. 

We finished things off at a cute little restaurant called 5 Olde Tavern where we all got totally stuffed. My kids had excellent restaurant manners! Which is truly miraculous. Will bumped his head pretty hard at one point, but beyond that I don't remember any other tears being shed! Hallelujah.

Good, sweet, happy trip. I loved it, and I love being home :).

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