I will summarily show why my social life is in danger of imminent disintegration!
Well, it's been eons. Sorry about that. Though this was my 6th summer as a college student (yipes, that sounds bad....I just have a long degree, I promise!), I apparently haven't learned yet that in spite of my predictions that summer will be just oozing with free time to lounge around and post in my blog all the time, it in reality tends to be cram-packed full of activity, and inevitably feels just as busy as the school year. Perhaps more so, since it's at once less and more scheduled during summer. Let me explain:
-I worked somewhere in the neighborhood of 35-45 hours a week, took on a big new calling as Relief Society pres (which requires lots of planning), and continued to attend FHE and Institute, hence more scheduled.
-I often found myself engaged in day trips, spur-of-the-moment hanging out, meeting new people and making new friends, and impromptu actities, hence less scheduled.
Still, it was surely a summer not to be forgotten. Some highlights:
Well, above all I would have to see the journey to Nauvoo was the most memorable, useful, important, and wonderful learning, growing, and enjoying experience of the summer. There ended up being about 13 of us going --let's see if I can name them all!
Me, Joe, Sarah, Scott, Jared, Dayna, Krista, Kylee, Nicki, Michaelene, David, Nate, and Marcus!! I did it without looking!
Man was that an amazing trip. Among other things, we got to visit Joseph, Emma, and Hyrum Smith's grave sites, the Homestead which was Joseph and Emma's home in Nauvoo, the Mansion House they later lived in, the Red Brick Store where Relief Society was begun and several important revelations in D&C were received, homes of other important church leaders (John Taylor's house??? I should remember this...), as well as do a baptism session in the BEAUTIFUL Nauvoo temple, check out a blacksmith's shop and a wheelwright's shop, and see the Visitors' Center and the Family Living Center, where we learned all about what life was like living on the banks of the Mississippi back in old Nauvoo. Being there, it was so clear the sacrifice made by the early Saints as they sought for Zion and suffered so many hardships. I especially liked the evening when we walked along the road leading down to the literal banks of the Mississippi where, about every 20 feet or so, a different plaque was mounted on a fence with a snippet of a saint's diary entry from their time in Nauvoo or the exodus from there. Especially beautiful was the sight of the temple, rising up on the horizon like a beacon of warmth and safety, as we moved farther and farther down the road. I also loved going to Carthage, where the Prophet and other 3 church leaders were incarcerated preceeding the martyrdom of Joseph and Hyrum. Such a special spirit was there, so quiet and pensive. The drive to and from was of course fun as well. I rode with Scotty, Joe, and Sarah, and I particularly remember singing hyms through the hills and fields of Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois as we got closer and closer there, and Joe's exclamation of excitement as we neared our campsite of Camp Nauvoo ("Shut my mouth, it's the Mississippi River!!!!"). The boys showed us girls such sweet, kind chivalry the first night we were there. We arrived fairly late, around 1 in the morning, and had two cabins set aside for us, but because of the hour, we had to sort of let ourselves in a figure out where to park and all that (as there were no parking lots, we ended up parking our cars in the grass alongside the cabins, with the result that for the rest of the week the grass along the front of the row of cabins became sort of a mud river). The boys automatically surrendered the nicer, cleaner, bigger cabin to us, but when we couldn't figure out how to turn on the lights or the A/C, they swiftly traded us for their cabin, which did have lights and A/C. Then Scott, in all his engineer-y ingenuity, discovered the breaker for the big cabin and got the lights and A/C working, so they AGAIN moved so that we could have the nice big cabin again. I really have never met such kind, gentlemanly fellow who instinctively do their best to treat us girls like respected ladies. :) Fun, too, were the late nights in the girls' cabin (SANDWICHES!! PLANES!! BABIES!! PHEREMONES!!!) and the meals we all ate together. All in all, an extremely fun, memorable, and economical trip that was, most importantly, a learning and growing experience for me spiritually and a loving, bonding experience for all of us as friends. :)
Outside the Dutch Mill Bakery, an awesome little place where we had breakfast our first morning there.
Joseph Smith's Red Brick Store! That is definitely root beer in all of our hands. :)