This is my simple photo journal. I like to take pictures and once a month or more, I load them onto this blog so that we can remember some of our family highlights.


Fall Trip To NY and Boston

We have been planning to take our kids on a church/American history trip for a few years now.
We wanted them all to be old enough to find it interesting and to 
go before Cole graduates.  It was decided that this October break was our window.  
After talking with some of Tom's sisters about it, 
we decided that a traveling caravan would be even more fun.

This post contains a lot of pictures and highlights that will probably 
only be interesting to family and some friends.   
Of course all are welcome to take a peak...

just click on the names below

Niagara Falls

Left to Right Back Row:  Bonnie Shill, Spencer Gurr, Anita, Mike and Carol Tingey, Jill Geigle, Jacob Wood, Lori and Mike Wood, Chad Coon, Cozi Shill, Sherri Gurr, Sophie Collins, Annie Ashby, Summer and Meg, Mark Shill, Luke Shill, Tom, Cole, Mckay Anderson, Pete Geigle
Front Row: Travis Tingey, Abe Geigle, James Anderson, Maryanne Wood, Max Wood, Rebecca Wood, Tessa Geigle, Grace Gurr, Ike, Nate Gurr, Coco Tingey, Ruth Collins, Melissa, Blake Tingey, Grant Gurr, Joanna Gurr, Janie Geigle, Beth Coons, Lizzy Wood, and Daniel Wood.
We began our week long journey in Buffalo, NY.  
Monday morning all 42 of us loaded onto a chartered bus with our
hosts Paul and Dawn Schween and a great bus driver, Duane. 
For the bus ride, Anita assigned a short devotional each morning and evening.
We had a song, prayer and short thought in the morning and
discussed our favorite highlights in the evening.  
We also had a short introduction to what we would be seeing that day with
some fun trivia facts.  

First stop for the fun bus was Niagra Falls.  
 When we pulled up to the border, the Canadian official walked onto our bus, asked us if we all had passports, wanted some of our treats, and then called it good.  That saved us about an hour.
It is a lot different leaving the U.S. than entering it.
I think Customs didn't want this traveling zoo entering the building.  Wise decision.

This was our first good look at the American Falls from the bus.

The first of many lines for this herd.
It felt like we were at Disneyland.
"No touching, screaming, or bugging your neighbor" rule was in force.

Being from the desert, we were impressed with the beautiful fall colors. 

And we were quite impressed with the fancy-looking dark squirrels.  

Top of the Horseshoe Falls.
I couldn't get a picture of one below or I wouldn't have a functioning camera.
It felt like we were in a hurricane at the base of the falls.  Incredible how powerful water can be.

The Niagra River which empties Lake Erie into Lake Ontario


Our next stop was the Sacred Grove located in Palmyra, NY.
It is sacred because 193 years ago, 
God and His Son Jesus Christ appeared to 14 year old Joseph Smith there, in answer to prayer.
As a Mormon, this is the anchor to everything I believe.  

A replica of the Smith family home in 1820.
11 family members lived here. 

 Back entrance 

Pathway leading into the grove

While riding the bus from Niagra Falls to Palmyra, we listened to a great talk entitled
Stand in the Sacred Grove given by Elder Marlin K. Jensen.
Included is a section called Life's lessons from the Sacred Grove.  
He draws parallels to how trees grow and how we grow closer to God.
1.  Trees always grow toward the light.
2.  Trees require opposition to fulfill the measure of their creation.
3.  Trees are best grown in forests, not in isolation.
4. Trees draw strength from the nutrients created by previous generations of trees.

    Right before entering the grove, my brother in law, Mark, shared a few thoughts.
He shared part of Joseph's own account.
"So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.

I wish I could have bottled up the feeling that was there as we walked through the grove.
The peaceful rush of wind, trees, sunlight, and falling leaves, was like nothing I have ever experienced.
I was so happy to be here with my family.  

There are several meandering pathways,
 making it possible to be on your own as you walk the grounds.

After a good amount of time spent at the Sacred Grove,
we headed to Hill Cumorah which is about 3 miles away.
This is the site where the golden plates containing
the Book of Mormon were buried by an ancient prophet named Moroni.

The visitor center that sits at the base of the hill.

The Cumorah monument with Moroni stands at the top of the hill.
  This is one of 5 locations that Moroni is represented holding a book instead of a trumpet.
It is a fitting honor to a prophet that kept the records safe and then buried them on this hill to be preserved for future generations.

 Tom, Jill, Bonnie, Anita, Beth, Ruth, Sherri, and Carol

The view from the top of Cumorah.
These are the grounds that the Hill Cumorah Pageant is held in July.
I would love to come back and see it one day.

The next day we went to the Palmyra Temple. 
 It is located right across the highway from 
the Smith farm and Sacred Grove.

From the front of the temple you can look out and see the top of the Sacred Grove.

The kids that were 12 and older were able to do some temple work for some of our ancestors.

We then headed back to the Smith farm to tour the 2 homes that the Smiths lived in.

Joseph Smith's older brother, Alvin envisioned and built 
this second and much larger home for the family.  

“...I am going to have a nice pleasant room for father and mother to sit in, and everything arranged for their comfort, and they shall not work any more as they have done.” 
Alvin died at the age of 25 before it was completed. 

This is Alvin's Tree

The family planted this tree to honor him when
he died and here it still stands there next to the home he built for his family.
I would much rather have a tree planted instead of a grave marker.

Inside the home

Under these very bricks is where the Smith family helped Joseph keep the 
gold plates safe and hidden from the many attempts to steal them.

A bible from the time period. It is opened to the book of James.

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

The last stop that we made before heading to Boston was the Grandin Press.  
This is where the first edition of the Book of Mormon was published and printed in 1830.

We then loaded back on the bus and headed to Boston.