So...picking up our trip at our hotel in Beechwood, Ohio (about 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland & yes....the R&R Hall of Fame) which was the most centrally located (thanks again Etta May Travel) for the next 3 places on the agenda. Now you have to understand that when we travel I always try to have access to a suite with a kitchen due to my over-the-top-hyper-sensitive allergies..which makes travelling and eating out anywhere a real nightmare. On this trip I wasn't able to pull it off so we did the best we could relying on daily trips to the Whole Foods market to get fresh and safe food for me. One evening I was just plain tired of "making do" so we ventured out to a restaurant that served just regular everyday food and hoped they had a chef not just a cook. Well...the food fairies were looking out for us that night cause we not only got a chef....but one with a real sense of adventure. When he heard what my allergies were he made a point of coming out to talk to us...and continued to check on us a few times during our meal. So... I challenged him to just have fun and make up something for me and did he ever go to town....it turned out to be FOR SURE some of the BEST food I have eaten in years...!he even sent me home with the extra of his "for me custom sauce". He just made my night....a very talented and fun chef...YOU ROCKED & a BIG THANK YOU!!!
We....got up and headed out for the #2 of 4 stops here....of course...with the pilgrimage to the nearest Outlet Mall in Aurora, Ohio. Outlet malls are always near the top of "what to dos" after Krispy Kreme....i have my priorities in order....never fear. It couldn't have been a lovelier Fall day....perfect temperature & VoR's favorite stores...and I found my way to the Yankee Candle store. Not sure why the smells in there don't bother me like other similar stores except that they have a pretty large "clean & fresh" section of naturally mellow natural scents and I don't really stray from there...except for a seasonal candle for good measure (pumpkins for fall....mmmm). Now it may be the perfect place for my nose....the credit card...that's an entirely different matter....sigh!! I only go every couple of years and so I stock up. I am really not much of a shopper but this little stop always puts me in my happy place. So when you combine our favorite stores all in one location... BAM....you have a "Poppins"(practially perfect in every way") kinda of day.
By mid afternoon we were heading down the road to #3 (based strictly on logistics)...Kirtland Ohio, and the National Historic Landmark...The Kirtland Temple. I don't think I was really prepared to come around the curve in the road and there it was rising above the trees...I was in total AWE!!! I have grown up my entire life seeing pictures of this place and know all the facts about the sacrifices and injustices of those first faithful saints. Then to have it physically right in front of me.., was like it had been lifted right of the books,...was VERY emotional for me. I have (for as long as I can remember) always felt a deep, in my bones, kind of connection to that pioneer heritage. Their stories and experiences have always been so real to me...it doesn't take much effort to immerse myself in those raw emotions & faith. This was the first LDS temple built & it was thru the complete sacrifice of every single member living there...they gave time, talents, money even treasured possessions. I am not too sure how happy...after painstakingly crossing the ocean with the family china..,I would have been to crush it up to use in the plaster on the outside of the temple. I soooo deeply admire them...just not sure I would have made very good pioneer stock though....not sure how I would have dealt living thru one or more of their experiences...the spirit is willing...the body is just a mess....OYE! The temple is a majestic building in its simplicity of design....built by mostly unskilled workers...is a true monument to those early saints and their faith & obedience.
We were able to tour the building and sit only a couple of rows away from whrere Christ appeared to Joseph & Oliver after the dedication of the building. It just spoke to my soul. To end the tour by our group singing "The Spirit of God" (a song written for the dedication in 1837 and still sung in our congregations today)a capella (in 4 part harmony) like that day almost 2 centuries ago, brought tears to my eyes and that undeniable warmth to my soul. The Community of Christ does a very nice tour and are working hard to maintain the building as it has belonged to them since about 1845...to which we (the LDS church) work very closely along side them. The significance of all the miracles, revelations, translations, & sacrifices that took place in this area of Kirtland & in this Temple are so evident. They are such a testimony to me of the Lord's direction in our lives. That He still speaks to us today personally, to our spirits (soul) thru the Holy Ghost & thru our living Prophets is very humbling to me. To know where I fit in this big eternal plan is such a comfort and source of strength thru all those crazy journeys of my life (especially this cancer one). Knowing we are here because we are supposed to be....gives us a solid place to start. Now it's just up to us to figure out exactly why... and to discover all the gifts and blessings the Lord sent with us ....one step at a time.