A Rare P-Day

One P-Day, (August 17, 2013), Alden and I found ourselves free--really free--to go enjoy a whole P-Day doing something we could choose to do.  So, we chose the Open Air Museum in Arnhem.  This Museum has been created to preserve the Dutch lifestyle through the centuries.  There are homes and farmhouses, stores and factories from the 1600's up and including homes as late as 2000.  Rather than tear them down, these homes and other buildings are disassembled and moved to this Open Air Museum.  You can travel through the museum on an old tram line from the 50's.  It really was a great day.  

Here are the pictures of all we saw and what we did--except I didn't take any pictures of President shopping.  :)

The following are pictures of a barn from 1600's and later.  The barns were always attached to the house.  Literally, you opened the back door of the house and you opened the front door of the barn.  I have not idea how they kept the smell of the barn out of the house.

 A pig sty inside the barn.  The opening goes to the outdoor area
of the pig pen.

 The front door of a farmhouse.

 The kitchen.

The mantle above the fire and cooking area.

 Attached barn again.

 Butter churn

Hand painted Delf blue tiles have been used a long time.

 The kitchen.

 Even today, people put 'screens' in their windows so any passerby cannot see directly into the house.

 A drawbridge over the canal.

 Beautiful roof of thatch and tile.

 The ever present windmill.

 It is fascinating to watch and hear them working.

 Narrow Dutch cobblestone street

 It was peaceful and nice to spend a day like this with Alden.

 The poorer people painted their wood floors, doors and mantels to look like stone.

 The only other place I have seen this done is building in Utah build by the pioneers who could not afford marble, but wanted their wood to look like marble.

Even a church.

 Well furnished barn.

En kaas and roomboterfabriek
A Cheese and Butter Factory

Just a fun day to see something different.  I counted it as a great day with Alden.


Annual Mission Presidents Seminar in Versailles, France

On September 10-13, 2013 President and I had the opportunity to go to Versailles, France and meet with 29 other Mission Presidents from West Europe Missions and be trained and taught by Elder Oaks, Elder Ballard, and members of the Seventy and our own European Area Presidency.  It was a remarkable experience.  On these occasions I always feel like Oliver Cowdery,  "These were days never to be forgotten--to sit under the sound of a voice dictated by the inspiration of heaven, awakened the utmost gratitude of this bosom!"

President and I are on the second row, I am wearing a black and white plaid jacket and President is staying behind my left shoulder.

One of the most remarkable experiences of the seminar was at the close of the day's training on Thursday, September 12, 2013, Elder Ballard felt impressed to end the training by reading from the scriptures.  He prefaced his reading with the words something along this line...
 "I feel I would like to share with you what the Savior would share 
with you if he were here talking to each of you today.  I believe he would speak to you these words." Elder Ballard then read directly from the scriptures.
John 10: 1-18
3 Nephi 11

I started following along in the scriptures, but I soon stopped.  I just sat watching Elder Ballard read. The Spirit came more intensely into the hall.  I just sat and watched Elder Ballard read.  I looked down as I concentrated on the words he was reading.  It became almost as if I could see the Savior, Himself, telling us the words.  I watched Elder Ballard again and to me, the Spirit rested on him as he continued to read.  Everyone was silent, the only sound was Elder Ballard's voice speaking the words of Christ.  I have never felt quite like that before and perhaps never will again.
As Elder Ballard finished, he bore solemn witness as to the reality and divinity of Jesus Christ.  

After his testimony we sang our closing song before our closing prayer.  I had the opportunity to be the chorister for that closing song.  
We sang, "Secret Prayer"

There is an hour of peace and rest, Unmarred by earthly care;
'Tis when before the Lord I go, and kneel in secret prayer.

The straight and narrow way to heaven, Where angels bright and fair
are singing to God's praise is found, Thru constant secret prayer.

When sailing on life's stormy sea, 'Mid billow of despair, 
'Tis solace to my soul to know, God hears my secret prayer.

When thorns are strewn along my path, And foes my feet ensnare,
My Savior to my aid will come, if sought in secret prayer.

May my heart be turned to pray, Pray in secret day by day,
Than this boon to mortals given, may unite my soul with Heaven.

I was so touched as I stood in front of 80+ people singing the closing song and watched the Spirit increase and touch people's hearts as we sang.  By the time we had finished singing, most of us, if not all of us, were visibly moved or wiping tears.  After the closing prayer, no one wanted to move.  There was a silent desire to stay and feel of the Spirit.  

I am grateful for that great opportunity and sweet blessing.

Following are pictures of the trip to the Versailles Palace and our dinner cruse on the Seine River in Paris.