Updated: Oct 16, 2018
Ever been to Philadelphia? If you have, you know what a magical place it is. Jam packed with history, culture, really good food, art, it's the backdrop for some pretty famous events, tourist sights and even movies! It also happens to be one of my very favorite places on earth. In July of 2013 I went to Philadelphia to serve an eighteen month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For those not familiar with such a mission, it's a voluntary, optional mission for young adults ages 18-26 in the Church. It's a pretty hardcore experience to be honest... each day starts by waking up at 6:30 am and each half hour is scheduled through 10:30 pm when missionaries are to go to sleep. 100% of the time spent on a mission is dedicated to inviting others unto Jesus Christ. As a missionary in Philadelphia, I spent my year and a half teaching people about the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, serving people in their homes and work places, supporting local congregations and generally trying to help improve the lives of the people in the City of Brotherly Love.
(Me with two of my favorite companions, or assigned missionary partners, Christy and Hunter, outside of Independence Hall in Philadelphia)
Aside from this being an incredibly grueling and stretching experience, it was some of the happiest and most rewarding months of my life. I made some forever friends, and was able to be a part of some miraculous experiences for the people I came to know and love. Two of my favorite people I met were the Carrs. These two are basically superhuman. They left their beautiful home, family, grandchildren to come to the other side of the country to help build the Philadelphia Temple. They are some of the coolest people I have ever met and I kind of consider them my second parents slash friends (I genuinely feel like I'm their age or they're my age even though they could be my grandparents)! After serving for a summer in downtown Philly and seeing these two hard at work on the temple every day, I gained some serious respect and love for them.
(The Carrs and me on the day I left downtown Philadelphia to serve in another area.)
Fast-forward to January of 2018: I got a text from the Carrs asking us if we'd paint a picture of Boathouse Row for them. Boathouse Row is, as you can imagine, a row of boathouses along the Schuylkill River that cuts through Philadelphia. With a view of the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art (home of the "Rocky steps"), these boathouses belong to rowing clubs and are used as clubhouses and to store racing shells. It's one of my favorite little nooks in Philadelphia.... as you can see below, it's pretty breathtaking!
I was delighted at the Carrs request! After picking out just the right paper to use, determining the size they wanted the picture, and doing some logistical preparation, Noah set to work sketching a basic outline of the houses. It took quite a while, considering that we'd be using only watercolors (no ink) to convey the historic charm of Boathouse Row. After he'd made a sufficiently helpful sketch, I began the laborious process of painting. Because of my love for Philadelphia and for the Carrs I wanted this to be absolutely perfect for them. After about thirty hours of work over several weeks, my cramped hands finished the last details of this masterpiece making it the most time consuming project we've done to date!
It was a nostalgic process, and one I was very grateful to have been trusted with. It now sits on a shelf in the Carrs home, as a constant reminder of their years serving God and the city of Philadelphia. I made sure to make scans of this beauty, partially for myself, as I wanted a print for our home, but also so others can purchase copies to remind them of this happy corner of one of the most amazing cities in the world.
Thank you Carrs for a fantastic commission and your life changing friendship!