Come in and visit the Watchatorium during the annual CruZionsville. Friday and Saturday, June 2-3, 2017. New and antique cars, as well as the new “Auto Indiana” exhibit located just outside our doors.
It’s earlish here in Paris and the weather is gorgeous. We have had a terrific stretch of good weather since we arrived on Thursday. According to the locals it has only just changed as it has been quite rainy and cool till now, so we are thankful for that.
This is RTW 3 and we are actually stuck in traffic aboard a bus that is taking us toward Luxembourg and on to the boat for our cruise after touring the American cemetery including Patton’s grave.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to tour the Palace at Versailles and see the opulence contained therein. This was a hunting lodge for kings Louis the XIII, XIV, and XV. Ultimately here is where the royals were carted back to Paris from after showing showing utter obliviousness and even contempt for the starving masses. Looking around and hearing the stories of the unbridled narcissism, it is not hard to understand why the lost their heads.
Paris in the spring was one of the “pillars” of our ‘Round The World journey Cynthia and I began dreaming and praying about 15 years ago. There is so much history here, all over Europe, really. We in the U.S. of A. really don’t have much of a concept of “old”. Being in the antique jewelry and collectables business, I am dealing with things that are vintage an antique all the time. Actually some of my staff, painfully, uses my age as the benchmark breakoff between vintage and antique; if it’s older than me it must be antique- ouch.
The reality is here, that anything 100 years or less old is just the junk they throw in closets, 2-3-400 years old is where they start paying attention. In fact nothing in the Louvre is less than 170 years old. But oh my, what beauty is contained there!
As we enjoyed hundreds of years of art and the representations of beauty and important events in beautiful ways, I was reminded of how much beauty matters. It wasn’t just at the museum, it was at the palace of Versailles, the Arc de Trimophe,
the Eiffel Tower, all over this city really. The statues, the boulevards, the dozens of museums, Beauty Matters.
Buy why? We are taught from early on that beauty is only skin deep, that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. While these things are true, beauty causes us to pause, causes us to smile, it can take our breath away, it can even bring a tear to our eye. Most of all though it should cause us to look up, to think about the Creator.
Even though most of the beauty we saw this week was man made, I firmly believe it is God above that gifted those artisans with the vision and creativity and skill to render the beautiful.
Finding beauty is easy in a place like Paris, but I believe beauty surrounds us everywhere. I sell jewelry and gemstones that I find beautiful. What is the beauty that matters to you?
Come visit us for the annual Jill Duzan Trunk show during Zionsville’s Brick Street Market. We will have treats, a give-away and fun for everyone! Experience this local artist’s “rugged elegance” and support small businesses!
Due to a memorial service, Midwest Jewelers and Estate Buyers will have amended hours on Saturday, May 13. We will open at 1:30pm and close at 5pm. We look forward to serving you during this time.
I Love a Bargain
Our hotel is in the shadow of the Great Pyramids and once again we have been overwhelmed by the new experiences.
But first a couple of disclaimers: There are quite a few new people on this list thanks to a funding campaign a good friend of mine sponsored on one of my Facebook groups. As I consider many of my new readers I am struck by their diversity. There are agnostics and atheists, Buddhists, Hindus and Jews, some Muslims and even a few Presbyterians. All joining with us in bringing clean water to Kenya.
So I apologize in advance to my non-Christian friends if this is too Christian and I apologize to my Christian friends if it is not Christian enough.
I’ve never hidden my Christianity but neither will I use it as a blunt instrument, that is not the message of Christ.
The second disclaimer is that in an effort to bring some of the new folks up to speed I will be reiterating a few things I have previously shared.
These trips for my wife and I are a party for our senses, sight and sound, hearing and touch, along with smell.
Our flight over seas included a brief layover in Zurich. When we de-planed I was hit with a smell that brought me back almost 40 years. It is amazing how powerful a smell can be to trigger memories. The alps were part of the trip my parents took me on when I graduated high school. I didn’t realize at the time how special the sweet alpine scent was.
We also had a newly married flight attendant that listened intently to our story about the genesis of our RTW trip. She even came back later to make sure she had the correct name of Wild at Heart, the book by John Eldridge that was the catalyst behind Cynthia and my trips so many years ago.
We are well into RTW part deux. The second leg of our Round The World 30th anniversary trip we started dreaming of and saving for 15 years ago. These are trips that are from our bucket lists of places to see before we die. Because of the health issues each of my siblings are dealing with the trips have added another layer of poignancy to us.
This leg is going to include Egypt and Israel with an overnight stop in Toronto on the way home. The first three days of this trip, and the reason for the quick turn around from our last one is a Christian prayer conference in Egypt. Let that sink in for a moment.
There are nearly 8,000 people here in the middle of the desert, 90% of which are local Egyptians, fervently worshiping The Lord. The Lord of the Old AND New Testament.
There have been many bold and profound proclamations. I confess that I can be skeptical of people speaking prophecy claiming to come straight from the Lord. However there is a continual reference to Isaiah 19. The first half of this passage is pretty damning for Egypt in the form of a curse from the Lord. Think Israel exile, biblical proportions. But the second part of the passage includes a very profound blessing that stretches from Egypt through Israel all the way to Assyria (through modern day Turkey).
I do believe that nothing that is happening now is a surprise to God politically, socially, etc. I also believe that before the Arab revolution in 2011 a gathering like this would not have been possible. I just saw with my own eyes 7000 Egyptians, most of them under 30 fired up and empowered to share the gospel in their homes and schools.
I realize there are 20 million people here in Cairo that are decidedly not fired up about the gospel, but then I think about what Jesus was able to do with 11 who were fired up and empowered by Him!
Do I think the change will take place overnight, of course not, but I certainly saw enough to make me watch expectantly here.
Today we are doing some traveling around Cairo and surrounding areas and I will share about that later.
Oh yeah, the bargain, as a jeweler it probably comes as no surprise that I love a bargain. Cynthia has recently been drinking coffee, I mean like she went 55 years without touching the stuff, and I was right there with her. She has started drinking some coffee drinks, granted the sweeter ones. Well that is morphing into the less sweet ones and she wanted one at the conference. I decided “while in Egypt ….”, so I ordered myself a cappuccino as well.
It was 1.10 US for both.
I had to doctor it up a little but I drank it and didn’t die and, by golly, I sure stayed awake. I don’t necessarily like the stuff but at .55 a cup I don’t think I’ll ever be able to go into a Starbucks again.
Meanwhile I encourage you to watch expectantly God is certainly working!
This is the spot where some really cool pictures would be if I could get the stupid things to upload. :-/ Hopefully next time.
After seven very adventurous days on the Viking Sea, we waved goodbye to the ship in Barcelona. Now we have a couple of days to explore on our own including the Sagrada Di Familia as well as walking and biking through this beautiful and historic city.
We saw multitudes of ruins on both sides of the Mediterranean
which left us impressed by how far and influential the Roman Empire was.
I think everyone of us, as we move through life, has notions of how things that we haven’t seen are, or at least should be.
Sometimes those notions are dead wrong.
The Aurora Borealis while striking was very different than we have seen in books and on TV. More like bright smoke rather than neon colors that makes Times Square look like a couple of strands of Christmas lights.
Not all cruise ships have itineraries built around drinking and milking the last dollar out of you. Kudos to Viking. Although the whole pace was slower and we both wondered if perhaps we were getting old as this style greatly appealed to us. There were many quiet places on the ship and most of the on board activities were geared towards learning more about the ports we were getting ready to visit.
The people in Algiers were incredibly friendly. We had great apprehension about both of our North African destinations, Algiers and Tunis. Perhaps we were skewed by the media and the rampant anti-Islamic feelings. Perhaps it was the idea that we were traveling to a place where there is a very different standard for safety and regulation. Any OSHA inspector would have curled ups in the fetal position, paralyzed by the breadth of violations that are OK there.
Many of the notions or prejudices about Algeria were soon dispelled as we were welcomed onto our bus by Fady, our guide and self appointed Algerian ambassador. He was at once funny and passionate and LOVED his country. We went to the park there where I was struck by how many dads were there with their children. Seventy five percent of the population in Algeria is under the age of 35. Meaning tons of young families. It seemed they were all in the park that day.
Every one of them had a quick smile for us and easily a dozen times someone said to me “Welcome to Algeria”. The teenagers wanted pictures with us and never once was there a sense of hostility or even uncomfortableness. Fady went on to explain how terrorists are practicing the opposite of Islam. They are enemies to Islam just like to us. It was very eyeopening.
Finally the last misconception that was blown up for me was in Barcelona. As someone who deals in the decorative arts for a living, the term Gaudy has always been synonymous with kitsch, with ugly, overdone for me. We got a chance to walk through the house renovated by Antonio Gaudi ( whom the style was named after) for senior Batllo. Gaudi’s very religious upbringing instilled in him the idea that the only thing that was perfect was God and things made by God.
Consequently virtually all of his creations were reflections of things he saw in nature, no straight lines, organic themes, natural lighting and on and on. He was never content as he was constantly striving for perfection. Most of his creations were tweaked and fiddled with all the way through the end. Constantly changing becoming ever more complex.
He was trying to point us all toward God, not fill every imaginable space with something for the sake of busyness as it seems in the artwork that shares his name.
As I reflect on this trip, my take away is that the best way to learn something about someone or some place, is you have to spend time with them or in it.
There is a very low hanging Christian application here that I am going to trust you will be able to apply on your own.
Thanks for coming along on this first leg of the RTW with us and sharing the adventure, praying for many more to come.
The Batllo House by Gaudi