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Don't forget to make some memories!

Dead Sea Walking

Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

Walking into the Dead Sea is like trying to walk across a polished floor in roller skates. When I arrived at the Dead Sea in Israel this past March, I figured I would simply stroll across a sandy beach and stride into the saltiest body of water in the world. Nothing to it, right? I didn’t realize that the Dead Sea’s “beach” was really more of a rock-hard slab slathered with a thin layer of mud—and as slick as ice. I took one step toward the Dead Sea, slipped, and thought I was going to break my neck, which would’ve given new meaning to the “dead” in Dead Sea. Fortunately, I kept my balance—but barely. Meanwhile, my wife found it equally treacherous, so she decided to splash around in a puddle located about five feet from the water’s edge....

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The Long Way Home

Posted by on May 1, 2018 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

The only time I ever got motion sickness was in a helicopter as the pilot kept turning it in circles over the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. He wanted the passengers on both sides of the copter to get a good view of the lava pouring into the ocean. It was an amazing sight, but I felt a bit queasy for the rest of the outing. Some of the most gorgeous places in the world were created by cataclysms like volcanoes. In fact, the Big Island of Hawaii is still being formed by two volcanoes—Mauna Loa and Kilaua. Perhaps the most stunning island that I have ever seen was formed by what scientists believe was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history. This volcano erupted on the island of Thera sometime between the years 2000 and...

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Beauty and Thorns

Posted by on Mar 26, 2018 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

I have seen beautiful stained glass windows many times, but nothing prepared me for this. The walls of this chapel were more glass than stone, with tall, narrow panels rising high from floor to ceiling, depicting Bible stories in a riot of brilliant images. This sanctuary has been described as “a miracle of light” and a “weightless dream of pure color.” One person said it was “like standing in a crystal.” The chapel is called Sainte-Chapelle, and you can find it in the heart of Paris, France, just a short walk from the far more famous Cathedral of Notre Dame. The lower chapel of Sainte-Chapelle once served people in the palace, but the upper chapel is where you find the wall of light and color—a stained glass sensation. Sainte-Chapelle was built in the 13th Century by Louis IX—the French...

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The Vandal and the Master Artist

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

Hundreds of people were packed into a side chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome when a bearded man with long, red hair suddenly scrambled over a marble railing and bolted up the stairs leading to one of the most famous works of art in the world—Michelangelo’s Pietà. “I’m Jesus Christ!” the man shouted as he yanked a hammer from under his coat and began raining blows on the statue. Pieces of marble flew in all directions as the crowd looked on in horror. The hammer came crashing down on the left arm of the statue of Jesus’s mother, Mary, and then the vandal smashed Mary’s face, knocking off a marble piece of her nose, left eye, and veil. In all, the man delivered about a dozen strikes with his hammer before an Italian fireman grabbed him by the...

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Crossing the Bridge of Sighs

Posted by on Jan 18, 2018 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 0 comments

I made my way through the narrow passage, following a single-file line of tourists. But if this were the 1600s, I would be following a line of prisoners, and our friendly tour guide with the headset would most likely be our jailer. I reached one of the small windows and, like everyone who shuffles down this passageway, I peeked through the decorative grill and caught a peek at one of the canals of Venice, Italy. And then I sighed. I was crossing the Bridge of Sighs, one of the most famous bridges in the world. In the 1600s, this bridge carried prisoners from courtrooms where they had just been sentenced into the Venetian jail cells. The bridge is sparse and Spartan on the inside, but the outside is gorgeous—an ornamental structure made of brilliant white limestone. According to legend,...

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How the Vikings Failed to Destroy a Treasure

Posted by on Dec 28, 2017 in A HAPPY HOME, Blog, History by the Slice | 1 comment

The Vikings had no mercy. In the year 806, Viking invaders descended on the Island of Iona, just off the coast of Scotland, and they slaughtered 68 monks. That’s why the area became known as the Bay of Martyrs. However, those raids are the reason Ireland now has one of the most famous Bibles in all of history—the Book of Kells. After the raid on Iona, the monks fled to Kells in Ireland, where they established a new monastery. And this monastery housed and protected the magnificent Book of Kells. When my wife and I went to Dublin, Ireland, one of my greatest thrills was visiting Trinity College, where we got to see portions of the Book of Kells. This book is the most famous example of an “illuminated Bible.” They’re called “illuminated” because they are heavily decorated with...

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