Victor in Vianden

We have just returned from a trip to Luxembourg.  I really am exhausted and don’t want to take the time to tell a whole lot.  So you are only going to get an abbreviated version.

Yesterday we went to visit the Catholic church in Harelbeke, Belgium.  We then went to Kortrijk, Belgium and of course Amanda had to go to the chocolate shop for Belgium chocolate.  We did some window shopping, being tempted by some of the goods in the stores.  The suits were out of my range, as is about everything with the exchange rate with the Euro/Dollar.  We did snap a couple of pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Afterward, we made our way back to Oostrozebeke and prepared for the trip to Vianden.  We drove through the beautiful Ardennes on the way and into Germany.  There was a storm the entire way so everything was highly misted and especially green.  We drove past Brussels, Liege, and stayed at the Grand Hotel de Vianden.  It was very pretty.  Amanda and I went for a late night walk through the city for some photographs.  The bars were full but we enjoyed the sights.  Victor Hugo lived in Vianden for a spell.  We saw the house he lived in and the bridge with his name and bust.

Today we arose and went for a tour of the Vianden Castle/Chateau.  It was beautiful.  Originally there was a fort on the site in the time of Julius Caesar.  The current castle was built during the 13-14th centuries.  It fell into ruin but was restored in the 1970’s – 1980’s.  Vianden was the last town to be liberated in Luxembourg in 1945.

Afterward, we drove through the beautiful mountains to Luxembourg and went on a tour of many of the cities sights.  We saw the Notre Dame there.  It was gorgeous with a huge, high wall.  Who would ever have thought?  We ate lunch at Pizza Hut of all places.  Talk about going for the local cuisine.  I did have toasted bread with goat cheese on them (At Pizza Hut!)  Did you know Luxembourg had a 1,000 year celebration?  963 to 1963.  How is that for old?  The downtown market area reminded me much of London or Manchester, but the architecture is different.

We finished our trip to Luxembourg and came back to Oostrozebeke, Belgium.  We will visit Antwerp and Brugge in the next couple of days before we make our way to Paris.

Anyhow, I have uploaded more pictures in the European Trip Album from the last two days for your viewing pleasure.

A report of a few thoughts

I am not really sure what to write.  My life feels like there is so much going on at the moment I would not know where to start.  I feel like singing a little Johnny Cash and “I’ve been everywhere.”
So more a couple of thoughts on a variety of issues.
I am learning more and more there is only so much some people can be helped.  I have a friend, Kevin, who says he cannot find a job.  I have now given him over 4 different job opportunities and he isn’t willing to do much.  Granted, it might not be the perfect fit, but why not jump in until you find something better.  I guess there is always the benefit of sitting and home and hanging out with the family.  The money doesn’t run forever (at least, for most of us).  I thought he was interested enough in a job that I set up an interview with the two individuals doing the hiring.  He went and brought his wife along for the interview.  Why not bring your mother too?  How far should one go in trying to reach out and provide opportunities to another?
There is another friend, Dustin, who has been tending a car for me for several years now.  He offered and I was happy to have his help while I was away to Virginia, Missouri, and all my other travels.  I went over to take a look today and it broke my heart how terrible of condition it is in.  I know it is free, I appreciate the watchful eye, but I think I may have done better leaving it sitting in my own backward.  Then it would have been more friendly dirt, less rusty water, and mice who belong to the family.  I don’t know if the neglect is what really bothers me but rather the questions I posed of whether or not everything was okay.  Did I need to pay him for some upkeep, did I need to help with expenses.  The answer was always the same, “Nope, everything is taken care of.”
I was visiting with my boss, Doug Kelley, the past few days about the Catholic Religion.  Particularly with the Pope’s visit to the United States and his news noted attempt to try and bring the US Catholic portion in line.  My boss, a self proclaimed “Roman Catholic with a little R” said the real issues he has with Pope Benedict is his apparent desire to undo Vatican II.  Primarily the fact that with Vatican II the church was less authoritarian and the congregations could really take on responsibility and serve on another.  It is always the Father out doing all the good while everyone sat around.  Now the Pope is diverting the church back to the authoritarian mode and he is very frustrated.  My first thought is he should definitely take a look at the LDS.  If he wants a congregation that serves on another, I don’t know of a better church.  We talked some about Mormonism and I even gave him a Book of Mormon.  He was thrilled and said he would read it soon.  I very much hope he does.  The sooner the better.  I won’t be around him for years to finally discuss and talk about it when he does read it.
I have been accepted to Oklahoma City University Law School.  I really like this option.  It takes me back to the center of the country, I get to live in another area I never lived, and in some cases another culture.  We are still waiting to hear from some other law schools for which I may be interested.  There certainly is no rhyme or reason to why schools accept or reject applicants.  I have acceptance to schools better than others that rejected me according to some ranking systems.  We shall wait and see.
In sitting down one morning to breakfast with Marie Lundgreen, she asked me what I thought about the relationship with her and the sister.  This Sister seems to have a relationship which may be similar in many ways with my own full sister.  The giving of great opportunities are not only rejected, they are turned back on you in a negative way as trying to interfere in their life.  Where credit or help is given, not only are they taken, but no recognition or appreciation is given.  In one case with my own sister, my willing to help her out cost me a vehicle and several thousands of dollars.  What is one to do?  Marie and her sister, over a period more than double my sister and me, has been more extreme.  In some instances the help offered cost thousands of dollars, and then it was all rejected part and parcel.  Even after acceptance was agreed upon and all the effort expended, then the gift rejected.  What is one to do?  How much should we extend ourselves to help those, especially family, where it seems to do more harm than good?  Nobody likes to be taken advantage of in any way.  I do think I am magnanimous, but is there a point where you should take your efforts elsewhere?  What happens when you know later the sister is being kind and nice just to get something more?  Forgive but not give the gift?  Is that possible?
Dad and Jan have been called to serve for two years in the Twin Falls Temple when it opens.  This is an exciting opportunity.  It will be a calling close to home, the privilege of officiating in the House of God, and the spiritual blessings that only come from the Temple.  I hope and pray the couple days a week they serve will not cost him his job.  I guess it doesn’t really matter.  We are all in the hands of the Lord of the Harvest.  Dad and Jan have been called and they will give their all to serving.  As anyone does so, everything always works out.  We don’t know how, it just does.  The same has been very evident in my life.
I had dinner with Kevin and Jean Gore from Walkden, Lancashire, England.  What a joy it was to meet up with friends from within the England Manchester Mission.  Just like the sons of Alma after meeting up after all those years, nothing has really changed in the relationship.  Why, because we all live the gospel.  As we keep our hearts in tune with the Savior, we cannot help but find ourselves in tune with others who are seeking to do the same.  We enjoyed a great meal and discussed a wide variety of topics.  I thank God for how kind and generous he has been in my life.  There are so many great and noble people I have the privilege of association.
Work continues very well.  There are some things in the pipeline which will do great things in expanding the production of Magnesium Hydroxide at the Paul Plant.  It is just a matter of getting everything lined out and ready to go.  There are a host of equipment opportunities and I am sure there are many more.  We have met with a couple of engineering firms lately all of who are interested in our equipment and services.  There are some tremendous opportunities.  I hope we can get them on line before I possibly leave for law school.
I know this post has been a bit more negative.  I just needed to vent I think and relieve the concerns I have.  The future is so unknown, you try to help others out and they don’t want the help (such a fine line between meddling and genuine service), and the desire to anxiously engaged.  What comes next?