Unfathomable Wealth

What it would be like to live with such wealth, that you could create, or have created for you, a home that had it all and even more? This past weekend, my youngest and I visited the grand home of James J. Hill, on Saint Paul, Minnesota’s historic Cathedral Hill.

The Man
The Man

We embarked upon an informative and educational venture into the dream home of one of Minnesota’s most important citizens. He founded the Great Northern Railwaycon49

He was a tireless “workaholic” and created a vast fortune that is evident throughout the state. More information can be found here Minnesota Historic Society  The rest of my entry will be photos and commentary of impressions I left with.

The grand stairway, with its gorgeous woodwork took my breath away. Photos do not do the grandeur of this spectacle justice. the entire house has carved woodwork that was carved by and artist that left his likeness in certain pieces.Carver

The home had the latest technology of the time, mainly electricity, with a gas backup and a central heating system that still works today. The lighting is designed to give one the feel of what it would have been like living in the home at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries. Large windows provided natural light, which is evident where applicable.

The Man was involved in nearly all of the industries that experienced growth during the industrial revolution. I am still processing the entire event. I will return again in the spring the get more from the exterior and the view of the Mississippi River Valley from the Home. Until then

May your moments be all the are meant to be.

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On my list

My list of things I am grateful for, living in Minnesota. The Mall of America is on there. This place is such a blast. I enjoy looking for things I might like to buy or be given should I be fortunate enough. There is also the opportunity to buy presents for those I care about. There is also a place at the center of it all, created for children of all ages. That being Nicolodeon Universe, a full-sized amusement park.

Here are just a few places I like to shop for myself and others. I’ll leave it up to you to ponder, which are for who.

I was here over the weekend and wanted to express my gratitude for being close to the wonderful place. I know that the time to be here is when most are still getting up. Of course, there are many other places of interest and utility, too many to list in my brief post. It’s just fun for me.

Bless all of you who have made it this far

Jeff

Something out of the Ordinary

Or perhaps, for you, not so much. Today or I should say. Beginning late last night I went to Christmas midnight Mass. I felt led to participate in this blessed tradition and am not sure of why. I went embracing the mystery of it all.

I am not Catholic and am still mystified by all the gestures and rituals. I have found great value, though, in ritual. It has become the foundation for improving my life, from my however flawed, perspective. I did feel a bit out of place but welcome none the less.

Inside

I attended the celebration at The Cathedral of Saint Paul. What a magnificent place! I can only imagine what it must have been like in 1915 when the first liturgy was held on Palm Sunday, March 14th of that year. This is the biggest Church I have ever been in.

Nothing out of the expected occurred. There were carrols, prayers, readings from scripture, a homily by The Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Arch Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. A profession of faith. The offering, and of course Communion. I did not take communion as I am not, or do not consider myself Catholic. I did, however, go up for a blessing Arms crossed over my chest.

Liturgy Guide

I am still processing the occasion and take away these

  1. All are invited
  2. I am flawed and in need of forgiveness
  3. I am forgiven in Christ’s Life, death, and Resurrection
  4. His Spirit as God Lives in me
  5. I am to give as I have been so graciously been given

Merry Christmas until then enjoy divinely inspired Rock Guitar

The Objective Seems Obvious

I find the writings of Thomas Merton a profound foretaste to what is painfully obvious to me in today’s media and political and cultural discourse.

“A message to Poets” Thomas Merton  February 1964

“COLLECTIVE LIFE is often organized on the basis of cunning, doubt, and guilt. True solidarity is destroyed by the political art of pitting one man against another and the commercial art of estimating all men at a price. On these illusory measurements, men build a world of arbitrary values without life and meaning, full of sterile agitation. To set one man against another, one life against another, one work against another, and to express the measurement in terms of cost or of economic privilege and moral honor is to infect everybody with the deepest metaphysical doubt. Divided and set up against one another for the purpose of evaluation, men immediately acquire the mentality of objects for sale in a slave market. They despair of themselves because they know they have been unfaithful to life and to being, and they no longer find anyone to forgive the infidelity.”

Anthony DeMello
To be unaffected by praise or blame

Hope is not lost!

I have been blessed with the gift of being a drug addict. In being led as a byproduct of despair of epic proportions found a community where every walk of life come together in common search for a remedy for the Hell of active addiction. The differences that would divide us, in the workplace or social setting are forgotten for a common objective.

The recovery, recovering, recovered from whatever affliction is the same. In my opinion is a spiritual malady and the solution is an awakening to the Love that is inside all of us.

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will apparently be worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

That had been my exact experience with the people I encounter in “The recovery community.”

My Frailty

frail·ty ˈfrā(ə)ltē

noun

the condition of being weak and delicate.

“the increasing frailty of old age”

weakness in character or morals.
plural noun: frailties
“all drama begins with human frailty”
I have all my needs provided for or acquired. I find myself craving more. As the result of paying close attention to my desires and potential drives behind them. I have found that I can never really have what I am hoping to possess in some way. I have yet to figure out why I become obsessed with what I can really never have in the way I imagine.
I am in fact sure that if I did get it, I would no longer want it with the same passion that I wanted for it in the first place. What is it about me that I contort my principles to appeal another that I might be found in their favor, while at the same time the reaction to me is one of ambivalence or perhaps even indifference. It leaves me wanting it even more
apathy-i-dont-care-405x405
image source Google images

While all along there are those that are available, yet there is only mild interest on my part.

I think I am afraid to make authentic connections and receive the Love an appreciation that I’m not sure I deserve but should.

What is this S%#t?

I notice this on my way home this afternoon. The evidence of the Saint Paul Police Mounted Patrol is in the neighborhood. This actually brings a smile. I love horses and I enjoy seeing them on their companions patrolling events, like today’s historic homes tour.

HankPriceCowboyb
Officer Hank Price and Cowboy

In other news, I am embarking on a pilgrimage of sorts. It has become painfully apparent the I have no idea, what I want to do. I know I want to help. There is a problem though. I seem to lack passion for anything. I am just finishing No Man is an Island – Thomas Merton and next in the queue is The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho I am praying and meditating on my contribution and the fears I have that interfere with me making a bold move for my own benefit. I will be making updates along the way sharing and soliciting for suggestions and experience from all who care to contribute.

It's here
It’s here!

“You can call it fall if that’s what you please…” Barney Song

I’ll leave you all with that for now except for my musical thought for this post.

RIP Walter

Uh oh!

Today I am in a state of immense gratitude for the Grace of a loving God.

It started as a peculiar smell that was reminiscent of burnt sugar turned to carbon, that I remember from elementary school science. From where the aroma emanated was a mystery. My roomy and I searched high and low, checking the stereo equipment, the fridge, among other things. The smell did not seem to be getting worse so we concluded that we would monitor and hope for the best.

We both went about our usual Saturday activities, for me, that is, on this weekend. One when I get to spend time with my daughters. I attended to a couple assignments (work) and had a plan to drive up to an event known as Game Fair. It was something I had not heard of and that it was mostly hunting related and featured events with dogs.

My older child was reluctant but was interested in spending time with me so off we went. It was moderately fun and the girls and I loved seeing all the dogs and especially puppies. Watching trained hunting dogs was fascinating and great fun for me.

We returned to my place as we had a few hours before time to return the lovelies to their mom. The smell was seemingly about the same but was stronger in a different part of the unit. Closer to the living room and I thought that maybe it was coming from the ceiling fan. So we turned that off and plugged the stereo system back in and proceeded to find a suitable movie to watch, one that the three of us might be able to agree on.

ceiling fan
ceiling fan

I took the young ladies home and returned to catch up on my reading of followed blogs. My roommate was engaged in a rather animated phone conversation, that I was doing my best to filter out details of but concluded it to be work related.

It was then that the smell took on an ominous new characteristic. It was smoke and it was in the hall and kitchen I called out to said roomy and saw flames coming out of the microwave oven.

Fire
The aftermath

Rapid action ensued fire extinguisher was located flames were doused and unit evacuated as the smoke had within less than 90 seconds filled the unit to about chest high. We went out onto the deck/balcony and went in periodically to open windows and attempt to air the place out. I was fairly sure the threat of reignition was past but my pal was not so we emptied the remaining product from the extinguisher onto the source of the still evident smoke.

Eventually, the smoke cleared enough for the alarms to stop and assessment was warranted.

If we had been asleep, out of the unit or had it been able to burn another 2 minutes the entire house would have been involved. Thank you, God!

The light within

We were saved a great deal of loss and certainly, even more, inconvenience had the whole dwelling been affected. Now only clean up and tolerance of the aroma of a camp fire inside my place.

Was going to use On Fire by Van Halen from their first CD/Album but I like this better