Monday, August 29, 2016

Where is Heritage Square?

A few years ago, the eggheads at the MN State Fair decided to raze Heritage Square.  At first I thought it was a good idea, as it was old and had steep and crooked steps up into it.  But now it is West End Market, where we also pick up the bus in and out of the fair.  The old and  had gone, and only new was left.  

Gone was the circus train car crammed full of state fair memorabilia from over the years.  Gone was the old gas station, and the old silversmith.  The press was moved to another place where it is little noticed, and the little house you see in the upper right hand corner is still there, but you can't go through it. The circus train car is there too, but alas, you can't go through that either.  And all the state fair memorabilia is in an air-conditioned modern building, with a very small portion of what used to be on display.  

I was shocked that these old buildings were gone.  What happened to them? At my old age I had finally began to appreciate the history in these old buildings, and now they are gone.  My dad used to drag us through them when my sister and I were young.  I found it very boring.  But now I miss them.  I even miss the old, steep, and crooked steps.  

It is so easy to take for granted what we have.  We don't miss it until it's gone.  When it is, we finally realize how much it meant to us.  I wonder if that's how my dad's generation feels about machinery hill.  About how there are fewer farm implements and just more junk.  My dad used to take what seemed forever there, now he hardly takes a glance.  

I wonder if this is how the elderly feel.  Time seems to have passed them by, and forgotten whatever contributions they ever made.  Now they are having to ask their kids how to do things, things I am sure they never imagined would come about.  My parents were born before TV, and look now how much it has changed.  You can watch TV on your phone.  

We forget history.  And you know what they say, we are doomed to repeat it if we don't learn from it.  
I want my Heritage Square back, crooked steps and all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Summer Reading

 This is a book about a different way of looking at the Second Coming.  It is a hopeful book in that it is not scary, but instead encouraging, at least for me.  It posits that the earth and heaven will be reunited and resurrected, kind of like the Garden of Eden before the fall.  Meaning that all that is good will be redeemed, while all that is bad will pass away.  Wright is not the only one to think this way.  Randy Alcorn also did in his book, "Heaven."

I have read other Ortberg books, but I loved this one.  Like Dinesh D'Souza's story about how America changed the world, this is about how Jesus changed the world and how we all benefit from it, even if we don't believe in Him.  It is thought-provoking, and his writing style is smooth and funny.  He is pastor of Menlo Park church in CA.

  This book is about how to develop your relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  He provides examples of how to do this through scripture reading and prayer.  I know you and I have probably read tons of these types of books, but this was most helpful to me.  He has written many books and and has spoken at my church, Church of the Open Door.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


I watched the Olympics when it started and last week when my parents had company, my mom was recovering from her knee surgery, and I had last Tuesday night off of volunteering to watch the USA win the women's gymnastics team finals (GO FINAL 5!) 

What I realized that I was missing and that I really didn't miss, was politics.  And no terrorists attacks, as far as I know.  I didn't worry about who to vote for, or about terrorists committing another atrocity.  Instead I cheered for athletes.  I cheered when they won, I cried when they cried.  I felt like a part of something bigger.  I felt united with the world, which I had not felt for a long time.

Is this the secret?  Giving politicians and terrorists a game to play, instead of a battle to fight?  I saw images of sportsmanship, like when the 2 female runners fell and helped each other up, losing any chance at a medal.  I saw people cry as their anthems played, hug and congratulate each other.  I saw people celebrating with others around the world at the opening ceremony. I saw the refugee team, and cried.  

The Olympics gives us a chance to see that we are not enemies.  We are human, a part of the great race, made in the image of God.  Too often we don't reflect His glory.  But for these 2 short weeks, every other year, we can see the best of humanity.  We can see that we are not so different.  Most of us just want to live our lives, love our families, and be at peace.  That doesn't seem like much to ask for, but it becomes impossible to gain.  I suppose that after all we are human. It is easier to fight and hate than it is to love and be at peace.

I wish it was easier to love and be at peace.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Vieux Lyon

Old Lyon is the largest Renaissance district in Lyon.  Along with its many other artistic and architectural treasures, are the traboules (corridors, top) and the courtyards (bottom).  They date from the 4th century, and the French used them to to escape from the enemy during the French Revolution and WWII.  

They were originally used to transport silk from the factories to the silk merchants without the merchandise getting damaged from inclement weather.  The villagers used these passageways to get water from the river.

Finally, Lyon is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.  There is much more to see and do here that the one day we had was not enough.  I especially think it would be cool to be here during the Festival of Lights from December 6 to 9, every year.  It started as a thanks to Saint Mary for saving the city from the plague in the 17th century.  Every year the buildings are lit up.  Mere words cannot seem to describe it:

Thursday, August 4, 2016


famous Lyon writers
famous Lyon gastronomy
Lyon was the last city we visited on our Vikings river cruise.  It sits at the confluence of the Rhone and Saone rivers in France.  It was the biggest city we visited, the second largest after Paris.  And the only one with a Starbucks!  But no delicious desserts like in Paris.  And the bathroom was on the second floor.  My mom and I trudged up some narrow stairs to only reach the top and find that it had a lock combination!  So we trudged down and back up again, my mom's knees killing her and me out of breath.  And to find no toilet paper or soap!  Fortuitously, my mom had wet wipes so we were saved.

Basilica de Notre Dame de Fourvie
The three pictures are painted walls.  There are many in this city, and they are like murals that cover the whole building.  They actually look real, and are well done.

The church was built in thanks to Saint Mary for the eradication of the plague and in prevention of an invasion by the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War.