Kicked out of my Castle and the lessons I learned.
From time to time God kicks me out of my castle and I learn more about my world and the plight of others not as fortunate as myself. I was raised in a gated community and grew up in a large home on an acre with my back yard the eight fairway of a country club golf course. We had a private beach with cabanas and just a 5 minute drive from our house and all our neighbors were a sprinkle of wealthy people with some royalty and celebrities all mixed in. Though my childhood was far from perfect, I did live a life of privilege and luxury. I was a bit of a snob and look at others of lesser means as peasants and plebeians. My family life was sweet and sour. My crazy mother chased my father out of the house when I was very young and that was very traumatic for me. My mother would drive me to the brink of suicide degrading my lack of awards and average grades. My mother would have cancer for 14 years and would end up dying when I was just out of high school. God kicked me out of that castle and I would get to see firsthand the effects of ignorance and poverty in California. This will be the topic of another story at another time.
I ended up moving to Minnesota to get away from all my crazy friends who wanted to party seven days a week and in the Twin cities of Minnesota I would gain some amazing experience in real estate and finance. In 2004 I was given the opportunity to own manage and run residential and commercial real estate finance operations that did business all over the United States. I was intoxicated with my success and over expanded myself on multiple levels in my life. My entire business model was tied to the housing market and when started to crash I knew it was going to be a rough ride. My wife and I built a mini mansion and that was my new castle. When God kicked me out of that castle I would learn many lessons and I would turn lemons into lemon aid.
With providential destiny and some great guardian angels I was given a fully furnished and remolded town home with a view of the skyline of St. Paul. The only catch was I was moving to a pretty rough part of town, East St. Paul. Even to this day 60% of the homes are boarded up and foreclosed. This was the graveyard of predatory lending that targeted the poor and minorities with adjustable rate mortgages and higher interest rates that would set them up to fail. Moving to this part of town allowed me to meet and make friends with individuals who are members of America working poor. I have had the opportunity to see the plight of individuals and families as they deal with the challenges of poverty and ignorance. I have also been able to witness the courage and dignity of these individuals and their families and they struggle to keep their families housed and fed in an economy that favors the wealthy and privileged elite. It has been an amazing experience interacting with folks of all races and backgrounds in East St Paul and it has taught me many valuable lessons.