Racism is alive and well in America.  From White Nationalist rallies in the Carolinas to race-baiters across the country, we’re at each other’s throats over the difference of the shade of brown in our epidermis.  We have enough racism without murderers in Dodge Challengers running over black people.  We have enough racism without Jussie Smollett making stuff up to try to start a race war.  We have enough racism without Facebook Live beatings of special needs white kids.

I understand when a black person tells me they despise the fact that in our country’s history, their ancestors were slaves.  I understand when a white person says they despise being judged for something they weren’t a part of.

But blaming someone you don’t know for something you’ve never seen them show is just as wrong.  Labeling a group of people by their status or appearance is wrong.  Judging a group by the color of their skin is racist.  It doesn’t matter what color the group is that you are judging.  

One automatically forms opinions of people they meet.  I form my opinion of people based on how they treat me.  On how they behave.  On what they stand for (or don’t).

We have a culture problem.  Sex feels good and if we can make it convenient, why not, right?  Nevermind the consequences of social sexuality.  Like single mothers and a generation plagued by kids with no father figure.  It all leads to the decay of the family unit.  What many are missing is a responsible father’s guiding hand and a mother focused on actively showing love to her kids instead of surviving because she’s raising them alone.

I personally wish we could all just be Americans.  There is enough evil in this world outside our borders.  We don’t need to be divided over race here at home.  We have the Governor of Virginia rallying for the option to abort a baby after it’s been born.  A state where 56% of aborted babies’ race is a minority.  We should all value life for what it is.  We should treat it here the same way NASA would treat it if they found it on Mars.  You do realize that if they found a single living cell on Mars, the headlines of every newspaper in the U.S. would read “Life on Mars”?  But if your baby doesn’t die during its partial-birth abortion in Illinois, they can legally set it on a shelf until it dies.

We’re more worried about the feelings of people in society with gender dysphoria.  Instead of getting people help, we pander to their delusion.  A charm offensive to the mentally ill doesn’t cure their illness.  It is more compassionate to help someone deal with their mental illness than to pretend it’s normal.  Tough love is always better than being sensitive to someone while they self destruct.

We live in a country where the media makes Vice President Mike Pence into a lunatic for not eating lunch alone with another woman (without his wife) and celebrates Gillette advertising that men constantly cat-call or belittle poor behavior towards women.

We live in a country where homosexuals were making videos of themselves shaking after the election saying they feared for their lives and their families while the current Administration is seeking civil rights for gays in countries where you are executed for being homosexual.

We live in a country where well behaved teenage kids are targeted by the media for standing their ground while some wore red hats while being approached by a communist native-american banging a drum and racially heckled by a group of “Black Israelites”.

If we as a country don’t start thinking for ourselves instead of letting the media do it for us, we’re gonna get exactly what they are falsely reporting.  Division.





Let’s talk about it.

There is a difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration.  Legal immigrants go through a long process to be granted either temporary or permanent residence in the United States.  Illegal immigrants either outstay those temporary statuses, or skip the process altogether and cross the border illegally.

Because much of this issue encompasses our southern border, it’s labeled “racist” if you believe our federal laws should be followed.  You’re racist for saying some of these people are drug dealers and killers (which they are).  If I’m 100% ok with anyone, in any quantity, coming into our country LEGALLY, then how am I racist if I say no one should come in illegally?  There is no equation that makes this ok.  If you told me we could have 1000 tax-paying, productive illegal immigrants for every 1 Cristhian Bahena Rivera (Mollie Tibbets killer), I’d say no thanks.

The Washington Post came out with an article that basically stated that native born citizens commit more crimes than undocumented (illegal) immigrants.

They posted two studies to support their notion.  First of all, there is no debate that the very first thing an undocumented immigrant does in the United States is commit a crime.  It’s illegal to cross our border into the United States without our government’s permission to do so.  Therefore, overall, undocumented immigrants commit an astronomically higher amount of crime than native born citizens do.  Secondly, one of the studies states that undocumented immigrants commit less violent crime than native born citizens.  The statistics behind this are that in areas with higher levels of undocumented immigrants, violent crime overall has been decreasing.  I’m sure there are a number of other factors that contribute to this, not just the presence of illegals in these communities.  The Washington Post uses this fact as an excuse to support the notion that illegal immigration is harmless.  If a non-citizen is less likely to commit a violent crime than a citizen, that still doesn’t give him/her some magical right to be here.  Even if there was a way to truly, statistically prove that illegal immigrants commit less violent crimes than natural born citizens, it still means that there are more violent crimes because they are here.

The flaw in their logic is that these people shouldn’t be here in the first place.  They have a flawed moral compass to break another country’s law and enter illegally. Fundamentally, without them here, there would be less crime.

The case for compassion.  Some would have you believe the ONLY way we can show compassion to these people that are here illegally is to allow them to stay, or to let new ones cross the border illegally.  That is simply false.  From foreign aid to changes in foreign policy, there are many ways the United States can help the people of the world without letting them illegally into our country.

Beyond this, 63% of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they use at least one welfare program, compared to 35% among native-headed households.  (Center for Immigration Studies)

So we’ve factually deduced that illegal immigrants as a whole:

  1. Commit a crime by crossing the border illegally.
  2. Some commit more crimes, including those of violent nature
  3. Are almost twice as likely to use welfare than natural-born citizens

The media stays on task with propaganda that ignores facts and plays to one’s emotions.  You can’t run a country on emotions.

We are a nation of laws, and regardless of color or creed, if you’re breaking our immigration laws, you shouldn’t be here.






There’s no gun to my head

No addiction to be fed

I’m just here waiting

Not commiserating

I’m not bored, I’m done

There’s no fight to be won

Pour myself out for what?

You think you know, but

I don’t like playing pretend

I’m waiting for an end

Allow me to assert:

An end to the hurt

An end to the eyes

And all of the lies

To the whispers I hear

And the future I fear

My wish is no longer bliss

It’s to be gone from this

Whether smooth or rough

It can’t come soon enough






It’s inevitable.  People pass away.  You lose people the older you get.  Time spent here isn’t indefinite.  You don’t think about it until you’re older.  Time is worth more than any currency on the planet.

My family lost a pillar in the storm that is this world.  She was quiet, but strong.  She was afraid of simple things, but she had faith for the big things.  She wouldn’t cross the Elton Hills bridge because of its complexities but she undoubtedly had childlike faith in her Savior.


Gladys was consistent.  She was consistently stubborn.  She didn’t want the negative talked about around her, especially at the end.  She wanted to fight for every minute she could have.  She wouldn’t have wanted that if she couldn’t feel the love of her family.  We did good, everyone.  We surrounded her with love and we kept her where she wanted to be, until she went some place way better.

Grandma was a prayer.  She never ceased.  She would ask me about my cousin, Jason.  Just to get tidbits of information about how he was doing.  She wondered where he was and if he was on track with work and life.  She oozed love for those that she rarely saw.  She was a pillar of light in the darkness and most of us didn’t get the chance to see how bright she was.  She was a homebody.  It was engraved on her heart, her love of home and everything she knew so well.  But her light shined into her yard and her beautiful flowers.  They were a gift from God to her and she took care of them as reciprocation.  This is a photo she took of her flowers.  She had vision.


She was a light to anyone that would come to see her.  If there was one thing I would change about her it would be that she would have wanted to go and share her light more.  Everyone she knew loved her.  How could you not?  Many wonder of the mysteries of the universe and how God made so much from nothing.  I wonder how he fit so much spunk and love into such a small little woman!

When her family quarreled she hurt.  When brothers and sisters fought, she wept.  When cousins and aunts and uncles butted heads, she went without sleep.  When we wouldn’t accept our family and spread love instead of grit our teeth, she was in discomfort.  Her favorite times were the holidays when she would have the whole family over for Christmas.  She was a picture taker.  She would revisit those happy memories over and over.  She loved to see her family all together and the smiles on our faces as we grew up.  She knew she didn’t dictate our paths and she knew we would all make our mistakes.  Just as we knew that she was there in that little home on 10th Ave praying for us and loving us unconditionally.  An imperfect human, she loved perfectly.

She would want forgiveness to dominate our lives.  Forgiveness for cousins, forgiveness for brothers, forgiveness for parents, forgiveness for aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews.  She would want us to put our differences aside and love each other.

She would want us to forgive ourselves.  She would want us to move forward together.  She would want us to be Godly and she would want many of us to step up and become pillars of this family and lead our kids toward Christ (she was so happy that we are).  She would want us to help each other and encourage each other.  She would want us to try to help each other be better, but despite our own inevitable resistance because of sin in our lives, she would want us to love each other no matter what.

She wasn’t perfect, but she was consistent.  She was a trash talker, a secret street racer, a wordsmith, a unique photographer and the best grandma, mom, sister, daughter, mother-in-law you could have. 

Let’s make her memory useful.  Let’s wipe our slates clean and come together in her honor.  I am unqualified to call for the healing of our family’s hurts, but Gladys plead for their resolution in prayer daily.  Near or far, I am with you all.  Grandma changed my life for the better.  I won’t forget her, ever.  And my love for my family is stronger than anything else in my life.

 ❤ Justin

SE MN Real Estate Summary

If you’re a Realtor in SE Minnesota you get a newsletter every week updating you on the status of the industry in your area.  Personally, I’m sick of constantly reading that I don’t realize the dangers to my industry.  Without belittling the true giant disruptors that approach (and I’m aware of), I don’t think someone who doesn’t sell real estate knows the most dangerous threat to our industry is in the mirror when we get up in the morning.  We are constantly berated to reduce our commission without sacrificing our services.  We are surrounded by colleagues that reduce commission to get a listing with no thought of how it will effect the future for everyone with our occupation.  We see billboards with guarantees that seem too good to be true – because they are.  We started to lose the battle with moral solvency in our industry when it became about how much money we could make.  Some Realtors view success as what makes them more money whether or not it harms the industry in the process.  It’s cliché, but success in service is how many people you’ve truly helped.  We get to do it for a living.

At the college I attended to obtain my license, the educator mentioned that the reason the Agency Relationships in Real Estate transactions form exists is to explain to the sheep that we are the wolf.  We know more – it’s why we have jobs.  It’s also why the code of ethics exists – to protect us from each other, and to protect the public (sheep) from the wolves (us). I just don’t believe selling your own listing to your own buyer before the public sees it (pocket listings) is in the best interest of your seller.  I don’t believe there should have to be asterisks or fine print when you market yourself to anyone. 

The moment our focus is anything but service in a service industry, we’ve lost ourselves.

Our area has gone through some changes recently, with our local MLS dissolving and/or merging with NorthstarMLS which primarily serves areas north of here.

Some of the objections to the switch have been proven merit-less and some have been confirmed.

An example of the former is the stark contrast of Northstar’s leadership.  John Mosey’s openness to listen to what we want is the exact opposite of their former leader, John Smaby’s bullying style.  We went from ‘Fine, we won’t fund our portion of SASI, then.’ (Smaby) as a retaliatory response to us not wanting to merge at the time to ‘We’ll see if we can make that work for you.’ (Mosey).  It’s a promising sign of the future.  I’m excited for leadership that doesn’t think some of us are crazy, and listens to us even when it doesn’t affect the world they live in.

An example of the latter is Matrix’s very obvious inferiority to the software we currently were using as an independent MLS.  No, it’s not a learning curve.  No, it’s not because we’re stubborn.  Forgive us for liking a software that was built for a wide, flat screen monitor, not a square tube style.  Forgive us for not wanting MLPS/ST. PAUL fields on our screen all the time.  Forgive us for wanting to see our back-end changes go live instantly.  Forgive us for feeling that Flex’s system was more intuitive.  I was worried about the software after my experience with it on the tech committee when we chose Flex over Matrix years ago.  I was even more worried when I brought it up at the International Event Center meeting last year before the merge happened and was met with “They have more advanced technology than we currently do.”  We now understand that they meant third-party apps (which we could have acquired without merging), not the actual utility we all use daily for our real estate businesses.

Opinions deserve opposition.  Facts don’t.  It is the leadership of our Association’s job to represent those of us that want FlexMLS to be an optional software just as much as they represented fringe agent’s interests when they pushed so hard for the merger.

I don’t think less of you if you disagree.  I just believe everyone’s interests in our Association of Realtors should be represented equally.

~ Justin


And if I could start it all over
I’d pick you again

I’d do things differently
I’d be more of a friend

Because loving you was it
The highlight of my life

And the forever that I want
Was cut away with a knife

I’m not interested in a world
That keeps making excuses for being broken

Where relationships aren’t real
They’re more of a convenience token

Where you justify doing the wrong thing
With self empowerment bullshit

Life is easier without conviction
Why work when you can spend counterfeit?

The fact of the matter is
Anger weighs less than sorrow

And I can carry this weight today
But I never know about tomorrow

So I’m spinning my wheels here
Unable to find anything I want to do

The only time I was genuinely happy
Was when I thought my future was you

So I’m not gonna pretend
That someone else is ok

Because I’m true to my words
And I’ve got nothing left to say


When someone you really love is about to die, you think about things differently.  You think about things in the way you should always think about things.  With warmth and purpose.  So many in this world are afraid of death – afraid of the pain, afraid of the separation, and afraid of what will come next and the uncertainty of it.

The thing most apparent is that life means something.  We have a reason, a purpose for each day and some days we just ignore it.  Be busy, but be busy loving the people close to you.  Anything less just isn’t worth it.  Any other busy is just noise.  Any urgency that isn’t grounded in relationships with the other human beings here is fruitless.

When love is real it does not end.  The ability to express it may, but true things last forever.

What matters is our souls and their connections to each other and the Deity that reigns on high.  He cares and loves and waits for us, unconditionally.  He gives and gives and gives.  He sacrifices and he deliberates.  He gave his ultimate treasure, His Son, to us to save us and He watched us kill him.  But when the Son of God died He took our sins with Him.  He gave us that gift.  A gift is something you can’t earn.  A gift is something given freely in love.  All we have to do is accept it.

Those of us who have will be saved.  Death has no hold up on us.  Death is but the beginning of forever.  For the subject that has accepted the gift, death is not bitter, it’s sweet.  Those of us left behind feel both.

But I choose to focus on the sweet.  I choose to focus on the joy that is knowing another grandparent is on her way to where she belongs.  She’s on her way to meeting two of her great grand-kids she never got to hold here.  She’s on her way to peace.  She’s on her way to the One that never let her down.  She’s on her way to endless love.  She’s on her way to her Savior.  And she’ll be there when we get there.

God takes the best ones first.  I’d want her with me, too, if I was Him.

“Do not fear, for I am with you.”  I don’t understand much, but I know that not many things rival knowing that someone you love is going to a better place.  You don’t know faith until you feel something as strongly as this.

And in death, there is beauty.



Beauty is an 87 year old woman

Laughing at my stupid jokes

Beauty is her smile

Even after all the prods and pokes

Beauty is her holding your hand

Because she needs you there

Beauty is a little woman

With faith and white hair

Beauty is a daughter

Massaging her mom’s feet

Beauty is family united

In celebration, not defeat

Beauty is in a struggle

Because it means so much

Beauty is knowing just how many

Lives she touched

Beauty is a life lived

Full of quiet, genuine love

Beauty is knowing beyond a doubt

That she’ll be looking down from above