Looking Back: Five Years, Two Months, or 1,885 Days

I started this blog five years and two months back.  The first post was 10 July, 2014.  Our third child had been born a few months prior; now all three are in grade school.   My wife and I had been married just about six years;  we’ll soon be celebrating eleven years of marriage.

A lot of life has been lived, that’s for sure.

The blog has certainly had it’s ebb and flow.  The publishing hasn’t always been consistent — though now I’m on a pretty good run started recently — with full intent to keep the content churning, as my mind buzzes along and more to share comes to mind.

That said, we did recently pass over the 500th post; that says something about the volume of content produced.

And so a reminder as to why I started five years back, seems appropriate to share the content of my first post.  The mission hasn’t changed.  MORE GOOD.    Thanks for coming along.

From 10 JULY 2014:  “Half Full, All GOOD:  What’s it All About”

“Half Full, All GOOD” was a phrase that came to my mind some time ago as perhaps the most succinct description of the attitude I try to maintain, and energy I try to share with those around me.
The gist of phrase (and the blog, the tweets, the message, the mission) is to find and share positive stories woven through our shared humanity. The Half Full, All GOOD Blog will do just that:

Encourage others to…

Think Positive.

Be thankful.

Maintain a Positive Perspective.

Find good things where ever and whenever you can.

Look on the bright side.

And bundle all that GOOD up, to share it with those around you.

Such a path in life will create more GOOD.

That’s what I offer, that’s what I’m about, that’s why I’m here.

Hope you take a little good away when you leave, and spread it around.

And come back often to get more.  I got plenty more where that came from.”

–END–

Yep, I still got buckets to share.  Come back often for sure.

Look forward to seeing you.

 

Full Gas! We Serve

“Full Gas!” You hear pro cyclists make this reference frequently. It means racing all out, up tempo the whole way.

The second, two-word phrase is the motto of Lions International, and all of the 45,000 plus clubs that make up the world of Lionism.  Over a million people committed in the service of others.  We Serve.

Service comes in many, MANY ways; at the core of all efforts, if we’re doing it right, is that we focus on filling a need, attending to someone who needs a hand.  Lions are called the “Knights of the Blind” — first given this title by Helen Keller in 1925 — and from then until now we have always had a special concentration on sight-related issues.

But there are many other issues and causes and emergencies where Lions step in to lend a hand.  From the most basic — like having clean water — to the unexpected — like dealing with the aftermath of a massive hurricane — to providing free health services, resources for education, and on and on and on…

This past weekend one of the local Lions clubs in the Santa Clara Valley (a.k.a. Silicon Valley), the Cupertino De Anza Lions Club — held a local charity bike ride to raise awareness and funds for programs that fight diabetes.  The Ride 4 Diabetes featured some fifty volunteers coming together to produce an event with about 100 riders on three different routes, all out to enjoy a Sunday morning bike ride. It was a successful event, and a great foundation for the event to be held annually.

We were full gas from start to finish.

I was out early with another volunteer putting out route signs in the pre-dawn darkness.  Many other volunteers showed up just as the sun was coming up to set up. The guy I was with early had me drop him off at his house nearby, and then road the ride as well. Full Gas.

Several hours later we were gathering up those signs, breaking down rest stops, etc.   I got a bit sun-baked, but otherwise felt good about the efforts and certainly the event and so much good work done by so many good people.

Simple enough.  Full Gas. WE SERVE.

Carry Your Cross

“…And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”  This simple instruction came from Jesus talking about following his path and teachings.

It states a very direct and explicit call to face life’s difficulties and handle them according to the lessons Jesus left us:  Love God; Love one another; Be humble toward God and others; Help those who need help, those who have less than you do; Speak truth to power.

I’m no scripture buff, and certainly not an expert otherwise on things biblical, but I think the reference to “carrying one’s cross” is a distinctly Christian reference.  That said, it’s a mentality that really applies to everyone, not just believers of Christ.

Confront your fears. Face difficulty with courage and intent to persevere.  Do not let life’s trials dissuade you from living and acting according to your true beliefs.   “Carry your cross” means carry your burden forward.  Do not shy away from your goals because it is difficult, even like carrying a heavy wooden cross.

Be not afraid.   Let’s go forward, together.

Full Gospel Reading for 09/08/2019:  Luke 14:25-33.

Be Happy

Easier said than done.

Be happy.

But it’s definitely something we DO, not just something that happens.

I see this bumper sticker on a car parked in my neighborhood most mornings, when I’m out for my canine stroll. It’s a simple directive; and a good reminder too.

Being happy is a choice. Coming off a busy week, maybe stacked with events you’d rather forget, we may have to consciously take pause to reset. Maybe you have to work this weekend and it’s all the greater challenge to be happy.

Choose it anyway.

BE HAPPY.

Hot, Tranquility

Who would have thought I’d be weaving a little story while cooking dinner on a weeknight? Typical for me, I suppose. Finding a story that is, not necessarily having the BBQ going on a work night.

So here it is, a couple little insights from the backyard, as the smoke gently rises from the Weber.

Looking at a couple hot coals in the ash, it reminds me how my job has been lately. It’s still a relatively new role for me. There’ve been plenty of lessons that have gotten me hot, usually for a bit, I learn something new, and things cool off, like the grey of the ash.

But when it’s hot, it’s HOT. And uncomfortable. But I suppose that means I’m growing too. Easier to herald the learning process than feel the sometimes sting, face hot and flushed.

And then there’s the calm and the peace after the lesson is learned. The calm like cooking in the backyard, the quiet, the darkness approaching, the dogs lying around, my son asking questions about this and that.

So the whole gamut, just like that.

Hot.

Tranquil.

and the result?

Grateful.

I am.

Lyrics Post: “Closer to the Heart”

I first heard this song when I was a teenager. It’s one of the first of many songs that changed my life for the better.

From that point to today, certain songs have come along that fundamentally shape and affirm my perspectives and attitudes. Funny that songs do that to us.

What a gift.

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones who start
To mold a new reality
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

The blacksmith and the artist
Reflect it in their art
They forge their creativity
Closer to the heart
Yes closer to the heart

Philosophers and plowmen
Each must know his part
To sow a new mentality
Closer to the heart
Yes closer to the heart, yeah, oh

Whoa whoa
You can be the captain
And I will draw the chart
Sailing into destiny
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart
Well closer to the heart, yeah
Closer to the heart
Closer to the heart

I said closer to the heart
Well closer to the heart, yeah
Closer to your heart
Closer to your heart, whoa


Songwriters: Alex Zivojinovich / Gary Lee Weinrib / Neil Elwood Peart / Peter H Talbot
Closer To The Heart lyrics © Ole Media Management Lp
1977

Song of the Week

Listening to several songs this past week that were from music I listened to decades ago.  Many of those songs’ lyrics still ring true for me today.  I feel the old feelings I had when I first heard the music, listened to the tunes over and over, until I knew all the words.

And so I had the idea to bring those lyrics back, to share some of them, share a song a week with the words that spoke to me at the time, still do today.  Often it was inspiration, and still carries that weight; other times it was just good story, or something I could otherwise relate to.

Beginning this week, every Thursday, I’m going to post lyrics from a song; maybe I’ll share a little personal background as well.  And if I can find the tune on YouTube, will include that link too.

Not sure what the first song will be.  But I’m pretty excited.  I hope this weekly practice provides a boost.  I know it will for me.

More GOOD.

Be Fearless

Much angst and self-doubt comes from not being fully engaged, unsure, feeling ill-prepared, distracted.
The work we should all do is such that nothing can dissuade us from the mission. When we are inspired we are focused and energized and certain of our intent, certain of our purpose.
Like Ruth Bater Ginsberg, — “the Notorious RBG”, as a recent book title proclaimed her — as she faces cancer once again in her body, in her life.  And all the while fulfilling her role on the highest court in the land, as Supreme Court Justice.
“I love my job. It’s the best and the hardest job that I have ever had, and it has kept me going through four cancer battles,” the justice told [Nina] Totenberg [during a decent interview]. “Instead of concentrating on my aches and pains, I just know that I have to read this set of briefs [or] go over the draft opinion. And so I have to somehow surmount whatever is going on in my body and concentrate on the court’s work.”
In other words, a little more colorful? Fuck cancer, I’ve got work to do, I’m fighting until the end.
Ginsberg maybe the pivotal voice from the left on the continuum of philosophies that exist on the US Supreme Court at present. There’s a lot riding on her focus, and her very survival.  She seems fully up to the task.
She is focused and fearless and fully intent on doing her life’s work.
Would that we could all find our passion, our fundamental purpose, and pursue it with vigor and intent everyday.  If we do that in life…?  Call it GOOD.

Labor Day 2019

I think about Labor Day and a lot of different thoughts go through my mind.

What’s the origin of the holiday in this country?  “Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor, ” according to Wikipedia.

What, if any, is our U.S. Labor Day’s association with International Worker’s Day on May 1st?  Turns out that “May Day” is linked to an ancient traditional festival time in Europe, and similar labor movements in that region selected that date to also associate with honoring and further the cause of workers. That occurred around the same time in Europe that it did here in the U.S.

I think about the early 20th century novel, “The Jungle,” and the fictional account of very real working conditions in the meat packing industry in the northeastern U.S. around that same time period.

How far have we come with regulations and minimum wages in that time, to give rank and file workers safer conditions and enough income to live a reasonable life?  Lots of data, some objective results, but plenty of subjective opinion on those topics to be had, for sure.

Then I consider the hardest, most physically demanding jobs and who does that work.  Think about the people that work in extreme physical conditions, so that others might benefit from seasonal produce or the freshest catch.  How difficult is that work?  How much do those folks make?  Would I want to do that work?

I think about people I know that do white collar work and make good income; some are associated with organized labor, some are not.  I consider the various aspects of work today, and the manner in which plenty of white collar, high-skill workers also can be exploited and might benefit from organizing. 

Throughout the world we can say that collective bargaining has been good for workers in the industrialized world over the last one hundred and forty-odd years. We can also say that wages have increased, working conditions have improved, and society on the whole enjoys a higher standard of living along that same period of time.

Sure there’s still more work to do.   But I’ll spare you the red star or the fist clenched in the air.  We have to say that the owners and the governments and society in many countries have supported the workers’ cause, to everyone’s benefit.

In my humble view, Labor Day should be a day when we remember and appreciate all those workers, of all shapes and sizes and trades, all the rank and file whole make our economy churn.   Those that, through there hard work, make our country a better place to live.

We should appreciate, and honor labor, on Labor Day,  and everyday.

labor-day-750

More on:

Labor Day

May Day

The Jungle

AFL-CIO

Collective Bargaining

Be Humble

It’s a simple instruction, and one that we constantly have to work at to be authentic and true to form.

Be humble.

This guidance means plainly, don’t let you ego get in the way.  Regardless of your accomplishments, your title, your position at work, and in the world, insure you are grounded in full reality.  Regardless of the amount of money in your wallet or your bank account.

There will always be lesser and greater people than yourself.  You are in the continuum of some seven billion souls on this earth at any given time.  So strive to be the best person you can be each day.  Set your goals and work to accomplish them.  If you achieve a particular goal, celebrate that effort, then set your sights on something new.

On the flip side, don’t be dissuaded by failure or lose, or obstacles otherwise.  Keep going forward.  And stay humble.

Here’s additional guidance that might be helpful.  You might recognize it.

“But when you are invited, go, sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited you comes, he may say to you: ‘Friend, go up higher. Then you will have glory before them that sit at table with you.'”

That one is attributed to Luke, some 1,900 years ago.

BE HUMBLE.

Amen.