Clear Sky Friday – Seeing Good 31/01


How many out there follow British/English Premier League Soccer? A few years ago, at a point when the business machine of college and professional football here in the United States was beginning to disgust me, I turned my attention across the pond. While not a life long passionate soccer fan, I am a dedicated World Cup viewer. When the Summer Olympics came to Atlanta the one ticket I had to get was a men’s soccer match, and we were doubly rewarded. We were there when Nigeria defeated Brazil on their way to Olympic gold. Upon leaving the stadium the crowd was informed that tickets still remained for the women’s gold medal match between the U.S. and China: So we grabbed two and witnessed history.

Wanting something different, while knowing that British soccer is not distinct from other sports institutions, I researched teams and decided Newcastle United would be my club. It is relatively close to where my family hails from, Fulford, and the fan base is a passionate bunch with a rich history. Deciding I also wanted to cheer for an American player I added Everton to my small pantheon being that Tim Howard is their man between the pipes.

Two weekends of Derby play saw Newcastle lose to Sunderland 0-3, making this a sweep for the season in which the Magpies were shut down 0-6.  Last week saw Everton lose their Derby match to Liverpool 0-4.

Tough week.

But it is just sports, something that is more a respite than foundation. A news story that put that in context was one the Today Show highlighted yesterday. It told the story of Sam Polk, a once greedy Wall Street success story who dropped that life because he realized it was destructive. You can read about it here.

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Clear Sky Friday – Seeing Good 24/01


IMAG0074CUMC Youth Group with citrus and Second Harvest truck

This past Saturday was the Second Harvest City Wide Citrus Glean in Jacksonville, FL. Officially the title is qualified as “Second Annual” as it was the second hear Second Harvest and Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) coordinated efforts to feed the hungry by picking fruit that would normally fall and rot.

My role was retained from 2013, which meant the responsibility of site coordinator for the San Jose area. Last year we had approximately 20 volunteers, and those could not reach all the houses on the list. Sunday found me gleaning an additional three homes. However, this year the volunteer count was approximately 80, which meant all houses on the list had their trees picked clean. Thanks to the work ethic of those in the field we were able to glean from an additional three houses. Those volunteers were out from 9:00 am until 2:00 pm, and thanks to the weather the day was more redeeming than expected.

From church youth groups to local business to mindful individuals, people from a variety of beliefs, cultures and socioeconomic areas gathered for a common goal: affording the less fortunate something many of us take for granted. From a 2011 Yahoo article:

“Almost 15 percent of households in America say they don’t have enough money to eat the way they want to eat,” Seligman said. Recent estimates show 49 million Americans make food decisions based on cost, she added.

Per Elliot Darkatsh with Second Harvest these were our weekend results:

In about 4 hours on a chilly Saturday, over 400 volunteers were deployed to pick from about 130 homes.

Here are the results (in lbs):

  • Potters House (westside):                  3039
  • Arlington:                                           3820
  • Chets Creek:                                       4002
  • San Jose:                                             7459
  • Mandarin:                                          8029

Total:     26,349 lbs of citrus!  This was a slight increase from last year, which considering the freeze this year is good.

I could not find my data for San Jose from last year, but I know we were far above that count.

Gleaning is a great way to meet new people and to be a positive impact for change in the world. I work with SoSA. Find one in your area.

SoSA

Second Harvest of North Florida

NPR Article

Mid-Atlantic Gleaning Network

USDA’s How to Glean

Gleaning Network of Southern Oregon

UK Gleaning

Gleaning the Fields blog

Clear Sky Friday – Seeing Good 17/01


IMG_0906

Last night my son was part of a two-man presentation at our local outdoor store where he works, Black Creek Outfitters. Along with Jack Stucki they spent a good two hours detailing their respective adventures on the Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trail. The presentation topics included gear, food and mindset. On a personal note it was a proud moment through which I observed my son sharing his passion in a professional atmosphere.

One comment that Jack made stood out, and it greatly serves Clear Sky Friday, was inspired/taken from Zach Davis’s book Appalachian Trials. Part of Jack’s closing comments to the audience centered around why one might commit themselves to months on trail, a question Mr. Davis writes about as being elemental to answering if one is to best maximize the adventure. With my longest section hike being four days, the “why” of an extended hike had never been considered beyond the answer “I just like to hike”.

Both Jack and Evan, when speaking of memories, found that the community of hikers was a grand emotional monolith. From Trail Angels to a simple person willing to give a tired hiker a ride, the basic good you find while on trail is special. Being a hopeful cynic, this is what my “why” would be. To see the good in humanity. Yes it exists apart from trail, but the quiet of the hike along with the kindness of strangers amplifies it.

With that in mind, here is an article which reminds us that good is all around us if we just look for it. Link courtesy of Sustainable Man via Facebook.

http://www.world-actuality.com/index.php/people/671-these-20-photos-are-going-to-make-you-cry-but-you-ll-see-why-it-s-totally-worth-it