Friday, August 29, 2014

What’s Brewing

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am full of ideas.  I have to admit, this really came about as a direct result of Jason’s way of thinking.  I didn’t see myself as creative or innovative or even really as a dreamer before I met Jason.  Obviously I now recognize that the roots were there, but I, like many of us, had fallen into the box-thinking of the world around me.

Through Jason’s influence, I began to let my mind wander- thinking of businesses, thinking of creative projects, thinking of less-restrictive ways of living.  Although he got me started on this path of thinking, it seems my mind has only wandered farther since Jason’s passing.  I am antsy.  I can’t finish any project or completely develop any idea before another one is jumping out at me.  I’ve become restless.  The proposition of being able to go anywhere I want, do anything I want has come to fruition and taunts me daily as I strive to figure out my path, my purpose, my reason for life, and, ultimately, to figure out my desires.

Many of you know that I have reduced my hours to part-time at work, and when I say part-time, I mean severely part-time.  Amazingly, this has reduced my stress and increased my opportunities.  Opportunities to serve, to create, to explore, to live.  In the end though, everyone needs a means of income.

Jason and I toyed with many business ideas before his passing- unfortunately a number of them I don’t understand at all, so they are kind of off my list of possibilities right now!  However, since his passing, I have developed many of my own ideas and begun to transform a few of our original designs.

I am specifically driven toward real estate.  Originally Jason and I wanted to own rental properties, most likely condos or apartments to start with.  We planned to own rentals in our area (Raleigh, NC) and we had a fun niche to use as a draw to our rentals.  As exciting as that was, after Jason passed I started to realize it just wasn’t the direction I wanted to take.  Even though I am still interested in Real Estate, residential rentals just didn’t seem like something I could be truly passionate about.

One of the things I have learned from becoming a widow at 25 is that life is simply too short to do anything I don’t love.  I love teaching, and I realized that with the way public education in NC is going, I can’t love teaching full-time- hence the resulting part-time teaching status.  So what do I love besides teaching?  Serving- I definitely love serving others, so I currently serve in my church’s Temple 3 Saturday’s a month, and I teach early morning Seminary for my church as well.  I also get to use my freer-than-usual schedule to help serve friends and family when they need me, and don’t worry, I’ve still been doing my Jason’s Acts of Kindness, I’m just terrible at blogging them. Okay, so we have teaching and service- what else?  Well, of course I have to add camping, hiking, and just general adventuring to the list.  Jason and I used to try to spend every possible summer weekend engrossed in some sort of adventure, whether camping, repelling, rock climbing (thanks for that Sarah and Eric), rafting, biking, canoeing, cliff jumping, oh the list goes on.  I have to admit, though what I love most about myself is my adventurous spirit, I haven’t done nearly enough adventuring since Jason passed away.  More than just adventuring for myself, I want to inspire a love of adventuring in others, and I want to make adventuring a bit less-intimidating so more people will try it out! 

So what does all this mean?  It means I’ve been working on idea.  An idea that I want to [partially] unveil to the “public.” I heard about a study recently that states people shouldn’t verbalize their goals to others because when they do, they get a false sense of accomplishment due to people’s excitement for the goal, so rather than telling you what I want to do, I’m just going to tell you there is an idea in motion.  Something I’m excited about but that still requires a lot of background work.  My secretiveness isn’t because I don’t want to share, but because I want to succeed! 

Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Jason’s Acts of Kindness: February


I don’t know about y’all, I refuse to contract “you all” as “ya’ll” ~shudder, but lately Facebook seems to be flooded with requests for helping others.  Facebook is used for so many things {ie, airing dirty laundry, complaining, baby announcements, wedding announcements, the list goes on…} yet I think Facebook and the good ‘ole world wide web may have a bit more to offer.  For example, I think shares like this are one of the best ways we can use Facebook. …and pictures of that cute new pup you just rescued! 

There are so many websites that are popping up to help in the cause of giving to others.   Give Forward, Screenshot_2014-02-26-15-22-45and You Caring are a couple that I have seen.  Donating to cover trips for children, medical bills, and lost homes are just a few fundraisers I have seen.  These sites allow you to give anonymously or under the name you choose, they allow you to show or hide the amount you give, and they allow you to leave a message with your donation.  What an incredible way to reach out to those in need if you can, even if you don’t know them, and lend a monetary hand.  The day that I officially decided I wanted to move forwards with “Jason’s Acts of Kindness,” one of my amazing SIL’s posted a link {on Facebook} about giving to a family she knew.  The family’s house had just burned down {that day} and a family friend created this GiveForward page to help them.  It seemed the stars were aligned, so I made a donation in Jason’s name to a family who certainly seems deserving. 

Seeing people sacrifice for the good of others never gets old!

Know of another site that collects monetary donations for those in need?  Know the name of a deserving family who needs a little extra help on their GiveForward or YouCaring page?  Share it in the comments below!

I recently stumbled upon a blog of an awesome lady, Kerry.  Kerry is working hard to spread random acts of kindness with her “Be the Change 2014” campaign.  Click the button below to see what she’s been doing and share what Random Acts of Kindness you’ve done lately!


Till Then Smile Often
Linking up for the first time today-yay- with Kerry {above} and Shanna!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Jason’s Acts of Kindness: January



North Carolina’s winter has been especially snowy so far in 2014.  People often think of emergency workers during snowstorms because they are out, often risking their safety, while the rest of us get to cuddle up by the fireplace with the ones we love.  During the storms, this cute cartoon circulated Facebook, reminding us that linemen are out working to restore power to those who lost it.  And that’s not all- there are so many other businesses that require their employees to be out during storms because they provide a service that is vital.  One such business is generator service.  Most people think of generators being a luxury, but for pharmacies, hospitals, assisted living homes, generators are a necessity during bad weather.  Hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and other storms can all knock out power leaving these facilities helpless {not because the lights are out, but because equipment like respirators won’t work without electricity.}

With those hardworking generator technicians in mind, a care package was assembled and sent to National Power Corp, the company where Jason was employed as a generator tech before he passed away.  Hopefully a few hands {or heads, or feet} will be a little warmer in Jason’s name this winter {after our 70 degree days diminish again!}


Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Love of One

 …you can consider this my “In  Thanks-giving” Day 6 post- ha!

I have recently set a goal for myself.  What am I talking about; it’s February, everyone recently set goals.  I did make some resolutions, but this goal isn’t actually one of them.  Maybe that’s why I have so much conviction for it?  Resolutions and I have a love-hate relationship…Well this goal is special- I’m making this goal in my husband’s honor.  For any who may not know, my husband, Jason Edwards, passed away last year. {wow, yeah- it hasn’t been a year yet, but it was last year: May 26, 2013}

Jason was {and is} a lot of things.  He’s a husband, a brother, a son, an uncle, a best friend, a believer, a hard worker, an entrepreneur, a creator, just to name a few!  Above all though, my husband is a servant.  A Raleigh Stake Day of Service servant to God and a servant to all those he comes in contact with.  I’ve never met someone who is so willing to give of his time and talents.  Jason served in callings at church; he has been a DJ, an assistant scout master, a young men’s leader, a member of the Elder’s Quorum presidency, an Elder’s Quorum teacher, and even a missionary in Idaho for 2 years {yes- he served in the Pocatello Mission- poor guy ;) } Jason has helped organize service projects, through our church {like for the day of service}, and also on his own, for people we know and care about.  Often those projects included helping people move—no offense world, but it seems everyone wants to move on a day that qualifies as one of the following: the hottest day ever, the coldest day ever, the rainiest day ever, or some erratic combination of the three!  What I love most about Jason’s service to others though, is that, most often, it was spontaneous and a huge inconvenience. 

Yes, I said it, his service was often an inconvenience, but isn’t that what makes it so unbelievably beautiful?  That despite the sacrifice, he was always willing and never {at least within my earshot} a last-minute move for some friendscomplained about that sacrifice.  There were many times that Jason got home from work later than planned because there was someone on the side of the road, with a flat tire, a smoking engine, shoot- there was even one time we were running late to meet family and saw a young lady whip her flaming-yes flaming-car off the road.  As I was suggesting {okay, maybe shouting} that we should pull over, Jason was already on the shoulder calling the fire department.  The sacrifice never seemed to matter as long as he was serving.

When Jason passed away, we had a Celebration of Life for him.  He always said he wanted a party when he passed away, so we gave him one.  Never in my life have I seen so many individuals gathered in honor of one person, especially a deceased person.  I was blown away.  What I found out that night, was that all this time, through Jason’s many acts of service, he was doing more than just moving boxes, and changing tires: Jason was loving.  I wish I had been the one to realize it, but it was friends of ours who pointed it out that night.  Jason had a way of making every person he met feel like he/she was THE most important person to him.  What a phenomenal talent.  I have to admit, early on our relationship, this was hard for me.  I couldn’t separate his love for everyone else from his love for me.  It got easier, the longer we were together; I began to recognize the differences in the type of love and the ways he showed it, but it wasn’t until the night of his Celebration of Life that I finally understood why it had been so hard in the beginning.  Jason literally loves everyone.  He didn’t even want me to talk about people to explain how infuriated I was with them; he always wanted me to let it go {not a Frozen reference…}.  LOVE: such an incredible way to serve others, and sometimes a harder way than just helping when it’s needed. 

Over the past few months I’ve explained over and over what an incredible example Jason has been to me during our time together in this life, and this is just another way he has taught me.  But I am determined, determined to put my knowledge to use, so that all those days and nights my husband sacrificed can continue to bless my life and the lives of others.  So here is my goal:

I’m going to serve.  Each month in 2014, I will complete one act of kindness, maybe random, maybe not, but every act will be done in Jason’s name.  I plan to record my “Jason’s Acts of Kindness” {JAKs} here {but maybe not in complete detail- because secret acts of kindness are always more fun} so that you can follow along.  My hope is that through Jason’s example, we can all learn to love more purely, more completely, and more abundantly because we never know who needs to feel loved.

As I post each month, feel free to get in on the action and start loving others through service!  I miss getting those service reports each afternoon, so I’d love to hear some creative ways you are serving!!

With Love,