Tag Archives: Jim Stovall

T-Six Days and Counting…Random Acts of Kindness 2013 Countdown

T-six days and counting….

 

Well, folks, I’m on my last few days of Random Acts of Kindness 2013.  That means that you only have a few days left for you to submit your own kind acts in the Be Kind…Win Stuff contest.  Don’t forget to enter to win an autographed copy of Jim Stovall’s Discovering Joye!  Thank you to everyone who has already submitted.  I love reading about the amazing things that you’ve done for other people.

 

 

 

 

 

A row of shopping carts.

A row of shopping carts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

This is not as detailed as the last update, but y’all deserve a little something here, all the cards are drawn and colored (I’m kind of sad.  I like coloring!),quilts are finished, donations gathered and pickup schedule, notes have been written (mostly), and a case of mirrors is on its way to me (Dollar Tree lets you order online! I had no idea.  You learn something new everyday.)…lots of stuff has been done for the big day (which is planned for November 9th, by the way)  Friends and family have volunteered (or been volunteered) for…stuff.  Obviously, not everything can get done in one fell swoop, but lots of it will.  That means lots of things are wrapping up and coming together.  There’s still work to be done, but time is on my side (kind of, sort of…maybe?)  Cookies will be baked and a copy shop will be visited…as well as the bank…and…okay, there’s still a lot of work to be done!  Some things got changed a little bit, others got switched out…ideas get better as they percolate.

Plus, what if it rains.  Do you want to gather shopping carts in the rain?  Me either.  Also, I’ve been checking out parking lots, and employees do a great job of gathering up those carts.  That made me worry that I wouldn’t find enough carts to gather up, and then I wouldn’t have 37 things on my list anymore.  Gathering a singular shopping cart would feel too much like cheating…or just like shopping and returning your own cart.  Sometimes, I’m a little…detail oriented.  So, yeah, I’ve got a couple of things sandbagged.  What can I say? (Yep, just realized I sandbagged Random Acts of Kindness…not that making a list months in advance and planning it all out doesn’t take some of the “randomness” out of the whole project…right!  Random is not the point.  Kindness is the point.)

Don’t worry, one of the volunteers is going to take a picture(s) of the heap of stuff in my house waiting to go out.  People have volunteered (or been volunteered) to go with me to help with things and take pictures as things are underway. (Yes, I understand that I’ve promised you that you will not show up in any pictures.  Personally, I’m telling you these individuals are gorgeous both inside and out, and I don’t understand why there is this fear of photographs.  However, I respect the decision.)  This way you can see what’s going on.  My family and friends have been amazingly wonderful.  There’s no way that I would have made it through this and had as much fun (or with as much sanity as I started with) if it weren’t for all of you!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

If you want to do your own Random Acts of Kindness project but you aren’t sure how to get started, people will help!  Comment or send me an email at ilovegeekology101@gmail.com.  I’m happy to give you ideas or feedback or whatever.  If you want to just check out other ideas, Random Acts is a non-profit that has lots of great ideas online that you can check out.  Maybe you already have a great idea, but you can’t afford it, Random Acts might be able to help there too.

Lots of other things have happened that I’ll be posting about soon!  I promise.  Lately I’ve been a bit busy with coloring, sewing and kind act making.  Regularly scheduled posts will be back soon.  Hopefully you’re enjoying my fun videos and such in the meantime!

‘Til next time,
Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Can I get An Update? Random Acts of Kindness 2013

Did you sing the first part of the title?  Awesome!  That was the idea!  Now, if the line “Can I get a witness” is running through your head too, at least I know I’m not alone.  Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for an update.  Random Acts of Kindness 2013 has commenced…well, sort of.  It is a lot of work to get ready to do all this stuff between November 1st and November 11th.  Right!

Catching everyone up…

Dexter5

Dexter

For my 37th birthday, I’m doing 37 Random Acts of Kindness.  I made a list back in September of things I wanted to do, and I shared it here.  The response I got was amazing!  So many people have offered to help and told me stories about things that they do all the time.  I want to hear your story too!  Jim Stovall has donated an autographed copy of Discovering Joye that I’m giving away in my Be Kind…Win Stuff contest.  All you have to do to enter is fill out the email form with an act of kindness that you’ve done, you’re planning to do, you do all the time…you accidentally did…whatever.  On November 11th, I’ll draw from the entries and mail you an autographed copy of the book.

Have I mentioned I have a hard time accepting help sometimes?  I may be a bit stubborn independent.  The ones who love me most were worried that I’d bit off more than I could chew. (They’ve met me.  I dream big.)  They may have heard that I work full time, decided to take a couple of college level classes “just for fun”, write two blogs, and I’m planning a Halloween(ish) party, and Doctor Who themed birthday party in there too.  There’s all the other everyday life stuff going on too.  (Have I mentioned I don’t do downtime well?)  As proud as I am that I have learned to do some advance tactical work (stop laughing, you know who I’m talking to!).  I was pretty adamant that I wanted to do all the work for this little (big) project all on my lonesome.  My planning phase for this did start in Mid-September after all….right about the time I realized that I had committed to do a lot of stuff by hand.  Have you ever drawn nearly 80 cards?  I hadn’t.  However, I have now! (well, almost 80…there’s some drawing and coloring left to do this week.)  My friends and family kept reaching out and offering to help though, and I finally realized a few of things.

1) Why should I be selfish with all the fun?  These are acts of kindness and if they want to help, I should let them share in doing nice things for people, and the work isn’t hard work (It is coloring!  Maybe some baking, and my mom just donated a quilt top so I have two quilts to donate to Family & Children’s Services!)  My friends and family love this stuff!

2) This is a lot of work, and while I would feel a great sense of accomplishment if I did it on my own…I would also be…well, I wouldn’t be fun to be around while I was doing the work.  The chances of me keeping my cool…let’s just say, I didn’t like those odds.  That kind of negates doing nice things for strangers if you aren’t nice to the people you care about.

3) Work, even fun work, is even more fun when you’re doing it with fun people.  Let’s face it, I don’t spend my time with people who suck.  They’re all pretty awesome.

4) One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to accept help when I need it, and not be so stubborn independent. (I can hear the scoffing from here.)

The great news is that help has been accepted, and major progress has been made!

The road so far…(and some of you never thought I’d get a chance to use that line!)

1) Business Cards have been ordered and they have arrived! They read “You are awesome!  Have a wonderful day.”

2) The message is finished on all the “Thank You” cards for military personnel and “Get Well” cards for the kids in the Children’s Hospital.  There’s still some pictures to be drawn and some coloring to be done.  Thank you friend! (They are all beautiful!  Stop worrying!)  We have a system.  I ink.  She colors.  It works.

3) Laundry detergent and fabric softener purchased to go in the laundromat.

4) Quarters parceled for laundromat and vending machines.  The rest of my loose change has been rolled and will be exchanged for more quarters this week. Thank you other friend!  The coin rolling/Supernatural watching marathon was awesome!  Another conversion (sorry there’s another TV show you can’t watch before bed…or not.) has been made and I discovered that I suck at rolling coin now. (Two years out of the banking industry…or an inability to multi-task when good looking men are on television.)

5) Two batches of homemade chocolate chip cookie dough made, scooped and frozen. There is still dough to be made (peanut butter and oatmeal raisin) and of course everything has to be baked just before delivery to firemen, policemen, and neighbors. (Just say “NO” to stale cookies!) Thank you for scooping while I cleaned the kitchen…next time we can switch?  (Just joking!)

6) Be Kind…Win Stuff contest to give away Discovering Joye…well, you already know that’s up. Thank you to everyone who has already written in.  I love the responses.  Please keep writing!

Jessica's iPhone Pictures 3.25.13 533There is still quite a bit to finish up before I get to go out and give all of this stuff away, but “with a little help from my friends” I’m not worried or stressed.  I’m just having fun…now, I just need to buy a new quilting hoop.  I just remembered that my loving dog ate mine.  He looks so innocent too up there at the top of the page!  Trust me, looks can sometimes be deceiving.
Inspired to do something, but need some help getting there?  One of the things that inspired me was Random Acts, a non-profit that I heard about on a Nerdist podcast with Misha Collins of Supernatural.

Random Acts is a non-profit organization that’s aiming to conquer the world, one random act of kindness at a time. We’re dedicated to funding and inspiring acts of kindness around the world. (www.therandomact.org)

ra_logo

On their site they’ve got videos to inspire you, they’ll create promotional material to help you out, and they can even help fund your project.  There’s always something to be said for dreaming big!

“You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.” Inception 

‘Til next time,

Jessica


Be Kind…Win Stuff

Random Acts of Kindness planning and preparation has begun!  After I posted about my plans, my mother, who works for Jim Stovall, shared my post with him.  I got the coolest email from Jim after he heard about what I was going to do.

Jessica:

Your mom shared your Acts of Kindness blog with me.  You did a great job, and if it’s all right with you, I’m going to share some of them in an upcoming column.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for another act of kindness, you could give a book filled with your grandmother’s poetry to someone who would enjoy it.  I will provide the book.

Jim

Now you may have read about him when I posted about The Ultimate Life  or Discovering Joye.  There are so many things I could say to describe Jim, but then we’d be here all day.  I pulled this from www.DiscoveringJoye.com.  Jim’s Story sums it up pretty well.

 Jim Stovall has been a national champion Olympic weightlifter, the President of the Emmy Award-winning Narrative Television Network, and a highly sought after author and platform speaker. He is the author of the best selling book, The Ultimate Gift, which is now a major motion picture starring James Garner and Abigail Breslin.

That email started me thinking…again. (I know it is really dangerous!)  This time I was thinking about all the wonderful responses to my kindness post.  Lots of people have reached out to tell me how much they love the idea, friends and family have offered to help in any way they can, and some people have shared the things that they do all the time for others…just because.  No holiday, birthday or special occasion needed.  So I said to myself….self, you know what would be awesome?  It would be so awesome to give this copy of Discovering Joye to someone who is doing good things for other people.  See you get Joye by giving joy…get it?  (I’m very punny…I know.)

So, I want to hear about the things you are doing to pass kindness on to others.  It doesn’t matter how big or how small.  Volunteer work, providing a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on for a friend in need, paying for a stranger’s coffee…whatever you do to pass on kindness, let me know!  Fill out the form below with your Act of Kindness and a winner will be drawn on November 11th, 2013 to win an autographed copy of Discovering Joye by Jim Stovall.  The winner will be contacted via the email address provided (so double check to make sure it is right!).

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Discovering Joye…This May Be the Coolest Thing Ever


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This is not my normal book review…for a couple of reasons.  Discovering Joye is a book about discovering Joye Kanelakos’s poetry and melding it seamlessly with Jim Stovall’s own story.  Both of these are powerful and moving on their own, but together it is just…wow.  Truthfully, I’m pretty familiar with both the poetry and the story.  My grandmother is Joye Kanelakos, and my mother has worked for Jim Stovall for more than 20 years. (I wonder how these two talented people came together?  Any ideas?)  My mom would bring Grandma Joye books and notes from Jim, and she would send him homemade baklava in return.  I think both of them feel like they got the better end of the deal.  Grandma loved Jim’s books, and she loved feeding people.  (I have no idea how many crumbs were washed out of pockets that woman crammed cookies into as people walked out the door.)  Jim’s books are special.  They are different than anything else I read.  They are thought provoking and uplifting, and that’s no small feat.  Grandma’s baklava was kind of the same.  You’ll never taste anything quite like it.  There was something special in her touch that transformed those ingredients in a way I’ve never been quite able to duplicate.  Both of these remarkable people feed your heart and soul.

Having known Jim Stovall for more than 20 years, through my mother, I’ve gotten to hear his story a few times.  It is always one that inspires me, and I go back to it when I’m feeling particularly unmotivated or as if I don’t have an impact.  His story always gives me the jump start I need to get moving again and make things happen.  I can’t even count the number of times I’ve told myself that the next time I say to myself “someone should do something about that” that person is me, and just go and do it….even if that thing is just the dishes.  “You can change your life if you change your mind,” has seen me through some frustrating days too.  Before I read Discovering Joye I would have said that I knew this part of his story well enough to tell you a good part of it myself.  However, when paired with the poetry, the “discoveries” and the story take on a new depth.  I walked away from a what I thought was a familiar tale with new insight and perception…inspired all over again, by both of them.

Some of Grandma Joye’s poetry followed me through childhood.  In Discovering Joye you’ll find some of my childhood favorites like “Plink Plank” and “Fairies and Other Good Stuff.”  They arrived in letters, usually handwritten on notebook paper, accompanied by drawings she’d made, and they will always hold special places in my memories.  Those poems sit side by side with evenings on the front porch of her home watching the fire flies wink and blink, listening to her talk about fairies who lived in the mimosa trees, Penny the Peacock, and later about life, books and writing,  and family. Reading those we found later though is a gift of a different sort.  Since Grandma Joye passed away, I return to her poems time and again.  It is like being able to have those front porch talks about those things we never got the chance to discuss in person.  Reading her poetry in conjunction with Jim’s story brought new life to the poetry too.  It changed the “conversation” with my grandmother because I read her words in a different light.  Apparently, she isn’t finished talking to me quite yet.  That is a gift of immeasurable value.

So I recommend this book on so many different levels.  If you’re a poetry nut, this is a book for you.  If you need a little pick-me-up…guess what, Discovering Joye has you covered.  If you just want to read a good story, you’ve got that too.

When I remember to keep the book I’m reviewing with me as I write my post, I try to leave you with the first line or so to give you a sneak peek.  This time, I want to give you my favorite poem.  This is one that I have all over the place…just in case I need a reminder.

New Light

I open my eyes to you

     Bright shiny morning,

While some lonely half-dream

     Still clouds my mind;

And I worry your presence

     By pulling in yesterday,

Plucking out moments

     I should leave behind.

Sweet friend and companion,

     Refresher of souls,

I rise to your joyful

     Awakening at last.

And I gather your warmth

     As a maiden her lover.

Embrace me, sweet morning

   Black shadows are past.

‘Til next time,

Jessica

P.S. Keep a close eye out in the next few days…there’s a contest coming!

 


It Is Coming! The Ultimate Life Movie!

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a pre-screening of the new film The Ultimate Life last week.  It will be released in theaters September 6, 2013.  This is a movie I have been eagerly anticipating for…well, it feels like forever, but it is finally here and that is all that matters!  It was well worth the wait.  I loved, loved, loved this movie.  It was visually stunning, the acting was wonderful and the story…well, I left the theater with a good feeling that carried over well into the next day.  Here’s the trailer…just to give you a peek.

Looks good, huh?  The real deal is even better.  This is both a prequel and a sequel to The Ultimate Gift. Huh?  Right, it really is both.  And it works, really, really well.  The cool part is that The Ultimate Life is a stand alone film.  No prior knowledge is necessary to fall in love with this one, I promise!  However, I can’t imagine anyone watching The Ultimate Life and then not wanting to go back to watch The Ultimate Gift. (That could just be me though…no?  Good!) The film stars Peter Fonda, Bill Cobbs, Lee Meriwether, and Ali Hillis just to name a few.

Chronologically, it takes places after the events of The Ultimate Gift.  Jason Stevens, played by Logan Bartholomew, is fighting his greedy family to retain control of the Stevens Foundation that he earned from his grandfather, Red Stevens, in the first film.  Jason’s busy, doing good things, trying to help people with the gifts that his grandfather has bequeathed him.  He’s come a long way from the young man we met in the first film, but he’s got a few things let to learn yet.  I’ve always liked Jason.  Not in spite of his flaws, but because of them, I think.  More that as he becomes aware of those flaws, Jason’s trying to work to overcome them.   He’s willing to learn, and become…better.  The Ultimate Life shows him trying to bear the burden of his inheritance.  He’s focusing so hard on trying not to be the person he was before he learned the ultimate gift from Red, that he’s missing out on some big stuff now.

Now, for anyone who has seen The Ultimate Gift you’re probably out there thinking that no one can replace actor Drew Fuller as Jason.  I was kind of worried about this too, I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t.  He did a great job with the role.  Logan had quite a bit of skepticism to overcome, and it took him all of like three minutes on screen to do that.  Really, you’ve got nothing to worry about.  Mr. Bartholomew’s portrayal of this character is spot on, no joke.  His smile is infectious and he embodies the person we know Jason has become to perfection.  After those first few minutes, he was just Jason and I didn’t think about it again.

As the daily grind and the fight with his money grubbing family take over Jason’s life, he does a great job of keeping the big picture in focus.  The details….well, this is where the lawyer comes in to help.  I know, I know.  Not the typical role of an attorney in the movies, but Mr. Hamilton is not just a sharp attorney.  He’s also been a friend of Jason’s grandfather since the beginning of Red’s career as an oilman.  Mr. Hamilton gives Jason Red’s journal to read, in hopes that his grandfather’s struggles will help Jason gain some…perspective maybe.

Red kept a journal since he was 15.  It was given to him by his teacher who told him that it wasn’t “girly”.  Girls had diaries and boys had journals.  Journals were different.  In this leather bound book, he relates his journey.  We get to see it through Red’s own eyes.

Now, Red has always been a favorite of mine in these movies.  It doesn’t hurt that the Red that Jason knows is played by James Garner.  I do so love James Garner…he’s just awesome!  I was a little nervous about the prequel portions, and the men who would be playing Red as a teenager and a younger man.  I shouldn’t have wasted my time.  I had nothing to worry about.  Austin James plays the teen aged Red Stevens, and he does a fantastic job.  All that ambition and drive just pulse out of him, and it just encapsulates the character so well.  I was even more impressed when I found out this was his first major role.  The guy knocked it out of the park.  Drew Waters took over the role of Red as an adult, and the transition was seamless.  The Texas oil man still chasing his dream of becoming a billionaire was just as I’d pictured Red, and seeing how the family ended up…the way they ended up, was a bit heartbreaking.  Just as watching young Red fall in love with his Hannah was breathtaking.

Then there’s Gus.  He’s played by Brian Dennehey in The Ultimate Gift, and I couldn’t wait to see what he would look like in The Ultimate Life.  Seeing their friendship develop throughout this film was just awesome, because they have such a competitive relationship of friendly one-upmanship.  And the young Gus, played by Jack DePew, has just the right mix of  humor, snark, competitive drive and friendly attitude.

Surprise, surprise, there are books that go along with the movies.  They’re titled The Ultimate Gift, The Ultimate Life and The Ultimate Journey by Jim Stovall.  Check out Jason Steven’s limo driver in The Ultimate Life movie, because the author makes a cameo there.  I recommend reading the books also, because…well, you already know how I feel about that.  Just read Book Before Movie? Movie Before Book?.

The author is based in my home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and he has written more than 20 books, four of which have been made into movies now.  Jim Stovall is also a motivational speaker and President of the Narrative Television Network as well.  The Narrative Television Network makes movies and television accessible for the blind and visually impaired and their families.  Even though it was originally designed for individuals who are visually impaired, a large percentage of people who tune into programming are like me.  They don’t have issues with their eyesight, but they enjoy the programming.  Sometimes it is as simple as not being able to see the television from the kitchen. (If I were more motivated I would do something about that, but I don’t have to.  NTN tells me what’s going on, and keeps me from moving furniture…and fish tanks.)  He’s even been an Olympic weightlifter too.  Just please don’t ask me which book is my favorite, because I’d have a really hard time answering.

Did I mention The Ultimate Life comes to theaters September 6th?  Just in case I forgot, September 6th-8th is opening weekend.  Go see it.  There will be no regrets!  You can get tickets here.

‘Til next time,

Jessica


The Ultimate Life Movie Trailer

The trailer for The Ultimate Life movie is out now.  You can watch it here.  You can watch actual The Ultimate Life movie in theaters on September 6.   THE ULTIMATE LIFE is both a sequel and a prequel to the beloved movie The Ultimate Gift. Despite his best intentions, billionaire Jason Stevens can’t seem to make the time to keep his beloved Alexia a priority … until he discovers his grandfather’s journal. Through the power of story, Jason is transported back to Red Stevens’ incredible world of successes and stumbles. With everything he loves hanging in the balance, Jason hopes to learn from his grandfather what makes THE ULTIMATE LIFE.

In Theaters SEPTEMBER 6, 2013


The Ultimate Gift – Free eBook through May 31, 2013

The Ultimate Gift – Free eBook through May 31, 2013

The Ultimate Gift is one of my favorites.  It is very near and dear to my heart for a whole bunch of reasons….dedicated to my mother, my grandmother’s poetry quoted…amazing, heart-warming story.  Here’s the synopsis.

What would you do to inherit a million dollars? Would you be willing to change your life? Jason Stevens is about to find out in Jim Stovall’s The Ultimate Gift.

Red Stevens has died, and the older members of his family receive their millions with greedy anticipation. But a different fate awaits young Jason, whom Stevens, his great-uncle, believes may be the last vestige of hope in the family.

“Although to date your life seems to be a sorry excuse for anything I would call promising, there does seem to be a spark of something in you that I hope we can fan into a flame. For that reason, I am not making you an instant millionaire.”

What Stevens does give Jason leads to The Ultimate Gift. Young and old will take this timeless tale to heart.