A simple but ‘connected’ dessert.

No, this isn’t a food blog.

There have been numerous topics that I’ve considered using to represent my more serious return to using my blog as a way to key the rest of the world into my life and everything that goes on it, but the story I have to share with you from earlier tonight easily takes the cake…or takes the ice cream, should I say? Bear with me.  This story might not make you as happy as it makes me…but check it out.

Two weeks ago, I was packing and taping closed my final boxes at my home in Blacksburg.  That townhouse has been soooo, so good to me over the years, and it’s been the home where I have so many memories.  Not only were there a lot of memories…but there was a lot stuff! Realizing how much I had, I repeatedly had to ask for the help of those around me to make my move successful.  There was no way I would be able to transport the things in my bedroom, my attic, my two bathrooms, kitchen, and living room on my own.  It was going to take a team of people.  That’s where community comes in.

I'm so grateful that I didn't have to pay for a single box. You better believe t

I’m so grateful that I didn’t have to pay for a single box. You better believe that I will be donating all of these right back when I unpack in a few weeks or months!

Most people know that my truest representation of community in the New River Valley can be found in the time that I’ve spent at Harding Avenue Elementary School.  I began working with those first grade students in Ms. Day’s and Ms. Earles’ class when I was a freshman; the year was 2008.  In 2008, in that class was a student named (let’s call him) Jordan. I worked with Jordan for that year and our bond became quite exceptional. I would always see him in the lunch room in the years following becuase I would always continue to work with first grade as he worked his way through 2nd, 3rd, 4th, …

When Jordan was in 5th grade, his little brother, (let’s call him) Caymen became a first grader.  That was this past fall.  While I was there, Caymen and I quickly became even better friends than we had just based on the random contacts we had prior to me being a formal volunteer in his classroom.

Over the course of the next few months, the boys’ mom and I became friends on Facebook got to know each other better, too.  Their mom also sponsors the senior class at the local high school, and also teaches social studies there.

Now that you have the context of how I’ve come to know this amazing family (+ their dad Adam), let me share main story. Stick with it, friends.

  • Square 1: as you now know, I volunteered at HAE from 2008 – 2014. Jordan was the bomb.com.
  • The kids in the HAE’s 5th grade asked me to come speak at their graduation in June of 2013.
    • The mom, Amy, was in the crowed because Adam graduated that year.
    • After graduation, she asked, “how would you like to do something like this at the high school next year?”
    • Of course I was like OMG YES I would love to do that.
  • In the spring of 2014, Amy’s senior class president e-mails me to invite me to come speak at their high school graduation.
    • Of course I was like OMG YES I would love to do that again.
    • After a successful speech to the senior class, they thanked me with a wonderful gift that may or may not have to do with a dining establishment.
  • After graduation, I needed people to help me move.
  • So, once in Fredericksburg, I request the help of my brother from another mother, Billy.
  • Billy and I decide we will go to Outback Steakhouse after we unload the UHAUL to celibate me being back in Fredericksburg; my treat as way of saying thank you. I wanted to pay forward those gift cards in some way.
    • Dinner gets delayed becuase the UHAUL station closes earlier than we thought, basically.
    • Dinner gets delayed again because I got back from another engagement too late on Sunday.
    • Dinner almost gets delayed again because I can’t find my wallet prior to leaving the house but luckily I find it and am 20 minutes late to dinner.
  • Billy and I get dinner…it’s great.
  • The Outback Steakhouse team comes out to sing Happy Birthday to a beautiful little girl having dinner with 2 adults who appear to be her parents.
  • Billy and I start thinking…geeze…we’d love some dessert.
    • We eventually decide meh…we don’t need it. Five minutes or so pass…
  • We look up and there’s suddenly a woman standing next to our table…
    • “Gentlemen, we got this but we aren’t going to eat it. I’m on a diet, and we just can’t have it so…would you like it?” (I think to myself: FREE DESSERT!?!?)
    • We reply immediately…of COURSE!!!!
  • Before the woman walks away back to her table, I take a green AC4P wristband off of my keychain, hand it to her, and explain the movement.
    • She says I’m going to give this to my daughter so that she can pay it forward!
  • As they finish dinner, the young lady comes over to our table to say thank you for the wristband.
    • And we tell her Happy Birthday. :D

TL:DR…the likelihood of us meeting in that fortunate spot; a spot where not only was I elated to pay forward a wristband but I was ecstatic to see such wonderful caring, Ut Prosim minded action even as I’ve been sad about not being in Blacksburg anymore; would have been severely less if any of the above bullets weren’t true. Had I not volunteered at HAE, had I not had such an amazing best friend/brother in Billy, had dinner plans not been canceled and shifted so many times…I could go on.

There’s a reason one of my favorite movies is the Butterfly Effect. :)



Justin, where have you been?!

For those of you who don’t know me…my name’s Justin.


Okay, okay; maybe I’m not Little Bill. But I’ve always felt a sincere connection to this little guy if not only a physical resemblance!


This is my blog.  It’s called he’s on wheels well…because I use wheels to get around.  :) As you’ll see in the side bar of my blog (look to your left right now) my TEDx talk explains the viral inflammation that caused me to use a wheelchair for the foreseeable future.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not “CONFINED” to a wheelchair.  I simply use it to get around.  Get in the same room with me and I’ll show you how. :)

I wanted to reintroduce myself because it feels like it has been an actual year since I’ve even opened the “New Blog Post” link on my favorites tool bar.  And that really bugs me.  Why? Because I see myself as a man of…quality.

Screen Shot 2014-06-25 at 11.20.05 PM

Really…”new blog post” has been in my Safari toolbar fo-eva. fo-eva-eva.

I don’t like to half-do things. It really bugs me when people don’t put their all into something.  Whatever the task is at hand, I firmly believe that you must do it with all of the energy that you CAN commit to it.

And it is for that reason…I haven’t blogged. I really haven’t made a quality, legitimate, interesting blog in months.  It actually bothers me.  It doesn’t quite keep me up at night but it does make me constantly feel like I need to get on top of things. Like I have this place on the internet that people may be looking toward to hear something from me and … silence.

E-Port Screen Shot

Alllllll of my mental energy went into this bad boy during the first half of 2014: my e-Portfolio.

This past semester, I would be working on my e-Portfolio, which is essentially a large deposit of everything I’ve learned and applied to myself and others over the past two years of my graduate program, and would feel as if I was just DYING to post something to he’s on wheels. ANYTHING would have made me happier than consistently seeing a relatively empty blog.


I promised myself that I wouldn’t jump back onto the blog train until I could routinely sit down to commit honest and undistracted attention to sharing my thoughts with the world through my little space on the internet.

Well, my friends, we have arrived at that moment.

I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past few months and much of it was on private matters.  All of these things (from my finding the perfect job to moving back in with my parents to working hard enough to pay the bills to really debating what my trajectory is going to be moving forward in life) were relatively private, but as I reach some decisions I feel much more comfortable with the idea of sharing them online.

I’m not the most private person ever, but sometimes….it’s important. Over the next few months, as I roll out some big, big news (i.e., who’s my employer!?) and changes, I wanted to have a place to be able to consistently share it.

This is it. This is actually it.

Stay tuned, folks. hesonwheels is back.


Personal Branding

Later this week, I’m going to make a more robust post about personal branding and how effective it can be.  From the moment I decided to turn myself into a brand that focuses on service, engaging with others, and motivating, I have experienced a significantly greater amount of rewarding success.  Through that branding, I found my way to a very special opportunity this past weekend when I spoke at and attended the 2014 Virginia Young Professionals Summit, sponsored by Senator Mark Warner.

I also had the great fortune of being on the receiving end of yet another wonderful, engaging talk by Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business professor and close friend Donna Wertalik about the importance of personal branding when marketing yourself.

One of the most outstanding ways I was ever suggested to market myself was through my personal logo, on the recommendation of a great friend named Phill.  Today, that personal logo has a new home – my laptop case.

My new laptop case, ordered from Zazzle!
Great product and even better service! Thanks, Zazzle!

World, get ready. Here’s comes hesonwheels, with a brand new fury and vengeance. ;)

And I’m back.

It was NOT an April Fool’s joke! It’s April 1st and I am ecstatic to announce my recommitment to blogging as often as I would LOVE to. The hesonwheels blog is something that I have missed SO much over the past few months. Primarily, due to my endeavors as a graduate student (from studying, to service, to networking, to just trying to live a LIFE), I haven’t been able to spend as much time writing leisurely as I would prefer.  I consistently found myself in real-life and not able to reflect as much – and if I was reflecting, it was all pushed into my e-Portfolio (which I’ll explain more about later).

Today is special in so many ways. Not only is it my first true blog in a VERY long time, it marks exactly ten days remaining until I present my comprehensive exam, or e-Portfolio, to the faculty in my program. On April 11th, from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m., I will present information that I have “researched” over the past two years – that is, how have I changed and developed as a person and as a professional through my time spent in my Master’s program. Nerve-wracking? Absolutely. 100 percent. AND I DON’T EVEN GET NERVOUS FOR PRESENTATIONS!  But, at the end of the day, I just keep telling myself – I need to be confident in my delivery and they will be confident in me – and let me graduate with my degree!

One of my absolute favorite quotes, especially when I need to get in the zone prior to a presentation.

Another reason today is very important is because I am also announcing another commitment – but this one is new. I thought long and hard about this one, just like my return to blog – because I’ve really learned over the past four or five months to not bite off more than I can realistically chew.  I’m working on a project that I’ve been wanting to do forever – it’s called 1 second everyday. I first heard about this project through one of my favorite TED talks, months ago (of course I can’t go a whole blog post without mentioning a TED talk!), and I decided that, with a new month, and what I really view as the beginning of a new chapter in my life, it’s about time I finally take that plunge and make that commitment.

So, while I won’t post the one second to hesonwheels every single day, in 365 days you can fully expect a posting of that montage – the video that is my past 365.  Between now and then, you can expect a much more updated hesonwheels, as well! I’m excited for the ride – I hope you are, too.

While I wasn’t quite in the right place to do this at the turn of the new calendar year, you could think of both of these commitments as sort of a New Year’s Resolution.  You might remember this blog post from back in 2013, which I have to admit I was actually successful at about eighty percent of the goals I set for myself back then – which I view as a success for the most part! I didn’t make a similar list for 2014, but these two goals of blogging more and engaging with 1 second everyday, I hope, will force me to make the most out of every single day.  How will you make the most out of your days??

Well, with that – I’m going to get on with the day and get back to finishing the remainder of my ePortfolio.  Ten days to go you guys, wish me luck!

The British are coming!!…or something like it.

For the past few months, I’ve been brewing some exciting things. Ideasopportunities, meeting new people, traveling the country, exploring the land.  In all of that brewing, I have to admit – some things suffered. The most obvious of those things? This blog.  And so, as I set my goals for this season, go ahead…

& mark your calendars, my friends.

hesonwheels.com will be making a triumphant return from hiatus on…

Many of you have been asking me “Justin, where are the posts?” “What have you been up to!?” “Share some new recipes!” and … I’ve finally made the decision to make the come back.  Blogging is one of the most therapeutic things I do, and I’ve missed it so, SO much.

Until then, keep up with life’s happenings here and here.  And keep your calendars marked for April 1st!