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Sign-up for a Charity 5k

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and greenery is peeking through the dirt giving me hope Spring is around the corner.

Warmer temperatures not only mean a changing of the seasons but charity 5ks are popping up everywhere.

Here are seven reasons you should sign-up for a 5k:

1. Raise funds for a worthy cause.

2. Physically showing support for the nonprofit and/or family.

3. It's fun! Nothing like gathering with hundreds/thousands of people for one purpose.

4. Opportunity to get in shape.

5. A family event that gets you outside, active, and disconnected from technology.

6. You'll learn something about yourself. I've been running 5ks for 25 years and each race I increase my mental toughness.

7. Snap a few pics and share your experience and the charity on social media. Nonprofits love to see their message spread!

I believe in giving to others and to yourself. 5ks are an opportunity to do both!

Which race will you register for today?

P.S. Today's challenge is in memory of Roger Bannister. He was the first person to break the 4-minute mile. He did so much for the sport of running. Today the running community lost a champion.

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven't read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

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About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

Support Small Businesses and Shop Local

Did you know there are over 28 million small businesses in the United States?

I've found small businesses to be more personable and are what help make a community great. Many small businesses are also involved in philanthropic initiatives in their communities

If you are in Northwest Indiana, I love Extra Mile Fitness Company for my running shoes and Aster + Gray for a gift or home items.

Also local to NWI but available online is my favorite face cream Pelle by Lauren and homemade soaps by BUN’s Soapbox.

I not only love all these products but I made new friends with the owners.

Today if you are out and about, stop and support a local small business! You never know, you may make a new friend!

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven't read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

⭐️ Be Positive on Social Media ⭐️

Can you believe it’s March? If you scroll back through your feed in February were you positive and encouraging or do you have a little work to do this month?

I love the start of the new month as I feel they can be a new beginning in our life.

You don’t have to wait for a new year to make changes, start now!

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven't read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

Several years ago Joellyn bravely stood up in one of my dream board workshops and shared a dream she'd never shared with anyone.

She wanted to write a book. She had zero experience but it was dream God laid on her heart.

After the workshop, Joellyn signed up for my coaching. As they say, the rest is history.

We've been working together ever since!

After we met, life threw her a curveball when her son was diagnosed with dyslexia. Joellyn didn't just become an advocate for dyslexic children but went on to become a dyslexia specialist.

Months later I was thrown the same curveball, just much later in life. I'd always knew something was different with me, but most times I just thought I was stupid. Why could I not get things others kids got?

At age 39, I discovered I’m dyslexic. The roles reversed and Joellyn was now helping me! Our paths were definitely meant to cross.

We both have dreams of standing on a stage, sharing our incredible journey together. And guess what? We know it will happen!

This morning I sent Joellyn a text, “Good luck today! You’ll do fabulous!”

Several hours after that text, I sat at my desk, tears streaming down my face, watching my client, and friend, Joellyn, testify in front of the Indiana House Education Committee on her experience with dyslexia. What a moment!

I’ve spent years being one of her biggest cheerleaders! Who will you cheer on this week?

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven't read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

ENGAGE and INVITE YOUR FRIENDS to go on 40-Day Giving Journey!

Instead of giving up chips, wine or sweets, what if you gave away something each and every day for 40-Days, changing the lives of those you encounter and in the end, changing your life?

It’s easy to participate!

1) Each morning I’ll post a giving challenge on this blog, my Facebook page, The Giving Challenge Group and Instagram.

2) Share the challenge and tag a friend. Let’s flood the world with intentional acts of giving!!!

3) Take the posted challenge or create your own!

4) Not necessary, but I’d love for you to share your stories and challenges. It’s how others get motivated to go out and make a difference. It also gives your community great ideas. Let’s show our friends and family that giving is easy!

I can’t wait to go on this journey with you. A journey of 40-Days to a more generous life!

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven’t read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

 

On January 1, 2011, I not only started on my giving journey, but I started writing a blog, 1 Making A Difference. You see when I set out to give a gift every day for a month, which turned into 522 days, I didn't have a goal of reaching the masses. I strived as one person, to make a difference, in another person's life every day. It was a journey that changed me, and I continue to live this goal every day.

I wrote on my blog, "1 Making a Difference™ shows how easy it is for one person to make a difference through daily giving of gifts. It is my goal to make people feel happy or moved when they read the gift giving stories. I want the ideas shared to motivate you to give and get involved. I want to stop being focused on self and strive to make serving others a priority. I challenge you to do the same. I believe one person can make a difference."

Today is Making a Difference Day. According to the website with the same name, this is a day with a single purpose: to improve the lives of others. It's one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide.

I think it is great we have a day focused on Making a Difference, but I don't believe this is just one day. I think we should seek to Make a Difference every day. Yes, one day can make an impact, but the compound effect of making a difference daily can change the world.

I'll conclude with one of my favorite stories,

"An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean.

"Why do you bother?" the old man scoffed. "You're not saving enough to make a difference."

The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. "Made a difference to that one," he said.

Giving Challenge: Celebrate every day as Making a Difference day!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. She gives a gift every day and challenges others to do the same.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

Down on my hands and knees, I'm almost in tears. How did I get to this point? It was January 1, 2017, and 14 months ago I ran a marathon. I ran all 26.2 miles. I didn't walk. I ran. Here I am, on the floor, out of shape with a little jiggle around my midsection. I've eaten way too much food over Thanksgiving, Christmas and the grand finale New Years Eve. This cycle is my life. Over and over I get in shape; accomplish a big goal, like a marathon, and burn out and crash. Feel my pain?

Fast forward to July, and I'm in shape and feeling great.

If you made a New Year's resolution to get in shape, most likely you've already given up. How do I know? I've been there. But for me, this year is different.

What changed? I joined Jesse Itzler's #WeDoHardStuff Facebook group. Now you might be wondering what a workout group has to do with giving.

Hang tight.

If you have followed me, you know I'm an author and avid reader. I also have a love for Navy Seals. Two years ago on my birthday, July 13, 2015, I had the opportunity to meet David Goggins. Using the term bad a$$ to describe him is an understatement. Meeting him led me to pick up and read the book, Living with a Seal by Jesse Itzler (psst..it’s on sale on Amazon). I didn't know anything about Jesse, but I was familiar with his wife, Sara Blakely. You know, the founder of Spanx. Come on, I know like me, you've shimmied into a pair of Spanx to fit into a dress that is a little too small. We've all be there.

Anyway, after reading Living with a Seal (the seal being David Goggins), I had 100% respect for Jesse. I followed him on FB as I like to surround myself with people making no excuses, living life and doing good things. I learn so much from people like Jesse, both how I can make improvements in my life both mentally and physically.

Fitlanthropy

At the beginning of 2017, Jesse announced a fitness and philanthropy group= FITLANTRHOPY! What? Two of my favorite things, especially the philanthropy! Each month there is a physical challenge, and Jesse donates money to a charity.

When I asked Jesse why it was important for him to incorporate giving into a fitness challenge he said, "This challenge is marrying two things I have a tremendous passion for, fitness and philanthropy."

Failing, but not quitting.

It's July, and I've competed in all the challenges. It would have been easy to quit after I failed the January challenge.

The challenge? 2017 of each...burpees, sit-ups, push-ups, chair dips and squats.

Remember in the beginning when I mentioned I was on all fours almost in tears? Well, day one of the January challenge caused it. How was I this out of shape? It was mainly the burpees. They got to me. Have you tried a burpee? They are killers. I finished the first day in a pathetic 45 minutes. I was doing 65 of each, which if I did 65 daily over the course of the month, this would equal 2017.

Day in and day out I completed my 65 of each exercise. When I traveled, which is hard to keep up a workout routine, I kept up. I did it. I was excited. Something happened. I was…

  • getting stronger.
  • knocking out the workouts.
  • dropping my time.
  • feeling great.

I joked with my husband, "I think I'm getting muscles!"

He disagreed.

It's was a short time, but I saw a big difference. An added benefit was I was eating healthier because I wasn't going to do all this work to then eat like crap.

As my luck would have it, January 16th I threw my back out. Now if you have followed me, you know back issues have been a struggle for me since high school. I've never been pregnant but have had two epidurals due to two herniated discs. I never let my back issues keep me down. I work hard and bounce back. On the 16th I couldn't walk. I nearly crawled my way into a chiropractor's office. It was not looking good. My back was in multiple spasms. I asked my chiropractor if I could still work out? With a tilt of his head, dip in his eyes, he said, "UM...NO!" Okay, okay... just thought I would ask.

I thought that was the end of #WeDoHardStuff, but I stayed involved in the group. I encouraged people in the challenge. I missed ten days in a

row. Every day I'd try to knock out an exercise, but my back would spasm and lock up.

I know what Goggins might say, "suck it up buttercup!" But sometimes in life, we have bigger goals than the ones we are currently working on. For me, I had an upcoming Jamaican vacation. I know the two worse things for my back are travel and sitting. My husband and I worked hard over the past year. I didn't want to be miserable on the getaway. Sure I could I have endured the pain, continue to pop Ibuprofen, ice, massage, and go to the chiropractor, but I also wanted to enjoy my vacation. Not able to walk, popping pills, and in constant pain is not a way to live. It's not a permanent solution.

I did not complete the January challenge. What did I learn from failing? Or did I fail? I still accomplished a lot in the month of January.

#1 I started eating healthier.

#2 I started exercising and getting in shape.

#3 I met incredible people that are now "internet friends." Sound creepy? Not really, heck I went to Alaska with people I'd never met in person, and we became great friends. I'm all about meeting and connecting to positive, encouraging people, who lift each other up.

#4-I learned that Jesse Itzler wasn't just a guy I'd read about in a book. He has a huge heart. I asked Jesse besides giving money and time, what are your favorite ways to give? As a daily giver, I loved his answer. "I like to give by just doing acts of kindness that are unexpected to friends, family, and strangers."

Hello! Jesse is living my book, The Giving Challenge!

Giving

Since the group started, Jesse, his friends and even some in the group have donated tens of thousands of dollars to these organizations:

*Special Operations Warrior Foundation

*Autism Hope Alliance

*Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation

*Special Olympics

*The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

*Pencils for Promise

Donations in July will go to the Malala Fund. Malala Fund wants to see the world where every girl can complete 12 years of free, safe, quality education. If you haven't read Malala's book, it's an inspiring and an excellent read.

Will you join me in the July Challenge? Click here now to join!!!

I'd never ask you to do something I haven't done. I've committed to the challenges for the first six months of the year, and it has changed my life both physically and mentally. Even though I failed in January, I stuck with it and completed February (see pic above: working out in Jamaica), March, April, May, and June!

If you want to make a change in your life or you want to improve health, now is the time.

No more excuses.

What I love about Jesse Itzler's #WeDoHardStuff is you can do the workouts from anywhere.

  • You don't need a gym or expensive equipment.
  • You have no excuse, not to exercise and take steps to get in shape.
  • An amazing community will encourage you.
  • Heck, you'll even get to interact with Jesse himself. I've been impressed by how active he is in the group.

Remember even if you fail at something. You are not a failure. Look back and evaluate what you can do differently, find the positive in the situation, and keep moving forward.

If you haven't read Living with a Seal, get the book now! Share this post and comment on FB and you'll be entered to win a copy of the book.

I look forward to seeing you in the group!!!

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S.

Why the fruit in the blog cover picture? Jesse read Fit for Life back in 1992, and the book recommended an all fruit diet before noon. He saw amazing results, and all these years later he still enjoys a fruit until noon diet. Read more in Chapter 6 of Living with a Seal.

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. She gives a gift every day and challenges others to do the same.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

I love cupcakes! I love baking cupcakes. I love eating cupcakes. And I LOVE giving away cupcakes, especially ones I've baked with love in my kitchen. For years I had a big problem. My cupcakes tasted fantastic, but they were...well... ugly. I didn't know how to decorate them. I would grab a can of icing, a spreader and UGLY cupcakes were created.

In 2014 as I was making my annual goals, I thought... I want to make BEAUTIFUL cupcakes! I was tired of giving away awful looking cupcakes. I mean let’s be honest, most children decorated cupcakes probably looked better than mine. I wanted something that when people opened the box, they would be too pretty to eat. Is that too much to ask?

As we approach the new year, what dreams have you been pondering? Which dream do you want to turn into a reality? If you’re not sure, take a moment to think about what you really want to accomplish in 2017.

Once you discover your dream, make a plan. I know, the word plan seems overwhelming, like it's going to take you a ton of time. Well, I'm here to tell you it doesn't take that much time. Here is the simple plan I created to set me on the path of living my dream of decorating dazzling cupcakes. It was seven, attainable steps.

Step 1-Find an expert

Step 2- Contact the expert

Step 3- Schedule cupcake decorating class with expert

Step 4- Buy supplies and ingredients

Step 5- Bake cupcakes and let cool

Step 6- Cupcake decorating class with expert

Step 7- Eat, give and enjoy gorgeous cupcakes!

You see, writing a plan isn't that hard. And even the actions were simple and were crossed off the list in no time.

Here's a little insight into steps 6 & 7, I wrote about several years ago.

Last night my friend Toni from Food. (Just Sayin') came to my house and taught me how to make yummy, fluffy icing and decorate cupcakes. I had so much fun! I think my husband was even excited that I will not be making anymore UGLY cupcakes!

Tonight I had a United Way Community Impact meeting and I thought it would be a nice treat to take my newly decorated cupcakes. Filtering into the room, committee members pick up a cupcake to snack on during the meeting. As I sat down, I opened my portfolio and there in the front left pocket were several of Emily's Pay it Forward cards. I smiled as I know she loved cupcakes.

After the meeting, I approached several of the ladies that had eaten a cupcake and were taking some home for their family. Giving each of them Emily's card, I shared her story and the purpose of Paying it Forward in her memory. I encouraged them to read the card, keep it and then pass her story and the card along. They were all touched by Emily's story and what her family is doing to keep her memory alive. One of the ladies even said, "I'm taking this home and sharing it with my son!"

As I was thinking of what to title this blog I thought about My Cupcake Dream, as it was my dream to learn how to decorate a cupcake. But as I started writing and thinking about all the things I've learned about Emily over the past couple of years I changed it to Cupcake Dreamer. Emily was a dreamer and like a cupcake, her life was colorful, sweet, enjoyed by many and brought a smile to the faces of those in its presence. I think Emily was definitely a Cupcake Dreamer!

I hope this fun little story of how I turned a dream into a reality inspired you to think about your dreams, make a plan and look for ways to take action. If you need a little jump-start, e-mail me at stephanie@GivingGal.com and schedule a complimentary coaching session. It's my gift to you. After all, as a life success coach, I'm here to help you dream, discover and do!

Finally, of you don't know Emily's story, here is what's on the Pay Forward card:

"Emily was 18 years old when she was killed in a single-car accident. She was texting and driving. She was an amazing girl who had everything going for her. Unfortunately, her life was cut short by this seemingly simple act. You can visit her Facebook page...Just Drive. Live. Laugh. Learn to learn more about Em and let us know how you paid it forward."

Please don't Text and Drive and Please Wear your Seatbelt.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Do you love Facebook memories? I love them. They are a reminder of things I've done over the past years, places I've been and friends I've connected with or met. Over the past couple of days, these two memories popped up.

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Wow! I couldn't believe it had been six years since my mom and I tackled a big dream list item. I'll be honest; the Susan G. Komen 3-Day had never been on my list until a good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. One will do crazy things when they feel helpless. I swear this walk gets sign-ups on sheer emotion because no sane person would sign up to walk 60 miles in three days. I paid my $70 bucks and committed to raising money. OH MY GOSH...what had I done?

Thinking back to the walk reminded me of a comment I received from fellow blogger Melinda Todd about my recent blog discussing my dream list. She commented on this blog saying, "Easier said than done, especially if you have money to live out your bucket list."

She was right. 100% right. A bucket list is easier talked about. That's why so many people do a lot of talking but never take any action. That is why people have regrets. I love that Melinda brought to my attention something I didn't address. My blog made it sound like my friend passed away and BAM! I was living my list. But that was not the reality at all.

I think back to the 3-Day and I prepped and trained, hours upon hours. The training was not easy. The walk was grueling. We basically walked back to back 4880683424_fd7160ff1a_zmarathons in two days with little sleep. I knew it wasn't easy because participants were getting picked up, left and right by a van that would take them to the next checkpoint or to the campsite. I was amazed at how people didn't walk the entire 60 miles. Why? Because it wasn't easy. It was hard, both mentally and physically. It was HOT! Hello, it was August in the Midwest. So, I want to be clear, living your dreams is not easy, but that is why I think being able to check something off the list is so enjoyable. It is about the journey, the challenges, the people you meet, the experiences along the way and the finishing.

Melinda also brought up another great point about the cost of a dream list. Yes, your dream list can be expensive, especially exotic or foreign travel. Your dream list shouldn't be based on a dollar amount and whether or not you can currently afford the item. If you look at my list, you'll see there is a range of items from free to thousands of dollars in cost. Nothing is too little or big for your dream list. Some of my favorite list items were free or under $100.

Here are a couple examples of free or cheap items on my list I’ve checked off:

  1. I met Coach K (Duke's basketball coach) while volunteering at the Nike basketball camp. FREE!
  2. I volunteered 100 hours in one year. FREE
  3. I learned to can. I used veggies from my garden and my friend gave me the jars. FREE
  4. I planted a garden. The only cost was the starter plants, but in the long run, it saved me money.
  5. I swam a mile at the local YMCA. I think I paid $35 for six lessons.

Here a couple items still on my dream list that are inexpensive:

  1. Host my own radio show
  2. Read 53 books in one year
  3. Cook a new meal every week for a year
  4. Be an extra in a movie
  5. Knit a scarf

It made me sad the other day when one of my coaching clients mentioned he had never learned to set goals and the power of writing them down. I guess it's a good thing he has a good coach (wink, wink) who is teaching him how to DREAM BIG, write down those dreams and then build a plan to pursue and live out those dreams.

Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you."

I think Roosevelt was right. No matter where you are in life, no matter your age, gender, race or income level, you always have the ability to dream, to write those dreams down and pursue them. You might have to work hard, and that's okay. You might not be able to afford some things on your list, right now, but that's okay. Your dream list isn't about the cost of the dream, the list is about you living your life to the fullest and leaving this earth with no regrets. And hopefully, along the way, you will bless others and inspire them to live their list.

What are the low-cost items on your list? Are you pursuing them? If not, why? As a certified life coach, I love helping and empowering people to pursue and live their dreams. If I can help you in any way, send me an email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com or comment below.

Blessings,

Stephanie

About the Author:

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Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is a writer, speaker, life coach, daily giver and soon to be an author of The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Lifer (pre-order now!). She challenges people to be bold in their actions, accomplish and live their big dreams, and bless others daily through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at stephanie@GivingGal.com

www.GivingGal.com

In an instant, our lives can change on a dime. A horrific car crash, a divorce filing, or a sudden job loss. I usually think of “in an instant” as a bad thing. Like eight years ago today, in an instant, my college friend Leslie, was gone after a brave battle with cancer. She was 32 years old. Even though we hadn’t spoken since graduation, I followed her journey through her blog. Each post brought tears, and sometimes sobs, and prayers for Leslie’s healing and comfort her family.

But in an instant, Leslie’s death changed my entire life. Yes, I have lost friends in the past, but for some reason, her death hit me hard. Like a ton of bricks. Maybe it was because she was my age. We went to same the college. We were both married. Our lives looked similar. Her death came at a time when I was transitioning from being a police officer to starting a career in the corporate world. Months after her death I would become a workaholic, making a lot of money and wondering why the money wasn’t making me happy. I was living the same day, every day. Working long hours both weekdays and weekends. Was this what I was meant to do? To be? To work to make money?

Leslie’s death started me questioning everything in my life. What the heck was I doing? How was I living my days? I started thinking, knowing, that in an instant, it could all end. It could all end and what would I have done?

Years earlier I had created my dream list. Things I wanted to do. People I wanted to meet. Places I wanted to go and things I wanted to learn. It was saved in a file on my desk. I only opened it when I had something to add, rarely, if ever, checking anything off. Leslie’s death challenged me to live my list. To be intentional about each day.

My husband and I had a come to Jesus meeting August 2008. It was a heated discussion in our kitchen, I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember yelling, “what the hell are we doing with our lives?” I wasn’t angry, I was scared. Scared that the day would come and I would have a ton of regrets. The day would come and I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I wanted to do. The things that had been sitting trapped in an excel file on my desk.

Shortly after that discussion, we decided to take our first step to living our lives. We started planning our dream vacation to Hawaii. It had been five years sinceUntitled design (1) we’d been on vacation because we were always “too busy.”

The trip was amazing. I learned to surf. We got up at 2:30a.m. to drive up a mountain to see the sunrise above the clouds and then biked 20 miles down. I thought I was going to die, but I did it. I was living! I took my first helicopter ride and I swam with dolphins. Did I mention a dolphin pooped in my hand? But I didn’t care. I…was… LIVING!

Since Leslie’s death, here are some of the cool things I have experience (click here for full list):

  • Saw Duke win a NCAA National Championship…LIVE
  • Learned to kayak and now do so almost every weekend
  • Ran a marathon with my mom
  • Planted a garden and learned to make and can my own salsa
  • Learned to knit (but I need to finish a scarf)
  • Took ice skating lessons
  • Swam with sharks
  • Sat in the audience at an Oprah Show
  • Walked 60 miles in three days, raising funds for cancer
  • Took my dad to see Washington D.C. during police week

I think of Leslie almost every day. Every July 26th, her name pops up on my calendar. It’s a day for me to be thankful for her journey changing my life, to remember her family and make sure I’m living the life she can’t.

Friends, right now your life can change in an instant. From here on out you can choose to live a different life. If there is something you are struggling with or going through, don’t let it steal your happiness…your joy. What are your priorities? If you don’t know, sit down and make a list. Do you have a bucket list? If so, are you living it? If not, write out your list and keep adding to it. Then pick one and make a plan to live it!

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Blessings,

Stephanie

About the Author:

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Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is a writer, speaker, life coach, daily giver and soon to be an author of The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Lifer (pre-order now!). She challenges people to be bold in their actions, accomplish and live their big dreams, and bless others daily through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at stephanie@GivingGal.com.