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Halloween is here! If you were thinking about sitting in your house with the lights off, hoping kids don’t stop at your home, you still have time to change your mind. I’m not a fan of all things Halloween, but I do believe it’s an opportunity to connect with our neighbors and those that live in our community.

Will you take the Halloween Giving Challenge?

  • Turn your porch light on and pass out treats.
  • Compliment the children on their costumes.
  • Dress up and have fun.
  • Set out a teal pumpkin (or sign) and have non-food treats available.
  • Chat with parents… get to know your neighbors and those in your community.

Have a happy Halloween!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life”

Is your home overloaded with candy? Are your kids on a sugar high? Is the excitement of picking a costume and trick-or-treating starting to fizzle? If you answered yes to these questions, you are not alone.

I can't help you on the fizzle, but I can help you with creative ways to get candy out of your home and teach your children about giving.

For children to give their candy away, you'll need to:

  1. Get Creative
  2. Give them options.
  3. Let them make the decision

Get Creative.

You may be reading this, and you know your kids will be 100% on board or your reading this and think...this is going to be so hard. My kid is going to throw a fit! Well, let them throw a fit. Giving at the beginning is hard, but it's a life lesson your kids need to learn. If you don't teach them, do you think they'll grow up to be a giver? Maybe so, but likely not. You know your child best so make this fun and allow them to be creative.

Give Children Options.

You can't just walk in and tell your children you are giving away their candy and expect them to be happy about it. Research ways to give that best fit your family. To help you out, here are a couple of options to give your children:

  1. Operation Gratitude's Halloween Candy Donations Program: This program donates treats to our troops and first responders. Candy donations need to be received no later than November 15th. Click here for additional information. {Conversation starter} Chat with your kids about the important role the men and women in uniform play in our community. Why we should have respect for them and the sacrifices they make for our freedom and safety.
  2. Call your dentist to see if they have a buy-back program. Mine does! {Conversation starter} Do you know how cavities develop? CANDY!!!
  3. Ronald McDonald Houses: In my book, The Giving Challenge, I share a story about the Ronald McDonald Houses. If you are near a house, drop off your leftover candy. For an RMH near you, check here! {Conversation starter} Talk about gratitude. How we should be thankful for our health. Many children in our country are battling life-threatening diseases, such as cancer. Places like the Ronald McDonald House provide comfort, care and allows families to be close to their loved ones in the hospital.
  4. Create Gifts: Purchase mugs or mason jars and fill them with leftover candy. Decorate the mug or jar, tie a ribbon around it, or paint it. Have your child make a card and write a sweet note. Maybe drop off the gifts to a local nursing home or assisted living facility. Ask the staff to provide the gift to someone that doesn't receive visitors or needs a pick me up! {Conversation starter} Gifts don't always have to cost a lot. Sometimes the gifts we create ourselves can be just as unique. Also, the gifts we give don't have to go to people we know. We can bless strangers in need.

Let your children decide.

The list above is only suggestions. Have your child read the list and see if there is a place they want to donate. Or better yet, see what ideas they have and where they would like to donate their candy. Let the decision be theirs to make.

How is Giving Gal getting involved?

I'm also getting my leftover candy out of the house. I don't need it! I'm sending a box of full-sized candy bars to work with my husband for his office and giving three more boxes to my mom for blessing bags that her church passes out to those in need. My gift for the day!

Where will you donate your candy?

Giving Challenge: Get creative, give your child options and let them decide how to give away leftover candy.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life”

Do you have a goal you've been working on, but you've haven't made progress in a while? Or maybe it's not a goal, but you feel stuck where you are in life.

Over the past couple of years, as I work with coaching clients, I've discovered that many times, excuses are what is holding my client back.

For example, several months ago, I met with a client and she shared a goal she'd been working on for years. But every time the opportunity became available to move forward, something tragic always happened, or so she made it sound that way.  

As I listened, I realized, one of two things, either she didn't want her dream as bad as she said she did or two, she created excuses so if she did take a step forward, she didn't have to face the possibility of rejection.  

The latter is quite common.  

We don't even show up, for if we show up, we may fail. But if we don't show up, there is no disappointment and we can, in fact, continue to lie to ourselves, about why we aren't progressing like we think we should.

One powerful way to move forward is to be brave enough to step over an excuse. But how do we do that?

First, we must be real with ourselves.  I'll give you an example. I'm training for a Disney running challenge. In February, in three days, I'll compete in a 5k, 10k and marathon.  If I want to enjoy the races, I need to train.

I have a training schedule printed and so far, I have been sticking to the plan. But on Saturday, excuses started to bubble up to the surface, to skip my training run.  

Excuse #1: I spent longer at the post office than I intended. My run would have to be shortened from thirty to twenty minutes. Since I can't run the amount of time I wanted to run, I should just go home. EXCUSE!

Identifying the excuse is the half the battle. If we don't recognize when we are making excuses, we can't move forward on our goal or becoming unstuck.  Ask yourself, is what I'm telling myself an excuse or is it a fact?

I knew questioning the time was an excuse. Twenty minutes is better than zero minutes.  Move forward.

I drove to the park and when I got out of the car, the wind sliced through my long-sleeved shirt.  It's not that cold out here I told myself and I started to run. I didn't even give the wind time to make an internal debate, I just got moving.

But guess what happened? Moving didn't help. As I ran, I pulled up the weather app on my phone and the temperature felt like 37 degrees and the winds were 20 mph.  I thought, "I should go back to the car, it's too cold out here." Excuse #2!

Yes, it was cold, and the wind gusted around me, but I was already out on the trail, and I've ran in colder weather.  I talked myself into continuing my run. All I had to do was make it another ten minutes. I'd survived the first ten minutes, I could survive the last. 

Do you know what happened, it got windier and I just kept plugging along? And I didn't just run twenty minutes, I ran thirty minutes, completed my original workout and when I got home, was still able to stay on the schedule I had planned for the remainder of the day.

Guess how I felt when I returned home? FABULOUS!!!

Guess how I would have felt if I would have gone home after my trip to the post office? Guilty, disappointed, a little overwhelmed that I was off my training schedule, and dinner out wouldn't have been as enjoyable as now I wasn't too concern about the mash potatoes I consumed.

Do you know what else battling through excuses helps use accomplish? Our mindset starts to change, and our confidence grows. You see, the next time it's thirty-seven degrees outside, and not windy, I can tell myself, "Stephanie remember the day you ran thirty minutes, in the same temperature, but the wind was blowing 20 mph? This run will be a walk in the park."

Also, identifying and working through our excuses gets us one step closer to accomplishing our goal or becoming unstuck. The more running workouts I accomplish, the easier running the 5k, 10k, and half marathon are going to be.

What's the excuse you've been using that is stopping you from living the life you were meant to live? Take the power step to move past your excuse and get to tackling the goal you've wanted to pursue.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life"


Back in March, I gave a TEDx talk. I've never been so scared in my life. 

The night of the rehearsals I didn't want to go in the building. I asked my husband if he'd take me home.

The day of the event, I wanted to puke. 

It's the first time I've taken the stage in front of hundreds of people with no notes or a PowerPoint to keep me on track.

I often talk about getting comfortable with getting uncomfortable, and to be honest, I didn't like it.

Up until minutes before I took the stage, I paced the halls going over my talk. At times, my mind totally went blank, and a talk I'd spent months on, disappeared into the thin air. 

Panic, doubt and fear crept into my mind.

But one thing is for certain, if I hadn't walked out onto that stage, I would have regretted it the rest of my life.

So friends, after seven months, my TEDx video is officially posted!

Please watch and share with friends. 

Thanks so much for your support!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life”