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May 2020

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Overcome with emotion, I scroll through remembrances left for Private First Class, Daniel Dean Bruce, a Marine, who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam on March 1, 1969. 

I first heard his story, this past week on the Charlie Adams radio show. PFC Bruce grew up just miles from my current home.

According to Wikipedia, PFC Bruce, within less than a year of joining the Marines, on night watch at the Firebase Tomahawk in Vietnam, the enemy threw a grenade. He caught the grenade, secured it near his body, and took off running. The grenade exploded, killing him instantly, but saving the life of three Marines. 

The next day, after risking everything for his brothers, his wife gave birth to a baby girl.  

I don't know about you, but it's hard for me to comprehend making such a selfless decision, knowing there is a life ahead you'll never experience and child you'll never get to see or know.

For his bravery, he received the Medal of Honor, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

May we take this day to remember Marines, like PFC Bruce, and all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. 

With gratitude,
Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. John 15:13

Tis the season for morels. Yummy mushrooms that sprout up near fallen trees and smatterings of bark. The conditions must be just right, and it takes an eagle eye to spot them, camouflaged against the forest landscape. Over the past several weeks, my hubby and I have hunted for mushrooms. On several occasions we found enough to fry up for dinner. But instead of continuing to eat what we found, we bagged them up and shared our love of mushrooms. This past week we were able to give two bags away to friends. One was such a fun gift to give. 

Our plumber stopped by to fix a leaky pipe and said, "Have you guys ever found any morels out here?"  

My husband chuckled, led him into the kitchen, and showed him a plate full that we'd just washed and dried out for dinner. "Want them?" my husband asked.

"You serious?" our friend questioned. 

"Absolutely!" my husband exclaimed. 

I loved witnessing our friend receive the unexpected gift. Sure, I'll miss the mushrooms for dinner, but the smile on his face, is better than the mushrooms we'd munch on for dinner. 

What do you love? What do you have an abundance of? Give it away to someone today!

Happy Giving,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of “The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life” and "The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life"

My first book took me five years to write and publish. Those five years were some of the most frustrating years of my life.

God called me to do something that, quite frankly, I didn't want to do. I didn't know how to do. I didn't feel worthy, as writing and grammar had been a weakness. Writing was uncomfortable and a constant battle.

I cried. Quit. And threw little tantrums like a kid who was just told, "no you can't have a candy bar," at the grocery store.

Yet through my unfaithfulness and trust that God knew what He was doing and where he was leading me, He never wavered. He always remained faithful.

Over the past year and a half, I've been on a journey to get back to studying the Bible. I've spent almost every morning in devotionals and the Bible. I switched out my morning music from pop and country to praise and worship. I became faithful in just showing up and listening to where God was calling me next.

In December I had a whirlwind of travel from Nashville, to Las Vegas, two trips to my hometown and The Big Apple with my bff. It was a trip of a lifetime, experiencing New York City at Christmas time.

My Vegas trip was an adventure to work on my goals. I had started the process before I arrived and over the course of two days at Oolapalooza, I heard God tell me not to focus on speaking in 2020. Instead, use your time to write three books. Not publish, just write three books. At the end of the event we were encouraged to go on stage and share one big goal. Nervously I stepped up to the microphone and exclaimed, "My big goal is to write three books, because I feel God calling me to do so."  

For many onlookers the goal seemed crazy, but not to  me. After I shared the goal, I was confident that if I stay disciplined (my word of the year), I could write three books in one year. 

In 2018, if you came to me and told me give up speaking for a year, I would have told you you've lost your ever-loving mind. I've worked years to get where I am in my speaking career. And that there was no way I'd write three books in one year– I was struggling to get out my second in seven years. 

And guess what? 2019 was my most successful speaking year, in revenue, number of events, types of events, etc. and yet, God asked me to walk away from the success and to write.

I had two speaking commitments booked for early 2020, one in February and one in March. And do you know what happened three days after my last speaking engagement? My husband and I were put on a doctor ordered quarantine. The weeks following our country would shut down and events across the country would be canceled. And do you know how much time and effort I put into securing speaking gigs...? Zero.

Why?

Because being in the word for a year had me attuned to listening and hearing God's whisper.
So here I am on May 19th and I haven't been writing just one, two, or three books, but five. Each day since, December 28, 2019, I have sat down with a pen and paper and God has poured ideas and stories into my mind. Stories I'd forgotten have surfaced just at the right time. 

We are almost halfway through the years and I'm not frustrated that I have no speaking engagements on the books. I'm grateful that when God whispered, I listened and followed the path, even when it's unknown to me, He's leading. Why? Because I have faith and trust that his plan is better than mine.
It's taken me awhile to get here, but the journey has been worth the wait.

If you have made it to the end, I thank you for reading what's been on my heart these past couple of months. Thank you for your commitment to supporting me on this journey. If you are struggling with where you are in life, I encourage you to get in the word of God. Read what he has to say and listen to where he's calling you. If I can be of any help, don't hesitate to reach out.

With gratitude,

Stephanie

If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is. – 2 Timothy 2:13

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life" and “The Gratitude Challenge: 41 Days to a Happier, Healthier, & More Content Life”