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September 2021

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If you have been hanging around me for the last three years, you know my husband, and I bought a house, stripped it to its bones, and remodeled every floor, door, wall, and everything in between. It was a labor of love. 

Over the past year, my husband started a woodworking business. We both thought that by the time he retired in four years, the business would be built up enough that he'd have his retirement job. 

Well, what's the old saying? "Tell God your plans, and he'll laugh?"

Over the past year, my husband's business has grown so much he's outgrown his current woodshop. We couldn't believe it! Or maybe I could, as his work is impressive.

We wavered for weeks as to what to do. Build on? Sell our dream home? Or just work with what we have and not grow.

With a step of faith, we put our home on the market and thought, "if it sells, we'll move."

In the meantime, we found the perfect property that had a barn the size he'd need to expand and then some. Exciting! There was even enough space for me to hold retreats.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and the day we accepted an offer on our house; the following morning, we got word the house we wanted to buy got struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

I kid you not!

Well, okay then. We had a clear sight that was not the right house. But where would we go? Our house was sold, and there was nothing on the market to fit our needs. Trust me; we'd been looking for months.

We ventured out to look at a horse farm. I loved it. It didn't meet our needs, but the property was terrific. I'd have all the trails a girl could ask for. After a few tears and listening to my husband's wise advice, this was not going to be our home.

Moments later, I snuggled in bed, and I swear God told me to look at For Sale By Owner Listings. I did, and there was a house that was just listed. 

I sent it to my hubby, we called, and within 12 hours, we were looking at the house.

It needs work, but the house we are in proved that we aren't scared of work and know how to remodel a home.

It has the barn my husband needs to grow and expand his business. It doesn't have the trails I've grown to love at my current property, but it's six minutes away from a park. That will work!

Friends, if you doubt if God has a plan for your life, He does. But what I have learned over and over again is I must give him 100% control. We handed the beautiful home that we love over to him and controlled where we went next to Him. I can tell you this when he has control, all the stress and anxiety go away. 

Give your next step to God and have a little faith!

Blessings,

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”

Since June, my mom has battled severe pneumonia. It got so bad she spent eight days in the hospital and has been off work for three months. 

My mom is a runner. She was training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) when pneumonia knocked her for a loop. When I visited her in late July, she struggled to walk up and down the driveway. But she made a comment that encouraged me.

She said, "Even though I could walk in any shoes, I'm putting on my running shoes. I have two goals, one to get back to work and two to get back to running."

Wow! 

Such a small action, but each day, as she walked, she was choosing to focus on a goal she'd set for herself. She was mentally telling herself every day; I will run, and to run, I must lace up my shoes and start walking.

Yesterday, I told her I was going for a run. She said, "I'll come with you. I ran four minutes last week. Two minutes and a break and then two more minutes. My goal tonight is ten minutes."

As we go through tough times, we might need to start small, and that is okay. Two minutes of running doesn't seem like much, but when you were in a hospital bed or could barely walk up the driveway, two minutes of running is significant progress.

We laced up our shoes and hit the trails. I couldn't believe the pace she kept. She was step by step with me and chatting up a storm. It's hard enough to chat when you are in shape, let alone recovering from pneumonia. 

"Mom, we are at six minutes; how are you feeling?" I asked.

"Great!" she replied.

"Mom, we are at ten minutes. Awesome job!" I exclaimed.

"I'm going to keep going to twelve." She stated.

"Mom, we are almost at thirteen minutes. Do you think you can go fifteen?" I asked.

"I can if you keep talking." She replied.

"You got it!" And I proceeded to chat away for two more minutes. 

I can't tell you what a huge accomplishment running fifteen minutes was for my mom. As we ate dinner, she already set her eyes on trying to run half of the half marathon and walk the other half. It's in November. 

I didn't want to burst her bubble, but I said, "Let's see where you are at the end of October."

My mom is under close doctor's care, and it was running that probably saved her life. She was in excellent physical condition before pneumonia. And her recent appointment with her pulmonologist, he encouraged her to get back to running.

So, next time you are going through a tough time, think of my mom, set a small goal, and do something every day, even if it's as simple as lacing up your shoes, to help you focus on the good that is on the other side of your current trial.

Blessings,

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"

We learn by trying new things. Life gets stagnant, staying in our lane on cruise control.

Stepping outside our comfort zone is, well...uncomfortable, which is why many prefer to live a life where today reflects yesterday, and yesterday reflects the day before.

But what happens when something piques our interest?

When an idea pops into our mind, and we get excited?

Curiosity unfolds.

The mind strengthens with new connections as learning is good for the brain.

I recently came across this picture, and it reminded me of a time in my life where I planted a garden.

I had no clue what I was doing. 

But I loved reading books about gardening, scouring websites of what's best to grow for homemade salsa, and finding natural ways to keep bunnies and deer from eating my fruits and vegetables.

The garden was a labor of love. 

But at the end of the season, the garden gifted me sunflowers, glass gem corn, and enough veggies to make salsa and feed a small community.

If life seems to be playing the same record on repeat, get hopping to learn a new skill or find a new hobby. 

You never know what can happen if you try.

Blessings,

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”