Can you believe we are halfway through April? Where has 2022 gone? I know I've been stuck in what seems like a never-ending house remodel. I'll be super grateful when the countertops and sinks arrive so I can finally have a kitchen! Since December, we've had no kitchen, yet we've survived cooking meals in the microwave, on a hotplate, or in the air fryer. 

As this project winds down, I'm reevaluating my goals, and it's an excellent time for you to do the same. Here are five questions to help you see where to focus (or refocus) your time in Q2:

  1. What goals did I set in January? Am I on track? If not, why? And what step do I need to take to get back on track? If yes, yippee! What do I need to do to keep the momentum?
  2. Have my life priorities changed? If so, do any of my goals need to change?
  3. Is there a goal I didn't set, but I should have? 
  4. Are my goals stretching me? If not, what would make me uncomfortable? If we are not stretched, then we don't grow.
  5. Do I need help with a goal? If yes, who can help me?

Hopefully, these questions got you thinking about your goals, making tweaks if necessary, and put you on the path to a successful second quarter!

Stephanie L. Jones

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”

Friends, it has been one heck of a week. In three days, I went to four schools and gave 12 talks. If you would have told me I would walk out into the center of a gymnasium, with the stands full of hundreds of high schools, to share my message of giving, gratitude, and goals, I'd say you were crazy. I never thought I would be sharing my message with kindergartens to high schoolers. What's the saying, "We make plans, and God laughs"?

I did a lot of praying before I walked out and shared some of my stories. And I had a lot of people praying for me. I doubted that this 44-year-old woman could connect with teens. But I was wrong. 

I had to lower my expectations. I knew there was no way to impact every student, but I could go back to the original goal I set back on January 1, 2021. Look for a way to make a difference to another person each day. 

And guess what happened? After my first high school convocation, I got messages from several students thanking me for coming to their school and sharing how my message impacted them. Oh, I was so grateful for them taking the time to share with me their feedback. 

I should have learned my lesson by now and stopped doubting myself. I'm not sure where that lack of confidence in these situations comes from, but it's an area I'm going to spend time working on over the next couple of months. 

The next time you are asked to do something outside of your comfort zone, here are my suggestions/lessons:

  1. Say yes! I'm so grateful I didn't say no just because I hadn't spoken to high schoolers before. 
  2. Stay in your lane. It would have been easy for me to try to put in my message what I thought the students needed to hear, but I couldn’t relate to some topics that came to my mind. I stayed focused on what I knew. The students would have sniffed out authenticity in a heartbeat!
  3. Show gratitude. I've already sent emails and started sending out gifts of appreciation to those who helped or were involved with me getting to the school. Never forget to thank the people that gave you the opportunity. 
  4. Flip your mindset. Instead of telling myself I was nervous, I told myself I was excited. Our body has the same reaction to nervousness as it does to excitement. I chose the positive mindset, and it made a big difference. Whatever you are thinking about negatively, flip it to the positive. 
  5. Keep going. For my last session, the microphone battery died. I didn't panic. I looked for the guy that could help; he walked over, I handed him the microphone, and while he changed the batteries, I continued to speak. I had the student's attention, and I didn't want to lose my momentum. If something that you don't expect happens, keep moving forward!

Will I speak at schools again? I don't know. I've been doing a lot of thinking and praying. Let’s chat if you are at a school (elementary, high school, or college) and would like to bring me in as a speaker! I need to keep doing things I never thought I would do and challenge you to do the same.



Totally burned out, my schedule had me up at 4:00am pounding away at a computer until 1:00am. My health deteriorated day after day. 

The madness that had been created by my boss around doing more, more, and still more led to multiple complete breakdowns.

I'd sit at my computer and cry, as I didn't know what to do or how to get myself out of the situation.

The corporate world sucked the life out of me and what kept me going was the almighty dollar. My paycheck had more than doubled since my days as a police officer and working in state government.

My soul slowly withered away. And yet a glimmer of light began to appear.

Almost four months into my giving journey, I became the receiver and it clicked with me how important it is to show up for people, to notice their pain, and struggles and be stretched in your giving.

I felt the power of giving and the difference it can make in one's life.

When I do Q&A after a talk, people often ask, "What's the best gift you have received?"

Hands down, it's the day my doorbell rang and haggard, still in my pjs, dazed and confused, I opened the door to see my five-year old niece. 

"Surprise! I took the bus!" She stated.

I probably scared her when I immediately started sobbing. The weight of my exhaustion seeped out my eyes, and down my face.

I peeked out the door and there were my mom and sister. 

They knew I needed a break, but I wouldn't give myself one. An intervention of sorts.

I showered, got ready, and we headed out for a fabulous girl's day.

Even after all these years, I'll never forget the sacrifice of time they made (I'm four hours away) and they gift they gave. 

Take an inventory of the people in your life. Who needs a break? Who can you show up for and give a bit of your time? You'll never know the difference you'll make. Go out and give the gift of time today!

Stephanie L. Jones

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"

Not all Valentine's Days are rosy. 

As I sat at a Cracker Barrel, working on my first fiction book, I couldn't help but notice how attentive and kind my waitress had been.

I dug into my wallet and glanced at the $20 and $50 bill in the pocket. My bill total was only $9 so my first inclination was to leave a $20 tip. That was more than enough. But I got the tug. It's the little nudge that tells me to reach out, connect, and give a little more. 

I usually leave these gifts anonymously, but when my waitress checked in on me, I again, got the nudge that I should personally give her this gift. I said, "Happy Valentine's Day" and handed her the $50.

Immediately, tears streamed down her face.

"You don't know how much I need this. Thank you so much."

I stood and asked, "May I give you a hug?"

And there in the middle of the Cracker Barrel, with the fire crackling in the background, we embraced.

"My daughter is on drugs and I'm taking care of her ten-year-old son. Please pray for her."

"What's her name?"

She gave it to me.

As she continued to cry, she shared how she didn't want to get out of bed today and come to work, but she knew she needed to put food on the table for her grandson.

We chatted a bit more as she continued to wipe the tears from her eyes.

She had to get back to her other tables and all I could think about is how grateful I was to have followed the tug on my heartstrings. 

A series of events led me to be at this Cracker Barrel at just that moment and I whole heartly believe God orchestrated me being there. He knows our needs and sends angels on earth to respond.

This is the giving challenge in action. It is my prayer, that you pray for this family and the next time you get the tug on your heart to give, step out in faith. You may just be an angel God has sent to bring hope to someone in need. 


Stephanie L. Jones

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”

P.S. I rarely share the amount of my gifts. But today I felt it was important because this gift stretched me. I'm 100% confident if I'd only given her the $20 she would not have reacted the way she did and shared her struggles. The next time you feel you need to stretch your gift, go for it. I've never regretted, or missed, the money/time I've given. 

Friends, I have mostly been MIA since December. I can't believe it's been almost two months since I've communicated with you. 

How has the first month of 2022 been for you? I hope you are lovely!

For me, I'm surviving. I guess that's not 100% true because I'm still on track with all my 2022 goals. Check back with me in October to see if that is still the case.

I say I'm just surviving because I'm in the full throws of our entire home remodel. I shared on my podcast that I've changed my mindset through this crazy time to embrace the chaos.

How does one embrace chaos? 

Accept what you can't change. 

I'm currently living in one room with my husband. We haven't had a kitchen in months, and there are so many items stacked in our one-room the walls are closing in. If there is an earthquake, I'll be buried in kitchen tools, clothes, pictures, and who knows what else. 

Is your life in chaos? Can you change it? If not, embrace it. I mean, it doesn't have to be all chaos, but maybe just one area is chaotic.

I can't believe how much just thinking about embracing the chaos helps me ignore much of what caused me stress. 

My husband has a more direct saying that he has told me on more than one occasion. Embrace the suck. 

Yikes! He usually tells me this when I'm whining and don't want to move furniture or haul stuff out to the dumpster. 

I can't believe I'm admitting this in writing, but he is right. Whining doesn't help; it just makes us argue. I also find it's a waste of time. While I was whining, I could just do what I was supposed to do, and the job would be done.

Friends, next time you are in chaos or in a situation that seems complicated, remember to embrace the chaos and the suck!

Here's to a fabulous 2022!



Several years ago I attended an event focused on goal setting. 

One of the most meaningful exercises I participated in was the “Year in Review.”  

I hadn't went through this exercise before as I'm usually forward thinking and don't often like to look back. But looking back, just for a moment, can help you get more focused on your goals moving forward. Now this is important, don't stay too long in the past. It is easy to go down rabbit holes and get caught up in disappointments and what might have been. So dig into these questions, and then move forward!

Okay, let's begin!

Grab a mug filled with your favorite warm drink, snag a pen and paper (this might be the same paper/journal you used for noodling) and find a quiet place to work.

Look back over the year 2021 and answer these questions. 

  1. What are the three best things that happened in 2021?
  2. What is your fondest memory of 2021?
  3. What are two "not so hot" moments in 2021? (I want you to write them down, and if you are struggling with something that happened in 2021, make a goal to move forward in 2022. 2021 is in the past. Focus on the present and your future!)
  4. What are three goals you accomplished in 2021?
  5. What is a goal I missed in 2021. (Maybe jot down why you missed these goals.)
  6. What is the greatest lesson I learned from my “not so hot” moment and/or missed goals?
  7. Who were the three most influential people in my life in 2021 (note if they are good influences or bad)?
  8. What is one thing would you do differently in 2021?
  9. What one word best describes your year in review?

I hope you found this exercise helpful. I look forward to serving you in 2022.


Stephanie L. Jones

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”

I love noodling. After I thought about the word, I wasn't sure I used it in the proper context, but sure enough, according to the free dictionary, one can...

-Noodle about: think about something in an idle, aimless, or purely speculative manner

-Noodle around: spend time investigating, perusing, or examining something

-Noodle over: ponder, consider, or speculate about something.

I started noodling in November, but I'll ramp it up in December. Will you join me?

But Stephanie, what are we noodling?

Our goals for 2022, of course!

Even though I'll spend a couple of days diving deep into setting my goals, I love to daydream, pray, reflect on the past year, and jot down ideas of where my focus should be in the upcoming year.

Noodling allows me to dream big or small, put zero limits on what's possible, and get what's spinning in my head out on paper. 

If you haven't noodled before, get a big sheet of paper or a journal just for noodling, a sharpie, or pens, and write it down every time you get an idea. Lay it out where you have easy access to it. If you travel, take it with you. If you leave your home for work, throw it into your bag. Always have your noodling notebook with you wherever you go. You never know when an idea will strike! There doesn't have to be any organization, you don't have to work on a plan or next steps, and what you put down doesn't have to make it on your 2022 goals list, but the process is to help you get your creative juices flowing.

Next week I'll share how we start to make sense of what we've written down. 

Happy Noodling!

Stephanie L. Jones

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"

Wow, another Thanksgiving approaches, and I'm in awe as I look back with so much to be grateful for, even through some trying times.

Remember back in April, when I got bit by a spider, got an infection, and spent three days in the hospital? That was no fun. But my struggles didn't end when I left the hospital; I spent months continuing to battle MRSA through antibiotic after antibiotic. The mental toll and stress of the adverse reactions played more with me mentally than I could have ever imagined.

As I type, I'm recovering from COVID. Before the spider bite, I hadn't taken prescription drugs in years, and now when I did it wreaked havoc on me. Much stress crept up when the doctor told me I'd have to go on an antibiotic and steroid. I could not go through the terrible months of the unexpected, not knowing reactions, again.

And then I remembered a book, my friend Tim Douglas (I was on his podcast, check out the episode here), mentioned to me back in June. You Are the Placebo, by Dr. Joe Dispenza. The insight, research, and reactions we have to treatment fascinated me. I decided I would change my attitude towards the drugs that would make me well, as opposed to drudging up all the old memories and reactions I had in the previous months.

I'd take the pill, talk to myself about how it was helping me heal, and then give it no other thought. Just take it and go about my day, not worrying what reaction I may or may not have. Also, it helps not to Google side effects. That is terrible for your mental health.

Okay, so where am I going with all this? I guess to give you an insight into the craziness of this year and that, in the end, I have so much to be grateful for. Throughout these trying times, I still got up every day and practiced gratitude. I released not one, but two books, and I sold and bought a home, moved and unpacked, and am getting excited about a remodel. 

Here is a conglomerate of these lessons of how you can embrace the week of Thanksgiving and use gratitude as a tool to help you through the good and bad.

1. Write down what you are thankful for. Keep a pen and journal handy for jotting down three to five things you are grateful for each day. When you have a bad day, pick up your journal to help you focus on the good. Check out Thank You Notes to God, it's a great journal I created you to start and continue this habit. 

2. Focus on the now. Stop yourself from saying; I'll be grateful when (fill in the blank). Look at your surroundings, be in the moment, and find the good right where you are. What I've discovered is, when we get to the future, we'll have something else we'll be chasing. Stay in the now. 

3. Slow down. Take time to pause throughout your day, have a stop and smell the roses moment, and be grateful for what you notice when you slow down. If this season has slowed you down, jot down what you've seen that maybe you didn't realize before. Be grateful for the new discoveries.

4. Lessons learned. Take note of lessons you learn during the upcoming holiday season that are teaching you about yourself. Write it down in your journal and be grateful to God for revealing your strengths or weaknesses you never knew you had. 

5. Curb complaining. Complaining sucks the energy out of the people that surround us and us. We need all the positive energy in our life we can get. Learn to flip complaints to words of gratitude. When I got COVID, I was grateful I had a doctor willing to help, money to pay for prescriptions, a job that allowed me to work from home, and the ability to pause in the afternoon for a nap because I was tired and needed rest. 

6. Let out your emotions. It's perfectly normal to be sad and angry. Write about the feelings you feel, and ask yourself, in the depth of these emotions, what is there to be grateful for? How can you turn your anger into action instead of letting it fester for no good?

7. Thank people. Along this journey, we cross paths with many people. Don't forget to say thank you. Tell each person that is helping you along the way how grateful you are for them. Bonus points if you write them a thank you note. Be specific in stating the ways they helped you. 

This list isn't all-inclusive, and you don't have to do all of them every day. But as you go through your day, take time to pause and constantly ask yourself, what can I be grateful for at this moment. The more you practice gratitude, the more it will become a habit, and the longer it's a habit, you'll potentially experience a life-changing mindset shift.

May God pour out unexpected blessings during Thanksgiving week.


Stephanie L. Jones

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”

November 30th is just around the corner and that day marks Giving Tuesday. A day for us to donate our money to our favorite nonprofits.

I also like to use this day as a reminder to make every Tuesday a giving Tuesday!

I've created tags for you to download, write a note, attach to a small gift, and give away.  

Every year I do this, I'm so giddy with all the smiles, gratitude, and joy these small unexpected gifts bring. 

I carry them in my purse and my car. I give them to strangers, those in the drive-through, and friends I'm meeting for coffee. It's always good to give to someone unexpectantly!

Download your tags today and get your jump start on celebrating Giving Tuesday!

Several years ago, I made this video to give you some ideas for using your tags. Enjoy!

Bonus points if you share the email/links and get more people involved!

Happy Giving,


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"

Happy World Kindness Week! Here are 33 ways for us to celebrate this week that are focused on being kind and making a difference to those that cross our path. How many ways can you be kind this week?

  1. Introduce yourself to someone new at work and discover one thing you have in common.
  2. Snuggle with a loved one.
  3. Share an inspiring song with a friend going through a difficult time.
  4. If you receive a gift, express great joy and gratitude.
  5. Surprise the delivery person with a box of chocolates.
  6. Support a friend pursuing their dream.
  7. Text a note of encouragement.
  8. Share a motivating quote on social media.
  9. Make a favorite snack for everyone to enjoy while watching football.
  10. Invite a friend to dinner.
  11. Send your best marriage advice to a newlyweds.
  12. Leave a sticky note of positivity for a stranger to find.
  13. Snag a loved one and watch the sunset.
  14. Treat a friend to ice cream.
  15. See someone going above and beyond? Acknowledge their efforts.
  16. Donate to a fundraiser.
  17. Jump in leaves with a child.
  18. Support a local bookstore or author.
  19. Taking a hike and pick up litter.
  20. Plant a tree.
  21. Offer to babysit for a friend/neighbor.
  22. Write a good memory and share it with a friend/family member.
  23. Spend uninterrupted time with your family.
  24. Gather a group of friends for a night of fun.
  25. Give a hug.
  26. Donate a Bible.
  27. Support your church/pastor/staff.
  28. Celebrate a birthday.
  29. Bake a sweet treat and share with friends/family.
  30. Buy matching pajamas for the family to enjoy.
  31. Smile at everyone that crosses your path.
  32. Thank a Veteran.
  33. Meet a friend for coffee.

Let's do our part to spread lots of kindness this and every week!

Happy Giving,

Stephanie L. Jones

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”