Well, friends, I've spent the last two weeks packing, moving, and unpacking. I could write an entire book on all the lessons I learned during this move and settling into a new home. But one big lesson that stuck out like a sore thumb was all the "stuff" I was holding onto. I realized all this stuff could often prevent us from moving forward in life.

I didn't want to leave my current home because of all the work we had put into it. The trails I had created in the woods and all the joy it brought me to see deer wandering in the backyard.

But what I realized is, our work there was done. We needed to move if we wanted to step into a new phase of our life, my husband expanding his business, and me having a dedicated space for all my books and retreats. 

If we don't move, we can't move forward. We'd only keep on, keeping on, doing what we've been doing. And sometimes that is not bad. But it doesn't work if you feel God calling you to take a step of faith, and then you aren't obedient. 

And guess what, I discovered I'll have access to trails here and I saw a doe and twin fawns my first morning in our new place. We'll never know that we might get something better, if we stay where we are. 

I also learned I hold onto material items. If you were to walk into my home, you wouldn't notice, but open any closet, and there you'd find piles of books, pictures, and journals. I had journals from a company I don't even work for. Why would I need them? Good question, I wouldn't. Into the garbage can they went.

Pictures in frames that had sat out in the garage for three years. Friends, if we have stuff in the garage/cabinet/closet that we haven't used in three years, it's time to find a new home. And I don't mean from the garage to a closet. I mean, gift it to a friend who needs frames (I write about this in The Giving Challenge), donate them to a resale shop, or toss them in the trash if they are broken.

You can insert frames for any other item in your house that is taking up space, cluttering your home, and mentally draining you. I've loaded up two trucks full of stuff and donated items. It feels so good to begin fresh in a home without the weight of old items that don't have any meaning.

Speaking of meaning, what about the items that have a memory or recognition tied to them? Snap a picture. I finally pitched all my awards and plaques from my last two jobs. All they do is collect dust and take up space. They match no d cor. And guess what? As soon as they hit the trash, I forgot about them. For years I've been hauling them around, well, not anymore. 

Walk around your home and see what is taking up space and holding you back from moving forward. Believe it or not, physical clutter creates mental clutter, and when we have mental clutter, we are less focused and motivated to move forward and work on what's essential in life. 

What will you toss today to help you move forward?


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, can you believe we are in the last quarter of the year? Two and a half months, and we will be ringing in a new year. Yippee!

With Thanksgiving and Christmas, and often all that comes with closing out a new year, we lose sight of our goals, get off track, and may ditch them altogether and say, "I'll just start on January 1st."

I know the feeling. I've been heading that way with my health goals. I also have my 5th book that is almost finished, but it's just been hanging out there, waiting for me to open the file and finalize the last few edits. 

So how do I get moving? How can you get moving? One action.

Yes, break it down to one action you'll take each day. Not 3, not ten things on your to-do list. Just one activity each day that moves you closer to accomplishing your goal. How do we do this?

It's easy!

In the morning, grab a notecard or sticky note, and think about the next step you need to take. For example, for my book, I need to find some notes I took I my phone. The next day, see notes I wrote in a notebook. The next day, type notes into my draft. 

You might think, "Stephanie, couldn't you do all these one days?" 

Well, I could. And maybe when I sit down to work on the project, I might, but sometimes I get bogged down by the details. So if I just do one thing, I get a dopamine hit when I accomplish that small task.  

And guess what? By the end of the year, in three short months, my book will be done and to the printer!

What goal do you want to work on from now until the end of the year?

And then what action will you take tomorrow? 

Consistent actions each day will help you gain momentum going into 2022!



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”

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!



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."


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.



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.



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”