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Stephanie Jones

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Want to change your day? Do these four things.

  1. Start the day in scripture. Read the Word of God, giving you sound wisdom on how to live out your life and tackle the day.
  2. Take a moment to reflect on the previous day. What do you want to remember? Did you have lunch with a friend? Travel to a new place? Got offered a job? Your child said something funny? Jot it down.
  3. Practice gratitude. Write down 3-5 things you are grateful for. According to research, gratitude has many health benefits.
  4. Pray. Ask for forgiveness of your sins, thank God for the blessings in your life, and take the worries of the world to him.

I created Thank You Notes to God to give you an easy way to ensure you start each day on the right foot. Order your copy today! I can't wait to hear how your life changes by practicing these four things daily.

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"

She was in the third grade when I met her.

I was a police officer participating in Shop with a Cop. 

After the event ended and my hubby and I drove home, I couldn't get this family out of my mind. We broke a few rules and got their contact info.

Fast forward to today, and this is the third year I had the honor of taking her to college. 

Mike packed my car in such a way that I'm still in disbelief.

As we huffed and puffed, carrying each load a long distance from the parking lot to the fourth floor of her apartment building, we practiced gratitude.

At first, I complained there were no dolls, students to hold the door and help like last year. 

And yet, with each trip, we chuckled as we declared we were grateful it wasn't raining, we had water, we had arrived earlier than most families, and we had a parking spot. The list goes on and on.

We went shopping to fill her refrigerator and cabinets and couldn't leave without lunch at Chick-Fil-a.

Hugs, I love yous, and goodbyes filled the apartment and then another round when she walked me out to my car.

On the ride to college, we chatted about how her life might have been different if I hadn't listened to the tug on my heart all those years ago.

Yesterday I received a text from her that said, "a club I'm going to be in on campus."

The Random Acts of Kindness Club.

It was at that moment I knew I had done my job. All the kindness my husband and I had shown, she and her family continue to carry on and show others that same kindness.

The next time the Holy Spirit tugs on your heart to help a stranger, take action. You never know how both of your lives will change. 

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”

Friends, so much is going on in the world I don't even know where to start. This morning I sat curled up in my cozy chair pondering if I should release a podcast or send out my newsletter this week. They both seem so trivial when Afghanistan is crumbling and so many are in danger of losing their life and Christians being persecuted. 

But the longer I sat in silence I realized I shouldn't just speak weekly when life for me is all good and I'm plugging along. I mean, life is still good for me, but my heart aches and is burdened about the travesties across the world. How can I help? How can I make a difference? Will any actions I take make a difference?

And then I realized that yes, there are actions we can take. There are prayers to be prayed, encouragement to be sent, and research that needs to be done, and education on what is happening (checking multiple sources) to be informed. 

Check out my latest podcast as I share my thoughts on who we need to help, right now, from the comforts of our home and offices.

Listen on..

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart. 

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"

The post from @rubiofuerte (and I have no idea why I'm following or how I came across him, but I digress) stated:
Nobody cares:

  • What you almost did.
  • What you want to do.
  • What you say you'll do.
  • What you didn't do.
  • What you could have done.
  • What you did a long time ago. 

Just take action!

Yikes! I'd consider myself an action taker and a doer, but this post reminded me to pay attention to my words. Am I holding myself accountable for the things I've committed to doing? Are there activities I'm talking and talking about but never seem to be making progress on? If so, I need to stop talking about that activity or take steps to move me forward. 

The list above is a great reminder to make sure we live life and not just talk about living or living way, way in the past. 

Over the next week, take inventory of the experiences you are chatting about and bounce them against the list above. If you almost did something, want to accomplish a goal, etc., ask yourself why aren't you making progress?

A few weeks back I discussed when it's okay to delay a goal. You may have a legit reason. But if the reason is more of an excuse or downright fear, jot down one action you can take this week that will move you out of the talking phase of your goal to walking that goal forward to accomplishment.

I talk a lot about running and physical challenges, but I haven't done a challenge since February 2020. My spider bite/infection delayed my progress, so I'm committing to you by next week; I'll be signed up for a half-marathon. Let the training begin!

Kick butt this week,
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”

How do you make big decisions? I don't know about you, but I look at my current goals and priorities, make a pros and cons list, and finally, I consult my board of directors. 

My board of directors is a group of individuals I go to for their opinion, advice, input, and expertise related to helping me make decisions. 

Back in May, I shared with you an influencer who reached out about helping him write his book. I reached out to my BOD and everyone, but one person said, "Yes! Go for it!"

I have to decide, but they usually bring up questions I hadn't considered and provide a different perspective. 

Do you have a board of directors? If so, fantastic! If not, make a list of people with whom you value their opinion and insight, reach out to them, and ask if they'd be on your BOD. If they say yes, next time a big decision comes your way, reach out to your BOD for input and support!

Having this group of individuals makes my decision-making more thoughtful, and I look at decisions from more angles than in the past.

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"

Friends, I don't know about you, but I see negativity, division, and sometimes downright hatefulness everywhere I turn on social media.

Here at Giving Gal, we focus on ways to give your best life through giving (to others and yourself), practicing gratitude, and pursuing goals and the calling God laid on your heart.

Now is our time, not only to speak words of kindness but to show it through our actions. Jump in and join me for the 3rd Annual Summer Giving Challenge!

It's easy; sign up here, and we'll email you a fun packet of goodies you can download, along with emailing you daily challenges. There is also a bonus with content for children.

The gifts are simple, don't cost a lot of money or time, but will make this a world a better place and do some good for your soul.

Click here to join now!

We are launching on July 25. What better way to end July than a week of giving?!

I look forward to going on the Summer Giving Challenge adventure with you.

Forward this email and challenge your friends and coworkers to get involved. Let's make this a summer of giving!

With gratitude,
Stephanie

For the past several months, a friend and I have met to check-in and hold each other accountable for a collaborative book project. 

Last month we got so excited about the project we set a goal to launch the book by the New Year.

Over the past month, as I worked on two other new books (which you can pre-order now!), Thank You Notes to God, a prayer & gratitude journal, and Giving Gal, my first children's book, I knew our deadline was too aggressive.

Both books have hit hiccups with design and printing. If these same issues arose with this new project, I have not allowed any wiggle room in our plan, hence setting us up for failure.  

Yesterday I met with my friend, and he brought up the timeline. Whew! What a relief! We both had the same doubts. I'm grateful we were honest with ourselves and each other.

As we chatted through the project, we realized we wouldn't deliver the best product for the reader if we stuck with our quick timeline. Adding several extra months gives us more time to tighten the writing, add resources, and ensure the book is excellent, not just good.

I'm not one to often recommend delaying a goal, but there are times when it is okay. 

  1. The original target deadline was unrealistic.
  2. Progress is being made. The delay isn't because you haven't put in the work.
  3. The delay makes the project, trip, product, etc., better. 
  4. A goal/project with a more pressing deadline pops up. Sometimes we have to be willing to adjust and be flexible.
  5. Life happens, and you are not physically capable (safely) of completing your goal. For example, getting bit by a spider and then getting an infection delayed all my physical goals for 2021. They pushed to 2022. 

There is no time like the present to evaluate your goals for the year. Do any need adjusting? If so, don't get down about the change; remind yourself you are setting yourself up for success. 

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”

Bring on the heat, humidity, and the long sunshiny days of summer!

At the beginning of each season, I like to look ahead to the next three months and ask what can I only do during summer? What fun activities do I want to do over the next three months? We need to ensure balance the busyness of everyday life with activities that fill up our cup and give us energy. 

These questions ensure we are not just going through the motions. They can help us take advantage of our time, stay focused, and maybe embark on a few new adventures. 

I challenge you to look at the next three months (July-August-September) and ask yourself:

  1. What do I want to do?
  2. What do I want to see and experience?
  3. Where do I want to go?
  4. Who do I want to spend time with and soak in the long days of summer?

For me, I want to tool around Lake Geneva with my hubby, go on an adventure in Georgia with new friends, take a solo trip for my birthday, continue weekly runs at the park and popping in on the farmer's market, and enjoy a day or two at the Dunes, sitting at the beach relaxing.

What is on your list?

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"

I always have a book with me. If I'm waiting in the doctor's office or at the salon getting my hair colored, I have a book in hand or on my kindle, flipping as many pages as I can.

I can almost guarantee the conversation I'm going to have with those I encounter. "I'd love to read more, but I don't have time."

Here's the thought that flows through my mind, but usually not out of my mouth. They have time; they just aren't taking the time to read. Therefore, reading is not a priority in their life. 

Sixteen days ago, I decided to embark on a physical challenge that would require me to work out for 90 minutes every day for 75 days. 

Since my spider bite, I tried desperately to get back into shape, but I often didn't feel well enough to work out. As a result, 30-45 minutes had been my max.

I'm slowly coming out of that fog and regaining my strength. What better way to get back on track than to follow a program. This program isn't just focused on working out; it made me double my water intake and eat healthy with no cheat meals or sugar for the same 75 days.

The food and water I could handle. But how in the world would I find 60-90 minutes every day?

My schedule is filled with a non-negotiable morning routine, a demanding day job, and five book projects. And there are those pesky chores, eating meals, and continuing to make spending quality time with my hubby a priority.

But guess what? A small miracle has occurred. For 16 days, I have created more time in each day. 

Before I go to bed or after I wake up in the morning, I write down my schedule, find any gaps of time, and insert my workout(s), totaling 90 minutes. I've been amazed how with a little planning and focus, I've been able to create an extra 90 minutes.  

We all have the same 24-hours in a day, but what I realized is, I must have been wasting at least 90 minutes of those.

So ask yourself, what have I wanted to do or what goal have I been putting off due to time?

Ask yourself how much time you need to find each day or week to progress on this goal. 

Pick a timeframe, like 75 days, and commit to yourself, no excuses, to make your goal a priority. 

If you stick with it, you'll be amazed at the progress you'll see. 

I'd love to hear what you are committing to working on.

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”

When he gets up at 3 am to walk me to the bus for a race, my husband's face is a not-so-happy look.

This is also the face he makes when I forget his birthday.

Yes! The Giving Gal forgot her husband's birthday.

It hit me at noon, the day of his birthday, and I couldn't believe I forgot.

Poor guy left for work and got the usual hugs, kisses, love you, and be safe.

I share this because sometimes I fail. And I fail big time. 

This is from the gal that has given a gift almost every day for ten years. Yes, a decade, and I forgot my husband's birthday!

He could ask for a boat right now, and I'd probably say yes...lol! 

I wrote a blog last year about giving up guilt. Well, friends, she's come back with a vengeance.

I write this half to be funny and a half to say; no one is perfect. That even in areas of life where we are our best, we will still stumble and fall. 

That okay. 

That is life. 

Get up. Wipe the tears. Say I'm sorry if it's necessary, and move forward.

I shared this blunder on social media, and I'm amazed at the messages and responses I've received. What we see on social media is just a glimpse into someone's world, and often, life appears grand and perfect. But, unfortunately, that is usually not the case. 

We need to do a better job of sharing our failures, messes, and the not-so-perfect times in our lives with our friends and family. Social media has done wonders, negatively, for many and their mental health. People compare their life to the lives they see of their friends. When in reality, their friends are struggling just the same or maybe even more. It's just hidden behind the lens of a snapshot in time, then posted on social media.

Next time you want to compare your life to something you see on social media, stop and remember, the Giving Gal forgot her husband's birthday, and the life we see isn't always what is going on.

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"