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Dreaming Big

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I have a confession, last week I shared that I was taking a break from speaking to work on editing my second book, taxes and getting back on track with eating and working out.

I didn't work on any of those things. I've been productive but done everything I could to avoid tackling what I need to accomplish.

Can you relate?

I call this resistance.  It's an internal battle between what I know I should do and what's easy.  Over the years, I've experience resistance. I know I'm on the right path when it rears its ugly head, especially with creative projects like writing.

If I keep delaying edits for my second book, it doesn't get released. And if it doesn't get released, people can't reject it.  

If there are dreams and goals we want to pursue in our life, we first must recognize the resistance. Not ignore it. Then we can dig into the root cause of the resistance.  Once we know the root cause, then we can face the challenge head-on. If we ignore the cause, then we'll just make excuses. And excuses are why dreams die. Or at least in part.

So today, to my faithful followers, I'm committing three things. 1. I'll work five hours on book edits; 2.  I'll complete my tax paperwork; and 3. I'll work out three times this week and keep my sugar intake at 25 grams or below.

What commitment are you making this week?

How can we work together, to stay on track, and make the best of the life we've been given?

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

“The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life”


Happy March! I can't believe we are starting our third new month of the year. Can you feel my excitement?!

I love new beginnings.  

February is behind us. Whatever happened is in the rearview mirror. What's in your windshield? What's coming up? What do you need to plan for, so you aren't rushing around last minute? What goals do you have and what do you want to accomplish?

Or maybe the last two months has been rush, rush, rush or filled with unexpected challenges and you need to take this month to reset, recuperate and recharge. There is nothing wrong saying no, staying home, and taking time for yourself and lightening the load, so that as you go into Spring and Summer you can enjoy the long hours of daylight and warmth.

For me, I'm taking a break from speaking this month. It's been a whirlwind January and February, and my mind needs a break. I'll be editing my second book, The Gratitude Challenge, preparing my taxes and getting back on track with my diet and exercise regimen, as both fell by the wayside the last couple of weeks.

Comment below with what you have cooking for March. How can I support you? Pray for you? I'm here to listen and cheer you on. Let's do life together, making the most of each day!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

"The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life"


After midnight, I surfed the Internet and clicked to Oprah's site in hopes of an opportunity to sit in her audience.

Only one show was accepting applications, the After Oscar Show in Los Angeles.

I thought what the heck!

I applied and weeks later, I dang dear fell out of my chair when I received an email stating I'd secured two seats to the show.

Months later my sister and I, two girls from rural Indiana, were living it up in LA.

We were so excited we only ate one meal, as we had so much to see and we didn't want to waste precious time dining.

To keep our bellies full we munched on a fruit basked my hubby sent to our hotel room. I guess we were eating like the stars…fruit, water and a bit of wine.

One evening we found ourselves in the hotel that hosted ABC's pre-Oscar party. We sat on the lobby couch acting cool as the stars of the Desperate Housewives and other shows mingled.

The night of the Oscars we made friends with a police officer, shocking I know, and he secured a prime spot for us outside of the Vanity Fair After Oscar party.

We waived at the stars and giggled like school girls as the best of the best in the industry exited their vehicles, waived and entered the party. Some even coming over to shake hands.

If I wasn't such a rule follower, I'd have a picture of Oprah interviewing Sandra Bullock after she won the Oscar for The Blindside.

It was a dream come true adventure with my sister that I'll never forget. But the trip wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't taken action and the steps to make the trip possible.

If you have a dream, even a crazy dream to go to Hollywood for the big show, take a step towards making it happen.

What's your wild and crazy dream?!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

“The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life”

My hands sweat and my heart races every time I watch the TEDxCalvin video spotlighting me as one of the speakers.

I keep telling myself, "God gave me this opportunity, He has gone before me and will be on the stage with me."

The only way I can get on this stage is by His strength. I can not do this alone. 

You may be thinking, "Stephanie, you get on a stage all the time and speak, why is TEDx any different?"

No notes, no slides. 

My entire talk is memorized, which in all the years I've been speaking, I've never done.  

I don't read from my notes but they are a guide to help me stay on topic, order and so everything flows.

With that said, I've put in the work. 

I've been working on my talk since November. I've rehearsed it no less than seven times each week. When I'm in the car, I turn down the radio and give my talk. When I'm soaking in the tub, I give me talk. And some mornings, I shout it out in the shower! 

I've recorded my talk and practiced it in front of a few friends. 

I'm prepared. 

A TEDx Talk has been on bucket list for years. And this is definitely one that I couldn't just show up and check off. 

The preparation for the talk also made me realized I don't have to be a procrastinator which I've proclaimed to be for…oh…my entire life. 

It's a label I've given myself and lived up to on many occasions. But I've learned through this process, we have the ability to change. 

The event is on March 2nd. If you are the praying type, please add me to your prayer list. I'd really appreciate it. 

Thanks for all your love and support!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

“The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life”


This weekend I had the honor to keynote a women's breakfast at a local church. The next day I spoke at the same church and the pastor said, "I heard the event was transformational."

What an impact his statement had on me. God laid on my heart two years ago to get The Giving Challenge in churches. I could see the vision but many couldn't. I had a director of women's ministry tell me my talk didn't have enough scripture. Well friends, I'm more concerned about living out scripture than reading it from a stage.  

Two women saw my vision and worked tirelessly to make a dream become a reality. Several months ago, on a dark, cold night we gathered and believed a success would be if 30 women showed up.  A women's event was the first of it's kind for this small church. We were giddy exclaiming our stretch goal of 50 women. We had 35 RSVP and were ecstatic! But you know what happened the morning of the event? 70 women packed the room. We had to set up more tables and chairs. My assistant ran out to my car to get more books. And somehow there was enough food for everyone!

After the event, I saw hugs, tears and excitement of going out into the community to give in ways the women had never thought about giving. I heard stories that would break your heart and stories of new connections made between women that want to pursue a dream God laid on their heart.

I can't quite put into words everything that happened on Saturday, but God showed off. And I need to thank Him for giving this gal something bigger than she could ever dream.  

If you have a big dream, you gotta do more than pray. You have to share your dream with others. You have to work hard to make it happen. And when the opportunity is presented, show up like your life depends on it. Put in the work, knowing you deserve the opportunity that was given to you!

I love what Mark Batterson says in his book on prayer, "We are called to pray about everything, but there comes a time when praying can be a form of disobedience, laziness, or negligence. We can't just pray like it depends on God; we also must work like it depends on us."

I wonder how many prayers go unanswered because people don't act to follow a path God had laid before them.  

Pray for your dream but also take the steps to make it happen. If you're on the wrong path, God will let you know. But if doors keep opening, keep walking through them!

Now go make your dream happen!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

"The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life"




Was it all you dreamed it would be on January 1st when you were excited for all the new opportunities and restarts the beginning of a year brings?

I'm on track with some goals and others, like hopping on the elliptical for 30 minutes three times a week, not so much. But that's okay because it's not like I'm sitting around eating bon bons. Besides two twizzlers, a tootsie roll and a handful of chocolate chips, I've steered clear of sugar. A total win, as on most days I'd consider myself a sugar addict. Can you relate?

If January was fabulous for you. Congratulations! High fives all around! What's your plan for keeping the momentum in February? If January was a little depressing or didn't meet your expectations, that's okay, as in a few short days we'll ring in a new month. Slap the restart button and recommit to doing what you said you were going to do.

I attribute January's success due to planning, tracking and accountability. On Sunday night I write a plan for the week. I look at my annual goals and write the next one to three steps I need to take on each goal. I then print out the plan and throughout the week I x out and highlight what I've accomplished. The more marked up the sheet, the better. Finally, daily I check in and video chat with my entrepreneur bff and let her know what I need to get done for the day. And on Sundays I check in with my girls, giving a rundown of everything I finished, where I fell short and what I need to focus on for the upcoming week.

Everyone has their own system, but if you don't have one, try implementing the one above. A little direction, planning and accountability go a long way.

If you need help, just comment on this post!

Here's to a productive week!

Blessings,
Stephanie

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About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com.

Meet my friend Temwanani Chilenga.


In her words, "I am a lady aged 23 and single. I live in Lilongwe, Malawi. Am a fifth born in a family of 6. My family lives in Lilongwe city and I live in Lilongwe rural because I chose to be with people from the rural. I work as a primary school teacher at Chambu primary school in Lilongwe rural."


When I asked her why she chose to work in a rural area, she said, 
"Because most people are not interested to work there because of working conditions. As a result most children don’t go to school and people don’t feel loved, so I went to educate the children and show the people that they’re loved and they can achieve their dreams."


I "met" Temwanani in a teacher Facebook group and have been inspired by her faith in God and the difference she is making to hundreds of students she teaches, 270, to be exact.


Her life has continually been struck by tragedy, more than what any human should endure. 


More than what most experience in a lifetime. 


Yet she puts her trust in God, picks herself up with a positive attitude and a smile, and chooses to move forward.


Over the course of 2019, with the help of Temwanani, I'll tell her story, so we can see how people live in third world countries, how good life is here in the USA and how when I'm having a bad day, I'm reminded it's not really that bad and I'm grateful for what I have and where I live. And I hope once you get to know Temwanani she'll bring the same perspective into your life.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

Days before my wedding my husband's grandmother announced she was going to speak at the ceremony. She wasn't asking, just giving us a heads up.

As a control freak, terror-filled my mind of all the things she might say in front of hundreds of guests.

Grandma Jones was one of my favorite people but you never knew what she was going to say or how long she was going to talk.

As she shuffled up the aisle and up the stairs, I said a little prayer.

And then the most beautiful words in the entire ceremony were spoken. An Irish Blessing for our marriage. I wish I had a copy of the blessing, as her words were the perfect touch to our day.

Every St. Patty's day my mind twirls back to our wedding and the joy Grandma Jones words brought to our special day.

In memory of my Grandma Jones, send an Irish Blessing to a friend or post on social media.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven't read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

 

Sign-up for a Charity 5k

The sun is shining, birds are chirping, and greenery is peeking through the dirt giving me hope Spring is around the corner.

Warmer temperatures not only mean a changing of the seasons but charity 5ks are popping up everywhere.

Here are seven reasons you should sign-up for a 5k:

1. Raise funds for a worthy cause.

2. Physically showing support for the nonprofit and/or family.

3. It's fun! Nothing like gathering with hundreds/thousands of people for one purpose.

4. Opportunity to get in shape.

5. A family event that gets you outside, active, and disconnected from technology.

6. You'll learn something about yourself. I've been running 5ks for 25 years and each race I increase my mental toughness.

7. Snap a few pics and share your experience and the charity on social media. Nonprofits love to see their message spread!

I believe in giving to others and to yourself. 5ks are an opportunity to do both!

Which race will you register for today?

P.S. Today's challenge is in memory of Roger Bannister. He was the first person to break the 4-minute mile. He did so much for the sport of running. Today the running community lost a champion.

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven't read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

Support Small Businesses and Shop Local

Did you know there are over 28 million small businesses in the United States?

I've found small businesses to be more personable and are what help make a community great. Many small businesses are also involved in philanthropic initiatives in their communities

If you are in Northwest Indiana, I love Extra Mile Fitness Company for my running shoes and Aster + Gray for a gift or home items.

Also local to NWI but available online is my favorite face cream Pelle by Lauren and homemade soaps by BUN’s Soapbox.

I not only love all these products but I made new friends with the owners.

Today if you are out and about, stop and support a local small business! You never know, you may make a new friend!

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. Haven't read The Giving Challenge? Purchase Now!

Never miss a post, enter your email address on the right and hit SUBSCRIBE. Thank you!

About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com