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Dreaming Big

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Today could be a sad day for me. A reminder of my biggest failure.

The day where, nineteen years ago, I sat in the audience and watched my fellow classmates get their badges pinned and take the oath to serve in protect.

But my dream to become an Indiana State Trooper died when I failed firearms.

A couple years later, I'd marry a fellow recruit, making me realize that God always has a plan. It may not be what I prayed for but what I needed.

So today, instead of living with the what-if's, I'm grateful for the failure. 

Without that failure, I wouldn't be where I am today, writing and speaking, meeting incredible people who want to make a difference and live their big dreams.

Today, I celebrate my husband and all that graduated from the 59th recruit class. 

For the past nineteen years, my husband has committed himself to serving the citizens of Indiana.

The sacrifices have been many, most no one will ever see.

Each and every day, I'm so proud to call myself a police wife, and stand by my husband as he and his classmates defend and protect the thin blue line.

This year, 59 officers have been killed in the line of duty, with June being the deadliest month, with twelve officers killed.

Please keep my husband and all of his fellow brothers and sisters in blue in your prayers. I appreciate it and I know he does also.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

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

I saw courage in action this past week, and even though we'd just met the night before, I sat in my chair, cheering Lisa on, soaking in her success.

I wanted to remember the moment. I wanted her to remember the moment, so I snapped a picture.

It was the last day of the Write-to-Publish Conference. I'd taken the children's book writer's track with award-winning author Michelle Medlock Adams. She's written over 90 books, which have sold over four million copies. 

We as writer's can have those in the industry review and critique our manuscripts. Lisa submitted a children's book to Michelle to review. As we walked into the classroom, Michelle shared with Lisa how much she loved her book. It needed to be shortened, but it was fabulous!

I snapped a picture of Michelle giving Lisa the feedback, as I wanted Lisa to have the moment documented. It was a little gift I gave her. I said, "Lisa, when you get home, you print out this picture and you put it where you can see it. If you ever doubt your writing, if you want to give up and quit, you look at this picture and be reminded of the moment Michelle raved about your book."

At the end of the class, Lisa read her book to us. OH...MY...WORD!!! You know someone is a good children's writer when they are reading, and you can envision the pictures that will go with the story. I flipped through the book in my mind. And I can't wait for her book to be published and for me to share it with all of you.

It took courage for Lisa to share her manuscript. When we share our gifts with the world, we open ourselves up to criticism and critiques. Sometimes we keep our talents hidden for the fear of being rejected. I talked about this last week, how I'd stepped out and took a risk, but got scared hours before I was to share my gift with an audience of women. But friends, if we never step out in faith, into uncomfortable waters, we'll never know what it feels like to receive praise, to take our dream to the next level and maybe, just maybe, change someone's life.

Is there a book, a poem, a painting, or a craft project you've been hiding from the world? If so, I challenge you to share it. And if you get rejected, that's okay. Why? Because then you will know, you don't have to spin the what if in your head. And then you can decide, just like writers, do I get back and work on the feedback provided, or do I hit delete and start over? The choice is yours.

What would you like to share with the world? If you aren't ready for the big time, share it with me. I'll encourage you and cheer you on until you are ready. 

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

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


What did I get myself into? I pitched an idea to do the biggest dream board workshop I'd ever lead, almost 150 people. Terrified. That's how I felt on the day of the event. What had I done?

Like every grand idea I have, when rubber meets the road, fear seeps in and I start to question everything I know to be true.

  • What if this doesn't work? 
  • What if we don't have enough supplies?
  • They've given me two hours; can I fill the time?
  • What if the women don't get on board and engage? 

These are the questions that flooded my mind as I smiled standing behind my table, engaging with conference attendees, just hours before taking the stage.

I faked my confidence. 

I'd been in this situation more times than I can count. And I know when I have resistance to what I'm about to do, I'm on the right path. Pursuing big dreams is uncomfortable. If they weren't, we'd all be doing it.

But then a woman approached me and shared how she really needed to hear what I had to say. She was excited about the dream board workshop.

And just like that my attitude changed. I went back to day one of my giving challenge and reminded myself of my mission. 1 Making a Difference. Today, I wasn't out to make a difference in the lives of all the women. My goal... make a difference to one woman. If I could help one woman, then I would have succeeded. 

Now, you know that's not what happened. I'm confident I impacted more than one woman.

And guess what I learned, yet again?

Fear is a liar.  My shirt that day even said so!

And all my fears and doubts, they were unfounded. 

I share this embarrassing story with you, to let you know that even on my best days, I'm afraid.  I'm uncomfortable. When I'm on stage, moments before, I may have wanted to crawl under the table. Don't be fooled by my confidence. That's just courage. Because what I've learned, is that on the other side of fear is usually something incredible.  

What is holding you back from pursuing a dream or goal?

What's one step, even small, that you can take to help you gain courage and conquer your fear so you can go out and live your big (or small) dream?

Blessings,

Stephanie

P.S. If you need help overcoming your fear, email me at Stephanie@GivingGal.com, to schedule a complimentary coaching session. Let's work together to get you on the path of overcoming your fear and living your dream!

P.P.S. Download my “Dream. Discover. Do” Workshop board for yourself, HERE.

I'm a recovering workaholic.

When my husband worked the afternoon shift, I'd work all day and late until the evening. 

If he worked weekends, so did I. At times I worked 80+ hours a week.  

I said yes to every request. If I wasn't working, my evenings were filled with meetings, dinners and volunteering. Many times, doing things I didn't like, with people who sucked the energy and life out of me.

A couple of years ago I hit rock bottom. I'd done two keynotes and was scheduled to give the sermon at church. When Sunday morning rolled around, I stayed in bed as long as I could without missing the service.

That was the beginning of May and it wasn't until August I started to human again. I took the entire summer off. I said no to almost every request and even though my team at work doubled in size I learned to scale back and shutdown the computer.

I spent almost every weekend kayaking, reading, napping and doing activities that didn't require much physical exertion or mental work.

I think the way I lived my life is how many others live. They just don't know how to gain control of an out of control life. They are hanging on by threads on an unraveling sweater. And before they know it, the small snag is a gaping hole and they start to unravel.

The crazy thing about the crash, is months before, my doctor warned me it was coming. I'd spit saliva in tubes and the hormone test, especially the cortisol warned of what was to come. But I ignored the warning from both the test results and my doctor. Don't we think we are invincible? Well we are not.

Ever since that summer of regaining and taking charge of my health and schedule, I've reprioritized my entire life.  

In the past, I'd feel guilty for sitting on the dock, reading and well, accomplishing nothing on my to do list.

And especially feel guilty if I just came back from a vacation, which I did on Wednesday.

But my June is crazy! Starting today, I'm out of town 13 out of the next14 days.

So, guess what, this past weekend, I'm relaxed at the lake. I sat on the dock or in the boat while my husband is fished. I kayaked. I took a nap. And yes, I did a little work, as I have commitments I've made and deadlines to hit.

If you're at the edge of your thread, there is hope, but it's not easy. It's a lot of work, not to work, to free up one's schedule, but it can be done. 

Trust me, I've lived that crazy life for years and what I've discovered is the less busy I've become, the happier I am.
If you need help reclaiming your life, email me at stephanie@GivingGal.com, to schedule a complimentary coaching session. Let's work together to set your priorities and a plan to decrease your stress and increase your happiness.

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

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

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start to summer. Before we know it, August will be here, the children will be back to school and the warm, long days will start to dwindle.

How do we make the most of summer? We be intentional.  Sit down, either by yourself or family, and make a list of how you want to have fun this summer and then hang it in your home where you see and plan to take action.  

The dream list doesn't have to be expensive or extravagant.

Here's my list. What will you include on yours?

  1. Hiking at Starved Rock State Park
  2. See a movie at the drive-in
  3. Run a charity 5k
  4. Go on a picnic
  5. Rooftop family dinner at the Stray Dog
  6. Watch the sunset at Lake Michigan
  7. Take a four-wheeler drive with my dad
  8. Run trails with my mom
  9. Family and friends' weekends at the lake house
  10. Kayak the perimeter of the lake
  11. Enjoy a country concert
  12. See Mamma Mia at the Memorial Opera House
  13. Solo vacation

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

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

Recently, I keynoted a women's breakfast and had the opportunity to meet Fran.

At the end of every talk, I challenge the audience to take my 40-Day Giving Challenge.

Afterwards, Fran came up to me and exclaimed she'd started the challenge by giving away the beautiful hanging basket of petunias that she won.

Excitement filled my heart and I had to snap a picture with Fran.

This is my why.

I speak and write about giving to inspire others to give in ways they never thought about before.

My original goal, back on January 1, 2011, still rings true today.

Me, one person, looking for ways to make a difference in one other person's life, each and everyday.

And now Fran is on the same journey!

She shared with me how she's given a gift everyday since the talk.

A message from Fran.

Can you imagine how our world would change, if like Fran, when I put out the challenge to give daily, we all took it?!

Thanks Fran for inspiring me to keep spreading the message God's laid on my heart and thanks for taking the Giving Challenge!

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

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

I went with a friend to the range in college and well, let's just say it didn't end so well. I whacked the guy next to me with my golf ball. And I'm pretty sure I whiffed the ball more than I hit it. Did I mention golfing hurt my back? Overall, the outing at the range wasn't fun and from that moment on, I haven't wasted my time learning to golf. Girls, got better things to do with her time… lol!

With that said, I couldn't help but notice all the buzz on Sunday with Tiger Wood's Masters win.  Pretty incredible if you ask me. Think about, 2005 was the last time he won the masters, 14 years ago when he was the best of the best. Top of his game. Through a series of poor choices, addiction and injuries, he went from number one to not even being able to compete. Yet through all the trials and tribulations, he never quit. Tiger was made to golf. It's his passion. And even when everyone counted him out, most likely even himself at times, he kept swinging.

You know what else was interesting about Sunday's Masters? There was a guy who placed an $85,000 bet, that Tiger would win. The odds of winning were 14-1.  Guess what, his bet paid off and he won close to $1.2M, history's largest golf-related payout. I'm not a fan of gambling, but this man's bet on Tiger reminded me that we only need one person to believe in us. One person that says, "I'm willing to take a chance on you and your talents."  

My questions for you are, one, is there a dream you put aside and through a series of tragic events appears to be at the bottom of the pond on hole #3? If so, take a dive and fish the dream out. And two, who can you get to take a chance on you? Who will give you a little confidence and hold you accountable to putting in the work and then acting on your dream.

I think my new saying will be, "Your dream isn't dead until you stop swinging!"

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

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

Several weeks ago, I recommended reading, A Thousand Splendid Suns. I'm still making my way through the book, as the content is heavier than most fiction books I read.

The story is from the perspective of two Afghan women. This morning the chapter I read, the Taliban have entered Kabul, where the women live.  The rule of law is changing. The women will no longer be able to leave their home without a male relative. They are forbidden to wear makeup, jewelry, charming clothes, and nail polish. They are not allowed to speak unless spoken to, make eye contact with men, laugh in public, and attend school or work.  If the women break any of these laws, they will be beaten.

As I read the list, tears streamed down my face as I looked down at my polished nails and sparkling wedding ring. The thought, not once, ever crossed my mind that if I were in public, my colored nails and my rings could lead to a beating.  I'm sure the same thought never crossed your mind. Can you imagine?

I whipped out my gratitude journal and wrote down a list of all the "insignificant" things I'm grateful for that I take for granted living in the USA. Will you do the same?

Taking notice of the small things in life can help change our perspective. If we write down what we appreciate in life, when we are having a bad day, the list can be a tool we use to remind us that, even in the misted of trials, there is still a lot of good in life.

What are you grateful for today?

Blessings,

Stephanie

Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of

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

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"