Category

Giving

Category

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,

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"

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”

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?

Blessings,

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"

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, 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

Friends, if you don't follow me on social media, you missed that I spent the better part of last week in the hospital. I share all the details on my latest podcast episode, check it out.

But while in the hospital, as I tried not to focus on all that was going on with my body, I focused on ways I could give to those that were serving me. 

Next time you are going through a tough time, here are four ways you can give:

1) Show grace towards those who serve you. I had an EMT that blew not one, but two veins while he tried to get the IV in my arm. He brought in a nurse, and she blew a third vein. Both were extremely frustrated with themselves. I decided instead of adding insult to injury, literally, I would show them grace. 

2) Share gratitude with everyone. From the lady that mopped my floor and cleaned the toilet, to the nurse, the guy who delivered my meals, to the doctor, I asked everyone their name, asked them about their day, and showed my gratitude. If they came in my room ten times, I thanked them each time for the job they were doing. 

3) Pray for those around you. The lady in the room next to me often cried out in pain and for help. When she yelled, I said a prayer for her. I prayed for the doctors and nurses responding to her that they could help ease her pain.

4) Make an unlikely friend by striking up a conversation. I cannot tell you how easy it is to make a connection with someone by just asking them their name. This simple question, led to more in-depth conversations, and for those who were around daily, we developed an unlikely friendship during my stay. 

I am still dealing with health issues. If you are the praying type, I would appreciate your prayers. 

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 I started my giving journey, I titled my first blog, 1 Making a Difference. Why? Because I knew that every one of us has the power to make a difference.

I have always had this big crazy dream that if we all joined forces together to live the giving challenge, we would change the world.

You may think, "Stephanie, that is impossible. Get your head out of the clouds. There are too many problems in the world."

You are correct, there are many problems in the world, and we cannot solve them all. But what happens if we collectively live the giving challenge? We each commit to consistently, make an intentional effort to give each day?

What if we sacrifice a little time and/or resources? What difference would we make then?

Back in 2019, I launched The "Lent" Giving Challenge. It was fun, and many participated. Due to my travel schedule, I skipped 2020, but I'm feeling called to bring it back this year. 

Will you join me?

Will you forward this to a friend?

Will you commit to giving away something for 40 days?

I'm making participating super easy. Sign-up here, download the resources and check your email each day for your challenge.  

The challenge is just a suggestion; you can do what was sent, save it for another day, or come up with your own challenge. 

Like I said in my TEDx talk, can you imagine if just 250 people took the challenge for 40 days? That would be 10,000 intentional acts of giving. WOW!!!  

How could that not make a dent in changing the world together?

I may be na ve, but I'll never stop working on challenging and encouraging others to stretch themselves in giving, gratitude, and goals. Will you join me?

With gratitude,

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”

This weekend I celebrated the 4th birthday of the launch of The Giving Challenge. Honestly, I still pinch myself that I have a book I wrote, people read, and like. Life is surreal some days.

As I thought back on the journey, there are five lessons, probably more, that bubbled to the surface that may help you as you are pursuing a goal or thinking about making a pivot in your life/career.

  1. Think long-term. The Giving Challenge took me about five years to write and launch. Success doesn't happen overnight. Don't get frustrated if you aren't moving as quickly as you would like. Keep plugging along, and over time you'll pick up wins and momentum.
  2. Only get advice from people who have been there, done that. This lesson seems like common sense advice, but we often let people who have never done what we are trying to influence our decisions. When it comes to my books, I have a small team of experts who provide advice and guidance in their expertise. Take, for instance, hiring a coach. I'll only coach people on activities I've done myself. You wouldn't hire me to teach you how to fly a plane, but I could help you write and launch a book.
  3. Put perfectionism in a drawer. Are you a perfectionist? If so, your perfectionist tendencies may prevent you from accomplishing a project or goal you are pursuing. I got stuck in the perfectionist wheel for quite some time. That is why my book took forever to complete. I kept swapping out stories and editing and reediting. At some point, what your working on has to be good enough, and you have to get the darn thing competed. I still cringe when I find a mistake in my book, but then I remember that even James Patterson made mistakes in his books. I know because I've caught them, and they make me feel just a little bit better. No one is perfect!
  4. Not everyone is going to support your big dream. It's hard when friends or family members don't show any interest in a project you are working on. It's easy to spiral into negative thoughts of why someone isn't supporting you. Focus on the people that do help you. Please give them your gratitude and appreciation. Turn the tables. I know there have been numerous projects, due to schedule, conflicts, etc., that I couldn't help someone on. It wasn't anything personal; I couldn't commit. Remember, usually, their lack of support has nothing to do with you or your project.
  5. It's okay to go back and make improvements. On the first version of The Giving Challenge, I must admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I had some connections in the industry, but they were few and far between. Also, I wasn't the best writer. But over the years, I attended writing conferences, developed relationships with experts, and even received an endorsement from Dave Ramsey. Instead of being satisfied with my first book in the original form, I went back and made improvements. The stories have more depth. The writing improved. Resources were created. And the cover got a facelift. Total redos aren't always necessary, but if you feel like you need to make improvements to get you to the next level, by all means, go for it!

I hope the lessons I learned, from writing and launching The Giving Challenge, help you as you set out to conquer a goal or two this year!

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”

Each year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I take time to listen to one of his sermons. They are always inspiring and powerful. Listening takes me beyond just posting a quote on social media but taking the time to learn from the words spoken by MLK Jr. 

But from our learnings, we must then move to action. 

This year I listened to The Drum Major Instinct. Here is a bit of what he said that is actionable,

"I want you to be first in love. I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity."

"Everyone can be great because everyone can serve."

He goes on to share what he would like to be said about him in his eulogy.

Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others, loving somebody, fed the hungry, clothed those who were naked, visited those who were in prison, and loved and served humanity. 

So, why is the sermon titled, "The Drum Major Instinct?" He wanted his eulogy to say he was a drum major for justice, peace, and righteousness.

As you go about your week, what will you be a drum major for in your life?

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 am just off the heels of the annual baking and candy making extravaganza with my best friend Amy and her family. What a wonderful weekend. This is their 11th year of the weekend and I have been blessed to be evolved for the past four or five years. I have lost count.

The weekend has one goal. Make enough goodies to give away to those in the community that serve us. Teachers, bus drivers, police officers, nursing home staff, church staff, and medical personnel.

Do you have any annual giving tradition? If not, let us change that in 2021. And if you have a giving tradition, how can you expand it or start a new one?

Why is it important to have a giving tradition? 

  1. It is an event that helps us focus on others. 
  2. It is a way to support your passion and the community.
  3. It is a way to get friends and family involved in giving.
  4. It inspires others to create their own giving tradition...impacting more people!
  5. It is a great way to teach children in your life about giving. They are never too young to get involved. 

The why is important because it keeps moving us forward when we face obstacles or want to give up and quit. 

Now that we understand the why, let's chat about how you actually get your giving tradition off the ground, or maybe get a little more organized around your current tradition. 

  1. Think about your passion. What do you love? Is there an organization that aligns to your passion? This doesn't have to be a nonprofit. For me, I love law enforcement and I always do a giving event for those that serve and protect our communities.
  2. Who is going to benefit? Is it a nonprofit? A group of people in your community? Be specific.
  3. When are you going to have your giving event? Our baking extravaganza, it's always in December. Mark it on the calendar in a red sharpie. Do not let anything get in the way of your giving tradition!
  4. What's your goal? Be specific so you know your target and if you have accomplished your goal. Maybe it's to raise x dollars. Collect x numbers of coats or books. Serve x number of teachers in your community. 
  5. Who is going to help you? During the pandemic, your group may need to be small or even virtual. Do what works best for you and your community.
  6. Communicate what you are doing. Post on social media. Send an email. Shout it from the rooftops to inspire others, possibly getting people involved, and to create accountability. 
  7.  Make a plan. What are the first steps you need to take to get your event off the ground?

Hopefully, the information provided today will help you create your giving tradition.  I'd love to hear if you have a tradition. If so, what is your tradition? If you don't, what will it be in 2021?

Happy Giving,

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”