Category

Giving

Category

6 Ways to Get Your Giving Groove Back

Does your chest tighten thinking about purchasing gifts for picky, non-appreciative people? Is your bank account empty from pursuing your dream? Are you feeling scroogey about shopping, wrapping and giving when you have so much else to do? I'm going to let you in on two little gift-giving secrets. The purchase price of the gift doesn't matter and neither does the giver! Yes, you read that correctly. The gift – in fact, the whole holiday season and many of the stressors therein – is not about you. This means you can relax! Here are six actions you can take today to get out of the holiday funk and reignite your joy for giving.

1. Focus on the good.

Whether it is an annoying coworker, a family member who seeks attention (and not in a good way) or a friend who is a little too high maintenance, we let their faults overshadow their positive qualities. As they frustrate you during this season, remind yourself why you love and appreciate that person, then give them the gift of encouragement. Write a card, send a text, share in person, or pick up the phone and let people in your life know how you feel about them. They may be carrying a burden you don't know about, so for this magical time of year, choose to focus on the good.

2. Freely give with no expectations.

Too many times when we give, our gifts come with expectations. For example, we think the receiver will like, appreciate, and say "thank you" for the gift. Maybe your gift – if you get honest with yourself – has other expectations like a gift from them in exchange, or that they'll bury an old hatchet with you. The definition of a gift is giving something and expecting nothing in return. When you change your mindset on this, you'll start to find joy in giving. If you are giving a gift that fits your budget and you put effort into the purchase, don't worry if someone doesn't like or appreciate the gift. That's on them, not you.

3. Focus on what you can control.

Many times in giving, we get caught up in not only the recipient's reaction to the gift but also that of onlookers. We've all felt pressure during the show-and-tell portion of the holiday party or family gathering when each person takes a turn talking about what they received and from whom. This stress can also rise to the surface regarding holiday season volunteer work or charitable donations. Ask yourself why you're so stressed about a particular person's gift. If you put thoughtful consideration into your gift and the receiver doesn't like it or wants to exchange the gift, that is okay. If other people think it's too much or too little or too weird or too boring, that's also okay. You've done your part, now move on.

4. Find gratitude.

If you have watched any of my friend, Kelsey Humprey's interviews, you've heard leaders discuss a gratitude practice. For instance, Tony Robbins practices gratitude for 3-1/2 minutes on three things every morning. He says, "I pick one of them, and I make it really simple, like the wind on my face or the smile on one of my children's faces, so I don't just have to have a giant thing to be grateful." (Watch that clip again here.) If giving is stressing you out due to lack of funds, be grateful for what you can give. Get resourceful and creative. Find ways to give away your time or your talents and make a memories instead. If you're in a position to give at all, many would say you're #blessed. Try and remember that during the bustle.

5. Find some perspective.

Remember, it could be worse. If you are having a pity party for yourself because you're down in the dumps about the holidays, volunteer at the local food pantry, soup kitchen, homeless or domestic violence shelter. Talk with people and inquire about their story. You'll quickly learn the things you are allowing to ruin your holiday really aren't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life.

6. Fill your own gift bag, too.

I know I said giving isn't about you, but you can't be a joyful giver if you are stressed, tired and in a bad mood. Gifts for you could be an hour-long massage or the bargain set of brightly colored ballpoint pens that just make you happy.

Make the needed changes in yourself to find the good in others, give freely, and get most of this season of giving. Don't enter the New Year with regrets about how/what/ when or even why you gave. To be your best self means living and giving without regrets.

Happy wrapping!

Stephanie

My weekly giving challenge this week in the Giving Gal Gazette, is to celebrate Giving Tuesday. Okay, I'm a week ahead on this challenge, as Giving Tuesday is November 27th. I'm giving you a week to prepare. We've created "Giving Tuesday" gift tags for you to download and recorded a video to give you ideas on how you can give on Giving Tuesday. Snap a pic on the 27th and share it with me on social media! I'd love to see how you are giving.

Did you know another word for a holiday is rest? Shocking!

When was the last time your holiday was peaceful?

Imagine hosting a gathering in your home feeling relaxed and content. Whether you are opening your home to friends and family on Thanksgiving, Christmas or a guest in someone's home, your hospitality doesn't need to come at the cost of your health and sanity.

According to Google, the definition of hospitality is the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.

Notice there is no mention of immaculate home, free of dust bunnies, Pinterest-perfect food presentation, use of best china and fine silverware, or breaking the bank to redecorate the home with new paint and furniture. The latter may sound extreme, but I've heard of people doing this…for what? To impress people that "should" love you (and your home) just the way you are.

Pondering these words from Present Over Perfect Author, Shauna Niequist,

"For years, I have bridged that gap between differing opinions, tempered my own, made sure that everyone in the room was happy and fed and taken care of. It began as a clean love for hospitality, but over the years, I think, it devolved into caretaking and people pleasing at the expense of my own self, at the expense of telling the truth about what I think and what I need and what matters most to me. “

Her words stung.

I felt a punch in the gut when I read "caretaking and people pleasing." Guilty! When did this become our responsibility during family celebrations?

Here are six steps you can take to prepare your soul for upcoming festivities and de-stress.

  1. Find a quiet place, hide in the closet if you must, and grab a pen and paper.
  2. Grab your Bible and read Matthew 11:28 "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
  3. Focus on this scripture. Before food and home preparations, it's essential to prepare your heart to serve your loved ones. Memorize Matthew 11:28 and repeat these words as often as necessary over the next month.
  4. Jot down everything that worries and stresses you out about the holidays. Get them out of your head and on paper. Moving forward, don't let negativity control your thoughts and steal your joy.
  5. Close your eyes and envision your home for the holidays. Use all your senses. What smells are waffling in the air? Do you hear laughter and feel the warm embrace of loved ones? I bet you see smiles and taste pumpkin pie…or if you are like me you taste the whipped cream. Savor this moment. Don't be in a rush to move on. Let these feelings soak into your bones. My guess is your writings and what you envisioned doesn’t match.
  6. Are you getting excited about the holidays? Is your attitude changing? Do you realize the difference between what's important and what's not? As descriptive as possible, compose your definition of hospitality. Think back to number five and incorporate the thoughts that danced in your head. At the bottom of your paper, transcribe Matthew 28:11. When finished, post your note on the refrigerator as a constant reminder the world’s interpretation of celebrating the holidays doesn’t match the definition of hospitality. Take refuge and rest in the one who created you.

The holiday you dreamed of is within your reach.

Remember hospitality is all about how you make people feel in your home. If you are uptight and stressed, your guests will feel it.

Be generous with hugs, laughter, and listening. This year, I'm giving you permission to change your ways and enjoy the holidays.

 

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

Is your home overloaded with candy? Are your kids on a sugar high? Is the excitement of picking a costume and trick-or-treating starting to fizzle? If you answered yes to these questions, you are not alone.

I can't help you on the fizzle, but I can help you with creative ways to get candy out of your home and teach your children about giving.

For children to give their candy away, you'll need to:

  1. Get Creative
  2. Give them options.
  3. Let them make the decision

Get Creative.

You may be reading this, and you know your kids will be 100% on board or your reading this and think...this is going to be so hard. My kid is going to throw a fit! Well, let them throw a fit. Giving at the beginning is hard, but it's a life lesson your kids need to learn. If you don't teach them, do you think they'll grow up to be a giver? Maybe so, but likely not. You know your child best so make this fun and allow them to be creative.

Give Children Options.

You can't just walk in and tell your children you are giving away their candy and expect them to be happy about it. Research ways to give that best fit your family. To help you out, here are a couple of options to give your children:

  1. Operation Gratitude's Halloween Candy Donations Program: This program donates treats to our troops and first responders. Candy donations need to be received no later than November 15th. Click here for additional information. {Conversation starter} Chat with your kids about the important role the men and women in uniform play in our community. Why we should have respect for them and the sacrifices they make for our freedom and safety.
  2. Call your dentist to see if they have a buy-back program. Mine does! {Conversation starter} Do you know how cavities develop? CANDY!!!
  3. Ronald McDonald Houses: In my book, The Giving Challenge, I share a story about the Ronald McDonald Houses. If you are near a house, drop off your leftover candy. For an RMH near you, check here! {Conversation starter} Talk about gratitude. How we should be thankful for our health. Many children in our country are battling life-threatening diseases, such as cancer. Places like the Ronald McDonald House provide comfort, care and allows families to be close to their loved ones in the hospital.
  4. Create Gifts: Purchase mugs or mason jars and fill them with leftover candy. Decorate the mug or jar, tie a ribbon around it, or paint it. Have your child make a card and write a sweet note. Maybe drop off the gifts to a local nursing home or assisted living facility. Ask the staff to provide the gift to someone that doesn't receive visitors or needs a pick me up! {Conversation starter} Gifts don't always have to cost a lot. Sometimes the gifts we create ourselves can be just as unique. Also, the gifts we give don't have to go to people we know. We can bless strangers in need.

Let your children decide.

The list above is only suggestions. Have your child read the list and see if there is a place they want to donate. Or better yet, see what ideas they have and where they would like to donate their candy. Let the decision be theirs to make.

How is Giving Gal getting involved?

I'm also getting my leftover candy out of the house. I don't need it! I'm sending a box of full-sized candy bars to work with my husband for his office and giving three more boxes to my mom for blessing bags that her church passes out to those in need. My gift for the day!

Where will you donate your candy?

Giving Challenge: Get creative, give your child options and let them decide how to give away leftover candy.

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

Halloween is almost here! If you were thinking about sitting in your house with the lights off, hoping kids don’t stop at your home, you still have time to change your mind. I’m not a fan of all things Halloween, but I do believe it’s an opportunity to connect with our neighbors and those that live in our community.

Will you take the Halloween Giving Challenge?

  • Turn your porch light on and pass out treats.
  • Compliment the children on their costumes.
  • Dress up and have fun.
  • Set out a teal pumpkin (or sign) and have non-food treats available.
  • Chat with parents… get to know your neighbors and those in your community.

 

Have a happy Halloween!

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!

Do you ever have one of those days where you run from appointment to appointment and the entire day you feel like you’re forgetting something but can't quite remember what?

That was me yesterday.

I rolled out of bed at 6:15 for a 7:00 appointment with my trainer. Hence the reason I'm looking mighty fine in the picture. Those training days come early and girl got no time to do hair and makeup. It's come as you are. Workout hard and move along.

From there, God bless my client Harold, he met me for breakfast after my workout. Isn't it great when people love you as you are?

Harold is my longest client. I originally showed up at his office eight years ago to help him get organized. Then he hired me as his coach. Every week we meet for 30 minutes to work on his goals. Did I mention Harold is 70 something?

Can I be like him when I'm older?

Still working full-time and always working to improve himself, setting and accomplishing goals.

For years he talked about starting a foundation in memory of his daughter. It was a big goal for him.

And guess what?

He did it! With help of friends and family, he started the Cheryl Lyn Welter Family Charitable Foundation. They raise funds to help local schools pay for much-needed items.

Yesterday we not only met for breakfast but he also bought a stack of copies of The Giving Challenge to give to donors of the foundation.

I'm ecstatic for the message of simple ways to give continues to spread and the book is being used in a variety of ways.

As I was checking out I noticed fun strawberry lemonade cupcakes decorated in pinks and yellows with lots of sprinkles. I picked up two. A gift for my neighbor girls.

I sped home, hopped in the shower and attended back to back calls until late afternoon.

Back in the car and a 30-minute drive I arrived at the chiropractor. While I was getting therapy I remembered I was within ten minutes of our favorite rib place. I finished therapy and drove over and picked up two slabs of ribs. A great surprise for the hubby.

On the way home I called to chat with my mom. I think we'd go the whole week without talking. When I arrived home I said my goodbyes and bounced down the stairs to cuddle with the hubby for a little while. I fell asleep.

When I awoke the ribs were cooking and we enjoyed a nice meal. At 8:00 I walked upstairs to snuggle under the covers and get a little reading in. By 9:00 it was lights out. I really didn't have a choice. I think I read the same page eight times.

I woke up this morning and you know my first thought? I forgot to post a Giving challenge yesterday! I'd given in various ways throughout the day but totally forgot to post.

So here I am on a Saturday reliving my Friday for you all to explain that sometimes I'm so involved in living and giving (and sleeping) that things on my list just don't get done. I could beat myself up over missing a day, and as a recovering perfectionist, I'm tempted to do so but I'm not going to.

So today I've decided I'm wrapping up The Giving Challenge. The last three days wrapped into one. Why? I don't want to spend Easter Sunday on social media.

So here is the final challenge. Love on people. Everyone you encounter today and tomorrow. Greet them with and show them, love. That includes yourself. Sounds simple but there are many people that cross our path that are hard to love. Love those people more!

It's my sincere hope the last 40-Days you've given a little more. That you found ways to make a difference that maybe you would have past up prior to the challenge. Did you become more aware of those surrounding you? Maybe you became a little less judgmental and more patient.

It's my desire that you continue on this Giving journey, looking for ways to give each and every day. If you haven't already, feel free to join my Giving Challenge group.

Thank you for your love, support and engagement over the past 40 days. It's been a joy.

Happy Easter. John 3:16

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

 

Have you ever been in line at the grocery store with one item and the person in front of you has a full cart?

That happened to me at Walmart and this sweet lady turned around and said, "Go ahead of me, you look to be in a hurry."

What a simple gift she gave me but totally made my day. I love when I receive these types of gifts because I get to feel how good something so small, especially from a stranger, makes the receiver feel.

Even though I was in a hurry, I asked if I could snap a picture to share with all of you. She was so humble and I had to give her a little nudge as I love documenting these moments. It's a reminder there are good people in the world.

Next time you are in line, let someone go in front of you.

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

 

When I coached high school track I was amazed at how many children had no support from friends or family. No one came to their meets to cheer them on, bring them a snack and encourage them after their event.

If you are a parent who attends your children's events, kudos to you. Is there a child you can bring under you wing that isn't getting support?

If you are like me with no children in the home, support a neighborhood kid, niece or nephew in their hobby.

Tonight as you're watching tv or surfing the web, make a plan for who and how you are going to support a child's hobby. It can be showing up at a game, paying for supplies, helping them practice or sending them encouragement before a big event.

Make a difference in a child's life today!

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

 

Who are your grateful for in your life?

The gardener at the farmers market who provides your fresh produce.

The banker who approved a loan for your first home.

The local artist who decorates the walls of the coffee shop with beautiful paintings.

The construction worker who fills potholes.

You are surrounded by hundreds of people who make your life better. Take a couple minutes to let them know how grateful you are for what they've done in your life.

Who will you thank today?

P.S. Love the cards below? They are from a fabulous company called Say It With Gratitude. Their cards are designed by children and a portion of their proceeds are give to nonprofits. I love companies that give back!

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

 

It's Monday and we all could use a little motivation and see positivity in our newsfeed.

Let's fill Facebook with motivational quotes and remind people it's a good day to be alive!

Post your favorite quote that picks you up when you are feeling down.

Don't have one? Share the one below!

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