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Do you have a talent but it's going to waste?

Life got busy and your talent got buried in the bottom of a plastic container stored under the basement stairs.

Or maybe your talent is something you love but you don't think you're "good enough" to share with the world. You may think, "What if I embarrass myself? I should be able to take a leap of faith, but my faith is fleeting."

I understand where you are coming from. I loved to bake, especially cupcakes, but my decorating skills were questionable at best.

But I baked anyway and gave away my ugly cupcakes.

Then one day I asked a friend, who decorated beautiful cupcakes, to teach me how to make presentable cupcakes.

She showed up at my house, shared her talent with me, and within a few hours I learned how to give away a cupcake I'd no longer be embarrassed to give.

What's your talent?

*Can you sew? Maybe a friend needs new dress hemmed.

*Are you crafty? Maybe an event planner could use your craftiness to make decorations.

*Are you good with money? Maybe you can help a newly married couple create a budget.

*Do your friends rave about your organized home? Call a friend who is always stressed about disorganization and schedule a date to help her out.

I'm a firm believer that are talents were meant to be shared.

Take a minute to jot down your talent and think about who you can help. Reach out to them and offer your assistance. If they accept, schedule time on the calendar to share your talent!

If you can't think of anyone that needs your talent, post on social media, "Any of my friend's need help with (fill in the blank)?"

What talent will you share?

Blessings,

Stephanie

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

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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

📚Give to Yourself

Do you give, give, give but never take time to give to yourself?

I feel your pain. When I was on my Giving journey, giving a gift every day for 522, when I missed a day I was both devastated and relieved.

Why?

I was tired!

I took a break to rejuvenate. I learned and incorporated ways to give to myself regularly.

When I picked back up on my daily giving, I incorporated self-care.

When you take care of yourself, you can give more to others. An idea that many have a hard time believing and putting into action. I get it! I've been there.

I learned from my mistakes. On this 40-Day Giving Challenge, on Sunday's, I'm challenging you to find a way to give to yourself.

Here are some of my favorite ways…

1. Read a good book.
2. Go for a hike.
3. Soak in a bubble bath.
4. Go to the movies.
5. Journal.

What's your favorite way to give to yourself?

Share with a friend that is always giving and serving others!

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

🍲 Make Soup & Share it with a Neighbor 🍲

Cozy. Comfort. Caring.

These are the words I associate with a steaming bowl of soup.

Think about your neighbors. Is someone shut-in, down on their luck, or could use cheering up?

Make a pot of soup, write a note and deliver it to them today (or this weekend).

Warm up their weekend, and life, with love from your kitchen.

What's your favorite soup to give?

🍵 Share and challenge a friend!

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

THE GIVING CHALLENGE-Day 3

💌 Leave a kind note for someone in your household. 💌

When I was in high school my dad would leave me notes of encouragement in my car. I'd find them in the morning as I was getting ready to go to school.

My husband does the same thing.

The notes are never long but the words are thoughtful and help me start my day on a positive "note."

Grab a piece of paper, a notecard or a post-it and leave a note or two around the house for your loved ones to find.

"Words can inspire and words can destroy. Choose yours well." – Robin Sharma

Share and challenge a friend!

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

 

Smile at Strangers

Walk down any street in the US and pay attention to the number of people passing by with smiles on their face.

I've noticed, at times, it is hard to find one.

What I've also realized is if I smile, and make eye contact, chances are I get a smile back.

Brighten up the life of a stranger with a free gift, your smile!

And as Mother Teresa said, "Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."

I have a feeling there are a lot of people in the world that could use some love today.

😃Share and challenge a friend!
😄Post the reaction you receive below!!!

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

Give away Valentines. 💘 There are so many ways to celebrate Valentines Day, big and small.

-Buy a box of Valentine’s, write a sweet note and give them to strangers (if you are feeling extra generous include candy)

-Put a love note in your spouse’s car or in your child's backpack

-Bring heart-shaped cookies or donuts for your coworkers

💘Share and challenge a friend!
💘Post your Valentines ideas below!!

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

If your house was on fire and you could grab one thing, what would you choose? Hands down, I’d snag a basket and pile in as many pictures as possible.

Pictures are the gateway to our past. They bubble up cherished memories we’ve long forgotten. Photographs of vacation adventures fill a wall in my master bedroom. If my husband and I are fighting, usually over something minuscule, the images remind me there are a million more good times than bad. The fight is a blip on our radar, in over a decade of happiness.

Devastating News

In December 2014, our beloved K-9 Boss received a cancer diagnosis, riddling our world with devastation.

January 2015 was a rough month for Boss. His prize possession, a tennis ball, laid in front of him, with no movement. He’d curl up on his pillow barely getting up to eat or go out to potty. The effects of cancer were heartbreaking. All his life he’d been a worker. He’d served the Indiana State Police as a K-9 officer and loved his job. To see him mope around with no energy was agonizing.

Days before we were to put him down, our friend Julianne, with Julianne Smith Photography, offered a living family photo session.

Joy in Sadness

The day before the photo session we considered canceling because Boss was so lethargic, but on January 19, 2015, it was as if God gave him a final gift, zestfulness. It was just a day, but the old Bossy was back. He was playful, energetic and ran around the house like a wild man.

Julianne came to our home, and instead of the standard posed pictures, she captured how we lived life with Boss. She snapped a multitude of heartfelt photos. Some pictures were humorous, like me sitting on the toilet (lid closed) because he’d often come in the bathroom if the door weren’t close. Why these types of photos? I wanted to remember the little things that use to drive me nuts, but in his last days, I cherished.

Boss passed away four days later on January 23, 2015. Days, weeks, months and now years after his death, the portraits of Boss remain one of the most meaningful gifts I’ve received. Julianne used her talents, to bring joy one last time to our dearest Boss, and gave us a lifetime of memories.

What’s Your Talent?

As you go through 2018, think about ways you can use your talent to make a difference in someone’s life. Something you take for granted may be what someone else needs to navigate through a difficult time.

Giving Challenge: Over the next week, use your talent to brighten someone’s day.

Here’s to Giving and Living Intentionally in 2018!

Stephanie

P.S. 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. She empowers people to change their life by giving and living intentionally daily!

Schedule Stephanie to speak at your next event by emailing her at Stephanie@GivingGal.com!

I love cupcakes! I love baking cupcakes. I love eating cupcakes. And I LOVE giving away cupcakes, especially ones I've baked with love in my kitchen. For years I had a big problem. My cupcakes tasted fantastic, but they were...well... ugly. I didn't know how to decorate them. I would grab a can of icing, a spreader and UGLY cupcakes were created.

In 2014 as I was making my annual goals, I thought... I want to make BEAUTIFUL cupcakes! I was tired of giving away awful looking cupcakes. I mean let’s be honest, most children decorated cupcakes probably looked better than mine. I wanted something that when people opened the box, they would be too pretty to eat. Is that too much to ask?

As we approach the new year, what dreams have you been pondering? Which dream do you want to turn into a reality? If you’re not sure, take a moment to think about what you really want to accomplish in 2017.

Once you discover your dream, make a plan. I know, the word plan seems overwhelming, like it's going to take you a ton of time. Well, I'm here to tell you it doesn't take that much time. Here is the simple plan I created to set me on the path of living my dream of decorating dazzling cupcakes. It was seven, attainable steps.

Step 1-Find an expert

Step 2- Contact the expert

Step 3- Schedule cupcake decorating class with expert

Step 4- Buy supplies and ingredients

Step 5- Bake cupcakes and let cool

Step 6- Cupcake decorating class with expert

Step 7- Eat, give and enjoy gorgeous cupcakes!

You see, writing a plan isn't that hard. And even the actions were simple and were crossed off the list in no time.

Here's a little insight into steps 6 & 7, I wrote about several years ago.

Last night my friend Toni from Food. (Just Sayin') came to my house and taught me how to make yummy, fluffy icing and decorate cupcakes. I had so much fun! I think my husband was even excited that I will not be making anymore UGLY cupcakes!

Tonight I had a United Way Community Impact meeting and I thought it would be a nice treat to take my newly decorated cupcakes. Filtering into the room, committee members pick up a cupcake to snack on during the meeting. As I sat down, I opened my portfolio and there in the front left pocket were several of Emily's Pay it Forward cards. I smiled as I know she loved cupcakes.

After the meeting, I approached several of the ladies that had eaten a cupcake and were taking some home for their family. Giving each of them Emily's card, I shared her story and the purpose of Paying it Forward in her memory. I encouraged them to read the card, keep it and then pass her story and the card along. They were all touched by Emily's story and what her family is doing to keep her memory alive. One of the ladies even said, "I'm taking this home and sharing it with my son!"

As I was thinking of what to title this blog I thought about My Cupcake Dream, as it was my dream to learn how to decorate a cupcake. But as I started writing and thinking about all the things I've learned about Emily over the past couple of years I changed it to Cupcake Dreamer. Emily was a dreamer and like a cupcake, her life was colorful, sweet, enjoyed by many and brought a smile to the faces of those in its presence. I think Emily was definitely a Cupcake Dreamer!

I hope this fun little story of how I turned a dream into a reality inspired you to think about your dreams, make a plan and look for ways to take action. If you need a little jump-start, e-mail me at stephanie@GivingGal.com and schedule a complimentary coaching session. It's my gift to you. After all, as a life success coach, I'm here to help you dream, discover and do!

Finally, of you don't know Emily's story, here is what's on the Pay Forward card:

"Emily was 18 years old when she was killed in a single-car accident. She was texting and driving. She was an amazing girl who had everything going for her. Unfortunately, her life was cut short by this seemingly simple act. You can visit her Facebook page...Just Drive. Live. Laugh. Learn to learn more about Em and let us know how you paid it forward."

Please don't Text and Drive and Please Wear your Seatbelt.

Blessings,

Stephanie