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Several years ago Joellyn bravely stood up in one of my dream board workshops and shared a dream she'd never shared with anyone.

She wanted to write a book. She had zero experience but it was dream God laid on her heart.

After the workshop, Joellyn signed up for my coaching. As they say, the rest is history.

We've been working together ever since!

After we met, life threw her a curveball when her son was diagnosed with dyslexia. Joellyn didn't just become an advocate for dyslexic children but went on to become a dyslexia specialist.

Months later I was thrown the same curveball, just much later in life. I'd always knew something was different with me, but most times I just thought I was stupid. Why could I not get things others kids got?

At age 39, I discovered I’m dyslexic. The roles reversed and Joellyn was now helping me! Our paths were definitely meant to cross.

We both have dreams of standing on a stage, sharing our incredible journey together. And guess what? We know it will happen!

This morning I sent Joellyn a text, “Good luck today! You’ll do fabulous!”

Several hours after that text, I sat at my desk, tears streaming down my face, watching my client, and friend, Joellyn, testify in front of the Indiana House Education Committee on her experience with dyslexia. What a moment!

I’ve spent years being one of her biggest cheerleaders! Who will you cheer on this week?

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

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!

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 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!

Frankie, Frankie get in here…were the words that echoed down the hall every time I entered my great grandmother’s home. She was letting my uncle Frankie know he had visitors. Moments later he’d scamper down the hall and greet you as if he hadn’t seen you in years. A big smile on his face, arms open wide and a big bear hug would ensue. We’d chat for a little bit and often head back to his room to get a glimpse of his “homework.”

My uncle Frankie lived with my great grandmother until she passed and then he went to live with his siblings. You see, Frankie had Down Syndrome. Growing up, I don’t ever remember anyone telling me Frankie had Down Syndrome or was different than me. In my family, I was taught everyone was the same and learned the Golden Rule early, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.”

My great grandmother dissed the notion he was different also. When Frankie was born, April 27, 1951, doctors gave little hope to my great grandparents that Frankie would live beyond five years old. I guess back then, they didn’t know much about Down Syndrome. From what I’ve researched, many with Down Syndrome have congenital heart disease. Well Frankie did have a heart disease. He had the biggest heart of anyone I have ever met. Did I mention he loved hugs?

Frankie attended school and learned how to read and write. He spent much of his days writing. That is why we always had to go check out his homework, something he took great pride in and worked hard at daily. What did we get Frankie for his birthday every year? Notebooks, pens and stickers. Oh and a Cincinnati Reds t-shirt or hat. One of the only times he wouldn’t come out for a visit was if the Reds were on TV. Not only did he have a love for the Reds and Indiana University basketball, he loved playing both sports. I remember some fierce wiffle ball games in my great grandmother’s backyaIMG_8446rd.

I often say my seven year old nephew Carson is the best dancer in the family, but before Carson came along Frankie held the title. He loved music and dancing. He was incredibly gifted and could identify the artist singing a song as soon as he heard the first few notes. If there was music, Frankie was busting a move. We’d all sit back and laugh. Which made him continue his moves, as he loved being the center of attention and was the life of the party.

Frankie had a deep respect for the flag and military. He hung out at the American Legion and was a favorite to the patrons. At parades when members of the military would pass you could count on Frankie standing at attention with a salute. Annually he’d attended, with family, the local Memorial Day service and as soon as the National Anthem would play his hand would be over his heart.

Frankie had an incredible memory. My mom shared a story with me of a time she forgot his birthday. Yes, he took note of who remembered and who did not. Several weeks later they were attending a funeral and he walked up to her and busted out in song, “Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday, to me…” That was his subtle way of letting her know she had forgotten his birthday.

My cousin shared on Facebook a talent Frankie had that I’d forgotten. He would look at his wrist, as though looking at a watch, and tell you the time. There was no watch on his wrist, but he’d usually be right on the time. We sometimes joked he was Rain Man.

Frankie passed away at the age of 65 on Sunday, June 26th. Frankie was truly a gift from God to our family. The laughter he brought will never be replaced, but the many stories we have of him will be shared and remembered for years.

Not to get all political, but I can’t imagine why some doctors recommend women who are carrying a Down Syndrome baby abort. I say this honestly, Frankie was much better than you or I. He never judged. You were his friend the moment he met you. He never met a stranger. He loved this country and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. He loved Twinkies without worrying about the calories. His heart was filled with joy. He had a passion for life and living. He loved his family. He laughed often and smiled just as much. Maybe the world needs a lot less of what we see on the news and in our social media feeds each day and more people like my great uncle Frankie. The man who never knew a stranger.

I know this is true because I’m seeing all the comments on Facebook.

“Frankie was an awesome human being.”

“He was a great guy!”

“Frankie was always a joy!”

“He was a real sweetie.”

“A very loving man.”

“He was a special guy.”

“He was a special person, with a special soul.”

“Frankie was a blessing to all who knew him.”

“Always smiling with a heart the size of Texas.”

How will you be remembered? If people can’t say these types of things about you, TODAY is the day to make a change. Today is the day you…

  • Start smiling more
  • Give bear hugs
  • Have fun!
  • Dance to the music.
  • Bless others through your actions
  • To never know a stranger

Today is the day to be more like Frankie!

P.S. If you knew Frankie, I’d love for you to share your favorite Frankie story or memory. Thanks!

Blessings,

Stephanie

About the Author:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is a writer, speaker, life coach, daily giver and soon to be author of The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life. She challenges people to be bold in their actions, accomplish and live their big dreams, and bless others daily through giving.

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

 

 

No tv. I’ve been on a mini-vacation and the friend I stayed with had no tv. It was good, refreshing. I didn’t miss it, not for a second. Honestly I didn’t notice its absence because I was engaging in conversation, reading, relaxing and challenging myself in the beautiful outdoors of Utah. Over my vacation I took a break from my business and social media. I was excited to get back to posting giving challenges and sharing my adventures.

Arriving at the airport news flooded social media and tv regarding the tragedy in Orlando. My heart broke. As someone who challenges others to give daily, acts like the one that took place would not happen if we are focused on how to love others, how to help others and how not to judge those we don’t agree with or see eye to eye.

Over the days and weeks I challenge you to seek out ways to love those around you, those, who in the past, you may have been judging their lifestyle. I’m not just talking about the LBGT community, I’m talking about the homeless man on the corner, the drug addict who always seems to make excuses, the cheating spouse, unfriendly neighbor…you fill in the blank.

If you are a person that is constantly finding faults in others, it may be time for you to look in the mirror. We tend to judge others to make ourselves feel better. Work on changing your ways, your heart. Work to find common ground.

I encourage you to take time this evening to read about each of the victims. I bet you’ll find you have more in common than think.

For instance, Deonka Deidra Drayton, Kimberly Morris and Akyra Monet Murray all loved basketball. As a girl from the Hoosier state, I have the same love. If I were to have met these women, maybe we would focus on our similarities instead of our differences. Maybe we would go shoot some hoops.

There is a long journey ahead for the families of the victims, survivors, first responders, medical personnel, the community of Orlando and this great nation. Sure I’ll pray, but we need to do more. What more is? I’m not sure. But if I see an opportunity, if you see an opportunity, to give, to do more than pray, to support and take action, do so.

May God bless the USA and change our hearts to be filled with love for one another.

Blessings,

Stephanie

About the Author:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is a writer, speaker, life coach, daily giver and soon to be author of The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life. She challenges people to be bold in their actions, accomplish and live their big dreams, and bless others daily through giving.

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