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Did you know if you are texting and driving you are six times more likely to be in an accident than if you were drunk driving? It's New Year’s Eve, and we tend to focus on making sure everyone has a designated driver, which I agree 100%. But this year, you need to put down the phone while driving.

Every day we make a million decisions that shape the course of our day, week, month, year and life. In an instant, one decision can change everything and affect thousands of people.

On December 30th, 2011, Emily Huntington, a beautiful 18-year-old girl made a decision that ended her life in an instant. Emily, a senior at Jac-Cen-Del High School in Southeastern Indiana, was captain and leading scorer of her basketball team, on the honor roll, volunteered in her community and was accepted to Indiana University.

On a beautiful day in December, Emily was driving and picked up her phone to read and respond to a text message. She lost control of her car; it flipped, and because she wasn't wearing her seatbelt, she was ejected from her vehicle and died instantly.

Emily made a mistake, an irreversible mistake. She didn't have her seatbelt on that day, which friends say she ALWAYS wore and she was texting. I must admit, I always wear my seatbelt. When I was younger, my father a retired police officer would say, "I never pulled a dead body from a seatbelt." But before Emily's crash, I was GUILTY of texting while driving.

Every time I am tempted to text and drive, I think of Emily. I know her tragic mistake, has saved my life. That is why, six years later, I'm still sharing her story.

Here are some staggering statistics on Texting and Driving from Icebike.org:

  • 1 out of 4 car accidents in the US is caused by texting while driving.
  • The chances of a crash because of any reason is increased by 23 times when you are texting.
  • Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting while driving.
  • If those stats didn't convince you, here's more.

For Emily's death to be for nothing we must learn from her mistake. We must advocate and spread the word that Texting While Driving KILLS people. Emily's friends and family don't want others to experience the tragedy and loss that they are experiencing. The students and faculty where Emily went to school made a PSA. Check it out!

Please share the PSA with...

  • Friends and family members, young and old
  • If you are a teacher, share it with your students.
  • If you are employed, share it with your coworkers.
  • If you are in management or a decision maker at your workplace, tell your employees that no company text, phone call or e-mail is worth risking their life or the lives of those on the road around them.

Today's Giving Challenge: Share the PSA and blog to spread Emily’s story. AND...

Don't text...Just Drive. It can wait!

Blessings,

Stephanie

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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

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