The Story Behind the Stories

Getting outside my comfort zone as I bare some of my soul and take a giant leap of faith, but I’m trying my best to let go of my “play it safe” mentality, take more risks, and trust in the process!

A little over a year ago, I sat in my living room feeling overwhelmed and, if I’m honest, a little lost… It was a typical day at the Stevens’ circus, and I had just spent most of the morning reading books to my sick little kiddos. With 2 toddlers who constantly have their hands in their mouths, being sick was (and still is) the norm at our house. It felt like every sickness merged with the next one, which complicated our feeding struggles with our son. I sat on the couch praying for encouragement and renewed purpose (as most of my life the last few years revolved around meeting family needs, taking my son to countless therapy and specialist appointments, attempting to make progress and weight gain with his PFD challenges, juggling all the standard life things, and trying to be the best mom and wife I could be). I struggled with feeling a majority of my old self had been lost in the process. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a mom, but some days are more challenging than others, and I also was missing a much-needed creative outlet.

Little did I know that God would answer a prayer that had been on my heart the last few years by giving me new inspiration, purpose, and career path. While I was sitting there, I kept hearing my aunt’s voice echoing in my head, encouraging me to write children’s books, a seed she had planted years ago. Whenever she brought this up, I never had any ideas, nor did I even know where to start if I had the ideas. Maybe it was all the kids’ books I had read that morning as I remember looking at them with fresh eyes, but at that moment, I felt a new sense of inspiration, peace, and passion as I grabbed the laptop and started typing away. By God’s grace and a calling I felt he placed on my heart, within a week, I wrote 6 children’s books, albeit in their early draft form.

I wrote the Pals with Purpose series with hopes of instilling good values and life lessons into children’s books. Each pal in the series has a purpose with a unique story to share. These stories are created from the heart with purpose in mind and inspired by real-life experiences to empower kids to become their best. My hope is that my books can be one way to plant seeds in small souls that help them to overcome challenges while learning about and spreading kindness, love, and generosity around the world.

Kaylee Kangaroo Discovers Her Purpose, Children's Book Author, Shelby Stevens of the Pals with Purpose series from Giving Heart Books

I learned early on in this journey that this would not be a quick or easy process or an independent project. Through every step, I’ve heavily relied on my family, friends, network, and ultimately the Author of my own story. Every step of this journey I’ve prayed for ideas, inspiration, the right words, the illustrator who could bring my vision to life, and the people to help propel me in the right direction. I prayed, I hoped, I listened, I waited. Finding my Illustrator, Book Designer, and Editors all have unique stories and have all been answers to prayers. My vision for the books and illustrations, design ideas, and word choices were all answers to prayers. Sometimes the answer came quickly, other times it forced me to flex my patience muscle much longer than I wanted, as the answer came days, months, or a year down the road. Sometimes it came unexpectedly in the form of a curveball, stranger, helpful friend, family member, or part of my author network. One of my current prayers for this process is to find someone to help me with the social media aspect as there’s only so much time in the day with 2 littles, and let’s face it, I’m not the most social media or tech-savvy person. If you know of anyone who could help, I’d love to hear from you! From this journey, I’ve learned even more about the importance of depending on God daily and being thankful for the people he has placed in my life.

Above (and all the way from Argentina) is my creative, amazingly talented illustrator hard at work, who brings my stories and illustration visions to life. After working closely together for over a year, there are times I feel like she can read my mind and has figured out my illustration style to a T.

Fast forward to today… I’m about to publish my first book in the Pals with Purpose series, Eli Elephant Works Through Emotions, along with 2 others being printed, while still working on finishing 5 others in the series, 2 more standalone books, and ideas for a few more. God answered one of my dreams of becoming an author and placed the right people in my path to guide me every step of the way.

So here I am being vulnerable and asking for a little help. I’d love for you all to be a part of the Giving Heart Books family and would be so humbled and blessed to have your support along the way and in these final steps.

Even though my Instagram and Facebook pages are in the VERY beginning stages, I have some great content coming, and I’d love for you to be a part of the journey with me, from the ground up! I’ll be releasing sneak peeks, lots of giveaways, exclusive promotions, book events, behind-the-scenes real-life of publishing books with 2 wild toddlers, opportunities to become “contributors” and make decisions with future books, and tips and tricks for anyone interested in becoming an author, and I would LOVE for you to be a part of The Giving Heart Books family and this crazy adventure!

Photo Cred: my 5-year-old 🙂

The “Giving Heart Books” brand (TGHB) was created with the idea of living with a giving heart and spreading kindness and generosity locally, nationally, and globally. For every book purchased, a book will be donated, and 10% or more will be given to different nonprofits and people in need. By supporting TGHB, you’re directly making a difference in other people’s lives. I would love to hear your ideas of where to give back and be a part of the TGHB family!

THANK YOU for taking the time to read this, and thank you in advance for your support! I’ll keep you all posted on the actual book launch dates, but for now, join me on my Giving Heart Books Instagram and Facebook page for all the fun and updates! Don’t forget to sign up to receive TGHB news, exclusive promotions, freebies, and more on the website too!

Thank you again SO MUCH for your support! I couldn’t do it without YOU!

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