Sunday, October 4, 2015


This house is currently for sale for $39,000.  While it's not exactly my perfect vision of what Nana's Place will look like, it would do.  I think Nana's Place needs to be filled with comfort and peace, chicken noodle soup in a world of McDonalds.  

One problem with Nana's Place is one we encounter with Sister Hugs - while we get a lot of support, and we do get a lot - the majority of people see it as "my" thing.  With Sister Hugs, it has definitely become a "we" thing with some of my dearest people in the world joining the mission and claiming it as "ours".  In order for Nana's Place to ever become, I think the need has to be felt and others to go beyond supporting my idea and feeling the mission within themselves.  This is not to say that everyone will or should.  I remember having a conversation with one new friend who believed in this mission because of things in her past.  I believe in pet rescue, but it's not my personal passion.  This is not for everyone and I get that.  

For those who are intrigued, though, please read on.  Nana's place is my dream for a place in which people of all ages can go to seek the traditional comfort that Grandma's House once provided. (And still does for many) Baking, sewing, games, and more would be introduced and there would always be open arms to rock the babies.  Need a safe haven or a get away?  There will be beds available, no questions asked, but listening ears are abundant if you do want to talk.  

We've talked about providing a room for our own resident "nana" who would oversee the place.   Obviously it would take a special kind of person to keep the porch light on and the coffee brewing.  Still just a thought, a dream.  However, the more advanced our beautiful world becomes, the greater the need for simplicity and the caring touch of others.  

I'd love your feedback, both pros and cons. ....

I must admit, this throwback picture is waaaaay too sterile for me!! Nana's place will be filled with warm, soft, fluffy, cuddly things.  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Blast from the past...or return to our roots...

I just returned from vacation and as always, am more tired than ever, but so spiritually renewed.  How exactly does that happen?! 

I absolutely LOVE Sister Hugs and sometimes have a hard time understanding why everybody isn't as completely smitten by it.  Why everyone isn't in line waiting for the next activity, the next love bomb building, the next response.  Why other living rooms are not full of chairs waiting for a complete transformation for the chair-ity event.  Why others don't have July 5 circled in a big red circle on their calendars for our SH shopping trip to celebrate our anniversary....why few have stopped by to see Boomerang and offered to paint...

I question myself daily as to what I could be doing, what I'm not doing, how I can share this joy with all of you and help you to feel the joy in your hearts, too.  What am I doing wrong?  But then God reminds me that my job is simply to love and to share the love.  When it's right for you, you'll be there.  When it's not...well, then it's not.  

But you know what?  It's all good.  

I pulled up the SH Facebook page and went back to 2012.  Everything was fresh.  Everything had a purpose. Everything was exciting.  We had prayer warriors and need beyond belief.  We had people craving to do for others.  We had people sharing others with needs.  We had people wanting to help.  We had joy in the giving.  

It is now 2015.  Things are still fresh, there's still purpose.  Things are still exciting.  We still have prayer warriors and need beyond belief.  We have people craving to do for others and people sharing needs and desiring to help.  We still have joy in giving

.  What has changed?? Some of the faces, some of the names; others are still the same.  As word spread, our name became more widespread, but maybe a little less personable.  In 2012 we had people sharing food and gifts and talents.  We still do, but I'm not sure everyone realizes the need for each and every one of YOU!  We are still a tiny, sweet little group of people who just want to spread a little love, one person at a time, to touch as many hearts as we can.  I'm going to return to our roots a little by sharing more of our needs and our love bombs.  I'd love for you to continue sharing your hearts and talents with us.  

A post from 2012...

"I want to give a HUGE shout out to three wonderful women and their businesses. The first is Jen Hieb Leetch and her business, Photojenics Photography. She is a cancer survivor (YEA!!!) and has offered a photoshoot to someone going through and having gone through their own battle with this evil disease. We are currently working on an offer.

Huge heart woman #2 - Barb Brown who owns Shutter Bug Photography has offered to do a free photoshoot/pictures for a lady with children who might not be able to currently afford this treat. We connected her with our own Kerrie (remember this sweet mama of three whom we bombed earlier?) and they are getting together Oct. 22 for a fun day. 

Huge heart woman #3 - Lisa Sperandio-harp, owner of Harp Strings. She has offered to set up a facebook show with us and on this specific date and time, any sisters who like her page will be in a drawing for a free prize - if you order something and put the word "Bomb" in the message, Sister Hugs will get 20% wihich we could use to get a special G.C. for special sister gift. 

All so very cool and all were thinking outside the box - I love it!! Thanks ladies!! And sisters, please check them out and let them know how much we appreciate them.


Those 3 offers were all from 2012 and not from my immediate area.  Our requests for love come from all across the U.S.  Your gifts may be exactly what it takes to brighten someone's day, an act that etches on a heart forever!  

Your next opportunity to join an activity is July 5.  A few of us...right now I believe that number is 3, but sure to grow as the day grows closer, are meeting at 1:00 to go shopping.  We have a specific recipient who will be shared soon, and we are each contributing $10 to splurge on gifts for her.  We will then combine our gifts, add notes of love and encouragement, and send it off to brighten her day.  Do any of us know her? No, but that's all the more reason for us to reach out and offer our token of a hug.  Another group of people live farther away and have plans for the day.  Is that stopping them??? Of course not!  They have a family reunion, but each are bringing an item to combine for the recipient of their choice, adding notes of love, and sending it off to brighten a day.  I don't know if they know their recipient either, it's all about being the hands of Jesus whenever and wherever we can.  If you're nearby, join us.  If you're not, grab your own family or friends.  Most of us spend $10 very easily - chose to use it on another.  Not a bad investment for a smile and a heart tattoo. (Little do you know that I'm talking about your smile, your tattoo.)

Saturday, May 2, 2015

September 12

Looking for bragging rights to your famous chili???

Now is your opportunity to prove it once and for all!! Sister Hugs will be hosting another fun event for all  on September 12.  Once again we will be selling tables for $25 and the hostess will be responsible for filling the seats and decorating the table.  It worked well last time for the hostess to also provide drink for her group, so we will request that again.  

We are also hosting another "chair"-ity auction.  
I know of one special 1940's chair that was purchased by Ed and Paula Hall in St. Louis that is waiting for the auction...I've heard from others that they have some that they've been saving for our next one.  This little doll chair has been primed and is now waiting for stage 2...who knows what other treasures will be waiting?! You can be assured that whatever you buy will be a one-of-a-kind!  

Now I've saved the best for last - the location!  Kent and Lori Oelling have agreed to let us use this beautiful and perfect fall location.  
Mark your calendars, pull out your recipes or pull up Pinterest, book a table, and start prepping those chairs.  There's a lot of fun waiting for us in September!  (And plenty of time to prepare.  Don't be on the outside wishing in!) 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Giving to those in need

P"Ours is not to judge" yet most of us do. 

"You have no idea what somebody else is going through" but many of us think we know best.  

When Sister Hugs originated, (July, 2012) our thought was to Love Bomb those who needed an extra hug and possibly weren't getting enough.  We weren't seeking the highly publicized hearts, those with Fundraisers and newspaper articles, but rather the quiet lady on the corner without visitors.  However, apparently God had other plans because we have love bombed everyone, old and young, well-known and not as much.  Men, women, boys and girls.  What have we learned?  Ours is not to judge who most needs love and who doesn't. We've also learned that God does approve of this mission.  He lets us know very clearly when something is His plan and when it's actually not!  He controls timing and gut instinct and even uncanny coincidences.  As one of our teachers likes to say, "I can't make this stuff up!" - Mail that's delayed a week and then arrives exactly when needed, random meetings with former recipients who happen to be the one picture chosen for our flyer, items placed in a love bomb that create notes such as "you had no way of knowing this, but that verse was the same one we read at the funeral..." And so forth.  Letting go and letting Him lead is not always easy, but it is always right.  Sounds like life, doesn't it?! 

We've had a few roadblocks to some of our adventures in the past and it's not easy to let go and move forward, but we do.  We are adding our Baby Hugs,
and I'm not completely sure where it will lead us, but it does feel right, and it feels like a "baby step" towards Nana's Place.  "Speak, Lord, we're listening.  Come show us the way."  I hope you feel invited and welcome to follow the path with us.  

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Painted rock project

Why?? Why would I waste my time finding a rock, painting it when I gave no artistic talent, and then going out to leave it somewhere?? 

Why, you ask? Because it's actually pretty fun and for the person finding a little bit of eye candy, it's a treasure!! You never know, but that little treasure may end up being kept in a pocket for a constant smile, brought to school, placed on a window, or left there to provide a smile for the next person.  Don't ever underestimate the power of a simple act.  

Step number one - find your rocks.  I'd recommend doing more than one because as long as you have the supplies out, you might as well keep going.(and, if you're like me, after you've done one, you'll want to try another idea, and another)...look for smooth rocks and if you have a design in mind, shape may or may not matter.  
Next you'll want to take your collection and wash and dry them.  After they've dried, prime them with a base coat of black or white, depending on your ultimate design.  If you are wanting a simpler version, you can skip this step.
Your rock is now ready for your imagination.  The ideas are endless and no matter what you decide to do, it will be a treasure to the person who finds it. 
More ideas...
Have fun and send us pictures!! It's also fun to linger if you think it might be found soon.  Last time we were still in the area for some of the discoveries and the excitement was too cute!  
Never underestimate the power of a rock. 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Marilyn's Birthday Project

 Today was one of those days that will forever be etched in my mind and in my heart.  For Marilyn's birthday, she organized items to make blessing bags for the homeless. 
After everything was laid out, 24 blessing bags were built by Marilyn, Julie, and Donna.  (I was the official tag-tier).  
Next we loaded up the car and headed into Lincoln.  We parked across from Gold's building and Marilyn found the PERFECT words "It's my birthday. We'd like to give you a gift" the look on everyones' faces was priceless - so many smiles and "thank - you's" and "happy birthdays" and short conversations.

 What a wonderful feeling!! 

 We also left scarves and hats around for people to find and take.  (Thank you, Geory and Bev!!) By the time we returned to the car, the first donations had already found new homes. 
The crazy thing? - everytime we do anything like this, I'm pretty sure I receive WAAAY more than I give. It was such an amazing experience....
Hmmmm, I have until April to figure out my next birthday project!�� Happy, happy birthday, Marilyn.  You are a gift.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


"You have a unique way of looking at things.." 
I hear those words A LOT!!  Mostly as a statement, not good, not bad.  I can't really argue with them.  I do have a different way of seeing things.  Not always right (WHAT?!!) but almost always different.  I'm not sure I quite get the label of dancing to the beat of my own drummer, but I could if I had that much confidence in myself.  Inside, I am a free spirit but outwardly, I often conform to what is expected.  I really do not like to be the center of attention - I love for my ideas to be the center of attention, but not me.  It's not that I mind talking to groups or mind answering questions, I'm just not comfortable having all others judging what I have to say.  I'd guess this way of thinking goes back to school, when catty girls loved to sit and judge and talk about others.  I never really got into that, and my close friends didn't either, but many loved to bring others down to feel ...ummm, I'm not really sure what, but apparently it did something for them.  I was pretty sensitive and maybe that made me a target.  I was also a nice person...not sure why that mattered but it seemed to.  For whatever reason, I felt judged a lot.  I think this has made me sensitive to others' feelings.  I would certainly hate to be the cause of someone's pain and don't think I would knowingly do that. 

This past week I learned of a sweetheart of a girl being hurt by others' words and actions.  I don't know all of the details, but I do know enough.  Other people are knowingly and willfully hurting a precious person.  I don't get it... With social media, bullying (yes, I did say the b- word) has gotten out of control.  It is so easy to hurt and spread lies behind the ease of a keyboard.  I am constantly telling my 5 and 6 year olds to worry about their own business unless someone is hurt or needs help.  Sounds like some advice that older kids could use.  Some are so busy bringing others' down; it would say so much more about themselves as people if they would work to boost others up. 

On a different, but similar note, I've witnessed A LOT of unique children over the past 21 years in teaching.  Give a person a cast, and they have friends galore.  Give them a disability that isn't as evident, or treatable, and suddenly "Let the judging begin!"  Labels, judging, whispering, laughing...WE are all so darn smart at trying to place everyone in that "normal" box. I read an article the other day that perhaps it's actually more normal than not to be on the spectrum, to have some degree of ADHD or ADD, to have our own quirks.  Most of us do have our do we determine which ones are ok and which ones need "fixed"?  to function in society?  I've seen many children with autism who may not function the same as others, but they have amazing gifts that the "regular" kids do not possess.  I've seen kindness and tolerance from many who don't fit the norm.  Those catty girls may not have qualified to sit on the spectrum, but their brand of cool is not one I'd care to imitate.  I'll take quirks and kindness and tolerance over boxes any day. 

Friday is mismatched socks day.  - be proud to be different.  I plan to participate and have invited my students.  We need to learn to celebrate our uniqueness and special talents.  It is ok great to be different; when we can learn to appreciate each other as individuals, our world will be one step closer to living in harmony, starting with me. In this small way, I can show acceptance for those who aren't just like me, or they can show acceptance
for me!�� Who wants to join us?