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?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pre-sister Hugs

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (before July 5, 2012) there was a world without Sister Hugs.  There was emptiness, need, and desire but no Sister Hugs.  There were sleepless nights, baby projects, and talks to God, but no solutions to this strong need to do more; to be more.  I've always known it wasn't about me, that I needed to initiate something, to listen, but that it involved many others.  The problem was, I didn't know what or how. 

If we listen, God's message will eventually be heard.

There is a need for a comforting home for girls in their 20's, a place of safety and learning, a place like Grandma's house used to be.  A place to learn some skills like sewing and cooking and gardening, etc.  learn to shop and be a family.  I saw a need for Nana's Place.  The biggest problems were pretty big obstacles - no money to start and run it and who was going to live there to help oversee the place?? Where would we find the right young ladies to help?  Field of dreams played over and over in my head "if you build it, they will come" �� however, that little thing called $$$ seemed like a pretty big thing.  

Fast forward to the 4th of July, 2012 - fabulous day at my sister's with family.  Normal obsessing on my part over Nana's Place...came home full of whirling thoughts and concerns.  Pulled up my iPad and randomly stayed up for hours just scrolling and roaming.  Probably around 2 in the morning, I was reading a blog from someone in New Zealand talking about The Sisterhood and the work they do.  I quickly went over to their page and started reading about an angel named Sophie in New Zealand.  She organized friends and strangers alike to help people in need... A little bit from you and a little bit from me will combine to create a lovely basket to someone needing a lift.  

It wasn't Nana's Place, but it was certainly a beautiful idea.  I contacted her for info and a blessing to follow her lead.  That same day Sister Hugs was born!!  Friends were contacted, word spread, our first nomination was unanimous, we received donations and shopped to fill in the rest...and woila!!! ...our first Love Bomb was created. (See picture - Love Bomb #1!!) A few days later the first basket made a transition stop, and I left the state for Portland, Maine.  Sandy then hand delivered our very first Love Bomb to Mary,  filled with precious gifts from many generous hearts.   It was filled with chips and salsa, a comfy blanket to hug her, hair and bath products to pamper, chocolates, gift cards, a mug, a magazine...and, not sure of the rest but know it was a beautiful collection of love being showered on someone who was hurting.  

We have seen a lot of change in our two plus years.  We have grown, many faces are the same while others change.  We have done many projects beyond the love bombs, but they remain our constant.  One thing that's great about our love bombs is that they don't simply exist at Christmas.  I have done "adopt at Christmas" projects, but need is present 12 months of the years, 24/7.  While we can't help everyone,  we can work on one, or two, or our current 9 at a time and make a difference in their day.  

No, it's not Nana's Place.  Maybe someday it will be; God only knows.  What we do know is that we are making a difference.  I saw that in the eyes of the recipient we met yesterday.  We are each just an individual tool in God's workshop.  We are blessed to be the hammers, nails, screwdrivers, and wretches that the Carpenter uses to create His masterpieces.  

May you all feel the blessing that you are today. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thoughts from the day...

This morning Marilyn and I worked the Farmer's Market to promote the "Chair"ity Auction.  In addition to spending a morning with a great friend, sharing SH, seeing fun items at the market, and doing a little RAK, we had the honor of meeting one of our Love Bomb recipients.  As Marilyn said, that alone made the morning complete.  I can't begin to express the satisfaction that comes from meeting someone who felt our hugs.  
After the market, we went over to the theater to return Amber's table and tent and took a tour of the place where the auction will be held.  What a fabulous venue.  I love the old brick and the cool feel to the place.  There is a room for the dessert bar and a large room for the auction.  The live auction will be on the stage.  It is simply ideal.  
I am beyond excited to see all of the chairs and for the auction, the roots of Sister Hugs remains our Love Bombs.  It was fun to listen to Marilyn explain who we are and what we do (she's very good at sharing the mission) and to see people's reactions.  We had 2 koozies, 2 hats, and 5 dollars donated without asking for anything.  People get the need and kind hearts are everywhere.  I am very, very blessed to be a part of this; for those of you wanting to get more involved, you are always welcome.  The auction would be an easy event to volunteer at to get your feet wet.