Sunday, March 13, 2016

Memories of simpler days

Can you smell the fresh air? Feel the cool breeze? I'm sure there's a lilac bush nearby filling the air with its sweet aroma. Escape with me to Nana's Place; a step back in time to simpler days.  

Remember the back porch and screen door? Constant reminders of "Don't slam the door!" as you and the cousins ran in and out? ...Or going down to the henhouse with Grandma to collect eggs?There was always the one chicken who liked to peck so Grandma would reach for those eggs.  Remember how warm fresh eggs felt? After helping Grandma carefully put the eggs away, we were off again to explore. Was Grandpa in the field or the barn? No, but there were new baby kittens to find in the barn and new piglets to check out at the pig houses.  Think of all the running and climbing and exploring that happened on the farm. Grandpa taught us how to start irrigation pipes and to pump water from the pump. I never drove a tractor, but I rode with him on it many times. He always had a dog to greet us when we arrived. Some with licks, some with barks. Brownie was the greatest in my memory. 
I never helped Grandma with any baking, but she passed away when I was 7 and sick prior to that. I do remember we always had a big meal at noon and then always sat down to eat again before we left. There was always fried chicken or roast and potatoes and homemade rolls and salads of some sort, plus dessert. We never left hungry. 

Finally, the best memory that I have is when we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house, while they were busy, they always included us in whatever they were doing. It would have been easier to drive the tractor without a kid on your lap, or to gather eggs without me tagging along, but they always allowed us to join in and share in the experiences. 

I miss my grandparents, but I am grateful for the love and life they shared with me.  

Which leads me to my dream of creating Nana's Place. Not everyone grows up with Grandparents to visit and learn from. I would love to create a Nana's Place for anyone to visit, kids and adults, when they need a break or to enjoy a simpler time. A step back in time, whether for an hour, a day, or longer. Books, needlework, board games, cooking, etc are welcome. Phones would be checked at the door. 
Who's in? 

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Back to the basics...

Who are we? 
Sister Hugs has been invited to speak at a ladies' luncheon; to share the who's, what's, and why's of ourselves. Of course this prompts us to reflect on those very questions and answers. Sometimes we get a little complex in our mission, but the core is always the same. 

Who are we? 
We are women, men and youth with a heart for helping others in need. If I could change or broaden our name, I would as we have many amazing males and children also working our cause. If you feel like a member, you're in. ☺️ we have some who participate with every activity, some who join in weekly or monthly, some who donate to the cause, and some who support our fundraising.  There's something for everyone who's interested. 

What do we do?
Our mission is simple. We want to console the suffering.  Cheer the broken-hearted. Comfort the hurting. We can't fix, but we can help.  Knowing others care is powerful therapy. Knowing strangers care is an unexpected hug.  That's what we try to do - that is the backbone of Sister Hugs. We care for others, pure and simple. 

We receive nominations from all across the US from friends and relatives of those facing challenges and needing a boost.  If accepted, our small but mighty village put together a Love Bomb created exclusively for them.  This is then either mailed or delivered to the recipient. To nominate someone, simply message or email their story to SH. We will get back to you within a day or two. 

We have mailed Love Bombs to most of our 50 states.  However, the majority have remained local due to a higher awareness and involvement ratio. Over 600 Love Bombs have gone out since July, 2012. 

While it's hard for some to understand why we give to strangers, our favorite recipients are those in most need.  Not everyone facing challenges needs us - it's never a contest of who can get the most "stuff", but rather who needs some extra hugs the most?  We step in for those who are not on the front page and not having huge fundraisers. We are there for your mom, your neighbor, your friend. We are the wind beneath your wing...

Saturday, December 26, 2015

New Beginnings

We will be hosting another event in the spring.  Christmas has come and gone, but love is still in the air.  I just added a post stating that we are the reason for the season.  That doesn't mean that it's all about us, but that everything He did was because of His deep love for us.  As we are continuously striving to be more Christ-like, sacrificing, giving, looking out for others, sharing ourselves, respect, caring about...all are things that Christ did and asks us to do for the least of our brothers.  At Sister Hugs, we recognize that we are but poor sinners with big hearts trying to follow His command.  Some days are bigger trials than others, but daily we try to do something - a post to touch a heart, a comment, a smile, a donation, a prayer, a call, a deed, a visit from Santa, an event....and we invite any and all of you to join in with whatever touches YOUR HEART. 

As Christmas draws to a close, we can reflect on all of the kindness that was shared.  However, our list of hurting, lonely people doesn't go away with Santa's  sleigh.  As long as people need us, we will continue to spread joy and cheer wherever we can.  "Are you still doing that Sister Hugs thing?"  Common question.  While it's a part of me, it has become so much bigger than me.  I get emails all of the time from people doing our thing with others - spreading the love.  It's not my thing, it's our thing.  And I honestly believe it's God's thing.  I believe He smiles on our mission and has helped us out more times than I can count- timing, donations, motivation.  He guides us through this 'thing'.  

Last year we did a scarf collection for the poor.  Two years ago a red scarf collection for the heart Association.  This year we are once again going to collect scarves.  Red ones will be donated to the heart Association, warm ones to the homeless, others saved for gifts for Love Bombs.  

We are also in need of old China plates.  Dessert size in any pattern, but pretty, "girly" ones. 
We will be hosting another event in the spring - Spring Fling 2. Details to come.  Last year we sold out of tables - reserve yours today - $40...table of 8.  

Just a few ramblings from me....Happy Saturday! 

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

"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.