25 September, 2016

31 Hugs - Announcement


I hear a friend is going through a hard situation. I want to let them know that they’re not alone, and they are so valuable, and it will be alright. I want to give them something to make them feel special and loved. I want to send them a hug.

I read a book that introduces me to new people and places, and stirs up my feelings. I want the author to know how talented they are. I want them to realise that their words matter and they’re changing lives. I want to send them a hug.

I read a blog post which shares hope, brings lonely souls closer together, and helps me refocus on what matters. I want to make sure the writer understands that God is using them. I want them to know that they’re a light in a dark world, and their beacon will lead people home. I want to send them a hug.

Family and friends surprise me with indications of their thought and care. I want to give something back to tell them how much I appreciate them, and how much they mean to me. I want to ensure they realise they’re precious. I want to send them a hug.

I find some new music, which gets me excited and inspired. I want to contact the musicians and let them know that they have been a blessing to me, that God has spoken through their music. I want to encourage them to never give up, because they are instruments for hope and healing. I want to send them a hug.

But here’s the truth, cold and hard: I don’t. God uses so many people to encourage me in so many different ways, every day. And how often do I take a moment of time to let them know, to encourage them, to say thank you? Not nearly in proportion of blessing I have received. I want to spread hope and love and joy in this world, yet I have been overlooking the simplest of ways right in front of me. 

I want that to change.

Freely ye have received, freely give. Matthew 10:8


You’ve probably picked up by now, I like doing monthly challenges. I believe that they provide excellent opportunities for exploring new skills, developing talents, and adding an exciting challenge to each day. So for the month of October, I’m challenging myself to send a hug to someone every day. And I’m inviting you to join me.

What do I mean by ‘send a hug’?

Most of the people who bless and encourage me do so from a distance, so I can’t give them a literal hug. (And I’m not a super hug-y person, to be honest.) It would also be nigh on impossible to meet all the authors and bloggers and musicians in real life. 

I am talking about what a hug means – appreciation, thankfulness, gratitude, letting someone know you’re by their side. By ‘sending a hug’ I mean letting people know you appreciate them and what they’ve done, or you’re there for them. That could mean a literal hug and a few words, but I’m envisaging my hugs will be in the form of words in a card, or letter, or text message, or email, or some other way. You might give gifts, or make phone calls, or plan outings, or however you feel best conveys to another person that you care for them, and are grateful for them and how they encourage you – all the things we show by literal hugs.

I’m intending to send a hug every day of October, but you’re welcome to adapt this challenge to whatever you can manage. Maybe aiming for sending two or three hugs a week, or still sending 31 hugs, but giving a few extra on the weekend so you don’t have to do it every day through the week will work better for you. Set your own goals, but remember it doesn’t have to be a long, time-consuming activity. It could just be a few words, or a quick note. We never know how much a simple thank-you might mean to someone. 

I’m planning to post some tips and ideas on the first of October to get us kick started, but in the meantime, is anyone planning to join me? Who wants to be part of this adventure in spreading sunshine and giving back? Have you got any questions or suggestions? I’m excited already! :D

40 comments:

  1. This is such a lovely idea!!! :) I'm in! *sends hug*

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    1. Yay! Let's make this world a happier place. :) And thank you - sending hugs back!

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  2. I love this, its so sweet! Im in! <3<3

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    1. Thanks for commenting, and joining! This is exciting! :)

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  3. I love this, Jessica! I am happy to come along. :)

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    1. Praise God. :) It's great to hear you're in on this!

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  4. This is so funny that we both posted something about appreciating other so close to each other. I think 31 "hugs" is too much for me, so I'll probably only do the one for my Appreciate an Artist Week (there's a reason why it's only once a year, it's because I'm a terrified introvert and not good with talking to people) but good for you for doing something so amazing!!

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    1. I couldn't believe it when I read your post the other day, because I was already planning this!

      Yes, thirty-one acts of appreciation is quite a few.. Good on you for stepping outside your comfort zone and doing the Appreciate an Artist week! And thanks for your thoughtful and encouraging comment. :)

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  5. I'm excited, too! -even though it's still September 26. A few minutes, a few words... they're more powerful than we give them credit - perhaps more powerful than something big, which might become something of a long-winded speech. Thanks for inviting us along.

    PS - I'm planning to join you!

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    1. It is amazing the power a few words can have! I know sometimes just one sentence will encourage me for days. I hope God can use this challenge to bless many people, and I'm glad you're a part of it, Jordy! xx

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  6. I *love* this idea! I will join you! I have been feeling the need to give more back lately, so this is perfect.

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    1. Praise God! It's exciting to have you along, Lorraine! :)

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  7. That is a wonderful idea! Will have to try it!!!!:) Fun!:)

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    1. It's good to hear you're in on this! Thank-you! :)

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  8. I love this! I have to think about exactly how much I can do, but it's really a wonderful idea. I know there are so many people who have touched my life in various ways, and I don't give them nearly enough encouragement. Kind words are so powerful! Maybe I'll use it to thank some of the artists I love. =)
    Lovely blog, by the way!

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    1. Thank-you! I’m glad you’re planning to be a part of this! I’m the same – hopefully this challenge will spur both of us on to giving more encouragement. And I'm sure those artists will really appreciate it. :)

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    1. That’s exciting to hear! Thanks – hugs to you too. :)

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  10. I LOVE THIS IDEA. Talking about what a hug means is genius. SMARTY!!! I love this. Spending the love your way.

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    1. Why, thank-you! And I hope it’s spreading the love God’s way too.. Does this mean you’ll be joining? ;)

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    1. Yay! I hope it’s a blessing to you, and those whom you reach out to!

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  12. That is such a nice idea :) you are more creative than you think...

    That will be great, and all the people you bless will appreciate it so much. I will try to be more aware of things I can do to make someone smile over the month of October..

    Thank you!

    Sending a hug!

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    1. Thank you - for your encouraging comment, and for being so supportive. :) I hope you find lots of opportunities to spread hope and joy.. Sending a return hug! ;)

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  13. I am definitely in. This is a beautiful and amazing idea.

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    1. That’s wonderful! Oh, thanks – praise God!

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  14. This is such a beautiful idea! *hugs* I must do this yesyes *nods to self*

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    1. It’s exciting to hear you’ll be joining! And all praise to God for the inspiration! :)

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  15. What a wonderful idea. I think you're right, too often we simply don't do something as simple as thanking someone for the encouragement they have been to us. It's always such a blessing to see someone else burdened to love and live Christ relentlessly.

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    1. Yes! And like you said, often it’s so simple to be encouraging and say thank-you.

      Thanks for your kind words – and for following! It means a lot. :)

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  16. I'm in too! I like that you defined hug -- there's room for variety there that will keep me focused and jog the memory throughout October. Thanks for sharing this lovely idea! :)
    Looking forward to the tips post!!
    -Mary

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    1. I’m excited that you’re joining, Mary! I hope you find the challenge to be an enjoyable and blessed experience! :)

      Thanks so much for your encouragement too. xx

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  17. Such a wonderful challenge, Jessica!! I will definitely be trying to do more of this throughout the month. =) *hugs*

    //Hosanna
    HavingaHeartLikeHis.blogspot.com

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    1. Praise God! I hope you have lots of opportunities to be a blessing and encouragement. :) Sending hugs back!

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  18. Wow, I love this challenge so much, Jessica!! I'm definitely doing this. <3

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    1. Thanks Grace! I'm so glad you're a part of this! :)

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    1. Thank-you! Does that mean you'll be joining? ;)

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  20. I absolutely LOVE this idea! I'm definitely in!

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    1. Yay! That's exciting to hear! :)

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When you comment:

1. My day will be brighter, my face smiling, and my heart blessed.

2. I’m likely to immediately go and explore your blog (if you have one) to find out more of your amazingness, and return the blessing.

3. I will then attempt to craft a response to you that will somehow fail to convey how much I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness. I’m grateful for every word of encouragement you give, and don’t be afraid to share some constructive criticism also; there’s always more to learn. In short: thank-you! :)