Free Virtual Hugs

The dirt road blurs past me under my bicycle tires. I grip the handles tight to stay steady with each bump and lean forward to get as much speed as possible. I am the invincible swamp princess, faster than light, flying down the hill with great delight!

Growing up on the countryside, there were endless possibilities for imagination and endless possibilities to end up with some scrapes and bruises. Even so, I wouldn’t change those memories for anything.

I would head back to the house for a temporary timeout to get patched up. I am convinced it was the magical hugs and loving encouragement that helped me jump right into my next adventure.

A hug at the right moment and a kind shoulder to lean on is the sprinkle of magic that keeps us walking toward hope

Mimi NOvik

Even now, life’s emotional scrapes may require a little timeout to get patched up, a hug to feel better, and encouragement to keep going.

Did you know that science has determined a hug that lasts 20 seconds has medical healing qualities that can relieve depression and anxiety? I think that’s pretty amazing!

Hugs. What an interesting thing we humans do, right? Tradition and culture drives some of this for sure.

We hug our kids, our pets, our friends, and our families. Hug when you arrive and hug when you leave. Hug for celebration and hug for consolation. I remember growing up we would say goodbye and give all our hugs then chat a little longer and give another goodbye hug or two before actually leaving.

All hugs are meaningful and good for the soul. I think it is because it connects us and exchanges the love we share, and we still need that connection.

Things have changed in the recent days and hugs are, for now, off limits. It is more challenging to find ways to connect and encourage others. And the world really needs that now. Whether it is loss, loneliness, joblessness, isolation, sickness, fear, anxiety, most of us are feeling something these days that is bringing us down.

Sometimes we need the hug and sometimes we can give the hug, so I am here to offer you my warmest virtual hug. #Freehugs

FREE VIRTUAL HUGS

I believe that knowing someone cares is a big virtual hug. I am sure you can remember a time when you melted into a hug.

It came at the right time and someone knew you needed it. All worries melted away, time stood still, and love surrounded. With renewed strength and courage, you would exhale and know you can face another day.

So I hope you can melt into this virtual hug as it belongs to you, by way of encouragement and love. Wherever and whoever you are, be encouraged.

Because you are important, and I care. You have strength inside you bigger than you understand, that will help you to move on beyond brokeness. You are courageous to face things we have never seen in our lifetime and maybe never will again. I know it is scary, and things we were used to may now forever change. I know and I understand.

I also understand you have an amazing spirit of resiliancy. You are smart and amazing. No one is like you. Your uniqueness brings something in this world that no one else can. There is goodness and greatness in you and you can let that shine to give those around you hope. Always remember that.

So please, take a free virtual hug. If you don’t need a hug, someone else might. If you are able and willing, please pass it on. Gift that virtual hug of love and encouragement to someone in need.

With Love,

Dancer Quest

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Best Friend Thank You Boxes

I guess I’ve come to the point in my life where I wake up in the middle of the night and think about things. All sorts of things, where I’ve been, where I’m going, people in my life that have come and left, and worry about things that may not need that level of worry. A few nights this past year, I would wake up and think of people in my life that have really made an impact on my life, in big or small ways.

My thoughts kept going to how we trudge through life and may not say a word on what a person meant to us. Maybe assume they know already. This time I decided I would follow through with these inner thoughts to make sure they knew.

So my Best Friend Thank You Box idea was born. Similar to a subscription box people might pay monthly and subscribe to receive something, I am doing the opposite, I am making a friend my subscription as they are my gift. I figured this year, I would send a thank you box to someone each month. Here is how it came together:

  • Make a list of 12 people that have inspired me
  • Assign a word or two that would describe them
  • Describe how they inspired me
  • Find a quote or phrase that matches their personality
  • Decorate a box and put that phrase inside the box
  • Write a letter on fun stationary paper
  • Shop for custom items for that person
  • Make a video of putting the box together.

Started with a list, write a name in a box, next to it write a word to describe them in a circle, and how they inspired me in another circle, then finish the line with a quote that fits that person.

Best Friend Thank You Box outline

Next, I would decorate the box, once I have the quote I bought some stationary that comes in multiple colors and designs from the craft store. Usually about $15 for 150 sheets. This will give me many options for decorating the box and writing the letter.

I also bought letter stickers, fun stickers, tacky glue, hard letters, and plain white and colored card stock. I had an Xacto knife so I could cut out letters too for something different than sticker letters.

Decorating the box usually required a fun paper from my paper pad and some plain white or colored card stock for the edges the paper did not cover. I would measure and cut, then tacky glue just the edges. I also tried to have a theme or at least put a little thought behind why I chose what I did. One box I had a quote about butterflies and used paper butterflies and stickers to decorate that. Or one person is into travel so my decorations were maps and travel related.

Once that was in place, I would put the quote on the box using the sticker letters and the cut out letters. This took a while because I wanted it to be fun so I cut out a lot of the letters, then measured and glued them in place.

Then finish off with stickers! Fun! One box I actually cut out the letters of the word I used to describe them and put it across the box using twine and mini clothes pins.

Packed Thank You Box

To assemble the boxes with gifts I actually looked for 3 people at a time. As I worked on their box, I would shop and put things in their box. The word to describe them, how they inspired me and their quote was put in a note on my phone to help spark ideas.

I don’t have a set amount that I will spend, I just really try to customize what I pick to that person.

Some items I found to pack

  • Candy and treats
  • Something from my local area (magnet, coozie, ornament)
  • Something they would enjoy or use (blanket, socks, gloves, coffee mug, candle) maybe in their favorite color
  • Custom gift, for example someone loves tea so I found a nice box of gourmet tea and a tea mug, or someone like lake retreats so I bought a wall tapestry of a lake so they can always have that

I took my camera when I went to the store in case I found the perfect thing. I also did some online shopping, take time and figure something they would enjoy. At the end, I did a video with the contents of the box and the letter and sent a link to that person once they receive their box just for something fun if they wanted to see the process.

At the end of the day, it’s making people feel special. I have enjoyed this process so much even though my dining room table has been lost under boxes and decorations and part of my bedroom too. It is all worth it to send a small thank you to those special people who inspired me to be a better person.

Video

Best friend Thank You Box

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Giving Thank You Cards On A Cruise

It’s so much fun to make someone smile! On our first cruise in Feb 2017 we encountered many crew who were super kind to us and went out of their way to do something extra just because.

This really inspired us to do more to show our appreciation for extra efforts.

Our next cruise, we decided to pre write 10 thank you cards with comments like “thank you for making our day great” or “your kindness made me smile” or “we appreciate what you do”.

Then place $20 in each card and carry them with us so we would be ready and never miss an opportunity to give an extra thank you.

We were able to give out all our cards that next cruise! Sometimes it was because someone came by with extra coffee or juice while we were having breakfast in the buffet, extra smiles, sharing stories, being personable, bringing an extra drink, bringing us a pen and paper so we can score our card game, maybe a musician who made our night, or going up and beyond in their job they do week to week. It is so much fun to see the joy and surprise of someone getting a card.

There were unexpected benefits giving cards too!

For example, a staff member would go out of their way to say hello to us or to chat with us all week long. We would get extra attention and it made us smile and laugh. Bartenders would laugh with us and remember us.

Here are only some of our card receivers, thanks everyone. You all made our vacation wonderful, keep doing what you do!

It’s not much, but it’s so much fun! Now, this is a firm tradition we do on all our cruises. Giving kindness, even simple gestures, can make someone’s day and my heart smile!!

Check out our cruise vlogs for more crew thank yous!

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