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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Need A Hug?

Photo Credit:  greyerbaby from
I had a dream last night.  Actually, I dream most nights and I talk in my sleep too.  All.  Night.  Long.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the words out, ya know, so I use the nighttime as well.  Heh!  Anyway, this particular dream was extremely vivid for me.

I dreamt that I walked into a room and the only person in that room was Robin Williams.  He said nothing and neither did I (Which is strange in itself, right?  I’m certain that both Mr. Williams and myself ALWAYS have something to say).  I just slowly walked up to him and I gave him a big, long hug.  I felt the warmth of that hug in my sleep.  It was so real.  So tangible.  So genuine.  After we hugged, we smiled at each other.  I blinked in my dream and then he was no longer there.

I’m not a dream analyst by any stretch of the imagination, so I have no idea what that dream means.  But, what I do know is that up until that point I wasn’t sure what to share in this week’s blog.  After the dream, I knew.

I needed to share another e-mail from Aunt Kerri and Flat Stanley.  Here goes:

This weekend Flat Stanley and I participated in a fundraiser 5K walk to help raise money and awareness for NAMI Austin.  NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness.  It is a national non-profit group that works to help, support, and advocate for people (and their family and friends) who have a mental illness.  A mental illness is an illness of the mind.  Just like when people are sick or broken in their bodies; your mind can also be sick and/or broken.  No matter what illness someone has, we need to love and support them.  Flat Stanley agreed.

When Flat Stanley learned about this 5K NAMI walk, he knew this was a great cause and wanted to support it.  Not only did Flat Stanley want to walk the 3 miles in support of NAMI Austin, he also wanted to help volunteer to set-up for the walk.  So, we woke up at 4:45 am and made it down to The Long Center by 6:00 am to help with the set-up.

Flat Stanley and I met Edwin and his son and decided that we would help put up the arch.  The arch is where the walk starts and it holds all the NAMI Austin banners and signs.  The participants start the walk under that arch.  It's pretty cool to walk underneath this arch because it's soooo high!

Next, Flat Stanley and I met up with our team, which was called Greater Grounds.  Our team t-shirts were awesome and we won 3rd place in the Team T-Shirt contest.  The front of our t-shirts read, "We walk so you won't walk alone."  How awesome is that?  Flat Stanley says, "NO ONE should have to walk alone.  We should always be there for each other!"  I agree with him.  Flat Stanley loved the shirt so much that we wrote those same words on his shirt.

There were lots of fun things to do before the walk started.  There was face painting, music, and even miniature horses.  Guess who got to ride a miniature horse?  Yesiree, Flat Stanley did and he loved it!

 At 9:00 am, the walk started and we made our way toward the Texas State Capitol.  We headed down a street called Congress and walked around the Texas State Capitol.  It was a total of 3 miles and Flat Stanley kept up just fine.  He's a good little walker!

We met some great people along the walk.  Some were holding signs.  One said, “Educate, don't discriminate,” which means that a person should learn more about someone or something to be sure they have the right information, and not judge them or it.

All the people we met were so nice, including the woman police officer.  Guess who got to sit inside a police car?  Yep!  Flat Stanley!  The police woman was helping to stop the cars so that all of the walkers could walk across the street.  She recognized Flat Stanley right away and invited him to sit inside of the police car.  How lucky was he?!

 We finally ended up back at the arch, where the walk began.  We decided to take one final team photo before everyone had to go home.  What a great team, a great time, and a great cause!

Flat Stanley was so excited about being a part of supporting such a great organization and walk.  He is now a huge supporter of NAMI and wants to help and support those with mental illness.  He says, "No one should walk alone!"  He hopes you are able to find and support a cause close to your heart as well.

I enjoyed this note from Flat Stanley and thought it was worth sharing today…especially after my dream.  Please join me in praying for all those who suffer with mental illness, as well as those who love them and care for them.

In addition to prayer, I think we can start with something as simple as a hug.  My hug with Robin Williams has left a lasting impression on me.  Have you hugged someone today?  I’ve read countless articles about the benefits from hugging.  Some of them include: 
  • They make you feel good!  The cuddle hormone (oxytocin) is released when we hug, which can promote feelings of devotion, trust, and bonding.
  • Hugging is great for your heart!  Hugging activates pressure receptors called Pacinian corpuscles, which send signals to the vagus nerve (an area of the brain that is responsible for lowering blood pressure, among other things).
  • Hugging can help to alleviate our fears.
  • Hugging can decrease feelings of loneliness.
  • When we hug, we immediately reduce the amount of cortisol (the stress hormone) produced in our bodies.  Hugs also make our bodies release tension and send calming messages to the brain.
 I love hugs.  I love giving them.  I love receiving them.  I adore them.  I cherish them.  AND…hugs are free.  Have you gotten one or given one today?  Add it to your to-do list and please put it at the top! 

Here are some sweet quotes about hugs (authors unknown):
  • When you are hugging a child, always be the last one to let go.  You never know how long they need it.
  • A hug is a handshake from the heart.
  • Hugs are the universal medicine - a bandage to a hurting wound.
  • A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange.
  • A hug is worth a thousand words.
  • A hug delights and charms; that must be why God gave us arms.
  • Sometimes it's better to put love into hugs than to put it into words.
  • One day, someone is going to hug you so tight that all your broken pieces will stick back together.
Laughs are equally as beneficial as hugs, so I’ll leave you with this one from Mikey’s Funnies:

Hospital regulations require a wheelchair for patients being discharged.  However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet.  He insisted he didn't need my help to leave the hospital.

After a chat about “rules being rules,” he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator.  On the way down, I asked him if his wife was meeting him.  ”I don't know,” he said.  “She's still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.”

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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