building up.

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”

Matthew 12:25

Do you remember a moment when you realized you just couldn’t do it on your own?

I am learning how, in these moments, it is important to become vulnerable, fall on my knees & have my Prayer Team on speed-dial!

American culture has historically encouraged us to be independent.

This freedom of choice is a gift, and yet it can also lead to us feeling as though we are the masters of our own destiny. Even now, as independent as the modern life may be, we are still part of many social structures.

This means that at some point, you will need to rely on others. This is why it is better to learn how to live in harmony with others than to see your community, workplace, church, or home become divided. If you are in a situation now where you are starting to see division, don’t become part of the problem. Taking sides will only cause more fractures. And we have seen enough of these during the past few months. Choosing to ‘not take sides’ does not mean we agree with the opposing opinion or should not champion to make positive change – it simply means we are called to unity through building up vs tearing down, because this is what makes us all stronger and better people.

And the greatest unifier is prayer!

Jesus tells us in Scripture how to honor our ‘side’ without condemning or judging the other.

“Jesus said to his disciples: You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:43-48

This commandment to “love one another as I have loved you” does not say only love one another if you have the same opinion, only love one another if you have the same skin color, only love one another if you are in the same socio-economic class, only love one another if you are in the same political party, only love one another if your worship space was founded by the same One, only love one another if you are on the same side as me.

We weren’t meant to be on the same side all the time!

We were not designed this way.

BUT

He did design all of us to love!

Moreover, the really good news is…

Our eternal kingdom will never be divided and will never end!

And most days I just don’t understand,

Why can’t we aim for the same in our earthly world too?”

Even if we can’t stand on the same side of the line as the other

we can always cross over the divide with folded hands, invoking prayers for unity.

Building up.

Instead of tearing down.

Will you join me in prayer?

hugs n’ blessings to all those who are seeking ways toward building up unity!

added together.

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I know I haven’t posted very muchly about the Blogging U course I began taking several days ago; however, that does not mean I haven’t been working diligently on  my assignments!

“I so verily promise!”

What I have quickly discovered is that retaking this particular course has offered me the opportunity to re-examine and re-evaluate my blog site and how it has developed over the course of the past year and a half!

I quick-it-ly decided that rather than daily bombard my reader with this personal evaluation I would compile a review of what I have discovered thus far and include a few other wonderful discoveries I happily made along the way!

Do you too enjoy an expedition of self-discovery?”

I promise if you follow along, it will make perfect sense to you, too!

If you’d like to read about Lesson One you may find it here.

Lesson Two invited us to Take Control of Our Title and Tagline.

Choosing a site title and tagline can feel like a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be.

Your title should reflect you, your personality, and your blog’s subject.

A title is typically only a few words, so consider adding a tagline as well — a phrase that appears under your title and helps flesh it out. Think “Burger King: Have It Your Way.”

My site, of course, is titled

hugsnblessings

and the chosen tagline which follows is:

GIVEN FREELY!

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Both have remained pin-point accurate throughout the duration of my blogging experience, thus they shall remain unchanged!!

More on how I originally was inspired to chose the Title and Tagline for my site can be found at: Say Your Name!

Lessons Three & Four I combined somewhat as both lessons involved interactions with fellow bloggers.  Lesson Three reminded us how to use “tags” to identify like-minded writers and reading material we might enjoy. And Lesson Four encouraged us to identify our own audience and that specific person (or persons) we are writing to.

“Who is my ideal reader? Is it you???

I already understood the usage of tags; however, had limited myself the opportunity to use them for my own purposes in discovering other wonderful sites out there!! I took several days to explore and visit many wonderful like (and not so like,) minded bloggers and have made some new friends that I look forward to following as their own sites develop!  Such as:

 God is in Your Typewriter,

Travel Much?,

and A Catholic Convert in Ottawa!

There are so many others that I discovered, or am already following, I am seriously considering adding a Widget to let you all know just just who they are!  But until then, or incase I never do, please don’t hesitate to ask,

“Hey, who are you recommending to read these days???”

And as far as Lesson Four’s evaluation…

I do believe my audience can be simply described as:

“Anyone looking to receive a hug and a blessing for the day!”  

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I try to share the very common aspects of my life, in journal format, to inspire, ignite, and propel others to find the hugs & blessings they are experiencing themselves, in their own lives!  Whether through the common and ordinary (and even the extraordinary at times,) they are there just “waiting” to be received!!  Sometimes we think those hugs and/or blessings only happen during the “trumpet” moments of our lives…but there are so many, many, many waiting for us to embrace in the everyday messiness of life!  I hope my site encourages an expedition to find them and I pray everyone experiences a sense of gratitude in their own individual discoveries!

“Won’t you please stop by to share your own hug n’ blessing with me?”

Lesson Five encouraged us to truly love our Theme!  Simply described, a theme is the blue-print, or template, of your blog.  I use the Ever After Theme  offered through WordPress and I absolutely adore it!  In choosing our themes we were guided by three rules of thumb:

pick something that speaks to you, consider your content, think about your priorities.  

The Ever After Theme checks all three boxes for me and I couldn’t be happier!

“What do you think about my theme?”

Lessons Six (About Me) and Seven (Personalizing my site,) were very personal explorations and I welcomed re-visiting them.  My About Page has remained unchanged…and if you check it out you shall very quickly see why it has hap-happily remained the same!  And I had great fun evaluating the personality of my site with its Headers, Colors and Boarders which I have decided continue to reflect the whimsical way in which I try to embrace life!

“Do you too believe life is simply…magical???”

Lessons Nine & Ten had me again traveling through cyber-space into the Blogger’s World as we were encouraged to “Introduce Ourselves” to our blogging neighbors as well as to be inspired by the ones who we meet!  A great place to meet a blogging neighbor is at the Community Pool, which is a fun place (no swimming goggles reguired,) to meet fellow bloggers and for peer feedback and advise, along with providing a productive space for discussion. Just no running on the deck allowed!!

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Last year I also joined another Blogging Community Forum called:

Blogger’s World!

This particular community was formed as an alumni group from a previous Blogging U Course I took and is filled with very supportive and encouraging bloggers from around the World!  I have learned so much from them & it is a joy being a small part of this loverly community! And please note that new members are always welcome!

“Won’t you consider joining us there??”

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In the next several days I plan to introduce you to a few new “Neighbors” I’ve met and high-light some of the great discussion which developed as a result!

“And I hope-ity-hope,  you will be just as delighted to meet them too!”

hugs n’ blessings are promised to those who do!!