When love didn’t give up…

I love to read!


Reading has always brought me great comfort.

But rarely do I take the time to do so for pleasure anymore.

(Heavy sigh….)

So rare are these occassions that I’ve actually made ‘read more for pleasure‘ an item on my Bucket List!


Yes, really. (#7)

(Pathetic sigh…)

I’ve not (ever) abandoned the love I have for reading nor the time I take to do so; however, the content (most times) falls into the following categories: faith, religious teachings, self-help, & cooking.  Ultimately, these are categories which offer something to be learned, which I suppose helps me to rationalize the time still spent with my nose buried between the pages.

I’m not complaining about the categories because truthfully, I do enjoy the content immensely!

But, gone are the days when I’d climb a tree or curl up in a favorite chair to enthusiastically re-read a summer favorite…just because I found comfort in every page turned!  Instead I find I must rationalize my time spent reading with the prospect of learning in mind, habitually tossing-aside the comfort ‘reading for pleasure’ provides.

(Affectionate sigh…)

My childhood favorite and dog-eared copy of, Island of the Blue Dolphin.

But every once in awhile a book comes along which tugs at my heart so much it is enough to pull me away from being taught something (or so I think…) and reinvigorates my passion to ‘read more for pleasure!’

(Oh, Happy-Day! sigh, at last.)


I discovered this book several years ago via a video-clip.

I was initially drawn to read Ian & Larissa’s story as a result of our mutual life-experiences. My father also suffered a debilitating brain-injury when he was struck by an automobile while crossing the street in the early 1980’s.  Sadly, he passed away not long-after from complications due to an infection.  However, it was much more (than this) which compelled me to choose their book as a catalyst to work on my bucket list!  

Ian & Larissa Murphy co-authored Eight Twenty Eight: When love didn’t give up  and tenderly share with us their story of love.  I quickly discovered, that it’s not just their love story they were telling.  (As even the back book-jacket so eloquantly pointed out.)

Really, it’s all of ours as well!

Ian & Larissa seek to serve God together, all while dealing with the implications of life in a world marked by suffering.   And in a world that so easily gives up on love when it becomes difficult to love, their love-story definitely brought great peace to this battle-worn heart!

Reading about their triumph helps one to gain a picture of a love that will challenge all you think you know about what is true and what persists.  Quickly, within mere pages of their book I surrended & acknowledged that although I desired to read the book with the intention of ‘pleasurable reading’ in mind; I was about to be ‘taught’ (& remind of)  very valuable lessons, as a result of the obvious deep-commitment which they share.

With courage we write this, in hopes that we all move forward together in loving God more than loving comfort.”

Ian & Larissa Murphy, Dedication page.

There is so much wisdom & joy contained on the pages of this book!  It indeed takes courage to move forward.  It takes courage to love God.  But it is in this courageous act of loving Him most, that we find the comfort which sustains us through all things.

(Joyous sigh...)

Recently, I purchased a painting done by Ian through his personal Etsy site.  Ian paints to help fund the physical therapy he must receive daily.  It was a difficult choice; however, I chose this particular painting not only for the the incredible subject matter, but mainly because I was comforted & wooed by its title: misunderstood cat.  

misunderstood cat, painted by Ian Murphy.

It also reminded me of an endearing compliment my brother-in-law paid me this past Christmas while playing a Christmas game, when his one-word-description of me was: misunderstood. 

Which was a far better word-description than the one he chose for my sister, his wife, which was: “O.C.D.”  


But more importantly, Ian’s cat reminded me of how often I misunderstood what it is my heart truly desires.

I entered into reading Ian & Larissa’s story with the comfort of knowing that I would be ‘reading for pleasure, at long last!

And yet, I discovered by the end, I misunderstood ALL the comfort I AM offered…even as God continues to ‘teach‘ me in multifaceted ways!

(Pleasurable or not…)

I am so very grateful my God understands me!

hugs n’ blessings to all those purrrfectly ‘misunderstood!’ 

(Meow sigh.)

He’s still accomplishing, still gaining, and God is still working in him.  We can’t accept the “nots,” the assumption that Ian is unable to do things.  Because nothing is ever accomplished by not trying.”

Larissa Murphy, Eight Twenty Eight: When love didn’t give up.



Oh by gosh, by golly! It’s time for Mistletoe and Holly!


Jesus knew, giving makes both the giver and the receiver happy. In pursuit of that happiness, many view gift-giving as one of the most important features of Christmas.

Many feel that Christmas gift-giving brings more stress, not more happiness. How so? A lot of shoppers feel compelled to buy gifts that they cannot afford. And since everyone is shopping for gifts at the same time, crowds and long lines make shopping an exasperating experience for many.


“Practice giving,” said Jesus.

 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

Luke 6:38

And He did not limit gift-giving to a certain time of the year when people would be expected to give. Jesus urged his followers to make spontaneous gift-giving a practice, a way of life.

“Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

2 Corinthians 9:7

The essence of Paul’s counsel is that “nothing is ever to be given ‘from compulsion,’ from a feeling that one is forced to give,” explains one Bible commentary. Being “a cheerful giver” rules out the feeling of being obligated to give a specific item to a specific person at a specific time—the way Christmas gift-giving often turns out to be.

Gifts given as a matter of Choice.

Gifts given as they should be.

Love is a gift.

Now give that gift away.

these hugs n’ blessings are for everyone choosing to give the gift of love this Christmas Season!


Which will it be?

Photo courtesy of Funnypics.

I enjoy Instagram.  I enjoy the quick little reminders and updates from those who I am following. I especially love the many #hashtag combinations created!

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Mostly because the hashtags remind me of the many road trips our family would take to visit family in New Jersey and the ‘license plate’ games my sister and I would play in the back-seat of the car. (How many States can you find? Double numbers? Double letters?) But I especially  found it to be so much fun deciphering the unique number/letter combinations that drivers would inscribe on their license-plates to create a message! Some seemed so perfect in description that you felt as if you were finding out a piece of information (from the inscription,) regarding who was contained within the vehicle!  While others simply left you giggling and wondering about the mystery behind the message.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 4.33.27 PM

I suppose both a #hash&license ‘tag’ could be compared to the tag-lines on our blog sites too!  Just a few little words to describe what you can expect to find at our sites.

Here at Hugs n’ Blessings (both) are Given Freely!

These tags, hashes, and license messages, in a way, leave you with clues to what is contained behind the photo, driver, message, & blog-writer.  And the added fun is sometimes the discovery of what these tags inspire in each of us!

Laughter? Motivation? Contemplation? Introspection? Discovery?


Today I saw an insightful Instagram post from Proverbs Daily that has left me pondering myself and categorizing others.  (Not in a judgmental way but rather in Awe, Wonder, and Recognition!)

And that’s when it hit me!!! What a great Weekend Thought to ponder:

Which of the following below would be TAG(s) for you??

  Successful People:

Read Every Day, Talk About Ideas, Compliment, Embrace Change, Forgive Others, Learn Constantly, Accept Responsibility for their Failures,They want Others to Succeed, They have a Sense of Gratitude.

Unsuccessful People:

Watch TV Every Day, Talk About People, Complain & Criticize, Fear Change, Hold Grudges, Are Know-It-Alls, Blame Others For Their Failures, Secretly Want Others to Fail, Have a Sense of Entitlement. 

(Are you pink or blue?)

Just like the #hashtags, tag lines, and license plate doodles,

I pray your noodle

has lots of fun

discovering (any) message behind the Weekend Thoughts

I leave you with today!


hugs n’ weekend blessings!