Celebrating the Holidays!!

Hi Folks:

We’re running a little late with our Holiday Greeting this year… The winter solstice has come and gone, winter has descended up on us (here in Victoria, anyway!) and today marks the sixth day of Hanukkah.

As we move toward the vernal equinox we’re also entering the period where the days begin to lengthen once again (here in the northern hemisphere, at least). More light, more trust, new beginnings. It’s a choice each of us gets to make in every moment, so if you’re ever unsure how to react in any situation, be kind. It’s good for you, good for the other person, is non-fattening, doesn’t cause cavities and helps to make the world a better place, even just for a moment. And, sharing kindness is often contagious! Pay it forward. 🙂

A gingerbread creation in the shape of a pegacorn. Per the rules, everything in the display must be edible. In this case the horn is made from drawn sugar, the wings were individually hand-cut and the final result is just exquisite.

Pegacorn – by Selena Olivera for the 2022 Victoria Gingerbread Showcase for Habitat for Humanity.

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” —Princess Diana.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or Festivus, Solstice or Saturnalia, the arrival of Sinterklaas or Grandfather Frost, Hanukkah, Yalda, Pancha Ganapati, Bodhi Day, Kwanzaa or something entirely personal, from our house to yours, we wish you a Safe and Happy Holiday season! May 2023 find you safe, healthy and surrounded by Love. 💗

Hugs,
M&M
🎅🤶

P.S. Above image made by Marcia.

2023 Photo Calendars (part two)

Hi Folks:

This is just a quick update to our previous calendar post as we’ve gone through the (5000+) images we’ve made this year and picked out 12 for our calendar. As usual, some of the images were made with our cell phones and some were made with the Sony a7rIII camera. Half of the images were made by Marcia and half by Mike, but none of that really matters. All of this year’s images were made in and around Victoria, BC except for October’s, which was made in Tofino, BC.

Combined, our calendar looks like the image below. If you’d like to download a copy for yourself, click the image to link to a .pdf version.

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This is the thirteenth year that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but (as we did last year) we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2023 was made in May 2022). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →

It’s Our Birthday!!

Hi Folks:

Generations

Generations – Cathedral Grove, Port Alberni, BC

Well, it’s now been 13 (!!) years since our blog took its first breath. The world is quite different today from what it was 13 years ago… the world is quite different from what it was 3 years ago, but we’re slowly finding our way back to each other. As Ram Dass said, “We’re all just walking each other home.”

It’s been a somewhat quiet year, but we currently have 678 blog posts and 153 pages on our site. The posts cover poetry, photography, our hugging adventures (88 countries and counting!) and various other musings; our pages include some of our stories and free Adventures of Rainbow Mouse colouring pages to download and enjoy. We’ve shared some wonderful adventures with you through these and are looking forward to sharing more in the future! This blog is our gift to you, our readers, and we very much appreciate having you here with us. Feel free to drop by any time, check out Marcia’s books, download our colouring pages, read our stories, leave a comment or reach out, relax and enjoy yourself. We don’t have any birthday cake that we can share (this is the best we can do: 🎂), but we send you love.

Remember to hug someone you love today, even if it’s just screen to screen. You’ll both feel better for it! 🙅‍♀️🙅‍♂️

M&M

P.S. Extra special thanks to our son Nick, who does all of the techie stuff that keeps us afloat!! 🙂

2023 Photo Calendars (part one)

Hi Folks:

This is the thirteenth year that we’ve made our photo calendar templates available, both for MS Word users (for those who don’t use graphics programs) and as .png files for those who do. As before we will be making our own calendar available in .pdf format for those who are interested, but (as we did last year) we’re doing the post in two parts. For our calendar we use images made in that month (i.e. the image for May 2023 was made in May 2022). Since we haven’t yet gotten to December our calendar isn’t yet complete, but we wanted to make the templates available so others can work on their own calendars. Continue Reading →

Receiving Kindness

Hi Folks:

In our We Have Huggers!! post we highlighted our latest escapade to encourage people to share hugs and spread kindness by creating a hugging spot on the sidewalk. The latest iteration looks like this (previous versions can be seen in the above post link):

Group Hugs

While we know that people have stopped to share hugs with each other (or themselves), made images and sometimes just smiled as they walked past, we’re not aware of them unless we happen to be out front or near the window at the time. Nonetheless, everyone who engages with our chalk art adds their energy to our garden and our lives, and we very much appreciate it.

We have received two more tangible gifts, however, and we wanted to take a moment to say thank you to the donor(s) who secretly left them for us. The first is a Kindness Stone someone left on top of our gate:

Kindness Stone

The second is a note someone taped to the inside of our gate!

Kindness Note

Whoever left these for us, we wanted you to know how much we value your acts of kindness. Made our whole day!!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. It’s easy to find ways to spread kindness to others in your world, but if you’re looking for inspiration, check out The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation and Ripple Kindness Project as great places to start!

Our Hugging Tree

Hi Folks:

If you’ve been following our Free Hugs adventures, you’ll know that we’ve done (almost) all of them at the Homecoming Memorial by Ship Point in downtown Victoria. Part of the reason for that was that we could stand away from the sidewalk (we offered, but people had to come to us). Part of the reason for that is the statue in the Memorial itself:

Homecoming Statue
Continue Reading →

Happy Canada Day!!

Hi Folks:

Today is officially our country’s birthday! We were a part of the Living Flag event here in Victoria for Canada’s 150th birthday a few years ago, and after the past couple of years it’s good to see the city starting to come to life again. People still need to be cautious, but people are being cautiously optimistic as well. Yes, we have challenges to overcome, both as a country and as a planet, but Canadians overall are quietly proud of who we are. We can’t forget the past, but we can move forward together.

2022 also marks the third Canada Day we haven’t been out with our Free Hugs posters (maybe next year) so we wanted to share an image with you from our first Canada Day Free Hugs session back in 2010. This was just three weeks after our first ever session, and we were already hooked!

Free Hugs on Canada Day

image © D. Gibson

Whatever Canada and Canada Day means to you, we encourage you to invest some time with loved ones! Continue Reading →

Happy Father’s Day!!

Hi Folks:

Lots to celebrate today. For us, today marks our 352nd Monthaversary of the day we met. For our neighbours to the south, today marks Juneteenth – the day the last of the slaves in the US were emancipated. And on a larger scale, today we celebrate fathers … of all stripes. Being a father isn’t a part-time thing. Even for those who aren’t physically together with their families every day, being a father is a part of every moment, every breath. Marcia’s father and Mike’s dad both passed away within a few months of each other, several years ago. Mike’s father passed away a little over a year ago, and yet each of them are still present in our lives, influencing our thoughts, our decisions, our ways of Being who we are.

So today we wanted to take a moment to say thank you to our sons (and our nephews) – good fathers and men of whom to be proud. Whether you’re a father/grandfather/great-grandfather, son, brother, uncle, big brother, mother serving as father, daughter, sibling… whoever you are, celebrate today, just because. Honour all of those who are a part of your family, whatever family looks like to you. If you find yourself alone in the world, you’re welcome to be a part of ours.

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. Take our advice and use 23:37 of your day to watch this TED talk by Andrew Solomon: Love, No Matter What. It’s about unconditional love and unconditional acceptance. It’s quite possibly the most beautiful talk we’ve ever seen.

Our Thirteenth Year of Free Hugs

Hi Folks:

In addition to being World Ocean Day, June 8 is very important to us for two reasons. First, and most important, today marks the 20th Anniversary of Marcia’s proposal. We say YES!! to each other every day. Second, today marks the beginning of our 13th year of sharing free hugs – something we wrote about here: Marcia’s Meanderings: Ladybugs and Free Hugs.

As you know from previous posts, we had to stop our Free Hugs campaign on March 1, 2020 and we haven’t yet been able to resume. Some day… In the interim we continue to share hugs with loved ones and to share kindness where we can, including giving out Hug Certificates, replacing the Hugging Spot chalk art in front of our house as required, and sending out Free Hugs postcards by mail. Apparently there’s a post office in Antarctica… 🤫

So, in honour of our two Anniversaries today, we have a gift for those who want it. Here’s the deal: simply fill out our Contact Form with your name and postal address and we’ll send you a Free Hugs postcard. It looks like this:

Free Hugs postcard

On the back is a note that reads, “Please share this with someone who needs a hug today. Even if it’s you!”

That’s it. We promise not to sell or give your information to anyone else and we promise not to send you dubious offers to buy gold in bulk or try to sell you questionable real estate. After printing the address label, we won’t even keep your message. We get your trust and in exchange we get to share a hug with you and the contentment of knowing that we’ve brightened someone’s day as the card makes its way through the postal system. We look forward to hearing from you!

Hugs,
M&M

P. S. If you’d prefer to have us send a postcard to someone else on your behalf, feel free to write your own caption when you fill out the contact form. 🙂