Feb 1, 201708:00 AMStyle Girls

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Heart Happy

Heart Happy

We take for granted sometimes the simple joys we have—the hygge (a Danish word pronounced HOO-GA)—that describes the heart-warming feeling that comes from taking pleasure in ordinary, everyday moments. It’s a coziness of the soul that comes from making the pleasure of making life special, beautiful, meaningful.

I found this for example, one snowy morning when my daughter stopped, dropped and left snow angels in neighbors’ yards on our walk to preschool. The way the new-fallen snow sparkled, the huge smile on her face as her arms and legs waved, the tiny angel imprint where her soul shared its joy and love…

Now imagine fleeing from a country engulfed in bloodshed, maybe having witnessed one of your own family members’ death, or the life of a young girl enslaved in sex trafficking being raped ten times nightly, left a hollow shell. Imagine being welcomed into the US as a refugee after months of interrogation, but not knowing much English or anything about the way bus systems work to get from place to place like the grocery store, maybe after years in a tent city not being used to indoor plumbing. A simple joy might come as a warm bowl of rice in a safe, quiet place, a cozy blanket, fresh cool water to splash on a salty tear-stained face.

“Justice at its best is love correcting
everything that stands against love.” -Martin Luther King Jr.


Lancaster, where my family lives, has a unique opportunity to spread love to our world neighbors. Lancaster is a diverse melting pot of immigrants and refugees the county has so strongly supported throughout its history and many religions. This is just one of many minorities who are feeling very scared and threatened, but Lancaster has a special place in its heart for giving–and many meaningful ways to give back. I have heard from others feeling the need to DO SOMETHING, and I felt compelled to show love to those who are being shown hate and to try to inform the misinformed who are scared of or angry about what they don’t know or understand about refugees and people of different religions. We can stand up against that by spreading truth—and love.


One way our Grandview Heights neighborhood–and our family—is planning to spread love this Valentine’s Day is by hosting a special pop-up party, my blog Hunting & Gathering’s SPREAD THE LOVE PARTY for our preschool age friends. The party will include some of our favorite Valentine’s Day treats like raspberry chocolate hazelnut smoothies, arts and crafts—for a small donation which we’ll use to shop for welcome kits to show love to Lancaster’s refugees through Church World Services.

Here is a list of items needed if you or your neighborhood are interested in hosting a gathering to spread the love too.


Another easy way to spread love is send love—via a Love 146 e-card this Valentine’s Day. Love 146 a US non-profit with the mission to end human trafficking and child exploitation (January was National Human Trafficking Awareness Month) for a small donation (sending 6 cards as little as $10!). Our family is printing out this card—a message of HOPE—and mailing them as well instead of just email (because we’re old fashioned and love receiving cards via snail mail too!).


My goal as a mother this year is to teach my daughter that Valentine’s Day—and every day—is about more than just showing love to each other through gifts on a holiday, it’s about always treating others the way you would want to be treated, loving everyone, no matter where they are from, what they have been through, the color of skin or differences of religion.

Valentine’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays and this year I hope to make it even more meaningful. When you live in the “Malibu Barbie Dream House” as we sometimes refer to The Heany House, it’s understandable that of course we love to decorate for Valentine’s Day. Obviously we love pink around here with our Diva wallpaper which makes the perfect backdrop for heart day décor. Add a four-year-old princess to the mix and you’ve got over-the-top excitement for this holiday all about pink and purple hearts–and of course, love.

But this year I wanted to make sure we went beyond than the construction paper hearts (children are so smart even at four and it’s never to early to mold compassionate human beings), so I felt inspired to dig deeper into my own heart and the global issues that weigh heavy on my heart and figure out some small ways to help make a difference in our own community and a global scale.

One of my missions as a parent has always been to teach my daughter that the world is bigger than just her, than us, our home here in Lancaster, bigger than PA, the US…and we have something in common with everyone in the world…heart.

We hope you’ll join us in spreading love from South Central PA this Valentine’s Day.