The Hugger // Share The Brew With Susan Shull (The Vintage Farmwife)

Welcome to Share The Brew. Today I am excited to introduce you to Susan Shull of A Vintage Farmwife. Susan and I met about three years ago through an encouragement swap on another blog. She sent me a card, and I sent her one and we’ve had fun getting to know one another through our blogs. Susan writes about all things faith and farm life and is a joy to know. Please be sure to head over to Susan’s blog and say hello.


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One of my favorite meals to eat out is breakfast. It just seems special to linger over an extra cup of coffee and conversation after eating something besides my usual toast and peanut butter.

Cracker Barrel, The Pancake Pantry in Nashville, and the Donut Hole all get a thumbs up from us! But one of my top breakfast places is Grayt Grounds on 30A. I love this little coffee shop located in an old house with funky decorations, lots of twinkling lights, vintage furnishings, and yummy food in this eclectic beach village. The last breakfast I had there was something the cook concocted for me from ingredients on hand that included scrambled eggs, grits, cheese, and spinach. YUM. I have even written a blogpost or two from the table in the corner.

Sherry, the owner, is a BIG REASON the place draws us back time and again. (And obviously others since there is always a crowd.) Her nickname is The Hugger. She is very friendly and welcoming to everyone and has a cushion-y bosom. We hadn’t been there too many times before she started including a hug for me in her welcome hello.

On a visit last spring, I intentionally watched her when we stopped in to listen to live music on a random Wednesday evening. The small venue was packed and the crowd was very diverse in age-some early 20’s all the way to quite a bit older than that.

Brad and I arrived early and I did a lot of people watching while we waited for the show to begin. As the room started to fill, I noticed almost everyone in the place made sure Sherry saw them, and I could tell by the body language they were longing for a hug. Male and female, Sherry embraced each one and was genuinely happy to see them.

Each one walked away from her with a smile on his/ her face.

Did you know there is a lot of scientific evidence to support the importance of a simple hug? I listened to an interesting Ted Talk about stress that sent me on a search of the physical effects of this comforting human contact.

I discovered that when we are hugged, our bodies release the “happiness” hormone, oxytocin. The first time I ever heard about this hormone was when I breastfed our sons, but apparently, a lot more has been learned about it.

Oxytocin does all this:

  • reduces stress and anxiety
  • increases empathy and trust
  • boosts happiness
  • helps bond with others
  • makes us more generous
  • promotes monogamy
  • cements the connection between mom and breastfed child

We are MADE to be touched.

All of this is more evidence to me that we are fearfully and wondrously made by a loving Creator. Since we are made in the image of God, HE must love hugs, too, and seems to have inserted healing powers within them.

Our body is a marvelous thing.

Our breath helps heal the body and spirit.
Our words help heal the body and spirit.
Our touch helps heal the body and spirit.

Of course, medications are also a gift from God, but I think it is so amazing that HE hardwired all these healing modalities into our physical body.

[tweetthis]What can we do with the power of a hug? #ShareTheBrew via @BarbieSwihart[/tweetthis]

What can we do with this knowledge and the power of our hug?   I plan to look around for those who I know could use a boost….the widow, single women, the stressed out (I guess that includes everyone!)….and give them a big hug.

How about you? Maybe you are the person who can give a hug today, or maybe you could use one yourself.

Let’s make a deal. If we ever meet in person, I will hug you and you can hug me!

Sad Sidebar:  I was so disappointed a few weeks ago when I took friends to meet The Hugger and discovered the little coffee shop has closed due to unforeseen circumstance. I may never see Sherry again, but her sweet spirit and warm hug impacted my life, and I will pass it on. 


SusanShullSusan is a farmwife who once was a farmer’s daughter. She taught junior high language arts for many years after staying home with our three sons when they were little. When one of her dear friends was diagnosed with lung cancer, she began to do some soul-searching and decided that she wanted to take early retirement. She is now living a different but very fulfilling life. She enjoys spending her time helping others, volunteering at church and spending time with her family, as well as doing some of the things she always wanted to do, like blogging!  You can find Susan at her blog, A Vintage Farmwife, and her Holy Yoga Facebook Page.  You can also connect with her on Pinterest, and Instagram and Google+.




Seeking beauty in the ordinary and embracing life to the fullest. Thank you for stopping by and come again soon!

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12 Responses

  1. I love this! I am a hugger:) Sometimes people shy away from it, but I’m known for my bubbly-ness!
    Christina Drake recently posted..Father’s Day

  2. Veronica says:

    I love hugs! The first time I realized I was in love with my then boyfriend, now husband, was when he wrapped me up in his big strong arms for a great big hug – I felt so safe and protected! God is so good to have created hugs 🙂
    Veronica recently posted..Adventures in the Kitchen: CSA Week #5

  3. Betsy says:

    Thanks for this lovely post, Susan! I could just imagine myself at that Grayt Grounds on 30A. I’m from Austin, Texas, and we have TONS of places with local character. (“Keep Austin Weird” is our motto to support local business.)

    But on a more important note, THANKS for reminding us of the power of a simple hug. Amazing that a woman like Sharon managed to impact so many people who had just brief contact with her. 🙂 What a testimony!
    Betsy recently posted..How to Wake up to the Wonder of the Bible

  4. Vanessa says:

    Hi Susan,

    I’ll have to admit, when I read the title of the article, I didn’t think it would include a scientific component. Well done!

    I am not naturally a hugger, so this was pretty eye opening for me. I will have to consider giving more hugs now that I know all the natural happiness they supply.
    Vanessa recently posted..I’m stepping out in faith. Are you?

  5. Mitzi says:

    What a beautiful story about Hugging and Huggers. Growing up in the South, I had thought that hugging was just part of our make-up. However, as I got older, I became a woman who is not too fond of being touched by people I either don’t know or don’t feel a connection to. But in those instances when presented with the circumstance of hugging, I know for a fact that there is a lot of sentiment and emotion that goes with a hug. Some hugs last longer than others, but in general, it seems that all hugs have one common thread. They all make the giver and the receiver smile. Beautiful story, I do hope you will see Sherry again and I’m certain it will be the best hug ever.
    Mitzi recently posted..A Spirit of Gratitude For the Little Things

  6. Mindy says:

    So nice to “see” you here Susan! If I every have the blessing of meeting you in person a hug (maybe two) will definitely be happening. You are a precious soul.
    Mindy recently posted..My July

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