Author Archives: Jamie Hughes

Looking Forward, Looking Back

I am now 41, at the beginning of “middle age,” and I’m tempted to give it the middle finger. It’s a halfway point, a layover, a way station — a time to contemplate the journey so far and take steps for the bit that is to come. Because I have…

Letting Go of Appearances in Life with MS

Living with MS can sometimes feel like you’re performing a one-woman (or man) show. Think about it. How many times have you pretended to be OK when you didn’t feel so hot? Have you ever shown your loved ones a brave face instead of upsetting them? Ever caught yourself acting…

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A few weeks ago, I told you that I’d made a decision: I had to slow down. I think and talk quickly. I work quickly and drive much too fast for my grandmother’s liking. Basically, everything in my life was fast, and picking up speed with each passing day.

As If You Needed Another Reason to Eat Cake

I was at a church function last Saturday, chatting with the guest speaker and her mother, and I noticed that the older woman was making several trips to the dessert table. It was laden with everything you’d expect to see at a church potluck: banana pudding, pound cake, homemade cookies,…

Don’t Be a Doozer — Slow Down!

My husband and I were driving home from church a few weeks ago, cars zipping around us every which way. He looked at me and said, “Do you ever feel like we’re on the edge of something? Like life is moving too quickly in urban America and something is about…

The Unplayable Piano

What do a broken-down, out-of-tune piano and multiple sclerosis have in common? Well, they’re both disorderly and confusing, to say the least. But there’s something else — they have the potential to bring about something positive. I learned this from a podcast called “Hidden Brain,” specifically from an…

Remember, Remember

When I first learned that I had multiple sclerosis in late January 2004, the thing I worried about most was losing my mind. No, I’m not referring to stressing out, going bananas, cracking up, going off the deep end, or coming unglued — though all of those were distinct…

Sometimes You Have to Skip the Whaling Chapters

Playing Billy Beane in “Moneyball,” Brad Pitt utters the now famous line, “Adapt or die.” (Warning: The scene linked here has a few naughty words in it.) He’s referencing the use of statistics to create a better baseball team, but I think the saying is true to most…

The More Things Change …

An awesome friend of mine at work who is learning to master Spanish as a second language has been using a podcast called “News in Slow Spanish” to increase fluency in conversation and learn cultural nuances. (And this isn’t the first amazing thing she’s done. Homegirl can run…

I Want to Be Alive, Rather Than Just ‘Not Dead’

“I’m alive,” said Shadow. “I’m not dead. Remember?” “You’re not dead,” Laura said. “But I’m not sure you’re alive, either. Not really.” This snippet of a longer conversation in Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” is a strange and wonderful moment in the book — and not only because Laura…

Focus on the Flowers, Not the Weeds

Ah, it’s a new year. And what would a new year be without a few resolutions and goals to kick it off? Rather than a set of instructions, a plan, or a few words of encouragement, however, I’ll just tell you about a little something that’s going on in…

Shalom and the State of My Staircase

My eldest son, like thousands of other kids in the world, struggles in school. He’s partially deaf, and some of his challenges stem from inescapable biological factors. However, there’s also a component of learned helplessness that I must address. For many years, he felt, or in some cases…

Ho-Ho-No

Even when a major holiday isn’t scheduled in a calendar month, I’m a pretty busy lady. I work a full-time job that requires me to be present and “on” most of every day. I also have to deal with Atlanta traffic, which is physically and mentally exhausting. I’m a…

Turning Information Overload into a Positive

Books. Magazines. Journals. Emails. Online articles. Newsletters. Podcasts. Local and cable news. The quantity of information we take in daily is impressive — overwhelming, even. According to a 2009 report from researchers at the University of California, San Diego, the average American consumed about 105,000 words per day, or…

Forget Me Knots

At work a couple of weeks ago, I met a man who works with Christians in the Middle East. He is training leaders who are taking on the challenge of leading small house churches in a nation that is openly hostile to the faith. I was simply amazed by…

What the World Needs Now is Books

After reading more than a few articles about how social media demolishes our attention span, prevents us from forming healthy real-world relationships, and causes higher-than-normal rates of depression, stress, and insomnia, I decided to cut way back on screen time. And you know what? I don’t miss Facebook and…

What the Scan Said (and What It Didn’t)

A couple weeks ago, I went to my neurologist’s office early for my annual MRI. It’s never a pleasant experience. Even after 14 years, it’s still as unsettling as it was the first time. It’s not the tightness of the space that gets me or the sensations and sounds.

What Happened in Vegas

This past weekend was a busy one. My husband and I flew to Las Vegas on Saturday morning, saw a concert there Saturday night, and then flew home Sunday morning. Yep. We spent 24 hours in ol’ Sin City, U.S.A. and eight hours on a plane to get there…

H2Oh! Water Is a Brain Fuel

Aug. 1 was a busy day around our house. Backpacks needed to be loaded up, breakfasts consumed, pictures taken, and shoes tied tightly before the bus arrived. Yes, it was the first day of school. (I could talk about how ridiculous it is for kids to be going back to…

I’m Using My Status to Speak Up

I’ve been thinking a lot about privilege in recent months — what it enables as well as what it prevents. Those who benefit from it may not be aware of their position, and when their privilege is pointed out, they have a hard truth to face. Many refuse to…

What Are You Living For?

Maybe it’s because I’ve been listening to too much Jackson Browne lately, but I’m distressed by the state of the world these days. And it’s not the big-ticket stuff like politics or social dysfunction that’s got me worried, either (though both take turns keeping me up nights). It’s…

Giving Your Brain a Good Stretch

I turned 40 this year, and it seemed like a mighty fine time to stop and take stock. After all, I’m at the midway point, and if I want the second half of my life to be as fun and productive as the first, I have to make…

Personality Test, Smershonality Test

Recently, I was required to take a “quick” 100-question test to determine what my Enneagram number is. (I’m a 5, in case you’re curious.) These questions — answered by clicking “agree” or “disagree” — weren’t complicated in any sense of the word. I honestly think I learned more…

Mind Your Mind

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes my thoughts are as unruly and irrepressible as Mickey’s broomsticks in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.” Whether I’m worried about the tingling in my left foot or the fact it took me five minutes to remember the word “expeditor,” there’s always some…

How Dare You?

If you read my last column, you’re well aware that there has been some drama around Casa de Hughes over the last few weeks. I can now happily say that the situation has been resolved and we’re trying to get things back to a more normal, humane pace.

When the Bomb Goes Off

It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security, to think you’re the supreme authority in your life. And when that ersatz truth is ripped away, as it was for my husband and me the last week, it can be hard to regain your footing. I’ll spare…

I Am So Much More than My MS

Every personality test and trait indicator quiz I take tells me the same thing: I’m a polymath. Basically, it’s a fancy Greek word meaning “a person of wide-ranging knowledge or learning.” I take delight in gathering interesting facts or stories. I take pleasure in learning for learning’s sake.

Dancing Doodle

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