Author Archives: Jamie Hughes

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.

A Look Around the Terminal

It’s spring — at least, it’s supposed to be — so getting stuck at the airport due to snow was the last thing I expected during a recent trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan. But that’s exactly what happened to me on Sunday. I sat with thousands of fellow passengers,…

You Only Think You Know

When I tell people I have multiple sclerosis, I usually get one of three responses: • “Oh, no! I feel so bad for you!” (Pity) • “Is that the one with the telethon?” (Confusion) • “I know all about that disease! My sister-in-law’s cousin’s college roommate has…

Just Do It

Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, wrote a 1997 essay aimed at graduates. In it, she shared many practical nuggets of wisdom such as “Floss,” and thoughts like, “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the…

Up with the Volume, Down with the Noise

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” That’s not a lesson modern American culture has taken to heart, is it? Seems like we’re more inclined to take Daft Punk’s advice and do everything “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.” And that’s all well and…

Chicken Soup Has Super Powers

Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of warm fluids. Use a humidifier. Gargle and flush your sinuses with warm salt water. Blow your nose early and often. Take over-the-counter medications. Eat some chicken soup. No doubt, you know what I’m talking about when you read this list of…

We Are Streams that Sing

Wendell Berry, a novelist, poet, farmer and environmental activist, has written a number of superb books. Don’t believe me? Go read “Jayber Crow” and shoot me a message. I would love to discuss it with someone again! As a person who happens to have multiple sclerosis, I…

The Greatest Gifts

Christmas is just around the corner, and that’s why many people are on the fruitless quest for Fingerlings or hocking an organ to buy the new iPhone. Both might be the “hot” presents of the season, but neither of them holds a candle to the great gifts we…

Holding ‘Space’ for Others

  When a friend or loved one is going through a tough time, it’s hard to know how best to help. Do you help carry the burden? Would it be better to offer support from a distance and give the person space? Life can be hard and awkward and…

Dancing Doodle

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