A Life in Letters – a Column by Jamie Hughes

looking ahead, wonder

Jamie A. Hughes is a writer-editor living in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, two sons, and a pair of very needy cats. She was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 2004 when she was just 25 years old. A lover of words since birth, she wasn’t about to let two little letters get her down. They don’t get the last word. And that’s why she writes her column — to help those dealing with MS to live more thoughtful, hopeful, and inspired lives.

Art for Our Sake

One of the great things about living in Atlanta is that there is always something new and exciting going on in town. Sure, we have our fair share of sporting events, but on any given night, you can attend a live concert, or see a show or stand-up performance. There…

It’s No Puzzle: Play Is Good for Your Brain

I don’t know why, but for some reason, two people in my family decided to get me puzzles for Christmas this year. Granted, one is a rad picture of 30 or so classic book covers, and the other is covered in cats. But still, it’s weird. When I returned home…

Feeling Overwhelmed? Wander Under the Stars

If you read my last column, you know that my Thanksgiving was eventful, to say the least. Well, it looks like Christmas is shaping up to be another banger. My father-in-law is back in the hospital, still trying to kick the infections that have knocked him flat recently. We…

Do What You Can Do (And No More)

I don’t know about you, but last week passed in a blur. I typically enjoy Thanksgiving, but this year, things were a little wonky. My husband’s grandfather passed away a month or so ago, so we weren’t about to ask his grandmother to prepare anything. My mother-in-law and I decided…

No Wasted Moments

A friend of mine recently recommended a book to me by the multitalented Brian Doyle called “One Long River of Song.” Doyle, a devout Catholic (though I don’t think you need to be a Christian to appreciate his writing), was an award-winning essayist, poet, and novelist with more than…

When Is a Wall Not Just a Wall?

As is usually the way with books I put on hold at the library, three of the novels I’ve been looking forward to reading all came in at the same time. (Why does it always happen that way?) I shot through Colson Whitehead’s newest book, “Harlem Shuffle,” in two…

MS and the Beauty of Changing Seasons

I walked outside a couple days ago and something amazing happened. The heat didn’t slap me in the face. The humidity didn’t sit on my chest like some sort of weird, invisible lead weight. (And let me tell you, in Georgia, the heat and humidity are beyond oppressive. The second…

Just Put One Foot in Front of the Other

I’ve been working on my health this last year or so, trying everything from a vegetarian diet to visiting an acupuncturist to help with muscle tension and headaches. All of it has been just wonderful. But the elephant in the room — the thing I still needed to…

Celebrity or Not, You Matter to the MS Community

Christina Applegate, star of classic ’90s films like “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead” and TV shows like “Married with Children,” announced last week that she had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 49. She didn’t share much beyond that, only that it’s been “a tough road” since…

Being Prepared Can Help Us Succeed

This week, my sons returned to school. Both are now in middle school, and let me tell you, this freaks me out deeply as a mother. When we adopted them, the younger boy was only beginning kindergarten, and today, I sent him into the unknown hallways of sixth grade. (Granted,…

You Don’t Always Need to Fix It

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but most people don’t like a problem without a solution. If something isn’t working correctly, they’d rather fix, alter, or throw it out and start all over than live with “wrongness.” Now, that’s great when it involves garage door openers, burnt-out lightbulbs, or shoddy…

Making the Most of Both Good Days and Bad

If you have multiple sclerosis, no matter how long you’ve lived with it, you likely know it can be unpredictable. It can hit in weird ways you’re not expecting, even after years of learning how to deal with it. For instance, last Saturday, my family of four and some friends…

A Time for Decision-making

One of my favorite moments in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” involves a stolen fountain pen. If you’ve not read — or better yet, seen — the play, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a story about making it big in business and losing yourself in the process.

When in Doubt, Make a Mixtape

Spring is here, a time we’d normally be out and about getting some sun and recharging our souls after a long winter. I certainly look forward to working in the yard, hiking, having outdoor picnics, and taking the occasional road trip. But this isn’t a typical year, is…

To Love Living Things, and to Let Them Go

In her poem “In Blackwater Woods,” Mary Oliver concludes with 10 breathtaking lines: “To live in this world/ you must be able/ to do three things:/ to love what is mortal;/ to hold it/ against your bones knowing/ your own life depends on it;/ and, when the time comes…

The Value of Looking Ahead

Next week, I will be celebrating my second “quarantine birthday,” which is both amazing and sad. I honestly had no idea we’d still be dealing with COVID-19 for more than a year, and what a strange and perplexing time it has been. I think the thing that has hit me…

This Is What Love Looks Like

Last night, as I was grumpily prowling through a pile of overpriced red and white striped hats looking for one that would fit my fifth grader, I asked myself, Why exactly am I doing this again? I already knew the answer. The next day was Read Across America Day,…

Miracles From a Pile of Broken Glass

I’ve recently been sucked into watching “Blown Away” on Netflix. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s a reality TV show in which 10 master glass artists compete in 10 challenges to win a $60,000 prize and an artist’s residency at the Corning Museum of Glass…

A Catalogue of Tiny Gratitudes

I know quite a few of you are dealing with copious amounts of snow right now, but there is not a speck of white stuff on the ground where I live in Atlanta. And for that, I am grateful. Why? Because I do not like snow. I do not like…

Reclaiming Our Power When We Feel Powerless

I don’t know about you all, but when I first learned I had multiple sclerosis, I felt utterly powerless. Weak. Beaten down. Cornered. Cowed. Yes, I experienced all of these negative feelings (and a hundred more besides) in the first year or two after my diagnosis. But after time, I…

Both Now and Someday

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be…

Dancing Doodle

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