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November 20
I wake up late
No time to pause, nor plead my case.

Poor November.
I push right past her
Even as she’s dedicated to the grasping of gifts and the giving of thanks –
for slowing time, she reserves the right for rest

I hastily juggle on
It’s my nature.
Multitasking is my drug of choice
Saying yes is my weakness

The voices they beckon
And post-its, they carry me through
Busy is an understatement
In November.

I stop to breathe and im tired
realizing what I’m losing

the friends I’ve not called
the family i’ve not visited
the kids I’ve not played with,
the husband I’ve left cold
myself, whom needs tending.

I’ve already fast-forwarded November with the rest of them.
juggling and consuming,
I waste it.
Without rest I overlook thanks,
in neglecting thanks, i shut out joy.


Yet here I am
In all my spare TIME,
Exclaiming that I want to pause November once more.

are you savoring yours?

Happy almost Friday friends! Today on Hello with the Hughes, I am interviewing mompreneuer Kimberly Vieley of The Beauty Fit Mom. Kimberly is one of those bloggers you’re instantly drawn to. Her enthusiasm and passion for life are contagious! Anyone who comes into contact with her social media presence — and real life presence for that matter– instantaneously has their own personal cheerleader. 
I had the pleasure of teaching her sweet and sassy then 2-year-old, Stella, in my preschool just a few years ago. Since discovering she wrote a faith, fitness, beauty/health blog, I was hooked. Her attention-grabbing motivational posts, pics, and videos are just bursting with authenticity. This girl is as real as they come. Over the years I’ve watched her flourish in her field. With sheer determination, strength of character, and God’s grace Kim has changed many a woman’s life. She is one talented soul!
Okay, I’ll stop! How ’bout I let you get to know her more through this interview, otherwise I’ll ramble on and on! So everyone, meet my friend Kim!

Please tell us how your blog came about?
It really came about through prayer. I’d always known that once I became a mother, I would want to leave the working force to primarily care for my family. However most things don’t go smoothly or swiftly as we planned! I knew I wanted a way to still connect with and reach others once home, and the idea and name for my blog came to me one night just after I had been praying and dozed off to sleep. I love that I can share the things I love and am passionate about, and it’s allowed me a way to connect with so many amazing women around the country.
Is this how you imagined your life would be?
Mostly, no. As kids, and even teenagers, I think it’s hard to picture anything beyond the fairytale. We see that we will fall in love, marry, have children with ease, and then do this blissful family… The family maybe we didn’t have but always dreamt we would. I did marry my high school sweetheart, but nowhere in the picture did we ever imagine suffering multiple miscarriages, battling infertility, and simultaneously losing a couple of family members. But through every one of the trials and tragedies, God showed, and helped us to come out stronger, even if it meant we bore the battle scars. You could say, life has been harder than I imagined, but the joy and blessings have been far greater than I could have imagined.
What hobbies do you have that you don’t mention on your blog?
      My hubby and I are avid DIYers! We love to find home-improvement projects and crafts online or on   Pinterest, and I’m pretty sure he secretly loves the show fixer-upper as much as me! I’m thinking that I will soon start incorporating some of our projects onto the blog, because it’s really something we enjoy. And one thing most people don’t know about me is that out of high school, I actually went to school for and got a degree in interior design!
What do you love about yourself?
I love that I am generally a very positive person. Don’t get me wrong, I go through rough patches and there are days where the cup is half empty, but I realize how hard it makes life to live through that perspective. One my biggest passions is just to encourage others, and I’m just now beginning to realize that that’s actually a gift, not how everybody is.
What’s your biggest struggle in life?
I think my biggest struggle is just trusting and believing that my voice matters. In my head, I know that we were all created for a purpose, but in my heart I sometimes battle to believe the significance of that purpose. We all wonder if the ideas we have, things we have to share will really matter other people. However, I also believe that the purpose of our struggles and triumphs is to give others hope.
Who are some of your favorite bloggers?
www.livingwithlandyn.com I actually discovered her recently, and fell in love! She’s incredibly down to earth, funny, has a style I love, and she shares all the things. When you see her making a dinner that looks amazing, she shares the recipe. When she’s got an adorable new outfit, she’s telling you exactly where she got it and giving you a link so you can get it for yourself. www.MegMarieWallace.com is also incredibly down to earth, a beautiful writer, and has the biggest heart for Jesus! She’ll give you a truth bomb in the most loving way, convict you where you need it, and share some fun recipes or ideas in the mix.

 Go see her at www.thebeautyfitmom.com



yesterday my cell lit up at work.
it was a call from my university, a call that soured my mood.
apparently i have a balance on my account.
i’m one month away from finishing my bachelors and credential.
i just have one more assignment and one more test to complete.

“i’ll have to take care of it at the end of the month.” i assured the woman on the line. i start panicking, picturing this debt coming back to bite me. what if i can’t get my degree? what if i can’t pay for the test? what if i fail my assignment? these thoughts zip through my mind while i raked through our online bank account.

overwhelmed, i click the x to close the window. now i’m thinking about the promise i made the kids before i dropped them off that morning. i reminded them of our weekend plans to see Wonder. i am totally giddy about this movie because Evan devoured the book this past summer. i too, read a lot of it aloud and we all fell in love with sweet August’s character. plus reading the book before the movie is pretty much the coolest, most awesome feeling when you got your popcorn and you finally plop down in your comfy theatre seat on the day of its release… eeek! it’s like you’re somehow in on the secret.

so as you can imagine, my heart sank when i realized i promised something i don’t think i can deliver. we just don’t have the funds this month, nor the credit. my schooling and unemployment pretty much raped us the past 2 years.

fear and regret are my go-to emotions.
anxiety wells in my chest and steals my joy again.
i come home from work angry.
scowling, actually, at my husband.
blame is my other go-to.
a convo about money ensues while i’m burning hamburger buns.
just before we sit down to eat, i manage to blurt out,
“this is not the life i planned!”

please tell me wives, you… you’ve been there? sigh.


the next morning i feel ashamed.
i feel like i spit in God’s face after all he’s done to provide for us.
after all He’s done to redeem this family.
it’s easy to be thankless.
on the flipside, it takes work to have a thankful heart.

but what is a thankful heart anyway?

i get in these funks — even though i know they’re wrong.
i guess i will always struggle with my rebellious nature to some extent.
i guess i constantly need to be reminded of what really matters. and that is certainly not stuff, as most of us would agree. so then why the funks?

oh i don’t know, gulp.

W.T. Purkiser once stated, “it’s not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, that is the true measure of our thanksgiving.”

we all know the difference between saying and doing, right?

so hear me out, i can spout thanks like the best of ‘em. and most would agree that is a good thing. no?
but can i live out thanks in my heart day after day even if i feel deprived and/or entitled?
the answer is no.
consistent genuine thanks requires so much more of me.
it requires action.
but mostly, it requires humility.

i can almost guarantee my thanks is robotic if…

:: i want more and more stuff
:: i continue to complain and grumble about life
:: i compare myself or my kids or my hubby to the Jones’
:: i’m short with my kids
:: i act deserving
:: i put God on the back burner
:: i bicker about my husband
:: i’m lazy

expressing thanks and appreciation and gratitude and all that good stuff is not just about sharing with the world the happy feelings in my heart. that’s kinda like entirely missing the point. wouldn’t you say?

no, the core of a thankful heart is a deeply humble person.
and i am not this.
which is why i struggle.
which is why i’m writing this.
to reorient my heart.
because here i am, again. sigh.
and it’s nearly Thanksgiving.

so am i just fooling myself when i say i’m thankful for…. fill-in-the-blank?
like the verbs love and faith, to know it’s real, it must prove itself with action.
but i can’t do this kind of thanks on my own, in my own strength.
i have to ask for God’s help and for an attitude that strives to respond to God’s love.

you see, it’s never about thanking God/the universe in exchange for a warm fuzzy feeling,
or because we should,
or because He commands it,
God doesn’t want robots.
that is religion and that is blasphemy to Him.

when i can finally say “wow, this is amazing! thank you, God. how can i respondto your love?” i have learned the posture of true thanks.

of course. it starts with realizing how much God has given me by expressing my thanks, but if i don’t respond with action, my “thanks” is false, fake, phony baloney.

anyone can talk the talk.
but can i walk the walk?
in my gratitude notebook i scribbled down the many things i have come to call “gifts” (i.e. blessings):

    • -my healthy kiddos
      -our home
      -a car that gets us places
      -endless food aisles at the grocery store
      -time to write
      -my mom
      -answered prayers
      -my health
      -hot water
    • i’ll spare you the rest.

aside from simply expressing thanks, how can i givethanks for those things, truly?
give being the action verb.

let’s take endless food aisles at the grocery store. i wrote that down as a “gift” at one point. now how do i show thanks for all the amazing foods we have immediate access to?
saying it, sure. “thank you, God.”
but with these too: stewardship. contentment. giving back.
these three things truly validate thankful heart.

let me explain with a non-example.
here’s what a thankful heart is not:

off to the grocery store i go…to get more…to be annoyed with every person there – ‘cause it’s crowded and they’re all in my way … to ignore the checker without even so much as a smile… to leave my shopping cart there to bang into someone else’s car… to drive away in a hurry not even realizing what a blessing it is to walk into a store to get food, or anythingfor that matter any time i want. oh but i wrote it down somewhere that i am so very thankful for the endless aisles of food at the grocery store.

pause for a minute with me and really figure this one out. i can say i’m thankful, but is that really thankfulness? my actions are not in line with my words. if i really appreciate the many varieties of foods at my fingertips, how will my actions show it?

stewardship: i would probably use what food i have first before purchasing more.

contentment: i wouldn’t buy unnecessary items.

giving back: i would try to put food in the mouths of those who don’t have it as readily. i would treat the people at the store with kindness. i would help make their job easier by putting my cart back and finally yeh, i would thank God for living in a country that is so well off.

-if i am thankful for my mom, i will value her by calling her, attempting to see her more often, deepening our relationship.

-if i am thankful for time to write, i will use it wisely – not frittering it away on unproductivity or meaningless tasks.

-if i am thankful for water i will use it sparingly, and give back to those in need.

-if i am thankful for my health, i will eat healthy and work out (ha!) — be a good steward of my body. i will be content with what God gave me, and i will give my body/mind over to use for God’s purposes.

counting our blessings is a start, but beyond that i must define thanks with a humble heart as a good steward of what i have been given, as a content receiver of such grace-filled gifts, and as one who is generous, the way God is with me, finding ways to give back.

i can assure you i haven’t gotten any of this down yet. so good thing for grace! in fact, these ideas have had time to marinate as they were written over 6 years ago on my previous blog! and would you believe i still fight myself on behalf of real thankfulness. surely it’s different this time. since i’m in a different place. but the struggle is always birthed via my thoughts. it’s in my attachment to needing a “normal” family with normal family routines. my feelings of depriving my children from a movie. my entitled attitude about our finances.

what i fail to see is, i am blessed.
why am i blessed?
so i can bless others.

that is what the heart of thanksgiving is.

does it ever make sense that we keep taking and still God keeps giving?
we gotta learn how to respond, and not robotically with mere words.
but genuinely with action.
because in the end (thankful) actions speak louder than (thankful) words.


Do you struggle with thankfulness at times, please say I’m not the only one?

What are you thankful for? And how can you show genuine thanks?

Leave a comment, say hello. 

  • Brandee Miller - November 15, 2017 - 9:09 am

    I love this look at thankfulness, and am thankful to you for pointing out the true meaning of the word! Keep it up!ReplyCancel

he’s got his bulky black helmet buckled beneath that bony chin. his knobby knees thrust forward, each one rhythmically keeping pace with the other. he clenches the wobbly handlebars tight. grunting and whining up the street’s gradual incline, “this is hard, mom, i can’t do it!”

and there i am, trotting and panting beside him. holding the seat steady while balancing his weight against my own own, trying my best to keep us both from face planting.

i finagled my oldest boy, Evan, to come ride alongside for moral support. “Nick needs encouragement honey, you’ve done this.” i pitched.

we’ve only been out here 10 minutes
but between the sweat and the sheer pessimism it feels like hours.
the kid gave up before he started.
his mind’s made up.
he was never gonna conquer the two-wheeler today.
“why’d we even come out here?” i sighed.
my patience thin.
i thought we’d get somewhere today.
but it’s up and down the same 50 feet of street to no avail.

every time he puts his toes down to slow the bike, i take a sec to catch my breath.

this time i snap. “why are you stopping!? you have to go faster to balance! keep pedaling! you can do this! come on! just look at Evan, he’s been doing this since he was four!”


it’s just,
i have this kid who can’t do things kids his age can.
like open a syrup bottle. throw a ball.
or… ride a bike.
he’s seven. he has fears. so many fears.
all i want is for my 7-year-old to do normal 7-year-old things.
sure he’s skinny, and a tad awkward but he’s not inept.

out in the middle of the street, he totally deflates.
complaints turn to tears.
he loosen his grip on the handlebars
throws his body away from my grip and rides straight into a parked car.
defeated, i cringe. i can’t take my words back.

i think i squashed whatever shred of hope he might’ve had in himself.
can you say mom. fail.

some days parenting feels impossible.

my logic was if i praise the positive achievements of his sibling, he will somehow want to improve. if i focus on his imperfections, he will want to shape up. i think i’m helping him, guiding him, when in fact i’m only tearing him down, setting him back.

it’s so hard not to compare our children to others.
not to zero in on negative characteristics when they arise.
not to push them to follow our dreams for them.
i see this all the time in families.
reality soon hits and it’s not a pretty outcome.

i guess the motivation for me is i don’t want him getting bullied for being a sensitive sally.
i don’t want him to be ostracized or labeled as an oddball.
what i have to take into consideration is how different each of my kids are.
i have done the unintentional labeling. “he is athletic, she is strong-willed.”

i don’t stop to consider there is a unique and creative being who needs to be spurred on with praise. instead i impose my own strengths, my own learning styles, my own dreams onto my children who are mentally and emotionally wired completely different — not only different from me, but from each other.

it’s so natural to use these types of corrective tactics, don’t you think?

Nick struggles to ride a bike just like i struggle to realize dreams sometimes clash with reality.
we are really no different. except sooner or later one of us will figure it out.
so, he’s not going to be a baseball or football all-star…
he’s more of a brainiac anyway.
what am i to do with that?

as a mama, i am still learning, ever-learning.
it not about my child being able to do this or that.
that’s all ego based and self-focused.
no, it’s truly about unconditional love.
it’s about lowering my own hyped-up expectations to fit his unique reality.
and his unique reality is determined by his own interests and his talents.
it might be good to recognize the traits we loathe in our children could someday be the traits that make him or her a great leader, a good lawyer, or perhaps a loving father?

as i was skimming the book No More Perfect Moms by Jill Savage, i found the lesson i was suppose to learn. she states, “The more we learn to love our children unconditionally, the more we provide an emotionally safe and relationally secure environment for our children, the more love makes it safe to fail.”

so you see, only love can welcome obstacles/trials/challenges with a spirit of understanding. only love can let our children be who they really are, and that is the best version of themselves.

as for Nick… though he may be fine and gross motor challenged, i need to be embracing his uniqueness and loving him exactly where he’s at. he will get there.

we all know the cool thing about learning to ride a bike: once learned, it’s never forgotten. and that’s more than i can say for the lessons i’ve had to learn, and re-learn for that matter.

we wanted it to be low key,
just a couple friends.
to honor the big nine-year-old
we threw a special birthday party Spa Night with girlfriends!
it was a late night affair with very little preparation.
that morning the girl and i set off to the Dollar Tree for all things beauty related.
we bought terry cloth slippers and zebra print eye masks.
manicure sets, bath salts, and foot lotions.
we got facial masks and flavored lip balm.
i prepped cucumber slices and Shirley temples. 

im pretty sure my girl thought it was a best birthday of her life.
because baking is her thing and because she wanted cakepops on the menu
each of the girls got to get their hands dirty
mixing the dough, forming the balls, and dipping the pops
they were seriously the best and easiest cake pops ever (will have to post the recipe).
when the girls came from the heated pool to the designated “Spa Room” squeals of delight rang through the house. we wanted to give them their very own space, so we confined them to our upstairs movie room. with Descendants 2 entertaining them, mama got them beautified.

so i have a total girly girl at heart. what could be sweeter! it filled my spirit to see her so happy in her element. the other plus, this party cost me less than $35.00. Shhhhhh…..
dearest Rachel,
you turned nine last week. NINE.
i loved nine. for girls it’s the edge of something new. something exciting! 
you have grown so much since my last letter.
it’s been 4 years of rough birthdays, of being in one home or the other.
i can’t imagine that is easy.
but you have always been such a strong little girl.
fiercely independent. its scares me sometimes.
i hope you know being your mama brings me so much joy.
you are full of it.
joy that is.
you love people. your friends mostly.
and you have finally learned what it means to be a good friend.
though you have had to learn the hard way.
you are a social creature who jabbers on and on, literally non-stop.
your belly laugh can turn any gloomy day sunny again.
slime, baking, drawing, bike riding, your dollhouse, and sugar are some of your obsessions.
your passions and the effort you put into them amazes me.
working with your hands and creating is your ultimate forte.
i so cherish the memories of you as a baby/toddler. it feels like only moments ago i was holding you close in my arms and rocking you to sleep. there were definitely some unforgettable toddler tales… i have told many a story on my blog before. and we go back and read them together on occasion. oh how i love going back to giggle and poke fun.
these past years you have learned so much about discipline. about expectations and consequence. you have learned tough lessons in the truth department. namely, the importance of being honest in every situation. the importance of choosing to follow God over friends opinions. im so proud & thankful for this new found maturity.

my highest hopes are for you to follow Jesus with no inhibitions all the days of your life. for Him to grip at your heart, that you might be sensitive to his voice, his stirring. right now you are learning that. i pray i am able to give you enough of whatever you need to flourish in his love. oh how i need grace for that. childhood is a journey of discovery, on the road to autonomy. choices. freedom.

you need wisdom.
i only pray we teach you well.

happy birthday, my love. nine is one of my favorites. i hope it will be one of yours too.

love, Mama