Get Moving or Die

It has been a terrible year for blogging and it is so funny because I blogged for about 5 years straight without barely missing a day and then one day I was out of the habit.

I was flying home yesterday and I realized that journal writing is really a stress reliever and I needed to get going again.

The reality is today it is 8:52 am I am still lying in bed, Christmas tree is still up, dryer is making a ton of noise, a pipe broke while we were in Europe and we had water in basement because the heater went out, the sink is barely working….and I am going to bury myself in bed with all of the maintenance that needs to be done.

This is what happens when you go away for a month (Miami, Skiing in Utah, Europe).

The bank books haven’t been balanced, credit cards haven’t been paid and I am going to pretend that it is all going to work itself out.

I am not sure how I am going to do the 8 loads of laundry that needs to be done and get the kids launched successfully back into life.

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I think I am going to do it one step at a time…one bite at a time.

If not, I may curl up and never do it.

So here is today the first day of trying to start my life in the new year. I am not off to a very good start!

The sad thing (or exciting thing) is that I would rather watch the last couple of episodes of Downton Abbey or The Bachelor that I missed….don’t judge.

It is time to get up and get moving or die in bed!

How My Life Is Rolling- Kids and more Kids

Just a couple of quick highlights about raising our kids….it is all about them right now!

1. Hillary is really enjoying her mission this far. The MTC was a huge challenge for her and the language kicked her butt.

Now she is serving in Boise! This is such a blessing in disguise as she was hoping she would serve stateside. I think she had travelled enough to know that international missionaries carry a lot of challenges….I am sure you know what I mean. On the other hand, she is still excited to go to Taiwan and was so disappointed with the delays.

She said this in her last letter when she arrived and today’s letter

“I am going through Chinese withdrawals…..that’s awkward. I find myself saying stuff in Chinese to my new companion ……and she is like what does that mean????

But she wants me to teach her Chinese so that is good. She really wants me to keep the Chinese up. My mission Pres gave me an hour every day to study, so I will have to study hard core every day.

We are going to a families house to dinner tonight. We are fed every night by members. Sweet! ………I have been here for less than 12 hours and I have already been fed potatoes…………. #welcometoIdaho “

So every time someone meets me and looks at my tag this is usually the reaction …

(Me) Hi I’m Sister Hughes…..

Hi Sister Hughes …….ummmmm…… what is going on with your name tag…???????

Hi Sister Hughes….You were called to Idaho speaking that Language????

Wait ……are you speaking Japanese…..Wait Korean… …what is it????

Wait why is your tag different????

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I love when people ask me that in the middle of Winco…… Having this weird tag is a great conversation starter. Everyone thinks I am super good at Chinese….Ha jokes on them…. I say the prayer in Chinese a lot at dinners. Kids love it!

No every one I didn’t get called to Idaho speaking Chinese. If I did they would have probably put me with a companion who could speak….Sad day there was a sister from Taiwan here…..but she left two days after me…… gooood one. oh well .

But someone told us that we should go see his neighbor who is from Taiwan….The daughter speaks English and Chinese but the parents don’t speak any English….and they want me to teach them……..ummmmmmm time to panic! I don’t have any help…..But we are going to stop by in a few days and maybe we (I) can teach them a lesson…..This will be good.

She will hate the every night meals since she is food freak…but she will like the association with members.

2. As you saw this weekend, we are deep in FOOTBALL season and having a blast raising our kids, watching them achieve their goals and helping them through disappointments.

We can’t wait for every weekend for the games. The boys are so excited and we love watching. It just gets better and better every year.

We’re so shocked that Noah played football this year. He has been all about baseball and so we are happy he went out for the team.

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It has been an adjustment playing tight end and I cringe every time the ball is thrown but he seems to be getting there and getting it done. Although he had a great game as we posted on Facebook and there were a tons of highlights, he missed the final catch to win the game….so we went to OT. It is moments like that…that I want to lay down and die at the game

3. Chase is making his way through high school and a crazy season at BG as several of his friends and best players are injured. That has hurt us big time…but it rolls on.

He is continuing to try to push his way to college with studying hard and getting his film out there. He has heard from a couple of schools and flies out to BYU in November for a game and a little recruiting bit.

The BYU defensive coach told him they are going to make a a decision on him after next summers camp in our last letter.


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He was player of the week at this years BYU camp as an outsider linebacker, but he will continue to showcase at the national camps for kicking and punting.

It is all he thinks about and the risk of coming up empty handed in the end is real.

My job is just helping him live in the moment, enjoy the journey of where he is at and the stage he is in, encouraging him and most importantly helping him prepare for his mission which is top priority and hard to keep at #1 as there is so much allurement right now.

Here is a look at a Chase scoring against Merrimack a couple of weeks ago that someone captured…that was awesome game in pouring rain. He had tattooed 24 on his arm for his friend who broke his leg….it was a game of heart and soul.


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Highlights of the Weekend

Labor day came and went and it wasn’t labor less.

Brian’s boss was in town and Brian was busy entertaining him from Thursday until late Saturday. Since he brought his 11 year old, that involved putting one of our kids into the mix.

We spent Thursday night out at the Wentworth By the Sea. Never a bad choice that is for sure for a getaway!


You simply can’t go wrong at this property. I ended up watching kids as they ate dinner with clients….but who cares, happy for the little, easy getaway.

We also played tourist in Boston and took a duck tour.

I am always good at playing tourist so that was exciting just to learn a few more things about Bean Town.

2. Brian and Noah then headed down to the UCONN – BYU game in CT.

He ran the flag out at the game and had a blast connecting with old friends from his football days such as Chad Lewis who is always great to set us up for the games etc.


This is B. Hughes favorite time of the year and all of my boys love a good game of college football.


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3. Chase played for Bishop Guertin Highschool this weekend and had a fantastic game.

Here is what they said on twitter-

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What a way to kick off….so happy for him.

4. That led me to some free time…believe it or not and I started the crazy build of the new website for our nonprofit that was hacked for Color My World.

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Everyone just said to hire someone this go around, but the truth is by the time that you gather content and photos the upload is the easy part. Hour after hour I gathered what I could find.

Actually this could be a blessing in disguise in the end for the non-profit. But for me…pure pain and time away from family.

I am just counting down the days and hours until it is done.

No rest for the wicked.

5. We heard from Hillary yesterday on her mission and she had this to say.

“So the other night Sister Strong told me that I woke up and said a prayer in perfect Chinese and then went back to bed. Ummmmmmm what the heck ?????? Really? Ok I will take it. I really needed to pray for some reason. I hope it was good………Actually for the past few nights I have said something in Chinese every night….Ummmm why can’t I remember how to say these things during the day? #hillproblems…..wrong time of day brain!”

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This reminded me of my mission…I would often speak in Japanese in my sleep.

I read that and giggled.

It was a great weekend all around!

4 Talks 4 Powerful Ideas

This morning I was reading my scriptures, pondering and thinking about some things from the Ensign magazine.

This month’s Ensign (September) has some of the most important thoughts I think I have ever read.

Here are a few of them and one nugget from Robert Gay, who I deeply admire.

This story-

Years ago some of my associates and I began partnerships that extended loans to impoverished people in India. One of the first women we loaned money to built a small, successful business. We asked her what she was going to do with her newfound profits. She told us, “I am going to buy my son back from slavery.”

I have never forgotten her words. Out of desperation for food, her family had sold their son into indentured servitude. The harsh reality of our world is that many people live without what many of us take for granted: electricity, education, employment, clean water, sufficient food—let alone the liberating truths of the restored gospel.

Everything we receive in this life is a blessing from a loving Father in Heaven. But with blessings comes responsibility.

When I was 17 years old, my father spoke of this challenge to a group of Church members.

For dutiful servants, he said, “godly responsibility always precedes individual opportunity. Ours is a choice to see if we will take the talents, the resources, and the blessings God has given us and blaze new paths to realize His purposes or sit on the sidelines content in our individual successes or failures. … In the world of faith, you always stand at this crossroad.”


A fundamental question you should consider is this: “What am I going to do with the blessings that have been bestowed upon me?” Will you be like those of the world to whom the prophet Moroni says, “Why do ye adorn yourselves with that which hath no life?” (Mormon 8:39). Or will you rise like disciples to whom the Savior says, “Unto whom much is given much is required”? (D&C 82:3). Will you engage or be content on the sidelines? Will you lift others or think only of yourself?

Everyone Has Something to Give
God invites us to be agents of action and to be anxiously engaged in good causes (see D&C 58:27; 2 Nephi 2:26). It is easy to limit the impact of our love, our influence, and our blessings to only close friends, loved ones, and those of our own choosing, but the Savior asks more of us. “If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?” (Matthew 5:46). Paul added this exclamation point: “[Without] charity, I am nothing.” Charity, he added, “seeketh not her own” (1 Corinthians 13:2, 5). We are to leave our comfort zones and bless those around us, including strangers, those who reject us, and even those who despise us.

Some of you will say, “Who am I? I am no genius. I have no unique talent. I am nobody special. I just feel fortunate to get through each day.”

To each of you, no matter your fears or uncertainties, I say, “Never sell yourself short!” Today you and I live in a world where good and evil share the stage, but the Lord tells the faithful, “Nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matthew 17:20).

Let this one absolute truth from heaven sink into your mind and heart—you have the power within you to astonish this world. You are a son or daughter of the most powerful Being and force in the universe. You are endowed with His all‐knowing light and truth, by which you may forsake all evil (see D&C 93:37). Moreover, the Lord teaches this profound truth: “To every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God” (D&C 46:11).

2. This note on preparedness from President Monson- struck me as something Brian and I need to get absolutely better at. We are not in debt, but we could be more prepared.

We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt. Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had a supply of food and clothing and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have a supply of debt and are food-free.


3. And a whole lesson on Bridling your Passion from Elder Bednar.
I will definitely be teaching a family night lesson on this. I am feeling prompted to continue to impress this upon my children.

“See that ye bridle all your passions, that ye may be filled with love.”

Alma 38:12

A Bridle:

Affects an area of sensitivity. Bridling our passions means controlling emotions and desires, which people can feel sensitive about, because the natural man wants them to have free rein. But if we overcome our sensitivities, we can develop self-discipline.


Is placed on animals that are of great use. We are told to “bridle all [our] passions,” not to suppress or kill all our passions. Controlling our emotions and desires does not mean to stamp all of them out because they are all bad. Just as we bridle animals because they are useful and helpful, we bridle our passions so that we can control them and allow them to serve a higher purpose.

Helps to tame and train. Just as wild animals can be hostile, unpredictable, and destructive, so can our passions and emotions be if left unchecked. When we tame our emotions, we can train them and redirect them in positive ways to fulfill a greater purpose than they ever could if we simply allowed them to run wild.

Helps to direct. The reins attached to a bridle help us direct an animal in the way we would like it to go. Similarly, we can channel some strong emotions into good works or other appropriate outlets in order for us to become better people and of greater service. By bridling our passions, we can “be filled with love”—one of the highest and greatest emotions—and become more like our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

4. And finally this terrific quote from Elder Ballard on a talk on the Atonement and the Value of One Soul that he gave years ago. My friend, Linda Francis, who I adore shared this on Facebook and I loved the entire talk.

“Fathers, mothers and missionaries play before very small audiences. Yet, in the eyes of the Lord, there may be only one size of audience that is of lasting importance–and that is just one, each one, you and me, and each one of the children of God. The irony of the Atonement is that it is infinite and eternal, yet it is applied individually, one person at a time.”

It was just a great morning basking in the spirit and contemplating change in my life….read all 4 of these talks and see how they impact you.

First World Problems

I am looking forward to a fresh start today as the last week as been dominated by breakdowns and meltdowns at the house trying to put things together.

Sunday, was one of them! I am feeding the missionaries a huge roast beef dinner and the next thing I know the dishwasher goes out…first world problems.

Yesterday, we woke up and the air conditioning is on the brink….it is 91 today.

I don’t know why that would bother me…geesh I lived in 91 in Nicaragua and didn’t have a breeze blow on me for weeks.

Add that to replacing the car, the lawn mower, the carpet, the cooktop and the microwave this last two weeks.

The hardest thing for me being back is just the time wasted on first world problems. We live in such a weird society. A hut looks very nice right now. What we have to spend on just getting things repaired is the other thing that is difficult right now. In my mind I am thinking, that would buy a house for so and so in the Dominican. We could build a school with that money. Yet we have to deal with it…and will. Of course, I am not going to live without a dishwasher or AC if I don’t have too. It is a teeter-totter I am on right now.

This video made me laugh….still struggling to get back to normal after the summer.

5 Things to Know Today

1. Brian and I freaked out and decided to get new carpet for our upstairs two days ago and it is being installed today. Um….we have needed carpet for about 8 years, but I didn’t realize what a monumental job that would be clearing out the top floor where we all live to have it replaced.

We don’t like to think through these things….like hmmm….maybe we should touch up the paint, since it looks worse than ever which leads me to number 2 today. I hate to spend the money on carpet and would rather live in a hut and travel and have experiences then spend more on housing….so this for me was put off until my husband couldn’t stand it another minute….and then you know it was time.

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2. I decided I would touch up our bedroom paint which is a ice cake blue Martha Stewart color, but that started a chain reaction of the fresh paint looking WAY higher gloss than the original and $100.00 later now I need to bring in a painter to paint the whole room.

Look at Lizzy not too excited about this job!

Bad luck since I just wanted to touch up some baseboards and a hall in my room that is so scratched up from years of kids.

This is exactly why I don’t do home maintenance anything.

Time, money…lack of skills…it is so frustrating.

We will love the new carpet and I won’t hate to say goodbye to this dog, constructor grade carpet that we have had in our room for nearly 13 years.

3. School started today for Chase. He is a junior and looked dapper in his uniform this morning. Gone are the days of prepping him for his education. He is off to successfully launch with little or no help from me, which made me a little more teary eyed than when I sent him to kindergarten.

The rest of the kids will start after labor day their homeschool program as I need a week to put things together.

4. The travel business has been hot this week and we have been booking people all over the Caribbean and Mexico in all inclusive packages for their school vacation weeks, which has been joyful thing for me.



I always love to plan and book travel and I would do it in my sleep if I could.

5. Our website for Color My World that was hacked is getting worked on right now. My little brother, Glen, who is on our board is helping me load themes and I was lucky to pull together old content the last couple of weeks that makes me thrilled that we might have something together in time to launch our groups.


I guess I am spending next summer in the third world again. I miss it already!


I hate spending hours on this carpet production when my friends have dirt floors. I swear the things we waste time fretting over here is ridiculous but part of this vicious lifestyle we live in America. I am all about living in a hut the rest of my life.

My friend, Gail, who we partner with in Costa Rica, literally lives on $12,000 a year and has a fabulous lifestyle of service and is completely fulfilled.

Her life makes me rethink my priorities and all of our junk in our home.


Pulling out all of these bedrooms for carpet has made me wonder why we live with so much stuff?

Hmmm….think about that today!

Rebuilding My Life

I have taken a long vacation from blogging all because of technical reasons.

As you know, at the beginning of the year, I lost a huge portion of my blog to a technical issue…that ripped my heart out as that was a big part of my journal.  I went back to handwriting in a journal and I found that I wasn’t near as efficient.

Then it was multiple computer crashes in Europe and this summer….frankly if I could leave technology altogether it wouldn’t be a bad idea :)

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(Oh….Italy is so darn dreamy…isn’t it!)

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For weeks, I thought if ignored this thing I would eventually lose my desire to blog and document and that worked for awhile, but recently I feel more impressed to write and get things going again on this website.

So today marks my move back into the blogging world.

Where am I at with my life?

Hmmm…I am on life sabbatical right now…..thinking about where I have been and where I am going, not to mention happy to be content! My soul is so filled with joy because of the people I have met, the discoveries we have made and the time we have spent together as a family.


Now, I have given myself one month off of everything to decide what the future is….to take a break and to THINK! I am not expecting big change, but I need to make some decision to where and what we are doing especially in regards to the humanitarian work we are doing.

This year has been non-stop travel, a month in Europe, 6 weeks in Dominican, Nicaragua, Peru and Costa Rica and a variety of other short trips to Orlando, San Diego, Utah, Florida, NYC and New Orleans. Of course, it doesn’t top our international destinations but when it comes to family time…it trumped.

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We have been lots of places, I love reminiscing about them all. Orlando believe it or not, was one of my favorites…it was a 2 day stopover on the way to Costa Rica…but I loved the magical time with my kids getting all of their attention.

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If I don’t step on another plane until 2015…I won’t feel bad about it.

I am calling this the rebuild period as I try to put things back together.  I have websites that have crashed because of hackers (Color My World), a car that needed to be replaced, equipment that has caused issues, my iPad was broke by the bellhop at Marriott, my MacBook Pro replaced twice, Go Pro’s lost in the ocean, luggage broken, lawn mowers needed to be replaced. Lots of things destroyed….hmmmm…wondering if I need them now. After you live with so little all summer you come to realize that you need a lot less. (topic for another day!) I will be keeping with this theme of acquiring and managing less this year. It is hard to return and have to battle all of the stupid things we find to be important in the first world.

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But I do know one thing today…and that is that I really miss writing on my blog and in my journal. Just that time in the morning to reflect on where I am in life is like therapy for me this morning. Currently, I am lying in bed, down comforter piled on top of me, resting my head on a fluffy pillow and smiling. It is good to be back! It is good to be reflecting on it!

Favorite shots at the Garbage Dump

This summer, I spent a couple of days in the Garbage Dump community of Chinandega, Nicaragua. People live off of the refuge from the dump. It is quite a site and almost unimaginable.
But I find myself aching to be among “mi familia”!

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Picture Perfect Day in Rothenburg

Today, we made a stop to the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

A popular stop on the romantic road in Germany.

It is well-known for it’s middle age appeal and dates back to 950AD.


“Rothenburg held a special significance for Nazi ideologists. For them, it was the epitome of the German ‘Home Town’, representing all that was quintessentially German.




Throughout the 1930s the Nazi organisation “KDF” (“Kraft durch Freude”) Strength through Joy organized regular day trips to Rothenburg from all across the Reich. This initiative was staunchly supported by Rothenburg’s citizenry – many of whom were sympathetic to National Socialism – both for its perceived economic benefits and because Rothenburg was hailed as “the most German of German towns”.

In October 1938 Rothenburg expelled its Jewish citizens, much to the approval of Nazis and their supporters across Germany.”



There is a heavy influence in this area as Christmas markets are in full swing in this idyllic town.




A ton of movies have been filmed in Rothenburg including parts of Harry Potter.



It is just sheer beauty here right now as spring has sprung!






Rothenburg had several unique bakeries with flavorless items.




Prior to our stop in Rothenburg we visited Harburg Castle. It was a unique look at medieval life in another area of Bavaria.





Back to Munich, where I shot this gate from a moving bus!



Salzburg and Lake Wolfgangsee

Beautiful Salzburg is where we made our journey to today.

“Salzburg’s “Old Town”  has internationally renowned baroque architecture and one of the best-preserved city centers north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. 

Salzburg was the birthplace of 18th-century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In the mid‑20th century, the city was the setting for parts of the musical play and film The Sound of Music.”

The weather was in the mid 40s and we were ill equipped to tackle it with sweatshirts and limited layers.


The forecast called for snow in Austria and we got our fair share as we were leaving Lake Wolfgangsee at the end of our day.

I love Salzburg! This is like my third or fourth time here…lost count and love it more and more every time I come.


We didn’t hike up to the castle in this photo because we had limited time and we were frozen to the bone, but we had a good time walking around the area that reminds Hillary of Prague, she said repeatedly.




Everyday I seem to make a financial faux pas.  Today it was out outrageously expensive Japanese food that we had for lunch.
When I got the bill, I gasped…..I am not quite sure how someone feeds a family of 4 on vacation here.

Panicking when Brian and Chase come next week.  I think I will have to take out a 30 year mortgage to pay off our lunches.



Salzburg charms!





One of my favorite parts of the day was our drive to Lake Wolfgangsee.

“Wolfgangsee is a lake in Austria that lies mostly within the state of Salzburg and is one of the best known lakes in the Salzkammergut resort region. The municipalities on its shore are StroblSt. Gilgen with the villages of Abersee and Ried as well as the market town of St. Wolfgang in the state ofUpper Austria. The town and the lake are named after Saint Wolfgang of Regensburg, who, according to legend, built the first church here in the late 10th century.”




We took a boat ride on this scenic lake despite having even a jacket.  It was stunning.  I am not sure what happened to our spring time weather we were promised?  But we enjoyed seeing the cherry blossoms, tulips and bulbs blooming around the towns.

The drive through the Alps to get there was equally as impressive.  I have a soft spot in my heart for Austria as my brother, Brad and Brian’s Dad, served their missions in Austria for the LDS church and my brother, Glen served his mission in the Frankfurt, Germany mission.



Don’t you just want to sell your entire life and move into a chalet in this region?  It is so peaceful and has been a wonderful break for me. I love the simple life Austria promises!







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