Tag Archives: hope

2014: I’m coming for you!

Happy New Year!

Here we are once again… at the beginning a new year. This seems to happen all too often these days. But I do enjoy the opportunity to get myself focused and move past the haze of the holidays and prepare to start off another year. There’s something about the beginning of a year that makes you stop and take stock of where you are in your life and where you want to go from here. I have been doing a lot of that over the past few weeks.

I’m not a big fan of resolutions. I feel like they are just about making some big change that we often haven’t really thought out and considered what all needs to go into that. I would much rather set goals for myself that are focused on moving forward and achieving something.

I do have a tendency to set rather vague goals that aren’t necessarily measurable or within a specific time range, so I am trying to be more focused and specific this year. I am also trying to not do too much or put too much pressure on myself, so I have narrowed it down to my 5 Big Goals for this year:

  1. Implement changes for The Stolen Colon: I actually have some more specific ideas here, but I don’t want to divulge the details of them just yet!
  2. Get organized/save money/stay on budget: Somewhat vague, but I have some actual steps to take like putting together a meal plan every week, saving a certain percentage of every paycheck and I have created a budget sheet to track our expenses.
  3. Stay focused on another semester of grad school: I am taking it one semester at a time and plan to spend one hour every evening studying and reading so I’m not have to cram it in at the last minute.
  4. Run my third half-marathon (this time with Jarrod): Our race is April 13 and I’ve got my training all mapped out. And I already got my first 5K in today!
  5. Plan an amazing vacation: Jarrod and I are planning a trip to Europe this Spring! We’ve been saving and are trying to get all of the details in place. We have already met with a travel agent and hope to get everything nailed down very soon. So excited!

Those are the specific things I plan to focus on in the coming months and throughout the year. However, some of those things will be over with in the first part of the year, so I did some thinking about what I want this year to look like as a whole. We have this thing we do at work where we discuss the previous weeks and work out things that have gone right and things that have gone wrong. Then we put a graph together of things that we want to start doing or stop doing or that we should keep doing or do more of or less of:

pie graph circle start stop do more less of keep doing goal setting resolutions stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis inflammatory bowel disease ibd ostomy blog

Some of these are a bit on the vague side, but these are more of ideas and principles that I want to guide me through the year.


  • stressing and worrying so much
  • taking on too many things

Do Less of

  • sleeping in too late
  • leaving the house a mess
  • procrastinating on school work

Keep Doing

  • making the bed every day
  • putting together a bunch of freezer meals to eat during the week

Do More of

  • meditation
  • date nights with Jarrod
  • healthy eating
  • exercise


  • reading for pleasure again
  • going back to the gym
  • tracking my budget every day

I have often felt in my past that I was always waiting for something to make everything… right. There was always a big “IF.” If I could find the job that I want… If I wasn’t feeling so bad… If I didn’t have to worry about this… or deal with that… THEN I would be happy. It always left me wanting something and never satisfied with all of the amazing things I have in my life. And honestly, I finally don’t have any “IF”s. I am happy and fulfilled and excited about everything that the future holds. This is going to be a great year. Because I choose to make it a great year.


Rising from the ashes

“In order to rise from its own ashes, a Phoenix first must burn.”
-Octavia Butler

I got a tattoo. A big, beautiful, loud, colorful one.

I got it a couple of weeks ago, so it is finally healed up to where I can show it off a little. And I know some people may think I’m a little crazy, especially for getting it right on my forearm, but this was actually very well thought out and planned for months and months.

I have actually been thinking about getting one for a number of years and even decided on what I wanted about three years ago, but I finally made the decision to officially go through with it last December. Due to other issues like a broken wrist, surgery, half-marathon training and having to fit the artist’s schedule, it got pushed back almost a year.

So this is her… my phoenix.phoenix phenix tattoo feminine fire bird flame ashes burning stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's disease ulcerative colitis ibd inflammatory bowel disease ostomy blgo

There is a lot of symbolism involved in my choice of image. I always knew if I was going to get a tattoo that it would have to be an image that really meant something to me. My original plan was to get her on my back and neck, but just a few weeks before my scheduled appointment, I thought about the fact that I would never actually get to see it. Sure, I could see a reflection or a picture of it, but would never actually see it with my own eyes. And this was such a profoundly personal symbol for me that I wanted to be able to see it all of the time. So my forearm seemed like the right place.

In mythology, the phoenix, at a certain point, ignites and burns to ashes, but from those ashes, the phoenix is reborn. This idea of rising from the ashes really speaks to me. We all have our struggles and battles that we fight. And while there may be times that we feel like we have been completely consumed by it and reduced to ashes, there is hope in using those ashes to rise again, even stronger than before.

There have been times where I felt that Crohn’s had destroyed me. I felt like I had nothing left. And it’s in those moments that we really find ourselves and show what we are made of. I love having that reminder every day that no matter how bad things get and even when we feel like we have been consumed by fire and turned into ashes, we can that and make it into something beautiful and powerful. We will fly again.

What inspires you?

I’ve been feeling a little stuck lately. A little uninspired. Even as I’m writing this post I keep changing and deleting and rewriting because it’s all sounding… wrong.

I’m at a point in my life where I’m not exactly where I want to be. And that’s not to say that I’m not happy. I have a wonderful husband and family; I have a great community of friends, both in everyday life and online, that mean a lot to me; I have more blessings than I can count and I’m very thankful for them.

I think I’ve had a hard time finding my “place.” Where do I fit in? What was I put here to do? I think having the Stolen Colon has been the one thing that has really gotten me through because it’s something that I feel I can contribute to and possibly make a difference with. It’s something that brings together everything I love into one place: writing, helping others with Crohn’s/IBD/ostomies, creativity. And if I could spend all of my time working on all of those things then I don’t think I’d feel this way.
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These three remain

1 corinthians 13 faith hope love bible verse stephanie hughes stolen colon ostomy crohns blog

I have been pretty overwhelmed with negative feelings recently. You can probably see it in my writing and in the lack of attention to what has been going on in my little Stolen Colon world. I hit some bumps in the road lately that have made me feel down. Basically, I’ve felt like a failure.

It has made me think a lot about what is most important to me in this life. I start making a list of all of the things that I care about and all of the things that I want to be apart of or want to accomplish. But when I start taking a hard look at that list, I realize how little of it actually matters.

I have tried to take a step back and look at it with new eyes. As I’ve done that, I’ve realized that there are only 3 things in this world that really matter: my faith, my family and friends, my health. Outside of that, it’s all really just details. At the end of the day and at the end of this life, those are going to be the things that make a difference.

While I don’t believe this is exactly what Paul was talking about when he wrote 1 Corinthians 13, I do believe that the words of the Bible were meant to be a living entity that mean different things to different people at different times. Today, this is what it means to me:

This represents my faith in God. My belief in what He did for us and what He offers us today. Making my faith a priority means spending time on it and enjoying learning more and listening to that still, small voice.

Anything I can hope for the future rests on my health. If I don’t have the strength or energy that comes with being healthy, I know I won’t become the person I want to be. I have to focus on taking care of myself by eating right, staying hydrated, getting enough rest and not stressing about insignificant things.

My relationship with my husband has got to be one of the most important things in my life on a daily basis. I think it’s easy to take this for granted and just live each day together. But I want to continue to grow together and learn about each other even more.
Keeping a good relationship with the rest of my family and friends is just as important. These people are always going to be a part of my life and are going to be the ones there for you when you need them, so I want to make sure to maintain those relationships and not let months go by without spending time together.

It’s amazing to think about how little I focus on those things. I don’t read my Bible or pray as much as I ought. I don’t spend purposeful time with Jarrod every day or my other family and friends like I want. I’ve been more focused on my health recently, but I also don’t put a huge emphasis on all of those aspects. 

If we base our worth on all of the others things that happen in our lives, we’re probably always going to feel like a failure. I keep thinking that once I do this or accomplish that, then I’ll be where I want to be and I’ll be able to kick this feeling. But that’s not going to cut it. Those things aren’t going to fulfill the things that I need in my life. What’s going to bring about the change I need is to remember what my priorities are (or should be) and to go after them.

I apologize if I’ve sounded like a broken record here over the past weeks/months, but sometimes the best way to make it through a tough time is to to lay it all out there for the world to see and work through it piece by piece.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Eleanor Roosevelt