I AM ENGAGED! (July 12,2017)

Hello! I am excited to announce my engagement to my wonderful, now fiancé, Zackary Shaikh. First, let me take a moment to brag about my Zackary. Zack is a ministry major at a Christian university near my hometown and currently serves as a deacon and Sunday School teacher in his church. He knows ASL, how to play the piano and guitar and so much more. He graduated top of his class in a competitive class and even tutored at the local community college while in high school. He has went on various mission trips, including a Deaf camp where he learned ASL. Although this man is talented in just about everything, there is so much more to him than his intelligence and amazing abilities out in the world. Not only does he love me right, he loves me like Jesus does. This man knows me inside and out, but does not dare use it against me but for me. He forgives me when I do not deserve it. He sees my worst and loves me as if I am perfect, which I am most certainly not. He spoils me with attention, food, laughter, and so much more. I have never been happier. I smile more, I enjoy myself more, and I love myself more. If another person can look at all my flaws and still CHOOSE to love me, I know that I should be able to love myself as well. He is compassionate towards people and animals. He loves people and I cannot believe how easy it is for him to just get out there and speak to anyone and everyone. I get very anxious in social situations but he does not hold that against me or try to push me out of my comfort zone. He just holds my hand and walks me through everything, especially the hard situations. He is the one who gets down and prays on his knees with me when I cannot stand the weight that is on my shoulders. He wipes my tears and makes me laugh. He shines like Jesus when all I can see is darkness. When I met him, I never knew he would be this vital in my life but I did know that he was someone I wanted in my life. A friendship turned into a beautiful thing. Now I get to marry my bestfriend and I do not deserve this blessing but I will thank God everyday for not only this man but the mercy and love He Himself gives to me daily. Last Saturday, the 8th, we traveled 11 hours down to my father’s in Southeast Texas. Zack had never met my father so my father invited us to spend a week down here. We spent the first few days down at the sandbar down the road and watching netflix and just spending time with my family. Yesterday, Wednesday, my father took my brother and his girlfriend, and Zack and I to Surfside beach. It was a picture perfect day. The sun was shining in all of God’s brilliance. The sky was clear except for some beautiful clouds. The salt water felt great against my skin. It was a beautiful sight, one I will forever remember. Zack asked my father and my brother for my hand in marriage. He also asked my mother. I know some may call it old-fashioned, but I love that he had the respect for me and my family to do so. At the end of the day when we were about to leave the beach he asked if my family could take a picture of us. He then turned and I had a feeling about what was happening. He got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I wrapped my arms around him and I said yes! How could I not? I now wear my great-grandmother’s ring which means so much to me. I love sentimental things and I am honored to wear her ring. I am young. I may not know everything, but I do know I love this man. I know that it is real and spiritually led. I know he will take care of me and guide me as he guides me everyday to lead me to the woman I need to be. I am unapologetically in love. I am unapologetically following Christ until the day I die. I know God led us to one another and what God has joined together let no man tear apart. Pray for us as we move on to this chapter in our lives. It will not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.

~Future Mrs. Shaikh


“Refuse to Let The World Corrupt You”

“Refuse to let the world corrupt you.” We live in a world full of heartache and pain where people are abusing alcohol and drugs to fill the void of emptiness inside themselves. There is something bigger and more life changing than anything else that can fill that void: love. As human beings we have a need to give and receive love but more times than not we let the hatred of the world seep into us instead of the love inside of us to seep out.
When I was in Memphis, Tennessee doing mission work, I met a little boy around 7 years of age and he told me that there are more bad than good people and that a person can never change. My heart shattered a little bit in that moment, but I made the realization that a lot of people think that way, even the people who need to change. We are our biggest enemy. We keep ourselves from opportunities, necessary changes, and even love.
I have always had a heart for helping other humans and animals. To care for and to love others is one of my main purposes in life. I am planning to major in Social Work and eventually go overseas. My dream is to go to Africa to help in villages that do not even have clean water. However, I can not and will not limit myself to one city, one state, or even one country. I want to show anyone and everyone that there is love and hope. I want to find the people who are so filled with hate all they see is darkness, so I can come in and show them a better way.
When I help others, whether it be loving on children in Memphis or writing articles for my town’s website, I feel complete. I know I have a purpose in life, and it is to help others. I am not the best writer, but I write in sincerity. God bless.

November: Trevecca

I promised to write about November, so here I am… a little late. But nonetheless, I will write about it  now.

The first major event of November was going to Nashville for the McClurkan Scholarship Day. I wore my brown skirt suit with a purple top and wore flats for I would be walking around quite a bit. At 9:00 a.m., the McClurkan Scholars were registered and then welcomed into the Benson Auditorium or McClurkan Building. From 10 to 11 a.m. we met in Academic Focus Groups, mine being Human and Behavioral Science. Once in the class room, we broke down into groups such as law, social work, and psychology. My future major is social work, so another  girl and I met with a professor in that field. We learned about different clubs we could be in and different community service projects we would do. It was very interesting and throughout the day I reconfirmed that Trevecca was home to me. The other girl that was also interested in social work was Emily Riggs. I absolutely adored her spirit and we became friends. I am happy to say that she will be my roommate. After the focus groups, we went to the Boone Business Building where we ate a wonderfully prepared lunch and was entertained by a Christian musical group from Trevecca. President Dan Boone spoke and answered questions. We were free to take tours of the campus or go off and do our own thing with our family. We had 15 minute interviews from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. My individual interview was at 3:30 p.m. I was nervous. I had been praying about this for the whole day and I was literally a bundle of nerves. However, I asked God right before going in for strength and that His will be done. I went in and saw Mr. Toy that I had met earlier at lunch who was in charge of marketing. There were two other men in the room who were so kind and friendly, but unfortunately I can not remember their names. They asked me common questions like, “Why Trevecca?”  and “What do you want to do in the future?” We talked about my church and school and all the activities I’m involved in. We also talked about God. God is very important to me and that excites me that I will be going to a college where I can talk about God freely and be able to converse with students who also love God. God delivered the strength for me to get through my interview and it ended with smiles and hugs. I felt like it went great, and it did. After the interview, we were free. I went and changed and then went back to the Admissions lobby at 5:30 to leave for the Nashville Nights Event. Emily came with me and we walked down Broadway and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory, which was paid by Trevecca. I had fun and I still remember a boy named Jesse Miller rapping about events in the Bible. The next day was Experience Trevecca Day. It had nothing to do with the scholarship and I barely saw anyone that was there the previous day. Experience Trevecca day was set up as the day before but without any interviews. I took a tour of the campus after the events and saw the dorms. I believe I want the dorm next to the cafeteria but I am not quite sure yet. I stayed around after the tour and saw the campus by myself. It’s beautiful. I love how the squirrels came so close to me and I absolutely adored the front statue of Jesus and the little waterfall. It’s not a modern campus. It is not booming like the regular public university, but it has a homey feel I know I would not get anywhere else. As I walked on the side walks, I had a sense of peace as if God was willing me that Trevecca is the place I need to be. I know it is the place I need to be and will be. Sadly, I did not get the McClurkan Scholarship. It wasn’t God’s will and I am beyond happy for the ones who did receive it. I have received other scholarships and I am still going.  I have paid my enrollment deposit and will be applying for housing as soon as it is made available. I love Trevecca and I can not wait to go there this fall.

November – A month to go down in the books

Written: November 4, 2016


For anyone who does not know, I am a senior and I am 17 years old. I live in Tennessee and I love Jesus. This month involves some traveling for me, and I will be out of town three weekends in a row so I ask for prayer. One thing I have been praying about and for is because of the reason I will be in Nashville next weekend, the McClurkan Scholarship. November 11th is the McClurkan Scholarship Day. I am nervous, but I am excited. I feel like someone who does pageants that has to appear perfect in all forms to receive this golden prize: full tuition and board. I received a list of the competitors and their majors last night. I also received my schedule, and a map of the campus. My nerves have been destroyed. I did not come from a private school. I have not left this country. I am from a small town, and I love Jesus. Trevecca feels like home. In August, if you asked me about Trevecca, I would have been like “Trevecca? What is that?” It was only upon coming to the booth at a college fair that I learned about Trevecca. Instantly, I felt being called there. I have prayed and prayed. I hope that when I can not stand this pressure that I will kneel. I hope that I stand confident in front of those on campus. But above all, I hope that I allow Jesus to use me for God’s glory and not my own. I need to remember that this life is not mine. It is God’s will and I am but a tool. Let me be humble and diligent to the call God has on my life. Praise God for allowing me this opportunity. The weekend after Trevecca I will be going to Beta convention in Nashville and it will be my lat Beta trip ever. I am beyond sad and have already cried over it. I always say I am unemotional but when the time comes, I cry like a baby. I am so grateful for the years I have had with my Beta family, especially my sponsors Mrs. Amy and Coach Lee. Their son has lifted my spirits while attending each year, and Beta will definitely be part of my best memories of High School. The next weekend, Thanksgiving, I will be going to Oklahoma to see my dad with my brother and grandmother. I have not seen my grandmother since last semester and my dad since July., so  will be an amazing reunion. However, I am sad that I will be missing my family tradition of Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house in Finger. I am excited to leave the state again and to spend the holidays with my father.  This life is so nerve wrecking but so beautiful.  I can not wait to see what God has in store. I will update throughout the month about how things are going. Please pray for me and God bless!

Yours truly,

Rachel Hughey

Signing a Brighter Future

English IV Dual Credit Profile Assigment

Written: October 26, 2016


Not everyone is called out into the mission field, but the few who are have to be diligent, patient, and Christ-focused. Zackary Shaikh meets all these qualities and more. He was preaching by the age of 12, and doing mission trips by the age of 15. The one that he has been doing the longest and has changed his life and perspective the most is Camp SummerSign.

Camp SummerSign is a camp located at the Brentwood Baptist Deaf Church and it is for children ages 6-17 who are Deaf or are siblings to a Deaf child. Staff members interact with the children in their own language, ASL (American Sign Language), and teach them about Jesus. Zackary learned about Camp SummerSign through his BCM director at Bethel University, where Zackary currently attends as a Ministry major. He knew it would be a challenging mission trip, since he barely knew anything about the Deaf culture, but he was ready for anything that would come his way.

Zackary first went to Brentwood in the summer of 2013 and immediately fell in love with the camp. He knew this was what he would be doing for a while, and he did. After three summers, he is now fluent in ASL and looks to even becoming an ASL interpreter one day alongside being a pastor. It was a challenging transition of learning ASL at the beginning. Watching everyone sign so easily made him think, “I can’t do this.”  He even stated that he told everybody he was on a mission “shrimp,” as he preceded to actually sign the word “shrimp” instead of “trip.” He has come a long way, now preferring ASL to English. Unfortunately, he does not know enough people who sign in his area to be able to sign daily. At most schools and colleges, there are classes for Spanish, French, or Latin. However, barely any schools offer ASL and Zackary hopes that it will be offered in the near future.

Becoming more aware of the Deaf culture, Zackary learned a lot. Most Deaf people are very blunt, and very few know English phrases. In ASL, English is not directly translated. ASL has its own sentence structure. For example, in English you would say, “ I love you.” On the other hand, in ASL, you would sign, “You, I love.” ASL is a unique language with its own set of rules. People who are native English speakers think in English, just as native Spanish speakers think in Spanish. ASL signers are not any different; they think in signs. The Deaf have their own slang and culture, and they do not see their disability as anything wrong. It is their life.  Just as preachers in our very own churches tell us, “Jesus loves you,” Zackary signs to his children at camp , “You, Jesus loves.”

Zackary has experienced a number of health problems since he was a child including Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and depression. While away at Camp SummerSign in 2015, he was sent to a hospital due to his health problems. His persistence really showed then as he went straight back to camp after being released instead of going home. Mission work is not for the weak. At Camp SummerSign, staff has the children for 8 hours. Keeping up with children when you are a college student is quite a task. Nothing can compete to the energy and playfulness of a child. Every week, the children and staff go on at least one field trip. That is hard enough with any child, but especially with children who can not hear. The staff’s eyes have to be open at all times, considering that even some of the staff are Deaf. Long hours and having to stay as alert as a mother over her newborn is tough, but Zackary loves it. The thrill of seeing his students thrive is like none other. He teaches them about Jesus, but they also learn to embrace their individuality. Being Deaf is not a disability, but rather a chance to see life in a whole new light.

There is a young boy at the camp who use to be an orphan in Ethiopia. He was put on the streets at the age of 4, and he was not going to be able to be adopted. Somehow, a family from America was able to adopt him. The young boy is now 11 and is flourishing in his language and knowledge. Because of Camp SummerSign and staff like Zackary Shaikh,children are growing in their knowledge, their understanding, and even their faith. Fifteen children were saved just over the past summer.  Camp SummerSign offers a chance to children who do not have the help of parents or school to immerse themselves in their own culture. They can communicate, learn, and fellowship. They learn about Jesus and have the opportunity to say what they have been wanting to say for so long because the language barriers are coming down. Camp SummerSign is not only a safe haven for deaf children, it is a chance to better the world by giving these children a brighter future.

My Best Friend’s Illness

Written: 10/25/2016


Never knowing when he might go

Panicking every time he is sick

Trying to not let it show

Looking for cures or even magic

It is all smiles then all pain

Taking pills every day

He is still sunshine in all the rain

I’m begging God to not take him away

I know one day it will come

He will leave my side

My life will come undone

For he was not supposed to die

There will be the ones who will say

At least he is not suffering

But they don’t understand the prayers I have prayed

They weren’t the ones watching

We say “till death do us part”

Thinking we are invincible

but forever will he remain in my heart

Life without him isn’t livable

For now, he is alive

And for that I praise

But I know one day he will die

And for that, I worry all my days.






Deborah: My Encounter with a Fierce Soul Memoir

Written: September of 2016

In my DC English IV class, we had to write a memoir of something that happened in our lives. My sweet aunt Deborah was my topic. 


My great aunt Deborah had been sick all her life, but at 11 years old I couldn’t imagine her death. The childhood memories at her and my grandmother’s home were still fresh: the late night runs to Sonic and me playing around with her makeup and fragrance powders, my brother and I making them laugh so hard that they had to change, and the never ending stories. The memories were so alive, and I couldn’t face the fact of her not being alive.

To my knowledge, she had always been sick in different ways. She had been sick since she was a child, even had polio. She had mental issues and had the mind of more of a 15 year old than a 56 year old, which is why we probably got along so well. So, her health had never really been well, just enough to keep her alive. But then she got cancer and her life started to fade. It was cancer of the lung at first and then it spread. She was admitted to the Baptist Hospital in Union City in March of 2011. I remember coming and visiting her, and I had to look away. Here was this woman that I loved in a hospital bed with machines that seemed to swallow her tiny frame whole. Then, she was sent home to die.

At the time, my mother and father were going through a divorce, so I clinged to my grandmother and helped take care of Deborah. It was my escape. They set up a hospital bed in the middle section of my grandmother’s house and gave her a wheelchair for when she wanted to sit outside. I spent most weekends over there and by summer I was there every day.

At 11 years old, I became a caretaker. I did what most will not. She had diapers and although they did smell foul, I did not mind changing them. Bathing her was undressing her, sponging her naked body with warm water, and redressing her. She would just smile at me through it all. I do not know how she was so happy. I could probably not handle it the way she did. She was indeed a trooper. I would paint her nails and makeup her face when she asked me to. I knew she was suffering, although she did not show it, so I did anything to cause her an ounce of true happiness.

Back then, I played often with these little girls that lived right next door to Deborah, and their grandmother gave me a slap of reality one day.

I had said something along the lines that “when Deborah gets better,” and I was stopped in my tracks.

Ms. Mary looked at me and told, “Honey, she won’t get better.”

At the time, I rejected what she said. I was clinging on to the hope that this wouldn’t be the end.  However, Ms. Mary was right, and my 11 year old self would learn to accept it.

Towards the end, I was giving Deborah higher dosages of morphine. She would make a sour face, and I knew it must have been repugnant.  The morphine would cause her to have strange hallucinations, but there was one that was very dear to me. I believe it was in the few days before her death.

“Rachel, I need you to do my make-up. I have a date.”

I smiled, “A date? Oh really? With whom?”

She beamed very brightly, “His name is Blake and his mother set it up.”

I did what she asked and even painted her nails. She was so excited and was glowing with this huge smile that would light up the darkest room.  However, before she made it to that date, she fell asleep. When she woke up, she had no memory of Blake or the event that was supposed to take place.

Deborah was a woman of small stature and a fierce soul who had been through hell and back on this earth. She had suffered through a sick childhood, an abusive marriage, the death of her husband, and then cancer. At the end of each day, she still found a reason to smile, and that is what made her so strong.  Thankfully, Deborah did not have to suffer much longer.

On June 30th, 2011, I got a call around 9 or 10 in the morning. I was at my dad’s, right down the road from Deborah. I woke up and for some reason I already knew what had occurred. I got on my bike, put on my hat, and raced down the road. As soon as I reached her front yard, I dropped my bike and ran inside. I kissed her and held her hand, not yet cold. My heart sank and memories instantly played through my mind. I heard her voice, her laugh. I saw her smile. Then I looked at her face in that moment. Today, I can still see her eyes open, staring into an abyss of something I know nothing of.

I did not cry that day or at her funeral. I had not accepted it; I could not accept it.  It just seemed surreal, but about a month later I woke up in the middle of the night crying. Deborah was gone.

Looking back now, my time with Deborah is something I can never forget. That year held a lot of change for me, from my parents’ divorce to my grandfather’s death. My dad even moved to Texas that summer and there were no more trips to my grandmother’s house. I learned very valuable lessons that year: time is precious, and things are always changing. Some days I remember Deborah’s date and her sweet innocence in this cruel world, how she stayed lifted even though cancer was taking her away. I remember how she was the one who adjusted her sails in this raging storm, not waiting nor caring for the storm to stop. The world could not change her, but she did change it.  Because of her, I can never view this beautiful tragedy of what we call “life” as anything less than precious and something worth fighting for.


I Stopped Writing

As most could tell, I have not been on here for a year or so. I have been so swamped by life. I am in my senior year and everything is so hectic and I have forgotten to do the one thing I love to do the most: write. I have been writing papers and essays for college, but I have not been writing for me, for the world. I have looked over my old pieces and I see the flaws I once did not see, and I also see me. I see a girl who just wanted to put down her thoughts because writing is much simpler than speaking. I am coming back. I make a vow to myself that I will start back again with the love of my life. Thank you for the love and support I have received while I have been gone.



Rachel Hughey


Distractions to survive

Distractions to revive

Distractions to feel alive

Smoke, Drink, Blades

Continue until it all fades

A labyrinth of darkness

Ignorance is bliss

Prideful in fake happiness

Distractions to forget

Distractions to live

Distractions are met

August 28th

So today was the day I got my driver’s license, and that was nerve wrecking enough. I was particularly scared because I was driving there when I hit a squirrel. My heart shattered, for this was the first time I had hit anything. I continued driving and went to the DMV. I was a nervous wreck, but I did get my license. Then, later while at McDonalds, our order costs $6.66 or as the superstitious employee said “triple six.” Not to mention, my dad dropped a motor on his finger messing up his finger  nail pretty bad. “I broke a nail” does not cut it. I’ll drop a photo below.


So today was just a day of bad omens, so I’m still waiting for what this is leading to. I am not really superstitious,  but today was a bit suspicious. Well any who, I got my license. Look below ❤ (:


Rachel Hopes