Clear Your Mind

We are consumed daily with so much noise that we can’t take the time to think. Think about our goals, plans and dreams for our futures. We are inundated with so much that’s nothing but noise. I call noise anything that doesn’t allow you to focus on what you should be focusing.

We have to carve out time for ourselves to just think. My best thinking and ideas happen while I’m walking. I love walking. By my job there’s a forest preserve trail that I walk to clear my mind. As I’m walking, I look at nature and I’m just in awe of what God has created. I’m able to hear. Hear from God, hear my thoughts and plans. I have a peace that I can’t explain while walking. Walking centers me.

I notice things that I wouldn’t normally notice because I’m moving too fast or focusing on the wrong things. On one of my afternoon walks I met my friend below.

I couldn’t even remember the last time I saw a turtle. A turtle! He was just moving along as if he didn’t have a care in this world. I thought to myself I need to have the attitude of a turtle – moving at my own pace and not caring about what others are doing. Focusing on myself and making sure I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.

Below are some other picture I’ve taken on my walks:

Let’s talk. What works best for you to clear your mind?

Marriage Is A Triathlon – Not A Sprint!

Recently, I was watching a video about training for a triathlon. A triathlon is a race that is split into three different activities: swimming, biking and running. Let me provide my disclaimer that I’m not ready for a triathlon. First, I have to learn how to swim. Learning how to swim is on my 2019 bucket list.

Back to triathlon training. I was curious about the preparation for a triathlon. After watching the video, I realized that preparing for a triathlon is similar to preparing for a lasting marriage. Let me explain.

You can’t just wake up one morning and go complete a triathlon! There’s some preparation involved. That preparation requires commitment. You have to decide to train so many times a week in preparation for the triathlon. Marriage takes commitment. You have to take your vows seriously and be committed to demonstrating your vows by your actions.

A triathlon requires dedication. There will be some days you don’t feel like training. There will be some days you would rather be spending your time doing something else. There will be days you won’t like training. However, you have to train anyway and remain dedicated to being prepared for the triathlon.

Marriage requires dedication. There will be some days that you don’t want to be married. There will be some days you don’t like your spouse. There will be some days you would rather be doing something else. When those days come and trust me they will, you have to remain dedicated to your marriage.

A triathlon requires some essential gear: a bike, helmet, shoes, swimming cap, goggles and a trisuit to name a few. Without the essential gear, you hinder your chances of doing your best. You want to do your best.

There’s some essential marriage gear: love, good communication, good sex, honesty, God and prayer to name a few. If you don’t have the essential marriage gear, it will be difficult to have a lasting marriage. Essential marriage gear is necessary and beneficial to a good marriage.

A good marriage deserves a good foundation. A good foundation begins with commitment, dedication and the essential gear. Are you ready for your triathlon?

Broken Humans

Broken as defined in the dictionary, “having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.” Brokenness means “Forcibly separated into two or more pieces; fractured.” As you read those two definitions, you might have thought about a time that you were broken or in a state of brokenness. You may still be broken or in a state of brokenness. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to remain broken or continue to be in a state of brokenness.

When we are broken, it’s difficult to continue on our life’s journey. Being in a constant state of brokenness hinders our ability to move on. As a result, the relationships we form doing our times of brokenness have a tendency to be broken.

These relationships are built on brokenness and once we choose to move from our place of brokenness the relationships cannot withstand our path to being whole. For this reason, we should not begin a new relationship while broken. We need to be working on being made whole.

Whole is being “in an unbroken or undamaged state; in one piece.” Being whole seems impossible but we can be once again be whole. What does it take to be made whole?

First, we have to be honest with ourselves and recognize we are operating from a place of brokenness. We sometimes wonder why we are so angry or almost anything can have us crying. We are broken.

Second, we have to want to be whole. If you don’t want to be whole, it doesn’t make sense to lie to ourselves and others that we want to be whole. It’s better to wait until you’re ready. I have needed to lose weight for years, but until I was ready I wasted my time along with the time of others. Now, I’m focused on being healthy and making continuous progress. You have to do whatever you decide to do for you!

Third, seek help. Do not be ashamed to admit you need help. There’s nothing wrong with going to counseling, finding a support group for your brokenness and even reading self-help books. I encourage you to see a professional therapist.

Once we are beyond our broken state, we will be able to see the scars from the healed wounds and help someone else. We can have healthy relationships built on trust and respect. We can be happy and free! We can be whole:

Mama – I Wouldn’t Be Me Without You

“She was there when I took my first breath, and I was there when she took her last.”

I don’t know who is responsible for this quote, but I lived this quote.  On November 21, 2017 at 5:50 am my mom took her last breath and I was with her.

I was determined to stay the night with my mom, and I did.  Even though I knew she would not be alone because God would be there, I wanted to be there with my mom as she made her transition.  If anyone had told me I would have had to make difficult decisions that involved my mom, I would not have believed them.

My mom always said if anything happens to me, you fight for me to live.  I took that literally.  I struggled with saying yes to hospice because to me that meant I was giving up on her.  I prayed and realized I wasn’t giving up on her.  When I was able to truly look at my mom as she lay in the hospital bed, I could see that she was suffering.  She was in so much pain, and not allowing the respirator tube to be removed was delaying the inevitable

In the circle of life children are supposed to bury their parents, but who wants their parents to die?!  We want them to live forever.  I wanted my mom to be here to see my granddaughter grow up and graduate from college.  I wanted my mom to see my daughter have children of her own.  I wanted my mom to be here to make me laugh.  She kept me laughing with the things she said and her views on life.  It seemed like a lot of my family members talked to my mom and she would have the good family tea!  She knew all the family gossip and shared it with me.  

We shared a lot of good times.  We didn’t always agree and during her sickness she was frequently upset with me because she said, “I thought I was the boss of her – LOL.”  I had to be firm and take over medical decisions and other things, which she didn’t like.  Everything I did was for her good.

My advice to anyone whose parents are still alive:  cherish the moments.  Please don’t get caught up in not speaking to them or having petty arguments.  Once your parents are gone, none of that stuff matters.  Instead of creating heartache, make memories with your parents.  The last thing you want to have is regrets or feelings of guilt because you didn’t treat them right.

I don’t have any regrets.  I treated my mother with the respect she was due.  You couldn’t have thin skin around my mom.  She equipped me to be a word master.  I know how to fight with words.  I learned to laugh at words that were meant to hurt me.  She taught me how to accept myself – flaws and all.  Being called fat was funny because I am.  She taught me that.

She taught me to love God.  She taught me how to be saved.  She taught me how to love my family.  She taught me that.  She taught me how to bake a cake.  She taught me how to clean a kitchen.  She taught me how to mop the floor.  She taught me how to wash clothes.  She taught me all of that.

This past year has been a lot of firsts for me:  first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s Day, first Mother’s Day, and first birthday without my mom.  I am an extension of her.  I look like her.  This curly hair came from her.  I find myself saying some of the same things she used to say.

I know my life will never be the same because she’s gone. I miss you so much Ma!  My life is better because you chose to give birth to me.  This first year without you hasn’t been easy and my heart will never be the same.  I’m strong though and I will continue to thrive because you’re my mom.

Chapter 47 of the Book “Annjanette”

Tonight is the last night I will be 47 years old. The night before my birthday I always reflect on the year. I think about my trials, tribulations and triumphs. My goal is to be s better me every year, and vow to not let the same things that caused me to stumble this year, cause me to stumble next year.
I have dealt with some things that I have never dealt with before, and some things that I thought I would never have to deal with again. I look back in amazement that I’m still standing. Like Marvin Sapp says in his song “Never Would’ve Made It.”

I’m stronger, I’m wiser

I’m better, much better

When I look back over all you brought me through

I can see that you were the one I held on to

The you that I held on to is God. I don’t know how anyone can navigate life without Him. I’ve been through some things this year that I could have legit lost my mind, BUT GOD said not so!! 

I took control of my health for real this past year. Not how I had done in the past, but with consistency. Little steps turned into bigger steps and now I see my progress. I’ve lost 75lbs so far!


I’m trying to live a life of quality not quantity. I don’t want to live a long time aided by medication. I want a quality life that includes living life to the fullest while healthy. 

As I reflect, I have no regrets. Every test has become a part of my story. My story shows the essence of Annjanette. My story has helped develop the strong, God-fearing confident woman I am today.

I’m ready for Chapter 48 of the book titled “Annjanette.”

There’s Always A Lesson 

As 2016 comes to an end, I reflect on the lessons I’ve learned about myself and others. These lessons have been eye openers. Each lesson has caused me to grow, made me stronger and continued to shape me into the woman I am right now.
I realize that even though these lessons hurt I am not mad at anyone. It is what it is. I sleep well at night because I treat people the way I want to be treated. As difficult as it has been, I have remained consistent in how I treat others.

The lessons I’ve learned are in no particular order of importance. However, each lesson has defined me and played a significant role in my most recent development.

When I need encouraging, I have to encourage myself. As much as I have encouraged others, I didn’t receive that in return. I had some valley experiences that I had to encourage myself because that same gift I have to recognize when others need encouragement wasn’t operating in the lives of those that I encountered on a daily basis. Encouraging myself caused me to rely more on God than people.

It doesn’t matter how nice I am to others, there will always be someone that doesn’t like me. I used to care. I used to wonder why doesn’t this person like me, what could I do to make him or her like me or what did I do to cause him or her not to like me? This past year I’m over caring about how others feel about me. I can’t be responsible for someone else’s feelings. I’m going to be me.

People that I considered my friends did not feel the same way about me. This lesson was a shock to my system, and begin to cause me to build a familiar wall of protection around myself. This wall would lead to me separating myself from others.

As I was taking a shower one morning, God reminded me that He made me different from others. That difference is what allows me to be so transparent and open to others. This realization destroyed the wall, and replaced it with a greeter assurance of who I am.

This year has included some ups and downs, but I won’t complain. I’m still here. I lived, I learned and I grew. I’m looking forward to 2017 with great expectation!

Rules To Live By


I thank God I’ve survived so far and made most decisions using common sense. Common sense is priceless.

I just want to help others that may need need assistance navigating this journey called life.   These rules are not listed in any order of importance because they are all important.  Here’s some rules to live by:

Don’t burn bridges – 9 times out of 10 you’re going to need that person again.

Listen to your elders – you’ll have less headaches, heartaches and stress.

Practice good work ethics.

Don’t quit a job before you have the next job.

You are responsible for your own happiness. Don’t buy into this romance movie happiness that includes statements like “you complete me.”

Don’t have sex with folks that just look good. Are they responsible? If a child results, will you have to put out an APB for them to help with the child? Would you want this woman to be the mother of your child? Do you want this person in your life for the rest of your life?

Don’t have sex in every relationship.  Is there a rule you have to have sex? Everybody ain’t worthy – ijs.

Surround yourself with folks that encourage and support you.

Learn how to be a real friend. Once you learn the real meaning, you may find out the folks you’ve been saying are on your squad are not on your squad.

Have a personal relationship with God. Give Him some of your time. He’s worthy.

*photo created by Samuel Zeller

For My Daughter…

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I was thinking about a letter I wrote to my daughter in 2007, before she went to college.  I asked her for this letter, and then remembered I kept a copy of my flash drive.  This letter continues to be timely, and maybe it will inspire you to have a much needed conversation with your children, or maybe you need some inspiration.  There are some grammar errors in this letter, but I decided to not change anything about the letter.

August 13, 2007

9:28PM

Kendra,

Where do I begin?  It seems like yesterday you were biting people at church (lol)!  The years have gone by so fast.  Who would have thought we would be at this time so quickly in your life??  I am so happy and excited for you!  This is a major milestone in your life.  Off to college.

I am typing this letter to you because I want you to keep it and reflect on it those times when you may seem to forget what you focus is for going to college.  When temptation is presented and you don’t know if you can resist the temptation.  Grab this letter and read it quickly!  There are so many things I want to tell you.  Some last minute “nuggets” to help you along the way.  Well, here goes:

IF YOU DON’T REMEMBER ANYTHING I HAVE TAUGHT YOU, REMEMBER THESE TOP 10 THINGS:

10.  Be true to yourself – Don’t let anyone stop you from being who you are.  Don’t wear mask or be phony – be Kendra.

9.  Have fun – you will have to have a balance between fun and school.  Too much fun will be reflected in your grades. Too little fun and you will not be a happy person.  You have to figure out that balance for yourself.

8.  Boyfriends – I know you feel you are in love.  Well, remember that you have to put love in perspective.  Anyone who wants to be with you will understand the need for you to get off the phone, the computer, whatever means you all communicate.  That person will be happy for you and be content in the fact that when it’s all said and done you are still with them.  Any boy that doesn’t have your best interest at heart is not worth your time.  Any boy who has no goals or aspirations to achieve success is not worth your time.  You need someone who shares the same goals, aspirations and dreams that you have for life.

7.  Sex – We have talked about this subject.  For the record I will state my stance – no sex until you are married.  If you decide to have sex, I pray you weigh out the consequences and see if that moment is worth your future.  That’s all it takes is one mistake and your entire future can be altered.  You say you want to be a doctor.  Well, you have to live your life like you want to be a doctor.  There will be plenty of time to have sex when you get married.  There’s nothing like being able to have as much sex as you want and not have to be concerned about the risk of pregnancy, disease or death.  It’s never to late to decide to abstain.  Anytime you want to you can decide that you are going to wait until you are married to have sex.

6. Friends – everyone is not your friend or will want to be your friend.  People will dislike you because you are beautiful and smart.  Recognize when people are trying to use you.  Get to know people before you share your private information.  Don’t let people in your room until you feel you can trust them.  I say meet them in the lounge.  Some people will want to come into your room just to see what you have.

5.  Alcohol – Don’t ever leave a drink sitting and come back and drink it. I don’t care who is sitting there.  When I say drink I mean any type of drink.  Never drive after drinking.  Don’t ride with anyone who has had a drink. Don’t trust your life to anyone who has had any alcohol.  I don’t care how “okay” they may seem.  Don’t take a chance.

4.  Seat belt – WEAR IT!

3.  Intuition – If you feel something isn’t right, even if you don’t understand it; follow your intuition.  If you feel like you shouldn’t go a certain way, don’t.  If you feel like you shouldn’t do something, don’t.  Follow your intuition.

2.  Classes – If you don’t understand something – ask!  This is money we are spending to get a good education!  Make that teacher earn every dime.  Don’t wait until test time to say you don’t understand.  Get the help you need ASAP.  Get to know people.  If you need a study group, take the initiative and form one; because if you need help there is probably someone else who needs help too.

1.  God – You’re going to need Him!  Pray as much as possible.  Let Him lead and guide you.  He won’t lead you wrong.  God is the key to you being successful.  He said “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” Take your Bible with you.  Read it!  Go to church as much as you can.  Church is where you will gain the strength you need to make it.  You need to give God 10% of your time, just like you give him 10% of your money.  You owe Him that!

I am here for you. You can tell me anything.  Don’t ever forget that!  I love you and I am going to miss you.  I’m sad but I’m happy for this next phase of your life.  So many people are in your corner and cheering you on.  I’m sure you can tell from all the gifts and money you received.  People are praying for you to be successful.  I don’t want you to get sidetracked.  Stay focused.  I don’t want you to have to come home because you made a bad decision that alters your future.  Every decision you make now affects your very future.  Please remember that.  Before you do anything, think about the positive and negative consequences.  If it’s too many negatives, it’s not worth it!

You are beautiful, gifted, talented and intelligent!  You are going to be successful!

I will be praying continuously for you!

Much love,

Your Mom.

What do you wish your parents had told you before you left home?

“Image courtesy of mrpuen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.