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?

If You’re the Toxic Friend and You Know It, Clap Your Hands!

Recently, one of my friends asked this question on Instagram: “How do you know who is toxic?” My short response was you bring their toxic ways to their attention and they don’t try to change their ways. You find yourself in a constant struggle of not talking to them for awhile versus talking to them on a regular basis. It seems they act better after a hiatus, but alas their old toxic self shows up!

I used to believe toxic people didn’t know they were toxic. However, as I’ve matured I recognize they know their toxic and they don’t care. You know why they don’t care? They don’t care because they have the number one characteristic of a toxic person – they are selfish!

Their selfish ways show up constantly. Every activity has to revolve around them. Every conversation has to revolve around them, or they make the conversation about them.

You call the toxic person to vent about something you’re going through and this is how the conversation goes: First, they compare what you’re going through with something they have went or are going through. Then, somehow the conversation turns to be all about them! After you finish the conversation, you feel worse than you felt before you called them.

Another characteristic of toxic people is they are always the victim. Someone is always doing them wrong. They don’t do anything to anyone. They mind their business 🙄🙄. You know these are all lies because you know this person! They never take responsibility for their actions.

Then, toxic people like to monopolize your time. They want to be your ONLY friend. They don’t get along with any of your other friends. As a result, you can’t invite them to group outings. The toxic person not getting along with your other friends is their way to monopolize your time.

Furthermore, toxic people are users. Most of the time you interact with them, they need something. If you analyze your relationship, you will notice the toxic person always wants something from you. The relationship seems to always be you giving and the toxic person always taking.

Finally, another classic toxic person characteristic is they are never happy for you. If you tell them about your new job, they have to mention they wanted to work for that company and they didn’t get the job. They say you must know someone that works at the job. When you tell them about your financial increase, they have to mention how they need the increase more than you need the increase.

Toxic people leave you feeling drained surrounded with negativity. Their words and actions make you question your self-esteem and worth. The reality is the relationship is built on a foundation of jealousy. You may be wondering can any good come out of this relationship?! Yes, it can!

Here’s the good: As you grow and mature, you recognize toxic relationships have no place in your circle. You recognize there is nothing wrong with severing toxic ties and moving on with your life. You will more quickly identify toxic people before you have invested your time and energy in them.

If you read this post and recognize yourself, you are the toxic friend so clap, clap! Now that you see yourself, what are you going to do about it?

For those that have or have had toxic friends, how did you determine your friend was toxic? What did you do about it? Let’s talk about it.

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:

My Spirit Animal is A Sloth

 

Recently, one of my coworkers went to an event to see a sloth.  She was able to meet and interact with a sloth.  I looked at the pictures she posted of the sloth and realized I have some similarities to sloths and there is a sloth characteristic that I want to embrace.

First, sloths are nocturnal.  Sloths are their most active at night.  That’s me!  I perform my best at night.  I think more clearly and have some of my best ideas at night.  I am most active at night.  I seem to have a burst of energy at night.  When most people are probably sleeping, I have found something to occupy my time, as if I don’t have to go to work in the morning.  

Second, sloths move the least during the day.  I am not a morning person.  I fake it until 10am. On the days I am off from work, I am content to lie in my bed all day.  If I have no plans for the day, I will lay in my PJ all day and, I’m not ashamed to say, will not brush my teeth or bathe.  I’m content to limit my movement!  Oh to be a sloth and be able to have my least movement during the day!

Have you seen the movie Zootopia?  One of my favorite scenes is when Nick Wilde and Judy Hopper go to the DMV.  They are trying to get the name of a car owner using the license plate information.  They are in a hurry and want to receive the information and go.  The sloth in this scene is hilarious!  He acts like he doesn’t have a care in this world and is in no hurry.  He has a nonchalant attitude: https://youtu.be/0woPde7OE1k

This picture taken by my friend reminds me of the sloth in Zootopia. 

The sloth is chilling with his panda bear as if he has no worries.  He is living his best sloth life!  That’s the attitude I want to have in life.  I want to live my best life and not allow anything to hinder me from living my best life.  I want to march to the beat of my own drum.  I want to be different and not care that others may have a problem with me being different.  I want to move through life at my own pace and not allow myself to be up in arms about anything.  What about you?  Which animal is your spirit animal?

Most Of What I Learned About Black History, I Taught Myself

Today is the last “official” day of Black History Month. I celebrate every day and continue to share knowledge on a regular basis.

There’s so much Black History that I didn’t learn in school. When I was 15 years old, I went to the library and borrowed Mary McLeod Bethune’s autobiography. My need to learn more led to me studying African Kings and Queens. I found this book. If you haven’t read it, it’s an empowering read:

Next, I discovered the various inventions that wouldn’t exist were it not for a Black man or woman. Here is a partial lists:

Then, I read Malcolm X’s autobiography and he woke up the militant spirit in me: “We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” I became proud of my people and recognized we have persevered and succeeded against all the odds and obstacles that have been placed in our paths.

Finally, Fannie Lou Hamer made me even more proud to be a Black woman and honor her and others like her who secured my right to vote. Fannie Lou Hamer said, “Actually, the world and America is upset and the only way to bring about a change is to upset it more.”

In studying Black History, I found my voice. My voice to speak out about injustice and demand to be treated right. Studying Black History made me recognize I have a legacy of determination, intelligence and ingenuity pumping in my veins. I have no other choice but to be the best at whatever I set my mind to do. It’s in my DNA!

What Black History knowledge didn’t you learn in school?

Reflections

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” – Maya Angelou

2018 hasn’t been my best year. Learning to live on without my mom has not been easy. I’ve had good days and I’ve had days where I stayed in the bed with the covers pulled over my head. I’ve learned to go with the flow and live in the moment. If I feel like crying, I go ahead and cry. I’ve learned to embrace and acknowledge my feelings, so I can move forward.

2018 has been the year for dealing with my emotions. I used to bury my emotions. Burying emotions is not good, and only leads to an explosion. An explosion affects everyone that has any contact with me. I no longer wanted to be that explosion.

Choosing not to be that explosion led to me having to deal with some things in each area of my life. I chose to deal with every area of my life and in the process learn to handle the outcome.

I’m stronger physically, mentally and spiritually. 2018 has been about being better: a better me, better wife, better mother and better friend.

Every valley and mountain has molded me into the woman I am today. I’m looking with expectation to 2019. Yet striving to BE BETTER!

Chapter 49

Some people believe I do the most for Leo season and my birthday. Well, I do! I turned it up a notch this year because I’m grateful to be in the land of the living. This past year has not been an easy year for me.

I learned more about myself and the sacrifices I would make for someone I love. I discovered that I had more strength than I realized. I learned that even in the midst of the pain and grief that I yet feel, I can make it. I learned that Chapter 48 prepared me for Chapter 49.

It’s my first birthday without my mom. For 48 years I had her in my life. This new normal has not been easy. This year required me to be extra. If I didn’t, I would’ve focused on how much I miss my mom and the birthday greetings she faithfully posted every year.

I would’ve focused on how much I miss the cake she made special just for me – German chocolate cake with milk chocolate frosting because I don’t like German chocolate frosting. I would’ve spent today being sad instead of glad.

Through all I have been through I have learned the importance of carpe diem – seize the day! I’m determined to live a life of no regrets. I want to make the most of every moment I have remaining on this earth. I’m determined to have meaningful relationships, and appreciate when someone cuts me out of their lives because they are doing me a favor. They are helping me to invest in those that want to have meaningful relationships with me. I’ve learned that life is short and I should experience everything I want to experience.

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.”

What’s Hindering You?


We all face challenges that can cause us to forget our goals and dreams. We can allow obstacles to slow and even stop our progress. Along our journey, we can allow life, family, friends, limited finances, and our present social status to hinder our progress. What’s hindering you?  

Have you figured out what’s stopping you from reaching your goals? You have to determine the root cause of why you haven’t reached your goals, and move those obstacles out of your way! We have to be determined to let nothing and nobody block our progress.

I’ve learned that sometimes we don’t want to figure out what’s hindering us because we will have to deal with whatever IT is. Sometimes we don’t want to face that we will have to let dead weight go. That dead weight may be family, friends, a significant other or even that job we have had for 20 years. We have to be willing to let it go.


Choosing to let go is never easy. We like to operate within our comfort zone, but if we want to excel in every area of our lives, we have to choose to operate outside of our comfort zone. Operating outside of our comfort zone included battling fear and the unknown. We can do it! We can face whatever obstacles that are hindering us and overcome those obstacles!

Make a resolution now to remove every hindrance to your success in every area of your life. Don’t delay. Start right now!

When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

There’s A Leader Inside of You!

There’s a leader inside of you that wants to manifest in your life. Leaders have certain characteristics that set them apart from everyone else. There are so many leadership characteristics, but the characteristics that resonate with me most are honesty, positive, good communicator, integrity, confidence and transparent. What leadership characteristics resonate the most with you? You will notice that the leadership characteristics that resonate most with you are the characteristics that you will recognize most within yourself.

You may be wondering how do I know there’s a leader inside of you. There’s been an argument that will probably continue forever between leadership scholars. One school of thought is people are born leaders, and the other school of thought is people can learn to be leaders. I believe each of us has the ability to be a leader. The issue is do we want to be a leader.

Some find out because of challenges or adversity in their own lives that they are leaders. Others seem to have a natural gravitation to leadership. They always seem to be placed in positions of leadership, or are expected to lead. Are you a leader? Do you want to be a leader? What events will have to happen for you to demonstrate you are a leader?