Awareness Tip #6: Education

Good morning, lovelies! As National Kidney Month comes to an end, I thought today would be the perfect day to share my final tip of the month; education. They say knowledge is power, right? Then what better way to gain knowledge by educating yourself? Although I have been sharing many awareness tips, there are still so many signs and symptoms to learn. Pay attention to simple things such as your urine output, listen to your body, and more importantly if kidney disease is something that runs in your family, get a kidney screening done. Just because National Kidney Month is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that we can stop educating ourselves, or ignoring what our bodies are trying to tell us.


Even though my blog will be returning to its regular content (with updates to come during Spring Break), I will still be sharing updates occasionally on my fundraising. Every penny counts, so I ask that you continue to consider donating here to help kidney patients around the world.

Awareness Tip #5: Living with Sick People

Good morning, lovelies. I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been busy with work. On top of that, I’m battling the cold from hell. I’m coughing, throwing up, my body aches, and I’m exhausted. It’s not just me though. EVERYONE in the house is sick, except for my dad. This situation leads me to today’s tip:  living with sick people.

When my dad was first diagnosed with renal failure, he was advised to stay away from sick people because his immune system was weak. Eating protein became a necessity to build up his immune system. The flu shot also became a necessity; not just for him, but for the family as well. And for a wuss like me, the flu shot wasn’t an option! Because I’m deathly afraid of needles, I always requested the mist; until last year. I faced my fears and got the actual flu shot. I also got a shot yesterday, so I guess you can say I’m starting to face my (needle) fears.

I know how important it is to keep people with weak immune systems safe, so today I’m sharing my knowledge. Here are five things dialysis patients need to keep near them when living in a house filled with sick people:

  1. Hand Sanitizer:  With everyone sneezing and coughing, hand sanitizer is an absolute must! For instance, my dad keeps hand sanitizer on him…he even keeps a bottle in his car.
  2. Lysol:  It’s important to make sure you Lysol areas where the sick people have been. For example, the sofas, bedrooms, the car, etc. It’s important to keep yourself healthy, and your loved ones will understand this whole-heartedly.
  3. Flu Masks:  These come in handy when you’re surrounded by people with the flu. Thankfully, we’re just battling colds here, but it’s always better to play it safe. These flu masks will help you stay protected, and keep away contagiousness.
  4. Minor Confinement:  It isn’t necessary to confine yourself completely from your family, but your health is just as important as theirs. My dad hasn’t really confined himself because he’s been playing Super Dad by driving us to our Doctor’s appointments, picking up prescriptions, cleaning, cooking, getting wet towels for us when we vomit, and he’s done all of this on his dialysis day. Did I mention he’s been a life saver?
  5. Cool air:  I know this is going to sound crazy, but keeping it relatively cold in your house is going to help fight off germs. Think about when you go to Doctor’s offices or hospitals. It’s usually cold in those places, so try to mirror that in your place.
As always, please click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease.

Awareness Tip #4: ***** Day

Good morning, lovelies! I know my past few tips have been all business and NO fun! Well, today is going to be a fun day. Today’s tip is so good that I couldn’t even put it in the title!

Although I don’t suffer with chronic kidney disease, I understand the affects that it can have on you, mentally and physically. It’s a life-altering thing.

My dad worked outside, at the same job, for over 30 years. So having to stop working, and focus solely on himself and his treatments, was definitely a game changer for him.

You know what another game changer is? Having to change your diet in the blink of an eye. Especially if you’re a fan of foods that are high in potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. This leads me to my tip for the day:

Make sure you allow yourself a couple of cheat treat days every now and then. 

Now, notice I said a TREAT DAY and not CHEAT DAY, because if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing, you’re not cheating; you’re treating yourself.

My dad learned about treat days very early in his diagnosis. How, you might be wondering. Because of his guardian angel of course. His older brother, Sherman, was on dialysis for about 9 years. When my dad got sick, my uncle was in the hospital as well (for non-kidney issues). They took dialysis together in the hospital, and made the nurses do double takes because they thought they were twins!

In the short time that my uncle was alive during my dad’s diagnosis, he taught him about treating himself, amongst other things. The last time my dad saw my uncle, he was taking his own advice by indulging in a honey bun. He passed away March 29, 2011, but his spirit still lives on to this day.

So, whether it’s indulging in your favorite meal, or snack, don’t think of it as a cheat. Think of it as a treat. Maybe you’ve gotten your report and found out all of your levels look good. Maybe you’ve finally reached your desired protein goal. Whatever the case may be, treat yourself. Your taste buds will thank you for it!

Photo Mar 15, 3 04 56 PM

Sherman & Ricky

As always, please click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease.

World Kidney Day: Awareness Tip #3

Hello, lovelies. As promised, I am back with another kidney tip for y’all. Before I get into that, I would like to mention that yesterday made 5 years since my father has been sick. Today, which also happens to be World Kidney Day, makes 5 years of him being on dialysis. And just how is he celebrating this day? By being in dialysis, of course.

Photo Mar 09, 10 45 00 PM

Now, how about that tip? I thought about this long and hard. It’s like I have a lot of tips to share, but not sure which ones to share. I’ve already brought awareness to drinking more water (but less if you’re a kidney patient), as well as monitoring your blood pressure.

So without further ado, today’s tip is about medication. If you are a dialysis patient (or just for future knowledge), try to avoid medicine such as Aleve and Ibuprofen. These medicines, and more, damage your kidneys. My dad’s doctors have told him that Tylenol is the safest medicine for him to take. So, be mindful of the medicine you are taking.

Please talk to your primary physician to find out what medicine is the safest for you to take if you are on dialysis.

As always, please click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease.


Kidney Awareness 2

Hello, my lovelies. As promised, I am here to give you another tip about kidney disease.


High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes for renal failure. Because my dad doesn’t have diabetes, I can’t really give you much on that aspect of it. However, I can give you some insight when it comes to the high blood pressure aspect.

For as long as I can remember (and I’m 25-years-old), my dad always suffered with high blood pressure. He was also taking multiple pressure pills to manage his high blood pressure. He also suffered with White Coat Syndrome, which is basically when his pressure would rise even higher in any kind of doctors’ offices or hospital settings.

Fast forward to when he began getting sicker, but before his diagnosis, his pressure would be in the 200s.

Luckily, when he decided to go to the hospital that night, he wasn’t even feeling terrible. A miracle, right?

Anyway, it’s important to manage your blood pressure to avoid things such as a stroke or renal failure. My dad’s high blood pressure ended up damaging his kidneys.

Since his diagnosis, my father doesn’t suffer with high blood pressure anymore. At times, he has problems with keeping his pressure up.

You can’t expect dialysis to do all of the work for you though. Cutting salt out of your diet and paying attention to the amount of sodium foods have can help along the way.

Click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney failure.

Writing Wednesday 3: Awareness

Good morning, lovelies! I hope you all had a fantabulous weekend. Since today is Wednesday, I’m back with another segment of Writing Wednesday!

Although today is Writing Wednesday, I wanted to take this time to discuss why the month of March is my most favorite time of the year. And I can assure you it has nothing to do with Easter candy and everything to do with being a part of something bigger.

As you all know (because I never shut up about it), almost five years ago my dad was diagnosed with renal failure. As you get older, there are certain memories that are forever etched in your brain. For me, it’s when my dad was diagnosed with renal failure.


In my eyes, my father has done an amazing job with sticking to his proper diet, monitoring his intake of liquids, and going to dialysis for four hours every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings.

But now, it’s time for me to do my part. It’s time for me to bring awareness to kidney disease. Back in December, I teamed up with Kidney Nation to raise $2000 for kidney patients in honor of my dad.

While raising the $2000 would be a tremendous help to kidney patients all over the world, it’s also important to spread awareness by word of mouth. Think of how many lives we could save. Thirty one million Americans and their families are affected by this disease, and we can help lessen that number.

So starting today, for the month of March, I will be sharing helpful tips, as well as facts about kidney disease.

HELPFUL TIP #1:  Be sure to drink an adequate amount of water and limit sodas. BUT, for all of you dialysis patients out there, try to limit your fluid intake so you won’t have to have a ton of fluid pulled off of you during dialysis. Thirsty, but worried about your fluid intake? Try eating ice chips, or spritzing your mouth with a spray bottle!

To donate or learn more about Kidney Nation, click here to visit my fundraiser page.




Writing Wednesday 2: No Place Like Home

Hello, my darlings! I know. It’s been far too long since you’ve heard from me, but have no fear because I’m baaaack! When I made my last post, it was New Years Eve. It’s hard to believe that we’re nearing the END of February. Where has the time gone?

Well I don’t know about y’all, but 2016 has been a HECTIC year for me already, and we’re not even halfway through it. Why, you might ask?

Picture this. You’re standing in your living room, conversing with two of your sisters and holding your 16 month old nephew while your mom is in the kitchen, preparing dinner, and your father is in the bedroom, lying down after being at dialysis for four hours. Then, during the bad weather, lightening strikes, shakes your home, and a tree falls through the roof of your kitchen.

That happened to my family and me almost five weeks ago. We were displaced for four weeks. Since then, we’ve moved back home, but things are still a work in progress. My oldest sister and her family accepted us into their homes with open arms, and I’m forever grateful.

In other news, I’ve met someone new, and I think I’m in love! And by someone new, I mean I have a new story in my  life. Its title is “Every Breath I Take”, and I’ve been plotting for a few weeks now. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but the main character is a cancer patient.

At first I was hesitant to write this story because I don’t want to be known as the author whose main characters are always ill. I also felt like the cancer story has been told so many times. However, I realize that no one is going to be able to tell this story like I will. Because after all, only you can tell your story.

I’m hoping that Every Breath I Take will be the story that not only brings awareness to ovarian cancer, but gives cancer patience hope. Hope that everything will eventually be okay because I honestly believe that one day, there will be a cure for cancer. We just need to keep doing our part by bringing awareness to it.


Here to Stay

Back in July, when I launched this blog, I stated that I was going to post my original first post at a later time. When I first started my blog, I decided to dedicate my first post to Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux, the ladies whose lives were taken from them far too soon. Today, I present to you my original first post…untouched.

Hi, I’m Josie Ann, and this is my newest blog. Thanks for visiting me, I promise you won’t be disappointed. I stared (and avoided) the blank screen on my laptop for days, trying to think of the perfect first post. I guess starting off by introducing myself and my love for writing wouldn’t be such a bad start.



Here are ten tidbits that I think you should know about me:

  1. I was born and raised (and still live) in a small town in Louisiana.
  2. I recently graduated from the Academy of Art University with an Associates of Arts in Writing for Film and Television. Yes, at one point in my life I aspired to be a screenwriter, until I fell in love with novel-writing after successfully completing NaNoWriMo back in 2012.
  3. I credit my late paternal uncle for my writing capabilities. Believe it or not, when he passed away back in 2009, before I started my first year at A.A.U., I almost gave up on my dream of writing.
  4. I’m addicted to junk food, ink pens, notebooks, fingernail polishes, and reality television.
  5. I’m an unofficial advocate for all things renal. When my father was diagnosed with renal failure four years ago, I educated myself about the disease and vowed to always bring awareness to the issue. (KIDNEY TIP:  Always drink water, and limit your sodium intake.)
  6. I’m super close with my parents and sisters. Our family is so close that people used to find it odd how well we all got along.
  7. I find that I don’t fall under the “usual” author expectations. For example, I don’t drink coffee or tea…I”m more of a hot chocolate girl. I hate cats and dogs; give me a tank full of fish and I”m happy. Oh yeah, and about Ryan Gosling…can we replace his encouraging writing memes with Justin Timberlake?
  8. I’m a closet video game lover. Honestly, I’m not even allowed to play video games with anyone other than my siblings because I’m way too competitive.
  9. I can’t cook anything (other than a few pasta dishes) to save my life, but I can make a mean bread pudding.
  10. I’m lactose intolerant. Yep, that’s right. I can’t enjoy any of life’s pleasures such as ice cream, cheese on my pizza, or Sonic blasts!

Overall, I’m an easygoing girl, who loves helping others. I mean, after all, my senior class did vote me as Most Dependable (and Shyest).

With this blog, I hope to inspire aspiring writers. Also, I’d like to walk you through my journey of writing and self-publishing. Like the title of this post, I’m here to stay, and I hope you are as well.

For upcoming posts, I’ll be giving your more background on my upcoming novel, Sliding into Love, as well as helpful writing tips.

Feel free to leave me some tidbits about yourself as well.

I Am Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux Strong

For months I tried to figure out the perfect first post for my newest blog. I had finally settled on a post where I’d introduce myself and what to expect of my blog, which is what most upcoming authors do; the post was due to go live a few weeks from now. However, I had a change of heart. I still plan on releasing my original post, but I felt it wasn’t nearly as important as this post.

I’m not very big on watching the news. Since I’m a Sensitive Sally and find the news highly depressing, I tend to stay away from the news. But every so often, there’s a storyline that catches my attention; for example when the Sandy Hook shooting took place in 2012, I was drawn to the story and the victims. Even when the Aurora shooting took place in 2012, I found myself back in front of the television, tuned into the story. But never in a million years did I think such a travesty could happen in my own state.


On July 23, 2015, in Lafayette, Louisiana, during a showing of Amy Schumer’s film, Trainwreck, an armed man killed two beautiful women, Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux, and injured 9 people before killing himself. Although these women were a part of my community, I didn’t know them personally and I won’t pretend to have known them. However, I know a few of Mayci’s friends, as well as a family member.

When a person usually passes away, you can never tell what that person was really about because so many people are set on trying to make that person’s death about themselves. However, in every article I’ve read and every person I’ve heard speak about Jillian and Mayci say the exact same things. Jillian and Mayci were positive women and still had a lot left to do in this world.

Jillian Johnson was only 33-years-old. She owned a gift and toy shop, Red Arrow Workshop. She was a mother, daughter, sister, and a wife. Jillian was also an artist, a musician for a band, The Figs, and an entrepreneur. Jillian died at the hospital. Jillian was with a childhood friend at the theater, who was shot multiple times.

Mayci Breaux was just 21-years-old. She was a daughter and a sister. Mayci had a full life ahead of her. She was a student at Louisiana State University Eunice. She was at the theater with the love of her life, Matthew Rodriguez, who was also injured. Unfortunately, Mayci died at the theater.

Both of these women had so much more to give to this world, but God had better things in mind for them. The shooter, who’s name I won’t be mentioning, had no right to play God in Jillian and Mayci’s lives. This senseless act never should have happened, and these families shouldn’t have to mourn the loss of their loved ones.

My prayers and condolences go out to Jillian and Mayci’s families and friends. I hate that our community is going through this. It almost feels as if we should be living in fear, and while that may sound like a good idea, it isn’t. We should be aware. Aware of the fact that this could’ve happened anywhere and to anyone that we know. There’s no rule book telling us how our community is supposed to go on without these beautiful women, but I pray we can move forward.

I chose to not say the shooter’s name in this post, because this isn’t about him or his cowardly ways. This is about two beautiful young women who were taking away from this world far too soon.

Both Jillian and Mayci were laid to rest yesterday, with their family, friends, and members of our community at their sides.

As I said before, I didn’t know Jillian or Mayci, but yesterday I mourned with their families. I cried for the lives that were taken so soon.

My hope for the future, is that when people hear the names Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux, they remember them as the loving ladies our community expressed they were. It’d be ashame to remember them as two slain victims in the Lafayette shooting or as (the shooter’s name) victims. These women had names, faces, and lives. So I ask that you remember their real stories and the good they did while they were here. Remember them. Rememeber their names:  Jillian Johnson and Mayci Breaux. May they continue to touch lives as they fly high.

Just in case anyone is considering living in fear, I’ll leave this quote for you, made by one of my best friends:

“You can’t let that stop you from living your life. It’s a shame things like that happen, but you’ve got to press through it and get back to life cause the world isn’t gonna slow down and wait for you to catch up.”

~ Scott B.