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No Man is an Island

Authentic Support System

So the day finally came. September 20, 2020. We didn’t know this would be the date but we knew that someday soon my sister and her family would leave for their home country. It would be great for them, but we knew we would miss them a lot. It’s a blessing when cousins are like siblings and their home becomes your second home. To have someone in the other family who makes my little Micah act like a responsible adult, and another who makes Anna feel she has not just a sister, but a twin – you have to be grateful. I’ve come to realize that with what I describe as an authentic support system, life is easier.

How to build your support system

Some people are able to accomplish so much more in life and people wonder how they do it. The fact is that no man is an island. We need the right people in our lives to help us progress. Sometimes you are blessed with such people as they are members of your family. Other times you have to nurture a mutually beneficial relationship with non-family members, and over time, build trust and assurance for interdependence. However they come, be grateful for the support systems you have in your life.

I can’t place a value on the peace of mind I have when I’m away for work or a timeout with my husband, and my kids are in their second home. What about the extra pair of eyes to help you see and address issues that were in your blind spot? How will I express the relief that comes from genuine conversation… no forming?

My consolation is that there are platforms to sustain communication and relationships across continents. Thank God for Zoom, WhatsApp, and Facetime.

Aunty Patty always came up with cool stuff for all of us to do – visit Lekki Conservation, Lufasi Nature Park, go window shopping with the kids, and so on. She was never afraid to watch over her kids and mine. You can’t imagine the noise and the energy in one place. God bless you, Aunty Patty.

The Akpan family are truly priceless.

Celebrating those in my support system

So, dear reader, let me tell you here. I write, I vlog, I sing, I mentor, I market, I build teams, I ‘wife’, and I ‘mother’. In truth, there’s absolutely no way I could do all these without support systems. I’ll name a few – my sister and her family, my mother, my mother-in-law, my husband’s cousin, my reliable support staff over the years, and much more.

Mercy, now Mrs. Friday, followed us from Lagos to Eket, and provided cover while I was busy with work. She has a big heart. We call her MemeToms! Micah was her little groom.

Onyinyechi has been with me since Nathan was a few days old. She’s solid, like a rock! super reliable and dependable. She’s a master at implementing the script just as you prescribe. Sharp lady.

Happiness brought her own flavor to the party. She’s bubbly and full of life. In a more enabling environment, she would make for a natural investigative journalist.

I can’t forget Mary and Vivian.

 

 

The GRANDMAS!!! Pillars of strength all the time.

Grandma Dorcas would stay for three months to nurture the babies and leave a week or two after my maternity leave ends. She would train my support staff, then handover the controls to them and make sure the home was running seamlessly before she took off. What a blessing.

Grandma Stella just makes sure I don’t have to worry about anything when she’s around. She fills the freezer with delicious soups and stews, and makes sure things are in order. She delights in getting all the supplies we need for the home at rock bottom prices so I don’t have to go to the market. She’s just amazing.

When we have to be away, a phone call is enough to bring them to watch the kids. Words of wisdom flow freely from our mothers. Thank you so much, Mumsy and Mamay.

 

 

Uncle John, as the kids call him.

If you need something done, just tell him. School runs, shopping for the right gifts, some heavy lifting, and other runs that the men in the family typically handle.

Media man. You should have seen how quickly he went from novice to professional in video editing. Now he handles all my lyrics videos and edits all the production for my YouTube Chanel.

 

 

 

 

And my husband – Mr. Bature. The other good head. Wise man.

Chief logistics coordinator – I don’t have to worry at all about arrangements for vacation or activities away from the home.

Mr. Make it Happen – The professional at taking dreams and bringing them to life.

The head master / character molder – He’s consistent in training and mentoring the kids, and ensuring they imbibe the right values.

My encourager and friend – He comes to the studio, he reviews my scripts, he helps me see other perspectives, he drives me to events. He supports my career and ministry.

Co-creator and Executive Director of our productions. He’s just wonderful. The guy makes sense.

 

Make it mutually beneficial

Trust God to send the right people your way, and when he does, please be sure to make it a mutually beneficial relationship.

Cheers.

Pencil Tip

MY CUTIE HURT HERSELF

On September 10, 2020, Anna unintentionally drove a pencil tip into her finger. She was using a mechanical pencil and had pushed out too much lead. The incident happened when she tried to push the excess back into the holder. I tried to remove it but only succeeded in taking out a tiny portion. I could feel the hard piece but it was lodged in a way that the tweezers couldn’t reach it. We flushed with water, treated with methylated spirit, and took a break.

It hurt every time she put pressure on it, especially when she tried to write. My husband talked about the possibility of an incision at a hospital to get it out. The thought of it made her more afraid and really sad. She had cried a lot already. It’s clear that parents have to tell their kids about the risks associated with this type of pencil and how to use it safely.

The Culprit

MEMORY LANE

Before we went to bed that night, I prayed for her, and asked God to remove the pencil tip from her hand and take all the pain away. I shared with her my experience with appendicitis some years back, the divine surgery that happened in my dream, how I woke up completely healed, and went to Church for thanksgiving instead of going to the hospital for my 6 A.M. surgical appointment. God healed me back then… and I told her God has the best medical team and their tools are amazing. You don’t feel the pain at all.

THE SOURCE

I asked her to say a prayer too before going to sleep. The next day, she woke up and went about her business. She later rushed into the office pressing that finger with her thumb to show us there was no pain. She was radiant and has been so happy since. It was a big relief for her and for me. I was really concerned and a bit upset that I couldn’t help her completely. You know they always come to you with expectation that you can solve every single problem they have, and most times you can. I’m so glad I could connect her to the source of all help.

Thank God for answered prayers.

WE ARE GRATEFUL!!!

More tales from Anna – Edge of the Frame

Rome

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but these days it seems we all want to do just that or better – how about building it in a minute? Like Mister Maker.

Ambition is good but every now and then, I see the need to calm down, assess the situation and push some things out into the future.

Guess what!!! There’s something called TOMORROW 💃💃🕺🏼🕺🏼and you probably will still be here then. So why kill yourself prematurely by trying to get too many things done TODAY? Notice I said ‘too many’. MANY is fine but TOO MANY isn’t. And our bodies and other indicators signal us when we’re getting to TOO MANY.

A good indicator for me is REST. Once I stack up the activities and I can’t seem to find room for sufficient rest to enable me retain my residence permit or the integrity of my earth suit, i.e., my body, I reassess and push some things to the future – tomorrow, next week, next month, next year – these are some of the available options.

So whenever you begin to feel like you are overwhelmed and you’re losing control, check well. You’ll find a thing or two that can wait till tomorrow. It’s not procrastination; it’s prioritisation for survival. There has to be order and balance in your life. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

I wish you a long and full life – rich with beneficial and fulfilling accomplishments and lived out in perfect health and vitality.

Now if you haven’t watched the studio viral video of my single, titled ‘My Whole Life’, here’s the direct link.

My Whole Life by Anietie Bature

Co-Pilot

He almost got us killed… but a lesson from my dad saved the day. Here’s the story.

I remember my father for many reasons but today I’ll speak of only one. He taught me a valuable lesson that has saved my life on more than one occasion. He said, ‘whenever you sit beside the driver of a vehicle, you must assume the responsibility of a co-pilot’. He said there are hazards along the way that drivers may miss and as co-pilot, you have to timely and calmly bring it to their notice. So, even if every other passenger goes to sleep, you must not.

I took that to heart and even on road journeys that last as long as ten hours, I stay awake the entire time if I am the co-pilot. Sometimes, even when I’m not, in that position, I still remain alert.

Travelling from Minna to Abuja one hot afternoon several years ago, we were in a station wagon taxi and as usual, the air conditioner wasn’t functioning. All the windows were down and a mix of hot and cold breeze made its way through the vehicle as the driver sped on. That road was often lonely until you got to the main express which runs from Kaduna to Abuja.

Sometime into the journey, all the other passengers were asleep and it was pretty calm, then the car began to drift into the other lane and back. From my seat in the middle row, I could see that the driver was battling to stay awake so I began to cough whenever it seemed he was going to close his eyes. Maybe that wasn’t the best thing to do but I succeeded in keeping him awake until we got to the main express and eventually to Abuja.

The second time I experienced this was in the UAE. My entire family was in a taxi that was conveying us from Dubai to Abu Dhabi for a final day of rest before returning to Nigeria. Once again the driver was falling asleep. My husband and I immediately came up with a plan to engage him in a conversation in order to keep him awake. It worked. He told us a lot including the fact that he was in the last four of his twelve hour shift and he was getting really tired. He dropped us safely at the hotel. We could only hope his return leg was safely completed.

I wonder how many lives have been lost in road accidents as a result of driver fatigue. I’m glad I’m not part of that statistic. This is one good lesson to keep in mind and to share with our loved ones.

Stay Safe!

Picture Credit: www.cdc.gov

Change

Things change – the weather, legislation, the economy, oil price, your body’s metabolism, and so on. Change is a constant in life, so expect it and prepare for it. A mentor of mine often said ‘Hope for the best but prepare for the worst’. This way if things don’t turn out the way you want, you already have a solid fallback plan.

Sometimes we find that we react to the changes we experience but we could do better by becoming proactive about life as a whole. A little more foresight will go a long way. Take some time to look ahead and take action today to make tomorrow more like you desire. It’s like working backwards from the answer.

Howbeit, there are those changes you can neither predict nor control. This is where, more than in other cases, you need the One who created all, sees all, and knows all. He’s the One who knows the end from the beginning. He knows the way out of the maze. He can show you how to thrive in whatever new environment or circumstance you find yourself in.

The greatest assurance in the midst of change, no matter how drastic it may be, is that God Himself is constant, unfailing, unchanging, faithful, true, reliable, dependable. You can trust that He has your best interest at heart, plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you peace.

So if you’re going through a storm, or walking through what feels like the valley of the shadow of death, fix your eyes on Jesus and put your trust in Him. He’ll see you through.

Cheers.

Ignorance

It’s said that ignorance is bliss. I’ll add five words to that. Ignorance is bliss until the bomb goes off.

In your health

In your finances

In your relationships and every aspect of your life

Take the time to find out all you need to know. Be informed. With the right information you will be empowered to make the right decision and to take necessary action to get rid of the bomb altogether.

According to Nicholas Ling, ‘Ignorance is voluntary misfortune’. Think about this.

Do not entertain or accommodate ignorance.

Tick Tock

Tick Tock. The old year’s gone.

Sweet and Sour – Many battles but so many victories won.

A new year in view…. Only one question I have for you:

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

See with your mind and your heart.

Imagine, conceive, think. This vision goes beyond the natural. It’s not about doors, chairs,  roads, cars, people, bills, reports, and so on. These are already here. But there’s more and we can be proactive about our future by starting now to conceive it and work toward that amazing future that we see. This is the realm of faith – the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, and the assurance about things we cannot see.

I live with the conviction that I have a Heavenly Father who is also my Creator and as with every designer, He has a purpose, and plans for my life. So my transition into any new season, new year, new era includes a ‘consultation’ with the Almighty. It’s important to stay on course. I don’t want to waste any time chasing shadows. When we look to Him, He helps us see and focus on the right things such that we achieve maximum gain.

There is much to gain and enjoy in 2018. Let God lead you into all that He has prepared for you. Let Him guide you along the best pathway for your life and keep you safe. He knows what’s best for you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR.

I PRAY THAT 2018 WILL BE YOUR BEST YEAR YET!

Gratitude List

It’s December already! Can you believe it? Soon we’ll be singing carols, going on vacation or traveling home for the holidays, giving and receiving gifts… and then that special moment will come when we gather in central locations with loved ones or with total strangers to count down… 10! 9! 8! 7! 6! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! And we’ll scream, shout, laugh, cry, hug, kiss, slap high-fives, pop champagne, eat chocolate cake and just be merry. I can’t wait!

2017 has been quite a year, hasn’t it? During the thanksgiving service today, we were asked to write down all the reasons we could recall for being grateful to God. I had mine scattered all over my journal so I decided to write them all out on one page. By the time we had to stop, I was on number nineteen and I wasn’t done. So I’ve got some work left to do.

There’s so much to be grateful for. January to December is a long time and you’re still here. You made it this far. I pray that God will see you through to 2018. Have you written your list yet?

I’ll share a few of my testimonies:

  • A friend who got married years ago finally had a baby this year
  • Another friend who really wanted to get married finally did so this year
  • Micah’s reading has really improved. His siblings were best pupil overall and best maths pupil in the past session
  • Diseases healed
  • Sins forgiven
  • Preservation of life and general wellbeing – family and friends
  • Projects completed
  • Speaking & singing engagements
  • My Whole Life & No Other God single releases

If I had more time, I would have added:

  • Safe travels
  • Safety on the job and at home
  • Love and peace in my home
  • Streams of income
  • Fresh food in Eket
  • A sound mind

What are you grateful for?
I encourage you to write your own list today. It’ll be worth your while.
 
 
 

Why Cry?

This seemed like a heartfelt cry and I wondered. I couldn’t make out what the problem was so I asked. Why are you crying?  No response. What’s wrong? No response. Did you fall down? ‘No Mummy’… she replied through the tears that streamed down her face. So why are you crying? And she cried even more.

Patience… good enough, this virtue wasn’t far at that time so I waited for her to calm down. Then I asked again, and through the interruption of heaves and sniffs, she told me what the problem was. She had so much homework to do and she was already so tired, she feared she wouldn’t finish on time to go to bed early enough to enable her wake up bright and early to prepare for school the next day.

My first reaction was pity; pity for my dear child who felt overwhelmed. Next came anger at the educational system these days in this part of the world where children and laden with so much homework that they don’t even have the time to play, relax, have fun, and explore. It almost feels they’re being robbed of their childhood. Why do they need to do so much work and be this serious so early in life? I don’t remember this much work in my days…

Then I turned my attention to my cutie and began to question her. How have we done homework in the past? Together. Who helped you? You, Mummy.Did I disappear or go missing? No Mummy. Did I tell you at any point that you’re now on your own and I’m not going to help you anymore? No Mummy. So how could you cry this much as if all hope is lost and there’s no way out of this situation? The conversation went on and I reassured her. A few minutes later, tears wiped and hope restored, we took down piece by piece every single one of those tasks that seemed like insurmountable odds to her.

I didn’t have to think hard about it. I could almost hear God saying loud and clear – Isn’t that just how you humans are? You experience my power, my grace, my help, my miracles in your lives as I walk with you on life’s journey and then one day you completely forget that I am more than ABLE and that I am always with you and you cry and mourn in the face of adversity? How are you so quick to forget how I brought you out the last time, how I healed you, how I made a way for you, how I delivered you, comforted you, and so much more? Since when did crying become the solution?

So I took it to heart and by His grace I will respond appropriately when next I face a mountain. I hope you’ll do the same. If you’re facing any right now, no better time to take it to the LORD in prayer than now. Just pray. Jesus gave us an open invitation in Matthew 11:28. He said ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest’. He meant it. So call.

No Other God – 2

He’s the only God I know who died to save the people He created in His image and likeness. NO OTHER GOD!

He gave His life in faith that we would recognize that there is no greater love than this and return to Him. Yes, return. Mankind had fellowship with this God before the devil deceived the original prototype – Adam – into disobeying God and thus being separated from God, and becoming a slave to sin and the devil, and condemned to eternal death. This is the FALL – the result being that anyone born as ‘mankind’ is automatically a condemned sinner because the prototype had been corrupted.

The curse only made it worse – sickness, toiling, fear, sorrow, pain, and so on.

But this particular God, the Creator, still having such great love for His creation, sent His only begotten Son, a new prototype, born of a virgin, to live as man on the earth… holy, without sin, perfect… This new prototype, Jesus Christ, died on the cross, bruised for our wrongdoing, crushed for our wickedness and immorality. *He served the punishment so that all who would believe in Him would have peace. He paid the ultimate price – His life. NO OTHER GOD!

But death couldn’t hold Him captive. Jesus rose triumphant on the third day and He lives forevermore. He conquered death and the grave. **He said ‘I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.’ Awesome. NO OTHER GOD!

Now to escape from condemnation, all one has to do is believe in Him. ***Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. It’s that simple. BELIEVE! NO OTHER GOD!

****And to all who believe, He gives the power to become the sons of God. Cool! Imagine that. This is our way back to our Creator and Heavenly Father. Jesus said ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ NO OTHER GOD!

If you want a permanent escape from that condemnation, and would like the idea of God being your Father to become a reality, all you need to do is *****confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and you will be saved. It’s that simple. NO OTHER GOD!

If this is your decision after reading this, kindly send me a mail on anietie@bature.com
 
 
*Isaiah 53:5
**Revelations 1:18
***John 3:18
****John 1:12
*****Romans 10:9

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