I love my son, Jakim, who is now 13yrs old; my how the time flies. I loved him madly before he was born, for he is our miracle baby. And though my love and how I expressed it was clear to me, I want to share how I came to learn and embrace my son�s love language for me, and how you can benefit by doing the same.

While living in Germany, I found myself pregnant with our only son. At 15 weeks, my water broke and I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. When we arrived that night, no one spoke English and I was terrified. Through the terror, I prayed for the life of my baby. I stood on God�s promises that he would live. He did live and arrived 6 weeks before his due date. In the NICU, I fed him from my breastmilk and he grew like a little weed. He stayed in the NICU for 10 days before I signed him out against medical advice (In Germany, they wanted him to stay until his due date).

Fast forward to February 2016 and my son is now reciprocating that love and care towards me. He loves hearing the stories of how I took care of him as a baby. He always tells me, he will take care of me just like that. He tells me how he has to �set kids straight� when they make jokes about me being bald. When he tells me these things, you can see the love shining from his eyes as my protector.

10403267_10153333878674768_116906458001100715_nSince he is taller than me now, he is always asking can he grab something for me from the top shelf in the pantry or in the linen closet. He now asks to wash my car or even make me a snack when he sees me working late into the night on my business. He recently started adding alarms on my cell phone to remind me to get up and go to the gym as well as alarms to unplug for the night, to read a book, or to get some sleep.

Initially I was annoyed and thought, �Why is this boy constantly trying to tell me what to do when I�m the parent?� I would tell him he was being too grown or that he was bordering on being disrespectful. However, the light bulb clicked on while I was driving one day. I clearly heard, �That is Jakim�s Love Language. Embrace it�. I was floored. I had no idea this was his way to show he loves me. I went to my son that evening and apologized for fussing at him for �telling me what to do�. I told him that I truly appreciate the fact that he is looking out for me. I think he grew an extra 3 inches tall in that moment. He graciously said, �It�s okay mom.�

Since that recent conversation, he has stepped up his game to show me he loves me. When he went to the mall with a friend and his friend�s mom, she said he searched every jewelry store for the perfect bead for me. I had no idea he spent his birthday money to buy me a beautiful bead for my Pandora bracelet. I wear that bracelet every day.

During this month, I want you to think about and even look for the ways your teens show their love towards you. It may be hidden in subtle things but they are still just as important and just as valid. Acknowledge and embrace your teens love language and watch your relationship grow.

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Look Up

I have been working on changing my perspective so that I can change my life. I noticed when I wake up with thanksgiving in my heart and mouth, my tone is set for a great day.

Why is this important you ask? Because I used to say I was not a morning person. I would wake up and be rude and nasty to people regularly. I would not even allow my husband to talk to me in the mornings, so we would leave the house everyday without speaking. Looking back on this, makes me realize how ridiculous that is.

Over the summer, a high school friend of mine passed away from cancer. She was one of the sweetest and most life-loving people I ever met. We were all devastated that this happened to her. After all, we are only 44, so this is not supposed to happen to us.

The day after I heard of her passing, I went back to my routine of waking up mad and not speaking to my hubby. As I laced up to go for a run and drank my coffee, I waved the hubby goodbye. He asked me if he could talk to me now or did he have to wait until I was ready. I gave him the usual answer that I would call him later.

I started my run no different than any other morning run but as I ran THIS DAY, I clearly heard the still small voice of God ask me, “What are you doing? Don’t you know it’s me who wakes you up everyday? You have another day to be thankful and this is how you start it?” I stopped running right in my tracks.

I slowly began to walk while replaying the words in my head. I heard the 3 words my pastor has us repeat almost every service: RECEIVE, CHANGE, GIVE! My heart was then flooded with the fact that I have been receiving God’s Word daily but in this area of my life I was not changing and in my not changing, I was not giving my husband any type of love in the morning. I know, it’s CRAZY! I can admit it.

As I continued walking, I was looking straight ahead and in front of me were nothing but gray clouds and my neighborhood. Nothing spectacular! However, as I was praying and asking God to forgive me for all the years I wasted being mean and nasty morning after morning, I decided to look up.


I was in TOTAL AWE! God is FAITHFUL to confirm His WORD! Every since this day, I wake up ready to get my days going! JOIN ME to see what He has for you!

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Trusting My 14yr old Son is a Struggle for Me

My son is at a pivotal point in his life; 14 years old. Before my very eyes, he went from wearing anything I purchased to now only wanting certain styles and brands. I lectured him for months about not letting your clothes and shoes determine your worth and how your brain will get you further in life than your gear. I will not say it fell on deaf ears but reality hit me that he was now beginning to form his own opinion about himself and that I had to give him the freedom to do that.

With that being said, I began to ask myself what do I want for my son’s future? Do I want him to be a mini me or do I want to raise a man who can be a free thinker and a positive influence in his community? How do I keep him safe yet allow him the freedom to be an African American male child? Daily, these questions weigh heavy on my mind but I realize that I must trust my instincts, trust what I, as a mother, have instilled in him and last but not least, trust God.

As a strong African American woman, I would bombard my son every day, prior to going outside to play with his friends, with all the do’s and don’ts of looking suspicious. I told him to always rujakimsh home if anyone made him feel uncomfortable or if his friends were choosing to make bad choices in the neighborhood. One day, he told me I was stressing him out. He actually said he felt like I didn’t trust him to be a good kid and flat out said, “Mom, I need you to TRUST me”. In my mind I thought, “WOW, did he really just say that to me?” but out of my mouth, I said. “I do trust you, it’s the other folks out there who I do not trust”.

After he walked out the door, I cried. I couldn’t believe that I was having the same conversations with my son in 2016 that my deceased grandmother had with my now 85 year old uncle when he was 13. I cried for all the African American boys and men who lost their lives at the hands of people who feared them for no other reason than the fact that they had brown skin. I cried for the mothers who buried their sons way too early. I cried for those who had been terrorized by those who feared them simply because of the skin they were given by our Creator. I cried for my son.

I eventually pulled myself together and prayed earnestly. I prayed for not only my son but for all of my friends’ and family members’ sons and my son’s friends. I prayed for President Barack Obama. I prayed for our new sheriff, who is the first African American to hold that office in the 356 year history of my county. I even prayed for the people who harbor negative thoughts and hatred towards our brown skin.

Lastly, I prayed for myself to TRUST my 14 year old son.

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4 Mindset Shifts for Progression

This past Mother’s Day Weekend, I did some serious reflecting on my life. I compared this year to last year this time and saw a remarkable difference in the woman known as Tanya Barnett: 2015 Me vs. 2016 Me. The differences were like night and day. I asked myself what the stark contrast was. After all, I still have the same home, husband and kids. I did put on a few extra pounds, however, I can still fit my clothes(I refuse to buy a larger size).

All day, I continued to ask God to show me what happened to the old DEFEATED me�(not that I was missing her or anything). I’m so glad, He gave me a great revelation: there was an “Xchange”.

My lifestyle was xchanged! My way of living life was xchanged. My mindset had been� xchanged and shifted.� I adopted strategies to have more control over my life, which resulted in an acceleration in achieving my goals and the progression of my businesses. A new VICTORIOUS ME EMERGED!butterfly-1547678

The were 4 changes I made, all stemmed from a mindset shift—-

Devotion: I now begin each morning with a devotion no matter how short. Sometimes, I read a short one from KingdomBOSS by Tiffany Bethea.� I also love the Bible app on my phone, especially since it reads scriptures to you. I let it play the scripture of the day while I am brushing my teeth; then, I pray. This helps me set up my day for good things to happen. I say positive things about my day, my family and my businesses.

Discipline: This is a biggie. After my devotion time, I look over my monthly goals in my Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 2016 Transformational Calendar by Julian B Kiganda and Christine St.Vil. This calendar has a place to write goals and to write action steps (I needed this part the most.) I look at this daily and keep it on me all day long as a reminder of my purpose and of God’s promises. I love that it has quotes and a prayer in it. I glued the 91st Psalm in it as well as Vision board items I want to achieve this year. This helps me stay focused on what I need to do for the day and it helps me maintain discipline to not get off track.

Don’t Over Commit: The major thing I did differently this year was I stopped over-committing. I actually stepped down from boards of 2 groups that I was no longer finding joy in and I also began to tell people “no”. At 1st, it was hard to say “no”, even to my husband, but in doing so, I am not going crazy trying to do 100 things everyday.

Do Take a Break: In the Whose Shoes Are You Wearing? 2016 Transformational Calendar, there is a place to write how you will reward yourself for accomplishing the month’s goals. I am so glad this is in there. This forces me to take time for myself. So far, I began getting pedicures, massages and soon, I’ll have my 1st facial. I never did these things for myself. Now, I let my husband know ahead of time, that this is my time and he respects it.

As you continue through this month, what mindset shift can you adopt to move closer towards your goals?

My Alopecia Journey Part. 1

I have alopecia! There I said it! When I started this journey five years ago, those three words stuck in the back of my throat. I could barely whisper them without tears streaming down my face.

Alopecia is an autoimmune disease that attacks the hair follicles and causes hair to fall out or causes it not to grow. What does this mean? It means I live with permanent hair loss. I went bald.

After all, I had shoulder-length locs that I patiently waited more than three years to grow. A dermatologist told me I was eventually going to be bald. She offered me pills, injections and creams in an attempt to grow more hair. I asked her to give me time to think about it, and she gave me a few pamphlets to read.

Living in a society that glorifies beauty, I was distraught when the doctor had the audacity to utter those words to me. Truth be told, African American women love our hair. Statistics verify just how much we value our hair. Sales of hair care products for African Americans reached $774 million in 2014, representing a 12 percent increase since 2009, according to Mintel’s Black Consumers and Haircare executive summary.

I cried all the way home from that doctor’s office. I was afraid to share with my husband the information. What would he think about having a bald wife? What if he was

Embracing My Baldness Photo credit: E.Y.E Imagery Studios

disappointed? Would he still see me as sexy once it was all gone? Could he stomach being seen in public with me? All sorts of rejection thoughts ran through my mind.

As I look back at that stressful time in my life, I can’t help but be annoyed that I didn’t trust my husband’s love for me. I didn’t tell him right away what the doctor said, but when I did, I was not prepared for his response. He embraced me and kissed me. He told me he loved me and would love me with or without hair. He held me as I cried over the reality that I would not have hair. We discussed the side effects of the medications, and he emphatically said he did not want me to risk my health for a 50/50 chance to grow hair.

A few weeks later, my hubby asked me if I was okay for the thousandth time. That particular morning, I had been moving my locs all over my head, trying to hide and cover the growing bald spots. I gave up and had a breakdown on the bathroom floor. He knelt down, rubbed my back and told me over and again how much he loved me. After my pity-party, I decided to just cut it all off. He offered to go with me for support.

When we pulled up to the barbershop, I was so nervous I felt like I was going to lose my mind in the car. He prayed for me to have strength before we walked in the door. As we walked in the barbershop that day, I knew my life was about to change.

What was a life changing moment that you experienced  and how did you work through it?

For more information about alopecia, visit