Diagnosed with Alopecia and diabetes, Tanya Barnett knew it was time to change her life. Author, motivational speaker, non-profit founder, wife, and mother, this sensational woman of God is here today to share her story. She's impacting lives and making a stance to change the world, one wife, one woman, one life at a time.
CHELLE: Who is Tanya Barnett the woman?
TANYA: I am a woman who loves God, is driven by a desire to serve people and daily attempts to let at least one person know that they have value.
CHELLE: Describe a normal day in your life involving your home life and writing life.
TANYA: I wake up around 4:30am to go for a walk with my hubby (when he gets up) or for a run by myself. After I shower, I listen to the Bible app and then look at my goals for the month and the action steps I need to take to achieve those goals. I am a substitute teacher, which allows me freedom to take off when I need to so I use that time to blog and work on my nonprofit, Forever Free Books. Evenings include spending time with my husband and kids.
CHELLE: How do you balance being a wife, mother, author, and speaker with your personal spiritual life?
TANYA: To be honest, there is no balance for me. I had to learn how to just say “no” to things and people. I learned that “no” is a complete sentence and does not require an explanation. Since doing that this year, my businesses have taken off and opportunities are literally finding me.
CHELLE: I love that statement!!! Unfortunately, that is a difficult lesson for most of us to learn, not giving an explanation. I know I have often felt I owed someone one, when in fact I didn’t. You should write a book on that alone. LOL!!
On a more serious note, you battled diabetes and learned you had alopecia. How did going through those events in your life shape your perspective as a woman? Did it have any impact on your family life?
TANYA: It was very painful especially since I was in my 30s. We aren’t supposed to have issues, or so I thought. My perspective changed from these events because I realized that my life is very precious and that I had to take care of me.
Diabetes had a positive impact on my family because I had to change how and what I ate. In doing this, my family ate healthier, too. My having alopecia had no impact on my family like I initially thought it would. They were and still are very supportive.
CHELLE: Do you think you would be willing to create a cookbook with recipes for those battling diabetes, or just meals for families to live healthier?
TANYA: Yes!!! I have a culinary photographer already. Nothing in the works yet…just tossing ideas.
CHELLE: Okay, well I for one am looking forward to seeing that project come to fruition. For readers who are unfamiliar with your upcoming release, tell us about Being a Wife Just Got Real.
TANYA: Being A Wife Just Got Real is a true story about me and my husband, Don. I got married with a fairy tale idea of what it would be like but within 3 weeks of us being married, everything started downhill real fast. In this book, I share how we treated each other and the results of those behaviors. I also share how I changed my behavior and the impact it had on my marriage.
CHELLE: I think most of us go into marriage a bit deluded. It does not work until we begin to learn compromise and humility. What led you to share your story with others?
TANYA: I wanted women to know that they are not alone and that NONE of us have perfect marriages. People say to us all the time that they wish they had a marriage like ours but I let them know it took time and effort to get to what you see 17 years later.
CHELLE: Whew!!! I can attest to that one myself, Tanya. LOL!!! How has sharing your story with others influenced your marriage?
TANYA: The whole time I was writing it, I cried and apologized to my husband, a lot. This also opened up lots of dialogue and reflection for the both of us. It has truly brought us closer together.
CHELLE: What do you hope other women will learn from your story?
TANYA: Basically, I want women (single and married) to know that marriage is REAL and that there are REAL issues, but with lots of love and prayer, all things are possible to conquer. I also want them to stop blaming their husbands for everything and to take ownership and responsibility for their behaviors.
CHELLE: You just touched on the heart of an issue my husband and I have been working on, and we are producing a play about. It is so good to hear another wife and woman of God say that. What words of advice do you have for other women who may be newly married going through similar situations?
TANYA: Get a prayer partner! Having one at the very beginning gave me strength so many times when I was at my wits end.
CHELLE: A prayer partner is essential, but a woman also has to get to that place of being willing to open up to others. Oftentimes, women don’t want to share what’s going on in their private lives, choosing instead to pretend all is well. What do you suggest for them?
TANYA: I understand people wanting to be private, however sharing with someone your struggles or issues just might reveal you are not alone. In this, you have someone who would pray for you and offer encouragement when you need.
CHELLE: What words of advice do you have for women who have been married a while, but they are not experiencing the best their marriage can be?
TANYA: The same thing, get a prayer partner. I honestly know that I would not still be married if it was not for that.
CHELLE: You are also an advocate for Embracing Life. Can you share more about that?
TANYA: When I found out I was going bald I could not accept it. I was in denial and it stressed me out. I cried a lot and was ashamed. It took me three years to accept it and embrace it. Once I did that, the doors opened for me to help other women. I want other women to learn to embrace their current situation so they can use it to help others.
CHELLE: What led you to starting Forever Free Books?
TANYA: I worked with first graders and only three babies in my class owned books. I held a book drive to get 25 books and I received over 300. I decided to be a vessel for children in need of books. I asked my husband what he thought about me starting a nonprofit and he said, “Go for it.”
CHELLE: Is that a local program in the DC area or has it grown outside of there?
TANYA: We are still local to the DC area however; we have sent books as far as an orphanage in India. We shipped books to California, Detroit and Georgia.
CHELLE: Ahh! Here in my home state of Georgia. What words of advice do you have for other women looking to start similar programs?
TANYA: Join groups that support nonprofits and learn all you can. Also, they should be prepared to work hard no matter if it seems like people don’t understand what you are doing.
CHELLE: What are your personal goals and dreams for your life?
TANYA: My personal goals include, speaking around the world to women about being an empowered yet supportive wife. I am determined to get the real wife movement international. I also see my book becoming a movie since there is comedy mixed in with serious moments. I feel that it will give people hope and will change one family at a time. I also want to have the income I need for my husband to come off his job and to pursue his dreams.
CHELLE: Amen! I’m in agreement with that, Tanya. What one person has been your greatest supporter on your journey to realizing your dream?
TANYA: I often thought of my deceased grandparents to include my grandfather, Joseph Walker, who died right before my book was printed. They endured so much racism and degrading things because of the color of their skin and I decided in my mind that I was going to be successful in honor of them. Their memory was what kept me going. My husband was my biggest supporter. He always pushes me to work harder or to follow through.
CHELLE: That’s a blessing. I know exactly what that’s like to have your husband in your corner, pushing you along the way. Describe your idea of the perfect “me-time.”
TANYA: A day at the Spa. I take a book and get the works.
CHELLE: What words do you have for those who are seeking a closer relationship with the Lord, but appear to be burdened with the cares of this world?
TANYA: Find a church that truly teaches God’s word. I go to a non-denominational church and I find that they have the freedom to teach as God leads them. Also, having spirit-led people as friends helps because they will hold you accountable.
CHELLE: Kobe or LeBron?
TANYA: Both are great, but I would choose Michael Jordan. He did not allow his life circumstance. He could have quit when he didn’t make his school’s varsity team. He turned it around and used that experience for motivation, and the rest is history.
CHELLE: LOL!!! I loved him, too. Now that Kobe (my personal favorite) has retired, I have to find two new current basketball players to replace in that question.
We live life beautifully inspired here, at The Beautifully Inspired Blog. Leave us with an inspirational post, comprised of three words.
TANYA: Live, Love, Give
CHELLE: And we shall be fulfilled! You heard her people. To learn more about Tanya and her works, click the links below…
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