Meet The Author: Tanya Armstrong


A Little About Tanya:  I have known Tanya since I was 13 years old.   And, NO … I am not about to tell you how long we have been friends. But, lets just say that we have had the pleasure of being part of each other’s journey.  As a friend, it was particularly hard for me to watch Tanya experience any kind of pain.  But, if ever I have met someone whose life is a testimony, it would be her.  She maintained a buoyant spirit, because she knew, even in the thick of it,  that In God’s Hands Intended Evil becomes Eventual Good.  Her story is one of perseverance, triumph, and strength.  And, I am proud of her for sharing her story and her truth.  I sincerely hope that you will run out and her purchase her book, The Moment I Decided to Own It. (Follow the link to purchase on Amazon)

When did you know in your heart that it was time for you to move on?

When the tone in his voice changed. We used to speak and you could hear that he cared and loved me and then one day I realized there was absolutely no love in his voice.  It was cold and direct and I realized that I no longer possessed his heart

What signs did you see or that you now recognize in retrospect?

The signs had always been there. The lying was there, the cheating was there but I became so comfortable in my dysfunction or dysfunctional marriage that I chose not to leave.  I chose to act as if it were out of sight out of mind to keep my sanity, because my former husband was either deployed a lot while in the military or working as a contractor overseas for the last 10 years of our marriage.

What convinced you to turn your trial into a testimony and essentially a victory?

This book started  off as a conversation between myself and a very close friend. I was telling her about some of the difficulties and frustration that I was feeling while going through my divorce and dealing with my soon-to-be ex husband. And she said, girl you need to write a book because nobody would really believe everything that you’ve been through.  I proceeded to tell her nobody wants to really hear my story and she said yes they do. So on a Sunday night two years ago I started to write

Was the process of writing the book healing for you?

Definitely!! While writing this book I had to revisit some very painful moments and instead of just tucking them away as if they never existed, I had to truly deal with them.  Looking at my pain face to face and not backing down. I had to rip off Band-Aids and shed a lot of tears, but after I did that my soul started to heal.

Explain how you felt when the book was complete?

That final moment when the book was completed I truly felt accomplished. I had that AHA moment. I thought that this baby that I was carrying for the last two years was finally here.

Advice for wives?  Advice for young ladies starting out in a relationship?

The advice that I have for wives is don’t become complacent with your heart don’t allow other people to take that precious gift that you’re offering to them for granted. The advice that I have for young ladies is never settle.  If you are unhappy in your present situation,  do not allow yourself to feel that this is the best you can get.  And ALWAYS trust your gut instincts.  If I had trusted my own 20 years ago my life could’ve been very different. But, please don’t misunderstand, I do not regret any of the decisions that I made because as a product of that union, I have five magnificent beautiful children.

Favorite Quote from The Moment I Decided to Own It:

“I have to get through today, to get to tomorrow, because tomorrow has to be better than today.”

Favorite Book : I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

Favorite Author:  Maya  Angelou

Favorite Quote or Motto: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. – Maya Angelou

You can find Tanya all over Social Media  :

On Facebook On Twitter On Instagram

or On Her Website



This month’s Creative Interview has been one of my favorites thus far.  The reason behind that is that Kori is a personal friend of mine, that I have NEVER physically met.  Back in 2003, when we were both pregnant with our now 10 year olds, we joined an Online Parenting Group for Expectant Moms due in November.  I think we were both looking for people who were experiencing the same things that we were at that time, like the indigestion, weight gain, and over all pregnancy woes.  The group went through major transitions over the years.  And, literally there are only a few of us still standing.  But, what developed out of that setting were some very meaningful and unexpected friendships.  She was the first military wife that I had ever known.  Long before my obsession with the Lifetime Show. I was always fascinated by the way she  played her position taking on whatever was thrown at her while still maintaining order, stability and security for her family.  The sacrifices that not only those serving our country, but also the families left behind is humbling.   Check out what Kori has to say about life as a military wife and mom and transitioning to civilian life.

Grace Under Fire From Military Wife to Civilian Life

When did you become a military wife?

We were married June 19 2001.  That’s when my journey as a military wife began.

How long was your dh in the military?
He was in the United States Marine Corps for 20 years.

Was he in the military before you got married and did that weigh into the decision to marry him?
While we did date in high school we were not together when he joined.  When we got back together he was already a Marine.    Him being in the military really didn’t have any bearing on my decision to marry him.  Partially because my father was in the military when I was a kid so I had an idea of what my life was going to be like.   And partially because it didn’t matter to me.

With him being deployed, was he able to be their for the births of all of your babies?
I was really lucky and he was home for all of my pregnancies and births.  There are many women who don’t have that.

What was the hardest time that you spent alone?
In March 2011 he was deployed on ship in the Asia Pacific Region.  (Japan, Thailand, Malaysia etc).  I awoke one morning to many texts , Facebook posts and Facebook messages asking if Mike was ok.  I had no idea what they were talking about.  I turned on the news and found out there was an earthquake and tsunami in that area.  I quickly turned on the computer and had a message from him that read, ” I’m fine.”   During the next communication I found out that they were on their way back to Japan to see if they would be needed in the clean up efforts.  For the next couple of months the stability of the of the Fukushima Dauichi nuclear power plant went from bad to worse, getting up to level 7 emergency. Nuclear chemicals were leaking out and evacuations took place. The ship remained “docked” in Japan.  So there was a very real fear of what chemicals he may have been exposed to.

How was the transition when going from being a Military Wife to being a civilian?
The transition from military wife to civilian wife was difficult for me.  I spent all of my adult life living one way and then it was just done.  We moved to a non military town and I felt out of my element, sometimes I still do and it’s been a year.   As a military wife I was always able to find people like me.  As a civilian I felt alone and like I didn’t fit anywhere.

When did he retire and after how long?  Do you think he regrets it or was he happy to move on?
He retired from the Marine Corps March 31, 2014. After 20 years he was ready to move on.

What were some of the major changes after he retired?

Major changes were the move back home.  Finding a home, a job, new schools for the kids.   Healthcare was huge because we never had to deal with health insurance before.  The stability we had was gone.

 How did it change the family dynamic?
The family dynamic hasn’t really changed too much.  Mike is home more now so I’d say that actual co parenting is new.  Before I really just decided what was what and now it’s discussed more.

What advice would you give a new military wife?
It’s all what you make of it.  If you decide things stink…they are going to stink.  You have to be able to find some silver lining.   Find friends, they will help you through.

What advice would give to a wife who is transitioning to civilian life?
Just go with the flow.  There will be ups and downs but you will get through them.  It might be hard for a while but you’ve been a military wife already, you’ve got this.

Is there anything that you would have done differently at any juncture in this whole process?
I don’t think I would’ve done anything differently.  The military gave me a great life, now it’s time to see what civilian life has in store.

“It’s all what you make of it.  If you decide things stink…they are going to stink.  You have to be able to find some silver lining.   Find friends, they will help you through.” –Kori Gaff


Mastering Balance by focusing on Faith Family and Fitness -- A Creative Interview-

Akua, and I are members of the Group Passionistas [a group for female entrepreneurs] on Facebook.  After reading many of her posts, I was amazed at all that she packs into one day.  She has a thriving business, a full time career, a family (she’s very involved with), and lots of friends.  And, she finds time for all of it.  This interview was prompted mostly by curiosity.  But, I also wondered what nuggets she could pass on to those of us who are trying to master finding balance in our every day lives.  I truly enjoyed getting to know her better and getting her realistic, “tell it like it is” point of view.  She doesn’t deny that it is work that demands commitment, but demonstrates that it CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED.

How long have you been committed to healthy eating and working out?

I’ve been working out and eating healthy consistently  for the past 10 years.  Please note that for me eating healthy is all about balance.  I’ll say, I eat healthy about 80% of the time, but I also allow some “cheats” 20% of the time. I enjoy going out to eat with my family and friends.  I have found that  this way allows me to remain consistent  and not feel deprived.

What does your routine look like and do you change it up depending on the season or your moods?

My exercise routine changes according to my goals at the time. No 2 days of working out is ever the same. I set mini goals either weekly or monthly for myself. (i.e: hold planks for more minutes, do x amount of pull ups, run a certain amount of miles, etc. )My daily workout can range from full body circuit training, treadmill interval runs with inclines, heavy lifting, Insanity (my fav…Shaun T is my MAN) bleacher circuits, boxing,  and a host of others.  For me it is  all about constantly challenging your routine and shocking your body. A challenged body will be a changed body.!

How do you balance a full time job, your family and make time for yourself and your Boot Camp?

The balance  for me took some time. I started  this journey over 10 years ago as a single woman with very few responsibilities aside from my teaching career .  In the process, I’ve gotten married, become a mother and owner of 2 businesses (BodybyAkua Fitness LLC  and Treat You Right Foods LLC ).  My balance comes from knowing that each of these aspects of my life are equally important.   What I know for sure is that we MAKE  time for what we really want . My family and faith are extremely important to me, but I am also aware that to sustain my family, I must work hard to provide. I MAKE time for my fitness lifestyle because without  my health and a clear mind, I cannot be a good wife, mother, friend, and an entrepreneur. These elements are interconnected. I cannot succeed in one without the other.  My Fitness is seriously the magic potion that powers me through the rest of my busy life.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to make positive change for a healthier lifestyle?

My advice  to anyone who wants to make a healthier  lifestyle a part of their routine will be to first figure out why you want to get healthy and fit to begin with.  If your  reason for a healthier lifestyle is temporary,  then your results  will also be temporary.  So for example, if you only want to exercise and get healthy because you are in a wedding, going on a vacation or trying to impress someone at a class reunion, then you are most likely not going to continue once those events come and go.  Being healthy and fit should not be temporary, but rather a part of your regular routine. When you change your mind set  and look at healthy living as a daily necessity, you are most likely to stick with it.   Also, when starting out, start with smaller  changes in order to not feel overwhelmed.  (Cut out one sugary drink daily, eat one less fast food this week, go for a nice easy walk after dinner, park the car a little further  and walk, take the stairs, cook one healthy  meal at home). These changes, while small will eventually become habits and help with your success.

Can you share a favorite quick and easy recipe that our readers can prepare for their families?

I pride myself in being the “queen of quick meals”. With such a hectic schedule, being able to make a quick, yet healthy meal is the way to go. The trick is to have already prepared or quick steamed foods on hand.  Example.: Roasted chicken, egg whites, steam ready brown rice,  veggies,  spices, coconut or olive oil sprays )

My favorite quick meal to prep for my family  is my Healthy chicken Fried Rice with veggies. This meal is loaded with all nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body. (Good carbs, Protein, healthy fats, fiber etc.)

(Steam the rice and veggies in advance)
Heat pan with Spray  of coconut or olive oil .
Add egg whites to pan and cook scramble style, add steamed veggies of choice, mix together  and add your favorite  spices, I also add 2 tbsp of ginger dressing, add 1 tbsp of oil as well as shredded  chicken and steamed brown rice.
Mix all well and cook together for about 3 to 5 minutes.  DONE
During the cold winter months  I use my Crockpot to make steel cut oatmeal overnight, so by morning, it’s ready to go.  just add some fruits or peanut butter.

 What is your favorite exercise and the one you hate but love the results?

Currently, my favorite exercise is any variation of  squats.  Squats are awesome  because since they incorporate  such big muscles, it burn tons of calories and a proper squat can also work the core and other parts of the body besides the lower. Plus, it shapes the Glutes nicely.  I seem to always find a way to add in some squats daily.   I have developed a love /hate relationship with the burpees lately. Burpees are EXCELLENT for total body conditioning. There are so many variations!  It works almost every single muscle in the body. I love them because I know they are effective  but I hate them because they easily wear me out.

Any words of wisdom that you would like to add.

I would like to add that fitness/healthy living is a personal choice. YOUR BODY. YOUR DRIVE. YOUR RESULTS. Please know that you are and should always remain your own competition. Strive to be better each day than the day before.  Set small goals for yourself and find ways to accomplish those goal. It is ok to admire  and be motivated  by others,  but,  please do not compare yourself to others in this journey.  Each individual has their own story and history. Celebrate YOUR accomplishments be it small or big.

With the craze  of social media and “fitness models” on the internet,  people tend to want to look like these models and look for quick fixes to get there.. Well the truth is there is NO PILL,  NO TEA,  NO WRAP,  NO CREAM OR WAIST TRAINER that can take the place of eating healthy  and moving the body. The only way to a fitter body is to put in some hard a** work and a balanced clean diet. .

You can find Akua all over the web:







Mastering Balance - Akua Boakye - A Creative Interview -

Stage Presents: Not Your Average Teacher – Nigel Walker Ed. S.

Making the Pieces Fit - Not Your Average Teacher In my opinion, teaching is one of the hardest and most noble professions.  It takes a certain kind of dedication and commitment to be able to reach, mold, and engage young minds.  As a parent, I have had the opportunity to experience  many different teachers and administrators.  I have always been fascinated by the way that certain teachers can capture both the affection and the imagination of  the children that they teach. In today’s society, I find that the focus has shifted away from those who teach because they love to teach and have a genuine passion for reaching those in their charge.  So, I wanted to do this Creative Interview to showcase a Teacher who is definitely “Not Your Average Teacher”.  They do EXIST.  In addition to being a teacher, Nigel Walker is also a published author, three times over.  You will find the links to his books in his bio at the end of this blog.  Be sure to Like and Follow him on his various Social Media Channels.  He definitely gets the Stage Presents Seal of Approval.

What made you want to become a teacher?

After changing my mind several times, I began to think about what I could do that I would enjoy other than writing, music or theater.  Even though I delighted in those things, I was looking for a more stable career.  I then thought about how much I liked to tutor other students in High School, and I recalled that my Spanish class taught basic Spanish to elementary school children, and so began my interest in teaching.

What makes your teaching style unique?

My upbringing  helps me to relate to more of the students that are considered “at risk”.  My diverse interests in music and pop culture help me to relate to the average student, and my use of music and creative teaching techniques keep the students engaged.  I also pair that with the very high expectations to draw a belief out of all my students that they can achieve   Many will tell you that it is a difficult and scarcely seen task to maintain high expectations amidst student and parent resistance, as well as changing standards and expectations.

What is your goal for your students each year?

I tell my students at the beginning of each year that it is my goal for 100% of them to have a passing grade and/or pass whatever standardized test we are giving, and I believe that is possible.

Ultimately, what do you see as your end game?  What do you think that your experience and education has prepared you for?

My ultimate goal is to open my own school, whether it is private or charter.  I have have had the good fortune of being acquainted with Ron Clark and Kim Bearden, co-founders of the Ron Clark Academy and some of their outstanding teachers.  I have also had the privilege of working under the 2013 Metlife/NASSP National Principal of the Year, Dr. Laurie Barron.  In those experiences, I have shared my goals and have been advised by people I think are the best equipped to give advice.  My experience as a professional speaker and community activist has prepared me to understand the sense of community it truly takes to help in the development of a child.  I am prepared to embark on my own personal journey to develop the next generation of leaders in the community.

What is your vision for your school?  Tell me a little about it.

The vision of the school is to use an energized curriculum based on music and the arts to engage students in rigorous instruction.  It is also to discover or utilize talent to serve the community, while building lasting qualities of good character.  I want my school to change the culture of how underprivileged and underrepresented students are viewed in society and build a legacy of leadership and scholarship that they will brag about being a a part of.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next three and a half years, I hope to finish my doctorate in Curriculum and Leadership and if  I decide to go with a Charter School, I hope to be ready to open my school in the 5th year.

What advice would you give to a newly graduated teacher, getting ready to enter the School House in the Fall?

Don’t go in alone.  Find a mentor and a support group.  Teaching is not a piece of cake.  Be in it for the right reasons, the students!!  Be consistent.  Be fair.  Understand your student’s personalities and try to find ways to incorporate them in your expectations, so that they can be themselves.  Stay within the standards that you set in your classroom.

What’s your favorite quote?

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Where can we find you around the web?

WillEdServices Website



Nigel Walker Ed. S - Not Your Average Teacher

Nigel L. Walker was born February 13, 1980 in Eufaula, AL. He is a teacher, author, speaker, and owner of W.I.L.L. Educational Services, LLC. He has a Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Leadership. His works include poetry books, The Secret Diaries of Jean Batiste and Rose Petals for Josephine: The Secret Diaries Vol. II, and a narrative nonfiction, The Underground Philosophy of Education: Teaching is Not for Dummies. He was a 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year Candidate, 2012 Professional of the Year for Covington’s Who’s Who Professional Registry, and is a member of the Great Black Speaker’s Bureau. He was featured in 7 Black Education Speakers Making a Difference by the Great Black Speaker’s Bureau. He is also a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. He is married with two children.