She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. (Proverbs 31:17 NIV)
‘I’M STILL STANDING’
EDITOR’S NOTE: This feel good story will be published the final week of December in the North Dallas Gazette newspaper.
LANCASTER, Texas — October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month during which parents bring awareness to pregnancy and infant deaths.
For Dallas/Fort Worth entrepreneur LaTambria Johnson, she typically spends those 31 days, recalling the awe-inspiring memory of her son, Amari Aubre’ Carter.
And not just in October, mind you. But virtually every day.
“It means the world to me,” Johnson, during a weekend interview with Making Headline News, said of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. “It’s a special time to reminisce and remember my precious little angel. I push every year to try to bring more and more awareness to its importance to so many people.”
Since her son’s death approximately two months after his birth, Johnson and her family customarily engage in a candlelight vigil in their home in memory of little Amari, who would have turned seven on December 9.
Interestingly, Johnson has birthed a business in her son’s memory, one that has enjoyed a considerable amount of success in recent years.
A native of Dallas who’s widely known as “The Cupcake Queen,” Johnson, 35 is the owner and CEO of Tam’s Sweet Treats And More, a venture that is widely known for providing consumers with a variety of sweets, most notably cakes, teacakes, chocolate covered sweets and, of course, its assortment of delectable and mouthwatering cupcakes.
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A longtime dental professional whose career spans more than 15 years, Johnson spent a better part of childhood watching her grandmother bake desserts in the confines of her kitchen, a trend that had ultimately fueled her desire to follow in her massive footsteps.
Johnson’s grandmother passed away in October 2001.
To her credit, coupled memories of her grandmother and son, Johnson’s Tam’s Sweet Treats And More has become a fixture throughout Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and certain parts of the country.
Aside from baking a slew of desserts, Johnson has added themed gift baskets to her entrepreneurship repertoire and, in recent weeks, she’s fielded calls from consumers as far as on the East Coast, who requested baskets to be shipped to them from Texas.
A little more than five years removed from having witnessed her business come full circle, Johnson said she has been blessed mightily by the continuous growth of Tam’s Sweet Treats And More.
“I strive to make every treat and basket personal for every customer and strive for complete customer satisfaction,” Johnson, a graduate of Dallas’ Skyline High School, said. “This growth over the years, I credit all to God for blessing me with the ability to self-teach and produce quality, delectable sweets. Without God I would not have the confidence to continue to grow.”
Most importantly, without God, Johnson doesn’t shy away from the notion that she wouldn’t be alive to tell of His everlasting goodness and mercy.
Consider, for the instance, the turbulence by which she had endured years before the startup of her flourishing business.
In 2007, Johnson underwent surgery to have her cancer cells removed from her cervix. Approximately a year later, she had a pre-eclampsia, or an emergency C-Section performed, a procedure that gave way to her child being 25 weeks prematurely and weighing just one pound, six ounces.
Two years later, doctors removed cancer cells from her cervix only to have a similar procedure performed the following year.
Then in 2012, Johnson had to have another emergency C-Section performed, during which she had given birth to her baby at 23 weeks, a child whom weighed 14 ounces.
PURPOSED FOR PAIN
Consequently, things would become even more somber in the life of a young woman whose faith undoubtedly was on trial unlike never before.
That’s because later that year, her baby had suddenly passed away, a shocking, tear-jerking development that transpired right before doctors had discovered a tumor in Johnson’s stomach. The tumor was eventually removed.
Then in 2015, Johnson was hit with more disheartening news when she got word that she had a leaking heart valve due to high blood pressure.
As if those slew of obstacles weren’t enough to try Johnson’s faith, she learned some time in 2016 that the nerves behind both of her eyes were swollen twice their normal size, in large part because doctors discovered excessive fluid around her brain.
While such a heartbreaking sequence of events would bring even the strongest of persons to tears, Johnson deemed it essential to post to her Facebook timeline an image accompanied by four words which, in essence, practically sums up why she’s the blessed woman for whom she is widely known.
“AND I’M STILL STANDING,” Johnson staged an October 2017 social media image that was accompanied by three exclamation points.
Fast forward two years later, all of which Johnson has endured is all but a distant memory, considering she doesn’t merely look like what she’s been through.
‘IT WILL BE DIFFERENT THIS TIME’
In fact, Johnson often says that 2019 “doesn’t owe me anything,” alluding to the notion that, well, she’s in the process of living her best life.
“(This year) has been full of nothing but growth and major blessings,” said Johnson, who recently married native Memphian and longtime sports journalist Andre Johnson. “From growing in my faith walk, business and, most importantly, marrying my best friend and biggest supporter.”
Armed with a new lease on life, Johnson has forecasted 2020 to be a year of “no limits.”
“I know as long as I continue to follow God’s path for me, the blessings will continue to flow and my testimony will continue to grow,” Johnson, a mother of two, said. “I know I’m making my son proud.”
Because Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Domestic Violence Awareness all share the same month, Johnson is strategically devising ways to become more of an advocate for infant loss.
“I feel it’s not as known as it has the potential to be,” Johnson said. “On October 15 at 7 p.m., people all around the world light a candle in their (baby’s) memory. For us personally, we light our candles as a family, say a prayer, and listen to Gospel music as we remember (Amari).”
For seven years and counting.
All things considered, she’s still standing.
For more information about Tam’s Sweet Treats And More or to place orders, call LaTambria Johnson at 469.223.3928 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, reach her via social media at: Facebook.com/Tamssweettreatsandmore and Instagram @tamssweettreatsandmore.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, producer, author, athlete, musician, barber, life coach, motivational speaker, cosmetologist, tax preparer, model, or pastor/minister who is seeking exposure and would like to share your story with an in-depth news feature, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him under “Andre T. Johnson” for details.
Andre Johnson is the award-winning Founder and Publisher for Making Headline News. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism and a former staff reporter of sports for the Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send email to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.