June 29, 2015

5 ways to connect better with the men you meet

By Tatianah Green

Summer is upon us and what I like about this season is the weather is generally good enough to go outside and see other people. We get so consumed by technology and our schedules that we don’t have the opportunity to connect with each other, let alone the opposite sex. 

I wanted to write this post for the ladies but perhaps guys can get something from this as well. If you want to meet more men for potential dates, this is the time to practice your interpersonal communication. Here are five ways you can improve your connection with the opposite sex this season.

1. Be present

Being present-minded means you’re not eager or anxious to look towards the future when you meet and converse with a guy. He seems nice, could he be a potential date? Or thoughts I deal with from time to time, Lord, how about this one? LOL don’t leave me out here to dry ladies, say Amen! When I have thoughts that immediately jump ahead to the future, I feel a tug from the Holy Spirit saying be easy. Calm down, you don’t know this person from Adam so just be present and be your natural self today in this very moment.

2. Put the phone down

I went to a party over the weekend by myself and as awkward as that can be for some, it pays to put the phone away, at least for a little bit. The party was an art gallery event so I engaged with the art and took it all in. People will look at you and it’s okay; make eye contact and try not to pretend to read something oh so important on your phone. Put them phones away! If I saw someone on the phone I would think they could be talking to someone they’re interested in or seeing. I’m sure that’s what guys may think as well if you ask them. If your phone is away, you’re more available and open for approach. It also shows common courtesy for others and shows that you desire human to human connection.

3. Make eye contact more often

Similar to the previous point, you can connect better with others including men you may be interested in with simply making eye contact. Some of us may shy away from making eye contact to avoid awkward stares, but eye contact is a respectful way to acknowledge a person. It’s the start to perhaps a connection and great conversation. Read more here about eye contact.

4. Own your femininity and let men be gentlemen

There’s power that comes with being a woman. When you go about your day to day tasks we ladies can get used to handling things on own like the doors and the like. When a man presents the opportunity to be a gentleman towards you, let him! I know myself at times have tunnel vision and just want to be to myself, but if a man holds open a door for you, look him in the eye and say thank you. As a woman you have the ability to give warmth and godly love to others in your interactions. Plus we all know that a thank you can go a long way. It’s empowering to the man so let him be a gentleman!

5. Have business cards handy

For the ladies who are interested in connecting and networking with men, it’s a good idea to have a business or personal card. I give men my business card for the blog so they get an idea of what I’m about without having my number. You may want to give your number so that’s up to you. There are also ways to obtain a Google phone number so that you don’t have to give your personal landline or cell number out to just anyone. Share your passion, business or profile with others through your card. When you pass it to them it opens up the door for more conversation, so it’s a connection tool. It’s also better than just plugging your name and number into their phone—make an impression with a card. 

Whether you’re an introvert like myself or just wondering where the men are, you make yourself more available when you open up with these simple forms of human connection. Let me know what worked for you via Twitter or email me at bliss4singles@gmail.com

June 26, 2015

Marriage is more than the right to get married

By Tatianah Green

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on gay marriage being legalized in the entire United States is not what made me sad about the occasion today. I’m not surprised but just had a couple of thoughts in mind about it all.

Firstly, it’s understandable that there are people who are all in their feelings about this decision-both liberal minded and more conservative-minded. From what I got from the decision from a secular viewpoint is that we are supposed to be taking a big step towards equality. #Lovewins. I get that. I'm expected to as a human being respect that movement and go with it. I pray that Blacks in America get the same attention from the government to companies and support when another incident occurs that raises #BlackLivesMatter. If only we were all truly equal in the eyes of man...

No one wins when we are still divided because of our feelings and opinions. There are people acting out of defense because of those who oppose their view. Ok so someone doesn’t agree with how you live. It’s not their obligation to LIKE everything that you do, and vice versa. If you don’t want to subscribe to their way of thinking, simply unfollow or unfriend them; it just saves so much energy. Believers: it's hard to win souls by compromising and it's harder to win them with hatred; check your hearts.

This decision is from what I see was supposed to "unite" the United States, but as with many decisions in this country, we still end up divided and cliqued up, comparing causes. We have a hard time seeing each other as equals because of that mentality. This is in all regards, especially racism. No matter what laws pass, people are still going to have that mentality as long as it’s recycled and taught to the generations after it.

I may not agree with you on something, but at least I will respect you, be kind to you, and do my best not to judge you—especially if I don’t know you well enough to do so in its proper context. 

Secondly, equality for unions was won, but it’s another fight to keep godly marriage. Marriage is something we humans tend to want without God even though it’s His best representation of His relationship with us. How crazy is that to want God’s gift without enjoying the gift giver?

When we take the reigns over something so painfully beautiful as marriage, we tend to mess it up. Straight, gay, whatever. We will have challenges in marriage. Only with God can a successful marriage withstand the trials that come in such a precious bond. There are a lot of marriages that have failed--even in the church--because God did not put those unions together, people did. 

For those who believe, one of the purposes of marriage is to build and support your partner to becoming more like Christ. Another is for God to be glorified in the relationship (Ephesians 5:21-34 AMP). We have to consider something beyond ourselves in this present time. There is God, who watches over all, and His son Jesus, who died for all including those He knew would reject Him. The Lord’s covenant with man is so beyond our lawmaking, banner waving, and comprehension. His love is the reason that we are alive. His love is the reason why we should work to be more like Him. 

If you are making a stand against gay marriage, make a stand against everything else that mocks or tears God’s vision of marriage down. The enemy doesn’t want God’s view of marriage to prevail and will use anything to tear it down. This includes infidelity, abuse, selfishness, and any other sin that tries to rise up against God’s plan for the institution itself. We have to remember that everything created by the Creator was for a purpose. When it is used out of context of its purpose, there’s confusion, abuse (abnormal use), and perversion. We have way too much of that going on and that’s how decisions like the one today get justified by our brothers and sisters who misunderstand God's truth.

We have to do better, strive beyond ourselves to live the way we were purposed. Pray for this land and for one another.

June 25, 2015

S.O.S. #PopUpWorship

By Tatianah Green

Source: Twitter

Summer is officially here! How are you going to celebrate? I got this great idea from Gospel artist Casey J  when I stumbled upon her first vlog on YouTube. Have you ever just gone to the park or the beach and had spontaneous worship unto the Lord with friends or family? Well, that's what Casey did and she shares the fun experience and why in this video:

Why pop up worship? You get to reach people who wouldn't normally come to church, have a refreshing worship experience in a new place, and connect with people! Next month I will be joining my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ for Intercession for a Generation's encouragement outing at Indiana Dunes for fellowship and worship on the beach near Lake Michigan. To have your own pop up worship event, grab some friends, pick a spot, and have fun in worship!

I've really gotten into Casey J's music, be sure to follow her on social media to see where she'll host another pop up worship event! If you want the inside scoop on upcoming events in Chicago and across the country this summer, join our Facebook group: Summer of Single 2015

June 18, 2015

How you can help the fight against hate crimes this weekend

By Tatianah Green

If you questioned if we ever lived in a post-racial society, there are unfortunate moments when this just isn't so. Labeled a "hate crime," a white man entered the Emmanuel AME Church, a historically Black institution in Charleston, South Carolina, and shot and killed nine people in their service the evening of June 17, 2015. Community leaders are saying that racial tensions in the Charleston could be part of the reason why a white man in his early 20s would do such a thing. 

“The only reason that someone could walk into a church and shoot people praying is out of hate,” Mayor Joseph P. Riley said. “It is the most dastardly act that one could possibly imagine, and we will bring that person to justice. … This is one hateful person.” (Source)

Hate crimes have not just occurred in Christian churches in America, but Muslim mosques as well. Hate crimes occur in my opinion because of a rogue person acting out on their own, or a tactic created by a group for an agenda. Let's not look at this as an isolated incident. For years Blacks in America, African Americans specifically, have been the target of hate in various forms. From media portraying outdated and stereotypical images of us, to us only getting applauded and accolades from the majority in this country for doing things that fall in line with subservient behavior. We're getting into Juneteenth weekend, and it's very important that Blacks in America understand that they are free and don't have to be enslaved to oppression and depression in 2015.

Even outside of the United States there is hate amongst Blacks. In the Dominican Republic, the government there is set to deporting people of Haitian heritage across to Haiti on the same island that they share. What constitutes the Haitian Dominicans as "candidates" for deportation? "The law, which followed a 2013 court ruling to strip the citizenship of children born in the Dominican Republic to foreign parents, was seen by many in the human rights community as thinly veiled discrimination against the Dominicans’ darker-skinned neighbors." (Source) People are literally being removed from everything they know based on their looks and heritage and this is 2015. If racial apartheid can happen in this decade, best believe a bigger country will try it as well.

To bring it back home to Chicago, you can make a difference against racial discrimination and hate:

The YWCA of Evanston/North Shore is hosting the 16th annual Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate on Sunday, June 21, 2015. This is in honor of the late Ricky Byrdsong, a beloved sports coach, husband, father, and man of God. I remember him from when I attended church in Evanston with my aunts in the 90s. To hear of his tragic death, a shooting at the hands of a white supremacist who shot and killed other minorities, hurt my young heart. Survived by his wife Sherialyn and three children, they honor his legacy and bring awareness to hate crimes everywhere by hosting this race with the YWCA. Proceeds from the race will go toward the YWCA's racial justice and violence prevention programs.
Proceeds will support our racial justice and violence prevention programming. - See more at: http://www.ywca.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1134002&lis=1&kntae1134002=F039AE89B2CD436780148EB442DF3E81#sthash.8k2ogOZQ.dpuf
Proceeds will support our racial justice and violence prevention programming. - See more at: http://www.ywca.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1134002&lis=1&kntae1134002=F039AE89B2CD436780148EB442DF3E81#sthash.8k2ogOZQ.dpuf

"The Race Against Hate unites people of different racial, religious and ethnic backgrounds to celebrate diversity, promote reconciliation and declare that racism is not welcome or tolerated ANYWHERE in America." (Source) There's still time to get involved and their information is here.

"Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28 NLT 

God is with us all and there is so much to pray for. Keep the families and church members at Emmanuel AME in your prayers, pray for the shooter's heart and soul, pray for justice in our communities, for hidden agendas to be exposed, for the remnant of people who desire to make a difference in this country a reality be covered and lifted. 

June 16, 2015

What your process means to someone else

By Tatianah Green

Me and my cousin Sierrah, c/o 2015!
How many of us consider ourselves to be role models? I usually don’t until I’m reminded by people from family to strangers via social media, that what I share in these blog posts are good enough for them to read—and I pray—learn from. To be honest y’all, there are some hard days for me. There are days when I wonder why I’m one of the many who have to wait seemingly long amounts of time for what I want in life. From career to relationships, there are those moments when I just want everything to just be as God promised. Waiting and developing for the promise can be hard sometimes!

I found my circumstance somewhat in what the prophet Ezekiel had gone through. In Ezekiel 24, God lets the prophet know that He is going to take away from Ezekiel the “delight of his eyes”--his wife. God instructed him: “Yet do not lament or weep or shed any tears…Keep your turban fastened and your sandals on your feet,” and additional commands. Ezekiel did as he was told by the Lord. God was using Ezekiel as an example unto His people on what to do when God would take away the things that they considered the delights of their eyes, which were anything but God. At the end of the chapter it states: “You will be a sign to them, and they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 24:27B).

Two things I got from that was that in the midst of what would be an understandable time to be frustrated, sad and mourning, Ezekiel chose to be obedient to God, even after knowing his own wife would die. God was using the prophet to serve as a sign and message to His people that He is the Sovereign Lord. God can use us singles in that same way. In those moments when we want to give up, feel at our loneliest or have waited a long time for God’s blessings to come, we should consider that there are people watching us all the time. There are people who will never say a word to you about what you’re doing but they’re either rooting for you or hating on you, depending on the person. Either way, we worship God and witness to all of God’s sovereignty and goodness when we are doing what we’ve been divinely instructed to do.

It’s not being fake or putting up a front for people, it’s about being obedient to God. And as much as I want to be obedient, it’s challenging because this is a race I have to run and endure, and I'm not the best runner! You may be feeling the same way, getting a little weary or tired, wanting to throw hands up and quit even. I was reminded immediately of a word I received from the Lord to tarry in this season, to keep holding on. I assure you that anything outside of God’s will is not worth it. There’s nothing out here that I want that God’s hand isn’t over. Remind yourself that and ask the Lord to keep you. Remember 2 Corinthians 12:9, that God's grace is sufficient for you. 

God desires obedience. His word says that obedience is better than sacrifice. No amount of time spent in church or ministry can compare to your heart and actions saying yes to the Father’s way. We are living in a time right now in which everything even remotely Christian is being silenced and ridiculed. This is a time like no other to be steadfast and obedient in the Lord. It’s tough sometimes I know, but we must remember that we are only here by the mercy and grace of God. 

We as believers, especially the singles, can really utilize this waiting process to give God glory in respect of His sovereignty. It’s hard when you have those lonely moments, but trust that God is there waiting for our call and to spend time with Him. I want to encourage you to unload all of those feelings off of your shoulders and leave them at the altar. What you're doing in this season may very well be what someone needs to see in order to keep the faith themselves. 

We as believers are parts of a big divine family and a body of Christ with the responsibilities of supporting one another and doing our part. We build each other up by enduring our process and being obedient to God and His assignment for us individually. From my cousin Sierrah who recently graduated from college to my anointed brothers and sisters in Christ, I'm inspired to keep doing this thing. Keep going, the streets are watching, and God is too. To Him be the glory forever!

June 11, 2015

S.O.S. Explore your city

By Tatianah Green

Hey everyone! Summer is almost here so I want to continue the S.O.S. Summer of Single series that goes until Labor Day. I'm from Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, so there's a lot I have not discovered for myself or explored yet. Growing up in the south suburbs and city, I wasn't exposed to the other sides because of rumors, lack of enough friends/family in those areas to visit consistently, etc.  But now that I'm older and have the ability to travel to other places via car or public transit, I can explore more of this great city.

The photo above was taken last night at Montrose Harbor. My friend from MLTM Radio Patrice put me on to it and it was a beautiful site of Lake Michigan, small boats, and a gorgeous sunset. It was a spontaneous moment to break the habit of just going home after work and taking advantage of the nice weather and fellowship. 

God is everywhere and even in these little pockets or corners of your world, He's there too. I felt at peace and worry free there except for the occasional random loud stranger and bugs of course, lol. Travel there however you'd like plane, train, automobile, bike, or better yet walk.

Wherever you happen to live you can challenge yourself by stretching beyond your neighborhood and exploring one that you've heard of nearby. Try a new grocery store, walking/bike trail, new park or beach--just something different. What will you find there? What will the Lord say to you there? Let's explore, with discretion and wisdom of course, and enjoy this summer. 

If you want to see more events and ideas for what to do this season, join the Summer of Single group on Facebook and invite your friends! 

Now...where next?

June 5, 2015

Will & Jada Smith and what it takes to trust in marriage

By Tatianah Green

I don't know if you've heard, but despite the rumors that have plagued this couple for years, that the Smiths--Will and Jada that is--are doing well in their 18 year marriage. I'm not all too familiar with the spiritual grounding of their relationship, but one thing that spoke to me was what Jada stated in a recent interview. The rumor that they have an open marriage or whatever doesn't take away from an important aspect that's needed in successful relationships, and that is TRUST.
"At the end of the day, I'm not here to be anybody's watcher ... he's a grown man." -Jada Pinkett Smith
Now that can be taken in a few different ways. It's not as if she doesn't care about what he's doing, she's just not obsessing about it. As a wife, women of God are to cover their husbands but not be helicopter spouses, constantly watching their every move with the intent to keep them on a leash. Do they seem too good to be true or do you truly have trust issues? This is a common issue for many singles and even couples. Trust seems to be a popular desire that singles want in each other, but through experiences, seems hard to find. I think this comes in part from the misunderstanding that we are supposed to trust human beings 100%. That's not necessarily what God has in mind. Because if that was the case, our spouse would be our God, and that of course is idolatry. 

The fear of getting hurt is another issue, but again, that's fear speaking to you and trying to break your joy. Remember what God has put together, like a three-braid cord, cannot be easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). There will be times of trial and storm even in a godly marriage, so you have to be prayed up for all seasons. When we take things into our hands and go past God's idea for a spouse, we get the consequences of said decision. When you decide to trust God to give you a spouse, then you trust Him at His word to take care of you both and the relationship. If you have trust issues, work on those first, let go of the fear and need to control the outcomes and let God handle it. Read about my experience here

As a spouse, it's your first priority to put your complete and total trust in the Lord and seek Him in all things, including and especially regarding your spouse. Your spouse or mate is who you will connect with, lay with, build with, and prayerfully grow old and happy with together. What affects them ultimately affects you because you two are one as God designed in the first marriage covenant.
"Here's what I trust: The man that Will is, is a man of integrity," she said. "He's got all the freedom in the world ... as long as Will can look in the mirror and be okay, I'm good." -JPS
Constantly worrying about what your spouse is doing is not freedom nor is it love. It's more like distrust, paranoia, and bondage. Love frees you to be who you are, and as you continue to accept the person for who they are, you show a godly love to them that benefits their growth and your relationship. People can tell when you don't trust them or don't accept/see them for who they are. Let go of the idea that they are never going to disappoint you in some way and be prepared to forgive them as your Father has forgiven you. We marry human beings with great qualities and flaws, just like ours. 

As I've shared in an earlier post about consistency, if one shows you, even in the unpleasant times, that they are consistent in their character, you will most likely trust them to do what they consistently show you. If she believes Will to be a man of integrity, it took some time for that conclusion to be established. It took time for him to show and prove himself to be a man of integrity to her. One man of integrity in the Bible was Joseph, who obeyed the guidance of the Lord (Matthew 1), even when his plans were turned upside down. He was consistent in what he did and the Lord honored that. You can be more at ease trusting a partner who obeys God no matter what and who has a relationship with Him.

As a single and as someone who doesn't know the Smiths or their marriage, it's not my business to figure out how they're doing, but just to say a prayer as the Lord leads and keep it moving. Their public relationship is what many in the Black community consider to be successful even though we'll never know what goes behind closed doors. But we can trust God to keep us in peace about our own future spouses, to provide us the tools and words to utilize in supporting them and being their partners and helpmates. 

What do you think about her comments about trust? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook page.