February 27, 2015

Books: Interview with "Almost Perfect" author Jewell Washington

By Tatianah Green

I said I'd be doing videos again, so here we go with the first interview for the year with author, blogger, multimedia producer, and designer Jewell C. Washington! We shared common backgrounds and she discussed her testimony on growing up and the challenges in her college days with self image, faith and more. Watch the video for the whole interview!

To learn more about Jewell and to get her first book "Almost Perfect" visit: lovejewellchristine.com

February 26, 2015

Having a grown mindset about being single

By Tatianah Green

This post is part of Loving in the Grown Zone Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers across the globe. To learn more and to join us as we change the conversation about healthy love, CLICK HERE!  

The other day I was at home in my apartment washing dishes without the noises of the television and my iTunes playlists. For once, I wanted to be in silence, finishing up chores and getting ready for the next day. In that moment of solitude it dawned on me as if the Holy Spirit was whispering this to me in that moment: It won’t always be like this; enjoy this freedom and time that you have alone, the time you have with Me. At that point I felt comforted in my singleness, to treasure this season for what it is. 

Has that ever happened to you? When you know that deep in your heart you are meant to be someone’s spouse one day, but that "one day" is not fazing you right now? Right now you have a desire to build, to grow, to discover, to get all the immature and distracting aspects of your life out of the way so that you can be who God has called you to be. To the point when you see being single as a benefit--the glass half-full if you will--instead of half empty. There comes a time in your single season when you don’t stress the future as much as you used to, but your confidence in God’s will and perfect timing is growing and you don’t feel the pressure you once had before. 

This post is not about being happy in your singleness, because some of us are not. Heck, a lot of us are thinking that we are ready to move on to the next chapter, but having a hard time being patient. We all have those moments, but in order to obtain the love you know you want, you should take the time to enjoy the present for what it is. It takes a renewed and matured mindset.

Healthy love is love that is not desperate, needy, or anxious. In our single season, we have to stop and smell the roses of this stage and not try to neglect it because it’s not what we want right now. Right now is what you’ll want later on when you have a fight with your spouse, when you have those “I don’t want to be married today” feelings (that I hope none of us have but they are real), when your children or relatives begin to drive you up the wall, when you won’t have any time to yourself like you used to. You’ll have joyful days and you’ll have days when you'll remember how it was simpler living single, just you in your space, with not as many obligations or responsibilities. Just looking at marriage with only the benefits/romance of it all is not mature. The realities of the ministry of marriage will definitely try you, but it will be worth it. Marriage in itself is a new level of the maturing process, so continue to develop a grown mindset about love and singleness now.

This is a time to be grateful that you can do whatever it is you want to do, on your terms and within God’s standards. When you’re done feeling those temporal “I need a boo” feelings, wake up and look around you. This world is huge and it needs us—right now. God is calling on us singles to do His works while our total focus and energies can be applied to Him (1 Corinthians 7:34-35). Trust me, those down about being single feelings are temporary. God knows your whole story, but in the meantime enjoy what’s on this page. Be grateful for what this season is because God cares about you enough to develop you for a healthy, satisfying, God-ordained relationship and beyond. It may take a few tries to get to this mindset, but it all plays a part in loving in the grown zone.  

Zara D. Green and Alfred Edmond Jr. are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of The Grown Zone discussion series and related media properties. The couple leads sessions on personal growth, self-love and resiliency, healthy relationships and “Grown” decision-making via online and live events across the country. They know this book is changing the conversation about healthy love. You can grab your copy HERE

February 23, 2015

See Tony Gaskins Live! Enter our Ticket Giveaway!

I'm excited for this upcoming event in Chicago hosted by Tony Gaskins Jr., author and life coach. I attended his "Real Love Tour" last year in Chicago and me along with several hundred others learned some valuable lessons from the testimonies that Tony shared.  

Read the recap here

The next tour stop in Chicago will be on Sunday, March 22, 2015 at Loyola University. If you want to purchase tickets you can here, but B.L.I.S.S. is giving away three (3) individual tickets (general admission) for the Real Love Tour event! To get entered in the giveaway, be sure to follow the instructions to get started!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Selma's "Glory" wins big at the Oscars

By Tatianah Green

I didn't watch the 2015 Academy Awards aka the Oscars last night, but throughout social media there were posts galore congratulating singer John Legend (John Stephens) and Hip Hop artist and actor Common (Lonnie Lynn) for their win for Best Original Song for "Glory" featured in the film "Selma." 

Unfortunately the film didn't win best film of the night, nor did it's director and main actors even get nominated. This year's Oscars was very "white" in the language of many critics, noting that most of the major categories, especially for the actors nominations, had no racial minorities. 

This is not what this post is about, rather than an extra encouragement and kudos to John Legend, Common, and the crew behind the production of the song "Glory." It's a powerful song that stirs the emotions of some and strikes the conviction of others. They performed that anthem last night and it even brought grown men to tears.

In his acceptance speech, Legend stated "'Selma' is now because the struggle for justice is right now." That is very true, given that there are so many injustices, minor and major, that African Americans face in the world and in America. Our image is attacked consistently, our resources, our education, and even our perspective on faith. What is the most interesting about this year's Oscars is the proof that a movie about Black heroes can get snubbed, yet a movie in which Blacks portray slaves takes home the biggest awards (last year's "12 Years a Slave"). Although the film "Selma" was overlooked by the Academy, the win for their song "Glory" will be one to remember. What's great about music is that it can play on for years, that it's message represents a time captured, and that even years later, can get someone to think.

Jennifer Hudson congratulates
fellow Chicagoan and Oscar
winner Common (Facebook)

I was proud of the brothers John and Lonnie for representing their communities and African Americans as a whole on that stage, giving us an image of strong, Black men who are mentally conscious of the issues bigger than them. Common took the stage and acknowledged God first. They stood up there on behalf of the "Selma" film crew and those who were in the actual events in Selma, Alabama. John and Lonnie were our Black heroes that night.

I pray that we see more men and women stand up and shine for their gifts while raising the consciousness of all about all kinds of issues. Prayerfully the Oscars will not be the only platform for them to do so, because every day is a struggle, a bridge to walk over for us all. 

Here is the video of their performance from last night:

February 20, 2015

Black Love Role Models: David and Amanda Taylor

By Tatianah Green

David and Amanda Taylor
I am excited to share this interview with you today featuring David and Amanda Taylor! I met them online through one of my brothers in Christ and I enjoy listening to their podcast Single But Ready. They have now expanded their message and ministry, impacting marriages as well and Amanda has a new book! Get to know the Taylors, their story, and why they are Black Love Role Models. 

TG: Where are you from?
David is from Indiana and Amanda is from Illinois. 

TG: When did you get married? 
We got married July 12th 2008, David was 26 and Amanda was 24

TG: What inspired you to create Single But Ready?
We were inspired to create Single But Ready because we wanted to help singles get prepared for marriage. Many times people enter into marriage trying to be what they think the other person wants and desires. After getting married, you find out very quickly that letting your spouse get to know you for the good, bad and ugly better prepares you to be a supportive and attentive spouse. 

Finding a mate is not about finding someone who is perfect, it is more about finding someone who shares in your culture, your values and your goals for the legacy of your future family together. We learned all this the hard way, as we both came into our marriage with lofty expectations and didn’t prepare ourselves for a relationship that would change over time. People grow and change, feelings come and go, but learning about Agape’ love and embracing who we truly are sets us up better for a healthy balanced relationship with two people who are ready to work as a team. That’s what we wanted to educate singles on.

TG: What are some perks and challenges (if applicable) that come with working with your spouse?
Balancing work and personal time together. When you work together, you have to be even more intentional to remain intimate in all areas and taking time away from work. So, to make sure these areas are not neglected, we have certain days and times that are just our own and everything is turned off and shut down so we can spend quality time focusing on each other.

TG: What is your personal motto or verse for your marriage?
Love is not an emotion…love is a choice. 

TG: Amanda, what inspired you to write your book? 
I was inspired to write this book because I didn’t want anyone to suffer through the difficulties of marriage without tools and practical strategies to help them. I believe when we go through, grow and learn from our mistakes, we should never keep it to ourselves if it can bring healing and help to others. So that is what I wanted to give to everyone I could. I believe my story and stance for my marriage will bring hope and healing to many and it already has. I am very grateful. 

TG: How did you transition from preparing singles to equipping married couples? 

We started with singles because we originally wanted to take the proactive approach and help equip people before they actually needed it. We found that the majority of singles we worked with felt they already knew what to do and just needed a mate! It was always spoken over us that we would help many marriages even in our young age, but we didn’t know when that would be. Well I (Amanda) had been pulling on David to work out together and he was hesitant.

Finally, he gave in and we ended up sharing our workout videos. One of our videos went viral on Facebook and we were shocked. It was shared over 100,000 times! We started getting great feedback, a TON of emails and messages from people needing help connecting and mending their marriage. We didn’t know our time would come so fast but it did and things took off from there. 

Read the rest of this interview with David and Amanda in the Black Love section!

TG: How can we get in touch with your ministry?
Visit our website at www.mendourmarriage.com
You can contact us at info@mendourmarriage.com and we are on Facebook 
For those interested in the Motivated To Love book, it can be purchased here: www.motivated2love.com  

February 18, 2015

Poetry: "Angst 209"

By Tatianah Green

"I just don't anymore. Don't know, don't understand, don't want to feel anymore. This angst and frustrated feeling within my mind and body that feels like a numb burning. 
Constantly reminding me of what I don't want to feel--uncertainty. There's something to this because I've felt this way before. God what is it and tell me quickly because I can't wait to get rid of it. 
My patience is wearing thin, my breathing is cut short, my stomach drops whenever I see a light on my phone appear. Maybe I've made an idol of him or it or us.  
I didn't intend to, but the thoughts of the future flooded my mind so quickly like the results of a gunshot--straight to my brain the ideas flowed and I was trying to do the right thing and give it all to God first. 
Without realizing it, I took it back and then some, hovering over what could have been like a mother with her young while I left my heart wide open to the seemingly inevitable possibility of getting hurt. 
All God told me to do was pray and trust Him. All I did was prey and control things. 
I got in the way. I let too many voices dictate to me how things are supposed to be when you, I, we have our own journey.  
I just wanted mine to start. 
I wanted to give it a chance, to take a risk because at one point to me it was worth it. Now I don't know what we are or it is anymore. I thought it was too easy at first; now it just seems too hard. 
There were times when I wanted to be numb in my feelings, to be nonchalant as if I didn't want something more. I would only be fooling myself. This is bigger than my right now and I'll just fight these thoughts and my flesh ‘til I know the truth." (C) Tatianah Green

Thoughts from a creative soul who's gone through so you don't have to! Trust God with every season of you life. Give Him everything and let the weights fall off your shoulders! "Come to Me all who are weary and I will give you rest," Jesus calls to us.

If you feel like you always control your relationships, or want to let God take over, read my latest post for BMWK.

You may have days of anxiety, but don't dwell on it; give it all to God in prayer and rest in His presence. All fear is eclipsed by His Love. All angst and anxiety is shattered by our faith in God and His light within our lives. Let Him work for you and things will work out for your good. God bless you and may He be with you always.

February 13, 2015

Why it’s okay to enjoy Valentine’s Day

By Tatianah Green

You know what really grinds my gears? When people try to deflate someone else’s dreams. This year I have to ask: am I the only one who enjoys Valentine’s Day? I am a romantic, though at some points in my life it was hard to admit, but now I don’t find anything wrong with celebrating love. God is love, and love is great! 

But there are people out here who are cynical about the holiday for many reasons. For instance a lot of us singles may not be into the day because we don’t have someone to celebrate it with...yet. Have “it” as in a special someone that we can be lovey-dovey with. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have someone to love either. Have you read the Songs of Solomon? It’s a celebratory book of two lovers betrothed and in love. It’s cakery at its best and it’s in the Bible, folks--gotta love it.

Being romantic is a good thing. Don’t feel shame in wanting to enjoy this holiday or any other opportunity to express yo’ romantic self. This post’s for those who make handwritten letters and cards, write and express poetry and songs, who see something special in the little things, who take thought in how to show care to their loved ones, friends and family.  For those wanting to celebrate little “Hallmark holidays” like Valentine’s Day (Valentime’s Day to some) and Sweetest Day. For those who love...love.

Sure, one can do a romantic or lovely gesture on any day of the year, but when this season comes around you can’t help but celebrate love with those around you. You have family, friends, possibly pets to show love to if you don’t have a significant other. I remember kickin it with my friends at a White Castle for their Valentine’s Day “dinner.” We dressed up to the nines and took pictures in front of a giant heart made out of White Castle burger boxes, evening complete with a menu and great service! Lol It was a fun and memorable moment.

This tea is "petty" good
For those of you who are so opposed to Valentine’s Day, claiming that it’s a marketing ploy, a fake holiday, a day that should be expressed throughout the year, blah blah blah, then I’ll have to call your bluff.  If all of that’s the case, then I better not catch you at a barbecue on the Fourth of July. Most Blacks in America were still slaves in 1776, but you were in line for a plate last year, weren’t you? Taking selfies with American flag colors and enjoying fireworks in the name of “freedom.” Why not barbecue on Juneteenth? And 9 out of 10 of you acknowledge Christmas and wouldn't mind getting a gift. That’s not even Jesus’ actual birthday, but you still get and give gifts. *Sips tea* "Still luh ya doe," lol

So whether you are a softy under all those layers of hardness (my tender thugs out there) or you are a hopeful romantic, its okay to admit that you like Valentine’s Day or want to celebrate it. And it's perfectly fine if it's just not your thing either. Romance and love are beautiful, and even more so when God is present in it. After all they came from Him, and we can experience His love every day. Remember that God loves you! Bask in His love and have a new song in your heart for Him. Tell God you love Him and why; get into worship, leaving the world behind. My prayer is that you enjoy the day regardless—it’s a gift from the gracious gift giver--our Father God! Be blessed my fellow beloveds!