The Beggar’s Bakery Facebook Page

jana
Jana Greene, blogger at TheBeggarsBakery.net and author  of EDEGWISE: Plunging off the Brink of Drink and into the love of God

Good day, world!

The Beggar’s Bakery does indeed have a Facebook page, and you are invited to ‘like’ it. Feel free to spread the word.

You can also follow me at @janagreene on “the Twitter.”

God bless us, everyone. Have a wonderful weekend!

The Beggar’s Bakery blog / Jana Greene author Facebook page

48 Shades of Love – God delights in Us

God loves his colorful ones!
God loves his colorful ones!

By: Jana Greene

My church is having a series of prayer meetings each evening for 40 days, and  I attended one of the gatherings last week. For the first hour or so, each of us finds a quiet space in the sanctuary away from distractions and just soaks up God. There is worship music playing softly, and the lights are low, and if you happen to fall asleep in the love of your Father and snore, nobody judges you. After that hour, we gather together with our pastor, who asks us what we “heard” or “felt” or “saw” or sensed during our quiet prayer time.

I’m not spiritually evolved enough yet to say that my thoughts during prayer center on prophesy, or  theological issues, or epiphanies that would part the Red Sea with their amazing-ness. Sometimes, I just tell God how much I love him, and I praise him, and ask for his favor….and then my mind wanders to things like wondering if we need to stop at the store and pick up milk, or what is the deal with the Obama administration, or did I take my vitamin today, to being just amazed that God took a cracked pot like me and calls her his own. He knows I’m a little flaky. He doesn’t hold it (or anything else, thanks to the grace of Christ) against me.

When we gathered up front of the church after quiet prayer, I told the group that I had the  little vision. In it, I was very small – maybe four years old –  and lying on the living room floor at my grandparents’ house. I’m on my tummy, and I have a brand new coloring book and crayons, and I am just going to town in that coloring book…brows furrowed, colors carefully sought, humming a happy song that I was just making up as I went along.

My maternal grandfather, Papa – the only male influence in my young life that was safe and unconditional loving –  is nearby in his recliner, listening to me yammer on. Because I am talking-slash-humming the whole time I am coloring – about everything and nothing. He chuckles every now and again and asks to see the picture I’m working on (and raves over every work of art I do.) These memories  – being 100% who I was (chatty, creative, open) without any risk or fear of rejection….that’s the feeling I go back to as I continue to understand who I am, and who my Heavenly Father truly is.

You might even say that Papa delighted in me.

It’s scary to share your wonkiest thoughts in  a group of people, but I did. And nobody thought I was weird or spiritually inferior. Everyone just loves on everyone else in that church and encourages you to be who God created you. They encourage you to seek out who that is, because honestly, most of us are carrying around so much garbage – self-loathing, conditioning of religiosity, confusion of what the world has told us we are – we need to cut through all of that other crap and accept who Abba really says we are.

Our pastor suggested that Holy Spirit gave me that memory at just the right time, and that – metaphorically, at least – I should think of God as my Papa during those coloring sessions – patient and interested in hearing all I have to say – my yammerings. That he is  anxious to see what I’m working on, and that nothing I do is insignificant to him.  I thought about Little Me coloring on the living room floor and talking to my Papa. Perhaps I should be less worried about coloring in the lines. I’ve tried to make a pretty picture my whole life, and forgot what it felt like to be enough.

The very next day, a dear friend in church brought me a gift that brought tears to my eyes – a grown-up coloring book featuring pictures of butterflies to color. She said something to the effect that God wants to be my Papa and says to start coloring again. You are still that little girl to him.
It was a metaphor I needed to see, to touch tangibly. It was a gift to my heart for her to do such a thing.

And just this morning, my husband gave me a birthday gift – a brand-new, 48-color box of crayons. Not art store  professional pencils, but crayons made by Crayola as God intended they be. I opened the box and smelled them (well, wouldn’t YOU?) and marveled at how good our Father is. In order to remind me that he is my Daddy and I am his own girl, a coloring book and crayons were used to illustrate the point. He GETS me, I tell you!

What a blessing to share a vulnerable insight and be blessed for it! What a blessing to have friends who understand and support this season in my life in which I am seeking to return to the fundamentals of faith as a child. What a blessing to lean into the Papa-ness of Abba – to be 100% who I am without fear of risk or rejection.

It is my 46th birthday today. And I am going to color in a coloring book with my set of brand new crayons – literally and figuratively. I am not going to worry about staying in the lines. I will motormouth my love to God – talking to him about every little detail. There might even be humming. He is my Papa and I am his little one. I might even make him chuckle at times.

He delights in me, you know.


“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” – Psalms149:4 (MSG)

 

Learning to Love the Common Cat

It’s true that The Beggar’s Bakery is a blog heavy on the substance abuse recovery material. That’s my passion. But through the ages (the nearly three years I’ve been blogging) I like to mix things up a little on occasion. I am also a “recovering” cat hater. Truly.

Recovery is my passion, but it’s not my ONLY passion. There is also my family, and the kitty cats – animals of all kinds, really – and chocolate, and music, and clothes with elastic waistbands.

Here is one from a blog I maintained for, um….about two posts. But I’m re-posting it because sometimes you just need to write a little, er….FLUFF to go along with the heavier issues.

What’s fluffier than kitties?

This is Catsby, the first cat I've ever heard that is truly mine, a Mama's Boy through-and-through.
This is Catsby, the first cat I’ve ever had that is truly mine (Bob claims him, too, but he is a  Mama’s Boy through-and-through!)
I used to have a funny little blog about cat appreciation, but from the perspective of a person who grew up as a life-long cat hater. (Please, no hate mail! Remember that this blog is satire – or dare I say, “catire?”  – and all in fun!)
Yes…
My name is Jana and I am a recovering Cat Hater. I come from a long line of cat-haters, and honestly, cat hating was all I knew growing up.
As a matter of fact, many in my family would equate penning this blog with signing my own commitment papers. But if there is anything being in my forties has taught me, it is this: We all own some degree of crazy. Own your crazy, without apology.
Really. “Normal” is just a setting on the clothes dryer.
And my love for cats?
I blame My Beloved  husband. He started it.
 Into our blended marriage, he brought one daughter and two cats, and I brought two daughters and The Best Dog Ever. Talk about life in the blender!  I had never been in the same room with a cat, so limited was my experience with them.
All of my life, I’ve had dogs, and I adore them. I’ve always  identified as a Dog Person. I think I will always identify as a Dog Person. I lost my Emmie, my Best Dog Ever, over a year ago. I cannot bring myself to get another. Until I’m ready, there are the kitties.
What I’ve found over the past eight years is that I don’t have to choose to be “either/or.” I can be an animal-lover, and appreciate all of God’s creatures for what they are. It is kind of long story, how this change came about – and it taught me a lot about myself, a lot about tolerance and acceptance.
Mostly, it taught me never to hate a cat for not being a dog, which as it turned out, was my main complaint about them B.C. (before cats.)
I strongly encourage others to expand their animal  “rePEToire.”
Of course, one does not become a Cat Person overnight. Thrust into cat ownership, I went through all of the stages of acceptance:
Denial: “I will just ignore the cats!” and  “The dog and cats will learn to get along.”
Anger: “Is there any surface in this entire house that is NOT covered in cat fur?”  “Go to sleep, kitties!”
Bargaining: “Please, PLEASE sleep at night. Please, I beg of you – SLEEP!”
Depression “This darn cat won’t get out of my pillow….. Hairballs are the most disgusting thing ever….Wet cat food smells like stink and I will never get used to it.  And the cats will never sleep through the night.   NEVERRRRRRR!”
Acceptance: “But I guess the kitties are kind of CUTE, and warm. And I love that purr thing.  And the pouncing … that is adorable.
They DO have so much personality……Yes, the cat hair is everywhere; I will just keep a lint-roller in my car for the fur. And maybe I will learn  to sleep through all of the zooming about at 4 a.m. A cat cannot change its stripes, so to speak. I suppose I must accept them.”
Once cats get under your skin and into your heart, there is NO stopping it. You will make runs to PetSmart for a certain kind of toy mouse. You will find batting at feathers adorable. You will answer your cat’s meows with “Tell me all about it!” You will think internet memes of cats captioned with funny text are the funniest thing you’ve ever seen. You will resign yourself to the fact that you have ‘dropped your basket’ and it is full of kitty cats.
I’ve done a 180, as they say, and I’m grateful for my allergy to the purry ones (as it forces me to a strict limit of two, okay maybe three….and no more.) Catsby greets me at the door every day and mews to be picked up and carried around on my shoulder, and sits on the edge of the bathtub to play in the water. He is kind of a doggish cat, and I love that. I love that he is co-dependent.
Hey, recovery is a process, right? Own your crazy, without apology.
Here’s looking at mew, kid.

In Recovery Magazine – “But it’s Super Bowl Sunday!”

I’m honored to be among In Recovery Magazine’s new bloggers. Here is a link to the piece just published at InRecoveryMagazing.net, titled, “But it’s Super Bowl Sunday!” It explores the sticky wicket that special occasions can feel rife for drinking, and how a reality check can reel us addicts back in with the truth. The truth is that the whole world doesn’t drink on Super Bowl Sunday. And the truth is that every day in recovery is the real special occasion. God bless us, everyone!

BUT, IT’S SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!

The Flippin’ Sweet Whole Love of God

napoleanBy: Jana Greene

Last night, I was tossing and turning. Thinking about all the things that are oh-so wrong in this world. I exhausted my energies with worry, and then I implored my Heavenly Father to please comfort me. As I often do when asking God for favors, I quoted scripture to Him, when really – plain talk would have sufficed. He already knows my heart – a heart thirsty to be filled up with His love.

“I’m tired, Abba. Worn down. I need your strength,” my spirit said. ” I just need a touch, Lord. Just see me through today.” I reminded him of the woman at the well, who touched the hem of the garment of Jesus and was made whole.

Just then a woman who had hemorrhaged for twelve years slipped in from behind and lightly touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can just put a finger on his robe, I’ll get well.” Jesus turned—caught her at it. Then he reassured her: “Courage, daughter. You took a risk of faith, and now you’re well.” The woman was well from then on.” Matthew 9:20-22 (MSG)

And God, in His infinite wisdom and Holy magnificence, brought a very specific thought to my addled mind…. a scene from one of my very favorite movies, Napoleon Dynamite. Because – if there is anything I’ve learned about the Creator of the Universe – it’s that He has a sense of humor. He wants to relate to us.

SWEET (Yes, even this guy….)

The quirky film’s protagonist, Napoleon, is just trying to make it through high school. In one of the best scenes, he works up the courage in the lunchroom to talk to the girl he is crushing on, who is sitting at another table. In the most awkward pursuit ever, he commences to woo his girl – who is drinking a carton of milk – with this smooth line:

“I see you’re drinking 1%,” he bluntly states. “Is that because you think you’re fat? Because you’re not. You could be drinking whole if you wanted to.”

Why would the God of the universe bring that scene from the movie (CLICK HERE to see it)  so vividly to the forefront of my mind in the middle of the night? Because I’ve been drinking in about 1% of His word lately, and asking for the bare minimum of his power to just get by.

I see you are reaching for a touch of the hem of his garment. Is that because you think you’re not enough? Because in Him, you are enough. You could be filled with Holy Spirit if you wanted to.

I hear you asking for a touch. Are you drinking in God’s love in tiny sips because you think you’re not sure it’s real? Because it is. You could be having the real deal if you wanted to.

Are you asking for less than is already yours because you think only a portion of Me is available to you? Because it’s all here for you. You could be having more comfort than you can handle, if you wanted to.

The “hem of his garment” – the part of Him which is furthest from His heart and still tangible – is flippin’ sweet, as Napoleon might say.

But the heart of Him?

It’s ours, and He wants to fill us with it. And we cannot even begin to imagine the supernatural-ness available to us.

It made me smile, in the midst of my insomnia, that God would remind me of his Whole Power in such a way – a way I could readily understand and even laugh at.

Are you asking for just enough to make it through because you think you’re unworthy? Because you’re not. You could be having the Whole Love of God if you wanted to.

God’s pursuit of us is not awkward, but our acceptance of His love often is. I am learning that Holy Spirit is already in us in full, but our ability to tap into it, to have the Whole Milk Experience, is fettered by our own busy minds and insecurities. Courage, daughter.

Just follow your heart, as Napoleon says.

That’s what I do.

 

 

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