What Spooks You?

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By: Jana Greene

What terrifies you…really makes you squirm?

I am no great fan of Halloween and haven’t been since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Even as a teenager, I shied away from horror flicks and haunted houses. Regular life offers up enough to give me the heebie-jeebies, thank you very much. Like, the political climate. The economy. The Kardashians. Twerking.

**Shudder**

But my interest in the supernatural? That is at an all-time high.

Friends and ghost-hunters, trick-or-treaters and trunk-or-treaters, fans of the unexplained, skeptics and intellectuals…..lend me your ear.

I’d like to invite you to a kind of (Holy) Ghost-walk with me. Open your eyes to a supernatural Force too big for science to explain. Open your mind to the unseen; the unexplained.

The supernatural doesn’t have to be scary.

There is a tremendous allure in the paranormal. Turn on the television, open your web browser – the unexplained is everywhere. The definition of “paranormal” is “of or pertaining to the claimed occurrence of an event or perception without scientific explanation, as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, or other purportedly supernatural phenomena.”

Science simply cannot explain everything we encounter, and society (especially on Halloween) tends to glorify that which terrifies and goes “bump” in the night. But the opposite of “terror” is “security,” and  who doesn’t need that in these scary times?

Truly scary events are daily happenstance around the world. People do unspeakable things to one another, supremely evil. If supreme evil exists (and it does, just look around you), do you also believe in Supreme Good?  Supreme Good, in the form of Love. In the person of God.

So many in this generation will believe in Bigfoot and poltergeists and alien abduction without question, but deny that a holy, good and pure Perfect Being exists at all.

Maybe it’s easier to become fascinated with hauntings because there are indeed manifestations of life beyond what is tangible, but from a distance. There are signs of it, but no proof that it exists. The obsession with television shows featuring paranormal activity are so popular because, although it takes vulnerability to live in a haunted house, it takes very little to observe the manifestations from afar. If you live in a house with evil spirits, you can move away.

But if you live in the presence of Supreme Good, it is a riskier venture. It requires faith in the unseen, vulnerability. Once you’ve acknowledged that God is real, you cannot move away from the love. And even that possibility terrifies a lot of people, makes them really squirmy.

There are real and personal implications for believing in the unexplained saving grace of Jesus Christ. And there are manifestations of God everywhere also. Loving, selfless acts and deeds are also daily happenstance. Signs and wonders, available to all who seek.

Supernatural security, supremely.

“Practical to Tactical – Lessons Learned from a 12 Step Life” is now available on Amazon!

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Hi, friends!

My new book(let) is now available for purchase by clicking the link below, or by visiting Amazon – where it is available in print edition for $7 and on Kindle for $2.99.

Just search “Jana Greene” in the Amazon search bar and it will pull up all editions.
You don’t have to be an alcoholic or addict to benefit from the 12 Steps. They are good for whatever ails you. I am currently struggling with food issues and kind of revisiting them to help me with that. Lets be honest, we ALL struggle with stuff.
Recovery is like peeling an onion…one layer gets exposed and there is something else to deal with. But it’s all good, because God helps us along EVERY step of the way

CLICK HERE TO ORDER A PRINT COPY FROM CREATE SPACE

12 Step booklet to be released in November

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Hello, readers!

I’m working on releasing a collection of essays exploring how the 12 Steps have played out in my own life and how to apply them to life in a practical manner.

It will be a very informal booklet – easy to read one bite at a time – and includes the biblical comparison for each step, a study verse for each, and a simple prayer at the conclusion of each essay. Just something simple to bless you on your own recovery journey…whether you are recovering from alcohol or substance abuse, co-dependency, or any other hurt, habit or hang-up (I think that’s just about ALL of us!)

“Practical to Tactical – Lessons from a 12 Step Life” will release on Amazon and for Kindle in November.

I will post more details when it is published.

A thousand thank-yous to each of you for your readership.

God bless us, every one.

That ’70’s Halloween

The Beggar's Bakery

This image, posted by a Facebook friend, took me down memory lane. This image, posted by a Facebook friend, took me down memory lane.

By: Jana Greene

Being a child in the 1970’s at Halloween was just the best. Am I right?

If you are a 40-ish person, you know what I’m talking about.

This is not a blog post about Halloween as a celebration of evil, because in 1976,  I had no idea that there was a dark side to the day. It was not about evil (or breathing or seeing in a mask.) I am no fan of modern-day Halloween, or what it represents, but when I was seven years old, it was all about the candy.  And all about fun.

If you were a child in those days (oh Mercy…did I just say ‘in those days?’ Also, did I just say ‘mercy’? OLD) you might remember that:

The coolest thing was to be ‘ready’ to trick-or-treat at 6 p.m. That was…

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“Whatever Life Looks Like” – An 8th Wedding Anniversary Letter

October 27, 2007 The day I became Mrs. Greene
October 27, 2007
The day I became Mrs. Greene

By: Jana Greene

I don’t remember what life was like before you.

I know the first 37 years of my life existed, obviously. But I was always alone, even when in relationship with others. And I know that I was a complete person then, before I knew you. I wasn’t always a complete person, you know. God had to do a work in me when I was all on my own in order for that to happen.

I’m glad for that because it enabled me to bring a whole person into your world at just the right time.
You changed everything, and for the better.

I can recall the first time our eyes locked in church. I was trying really hard not to look your way. Focus on Jesus, I kept thinking. But I could feel your eyes on me.

I was SO DONE with dating at that point. I’d made up my mind to be single forever, for simplicity’s sake. My mangled-up heart was too raw to consider anything else. But still, it skipped so many beats when you smiled at me.

After church, you asked me to lunch and I said yes, and it changed the trajectory of both of our lives forever. It was (at the risk of sounding completely inane) as if I’d known you my whole life. There was a distinct lack of awkward in our gait together.

After that one event, I was hooked. You were in my bloodstream. You were implanted into my heart. A year later we placed rings on one another’s fingers and pledged our lives to each other, mindful of keeping God at the top of our “relationship triangle” – where he still reigns.

We have needed Him to be at the top of our lives. Loving you has always been effortless, but day-to-day life hasn’t always been easy.

Do you remember a conversation we had when we were dating, in which I offhandedly said, “Things are perfect right now. I hope they never change!” We were in a season of glowy illusion then, everything misty watercolors and cupid’s arrows. (Science says that when we are in love, the same areas of the brain ‘light up’ as do with delusional mental illness. My brain was alight, alright!)

And you said, “Well, of course they’re going to change. Things change all the time, that’s the way life is. But we are in it together no matter what that looks like.”

Life has looked like a lot of things since then!

We were both single parents when we wed. Single parents to teen girls. There were times I wanted to run away from home (but even then, I wanted to take you with me.)

“In sickness and in health” kicked in at starting gate. Richer or poorer, for better or for worse. CHECK.

But we’re still standing.

Eight years ago, life happened, and kept happening. In times of upheaval, we lean into each other harder, and look to God at the top of the triangle to keep us on an even keel so that we don’t fall overboard, and somehow, he keeps showing up and showing off with His love for us.

He really is showing off in our marriage, you know. In a big way.

And the rewards of staying on board are so incredible. You ‘get’ me, and I ‘get’ you, and it’s positively supernatural the way we love one another. Not because it’s easy, but because it is and was always a “God Thing.”

It tickles me that the man I met in church who distracted me from Jesus that day would help me focus on Jesus for the rest of my life in a way I had never done before.

Our wedding vows were not pie-in-the-sky, movie-romance, sugary words spoken as a crime of passion, but as a passionate preamble to a lifetime of “whatever life looks like.”

I’ve got you and you’ve got me, no matter what.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. So much of it looks like laughter, comfort, ease, and passion. It looks like just being ourselves, together.

Our daughters grew up beautifully, with an actual idea of what a good marriage can look like. We are grandparents now. All of the ‘things’ work out and we grow stronger.

I still can’t take my eyes off of you.

My brain has never gone back to ‘normal’ (as if it ever was!) It is still lit up like crazy for you.

Of course things change. Things change all the time, that’s the way life is. We are in it together, whatever that looks like.
Misty water-colors, cupid’s arrows, challenges and trials – all. All of it, I get to do with you.

I cannot remember life before you and I’m glad I don’t have to. God blessed the broken roads that led me straight to you.

Eight years ago, life happened to me at just the right time. You happened to me, My Beloved.
I’m so grateful.

Happy anniversary!

“If you don’t Understand” – A ballad from the hurting ones

God moves all obstacles between Himself and His children

By: Jana Greene

Every once in a while I come across a post on one of the many recovery boards I follow that just blows my socks off. A piece that is more than words, but a declaration and plea – a raw and personal effort to help normal folk who do not suffer addiction or mental illness to understand what it’s like to walk around in the skin of an addict or person struggling.

When I find that post (and get over wishing I’d written it myself!) I get excited about sharing it.

This is that post. And with the author’s permission, I am sharing it here.

I hope this post, with its’ chewy center of wisdom, goes viral. I hope Ashleigh Campora’s words echo in the minds and hearts of those who ‘don’t understand,’ and gives comfort to those who woefully DO understand, and need encouragement.

“If you don’t understand mental illness, good. Good for you. You shouldn’t have to understand. If you don’t understand why some people can’t get out of bed in the morning, good. I hope you jump out of bed every day, ready to take the world by storm. If you don’t understand how someone could drag a blade across their skin, good. I hope you’re never that desperate to feel something. If you don’t understand what drives someone to continually starve themselves despite everything they’ve lost in the process, good. I hope you stay heavy and present and real. If you cant understand why that woman avoids mirrors; why she just stares blankly, in anger. I hope you never look at yourself with such disgust. That you always see yourself for what you really are: which is beautiful. If you don’t understand why he won’t just go to church or rehab or find someone who can help him, good. I hope you always have somewhere to turn. If you don’t understand how someone can keep swallowing bottles of pills; tying knots in ropes; or standing at the tops of bridges, good. I hope you are never that desperate for relief. If you don’t understand, good. You’re not supposed to. It’s all f#cking sick.” – Ashleigh Campora.

The very definition of ‘stigma’ is “A set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something.” Those of us who suffer addiction and mental illness? We ARE that ‘something.’ And we know that we make no sense to those of you who do not walk in our shoes.

The only way to make stigma get up off it’s ass and move far away is by spreading these stigma-killing messages:

You are not alone.

You are worthy to be free of the oppression that binds you.

People can (and DO) recover.

God bless you, Ms. Campora.

God bless us, every one.

I Hope You Know

I hope

By: Jana Greene

I hope you know it wasn’t you,
When all of it is said and through,
When damage from the floods recede,
I hope that you can still believe.

I hope you know I really tried
To reconcile the pain inside
And find a way to overcome
Before my pieces came un-done.

I was walking wounded then,
I didn’t have the tools to mend….
I tried to stick close to your side.
I failed, but Jesus knows I tried.

My instinct is to protect you, love.
I lost the strength to rise above
So I did the only thing I knew,
To protect my spirit, too.
And in time, I withdrew.

I hope you know it wasn’t you.

Afraid to open doors to ghosts
And raise the specters I fear most,
I faded off into the clear.
(I can only survive from over here.)

I’m still un-done in places, you see,
Where life has gotten the best of me,
But I love you all the same.
I hope you bear no fault or shame.

You mean the world to me still now.
I don’t know when or where or how
To make things better, so I pray
God smile upon your life today.

God show mercy on this soul
Whom I love and lost in whole,
When the pieces threaten to unbind,
Give peace to this anguished mind.

When memories keep on pushing through…
I hope you know it wasn’t you.