Wednesday, April 27, 2016

God Loves All of His Children, Even the Gay & Lesbian Ones

Let me just say one thing (maybe two or three or four) -- if there is one thing about me, or if you knew my wife and I on a personal level, the first thought (or second or third) would not be "sexual deviants" or "filthy heathens". You would't call us "perverts", unless I groped you while Mad wasn't looking or Mad winked at you on the sly. Ok, all kidding aside, you would probably just think that we were a normal (maybe not so normal) couple who love one another and who've been together for 22 years. We are two imperfect people refusing to give up on one another. We believe in God and make God number one in our lives. We try and share everything we have with everyone else as much as we possibly can. We have a deep respect for one another. We're there in sickness and in health, as we vowed to one another when we were married by our Christian pastor. She's my life companion, she's my best friend and confidant -- I can tell her absolutely anything. I plan to grow old with her, if fate allows us to. Do we have issues and argue from time to time? Of course we do, but we always forgive and try to understand each side of the argument, no matter who's in the wrong...(mostly her.) We laugh together, we cook together, we visit new places together. Most of all, we pray together.

My "sins" don't have anything to do with loving my partner of 22 years. My sins are much different than that, to which I struggle with from time to time. Sometimes I lash out and say things I later regret. Sometimes I use colorful language in jest. And sometimes I have an extra glass of wine to numb my emotional pain and anxiety. I'm a work in progress. I'm human. My life can sometimes be a little messy -- and yet God knows how much faith I have. I know how much faith I have. I still come to Him with all of my issues. I'm not perfect, which is why God is number one in my life.

There are some Christians who call me a "fake Christian" or that my lifestyle doesn't coincide with biblical scripture. Does anyone's life coincide with biblical scriptures? Quite a few antigay Christians have claimed that I wasn't praying to "the Jesus of the Bible". It's interesting, because most of them happen to use all of their 'religion' in order to give some sort of illusionary "right" to bash the LGBT community. The focus of their entire ministries are based upon letting others know that there's hell to pay. Instead of giving 10% of tithing, (as the Bible suggests), many of these antigay Christian ministries ask for tithing from other people who listen to their shows, simply by panhandling online. By donating your money to these free radio shows and broadcasts, you are giving money to a bunch of antigay bigots who are going against everything Jesus stood for. I one time fell for one of their cries for help and actually donated to a Christian organization who believed homosexuality was a sin, but they didn't quite condemn me...yet. Eventually, I was handed down with a slap in the face by telling me I was "evil" and that my entire life was all about "perversion" and "wickedness". My wife and I were very hurt.

Let's remind those who are antigay Christians what love is all about.

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love it not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance." --1 Corinthians 13-7


There are many people who have trouble understanding the Bible. There are many people who just simply can't comprehend what it all means. I admit, sometimes the Bible can be very confusing. The Bible itself is so convoluted between the many translations, various origins of certain words and contexts, as well as all of the twisted scriptures used for bigotry misinterpretations. There are many "false prophets" used to instill a set of morality within society. There are many people who fear that this nation alone will become unruly and "unnatural". The Bible tells us to be "fruitful" -- but what does that mean? Will humanity go extinct? To some, it means to procreate. Jesus was very fruitful, yet he didn't have any children. This has nothing to do with procreation. If that were the case, then what about heterosexual people who cannot procreate naturally? Should they divorce since they cannot have a baby? Of course not. That's why the Bible should not be taken literally. And let's face it, divorce is a sin to begin with...right? (Soooo many things we can judge so "righteously".)

There are many others things that should not be taken literally, as it says in this next segment...

It clearly says in Romans, “…and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” Isn’t this clear enough? There are no obscure Greek words. How are we to understand this?

ROMANS 1:24-27 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. (RSV)

To understand what Paul is writing about we must look at the event as a whole and not isolate a single portion of it. Each verse in this story gives us a glimpse into the situation. Verse 24: “Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.” If we are painting a picture, it begins with the image of LUST. Verse 25: “…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Now there is a FALSEHOOD as well as IDOLATRY involved (i.e. worshipping something other than God). Verse 26: “God gave them up to dishonorable passions…”

Now DISHONORABLE PASSIONS are presented. Looking back at this now we see this as a situation of lust, falsehood, idolatry, and dishonorable passions.

Verse 26 and 27 continue: “Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another…”

Looking at the men first will help to clarify the passage: “The men likewise gave up natural relations with women…”

Stop. Did you see that? They gave up natural relations with women, which implies that these men were heterosexuals by nature. The phrase translated as “gave up” is the Greek word aphente (afenteV) meaning to leave behind, forsake, neglect, or divorce. These men, therefore, divorced themselves from their own nature, that of heterosexuality, and were consumed with passion for one another. Women did likewise. As we see, Paul is talking about heterosexual individuals engaging in homosexual sex, which is contrary to their nature. Why would men do that? As any biblical scholar will tell you: “Context is everything.” This is a situation of lust, falsehood, idolatry, and dishonorable passions. In this account there are a number or men and a number of women, both plurals. This would most definitely be an orgy…everyone filled with lust and “dishonorable passions” having sex with whomever however. But why would Paul be talking about orgies?

A little research uncovers the pagan practice of “sacred sexual orgies.” Baal was the Canaanite deity that was worshipped with sexual orgies on Mount Peor in Moab, with which Paul would have been familiar. With this contextual understanding let us read this story again: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” Anyone who isolates the phrase “natural relations” to declare homosexual relations unnatural is interjecting their own prejudice and reading entirely outside of context. Even if we were to isolate that phrase it could only be used to condemn heterosexuals who go against their own heterosexual nature and engage in homosexual activity.----read more here.

In one part of their write up they give examples of the translations.

For instance in NIV: "adulterers" = "perverts" to then = "slave traders". ...Wait, what?

In NEB: "fornicators" = "sodomites" to then = kidnappers. ...Umm.


It's like a vicious game of telephone trying to decipher what all of these words have turned into, especially the meaning itself. The origins of the word "homosexuality" doesn't necessarily mean same gender sex. The passage in the ancient Hebrew is clearly talking about male-male sex acts, specifically anal sex. The issue was penetrating an anus with a penis, this making the penis literally “unclean” to the point of forbidding entry into a vagina. (Sorry to be so graphic...) Sodom and Gomorrah was about rape and humiliation -- not sex between two people who love one another. But Christians will cherry pick this and twist the story around to condemn those who are homosexual.

It surely doesn't take a masters degree to understand or at least to decipher the true value of the meaning in the Bible. I can understand if someone has a learning disability, then that may apply. But we're talking about our fate -- our afterlife -- as well as our life here on earth. God said to live our lives abundantly, happily and with love. But some of us aren't doing that.

As I've always stated, those who have a healthy fear of homosexuals and transgender people having rights of their own are called what? "HOMOPHOBES" and "TRANSPHOBES" -- but they detest that word claiming it's "gay rhetoric" and that they're not afraid of homosexuals and transgenders, but they are in fear of them having their rights. What's the difference?

Studies have been proven that most antigay homophobic Christians have a long history with homosexuality themselves, or at least trying to fight off the feelings the best they can due to religious upbringing. When someone is so incredibly adamant on taking down the LGBT community, there has to be a deeper level of frustration -- a personal frustration of their own.

Why are they so angry at the LGBT community? It's a personal issue.


Extremely antigay people (not even Christians so much) can have an underlining issue of homosexuality themselves. Studies have been conducted where this showed much truth to this. If you think about it, why don't people like antigay Christians and those who protest the rights of LGBT groups focus more on other issues, like rape and sexually abused children? Isn't that a much more important issue to address? But see, they can't help themselves because by nature, they are what they protest.

Watch this video. I know I've posted this up numerous times in the past, but it demonstrates how homophobic people are usually closeted homosexuals.



Please click here if you cannot view the video itself.

Freedom of speech, right?

So I speak freely, outwardly, opposing those who try to take people of the LGBT community down. Not only is it destructive, seeing how many of our gay youths and adults are being bullied, sometimes killed for their sexual orientation and identity, but you are bringing many gays, lesbians and transgenders away from God.

As Christians, you are supposed to bring them closer to God. He has not condemned those of homosexuality. They have.

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and cast into the sea." --Mark 9:42

(Sounds much like a scene in The Sopranos.) 

But again, I digress.

My best friend & companion of 22 years.

Getting back to my original point, my wife and I are much like anybody else trying to live their lives the best that they can. Nobody can judge us. I do however, respect other people's opinions on what it says in the Bible -- even if they feel that homosexuality is a sin. But to tear people down indefinitely by calling them "sinners" and casting them into hell -- that's when I have to step up and get vocal about it. "You are NOT God." Nobody can say, "Well, they don't know God," because my relationship with God is amazing. Not only have I studied the Bible for years (anyone can) -- I have had spiritual experiences where I have seen Jesus Himself. You can call it a hallucination, or a spike in oxytocin -- but the fact remains, that ever since that day back in 1996, I have never been the same. I am not ashamed to speak about my sightings of Jesus, as I've written in my book, A Prayer Away From Healing. I truly believe He chose me to spread the message around the world -- perhaps not to travel physically, but to utilize what I have, between my book, my blog and through social media, to assure those who love God, that God loves them MUCH more than they can even fathom.

To anyone who is of the LGBT community, please know God loves you for YOU. He is not the wrathful and hateful God that some people make Him out to be.

"The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love." --Psalm 103:8

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Monday, April 25, 2016

A World of Good


Most of us adapt to our cultural backgrounds and even current influences. Most influences are cultivated by our own relation to whatever we were brought up to believe in. But what if your core beliefs were shaken up a bit? What if God came down to earth and said, "You got it all wrong! Why did you solely rely on words that men wrote? Some of that wasn't inspired by me." How would you look at the world? And if you are a conservative Christian -- if everything you read with total conviction came tumbling down, how would you respond to those you warned about hell?

Many conservatives are angered by the whole transgender bathroom fiasco. I've covered this a million and one times, so to save you the pete and repeat -- let's just say this: how does this affect you? Most unexposed people who have never met someone who is transgender are assuming that they all look the same, dare I say that derogatory term mostly used in the porn industry of "tranny". They think there's going to be a male wearing a leather get up with his bits peeking out. I've heard every term from "twisted" and "perverted" as well as "grave consequences for their choices".

One Christian radio host even stated that their "choices" shouldn't be upon everyone else or that society should accommodate them. He went on to say, "I have love and compassion for all, and I believe that it is more loving to address their spiritual and emotional needs than to intentionally ignore those needs by reengineering society."


"Reengineering society"? Didn't we reengineer society when we abolished slavery here in America? Didn't we take down the "NO COLORED ALLOWED" signs off the doors of diners and luncheonettes? Didn't we acknowledge interracial marriages not even more than 50 years ago? Did it kill us? And how wrong was it to have had these discriminatory laws to begin with? It boggles my mind to think that these Christians have no education in history, therefore repeating it again and again. He stated that he has love and compassion for all? No. He has a fear of the unknown, perhaps a deep-seated reason why he is so against gays, lesbians and transgender people.

I'm refraining from using their actual names because these people happen to be recent friends of ours with very different beliefs and opinions. I am not trying to slam anyone against a wall, but this next story kind of threw my entire viewpoint off of how I really feel about their strong beliefs. Everyone has different beliefs, but this next story had me thinking it was a bit more than just their faith in God. His wife sought this story out by herself just to attack the LGBT community. I'm actually kind of saddened by this.

And it was then I heard a disturbing phone call made by his wife to a restaurant over a complaint made by a gay waitress who received a scripture instead of a tip on the bill. The article was written by Chris Dyches from The Charlotte Observer.

A Charlotte waitress says she was infuriated and hurt when a group of ladies left a message for her on their bill – taking aim at her sexual orientation. Alexandra Judd works at Zada Janes in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood. She says a group of patrons she served for lunch Tuesday morning left her a “hateful message” in lieu of a tip. A Bible verse was left on the tip pointing Judd to Leviticus 20:13. “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination,” the King James version of the Old Testament verse reads. “They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Judd is gay. The bottom of the receipt had a message for her as well: “Praying for you!” “I never expected a hateful gesture like this,” Judd said of the comments. “I’ve had a guest leave me a pamphlet to their church as a tip one time, but I didn’t feel as if they were being hateful towards me. The ladies that came in were very rude, and would hardly talk to me – but I never expected this.” She says she was infuriated and hurt by what she saw. “I’ve heard of people leaving fake money, or writing funny stuff in the tip spot of a check but never believed it would happen to me, in the way that it did,” she said. Judd posted a picture of the receipt on her Facebook page. Her co-workers and friends have shared the post and shared their shock and anger in the comments. According to Judd, she’s lived in North Carolina nearly a year after moving from a small town in Alabama. She has taken part in a few rallies for equality since she has moved to Charlotte, including Wednesday night’s rally in uptown Charlotte against North Carolina’s House Bill 2. “I don’t care what anyone says, this is the most disrespectful thing you can do,” she wrote about the incident on Facebook. “Don’t pray for me darling, I have everything I could possibly want and need in my life.”

Anyway, the radio host's wife called the restaurant in hopes that this entire story was made up by the lesbian waitress. While she was on the phone with the restaurant, she kept asking, "Don't you think she is lying about this?" And the lady on the other end said, "No, I don't. The handwriting was the same." But the wife kept egging her on to believe that the lesbian waitress was making all of this up in hopes to get her for defamation of character. She was so determined that she actually sounded pathetic -- to the point where the restaurant employee said, "Ma'am, I don't know what else to tell you."

The wife wanted her to lie or to tell her that the waitress lied about the "religious bigotry" she had received.

I am trying to make a point here, so bear with me. It sickens me to think that there are Christians out there using God's name and Holy Scriptures from the Old Testament in order to discriminate. But that's not even the point. 90% of their focal point are all targeted against the LGBT community. The wife, who happens to be self-proclaimed ex-lesbian herself, seems to be very much influenced by her husband, which by the way has made it known that he's going to try to tiptoe through his bigoted words in order to be more politically correct in one broadcast he did a few days ago. He stated that he would be "softer" with his bigotry beliefs against gays and lesbians.

These people I speak about are actually a very nice couple. But what makes them so enraged when speaking about the LGBT community? They were hurt and harassed by many members of our community, but at what cost? What did they do? Of course two wrongs don't make a right, but when you try to take away somebody's rights using nothing but your manmade biblical scriptures (God inspired of course) -- then how are we progressing as a society? I read the Bible, but I use discernment. Homosexuality in the Bible are referencing to lustful and reckless sexual relations. It also speaks about rape and humiliation as seen in Sodom and Gomorrah. They twist and turn each scripture to suit their needs so they can discriminate against us and then use "freedom of religion" to have a legal right to deny us.


Let's just put out an example. Divorcees whose spouses are still alive -- that's considered adultery in the Bible. So if I were to rely on every single word the Bible speaks about, then I would believe that they're going to hell, right? But when you have a deep and intimate relationship with God -- a personal relationship with God, then you will know that even though you are spending time with an "adulterous" woman, it does not affect your life. God speaks about not judging others because the same judgment will be used against you.

How will same-sex marriage and nondiscrimination laws for transgender people ruin your lives? They're not pedophiles. If a pedophile is going to walk into a restroom, he will anyway. Watch your children at all times. There are bad people everywhere -- why associate bad people with transgender people? It's so ignorant and irrational. They're not doing it for their "religion" -- they are tormenting others of the LGBT community because they have deep-seated issues of their own to contend with. And to elaborate on that notion -- the wife also stated that not only did she have lesbian feelings at one time, but if she was "still a lesbian", she would definitely try to be with a good friend of hers who is also an online speaker. She has also stated that as a therapist, that she would deny any services to anyone of the LGBT community.

See, repression brings on anger. Repression due to what I call, "Catholic guilt", in this case, "Christian guilt", results in unforeseen hypocrisy. Look at how many conservative Christian politicians were caught with their pants down or seen on gay hookup sites? We need to address the psychological instabilities of those who are extremely antigay and start focusing on the real issue: closet homosexuals. Don't you ever wonder why some Christians are so adamant about slamming those who are gay and lesbian? It's almost like a determination -- a drive to steal, kill and destroy their spirit. And as a Christian -- the only ones seeking to kill, steal and destroy is the devil himself.

Words that I have heard them use are "evil", "sure destruction", "grave consequences" when describing the LGBT community. My opinion? Live your life and worry about your own issues. I don't believe in ex-gays. I don't believe you can convert someone to a different sexual orientation. I even asked the husband, "Did you choose to be straight," and of course I didn't receive a response. Maybe he just thought that was some sort of gay rhetoric. Nonetheless, with the primary focus on homosexuality and transgenderism -- they seem to lose all five of their listeners because let's face it -- if you're talking about God or spreading God's message around, He certainly doesn't want you condemning people to hell. That's his job. He can judge others. He can cast people into hell. Let your job be spreading the good news and spreading lots of love.

I'm not trying to "silence" anyone or take away their "religious freedom" -- I'm trying to explain why they get so much flak from the LGBT community because they cry about it so much.

When all you do is feed people with negative preaching and beg for donations, it seems to get tiresome. When you're constantly trying to find flaws or badmouth a certain group, you'll get some people in -- the ones who love the drama, but that's all it is: entertainment purposes only. What about inspiring others to love one another and to reach a deeper connection to God?

But I digress.

Some of the social media blabber by my own personal friends are a bit disturbing. I saw this post which left me a bit saddened since I thought she was very open-minded. She's also non-religious, so take it for what it's worth.

She wrote, "So if I feel like a man one day, I can go into the men's room and shit in the urinal?? Wtf, why is this getting so much attention? Male anatomy- men's room, women's anatomy- ladies room. Is that so hard?"

Yes. It is that hard, because genitalia has zero to do with gender identity in some cases. It's the same irrational "logic" used by the way right: "So if I wanna be a frog, I can be a frog?" When you can't just live your life without bashing a certain group, it makes me wonder how fulfilled your own life is. Miserable people will try to hurt others. And while she thinks that nobody on her Facebook page is transgender, she may want to tone it down for those who are advocates and friends with transgender people. I love my friend, but this has made me realize how unexposed and ignorant (not meant in a bad way) people can be. We live in a small town in New York, and it can be quite the tight knit circle of only people who look the same, act the same, live the same. You get my drift.

As a Christian myself, I am so happy that I had the opportunity to visit places where everyone was included. Black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, bi, queer, transgender, cisgender, various creeds -- it filled my heart to see everyone at peace with one another. When you live in a bubble of your own community and never let in anyone different, it leaves you to believe that everyone besides yourself and those you keep in your circle are "evil" or "bad". No one is forcing anyone to change their minds, but it would be nice to see more love within our Christian society. It would do a world of good.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wasting Time

Recently, I just stopped watching the news. I didn't realize how much stress it gave me. It was filling my mind with such negative things. I don't want to hear about elderly women being raped and mugged or more children being thrown in the dumpster to die. I didn't want to waste time with such horrible information. There is nothing I can possibly do to make things better or to go back in time and change it. As a result, I've been sleeping better. Go figure. But of course, there's social media to fill your head with a ton of other garbage. This morning, I just heard that Prince died from a drug overdose. What a shame. His entourage refused to wait for a private room in the hospital and then trekked him out of there leaving him to die from the lack of medical care that he could've received. But why do we need to know how Prince died? Why can't he have his privacy? I remember not too long ago there was an old friend of ours who had passed away. We hadn't spoken in years, but we heard of the news. And we both looked at one another and said, "I wonder how he died." Nobody said anything. The obituary never mentioned it either, because they typically never do out of respect and privacy. On Facebook -- nothing was added, nothing was explained and that was that. I sifted through all of the condolences and "our thoughts and prayers are with you" comments -- and not one person said, "Well, how did he die?"  Especially since this person was quite young, nobody really questioned it. They may have questioned it in their mind -- but no one was rude enough to ask. Or is it rude? 

And while we're on the topic of death and dying -- why do people speak about the greatness of someone until it's too late?  With celebrities, they get an abundance of praises and appreciation for their talent and work. But while they were here, they were left untouched; unnoticed. If I asked you last week what you thought about Prince, you'd probably say, "Oh yeah, Prince! Whatever happened to him?" Or, "Eh, yeah the 80's was great." And of course back in 2007 he did an amazing performance that many have remembered. I guess it's just being remembered, which is fine.

Let's even visit a more personal approach to death. Why is it that some people are the opposite of "fair-weather friends" -- the ones who seem to be attracted to those who are terminally ill or those who had recently died?  Some people need to let others know that they were BFFs with the deceased when in fact, they never gave them the time or day while they were still here. Even with those who were sick -- they are drawn to them, knowing that their time is limited. But while they were healthy -- they never spoke a word to them. What is that? I remember someone saying, "Oh, I was the last one she spoke with before she took her last breath." And this person used to badmouth her behind her back -- she never liked her. So why now? 

Why did she waste all of that valuable time until she was terminally ill? Until she passed on?

Ok, so let me make point. Think about your age right now. I mean -- really think about how old you are, how you feel, how you look and also think about your core beliefs. Now think back 15 years ago. I mean, really think back. Think about that particular age right now.

Doesn't it seem like just yesterday you were there?

Do you remember what happened 15 years ago? Do you remember 7-11 9-11? I remember that day most vividly as many do. And it seemed like it just happened yesterday. Time goes by so quickly. It seems as though if we blink just once, another 15 years will pass us by. I always tell this story, and I'm gonna tell it again in a shorter version. But one day, while a hospice worker was helping my father, my dad said something so significant. He said, "What happened? It's like yesterday when I was 50 years old, running the machines and excavating homes and managing a fish market at the same time. And now I'm sitting here at 75 years old with terminal cancer. Boy, life passes you by just. like. that! I can't believe it!" And it made me think back to when he was 50 years old. He ran his business until he could no longer physically work. He loved what he did and he enjoyed life to the fullest. But he felt ripped off. And God bless him for making it to 75 years old with all of his unhealthy habits. Who's to judge?


And he's gone...just. like. that.

Don't let time slip away. Don't assume that your parents will be there forever -- even your own family. Don't waste time. One day, sometimes sooner than expected, we all go home. Enjoy your loved ones now rather than someone sending you their 'thoughts and prayers'. Never miss an opportunity to spend time with those you love -- and those you think you would feel totally lost without. Never miss an opportunity of saying "I love you" pass. Tell them every single day instead of saying it near their grave. If you feel it, say it. Don't be too consumed with things you have no control over -- like wars, conflicts, natural disasters. If you are consumed with it, then go out there and help or donate money. Take action, otherwise, concern yourself with your own world with all of the people craving for your presence, your time, your attention. And "taking action" doesn't mean a bullshit post being plastered up on Facebook. Taking action is getting out there and helping. But if you are not able to physically help, then don't complain about it. You can only do so much in this world.

Stop wasting time.


So where was I? The news, right? Turn it off and tune into more important stuff, like your children or your parents. Spend time with your family and friends. Spend more time in silence so you can hear God and the Universe. Stop comparing your life to somebody else's. Love who you are and what you're doing as well as what you have. Stop competing with others and start accepting yourself as is; start accepting others as is. Stop being intolerant and start understanding.

"I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time." --Ecclesiastes 9-11

I also want to address something that's important. Whether you are deciding whether or not to accept or disown your child, your sister, your brother or your friend for possibly being gay, lesbian or transgender, or perhaps you think that they are not living a "godly life" -- I want you to think about something.

God said something very important about this in Corinthians 13-13.

"Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love."

You can throw every other contradicting scripture at me for the sake of rebuttal, but at the end of the day, what is it all about? Love. It's not about being right or wrong. It's not about who lives a more "righteous" life. There are so many openly "religious" people out there who think it's ok to "speak boldly" out against anyone who doesn't seem to fit the "Christian bill". Be an example of Christianity -- not a condemner. Only God can condemn. You don't have righteous judgment on the world. You don't know what other people are suffering through. There are too many Christians who love to publicly humiliate "sinners". Their entire sermon is based off of sin itself. There are no uplifting messages or "faith", "hope" or "love". It's only "do as I do", and yet they seem to hypocritically follow a different doctrine privately. To guide people to God is to be an example of LOVE.

Another thing I don't understand is this: why do so many Christians make their primary focus on spirituality based upon Planned Parenthood? I'm pro-life, but with the exception of "choice" -- with the exception that God gave us free will. But another thing they seem to forget is that if you take away funding for Planned Parenthood, then you are taking away funding that's meant to help those who need gynecological medical care as well as cancer screening. There are many people who don't have the money or proper insurance to take care of everything. There's a much larger picture here. These religious people who seem to have very large platforms to speak on are wasting their time. They're not seeing the bigger picture.

Are you angry over people voting for Trump?
Good, waste more time.

Are you angry over people voting for "evil Hilary"?
Good, waste more time.

Are you angry that transgender people can use the proper restroom?
Good, waste more time.

Are you angry that gays and lesbians can get married now?
Good, waste more time.

Remember, every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness. You sacrifice your own happiness just because other people live differently than you, or think differently than you do. Not everyone is going to agree with your lifestyle, your opinions or core beliefs. Not everyone is going to have the same faith, religion or god as you. Some people dance to the beat of their own drum and you know what -- it's OK! We're OK. If you have enough faith in God, you'll realize that the most important issues aren't the ones I just spoke about. The most important issues are in the "now" -- it's all about the love that you give and the love that you receive. And within that love, comes action. It determines your goals and destiny. It determines what you are truly passionate about. So if your only goal in your Christian sermon or journey is to condemn people to hell or talk about politics -- then you're definitely missing the bigger picture.

Life is short. It's up to you if you choose to waste more time.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Primary Day Dilemma

This morning I woke up confused. It's Primary Day, and although I have detached myself from either left or right parties -- I'm lost about who to vote for. When you think about the candidate you're choosing, do you base it on what you hear from mainstream media? Or do you mostly base your decision upon what other people say about them? How do you know who's right and who's wrong? And how do you get real and true info on each candidate? Do you believe what they say? I mean, let's face it -- all politicians are liars anyway.

Here's my dilemma. Not every pro-lifer is a republican. Not every person of the LGBT community is a liberal or democrat. Not every Christian is a republican either. Why do all of these political opinions categorize someone into a political party? I guess you can call someone an "independent" if they have various views on certain issues? Or maybe that's up to the person? Or, maybe the democrats and republicans all sleep in the same bed...?

My wife said, "Go with who feels right to you. Go with what your heart tells you."

How? I don't know these people at all! I don't know if Hillary's a "murderer" and a "liar" or if Sanders is the new "Hitler" and "communist". I can't tell you for sure if Trump's a true "racist" or if Ted Cruz is --- hmm, what is Ted Cruz?

Here's my other question: would it be fair for me to vote if I don't know jack shit about either candidate? And hey -- it's not like I didn't research them. But how credible is my research? How credible are the sources I found?

So you tell me who I should vote for -- because if I don't vote, people are gonna yell, "People died for your right to vote! You have to do it!"

Ok.

Here are some facts and values about myself:
  • I'm female.
  • I'm Christian, but respect other people of different religions.
  • I'm a married lesbian.
  • I'm pro-life - but feel that God gave us "choice" - free will, so why is it our business? And if you defund Planned Parenthood, you're taking away affordable medical care to those who need it. It's not all about abortions. 
  • I do not believe minimum wage should be $15 an hr. Mom & pop stores would go out of business or pay off the books, which is "illegal". Hmm, "illegals"... Many big companies like McDonalds would resort to kiosks and fire employees. Entry level corporate career people would beg for a raise, in turn, everybody else. ...Right? But in a perfect world, it would be nice if everyone could afford to make a living in this very expensive world. So, I really don't know how that would work out.
  • I believe in tightening up our borders. I agree that with every 50 we bring in, there are 5 bad ones. That worries me. Our country is tired of terrorism. This world is tired of terrorism.
  • But weren't we all immigrants? Or at least, our ancestors? 
  • I believe marijuana should be legalized for medical use only, but then why isn't alcohol banned since it kills so many people?
Do you see why I'm so confused? On one hand, I'm like, "Yes! I agree," and then there's a "but". That one "but" makes me rethink everything that I seem to be passionate about because everything has a cause and effect. Not everything is so concrete or black and white. Whatever side I choose, a group of people will be greatly affected by it. And if I choose the other way, then another set of people will be affected.

When we die and go to our forever afterlife, politics doesn't exist. But we're "here". And we want to make our world a better place to live in. Both democrats and republicans want a better place to live in. So why is either party "wrong"?

So I wrote an honest question in Google. It was a desperate cry for help. I asked, "Who should I vote for?"


It gave me this website. Click on it. It'll tell you who you mostly side with based on your political values.

My results?

Trump.

Go figure.

So if you wouldn't mind, can you tell me the reasons why you are voting for a particular candidate? I'm asking because I would like to base more of my choice on my reader's opinions rather than a generated questionnaire.

Thanks!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Faith. Grab It.

"Why are you mad at God?" It was a question asked while I was going through a horrible night of seizure-like episodes which kept me from sleeping for more than five days in a row. Why would God let this happen? Doesn't He want me to be productive in the daytime? Does He need me to help other people? Doesn't He need me to take care of my family if they need me? Doesn't He?

Yes.

As I tried to make my way across the day's fatigue and exhaustion, I thought to myself, "Well, my body's gotta shut down sometime, right?" And it did for about four hours. But then it was back to zero sleep. I could've gotten angry at God again, but what exactly am I expecting my imperfect and vulnerable body to do? Are we meant to live in perfect health all the time with no aches, pains, ailments or issues? Are we supposed to float through life without problems and distress? So when they say, "If He brought you to it, He'll get you through it," -- they mean it. And by the way, I'm writing this sleep deprived.

But enough about my issues.

What about people who are so angry at God? "Why does God let these terrible things happen in the world?" Key word: "let". He "lets" terrible things happen because there's a perfect world waiting for us if we remain patient and faithful. It's up to us to either have faith in God's mysterious ways or to live a life complaining about our fragile bodies and the inability to do 'this' or to do 'that'.

"Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith in tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." --James 1:2-4

We're not here to live a perfect life. Whether within your small world or out in the big world, trouble will make its way into your life regardless. Whether it's from war, arguments, illness, chronic pain or anxiety and depression, God is there walking alongside with you every step of the way. If you don't see Him there, then maybe your faith needs to be stronger. More faith, more God, more mountains moved.

In Matthew 17:20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

What is a "mountain" in a believer's life? The mountain is the PROBLEM in your life. The mountain is anything that is adverse or contrary to the Word of God for your life. A mountain is anything that is a barrier to you completing God's Will. A mountain is anything that is slowing down or impeding your progress in the Kingdom of God.

Ok, so back to my issues -- my "mountain" is my sleeping disorder and the fear of going out and fainting again from pure exhaustion. It takes away my ability to do what God has called me to do. It takes away any motivation to do what I need to do for myself. If I'm too tired or too scared to push forward, then I can't get anything done. And God doesn't want me to be unproductive.

I get a lot of signs from God. I talk to God. I have this amazing communication with Him. In fact, through my weakness (and exhaustion) is when He's the strongest. Instead of giving up on the day, He gives me this amazing energy as if I slept for eight hours the night before. And even when there are days when I can't make it out, I can work from home and still be productive and help others the best I can.

A friend of mine gave me a huge sign of what I was supposed to be doing in life. And after hearing from God Himself through scriptures saying, "Go back to what you started from the beginning," which was meant to say: help people across the nations. I don't travel, so I kinda brushed off the message. But I heard it again and the signs kept coming back to me. "Help those here and across the nations." It wasn't until a very long time until I figured out that I am helping people right from inside my home, over to the other end of the world. When you think about it -- it's just mind-blowing. The technology to reach out to people from any part of this world is just amazing.

So my friend's sign was this photo she put up for me.

Me.
This is a screenshot of the photo she pulled up for me. Opening to the light, inside and out (from home out into the world) and all at the same time. This little girl reminds me of myself. She has many issues that limits her ability to travel, yet she gets her message across the world. I have had so many people from all over the world email me just to say thank you. I have this really nice reader in Australia who periodically emails me right after she reads one of my articles. She's an atheist and yet she appreciates me sharing my faith and what I go through in life. She's an awesome woman who helps many people who suffer from debilitating depression. She saves many from taking their own lives. To have appreciation from beautiful people like that makes it all worth it. So Sue, if you're reading this, a big thank you!

In various parts of the Bible, it speaks just that -- about spreading God's message across the "land". This one write up was an eye-opener for me, with the leniency of levels of faith from each sector of Christianity.

God has been very clear in His Word that He wants us to go forth and spread the Word. As Christians, part of our duty is to try to reach as many people as possible in sharing the word of God. It is important for us to revisit the Bible regularly to reflect on key passages and rediscover our purpose.

Mark 16:15 NKJV “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.'”

In this passage, Jesus is talking to His disciples who had not believed Mary Magdalene when she proclaimed His resurrection. He instructs them to go forth, sharing the Word of God and baptizing believers. He elaborates on the power of belief by telling the disciples that believers will be able to cast out demons, speak in new tongues, be immune to poison and heal the sick. Belief is a powerful thing.

Matthew 24:14 NKJV “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

In Matthew 24, Jesus’ disciples ask Him for the signs of the “close of the age.”

Matthew 24:14 is significant for the end times because it tells us that the gospel will be spread throughout the world “and then the end will come.” This will be one last chance for non-believers to hear, believe and repent.

Psalms 96:3 NKJV “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.”

Psalm 96:3 is part of a hymn lifting up the Lord and praising Him for all that he has done. Much like we are eager to tell people when we are in love, the same should be true of God. We are so filled with love for Him and the blessings of the Spirit that we cannot keep silent.

Revelation 14:6-7 NKJV “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.'” This end time’s revelation is another important step in the closing of the age. The angel will be proclaiming the gospel, just as God instructed his believers to share with every nation, tribe, language and people in the world.

Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

In these last two verses of Matthew, Jesus instructs His disciples to carry on the work He began in Israel. They are to go throughout the world, sharing the word of God to “all nations” and spreading the truth of His good works so that everyone may know. The last phrase, “I am with you always, to the end of the age,” can be tremendously comforting to God’s people. No matter where He leads us, we will never have to doubt that His presence is with us.

The above is just an example of how God speaks about spreading your faith -- spreading the word of God. And even if you're somebody who has a slightly different faith, it's more about sharing God's love (your love) because we all are made from the same Source.  For me, my faith is through Jesus Himself. But for others, they can have a different Source of faith, channel or derivative. And like I've said in many of my articles, for others, there can be other avenues to approach faith. God gave us free will and I respect that, as I respect those of different belief systems. This is just mine.

I hope you don't mind my strange turn of style of writing, but it's what I was doing when I first started this blog. I usually don't go too deep into my spirituality like this. I was afraid of other people's judgments. I remember someone telling me, "Why is 'Jen' posting up so many religious posts when she's such a mess?" And I just thought, "Wow I LOVE them! And thank God she's a mess like me!" And from there, I kind of strayed from talking about my faith in Jesus. I am the most imperfect person to talk about God -- but what better person to relay the message? I can relate to the struggles, instead of pretending that I'm some perfect Christian attending church every Sunday. I'm a complete mess and God still loves me. And God loves you too, messy and all.

Nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.

To conclude, the one thing I have learned about God and my relationship with Him is this: never feel too guilty to come to God because of your sins and human downfalls. That's the devil trying to make you think that you're unworthy. In fact, draw nearer to your faith and watch how God works in your life. You are perfectly made. You are wonderfully created without any mistakes. Nobody in human form can ever tell you that you were a mistake, or that your life is unworthy of being a Christian. Nobody. And those who do condemn you better take stock of their own moral inventory. Whether you are straight, gay, lesbian, transgender or struggling with addiction of any kind -- these aren't things that God will reject you over. The Bible is very clear about the differences between promiscuity and a loving relationship between two people. God understands the struggle of addiction and depression. God knows your heart.

We live messy lives -- that's never going to change. But if we rely on God and keep our faith strong, nothing can separate us from the love of God.

So instead of getting angry at God and the outcome of your life -- grab onto your faith and watch how things shift. People may judge you. That's inevitable. People may ridicule you for having faith in God or being "preachy". People will be...people. But God will always be God. All forgiving, all loving, all filled with wonderful compassion. Never be ashamed of your faith, and never be angry at God for your physical body not responding the way you need it to. One day, all of our bodies are going to shut down. Then what?

Faith. Grab it.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Disorderly

Have you ever thought about your struggles in life and wished you could trade it in for something else? We all have crosses to bear and I think that's specifically designed for each individual. I keep hearing, "God won't give ya what you can't handle" and "If He brings you to it, He'll get you through it," but sometimes our thought-to-be "big problems" are something we would want back if a larger issue came barreling through our front doors.

I'm going to be honest here. 

I cursed God last night.

I was angry. 

As the most imperfect Christian you can meet, I set a time every single morning for at least 1-2 hours to pray and meditate. I don't tell a lot of people that. If I don't get to do it in the morning, I do it before bedtime in my living. I make the room dark, I light a few candles and use sage for cleansing. I've been on this bizarre journey with God -- one that I never thought possible. He has given me a few gifts that I'm afraid to use. Sounds crazy, right? But if I started talking to you in tongues, you might send the mental health unit after me. I remember sitting in church years ago and this man behind me starting speaking another language. Everyone was silent. And then someone in the front interpreted what he had just said. When I learned what it was all about -- I was like, "Oh c'mon! That's totally staged." And oddly enough, God gave the gift to me, to which I was too scared to continue using.

Ok, back to my point. I hate to talk about my problems or share my medical fiascos on here or with anyone in general. Because honestly, nobody cares. I don't mean that in a bad way -- but we all have problems and we just deal with them. I'm not trying to say, "Oh I'm holier than thou 'cause I pray all the time," more than I am (possibly) complaining to God asking, "Why do I have to suffer through this if I'm so loyal to you?"

But I'm making a point. 

So lately, (if you are a regular reader of mine), my nightly seizure-like episodes have been the strongest they have ever been. For those of you who are new to my blog, I have these violent episodes on the onset of sleep -- like when you're just drifting off into a deep slumber -- then BAM -- I wake up gasping for air, my body shaking all over -- almost seizure-like, but it's not a seizure. Sometimes, I get these horrific spins -- like my head is exploding. It takes a while before I can feel my face again. So it's not like I have insomnia -- I have a fear to go to sleep at night. I never nap--ever. There was one episode where my lungs stopped completely and I was flailing my arms back and forth trying to wake my wife up, but I ended up hitting the nightstand and then just passed out. I have been to numerous sleep studies and sleep specialists who have yet to find a solution. I don't have sleep apnea and there is nothing neurologically wrong with me. 

Then it becomes the good ol' "spider bite" diagnosis from the doctors. 

They all tell me, "Well, it's anxiety. Take some benzos and call me in the morning." 

And out the door I go.

With the same problem.

Here's why this is such an issue for me: I simply don't want to live anymore. And yet, I want to live so badly! But when I go to bed at 5am and wake up at 7am -- my day is shot. Going on 0-2 hours of sleep per night can really mess with your head. Sometimes it's so bad, that it causes my vertigo to go out of whack -- which is not good because I can't drive. And since I work from home, it shouldn't be a problem, but it is. It debilitates me. It controls my whole life. "Exercise!" Great idea if I don't fall flat on my face from pure exhaustion. People see me as "happy" -- and I AM a happy person because I LOVE life. But since this issue is affecting me so greatly, people rarely see my face because I hide like crab, peeking out from the inside hoping that one day, I'll get to live my life again. 

This is not a pity party. This is just my way to vent my frustrations and let those who are close to me know why I'm such a recluse lately. 

I thought to myself, "I should feel lucky that this is my only real cross to bear, when there are people battling with terminal illnesses."  I am grateful. I truly appreciate every single little thing in my life. But but but....

It's pure torture though. Every single night, I curl up in my plush blankets and lay my head down hoping to get some much needed rest so I can have a productive day. But it feels like someone just walks inside my room, walks up to my side of the bed and then strangles me until I'm flailing my arms and legs trying to gasp for air. When you have this much of a lack of sleep, it can really mess with you, especially if you have anxiety and depression. Last Saturday while cleaning the house, my exhaustion kicked in and the room spun around like a carnival ride. I held onto the vanity in the bathroom and passed out briefly. I didn't hurt myself, but I had to take a moment to elevate my legs and get myself together again. This fatigue is killing me. Sometimes I just wish it would kill me off already.

So I pray more.

Then I read a tweet while trying to get back to sleep.

Just because you are going through doesn't mean has stopped loving you..

I honestly thought God gave up on me. I kept praying to Him to take whatever kind of sleeping disorder I have away. But it kept getting worse and worse, so I thought He just forgot about me. And then I got angry. I threw my pillow down and cursed God. My wife just looked at me and said, "Wow. Just wow, Deb." She has never seen me do that before. I've never seen myself do that before. It scared the both of us.  

I managed somehow to get a couple of hours of sleep in. When I woke up this morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat outside. It looked dark and stormy -- my favorite kind of weather. It was raining pretty heavy, yet warm enough to sit out there in a t-shirt. The house has an overhead panel so that you can sit outside while it's raining. It looked absolutely beautiful. It was so peaceful. I sat there with my little dog and prayed to God for His forgiveness. I mean -- the worst thing you can possibly do is to curse God. As I stared back down at my phone, there was this advertisement in one of my emails and it said, "But you're human. It's OK." --- If that isn't a sign, I don't know what is. 

And then I read a devotional that my friend posts up on her Facebook wall every day.

April 12: "TRUSTING ME is a moment-by-moment choice. My people have not always understood this truth. After I performed miracles in the wilderness, My chosen children trusted Me intensely—but only temporarily. Soon the grumbling began again, testing My patience to the utmost. Isn’t it often the same way with you? You trust Me when things go well, when you see Me working on your behalf. This type of trust flows readily within you, requiring no exertion of your will. When things go wrong, your trust-flow slows down and solidifies. You are forced to choose between trusting Me intentionally or rebelling: resenting My ways with you. This choice constitutes a fork in the road. Stay on the path of Life with Me, enjoying My Presence. Choose to trust Me in all circumstances. Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Then Moses cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the LORD made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. EXODUS 1 : 22 – 25

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” PSALM 31 : 14"

I couldn't be more happier with the responses I've been receiving. I know this isn't one of my typical posts, but I had to share this with you. This has affected me so much mentally, that I had thoughts of taking my own life at times. I have had this sleeping disorder since 2007. It wasn't bad in the beginning -- just enough to startle me. It's affecting not only my work, but my overall wellbeing as well as my immunity. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten sick this past couple of years. When you don't sleep, your body doesn't get a chance to repair itself.

But I have to keep in mind: It can be SO MUCH WORSE!

So when you think your life is the worst possible life and when you think that your problems are much worse than somebody else's -- remember this little story.

A young man was at the end of his rope. Seeing no way out, he dropped to his knees in prayer. "Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy of a cross to bear." The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room. Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish." The man was filled with relief. "Thank you, Lord," he sighed, and he did as he was told. Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall. "I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. And the Lord replied, "My son, that is the cross you just brought in."

That story keeps me in check sometimes.

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. --2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Nobody knows what you go through. Nobody really knows what I go through. I try not to judge anyone by their issues or problems in life. You know, sometimes we can easily say to someone, "Just get over it," but it's so much more complex than that. There are some things you could handle that I wouldn't dare take on and vise/versa. I truly believe that through our weaknesses, God works his strength in us. I'm trying not to lose hope when things don't go my way. I'm trying to view my issues as my own cross to bear -- and to also know that I wouldn't want anybody else's cross as well.

So it's not that my problems are bigger than yours. It's just that they're mine.


I would be incredibly grateful if you took some time to add me in your prayers. I don't know what else to do as I'm crying while typing this out. I get it -- things can be worse, but but but...this is totally ruining my life and making me not want to live. I need to be healthy (and awake) so that I can take care of not only myself, but my family. I can't 'be fruitful' when I'm in constant fatigue all the time. I just want to live again.

He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak... Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." --Isaiah 40:29-31

Life wears us out, but waiting on the Lord renews our strength. Our limitations remind us to rely more fully on the Lord.

I know this isn't one of my usual posts, but sometimes we need to shake it up a bit. This is one of the main reasons why my writing hasn't been as frequent as it used to be. Thanks for reading. Please try to keep me in your prayers, if you can...I'm just struggling.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog for some of her famous recipes!