Monday, April 30, 2007

My Dear Sweet Mom

As most of my readers know, I live a little too close to comfort to the parental units. I live in the apartment upstairs from them. It’s interesting and sometimes it can be the same scenario as “Everybody Loves Raymond”. I’m the baby of the family; therefore, I’m treated as such. Fun. Sometimes I still feel as though I’m thirteen years old when I leave my parents’ house to go somewhere else.

“Where ya goin’ Deb?” My mom calls out, as I’ve already said goodbye to her for the fifth time.

“Oh just out with some friends.” Not elaborating too much on my whereabouts. It’s not like I’m out dealing crack or anything or that I live somewhere out in the ghetto.

Now, the funniest thing is, my mother says this certain phase that’s so funny when you think about it.

As soon as I walk in, I hear, “Ya home?” Sometimes I bust on her and just tell her it’s all in her head, but I go along with it and say ‘yes’, because it’s what I’ve been hearing all my life ever since I was a kid. I also hear the famous, “Wheredja’ go?”----if I’m close enough to have a conversation with.

Here’s the sad part about this. I get phone calls from mom. They last for an hour sometimes. I’m not sure why she just doesn’t come upstairs to see me, but usually, I just say, “I’ll be right down ma,” and sit and have coffee with her. Usually, the bulk of her phone calls made to me are concerning my father’s hygiene. Now, this guy is one clean guy! He takes about three showers per day. (Or so it seems as though he does.) The building we live in shares the same piping system. So if someone is using the water, you get a blast of cold water on your back if you’re in the shower. Lovely, right?

~^~Ring~^~Ring~^~^

“Hello?”
“Deb?”
“Yeah ma?”
“Your father’s taking a shower.”
“Okay.”


*click*

This happens way too frequently where it’s literally driving me insane. But, I totally understand when I have to call down there and inform the household that I’m taking my daily shower myself.

At night, I dream of those famous phrases that I hear on a consistent basis:
Where ya goin’?
Whatchya’ doing?
Ya home?
Your father’s taking a shower.
Wheredja’ go?

This weekend, while spending time with my mother having a martini with her, my father walks into the kitchen to get something to eat. I can see my mother already inquisitive about his dietary impulses.

“Whaddya’ getting, Charl?”
“Wutz’ it to ya? Can’t I just get sumptin’ widout’ you drillin’ me here? Ya too damn nosey!”

“Oh yeah? Fine, because whatever it is you’re looking for, I know where it is!”
“I got it! See yastupidja’—I got it right here! Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to navigate this fridge!”

My dad looks over at me and laughs as he gives my mother this little Italian wiggle with his pointer finger and thumb sticking up waving back and forth, insinuating that she must be crazy.

Now, if you’re a guest over at my mother’s house, and she’s already been cooking since 8am, your name is already on the seating list. This usually occurs on a Sunday. I used to shuffle through her door like Kramer once I smelled her cooking. They eat around 3pm in the afternoon. During the week, 4pm. The older you get, the earlier you eat. I guess it has something to do with stomach indigestion or the fact that the early bird specials are rampant in this area. God forbid if I already made plans to eat at my favorite outdoor bar & grill—she takes offense to it. She’ll automatically think that her cooking expertise has ended.

Amy, being as nice of a person she is, will always say, “Awe, let’s eat with your parents, Deb.” I’m not sure if she’s doing this out of kindness, or doing this because my mother’s cooking is really that good. (I’d still rather sit outside and drink a cold one with my 3pm lunch/dinner or whatever it is.)

“See? Amy will stay. Go ahead Deb, have fun!” My mother calls out, almost throwing me out of the house so she can eat dinner with Amy. It’s not that I don’t like eating with my parents on a Sunday afternoon, but after dinner, my parents disappear into another room, smoking their lungs out watching game show reruns. I can’t with that. Then, maybe an hour late, they’re off to bed. 6pm is not bedtime for Deb! If they’d hang out at least till 7pm, then it would be worth it to kick around with them for a while. You literally go into a food coma minutes after eating. In the summer, we have this huge patio that overlooks this amazing view. I’m usually the ‘bartender’ of the family, and keep their drinks refreshed, as well as blare out music from my stereo from my apartment above. (It’s the typical “blend” station, so everyone’s happy.) Usually, all my sisters come over and we have a great time. I'm looking forward tothe warmer days where I can at least spend some time with them hours after dinner is served. Wish me luck!

I have to go, my phone’s ringing. It’s mom.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Peaceful Debate

A gentleman named Gary Baker had commented on Enemy of the Republic’s blog regarding the issue of whether or not homosexuality is a sin. If you've never visited Enemy of the Republic's blog--do so! She's thought provoking, spiritual with a sense of awareness that's amazing. She's an incredible writer with a huge heart for others. She's one of my favorite bloggers out there.

Gary’s quite different in his approach on this matter. He questions me, instead of belittling me. He brings the issues up on the table, without judgment; without anger. His tactful ways of telling me his beliefs were so wonderful, that I wanted to share this with you all. It’s people like him that give me hope. He’s real, he’s claiming he’s human (a sinner like all of us) and he speaks boldly. So, thank you Gary, for showing me your human side!
Here's Gary's note to me:

Deb,

Okay, here is where I am coming from: I don't hate sinners. That would be stupid and self defeating. I am one! And the Bible teaches that God doesn't play favorites. I don't encourage anyone to hate. What I do get very nervous about is when people claim that homosexuality is not a sin under scripture. Here is my reasoning:You bring up the verses in Leviticus. I agree and disagree with your points. According to your blog, you say that Christ did away with the old law. I agree that Christ did away with the sacrificial system (animals) for sin, because that was his purpose, but there were a number of Old Testament laws and traditions that remain in force. For example, the Jewish feasts were proclaimed to be observed always. None of this is relevant to the issue at hand, though. The other examples you mention in your blog (shellfish, for example) are part of Jewish ceremonial law. Gentiles, believer or not, were never commanded to follow ceremonial law. Nevertheless, there is a significant part of Leviticus in the area that you quote.

You quote Lev 18:22 - “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin." You also parenthetically mention the entire chapter. Along with the single line referencing homosexual activity, it gives a list of other things. There is a long list about incest, in great detail as to what is considered bad. It also includes sleeping with your neighbor's wife, child sacrifice, and bestiality. I find it hard to accept that God would be "okay" with any of the other things. So, considering the company it keeps, I have a hard time believing that God is "okay" with homosexuality. Now many, Christian and otherwise, claim that the entire chapter only applies to Jews. There is a flaw with that logic. The flaw is revealed in Lev. 18:24 - "Do not make yourself unclean in any of these ways; for so have those nations whom I am driving out from before you made themselves unclean."Those that God was referring to were the inhabitants of the promised land before the Jews showed up. God said that because of these types of sin, he was "driving them out." That's a very polite term. Today we would call it genocide, because God decreed that every man, woman, and child was to be killed. Again, these were not Jews. They were not believers. These were people that God had no relationship with.
Despite that, He judged them, and the judgment was pretty harsh.

Now you make two other points on your blog that I would like to question. You say at one point that the scriptures in the New Testament refer to orgies or promiscuity, not a committed relationship. You also point out that Jesus said nothing condemning homosexuality. Here are my points:

Jesus did not condemn homosexuality explicitly.
Jesus did not condemn promiscuity explicitly.
Jesus did not condemn prostitution explicitly.
Jesus did not condemn slavery explicitly. (A blast from the past!)

Jesus did not address many things explicitly. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, addressing a Jewish crowd. Most of them knew the basics of the law (and if you think Jesus ever came to tell people to disregard the law, look how many times he quoted it and told others to refer to it). He came to clarify the points that people were unclear or misapplying. If there was not any confusion or ambiguity, there would have been no need to address every point. Interestingly, in the cases where he did address the law, at the same time he was promoting mercy, he was also calling for a higher standard. (Lust = adultery, hate = murder). Considering that he was urging us to give our best in other areas, I don't think he was advocating lowered standards for sexual purity. As I've said before this is not about hatred of anyone for me. I have sin in my life that God is still working on me about. I pray daily for guidance in all things. I have no desire to stir up people against anyone and I really have no desire to get into people's sex lives. At the same time, if people are promoting something as "good" that God says is "bad" I feel compelled to make it clear that there is another viewpoint.

I don't think homosexual believers are going to hell any more than any other believer is, but I do think that there is always a penalty for going against God's word. For those unbelievers, still under judgment, the scriptures promise that judgment will be severe. For believers, any sin breaks fellowship and results in lost blessings. And when believers teach what is unholy as being holy, the matter gets worse. Mat 5:19 Whoever then goes against the smallest of these laws, teaching men to do the same, will be named least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who keeps the laws, teaching others to keep them, will be named great in the kingdom of heaven. And that's my piece on the subject. I am more than ready to listen to you.

My response to Gary:

Gary,

As I also believe that incest, child sacrifice, and bestiality harm the body and spirit. It’s all in Leviticus, but what I’m trying to point out is, the promiscuity and ‘lusts’ of the homosexuals who were just as immorally sexual as the heterosexuals who took part in this. I’m referring to homosexuality in the terms of the romantic/loving way. I do see your point though! I won’t say that I don’t understand why you believe that—because it’s evident and your points are really interesting! So thank you for showing me more than what most people have shown me. If my faith was weak, I’d probably sway my thoughts a bit and say, “Hmmm.” But, here’s where I come to believing so strongly that homosexuality is not a sin, or any other ‘human nature’ type of action isn’t- due to the law passing away.

Galatians 3

Faith Is the Only Way


1You stupid Galatians! I told you exactly how Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. Has someone now put an evil spell on you? 2I want to know only one thing. How were you given God's Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him? 3How can you be so stupid? Do you think that by yourself you can complete what God's Spirit started in you? 4Have you gone through all of this for nothing? Is it all really for nothing? 5God gives you his Spirit and works miracles in you. But does he do this because you obey the Law of Moses or because you have heard about Christ and have faith in him?

6The Scriptures say that God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith. 7And so, you should understand that everyone who has faith is a child of Abraham. [a] 8Long ago the Scriptures said that God would accept the Gentiles because of their faith. That's why God told Abraham the good news that all nations would be blessed because of him. 9This means that everyone who has faith will share in the blessings that were given to Abraham because of his faith. 10Anyone who tries to please God by obeying the Law is under a curse. The Scriptures say, "Everyone who doesn't obey everything in the Law is under a curse." 11No one can please God by obeying the Law. The Scriptures also say, "The people God accepts because of their faith will live." [b] 12The Law isn't based on faith. It promises life only to people who obey its commands. 13But Christ rescued us from the Law's curse, when he became a curse in our place. This is because the Scriptures say that anyone who is nailed to a tree is under a curse. 14And because of what Jesus Christ has done, the blessing that was promised to Abraham was taken to the Gentiles. This happened so that by faith we would be given the promised Holy Spirit.


Then I have the story about the immoral woman who was accepted by Jesus only due to faith alone.

Reference to Luke 7:36-50---the full story is in my previous post.

So, with faith and love, she was saved. Jesus didn’t tell her anything other than she was saved---due to her faith alone.

Here’s another reason why my belief system is so strong. See, years ago, I struggled through an intense moment in my life. I came to God and prayed and prayed…and prayed some more. He poured His spirit upon me and I have never been the same ever. The weird part about this was, I was vacationing in Provincetown, MA (a gay mecca) where it’s full of the GLBT community. My girlfriend and I were in our suite getting ready to go out, when I started feeling something INTENSE. I kept seeing visions of rainbows (and no – not the gay pride flags hung around each corner of the streets! ha) , but it shook me to the core and I fell to my knees, shaking and crying-----out of pure euphoria. I cannot explain how I exactly felt, because it was just out of this world. I knew it was God. From there, my relationship with God kept getting stronger and stronger. Every time- and I mean every single time I pray to God, He answers me, whether it be through the bible, a message from something I’ve heard on the radio or just the television set. Lately, He’s been sending doves to my deck when I pray. Now, call me crazy, and I will admit, I’m a bit off my rocker at times, but these miracles are just so amazing to me, that I cannot believe one word a “human” says, regarding if I’m “right” with God. So, with all due respect, my beliefs will never, ever change, because for me………..Jesus told me I was ‘okay’, that He loves me, and to spread the message of love to other people like myself, and those who are opposed to it.

I’m not saying I’m some sort of prophet or anything, however, I speak to Him on a daily basis and the answers are just incredible!!! I’m so excited about this, because each answer comes with a strong and more evident response. It used to be just a message through my senses, but now He’s revealed Himself to me!

“You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” ~John 20:29

I believed before "seeing", and now I have seen, and my faith “to me” is now knowledge. But, I will not force my beliefs upon anyone, I can only share.

Thank you for taking the time out to address your beliefs and show me what you mean so articulately with the scriptures you referenced and how you brought it across with such tact!
I hope you can see why my faith is so strong. It’s not out of stubborness, it’s just out of experience and pure love I have for God.

God bless!

~Deb
If you're interested in hearing more about what happened to me, regarding my spiritual experiences, please check out my book on Amazon. I tell the story in complete detail. It's not only a book for the GLBT, but it's also geared towards heterosexuals and those who believe in God, and even more so for those who lack faith.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Seeds of Hatred

It starts out small. Sometimes it starts out when they’re just a baby. It depends on when the seed was planted. They call themselves “Christians” and speak the words of true hatred. They teach their children to hate and curse others. They twist the bible and reference scriptures left and right, that have no relevance whatsoever to what they’re trying to communicate. How do you recognize the seeds of hateful people? By their words. Their words speak a lot about their character. A person’s credibility relies on their words. Their actions are primarily focused on condemning and judging. Their target: homosexuals.

Here are some scriptures that are thrown at homosexuals:

Leviticus 18:22 (Whole Chapter) “Do not practice homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman. It is a detestable sin."

This is the old law. If this were to still be applicable, then eating shellfish would be detestable, having a clean-shaven face would be a sin, and sitting next to a woman on the same couch who is menstruating would be a sin as well. Galatians 17:21 proves that the old law no longer applies to Christians.


1 Corinthians 6:9 (Whole Chapter) "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

But wait! There’s more!

The people who shout this scripture to the gay & lesbians also seem to be missing a very valuable portion of this passage. In the next verse, it says this:

Verse 11 says: "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

Now look at this next scripture that they’ll force-feed you, in order to sway you away from loving someone of the same gender.

Romans 1:26-27: “Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved.”

Even before that verse, there’s another verse that clearly states what’s been happening in this book.

Romans 1:24 “So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshipped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen.”

These people they speak of in Romans were having sex with many people. The entire sexual practices were based on orgies. Promiscuity has been confused with loving relationships. People will interpret these scriptures and claim that homosexuality is a sin. Homosexuality in the terms of loving relationships isn’t a sin. This is what I firmly believe.

Which sin is greater? Regardless of whether it’s a sin or not – (which I fully believe with all my heart it’s not), all of us sin. This is the reason why God gave us His only son to die for us on the cross. He saved us from our sins. He knew we couldn’t make it here without Jesus’ sacrifice.

Many Christians live life in fear. A healthy fear of the Lord is good, but when you fear other people’s judgments, telling you that hell is in your future, who do we believe? God is the only judge.

This is where religion gets scary. People plant the seeds of hate within their minds, due to twisting scriptures and claiming that they’re ‘fighting for their God’, when actually, they’re fighting against their brothers and sisters. We are all in this together. Take for instance, the Phelps family. They believe that all gays are doomed to hell. They protest with picket signs at funerals and parades displaying hate.


What would Jesus do?


Let’s just say that homosexuality is a sin. First of all, no one has the right to judge and ridicule them. What about the immoral woman in the bible? It’s about faith- and not anything else. If you fully believe that Jesus died for you up on the cross- you are saved.


“Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman”

"One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for a meal, so Jesus accepted the invitation and sat down to eat. A certain immoral woman heard he was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who was the host saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, “This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “All right. Teacher,” Simon replied, “go ahead.” Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The men at the table said among themselves, “Who does this man think he is, going around forgiving sins?” And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace." ~Luke 7:36-50

Your actions don’t mean anything if you don’t have faith. This woman displayed faith to Jesus, whereas the Pharisee didn’t. She was forgiven, in despite her sins.

Christianity is much more than just obeying the law. It’s having faith and love for Jesus. It’s loving one another and accepting each other ‘as is’---to not judge and ridicule for what you may think is wrong. God’s job is to judge. People are trying to fill God’s shoes. That’s quite a task to take on. They live such stressful and hard lives.

“All of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it.

For the Scripture say,

If you want a happy life and good days, keep your tongue from speaking evil, and keep your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.” ~1 Peter 3:8-12

What is evil? Is evil loving another person of the same gender? Or is evil people telling others they’re going to hell? They protest with picket signs saying, “God hates fag enablers”, “Pray for more dead soldiers”, and “Fags will go to hell!”

That’s evil. Those who preach with a forked tongue, like my friend Mark, will hopefully understand that when you speak about God, it’s best not to curse at other people and judge them. God knows everyone’s heart and He is the only one who judges righteously. It’s people like Mark, who are the small seeds of the people who kill for their God. They’re quick-tempered and full of wrath. They have no mercy upon anyone. I wonder if he’ll get mercy when it’s his time to be judged. He’s not far off from the mindset of the Phelps’ family.

Remember, no one can judge you, but God. The worst sin of all is to hate God. If you have faith and rely on Jesus’ sacrifice as your salvation, then you are saved, whether you’re gay, straight, bi, trans, or even confused. God loves you more than anyone on this earth can!

1 Timothy chapter 4 tells us, “Now the Holy Spirit tell us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe; they will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons. These teachers are hypocrites and liars. They pretend to be religious, but their consciences are dead.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The "Truth" About Homosexuality

In a world baffled by religion and different interpretations of various beliefs, we’ve become more separated from God and even more so with our own people. We’ve alienated those who are different from us. We’ve only accepted the ones that look like us, walk like us and think like us, but we refuse to welcome those that stand strong in their own set of ‘beliefs’. Some call it ‘knowledge’, and others will simply say it’s ‘truth’. Whose truth?

My gay brothers and sisters have been chastised for years, taking blows from radical extremists in the midst of their heated anger. They’ve been stoned to death, beaten by their very own kind---humans. Religion is the core reason for wars. Some would die for their God. Some would kill for their God. Where is the love in killing? The Ten Commandments teach us, ‘thou shall not kill’, yet we’re killing people left and right due to others not believing in what ‘we’ believe.

Misinterpretations of love. I truly believe that many people misinterpret the messages in the bible. When “Christians” ridicule homosexuals, they bring forth the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. This story is based upon power and rape---not homosexuality. Jesus never once spoke about homosexuality. He spoke more about the immoral ways of heterosexuals in the bible. Promiscuity is the prime target when speaking about sexual immorality—not loving one another. People cannot distinguish between love and lust sometimes. They feel that if two people of the same gender are together as a couple, that they’re immoral and sinful. Premarital heterosexual sex is overlooked by many churches. Ironic.

In my belief as a Christian, Jesus died for all of us up on the cross. I believe that He took away all of my sins by doing this. I’m washed clean. You’re washed clean. God knew that we would have an extremely difficult time here on earth, if Jesus didn’t sacrifice His own life for us. We would be doomed forever. His blood washes us clean from sin. We don’t live by the old law anymore. We live and walk through the grace of God and with gratitude, we are accepted by God.

Here… Look at Galatians chapter two verses 17 through 21:

"But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me an gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die."

So, if we don’t believe that ‘faith’ alone will save us, then we don’t fully trust that Jesus died for us up on the cross. Do we trust Jesus enough? Was it enough for Him to die for us? Did He actually take away our sins by doing this? Or do we keep clinging to the old law for safety? The law will never save us. Only Jesus can. (In my beliefs.)

Many “Christians” will yell out, “Repentance!” But what does repentance really mean when we come to the Lord? It means to develop a relationship with God. It means that we accept that we are flawed as humans, and that we are saved by Christ. It doesn’t mean that we have to keep saying sorry for every single ‘humanly mistake’ that’s been made. Don’t you think God knows what we do? Do you think your secrets are hidden by God? He made you. He knows everything you do. He sees every sin that’s committed, He hears every word that’s spoken and reads every motive in your heart. Even in the darkness, your secrets are revealed. Accept the fact that God knows you. He made you. And, get this----HE STILL LOVES YOU!

Don’t let them chastise you any longer. Stand strong in your faith—whatever religion you practice and know that God loves you. Judgments from other human beings are just that—it doesn’t hold up very well. The only judgment you should be concerned about is the one that comes from God. Other people are so miserable in their own lives, that they feel the need to criticize those who are happy and content in their walk with God.

Be strong!

This is a video I made, which I’ve shown once before on my blog, but I feel the need to post it up again. I apologize for the small lettering in the clip, however it was my first run with iMovie.


Friday, April 20, 2007

The Reality of Depression

These images may be too graphic for some to view. I made this movie with the intention of helping those who feel depressed or thinking about suicide. There is hope.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Depression

Have you ever wondered why police and other authorities wait until the last minute until something occurs? We call the police, thinking that there may be a threat to someone’s life, or even our own, and they simply say, “Well, unfortunately we can’t do anything, until something has taken place.” They won’t look into it, because they think it’s a waste of time.

What about a troubled student, Cho Seung-Hui? People knew he was troubled and a possible threat, yet they literally couldn’t do anything about it…until it was too late. Shouldn’t threats be taken seriously? Shouldn’t the scare of someone with mental illness, to that extreme, be something to be afraid of? Or do we just sit back and watch it unfold? I don’t get it. Cho Seung-Hui even went as far as attacking Christanity. He wanted to be seen like Jesus Christ when he went down. So, the comments I got the other day regarding his relationship with God were right. He didn’t have a relationship with God- he attacked God and everything that Christianity stands for. There was absolutely no love in his message- only hatred for those who surrounded him.

We wait until the crime has been committed. We wait until the emotional turmoil of a madman has literally exploded into a thousand pieces. Even when someone says they’re going to kill themselves- a cry for help in a suicide attempt, sometimes we don’t even pay attention to it, or even consider the fact that they’re serious. If the seed has been planted, it’ll be sure to grow if it’s kept nurtured.

Studies show that if someone even talks about suicide, they’re most likely to carry it out. Some think that people who are suicidal are only trying to gain attention from others. Maybe some are, but “all” should be taken seriously. Signs to look for:

*threatens suicide
*talks about the afterlife too much
*already has a suicide plan
*lack of sleep
*too much sleep
*doesn’t keep up with appearance
*hopelessness
*tiredness
*agitation
*excessive anger
*excessive crying
*gives prized possessions away
*loss of interest of things he/she once loved
*indeciveness
*relative that has committed suicide or has been diagnosed with depression

There are so many signs I could list, but some of these listed above can be common for some people. I found myself in depressive states, where I was too tired, or didn’t get enough sleep and lost interest of some of my hobbies. It is a very general list, but when all of them are combined, or even ‘some’, it can be a warning signal for them to get help. It’s important to read the words they write as well. When someone is in a deep depression, they usually express themselves better in written form, whether it be in a journal, an online blog or their letters and emails to their friends and family. It depends on how they go about writing. A lot of us tend to say deeper things, rather than speak them. It’s easier for some reason.

In my own experience, my grandfather committed suicide. I don’t know the exact reasons why, but I know he had a lot of health frustrations that led him into a deep depression. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was manic depressive. She was on medication, which didn’t really help her all that much. She checked into a hospital to get help, but unfortunately, it made her worse. I’m against going into clinics that ‘try to’ help depressed people. Those places can only make you worse in my opinion. It’s all a business if you ask me. There’s nothing better than the help of your friends, family & loved ones to get you through rough patches. Professional help depends on if your doctor fits the needs of your condition. Not all doctors are good. Most of all, the best help is getting it from God, if you do practice a religion.

But it’s not that easy. It’s easier said than done. Once in a depression, a lot of people will ‘choose’ to isolate themselves, becoming unavailable to everyone. They have no desire to talk or communicate with anyone. Regardless of the problem, they feel that it’ll never go away. It’ll never get better. Hopelessness sets in, and it can either snowball downhill, or dissolve with help- however they choose to get help. If they don’t want help, then that’s the tricky part.

If you know someone who’s depressed, make sure they have your support. Make sure that you’re there for them, and that you take every word they say seriously. Listen to them and try to understand where they’re coming from, instead of arguing with them that their thoughts are irrational. It’s “their” thoughts. In their mind, it’s not irrational. Stand in their shoes for a moment and look into their world. It’s much different. Let them know how much they’re loved, and how many people they’ll affect if they take their own life. Give them a taste of reality and what it would be like without them in the world. It’ll get them thinking. Maybe you’ll be the one to help them out of this sinkhole they’ve created…or in their minds, what other people have created.

And if you’re the one depressed, tell a close friend that you trust. Confide in them and let them see the world you see through your eyes. Try to explain what it’s like to be you. Most of all, try to express what it is that makes you not want to live. What bothers you the most? Why are your days filled with sadness? What can they do to make it different? And most of all, what can you do to make life better?

I know, because I’m there from time to time. I can relate. I totally understand what my grandmother went through- God bless her soul!
This video deals with VT and the massacre. It sends a good message at the end of the song if you watch it all the way through.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech

I have to say, I feel sick about this whole Virginia Tech tragedy. I can’t even imagine what these students are going through—even if they weren’t there at the time. How do they return to school? How are they handling all these overwhelming emotions? What about the absolute nightmare of the families who’ve lost loved ones in this senseless chaos? It affects us. It literally saddens us, scares us and brings us back to reality that anything can happen at any given time- just like that! How can someone be driven to shoot 32 people? How can someone be driven to shoot a person at all? Why are people killing one another?

“Well he was a loner.” I still don’t get it. So this ‘loner’ was angry at the world. How does killing 32 people, plus himself, accomplish anything that he wanted to change? Maybe he couldn’t change his situation? They said he was in love with one of the girls that he shot dead. Maybe the love wasn’t reciprocated, so he needed to take action, but how does killing her give him a chance? How does killing everyone around him give him a chance for a better life? Or did he just give up? He did. It’s too late, and he can never turn back.

What goes through the mind of a murderer? You see crimes of passion- people killing their lovers. Why? If you love that person, how can you think about hurting them? It’s not love then, in my opinion. Is there a fine line between love and hate? Do we hate the people we love and love the people we hate? It’s crazy. Forensic scientists and psychologists try to reason and draw conclusions to the mind of a madman.

Revenge they say. But these innocent people didn’t do anything to this kid. It was reported that Cho Seung-Hui, the kid who went on the killing spree, left a very angry note in his dorm room. They didn’t read it on television, however they did say that he was very upset over rich people. So did jealousy rear its ugly head? He was upset over the woman in his letter. So, again, does it all boil down to jealousy and resentment? Everyone else has everything except him. Was that the way he thought?

What I really wonder is, what was his last thought before taking his own life? Was he satisfied with what he had done? Or did he look around and really see the mental illness involved in this shooting?

God bless the family and friends who have to live with this horrific memory and image in their minds. Cho Seung-Hui killed more than 32 people, he killed the spirits of many people yesterday. I hope everyone rests in peace and may Cho Seung-Hui be forgiven…which is the hardest thing anyone can do at a time like this. I think God is the only one capable right now.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Juicy Gossip

Touching on the topic of gossip is a difficult one, because whether or not we know it, we all gossip in one form or another.

What exactly is gossip?

1. idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others: the endless gossip about Hollywood stars.

2. light, familiar talk or writing.

3. Also, gos·sip·er, gos·sip·per. a person given to tattling or idle talk.

4. to talk idly, esp. about the affairs of others; go about tattling.
–verb (used with object)
Idle talk or rumors are mostly seen as ‘lies’ or ‘exaggerated truths’ about a person. Even writing about someone is considered gossip, as shown in the web’s dictionary.

In the Jewish culture, it’s been told that gossip kills three people:

*The speaker
*The person you are speaking about
*The listener


But at what lengths do we consider “talk” about other people, gossip? Do we stop talking about how Julie’s husband just got a promotion at his job? Do we stop talking about our kid’s achievements in school? Do we go as far as to turn off our television sets when the news comes on, in order to not listen about the saga of Anna Nicole Smith and the custody battle? Where do we draw the line? Certainly not at the hair salon!

Gossip’s true definition in my opinion is secrets being told about another person, or to talk about someone in a derogatory manner- as far as details about their life; washwomen if you will.

Here’s an example of ‘innocent’ gossip gone wrong… About ten years ago, I learned that a friend of mine was pregnant. I was happy for her and excited that this was her first child. She didn’t ask me to not tell anyone. Later on that evening, a mutual friend of ours was out at the same bar as I was. We started talking and I said, “I’m so happy for her, she finally got pregnant!” The girl looked at me in shock, “Really? She’s pregnant?” So, the cat got out of the bag. Two months later, the girl I told this to ran into our friend at the grocery store.

“Oh my God! I can’t believe it! I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!”
Our friend just looked at her and said, “Yeah, well…I miscarried.”

See, even the ‘innocent’ happy type of gossip can turn out bad. So, in the Jewish belief, I killed myself for the ‘buzz’, I killed the person I spoke to, due to the embarrassment, and I killed our friend, who was mortified to tell the bad news again to someone else.

It’s hard not to gossip, or talk ‘innocently’ about people, happenings and other stuff that surround particular people. The media does a fine job of it anyway, and then we discuss it over dinner with our friends. Phone lines light up about Don Imus getting fired, people chatting about how Howard Stern influenced his fans to vote for Sanjaya on American Idol, only because he was the worst singer, and Gov. Jon S. Corzine, of New Jersey being in an almost fatal car accident.

Tabloids, newspapers, magazines and blogs hold the most sources for our most desired gossip stories.

If gossip is a sin, then what about stories told in the bible? There are many scandalous stories to be told in that ‘good book’. So when is it not considered ‘gossip’?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Yin and Yang

Do you believe that everyone has a purpose in life? Is it possible that some people on earth are just taking up space, with no reason to be here at all? People with faith in something larger than themselves, tend to believe that life is one big experiment, or that we, as people, need to learn and evolve from doing good instead of evil. It’s been said that it’s easier to hate, lie, cheat, steal, and to be unmerciful, rather than to be the total opposite. Being good is harder.

What is good?

What’s good in people’s eyes? Most of all, what’s good in God’s eyes? Do you believe in God? If you do, then the biggest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and to love those around you. What does loving other people mean though? Does it mean you have to like every single person that walks on the earth? No, however, it means to treat others as you would yourself---the golden rule. It’s nice to live by, but is it realistic? I mean, we’re only human, right? There are going to be stumbling blocks along the way. The most difficult thing is to love your enemies. This doesn’t mean you have to call 1-800-FLOWERS and get them a bouquet, but wish them well and pray for them. Loving someone who does not love you in return is the most difficult thing. Hating them is easier. Cursing them is easier. In the heat of the moment if arguing, we sometimes lose our tempers, but again, we’re all human. We all make mistakes. Do we still take the easy road and continue to hate?

What is good?

It may be giving the person the benefit of the doubt. It may be forgiveness and a change of heart. Or, it just may mean letting it go and moving on. It depends on each situation. In the aftermath of what’s been said and done, what’s been accomplished? Does it feel ‘good’? Do you feel ‘good’?

Again, what is good?

For me, it’s guidance from the Lord. It’s correcting me when I’m wrong. It’s admitting that I’m wrong. It’s knowing that I’m human and that I have no willpower without the help of God. It’s ‘good’ to realize and know these things about yourself. It’s a relief to understand the concept of needing God in your life. For me, my life without God is a reckless one. It’s chaos and uncontrollable reactions rolling down a huge mountain gaining more and more debris, until it finally crashes and explodes into tiny little pieces.

So what’s good about that?

It’s good to know that when we crash and burn, we learn from it and rebuild ourselves back up again. We’re most likely not to get into that same situation if we realize how bad it was for us. We’re smarter. We’ve developed coping skills of how to avoid the ‘crash’. I’ve been there. I’ve crumbled into a million pieces, but with God’s help, He’s rebuilding me up every single day.

What’s bad?

To have never had the experience to learn from it all. To have never evolved from the person you once were, to someone who has gained the conscience of God through life trials. To not know that everything that has happened in your life was for a purpose; for a reason. To not gain the knowledge and the wisdom of God and to not know that you’re loved by God. To never learn forgiveness, because we’ve all been forgiven due to our faith in Him.

So, do you believe that everyone has a purpose in life? What’s your theory on why we’re here- regardless of faith or no faith- why do you think we’re put here on this earth? Some people get discouraged and think that God or (the universe) is this mean and wrathful force tugging at us all the time. If you really think about it, if you were God, would you tell your creations why they were put here on the earth? Or would you let them roam around, learning all they could, trying to develop better character? It's like fish trying to comprehend algebra. We can't fathom the meaning of it. What about the yin and yang? Is it possible there’s a reason for those people who are evil? There are two forces in the world that work against each other. There are also two forces that lie within ourselves that are at odds with one another.

What’s your theory?


Please take a look at Belladonna's post back in August. Thank you, Bella, for giving me the post link for this. It really touched on an important issue! You'll find this blog to be very interesting.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Imus vs. Sharpton

When have we become so defensive? We’re offended by everything we see, hear and read. We know that ‘freedom of speech’ is a right of ours, however there are some people who feel that higher people of rank shouldn’t be giving their honest opinions regarding others.

Don Imus has taken on a lot of flak for a few poorly chosen words against the Rutgers’ female basketball team. He called them, “Nappy-headed hos.” While gathering other people’s opinions on this, I happened to be watching “The View”, listening to what Rosie O’Donnell had to say about it. She said that there are certain things that the black community can say to one another, however in the same respect, white people are not permitted to say the same thing. For instance, a black person can call one another the ‘n’ word, without repercussions. White people cannot. It makes sense. Now, what happens here is, the word “ho” went right after the nappy-hair comment. That was definitely uncalled for.

My opinion is based up this. People in the media, such as Don Imus and Howard Stern are ‘shock jocks’. They’re looking for a reaction. They borderline the rules with the FCC to see just how far they can go. They’re expected to say this crap. Why are people so upset over what these guys have to say? They’ve said so much worse in the past, so why bring it up now?

Of course Al Sharpton and his gang all rally against this guy. Again, on the view, Joy Behar raised an interesting question to Sharpton.
“What about those rappers who put down women calling them 'hos' and degrading them with vulgarity?”
Sharpton never mentions any of this at all. Does he agree that saying this on the radio and through songs that our children listen to is okay? Al Sharpton is one hypocritical man who needs to stop putting his nose in things he ‘picks and chooses’ to be right or wrong. He needs to stop protesting against everything the white man says and stand up to everything that’s offensive, instead of just picking on white people’s words and actions. He doesn’t care if another black person belittles his own, but he lashes out at the slightest attempt of what the white man will say or do.

Was Imus wrong? Sure. He should have never said it to begin with, however, there are far worse things he has said, yet he was never picked on because of it. There are far more worse things that other people have said, yet there are no repercussions. Imus has been on the radio for forty years- and these four words (those nappy headed-hos) are going to get him suspended for two weeks. A lot of people feel he should be fired because of this.

Al Sharpton wants him fired. Imus has repeatedly said that he was sorry. Sharpton shows no sign of mercy. He chooses to not forgive, however, this man Sharpton calls himself a follower of Christ?

How ironic.

Alcohol Hypochondria

The mixture of these two words makes for one freaky combination. Easter Sunday was spent at my sister’s home. Since she has the bigger tent in the family, we all decided to congregate over there. It was nice, from the hors d'oeuvres, the lamb dinner, among other delicious foods spread out, to the wine that was constantly pouring into my bottomless glass. My sister and her husband have wine glasses as big as fish bowls. One bottle of wine can fit into a goblet- I swear. After dinner, we all gathered around the island of the kitchen and drank some more wine. I didn’t really keep in mind how big these goblets were. I always said, “Oh well, three or four glasses are my limit- no more after that.” Well, after two of these wines, it’s as though you had more than six glasses! Three servings of wine are held in one goblet.

Since I haven’t been my normal ‘guzzling any sort of alcohol even if it’s cough medicine self’, it affected me more. Lately, I have not been wanting to drink more than a glass of wine or a martini with dinner. It stays with dinner and doesn’t pass that point of ‘going out till 3am’ like I used to do. I always nod when they ask if I want another drink, and look at Amy and say, “Am I actually growing up?” Naw, I’ll never grow up, but this year has been a reflective year for me. My taste for the grape and potato juice has changed.

So, back to Easter Sunday, the following morning I woke up feeling like a snake had bitten me. When I walked into the hallway, it felt as though the floors were moving. I had dizziness, shakiness, the spins followed by getting sick numerous times. I’ve never known myself to get sick the morning after- I would just get a hangover. This was different. I was almost about to call someone to take me to the emergency room- that’s how scared I was. I didn’t think this was normal. Something was seriously wrong and I needed medical attention.

“Oh come on, it’s just a hangover, ride it out.” Amy said, as she made me toast and put a gallon of water aside on my nightstand.
“You think anyone has ever died from this?” I asked, as Amy gave me this funny smirk that insisted that I must be crazy.
“You’re fine… Your goblet alone must have weighed a good five pounds!”
“You’re right…”
I said, drinking my ninth glass of water.

Later on that day, I started feeling worse. I call Amy. “Do you think I should go to the emergency room?”
“Deb, do you really want to waste your time and energy going to the ER, spending more than five hours there to only figure out it was just a hangover?”
“You’re right…"
I say, once again, to the lovely Amy.

Then I get a phone call.

“Hello, this is Stephanie, and I’m doing a survey for the University of Blahblahville, do you have ten minutes to spare?”
“Sure.”
I said, thinking it may take my obsessive thought patterns away.
“After each question, please wait for the following choice answers to pick from.”
“Okay.”
“If you ever notice your face drooping, eyes blurred, and found that your speech was slurred to the point of people not recognizing what you have just said, what would you do first?
A. Call 911? B. Call an EMS? C. Call a friend? D. Call a doctor’s office? Or E. Would you wait it out?”


I sat there and thought about it for a minute.

“I’d push the martini away first and try to ride it out.”

Stephanie, the surveyor started giggling and asked if she could go on.

“Sure.”

“Have you, or someone else in your household ever had these treatments?
A. An angioplasty? B. Triple or quadruple bypass surgery? C. Balloon treatment?”

“No, but after the dinner I ate last night, maybe.”

Stephanie chuckles again, and moves on to the next question.

“What would happen if you felt a sharp pain located on your back in the middle of each shoulder blade?
Call 911? B. Call an EMS? C. Call a friend? D. Call a doctor’s office? Or E. Would you wait it out?”

“It’s probably bad gas. I’d wait it out.”

“Okaaayyyy…” Stephanie says, as she giggles on to the next set of questions that were exactly the same, but for anyone I was in the presence of. Would I do the same thing for others type of scenarios. Interestingly enough, I’d call 911 for my friends and family, but wait it out if I were the one.

All my life, whenever I had a chest pain, my mother would pat my back and say, “Oh Deb, it’s just gas! Have a beer--the bubbles will do the trick!” It was a remedy, which worked every time. If I had menstrual cramps, I was told to drink blackberry brandy. Another perfect remedy to relieve pain. There’s something within the blackberries that have a healing purpose…but it goes hand-in-hand with the alcohol of course. If I had a toothache, a shot of scotch would work miracles. See how this works?

After my phone call with Stephanie, I got a pain right in the middle of my shoulder blades, my vision went blurry and I felt like my entire being was drooping. I didn’t call 911, but I panicked and got nervous, because she freaked me out. I thought I was having a heart attack or stroke. It wasn’t exactly the perfect call to get rid of irrational thoughts racing through my mind.

So, thanks Stephanie, wherever you are, for freaking me out and leaving me here to ride out the storm! In the meantime, no more wine for Deb for a very, very long time. I’ll be in my own detox program for the next few weeks letting my liver breathe again.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Our own understanding is not enough. We need more. I need more. When your trust in God becomes genuine, more contingent, then your faith brings you to a whole new level of a different type of understanding. Questions that we raise, “Why did this happen God”, will soon be a matter of relying on God’s plan. God sees the big picture, while we see just a small scope of it. We pray, but sometimes we pray ‘hoping and wishing’, instead of ‘expecting’. If you pray without faith, and I talk about faith in the terms of not ‘believing’ that God will come through with it, then it may not be answered. Pray and expect. It’s as if you ask God for something and think, “Well maybe He’s not able to do that kind of thing…” You underestimate him basically.

“You didn’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them, “I assure you, even if you had faith as small as a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” ~Matthew 17:20

Acquiring faith may be hard for some. Some people develop their faith through testimonies, miracles or through the teachings of other people. The best way to gain faith is to have a close relationship with God. Prayer, meditation and being around other believers keeps a stronghold on your ability to rely on God’s promises. You won’t have to doubt anymore, you’ll know for yourself through your own beliefs, that God is real. Consistent closeness to God keeps your faith growing stronger and stronger to the point of “knowing”, instead of just believing.

There are many people who believe that obeying the law and doing good deeds will get them a fast ticket into heaven. Wrong. Without a relationship with God, none of your good deeds will be noticed. It’s not done with God’s blessings. In the bible, Paul told Peter something that most people cannot fathom.

“You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. And yet we Jewish Christians know that we become right with God, not by doing what the law commands, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ-and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.” ~Galatians 2:15-16

There are way too many so-called “Christians” that tell us we’re going to hell because we’re gay, or we’ve committed sins and that we’re not right with God. Who are they to criticize us, when God is the only one that can judge us? It’s hypocritical because we’re all in this together. Never listen to a mere human tell you about your destiny with God. They have absolutely no right. But, if they are sharing their beliefs with you, in a manner that doesn’t condemn you, then that’s okay. Sharing your beliefs is much different than casting people off to hell, when you don’t have the authority to do so. It’s basically like me arresting someone for robbery. It’s not valid, because I’m not a cop!

What about the “immoral woman” in the bible?

“Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman”
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to come to his home for a meal, so Jesus accepted the invitation and sat down to eat. A certain immoral woman heard he was there and brought a beautiful jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them. When the Pharisee who was the host saw what was happening and who the woman was, he said to himself, “This proves that Jesus is no prophet. If God had really sent him, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!” Then Jesus spoke up and answered his thoughts. “Simon,” he said to the Pharisee, “I have something to say to you.” “All right. Teacher,” Simon replied, “go ahead.” Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—five hundred pieces of silver to one and fifty pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?” Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.” “That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t give me a kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your sins are forgiven.” The men at the table said among themselves, “Who does this man think he is, going around forgiving sins?” And Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” ~Luke 7:36-50

Through her faith- and only by her faith, she was saved.

By keeping a strong relationship with God, we no longer desire to do sinful things. We want to be ‘right’ with God. Not because we’re trying to look good in the church, but we’re trying to draw closer to God and listen to His message. He knows we’re not perfect. We know we’re not perfect.

On this day, God gave us His only Son. Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He took away the old law and gave us freedom of choice. He knew we as humans could not live without our sinful, carnal nature. It was too hard for us. Jesus came down to earth to fully grasp this. He understood the struggles we had, because He went through it Himself. So, knowing what we went through by manifesting in a human body, He has taken away the old law, and instilled faith in us. If we believe that Jesus took away our sins by sacrificing Himself, then we’re saved.

Don’t try to be perfect. It’s impossible. Try to have perfect faith. It’s a gift from God.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Classmates & Officemates

If I could give you one piece of advice, never tell people your personal life at your work place. I happened to find myself in a predicament that sort of fell on my lap. A few years back, I started working for a company where most of the people that worked there went to the same school I went to. It was uncanny and downright awkward- a huge disastrous, unwanted high school reunion. Even the people who were ten years older than me were from the same school and the same area. They knew my older sisters and called out my last name as though they haven’t heard it in years—but were refreshed to see a “Pasquella” in their office.

“How’re your sisters? How’ve you been? What’s going on in your life?”

And…

“Are you married…kids?”

I always had to answer, “No, not married and no kids just yet,” with a big smile, hoping they would walk over to the next cubicle and rehash old times with some other lost soul. I was never fond of high school reunions or even the thought of one. My ten-year reunion was soon approaching - but it had nothing to do with me, because I wasn’t planning on attending. For the love of God, I ran out of that school like a bat outa’ hell! Why would I want to revisit a time I hated? Some people loved high school, but for me, it was one big messy blur of distress.

One night, after dinner, my girlfriend and I walked into a local bar down the road to have a drink. It was Friday night and the bar seemed to be packed just by the looks of the parking lot. We had to park in the neighboring establishment’s lot. It seemed like a good night. We heard the music blaring and people shuffling around the patio area with their cocktails.

As soon as I opened the door, I saw people running over towards me.

“Deb! Oh….muy….GAWD! I haven’t seen you in like- forever! Come here!!!” One by one, they all started lining up to hug me, even the ones who used to despise me. One guy came up to me with his arms wide open, waiting for a big bear hug. I recognized him as ‘the funny heavy kid’. He was black and had an extreme weight problem in the past. We loved him though - he was so friendly and so hysterical! But, we always noticed he was a bit “soft spoken”.

“Ivan! How are you? You look great!” He was now tall, thin with a muscular build and absolutely gorgeous.
“Oh hunnay, I am doing just F*I*N*E--- fine! Girlfriend- whatchya’ been doing with yourself?” He said in the most flamboyant tone.
“Not much- still the same.” I never knew what to say in these circumstances.
“Are you married?”
“No.” I said, “I’m with her.”
Pointing to my girlfriend, as his eyes widened like two huge bowling balls.
“What about you? You on my team?” I said, bumping his arm, as if I already knew.
“What?”
“Aren’t you on my side of the fence?”
“You mean, am I gay?”
“Yeah.”
“Oh hell no girlfriend- I love my ladies!”
He said, snapping his fingers like those guys on Living Color--

Three snaps down in Z-formation!

It’s just as bad as if you were to ask a woman with a little belly weight, “So when are you expecting?” I was totally embarrassed, but at the same time, I was so shocked to hear that he wasn’t gay. Maybe he wasn’t out yet? Or maybe that was just his demeanor- the way he acted? At any rate, I felt horrible for my wrong judgment. I apologized and he said, “Oh honey, I get that all the time, don’t you worry about it.”

But I did. I worried and fidgeted the rest of the night.

So back to the office scene…. I was known as the ‘lesbian’ of the group.

“Psssssssss! Did you know Deb’s a lesbian?”
“A what?”
“A lesbian.”
“A Lebanese?”

It was the talk around the water coolers. And God forbid one of my co-workers were found walking out for lunch with me.

“Hmm…You think she’s gay too?”

Thank God one of my co-workers found this quite amusing. We started to go to lunch all the time, and we started making people believe we were a couple. We were the talk of the company. People popped their heads over their cubicles like nosey little prairie dogs and wondered what we were whispering about. One gay man that worked with us, who was also our very close friend, got upset with us because we were way too ‘chatty’. Even though he knew we were playing around with other people’s heads, even he thought we were an item.

It’s so hard to mind your own business sometimes!

Peace


This shot was taken right outside my deck yesterday evening around 7pm. It was right before the sun was going down.

Usually, when we’re under pressure, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the smaller things in life. In my case, when I’m stressed out or full of anxiety, I take a lot of things for granted. I forget how good it can be if I “let it”. There are many people who believe we create our own anxiety- our own chaos that literally drives us to drink. The theory is that we “choose” to stress over something, or that we “choose” to be depressed about a certain situation. I believe this to be true.

To have peace around us, what do we need? We need peace from within us. If we don’t have peace within us, then we can’t have peace in our environment. It’s the same concept as, if we don’t have love within us, or love ourselves enough, we cannot expect to love someone else. If we don’t have money, we can’t give it away, right?

At times, when I find myself drawing farther away from God, my life gets static. It’s full of things that irritate me. I can’t hear God’s message. Everything, everyone and everywhere I go, seems to have a negative effect on me. I blame it on all three. “Well, if this didn’t happen, I would be so upset”, or “If he/she didn’t do that all the time, I wouldn’t be so annoyed,” and, “If I didn’t have to be ‘here’, I wouldn’t be so agitated!”

I’m learning more and more, that when you create peace within yourself, you learn to develop tolerance. Life is going to be chaotic no matter where we go, what we do, or who we may run into. We need to deal with it at hand and learn to react better to certain situations, instead of grumbling over the small stuff. I’m still in the learning process of it all. I may not be perfect, but I’m slowly realizing what it takes to become a calmer and more peaceful person. It takes time, and like the human I am, I still have a lot of work ahead of me.

Through prayer, meditation, and putting aside time to regroup, I’m able to maintain a level of peace in my life.

What’s your technique?


Update: Thanks to all your much needed prayers, the doctors told Madelene's mom that there wasn't anything on her pancreas. The tests indicated that there was a mass on her pancreas, but through prayers and the healing of God--He has baffled the doctors! Thank you so much for all of you who've prayed and sent good thoughts our way!

Monday, April 02, 2007

My Weekend In a Nutshell


From a peaceful morning with a nice cup of coffee, an interview with my sister, as she explains her thoughts regarding this post, to a hectic carwash that I got anxiety in, to Amy playing football and me driving on the roads like a mad woman with Amy yelling at me!

Enjoy!