Monday, July 30, 2007

Demanding Our Own Way

There are times when we all get physically drained from emotional turmoil. We focus in on the demons- anger, resentment, depression and anxiety. The first thing we normally do is to find flaws and inadequacies from the person or situation that offended us. It can’t be me…can it? The drama thickens into a deep obscurity- both parties questioning why the argument took place to begin with. What provoked it? Was it brewing somewhere unseen? Or was it there in broad daylight? Who’s right and who’s wrong? Does it even matter?

You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. ~Colossians 3:13

Take a look at two Christians who believe in the trinity, yet they believe that the “truths” they both hold dear to their hearts are so different from one another.

“My truth is correct.”
“No, if you look at my truth, you’ll see that it’s the right choice.”

No one will come to an agreement. They both think they’re right. Both are offended because they’re not making allowances for each other’s point of views. They’re both being stubborn, resentful and unforgiving.

It’s the same with two people arguing. Both are going to think the other person is wrong. Maybe they have a different outlook on certain issues. It’s not a matter of who’s wrong and who’s right- it’s a matter of finding peace in the middle of the road. It’s about compromise. It’s about forgiving and pardoning the other person for what you think they’re incorrect for. It’s about respect, love and acceptance. You can’t change that person’s feelings on what they feel is “their truth”---you can only change the way you perceive it. You can only change the way you handle it. You can only change the way you feel.

Love is patient and kind.
Love is not jealous or boastful
or proud or rude.
Love does not demand its own way.
Love is 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 13:1-7

I don’t think there’s a better definition of love. If you meditate on that beautiful scripture and evaluate your relationship with your spouse, husband, wife, partner, as well as family members and friends, you’ll see if you hold true love for them. This also means that in order to do all of those above listed in that scripture, you must have complete love inside of yourself--- not pride. Pride is a self-defense mechanism to prove yourself worthy. (That’s my own definition of pride in that particular circumstance.) In relationships, pride must be thrown out in order to forgive one another. This means humbling yourself and making allowances for not only the person who offended you, but “you” as the person who offended yourself.

I’m still learning as I find my way through unconditional love and what it truly means to be forgiving, accepting and tolerant to those who feel, think and live differently than I do. I have to admit, it’s hard to end a battle saying, “I’m wrong…you’re right.” Sometimes, it’s a matter of just wondering which “truth”…is actually true. If you can’t figure out why you and your spouse fought in the first place, then it’s time to focus in on the deep seeded root that’s causing the quarrels. It may have nothing to do with what the argument was about.

If you and your spouse can’t figure out why the fight started----just hug them. Shock them and tell them how much you love them. Apologize---even if it means grinding your teeth because you think you’re right. Forgive and forget! Get rid of the anger. Show your unconditional love for that beautiful person in front of you...as well as the beautiful person in the mirror.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I've Gone Ex-Gay...

It’s true- I’ve become an ex-gay. It was easier than I thought. All I had to do was listen to what other Christians told me. I’ve begun the process of separating all my belongings that were meshed in with my partner’s. Since I’m not a lesbian anymore, this means I can’t continue living with my partner. She has to find a new home now. This means we’ll have to divide our funds and make sure whose money’s whose. We’ll also have to sort out some things along the way. It’ll be easier than we thought.

It was such an impulsive thing- being with my partner for all these years. That’s what they said. They said I went on my “impulses” of my flesh. Hmm, maybe they’re right. Maybe I did go on my impulses when I chose to wait it out two years, before deciding if I wanted to be with this person for the rest of my life. That’s considered “impulsive”, isn’t it? The process of getting to know her and her family were so impulsive of me. It took me a couple of years to develop a close relationship with them. It was too short of a time if you ask me…and the other Christians who support me in this.

I had planned a nice stuffed chicken dinner tonight, along with a healthy serving of vegetables and salad. I searched through a recipe book to find out which one my partner would like best. So impulsive, I know. I just thought she would enjoy her meal after a hard day’s work. I thought about the wonderful conversation we would have over dinner, discussing topics that include God, politics and family. Those types of conversations aren’t productive anyway, right?

I cleaned the house today. I made sure that everything was disinfected and tidy, so that my partner would be comfortable coming home to a clean house. I scrubbed the floors, the walls and even the windows. I cleaned the sheets with strong bleach and made sure the carpets were fully vacuumed, because she has very bad allergies. Hmm, my impulsive nature kicked in again.

I even bought her favorite movie yesterday, so we could watch it tonight after dinner. I thought it would be a nice relaxing way to wind down from the day’s stressors. I was planning to give her a foot rub, just in case she was on her feet all day. But now, she has to leave, because the "Christians" told me she needs to, in order for us to go to heaven. I guess I’ll put the massage lotion back in its place, the chicken dinner I’ll freeze for a family event, and I’ll send back the movie she loves. It was so impulsive of me to do all of these things for her. To just fathom the thought of going to hell for doing all of these isn’t worth it.

Tomorrow morning is going to be hard. We usually sit around the table, drinking coffee and enjoying our breakfast together before we start work. I like to prepare a healthy breakfast before she leaves, so she’s full until lunchtime. I usually brownbag her lunch and send a little message inside her bag, letting her know that I miss and love her. But those types of impulsive behaviors were so bad for me. I feel bad for dragging her into this mess.

This weekend, I wanted us to work in the garden together. We usually enjoy this activity, because we laugh and joke around, as we plant and do yard work. It’s a team effort and we have a system that works well. I guess I’ll have to find a buddy or family member to do this with. Maybe one of my new "Christian" friends will help me?

I was looking forward to grabbing some Starbuck's coffee and sitting on the bench near the lake watching the sunset with her this weekend, as we usually do. Now, I’ll have to go by myself and think about the wonderful memories we’ve created throughout the years we’d been together.

I’m looking forward to my new life being an ex-gay. I wonder how long my “Christian friends” will still be there still supporting me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Biblical Contradictions

A part of me feels a bit confused over the meaning of “truth” when it comes to the bible. I study the bible, yet I find contradictions within the scriptures of each passage and book. I solely rely on the bible, yet I have different interpretations of particular matters.

For instance, in Romans 7:1, it states, “Now, dear brothers and sisters---you who are familiar with the law---don’t you know that the law applies only to a person who is still living?”

Then, if you read on to verse 4, it states, “So this is the point: The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross.”

Then you have this passage:
“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

So if no one will ever be saved by obeying the law, then how can Christians and preachers tell us that if we don’t obey the law, then we’ll end up in eternal damnation? Which one is the truth? Which laws still apply today? If Jesus took away the law by dying up on the cross, isn’t that the truth?

Wine produces mockers; liquor leads to brawls. Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise. ~Proverbs 20:1
The opposing scriptures:
And it is not for kings, O Lemuel, to guzzle wine. Rulers should not crave liquor. For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed. Liquor is for the dying, and wine is for those in deep depression. Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more. ~Proverbs 31:4-7

So drinking wine is good for depression? Isn’t alcohol a depressant?

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work—whatever they do under the sun—for however long God lets them live. ~Ecclesiastes 5:18

Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often. ~1 Timothy 23

I do realize that everything in moderation is key, but tell that to an alcoholic who’s recovering. One drink is enough to push them off the wagon.

Didn’t Jesus make water into wine?

There’s another contradiction to what the Catholics believe, as opposed to what some Christians may believe, which is talking in tongues. In Corinthians 12, it states that God gives the ability to speak in unknown languages, and another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Holy Spirit who distributes these gifts.

I’ve gone to a spirit-filled church before, and I have experienced one person talking in tongues, and then another person translating what the message said to everyone. It was the first time I have ever witnessed this. I didn’t know what to think. At first, I was taken aback, but then I was really fascinated by it all. Why do some people of faith believe this, and others do not? It’s in the bible, so it has to be true, right?

What about name-calling?

Matthew 32:17 (Jesus says) “Blind fools!”

Opposing scripture:
But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. ~Matthew 5:22

There are other contradictions, such as, God is cruel, unmerciful, destructive, and ferocious [Jer 13:14 / Deut 7:16 / 1 Sam 15:2,3 / 1 Sam 6:19]
God is kind, merciful, and good [James 5:11 / Lam 3:33 / 1 Chron 16:34 / Ezek 18:32 / Ps 145:9 / 1 Tim 2:4 / 1 John 4:16 / Ps 25:8]

Which description fits God best? What are we to believe? People have so many views, beliefs, as well as questions.

How can it be just one truth?

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Proverbial Tree

“It’s an obstruction of da' view,” my father says, as he stares at the large tree that’s been on his neighbor’s property for over 30 years now, “it’s getting bigga' and bigga' and I can’t see da' water anymore.” He’ll complain about this until something else distracts his attention from the tree. There’s nothing he can really do about it. It’s my neighbor’s tree, which provides privacy for them. It’s on their property, so it’s not as if my father could say, “take that tree down now!” All he can do is complain about it.

What about the “tree” obstructing our view in life? There’s nothing we can do about it other than complain and make up excuses of why our “life” or “view” isn’t as nice as we want it to be. Are “trees” less beautiful than the water? We can sit around complaining, or we can choose to appreciate what we have in front of us now.

I have a bunch of obstructions in my life. “Oh well, if I made more money, I could do this”, or “If I had this job, I can do that”, and “If only I lost a few pounds, I can fit into those nice jeans again”. I can make up a ton of excuses to cover up my shortcomings of why I’m not getting where I want to be. And if I get it, would I still want it? Would it make me completely happy? Those are the question I have to keep reminding myself. We want what we can’t have. Then, when we finally do get it, we’re not as satisfied as we thought we would have been. I bet you anything, if the neighbors chopped down that tree, my father probably wouldn’t sit outside his porch all that much to appreciate the view of the water.

Things seem to look good from a distance. What about relationships? We’ll “crush” on someone first. We’ll do the chase and try to get them to notice us. Once the chase has developed into a full-fledged relationship- it’s not appealing anymore, is it? Have we conjured up a certain images in our heads to make them look better? Did we lavish it with bells and whistles to make it look more appealing? Our minds play tricks on us, leaving us with thoughts and high hopes. Why can't we look at things for what they are? And those who do (and they are rare) are damn lucky!

It’s just like the scenario of some women going after married men. They like the chase, the excitement and the concept that they can’t have them. And contrary to what most people think—they sometimes do leave their wives. Once the “affair” has become a “relationship”, and the divorce papers are in action, the woman usually decides that 'he isn’t the one for her'.

Are we all chasing after things we don’t want? Why does the novelty wear out on most things, places, people, things and dream jobs? Do our minds simply produce more perks? Then you have your risk takers. If they want it, they’re going to do everything in their power to get it- even if it means finding out in the end that it wasn’t what they wanted to begin with. “At least I’ll know.” That statement’s good enough for them. Should we all be doing this? Should we all be high risk takers in life? Or should we stare at the tree complaining for the rest of our lives?

There is a conclusion of how my father achieved his goal. See the video below of my dad getting what he wants.

It's one of the many reasons I look up to him...of course with the fear of going to jail!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Discrimination On Both Sides

Is it any wonder that the gay community desires to be accepted so badly, yet they discriminate against heterosexuals? Is it because they were beaten down for years for being gay? Or is it another issue?

In an article found on C.A.R.D's websit, (Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination), it states:

Provincetown, New England’s summer gay capital, is facing a rise in harassment and discrimination. But this time it’s straight people who say they are being ridiculed as “breeders” and “baby makers".

Less than a decade after a successful campaign to end violent paroxysms of “gay bashing” in the beach town at the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, police and town officials report a resurgence in tension between gays and straight people.

Police Chief Ted Meyer said straight people complained of being called “breeders” over the July Fourth holiday weekend, and that in one serious incident a man was charged with assaulting a woman who signed a petition to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the only state where it is legal.

Equally troubling, he said, Jamaican workers in Provincetown say they have been the target of racial slurs.

“It’s been a series of issues,” Meyer said.

The flare-ups in a town that overflows in summer with a colorful mix of gay couples often openly holding hands or kissing, cross-dressers and flocks of curious tourists coincide with a planned vote this year in the state Legislature on an amendment to ban gay marriage — a measure that has rallied activists on both sides of the issue.

Gay-marriage advocates have set up a Web site — www.knowthyneighbor.org — that publishes the names of people who have signed the petition, including at least two locals in Provincetown who say they have been singled out and verbally abused by gays since their names appeared on the Web site.

Town officials said the town is struggling to strike a balance between protecting the right to freedom of expression for petition signers, and ensuring its gay majority contain their anger at what many see as an assault on their hard-won right to marriage.

Police would not classify the slurs and name-calling as “hate crimes.” But a town meeting was called last Friday to discuss whether social attitudes were changing in the gay resort village with a population of 3,431 that swells to 60,000 in summer and includes a large number of Jamaicans.

“We have business that we haven’t talked about as a family,” Town Manager Keith Bergman said. “The impact of the same sex marriage petition is high on that list.”
Some gays expressed shock at being accused of discrimination after years of suffering harassment.

“There are still a lot of straight people who treat gays badly,” said Steve Bowersock, 35, an artist who owns the Bowersock Gallery on the town’s main Commercial Street.
Bowersock, who was once married to a woman, said he moved to Provincetown in 2004 with his partner because it gives gays a political voice. He admits he sometimes discriminates against straight people he finds offensive.

“If there’s a straight couple and I hear them in the background going ‘oh fags’, I’m like ‘hello, where the hell do you think you are?’ So in turn I get mad,” he said.

“If I see someone nervous like a big butch guy, and you can just tell he’s a redneck, I’ll grab my partner and I’ll kiss him. It’s not being mean, but hello you’re in our town!"
The Rev. Henry J. Dahl, pastor at St. Peter’s Church, said several of his parishioners had complained to him of being singled out and verbally abused after signing the petition.
“I don’t think it’s totally unexpected that there would be some reaction to people who signed the petition,” he said. “Let’s just hope we can have civil discourse.”
Joe Solmonese, president of gay rights group Human Rights Campaign, said the petition signers invited trouble by taking a position that says “loud and clear that you believe that gays and lesbians should be treated as second class citizens.”

Even though there is a well known issue of homophobia in our society, there is also an issue of heterophobia. Just by Bowerstock’s statement, “If I see someone nervous like a big butch guy, and you can just tell he’s a redneck, I’ll grab my partner and I’ll kiss him. It’s not being mean, but ‘hello you’re in our town,” it screams heterophobia! Bowerstock immediately assumed that the redneck looking man was prejudiced, so he made him feel uncomfortable.
“Hello you’re in our town” doesn’t quite fit the bill for a "welcoming community". Why should heterosexuals treat us any differently if we can’t even accept them in our own community? This is the reason why I don’t flock to a particular community.

When I visited Provincetown for the first time, I noticed that many gay men are very distant and rude to the lesbians, thus leaving some lesbians feeling sour about them as well. Some lesbians think some of the gay men are ‘caddy’ or ‘bitchy’. Then the stereotyping begins on both sides, leaving the men and women on separate sides of the street…in the proverbial sense. They even have set times where it’s “Womens’ Week”, and vise/versa. The majority of the establishments in Provincetown are male oriented, especially during the peak seasons. My partner and I were once rejected from a club, because it catered more to the men. In the same respect, the clubs for women always accept men in their establishments.

Why are we so angry at one another? Why can’t we just live our lives without the thought of someone else judging us? We can represent a positive image, or we can just get angry and lash out at anyone who doesn’t like us. I find discrimination on both sides of the fence as well as each side of the lawn on the same side of the fence. How can that be? Aren’t we supposed to unite as a “community”, as so many gay folks love referring to it as?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

100 Days of Sex

Communication, understanding, acceptance, patience, listening and love are all part of what makes up a relationship. What if communication was missing? Would there be any understanding? Would there be acceptance of what’s being said and heard? Would there be any patience at all? Would anyone be listening if there weren’t any communication? What happens to the love—does it fade over time if these ingredients are missing?

Even though I’d like to admit that love would be the foundation of any relationship, I believe it boils down to communication. If I’m frustrated about a particular thing in my life, and I don’t express it to my partner, it comes up to the surface and shows itself in a different way. She doesn’t understand where my behavior is coming from because I have not yet told her the reason why I’m in a bad mood, which results in her thinking that it’s “her” and not something else. Failure to communicate can lead to assumptions. Your other half isn’t a mind reader.

Here’s another problem I often see happen. One person tries to express themselves to their partner, and the other one takes it offensively and starts either crying or lashing out in anger. The other person will start clamming up due to the explosive response, which, again, will result in failure to communicate.

People don’t think relationships are work. “It should just flow!” Wrong! If you don’t work at it to keep the relationship alive and fresh, it’ll eventually get stale. It’s like a muscle in your body. If you don’t exercise it, what happens? It becomes “weak”. It can no longer hold the heavy things it used to, leaving it to give up and quit.

Intimacy plays a huge role in a relationship. Beyond the friendship of the relationship, I truly believe that the touch of your significant other is so important – it’s proof of your genuine love and passion for them. It’s what keeps them “alive”.

ABC advertised this book, Finding Love Again With 100 Days of Sex. It’s about a career-focused couple’s radical attempt to revive their relationship.

Doug Brown, a 41-year-old feature writer for the Denver Post, and his wife, Annie, made the agreement after realizing that their definition of an early night had come to mean closing their eyes and snoring rather than something a little more titillating.

"I'd turned 40 that year. We had a minivan, lived in suburbia and were a very career-based couple," Brown told ABC News. "It was a lot different from when we first got together and we thought it would be a great way to change our sex life and spice up our marriage."

A Sexologist's Advice

Honesty, clear lines of communication and being a good listener are key components to a successful marriage, according to Stollman. Weekends away and buying gifts are small but thoughtful ways to make sure that both partners feel nurtured and cherished.

However, there is often the defeatist attitude within couples that are aware that their sex life is not what it was, yet simply accept it and just plod along. This is where a certified clinical sexologist can come in handy. Enter Dr. Ava Cadell.

"Sex is the second basic instinct after survival, that's how important it is," Cadell told ABC News. "It can become boring and predictable -- same place, same time -- and finding the reason why it deteriorated will determine the right solution."


Each couple faces different problems. Some have young children, some have busy schedules that conflict with one another, and others have resentment issues which are regressed way deep inside, ultimately affecting their intimate life. Whenever you feel resentment towards your partner, it’s going to show in other ways. Communication is the most important thing as well as listening, accepting and taking in the information that’s being relayed to you. Listening is just as important as communicating.

So, would 100 days of sex between you and your significant other work for you? Best to find out the right way!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Waiter Rant

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Waiter Rant. His writing is excellent, as well as his stories about serving famished customers. I’ve always had questions regarding what it’s like to be a waiter or waitress. What do they think of certain customers? How do they feel when food is given back to the chef, because it wasn’t to their liking? Are they pretending to be nice, in hopes for a huge tip at the end of their guest’s meal?

I’ve bartended in the past, which is kind of similar to waiting tables, yet, you’re behind a bar serving people who are very thirsty. Serving food was a part of my job as well. People would come and sit at the bar and have their lunch or dinner, along with their cocktails. A lot of people question the tip etiquette, when eating their meal at the bar. Do they tip the full 20%, even if they’re at the bar? Or do they leave the typical $1 for every drink they have?

In my experience, I have received the typical dollar for every drink—even if their meal was included. (This excludes the drunken men who were after something other than the ten beers they just guzzled--I would get a generous tip from them.) Sometimes, people would leave a huge tip by mistake, because they were too drunk to realize that they broke a $50 dollar bill for a $5 dollar drink. At that time, it was much too late to run down the street yelling, “Wait! You left me too much!” I was bound to the bar, unless I had to go to the restroom, which required me to look for someone to cover the bar while I was gone. It wasn’t easy.

As a customer eating at the bar and having cocktails, I always tip the full 20% and over if the service was good. I don’t care. It’s hard work back there and a lot of people think that bartending is just serving drinks. There’s a whole lot that goes on back there, other than just mixing a few cocktails. You have your wait staff demanding drinks for their tables, you have your beer guzzlers slamming down their bottles at the end of the bar, indicating they're ready for another hit, and then you have your hungry customers being finicky with their food, ordering complicated dishes and substituting everything under the sun. Keeping up with tabs and the shifting of seats is another challenge. You have to keep up with who’s who and who’s paying cash, as well as who’s keeping a large tab. It’s key to keep an eye on those who have had way too much to drink. It’s like a table of 20—but worse.

Back when I was single, I would go on dates and monitor how they would treat the wait staff. If they were rude and demanding, I would base that on how they would treat me in life. I’d figured if they were upset over the food that was given to them, and not appreciative, then I would get that back in return if I were cooking for them one day. If they complained about the pricing of a meal, I would then imagine they’d be cheap and stingy with their money on other matters in life. If you take someone to a nice restaurant, it’s so important to have enough money to cover for the specials for the both of you, which are usually $25 dollars and over. Don’t forget about the drinks in a nice restaurant, which usually rounds off to about $10 dollars per cocktail. Do the math before taking somebody out to a nice establishment. Never leave a stingy tip if you plan on returning to that restaurant. They’ll remember you…believe me.

Getting back to Waiter Rant---this is why I love him so much. He offers great sound advice for people who aren’t aware of how important it is to have dining and tipping etiquette. I read him almost daily. He has a very large readership and sometimes, due to his popularity, he gets a lot of flack for his content, or lack of thereof. When he’s away, people complain and start leaving nasty remarks. He’s writing a book now, which requires a lot of time away from his blog. His comments have been less than pleasant, due to people being unhappy about his lack of writing. He recently had a post up about personalized Waiter Rant mugs. He was selling them for $10.99 per mug. People started calling him a sellout and whining about how they liked him better when he was blogging daily. I bought a couple for a few reasons. For one, he’s one of my favorite reads. Secondly, I have taken some of his advice and it has worked like a charm- so I’m thankful to him. And lastly, I love to support fellow writers who are looking to pursue a career in what they love doing best…sharing themselves with the world.

Thanks Waiter!
Now go check his blog out!

We're Killing Ourselves!

Typically, I’m the type of person who will read a label before consuming anything. I check for ingredients, caloric tables, as well as expiration dates. I’m constantly scared of getting sick off food. At the grocery store, they usually don't put anything down, such as labels or warnings on ground meat or steak. I just have to risk it.

I’ve also been known to be a hypochondriac. I hear the sounds of ‘ca-chiNg’ as I walk into the doctor’s office. They know I’m there for something irrational, whether it be blood tests, allergy tests or just a physical…for the third time this year. I should be worrying about all the germs I may be contracting by sitting among all the sick people. I just don’t touch the magazines.

This morning, I was planning to have a peaceful start. I got up, brushed my teeth, had some oatmeal and made my coffee. I started flipping through, The World’s Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets, by Bottom Line Books, who have numerous doctors being the author of each article. This one article I read was by Samuel S. Epstein MD. It’s a great book full of health tips.

As I’m flipping through the pages, to my horror, there were many toxic things I’ve been consuming and using that I didn’t even know about...and...that you didn't even know about probably.

Check this out...

Toothpaste – Many popular brands of toothpaste contain Blue #1, which is a carcinogen. Fluoride is also a suspected carcinogen.
Safer: Natural toothpaste without fluoride.

In a few months, you’ll see me with chipped off green teeth. Lovely.

Hair conditioner – Some brands contain formaldehyde and the carcinogenic dye FDEC Red #4.
Safer: Natural, plant-based conditioners.

And you think my hair is big now…just wait until I don’t have the right conditioner for it.

Talcum powder – Talc irritates the lungs and has been linked to ovarian cancer.
Safer: Products made with cornstarch.

Makeup – Cosmetics often contain talc, titanium dioxide and/or the preservative BHA—all of which are carcinogenic. In addition, lanolin found in many brands if often tainted with DDT.
Safer: Natural, plant based cosmetics.

Plant based cosmetics? Are you kidding? All my drag queen friends are going to be furious!

Now those are the things that I use on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at the other dangers lurking in your home…
Shaving creams, laundry detergents, air fresheners, hair dyes, whole milk, (buy the organic skim for all of you who are panicking now), weed killers, paint strippers, flea collars, moth repellents and kitty litter.

All of them contain that carcinogenic ingredient that can be harmful to you. I have a few friends and family probably reading this in hysterics, knowing that “Deb” read this particular book, and is now suffering all day panicking over toothpaste and conditioning my hair. I also had to do a load of laundry later on. Hmm...maybe I'll just have my cute girlfriend do that for me.

China’s been beaten down for having toxic chemicals in their products. Shouldn’t America be slapped on the wrist as well for letting this slide through the federal regulations? Dr. Epstein says, “Federal regulations that govern the labeling of consumer products are woefully inadequate. Consequently, it’s difficult for consumers to find out precisely which products contain dangerous ingredients or contaminants—and which are safe.”

Shouldn't we have the right to know which dangers are in our products?

I have to stop reading this book or I’ll stop living life altogether!

Help?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Continuing to Go On and On...

While praying, I had opened up to Colossians 2:13-23. It helped me to understand what God truly wants for me. I was struggling with the condemnation of other people’s judgments. God continues to show me that I am perfect in His eyes, and so are the rest of you.

“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the changes against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ.
So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don’t let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch.” Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.”

Through arguing with many readers and writers about what is truly right or wrong in God’s eyes, I received answers through prayer and meditation as well as by reading the bible. People love to condemn and try to tear one another apart in God’s name, but if you really think about it, what good does it do to only anger someone who believes differently?

I’ve continued on defending myself and the way I live, however this time, I will just send my message that God gives to me and share it with those who need to hear it. I truly believe with all my heart that God loves each and every one of us.

All of us are flawed in a perfect way.

Does this sound like a contradiction? Probably. But when Jesus came to this world and died on the cross for us, He took our sinful nature and nailed it to the cross, as the scripture says above. I do believe that Jesus’ death was the price paid in full. I believe it was strong enough to conquer the sins that we all have within us. With that being said, I still believe that homosexuality is not a sin, however, all of us have a sinful nature that we just cannot shake off alone. We need help. And by that, I mean, we need help from God, to grow and mature in His word. We need to follow Him, find Him, accept Him and love Him. We need to have the spiritual maturity with the approach of a child; a child that wants to learn more from their father. Desiring more understanding and discernment is a wonderful thing. It isn’t philosophy or ‘worldly thinking’—it’s pure determination to want to seek a better relationship with God. What can be wrong with that? Who’s “truth” is better than yours? Who has the right to make that decision based on religious beliefs? God gave us choice, yet mere human beings won’t allow us to accept the choice. They want to continually fix us and make us into an image similar to them. Ironic, since we’re all in the image of Christ.

With many people coming onto my blog insisting that their truth is the way, maybe it was out of love- their truths act as human knowledge, leaving us, {me} to believe that they were condescending and judgmental. I accept the fact they believe that homosexuality is an abomination, however, for me, it’s different. I read it differently from the bible and the scriptures tell me a whole different story. It’s not “gay theology”, it’s my interpretation of how God speaks to me.

So, with that being said, I thank everyone who has given me their beliefs, opinions and judgments. I feel that they possibly did try to fix me…out of love. So, thank you, to all who have taken the time out to show me their truth. We may never agree upon a “truth”, yet I will always be thankful in my heart that your motives were in the right place.

God bless!


EDIT: Please visit Dave's blog and see how the relationship he has with God is so beautiful and so perfect. This is exactly how I feel. I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks Dave!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Raw


“Here, gimme dat’, will ya?” Dad took the lobster out of my hand and started cutting through the midsection of its body. “Disiz’ howya’ do it,” he said, with an accomplished look, “You gotta cut right inda’ middle.” He was trying his best to show me how he cuts open a lobster, but I just wasn’t getting it. I didn’t want to get it, even though I wanted to help him. He used to come home everyday from the South Street Seaport in Manhattan with a crate of lobsters that were still alive. I remember poking at one, as it tried clawing me while being tied up with an orange rubber band. They’ve always reminded me of huge crickets- ugly with big antennas everywhere. Worse yet, my sister would always call them sea roaches. I never enjoyed eating them. I was afraid that one day, my father would be attacked by one of these giant sea roaches just by the way he killed them. It’s been said that lobsters love their family, just as humans do, and feel emotional pain.

Being that dad worked at the fish market, we would have different types of fish every week. I’ve always preferred yellowtail or salmon. Shellfish was too salty for me, however I loved clams and mussels and still do. As I grew older into my early twenties, I started developing allergic reactions whenever I ate shrimp, lobster or crab. I never had a reaction while eating clams, oysters or mussels though. “It’s all in her head, she’s not having a reaction from the shrimp,” my mom said, looking at my sister for approval, “it’s anxiety, that’s all!” I turned to my mother, opened my mouth, and showed her the many blisters that were developing. Some were popping, and others had blood oozing out of them. It was gross.

“That’s not a reaction?” I cried out, seeking help. My girlfriend called the hospital. They wouldn’t give her any advice, other than to give me Benedryl or to send me to the emergency room right away. Till this day, my mom still tries to feed me shellfish; it just doesn’t sink in with her. I’ll remind her, and she’ll just shake her head. I can read her mind- “It’s all in her head.”

The other day, my father calls me and says, “Turn on dis’ channel and watch whachoo’ eat at dat’ Japanese sushi bar!” He knows very well how much I love sushi, but also knows I don’t touch shrimp, lobster or crab. I turned it on, and it was about extreme stories from people who have developed tapeworms just from eating sushi alone. One man got a tapeworm that literally went right through him when he finally made it to the bathroom. He screamed to his wife, “Help me! Oh my GAWD- what is this?” Half the tapeworm was hanging out of him. “Get a scissor!” He called out to his wife. She came in, and with one snip, it cut in half, and it retracted right back into his rectum. This thing was huge. Apparently, it was taking up most of his intestines, eating whatever the man ate. He got medical attention right away. They gave him antibiotics, which killed the worm. They said that you have to get the head in order to kill it. You can chop a tapeworm into a million little pieces, yet it will still be alive in separate pieces!

This story still hasn’t deterred me from eating at my favorite sushi bar though. I always remind my father that the man on TV was in a foreign country eating raw fish from a brook. That’s not exactly what I call a reputable sushi bar. Everyone tries to get me to stop eating sushi. They tell me horrorific stories, or worse yet, they tell me exaggerated tall tales, in order to get me to quit cold turkey.

There’s something beautiful about the way the Japanese culture eats. Everything is fresh and pure. Even their vegetables are usually raw, with ingredients such as seaweed, ginger, and other things that are so good for your health and immune system. Maybe that’s why they live so long? To me, sushi is the purest form you can eat it in. It’s not cooked, burning off most of its protein, and you can taste the real flavor of your food. I’m not going to turn vegan or anything, but it’s just fascinating how clean and pure the Japanese like to eat their food.

Another wonderful Japanese theory is, when you’re sick, you’re supposed to eat protein (steak or fish or anything that’s high in protein) and chase it down with beer or alcohol. They prefer beer for some reason. Not sure why- maybe it has something to do with the barley...who knows? As soon as you notice a cold coming on, or if you feel under the weather, they suggest eating “Atkin’s style” with a healthy dose of alcohol. I’m telling you, this culture’s the best.

Although my father will never quite understand why I'll never touch lobster again, he can’t stand to see me eat sushi. The toughest man I know, my dad, squirms when he sees me enjoying a nice raw piece of fish- yet it doesn’t bother him to rip open a lobster straight down the middle of its torso, still kicking it’s legs and antennas screaming for help.

Which is worse?
Enjoy your weekend everyone and thanks so much for your encouraging words these past few days. I appreciate your feedback!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A Public Apology and a Public Restroom

Isaiah 51:12-13
I, even I, am the one who comforts you. So why are you afraid of mere humans, who wither like the grass and disappear? Yet you have forgotten the Lord, your Creator, the one who put the stars in the sky and established the earth. Will you remain in constant dread of human oppression? Will you continue to fear the anger of your enemies from morning till night?

This scripture from Isaiah jumped out at me this morning while praying. I feel stressed out and tired. I’ve been distant from God these past couple of weeks, when in fact, I should be drawing closer to Him since I am writing a new book. My focus is on other things instead. I’ve been defending myself way too much, and it’s coming up to the surface. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

A lot of you are right. I have been spending way too much time on other people, trying to defend my happiness or {pride} of who I am. A reader of mine named Kevin, was very offended by my words on another website. I explained that the word “pride” was offensive to me. When gays and lesbians use this particular word, especially, “The Gay Pride Parade”, it doesn’t sit well with me. I prefer to “humble” myself, but that’s not exactly what I’ve been doing on my very own blog, is it? I preach “humble”, but I find myself not playing the part. I try to be, but pride seeps through my pores, leaving me with the “H” word…hypocrite. So, with that, I want to extend an apology to Kevin, who has made it clear of how I was acting. I’ve also said other things to offend him. I told him with colorful words how I disliked a portion of the gay pride marchers – in terms of marching in the nude and engaging in sex while displaying their “pride” at their LGBT parades. Although I will still say that those people who do display their sexuality like that – it’s still offensive to me. Not all are like that.

But, for children and other people who are witnessing the gays and lesbians marching, it doesn’t project a good image for us. It makes us look promiscuous, when in fact, there’s the majority trying to reach out to society, having them know that we’re people too; we want rights just as the heterosexuals do. We’re not animals and we’re not evil and wicked as some would think we are. But through the minority of the gay and lesbian marchers who display and flaunt their sexuality, it leaves society with a bad taste in their mouth.

I have opinions and beliefs. We all do. I have a blog. Most people reading me do as well. We all have the right to our opinions. My previous entry involved the Hasidic community. I asked questions based upon facts. Again, I wasn’t speaking for “all” of them- I was speaking for those who went against what they believe in. I’m curious and wanted to be enlightened about how they lived. I wanted to know more about their culture; I wasn’t bashing them or being prejudiced. I simply wanted to understand some things that were left unspoken.

Then, I started focusing on myself. Why do I need to know all this? Why do I need to blog about it? Will it offend people? Most likely. Will it stir things up? Probably. My self-dialog turned into a weird Abbot and Costello episode. I’ve been busy with a lot of things lately, and my mind has been a pile of junk waiting to purge. As I was in the grocery store the other day, I realized I had to use the restroom bad! I couldn’t wait in line anymore. I left my cart and ran over to the customer service desk. They informed me that they didn’t have that luxury for their shoppers. Great. So I left my cart with her and ran to the nearest Duncan Donuts. I walked in, appearing to look like a customer, ready to get my cash out. I saw a long line to get to the counter, so I decided to make a bee line straight to the loo. As I was practically hopping my way down the hallway where the bathrooms were, I noticed that it was unisex. Ugh. I turned the knob and opened the door.

A man screamed out, “Can’t you see that it’s locked?” His back was turned towards me. His head went sideways, yet he didn’t see who was there.

I took the time out to get my two cents in… “Well apparently not!” Then I shut the door, and ran straight in line to get my double espresso…my legs crossed and teeth floating. The man comes walking out. I can see him from my peripheral vision. I was among other java drinkers. There were other people in front of me, as well as behind me. I pretended like it wasn’t me. He left, confused over which woman on line walked in on him. It was embarrassing for both of us, and we both lashed out in anger. Then, I realized, normally I wouldn’t have taken the time to keep that door open to give him a piece of my mind while he was relieving himself, but there was something inside me that nudged.

Pride.

So, with that, I apologize to Kevin, and other people I have offended with my own sense of pride. I’ve been over-stressed and haven’t had much sleep- but that doesn’t give me much of an excuse. I hope you’ll accept my apology. It’s been weighing on my mind. My posts have been seriously “heavy”, and I know it hasn’t been much fun reading the debates and angry comments being flown back and forth.

I’ll try to keep it light.