Thursday, January 31, 2008

WARNING: Mercury in Retrograde!

Okay, I’ll admit it, I can get into the horoscopes and astrology hoopla, but I don’t solely rely on it to determine how my day is going to turn out. This one particular site not only gives you the horoscope, but it offers what planets are in what zodiac. (I really don’t get it, but I know that my moon is in Uranus. Seriously. ...Not trying to get funny witchya’.)

Anyway, this month features “Mercury’s in Retrograde”. I always thought when somebody messes up on their words or what they say – people will sometimes blurt out, “Oh, it’s because Mercury’s in retrograde!” Okay. So…what does that mean? I was told that during this time, people fumble over their words. For instance, my friend was kidding around with me one time and said, “I’m gonna call you every book in da’ word!” I just thought she was going under some sort of religious spell. Or when I ordered a drink at the bar, I ordered a "muddy blary" … Get my drift? But now I am finding out it’s a whole other can of beans. It actually has to do with miscommunication. People are going to twist every single “book in da’ word”...

If we only misunderstand each other while Mercury’s in retrograde, then my entire life is based during this time. How many times have we all taken things out of context? Someone says something to be nice and we take it the wrong way, assuming they’re being sarcastic or just being a bastard about it. It could have been meant with the utmost sincerity, but the person receiving your message is fuming because he/she thinks that you have just insulted their intelligence or integrity or whatever the hell their shorts got into a bunch over. Other than money matters in relationships, miscommunications and misunderstandings are the most prominent factors in arguments. Even with platonic work relationships and friendships – we all at some point misunderstand each other.

Lately, whatever I say or do seems to be taken as a dig or as an insult. My words are just not flowing clearly…or the person needs to have their earwax removed. When confronted, I think to myself, how can I make it any clearer? How can I express myself sincerely without offending other people? There’s one particular person in my life, which I will keep nameless, however, every single word or thing I say or do gets twisted up into this ball of confusion. To this person, if I’m being nice, then that means I’m being sarcastic or not sincere. If I offer them anything out of generosity, then they think it’s a hidden agenda or that I pity them. If I do anything out of the kindness of my heart – my integrity is in question. Even with my blog posts, they’re taken out of context and the negative tones that are displayed are taken as a personal attack on them when the posts have absolutely nothing to do with them - for the love of God I need a drink!!!

So I guess this is my attempt to just say to this “person” – please stop reading my blog posts if you’re going to keep thinking it’s for you… It’s not! I assure you this is from my past experience and stuff taken from the book I wrote. I never said I was perfect, nor did I insinuate that my character was perfect. It’s far from perfect. I’m really trying to gain some insight and reevaluate my life for the better so I can learn as I go. Again, I write these posts – not as a “know it all” – but due to my past and the way I use to handle them, which I know I need improvement on. When we’re able to admit we need improvement in our lives, then that’s half the battle right there. What do they say? Admitting it is the first step to recovery?

I’m trying. Give me some credit or I’ll definitely have my moon in Uranus! I’m going to blame this entire mess on Mercury if you don’t mind.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Breaking Up: The Process of Healing

There was an interesting turnout on my previous post, entitled, “Self-Improvement”, not so much on my blog, but on the Myspace page I have. I periodically send out bulletins with the post inside it to many people on my list - if it’s a topic I feel strongly about in my heart. I received so many emails from people who were in pain over relationships. I have never sparked this type of response before. My blog didn’t get as many hits as the Myspace did - and the bulk of the response was waiting in my inbox. There were people who emailed me that poured out their souls. I can’t believe how many people are out there in such emotional distress. It amazes me…yet it doesn’t.

During this time in my self-reevaluation period, I’m doing a lot of bible study, prayer and meditation. I can’t tell you how this has helped me tremendously. I’m seeing things for the first time clearly. I want to talk about the people who responded. I’m going to bulk them up into one category: heartbroken. Even though each story they told was a bit different from the next, they still had a common denominator: extreme sadness. From the many stories told, the person felt heartbroken and wanted their ex back. (Of course you only get one side of the story, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.) It’s really interesting hearing these stories, because every single person on earth can relate somehow. We’re all in it together…

I really want to write about what I’ve learned regarding relationships, whether it’s the end of a friendship or the end of an intimate relationship. There is an important question that has to be asked: did you have more sadness than happiness in the relationship? All relationships have their ups and downs of course, but was the relationship more stressful than it was comforting and loving? Was there more jealousy than acceptance? And everyone is going to say it was great in the beginning… We all have our idiosyncrasies and our “thing” if you will, but when you make a commitment to someone, are you willing to accept their “thing” or just simply pick it apart and dissect it until it drives them completely crazy, or are you willing to love and accept them and live with their “thing”? Why is the divorce rate up more than ever? Commitment is gone. It’s now based on what you see in the movies or TV: lust, passion and having that spark last forever.

Newsflash: it fades. When that exciting lustful phase fizzles out – you better make sure your partner can stand you. Someone told me this amazing quote: “Make sure the person you're with, loves you more than you love them.” This of course, isn’t meant to be taken literally, however it’s a saying to really make sure the person you are with respects and loves you as much as you respect and love them. A lot of people have false illusions that they should have butterflies throughout their entire relationship. What foundation was the relationship built on: friendship or lust? Usually, when a relationship is founded on “friendship”, you have that solid base to fall on. When it’s purely out of lust, you’ll find that the base you fall on isn’t so stable. You’ll sink to the bottom trying to fight your way back to the top again.

Another interesting point is, what position were you in when you first met this person? Were either of you in a relationship at the time? Was there any infidelity on their part while pursuing you or vise/versa? Chances are, if you met them that way, you’ll end up that way. As the old saying goes, "If they cheated on them they’ll do it to you". If you found that they were completely honest throughout the course of their past relationship, then the same concept applies. Look at the patterns. I’m not writing this as a “know it all”, I’m writing this out of experience and what I’ve learned through my own past.

The best advice I have ever heard was this: if you love them, set them free. Really do it. Don’t just say it. Send them off in “love”. Really wish them well. If you truly believe that you loved your ex, then make sure that the end of the relationship goes off in love as well – no matter how harsh the breakup was.

Finally, 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. ~1 Peter 3:8-9

Even if you know that your ex is out there badmouthing you and saying things that make you look less than pleasant – keep quiet. Let them ramble on. Obviously, they’re still in pain and need to vent. Don’t retaliate and do something you’ll regret. Remain quiet and calm. Give yourself time to heal, which means limiting your contact with them – not to play games, but to get over your heartbreak. It’s important to make sure that “the no contact rule” applies to only healing yourself. It’s also important to keep in mind that it’s okay to think about your ex. They were apart of your life and will always be sketched in your heart. It’s okay to remember the good times and rehash the past – that’s the normal process. If you deny yourself of these thoughts, then it’ll resurface in another form. Let yourself go through the process.

In conclusion, here are some wonderful scriptures that have helped me. I hope they will do the same for you!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. ~Psalm 55:22

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for. ~1 john 5: 14-15

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. ~Psalm 147:3

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character is us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. ~Romans 5:3-5

If you can keep in mind that all of the trials you are experiencing right now are like weights for our muscles; they will strengthen you for the next time you get beaten down.

It does get better.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Self-Improvement

Were they mistakes or little blunders in life? Whatever you decide to label them, the one question remains: have you learned from it all? A lot of people, including myself have said words like, “I soooo regret doing that”, or “I wish I never met him/her!” As the old saying goes, we meet people for a reason, a season and for a lifetime. I truly believe God places people in our lives for a reason. Even if your experience was a not so pleasant one, there’s something to be learned from it all. I had a hard time thinking this way and tried to psychoanalyze why this person came into my life to only have disappeared or to have left a pile of crap behind for me to clean up. It still remains a mystery. If you can’t figure out the behaviors of some people – try figuring out your own behavior. When somebody comes crashing into my life like a hurricane and leaves in the same way, I try analyzing my own behavior and how I could have handled it better. Let’s face it – we always think we handled it better than they did. Not always true.

“When we erect defenses against our own inadequacies and try to hide our faults from ourselves and others, we close the door to a vital source of self-knowledge and therefore deny ourselves the joy of spiritual growth. Every one of us can improve what we’re doing and the way in which it’s being done. As they say, ‘The largest room in the world – is room for improvement!’” ~Christian Faith Fellowship Family Church

Many of times, I’ve found myself saying, “Well, if he/she didn’t say or do that, then I wouldn’t have said or done this!” Maybe it’s not the matter of what the other person does – try relying on the responses that you give back in return. I’ve been known to blow a few corks in my time…ok, maybe a ton! But, after going through a rough two years, I’ve realized that my spirituality and my self-control were down the drain. I needed self-improvement. I needed strength and wisdom to know better. I needed God. I was an emotional train wreck and opted for the explosive and self-destructive responses, which ultimately hurt the person(s) that came within my fire.

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy. ~Proverbs 14:10

How can somebody be pleased or happy with you when all you have in your heart is bitterness? That’s exactly what happened to me. I was bitter. No one could penetrate it – unless I decided to let go of it and completely become vulnerable and receptive to those around me. I put up a huge wall of protection, when it actually hurt me in the end. Emotional walls can only hurt you. There’s this saying somebody recently told me that really stuck with me: if you don’t trust anyone, then there’s reasons not to trust you. It makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, people will always disappoint us one way or the other, but we if we look at it differently, we can give the benefit of the doubt and be content with ourselves knowing we did our best. How can you go wrong with that? Fear will only lead you into bitterness – which happened to me.

Laughter can conceal a heavy heart; when the laughter ends, the grief remains. ~Proverbs 14:13

Sure I could put on a smile, laugh and joke all night with you, but if I don’t decide to resolve the issues brewing inside myself, I am not truly the “happy face” you see in front of you. I think it’s safe to say I can speak for many people on this one. Picture it: if I’m depressed and crying all day, yet I have to go out that very evening, I apply much more make up and do my hair more. I put on my “happy face” – but yet, I come home sad…and of course, the make up gets washed off and the hair goes up into a ponytail. This is why I am trying to make an extreme effort to improve myself emotionally, spiritually and also physically. I want to be a “genuine happy person”, instead of faking it and putting on facades. It’s been challenging, but with effort, prayer and walking out in pure faith, I’ve come to realize that being happy from within enables me to make other people happy. (Or at least I try!)

A relaxed attitude lengthens life; jealousy rots it away. ~Proverbs 14:30

These scriptures help me a lot. Not only was I bitter, I had a wicked jealousy streak. This could apply to anything I coveted or felt I had control over. No one has control over anyone, anything, or any happening. Life is out of our control. We can only control our responses and the way we treat others. The first impulse of somebody in a relationship who is spiritually dead or bitter is a jealous response. Jealousy not only eats right through the heart – but it ruins relationships and makes the trust factors (if any) melt away into a big pile of nothingness. It’s not worth it. If somebody is going to cheat on you – they’re going to do it regardless - whether you’re jealous or not. We absolutely have zero control over life.

Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance, and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians, and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But those who fail to develop these virtues are blind or, at least, very shortsighted. They have already forgotten that God has cleansed them from their old life of sin. ~2 Peter 1:6-9

Wish me luck. I’m still trying to practice self-control and patience. When I see myself slipping, I realize I’m drawing further away from God, however, when I’m closer to God I’m closer to the way I want to be: patient, understanding with a relaxed attitude.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Getting High

…on adrenaline can be a wonderful euphoric feeling. Your heart starts pumping, your stomach gets all topsy-turvy and you anticipate the best of what’s to come. But then, once it comes and goes, we’re back to square one. Our high came crashing down to “mediocre”, or worse yet, depression. Thrill seekers have this problem constantly. I consider myself to be a “thrill seeker” – and adrenaline junkie if you will. Take for instance, a relationship - especially those way too complicated ones. (This usually includes online love affairs, cheating spouses and/or trying to pursue someone who’s challenging to get ---or even “the forbidden fruit”.) It’s exciting to get something or someone that you’re not supposed to have – but is it “healthy” overall? Be careful what you wish for…

In my case, it was ‘when do I get to the next level’ – whether it was my writing career or my living quarters. I wanted more. Once I had what I wished for, I wanted beyond what I just received. The “dream” of getting what I wanted has now turned into reality. There’s nothing to dream of anymore…so I dream of something else. The novelty has worn off.

Next!...

From high to low, I frequently went into manic stages from extreme happiness to extreme depression. There was never a happy medium to save me. And believe me, I did this with people, places and things. I used to view “contentment” as this ugly, awful and hideous word. Who wants to be “content”? It sounds so…mediocre. I didn’t want that. I wanted to go beyond contentment and into the world of excitement. That was the problem. Life is full of extremes, but if you can enjoy the journey and where you are at this time, then you have it all. A lot of people, including myself never realized this. Right now I am going through a self-evaluation period and realizing the mistakes I have made over the past two years. (Which were the worst years of my life!) I have been so focused on “extreme highs” that I nearly crashed to my lowest point ever.

Drawing closer to God, I realized I’ve been an adrenaline junkie. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you truly don’t love the person, place or thing that gives this emotion to you – you love the feeling it provides you with. True love knows contentment – even when it’s not an exciting time. Thrill seekers never end their quest for their next fix. They constantly have their eyes out for their next “exciting” person place or thing. Thrill seeking relationships are very powerful. They'll fight just to have make up sex. They constantly seek if the other mate is cheating, lying or craving a “new fix” – just because they’re doing just that.

Sometimes our addictions go past the point of drugs and alcohol – they consume our lives, which results in somebody getting hurt. Depending on what type of adrenaline seeker one is, it can be similar on different levels. What about those who are compulsive shoppers? They buy something they think they love at the store, and then bring it home only to hate it. They buy a new car only to trade it in way too early for the new model that just came out.

When do we finally come to realize that being “happy” starts at home and resides within our hearts first, no matter what we crave or desire? Are you an adrenaline junkie or are you somebody who is content with life “as is”?

Can Cell Phones Disturb Your Sleep?

See how resourceful I am? I’m even recycling news! I’ve always wondered why I wake up every single hour during the night. It’s seldom that I get a full night’s rest. At first, I thought it was a bladder problem, then I thought it was just stress or whatever was brewing in my life, and then I even came to the conclusion that I had sleep apnea. I even stopped eating past a certain time just to see if that would help. ...Nada. I still woke up “thinking” I had to use the bathroom. I did, however, if I were in a deep slumber, I’d wake up in the morning after a full night of sleep and run like hell to the loo instead. There has to be another issue.

Last night, I pulled the covers over myself and turned on the news so I could see the forecast for the next day. This is a normal ritual for me and then I turn the TV off and try to sleep. The newscaster said, “Are you having trouble sleeping at night and not getting a full night’s rest? Cell phones may be to blame!” I perked up and looked over at my cell phone, sitting on my night stand ready to take any incoming calls from anyone that would annoy me that late.
"Mobile phones severely disrupt sleep patterns, according to scientific research into their impact on human rest, funded by the Mobile Manufacturers Association.

The research undertaken by the
Electromagnetic Academy based at the MIT, in the United States, exposed 71 men and women, aged between 18 and 45, to mobile phone radiation as they prepared to sleep.

According to the study, monitoring under laboratory conditions showed the initial ‘light’ phases of sleep in the subjects were affected. In addition, “exposure to 884 MHz wireless signals, components of sleep, believed to be important for recovery from daily wear and tear, are adversely affected."

The research also found that those exposed to mobile phones during their sleep appear to have more headaches, than those not exposed.

A more detailed article dated January 20th by The Independent sheds further light on the study.

‘... The findings are especially alarming for children and teenagers, most of whom – surveys suggest – use their phones late at night and who especially need sleep. Their failure to get enough can lead to mood and personality changes, ADHD-like symptoms, depression, lack of concentration and poor academic performance.’"
I had the best sleep last night, after turning my cell phone off for the entire evening. Was it all in my head, or is there really some truth in this?

While talking to Madelene the other day, who recently got a partial hysterectomy due to large fibroids, said that the side which had numerous fibroids, was exactly where she carried her cell phone. I found that to be interesting. Ever since her job required her to wear a phone on her hip at all times, she developed huge problems that grew inside her: large tumors that were so big, they were nearly starting to apply pressure on her organs. A normal uterus weighs approximately 6 ounces, where Madelene’s weighed 10 pounds. The normal size of the female uterus is 6-8 centimeters. Madelene’s size was 20 centimeters and still growing. The doctor told her that it was equivalent to a 6 month stage of pregnancy.

Cell phone problem?

What about wireless internet? Almost every one of us has it. If we don’t have it, our neighbor’s network is seeping into our homes, leaving us to vulnerable air waves that can be potentially dangerous. I’m sure sometime soon, the news will blare out a message that wireless internet is the lead cause of cancer. Watch.
Am I overreacting?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Red in the Face When Trying to be "Green"

Is it me? I just can’t understand these “try to save the world” types. You know the kind – those “green” people. Believe me, I do my share of recycling – from cans, bottles, paper, cardboard and anything else that can be reused, I just refuse to take it a step further. There are some people who go as far as altering their life around ‘saving the earth’. This is great if you can do it. But when they criticize me for not doing the same “extreme” measures, then I’m seen as wasteful and not resourceful enough, or that I simply don’t care about our planet.

“You know, you should really shop with a burlap bag instead of using those plastic bags that the grocery stores give you.” someone told me. Hey, I’ll try anything once. In my mind, I thought maybe it’ll work. Maybe I can pull this off. So, when I went to the Hamptons at the beach house, I decided to borrow a burlap bag to take to the grocery store. Not only would it be convenient because it was one huge duffle bag that I could store tons of items in while walking down to the beach house, but it would save me a few trips, since it’s quite a hike down the hill to get to the house. So picture it: I’m at the store and I’m trying to load everything into this huge floppy bag. The container of eggs was next to the huge can of coffee – which ultimately would crush the eggs to death in the travels. Then I had the bread that got squashed by the container of milk that fell on top of it. Don’t even get me started with how bad the beer treated my produce.

NOT PRACTICAL!

So, the next time I went to the grocery store, I still brought the burlap bag with me, because I found that it was a huge help just to make one trip, instead of a few, because of the size of the bag – but, I packed my goods separately in those EVIL yellow plastic bags. I even doubled on some of them. I know – these bags are flowing around the landfills making our earth a little more “yellow” than green, but you have to admit – these little bags are quite useful! Not only do they hold the groceries better than those paper brown bags, but you can also use them for trash bags too, instead of buying those brand name trash bags. The 2 cents they charge you at the supermarket is totally worth it in my opinion. So, in a way, I am recycling them! But then again…they go right back into the dumpster after I use them as trash bags obviously.

These plastic bags that are given to the public never break down, which means that over time, the toxicity of the make of up these bags will eventually hurt our environment – if it hasn’t already. In a local newspaper, I read this little factoid: “Plastic bags, while cheap and convenient, never biodegrade. Over time (sometimes thousands of years) they break into smaller and smaller particles, but they never break down into natural products that can re-enter the environment. These particles are toxic in both the soil and water and can pass up the food chain from the smallest animals right up to humans. In the ocean, plastic bags are mistaken for food by fish, birds, and sea mammals. More than a million animals a year die when they ingest or become entangled in plastic bags and other plastic refuse.”

Here’s my problem: we were given a smart and convenient way to store our groceries, until it was too late. If the government and higher ups know about this huge problem, then why don’t they make bags that are earth friendly, instead of suggesting to the public not to use them any longer? Is it costs? Can’t they find a better method for us? Even though I know the problem exists and it’s getting much worse, it’s just not a practical solution for me to use a paper bag or burlap bag when I have a few flights of stairs to trek up to my apartment. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Yes, I feel awful about using something that’s killing our animals and earth – but why present it in the first place when now, we just can’t get rid of it?

Don’t even get me started with hybrid cars. If they really wanted us to drive them, they would make them much more affordable to the middle working class people.

Why is it so hard to “save the earth”?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chicken Soup for My OCD

Karma hit me. I’m sick. I’m coughing, sneezing, sniffling, hacking and whining like a little crybaby. My mom says my apartment is too clean – I disinfect way too much, leaving my immune system vulnerable to evil rotten germs. “Why ya gotta clean so much? You’re making your immune system weak!” That’s her theory. Try having OCD and hearing those words. I cringe. Antibacterial gels are in each room, just in case you need an extra squirt or two or three or four… I go above and beyond the call of my sanitary duties. At night, the sink has to not only be disinfected and “dry” – it also has to have a fresh wedge of lemon in the drain to kill any remaining germs leftover from whatever. It’s my deranged way of defining health.

My mom called me this morning and asked me how I was feeling. I tried hinting to her that I needed her delicious miraculous chicken soup cure, but she didn’t pick up on it. When I decided to bluntly indicate that her chicken soup heals me, she went into defense mode and screamed out, “I don’t have a chicken and it’s too cold out!” God I miss home. I even made a cry for help on my Myspace page and set my mood as “sick”. I also put my status message saying, “Deb needs one of her friends to bring her chicken soup! Any takers???” …Not. one. response.

Do unto others dammit!!! Guess that’s not working so great. I gotta try a different method here.
During this time of the year, I rarely see my nephew and 2 nieces for the fear I might get plagued with their infections. It seems as though they’re constantly sick. They even have new type of viruses that are out there:

Candidiasis ("Thrush")
Chagas disease
Chicken pox
Croup
Cytomegalovirus (the virus most frequently transmitted before birth)
Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Fifth disease
Measles
Mumps
Rheumatic fever
Rubella
Whooping cough

Recently, my nephew was diagnosed with the Fifth disease. I had no idea what that was to begin with. Apparently, it’s flu-like symptoms accompanied by a rash. They have to actually sort them out by name. When I was growing up, it used to be called 'having a cold or flu'. What the hell changed? More and more kids are in daycare and exposed to other children. They catch it, and then throw it right back at another kid as well as their parents and of course…aunts. It just never ends. I stay away. I love them dearly, but for the love of GAWD --- put those cute little tykes in a bubble!

I don’t mean to kvetch so much about this – but I’m a huge whiny baby when I’m sick, so bear with me. The fainéant side of my sickness will rear its ugly head and the post will soon come to an end…I promise.

What concerns me most of all is the lack of sensitivity that others display while being sick by shaking your hand upon meeting them. They’re holding a tissue in one hand and extending an olive branch with the other. Are you crazy? I always shoot back with a, “Oooooh, yeah, well see, I have a cold and I don’t want to get you sick,” even though he’s the sick pup trying to infect you. There should be a rule about shaking hands this time of year. I have that rule all year round – it’s more of a kosher-wannabe fantasy I’ve always had, but that’s neither here nor there. I never see my Hasidic friends sick. There may be something to this! ...YES YES? What about Bugs Bunny? He had OCD. Why do you think he kept telling the big gorilla to stop breathing in his cup? OCD. Of course it makes sense now, which is probably why he’s my favorite cartoon character of all time.

I will conclude this long-winded self-pity cry for help type of post with this: if you’re in the New York area and feel this strong urge to bring me some chicken soup – I will be eternally grateful. None of that cheap broth stuff either. Remember, do unto others, right?

Peace!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Country Mouse Settling In...

Since I’ve moved into this busy condo complex, it’s much different than living on top of a hill a mile up with practically no neighbors. Usually, on a Saturday morning, the only thing I hear are birds chirping away, squirrels collecting nuts and running onto my deck to store them in the rafters of my house and the sounds of crows telling me it’s going to rain soon. My friend used to tell me that I lived in a nature reserve. She’s never seen anything like it. She was a “city girl”… Now, so am I.

Instead of hearing all of these beautiful birds and wild animals trek through my yard and seeing 10 or more deer parked on my lawn grazing for an hour or two, I hear the sounds of people. Picture it – there are valleys filled with condos on top of condos on top of other condos. There has to be close to 10,000 people here! (I’m not sure of that estimate, but there are mass crowds of various types of families, newlyweds, single parents and the elderly.) Now on a Saturday morning, I hear children laughing and playing outside as early as 9am. People are hustling around getting ready to head over to the big malls, because we have the biggest mall nearby that attracts people from all over the world. There are cars, trucks, vans, delivery people rushing in and out of here. Garbage trucks are making their rounds and people are out and about walking their dogs and socializing with one another discussing ‘pet talk’. Pipes are being used, making squeaky water running sounds and hair dryers are blowing away, most likely drying beautiful female locks. It’s a whole different world here. During the week, there’s nothing. The parking lot is next to empty and the only sounds you hear are from the highways nearby.

Right now, as I’m typing this, I hear someone rushing upstairs to their apartment. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!!! The entire building shakes with each step they make. I get up fairly early, because I enjoy the sounds of “life”. Have you ever seen Rear Window, with James Stewart & Grace Kelly? It’s one of my favorite movies… It’s much like that on the weekends. (No, I’m not that much of a voyeur!) Well at night, the complex opens up into this huge social event. You can see every window lit up. Hardly anyone closes their blinds at night because the city lights are just amazing here. We have incredible views of the mountains, along with the view of the city. Everyone’s doing their own thing. Couples are having romantic dinners, people are hosting little parties and families are settling in with a nice fire, possibly watching a movie or two. I usually have a roaring fire going, sipping wine and staring out the window wondering if all of these people are completely happy, or if they wished they were up in the country having a quieter time.

All my life, I’ve lived in upstate New York, in what people would call “the boondocks”. I’m not used to neighbors or other sounds of “life”. I’m used to nature only and the sounds of my mom cooking dinner at 8am on a Sunday morning to have everyone at the dinner table by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. (It's an Italian thing.) I was always fascinated with people who lived in the city. I always wanted to know what it was like to wake up with the sounds of “life”. I wanted to hear cars zooming by and sirens going off. I know, I’m weird. People move upstate just to get away from hustle and bustle, but here I was, as a kid and into my adulthood, wondering what life was like in the urban parts of town. Would I like it once I was there? Would I regret such a move?
The truth is, it’s everything I expected. I feel at home. I love it. I love that there’s life around me. I don’t have to travel more than 10 minutes just to get something at the store. I can just go down the street and pick something up. Everything is so convenient. It’s not so lonely anymore. I have to admit, I do miss my crows, owls, woodpeckers, blue jays, squirrels, dear and the little rabbits that ran around my yard, but nothing beats the sound of human life sometimes. I’m grateful to have had experienced both.

Here’s a video from the place I used to live. Amy made this video while staying at my house. She left the camcorder running and caught some beautiful friends that stopped by. Check it out – it’s really beautiful!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Puppies & Dandelions

There are many people in my life that read me incorrectly. They take what I say and turn it into something totally opposite of what is meant to be heard in a positive tone. Then I think, well what if I’m saying it in a different tone? What if my words on “paper” are coming out wrong? What if my emails and blog posts are being misconstrued? Text can be misleading if taken the wrong way. You don’t hear the “tone” of the words that are being typed out. My words can be delicate yet distrait when writing an email to a friend or loved one. Even while blogging, I can definitely come across as politically incorrect or insensitive while discussing an issue that may come across as “offensive”. I've also found myself writing or talking much faster than my actual thought process. This could be a bad thing… Sometimes I don’t think when I speak or write, which may cause a lot of confusion for many people I communicate with. I’m working on it.

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. ~James 1:19

There are times where I don’t hear what the other person is saying; I simply come to my own conclusions, which results in a huge miscommunication. This is a flaw I’m working on. I’ve also noticed that when two people come to their own conclusions while not hearing one another, they end up talking at one another, instead of constructively communicating and resolving whatever issues are out on the table. This can lead into an explosive argument, especially if the two people are very sensitive and emotional. They don’t want to hear what the other has to say – putting up a huge wall, trying to protect themselves from possibly getting hurt. It turns into an attack fest. I’ve also seen this between strongly opinionated bloggers who cannot accept another way of thinking or absorb what the other person has to say. But for now, I’m speaking about people who know one another in real life.

Singing cheerful songs to a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing someone’s jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in a wound. ~Proverbs 25:20

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, recently I’ve been feeling down and going through a lot of turmoil, which is one of the reasons why I took a break from writing. My heart has been very heavy and my thoughts have been randomly morbid. Most of my close friends and family realize I go through this periodically. It has nothing to do with anyone, other than my depressive phases here and there. Of course, events and circumstances also weigh heavy on me, making me depressed and miserable. While discussing a sensitive issue that was very close to my heart yesterday, a friend tried “singing cheerful songs” to me, trying to get me to think of “happy thoughts”, instead of helping me understand things better. I can’t fake how I feel. I’m the type of person who likes to talk and resolve things. I feel like psychopath while trying to dodge sensitive issues or blocking my tears by pretending to laugh and be happy. It’s not in me. If someone close to you tries to deter your thoughts from the emotional pain you’re suffering, into happy thoughts about cute puppies and dandelions, does it mean they simply don’t care? For me, it was as if my friend had no sensitivity whatsoever – it was like rubbing salt in my wound. It hurt.

Am I taking it the wrong way though? Am I blowing it out of proportion? Maybe I need a different perspective on it. I hate avoidances of sensitive issues that need to be attended to. I hate putting things on a shelf, only to watch it rot away as if it never mattered to begin with. When we avoid issues that are close to our hearts, do we end up bottling it up, letting it explode on an innocent bystander? Maybe I’ve been going to therapy for too long – enough that I can actually get my degree.

Highly unlikely.
Happy thoughts, right?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Too Chicken to Be Genuine?

Genuineness. Do many people posses it? I guess it depends on the topic or situation. But think about it – genuineness – that act of truly caring without any motives or agendas. What does this person(s) have to gain by helping you? I’m certainly not trying to make anyone distrust people, however, I always like knowing the motives of those who help. They say that if you don’t allow yourself to trust others, then it’s most likely that you’re the one that can’t be trusted. It kind of makes sense though. They also say if your lover constantly accuses you of cheating, then they must be cheating on you. (Unless there’s good reason to believe they’re cheating of course…) I’m assuming some heavy thinking, espresso-drinking psychiatrist came up with these theories. Then again, it could have been some crazy Christian lesbian writer who overanalyzes things way too much…

Genuineness. My friend is sick. I don’t want her to be alone while she’s coughing, hacking, sneezing, honking and moaning in agony. I have OCD. I wash my hands more times than the average man thinks about sex during the course of the day. What’s in it for me? ..The flu, possibly. In my head, while witnessing my friend suffer, I can only think if that were me lying there on the couch suffering with nobody around to help me – I would definitely appreciate somebody coming to my rescue with a hot steamy pot of chicken soup and maybe bring me to the doctor’s office if I needed to. Is it a motive? Is it ‘if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ type of deal? I’d like to think that my conscience tugged on my heart and insisted that I help my friend so she could get better. But then I delve deeper: is it because I want others to do the same for me?

Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

So it’s basically a law. Does genuineness come from this golden rule? If it does, is it truly considered being “genuine”?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Suicide II

My previous post caused a bit of confusion for some people. Maybe I gave off some mixed signals – which I intended to. There were a few reasons why the post was written: to determine whether or not people feel that Jesus did in fact commit suicide, if knowing that the Jews were going to kill Him the very next day. This was a debate I had with an atheist, not necessarily my own view or belief on this matter. It was also to ask the question of why Christians feel that Jesus’ death didn’t take away all sins of the world. They still go by the old laws of Leviticus, when in fact it says numerous times in the bible that the old law died when Christ died on the cross. Another reason, was for people to take a step back and look at those who are depressed and suicidal and/or have had people close to them check out too early on their own. Question: do you really feel that it was a cowardice act? The common sentence spoken from probably all of these people who think about suicide or have committed it is, “I’m a huge burden on everyone. They’ll be better off without me.” Is it a cry for help or is it simply sacrificing their own life to make other people happier? It’s a hard call because everyone is so different.

There’s a gray area in the bible that doesn’t say anything about suicide. “Thou shall not kill” is what we go by. Suicide is killing. We can even take it a step further and basically say that we’re stepping all over God’s creation; disrespecting Him if you will. In some cases, “mocking” His creation. It’s like telling God His creation isn’t worth living – it wasn’t good enough. I’ve heard people say, “You’ll go straight to hell if you ever commit suicide.” ...Who says? Yes, it’s definitely disrespecting God’s creation – but why doesn’t the bible make any references to it? Even when trying to convince the depressed that it’s not worth it – and the most common persuasion of all is, “You’re a coward if you do it!” And yes, these statements are to save the person(s) who are either thinking about it or know someone who is. It’s to deter the thought of suicide. It’s for the better – it’s a beautiful attempt to try to save a life.

I had a few emails from friends and readers asking, “Are you okay?” No worries. I’m just raising questions that have been brewing in my mind for a long time – on many different levels. Like I said, I think too much. There have definitely been times where I thought about it – however, I don’t have the guts to do such a thing, and I would never want to leave my loved ones with the burden of “why did she do that?” It’s such a shame when somebody goes too early on their own. Just think, if you were to do it, all of your closest friends and family looking down at you inside a casket wondering ‘why why why???’ Many tears are shed and many questions are raised – even questions that go so far as, “Did I do something to make him/her to such a thing?” Suicide raises questions that inflict guilt on your loved ones’ minds. So, in the bigger scope of things, it’s not fair to the people who have cared and loved you for so long. I’ve come to understand that greatly, as I’ve been in the most depressive states and thought about it one too many times.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” ~Matthew 11:28

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. ~Psalm 147:3

Here's a video I made about suicide and how we can help those who suffer from depression.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Suicide

Of course I’m looking for Christian guidance here – and even those who are intellectually stimulated by philosophy & science. See, I’m having trouble with an issue. I’m a thinker. I think way too much sometimes, almost to the point of insanity. I think it’s safe to say that everyone has thought about suicide once or twice in his or her life – and even on a daily basis for that matter.

But, what about Jesus?

What Would Jesus Do?...

Bear with me. I’ll get to Jesus in just a moment. Have you ever watched some newscast where some guy runs out and points a gun at a police officer just so the cop will shoot him? It’s called “suicide by cop”. It takes away the crime of committing suicide to the person left hopeless. He doesn’t want to be the “murderer”.

But, at the same time, didn’t Jesus do a similar act? “No Deb, He died for your sins.” Okay, so He died so that I could have a better life and afterlife. I am totally appreciative to the full extent of the meaning, however, think about this: Jesus died so that we can live a more abundant life and be saved. Now think of a suicidal person’s thoughts: “I want to take my own life because I’m a burden on people – I don’t want to hurt anyone any longer.” Aren't they sacrificing their life for their loved ones?

If Jesus knew He was dying the next day, isn’t that similar to those, which choose suicide by cop? There’s not one reference in the bible, which tells us that committing suicide is a sin. Okay, I will definitely say that murder is a sin – but what about “self sacrifice”? Isn’t that a different scenario? I can hear people ranting, “But you’re going to hurt the ones you love if you take your own life!” Jesus’ followers and loved ones were extremely hurt and crushed over His death too. He left many people, yet His Spirit is always with us.

So, what’s the difference?

It's a beautiful thing He did for us, isn't it?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Deb's 'Hard Return'...

Everybody needs a break now and then. I definitely needed one. Sometimes, life gets us confused – lost in its whirlwind of life’s unexpected trials and circumstances. The curveballs thrown at us often leaves a sour taste in our mouths – leaving us bitter and resentful about life. While preaching about forgiveness, I’ve become exactly what I’ve always feared: bitter, resentful, and unforgiving. Often times, people can verbalize forgiveness, but who can actually say that the action was ever applied? If we don’t forget about the offense, is it still regarded as forgiveness? Was it actually an “offense” or was it us being too sensitive?

I had to step away from writing for a while and reevaluate the way I handled things and why I’ve become so overly sensitive lately. I started taking things very personally – even when it had nothing to do with me in the bigger scope of things. I was being too hard on people, driving them to the brink of insanity. I was never this person before. I was strong and able to take a good critiquing. I was capable of handling ‘foot in the mouth’ type of responses. I was okay with people – I let people be themselves. People used to be comfortable around me. Now, people are afraid of me. I’ve seen the closest people to my heart walking on eggshells, trying not to crack any of those sensitive areas.

Although my faith is still strong, my entire being – my character and inner-self has become weak and fragile.

“God’s weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.” ~1 Corinthians 1:25

Typically, this all boils down to insecurity issues and not knowing where to stand in life. When cornered, I’d lash out. I’ve given irrational responses to such understandable reasoning. It felt as though it wasn’t even me responding. My mind was a huge ball of static – no one could get a clean channel from me – not even God. I became distant spiritually and it had such an incredible ripple affect, which left me cold and stranded. I felt alone. It affected my relationships with those around me and it definitely affected the way I saw things.

When all you can see is “red” – is it that the result of forcing the rose-colored glasses on as I’ve stated in a previous post? Is it trying too hard to become a person that you’re not? Is it better to be a realist, rather than be too optimistic about life? Some people would call them “dreamers” or “delusional”, however, whatever the label they place on upon a person – is it making them any happier, even though those dreams never meet the initial criteria? I’m trying so hard not to be such a pessimist, but I’m seeing things for what they are right now, but most of all, “accepting” things the way they are.

A bit from The Word For You Today that helped me. If you don’t have this devotional – please order it here!

{Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated…disturbed…and unsettled}.

JOHN 14:27

Learn to relax.
A well known Bible teacher says: “We can only walk in peace if we’re willing to be adaptable and adjust to people and circumstances. When I lived in ‘explode mode’ it never failed that one of my children spilled something at the dinner table every night…and every night I had a fit. One night, I was under the table because the milk had made it to the crack in the middle and was running down…The kids were upset and somebody kicked me in the head, which made me even madder. I knew it was an accident…but somehow that didn’t seem to matter… {Then} the Holy Spirit spoke to me – right under that table – and said: ‘Once the milk’s spilled, no matter how big a fit you throw you’re not going to get it to run back up the table into the glass. You need to learn to go with the flow.’”

Jesus said, “{Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated…disturbed…and unsettled}.” In other words, work on controlling your reactions. Stop losing your peace over every little thing that goes wrong in your life. When there’s nothing you can do about the situation, learn to let it go and keep your joy. Ask God to help you get over life’s little offenses and irritations quickly, whether it’s a glass of spilled milk or somebody who’s hurt your feelings. When you put as much energy into ‘letting go’ as you do into ‘stewing and steaming’ and trying to control every possible outcome, you’ll find that God’s peace “which is so great we cannot understand it” (Php 4:7 NCV) will start to fill your heart and your home.

So with my much needed break from blogging, I’m trying to learn and practice these teachings so that I can become a better person all around and not be in ‘explode mode’ all the time when something or someone offends me.

Please pray for my journey getting there!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I'll be taking a break from blogging. Have a happy and healthy new year!

God bless!