Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sobering

Without a doubt, it’s hard to see a loved one sick, and even harder to watch someone facing a terminal illness with a potential expiration date. My family has to excuse me for writing about this, I know they are a bit more private than I can ever be, but this is my outlet and perhaps my writing can help someone else going through similar situations. Last Sunday, Madelene’s family and my family got together for dinner. We had a great time and dad seemed to be doing okay for the most part. I noticed that my father wasn’t eating very much, however when I made coffee and put the desserts out which Mad’s mom brought over from this incredible bakery, he began to eat more. He livened up with some coffee and a bit of Puerto Rican anisette. (We all did actually.) Dad was happy, talking & laughing with everyone. Later on that evening, mom calls me and tells me to call 911 and come down ‘cause dad was sick again. Dad was disoriented - didn’t even know who we were. Mad helped him walk over into the living room where the ambulance would check his vitals and then cart him off onto a gurney into the ambulance. He had congestive heart failure...again. On top of that, he got another infection in his blood due to his kidneys not draining properly. On top of that... his cancer spread.

Yesterday mom & I drove up to the hospital to spend the day with him. We all know the truth, but we try to keep dad’s spirits uplifted. We try to give him hope, because we don’t rely on a doctor’s “time frame” - we rely on God’s time frame. Fifteen years ago, dad was rushed to the hospital for congestive heart failure. He was given two months to live. Yep - fifteen years ago. Amazing. The doctor put the fear of God into my dad and the rest of the family constantly keeping one eye on him not knowing ‘when’ - and yet my dad was healthier than an ox. Well, a female doctor walked into my dad’s room yesterday while my mom was sitting across from him, as he was sitting upright in a big reclining chair eating his lunch. She sat down, asked how everyone was and then begun to say the most sobering things ever imaginable. I can’t remember everything word-for-word, but basically she asked, “Are you prepared to die?” She went on to say that it’s important for his last days with hospice to do all the things he wants to before his expiration date. She also asked, “Do you want a DNR and can we put a feeding tube in you when you do become sicker, because the cancer is going to take over.” As he chewed the last bite of his chicken salad sandwich, I saw tears welling up in both my parents’ eyes. He started banging on his chair in frustration, asking, “I’m gonna die? I’m gonna die? When am I gonna die?” My mom’s eyes widened bigger than I ever saw them, and if possible, they turned completely black - I can’t explain it. She then said, “We will talk. about. that. amongst. ourselves,” in such an angry tone that I've never heard from her before.

The female doctor kept on though. “Well it’s important to make these types of preparations for the family.” I chimed in and told her that we had a proxy and that the family will discuss this together, as the previous doctor wanted to do. Mom said, “We want to give him hope and he’s gonna be just fine.” The doctor replied, “Since chemo is no longer an option, the cancer will take over, so this is reality.” I then asked if I could talk with her alone so I could take her out of the room. I explained that we all know what’s happening and we all know the reality - but we’re trying to give him some happiness, some hope, some faith that there are miracles because in the past, he was giving a sentence for his life and that never happened. I asked if she could just speak to the family together without my dad so we can be the ones to help him through this. She also indicated that it was her legal obligation to talk to the patient about his impending 'doomsday'. Seriously? I mean, isn’t it better for the mind and spirit to help someone who has cancer to give them hope till their very last day? Isn’t it okay to have faith that he WILL beat this cancer --- even if he doesn’t --- can’t we have a tiny bit of positivity and see dad smile for now? When I came back inside the room, mom wanted to go downstairs for some coffee and we talked about it. She was pissed off beyond belief. I reminded her about the idiot doctor from fifteen years ago, and she cracked a smile through her tears. When we came back to dad’s room, (thankfully he forgets a lot these days), he said, “The doctor came in (an infectious disease doctor) and said that he can cure me!” (The doctor meant he can cure the infection only.) Dad smiled and we were just glad his spirits were lifted. “What does that stupid nurse or whoever she was know anyway?” We laughed and the day was pretty much full of joking around and relief...(to a degree.)

Aside from all that, Madelene asked me something that morning that kind of stuck with me. She said, “Do you think we should have had my mother and all of us lay hands on your father and pray for him?” I immediately said, “Sounds nice but I think my father would feel a bit weird.” Although I want that, not sure how comfy dad would be with the ‘religious’ stuff. He believes in God and has been talking more about it lately, but not enough to get into the full-fledge ‘laying hands on’ type of praying for him. As I was sitting in the room with dad later on that afternoon, I was reading my Bible on my iPad. Strange, because it opened up to a passage that said, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” ~(James 5:14-16) I prayed about it in my mind and asked God, “How am I going to get a “righteous person” to come in here and pray over him?" And right when I looked up from my iPad, a priest came walking in and asked if it was okay to pray over him. He said such a beautiful prayer and asked God to take away his sins in Christ’s name. I wanted to cry right there because I knew, that without a doubt, that it was from God.

You know, many people doubted his ability to maintain a healthy life. Many people, this includes some extended family members, friends and others who saw him chain smoke, eat whatever he wanted and lived his life the way he wanted to - they all said he wouldn’t live past fifty. Most doubted his health, meanwhile having low cholesterol and perfect blood pressure most of the time. He beat the odds. He outlived many people who were even younger than he was - this including his own brother who died at the age of 31 from a heart attack. He outlived most of his friends and basically proved everyone wrong. The one thing that got him was the one thing no one ever suspected: cancer. I’m proud of dad for living the way he wanted to. He was always happy, resilient, and positive. He’s 74 years old. He’s lived longer than most who have lived a “healthy lifestyle”. I feel fortunate to have had him this long and will feel even more fortunate if God blesses him with another few years. My family is strong, we’ll get through this and whatever is in God’s will is the verdict - not the doctor’s. I believe in miracles and I also believe in reality. Without a positive outlook, some uplifting words of encouragement, how are you supposed to give someone the strength or the will to keep pushing forward? What this female doctor said almost made him want to give up. What she did was disgusting - yes it was reality - but she said such grim things and he visualized it to the detail she had given it. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he should be given doses of “reality” - but he already knows and sometimes, yes he forgets and thinks he’s going to be cured. But God is the only one that really knows that and God is the only one who can really do that. Now that’s my reality on it. If he can do all things with the strength of God - then why would we ever doubt God’s ability? I still have faith.

I will be in the hospital and helping the family most of the week, so I may not update as much. feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section. I will always be updating my Twitter account since it's the easiest for me. And if possible, would you all please say a few prayers for my dad?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Control Freak

My wife told me this story about when she was a little girl, probably 3 or 4 years of age, she was at this petting zoo and she fell in love with these baby chicks. They were under heating lamps in a huge bin - probably a ton of them all chirping and hopping around. She asked her mom if she could hold one. When she was given the baby chick, she held on to it so tightly, that she suffocated the poor thing. She didn’t want to let it go. She cried and cried and never forgot that moment in her life. It’s true though in a proverbial sense: when you hold onto something so tightly, you’ll kill it, or in some cases, it’s like sand - it’ll slip right through your fingers. Even when we hold on tightly to “control” - the more we try to gain control, the less we have of it. That’s why it’s so important to just let go and let God. I remember a time in my life where I had to have every single thing in my life within my control. Ironically, everything in my life at that particular time was quite the opposite. Everything was way out of control, until I decided to just let it go. It was hard. When I finally did, things started to fall into place, where I originally wanted them to. We can’t control who loves us, who wants to be around us, how we want others to live, how we want others to treat us: we can only control our responses and actions. Nothing else.

Although I still have moments of being a control freak, I thankfully have the ability to come to God and meditate on it. Without the help of God, I’m a complete mess. I try to do everything myself, rely on how “I” can do it without the help of God. Reality is: I can’t do it myself. I admit to this. It doesn’t make me weak at all; it makes me stronger in my faith that I know God is in control. I read something my friend put on her Facebook status that said, “When God takes something from your grasp, He’s not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence: The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.” I read that about a hundred times until it finally sunk into my mind and heart. I don’t believe in “fate” or “destiny” - I believe in God’s will for us. His plan is so huge that we can’t even fathom it. It’s like fish comprehending algebra. The more faith we have in God - the more trust we put into Him, knowing that if we do let go, that He’ll guide us, protect us and will never give us anything we can’t handle.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”. ~Psalm 139:3

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

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

Friday, February 17, 2012

Let the Lying Lips Be Put to Silence

There’s a fine line between love and hate when it comes to Christian beliefs. Holy wars, Christian debates, ‘what’s a sin & what’s not a sin’ type of arguments and of course, the conviction of others through “righteous judgment”. We are all sinners regardless of our perfect or less than perfect lifestyles. Even if we love God with all of our heart - God knows how messy life can be. He sees our struggles and most of all, sees our hearts. Without a messy life, we probably wouldn’t come to God for help. Through our weakness, He is our strength, as written in the Bible. We divide when we’re offended by another’s judgment. I divide when I see another Christian tearing other Christians down. No sin is greater than another. While having said that, as you’ve been reading the debates between Kimberly Bowman and I, we both clearly disagree about homosexuality being a sin. Her usage of “homo” and “the hateful lesbian” (because I stick up for myself & the LGBT community), are all hurtful. It’s not constructive; it actually can shift someone who is weak away from God, instilling feelings of guilt. Guilt is the emotion Satan gives. He uses this emotion so that we flee from God. Isn’t that what these people are doing? They quotes scriptures trying to rebuke me, but I read an entirely different scripture telling me that the Old Law was abolished when Jesus died for us on the cross.

“No one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying it. But not God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his glorious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. And he is entirely fair and just in this present time when he declares sinners to be right in his sight because they believe in Jesus.” ~Romans 3:20-26

That scripture above says. it. all. There is no need to break that scripture down, but of course, you know I will. Let’s say homosexuality “is” a sin. Let’s say it’s seen as an abomination even --“No one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his law commands.” It also states, “Yet now God in his glorious kindness declares us not guilty.” --This applies to all people-- not just the “homos”. See, if these militant & righteous Christians truly believed that Jesus took away all sins (past and present as the scripture above points out), then they would also believe that all sinners - whatever they believe is a sin was washed away on the cross years ago. Whatever struggle a Christian faces, whether it’s addiction, porn, anger, jealousy or as some see it, homosexuality - as long as we are struggling with loving Jesus and believing that He has saved us, then we are true Christians. We can strive to be better people: not to hurt one another, to treat people the best we can, to give generously, to keep the peace with one another and to love God with all our hearts. That’s all we need. Without the faith of acknowledging Jesus’ sacrifice, then what kind of Christian would that be? Don’t they have enough faith to believe that what He has done was “good enough”? They continue to argue over what’s “godless” and “unholy” and even reference themselves as “saints”.

Years ago I battled with Dani Kekoa, as you know. We went through the homosexuality debate one million & one times and of course, her usage of “homo” and “dyke” were a bit crass at times...(ok all the time.) She was apart of a cult she had no clue she was in. I even told her over the phone while we were talking that it sounded “cultish” and that I truly believe she was being brainwashed in many areas. Years later (recently) she made a public apology and of course, I accepted it. Although we both still see homosexuality differently, we have both put aside our differences. What’s ironic is, Pastor Bob Enyart from the Denver Bible Church promoted divorce, which is also believed as a sin in the Bible. While Kimberly Kay was ‘convicting’ me for my lifestyle, having been apart of the Denver Bible Church, she never admits to being an “adulteress”. She has been remarried while her ex-husband is still alive.

“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” ~Mark 10:11-12

Hypocritical? I think so. It’s easy to judge other people without looking at your own sins. It’s very comforting to believe that ‘this one’ is going to hell and that you’ll be a saint judging them. In fact, in one of my comment sections, one of Kimberly’s minions wrote, “Kimberly is a saint, God will have His saints judge the world.” ...Really? So my only hope of getting into heaven is going up to the pearly gates and hoping that Kimberly Kay will let me in? Now that’s some heavy duty brainwashing if I ever saw it. That’s some mighty position she has over the entire world. I wonder how much of a saint she’ll be considered since she is technically “still sinning”, according to the standards of your beliefs? I wonder what these people think of the passage from Mark 10:11-12 about Kimberly being an adulteress? Does that scripture get plucked out while all the ones about homosexuality get emphasized?

So my message to Kimberly is this: While you're dining out with your new husband over a shrimp cocktail appetizer and a lobster entree, enjoy the conversation about “homos” and how hateful we are. While you continue to lie (and get caught) to me as well as your own family, remember that all things will be revealed one day. Yours were revealed much sooner than expected.

“God blesses you when you are mocked and persecuted and lied about because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted, too.” ~Matthew 5:11-12

You might want to read 1 Corinthians 13 which states: "If I talk religiosity but without love, I just sound like a gong, a meaningless sound."

Psalms 31:18 says exactly what I would: “Let the lying lips be put to silence.”

Comments will be accepted by those who log in with their account or leave a valid name. There were too many “anonymous” comments that went under the same ip address, to which another “anonymous” pointed out that it was Kimerly's husband, Scott Bowman. --(Nice to meet you by the way, Mr. Bowman.)

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Christian Hatred

This is the face of intolerance. This is the face that teaches hatred towards anyone who is gay or lesbian. This is also the face who has children, to which I can only assume teaches zero tolerance for homosexuals. Parents need to understand that their children look up to them. They believe them. They're the only truth they have. Teaching children to have hatred, intolerance and giving false information about gays, lesbians and transgender people is not “Christian-like”. It’s your fear that teaches them these things; your fear that perhaps your child may grow up to be gay or lesbian, or worse yet, “tolerate” those who are. When you teach your kids that it’s okay to tease those who are homosexual & call them "homos", you’re also teaching them to kill. Maybe they’re not killing them with their own hands, but they’re killing them with mere words. Words can hurt more than a physical beating sometimes. And for Jamey Rodemeyer, it “didn’t get better” for him, as he states in this video. In fact, he killed himself over what other kids said to him. In my opinion, it’s not the kids at fault, I’m blaming parents like Kimberly Bowman.

Remember Jonah Mowry? The kid who posted this next video?


He was called, “Gay”, “Fag”, “Dick”, “Douche”, “Homo”, “Asshole” by his schoolmates. He’s still alive luckily, but he still has a way to go to get through school. While sobbing through his message, holding up cue cards to show people how hurt he was over these vicious attacks, he lets people know that he’s not going anywhere. (Thank God!) He most likely has a good support system, a wonderful family who loves him and teaches him right, which makes him able to move forward. If you can truly look at this video without wiping a tear, I give you credit. I would never want to see any kid or adult hurt like this.

So Kimberly, you have no tolerance for homosexuals? Well I have zero tolerance for Christian hatred. I have zero tolerance for bullying. I have zero tolerance for those who are hypocritical in their lives. I have zero tolerance for people who protest outside of abortion clinics holding up vicious signs, while having the history of having an abortion themselves. You should be more compassionate to those who suffered the same as you did. You know that pain all too well. You should let God be the only judge. Just as a former drug addict cannot bash those who are doing drugs - they can only help and guide them without judgement. Show more love towards the people who went through what you did. Set an example for your children so they don't grow up and attack innocent people for no good reason other than their brought up hatred. Humble yourself and remember, everyone falls short. No one is perfect. I hope with your "zero tolerance" mindset, that God won't have zero tolerance for you when you finally get to meet Him face-to-face.

“Accept Christians (or people of other religions) who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should. In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter.” ~Romans 14:1-5

“Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye." ~Matthew 7:1-5

(If you want to read more info on why I'm writing about Kimberly Bowman, you can click here to see my previous post.)

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Throwing Stones: Kimberly Bowman

More often than not, many of my readers saw the bitterness and rage that went into religion, mostly due to the many Christian debates regarding homosexuality vs. religion. Some would email me on the side or make public comments asking me “why” I would defend myself against people who were so very hateful and had words to only tear down somebody’s spirit, not to edify or encourage them as true Christians would. They would call it “righteous judgment” and explain that since I was living such a sinful life by having a loving partner of many years, that I was going straight to hell and that I should give up this “filthy lifestyle” and repent. While focusing very closely on my life, I started to realize that it wasn’t me who was hurting and feeling all sorts of guilt and shame, but it was the very ones who attacked me so viciously. Even when they threw scriptures at me, I’d show them scriptures to counteract it. The Bible is very complex, misinterpreted and also, misunderstood most of the time. Each and every scripture was not talking about the act of homosexuality, but the immorality of all people. And of course, Jesus says nothing in the New Testament about homosexuality ---at all. I remember my battles with Dani Kekoa. She once said to me, “Either stop being a lesbian or stop being Christian. You can’t be both.” If she was going to tell people to stop being Christian because of their “so called sin” - or even if it was a sin - then she is turning people away from God which is the biggest sin of all. However, luckily she realized this...or has she?

Curtis and Dani Kekoa were apart of the Denver Bible Church, to which Bob Enyart, a convicted child beater is the pastor for that congregation. All three of them bashed me so viciously on their radio show and called me such awful and hateful things. Why not focus on murderers, rapists or pedophiles? The thing is: they all compared me to a murderer, a rapist and a pedophile. I was “just as bad” in their eyes. I was asked by Dani to take down my book, A Prayer Away From Healing, and in turn, she would take me into her home and let me meet “a nice boy from the church.” I thanked her and then declined the generous offer, as she made it to another girl across the globe who did just that. Thing is, Dani and I got along well when we weren’t arguing about homosexuality. We spoke over the phone and I felt the human element; I heard a really nice person and not the angry Christian rebuking me 24/7. She had a wonderful sense of humor, she’s obviously very intelligent (on paper as well as verbally) and very pleasant to talk to. And I think she got to see another side of me too - a less defensive side to which she couldn’t “fight” with. I’ll never forget hanging up the phone, looking at my wife and saying, “Wow, she’s so not what I expected. She’s really a nice woman.” I don’t mean any disrespect by that, but sometimes when we get so caught up in misconstrued text, we can elevate it to a higher level of tension.

In a public apology made to me by Dani Kekoa, on February 9th, after finding out The Denver Bible Church was indeed a cult, she states on her blog:

“To begin, it would only be right to *set the record straight* (no pun intended), by publicly confessing my wrongdoings and openly apologizing to many bloggers whom I offended in Christ’s Name, but particularly, I want to apologize to Deb for how I mistreated her. If you once followed our blogs back in the day, you are all too aware of the "Constant Controversy" surrounding our posts as we became cyber enemies for years in a fierce battle of “Who's Truth?” as I tried to pound it into her soul and convince her that all “Sexual Immorality” is a sin according to God, while she battled right back and asked, “Is Homosexuality a Perversion?” While I may have been Biblically correct in moral principal, without wholesome words or sincere brotherly love, the message of Truth I delivered was tainted because of my quarrelsome conduct much of the time.

Over the past five years as I slowly vanished from the bloggerville to switch gears in life and refocus my priorities on family, Deb would frequently enter my mind as she always held a special place in my heart, and I knew deep-down that our paths would cross again one day. Well, that day has come much sooner than expected, which is a good thing. As I have grown and matured in the Lord, and distanced myself from Enyart’s ill-ethics, I have come to realize that my harsh approach and haughty spirit aimed high at not being “Nicer than God,” quickly degraded down to the low level of being way “Meaner than God” would ever dream to be. There was a lot of computer courage and cyber-bullying going on back then, but that's not who I am as a person, thanks to the Lord for changing my mind and softening my heart towards "sinners." And a special thanks in part to Deb, for the prayer she offered up to God on my behalf way back then in this post: "Love Your Enemies". (Of course, I do not consider Deb my enemy, never really did, and I would have her over for dinner & drinks any day of the week before I ever let an Enyart step foot in my house again.)

As recent unbelievable events manifested in my life, I was convicted that the way I treated Deb was mean, hurtful, and not pleasing to the Lord at all, so I decided to take a moment to send her a quick email as a sister in Christ to formally apologize for my “Holier than Thou” overly critical, confrontational and “Spiritually Dead Christianity” which did not produce the fruit of righteousness because I was often not “Walking in Love,” as she rightly pointed out. After she received my email message, as the gracious woman she is, Deb also offered her own apology to me for how she reacted, then we quickly reconciled our differences and forgave one another as Christ would want us to do. (We even spoke on the phone as friends discussing a recent tragedy in her family, which was nice.) While Deb and I still disagree on homosexuality, we can agree on the love of God, and that I was wrong in my witness for Christ because of my narrow focus on her particular "sin" as though I were completely blameless. It should also be noted that Deb was right about Bob Enyart all along, especially when she alerted me to the unforeseen dangers in this post called, Child Abuse X-Pose, which has now come full circle in a twisted since of irony.”


After she had written this piece, we spoke on the phone about many things. She apologized verbally as well, and I apologized for being so defensive. Back then, I was a new writer and really didn’t have much experience with being attacked on a religious level. I just thought my book as well as my blog would help people who love God - those who feel guilty about their lifestyle, to realize that God accepts them as they are. I didn’t expect all vile and hateful responses I received. I told Dani, “Water under the bridge” - even if she still feels the same about homosexuality - that’s okay. That’s her right and her belief to which I respect. I would never try to convince someone that homosexuality is or isn’t a sin, but if someone is going to beat me down telling me that I’m going to hell, etc., etc., you bet I’m going to throw a few scriptures their way as well. It’s just a knee jerk reaction that I feel I need to give since I am here to support my LGBT friends and family to cope with their possible struggle over their lifestyle vs. religion. Yes you can be Christian and be gay too. But then again, this is my belief, this is what I have found in the bible that speaks of every sin is a sin; that all of us fall short but all in all - God loves all of us because He knows our hearts.

As Dani continued to battle with her former pastor, Bob Enyart, she has publicly apologized to me, receiving a lot of flack from her old church friends, as well as other people online who were frequent readers asking that she would "rebuke homos" and not accept them. A blogger named Kimberly Bowman, who went by the name, "Kimberly Kay", wrote this on her blog (which has now been deleted), “Deb, please don't call your union a marriage, for God created marriage, between a man and a woman. You were married by a person claiming to be christian, not by a christian in Gods eyes. To be a christian, is to live for God, not for yourself. Acting on homosexuality is self gratification, not pleasing to God. One more thing Deb, if you are so convinced that your lifestyle is not an abomination, why do you continue this argument with people that know it is an ungodly act?" She also goes on to say that homosexuals are the only ones spreading AIDS. As the ignorance starts flowing even more, I reminded her that there are many heterosexuals who are spreading AIDS as well. She fails to see that fact. As I continued to read more of her blog updates, she started including me in her posts due to my commentary (which I shouldn’t have wasted my time), but I found something very interesting as well. She seemed so focused on Dani's life, practically begging her to not accept these "homos" and go back to a life of "righteousness". She took the time to write this post for Dani as well as throwing many scriptures to "prove" homosexuality is an abomination.

"I do not lack love for homosexuals, I lack tolerance! I lost a family member to AIDS and yes, he contracted it from his homosexual partner/s. I loved him, we grew up together. I hate to think that he may not be in Heaven. I know that if he didn't repent before he died, he was not forgiven. I loved him, I miss him, I wish he would have been able to turn and repent of his sin. I wish I would have offered him the Golden Ticket, but I didn't. If I can help just one homosexual to see the Truth, then my intolerance for their acts will be worth it! I wrote this back in April 2011. I get criticized by family and friends because I speak out against the life style homosexuals "choose". I am not perfect, no man is, however to continue to live and justify a sin, is not being a Christian. Anyone can claim to be a Christian, but your actions speak louder than your words. To say that you will sit and eat dinner with a homosexual, do it, break bread.

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Romans 12:3

I just don't understand how this can be confusing Deb. Biblical passages such as the following do not permit any other interpretation but that which is obvious.

If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination … (Leviticus 20:13)

For this reason (i.e. their refusal to acknowledge, thank and glorify God) God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameful acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.

(Romans 1:26-27)
Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral (or fornicators), nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals (or sodomites; literally those who have coitus, or who sleep, with men), nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

If you want to live in an UNGODLY lifestyle, go for it! Don't expect Christians to except your choice out of Love. I, has a Christian, love Deb, but that does not require me to accept her sin.

Deb, please don't call your union a marriage, for God created marriage, between a man and a woman. You were married by a person claiming to be christian, not by a christian in Gods eyes. To be a christian, is to live for God, not for yourself. Acting on homosexuality is self gratification, not pleasing to God. One more thing Deb, if you are so convinced that your lifestyle is not an abomination, why do you continue this argument with people that know it is an ungodly act?

Danielle, I am glad that you have decided to love ALL people, what disturbs me is the fact that you have turned against people that supported you and your family. You have now turned your hate and anger unjustly towards others, much like you did with Deb "back in the day". Seems as though you don't have an complete understanding what love means. Hypocrisy is simply failing to practice those virtues that one preaches. The homosexuals have been the most comforting because they are telling you what you want to hear. If they show love and concern towards your situation, you will except and tolerate their sin. That give them ammunition in their argument. I have been excepted by a recovering extremist Christian. You know this Dani! If you every feel compelled to share why Scott and I were booted from your circle, I would love to know! Your action towards me are worse then the action displayed against me from DBC. I was a friend!"
--Kimberly Bowman

In response, I wrote a comment to her after Kimberly advertised her website on my blog, to which Dani asked me to just ignore...but I just couldn't resist.

"Thank you for advertising your website on my blog. First of all, I just wanted to point out that many heterosexual people have passed on due to AIDS. Let's not forget that. It's not just a "gay" disease. If you go by Leviticus, you will also know that eating shellfish such as shrimp, lobster or clams is an abomination as well. But in Galatians it clearly states that since Jesus died for us on the cross, the old law is abolished. The mentioning of homosexuals in Romans is about fornication---period. It's about promiscuity and immorality of all heterosexuals and homosexuals. Corinthians speaks the same. It's for all... I'm sorry that you feel the need to not tolerate any sin. We all fall short. Homosexuality, or better yet, my loving marriage with my wife of 16 years is not a sin. Perhaps other things in my life that I struggle with is a sin, but don't we all? It's a hard life to focus on what other people do or don't do. Isn't that a heavy burden to keep in your heart? Give it all to God. He knows what to do with everyone in the world who struggles with sin and hardships. Trust Him enough to tolerate, or not tolerate as He sees fit. Let's focus more on loving one another and loving God with all our heart - that's the biggest commandment in the bible.

I pray that you will one day put yourself in the shoes of those you judge and see their life from their perspective. I pray that you soften your hardened heart and that you not just accept your brothers and sisters in Christ, but you love them, just as God commanded.

Hope you have a wonderful day.
God bless...."


As she continued to use my name for her mindless blathering, she then told me to "butt out of this".

So, with all of Kimberly's scripture referencing, I will return the favor and add a few of my own...

“Yes, Adam’s one sin brought condemnation upon everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness makes all people right in God’s sight and gives them life. Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God’s sight. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful kindness became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” ~Romans 5:18-21

So basically it’s saying that the sins of the past, even back into Leviticus was washed away so that we can have right standing with God. The Old Testament tells us that eating crustaceans of the sea (shellfish), being a homosexual, a man shaving his beard and sitting on the same couch with a woman who is menstruating were all seen as an abomination. But when Jesus came to the world, He died on the cross to take away those sins. Once He died, the law was abolished. This scripture validates that.

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

That one sentence says it all: {“For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”}

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

“For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law.” Huh. Isn’t that interesting? So then, what’s the most important commandment - the most important thing for a Christian person to do?

Then Jesus says this:

The Most Important Commandment--
“One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the discussion. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’ Jesus replied, ‘The most important commandment is this: Here, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important. Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.’" ~Matthew 22:34-40

Maybe one day Kimberly & others alike will see what God truly wants for them - how God wants us all to treat one another with love and not bitterness - to edify, not to tear down. There is no such things as "righteous judgment" unless you are living a life with absolutely no sin. So I ask Kimberly Kay, can you throw the first stone my friend?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Why I Love You...

I’ve been a complete ball of static these past couple of weeks. Irritated, stressed out and full of anxiety. It comes out in various ways from avoidance of all people or saying something completely out of bounds without even realizing it (and sometimes realizing it). Sunday morning, I woke up and found Madelene making breakfast for me. Usually I’m up before her making her breakfast, but she beat me to it. She knew how distraught I was about life and everything going on in it. Mad on the other hand remains positive on every single situation, or the best of her ability, which I admire. I wish I had that type of mindset - that inner peace no matter what’s exploding outside your circle of tranquility. As I was putting away my dish, I said, “Thank you so much.” She looked at me and said, “For what?” I smiled, walked out of the kitchen and started to think to myself: “For what? For being the best friend I ever had. For listening. For sharing yourself with me. For understanding my anxiety and stress (even if irrational) and letting me know it’s okay. For sitting next to my hospital bed without a bite to eat all day making sure I was okay. For helping my dad do the things he once was able to do. For helping my mom laugh a little more & running little errands for her. For treating my family as your own. For praying over me when I was crying myself to sleep. For trying to make me guess a song you can’t remember by humming the tune, making me laugh till I cry. For putting up with me following you around with a camera for Youtube purposes. For being such a good sport. For helping me with my work and always being on my side. For kissing me every single morning before you go to work and every single evening before we go to sleep. For saying ‘I love you’ every day. For showing me you love me every day. Thank you for marrying me.”

So, thank you. I didn’t verbalize all the thoughts that went through my head when you asked why I was thanking you. There is so much more to add onto that list. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you and how happy I am that you’re in my life. I usually don’t write these types of mushy posts, but you really deserve one. I know I haven’t been easy to live with lately, but you really make a difference in my life every. single. day. My mom calls you an angel from heaven. My little niece used to call you “Magic” because she couldn’t pronounce “Madelene”. She was right. You are magic. I love you.

Here are some clips of us. Hope this brings a smile to your face.

This next clip makes my blood pressure go down. I love walking on the beach with you even if we're not saying one word.


This next clip isn't mushy at all, but it shows the funny dynamic we have interacting. I love you for being, so, umm, misunderstood. And again, you put up with my filming you when you least expect it.


Of course we have our mornings that includes recorded arguments about the trash...


And I can't forget the day I taught you how to use Facebook. What. an. ordeal.


I love your message to the world...


Do you see why I love you? Happy Valentines Day my love...!

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Friday, February 10, 2012

Confirmation & Peace

Everything changes. People change. Minds change. Hearts change. There’s no stopping it. Whether good or bad, I was told the change should be embraced, whether through a friend or some cheesy quote I found on the net. “What won’t kill you will make you stronger.” While I know that hardships in life do make us more knowledgeable so we can cope with it better the next time around, I wonder if it truly makes us stronger, or does it possibly cram us back into our shell a little more? They say knowledge is power, but I’m not sure that “power” has strength. I do believe the mind is underestimated, so I have conflicting thoughts on it. For instance, if you put your mind into it, you can conquer almost anything. But, on the other hand, what if fear trickles into that “you can do it” mindset? It kind of puts a monkey wrench into the works. We all have some level of fear whether we admit to it or not, and some people can do it above and beyond the fear while it’s still present. A good friend of mine gave me a book to read called, When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron. It’s based on the Buddhism belief system. Although I’m of Christian faith, I do enjoy reading quality literature even if it’s based of another’s religious belief. It spoke about getting intimate with fear; getting to know fear. A few lines of this book says, “What we’re talking about is getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking at it right in the eye---not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and thinking. The truth is that when we really begin to do this, we’re going to be continually humbled. There’s not going to be much room for the arrogance that holding on to ideals can bring. The arrogance that inevitable does arise is going to be continually shot down by our own courage to step forward a little further. The kinds of discoveries that are made through practice have nothing to do with believing in anything. They have much more to do with having the courage to die, the courage to die continually.”

When I read things like these, I always think, “Wow that must be one strong person.” I can’t imagine “getting intimate with fear” as the book states. I want to run from it as far as possible. But the more I run the more it seems to find me. I might as well settle in and get to know fear like a friend, perhaps even treat it as a teacher. As I continue to read this book, I place it down and open my iPad to read my iBible. Yes, I have an iBible. I downloaded the NLT version where it talks in plain English - no ‘thus, thou, thee’ type of language - more so language used as though I was reading a friend’s email. I have learned so much through everyone’s thoughtful book suggestions and mostly, from the bible itself. Have you ever heard of someone saying, “Yep - that’s confirmation”, as they look at their forearms for goosebumps? They say, (and I have no clue who “they” are) that when you hear the same message two or three times in a short span of time, that it’s a message specifically for you. I totally believe that. I also believe that some messages that are “confirmed” to you are also meant to be spread so it can be passed on to someone else for confirmation. Perhaps this blog post is meant for you to read. Who knows, right?

I’m going to share a couple of things with you. First, a card my mother had given me for my birthday. While opening it up, my mom started staring at me. I kept reading and she began to cry, as well as I did. I have never read such a beautiful card in my life. A card that was specifically made for me, so it seemed; a confirmation.

"How to Make a Beautiful Life"
Reflection for a Daughter on Her Birthday

Love yourself.
MAKE PEACE with who you are
and where you are
at this moment in time.

Listen to your heart.
If you can’t hear what it’s saying
in this noisy world,
MAKE TIME for yourself.
Enjoy your own company.
Let your mind wander among the stars.

Try.
Take chances.
MAKE MISTAKES.
Life can be messy
and confusing at times,
but it’s also full of surprises.
The next rock in your path
might be a stepping stone.

Be happy.
When you don’t have what you want,
want what you have.
MAKE DO.
That’s a well-kept secret of contentment.

There aren’t any shortcuts to tomorrow.
You have to MAKE YOUR OWN WAY.
To know where you’re going
is only part of it.
You need to know where you’ve been too.
And if you ever get lost, don’t worry.
The people who love you will find you.
Count on it.

Life isn’t days and years.
It’s what you do with time
and what all the goodness and grace
that’s inside you.
MAKE A BEAUTIFUL LIFE...
The kind of life you deserve.

And one of my favorite scriptures in the bible is from Ecclesiastes 11...

“You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things, God will bring you into judgment. So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body, for youth and vigor are meaningless.”

Maybe this post will be confirmation to you...

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Blinded by Judgements

There’s always going to be people who hate you for whatever reason, critics who tear you apart, bone by bone and those who simply judge you without taking a second glance at their own life. It’s especially difficult to ignore it if it’s somebody you care about or love. It’s easy to brush aside the ones who are just in a mediocre standing in your life. Depending on your mind’s ability to flush out the toxins, it can either make you or break you. To be honest, I haven’t quite learned a perfect way of flushing these evil spirits, but at times, God gives me the understanding and discernment to realize their motives and reasonings for it all. Sometimes it’s rational and other times, it’s just erratic and uncalled for. The one common denominator: it’s out of “my” control. If you don’t like the way I do A. B. or C. - I can’t convince you that I’m doing it to the best of my ability. If you think my “X” looks bad today, I’m not going to make excuses or tell you that you’re wrong for thinking so. It is what it is. I can only control my emotions and responses to it. And that right there is the difficult part. It’s all easier said than done and practiced seldom as one would like. If someone says you’re not doing your job right, but yet you get the job done accurately and on time -- what does that say about the other person?

Sometimes I overanalyze and think that everybody at some extent feels ripped off in life. “Well he/she gets to do that” and “He/she gets to buy this and that” --- look at the big picture. If the “he/she” is buying this and that & taking more than the average vacation or five, maybe that he/she doesn’t have kids to feed, college funds to save for or a mini mansion to pay off. These are all of our choices in life. We choose what life we want most of the time. Other times, it’s just a matter of ‘luck of the draw’. Whatever it is - stop comparing apples to oranges and get rid of the bitter rage you have against those who have a different life. Each person has a cross to bear, whether it’s dealing with a hectic lifestyle that leaves you wishing for just two minutes in the bathroom by yourself or maybe struggles dealing with severe anxiety & depression. There are those who deal with the possibility of domestic abuse that’s hidden under the rug. There are tons of other factors, where if these “demons” were to rear its ugly head out from the carpet - you’d see how lucky you really are. Nobody ever fully loves their cross to bear. I grumble about mine all the time, but I do realize that there are much worse crosses to carry on my back.

Another critique about my life is that I can do more because I have more time than the average person due to my profession. Wrong. If I don’t submit my projects and work on time, I don’t get paid. Simple as that. The people who critique me are the ones who get two weeks paid vacation and x amount weeks of personal time off. I don’t get that. I have bills too. I may not be paying off a huge mansion or trying to keep afloat to put food in the mouths of children, but my job is just as important as yours, at least for me it is. Many people who work 9-5ers do not understand the lifestyle of a freelancer or those who work in sales. We get paid based on how ‘much’ we do. Some jobs wouldn’t even know if their employee was playing Words With Friends on their iPhones all day. 80% of Americans sitting at their desks right now are either updating their Facebook or Twitter account complaining about the guy in the next cubicle. I can do that too, but I also have the ability to hand in my work later. If no work gets submitted, tumbleweeds come flying through my banking account.

Mother Teresa said it so perfectly, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” The resentment of another’s lifestyle will leave you bitter - even if you claim you love them, you’ll always hate everything about them. Hate and love cannot coexist together. If you can’t understand another person’s struggle, then maybe it’s time to evaluate your own. Bob Marley wisely stated, “Who are you to judge the life I live? I know I’m not perfect and I don’t have to be - but before you start pointing fingers...make sure your hands are clean!” Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in The Cost of Discipleship, “Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others, we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

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

Friday, February 03, 2012

Please Accept My Apology

For as long as I can remember, I’ve never quite handled stress well. For instance, my body’s physical response is to get sick, mimicking a stomach virus, if you get my drift. Prolonged stress would bring on IBS and ulcer-like symptoms. I remember at the age of sixteen, I developed an ulcer due to a very stressful event in my life. It went away thankfully, but it really did a number on my body and psyche. I would steer clear of certain foods and would develop fears about getting an ulcer once again. Throughout my twenties and early thirties, it was generalized anxiety type of stressors, like the pressures of work, relationship issues and so on. All of us have stressors, but for some people like myself, I process it much differently. I internalize a lot of things and it ends up giving me a “stomach virus”. I even develop a low grade fever with it. I then started developing new symptoms to stress, like bleeding in between menstrual cycles as well as fainting spells, which happened at my last office job where I had to be taken out on a gurney and off to the hospital. I’m very familiar with the hospital due to my inability to strengthen whatever it is to cope with stress. I’ve gone to therapy, I’ve hired personal trainers to better my health and tried almost every natural homeopathic way available. Some worked, but only for a short time.

One of my fears is also driving to places which are far away, due to my IBS symptoms from stress. Many of my friends, including my in-laws who I love dearly may think I rarely visit because I don’t enjoy their company. It’s so far off from the mark. My in-laws are my family. I love them with all my heart, and it kills me to say, “I’m sick” when I know it’s from stress. Many people in my life probably think I’m a bit aloof or that I really don’t care to visit. Especially with sleepovers or if family and friends are generous enough to offer me a place to stay since the drive is long - I decline right away. For some reason, the most difficult thing for me to do is fall asleep in someone else’s home. It can be the most beautiful, safest and cleanest place on earth, but my eyes will be opened all night long. It has nothing to do with my OCD. It’s all about my comfort zone and fears. Another “real” factor of mine is that I am highly allergic to dog hair & dander through trial & error as well as diagnosed by my allergist. It never fails, all my friends who have dogs are constantly inviting me over, even though they know I’m highly allergic. I don’t want to insult anybody or make them feel as though their house or apartment is “dirty” in any way just because they have a pet - it’s just my awful response when I walk into a place that has dogs or cats. I get asthma-like symptoms. And as strange as this sounds, some dogs don’t have any affect on me whatsoever.

Here’s another thing that gets me... The other day my legs were killing me from all the stats they had given me during my hospital stay. I was told, “You think your legs hurt, but they don’t.” As I’m rubbing my legs to get rid of the knife-like jabbing pains, I was just so surprised to hear someone say that. It’s not in my head - it’s in my legs! Another time, someone had made a statement about how bad I handle menstrual cramps, while “every other woman” are able to cope with daily activities. I have dysmenorrhea which is a condition that interferes with daily activities due to the severity of the pain and nausea. I also have fainting spells when this happens. So when this friend of mine made this remark about how I should deal with it better, and that I should stop blaming it on being “sick” because all women get it - I literally stopped inviting her over and I also stopped going to her house just because she also thinks “it’s all in my head”. I wish that she could feel and experience just 2 minutes of what I go through for five entire days of intense pain and nausea. I’m not “wishing” her pain, I just wish some people would understand that sometimes it is a physical ailment. That’s why I think it’s so important that people don’t compare their life, ailments, lack of ailments or health with anybody else’s. We’re all different and handle things in our own way. None of it is “right” or “wrong” - it’s our own response, whether we choose to change it or not - or in some cases, unable to be changed. I wish more people could accept that other people aren’t like them.

I’m known to break plans more often than not. I remember one evening I was driving over to my friend’s house which was approximately 45 minutes away. After 20 minutes of driving, my vision started to get blurry and everything was so incredibly loud. I had to pull over because I felt the oncoming anxiety attack about to strike. Tractor trailers were hauling ass passed my little car, making it wobble a bit while I was parked. Each “swoosh” and wobble would set off a bigger attack. I soon was unable to breathe or drink water because it would come back out of my mouth due to my throat closing. Now, this event can be “all in the head”, but wow, the physical symptoms that your mind can give you is definitely real and scary. I called my friend and told her what had happened. She knows I have anxiety, but I think she also believes that it’s ‘not that bad’ because I don’t harp on it much. She made a “tisk” sound like she was pissed off at me and said, “Whatever, Deb”, and then hung up. For me, I couldn’t possibly hang out with her again only because she’s not “safe” to be around in my mind. She gets angry at something that is out of my control - or in this case, maybe I could have grasped some control. Sometimes it works and other times, it’s just a matter of time until the anxiety subsides.

Of course this brings me to another challenge in my life: depression. I feel as though people assume that I’m lying about my anxiety or “making up a story up” so that I don’t have to see them. I then start avoiding my friends and some of my family members because I’m scared to make empty promises. Most of the time, I’m okay, but that small percentage of when I get those extreme anxiety attacks are when I just wish more people would understand that it’s not about them at all. It’s not an “excuse” so I can go somewhere else or stay home. It’s about “me” and my lack of coping skills that I’m continually working on. Now with all that’s going on between my dad and my family, my response to stress has just been out of control. “Put it out of your mind,” someone said to me. How? My dad is literally dying right in front of me. How do you put that out of your mind? How does anybody put it out of their mind while seeing a loved one suffer? I can’t. I have so much great sadness to see my dad suffering every. single. day. for the past year and a half. I know people have seen and been through worse situations, but for me, this is the first time anyone in my family was facing the inevitable. My family is so close ---- so close, that it can easily be a double-edged sword and break us apart. There's always that fine line. That’s my worst fear. My sisters are my best friends. I love each one so much in such different ways and love my mother more than life itself, and my dad is my little buddy who makes me laugh even when I’m in the worst moods. Maybe I love them too much, because if I ever lost anybody in my family, I would die of a broken heart. I know I would.

So if any of my family or friends thinks that I don’t like them because perhaps I don’t call as much, or visit that often, or maybe I’ve just been ‘distant’ lately --- you’re wrong. I love you. I love you so much that I keep my distance so you don’t have to hear or deal with my bullshit ailments or anxiety. I don’t want to put that burden on anyone and feel bad when people take it the wrong way. And you know something? --I’m even going to blame it on having too good of a childhood with my parents and sisters. Maybe if I didn’t have such a wonderful childhood, I could cope better. (Hope that makes a bit of sense.) Maybe I’d be less ‘emotional’ with more of a grim childhood to look back on. Maybe it would have made me a stronger person. But, when therapists and others ask me about my childhood and I respond with, “All I can think of are wonderful things” - they all give me that doubting look, as if I’m lying. Of course we’ve all had our moments as a family, but we have been so fortunate for so so so long, which I am so grateful for. So, if I “appear” as distant lately, please know that I’m doing this for you and my family as well as to heal myself in the process. I’m different. I’m not like ‘you’. So, please accept my apology...and please accept 'me'.

(I usually don't write these types of posts, however I have never written something so deep from my heart before. I'll return back to 'normal' - whatever that means.)

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Stressed Spelled Backward...

It’s been a rough week, between dad being in the hospital, receiving bad news and having myself end up in the same hospital due to stress. Our family has been overloaded with an extreme amount of stress, anxiety and sadness lately. Seeing our father, aka “Superman” wither away from his illness and lack of will from hearing the worst news of all from the doctors, we’ve all been handling our stress in various ways. We also have in the back of our minds that mom may be affected by all this stress too, so we’re trying to do our best to ‘keep it all together’ for her, and somehow, it just winds up a big chaotic scene. We all love one another so much and so scared to see our own family break apart, either by arguments, or worse off, death. I can only speak for myself and say that this huge change of events has me in a constant state of turmoil. With a million emotions going through my system while getting ready to see dad and the family at the hospital, I finally shut down on Monday morning. My last tweet before I got bombarded with mind blowing chest pains was, “Special for the Day: Horse tranquilizers.” And boy I wasn’t kidding. I quickly grabbed a glass of water thinking it was just indigestion. It still persisted. I put ice on my forehead and the back of my neck. It still was there. This must have been the tenth 911 call I have made within the past six months. “Oh it’s Deb!”

The EMS came in a humungous rescue truck - almost the size of a tractor trailer. The guys brought me out into the tank-like truck and hooked me up to an IV and placed nitro under my tongue with three baby aspirins. As we’re doing 90 mph on the highway to get to the hospital, they were sticking the EKG wires on me. While listening to everything they were saying while lying on the gurney, the one EMT guy said, “Yep, she responded positive to the nitro.” I thought that was a good thing. Apparently, if you respond positive to the nitro, it’s the heart. I asked the guy if I was having a heart attack, and he said, “Well, the EKG looks fine, but we can’t go by that right now. We have to treat it as a heart attack until the doctor tests you.” Then he went on to say, “You women are complicated. You can have a stomach ache and it may be a heart attack. Men know for sure they’re having one.” The two men were both making me laugh on the way up there, while my chest pains were seemingly diminishing, which scared me because the nitro was helping. After a slew of blood work, chest x-rays and being poked and prodded every which way, the doctor came in and said he wanted to keep me in for observation. My sisters rushed downstairs from dad’s room to come and waste time watching me deal the best I can to stress. They all agreed that I should stay. ...And I did.

Things started to get comical, as they admitted me into my dad’s old room. I told my father, “Wow dad, this is like a 5 star joint - I’m jealous.” I guess I got what I wished for. I asked my mom and my sisters not to tell dad where I was. I didn’t want to stress him out any more than he was. But that night was the most awful sleep I have ever had. Between being woken up every two hours for blood work and being pricked with some shot in my stomach so my legs don’t clot, it was absolutely hell. My left arm had a botched up IV in it that was turning into a hematoma. I asked the nurse if this looked normal to them, and they said, “Yeah it’s fine.” One nurse came in and gave me like ten different pills, one of them being a stool softener. That was fun. I hadn’t eaten anything since 7am that morning and couldn’t eat the awful salmon they tried to give me in the evening. They told me I was not allowed to drink or eat anything until my tests were done. By the next morning, between no sleep, dehydration and no food in my system, they carted me off to my stress test. Immediately, one of the nurses gasped at my botched up IV and started to remove it so she could put another one into my arm. As I watched her do this, (cause I can handle watching any medical procedure, so I thought) I saw blood flying into the air and my vein out and exposed. All I remember was that the room started to brighten up to where I couldn’t see anymore and hearing the nurse scream, “She’s going vasovagal!!! Hurry! She’s going vasovagal!!!” I seriously thought I was having a stroke and listening to a whole other language. Never heard that term in my life.

When I woke up, there was a 6 foot something transgender woman standing above me while they put me on a bed slanting me upside down. She was screaming, “Think dirty thoughts! It’ll get yer’ blood pumpin’ in all the right areas ya dirty girl you!” I really thought I was dreaming, but there she was again saying the most frig’d up things to get my to wake up. ...And it worked. As they were juicing me up for electrolytes and trying to get my blood pressure and heart rate back to normal, the doctor ordered one of those medicine induced stress tests. I piped in, “No! I don’t want that! I’ll run on the treadmill! I’m fine!” They all looked at one another in fear, and within 15 minutes, I was running and getting my heart rate up to 165. Upon the final minutes of running, they juiced me up with nuclear medicine so they could see my “glowing heart” in their x-ray. As they wheeled me out into the waiting room, they literally placed me in a circle of probably ten or so 90 year olds who had just gotten their stress tests done sitting in their own wheel chairs. We were all facing one another like psyche ward patients in our backless gowns...staring at one another. Not one of them said one. word. at. all. I can’t tell you how awkward and creepy it was. After my echocardiogram and other tests being done, I felt slimy from all the gunk they had put on me. When I went back to my room, I wanted to shower asap, but the nurse wouldn’t let me because I was hooked up to a holter monitor. They gave me stuff to wash up with. I still felt icky.

I must have laid there in that bed for another ten hours watching Dr. Oz, stupid court shows and recycled news. I did make a very interesting observation though... During the evening hours, the nurses are drop dead gorgeous. When morning came, the nurses seemed to all look like Berta from Two and a Half Men. I guess seniority rules the hours. While rotting in my bed, my sisters came in to visit me and laughed hysterically over being in my father’s old room. I was getting text messages from one of my sisters showing me photos of mom and dad which were comical. But as you can see in this one photo, dad’s weight has dropped dramatically. After my sisters left, I was lying there alone and started crying. I felt bad for ending up in the hospital while I should have been there for dad. I started to think how different life would be without my father and how sad my mom would be not having her best friend around. She admitted that she couldn’t sleep without him and coffee wasn’t the same in the morning without him there to make it the way she liked it. All these little things just broke my heart and tears just started falling. One of the nurses came in to check my vitals and noticed me sobbing in my bed. She sat right next to me and asked what was wrong. She listened to every word and tried comforting me.

When I got home that night I crashed so hard that I could barely wake up the next morning. My legs were burning from these unnecessary cholesterol pills they had given me and my entire body was bruised from the IVs and all the other poking & prodding that was done to me. Dad came home the same day as well. He asked where I was though. My sister told him I was in his old room at the hospital and then said, “She’s okay, dad. She was jealous you were getting the 5 star treatment.” When I got discharged, the nurse said that I was stable enough to go home, and that the doctors would talk to me about what they have found, or what they didn’t find. But good news is: it wasn’t a heart attack. Now I can focus on dad and hopefully lift his spirits somehow. He said he couldn’t sleep because he’s afraid of not waking up.

I just really pray that my family pulls together and not apart during this time. We’re just so stressed out and sad over this, that we’re already grieving about something that has not happened as of yet. We’re all worried about mom’s stress level and her continued smoking (which is what brought on my dad’s cancer cause he was a big time smoker), and trying just to keep our heads together the best we can. I know death is inevitable and you can’t stop that from happening to anyone. But what use is it to have tension between family members when the primary focus should just be on the one who is ill? “This one isn’t doing enough”, “That one isn’t contributing equally”, “Oh now Deb’s sick too?” --- So this is my message to my family: Remember when I said I passed out from that “vasovagal attack”? Well it’s a fact that some people are only capable of “handling” so much at one time. Others can do it without blinking. If I can only do A. B. and C. and you’re able to do D. E. F. G. & H., realize that each of us handles stressful situations differently. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to be there. It’s only what we can handle at that particular time. I don’t feel that I’m a “weak person” for having to be hospitalized for stress. I have been there every single day for mom and dad, helping out in various ways, whether it be taking mom grocery shopping, staying with her at night, going up to see dad every day of his stay (until I got sick myself), cleaning, cooking for them and taking out the garbage - things they weren’t able to do. I have my own part and I appreciate yours. Don’t compare me to you or what you have done. It should be a team effort without conflicts or arguments. We should be pulling together and not tearing out each other’s jugulars. We should be grateful we all have one another as sisters and have wonderful spouses that are there for us when we need a break from it all. And just because I shut down from stress does not mean “I hate myself” as someone so arrogantly put, it means I’m having a hard time, just like you.

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it.” ~George F. Burns

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com