Saturday, September 29, 2012

Paleo: The Caveman Diet

There goes all my dinner parties...
There is not one diet I haven't tried. There hasn't been one diet that has really worked for me, except for Weight Watcher's - but for me that was like a starvation project. I've always had issues with weight -- up and down and getting round -- so I decided to bite the bullet and do a no carb thing, perhaps even the Paleo diet, also known as "the caveman diet", suggested by my doctor friend who is guiding me right now, cringing at every mistake I make along the way. Paleo's focus (or in my opinion because I know I will get corrected on this which is fine) is on cutting all sugars out of your diet, including grains like wheat bread, pastas, starches and even beans. The list goes on about what you can't have, but there are some perks. I'm Italian so this is very difficult for me to eliminate pasta, however, I'm also allowed to eat all ~the evils~ that I was told not to eat by my family doctor. Foods include: BACON. Did I mention bacon? Steak (grass fed which I never knew was such a thing), shellfish, burgers without the bun (which I do anyway) and any meat, especially fatty ones. ...What?  No dairy is a must, which is another, 'eh' moment for me. You can read about it more here. It's very very picky about the types of food, where it's from, like if you get fish it should be wild and not farm raised and beef should be grass fed, etc. For me, the entire process of my shopping cart drama is at a stumbling block right now. I can totally do a low carb diet --- not a problem (eh kind of), but when you're telling me to go out and find these particular pieces of meat instead of just going to the local grocery store and grabbing a few t-bones, I'm gonna have to go on the "Paleo Light" diet.

Of course, Lola sits & begs for my bacon now.
While you can eat all the goodies that the doc warned you about, there is another road block I have come across. How many times can I be creative with making eggs for breakfast? Scrambled, over easy, omelette, hard boiled, etc., etc. --- I'm egged out. I feel like that guy on Forest Gump: "Shrimp scampi, shrimp on a stick, shrimp gumbo, shrimp salad, shrimp rolls, shrimp cocktail...." It also doesn't sit well with me when I'm noshing on my favorite vice- bacon and not feeling as though my arteries are tightening up. The Paleo folks claim that the good cholesterol will rise due to the lack of sugar in the diet. I still have so much to learn, but for some reason, each bite of bacon gives me thoughts of EKGs and angioplasties. So I took the challenge and I'm on day 4 right now. Oh, and I was also told to not exercise. What? ...Yes. Thank you, God. But I still do my half hour per day on my bike. It's only for the start because sometimes newbies can develop the "low carb flu". What? Oh it gets better. So, without the carbs for energy for the first couple of weeks, exercising may be a bit challenging. They advise you to get adjusted for the diet before vigorous exercise. The first couple of days I felt fine. Last night was a different story. I was up from 2am till 10am with umm, 'digestive issues' if you will. It was like a goddamn colon cleanse. I must have lost 20 lbs within 5 hours. Too much info? Go to a different blog. I had to pop an probiotic to settle my tummy.
Still with me?
I spoke to my Paleo expert and he warned me about the low carb flu and how my body would need adjusting to this new way of eating. I guess I'm having a hard time because it's not "natural" for me -- or what I was raised to eat...which is pasta and bread and more pasta, so you get my drift. I get to have my wine but no beer. I wasn't a huge huge fan of beer, so that's not a problem really. I just don't want this to be another diet that didn't work. I'm not sure if I'm losing weight or not, it's only been 4 days, but today is a bad day. My stomach feels queasy and my energy is really low. While I know with any type of dieting, there needs to be adjusting. I'm used to the "I'M SO HUNGRY I CAN EAT YOUR ARM OFF" diet. I know after time your stomach shrinks and gets used to the moderate portions, but while on Weight Watcher's -- I was one hungry and cranky bitch. But, it worked. I lost weight. But, (another but) I gained it all back + some because I failed to keep on this meager type of dieting. It's hard and it's especially harder for me since I really don't eat a whole lot. My bad habit is eating my biggest meal for dinner and of course, lack of exercise. I have phases: I either overdo it with exercise or nothing at all. There is never that happy medium with me. 

My main goal is to be healthy even when I'm in my 90's. I don't want diabetes or any other ailment to keep me from living life to its fullest. I don't want joint pain, heartburn, stomach issues, or heart related diseases. I don't mind being a bit overweight, but I do want to lose a few, but most of all, be healthy for longevity. Don't be surprised, but I don't want to be a super model. You expect too much from me. (heh) I just want to be able to keep up with my Chihuahua and chase her around the yard a few times a day. I think that's more of a realistic goal, don't you agree? 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her over on Facebook and Twitter for her updates. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Work in Progress

While driving to the store with my mother the other day, we were talking about life in general and how different we become every ten years or so. She asked, "Do you notice how different we change every ten years?" I never really thought about it until I quickly reviewed my life in a matter of five seconds. Ten years ago I was a hot mess. Madelene and I had separated for a while to sort things out and I headed into a downward spiral of depression, which resulted in many alcohol binges. I had developed a lot of toxic relationships, friendship-wise as well as intimately. I didn't like myself very much...or at all. Ten years before that chaotic period, I was trying to pursue a career and landed some great jobs as a temp. It finally led me to IBM where I worked in finance, dressed like a stuffed shirt and traveled a few times (hate traveling) with my co-workers to other branches for senseless one hour meetings scattered throughout the day. Nothing like mud coffee, beige sheets and sharing a room with your annoying female boss at a Best Western. I hated it, but it was the only way I could make something of myself - to make money - to say, "Yes, I work for IBM", to which most of my friends were surprised at because ten years before that, I was the little dirtbag in school who would eventually quit. The funny thing is, most interviewers at a company will ask you, "Where do you see yourselves in five years?" I ask, "Where do you see yourselves in ten years? Do we even have ten more years left?" Sometimes I was actually tempted to say, "Well lemme' just get my little crystal ball out fer' ya." I needed the job though. No time to be a wiseass.

So here I am ten years later from being that train wreck who spent most of her time sitting on barstools fermenting her liver, partying every night and treating hangovers in the morning, to a new 'me'. Is it better? I'm not quite sure. I will say that I learned an awful lot though during my journey. I've been hurt badly by others, as well as hurting others as well along the way.  My apologies were all received, sometimes rejected and sometimes not. I've made a lot of mistakes, but no regrets because I learned a great deal by making them. I've burned a few bridges in my past, and when I think about turning around to cross over one, I step up to the edge and realize that it's all charred and unstable wood now. I can't trust that it'll hold me once again like it used to, in order to walk across. Most likely, it'll dump me like a sack of potatoes into a raging river. I'll stay on the edge thank you. If someone ever decides to build it back up again, I may take a step forward to see what's on the other side.

Still thinking within those ten years back -- I never cooked. I hated being home. I wasn't into pets or ever thought about having one. I didn't like the thought of 'contentment' or having a peaceful life. I wanted excitement every second of the day, every second of the night. I'm married now. I work from home with the occasional trip to a meeting or a film/photo shoot in order to do my work. And, I love it this way. I cook, I clean...I even have a dog. My corporate days are behind me now. My barstool days are long gone, but I still enjoy a good glass of wine or a martini (or two), mostly at home. If I am at a bar, it's because my wife and I love to eat dinner at our local bar and grill. But no more nights of closing out the bar or those awful hangovers. My life is filled with more family, friends and a passion for what I do in life - which is my work. I never had passion for finance and accounting or being stuck in some cubicle trying to make an unstable living, because well, there's no such thing as job security anyway. It can be taken away from you as quickly as it was obtained. I actually enjoy the moment instead of wishing it was Friday all the time.

I truly believe all of us evolve in various ways throughout the years. We change. We're no longer the people we used to be. We stop doing 'this' and start doing another 'thing'. We develop new friends and develop different mindsets and views on life. My views today are much different than what they were ten years ago. In fact, my book was written almost ten years ago, and although I still hold the same values of what I had written, my views have changed a great deal. I'm more accepting to different religions, learning many things from each belief or even the lack thereof. My 'right wing' views have tilted over a bit, leaning more to the left after seeing so much political nonsense. I like to be corrected when I'm wrong, no longer trying to hold on for dear life to the 'I'm right card'.  I'm willing to be accountable for my actions and having the ability to not retaliate when somebody hurts me. I now just walk away or remain silent. If you think that's "defeat", then that's fine. For me, it's stepping out of a negative situation to make a better life for myself, or in some cases, giving someone else a bit of peace from 'me' when I'm not welcomed. And that's okay. Look Mom! I'm all grown up now! ....But good God, I still have so much to learn. Maybe another ten years I'll reach that point. I'm a work in progress, please be patient.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Good Friend

As you probably already know, I'm very passionate about preventing our children from being bullied in school. Some survive it, some don't. We've all heard horror stories where a kid commits suicide because the bullying was just too much. Most of the time, the victim never tells anyone due to shame and embarrassment. They hide it and let it fester until it's too late. Bullying happens in schools, playgrounds and even in neighborhoods where they all congregate. Parents can't be there every second of the day, which is why I think it's so important to have all parents and children informed of what can happen if the bullying doesn't stop. I also write a lot about this topic because it's a personal one for me, having survived a suicide attempt that no one even knew about. I was bullied relentlessly by a neighborhood "friend". I was only 13 years old and tried to drink myself into a coma. I wanted to end it because I feared going to school the next day. I feared going to the bus every single day because she was at my bus stop. There was no avoiding her. I had to endure all of it. Even when I got home, she would call me with a bunch of her friends threatening me, "If you come to school tomorrow we're going to kill you!" Well, I'll do that myself then. That was my mindset. I can't even think of a more stressful time in my life. Some people think of it as minimal stressors of a child --- it's not. It's huge.

I was honored to be apart of "MyFairyTaleBooks", producing and editing their video kickstarter for their important cause and products. It's a storybook unique a current array of personalized child products. The main character of the story is your child, as each of our books will be personalized per customer. For example, Stacey, The Good Friend or Kevin, The Good Friend. In a time where bullying is on the forefront of many families minds, they aim to bring to market an age appropriate story with positive life lessons. I wish there would have been more types of things like this in my childhood while growing up in order to help me and many others who suffered with being bullied. Their kickstarter only has 29 days to go to meet their goal. If you're interested and passionate about this topic as much as I am, please contribute if you can. Even $5 dollars would help a great deal. Please click here and at least check it out. Thanks!

 
If you can't see the video above, please click here.

 For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wounded

I don't care if you're a hard-headed, unforgiving, bitter ol' sonnovabitch, but most everyone holds onto old wounds, or at least remembers them. New wounds always need time of course. You don't have to be the "nice guy" or the sensitive soul that absorbs way too much. While we're all wired so differently and beautifully, we all have egos and hearts that break and shatter. I'm guessing about 80% + people are in therapy trying to 'figure it all out', while the rest are out there seeking some sort of outlet (and relief) to distract them from the chaos that lives inside their minds. You've heard the saying, "Idle time is the devil's playground", and while that may ring true, we may also find ourselves running away from what hurt us instead of facing it head on. The fact remains, wherever you go, for however long 'something' distracts you, there is going to be a time when your moments are idle and your thoughts come fluttering through like an unstoppable break in the dam. Is it any wonder why so many people raid the liquor cabinets and refrigerators? We try to drink and eat our problems away, unless we can set our mindset to the advice that was always given to us: exercise. Bah, pass me the wine! Hand over the Ben & Jerry's!

"You have no mail."
You can go on all the vacations you want, move to different states or countries and even take on an entirely different job to give your life a "different feel", but at the end of the day, it's just you and your thoughts, and perhaps you pay a little visit to those old wounds again. The truth is: you can't run away from "you".  The hardest part is having no closure or resolution to whatever and whoever hurt you in the past. It's still up there in the air, floating around with a ton of question marks plastered on it. And while 'time heals all wounds', time doesn't really take the memory out of the equation. "I'll have another wine, please..."  And oddly enough, with each wine comes a new thought about what we were trying to forget about. Ironic, or just a curse?  You're lucky if you can resolve whatever/whoever hurt you, but sometimes, there is no way, either through indifference or through a departed loved one.

"Why you crying??"
Have you ever tried to occupy your 'sad time' by replacing it somehow? For me, I tried replacing my 'sad time' with a puppy. It worked for the most part. She gave us joy, laughter and even made my Dad smile and laugh the last days of his life. It was a way to ease the uneasiness of everything that was happening around us...and to us. I can't tell you how many times my puppy saw me crying. She'd come over, hop on my lap and lick my tears away until I smiled. If she wasn't there, I think I would have stayed in that depressed funk for much much longer. It did help. It didn't "solve". Even after any heartbreaking event, a breakup, divorce, a death -- I can't tell you how much getting this dog worked for me in easing the pain. But that's just me. Some people find relief and a sense of accomplishment by running marathons to raise funds in order to help cancer research. A few of my friends do this and it seems to not only give them great health, but it gives them quality of life and the awesome ability to help those in need. It helps everyone, including themselves.

My point is: nothing will solve your problems, whether new or old wounds. Things may help the process ease up a tad, but you can't rely on this and that to be the solution to all your problems. Improving your life with exercise, maybe pets, traveling or more hobbies, etc. --- whatever it is that makes you happy is the best way to at least be content with the wounds if they're not resolved. It's a side by side race of who will win first: old wounds vs. healthy distractions. But those who think that all of those things will cure all will be disappointed. I never expect miracles, but I do expect something in my life to ease the pain, whenever it comes up to the surface again...and it will. Because at the end of the day, it's just me and my thoughts. I'm content with that.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Grammar Nazi

Is it just me, or do you also cringe when you read a long-winded paragraph by someone with a ton of typos? I realize that everyone, including myself makes typos from time to time, and for me, I find a lot when I first review a blog post, but some people make me wonder if they have ever picked up a book or have ever put in the effort to make their sentences appear semi-intelligent. An old co-worker of mine on Facebook decided to post a lovely political rant that was just so irrational and absurd that I had to chime in. Mind you, I rarely ever comment on politics, unless it's just outrageously stupid. She's a Mitt fan and misquoted his percentages as well as typed her entire thoughts like a kindergartner. There were new sentences that weren't capitalized, periods in the midst of sentences as well as words misspelled so badly that I had to reread it. I kept seeing her post in my feed a few times, but decided, nah, not worth it. But it gnawed at me. How can someone feel okay with posting an illiterate political rant? I decided to comment, "Math and grammar are so important, especially if you're a republican." That's how our argument started. Most of her words like, "you are" were spelled, "your" and the misuse of "their, there, and they're", etc. She called me a snob and that I didn't have to read her spews of hatred for Obama and of course, was free to move on. I told her that was the risk of posting political views on Facebook. Some will agree and some will disagree, and most will cringe over your lakc ov speliling...

Day in & day out. Only concern: "Where's my stapler?"
Come November 7th, when all friends have broken ties over political debates and everything is said and done, the world will be a quieter place. Our timelines will be much more peaceful, and well, some of us will have less friends, at least on Facebook. Again, I wonder why people are so adamant about posting political crap when they know deep in their hearts, they want to rattle their friends' cages a little, but yet they don't want anyone to disagree with them. Going back into my memory bank, regarding this old co-worker of mine - I knew she wasn't the brightest bulb in the pack and had worked forever and a day at the same company in a small cubical the size of a shoebox. I really shouldn't have tackled her on the issue knowing how hardheaded and irrational I remembered her to be, especially when it comes to politics, but something about people posting public posts with bad grammar grinds on my nerves. She called me a "snob" and asked (and I'm copying and pasting this), "do you work??? or are you just a facebook grammer nazi? just wondering......." She can't even spell grammar correctly. As I sat there responding to her, I wondered the same question, "Why bother??" I then explained to her that I was a columnist and freelance writer, but then again, it felt like it wasn't a fair game at that point. But I had to.  She also stated, "And as far as my math and grammer, it hasn't affected my ablilty to work, so others don't have to. Your welcome for that."  Sadly, the job we used to have required customer service where if you had to type more than one sentence to make notes into their account, everything was abbreviated. For instance, (and this was mandatory for speed) if I ended a call with a customer and had to make notes, it would look something like this: "Cust tld me pmt wld be late. Waived chg & svc is back on. Left vm w/mgmt." ("Vm" being "voice mail".)

I don't know about you, but regardless if your job requires you to write complete sentences or not - even if you just had to pump gas, I still think it's important that reading and writing should be legible. Maybe it's the writer in me, but once I see someone who cannot spell for the life of them, (not talking about normal everyday typos here) I just cringe. I remember a long time ago when my friend was on Match.com, she would literally gasp at the way people had written their profiles. If you can't spell, get someone to help you, right? You're putting your best foot forward to make an impression and the lack of spelling is a sure sign of either not caring about appearance or intellect. And what's the first thing a woman notices about another person's profile? Appearance and some intelligence. But hey, maybe I am a grammar nazi and "snob" as she puts it. I just wish she would have insulted me with...proper grammar.  Oh, and please let me know if I made any typos in this post. Thanks.

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

Friday, September 21, 2012

It Doesn't Make Sense

Many are pissed off. You've mocked our GOD.
There are a lot of things about life I don't understand. I don't know why a crucifix dipped in the artist, Andres Seranno's urine can be displayed in an art gallery with our tax dollars funding it while the U.S. defends the Muslims for killing our ambassador over a horrible b-grade movie on Youtube that mocked their god.  Aren't we a "Christian" nation? Why aren't we rallying and burning their flags? Why is our country "a Christian country" anyway? Aren't we a melting pot? Guess not. But what makes one religion more protective over another? Is it more important? Isn't any "god" worshipped a priority? Or, is it just that some people are just absolutely batshit crazy? How come those crazy Christian extremists who want all homosexuals killed in the name of god not picketing outside of the art gallery where their own Christ is dipped in urine? I guess the homos are to blame as they continue to blame everything, even 9/11 on the homosexuals. Makes a whole lotta' sense.

Don't come knocking!
If I really dwell on what 'may' be going on with our government and all the conspiracy theories buzzing through every cable line and every mouth of a psycho-crazed bomb shelter building doomsday prepper, you have to really wonder what's real and what's "hidden" to the public. I can see how it can drive some people absolutely insane. For instance, if these conspiracy theories were false, then why did the show called, "Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura" get canceled? The government said that it gave the viewers a skewed image of the country. ...Did it? I remember an episode where they were talking about when and (if) we ever come into a real catastrophe like a nuclear fallout, terrorism attacks or even something self-provoked (for whatever reason), that they would pump antipsychotics into our water to reduce mass panic or even to control our minds. It does make sense though. T. Boone Pickens scattered up the most important natural resource: water. He invested in all the water plants of Nestle Corporation. Why doesn't the government regulate what's put into bottled water? Kind of makes you wonder.

I don't understand hate crimes. How can someone beat or kill someone over color, race or sexual orientation? I've always came to the conclusion that homophobes who committed hate crimes were people who were either secretly gay or somehow threatened by their own sexuality. But then you have to consider those who commit hate crimes against different races. Do they secretly want to be 'that race'? Is it how we're raised? Like Pit Bulls -- they say if they were raised to fight, they're going to fight to kill, but if they are raised in a loving family, they should be docile and like any other breed. Or is it in our genetics? Are we born to hate other people or is it some seed that was planted years ago to instill the "go get em'" mindset? I also don't understand why black people are calling each other the "N" word. And what's much more alarming is, people of hispanic decent are calling one another as well as black people the "N" word too, without any  repercussions. It's like calling someone, "brotha". Martin Luther King's turning in his grave right now hearing his youth call each other something they've been struggling with for years. It makes no sense.

/end rant.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"I'm Fine"

"I'm just fine thank you."
The biggest lie in the world is, "I'm fine." And oddly enough, the one question that really doesn't want to get answered is, "How are you?" Or in New Yawk, it's "How you doin'?" It's become more of a greeting than a genuine concern of one's well being. Strange how that works, yet it's the most common phrases that people use. I remember a funny story about a friend telling me, "Never ask him how he's doing - it'll never end."  I tested it like a jackass.  "How are you, John?" He looked up at me, shook his head and said, "Not good...not good. I lost my job the other day, I have all these bills piling up and I'm totally broke. I can't seem to get my car running because the transmission blew and I have no way to get to any interviews. Mah wife is bitching at me because she's the only one working and on top of that, she's always out with her friends. My dog is sick and needs medical attention -'fraid I hafta' put her down cause the vet bills are too expensive. My back went out last night and I can't seem to do a damn thing these days."  I stood there with my eyes fixated on him, waiting for the next country song lyrics to come flying out of his mouth, but instead, I just wondered how someone who hardly even knows me could unload so much - even if I did feel sorry for him. All of his friends and acquaintances have learned to never ask him those dreaded three words: How. Are. You? It's sad, isn't it?

There are so many people out there emotionally hurting and have absolutely no one to talk to. Madelene and I had bumped into a lady sitting at our local bar, and wow, did she unload on us. It seemed as though everyone in her life had passed away or left her life in some aspect, and she started bawling right there at the bar over her 5th Sambuca. My heart broke watching her sob, asking the bartender for more tissues. After she had left, the bartender says she comes in almost daily doing the same thing to a different person. Thank God he had a heart -- he said he felt so bad for her, instead of complaining about her excruciating emotional pain. The bar was her therapy appointment with alcohol being her self-chosen medication. There are no words to 'make it all better' for someone who has seen the worst in life, or so it seems. All you can do is listen, even if it means topping her hand with yours. That's all she wanted.  And it all started out with those three little words... How are you?

A good friend and neighbor of mine recently lost her husband of thirty years to cancer. She was out walking her dogs and I was driving by. I rolled down the window and said hi....and asked how she was. Her eyes welled up with tears as she nodded "yes" with very little words, blurting out, "I'm fine" -- but she wasn't. I just said, "I know...I'm right up the road if you need anything."  She nodded again, this time wiping away a tear. I felt all the pain she felt just by looking at her face. It was overwhelming how I could have absorbed so much in such little interaction. I know why she was holding back. It's because there are way too many people with insincere "how are yous" and less of genuine concern. She didn't want to bog me down with her sad story, but I would have parked my car right in her driveway and got out just to talk to her if she needed. But how would she have known that?  She wasn't "fine" as she had stated. I hate the fact I didn't drill her more so I could help her, because sometimes people just want to be left alone...or do they?  And she didn't probably want to 'bother' me.  So how does anyone know what to do in this case?

So next time, when you see me or if you come in contact with me and I ask, "How are you?" Tell me. Vent. I'll listen. I wish more people would stop using "how are you" instead of just saying, "Hey there" -- or just a simple, "hi". Be genuine and stop the bullshit.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Political Rants on Facebook

It's crazy how politics and religion can really make a difference in either developing friendships or ruining them. As they say, the worst thing to talk about with friends or new acquaintances is . . . and still, people do it. People challenge others to see where their political hats lie. It's personal. It's not something you can try to persuade someone else into seeing it your way because they have strong convictions about 'this' and 'that', while yours may be completely different. On Facebook, I'm surprised at how many people are so adamant about posting their strong political views --- even slapping the other 'party' in the face, which happens to be their own friends. Here's where it gets tricky... Okay, so it's a wonderful thing that you love your country and you want others to see how rotten 'the other guy' is. But if you really take a moment to step back, look at your Facebook wall --- aren't you only doing one thing, like challenging your friends who may have different views? Most people aren't even posting the good facts about their choice in candidates, but shit slinging the other guy to make others see the bad in their choice. If someone was only posting the positives about one candidate, then fine. I actually sit and take the time to read it. But when it comes to bashing the other one just to get more people on your bandwagon, I'm out. It's just as bad as me blogging about how awful any other religion is other than my own. I can share positive experiences about my religion, but once I dabble into the art of insulting those who worship a different god, it becomes a whole different game.

We're not monkeys. Stop yer' shit slinging! 
People are different. We all have different views and personal takes based upon our individual needs. Look at all the stuff thrown onto the political table: pro-life/pro-choice, the right to bear arms, marriage equality, taxes, healthcare and so on and so on. Each person has their own personal view of what they want the country to be like. It's never going to be the same for everyone. You will never win a political or religious argument ---ever. Years ago, I was very political, even opposing the majority of my friends. My importance was based on keeping this country safe, the right to bear arms and I was pro-life. These things were more important to me than my own rights of being able to marry legally. I said, "Well, I have power of attorney papers and a living will in case of an emergency with my partner." Years went by and I realized how different my views had changed. I'm neither Republican nor Democrat. I'm not political at all to tell you the truth because I have seen both sides run this country and I haven't seen much change other than crunch time months before election. The candidates do desperate things just to gain votes and well, I don't trust what any politician says. So these days, I keep my political views to myself and vote for the person who I think would be best for this country, although I know it'll be the same ol' same ol', in my personal opinion.  Why display my hatred for 'the other party' on Facebook if only I wanted to lose some good friends or acquaintances? It doesn't make sense. Speak highly of who you like, not shit sling the opposing guy out. It makes it look much more enticing if you want to show people who's best for the position.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When You Lose a Friend to a Relationship

As we sipped our wine at my favorite restaurant, my friend and I started talking about life, friends, relationships and the brokenness that sometimes occur with all the above. We're not guaranteed a lifetime of friendship with anyone, nor relationship, marriages, and sadly, a family bond. Conflict parts us. Life itself parts us. And lastly, death certainly parts us.  While the saying goes, people come into your life for a season, a reason and for a lifetime, we'll never be sure which ones in our life falls into which category. Backtracking to what my sister stated the other day -- "We're all on borrowed time. There is no soul that we own. We can only share and bond with those people in the here and now, until it's time for them or us to go." It made sense. While we think our daughter, son, mother, father, sibling, or friend are "ours" --- they can leave you through choice or through death and there is nothing you can do to stop it. If you don't let go, you'll never heal and move on. If you don't accept what has happened, you'll find yourself always having a huge void to fill. So much easier said and explained than done and experienced, however, it's all truth.

WARNING: Friendships may be temporary. 
In this case, between sips of wine & spaghetti bites, my buddy and I started talking about good friends who drop you like a hat once they find 'the new love of their life'. It seems to be more common than I realized. While it seems so juvenile and a bit high-schoolish to assume your friend should be there for you no matter what - your "BFF" should never leave you for anything - it's a fact of life that... life gets in the way. I think it's safe to assume that all of us at one point in our lives got so caught up in someone, that we forgot to call 'so and so' for the past couple of weeks, perhaps even months. And you know what --- that's okay. And when it's not okay, it's up to you to decide whether or not, and (if) they come back into your life when the steamy romance hits a brick wall, to let them back in. What would you do?  It's very sad when almost every single day and every weekend you're with the same friend and enjoying their company, and then -- BAM -- that one person comes into their life to sweep them away from yours. It's not so much of a 'jealousy' issue as it is 'what was I here for then' type of thing. Was I passing the time for you? Was I only here to keep you company until Mr. or Miss Right came along? It makes you feel used in a way.

But were you? 

In this particular case of my friend's situation --- a girl threw herself into a full fledge relationship and basically stepped out of everyone's lives around her. She placed her partner above everyone else, even if it meant hurting others in the process. After a while, her partner claimed that she was smothering him, and now she is floating back to her old circle of friends. Here's my take on this... People are wired differently. Relationships to them means their future life: husband/wife/kids/house/white picket fence type of dream scenario. And while others treat relationships 'easy come, easy go & great if it lasts' and not as their end all be all, it has to be accepted that some people just have different priorities than we do.  With that being said, it also has to be accepted from the friend who dove into this intense relationship to expect and prepare to not be accepted back into the circle, or that one friendship again. And if it is accepted, then great. Sometimes it feels like we've been used or just flung to the side, and yeah, it sucks. But think about the mindset of someone who is desperately trying to gain a committed relationship. All of the reasons of leaving the friends behind can be a few factors: a controlling partner, jealousy issues, fear that the partner may find interest in one or two of the friends, and maybe, it's just because the two are so engrossed with one another's company that they don't need anyone else.

Who knows...? 

Some relationships have strings attached.
Madelene and I have been through so many friendships, together and separately. If I want to go out to grab a bite to eat with a friend or a night out for a few cocktails, she has no qualms about it, and vise/versa. If I told her, "Hey Mad - I'm gonna go out with 'so and so' tonight, be back later" -- there is absolutely no conflict at all. And the same goes for her. We do not own one another. We respect one another's time apart and love our time together. We have a great deal of trust and honesty, which brings me to another point. I remember a few years back when I too, lost a friend to a full-fledge relationship. I understood it somewhat, and yes, I felt bad because my buddy no longer wanted to hang out or do the things we used to do. I came to terms with it. But one day, I called her up and said, "Hey, what about some appetizers and drinks for happy hour?" (We're talking an hour or two tops after work.)  "On a Friday night?" she gasped, "I can't possibly go out without Michelle on a Friday night, Deb."  Then it hit me that Michelle gets home after 6pm -- and I said, "Well, we can both have a quick drink at 5pm and then head home. C'mon, it'll be fun like it always is." She was shocked and appalled I would ever make a reference to go out without our partners, especially on a Friday night. It was then I knew I would never get another chance to hang out with my old best friend again...or at least like we used to. I totally get it, but sometimes I have to ask myself, "What did she really want?" And maybe, that was what she exactly wanted. You never know. So, I had to accept it and leave the option of happy hour open forever. It's still open till this day and yes, that's my choice.

So what would you do if your closest friend left you for a relationship - and weeks, months or even years later, they come back into your life after their love affair had crumbled apart? Would you take them back in, or would you shut them out?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Letter to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

I understand you're banning soft drinks in large quantities as well as trans fat in most chain restaurants. While I think it's a great attempt to improve our health, I also think you've missed a few other things that are bad for our health in large quantities. I would like to give you my suggestions if you're just going to limit it to soft drinks and trans fat, so hear me out.

  1. Make all bars limit each patron to two drinks maximum. Not only will you save lives by not having people drive home drunk, but you're saving women from the risk of breast cancer as "studies" show.
  2. Don't let any (one) person buy an entire pizza pie, unless they come in with a family of eight. 
  3. Make every New Yorker pay dues to a gym membership. If our health is so important, then enforce a gym membership rule. 
  4. Ban all white bread. 'Nuff said.
  5. Ban all "Americanized" Chinese takeout food. China is known for eating medicinal foods that enhance their health, not deteriorate it, (even if it's a lot of bugs and squiggly things). 
  6. Shut down all chain restaurants, ie: KFC, Fridays, McDonald's, Burger King, Popeye's, Chili's, IHOP --and the list goes on and on.
  7. In our good ol' Yankee Stadium --- ban all hot dogs and beer. (See if you get reelected.) 
  8. Limit all bagels with a schmear to a half a bagel with only one teaspoon of a schmear.
  9. Make all liquor stores sell every single bottle in mini liquor nips that are usually found on the counter. No more big bottles of anything --- just nips. And no more than two. 
  10. Make every deli in New York limit their cold cuts on each sandwich to only 2 slices of meat and the rest vegetables. Ban mayo. 
Thank you for your time and cooperation in this matter. I hope to see these rules enforced as well, since you've been really looking out for our health. We all thank you for taking away New York's right to order what they want. Now it's time for me to go out and buy a case of beer. Thankfully, that hasn't been banned yet.

Sincerely, 
Debra Pasquella

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

False Ammunition

Betrayal to a woman seems to be more detrimental than it is to a man. Women are emotional creatures with softer hearts, or seemingly so. They absorb so much and at times, they never let the absorption dry up, or for a lack of better terms, forgive; to let go. Betrayal can be many things. It can be finding out your husband or wife cheated on you. It can be finding out that a friend has spoken unkindly about you to another person. It can be finding out that your secrets have been revealed by someone you trusted with all your heart. Forgiving and forgetting are sometimes hard to do. You can either forgive, but the forgetting part is still going to hold onto that heart of yours. So how can we truly forgive someone when we're finding it difficult to forget? Madelene asked me yesterday, "Oh, you still talk to her?" She was referring to someone who had betrayed my trust at one time. I said, "Yeah, it's okay. I just won't tell her anything personal, that's all." And it's sad, because there are a lot of things I would still like to chitchat about, but I just can't. I can forgive, but but but... forgetting is very hard to do right now. I keep in mind that if I tell her one thing, it'll be revealed eventually. Once the trust is broken, is it ever repairable? Is it enough to keep a 'surfaced' friendship if you can't talk openly and freely? Is it even worth the time or energy? I don't know.

Then there are words. Words can hurt you more than physical pain at times. Words are often enough unforgettable in most cases, especially when they are directed at your character. Especially in anger, words can tear you down quicker than a gasoline soaked bamboo hut being lit by match. You can surely forgive them, but how will you feel about the relationship thereafter? How can you look at this person and respect them after all is said and done? Here are two concepts: 1. The person who is angry says things 'they don't mean'.  2. The person who is angry says all the things they actually really thought about you. So which one do you go by? Even if the angry person says, "I didn't mean what I said," but part of their insults had a bit of truth in it -- how can you determine how they really feel about you? And how can you still be friends with someone who thinks "that" of you? Hard call. As much as I'm an advocate for forgiveness, I'm also leaning on the side of 'forgiving and leaving the situation' as well. We're all human and I've said some things I have regretted in the past as well. That's the tricky thing with words: once they're said, you can never take them back again. You can say "sorry" all day long, but those words remain in the heart, sometimes forever. That person will never forget what you truly thought of them, even if you said, "I didn't mean it."  Why would anyone use false ammunition?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reliving 9/11

There's only so much I can really say about 9/11 that hasn't already been said. We've all remembered where we were at the time of the tragedy and how we felt as we heard about the second tower being struck. The annual memorial brings us all together to remember each and every person who lost their lives, but is it too much? I think about it and wonder how much of a heartache it would be for me if I had to go to my Dad's funeral every July 21rst. It's almost like the same thing. Yes, let us not forget, but also, not lose ourselves to grief once more and relive that terrible moment in time. I have mixed feelings. I watched the memorial on TV, and although I have come to terms over what had happened, I found myself crying as each name was called out, and especially the moment of silence for each plane that crashed. My question is: are the surviving loved ones ever going to have peace? Or are they going to continue grieving for something that had taken place eleven years ago? What about a general memorial where they honor all the victims at once? Wouldn't that make it less heart wrenching?

Between the various photos of the plumes of smoke billowing out from the buildings to even some where they have shown people diving out of windows ---- can't we all leave those awful images behind and just remember our loved ones as they were and not as they died? I don't want to confuse my opinion with forgetting what these evil terrorists have done, but sometimes less is more. This attack on the U.S. has brought out so much in us. It's brought out hatred for certain cultures and religions. It's brought out fear and intimidation even to just walk out onto New York City's streets. Yes, let's not let the terrorists win and go about our daily lives --- but really --- aren't we still a little scared? When will we leave it behind us, but continue to be strong as we pray for the families who have lost their loved ones in a senseless and hateful attack?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

I Love God...It's His Fan Club I Can't Stand

Some might disagree with this, but I am not anti-atheist - I just have so many questions in my mind about the feeling of not believing in anything, or for a lack of better terms, the feeling of having scientific proof tell you that there is no god. Here's why I'm so inquisitive... I'm not trying to 'poke' anyone or provoke ill feelings, but for me, if I somehow found out that there was no god, no heaven and no afterlife whatsoever, I would have nothing to live for, because I have nothing to die for. (Hope that makes sense.) My entire life, from morning till evening is dedicating my life, my heart to God and relying on Him to make me "okay". For instance, in the morning while I'm cleaning up and making my bed before work, I pray. I talk to God as if He was right there in person, and to me, He is. I set a time in the morning to sit outside and pray. It rejuvenates me even more than my favorite coffee. When I don't talk to God and miss a day - it's a usually a 'dragging ass' type of day where I'm just off kilter and not feeling well. Strange how it works. I'm not a saint, I am not your typical "good Christian girl" or try to be holier than thou - I just love my communication and relationship with God. That's all. So when someone tells me, "I have no belief in God whatsoever," I feel bad (not to be confused with pitying them), I just think how much more exciting life would be to know that there is something out there: someone, a deity, an afterlife, or even if they believe in reincarnation. To think that when our lives end, it fades to black is just such a hopeless feeling for me. Why am I here?


As some of my readers know, I love picking the brain of Snowbrush. I love reading every post he writes, and he has some fascinating views that I just can't stop inquiring about. Also, if I didn't ask him so many questions, that would mean generally I thought his blog was boring - and it's far from it. It's really intriguing and I apologize to him if my questions are just overwhelming, but but but... He mentioned that he was 95% atheist. My millionth question would be, doesn't that leftover 5% gnaw at you day in and day out?  The 5% that says, "I might be wrong" -- or even a fraction of a percent that still wonders must be torture. I know it's a low percentage, but for me, if I had 5% of 'what if' -- it would feel like 105%.

I find myself disagreeing with many people who pray to the same god I do. For instance there was this couple at our church a while back. I've written about them before, so I apologize for the repeat story - I'll try to cut it down into cliff notes. --Two lesbians who were together for over 20 years attended the same church we did. The church put them into a "lesbian ministry" to ~pray the gay away~. When someone told me, "Deb, there's a gay and lesbian ministry here," I instantly got excited and thought they had some special program for us - not to discourage us from our lifestyle, but to enhance our experience at the church. Not quite. The couple who got sucked into this ministry still lived together but practiced celibacy. They were living for God but didn't "practice" homosexuality any longer. When the one lady got up on stage to share her testimony, she. lost. it. Tears were pouring out and she couldn't stop sobbing. My first reaction was to tell her, "Stop! You're torturing yourself in order to please the members of the church!" They still called themselves "lesbians", but celibate ones. It was so strange I couldn't even imagine the negative emotions that went into denying a genuine love for another person due to what others believed. Whenever they threw a scripture about how homosexuality was a sin at me, I pointed out the flaws: Leviticus: old law - abolished when Jesus died. If you make homosexuality a sin till this day with only that scripture alone, you better not be planning a lobster dinner or clam bake. All the other references are out of promiscuity and lust -- for all hetero and homo relationships.

Religion does funny things to people. It makes them bitter. It makes them hate. It makes them kill in the name of god and it can destroy families quicker than anything. "Religion" to me is a bad word. I cringe whenever I hear it.  It makes some radicals burn the "holy bible" of different religions. It has caused so many wars among countries, and wars among family and friends. How then can it be a good thing? Odd as this sounds, I hate telling people that I'm Christian because they automatically pull back thinking I'm one of those radical holy rolling bible thumpers. My origin in Christianity but my relationship with God is a unique one and all my own. Although I wrote about this before -- at my father's funeral service, an old friend had asked me, "What religion did you convert to since you're gay and all?" It's that type of mindset that makes me want to separate from God's fan club and just have a personal relationship with God alone, instead of trying to please everyone or somehow hiding my true self to those who claim to be Christian. My experience alone with religion could have made me pull back and become an atheist. But God's presence in my life is much too strong. It's like telling me, "Madelene (my wife) doesn't live with you" -- and yet here she is.

Some would call it insanity talking to a "god" that doesn't appear in a third dimensional realm, while others see it as completely normal and routine. I'd rather be known to be insane than to risk the chance of not knowing God or having this incredible 'energy' I feel when I communicate with Him. I'll put it to you this way: I'd much rather believe than to take the chance of ignoring this incredible force that pulls me closer to God and risk my afterlife with Him. I only have proof through the Spirit, which brings me to a great scripture: "God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world's spirit) so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Sprit's words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can't understand us at all. How could they? For, 'Who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who can give him counsel?' But we can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ." ~1 Corinthians 2:12-16 ---- And it rings so true because so many nonbelievers think "religious" or spiritual people are just foolish or crazy - and yet some of them actually believe in ghosts. So you believe in ghosts but you find it hard to believe there is a deity or afterlife?  Sometimes it just doesn't make sense to me. Still questioning...

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Let's NOT Compare Tragedies

"Well it can't be all that bad since you've gone out a couple of times this week," she texted, while trying to prove a point that I was miraculously and emotionally healed just by going out for a bite to eat (and drink) with either my mom or my wife at the local bar and grill. Did she just expect me to sit home and cry for another six months or so? Would that prove to her that my love for my father was genuine? My friend was very angry, bitter and very sad over a few things. She's going through a horrible divorce after an abusive marriage and her dog just got hit by a car and didn't make it. She is self-medicating heavily, and dangerously I might add. She continued on with her rant... "I've been drinking and popping xanax from morning till night not getting out of bed for nearly a week because of my sadness between my divorce and my dog. My dog wasn't just a pet, he was my world." My response was, "I'm so sorry you're feeling awful. You went through a terrible loss. Give your heart time. You went through major life events, so give yourself some credit and be good to yourself. Drowning out your liver isn't going to help you, and you know what they say, the best revenge is living well. So defy all the temptation to self-sabotage your well-being and you'll push through this much more easily." (This was word for word taken from my iPhone.) She said, "It may be different for you because when we grow older we grow more apart from or parents, so it's different. My dog was by my side all the time. There was more love."  ...........Really? She basically downgraded my relationship with not only my father, but with my mother too.

To all the animal lovers out there (as I am too), take no offense, but how the hell can you compare the life of a person you love to the life of an animal? And while I also think that my little Lola is "part of the family" and love her very much, I also know in my heart that humans come first in my world in terms of life. However, with that being said, I would never, ever minimalize anyone's grief for their pet who is part of their family, ever. I would never state "Oh since you're out and about you must not love your pet" --- and just by merely stating the word "pet" gets her all riled up. She yelled at me once again, "He's not just a pet!!!" I know that in her grief, she is lashing out, but once you compare my experience with yours, and especially if you downgrade my feelings, the argument is over. I told her to be well and that this would be my last text message to her, ever. We all mourn differently for different people, different PETS, and different reasons altogether. My sadness is not the same as yours. If you choose to suck down vodka from morning till night -- good luck with that. See if you pull out of your depression faster than I do. And while not trying to sound bitter, I actually feel very sorry for her because she has no outlet other than her drugs and alcohol. What's sad about this is that she and I never had a fight within the seven years I have known her.

I want to be there for her right now, but I have no energy or patience to deal with someone who is irrational and irresponsible. Grief can really bring you down a very dark road...if you let it. I can't respond to random texts that say, "i iii am so f**ked up rt nwo adn im gonn a go to teh bar donw tehh road. Wana come wihtt me?" Verbally talking to her is a whole other can-o-beans. It's all Greek to me. To the best of my ability, I can only help to a certain point. I don't have tolerance for people who are ossified and yet want to communicate or reach out...or say upsetting things that hurt my feelings. I'm not in the mood and I have just gone through one of the most hardest challenges in my entire life. Not once did she ever, ever ask "So how are you doing?" Never. It's all about her. Thankfully she is "unplugged" - meaning she is against computers, the internet or anything technical except for her phone to which she continues to text me in slurs. Now it would be a much different story if she contacted me and said, "I haven't gotten out of bed for nearly a week because I can't stop crying" -- because I could have then been there for her without the vodka making her into a demon. I understand that alcohol addiction can go beyond and above when in times of grief, but if you don't have respect for yourself, how can anyone 'get through' to you?

Maybe you think I sound bitter in this post, but in all seriousness, I feel very bad that I can't be there for her right now and yet, I feel justified in my choice due to her actions. After the loss of my dad, sure I've stayed in bed at times unable to get up and ready to face the world. I isolated myself because I couldn't face anyone without crying. And sometimes, it still happens. There are times I can't even see my own mom because I want to 'keep it together' for her - not let her see me cry for a couple of reasons: to provoke her sadness more or to make her feel less important. Sadly, sometimes people actually think that and I don't want any of those negative feelings being portrayed to her. I've self-medicated with a few glasses of wine, but knew when to say, "Ok, no more." In fact, I have been drinking much less these days because I know it'll only make me worse and amplify my sadness. My mom asked me yesterday, "Why aren't you having a drink with us?" And although I really wanted one, I just told her I'm trying to watch my weight, but the fact is, I want to be in control of my feelings around her. I want to make her laugh, not cry. I have plenty of time to cry by myself if need be, which is okay. It's healthy. ---Side note: once my mom and I stayed away from alcohol for three months to see if we could lose weight. We only lost 10 lbs so we said, "Screw it, the ten pounds isn't worth it," and then opened up a bottle of wine. We always laugh at that.

So what's my point?? Do I even have to make one? I'm just a bit aggravated about how insensitive some people can be during their own times of troubles. For me, even if I'm going through the most horrifying tragedy in my life, I would never insult someone else's 'lack of' grief or compare it to mine. I would always be there for them, but this time, I. just. can't. Part of me feels like a horrible friend and yet part of me feels slightly relieved to be away from a self-destructive person who has little to no compassion or regard for human life, as she's mourning for her PET. I'm sorry, but don't even go there with me. And now I must go and hug my dog. Ironic, huh?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Planting the Seeds of Faith & Fate

Your life isn't for nothing - everything you do is for something. I remember weeks before Dad passed, he said to the social worker, "Ya can't believe it - it was like yesta'day when I was out working two jobs makin' money and enjoying life, n' just like dat - (as he snaps his fingers) - it's ova'!"  She looked at him and said, "But look what you did, Charlie? Look at all your accomplishments. Look at all the families enjoying their backyards because you laid the foundations for them. Look at all the people who enjoyed a good meal because you ran a fish market. You made a huge difference and you're still making a difference today."  Life can seem grim and hopeless, especially when everything you've worked so hard on is initially over. But when you truly think about it -- is it over? Have you left something behind that people can still look back upon? Have you planted seeds that people are still appreciating? Even good advice is a seed planted. Being an inspiration to someone is a seed planted. All these seeds can grow into a much larger gift, and although you may not see that gift grow into full bloom - it was because of you - it was your doing.

For years I was getting discouraged with my writing. As most freelance entrepreneurs hope to have their dreams fulfilled, mine was taking a very long time and still, I try to pursue some sort of 'greatness' that seems to crumble at my feet often enough. But I still try and plug away. I remember one of my most discouraging days when I just almost gave up. I was even thinking about taking my book off the shelves, (or online) and simply deleting my entire website. Deleting "me" even. I then received an email from someone who had purchased my book, however never even had read anything in my blog. She thanked me for saving her life. Her life?? I'll never forget it. She was going through a terrible time with her breakup and was going to start up her car in the garage...with the doors closed. She instead, picked up my book and started reading. She said she never put the book down and also, never started up the car in the garage. I was so happy to hear that something I had written had made a huge impact on someone else's life. My book wasn't supposed to "save lives", it was just sharing what I had gone through. But still - the seed was planted, and gratefully, she is here today happy in her marriage with the person she was supposed to be with. My hope in my writing was saved as well. Even if it helped one or two people, I still made a difference. And with that, I can't even take credit because for me -- it was God making a difference. He was the one working through me in order to finish that book. Every ounce of inspiration poured into each chapter was Him...not me. I only told the story.

There are many people who believe in quantum physics or how things happen for a reason, as well as pure coincidences (which someone brought up to me in a previous comment section).  That's all up for interpretation and whatnot, and can easily be debated. Just as someone who is going through a breakup can say, "Well, we went through that for a reason - I was supposed to meet that person in the big scheme of things," while other people can tell you, "What a huge mistake!" Even if the "mistake" and bad experience happened, wouldn't you also think about the learning experience behind it?  And perhaps even think about what you don't want in your next relationship?  "Jack" was married for twenty-five years, had three kids and then eventually divorced due to his wife's infidelity, leaving him to only enjoy weekends with his kids. "Why did God do this to me?" Some blame God, or that God is somehow punishing them. Some believe it's karma. Years later, Jack remarried another woman who had more in common with him where they were not only husband and wife, but they were also best friends. So, without that divorce, he would have never married his new best friend. Some call it a "messy life", while not looking back at their own life's map.

Seeds are planted every. single. day. of your life. Even small things, like adopting a pet has helped me a great deal. I rescued Lola back in May and I can't tell you how much it has helped with my anxiety, especially with my dad's recent passing. She has made me smile and laugh through tears of grief because of her craziness. She has brought such joy into our lives - more than I ever imagined. So just by making the choice of picking Lola up at the shelter was a huge step in not only rescuing this pup, but also rescuing myself.  I believe there are conscious and subconscious steps in planting the seed of fate. Sometimes you don't know why "this" is happening to you. I can sit around all day and curse the skies because Dad is gone, but I won't. He was suffering terribly, and to have my selfish nature "wish him back" or to curse God for taking Dad would only prolong my grief and distort the "reason" why he is not with us today. It would also make me very bitter. I'd rather him in peace and not in agony, as hard as that is for me to say or even think with my selfish-nature. We all have that selfish need to want the person we love to always be with us. But, in my faith, God is in control --- always --- and with that, I trust Him with all my heart.

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

"We 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 in 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

Here are some randomly picked inspiring tweets:

The  is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to.-Psalm 118:6 ♥  

No matter what happens in your life, trust in God and he will direct your path(s). 

Sometimes, life doesn’t turn out how you planned it. Surprisingly, It turns out better. 

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Being At One ~ Being At Peace

There's a certain connection with everyone, from every walks of life, male, female, varied religious views, race, background, etc., etc. And while we're all so different in so many ways, we're all so connected to that big mysterious 'ending' we all are on the path to. Is it an ending, or is it a new beginning on a better path? Philosophers and religious people can believe and rant all they want about how the ending truly ends, but what really happens when we die?  Where do we go? Do we all meet again, and what will our next path after that be -- or is that our final destination? As a Christian, I do believe we go back to a 'oneness' to which they call heaven. I have no clue 'how it is' or what it's like up in "heaven" -- I just know that it's a resting place - a place with no physical exertion or emotional torture or even sadness. And as a firm believer in God, I still have many questions left for Him. For me to say, "well this is this and that's that" would be ignorant and assumptive just because we've heard of "paradise", it does not mean it's going to be like that.  God promised He'd have a room prepared for us in his house up in heaven - to which that can be interpreted in so many ways. Is it a real modern looking everyday 'earthly' house? Or is it something that humans would never comprehend? Science will never prove anything otherwise. We only rely on faith, and who can argue with what one believes in?

Getting back to that big connection that everyone has with one another, there is always something in common with someone who is completely different than you. Sometimes it's past history, similar life events that have taken place or perhaps just emotional ties where you feel the same way about something in particular. As I was sitting at the bar having lunch with Madelene yesterday afternoon, a woman from a completely different walk of life than us started talking about her life and what she had been through. For whatever reason, we seem to draw people in who need extensive therapy. (Don't we all...?)  And while listening to her woes, I finally saw the connection: missing a loved one. "But where isss heeeee?" she asked, crying her eyes out, while speaking about her son who had recently committed suicide, leaving behind his wife and daughter. She had gone to psychic mediums and all sorts of ~alternative~ methods to contact her deceased loved one. Odd as it sounds, before we walked into the bar, I asked Mad, "Would you ever go to a psychic medium to see how your dad or poppy is doing?" She said firmly, "Deb, we don't believe in that. Remember, any spirit can tap in pretending to be them, especially on a Ouija board." She was right and she knew where I was heading with that. I guess I had a weak moment. But, getting back to this lady who unleashed all of her sadness on us -- she was questioning the same as I was, and yet we all had one thing in common: faith in God. So why would we worry about where they are? Aren't we content that they're with God right now and being taken care of?

The point is, regardless of how much faith you have in God, there will always be unanswered questions. Faith is a huge step in believing 'this way'. But still, faith without the scientific proof still can be faulty and yes, some people like myself have those weak moments where we just want that little itsy bitsy tiny truth that lets us know they're well and doing much better than ever. Then I think, how can we be true faithful Christians if we still have questions, regardless of what the Bible may tell us. And even so, the Bible can be very vague and 'fairy tale-ish', as far as what happens when we pass on. Yes, we'll be with God in heaven - but not all go to heaven as far as the Bible's concerned. Then you have a ton of reports about near death experiences where someone dies momentarily and then sees that big bright light where deceased relatives are greeting them at 'the door'... And most of these stories are very similar. But no one has ever said, "I saw God!" ...Not to my knowledge anyway. They only saw their relatives. I have questions about that. As I connected with this woman at the bar, I rarely spoke about my own grief, just because she was hysterically crying, trying to compose herself the best she could. "A mother isn't supposed to bury her child!" she kept saying as she banged her fist on the bar. I can't even imagine. Then she said she felt guilty for telling her son before he died, "How could you be so selfish to even think about suicide and leaving your daughter without a father?"  I quickly chimed in and told her that was her way of saying, "Please don't leave."

Guilt is an awful emotion that plagues many of us, especially when we don't get to apologize or forgive the person who is now gone. It sticks with us for a long time, if not forever. She has this gnawing sense of guilt that she is struggling with even more than the passing itself. All these raw emotions and a huge loss in her life had her sucking down more than five Sambucas in a row. She was self-medicating and ironic as this sounds, has a wellness center for healing other people. "Isn't that funny? I own a wellness center and yet I'm a wreck!" I reassured her that being human and having these emotions is something we all go through. It's what makes her relate to people more on a more intimate level. What -- so you have a wellness center - so you can't help others? You may be able to help others through your own pain and heal yourself at the same time. It's the same concept as someone being an AA director without having the experience of having been through a an alcohol addiction. You just can't relate if you haven't been there. And that's where our connection with the world resides on: relating on this journey called life. We all have questions, whether we admit to it or not. If you don't have questions about where you'll go after your die or you are completely confident that you'll be meshing into the soil and that's it --- your mind will still wander over about different beliefs. It's only human.

But what if...?

I do believe there are times where "faithful Christians" will have a standard belief system and no room for any other beliefs. THIS IS HOW IT IS AND THAT'S THAT. No questions asked, no wonderings about anything other than the written 'vague' word of where we'll be when we die. When it's that hardcore and no room for interpretation or different views, many can sway and even convert to atheism or agnosticism. My question is: when someone of a particular set religion turns to atheism, do they still have questions about the afterlife? And do they still think about God and if there really was a God? Or is there atheism all about rejecting God's followers? (Which would make a heap of sense since most of them are so self-righteous and judgmental.) And even with a lack of belief, or full-fledged belief of "GOD" and religion itself, we all have a connection of wonder that leaves us ....as one. At least, this is what I believe.

What do you believe?

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook.