Thursday, December 27, 2012

And You Wouldn't Know it

On Christmas Eve, Madelene and I have a little tradition that we never break. We go to our favorite restaurant, sit at the bar, order a dry martini straight up with olives and an antipasto for two. We then head off to my sister's Christmas Eve party. While sitting at the bar this year, we noticed two older men at the way corner end and a few stragglers to the side of us. The female bartender was swamped with orders from the tables as well as right in front of her. She couldn't pour fast enough. She looked like she was ready to throw in the towel. I said, "Come to the other side of the bar and have a drink with us," - in jest of course, and she said, "Ugh God I wish!" It wasn't even minutes later when the old man sitting over in the far corner screamed out, "Goddamnit! This is the worst Manhattan I've ever tasted! Are you kidding me?" -- He went on and on about it. A sufficient, "Can I have another drink, this one isn't very good" would have sufficed, but he made sure that this bartender felt like a pile of crap. When he was finally muzzled with another cocktail, I heard him complaining loudly about his wife's procedure at the hospital that went terribly wrong. She passed away due to malpractice right before Christmas. He used colorful words to describe the lack of compassion the doctors had when giving the gentleman the bad news. He was brewing with anger and sadness. How horrible to lose anyone you love during the holidays.

I can give you a slew of sad sob scenarios to "make excuses" for one's less than desired behavior, but in reality - is it acceptable? In my opinion, you either have to be a really evolved soul or just immune to the bullshit people will pour onto you, especially in a bar. I was impressed with the way the bartender handled it. "Oh sure, not a problem! I'll make one for you right away and you let me know if that's okay. If not, we'll try something else, okay?" She was so accommodating and ignored his nasty remarks about the drink. That takes a lot of inner strength to do what she did. She treated him even better than before - making sure his soup was hot enough and that his appetizer was to his liking. She spoiled him, and in return, he smiled and said, "Thank you so much, dear." He needed that reassurance that there are compassionate people out there. He needed some generous soul to fix the pain he had inside, although it'll probably never be "fixed" --- but a soothing response especially on Christmas Eve with his wife no longer by his side was probably what the doctor ordered. When she walked past me, I said, "You're just amazing."  She giggled while pouring another drink for another customer and mumbled out, "You have to be in this line of work." But she's wrong ---- you don't have to be. You have a choice: tell it like it is and make the drink even worse, or go beyond the call of duty.

The ego always gets in the way & a smile can easily mask depression. 
It's so important this time of year to soften your hearts, forgive one another and show the ones you love how much you care about them. There are so many people going through "invisible" illnesses, like severe depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder and overall life circumstances that make it even worse. Love one another and remember how fragile the toughest person can be. If you choose to intentionally hurt someone over the holidays for a valid reason or no reason at all, keep in mind the emotional factors or hidden mental illnesses one can have. Keep in mind the trials they're going through or perhaps their loneliness. Sometimes, that person has nothing to lose to attack you back tenfold. I'm not saying "be nice" so people won't take revenge out on you, but be careful about the ones you may hurt over the holiday season. It can be the last straw for them. We live in a society where opinions fly freely and our patience runs out quickly. "We don't have time for this," or "I can't be bothered" may fall out from your lips. But when it comes to, "He/she deserved what was coming to them" --- you can be the end all be all and never even know it. We don't know what people are going through or what level of sadness or rage they have going on. Everyone is a reflection of who you are. Have you ever heard the theory of whatever you don't like about a person is what you don't like about yourself? I truly believe that. So get out there and do something nice for someone, or at least, respond appropriately, and lovingly.


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!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

NRA Logic

Mental illness is thrown around so much these days, as well as the pills that are prescribed for each diagnosis. I truly don't know what to think other than this has never happened before the 90's. I can't blame it on a single thing, neither can anyone else. You can have all the guesstimations in the world, but none will tell you the entire story. What are the ingredients for a killer? The 'profiling' class example are the kids who are loners, bullied or awkward in some way. If an outcasted kid is that depressed, would he even care about his own life? And if he doesn't care about his own life, will he care about yours? Will he care about your children's lives? Of course not. And to top this guesstimation off -- add a dash of revenge into the pot. In today's world, kids aren't only suicidal - they're homicidal as well. It's not just 'oh woe is me' - it's more like, 'woe is me and I'll get you back for your happiness and joy in life'. So plop a ton of anger onto the loneliness, depression, the awkwardness and the bullying. That's explosive. Can it get worse? Sure. Add the media coverage of all the shootings from day till night emphasizing that "this was the biggest massacre yet". The loner thinks, "Well I can think of a better and bigger massacre." Those are the ingredients in my unprofessional guesstimation.

The NRA wants to place armed guards in every school. Didn't help Columbine High School all that much. It may have slowed the killer down, but not only did he shoot people, he shot the guard as well. The killer isn't necessarily going to walk into the school as an outsider. He's most likely inside, from within. So how is a guard supposed to stop a premeditated killer who has already plotted and schemed his massacre? He already knows the guard is there, so wouldn't he have a backup plan for him too?  I wonder if the NRA thinks about this much. Their logic is questionable. While I'm all for the right to bear arms to protect your home and for sportsmen and hunters, I'm also concerned about the lack of background checks and semiautomatic weapons. If you're protecting your home, you do not need a semiautomatic. One shot will do. If you're not good at shooting, then you should not own a gun. It's that simple. I don't understand how placing a guard in every school is going to help. While we all want to keep our kids safe, there is nothing that will protect them from an unpredictable kid with a plan, not even a guard. And how much more do we have to pay for guards "protecting" our kids?

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, December 21, 2012

The Mayan Prophecy

December 21rst was supposed to be the end of the world. I woke up to find all my patio furniture slapping into my sliding glass door because of the high winds and rain. ...Can it be? To save face, many said it would be a "new beginning" - which sounds much better. It kind of reminds me of a bizarre New Year's Day where you look back upon all your regrets or things you would have done differently to start a new leaf and do them the 'right way'. Some believe we're supposed to become more evolved and headed into a new spiritual realm of consciousness. Deep. Others simply think it's plain ol' bullshit. Our calendars on the wall ends at December 31rst, however it doesn't mean the world will. And maybe, those who won't admit that they were actually a bit frightened of this date may have a change in character - change of heart - a change in attitude. I find this day to be a positive one: new beginnings, new hope, a new sense of freedom and appreciation for life. Don't ask 'why didn't this work out' or 'why didn't that work out' --- it's supposed to be 'as is'. People find themselves disappointed after having super high expectations of whatever - relationships, work-wise, life in general and then ask, "Where did I go wrong?" But, did you go 'wrong' or did you go on a path that was unforeseen? I totally believe (and have experienced) you can make all the plans you want in the world, but God can steer them in a totally different direction. It's the bigger picture that's been forgotten about. Fate? Destiny? Whatever you call it --- it's real. How can it not be? So even though it may look like the apocalypse out there, try a different perspective. Everything that has crumbled beneath your feet can only be built back up better and stronger.

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!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is It Enough?

At times, apologies are more than welcomed and surely a brave act of love and a willingness to oversee any past hurts that have been endured. But is it enough? Words are sometimes meaningless. And the old cliché, "Actions speak louder than words" can be applied here. There's something to be said for a constant persistence of sincerity - a genuine act of regretted actions in the form of a friendly invite, a "welcome back" if you will - if one accepts of course.  With anything in life, I weigh out the cons and pros. It may sound corny, but it really works. I even weigh out the cons and pros of a past friendship, an old job opportunity, to even bringing something new (or old) into my diet. Anything. Is it worth it? Will it (or they) improve my life? What if "just taking a chance" is the only option you have?  Fear can play a major role in your decision to bring back something in your past. Or, should the past be completely forgotten about? What if your past is still haunting your mind? What if the past is still very much current - as though it never left? What if it took only one phone call to reconnect to an old soul once again?

Suzanne worked with me years ago at the phone company. She got her cousin, Jody a job working downstairs in the repair department. Whenever you saw Suzanne, you saw Jody. They were not only cousins, they were best friends. They've been like this since childhood. Both ladies were single and still out and about in the dating scene. It took one man to ruin this beautiful friendship and bloodline of love. Without getting into all the details, these two ladies haven't spoken one word to one another for almost five years now. The blowout they had was so intense and so hurtful, that Suzanne just cannot get over it. Jody on occasion will throw out an olive branch, but Suzanne quickly snubs it out by not responding at all, letting her know that her offerings mean absolutely nothing to her...or do they? But what about their past? What about all the good time and laughter they've had? What about their forever bond? Or has it been completely snipped off by the lack of trust on Suzanne's part? While we all make mistakes, isn't it worth a shot to accept the apology if they have proven to still be persistent in attempting to reach out to you? If she had just said, "Well I'm sorry" and then just left it in the air without any other solid attempt, then maybe I'd say it wasn't very sincere. But for five years, Jody has been making attempts (almost to the point of begging) to mend the friendship, or at least make peace. Most of all, to be family again.

What about love relationships? What about normal everyday friendships? It happens to every kind of circumstance. Does forgiveness mean forgetting? Of course not. But when you say "you forgive", the actions of forgetting will draw nearer only due to the love you have for that person. Proof is in the pudding once that person, the one who hurt you, shows you that they are in fact different, or acknowledges that what they've done was a complete mistake. I also believe the gift of forgiveness is for the one who is doing the forgiving. It takes the heavy burden of anger or any bitterness off the shoulders of the person who was hurt. It makes life a little better, even if they decide to never speak to their offender again. But if you don't give people a chance - the people who meant the world to you at one time - then how is that 'taking chances in life'? By giving chances, you are taking chances.

I have been on both sides of this fence. None of it was a blast. On one hand, holding a grudge for me means less sleep, more anxiety, more various symptoms of stress. Even when I said, "I forgive you", I found that I was still having sleepless nights or periods of stress ailments and didn't know why. Then I truly went out of my way to connect with the person again, and my stress seemed to have lessened. I slept more. Strange. Your body can subconsciously shake you around so to speak until you do the 'right' thing, or what you really want to do but can't. I'm learning a lot about this past few years and there has to be a science to it. So next time when you say "it's okay" and walk away without fully meaning it, keep in mind the power of a genuine heart. It takes courage to both forgive and to apologize. Both have to be sincere or it's just a waste of time. Life's too short. You have to decide, is it enough?


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!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Wanted: Personal Shopper

It was definitely an odd day today as I headed off to the supermarket after finishing a ton of work. After being sick for almost a week from touching the shopping cart handle and then touching my mouth, I came across a dilemma in the produce aisle: opening the baggies. I swear to you, with my intense OCD, I still sometimes touch my tongue to open those plastic bags up. They're impossible. But after this wild week of sickness and hospitalization --- hell. to. the. no. I saw bright red vine tomatoes and immediately fled to them. I ripped off a bag and yes, started to fiddle with the opening. I'm literally praying in my mind, "C'mon, just open. Open... Open!!!" Some guy across the vegetable stand saw me struggling and said, "They sure make it hard for us." Another gentleman standing near me said, "Here, let me get that for you." He opened it effortlessly. I say my 'thank yous' and rush off like a bat outa' hell into the next aisle. Moments later, I find myself trying to reach for the seltzer that was on sale, and of course it had to be on the top shelf. I'm short, so... "Here, let me get that for you," the same man who helped me at the produce section. We both start laughing and I said, "Can you just follow me around so I don't run into anymore problems today?"

The pressure's on.

Stopping at the deli counter is always annoying. There's always some little old lady requesting 20 pounds of cold cuts one by one. "Anything else, ma'am?" And the lady will say, "Yes, and I'll have a pound of your domestic ham now." She has about 5 more to go. That's not the worst part. When it's my turn to get up to the deli counter, the guys slicing the meat always insists on me taking the first cut. "Here, have a slice." I always say no thank you, but they keep dangling the goddamn thing as if it was mandatory. "This thin enough, here try it!" --- "No, I'm good thank you." The meat is still hanging off from his rubber glove on some sort of cooking sheet. "Really, I'm good."  They all start laughing. I'm not sure if they do this on me on purpose because they know I have OCD, or if they push their meat on every single woman. Hmm. I  might want to rephrase that.

The best is the checkout line. There's about ten people waiting with you bored to death and you're trying not to give eye contact or make a spectacle of yourself. My cart was a bit confusing today. Here I have cold cuts, organic salads, veggies, salmon, Weight Watcher dinners (I wanted to try out) and then there's homemade chocolate chip cookies, frozen french fries, cheeses, hot cocoa and beer. What the...? I would simply use the excuse, "Oh I have kids at home who love these cookies and french fries." But no one asks. They just stare at you like, "Really?" So there I am looking at the conveyer belt with fear. There's a lady in front of me plopping down her raw chicken breasts and other miscellaneous meats all over the belt. Completely normal and acceptable. But in my mind I'm like, "Where's my antibacterial gel?!?!" Then I saw right near the gum and candy that there was an antibacterial gel dispenser. I pressed the lever furiously. Nothing. Not one drop left. I felt helpless and defeated. And no one ever bags for you anymore. If you do get a bagger it has to be completely empty - like at 6am. To top this lovely experience off, when the cashier went to put my frozen bag of french fries into a bag, they all fell out one by one onto the floor. Guess who was behind me? "Not an easy shopping day for you, eh?"

I'm off to shower in Purell.

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!

What's Your "Truth"?

There is no truth. There is no proof. There are no concrete answers to anything. People claim "the truth" as if it were the end all be all. There are many sectors of Christianity that believe in totally different things (other than the trinity) - ie: rules and "sins". How can you be so sure you're doing the right thing when the Christian right next to you is calling you a sinner? Your Bible says it's ok. His Bible speaks differently. Why are there so many misconstrued, misinterpreted, misunderstood, mis-mis-mis-misinformed scriptures? Slavery is okay. Two people of the same gender in a loving relationship is not. Killing children is okay. Divorcing your wife and remarrying someone else years later down the road is not. What about the scriptures about how much of an abomination eating shellfish and shaving off your beard is? Sitting next to a woman who happens to be menstruating is sinful and considered "unclean". How do we know she's menstruating? Some of the Bible's scriptures are absolutely ridiculous. There are scriptures that contradict one another. I have found one scripture that encourages people to stay away from wine, and in another scripture, it suggests drinking a little wine if you have digestive problems. Jesus made wine out of water. Although I still rely on the Bible's teachings, I pray before opening it up so these words don't flare up and give me agita. (Don't mess with my wine.)

My "truth".

Religion starts with "you". It's all about your personal relationship with God. In fact, the word "religion" itself has a bad connotation in my opinion. "A personal relationship" with your god is a much easier pill to swallow. Look at how all the Christians are divided up - even including Catholics which are technically, Christians. Some believe in praying to the saints and worshiping the Virgin Mary. Some believe that Jesus is the only one to go through. Catholics believe in wearing crucifixes while Christians only will wear the cross as a symbol. I actually got in trouble for wearing a crucifix in a Trinity Assembly church after converting over from Catholicism. There are many people who believe that there is a purgatory and others not. We can believe there is a hell, but is there? Hell can mean many things. And if you think about it, those who think that we're here to learn something ---- then what? To evolve? Become better people? Why can't we learn it in heaven - why does it take coming to a third demential realm to figure out what's wrong with us in order to live in peace with our god? And that's the one that always gets me. If God knows the bigger picture and He already knows what's going to happen "as it was already done" --- then why are we doing it over again? When people say (and the bible) "it's already done" -- are they talking about a real event that has taken place before, or are they simply speaking about their concrete faith that it will happen. For instance, (and this is just me), when I pray, I thank God for taking my pain or problem away, and almost 99% of the time, due to my faith, it either gets much better or it does go away. Is it the power of my mind or is it God? "God has overcome the world" --- or has He? I believe He did and will do so -- (see how confusing that is?) So what does it mean when people quote that verse when there is so much evil overcoming the world as we see it - as we are all witnessing it?

He's still very much alive...
To be honest, I haven't opened up my favorite Bible in a year. I have only used my iPhone Bible app for reference only. My communication with God is much different than it used to be, in fact, it's much more clearer - not because I'm ignoring scripture and "cherry picking" what I want out of it, but because I can hear God on a whole new level and I'm no longer getting mixed signals. Praying doesn't always mean talking. It's listening to Him, having faith that He's there all around you and then, acknowledging His presence. There are times when I meditate and pray, where even my dog starts looking all over the room making the strangest sounds, cooing at whatever it is she may be seeing or feeling. And it happens every. single. time. I've even had visits from my own father. I didn't believe it - neither did my therapist. (Yes I went to therapy right after this episode.) His logical answer points to my mind recalling things he has said in the past but not consciously 'knowing' them in the present moment. Makes sense. But, one day I asked Dad as he was yip-yappin' away in my mind, "Prove it's you." He always does. In fact, my mother requested to ask Dad what her secret pet name was. One day later, he visited me again and gave me the funniest answer. I hesitantly told Mom and she screamed out, "YES!!!" I can't just sit and meditate and get an answer --- it's whenever and if I feel him around me. The Bible teaches us not to talk to spirits. I agree with that on certain levels, however I do pray that our conversations are only through Jesus' terms. Is that some sort of religious loophole or am I totally breaking the rules? There are prophets in the Bible -- (not that I claim to be one).  I've always been able to sense spirits, but I don't refer to myself as a medium or some sort of ghost whisperer. It just comes to me in a very non-threatening way. Don't worry, I won't be setting up a 900 number anytime soon...although I could use the money. Dad said to me last week, "Ask ya' mudda' what she brought with her inside her purse when she came to visit me in hospice the day I died. Ask her to show you what she brought." The day before this visit was a difficult one for me. I wanted to give up on everything. I was crying to Madelene about how I just wanted to throw in the towel. So, after this request from ~beyond~, I asked Mom, and she said, "Uhh, I don't know..." and then hung up shortly, ending our conversation. I felt like a complete idiot for even inquiring about it. She then called me back not even an hour later and said, "It just fell out of my purse! I did bring it! It's a plaque that your niece gave to him that says, 'Don't quit'!" She held onto the plaque and brought it with her in hopes that he wouldn't leave us that day. I took that as a message for me that day...to not quit.

There are so many near-death experiences that make you wonder, is heaven real? Colton Burpo, was only 4 years old when he nearly died. He recalls visiting heaven, meeting Jesus in a white robe with a purple sash and even getting to finally meet his two sisters that "died in mommy's tummy". She had never revealed this to him before. There are videos upon videos of people having these near-death experiences and witnessing things we can only imagine. Unexplainable phenomenon-like events that can only be believed by faith alone and by trusting what the person has to say. Was it their brain that conjured all these "secrets" up?  What about me - what explains all my messages I have received from my own father? I didn't guess, I didn't research anything ---- it was an impression of his voice. And that, you'll just have to trust me on or simply not believe. I wouldn't openly say this happened if it didn't...but it did and I'm still in awe. Believe me, I still have many questions about how our brains are wired and what can manifest in peculiar ways, but with my faith in God and what I have already seen, experienced as well as heard --- there's something much bigger out there. We're not here just to live life and then just fall back into the earth. It can't be as simple as that...or can it? What do you believe? What's your "truth"?


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!

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Westboro Baptist Church Takes it to a New Low

If this religious group hasn't hit an all time low yet, this is certainly their most disgusting of all protests. They're planning to picket a vigil for the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. They're known for picketing at soldiers' funerals and mostly against homosexuality, and of course, their enablers, or as they would say, "fag enablers". Religion has brought people together as well as tear them apart. One of the reasons why I'm scared of the Bible in some cases, is because the scriptures are sometimes taken out of context, misinterpreted and some of it is 'old school' methods that are scarier than we'd like to admit. Before I get into the biblical scriptures that may have backed up Adam Lanza's reasoning for his attack, I have to comment about something I do believe in: evil. As a Christian myself, schizophrenia or any other "mental illness" is sometimes confused with being possessed by demons. I know, I know -- "Demons, Deb? Really?"  Yes.  What explains a 20 year old boy thinking he has to kill 20 innocent children that have nothing to do with his life? What explains his mission? When someone hears voices, or has "schizophrenia", (if he does) it can be misdiagnosed. Don't even blame it on autism -- has. nothing. to. do. with. it. The fact is, no matter what, not even Christians will believe in being possessed by the devil. If you have faith in God then you probably have faith in the devil and hell. If you believe people can speak in tongues or have spiritual experiences, then why not believe that people can experience an evil spiritual experience?

Look at what the Bible says about killing children and gays. This is what the Westboro Baptist Church interprets the Bible to say. They believe that it's okay to kill children of sinners, "perverts", gays and those who speak to them which to them are called "enablers". Look at these scriptures that are taken literally, and some that are very extreme. You might want to scan through this garbage, but my point is -- it's in there.

Kill Sons of Sinners Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and posses the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants. (Isaiah 14:21 NAB)

God Will Kill Children The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived. Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone. I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered." O LORD, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don't give birth and breasts that give no milk. The LORD says, "All their wickedness began at Gilgal; there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions. I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels. The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children." (Hosea 9:11-16 NLT)

Kill Men, Women, and Children "Then I heard the LORD say to the other men, "Follow him through the city and kill everyone whose forehead is not marked. Show no mercy; have no pity! Kill them all – old and young, girls and women and little children. But do not touch anyone with the mark. Begin your task right here at the Temple." So they began by killing the seventy leaders. "Defile the Temple!" the LORD commanded. "Fill its courtyards with the bodies of those you kill! Go!" So they went throughout the city and did as they were told." (Ezekiel 9:5-7 NLT)

God Kills all the First Born of Egypt And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed. Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died. (Exodus 12:29-30 NLT)

Kill Old Men and Young Women "You are my battle-ax and sword," says the LORD. "With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms. With you I will shatter armies, destroying the horse and rider, the chariot and charioteer. With you I will shatter men and women, old people and children, young men and maidens. With you I will shatter shepherds and flocks, farmers and oxen, captains and rulers. "As you watch, I will repay Babylon and the people of Babylonia for all the wrong they have done to my people in Jerusalem," says the LORD. "Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth! I am your enemy," says the LORD. "I will raise my fist against you, to roll you down from the heights. When I am finished, you will be nothing but a heap of rubble. You will be desolate forever. Even your stones will never again be used for building. You will be completely wiped out," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 51:20-26) (Note that after God promises the Israelites a victory against Babylon, the Israelites actually get their butts kicked by them in the next chapter. So much for an all-knowing and all-powerful God.)

God Will Kill the Children of Sinners If even then you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey, I will inflict you with seven more disasters for your sins. I will release wild animals that will kill your children and destroy your cattle, so your numbers will dwindle and your roads will be deserted. (Leviticus 26:21-22 NLT)

More Rape and Baby Killing Anyone who is captured will be run through with a sword. Their little children will be dashed to death right before their eyes. Their homes will be sacked and their wives raped by the attacking hordes. For I will stir up the Medes against Babylon, and no amount of silver or gold will buy them off. The attacking armies will shoot down the young people with arrows. They will have no mercy on helpless babies and will show no compassion for the children. (Isaiah 13:15-18 NLT)

Infidels and Gays Should Die So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator himself, who is to be praised forever. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relationships with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men and, as a result, suffered within themselves the penalty they so richly deserved. When they refused to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their evil minds and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of God's death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. (Romans 1:24-32 NLT)

The written word has been taken on a whole new level. Or is it new? What if religion was to become part of politics (and I say this as a believer) --- would it be okay to kill those who aren't following "moral rules" or the "sons of sinners"? In earlier primitive times, they would kill the children of those who committed crimes so that the kids who would grow up wouldn't seek out revenge. There are so many reasons in history about the murder of innocent children. When it comes to the "ancient bible" --- it makes me truly want to steer clear from any religion whatsoever. But if God is the same yesterday, today as he is forever, then do these rules still apply? Do these scriptures still tell us it's okay to kill? Has society stomped out these rules? That's in the mindset of these crazy bastards of the Westboro Baptist Church. If you really dwell on what they are meditating on --- the ancient written bible --- not the New Living Testament or anything that has been translated again and again --- is religion in fact, evil? Do you think Adam Lanza had a similar viewpoint? Do we even know what his religion was or if he had some sort of vengeance for the parent(s) of any of these children? I'm not saying that this is the case, but by process of elimination of the reasoning behind such an evil evil act, you have to wonder. If it's the motive of the evilness behind The Westboro Baptist Church, can it be the same for Lanza?

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!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Are We All Addicted?

Got a headache? Take an Advil. Sneezing too much? Take some Claritin. Is your child a bit too hyper? Give em' Ritalin. Feeling sad? Take a Prozac. Feeling a bit tense? Take some Xanax. Is your dog down in the dumps too? Well, feel free to give your pooch a little antidepressant as well. I mean...really? As I write this, I'm digesting two Advils for my headache and a Claritin for my allergies. Oh, I also took 1 mg of Ativan because I have anxiety disorder. The doctors told me to. When I wake up, I take Prilosec for my GERD. I've been on it for ...geesh... four years now, every. waking. morning. The box says no more than two weeks, but the doctor said  . . .  But the truth is, antipsychotics and antidepressants have become a huge part of many people's lives. People are misdiagnosed every single day being flung a prescription after a 15 minute chat about why they feel depressed. I don't think 15 minutes can determine whether or not someone needs medication to deal with life. But am I being a hypocrite if I take all these over-the-counter meds and then tell you not to take what the...doctor told you to?

Do you remember back in the 80's (correct me if I'm completely off base with this), when a man walked into Burger King and started shooting supposedly because he was on Prozac? I can't even find it on Google to reference the story. Not sure if it was the Prozac or if he was just mentally disturbed (think that one was debatable), but it all started when Prozac became very big for depression. Those who took it were seen as "crazy" and some blamed the medication itself for making people violent. Other similar medications emerged and so did the crime and violence. Back in the 80's and 90's, you rarely saw school shootings. The only type of public massacres usually occurred in office buildings, where a disgruntled employee would unleash their revenge upon those who fired him and those who treated them poorly during his or her duration of employment. The internet eventually came out, giving kids a much easier grasp on getting quick information on forbidden topics. Things like, "how to use a gun", "how to get a gun", "how to make a bomb" and "easiest way to kill yourself" are all still being Googled. In fact, I have an article entitled, "The Perfect Suicide" -- and it has nothing to do with suicide itself - it's about reinventing yourself. I received numerous emails from angry teenagers telling me off because it was misleading and they wanted info on the "perfect suicide". Scary, huh?

Here's a strange fact that everyone seems to overlook. The craziest person you know would probably never, ever harm a fly. The craziest of all people would most likely never kill themselves. The craziest of all people would never keep a secret. I'm talking about the "seemingly crazy" people that you may know. It's the person who smiles at you, showing you their intelligence and wit. It's the person who helps others in need. It's the person who's on the quiet side, minding their own business usually. It's the one person you'd least expect. The people who actually commit crimes or commits suicide is usually the person who never speaks about it, or threatens it. The person who threatens violence or that they're going to commit suicide is either 1. seeking attention or 2. will try to do it with a failed attempt. I'm not saying that there are people who don't mean it --- always take it seriously --- but in "most" cases, the person never reveals their plans. I've threatened to commit suicide many times and I'm still here. 

We all wanna feel good, right? 
Circumstantial depression should not be medicated. Shit happens - deal with it. I went through horrible breakups that I thought I would. just. die. from. I experienced my first death of an immediate family member. Of course I could have gone through worse tragedies, but it just seems like doctors are placing band aids on people's emotional issues when in reality they should be dealt with head on and dare I say -- medication-LESS.  Feel everything. Go through everything and come out stronger on the other side. If you're not able to feel the lowest of lows, how are you supposed to feel the highest of highs in life? "Oh he's a little introverted, give him some Paxil and he'll snap out of it." -- "Oh I think he's got a few phobias, give him some antidepressant and he'll be facing his fears in no time." Have we been conditioned to medicate as well as self-medicate our fears, our emotional issues and sadness? Me: "Ugh what a day, I need a glass of wine." Same thing, but in my opinion, healthier than the chemicals that alter the brain like antidepressants. You can disagree with me all you want, but I was once going to take Celexa for my depression while in deep mourning for my father. The medication seemed to help him with his anxiety having to go through all he did. As I almost took my first pill, I read that it could give me a heart attack if I was on stomach medications, like Prilosec. This was never told to me. I had to research it myself. You may think it's a harmless antidepressant, but when combined with a simple pill like Prilosec, you can get into a lot of trouble health-wise.

I'm not a doctor. I'm a patient who has experienced a lot of bullshit in the medical field. Another story I want to add is this one... Back in 1998 I had a psychiatrist who prescribed Serzone for my depression and anxiety. I started feeling too sedated to do anything, and then hours later, I was jumping off the walls. The doctor told me to stop taking it. Within one day, I was seizing and was needed to be hospitalized due to the withdrawals from just 1 week of taking this awful medication. I tried Paxil. My throat always felt like it was closing and I became very irritable. I tried everything to be "normal", until I found a doctor who started using the technique of cognitive behavioral therapy on me. No medication. Just exercises of facing my fears and visualizing myself doing things that I feared the most, like even taking an elevator. I thought I'd drop to the first floor or just get locked in with no lights. Once, an elevator filled up with smoke due to a malfunction. But I had to face my fears with CBT so I could be functional and not fear everything. This method worked best for me.  What works for you works for you. I don't want to discourage anyone or encourage anyone, but even for myself, when can I get off these Prilosecs? When can I stop grabbing that glass of wine and deal with my stress? When can people stop relying on antidepressants as a crutch? Are we all addicted one way or another?

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!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

It Only Comes Off With Bleach

Let me just say one thing before I start to rant: I give so much credit for those who work in the medical field, whether you're an x-ray tech, nurse, doctor or pharmacist --- you are exposed to so much shit. Okay, that was my OCD talking. Yesterday, I collapsed onto the bathroom floor, pants halfway down and all, because I was too weak to actually get up. I had called Mad earlier to tell her to bring me to the ER. My dog was scratching the door crying because she knew something was wrong. I was severely dehydrated and weak. I really didn't know how I was going to make a 30 minute (yes 30 effing minutes) to the hospital when I was umm, going every 10 minutes, but thankfully I made it just in time. When I got to the receptionist counter while Mad was trying to hold me up, the woman looked at me and said, "Stomach virus?" I didn't say a word. How did she know? "Wait right there, all rooms are taken up by the same exact thing." Immediately my OCD kicks in and I wanna get the hell outa' there now. So they rushed me in after five minutes (not bad), and hook me up to the IV of life. They pumped me up with some sort of weird solution. I asked, "What is that?" The nurse explained that it was an anti-vomiting solution. I told her I wasn't vomiting but I think this was for her best interest. Whatever. Then they made me drink a cup of Maalox.

As I'm lying there with a drip, the nurse comes up to me with a rolling computer and starts asking me medical history information in between chats about how her moisturizer isn't working while showing me her hands right in my face. She then starts touching me and talking very closely - totally not scared of whatever it is I had. I asked, "Did you get your flu shot?" She said, "No, I opted out of that. We have the option to not take it." So here she is, touching me and talking to me as if I'm healthy -- or assuming that I am --- all the while not protected herself. I asked, "How do you keep safe from all these germs?" She said she prays. Then the doctor comes in after taking blood tests and tells me that the virus I had is not contagious. It is probably E.Coli or something I ate that gave me this stomach bug. She was explaining that most of the contagious ones, like the Norovirus (and other viruses I couldn't pronounce) need to be cleaned with bleach only. Nothing else will kill the virus. In fact, don't use the restroom after someone with the Norovirus has gone. The particles left in the bathroom (airborne) will get you sick. They are little spores that travel in the air and onto surfaces that aren't killed right away. Again, the only thing that kills them is bleach. So while we're all grabbing antibacterial wipes for our shopping carts and hoping for the best, we're literally screwed.

So now, knowing that I have just a stomach bug from something I ate, I can now panic over the fact that I have been in a place that has the Norovirus and the new and improved flu.

Be clean.

Be safe.

Stay out of the ER!

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!

Mental Health is Too Expensive, But What a Great Dental Plan!

You raise your child, love them, feed them, make sure they're warm at night, try to get them to school safely and then this shit happens. After 5 or 10 years, all your love, your hard work and effort --- your heart --- all gone just because some mentally deranged bastard decided to unload his gun on your child right before Christmas. You have no one to be angry at. The killer is gone. There's no one to unload your fury on - not one person to scream at - it's all on you. There are no trials or hearings to go to in order to put this bastard into jail for life and make him pay. There's no revenge - it's just you and your thoughts. You pray he goes to hell, and then, you question if there is a hell. You question if there is a God, and if so, why would God let this sort of thing happen? You can't even say or possibly think "it was their time" --- at the ages that range from 5 - 10 years old - it can't be their time. They had so much ahead of them.  I spoke to a woman working in the hospital yesterday as I was getting pumped up with fluids from being sick. She was rambling on about the 5 second piece of news she had heard while walking past the break room. "Oh it's usually some kid that was bullied." She didn't even realize it was in an elementary school.

You can be a deranged psycho killer with great teeth because for starters, mental health is way too expensive, but hell, your insurance has a great dental plan. Some man in China wounded 22 children and one adult in a stabbing attack. The New York Times reads, "No motive was given for the attack, which resembled a string of similar assaults against Chinese schoolchildren in 2010 that killed nearly 20 and wounded more than 50. The most recent such attack took place in August, when a man broke into a middle school in the southern city of Nanchang and stabbed two students before fleeing. Most of the attackers have been mentally disturbed men involved in personal disputes or unable to adjust to the rapid pace of social change in China, underscoring grave weaknesses in the antiquated Chinese medical system’s ability to diagnose and treat psychiatric illness." 

What do we have to do in order to keep our kids safe? Do we need to have a military type of security at the doors of every single school? Great. Taxes go up. Do we have to homeschool our children? It. does. not. matter. If a killer wants to seek revenge, there are plenty of places where they can unleash their fury. I remember a while back when I was working for a phone and internet company where a man got so irate over his phone being turned off due to unpaid bills, that he threatened to come to our office and kill every one of us. He did come in...with a box cutter and threatened the receptionist. He wanted her to open the doors that led into the call center, where a hundred or more reps were sitting in their cubicles doing their work. I always had a "disgruntled employee plan" --- I'd turn the overhead lights off, shut my computer down and crawl under the desk and pull my chair in so it looks like no one is there. I'm not sure if it would work, but running wouldn't. Thankfully, security had to tackle the man down and restrain him until the police came to pick him up.

The world's gone mad. This has never happened so frequently --- or at all for that matter. And now, with social media and the internet giving more ways and techniques on how to kill more effectively, it gives them more ammunition, more plans, more avenues...  We're screwed as a society. I will never, ever have a child in this world. I would never want to bring up my kid in a world that is absolutely nuts -- where mental health is not a "serious medical reason" for insurance to pay for. Who has $200 to sit in a psychiatrist's office or even pay for the necessary medications that are way too much for the average budget? Most of these madmen are usually sitting in their mothers' basements plotting huge killing sprees and perhaps a few pipe bombs. When is it going to end? When will the government, the medical insurances - the world figure out that - YES - mental health IS important. It's important because not only will it help someone you love with a mental illness, but it may just save your own child or yourself from being murdered by someone untreated. I wouldn't mind of the Mayans are correct. I'm ready to blow this popsicle stand.

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, December 14, 2012

The Power of a Filthy Shopping Cart

Last Tuesday I went to our local Korean farm market to buy some produce. I just needed a couple of staples and wanted to get the hell out of there. I grabbed one of those little plastic baskets with the metal handles and went along my way. I always keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my car after shopping so I can literally shower in it after having touched those vile carts. I have protocols I use when shopping: never touch your eyes, nose or mouth while shopping----ever. It's the first rule I have. The germs that are found on shopping carts are the most disgusting ones you'll ever find -- even worse than a toilet. Studies have found that not only flu and cold viruses linger there, but human feces, urine and other bodily fluids from babies have shown up. Usually with the mini baskets, you'll have your typical cold/flu germs on it, so I was prepared, until one lady came up to me and said, "Oh ma'am, can you check me out please?" I stared at her and she stared back as if I didn't know her language. "Ma'am?" as she pointed to the counter. "Oh my goodness, I thought you worked here," she said, embarrassed by her mistake. "No, but I'll gladly take your money." We both laughed as I shuffled towards the back of the store. This is not the first time I have been mistaken for an Asian, which to me is a compliment. I even worked at a Chinese restaurant without people giving me a confused look. It's all good. But, I was so baffled by this woman that I itched my mouth and rubbed my nose by accident.

See where this is going...?

I headed back into my SUV and grabbed my hand sanitizer. I had a wonderful evening after making dinner for Madelene and watching a movie. Later that night, or should I say morning, I woke up and ran so fast to the bathroom that I nearly tripped over Lola's little stuffed toy she left out in the hallway. I tried to go down the list of foods in my mind that could have been bad or contaminated, but all I had was a delicious salad with avocado and tomato and a little linguini in a light tomato sauce. I mean, of course vegetables can carry the E. Coli bacteria and other bugs, but this was fierce. Day one was awful, day two proven to be worse as my temp went up to 103. Day three, today, I'm still in the same boat but without a fever thankfully. I've been living on ring-o-noodle soup (salt in a cup), Gatorade and water and white rice. It's been an interesting week to say the least: #1. Lola's been lying under the covers with me, actually enjoying the time together. #2. I never really knew how 'entertaining' daytime TV was, especially Wendy Williams. (How you doin'??) #3. I found a great weight loss plan. So for now, I will be reading, watching TV and going out of my mind until this stomach flu or whatever it is flies outa' me...and quickly I hope.

Moral of the story: don't touch your shopping carts.

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!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Don't Let the Weeds Kill Your Garden

There are so many misconceptions about people when you refuse to let yourself get to know them. Just because someone has a "mean look" all the time doesn't necessarily mean that they're angry 24/7. It could very well be that they just have a dry sense of humor, and may even be one of the funniest people you'll ever meet. I know quite a few people like that. I'm finding so many people (more than I realized) judging people so harshly, just based upon appearances. I rarely see other's appearances, I'd rather "see" their inner appearance. One of my girlfriends were talking about this high school classmate we used to know years ago. She was one of the popular girls - a cheerleader - perfect hair - perfect everything. She was also one of the nicest girls in school. While at a BBQ we were both at, my girlfriend said, "That's her! Go say hi." She was sitting down in a steel fold out chair. She was sitting by herself. She couldn't move all that much because she was extremely overweight - to the point where she could get up very easily to greet me hello. I said hello and asked how she was. She looked at me as if I bothered her in between burger bites and said, "Do I know you?" Sneered at me, in fact. She knew me. I let out a "Oh.."  - And then I said, "Yeah, Deb from high school - we knew 'so & so', etc" ---- as I went on, she gave me a look like, "Shut it bitch, read between the lines." I got the hint so before moving on I said, "Ok, well wrong person perhaps, sorry to have bothered you." She sat there staring at me while gnawing on her last bite. I have a little note she had written to me on my yearbook. "So glad we became friends! Can't wait this summer to hang out!" What happened to the beautiful girl I knew - (not meaning physically) - the beautiful soul that used to greet me all the time with open arms?

So back to my girlfriend bringing this story up the other night - another friend chimed in and said, "Well, that's unfortunate. If she's going to be morbidly obese and mean, there's no point. Either you're fat and have a sense of humor and you're nice, or you're just fat and ugly. What's the point?" She went into how most 'unsightly' people are usually very funny or extremely nice to make up for the lack in looks. But I wonder, what would happen if physically beautiful people were mean and grumpy all the time?  Isn't it true that beauty's from within?  I have seen many "ugly" beautiful people out there. And although outer beauty can sometimes help a sista out, I can definitely detect a genuine sense of someone's personality. On the flip side, I know a couple of people who had a weight problem who were absolutely hysterical and so well liked because they were incredibly nice. Once they had gotten weight loss surgery, they became physically attractive, but also uptight, mean, aloof and very self-centered -- not the people I used to know. In fact, they're so overwhelmingly conceited that I just avoid them now. On top of that, they mock people who are overweight. It's actually very interesting to witness, but disheartening to know how much some people can change due to mere appearances. I don't get it and yet I do... People who were once overweight who now mock others for being heavy is like a former person who grew up in poverty, now rich, making fun of a poor person. Remember where you came from.

Compassion. It's hard to find. There are so many people who don't think before they speak. A couple of weeks ago, on Facebook no less, someone had posted a nice photo of herself. One of her friends that she works with said, "What a great photo! We have such a great dental plan, I don't know why you don't use it." I was. absolutely. shocked. Her teeth aren't even that bad, she just had a small space (gap) --- but it makes her who she is. It's actually one of her unique traits that make her attractive in my opinion. Why would you point out another person's "flaw"? My theory is -- when someone is so insecure about themselves for whatever reason it is, most likely they want the other person to feel bad about whatever it is that 'may' bother them. It's like misery loves company type of deal. It's funny, because the girl with the "flaw" has a gorgeous husband for over ten years, two great kids and an amazing job. The girl who pointed out her flaw is a 50 year old single woman...and one huge fault finder. Remember, people can say a million different mean and disrespectful things to you, but it's up to you to not react to it, but respond appropriately. Always keep in mind where it's coming from. They're unhappy people. You can't be fully happy and hurt others at the same time. It's just impossible.

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, December 07, 2012

"My Forever Home" by Lola

This is my story...
I didn't know what to expect. I was abandoned by my parents in a huge field in the backyard of someone's house in Puerto Rico and then taken away by a couple of nice strangers in a huge van. My parents had stopped feeding me and just left me there for dead. We boarded a plane that took us over to New York. Once we got there, they placed me in a holding cell. Did I do something wrong? Why was I in jail? I wasn't the only ones in this cell. A few more were in there just like me - confused and wondering where and when our next trip would be. Would we be in here forever? Sometimes, we'd see people walking into the prison, taking out a prisoner or two. One of our very own cellmates got taken away by the head of the prison. We never saw him again. Feeding time was always rough for me. I had to always fight for my food. Others would grab the food right off of my plate. I had to hide while eating or I would starve to death. Where are my parents? ...I wish I was home. During the day I would sit inside the cell because there was no air conditioning and the sun outside was way too hot. I was losing hope. Would I be here forever? Maybe someone could take me home? I sunk into a deep depression.

The day I was adopted.
The next morning I woke up. It was the same drill: feeding time (fighting time), my daily walk with one of the prison guards and a few nice people greeting me, strangely petting my head. It felt good though. I liked it. They eventually left though. I was brought back to my cell to wait for one of our cellmates to get lucky and leave with one of the people who came to visit us. Then I saw two girls walk into the prison. One of them said, "That's her! That's her!" I looked around and behind me - "Who's her?" I thought.  She was pointing to me. I was scared, I don't know what I had done. The prison guard looked at me and said to the lady, "You want me to take her out?" I immediately jumped onto the bars and barked. "Yes! Yes! Take me out! I'll be good! Take me home!" But all that came out was, "Ruff! Ruff! Ruff! Ruff!" I couldn't stop wagging my tail as the guard picked me up and handed me to the lady with the long hair. She rubbed my back and said hello to me. "You wanna come home with me?" she asked. "Yes! Yes!" But reply came in the form of wet and sloppy licks. She told me she had a big yard to play in and a nice home where I can go to sleep and eat my food in peace, without the other bullies grabbing my grub. This sounded perfect!

"Don't let my size fool you, I'm one tough bitch."
After Mom adopted me, we came home and wow, what a palace! I ran into every room making my mark and then, to my surprise, I saw the biggest food bowl ever! We went outside and I ran around everywhere, played with my new toys and even had kids to jump on! What a great day! I hope she doesn't bring me back though. Inside was cooled off and I always had water. Eventually, I started to get treats if I left my mark outside. Never again would I make my mark inside the house. My new mommies put a big fluffy bed in every room for me. Now six months later, I know for sure that this place is my home. I have my own doggy door and huge deck so I can guard the house and protect my mommies. Don't let my size fool you, I'm one tough bitch. I love this place so much, but I hope my cellmates are okay. Mom wasn't able to adopt more than one pup, but maybe someone...maybe even you....can go and get a few of my cellmates and bring them home? But one thing, it has to be a forever home. We can't go back --we'll die. We'll die from a broken heart. I was abandoned once, and if I get abandoned again, I don't know if I'll make it. So please, know for sure you can take care of my cellmates, give them a warm bed, plenty of food and water and lots and lots of love. We love to run and exercise and play --a lot. We're not house cats, we need people to be there for a good bulk of the time. All we have is you. We'll be the best friend you can ever have. Go visit my friends at PetsAlive.com and tell them Lola sent you.



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!

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Indian Prayer

Years ago when I was just a little tike, I had this plaque up on the entrance of the hallway going into my bedroom. It was an Indian Prayer. I always asked Mom to read it to me. And although I never fully understood what it meant, she explained it to me the best she can. She said, "Don't make fun of other kids because they may have a harder life than you do. So by walking in their moccasins, you can see what they go through." I still was kind of confused. I knew not to make fun of other kids, but I didn't get the whole concept of "walk in my shoes" type of thing. Give me credit, I was only around four years old or so. I nodded and went about my day. That plaque stayed up on the wall for a very long time, until one day I finally got it. I finally knew what it meant to walk in somebody else's "moccasins".  While I was in second grade, one of my friends in my homeroom class would make fun of me - about everything. We even had sleep overs, and yet we still fought. She made fun of me for wearing boy's clothes that my mom bought me grudgingly. It was then I retaliated and made fun of her because I knew she wore her sisters' hand me downs. I began to call her "poor" and how she couldn't afford new clothes. I was defending myself, but when I came home, I saw the plaque. This time, it spoke to me. I thought about the times I went to her house, a small house on a tiny dirt road. They got their food from their very own backyard. They had chicken coops to get their eggs as well as their own chicken. They had goats so they could have milk. There was no TV to watch and all four sisters slept in the same room with bunk beds lined up on each wall. I always crammed into the single bed with my friend when I stayed over. That day I read the plaque again with new eyes, I put myself in her shoes and I never made fun of her again. I felt bad for a very long time.

I'm not sure if kids truly understand what they're doing when they bully one another. Do they think of the aftereffects of all the insults and verbal abuse? Or do they think the other kid will just forget about it? As a kid, "defending myself" meant that there were no consequences or 'aftereffects' when I threw my insults back. "She did it first" was my rebuttal. It was justified and "right" in my eyes. But what I didn't understand was that this girl was a foster child living in a house full of other kids from parents who had abandoned them. I never understood the insecurities and self-loathing that went into feeling abandoned. I just didn't get it, until I kept reading the plaque. While we all grew up, moved out while things shuffled about and eventually got lost, I still haven't been able to find this plaque. This photo was taken from the internet, but it's the same exact plaque I had up on my wall. I wish I could find it because it made me who I am today.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com or join her on Facebook and Twitter.  Don't forget to check out her cooking blog, Deb's Cucina! Bring an appetite!