Friday, January 25, 2013

In a Funk?

"Oh no! It's daylight again!"
We all get down from time to time, it's normal. You feel sluggish, you don't want to get out of bed and your motivation is next to none. There are so many ingredients to depression that it's sometimes hard to pinpoint what's brewing. Whether circumstantial, chemical imbalance or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), everybody deals with it one time or another. Usually, right after the holidays and all of the excitement, people are coming down from their 'high', which may explain why they're either grumpy or just downright gloomy. Then again, the holidays seem to bring many of us down as it is, which is strange because the holidays are supposed to be filled with "joy", but in many cases, not. With it being only six months on Christmas since I lost my Dad, I felt more numb than depressed. It felt strange. Every single member of my family brings in their own individual vibrant glow of their own, so when one is missing, (even just not present at an event), we feel it. It's like a missing link. It doesn't help when it's below zero where stepping outside means wearing 20 layers of wool sweaters. More likely, we're bound to stay inside for the most part. Without getting enough sunlight, our vitamin D levels drop, leaving us feeling "blue" or depressed. I've been fighting it every. single. day. I take 1,000 mg of vitamin D, calcium, I exercise 3-4 times per week and try to eat foods rich with omega 3 and more protein than carbs. A friend of mine sent me this photo that explains the best foods to fight depression.

Great stuff on the list! I also told my friend that bananas are also a great mood lifter since it contains the same ingredients that are in the antidepressant, Prozac. He then stated it was better to eat avocados instead, so that you don't go crashing into a sugar low. Learn something new every day.  Avocados contain tryptophan. It's known that when our brains going into a depression, it has less tryptophan which produces a calmness, just like that turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. (Just less fattening.) Omega 3 fatty acids is also known to cut down on feeling blue. Avocados also have a lot of protein which is essential in combating depression. It releases dopamine and endorphins which are both needed to enhance your mood. Other ingredients are vitamin B6 and folate. Who needs antidepressants when you have foods available like this? A big part of how we feel is what we put into our bodies. I have (GASP) lessened my alcohol intake, maybe just a glass of wine here and there and trying to get a full 8 hours of sleep. I'm trying to fight depression off as best I can, because when I get it - I'm just a complete zombie. And while we're talking about beverages here, there is weird study that shows people who drink at least two cups of coffee a day were more likely not to have suicidal thoughts. I only drink black coffee no sugar - (plain as that might seem), but when I used to drown it out with sugar, I felt shaky an hour later, and may I add, very moody. Also remember to replenish your coffee with water. I drink one full glass of water the first thing in the morning. It helps to flush out your system since it's dehydrated, gives you energy and also gives your metabolism a head start. This one I just learned recently. It's been helping a great deal.

Stuck indoors? Watch a comedy. The other weekend I watched Bridesmaids. Remember the Target lady on SNL? She was in it. I never laughed so hard before over a movie. Watch this trailer even just for a chuckle. You know, we all can do the best we can and yet at times we'll still curl up into a ball of funkity-funk. I still research new ways on fighting off depression, and while other remedies work, some don't. So it's trial and error. The one thing that keeps me from jumping off a one story ledge is looking forward to something, like planning a vacation -- even if it's months away. The fact that you know a relaxing trip is ahead of you can make all the difference in the world sometimes. Without our little trips away (and it doesn't have to be costly), I don't know what I would do. It keeps me sane and refreshed so I can start off the year on a somewhat positive note. Even if you can only take a 'staycation' --- do something for yourself. Don't let anyone make you feel as though you don't deserve peace and happiness in your life. Those types of people are just miserable because they don't even allow peace for themselves. Misery loves company. Don't play into it. I try not to absorb people's negative energy and I just steer clear of them the best I can. Surround yourself with positive people - people who can make you laugh and make you feel good about yourself. If you're reading this right now and feel depressed, know that you're not alone. I battle with it every. single. day. Turn on your iPhone camera on reverse mode, smile and say, "I love and accept you" - and make sure no one's around freak.

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, January 24, 2013

"Jesus Said Women Are Dogs" - Per Stan Butler

Meet Stan Butler 
Recently, I came across a comment on my cooking blog from a man named, Stan Butler who follows me on Twitter. Under the name of "covnitkepr1" he states, "Honestly...you're killing me...I want to lick the pictures on my desktop it looks so good..My first love is Jesus…then my wife of 45 years…then cooking. I really enjoyed looking over your blog. I am now a follower of yours. Feel free to look over my blog and become a follower of my blog also." So I took a look at his blog and read the first post available. One of the paragraphs that surprised me read, "In other words, in this scenario, animals are just simply put, smarter than we humans are. It all has its origin back in the very beginning when God tells us He created everything 'after its kind'. But man, when he reads such things, does not heed such things. After all, the word bestiality does exist for a reason." A bit baffled about where he was headed with this, I continued on reading. (Maybe a dog is smarter than me after all.) In this next paragraph, it clearly states he is against marriage equality. "Allow me to remind you of something you probably already know. At the present time, the 'gay community' along with our God-less minded government no longer asks us to just tolerate this deviation; they are now insisting that we condone it as well. They no longer want same sex marriage and/or a same sex relationship termed as just an alternate lifestyle, they now insist we are to view it as a completely normal lifestyle. Since they can’t legislate what we think, they are passing laws that will legislate what we say about this abomination." We "insist" on marriage equality? Isn't that a civil right? These are the types of people who teach their children to hate gays and lesbians or make them feel like outcasts or horrible people.

It gets worse. He states that Jesus refers to women as "dogs" in this next paragraph in one of his other posts: "It’s recorded in Matthew 15:26 that Jesus called a woman a dog. Let me repeat that; Jesus called a woman a dog. Now the Greek word He used was 'kynarion' meaning 'little dog', but a dog… is a dog… is a dog. Can you imagine where the women’s rights organizations would go with this today? Yet, a study of the text will reveal that He was only referring to her as being of lesser in status than those of the house of Israel." I can just imagine how is wife feels about this. I reminded him about what it says in Galatians. Through faith, we are God’s children. Galatians explains this perfectly. "Let me put it in another way. The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are ALL Christians—you are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you." ~Galatians 3:24-29 There is a huge difference between sinning and a sinful heart. Sinning is simply being human. A sinful heart desires to sin – it wants to hurt people and deliberately wants to steal your joy. A human that sins is natural. We repent and have faith in God. We no longer go by the laws of Moses. This is why God gave us His only son. We are freed from the law.

Here… Look at Galatians chapter two verses 17 through 21:

"But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me an gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die."  Pretty huge statement if you think about it. “For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.” If you constantly live in fear about God’s judgment, then your faith in Jesus isn’t strong. If you truly had faith in Jesus and claimed Him as your Savior, then you would know that the old law doesn’t apply to us anymore. We were bound by the law, but by the grace of God and His sacrifice of His son, we are made right with him. We live in our carnal bodies. We live here on earth, desiring earthly things. But if we have faith that’s strong and true, God isn’t going to just cast you away. God loves you. He knows how hard it is and what challenges we go through here on earth. This is the whole reason Jesus came for us. And, I truly feel sad when people make statements such as, “Well, you’re mocking God because you won’t repent and you keep on sinning and claiming Christ as your Savior.” If you really think about it, those people who say that are mocking God by not trusting in Jesus’ death. They don’t feel that Jesus’ death was enough. He paid the price in full. If we were to go by the Old Law, eating crustaceans of the sea (shellfish) would still be an abomination. Shaving one's beard would also be an abomination. I don't see the logic in someone actually believing that every single person will go to hell - because by the way Stan thinks and believes, we'll never see the grace of God.

Through years of writing upon this topic and having some heated debates with other Christians, I realized that it's a lost cause. You can never win a battle with someone of this mindset because they don't have peace in their hearts. They cannot accept themselves, therefore accepting anyone else. It really doesn't bother me personally that some people feel this way, but I am concerned over what it may do to someone seeking the truth, or seeking some answers in the Christian religion. This type of teaching can really deter a person from seeking out God. It's very scary and intimidating. It's judgmental and hateful. It's...not what Jesus is. It's not loving. It's not accepting. It's not even reasonable. Stan Butler not only condemns homosexuality, but he condemns women all over the world, referring to them as "dogs" and lesser of humanity. It's amazing how so many Christians of the same faith can believe in so many different "rules" and "sins" that seem to be cherry picked straight out of the Bible without truly meditating upon the scripture and only going by the old laws to which the Jews believe. Although I was very grateful Stan started following me on Twitter as well as taking an interest in my blog, but I wonder where and what the motive was. Is he out to "fix" me or "save" me from the great lake of fire? If so, he better where a fireproof life preserver because at the rate he's going, he's gonna need it.

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, January 23, 2013

Got Stress?

For the most part, I'm willing to do some pretty strange things to relieve my anxiety, like watching some weird guy on Youtube talk in this 'serial killer-like' voice just to hypnotize me into a state of calmness. I even go as far as ordering a few I-Doser mp3s, which are binaural beat mixes that work into your brain subconsciously giving you a feeling of euphoria and other various feelings. Kids these days are using them to experience the feeling of marijuana and even cocaine --- sounds horrible, right?  But, it's 100% safe. They do simulate the feeling due to the binaural effects to our brainwaves. I remember one night I wanted to experiment with one. I never did drugs before and knew I-Dosers were safe, so I downloaded "Acid". At first, I felt very calm, almost as if I was floating. Then, in the middle of the track, I felt my bed move a little. Then it started shaking. It wasn't shaking because Mad was watching TV while I had my earbuds on and she said everything was fine. So, my point is, these I-Dosers are awesome if you are looking for a "pill" to fix whatever. They even have painkillers as well as valium. You don't have to believe it - it's scientific. Some mp3s work better than others of course. They have every single "pill" available. Remember, not all I-Dosers work. Some people create binaural beats that just don't work, which is why I-Doser is better. It's a great alternative, if it works for you. Gotta love technology. I would love an I-Doser that would make me feel "full" so I can diet effectively. Hmm.

I have tried everything. At night I get the worst panic attacks and hypnic jerks that some doctors believe is sleep apnea, but it's only at the start of sleep - which is also called "sleep starts". It's another form of anxiety. The only thing that has been working for me as of late, is putting my earbuds in and listening to a Joyce Meyer sermon. I never finish the entire sermon because I have already fallen asleep. Not to say the sermon is boring - it just relieves my mind somehow and the message subliminally gets transferred leaving me with a better attitude the next morning. My problem is, whenever I find a "remedy" that works for me, it doesn't last more than four days. Then I have to find something new. I have tried meditating and praying, and while that does make me feel better, somehow the anxiety creeps back up and paralyzes me. Yoga never works for me (wow that is hard) -- but Reiki treatments are the best when I have the money to shell out for a nice hour long session. Massages, polarity treatments and acupuncture all come with a very expensive price tag. We have the world at our fingertips. Why aren't we using our resources? You can learn Reiki, pressure points and massage all on the internet (or your spouse can) -- and utilize them the best you can. You can even be hypnotized into calmness on Youtube. We have everything we need instead of paying out $100 a pop.

The latest thing that has been helping me lessen my anxiety at night is staying off the internet/iPhone two hours before bedtime. It's even suggested in order to get a good night's sleep, to start turning down the lights 2 hours prior, resting or just watching TV before turning in. It sets up your body for rest. If I'm up on the phone chatting away before hitting the sack, I'm up with insomnia because my brain is ultra stimulated - same with being on the internet. Another great home remedy to relieve anxiety is drinking hot chamomile tea before going to sleep. I told Mad to do this as she was giving me quite the skeptical look. Once she was halfway done with her tea, she said she felt like I put valium in it. She slept like a baby the whole night through. A hot toddy will definitely relax you, but alcohol will always wake you up 3 hours later. And if you do sleep through, it won't be a restful one, which is why I don't drink at night. (Not that I drink during the morning, mind you.)  I like to have a glass of wine during dinner or a martini during happy hour, but never before bed. Don't do it...

We think too much. We think about what other people think...too much. We think of all the things we think about which make us think even more. We over-obsess about things that really aren't going to matter 5 years from now. Sometimes I'm up all night long thinking about something that'll never happen. Fear. I have so much of it. What is fear?

F: False
E: Evidence
A: Appearing
R: Real

I'm going to make myself vulnerable right now and give you an idea of how fear takes over my mind. This is a typical irrational conversation my brain badgers me with...

"How many hours did I sleep? Did I wake up with sleep apnea? Can't sleep apnea give me a heart attack? Oh my God I don't want to go to sleep, I'll die! What if I have a heart attack in my sleep? If I take a shower and have a heart attack, will the EMTs find me naked and drag me out in front of everyone that way? Let me check my bank account. Let me check it again. I have an appointment at night but I'm afraid I won't see anything and get stuck in the middle of nowhere. Will the doctor find something? Will the doctor NOT find something and leave me wondering what the hell is wrong with me? Will I get the flu? I'm too scared of the vaccine and too scared of the flu. Oh my God I think I'm coming down with something!!! I'm the youngest of my entire family - will I die alone?"

Get my point? I'm learning this new technique which is basically CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and basically what it does is have you envision yourself doing whatever it is you fear and, to do it in fear. Do everything in fear. Once you conquer your fear, it'll become less and less anxiety provoking. I am still a work in progress. I still have my great big fears that paralyze me, but I'm taking baby steps. For instance, I used to fear doing rigorous workouts for more than 45 minutes because of my asthma. I did it in fear and now do it 4 times a week which has taken my asthma symptoms away. Strange. I rarely use my inhaler now. These things are all irrational personal fears that I have - that many other people experience. I also fear having anaphylactic shock if I eat something I never ate before due to a bad experience I once had at a sushi bar that led both Mad and myself into the ER with swollen tongues. So now, I don't ever touch fish. I don't care if it was the sauce that I reacted to - fish is not on my menu any longer. But that's not only a fear, but a personal choice of mine.

What about the anxiety of circumstantial life stressors? Do you worry about everyone else and make yourself go absolutely crazy? You cannot control what other people do, think or say. You can only pray and hope and most of all, accept. Why drive yourself insane when there is absolutely nothing you can do? For instance, my mother worries about each and every one of her daughters. But the fact is: there is nothing she can do to prevent something from happening. For all mothers out there - accept and just do the best you can. Even first time mothers, the fear of your child getting sick or the panic that sets in thinking if you'll somehow hurt your baby, hold them the wrong way, which brings so many mothers with postpartum depression. Easier said than done. I remember my friend who was a new mother called me over to help her with her baby. She needed to nap because she was up all night. She was also afraid to put her baby in a onesie because she was terrified of breaking his little arms. It's such a common thing it's not even funny. I showed her how resilient babies can be and with a few gentle jiggles to get the arm through, the baby was all snuggled up in his onesie. Her fear of dressing him was over. I give credit to all the moms & dads out there giving it their all in parenting.

I can definitely use some home remedy tips on how to reduce my anxiety and I hope that my home remedies will work for you as well. I try different things and always ready to share what worked and what didn't. Trial and error, right? We're all so stressed out about so many different things that it takes away the joy in our lives. Don't let fear take the joy out of your life. Do something IN FEAR and afterwards, reward yourself. That in itself is a feeling of accomplishment which produces dopamine and endorphins which produces what? Joy. Now go get it.

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, January 22, 2013

Before You Count My Money, Step Inside My Old Shoes

As far as I can remember, I have never doubted anyone's ability to do whatever it is they wanted. I questioned if they really wanted that, but never doubted "ability" alone. People are capable of great accomplishments and goals, and I do believe it's all determined on how bad they want it, and of course a whole lotta' motivation. The odd part about this is, I've always doubted myself. "Ugh, I'll never be able to reach that" or "I'll never be able to get from point A. to point B. fast enough," and sometimes, at all. That's when I sabotage my own abilities. Even small things (in my eyes) I have been doubted for.

  • Financially, I have been doubted for making it out in the world on my own: Conquered. 
  • Financially and ability-wise, I have been doubted I could renovate our home fast enough to live in: Conquered.
  • Career-wise, I have been doubted I could make money doing what I love or even grabbing the smallest of a fan base: Conquered. 
  • Ability-wise, I have been doubted that I could actually care for a pet and have the patience to own a dog: Conquered. 
  • Relationship-wise, I have been doubted I could last this long (happily) and consistently with a partner, and now wife: Conquered. 

It's funny how some people will put limits based upon what they think they know about you. They not only place limits on your ability, but sometimes, they actually think they know your financial status. Whether they think you're "poor" or "rich" or maybe living beyond your means --- no one will ever truly know what exact amount is sitting in your bank account, or perhaps under your mattress. The fact is: it's none of their business. They're so consumed with counting other people's money, that they grumble about their own financial woes, making snide comments about 'how you could afford this' or even, 'how you can't afford that'. It doesn't make sense. I never saw the logic in doubting people you love -- or doubting people at all. If anything, the doubt that you give to me will only produce motivation, that yes, I can do it - I will do it. Watch me.

All my life I have prayed for good things to happen to the people around me, the people I love and even people that I don't even know. I have never wished for lesser circumstances or "karma" on anyone. It has to take a miserable person to wish that on someone. I have never wanted anything negative to happen to anyone. I guess it baffles me how there are certain people in my life that make assumptions about my 'money matters'. We get judged for taking a vacation once a year - not like we're trekking off to Europe - just to go to PTown for a week. We save. We deserve it. If you don't choose to go on a vacation, then that's on you. God forbid I want replace my 17 year old ripped up couch with a lesser expensive one. It's needed. I have the means without going beyond my means. Don't I deserve to be happy and comfortable in my living space - in my own life? When we moved into our new place, I've never had the luxury of a friend or relative saying, "Here, we're getting rid of our old sofa or dining room table because we're getting a new one. Would you like it?" I always offer people what I don't use for free. I have seen people who didn't really need 'stuff', get the best of the handouts. Nor have I ever asked anyone for free handouts. I save my money and I get what I need...not what I want. But to have someone criticize me for buying something I need makes me wonder why the initial anger is there in the first place. If I pay my bills, do my job, take care of those around me -- then why are others so consumed over what I purchase? I wonder if they think I'm this undeserving, selfish, money-driven, horrible person... I was never driven by money -- ever! I wear the same four pairs of jeans and have maybe three good pairs of shoes.

Many things I do in life seem to get overlooked in my opinion. I spent the past couple of years on and off sitting for hours and hours in a hospital room while Dad was sick. I drove Mom back and forth along with the help of my sisters wherever she needed to go, and still drive her anywhere. I have spent my days cooking for my family, or just for my mother who has always done the same for me. And I enjoy it. I try to be a good support system or just good company while Mom grieves, all the while grieving myself. I try my best in anything I do for anyone, and when it's not enough, that's when I come to my breaking point. When I'm criticized after helping and giving so much of myself, I just feel like it's not even worth it and come to a negative, dark place where I just shut down. I'm only human. As of now, my wife and I are making a big decision, perhaps removing ourselves from the entire equation so that no one can determine or judge the way we live our lives. I hope they keep in mind what we actually do, because once we step out, they'll finally realize how important it was to have us around. I will gladly hand you my life, my lifestyle, where I am -- of experiencing what it's like stepping inside these two year old shoes. But go ahead and doubt me, it'll only give me more motivation to leave everything behind.


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, January 21, 2013

The Backscratcher

The past year or so I have noticed a lot. I've noticed the people around me and those who never really kept in touch. I've seen people come out of the woodwork for no other reason than to be kind, generous and helpful. I've seen the good in people and the not so good in others. Between an old friend who offered to renovate part of my home for free (which is never expected), to those who have simply offered a helping hand in anything they had seen me struggling with. "The good in me seeks the good in you." --Joel Gardner (1942-2007) An acquaintance of mine wrote this on his Twitter account. His father, Joel Gardner used to say this to him. You can read his story here. Everyone said his father was a good man. I remember being at my father's funeral. People came up to me and repeatedly stated, "He was a good man, Deb." Flaws and all, my Dad never stopped giving. He helped people without expectations. He would give you his last dime or pull you out of a ditch even if it was 3am. He'd also protect his family with his life, which sometimes came with a price. We're human. But my point is, I didn't think there were many people out there like Dad - that they were obsolete. Everyone seems to expect the world handed to them on a silver platter. But lately, I'm coming to find out that there are a few good souls out there, just like my dad.  I'm very thankful for that.

We only have one life with a ton of chances to make a difference in people's lives. We can only do the best with what we got. I've seen people whine, grumble, bitch and moan over other people's good fortune or blessings they've received. I've noticed people resenting others for simply having a good day. Everyone's so angry. But the ones who don't have much are usually the ones who give more freely --- not in the monetary sense --- but overall generosity of the heart. Isn't that strange? "All goes well for those who are generous, who lend freely and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil circumstances. Those who are righteous will be long remembered." {Psalm 112:5-6} You can sit in a church pew every single Sunday and say you're "godly" or "Christian", but your actions speak much louder than your words. God blesses the generous with things that money can never buy. Have you ever played Rummy 500 before? I used to play this with my sister for hours upon hours while we were teenagers. She always won. I finally asked what her secret was. She explained that in order to win the game, you have to give away your best card in order to gain anything, resulting in a win. At the time, it was just a "winning strategy" -- but over time, I learned that it was a valuable life lesson.  "If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving--large or small--it will be used to measure what is given back to you." {Luke 6:38}

Giving without expectations are sometimes very difficult for people to do. I don't understand why people give a gift (or help someone) only to regurgitate it. "Well, I did this for you," --- seems to be a tool for those who need something from you or perhaps feel superior with putting past gifts in your face - almost as bad as blackmail. Once you give a gift, best forget you ever gave it. Bringing it up again will drive people away. For instance, if you give me a gift, and then bring it up time after time, or just even one time -- I most likely will steer clear of that person hoping I never get a "surprise gift" or go out with them, as they grab the check, hoping to expect something or at least, have one over on me. Those type of people scare me because their gifts are never genuine. They are filled with expectations of a payback of a much larger sum. Have you ever gone into a deli, or say a cafe or a restaurant and the owner keeps giving you free stuff? In most cases, you'll probably end up avoiding the place because it just feels weird. At least, for me it does. I stopped going to a deli where the owner just kept giving me free stuff. I mean, hell - everyone wants free stuff, but when does it come to the point of awkwardness? Even if his motives were pure, I just had a bad feeling about it and felt bad about not paying. He would never accept my money, so I stopped going.

The best types of gifts are the ones money can't buy. Time spent with a friend. Bringing soup to someone's who's sick. Offering a helping hand in someone's project. Smiling at a perfect stranger. Listening to someone without talking. Apologize. Forgive, even if it doesn't seem "forgivable".  Not only is the receiver appreciative, but for person giving, dopamine is released in our brain giving us a pleasurable euphoric type of feeling. If it's the one thing I've learned from Dad, it's that you can never give enough. In the same breath, you also have to be kind to "you" - nourish your own well-being before you can help someone else. If we don't take care of ourselves, we'll never be able to take care of anyone else. The same with love. And as the brilliant and lovely RuPaul states, "If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" That saying, "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours," means giving with expectations. Just give me a backscratcher and I'll simply say 'thank 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, January 17, 2013

Gun Control & Fear

As Obama enforces tighter gun control, there are so many people panicking over this. Although I do believe the right to bear arms, for sportsmanship, hunters and of course, protecting your home, I don't see the logic in owning assault weapons typically used in the military. But there's a much larger picture here: fear. It's not even the mainstream type of fear -- fear of burglary, intruders or even an animal attack --- this is fear of catastrophic events. As we all sit and wait for the big zombie apocalypse, this even goes beyond that. After Hurricane Sandy, the lack of gas, water, supplies, etc., I was surprised over the behavior of many who were willing to throw fists at the next person on line for gas. Gas meant electricity, hot water and means of transportation for many people. It meant "life". I heard one guy talking to his friend the other day about how the world is going to need assault weapons in order to protect their family when the new world order takes effect -- almost like those 'doomsday preppers'. After the Sandy Hook shooting, the gun stores had lines out the door, no parking and a limited supply of inventory because everyone was snatching up the merchandise. It took both "Sandys" (Hurricane Sandy & Sandy Hook) to instill fear in some of us. "Oh wait - is there a correlation between the two?" the religious folk screech, as this surely must be a sign of the end times. And that's where the madness begins: religion.

You're "safe" now...
Isn't God supposed to take our fears away? If we were so "godly", then why are we fearing the end times? Why are the extreme right winged Christians all fearing the worst? Is it that they don't have enough faith in God that they need an assault rifle to protect them? Isn't God enough? Or have we all gone completely mad? In a Facebook thread about gun control laws, one commenter stated on a friend's page, "One woman shot an intruder 5 of the 6 rounds in a clip and he kept coming at her hole protecting her family. So who knows how many you will need if you are a horrible shot?" I was happy and relieved that someone made sense when they responded with this, "You have addressed one of my issues! 'So who knows how many you will need if you are a horrible shot?' Why the hell do you own a gun you don't know how to use?! I think on top of everything Obama put forward, you should also be required by law to have a minimum number of training hours every month with the gun you 'have to own.'" Exactly. Why would you own a gun if you do not know how to use it?  It seems like people are grasping at straws in order to just "feel" safer. We are all vulnerable whether we have a gun or not. Are we safer with a gun? Yes, if we've gone to a gun range and learned how to use it properly. Are we safer with assault weapons? Do we really need assault weapons?

Be safe, be smart, and if you're a right wing Bible thumpin' Christian, BELIEVE God is safer than  your gun. O ye of little faith!

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, January 16, 2013

Disheartening & Tragic

Just like you, I was totally disheartened by the tragedy of Sandy Hook. I'm not even a parent, yet felt the heartache of "my child" being killed days before the holidays. Unopened presents under the Christmas tree, empty bedrooms with all of their toys, stuffed animals and belongings still lingering, and of course, the media and social networking sites showing the faces of those whose lives were taken so tragically. How could you not cry over this? I thought about the vulnerability of the schools that my little nephew and two nieces attend. I thought about how terribly heartbroken I would be if this happened here. That mindset of "Oh this would never happen here," is now a mindset of, "When is it going to happen?" I was nauseated by not only what the media was showing, but my own thoughts, fears and yes, anger. I was however, glad that at most, only two photos (images and not footage) of the tragedy was shown. Maybe it was just to respect the children since they were so young. Maybe it was just to save us from more heartbreak. And maybe, I don't know...

Yesterday, I stumbled across a disturbing video. It's called, "The Sandy Hook Shooting - Fully Exposed". It was on a friend's Facebook wall. I clicked on it, noticed that it was 30 minutes long and was almost about to turn it off, when I found that I could not keep from watching it. They say in the disclaimer before the video goes on that they are not claiming that the shooting never took place, they are simply questioning the contradicting stories. And wow, I could not believe my eyes. They took news footage, reports as well as interviews with the parents (some questionable), to which all contradicted one another. One person's story turned into many stories, changing with each interview. I remember telling Madelene while we were watching the news, "There was a lady who said that the mother who was killed never taught at this school before." Then there was a nurse who said that the mother was a sweet person who worked there for years. That person, that same nurse, was not found in the records. On top of that, they had charity pages for the deceased children made one day before the shooting. The gun that was supposedly used for the shooting was in the trunk of the car, while Adam Lanza's body was still in the school. How on earth...?  But the one thing was, they couldn't claim if it was a shotgun or an AR-15 rifle. As fascinated as I am by conspiracy theorists, I also have a lot of skepticism. This has to be one of the first (most tragic) event that I ever thought twice about. I hope that maybe some of my readers can convince me that this is all fake, made up, and well, not true. Beyond that, I'll let you decide for yourself. What do you think? What do you believe? You can also go to Snopes for more info.


If you cannot view the video above, please click here.

Here's an article taken from The Global Desk News:

"A ‘Sandy Hook conspiracy theory’ is spreading across certain areas of the US, which deems that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings on December 14 in Connecticut were a hoax committed by the Barack Obama Presidency to heighten public support for tighter gun control laws.

The Sandy Hook conspiracy theorists aka the Sandy Hook Truthers have labelled themselves Operation Terror, with many of the movement’s proponents having connections to the ‘9/11 Truthers’, who propagate that the 9/11 Islamist terrorist attacks on US soil were an ‘inside job’ of the then George W Bush Presidency. The ‘conspiracy of Sandy Hook’ or the Sandy Hook hoax theory appears to be based on fictitiousness and seems to be devoid of any basis.

The ‘Sandy Hook hoax’ theorists have asserted, in their blogs and websites, that a ‘smoking gun’ proves that the Connecticut elementary school shootings were bogus. The ‘smoking gun’ is a photograph of US President Barack Obama, in which he is backstage at a Newtown vigil two days after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings. In the photograph, Barack Obama has a young blonde girl on his lap.

The theorists, who claim that the Sandy Hook shootings were a hoax, have voiced that the blonde girl is the 6-year-old Emilie Parker, who was believed to be one of the 20 child victims of the Newtown elementary school massacre. The Sandy Hook Truthers, who have thundered that ‘Sandy Hook has been exposed’, say that Emilie Parker’s parents failed to adhere to the hoax due to their amateurishness.

A YouTube video on the ‘Sandy Hook hoax’ theory, which has garnered more than 260000 hits, voices that the blonde girl in the photo is Emilie Parker.

Opponents of the ‘Sandy Hook conspiracy’ theorists say that the blonde girl is Emilie Parker’s little sister. The ‘Sandy Hook hoax’ theorists also deem that Robbie Parker, Emilie Parker’s Dad, was faking his deep sadness when he melancholically addressed the media after Emilie was murdered at Sandy Hook.

69-year-old Gene Rosen, a pet-sitter, who provided sanctuary to six kids, who escaped the Newtown school in terror, is receiving harassing phone calls from some conspiracy theorists."

I realize that many people get freaky when it comes to the government and new world order type of theories, but I have read other articles that listed the reason for all of this was to implement tighter gun control. There's a ton of articles out there listed, not on major news media, but from underground groups as well as blogs. Not reputable, but yet questionable. Let's say that this is all true - that these were all actors (as absurd as that may seem to all of us) and that the government did this to tug at our heartstrings in order to get gun control? On top of that, the entire world starts to find out through news sources on Twitter, Facebook and other online resources that this was indeed a hoax? Do you know what would happen? Our freedom as we know it would be taken away. No more Facebook. No more Twitter. No more Youtube. No more available internet access to share anything. They do it in some countries so people don't have access to let people around the world really know what's going on. But of course, civilian opinions and general data is never a reliable source - but it's a questionable one once hundreds and thousands of people start reporting the same thing.

Please keep in mind, I am NOT saying that this conspiracy theory of Sandy Hook being a hoax is true. I'm questioning only certain details of the story regarding "supposed" actors playing roles in the scene, the lack of photos, images, footage, the conflicting stories, the medical examiner's behavior and false or botched up reports --- I'm trying to make sense of it while most of it is changing day by day. Feel free to leave your thoughts on what you think. How HORRIBLE if this is a hoax and how HORRIBLE if these allegations are just a huge hoax itself. Google some of the stories online and see for yourself how many contradictories there are to this tragedy.

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, January 15, 2013

Breaking Point

Everyone has a breaking point with any type of circumstance in life. Whether it's dealing with a crabby boss, having issues with your spouse, struggling to make ends meet or a huge life change due to loss of a loved one, (which is my biggest challenge at the time). There are two types of breaking points: the breaking point where you finally throw in the towel and give up completely and let it defeat you, or the breaking point that sets your mind and ambition to change your situation, or at least do something more productively to offset it. I'd like to say that I opt for the second one, but sometimes I fall into category #1 and completely shut the world out, including myself. I decided that I was done moping around, still mourning (will always mourn for my dad), but instead of sacrificing my own happiness, I'll take care of myself so I can help others in some way. Baby steps. I started cycling again every morning, sometimes reaching 7-10 miles (which is like 3 miles in treadmill 'years' I think), and trying to maintain a level of peace somehow. My peace comes when I pray mostly, but these days, my prayers have been while I'm taking a shower or doing the dishes or laundry. It's all good and fine, but it's not a peaceful type of prayer, where the main goal is to "listen" to God by meditating. I was asked the other day, "Have you been meditating?" And when I thought about it, as huge as I am about meditating, I haven't sat down lately to take a deep breath in order to let my mind rest. Instead, I've been up with insomnia as my mind finds a way to wind down after racing for hours on end. And when you finally reach that "breaking point", like something's gotta give now --- it could just be an awakening, not so much giving up.

In my little online bible app, it opened up to {1 Peter 5:7} - "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you," with a side note, "We experience freedom when we give a burden over to the Lord in prayer---even before the prayer is answered. The assurance of God's love and concern refreshes us and renews our hope." Every. single. person. is stressed about something. What works for each person? I tried all the negative solutions like, drinking, isolating myself, not meditating or trying to gain peace and inactivity which all led to depression, fatigue and a decline in health. Then another scripture popped up giving me more inspiration: "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we don't give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies." {2 Corinthians 4:8-10} Quick story.. About a month ago I did actually take a lot of time out to pray and meditate. It was something I hadn't done in a while. When the scripture above says, "Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies"-----when you sincerely pray as well as "listen" to Him----a light shines through you, I like to call it "the Jesus light". That day, I never had so many people in random places coming up to me just to say hello, or try to help me with something or just a simple smile from a stranger. It's like a dog's senses - people can detect the peace you have in your heart. People can also detect a negative energy as well.

The mind is the most powerful tool we have. We can tweak it either way, good or bad, depending on how you see it. Mad said to me the other day, "I noticed a huge difference in you lately." I kind of side-eyed her, expecting her to say something in jest, but she went on to say, "Your responses are much different lately." Still waiting for a more detailed answer, she noticed a few negative situations or comments that were thrown at me, where I didn't take offense to, which is the norm for me. Most of all, I saw the comments (or situations) in a more positive light, not twisting it into a negative condonation as I typically do. I was always defending myself in some way, whether from major insecurities or just being high strung and up in arms about everything. I was always so offended - "I'm offended about this!" "I'm offended about that!" I dissected every little thing that someone would say to me (even if it was to help in some way) and then wreak havoc afterwards, or at least, give a snide remark about their "flaws" or situation.  I was actually torturing myself, by trying to protect myself, when there really wasn't an enemy to attack. I was my own enemy. Maybe it takes a huge life event, as I've just experienced in order to learn a little something about yourself. Life is way too short to roll around in the puddles of life's turmoil.

{Romans 5:3-4} 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 expectations of salvation."

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, January 10, 2013

The Flu Vaccine: A Personal & Political Choice

Years ago, I remember getting rejected for the flu shot. The doctor would always say that it was only for young children, elderly people and those with compromised immune systems. I pointed out that I had asthma to which always threw me straight into the hospital once the flu hit. So they included me in the "chronic illness" category. While I never got the flu again after the shot, I stopped taking the shot after doing research on it. Between side effects, long term effects as well as not even being remotely effective due to "educated guesswork" to determine which strain of the flu "may" be hitting the nation --- I was out. Let the young and elderly have the shot. I never got the flu after that until the H1N1 hit us. I suffered through it, but had comfort in knowing I didn't have those awful chemicals in my system.  Read through some of the ingredients listed that's in the flu vaccine: "Formaldehyde, mercury, aluminum, thimerosal, animal byproducts, chlortetracycline hydrochloride, chick embryonic fluid, streptomycin sorbitol monkey kidney cells and calf serum, phenol -a compound obtained by distillation of coal tar vesicle fluid from calf skins Engerix-B, human diploid cells from aborted fetal tissue, and live viruses." Not only are these ingredients alarming, but some people don't know that there are allergens in here (if they are allergic) like raw egg and shellfish, which can be deadly for some people.

Kaylynne Matten 7 years old
In an article written by Ken Picard in a local Vermont newspaper, it reads, "Nicole and Justin Matten of Barton have lived every parent’s worst nightmare. On December 2 their 7-year-old daughter, Kaylynne, visited her physician for an annual checkup. She got a flu shot. The next day, she developed a bad headache and fever. On December 6, the normally happy and healthy girl, who had no previous history of chronic health problems or adverse reactions to vaccines, turned blue, stopped breathing and died in her mother’s arms." ---read more for entire article.  The autopsy is still being done and investigated, however in the article it notes that they're afraid that this will cause alarm for parents to have their children immunized in the future due to this "rare" incident. I can show you many articles that unveil mysterious ailments formed on people without pinpointing a culprit - mostly neurological, unless it's fully investigated. The government only cares about the bigger picture and trying to simmer the influenza down - which is understandable, but why can't they make a vaccine that is at least 80% safe. The vaccine itself isn't even at most, 65% effective. I have heard more than three people say that they've taken the flu vaccine and they are now home sick with the flu. If it isn't effective, then why are we taking it?

I'm not a mother. I'm not sure how my feelings would be or change if I had a child that was going to school. I get it. If children are so vulnerable to colds and flus, especially this time of the year, then I guess the "rare" dangers of the vaccine aren't as important as the "possible" protection they would gain from taking the shot. Why is this incredibly important issue flung into the gray area? We're talking about our children and loved ones who are elderly! This controversial topic alone is extremely personal and very political.  We're talking about our personal choice to refuse the shot because we don't want those horrible chemicals in our systems, nor in our loved ones' systems, and we're also concerned that yes, they may get the flu with complications. So why can't they come out with a vaccine that is at least 90% effective? It's almost as bad as debating about religion, and sadly, there are no concrete facts to stand on.

So with my unprofessional advice taken from doctors and through resources that I have read, if you are not planning to take the vaccine (which I refuse to), then make sure to do these things:

  • Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every single night. 
  • Take 1,000 mg of vitamin D every day
  • Take 1,000 mg of vitamin C every day 
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day
  • Eat foods high in protein as well as your fruit intake (I'm not a fruity gal myself, well...kinda.)
  • Lessen the alcohol (This will be a hard one for me.) 
  • Best medicine? Laugh A LOT. 
  • And a personal one for myself? PRAY. 


Hope that helps. Be safe, be well, stay healthy and take care of your children the way you feel is best.


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, January 08, 2013

Do We Have a Choice?

Do you ever find yourself cringing when you hear, "they did studies on, blah blah blah" on certain controversial topics? For instance, they did studies on the "gay gene" and whether or not being gay was a choice or if people were born that way. I remember a show (of course I forgot which) where they took a cadaver of a lesbian woman and compared her brain to the brain of a man. The makeup was almost identical. When placed next to a heterosexual female's brain, it was much different. Scientific studies and findings have not been actual proof of finding a "gay gene", or else those who strongly feel it's a choice would stop their argument. I personally don't care whether it's a gene or if it's a choice. In a religious standpoint and through reading much of what the scripture says --- being gay is not a sin. It's the sexual nature, (promiscuity) for both heterosexuals and homosexuals. The "immorality" of any type of sexual behavior. I don't think that just because let's say, your dad was gay, so therefore you're gay. No. What I do believe is, there are many things in our childhood that may influence our "choices". Yes, there I said it. But I still have mixed views on the choice vs. genetics.

How about this scenario: they did studies on children who have at least one obese parent. Some studies point to a "fat gene". Many feel that genetics play a huge role in a kid's future of being thin or heavy. My personal opinion is that it's our choice. We develop the same or similar eating habits as our family, because most of us are all in one household. Some get off scott free, while others take on the shape of their heavier parent(s). I do believe that we form the same "shape" of our parents' bodies --- similar hands, arms, feet, calves, ear, nose, eyes, etc --- and while that may increase with size, we figure "Well, he's heavy so his kid took on his shape too. It was bound to happen."  But have you ever looked at a married couple who look a lot alike? They took on the same shape, and dare I say, similar size and weight? Think... Same with alcoholism. Habits are learned and periodically taken on. I don't understand when people say "there's alcoholism in our genes" ---- it's a habit, not a genetic fault. We consume alcohol - it isn't within us...or is it?  Did "studies" show that? Or is it just another scapegoat? How about saying we have an addictive nature, or perhaps, an "addictive gene"? Why does "alcoholism" come into play? I never understood that one. Are we placing too much blame on our parents, our genetics and pushing away our very own responsibilities for ourselves - our accountabilities? What about being accountable for our own actions instead of saying, "Well it was bound to happen..."  I will admit, as a lesbian woman, I don't think I could "choose" to be straight, only because my sexual preference is for the female gender. So I chose to marry a female. Voila. I can also go into when I was a child knowing all my life that I preferred the female gender. Hmm...

They did studies on our initial attraction towards whoever we "choose" to date. The pheromones were the number one reason why we picked our partners. After that, it's the physical characteristics. Then at least, can we say it's a chemical and not a gene per se? It's just as if I tell you, vanilla is my favorite smell and flavor, and you telling me that chocolate is yours. Preference. We all have preferences and choices...or do you think it's all in our genetic makeup?

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, January 02, 2013

The Blinking Cursor Ends

For the longest time, I've been trying to write my second book. It's been challenging the last three years with my dad being sick and all. My emotions gave my writing ability a huge wall. Dad would always say, "Oh you gotta put this story in your book," but it wasn't my story. It was his. I'm jotting this book down in more of a lighthearted feel. That's how we were - all of us - lighthearted and laughing at our struggles in life. We never played the victim. That wasn't what our family was about. Dad would say, "I gave you excitement!" And he did. He begged me to write everything down, so with his wishes, I am collecting all of his stories as well as my own experiences to show you how life was for me as a kid and an adult. Of course, some names and places have been changed to protect the guilty. So please bear with me as I work on this next project. I'll be using this blog to vent out some of my frustrations about whatever. Until then, feel free to leave a memory of your own about Dad. (If you know him.)

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!