Thursday, January 30, 2014

Feeling Overwhelmed? Me Too…

For the longest time, I've been suffering with anxiety attacks or just 'fear' in general. I guess you can call them "phobias" and whatnot, but it definitely debilitates my life on certain days. Some days are good and some days are bad. Therapists are good, but they can only help so much. They can give advice (which they hardly do) or they can sit there and listen to you while the sounds of the 'tic-toc-tic-toc' morphs into one big 'cha-ching'. They say (whoever "they" are), that just by someone else listening to you is helpful. Well, I disagree to a point. I can go to the bar with a girlfriend and rant all I want. Now that helps. I'm disgusted with the cost of therapy. Do they deserve that money? Some definitely deserve it, but others, like the ones that I have come across should be ashamed of themselves for just sitting there like a zombie pretending to remember what was told to them while writing it all down just to remember your name. I'm talking about the ones who let the time slip away while you rant on and on and then….no advice. I guess I'm pissed off with the textbook version of psychology - the 'let the patient figure it out for themselves' type of mindset. Great. I can sit home and do that.

In fact, I did.

Ironically enough as I type this, I have an appointment to sit down with my therapist for an hour. It's mostly awkward silence, unless I tell him about my anxiety attacks that rarely gets a huge response, just nods and raised eyebrows, the kind you see when someone's pretending to be interested, especially if you're their last patient. Wow, what a run-on sentence that was. I'm acknowledging my flaws, grammatically as well as internally. Bear with me. There's a point to be made. These days, I have been doing a lot of soul searching. I went through the past couple of years mourning over the death of my father. I'm doing better, I still miss him, but I have made progress. I have been making a conscious effort to better my health: spiritually, emotionally and physically. In the morning, I do a bit of yoga and meditation along with a heartfelt prayer time. I have been listening to sermons and seminars that help me spiritually. I have been learning how to react better to shitty circumstances that I would normally blow up over. I have been diligently seeking better avenues on how to respond to life's curveballs. This is the only thing that has given me major progress. It has changed my state of mind, my emotional health and even my physical wellness. But, I have to keep at it or I'll lose it, in every way imaginable. I can't give up - it's a constant exercise. It's just like physical exercise, if you stop, what happens? You get out of shape. So I am doing both: emotional, spiritual and physical exercise. I don't rely solely on a therapist's clock. I rely on God's clock.

"My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

It's not my job to make you happy!
And that's just it. "Favor" -- which is also "grace" -- an undeserving blessing that is based on pure trust in God. When I'm weak, ready to explode over something that's ticking me off, I take a deep breath and say, "I have the mind of Christ" and automatically, I am no longer bothered by it. After all the money I spent in therapy, this is the best kind of help I have ever gotten and get this --- it's free. For a long time, I was really out of touch spiritually -- my entire life was based on circumstances, consequences and wishing for something good to happen. I always wondered why God didn't fulfill all my needs, but I guess during that time, I wasn't mature enough. I'm learning every single day that even if things don't go my way, or it isn't such a "great day", that I will still be happy regardless. Nothing can take away the constant joy that is only fulfilled by one great therapist: God. I can't rely on people anymore. As much good intentions come from those who want to help, the sad fact is, people will always disappoint you in some way whether intentional or not. I'm going to stop basing my happiness on how others treat me or relying on someone else to make me happy. It's only my responsibility. For instance --- it's not Madelene's or anybody else's job in order to make me happy. There are so many people that rely on their partners to give them happiness without realizing that it comes from within. I didn't have that kind of happiness for quite some time. I lost it because I was so wrapped up in my own crap and blaming everyone else for my unhappiness that I didn't see what was truly going on. I became this narcissistic self-centered person without even realizing I've become. It's strange how it sneaks up on you too. I'm just thankful I got a good wakeup call because my entire view on life has changed drastically.

Going back to that scripture above, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness," -- it's all about plugging into God's power. In my weakest points is when my strength is at its best {God's strength}. I don't rely on myself anymore and I stopped trying to control everything. That was my biggest problem. I tried to control every single thing that came swinging my way. If things didn't work out in my favor, I tried everything to make it work out. I failed miserably every single time too. It then snowballed into resentment, bitterness, agitation and depression. Remember the prayer, God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference?  I finally see where that all fits into my life. My life may not be perfect, but I refuse to go through that living hell that only I created for myself. I guess I'm turning over a new leaf. It's about time.

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 28, 2014

Why Are You So Offended?

The other night the Grammys were on. I'm more interested in catching Girls and Looking on HBO. Not a fan of watching bad performances or publicity stunts for shock value made by celebrities so that everyone will chatter about them on social media for the next six months or so. I caught some of the buzz about how they had gay marriages on the show, where couples united and everyone, (seemingly) were touched by this. Finally, equality is spreading like wildfire, some happy and some disgusted. There was a huge backlash of antigay tweets and chatter on Facebook, demonstrating their distaste for this "disgusting display".  I sort of giggled at Dr. R Joseph Milligan's tweet.

Here are some of his tweets: "CBS: Shame on you, the Grammy's is supposed to be a family friendly show. It was disgusting, and sick to have gay marriages."

"@TODAYshow Thought it was sick, and evil, and not appreciated this is an award show, not a Gay Pride rally, children watch this!"

Mrs. Milligan & her closeted gay husband.
Then, someone made a comment about his wife being overweight, who is probably a lovely person. I'm not quite sure who Dr. Milligan is talking to in these threads to himself, whether he is a novice at tweeting or just had to get it out of his system, I finally had to reply to his madness:

Isn't living in sloth another deadly sin? 
Dr R Joseph Milligan ‏@parsonjoe1 Real Mature, insult my wife, Bigoted against overweight, a Christian person? We have just right to believe what we believe 

Dr R Joseph Milligan ‏@parsonjoe1 @parsonjoe1 Cursing at a man of God, too Let me do a fully Christian Wedding at the Grammys and preach a sermon, too. 

Dr R Joseph Milligan ‏@parsonjoe1 tree, anywhere, then, I will be quiet. I do not apologize, for my Beliefs. Stop insulting my cat, too.

Dr R Joseph Milligan ‏@parsonjoe1 @parsonjoe1 He's a sweet boy full of Love. Never said I hated anyone, hate the sin, love the sinner. Homosexuality is a sin. 

Debra Pasquella ‏@DebraPasquella @parsonjoe1 Isn't gluttony one of the seven deadly sins? She's probably a lovely person, but if you're going to judge ppl, we'll go there.

After his comment about the Grammys being a "family show", I also asked him, don't dem' gays have families too? To think that gays and lesbians are just lone riders lost having promiscuous and reckless sex in dirty alleys is just so demented and twisted. The first thing that comes to the heterosexual Christian mind is SEX SEX SEX. They can't see past SEX. It makes me wonder a lot about who they really are. I truly feel that if someone is extremely bothered by homosexual relationships, then they may have gay tendencies too. If you're that invested in tearing down the gay and lesbian community, it tells me that maybe some part of you wants to be apart of it. They have done studies on homophobic people, like Dr. R Joseph Milligan, where they tested their hatred for gays and lesbians to see if it was in fact, a secret desire to be gay. They sat them down in a room with a TV and electrodes connected to their body (and body parts) to see if these images would arouse them in any way. All the people who were against homosexuality were ALL aroused by seeing homosexual activity, hardly any arousal being detected for heterosexual intimacy. So not only is it an assumption now, but it's been tested over and over again showing the same results. When you hear people making antigay slurs or you see hate crimes on TV because someone was gay, remember, they're dealing with a larger sin: coveting. Now THAT's in the Ten Commandments. Odd that homosexuality isn't.

Take a look at this video that demonstrates how homophobic people are really in the closet gays. If you cannot view the video below, please click here.

I'm starting to believe that religion makes people stupid. It's one thing to disagree with someone's lifestyle. I get it. And that's fine. But it's when you start making someone else feel bad for who they are --- that's when your "God light" disappears and all acceptance, tolerance, patience, understanding goes out the door. All of those words I just wrote are written in Corinthians to define "love". Interestingly enough, not enough Christians have this "love" in their heart. They're too worried about their own bigotry, or perhaps, their own identity, hoping their true sexual orientation won't be revealed. Many gays and lesbians hide under cloaks and habits. Sexual repression is the biggest problem in the Catholic church. Hiding under a pew isn't going to make you straight when you're gay. Sad thing is, once you repress it for a long enough time, the subject of your release may not be the target you wanted. For instance, look at how many priests have molested little boys. In fact, my own priest was arrested and charged for pedophilia and molestation charges. You can read all about that here.

Part of the article reads, "Back in the eighties when I was going to CCD - (night school for religion), they had sent us away to a religious retreat in upstate New York. It didn't seem like a 'retreat' as much as it looked like a prison with cement tiled walls and a door for each room. The only fun room they had was about the size of my bedroom with a pool table in it. They had old cots with thin bedding and one floppy pillow. The grounds were just as bland as the inside of the building - some dried out yellow grass and a swing set. I remember we were waiting to be called into a room to confess our sins to a priest named, Father Pipala. We were still learning the proper way to confess as well, prayer included. When it was my turn, the nun came up to me and whispered, 'Now go and walk into that room over there and confess to Father Pipala.' It was a thick metal painted door. I opened it to see Father Pipala sitting on a cot in an empty bedroom patting the bed saying, 'Come here, child. Talk to me.'  I stared at him, expecting to see a booth with black meshing to hide myself from confessing. But it was all out in the open: a priest on a bed giving me a 'come hither' look. At that age, I never knew anything about pedophilia or grown ups wanting anything other than to teach us and to take care of us. But at the age of 8 yrs old, I felt a creepiness that I'll never forget. I sensed something was wrong. I stepped closer and stared at him. When he tried to grab me with force, he managed to pull off some of my sweater. I ran out of the room as fast as I could and screamed down the dark hallway that was lit with cheap florescent lights that flickered on and off. One of the nuns tried to grab my arm but I made my way outside by the bus we drove up in and cried hysterically. The entire day, those nuns were 'extra kind' to me, letting me sit aside from the activities that were given to the other kids telling everyone, 'She doesn't feel very well.'"

Not too long after, it was exposed that Father Pipala was charged for molesting children, mostly boys. In an article written in The New York Times, it states, 'In Monroe, Father Pipala settled into his job, coordinating the youth ministry and working in drug and alcohol programs. His license plate read, 'Fred 66,' a play on his nickname, Father Ed, and the year of his ordination. He also assumed a darker role: founder and leader of a club called the Hole, based in the church basement. It had several dozen members -- all teenage boys, some with strained relations with parents, others from broken homes. The priest said in his deposition that he based the Hole on the 'philosophy of having someone who would be there all the time, a place that one could go to share their thoughts and feeling and not ending up in some bar talking to some strange bartender.' Yet, he said he gave the boys beer and liquor and showed them pornographic videos. Father Pipala created an initiation ceremony in which the teenagers, sworn to secrecy, joined him in masturbating into a red cloth, an act he would later compare to an ancient 'tribal' ritual. Each boy was given a small square of the cloth, and a T-shirt with his number on the back. By the time of his arrest in 1993, prosecutors said his abuse had extended to oral and anal sex. They said dozens of minors were initiated into his club and that he molested boys in rectories, at a Jersey Shore condominium and during a vacation in Massachusetts.'"

My point is, any type of repression manifests itself into something else or something that is totally out of character. Living a lie, to pretend to be "straight", yet secretly gay has to be one of the most hardest lives to live. You can't be yourself. You have that huge "religious guilt" thing taunting at you and chanting, "You're a sinner…you're a sinner…you're a sinner." I can't tell you how happy I was when my relationship with God became closer. My understanding of all of the messages written about homosexuality were not of "gay practices" --- they were of promiscuity and reckless sex of all genders. In Leviticus and any mention in the Old Testament are all part of the old law, which was abolished when Jesus died on the cross, written in Galatians 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 enough. 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.

I kind of feel bad for people who are discriminatory against gays and lesbians. They have a huge burden to carry: closeted feelings of homosexuality and religious guilt. They use the Bible as a wean for hatred and bigotry. They've never sat there and meditated on the Bible verses, to really and truly understand the full meaning of what's being said. They have never tried to understand the real meaning of Christ's death for all of humanity. They don't know the meaning of love, because it's not in their heart. I'm only speaking about those who lash out at us - the people who feel the need to belittle us because of our lifestyle and bash us for being…who we are. There's a fine line between love and hate. When someone is SO outraged by homosexuality, look through the transparency and unveil the person who has the same cross to bear as you. It's funny how we have so much in common with the people who hate us.

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 22, 2014

To Richard Sherman's Haters: LET IT GO

Richard Sherman said it right: "There's no need to be a barbaric human being, but on the field, we're playing a very barbaric sport, you can do what you please." I've had my fill of all the haters bashing Richard Sherman left and right, when in fact, most of these people ranting about how "classless" Sherman was, have all had their share of outbursts one time or another. Emotions are a funny thing. Once you've already established tension with someone, and that opportunity arises where you can just release all that anger and hopefully, in a healthy way --- that's what makes us human. Of course, our actions speak volumes about our character, however I don't believe what Richard Sherman did was such an abomination. He managed to make a touchdown right over his enemy. The emotion that came over him was more excitement, satisfaction and a final outlet for all of his pent up emotions. Even the reporter who was taken aback wasn't frightened in any way. In fact, she said, "Finally, he showed some emotion!" People who personally know Sherman say he is such an awesome guy in real life. He's just very passionate about his career, about this sport and about winning this for his team.  He even stated, "You know, I don't mean to attack him. And that was immature and I probably shouldn't have done that. I regret doing that." To Sherman: Don't apologize. To apologize for the public and for the team, fine, I get it, but I saw nothing wrong with it. What I found horrifying were all the racist comments from the haters who tweeted their little hearts out, while Martin Luther King Day was approaching us.

Anger makes us so ugly, doesn't it? I know it does for me when I come out of my face about something. I usually say things I don't mean out of anger and usually end up hurting the ones I love. It's a senseless release of emotion, sometimes not having anything to do with what's really bothering me. It's somehow a facade -- making the insults untrue, but the anger as honest as anything. We sometimes act out of character, as I've heard from many people talking about Richard Sherman, "He's usually a very calm and peaceful guy." Sometimes, it doesn't make any sense at all. We all have our moments of insanity. While watching Richard's short interview after the game, I thought, "Wow, that's a whole lotta' passion behind his love for the sport." And while he was directing his anger toward Crabtree, let's just call it what it is: fired up emotions after a barbaric event. Before you judge him, think about an outburst that you've regretted in the past. Then go right ahead and make your remarks, hopefully not racial ones. Now THAT'S "classless".

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 16, 2014

Heather Von St. James: Surviving Mesothelioma

Every single day, I receive at least 5-10 emails asking me if I would post their story, or if I would post a link to whatever it is they were selling or trying to promote. Sometimes, it's even just spreading the word about something. Most of it is unrelated to my blog and more geared toward monetary purposes. I'm not interested. Then, a gentleman named, Cameron Von St. James emailed me. I thought to myself, "Oh no, not another one." I read further though…

Part of his email reads,
"Eight years ago, my wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis. She had just given birth to our daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, LungLeavin’ Day was born. This will be the 8th year that we celebrate! The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears! Each year, we gather around a fire in our backyard with our friends and family, write our biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire. We celebrate for those who are no longer with us, for those who continue to fight, for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life, and most importantly, we celebrate life!"

His beautiful wife, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a disease to which most people don't live beyond 15 months. While telling her story, she remembers when she was a young girl, her father used to be in construction, tearing down structures and coming home with dust on his clothes. When Heather went outside, she would grab his coat not thinking about any dangers associated with his line of work. The dust was asbestos. They have a very informative website here and you can see Heather talk about her story below. If the link is not working, please click here.  Don't forget to visit their website called, "LungLeavin' Day." To find out more about mesothelioma, please visit this website for additional information.  God bless Heather and her family for sticking through this aggressive cancer and surviving!



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!

You can also visit this page to learn about mesothelioma lawyers

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Gearing Up for the Neanderthal Lifestyle After Radioactive Fish & GMOs

This past year, I have boycotted quite a few types of food that I once loved. Of course, this goes without saying that I do have a cheat day once in a while, but for the most part, in my mind, it's poison. I have eliminated sugar, bread, pasta and rice to the best of my ability. Any time I eat any of these things, my mind keeps chanting, "Poison…poison…poison." Without the option of ordering my favorite pastas out, I would then order a huge thing of steamed clams and mussels. I even started to dabble in crab, scallops and other types of seafood that goes along with my diet. It was a great alternative option besides getting steak or chicken - the same ol' same ol'. I was happy. Finally, I had options! And then, fecking Fukushima strikes again with another reactor melting down and spilling into our ocean. Not only that, but they have found a slew of radioactive fish --- fish with bleeding eyes and puss coming out of their pores, almost like a fish version of ebola. Between the BP oil spill and this nuclear disaster which is now declared even worse than Chernobyl, or any other disaster in this entire world, our oceans are literally 'Fuk'd'. Fukushima and BP have tried their hardest to cover up all their sins, but it's too late and now that we have this information, are we going to continue to eat from this oily and radioactive ocean? They reported that it would take approximately 6-12 months to reach the Atlantic ocean. I still don't believe it. I think it's sooner, if not already here. Some parts of the Pacific Ocean is lighting up with 'electric blue' waves crashing onto its shores. Scary. Would you trust your fish market when they swear up and down that their fish is farmed? Fish sales are plummeting and they're losing millions, if not billions. God bless my dad and may he rest in peace, but he was also guilty of telling someone that 'this was wild' or 'this was farmed' when it wasn't. He also said 'this fish is halibut' when it was something entirely different. It's a regular practice in many fish markets and restaurants across the board.

So then what's safe? Fish from brooks and lakes. Grab yer' fishing pole. That's what it's gonna come down to: getting your own food, planting your own vegetables, grabbing a few chickens and ducks to provide eggs and maybe a goat for milk. Times are going to turn backwards and we're gonna end up living like a bunch of hillbillies with rifles shooting down our own backwoods animals down for a good source of protein. It's not too far off when one day, we're really going to have to decide whether we stop trusting our grocers for "organic" food and start producing it ourselves. Between GMOs, radioactive fish, pesticides, as well as preservatives to keep stuff staying longer, will we just throw our hands up and say, "Ta' hell with it, I'm still gonna eat it", or will we finally go back into a Paleolithic lifestyle and live like a buncha' neanderthals? Why do you think so many people are hopping onto the Paleo diet? It's not even known for "weight loss" so much as it is for eating "clean" or at least trying to. For now, I am boycotting anything that comes from our ocean.

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, January 12, 2014

The 'Little' Things Matter

Sometimes people don't notice the little things that others do that make a huge difference in their lives, until they stop doing those "little things". Some people don't even notice the big things - almost bypassing them like a huge ship. I admit, I have taken many people in my life for granted and sometimes, I feel like some people take me for granted as well. It always works both ways. Appreciating everyone and their role in life is so important. Even something as simple as a phone call from a loved one can make all the difference. It doesn't matter how big or how small their 'monetary' jobs are --- their lot in life -- their ability to help others and make a difference is what matters the most. I remember the book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven had a huge impact on me. It showed a man with a "small" job (in most of society's view) who played an enormous role in life. He had a purpose - a reason to be here with us -- because without him, lives would have been lost and many souls wouldn't have been touched. "Contribution to society" does not require a doctorate degree, nor does the salary that comes behind it. It requires heart, love, compassion and being an important link in society or even within your small circle. For instance, I'd rather sit with my wonderful group of friends around the table laughing until we're in tears, instead of being offered a huge sum of money. I can't tell you how many times those small gatherings have literally saved my life. Quality time is precious, especially with family. "Live, laugh love" --- sounds so corny and cliché, but it's the ingredients to a truly happy life. And as the ol' saying goes, laughter is the best medicine.

Laugh Your Problems Away
We heal ourselves with laughter whether we know it or not, and of course, if we're lucky to have people around who can actually make us laugh. I've worked along with many comedians over the past five years or so and noticed a huge commonality: intense sadness. We're human. But the best thing they are doing is not only helping themselves with comedy, but they are helping other people. Reminds me of the sad clown, always going out of their way to get someone to laugh in order to feel better about themselves. Truly generous and loving people with hearts way too big for them to handle. But the fact that the people they work with are all comedians as well helps with the 'giving back' part. I've seen the life from the inside and from the outside. The outside is very deceiving, but their heart, their intentions are genuinely true. Some say by making other people laugh, it enables them to heal themselves. They're apart of a 'happy bunch' --- and being apart of something positive is a wonderful thing, which is why I wanted to work with them.

Choose Your Friends Wisely
Socially, I have chosen friends who can make me laugh and make me forget about whatever it is I'm stressing over. And you gotta realize, everyone has their own problems and depressive episodes, which makes it even more special when we get together and are able to just relieve ourselves with laughter. I tend to stay away from negative people -- the ones who suck the living life-force out of you. At the risk of this sounding horrible, I cannot be around "victims" of society -- people who are depressed and even amplify their depression and woes to get more attention. I have zero tolerance for it. But don't get me wrong, if a friend calls me up and needs my help, I'm gonna be there. But if they don't contribute to any positivity whatsoever in our friendship, then I have to leave it for the sake of not falling into the same pit they're stuck in. Negativity rubs off very easily, and for me, it worsens my anxiety, which eventually trickles straight into a depressive episode.

The Cork Popper Syndrome 
I made a vow to not keep things in anymore. I'm the type that tries to please everybody without complaining, until it's too late and ~^~BAM~^~ I pop my cork. I tend to do this to the people I love the most, which is kind of strange, but more common than not. In a heated argument, I even destroyed one of my prized possessions, which was my 12 string acoustic Takamine guitar. Not even getting into the cost of that ax, but I had an emotional attachment to it. I literally put my foot right through it. (It may be repairable), but my point is --- it has to stop. I tend to self-medicate way too much and that even amplifies the intense emotions even more so.  I can't hold things in any longer and the one thing I don't want to burst is my heart due to an overload of stressful emotions. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and feel as though I'm obligated to certain situations which at times, just blows my mind. I'm learning how to work on myself, do my job, contribute the best I can and live my life without feeling that sense of obligation to anyone, unless I feel I want to. Wanting to please someone is much better than feeling obligated to. So I'm changing my mindset and attitude and hoping for better results.

A Big Thank You
I appreciate all my old friends who have come flooding into my life this past year giving me moments of happiness and laughter that money can never buy. My family has been a huge support system for me, a forgiving and loving source of comfort that I'm not deserving of. It's truly unconditional love, especially my wife, Madelene who has been there for me through thick and thin. That woman is my Superwoman. I appreciate everything they do, everything they say and every attempt to make my day a little more brighter. Those things are never taken for granted. To realize the worth in someone's presence is a gift --- to know that without a doubt, that if they were to take their presence away, that it would be felt big time. And sadly, there are people out there that don't realize the gift of someone's mere presence, until one day, it's taken away. I will always notice…always.

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 09, 2014

Nobody Wants the Flu, But Here are Reasons Why I Refuse the Vaccine

Recently, I've encountered a few threads over on Facebook which had the ol' heated debate of, "to take the flu vaccine or not". Personally, I don't judge people based on their choice, but I do wonder why most people don't look into the ingredients of the flu vaccine. They're probably the same people who don't look at the ingredients listed in their boxed/packaged and canned foods, or just the people who eat that kind of garbage. Screw it, right? As long as you don't get sick for a week in the winter, all is well, even if you start to suffer from neurological disorders, Alzheimer's or respiratory problems. Those "symptoms" and disorders are just what life dealt you, right? The hardcore fact is: we're all gonna die someday, and many people feel that this is just one stepping stone into feeling better - by avoiding the flu. I remember years ago when I was a naive girl in her twenties working at IBM and trying so hard not to get sick, meanwhile scarfing down fake cafeteria eggs and picking up McDonald's for a quick lunch. We all had our own rooms for offices. Usually, you were paired up with an office mate -- kind of like a dorm room set up in college. My office mate and I had the best spot ever --- a panoramic view of the mountains and lake. The inner courtyard office people were super jealous. We didn't get to open windows because we were so high up, so we relied on circulated air systems. Anyway, you can imagine how sick everyone got once flu season hit. My office mate said to me, "They're giving flu shots downstairs, hurry before they leave." She must have been in her mid-thirties at that time. I said, "Why would you get a flu shot when you're so young?" She looked at me in horror and said, "Well, I certainly don't want to get the flu and I can't afford to miss a week or two from work!" I was automatically judged for rejecting the shot. So, I took it. Year after year, I found that it wasn't so easy to obtain the flu vaccine. I had to literally beg my family doctor to give it to me. He said, "We're only giving it to the very young and elderly as well as those with compromised immune systems and asthma patients. They caved in and finally gave me the shot. My fear of the flu was gone…but why did I always end up with the flu? Not only did I end up with the flu each time I took it, but I ended up with severe allergies and asthma that I never had before.

Finally, in my mid-thirties I started to read more and educate myself about the foods I'm eating, the vaccines I'm taking as well as any medications that were flung my way. It wasn't easy to convince me to take Tylenol for that matter. As soon as I stopped taking the flu vaccine, it seemed as though my asthma never came back. I used to have these wicked attacks every so often, which would require me to shuffle myself up to the ER, get all sorts of breathing treatments, steroid drips and a week long dose of prednisone to jostle up my dear kidneys and my nervous system. It felt like I was on crack. I could run a mile on prednisone - that stuff is great when you wanna vacuum your house at 3am, but it wreaks havoc on every single organ in your body. After follow up appointments with my family doctor, he said, "Well, you have asthma now, which means that you are one of the first served patients to get the flu vaccine." Voila - my ticket to avoid the flu. But by that time, I had already read up and did my research on this vaccine, to which many medical employees, hospital nurses and doctors are fighting for their right NOT to take it. Makes you think… But if you're in that line of work, you're screwed. You have to take it so that the patients don't get it. It's also hypocritical injecting someone while rejecting the same serum. And now, every single pharmacy and even grocery store are freely handing out the vaccines to everyone and anyone. It's no longer just for the young and elderly --- everyone who is breathing is able to receive the shot. There are signs everywhere I go.

My point is, after my decision to stop taking the vaccine, I never had an asthma attack since, nor did I get the flu. I would get the common cold here and there, but they never triggered my asthma anymore. Periodically, I'll get an acute asthma flareup, but a cup of black coffee takes it right away. Call it a coincidence, or call it psychosomatic -- I truly believe that those symptoms and even the flu, was caused by the flu vaccine itself. In my late thirties, I started taking even better care of myself and eating clean - no processed garbage, fast food and cut all sugar out of my diet to the best of my ability. I upped my vitamin D intake and started to eat real food instead of garbage. It's not even so much for weight loss as it is just to clear my system out from all the toxins that I put into it in the past. I'm not even doing this for longevity -- I'm doing it to enjoy my health "now". So, my "OCD advice" to you is WASH YOUR HANDS. Wash them like nurse's do (you can Google that technique). Don't touch your face! I know, a hard one to do, especially when you're rubbing your eyes in the morning. Wash your smartphones! Remember each place you put your phone. I use rubbing alcohol on mine every single night - just a little will do. Always, always, wash that iPad or tablet, especially when you have kids who use them. Those cute little fingerprints are full of venom. And if you're like me and love sleeping with your dog, wash their little paws before they hop into your bed at night. I swore I would never sleep with a pet, and well, it happened. I'd suggest not to sleep with your pet, but….they're just too cute not to cuddle up with at night.

So before you decide on taking the vaccine, here's my last reasons why I refuse it. The
ingredients found in the vaccine are, 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. 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 2012, 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.  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 enough, then why are we taking it with little desire to read what's in 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!

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Winter Blues

Yesterday, I read something about "Blue Monday" - a phenomenon that occurs on January 6th (in some reports) or the 3rd Monday of January. The info was quite spotty. The main objective here is that "Blue Monday" is supposedly the saddest day of the year for many people. Most people hate Mondays regardless, but this one I found fascinating because if you think about it -- you can imagine after all the holiday hype, we're now faced with the long, dreaded winter days before the next big holiday: Easter & Passover and of course for the young spring chickens, spring break. In November, it goes up and up and up --- Thanksigiving --- up and up and up --- Black Friday --- up and up and up --- Christmas & Hanukkah --- up and up and up --- BANG -- New Year's Eve! After the big bang-pow festivities, it's now back to school, work, dread, short days, long nights and bitter cold days with a few blizzards in between. People need something to look forward to. I feel fortunate that my birthday falls in the beginning of February, but by this time, turning 40 is now a scary thought to me. I remember when I was in my crisp 20's thinking, "Oh geez, after 35 and it's all medical bullshit and heart attacks." My birth control pills told me so. "If you're over the age of 35, consult your doctor." Everything was "after the age of 35" warnings. After 35, I seriously became a hypochondriac because of all these little scare tactics on warning labels and pill bottles. Things like my estrogen would run out and premenopausal days were ahead -- more for my partner to worry about really --- but it was still scary. The only glimmer of hope for being in my mid-thirties was the wive's tale of reaching your sexual prime. I'm sorry (and sorry if this is TMI), but the best sex of my life was in my twenties. After 30, it became more about complications, going for forbidden apples and becoming this crazed hormonal roller coaster ride of indecisiveness and of course, good ol' angry make up sex. I guess it wasn't all that bad.

Point is: people need something to look forward to, whether within that one year or within their age range. For instance, "today" I feel happier than I did than the last couple of months. So it negates that theory. Another example is that a very good friend of mine who is in her late 50's is having more sex than I ever did in my mid 20's -- and it's not because she's single -- she's married with kids. Go figure. I have a hard enough time trying to get my chihuahua out of the bedroom, no less a kid or three. I've been listening to a lot of seminar speakers and even Christian sermons from my favorite pastors and I have learned one thing: to make yourself happy you have to enjoy "now" and not worry about tomorrow. I'm such a creature of habit and worry worry worry about tomorrow and the day after. During this entire winter, we've been saying, "Ugh, I wish our June vacation would get here now," -- making our days of winter a proverbial waiting room. So this speaker that I listen to said, "Why play the waiting game -- do something great now!" Sometimes, when I listen to these people in a bad mood, I'm just rolling my eyes grumbling about it wondering if their messages are uber hypocritical. I'm sure you know what I mean. A "happy-go-lucky-enjoy-your-life" message makes me fricken insane, especially if I had a bad day. Hell, happy people even make me insane when I'm grumpy. But, in reality, it does make sense. While we're waiting for summer days to come flooding through or we're just waiting on something that we're looking forward to, why not do something NOW to pacify our grumpiness? I didn't think I would make a New Year's resolution, but I'm gonna start with that.

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, January 03, 2014

Our Prized Possession: The Smartphone

You know a relationship is going stale when your spouse's hands are on their iPhone more than they're on you. Technology has become "the other woman" and seems to satisfy every whim if need be. Let's face it, you can get important info, medical info, music, videos, movies, a conversation with a friend or stranger and even pseudo sex. Everything seems to "appear" better out there in cyberspace, in our little phones that we tuck into our pockets -- our prized possession. On the news, they asked viewers, "What couldn't you possibly live without?" 95% of people answered, "My smartphone." They didn't even mention their significant others nor their children. We're so focused on what other people are doing that we fail to even notice what our loved ones are up to. Status messages are more important than a little, "How are you," when your better half or child walks in the door. Even when I'm out to dinner, the phone is gone, (well, in my pocket), unless I'm expecting a call or text from someone I've been waiting for, like a friend who's late to dinner or something. Our smartphones have become some sort of appendage -- we cling onto them as if it were another body part. I know I do. I say, "Well in case of emergencies," as I scroll down Twitter's timeline. I will say that it beats the hell out of reading some germ-infested magazine at the doctor's office.

I'm not sure where I read this or if I had seen this on TV somewhere, but they were explaining how we're missing out on life by taking too many photos. Especially someone like me who loves to capture every beautiful aspect of the country, or weather shots and even funny pics of my chihuahua -- they say that we're too busy snapping away and not enjoying what's right in front of us. Many love the novelty of taking selfies and others rather just snap photos of clouds. Different strokes. I remember one day I was sitting outside and it had been raining for the past couple of hours. All of the sudden, a gorgeous rainbow appeared. I instantly got up, then thought about how many rainbow photos I already have, and decided to sit right back down in my chair and enjoy what was right in front of me. What about going to a comedy show or seeing your favorite singer in concert? How can you enjoy it while you're filming half of it or snapping away every 20 seconds? I remember one concert Beyoncė did -- she said to someone, "Enjoy the show and stop taking so many pictures!" But I admit, I love to take shots of everything I love, everything that makes me happy in life and yes, of course the food shots are something I'm guilty of doing. I can always blame that on needed photos for my cooking blog.  So you may see less photos from me, but I refuse to quit snapping away.

How about you? Can you live without your smartphone for one day?

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!