Monday, March 31, 2014

Unwavering Faith

Usually, I'm pretty hesitant to write about this type of stuff and I still do at times, but at the moment, I feel that it's very important to talk about this topic. I don't believe (or confirmed) that I'm a medium or some whacky 'ghost whisperer", but I have and still do communicate with people who have passed away, usually relatives and close friends from the past. This can be through dreams, symbolic signs or even short-lived appearances. I just don't talk about it because it seems a bit ~cray cray~. I can definitely confirm the cray cray part. Not to repeat myself from almost two years ago, but my mother and I knew the day and time that Dad would pass onto the other side. We were both outside on July 20th. Mom was smoking her cigarette sitting in the passenger seat of her parked car.

Just to backtrack a bit, throughout this grueling ordeal, we watched Dad talk to people who weren't there. We also found out that certain family friends in our past have died----through Dad.

"Hey look! Frankie's with the angels now."

Frankie was an old time family friend who we hadn't seen in years. His death wasn't even one week away. He also confirmed a lot more than we needed to know through his state of being so very close to the end. The picking of his bed sheets, removing any article of clothing he had on, his constant restlessness, the need to constantly get up, was his spirit trying to remove the 'heaviness' of life itself. And if you talk to those who have witnessed a sick loved one who is close to the end, they'll tell you about similar behaviors that are just unexplainable to people who just don't believe in that sort of stuff.

Mom looked over at me while taking the last drag of her cigarette and said, "You know what tomorrow is, right?" Instantly, I nodded my head, not saying one word. We both knew that most of our relatives had passed away on the 21rst of the month. But what Mom didn't know was that I also knew the time he would pass as well. For the past few years, even before Dad went to heaven, I kept catching the clock at 12:21 -- whether it was in the afternoon or midnight. It got to the point where it was so much, that I even caught this number in other areas in various places and times. That week while Dad was in hospice was challenging. Not only was it 105 degrees every. single. day. that we went up to visit, but Dad no longer was communicative due to the mass amount of drugs they were pumping into his system just to keep him from crying out in pain. It took such a mental toll on everyone to prepare to just sit and watch him. This strong and amazing man left there weak and lifeless. Pure torture.

The next day, on the 21rst, my wife decided to stay home. She knew about this dreaded day of mine. She knew that I was having a hard time with it and may have also doubted it, but she supported me regardless. After I got into the shower, got dressed, poured myself a cup of coffee, I then went outside on the deck and just zoned out. Mad came out and sat next to me not saying a word. I told her, after my coffee I'm going to head off and see Dad. For some reason, I sat there longer, waiting for 12:21 to pass, just to relieve myself that maybe this wouldn't be the day nor time. A few minutes later, a moth appeared on the table where we were sitting. It looked like an ascending female angel with wings, but if you zoom in closer, you can actually see a golden glow around the head and even make out Jesus' face. I grabbed my phone and looked at the time. 12:21 pm.

"He's gone."

I decided to postpone my trip to hospice until 2 pm. At 1 pm, my sister called me.

"Deb?…………..He's gone."

It's strange, a week after his passing, it felt numb, quiet, still, hesitant to even say a sense of relief that he was finally at rest. The two week mark was harder though. The realization that the strongest man in the world was gone, had us in a state of shock. Strange how our body's self-defense 'survival' mechanism wears off only when we're ready to mourn. The process follows after each first holiday without them. It's tough, strange, surreal and just 'different'.

Months later, I started having vivid dreams of my father. One dream had me in total disbelief, because I actually "woke up" in the dream and controlled what I said while still being asleep. It was the strangest thing ever. In the dream, I walked into Dad's man cave, and he yelled out, "Debit!!!" He always called me that letting me know how much I drained his wallet as a kid. I would then call out, "Popp-ayyyyy!" It was our little "hello". He started talking to me about his day and I immediately stopped him (and stopped my dream) and said, "Wait! Is that you?" And he laughed and said, "Whaddya' mean is that me?---Of course it is!" He kept staring at me with this smile - a "knowing" smile - like, "Now you get it…" And of course, you can blow that off to "just a dream" for the nonbelievers. I have a ton of other instances where Dad visited me in my dreams. It's funny, because they're never these super profound messages or anything "revealing". It's usually them visiting and talking as if we were still living in the same realm. My mother had a dream of Dad. He walked into the bedroom with the robe he always wore when he was sick and said, "Rose! Where are all my clothes?" And she got startled in her dream and started shuffling around to find him something to wear. He then said, "I'm not in pain anymore." And then the dream ended. I truly believe my mom needed to hear that from him. For me, I know he's okay.

One evening about six months ago, Madelene and I were hysterically laughing inside the living room area near the kitchen. It was after dinner and we were just having a really good evening. All of the sudden, I saw Dad walk out from the hallway leading into the kitchen with a big smile on his face. I. just. stopped. Mad asked if I was okay, as I was crying and smiling at the same time. I told her what I had seen. I had goose bumps all over my arms and felt this strange sensation, almost chilling. Two months later, my sister was over the house and once again, we were all laughing and having a great time. As I watched my sister walk near the kitchen area, she stopped immediately in her tracks as if….she saw a ghost. I saw tears in her eyes and I asked, "Are you okay?"

"I just saw Dad walking in."

It was the same exact spot where I had seen him. I never told her about my sighting.

I'm trying to make a point. I believe you can only see spirits when you are happy. I have two theories: spirits are mostly attracted to positive energy and when you're depressed or still mourning heavily, they cannot be visible in dreams or in real life. In the same breath, I also believe that we have "spiritual blindness" when we are depressed, angry or bitter. We can't see anything of a spiritual nature. It's also known that if your body is full of sugar, chemicals or anything bad, it's another disadvantage for us to be able to communicate or see them. So regardless if they are attracted to positive energy, or if it's our "spiritual blindness" due to a negative mindset --- they only come when the heaviness is lifted. Just think about how much they fidget and pick at their clothing and blankets -- because even that's too heavy for them. Your mere emotions may be too heavy for them to come around. The spirit is light in weight (in many aspects) and not able to flow through heaviness.

For instance -- if you believe in astral projection, or have experienced this on your own, you know how  "heavy" you are. (Bear with me, not talking about being overweight!) We are so immune to acknowledging our "heaviness" that we don't even realize that we're actually in pain right this very second. We're just so used to it. Our carnal physical shell is just. so. incredibly. heavy. If you have ever had a near death experience and actually remember it, or if you've ever experienced astral projection, you know all too well that even moving a limb has incredible weight to it. It's a big effort. So not only do our loved ones who pass over want us to be happy with less weight of negative emotions, but they also want to be able to visit you in your dreams or give you signs here and there. We have to be "aware", which often means we have to lift the weight off from our chests.

It's totally normal to wonder about the afterlife, especially when someone you love passes. Are they okay? Did they make it into heaven? Are they in limbo? If you're of Christian faith, you know that Jesus died in our place so he might give us eternal life. That gift is ours through faith. When you have faith in God and believe with all your heart -- trust that God has your loved one safe and sound.

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." --Romans 10:9-10

There are too many unexplainable (and sometimes scientific) evidence that clearly tells us that there is an afterlife. Even when you're of another religion, or perhaps no religion at all, there is something out there, a painless, weightless and effortless spiritual state - a place where there isn't any pain or agony. I remember praying and praying for my dad to get better when he was going through radiation and numerous surgeries when he was diagnosed with cancer. Finally, he had a break. The doctors said that the cancer was removed with the last surgery he went through. My dad said, "All I want is another ten years, Deb." I prayed for another ten years with dad, but God had other plans. Would've it been so bad if he stayed another decade? I don't know. Would he have suffered terribly those ten years? Probably, which is why I trust God that my dad is in a better place - in a place where there is no suffering or midnight calls to get poked and prodded in some disgusting emergency room. The last days Dad was here, I said to God, "I trust you whether or not you'll let Dad stay with us." I'll never forget that prayer. I wanted to know that my father would be okay on the other side. I truly believe he is saved and with God right now because of my in-laws. My father & mother in-law sat with my dad, held his hand and asked him if he would be willing to accept Jesus. And he did.

My point is, you can easily lose faith when someone you love dies. The grief itself can just sink you into a hole of depression, anger, resentment and lack of faith. When bad things occur, we often think, "How can God let this happen?" I truly believe it's a faith tester - your ability to maintain faith and trust in God while going through turbulence.

"Be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even through it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while. These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold--and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." --1 Peter 1:6-7

Look for the joy that awaits on the other side of the trial.
This post is dedicated to all of the members of the Duncan, Mclaughlin & O'Brien families. 
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, March 28, 2014

Don't Look for a Relationship, Look for Your Best Friend

Little factoid: Did you know penguins mate for life?
You could read all the psychology books in the world on relationships, but are you really reading about you and your significant other? It's so generalized with gray areas flooding the pages one by one, but sometimes you can get a small piece of wisdom through a select few articles. I was reading this one piece about "thinkers" and "feelers". Bear with me because most of this may apply to heterosexual couples, but in the same breath, I do believe there is a cross gender aspect to same sex couples. In other words, it's finding the difference between men and women, as well as the more 'masculine' same sex gender and their more 'feminine' mate. Although I consider both my wife and I to be more on the feminine side, Madelene definitely holds most of the "male genes" in our relationship, as far as behavioral and mannerisms go, yet she is all woman, and roars on occasion.

Okay, where was I?

The website included these differences between thinkers and feelers.

Thinking types:
  • Firm, fair and rational
  • Interested in logical analysis
  • Make decisions with the head
  • See logical inconsistencies 
  • Value truth and logic
  • Driven by dispassionate objectivity 
Feeling types:
  • Caring, passionate and emotional
  • Interested in people and feelings
  • Make decisions with the heart 
  • Feel how others are feeling
  • Value tact and diplomacy 
  • Driven by passionate subjectivity 

Here's the problem with thinkers being with feelers. The below demonstrates how one possibly feels about the other.

Thinkers may see feelers as: 
  • Illogical
  • A little soft
  • Overemotional 
  • Irrational
  • Inconsistent 
And feelers may see thinkers as: 
  • Cold and inconsiderate
  • Uncaring and overly hard
  • Insensitive
  • Too robotic and logical
  • Lacking humanity

Have you ever heard anyone reference men as "fixers" and "problem solvers", while the woman of the relationship is "overemotional and wants to talk the problem out instead of fix it"? I truly believe that in a relationship, a "feeler" cannot be with another "feeler". For instance, in a lesbian relationship and of course, my past relationships that didn't match up so well, there was no balance because I went for another "feeler". We were oversensitive, overemotional and at times, irrational. The balance between my partner and I can be frustrating, because sometimes I don't think she takes me seriously and feels I'm irrational most of the time, but she also makes me see a different side of things --- a more logical way to see it in another light. That's a plus in my book. On the flip side, I also show her the reason why I'm so overemotional about whatever, and she listens with her logical little noggin. It's a win/win.

I remember a time when my wife and I separated for a period of time, my friend pointed out something unintentionally offensive, yet I knew what she meant. She said, "Your partner is very surfaced." I had to ask what that meant because I wasn't clear on the term itself. But what she was trying to say was, there was no emotional attachment to her conversation. I instantly knew why. My wife doesn't like to get very involved with people she doesn't know well and she's also a very private person. She will give you factual chatter, but nothing about herself or "how she feels", because let's face it -- she's not a "feeler". Me on the other hand, I'm an open book. I don't tell anyone else's personal stuff, but I have no problem revealing some of my own inner emotions. They may not be logical based stories, but definitely stories from my memory, heart and emotions. This is why I seem to click better with writers and artists. They think with their heart and not their head.

I'm not a huge fan of "opposites attract", as you've probably read from previous articles. We definitely have a common thread -- the glue that keeps us together so to speak. which are many things, like our faith in God, our love for music and the arts, cookouts as well as being very family oriented. I'm not sure I could be with someone who was at odds with their family or had no faith in God whatsoever. I believe the person you're with edifies the person you already are. They should compliment you and vise/versa and they should never try to change the person you are. People who have too much in common seem to have more conflict because they're either too emotional about the problem, which is a messy scene, or they are just too "surfaced" and never address the real issue. They seem to skirt around it, because it's "logical" to remain peaceful and not argue, even if it may help.

These are just my 'emotionalized' opinionated thoughts on relationships. I also think there are many people who go for mates for a specific reason other than love. Maybe it's for security, safety, money or just wanting an extra parent for their kids. Many factors go into the reasons why someone wants to be with someone else. Sometimes it's not about love. Sometimes it's about survival.

Do what works best for YOU.

About two weeks ago, my wife and I went into a local bar and grill to just hang out for a bit. A woman who looked a bit disheveled came shuffling up to our area, drunk and a bit disturbed. She managed to slur out of her beer-ridden breath, "Well it sure is nice to finally see some ladies in here!" After a bit of (unwanted) small talk, she got into her whole life story. She explained how she was married to a man who she now hates. They both are abusive to one another and she wants nothing more to do with him.

My "thinker" mate asked, "Well why are you still with him?"

"I can't afford not to," she said, while taking another slug of her stale brew. "I don't have any qualifications to get a job and nobody wants to even hire me at some dinky donut shop, so I don't know how I would possibly live alone."

I spoke to Mad about this afterwards. I couldn't help but think about what I would do if I were in her shoes. I would rather go on Welfare, try pursuing a job and live in an efficiency studio apartment than live with someone I hate.

One of my favorite proverbs is this one: "A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than a steak with someone you hate."

Your home should be the one place you absolutely love and feel safe in. It's the place where you kick off your shoes and curl up into a comfortable ball of coziness. You're not supposed to fear arguments, fights and vicious battles from within your own klan, your own home, but unfortunately, this happens much more often than not. I'd rather live in a dumpy efficiency than in a mansion with someone I disrespected and didn't like. No amount of money would ever make me stay with someone I detested. I can't do that. Maybe it's easier said than done, but there is always something you can do to get out of an abusive situation. I'd seriously rather live in a shelter! I just don't get it.

Don't look for a "passionate relationship" --- look for your best friend first. Find him or her and hold onto them for dear life, because every relationship must have a foundation of friendship first. My mother always tells me, "Marry someone who can make you laugh. If you can laugh with them, you'll be happy with them forever!"  It is so true! Laughter is the best medicine, and if your significant other can do that for you, the both of you will live a long, healthy and loving life. Relationships may not be perfect all the time, but if you have some type of common ground, a good balance and lots of laughter, you should be grateful and counting your lucky stars. I know I do.

I love you, Madelene. 

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, March 25, 2014

Is Nick Cannon a Racist?

How can anyone be comfortable mocking another race, even if you think it's just "slightly" offensive? For me, I'm even afraid to say "black person" in front of a…black person. Then again, "African American" seems so incredibly wrong to me because the said "black person" may just be Jamaican or Haitian. Why are we so politically correct with the whole white and black labeling…? Because we're so so sensitive. But what I can't understand is why one race can do this, and the other race can't do that.

Still confused?  Bear with me.

Here are my thoughts…

Throughout the years, I was taught the "N" word was the worst offense of all. Now you have black people calling each other "nigga" and to make matters even worse, you even have white and hispanic people using this word as well. They have NO right using the "N" word, even if they pronounce or spell it with just an "a" at the end to make it sound less offensive. It's downright classless, and of course, very offensive. Even Madonna resorted to the "n" word by saying, "Nobody messes with Dirty Soap! Mama said knock you out! #disnigga"

I hate to even say this, but I don't get offended much when I hear "cracka" -- I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because our history wasn't disgustingly tarnished by another race using us as slaves, torturing and murdering our ancestors. Maybe it's because I still feel that black people go through a lot of bullshit in society which makes them a tad bitter or resentful with good reason. In the same breath, I also think that we should let go of past offenses in order to progress into a new melting pot of acceptance. Ah, if it were only that simple. There are still racists on every side of the fence, both black and white.

Here's what I'm confused about. Remember the assemblyman, Dov Hikind? He was a longtime powerbroker in the Orthodox Jewish community.  He once wore an Afro wig and brown make up as a costume to wear at his own party he was holding. He didn't find anything offensive with this at all. His son Yoni asked him if he could take a picture of him in his costume so he could post it up on Facebook. Not even a day went by before shit hit the fan and the press got the photo and released the dreaded article. Hikind said that he didn't have a prejudice bone is his body. He got such a huge negative response, which triggered a lot of emotions on both sides of the racial spectrum.

Remember White Chicks?
Seemed like nobody was offended over this movie.
Then Nick Cannon comes along…
After all the outrage over past "blackfaces", we are now faced with…whitefaces taking center stage. Nick Cannon, (Mariah Carey's boyfriend) is promoting his album, White People Party Music. With all the past punishments of others doing the same stunts, how does he even think he can get by the media or his fans by posting these outrageous photos and then all of the offensive hashtags targeted at white people? Some of the hashtags and comments on Instagram were: #WHITEPEOPLEPARTYMUSIC #Wppm in stores April 1st!!!!!!Dude Go Get It!!!Join The Party!!!! #GoodCredit #DogKissing #BeerPong #FarmersMarkets #FistPumping #CreamCheeseEating #RacialDraft 'Bro I got drafted!!'"
I guess this is seemingly "okay"? 
Imagine if a white singer went blackface and hashtagged, "#FriedChicken #WatermelonEating #GhettoFab #BadCredit #BodegaRobbing 'Bro I got a 40!!"

I don't care if you are white or black --- you do not cross those boundaries. And when you do, be ready for the shitstorm you're about to experience. People are going to have zero respect for you because clearly, you have zero respect for anybody.

Cannon's tweets:
 19h It's funny how people take themselves so seriously. People love drama! We feed off of it. Just relax and have fun!!

 15h Damn I didn't know it was going to be this hard being White! … I'm exhausted with all this "privilege" LOL

 14h "I think we should have a million white man march and protest album!! Somebody call " LOL

And now that you've seen his tweets, do you think he's a racist or was this all in "good fun"?
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, March 18, 2014

Why Do You Value the Life of a Pit Bull Before Human Life?

Imagine if this was your child. Would you still say it wasn't the dog's fault?
Kevin Vicente
Before you start calling me "ignorant", let me just first say that I understand that animals can be unpredictable -- they are not fully domesticated and at any given time, whether due to upbringing or abuse, any animal of any breed can attack. But let's face it, the majority still points to the beloved Pit Bull, even after a gazillion stories unfold of how this breed mauls and kills children and adults. A 4 year old boy named, Kevin Vicente was seriously injured after playing with the dog and taking his bone away. Of course the Pit Bull fans will defend the dog because he was "only protecting his property" or "he wasn't trained properly".  I have even heard, "There are more attacks by Chihuahuas than there are with Pit Bulls." Let that one marinate in your mind for a bit. How many more children and adults have to be mauled and murdered before they finally start realizing that it's the breed and not the upbringing of the dog? A personal and close friend of mine had to put her Pit Bill down because he nearly tore off the face of an 8 year old girl. But still, "it's not the breed", right?

Cute, very cute…but so are lions.
Some Pit Bulls attack and kill, even with good upbringing. There is way too much evidence that convinces me and many others that Pit Bulls are dangerous animals ----period.

A 52-year-old woman who raised pit bull terriers was killed after being mauled by four of them she had raised from puppies, the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Wednesday. Bernard Lee Carter returned from work about 7 p.m. Tuesday to find the dogs standing over Dorothy Carter, his wife of six years. She was face down in an enclosed back porch, Splendora police Sgt. Mark Seals said. ChronicleAn outside shot of the Carter's home in Splendora."There were a lot of bites all over her," Seals said of the bloody scene. "It's probably the worst I've seen."---read more here.

Still not convinced it's the breed? Let's reminisce.

84-years old | Cleveland, TN Mable McCallister, 84-years old, was attacked by her grandson's pit bull on December 18, 2011. Police officers said that she was bitten in her face and neck. The injuries caused her hospitalization in Erlanger hospital's trauma unit for over four days, according to Bradley County Medical Examiner Dr. Jeffery Miller. Mable died on New Year's Eve while in hospice care. The owner of the pit bull, Jerry Harrison, Jr., lived on his father's property where several other pit bulls were kept. No one from the Harrison family called police or animal control after the attack. "We became aware of the dog attack only after Ms. McCallister was brought to Erlanger," Officer Evie West said. The Harrisons also "home-quarantined" the pit bull after the incident; it's unknown if the dog was ever put down. The victim's great-granddaughter left a message at the news article: "A woman, an amazing woman dies from this dog and nothing is being done about it."

16-months old | Magnolia, TX Jace Valdez, 16-months old, was mauled to death by a pit bull while in the care of his grandmother. His grandparents owned the 7-year old male dog, and his grandmother was the only adult present during incident. Arriving deputies shot and killed the pit bull inside the home. Though not physically injured in the attack, the grandmother was immediately hospitalized for shock. Several days after the deadly attack, the child's father, Jeremy Valdez, issued a statement to the media. "Baby Jace had been in Mr. Valdez's sole care and custody for over the past year; however the child was visiting his mother for the week where she resides with her parents at their home in Montgomery County and where the attack occurred." At the time of the attack, Jace's mother was visiting friends in Spring. Detectives continue to investigate the child's death. As of January 26, 2012, no criminal charges have been brought.

And those are only just a couple of select stories out there. Why are you defending this breed's innocence? It's as "innocent" as a lion. It doesn't know better. There is something about this breed that's wired very differently than other dogs. Why aren't you protecting your own children? Why are you placing a breed before a precious baby's life -- or any human life for that matter? Pit Bull lovers chant, "ignorant" while I chant, "educated".  Know the breed before you bring it into your home, especially if you have a family. If you choose to own one, then make sure you live alone and that you are the only one that's at risk. Also, don't blame the dog if it happens to leave you mutilated in critical care somewhere, because remember, "it's not the dog's fault." There is no doubt that there are bad owners who train Pit Bulls to attack and sadly, make them fight with other dogs. There are some people who pick this breed for protection and train them to attack those who come near to their home. There are many negative reasons why people choose this breed which raises a lot of questions. But my main concern is about the breed itself, especially if the dog was raised from a docile pup to only become a vicious Pit found out too late.

Why do you think more and more insurance companies are not covering homeowners who own a Pit Bull? Why is it that England and Whales, the Dangerous Dogs Act prohibits the ownership of Pit Bull Terriers? It also bans the breeding, sale and exchange of these dogs. Even I had to take a step back when I was adopting my dog at the animal shelter nearby. I saw a ton of Pit Bulls ready to go to their forever homes. They were so adorable too. The question lingering in my mind was, why were there so many of them? Almost 80% of that shelter was filled to the brim with Pit Bulls --- some even puppies. Doesn't that tell you something? They are appealing, adorable as pups and strong for protection, but would I regret it later when my dog finally snaps and decides to maul me or one of my members of my family? Will I still say, "it's not the dog's fault"? Or will I be grateful to have the option of putting the dog down so that future attacks won't happen to anybody else? What if someone else adopts 'my dog' --- will they get mauled too? What explains the amount attacks when some of these Pit Bull dogs were raised as little pups? What explains the bad rap that they have gotten throughout the years? What explains all of the valid and reported stories about this breed that leaves you convinced that this dog is still not dangerous?

Get em' Lola!
And although my Chihuahua's breed is known for being the most vicious little attack dog ever -- a little bite on the ankle never brought anyone to the emergency room…or the morgue.

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

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mayor Bill de Blasio Boycotts the St Patrick's Day Parade, But Attends a Parade That Wants to Prohibit Our Bravest Heroes From Wearing Their Uniforms?

As a "Christian lesbian", I don't understand why the LGBT community feels outraged that they cannot march under their own banner at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. With that being said, gays and lesbians are not banned from the parade, they are just unable to obtain a permit under their own separate contingent. This is a parade to celebrate the Irish culture, not sexual orientation. NRA Catholics aren't even able to have their own banner, neither are pro-lifers. They're "groups" too. If you're gay and lesbian, go out there and celebrate the parade. Why is it always a huge "agenda" -- a persistent urge to demonstrate sexual orientation? You want equal rights, then how would you feel if straight people had their own banner? We have gay pride day in NYC -- a huge event that takes up many streets for the entire day. But that's not enough. We have rights now. We can marry the person we love here in NY and a few other states. It's getting more progressive. I think it's a shame that Mayor Bill de Blasio is boycotting the parade, but really not surprised. Last Sunday, he attended "St. Pat's for All" parade in Queens, NY. The parade urged the mayor to prohibit our bravest heroes, policemen, firefighters and city workers from wearing their uniforms if they attended. The mayor boycotts the law by not abiding by them after being so adamant about others to do so as he sped through a stop sign recklessly. He didn't even care for our own children by not closing the schools as a blizzard took hold of our city streets. His track record isn't the greatest and he's only been in office for a short while. He is a poor decision maker and sadly, way too 'left' for my taste. He. doesn't. make. any. sense.

Here's one major concern of mine regarding why I feel the LGBT community should not have their own banner in this parade: children. As you know, there are a select few people who make the LGBT community look like a bunch of promiscuous wildcats with no shame. We are NOT about being promiscuous, which sets up the stage for bigotry in many people's eyes, and for good reason. NOBODY wants to see you naked. NOBODY wants their kids to see you naked. Of course, a few bad eggs can definitely spoil the entire batch, but there is always a small percentage of the LGBT community who have to literally show their sexuality in terms of PDA in front of everyone, even in front of children. Trying to make a sexual statement like that will only decrease your chances of acceptance. You want rights? Do it respectively like everyone else who has to go through the mill. Every single person who is in the LGBT community wants to be accepted, so why would you demonstrate your lifestyle in such a vile and detestable way? And please note, I only speak for those "select few" who want to destroy the image of what the LGBT community stands for: love, family and acceptance. It is not about sex. It is about people who love others of the same gender. Why aren't you pushing to march with a separate banner at the Puerto Rican Day Parade, or how about the Chinese New Year Parade? The St. Patty's Day Parade is the oldest parade in the world and mainly controlled by the Roman Catholic church, who deems homosexuality as an abomination to begin with.
Fight for your rights. We won the fight for the antigay bill they tried to pass in Arizona, which got vetoed. Those things are important. Equality is important. Gay or straight, if you want to march in the parade and hold up flags, hold up your signs or whatever you prefer and go out there and have a good time. Celebrate being YOU. Celebrate how far we have come throughout the years. Let's not make a mockery of ourselves by demanding to be apart of every single parade. We have tons of events for the LGBT community here in NYC. Let them deny us to march, because frankly, it's not a "valid" banner. We're pushing the bill too far here. We need to approach our liberties with self-respect and dignity.

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, March 14, 2014

Is There Ever a Good Time to Lie?

Lies come in all shapes and forms, but nonetheless, they're still lies. If someone omits a portion of the story, is that considered a lie? How about if someone exaggerates a story to look more "entertaining" -- would that be considered an all out lie? I'm sure every single one of us has lied in the past, or still lying in the present, whether reasons for getting out of trouble or just trying to hide certain facts that you don't necessarily want revealed. Some are considered "white lies" while others are just downright dirty lies. I read somewhere that toddlers begin to lie at age 2, which seems way too young in my opinion.

"Did you make that mess?!?!" 
"Nooooo…….?" 

Have you ever met someone who begged for attention all the time? They're the "storytellers" -- the ones who get people gasping from the shocking news they were told and "wowing" others with juicy gossip.  I'll never forget this kid at school. He always had these incredible stories -- everyone was gathered around him like kids around a campfire. We couldn't believe all this kid had seen and all he had went through and of course, all that he knew about other kids. He always started his stories off with raised eyebrows and his hand cupping his mouth as if he were about to tell a dark secret. Then he'd proceed: "Didja' hear about…"  And of course, nobody did.

I recently heard a "far-fetched" story that was confirmed false after running into one of the people involved in the tale. The funny part is, I knew it was a super exaggerated story because this person has told a ton of them before. For whatever reason, I always need to confirm them because I can't get over -- or better yet, I can't understand why she feels the need to tell such outrageous tales. It's not even harmful accusations made - they're just completely false stories. I always question the mental stability and of course, if there are any "tales" about me out there.

People love to hear a good story, but the majority of people don't want to be lied to. I remember this woman who frequents our local bar got so upset with me one day because she accused me of lying to her. This bar is generally a "straight bar", so I don't typically tell people I'm a lesbian unless asked. So one night, as a bunch of us were sitting at the bar, she asked us, "So are you two married? I see you both have rings on." I told her yes and so did Madelene. I just didn't tell her we were married to each other. Now, whether omitting that fact was a lie or not, in my own defense, there were a lot of - how shall I say - rednecks surrounding the general area where we were talking. You either get an all out negative response (sometimes religious rebukes) or you get the ones who look over their draft beer and slur out, "Can I watch?"  So for our own safety, I omitted. Yes, I lied.

This story is a very interesting one. A good friend of mine got catfished a few years back. She was on Match.com and found someone who had all of her "must haves" in check: from looks, height (she was very adamant on height since she is 5'9), weight, career and interests. After they connected on Match, they started talking on the phone and chatting online on a daily basis. In fact, she fell in love with him before she even met him. They lived about two states away which is why they waited to meet. He was a very busy man and his career took most of his time, so he always made promises such as, "After this month, I hope to come down and visit you." One month turned into two, turned into three and so on, but my friend was just still gaga over him. During a conversation with her, I had asked her if she Skypes with him at all -- or ever spoke to him through a video like FaceTime or any other sources. She said, "No." She only had seen photos and spent long hours chitchatting (and whatever) on the phone. They were "Facebook friends", but his account was very limited, probably due to keeping her on the "restricted list of friends". in this day of age, you don't just chitchat with a photo. I'm sorry --- you must video chat before meeting. That's just something I don't understand and don't trust. Well it wasn't too soon before a friend of his tagged him in a picture at a birthday party on Facebook. (Good 'ol Facebook to the rescue.) I guess he failed to block tagged photos.

She asked me, "What should I do? I think it's him, but he looks like George Costanza from Seinfeld! There are people all around him though."

"Look at what he's wearing. Does he have a watch? Is he wearing anything special that you can note other than some strange Hawaiian shirt?"

"Yes! He's actually wearing a silver watch with a blue face on it!"

"Tell him your friend works for some watch company, and she had a leftover expensive silver watch with a blue face on it and if he would like to have it. Wait for his reply. If he says, 'Oh I have one just like that!', then he's your guy."

And so…he was. She was even brave enough to push it to the limits and asked him if he owned a light blue button down shirt with a white collar, because she loved those types of custom made shirts. Well it so happened that he had one. She then called him out on the photo and said, "I love the photo of you and your friends at the birthday party!" As relieved as he sounded over the phone, he then said, "Yeah, that's me! I didn't have recent pics to use on my profile." My friend decided to never speak to him again after that. Was it shallow of her? Do you think she should have reconsidered meeting him? He was the total opposite of his photos, in fact, she's even sure that the person in the photos were not him at all.

I'm not sure which type of lie is worse: omitting, the self-defense lie or the exaggerated tale. Do you think one or all of the above insults your intelligence? Would you call the person out on their bullshit or would you just let it go in one ear and out the other?

EDIT: My mom called me after reading this post and said, "Deb, I have a letter you wrote me when you were a little girl. You apologized for lying." (Photo below.)  I guess I'm a liar just like the rest of them. Sorry Mama!


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, March 12, 2014

Anger Management for Atheists

Recently, I was talking to someone about a previous article I had posted regarding how angry atheists become while trying to instill some sort of logic in these "numb-minded spiritual Christians". "There is no god, we have proof," and "There is no god, you don't have proof!" And so, the battle continues. Such passionate nonbelievers trying to educate the best they can so that Christians can see for themselves that their faith is just one big fairytale. For me, if something didn't exist and I knew it for a fact while others were worshipping it --- I'd laugh and then chuck it up to insanity. "Leave em' praying to an imaginary friend." End of story. But this goes deeper. These atheists are infuriated by our beliefs. Why get so angry over something that (to you) is nonexistent? Would you tell a psyche ward patient that they're not seeing the little green men in the corner? Would you try explaining the logic to them? You can't. (Yes, I know I'm labeling all Christians and myself as insane, but bear with me here.) I'm trying to understand the level of anger that goes into trying to prove logic to those who have faith that goes beyond just a belief system itself -- to those who would sacrifice their world, for their god. For instance, if a person was standing right in front of me and someone asked me, "Do you believe that this man is right in front of you, or do you believe in God more? Guess what? No amount of logic, even for myself would make me choose the man over God, because God created that man. Sounds crazy, but that's how passionate my faith is. I believe in something - someone - God - the Almighty. These people have zero faith in anything other than what they can see and touch in real life.

So let us be crazy. They're still fuming over a lawsuit they pursued to tear down the cross at ground zero. The Ground Zero Cross are two intersecting steel beams found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center. It's a symbol of hope and healing for all those who died or were affected by this awful tragedy. From family members, friends, first responders and those who came just to help out of pure generosity. How dare you get offended over the cross!?!? Ok, so then put your symbol for atheism up - or some sort of symbol of hope for the people who were affected. Don't just sit there on your non believing asses and spew off a bunch of nonsense, crying about two steel beams that mean the world to those who have possibly lost their world in that building. How dare you act like whiny little babies over something that is making others feel better? If other religions are offended, then please, by all means, put up your symbol or put in a flag that demonstrates your faith in whomever you worship. Fact is, this cross was left over after the buildings were torn down. You're so passionate over your non-believing "faith" that you can't even see how much this seemingly simple symbol means to many people. You don't have a heart because you don't have any faith. Life is all but meaningless. We live, we die. Simple, right? But I'm sure, that if you and your family were wounded and under a pile of rubble while your entire city went down in flames, I'm sure you would say "yes" if the Red Cross came to help you. Oh, but wait -- will you refuse the help due to the symbol of the cross? And even though, the "red cross" isn't actually a cross, but four white boxes, I'm sure you'd associate it with Christianity.

Who knows -- maybe these angry atheists are making me one angry Christian, but it proves all too well that the amount of respect that goes into anything for atheists are nonexistent. I have noticed in the past, many atheists seek out religious message boards only to tear down those who believe in God. It makes no sense. How can someone spend time trying to prove something they "know" does not exist? It's certainly not to educate their fellow people. Do something productive if you think our religion is "silly". To me, that only proves that they are seeking answers and perhaps, is scared of their final choice of atheism, in fear that there actually may be a God. Why else would they seek us out? They want someone, somewhere to prove to them that God is real. They're afraid they'll make the wrong choice and end up somewhere undesirable in the afterlife. Everyone wants to know about the afterlife and everyone has a fear of dying --- because it's. all. one. big mystery to us. Faith only demonstrates the magnitude and relationship that one can have with their God. Why try to downgrade someone else's faith (and intelligence) just because you're insecure with your own or lack thereof? "I am right!" That's their argument. Of course, the argument then resorts to name calling, because well, dem' Christian believers are 'stoopid'. Maybe a little anger management wouldn't hurt.

If you found this post to be offensive, please feel free to "X" out, or is that a slick way for me to add a slanted cross in just to fool you subliminally?  I'll let you decide.

EDIT: Someone responded to this article through Twitter with one of the best answers I have heard yet.
 Retweeted by 
religion is shoved down our throats daily, we have to actually defend science in this country because of religion that's why

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, March 07, 2014

Family, Friends & Significant Others: Do You All Get Along?

Through the years, I have seen and experienced some things that have pretty much surprised me. I was always the type of person who thought that each person in a relationship should be unique and different from their special counterpart. But as I season throughout the years, I am finding that it's so important to have your significant other reflect a good portion of who you are. The person you are with mirrors off from your inner most being: your heart. You "love" this person, so that says a lot about the character of who you are with. For example, I have seen mismatched couples where I can actually say it was a fact, not opinion-based. One person loved to socialize and have their own set of friends, while their other half hated to talk in public, socialize or even be seen in public. She would also rather stay at home than go out for a bite to eat with her partner. If she was out with another couple, the only words out of her mouth would be answers that consisted of "yes" or "no". Her other half had a whole lot to contribute into the conversation. That to me, isn't about shyness, but more about being socially awkward and I'm even going to venture to say, jealous of her other half doing so much better in a social setting.

I don't believe opposites attract. Why would someone go for somebody with little to zero mutual interests? It just doesn't make sense. And the excuse of "opposites attract" tells me that the person isn't that happy with the differences. "Well, the differences is what keeps it interesting." I don't believe it. You're either bored or you're afraid of dying alone. You can have different careers, different hobbies, different tastes in food, but once your differences roll into personality and character qualities --- it's a whole new ballgame. I could never be with an introvert, simply because the people I love the most, (my family and friends) -- it would be a total culture shock to them. And it's not about me needing my family and friends to accept them, but it is pretty important. Think about life with someone who doesn't get along with your family and friends - someone who can't even give more than a syllable long answer. That to me is just a dreadful time to be had.

But let's not put the introverts down. Social butterflies can be a pain in the ass too. We love attention and that could be annoying to the everyday introvert -- or anyone for that matter. Whether it stems from insecurity issues or an overzealous desire to socialize -- the introvert can see this as a huge flaw. "Why do you need so many friends?"  And we'll look over and say, "Why not?" I remember dating an introvert years ago and recall my buddies saying, "You're bringing her again?" They dreaded the fact that not only would her lesser personality soil the event, but she also took my personality down a notch as well. I feared that I would get "the talk" later, or how I was too "sociable" with 'so & so' --- more of an insecure jealousy thing that she had on top of her being an introvert. It made it impossible to be around anyone with her.

Let's face it, finding Miss or Mr right can be frustrating as it is, no less trying to get your family and friends to get along with your new mate. I have just a few gripes when it comes to accepting new mates into the 'friend group' or accepting a family member's new love: do not meddle in personal matters of the friendship or family bond, and do not ever, verbally or physically abuse my friend or loved one. It may not be my business, but I will make it my business that they are never allowed inside my home or on an outing with my friend or family member and I. My respect has diminished and I just don't want to see your mug any longer.

On more than several occasions, I have ether seen "the other person" cheat or hit on myself personally. I have rules for this type of crap.

  1. I don't meddle, because it always backfires. Be sure I'll keep it quiet.
  2. HOWEVER, I will tell you off and call you out on your scumbag tactics.
  3. I also will let my friend know that I am very uncomfortable being around their significant other without even providing a reason. 
There was only one time I told someone that their significant other was cheating on them. And of course, this person was totally gaga over her, that it totally backfired on me. I thought to myself, well I would definitely want someone to tell me, but it didn't work out the way. Never expect me to tell you if your mate is cheating on you. Eventually, that kind of crap comes out into the light for all to see. I also figure, if you're that stupid not to know while everyone else knows, then there has to be some sort of acceptance level of this "open relationship" that I don't understand and to which I will never interfere with. People are different. I accept that.

I want to make another point: never get upset if one of your friends disappears after meeting the person of their dreams. Let them go and explore - let them go at it alone for a while. They need to connect on an emotional, intimate and social level during this time. It has no reflection upon your friendship whatsoever. All new relationships go through this beautiful phase, and if they are a true friend, know that your friend will come back, even happier. And that's what we want, don't we?  But what if your friend comes back to you while still dating this new person and he or she's personality has taken plunge into boredomville? Your once 'funny-happy-go-lucky' friend has now turned into a bag of rocks. Time for a talk. If the talk doesn't smooth things over and brings back the life of your friend --- move on. I never understood why "significant others" would want to stifle the life --- the "LIGHT" that shines through your friend. It's sad that some people are willing to lose their closest friends for a relationship. Shouldn't you be able to maintain both? Is it a controlling issue? I still have yet to figure this out. Personalities do change when you mingle two people together -- perhaps they 'mesh' a bit, but it shouldn't kill off the personality your friend once had. Strange.

So what! Let him eat his pizza.
If you try to change your partner, then I have one question for you: WHY are you with them? Changing someone takes so much time and effort and you don't even get paid for it. If you fell in love with the person, love all of them, not just part of them. We all have "perfect imperfections" which make us unique. Learn more about the person you chose and accept the stuff that you may not have in common with them. Or, why not find someone more suitable for you (like a clone) instead of trying to mold someone into someone they're not? "Well, I love everything else about them, but they don't run."  And they never will unless a bear is chasing them. Let people be who they are and you'll find out, you'll be surprised to see what happiness you'll obtain from watching the person you love, be happy in return.

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, March 06, 2014

Why Do Atheists Get Angry at Christians for Believing, if They Don't Believe in Anything at All?

The other night, I was chitchatting with a girlfriend of mine who lives out on the West Coast. It was 9pm for her, and way too late for me, but we got into various topics, one of which triggered this post for today. Without thinking about it, my friend chimed in, "You're gonna write about this arenchya'?"  I've touched upon this topic once before, and ever since realizing how common this is, I have to again come back to this topic.

Atheism.

Seems harmless.

Atheism: the doctrine or belief that there is no god. 

How can anyone have a "religious" debate if one person doesn't even believe in God? I never even thought about this years ago until I met someone with such passion for proving the nonexistence of God, that he basically bit every believer's head off. To top it off, this used to be a man of the cloth. Right there, you have to wonder, what happened? Then months down the road, I came across someone else who was an atheist. She basically downgraded my beliefs and insulted my intelligence. (Whatever I have left in this lil ol' noggin'.) Most atheists (or I should safely say "some"), believe that those who worship a god or believe in a higher power are lacking any sort of intelligence whatsoever. They believe they're 'high as a kite' -- dreamers -- people who just don't want to face the "fact" that death is THE END -- kapootz -- that's all folks! They have scientific proof of the nonexistence of God or anything of a spiritual nature - there is no "other side". But my question is: if you were God, would you have your little creations figure it all out? Didn't God create science? Didn't he create the universe (to which some pray to) which is kind of like --- ok, God made the universe so you're basically praying to his product. It's like praising all Apple products without a single thought or appreciation for Steve Jobs. But those are just my beliefs.

Beliefs: confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.

We all have certain degrees of beliefs, whether there is a god or not, whether there are ghosts or just nothing at all, whether there is a hell or just a state of limbo (purgatory for Catholics). I also find it interesting that many spiritual trinity-based believers do not believe that there is a hell. They think we're already living in one. I can definitely see their point, but what would create the urge to do good -- to better ourselves. And with that being said, many atheists ask, "Why do you need a god in order to do good? We do it genuinely because we want to -- not because we're going to some paradise after we die for it." And again, that also is a very interesting point. My question is: why would you debate someone else's belief upon standing on an unproven faith system? I can sit here all day and tell you that I had a religious experience and saw Jesus right in front of my own eyes. You'll probably ask if I had too much to drinks or ask what drugs I'm on. That's ok. You may even call the mental health unit to come get me. But my point is: there is no argument over such wild beliefs. None. Why fight?

Do you believe in heaven & hell? 
Here's what I think… Maybe millions of years ago, people saw their loved ones dying and wondered if somehow, they could still exist without their carnal shell still being alive. Maybe the "intelligent and creative" kids got together and told people, "There's a heaven and there's a hell," in order to have people to have faith in something and to not fear death itself. Maybe it was also to instill morality among their communities. "If you do something bad, then you'll go to hell."  Maybe they felt safer with this belief system, so that their own people wouldn't hurt them or do something that "GOD" wouldn't approve of. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Even so, living this life on earth is scary enough. We see sickness, wars, death and we hurt as human beings. Is it so wrong to believe in something that may not exist? So why not have faith regardless --- "just in case"?

For years, religion has caused war among the nations and it still goes on as we speak. Even people of the same religion have wars over "right" and "wrong" and which scripture is interpreted correctly. It never ends. But why are atheists getting in the middle of these religious debates? Why are they so angry when they want to discuss the topic? I always find a tinge of anger anytime I'm speaking to a nonbeliever. I have seen many atheists resort to name calling and demeaning one's intelligence just because somebody else has a faith system. "It's like believing in Santa Clause!" That would just tear me up if there was no Santa Clause, but you have to wonder why they want you to stop believing in the god you worship. Why the urgency to get us to stop praying, to stop feeling happy because we feel we've just experienced something so spiritual and beautiful? The "act" of believing in God by itself (even without proof) brings on a euphoric sense of happiness. It has even proven to better one's emotional and physical health. Even if our brain produces this wild and amazing spiritual experiences, why would you want to take that happiness from someone with such anger and resentment for anyone who's religious? Unless that religious person is trying to tell you that you're going to hell --- I see no point in a Christian (a trinity-based believer) and an atheist debating whether or not God exists.

My opinion. My blog.

My overall opinion on these angry atheists is this: they were disappointed in God because they didn't get what they asked for. "Ask and ye shall receive."

God only gives three answers to prayer:
  1. Yes.
  2. Not yet.
  3. I have something better in mind. 

To some, it may seem like a big cop out on not getting your prayers answered the way you want them to be. Did you check your motives for whatever it is you asked Him for? Maybe they were a bit too self indulgent and not humble enough? Maybe if God placed you "here", you wouldn't have focused on God at all, and maybe, it would have steered you down a road that would have led to a much worse off circumstance. I heard this sermon the other day that basically explained that the act of saying, "I will still be okay," when a prayer doesn't seem to be answered is absolute faith and patience. It makes your faith even stronger. It tells God that you trust him no matter what happens. But for atheists, it's nonsense. "If I ask and I don't receive, then how is God working in my life?" Maybe he's saving you from something bad happening. Maybe you lost your job so God could put you in a better position. Remember the awful day of 9/11? People always question God when it comes to a tragedy so horrific like that. It's beyond our understanding. But there were quite a few people who worked at the WTC who had these amazing stories about how they called into work to let them know they would be late. Most arrived 5-30 minutes after the planes struck. Why were just a few saved?" Is it all about the narrow gate into heaven? Nobody will ever truly know for sure.

I just trust in God's will.

Another thing that may make someone lose faith in God is the grief of losing someone we love, whether a family member or a friend. It blows our mind that they're not here anymore. I remember praying and praying for my dad to get better when he was going through radiation and numerous surgeries when he was diagnosed with cancer. Finally, he had a break. The doctors said that the cancer was removed with the last surgery he went through. My dad said, "All I want is another ten years, Deb." I prayed for another ten years with dad, but God had other plans. Would've it been so bad if he stayed another decade? I don't know. Would he have suffered terribly those ten years?  Probably, which is why I trust God that my dad is in a better place - in a place where there is no suffering or midnight calls to get poked and prodded in some disgusting emergency room. The last days Dad was here, I said to God, "I trust you whether or not you'll let Dad stay with us." I'll never forget that prayer. I wanted to know that my father would be okay on the other side. I truly believe he is saved and with God right now because of my in-laws. My father & mother in-law sat with my dad, held his hand and asked him if he would be willing to accept Jesus. And he did.

My point is, you can easily lose faith when someone you love dies. The grief itself can just sink you into a hole of depression, anger, resentment and lack of faith. When bad things occur, we often think, "How can God let this happen?" I truly believe it's a faith tester - your ability to maintain faith and trust in God while going through turbulence. But the atheists get angry and lash out with, "You're a fool for believing in a god that would let something like this happen to you!" So then, let me be a fool. I'll at least die happy and not so angry.

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!