Wednesday, December 30, 2015

From Soup to 'Nuts'

It's strange how some things may appear as one way, when actually it's the total opposite. Speaking on a lesser scale -- I can offer you a cupcake and you'll say "no" when in fact, it's the one thing you've been craving all week. "No" can be a self-discipline type of mechanism that we use in order to better ourselves in some way. Even the word "love" can be a self-discipline type of mechanism. For instance, two people can be totally in love, but the relationship itself is very unhealthy for whatever reason. Sometimes, the words, "I hate you" is screamed out, when in fact the words, "I love you" still remains deep in the heart. I remember an ex of mine screamed out, "I hate you!!!" I was so shocked -- so hurt beyond words, that I could barely even respond. A few days later, I had to ask, "You hate me?" The words kept repeating themselves inside my mind. "I HATE YOU!" That's all I could think or hear during the days after those words were said. I couldn't shake it. So when I asked her, "Do you really hate me?" She said in a very low tone, "No Deb. I don't hate you. In fact, it's the very opposite." I didn't get it until years later of course. It still hurt, even after knowing she still loved me. But my point is: we sometimes save ourselves from ourselves by proclaiming the opposite. We know that "this" is bad for us, so we proclaim our feelings to match the circumstances. You can love someone with all your heart and yet the relationship still remains very unhealthy. So by saying, "I hate you" (as dramatic as that sounds) -- those words will definitely push the other person away. Sometimes, people think it's the only way. I mean -- who wants to be with someone who hates them?

Here's another example of proclaiming the exact opposite of what you want:

"I don't want to live anymore."
"I just want to die."
"I want to kill myself."
"I wish I was dead."

All of the above statements are to be taken very seriously. But sometimes, it's just a cry for help. Most times, those words -- those phrases actually say, "I WANNA LIVE!" I'm even guilty of using these phrases myself when I'm in a deep depression. When you have depression and you're in the midst of a dark depressive episode -- you're not fully living. It's' like a heavy fog that never seems to lift. The person may think, "Well, if I'm going to live like this, then I don't want to live at all." But yet -- the person desires to live -- to live a life that's more fulfilling. That's the wish -- it's not death -- it's life that's being wished for. Many people don't understand this type of thinking, especially if they've never experienced clinical depression before. Even when the words, "I don't wanna live" are muttered out, that can be taken very seriously by a professional or someone who really doesn't know you well enough. That could be good or bad depending on your level of depression. If the depression is so bad that those words are actually borderline truth, then not taking it seriously can jeopardize your very own life. But how do you really know? That's the seriousness of it. But many people will just rattle off these phrases in order to try and scream out, "I WANT A BETTER LIFE! I WANT TO LIVE!" But the words aren't heard -- the only thing that is being heard is: "I wanna die." 

"But I wanna live..."

Some things we deem to be true are actually the exact opposite or not as they appear to be, as well as drastic changes that happen without major realizations of it.

Death is another word for eternal life.
The end is always the start of a new beginning of something else.
The color white is every color of the rainbow.
Someone's sunset is somebody else's sunrise.
Babies are born into this world, while other lives are dying out of it.
Sickness turns into health, and health turns right back into sickness. (Think about that.)
Parents and children eventually swap caregiving roles.
There's a fine line between love and hate.
There can't be sound without silence.
There can't be objects without space.
There can't be lightness without darkness.

I think many of us need to take an intuitive approach to how we handle people and certain situations. For instance, I learned that when people are hurting on the inside, they tend to project their negative feelings and hurt those around them. I had a "friend" on Facebook write something a bit offensive toward women, but somehow, I read right through his cry for help. I'm going to share his post anonymously. We'll call him, "Ed".

Ed: "I had a weird moment earlier in the week when I realized that I've been divorced longer than I was married. That's some weird stuff. I know something about this nonsense that I'm gonna share with you. Women are smarter than men. Women can flip a switch in their heads, and you don't exist any more. You become persona non grata. You don't exist, and you never did. Men can't do that. Men become alcoholics and drug addicts and suicide victims because they obsess over women. If I were to sum up the difference between men and women, I'd tell you that women march into family court like they're on some mission, like it's a hostage situation, and they're freeing themselves from some imaginary "situation." Men slink into family court knowing that they've broken something that they can't possibly fix. You can't fix something when you don't exist. It's as simple as that."

From what you just read, (especially if you're a woman) -- did you find yourself becoming defensive? Did you take Ed's post to mean, "women are absolutely heartless creatures", or did you look into it deeper and realize how hurt this man is? The ego will twist this post into a 'me-me-me' type of scenario and lash out with offensive comments back -- which inevitably happened. I commented and just said, "I'm sorry. That's all." --- That's what he was looking for -- someone to just say, "Yanno -- this really sucks and I'm sorry you're going through this," not -- "That's not true! That's rude and inconsiderate and I'm offended!" He wasn't looking for an argument. Maybe subconsciously he was, but more so, his pain was writing that post. He was actually implying that he loves women so much that his vulnerability makes him feel hostage to women -- not women in general per se. Read into someone's words next time you feel offended.

Some things mean the exact opposite.

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

Friday, December 18, 2015

My First Love

It's easy to say, "I'm Christian" and easier to talk the talk, but how much harder is it to actually walk the walk? We're all human and I truly believe that we are all connected on such a cosmic level that we don't even realize that even if we seem to fall out of that "Christian box", or {standard way of worshipping God} that nothing can ever separate us from God. But what if we get too sidetracked to the point of not receiving the gifts of God in the 'here and now'? I have learned so much this year in regards to how God works in my life. I noticed that I pray more when I'm struggling with something. I prayed endlessly hearing about my mother's cancer diagnosis. I prayed each time she went through radiation, chemo and all of those grueling operations and procedures to make it all better somehow. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I never prayed so much in my life. When I finally received an answered prayer that Mom was now cancer-free, I thanked God immediately. And then somehow along the way, I forgot to pray. I got 'busy' -- there were things to do, people to see and work to be done. There were many problems that "I" could fix on my own...so I thought.

And then I needed God again.

On the night before my surgery, I started getting a horrible panic attack. My breathing became shallow and my heart rate sounded more like the motor of a Harley Davidson. I grabbed a paper bag so I could breathe into it. That usually helps for whatever reason. And then it hit me: PRAY. I shut the door behind me, lit a few candles and prayed my heart out until tears started streaming down my cheeks. I prayed for God to take my fear and anxiety away and to remind me that my eternal life was much more important than my earthly one. I meditated for quite a bit. I then felt as if someone was pouring water over my head, and onto my shoulders and then into my heart. I felt God. My heartbeat slowed down and I became so calm, that I felt this euphoric sense of awareness. He was with me. I wasn't scared anymore. That night, for the first time in months -- I slept for 8 full hours before I had to wake up and drive off to the hospital. My fear had left and I was actually excited to have this surgery done.

For me, when worldly things distract me, I sometimes forget my first love: God. I forget that He is always here anytime I need help or comfort with anything.  During and after my surgery, I had quite a few complications that put me right back into the hospital a few days later. At one point, I seriously thought I was dying as they carried me out from a ct scan and onto a mobile bed from convulsing and having irregular heartbeats. I had to stay overnight to check for numerous things -- from surgical infections and for heart problems as well as blood clots and pulmonary embolisms. Good God I was a hot mess! And in the midst of all the chaos and fear, I saw God once again.

If God brings you to it, He'll get you through it. And He did.

After all those things had subsided and I was back home convalescing, I learned many things. Thank God for what happened because I would have never realized all that was going on. For starters, I now know that I should never look to people for comfort -- to never rely on people who truly don't care and love you as much as God does. It taught me to never expect anything from anyone because it will only lead to disappointment. Aside from my wife, I became more of a "possible nuisance" to the people closest to my heart without asking them to lift a single finger. Not a simple phone call of "Hey, how are you feeling," or even a visit to see if I needed anything. I didn't want anything. It was far from a pity party -- it was more of a realization. It was as if I had a tooth pulled. "No biggie. She'll get through this." 

And of course I did.

But that's not the point.

Not only was this hysterectomy physically draining and painful for me, but the emotional aspects of having this done meant that my dreams of ever holding a biological child again would never happen for me. But God reassured me that my life here on earth is more than just having a child -- it's more about helping other people and becoming closer with those who appreciate me in their lives, as well as taking me seriously. It's about creating a desired family, to whom I connect with emotionally, spiritually -- not necessarily by blood relation. I think many people hold this false illusion of connectedness with their biological family due to more of an obligation, as opposed to a genuine desire to be in their company. No wonder so many people get depressed during the holidays -- they're expecting the best out of people who don't have their best interest in mind.

The mind can be convinced, but the heart must be won. ~Simon Sinek

And that's just it: no one has ever won my heart over. No one has ever proved their genuineness to me. Why should they? They have their own crosses to bear and lives to live. I get that. But in times of difficulties and possible life-threatening situations, you'd think, or perhaps you'd like your closest klan there to be with you or at least, to have them ask, "Hey, you OK?" I guess it hurts knowing that fact, and at the same time it's a relief to have discovered it as well. No one is guaranteed a lifetime warranty of friendship, love and family. No one is obligated to check up on you or help you in your time of need. If you don't do things from the heart, then it's just all meaningless or done with a strange ulterior motive. And who wants that?

Sometimes letting go can be the most liberating thing you can do. For this reason, I'm closer to God than ever before.

I will never forget my first love again.

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” (Revelation 2:4).

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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jesus: The Original Liberal

Christianity has a variety of followers who seem to go by different doctrines. Each "moral compass" is different for each believer. Some Christians call their faith "truth", while others simply are honest and call it what it is: a belief system that cannot be proven. I guess for me, my faith is my "truth", but it may not be "truth" for somebody else -- and I'm OK with that. Many Christians aren't OK with their truths becoming more of a fairytale belief system to others -- and angered over the fact that their god isn't seen as thee god. It becomes a childish competition of whose god is better. They fight with non-believers, as well as those who are already Christian. One group could ramble off a scripture, while the other group listening will interpret it in a whole other way. Who's right? Who's wrong? An endless battle that will never be proven --ever.

If I imagined how Jesus would be today, living in this crazy world full of corrupt politics and terrorism, I'd picture him to be a democrat -- perhaps even more of a socialist. Jesus was all about helping the poor and doing humanitarian work. Taken from a brilliant write-up I found online, it talks about Luke 16 in the Bible and the story of Lazarus and the rich man. The rich man eats wonderful food and dresses in the finest clothes. Lazarus sits outside of his gates and waits for the scraps from his table. Both men die. The rich man lands in torment and Lazarus at Abraham's side. The rich man's sin, was ignoring the suffering of the poor. He thought of his wealth as his own and the poverty and suffering of others as having no connection to him. This view of the world lands him in torment. How can anyone read these things and then claim Jesus would back a system that propagates a personal/private view of wealth? Both characters in these stories are punished because they only thought of themselves and their wealth.

"Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that will come upon you. Your wealth will rot, and moths will eat your clothes. For your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You who have hoarded wealth in the last days!" --James 5:1-3

"How terrible for you who are rich now, for you have had your easy life and will get no more..." --Luke 6:24

"But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just." - Luke 14:13-14

If someone takes away your coat, let him have your shirt as well...

I've seen more hatred, bigotry and racism from Christian conservatives than I have ever seen in democrats or liberals. In fact, saying the word "liberal" is like saying profanities in the eyes of republicans. They don't love their brothers and sisters as God commanded them to do. (Although they say they do, but their actions speaks volumes.) Instead, they torment them, judging them and criticizing their lifestyles relentlessly. Oftentimes, the ones who are more vocal about condemning people to hell are the ones committing most of the sins in private. The psychological projection is evident, if you can spot it out, or when it finally comes out in the open, as it usually does. Most are hypocrites trying to live a holy and "righteous" life. But at the same time, I don't want to speak for all of them. Some are genuinely good people who aren't hypocrites -- they just prefer a different standard of politics without judging other people for theirs.

But back to Jesus. How can anyone think Christianity revolves around the conservatives? Most of my articles that I post onto my Facebook page are filled with hateful comments, name calling and even threats from Christian conservatives. It's contradictory to everything they stand for.

"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger." --Proverbs 15:1

Most conservatives that come onto my site to comment rarely give gentle answers. All of their comments are usually harsh, looking to stir the pot until they feel as though they have finally drawn blood. Years ago, I once considered myself to be a republican. I had more views which leaned more toward the right, and still kind of do. But I've come to realize that both parties are basically sleeping in the same bed -- none better than the other. I just vote for who I feel is best, whether left or right.

But I do wonder what party Jesus would choose. Somehow, I can't see Him sitting with a bunch of angry, bigoted, greedy right winged conservatives. Something just doesn't feel "right" to me.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Blues: Letting the Past Go

Once upon a time, Christmas used to be the one holiday I sooooo looked forward to -- especially Christmas Eve. My parents held the most magnificent parties on that night. We kept up an Italian tradition where we did the Feast of the Seven Fishes. The night before Christmas Eve, Dad would prep and cook all of the seafood until 5am and then crash for the rest of the day. I miss smelling boiling shrimp on December 23rd, in prep for the big party. There are no more smells of lobster and crabmeat salad being mustered up, no more delicious aromas of garlic and breading for the stuffed clams wafting up into our area while we all slept (or tried to) 2am in the morning. The next day (or evening), Mom would start frying shrimp and yellow tail around 6pm, batting me off with a spatula as I tried convincing her that I'm the "taste tester". She made this amazing antipasto, along with Italian bread, assorted cheeses and a ton of chips just to nosh on before the real deal came shuffling out of that tiny kitchen. That was all I have known Christmas to be. Family, friends, food, laughter, togetherness.

I miss my dad so much...
But it was never about the expectation of my parents cooking that huge feast or presents being given. It was about togetherness with my family and bringing in our closest and dearest friends to celebrate with us. My views on Christmas are much different these days, or perhaps, I'm taken aback by how Christmas has morphed into a huge financial win rather than the appreciation of those who are in your presence, even if without presents. It's become more of a superficial holiday filled with high expectations and very low levels of appreciation. It's become a shallow event to show off riches, as opposed to showing off how much you love one another. For me, I felt like Christmas had sort of died out the day Dad left us to be with God. But it really didn't -- it was just a "new normal". Our family seemed closer when Dad was still with us. Little by little, our relationships are dwindling down into only seeing one another on "special events" and "holidays" -- even though we only live less than 15 minutes apart. But, change is inevitable and I fully accept that. And of course, sometimes you just grow apart.

Today, and for the past few years, Christmas holds new traditions for us. My wife and I go out to dinner and have our "Christmas martini" and appetizers at our favorite restaurant. We come home and we sit by the fire and watch our beautiful Christmas tree listening to holiday music. The next day is the important day now. We cook, lounge and appreciate being together as a family. Sometimes we'll both go in on a present, like a much needed flat screen TV or something that we need and stocking stuffers -- but it's not expected nor the importance of the day. It's just togetherness that's appreciated. Even that isn't expected. But it comforts me knowing that I'm not spending Christmas with people who feel obligated to spend it with me just because I'm "listed" as a blood-related family member. We sometimes feel that we "should" attend the family functions, when in reality, family does not have to be blood-related. We choose who we want to be our "family" -- or who we want to spend those special moments with.

Be with people who want to be with you. Spend time with those who appreciate you. Never fake a smile or keep someone at arm's length until those "special events" and "holidays" come rolling around. Be genuine. Spend time with those who choose to keep close all throughout the year -- not just for 'party filling' traditions. Otherwise, Christmas will turn into a meaningless event just to pacify your grieving past that you haven't fully let go of yet. New traditions are wonderful. New friends are wonderful. Be happy to be spending time with chosen family, whether blood or not -- family is a sense of togetherness; a unity of appreciation and love. It shouldn't be anything less.

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Donald Trump: The Real Terrorist

As Jesus once said -- the real Christian view.
Months, even weeks ago I stated many times that I was so sick and tired of politics that I would actually vote for Trump just for the entertainment itself. He's a showman, an attention grabber, as well as a sideshow circus. Why not? Every other president before him seemed to have taken on the "class clown" status in their own quirky and corrupt way. But this is a bit different. Again, I will state that I am not a liberal or a conservative. I have views that land both in the left and right field of politics. I also usually never dabble in politics, especially on Facebook. I guess blogging is different. So my opinions will flow freely on this forum.

Why is Trump taking this to a whole new level? Is it because people wouldn't vote for him unless he has pushed the envelope? He seems to cater to the older generation. Most senior citizens love him because he has an old fashioned "Archie Bunker" approach on politics. They're familiar with that. They're not comfortable with how progressive the U.S. has gotten in the past few years. We're all angry over what's going on in the world. We're also frightened over the level of terrorism that has taken place. We want something done, but not risking the lives or safety of innocent people. I totally believe that Trump has fired up a new and higher level of bigotry. He feeds you with what extremists are doing, and then some people will react making everyone in that particular group guilty of every crime committed by one of the bad eggs. It's really not fair, especially to Sarker Haque who owns Fatima Food Mart over on 21st Avenue in Astoria, Queens.

"He punched me here," store owner Sarker Haque said, rubbing the back of his neck, and pointing to an ice cream cooler. "I fell down here," he said. "I say, 'What the hell you doing? What's wrong with you?' The attacker said, 'I kill Muslims.'" Police identified the attacker as Piro Kolvani, who investigators said pummeled Haque repeatedly. "He punched me as much as he can with his left hand," Haque said, choking back tears as he pointed to the arm he'd dislocated last winter that got inflamed again in Saturday's beating. "He grabbed me here. Then he punched me here," Haque said while pointing to his face.
The daylight attacks on Mister Haque was the latest of recent attacks on Muslims and the Muslim community in New York and the Northeast. On Sunday, somebody threw a pig's head against the wall of a mosque in Philadelphia, a blatant attack against a religion that considers pork unfit for proper consumption. Also at P.S. 89, an elementary school in the Allerton section of the Bronx, authorities are monitoring an incident from last month, where sixth-graders tried to remove a girl's hijab, or her head covering, and said she was in ISIS.
"It's again this ignorance," Sadiya Khalique, director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, said. She and Haque, however, pointed out another side of the increase in attacks.
"A person came by," Haque said about how the violent episode he was involved in concluded. "He knows me." One of Haque's loyal customers could hear the commotion and Haque's cries for help. "I'm bleeding this time," the store owner said, "so he took hold of him." The customer, a Latino man, who asked Haque to not identify him, intervened and held down Kolvani until police came. Another passerby called 911. Neither of the Good Samaritans are Muslim. "It doesn't matter what color or nationality you are," Haque said. "We are in America. Everybody came from somewhere."---read more here
Donald -- you small-minded piece of crap -- how can you stir up more hatred than we already have? I'm not sure why, but you have this huge -- if not the biggest goddamn platform and you choose to use it for hatred? To me, you're the biggest terrorist in the U.S. right now. People, especially Muslims are terrified for their lives. And if any of you say "rightfully so", then you're probably one of the uneducated right wing majority who doesn't look up facts, but looks at only the crimes of a few to place the blame on all. That's called ignorance. That's also called terrorism because you are attacking innocent people for other people's crimes. You don't even know the difference between them because you don't want to. Your own hatred and bigotry blinds you into believing that ALL Muslims kill. All Mexicans are drug dealers and rapists. And maybe, all gays and lesbians spread AIDS. It can trickle into further details of politics and society and I'm sure you won't just stop at the Mexicans and Muslims.

This is not what America stands for. We all came from somewhere or have relatives and ancestors who are from another country. The religion of Islam is beautiful, just like Christianity is. It's sad when some of their followers take a twisted route into using their religion in order to hate and kill. Haven't we seen extremists in all religions? Look at the KKK -- they're Christians. Look at the Westboro Baptist Church -- they seem to call themselves Christians as well.

I'll never forget days following 9-11. I was driving to work and needed gas. Almost every single car had an American flag on their antennas or on the back of their bumpers to help unite us as a country again. We came together showing love and compassion for one another. But some people used it to signify their anger towards the Muslim community -- blaming all Muslims for what took place that dreaded day. There were a few hate crimes that took place days after 9-11 which scared the entire community as well as NYC. As I was waiting for the gentleman to fill up my tank who appeared to be Pakistani, I noticed that he looked terrified seeing that I had an American flag on my car. When he went to give me my receipt, I gently grabbed his hand and gave him quite a large tip and then said, "I'm sorry that people are so mean. Not all of them are..."  He actually started crying and then said thank you about a hundred times. He said every car that comes up seems to have a new surprise for him -- a new racist and bigoted remark, and now, a kind gesture and an apology on behalf of all the ignorant Americans who are terrorizing innocent people. He said that the owner was actually going to shut down the gas station due to the fear of being targeted by hateful and mostly, fearful people attacking them every single day. They hung in there though and things seemingly got better.

Fear makes us do strange things. Trump is good at using fear in order to use it for his advantage. It's fear that stirs up all hate crimes. Do you think Trump is going to solve all our problems by "banning all Muslims"? It'll actually do the opposite. It'll stir up a huge holy war, with the possibility of all of the innocent Muslims backing them up as well. Do we really want to make more enemies? Stop placing the blame on a particular group as a whole and start realizing that not all religions are evil -- not all people are evil -- and not all presidential candidates have our best interest in mind.

"Let's make American great again" -- let's just drive people to fear and make American Muslims feel different than anyone else in the U.S., just as Hitler did with the Jews. Good tactic, Donald.

Doesn't this sound familiar?


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

Friday, December 04, 2015

Is It Sinful to Love Another Sinner?

We will never win any argument, nor will we win any case or issue that needs to be resolved if our opinions are not absolute "truths". We'll fight till the bloody end. Isn't that how it is with religion? "My god is better than your god" type of thinking as well as, "Your sin is worse than mine," and on and on it goes. Opinions, beliefs and faith in religion(s) are all non-factual magnetized views that creates an upheaval within society. You can just log onto Facebook and see what I mean. People are now posting about their views -- whether or not they're pro-gun or anti-gun. Gun control is a very passionate topic to discuss, especially with your friends and family no less. But every time we have a mass shooting, this topic seems to rear its ugly head. Friends de-friend and relatives dish it out on the holidays while trying to enjoy dinner. It. never. ends.

This morning, I had a woman hop onto my live broadcast who told me that being gay isn't in my best interest because I would ruin society due to not being able to procreate. I happened to mention that I had also recently just gotten a hysterectomy, so there's THAT. And since the world is basically way overpopulated anyway, I don't believe that God made every single person to have kids. I also stated that there are many heterosexual couples who cannot procreate. Should they divorce? Is that the only reason we are here? She then said, "Well what if you and ten other gays and lesbians were on a deserted island? You would all die out." Yes, probably. But shouldn't her focus be on the kingdom of heaven if she is a Christian? The earth will soon die out. So what's her point? In the same breath, I would also get creative and ask one of the gay men to "donate" their seed if we did choose to procreate. Problem solved. Isn't that what we're doing now? Artificial insemination as well as the beauty of adopting a child who needs a home? Too many kids are in foster care. Let's focus on that situation alone.

Why does my marriage affect other people's lives? "It ruins society."  Really? What ruins society is ignorance. Ignorance creates a sense of hatred towards those who are different. Parents who teach their children that being gay, lesbian or transgender is wrong and that they'll go to hell for it -- that alone ruins society because whether you know this or not -- this creates bullies. Your children will bully other children who are "doomed to hell" by the parents. Teach your children and they'll run with it most of the time. Hopefully not, but usually and sadly the case. The same lady who said I was ruining society also said that if her daughter was gay, she would not allow her partner to walk into her house. OK, that's her choice. But think about this: she will never have a strong bond with her daughter because she rejected the one person she loves. Jesus accepted everyone and showed compassionate and unconditional love. Many Christians fail to follow in Jesus' footsteps and to love one another unconditionally.

Is it a sinful to love another sinner?

Didn't Jesus love His sinners? He did so much that He gave up His only life. So I'd venture to say, YES.

Anyway, this is my first post in about three weeks. I'm still recovering from surgery, but doing really well. I had a few complications that sent me right back into the hospital that are now resolved thankfully. So today is my first day back working and I am thrilled to live a new life with less pain. I just want to thank all of you who have supported me and checked up on me while I was convalescing. It's going to be a new and different journey for me and I'm so looking forward to living my life with less fear. Please make sure that if you are on Twitter, to follow me if you can. Because if I don't blog one day, I am now broadcasting live on Periscope. So just click here and I will see you on the dark side!

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, November 09, 2015

Superwoman: The Life That Was Meant For Me

The one thing that I've learned is that when one thing ends and comes to a finality in you life, there's a new and different world (or a new door that opens up) where life itself has morphed into what it's supposed to be. I don't know if you believe in "fate" and "destiny" or that old saying, "things happen for a reason" blah blah blah -- all of those sayings, as cliché as they are, usually prove to be true. Or maybe we just believe them to be "true" because it is what it is. Another lame cliché. This week has totally spun me into a whirlwind of emotions and indecisiveness. I know for one thing that I must get this surgery to end the excruciating pain that leaves me debilitated for days at a time every single month of my life. But on the other hand, my dream of having my own child since I was a child haunts me whenever I think about rolling into that operating room. And strange, my worst fear is being rolled into the operating room. I remember being brought into the OR for my D&C procedure wrapped up in a strange hospital gown with a hair cap like the other surgeons and assistants had on. The huge monstrous lamps, the operating table, the tools on the side and all the surgeons and nurses waiting for me like a big science project made my heart rate skyrocket.

The anesthesiologists are always super nice for whatever reason. I guess they know how freaked out patients are when hearing they'll be 'knocked out' for a few hours.

"I need a martini." I said jokingly.

The anesthesiologist laughed and said, "Oh trust me, I'm giving you quite the cocktail."

As my doctor held my hand and the sleepy serum was being administered, I tried slurring out my words and said, "Let me know if I stop breathing, OK?"

"OK, I will," he said as he chuckled and rubbed my hand.

"Now take a deep breath..."

Without a doubt, I'm going to be sleepless tomorrow night. I can't drink water, suck on lozenges  (as I do routinely before bedtime) or have anything to eat past midnight, which is fine. But no water! For someone with anxiety, the necessity for water is crucial. It's calming. I'll be anything but. I guess I should say more positive things like, "I can do this" and "It's not big deal!" I guess right now, it's just hard.

Going deeper.

I think about all of the missed opportunities in my life. They're not so much regretful as they are remindful -- (if that makes any sort of sense whatsoever). Everyone gets to experience graduation, college, wedding and baby showers, their parents looking them on as they say their vows to their lifetime partner. There were a lot of circumstances I can blame it on, like being without a father at the age of 16 and having to work full time to help out around the house. That was more important than graduating high school. I did what I had to do. In all honesty, I could have kept going to high school, but it was my choice to work instead. I developed the worst acne ever. I had anxiety attacks that were unspeakable. I remember staying after school while a teacher was trying to push me to get through the year and she turned to me, touched the clusters of acne on my face and said, "Does that hurt, sweetie?"

It hurt on so many levels.

At the age of 20 years old, I remember being confused about what gender (or person) I wanted to spend my life with. I was dating a man who I met while working at IBM. At the same time, I was also dating my now wife on and off. Hey -- I was young and stupid and confused at the time, but I did I always knew I wanted a baby. I missed my period and just thought it was due to stress. But once I missed it again, I ran to the store to buy one of those home pregnancy tests. It was positive. I bought three more home and all of them showed to be positive. I was pregnant with my first child. I was also pregnant and confused over who I wanted to start a life with.

Over dinner, Madelene dropped her fork after hearing the news and said, "Have it, Deb. You would be a great mother and so would I..." She was willing to still be with me even if I was pregnant with somebody else's baby.

About nine weeks in, I miscarried. I was both relieved and sad at the same time. I would never get an abortion, but having my own child was very important to me. I wanted to go through the nine months of having my baby inside me. I wanted to feel him or her kicking around. I wanted to place headphones on my belly and let them listen to soothing music. I had plans about just being pregnant alone.

At the age of 35, we were planning to have another one again. I quit drinking entirely for three months in preparation to make it a longer stretch. I started eating better, working out and prepping my body for a long nine month haul. I could do this! But things got "busy" and we both got distracted and nothing ever came of it. And on our last thought about it, my father found out he had the big "C" and it just changed our priorities at that time.

"We will soon..." 

But soon never came and that's OK. I had other people to take care of, like Mom when she was diagnosed with the big "C" too. Thankfully she is doing well and I am so happy that I was able to be there for her. I don't know if I would have been much help if I had a baby to take care of -- so that's why I think it was meant to be.

Confirmations from God keep me sane. I wasn't meant to have my own child. I was meant to take care of my loved ones the best I can and maybe even those I don't even know. My mission in life may not be the same as everybody else's. So, I'm accepting it. But the hormonal rollercoaster I'm experiencing is hitting me like a ton of bricks. Yes, my decision is made and I know I will never regret it -- but my mind is playing a whole buncha' tricks on me. Even if I was still able to keep my uterus intact -- I already chose that I do not want a baby or even carry one at this point. My chronic pain and health issues let me know that I'm not the best candidate to be a pregnant woman for nine long months.

My life is so very unconventional and I'm happy about that. I don't want to be some over-the-top soccer mom with no time to even brush her teeth in peace. (Kudos to all the busy mamas out there!) I also don't want to send my child off to college when I'm 60 years old. And not that it's a bad thing or that 60 is too old -- it's just that I know I'll be the achey-breaky crazy lady with all my pain and ailments. I'll have to bring my Hoveround.

So that's what's on my mind right now. This'll be my last post before surgery come this Wednesday. I had a lot on my mind and I had to just let it out because it's been really killing me emotionally. YES this is the right decision for me but wow, the emotions tied to this decision is huge. Sometimes I feel that maybe I'll be less of a woman without my uterus. Other times, I feel like I may turn into Superwoman once it's finally out. (A thinner and better Superwoman that is!) I'm going with option two. I have this feeling that life is going to change a great deal for me. It's time to really start living my life -- the life that was meant for me.

Thank you for all the supportive advice and encouragement! I received some beautiful comments over on my Facebook page as well as personal emails that made me smile. Thank you.

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

Friday, November 06, 2015

Everything is Going to be Alright, Maybe Not Today, But Eventually

They say, they say, they say, that everything has a way of working itself out. I don't know who "they" are, but I guess it's safe to assume that "they're" kinda right. I haven't written in a long time. My mind had no room for passing thoughts, passionate views or even my own opinions about whatever. It was as if my mind turned into this huge blank page. Attempting to write was like trying to write on wax paper with a ballpoint pen. The ink just wouldn't come out. It stayed inside and held its content until it finally exploded. The last time I wrote anything was over a month ago. It was then my doctor had given me the exact date of my partial hysterectomy. Long story short: I suffer from dysmenorrhea -- a debilitating type of menstraul pain that sometimes lasts for over 8 hours at a time. There've been times where I have passed out or vomited from the intensity of the pain. I had to change careers because the typical 9-5er would cringe over taking a day or two off from work every month. I had to work around the calendar if we had to go on trips and vacations. My quality of life suffered a great deal. I had to make a huge decision.

And it was the hardest decision of all.

My heart hurts as I write this. The decision I made takes away my option of having my own biological child -- something my wife and I have always talked about since we've met. I know I'm able to have a child, but I cannot carry for whatever reason. I'll leave it at that. I don't want to go through another round of disappointments. I know adoption is a wonderful option, but the final decision to do this was difficult nonetheless. I always dreamed of looking into my baby's eyes, which were my own, biting their toes and making them giggle. Yes, adoption is wonderful... But there is something to be said about a mother's intuitive, biological connection that's unlike anything else -- the reflection of your own being staring right back at you in need, in love, in sync with your every motherly intention. It's just different.

Many doubted and still doubt my motherhood because I'm the "baby of the family". I remember hearing what my father had to say about me spending my life with another woman.

"Well, at least you know she can't get pregnant." 

I don't think he meant that in a demeaning way -- I think he was just joking of the logistics of it. But many doubt my capability of taking care of another human being for whatever reason. "The baby of the family" is still very much a baby in many people's eyes. I guess that's OK...? At the age of 41, I don't want the risks associated with having a baby after 40 anyway. I also think about what it would be like to send my kid off to college at the age of 60. It would feel weird and I would probably be downright exhausted from it all. I think about this crazy world, school shootings, social media online bullying and the possibility of drugs creeping into our lives. I think about the "what ifs" of any mother's concern. That alone keeps my sanity and decision to go ahead with this hysterectomy. So my tears before and after this surgery will be due to the loss of motherhood, but also tears of happiness for finally gaining quality of life and eliminating this excruciating pain.

Not everyone was meant to have a child. Maybe my mission is to just take care of those I love around me as well as those I don't even know. Maybe my life was destined to do other things and not the conventional (expected) life that people assume I should've lived. Typically I'm full of opinions and strong views about life itself, spirituality or politics, but right now, I'm allowing my mind to be still. I'm just here trying to listen to God. So bear with me as I go through this quiet period in my life. I'm not going to give up writing, but the hiatus that I've been on may continue for some time.

My surgery is scheduled for this Wednesday, November 11th. I would love it if you could send me some prayers and positive energy my way. I'm having a real rough time emotionally and physically.

I'll be back...

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, September 29, 2015

Your True Self: Who Are You?

Yesterday, I was speaking to an atheist and I asked her, "Respectfully, why do you focus and write so much about something you don't even believe in?" And she gave me an answer I didn't expect. She wasn't angry, she wasn't trying to question her 2% of "what if there's a god" -- she was simply fed up with religious people hurting anyone who fails to fall in line with their exact beliefs. The mere fact that most religious folks will say "my" religion and "my" god as well as "believe what I believe or you're going to hell" is all associated with their ego. The ego thrives on being superior above all those who don't think, act or believe as they do. The ego needs to be "right" and the ego needs to tell their "truth" -- even if there are no factual bases on their "truth". It's just a faith built system that people feel comfortable believing in. Even though I believe with all my heart and soul that God is real and that I do believe in the trinity-based faiths -- I will not say "I'm right" -- nor will I tell someone that their fate is a fiery lake in hell. The best way you can pull someone toward your belief is simply by your behavior. Your actions, your words, your example -- they will all show someone that you walk the walk, because let's face it: talk is cheap.

But, talk is also apart of our behavior. The tongue is very powerful. What we say can either make us or break us. Even those who are trying to be nice while having such a rigid belief may say, "Oh, I'll pray for you honey." It almost comes off as sarcastic, as if they had an "in" with the big guy upstairs. God's followers are one of the biggest reasons why many people tend to stay away from religion. Their identity is tied into the whole concept that they are God's child and that they need to convert people over to their religion to get brownie points. Think about it: if I convert you today over to Christianity -- I will honestly say I would be thrilled. But not because I'm gonna get some award by God, but because Christianity isn't as scary as most of His followers make it out to be. Most Christians will want to convert you in order to get in good with God. He said, "Spread my message across the world," and what better means to do it than by the greatest tool of all: the internet? Hey, you don't even have to travel by donkey across the desert. 

What is your identity if it's tied up in God? Who are you? In my belief, God lives within us. God occupies 90% of "my" brain. (See how I didn't say your brain.) But that's not an ego thing, that's just my belief. If I am conscious enough, I can catch the sin or "dysfunction" of my brain which operates all of my actions. So for me, that would be the conscious of "GOD" -- because He who lives in me is greater than he who lives in the world. I'm sure you have heard of that scripture before and it makes total sense. If we tap into God -- in our minds -- if we can turn and look at our chatty brain that never shuts up -- then we have the conscious of God. So it's like we have two entities within us: our mind and our Being which is "God". That's why they call it the battlefield of the mind. It's a constant struggle and conflict between good and bad. Remember those cartoons that had a devil on the left shoulder and the angel on the right shoulder? I believe it's kinda like that. 

Have you ever heard that term, "We are not of this world"? It's basically saying that this world we live in -- this life we live -- it's all so temporary before we enter and pass over into the realm of unconditional love and light, which is also referred to as "heaven". Here's what I mean: I am not of this world. Materialistic things do not matter to me. I always tell my wife, "I'd rather live in a shack with someone I love rather than in a huge mansion with someone I can't stand." Life is too short to live for materialistic things. They have no substance to them. For instance -- I suffer from anxiety and depression. If you were to give me 10 million dollars, I would still have anxiety and depression. No amount of money in the world will give me constant joy as to being in line with God. Granted, I would definitely have an adrenaline type of short-term happiness and yes, that 10 million would help -- but you'll find me still suffering, possibly even forgetting about God at some point due to the major distractions. I don't want to have my identity tied up with something that can be taken away so quickly. 

And that happens. 

If your identity is all about having a nice house, luxury cars and brand name clothes -- you will always have to live up to everything you have reached for. But who are you once those things are taken away from you? I often wonder what I'm truly attached to. I thought about this yesterday and I came to the realization that my attachment is mostly due to "my" family, "my" dog, "my" writing -- and sadly, "my" followers. I feel very blessed to have many followers, but who am I if I only had 1 follower? Who would I be writing for? Who am I? Just a person who types a buncha' words for nobody to read. I would feel close to worthless, or perhaps quit writing since it seems to not be helping anyone. Or is it about my own ego? If we attach ourselves to what we do for a living, then what happens once we lose our jobs? We become jobless or unemployed, to which some people equate to "worthlessness" -- or not contributing to society whatsoever. We need to be doing something for the world, whether or not we are reaping the benefits. But what if we are and we still don't maintain that ultimate "job status"? Are we still worthless? Don't we mean more than our jobs, our careers, our existence here on earth? Don't we all have a purpose? 

The other day I was talking to a good friend of mine. She's absolutely stunningly beautiful. (Wow, lots of adjectives!) She wears brand name clothes, always keeping up with the trends and also obsessed with working out. She's a great person and loves her family and friends. She always tries to help people, but doesn't realize that some things are just not important to some people as they are to her. For instance, I know I need to shed some pounds, but I've never really obsessed over it. I am more focused about keeping up with my overall health -- like my numbers, cholesterol, blood pressure and so on. Being thin isn't a priority to me -- never was. It's not that I don't care about myself -- it's more about being happy and not tying my entire identity with a "perfect body" or a "perfect face". If I get a wrinkle or two (or three) -- I'm leaving those wisdom lines to flourish. If I gain weight, I'll get my yoga pants out. (Ha) -- That's what they're for, right? She suggested that I should work out with her (as a way to get my ass to the gym.) I mean, I could, maybe I should, but right now it's just not a priority. But my question is, if a person who ties their whole identity with their outer appearance, (good looks, nice body, no wrinkles) and one day, they start to see their body and face change due to degenerative aging -- then who are they? And what are they going to attach their identity to then? The ego needs a place to land. They will then become a "victim" of age and lacking outer appearance. Some will hide and become worthless in their mind because that's who they were.

Going back to my attachments -- they're not better than anyone else's. For instance, when I say, "my" wife, "my" family and "my" dog --- what happens if one day I lose them all? They are my sense of self. They are the reason why I live. Maybe loving people too much is a bad thing? My identity is taking care of my family, like cooking for them, taking them to the doctors or just loving them -- period. What would life be like for me if I lost them all tomorrow? Have you ever heard someone say, "They took apart of me with them when they left," -- whether it be through death or by a breakup? When somebody says something like that, it means that they tied their entire identity with the person(s) they loved. I'm not saying to be some distant lover or family member -- but who are you when all is gone? Will you survive without your partner or family members? And what about when a person suddenly dies (usually by heart attack) soon after their spouse dies? Do you know that there is actually a term for that called, "The Broken Heart Syndrome"? Most survive it, experiencing chest pains and things that mimic a heart attack, but some actually do die from losing a loved one. 

I wrote about my experience with The Broken Heart Syndrome in this article.

I experienced this three years ago when my dad passed away. It happened about six months into my grieving period (which is normal) -- and I started getting horrible chest pains, to where my heart definitely responded to what I was experiencing. I'll never forget one morning being in my kitchen and grabbing a glass of water. I sat on the stool next to the counter trying to just wake up. I started getting these these horrific chest pains that just blew me right off my stool. I was on the floor holding my chest with these jabbing pains that wouldn't let up. When the ambulance came, they gave me a little beta tablet of nitrate to place under my tongue in order to see if I was having a real heart attack. They took my vitals and everything was just wrong. The EMT guy looked at me and asked, "Is the pain going away?" And I was relieved that it was. "Yeah, it's gone." But not relieved when he yelled into his radio, "Not good! She responded to the nitrate! It's her heart!" I had to stay in the hospital for a few days. The EMT guy who helped me was the same guy who had to bring my father out of his house for the very last time.

The breakdown of The Broken Heart Syndrome:

Breakdown of a Broken Heart Broken heart syndrome, also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy or takotsubo cardiomyopathy, can strike even if you’re healthy. (Tako tsubo, by the way, are octopus traps that resemble the pot-like shape of the stricken heart.) Women are more likely than men to experience the sudden, intense chest pain — the reaction to a surge of stress hormones — that can be caused by an emotionally stressful event. It could be the death of a loved one or even a divorce, breakup or physical separation, betrayal or romantic rejection. It could even happen after a good shock (like winning the lottery.) Broken heart syndrome may be misdiagnosed as a heart attack because the symptoms and test results are similar. In fact, tests show dramatic changes in rhythm and blood substances that are typical of a heart attack. But unlike a heart attack, there’s no evidence of blocked heart arteries in broken heart syndrome. In broken heart syndrome, a part of your heart temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of your heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions. Researchers are just starting to learn the causes, and how to diagnose and treat it. The bad news: Broken heart syndrome can lead to severe, short-term heart muscle failure. The good news: Broken heart syndrome is usually treatable. Most people who experience it make a full recovery within weeks, and they’re at low risk for it happening again (although in rare cases in can be fatal).
I never thought that there was such a thing out there until that EMT guy explained it to me. I then researched it and was shocked to find out that it was real. So in my case, losing my father was a huge deal, not only because I loved him, but I lost a sense of my "self" in him. I lost my safety, my "tough guy" -- my protector and my mom's "Pit Bull". I lost all of our inside jokes and the way we interacted. I lost a sense of my own personality when I lost him. And it's strange, because sometimes my sister will look at me and say, "Oh my God, I just saw Dad in your eyes!" Some of the things I say or do mimic his behavior. And that's okay. But trying to untie the linked identity to people, places or things can be hard to do for anyone.

So think about the things that you associate your identity with like, "I'm a police officer," or "I'm a doctor" -- what if you lost those identities?

It's like boiling salt water and letting it evaporate.

Who are you? 

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Blood Moon Eclipse, September 28th -- Is It the End of the World?

Years ago, I learned more about God through religion classes. They taught me about Jesus and all of the stories that were in the Bible. I learned about the Ten Commandments and of course, "right" from "wrong". I went through communion and confirmation, mostly robotically and merely doing it because I had to. But I already knew God, (so I thought) and from what my mom taught me. Back then, I only thought there was one God that was believed both by Christians and Jews. I didn't know about any other religion besides the rule of not worshipping any other gods other than my "own". So "my" religion became my "truth" and as hard as I tried to obey every command, I found out that I was only human...like everybody else. As I grew older, I didn't realize there were more "truths" within one religion. I didn't understand why some Christians believed "this" while others believed "that". There were divisions within the trinity faiths: Catholicism, Christianity, Lutheran, Baptist, Pentecostal, and more alike. Some prayed to saints while others only focused on Jesus. Born again Christians never wear crusifixes because they want to focus on the symbolic salvation -- not Jesus' brutal death up on the cross. I was reprimanded for wearing a crucifix at one of our Trinity Assembly churches. I was more or less "given a lesson" if you will, about how not to wear an actual sculpture made of gold of a "dead Jesus". But, isn't Jesus always alive? Isn't His death the reason we're saved? Why are we sugarcoating what He did for us -- why are we minimizing his great sacrifice for everyone?

Later in life, I learned that by identifying God or Jesus by a materialistic symbol or envisioning Him even as a human figure would limit my understanding of God altogether. I realized that God was within me and not so much about praying and asking, "God, are you here? Can you hear me?" I believe that the 90% of our brain is occupied by God. That's why most of us haven't tapped into that portion as of yet. We still see God as some illusionary man-made figure that's not around unless we call upon Him. But this is only what I've learned and now believe. I sincerely believe we can have heaven on earth -- not in the sense of all of us dying and then God gives us a "real" new earth. It's different. It's a change -- or "shift" in our consciousness.

On September 28th, this coming Monday, the blood moon will appear. Not only is it the harvest moon, but there is also going to be a total lunar eclipse. For the trinity religions, this may signify the "end of the wold", and in the Bible the blood moon is referred in the book of Revelations.  There have been so many misinterpretations of the Bible that it sometimes gets frustrating to even have a set "religion". I have been seeing more and more people turn to atheism, because of all of the contradictories that religion and its followers have to offer.  But is it more about the religion or the followers? Followers of a set religion fight over their own beliefs! "Well, this is right and that is wrong, and that's that," type of mindset. And that's what it is: the mindset. We are so incredibly focused on mind-based religions -- the ones that conflict with everything that is spiritual. This shift that will be happening on Sept 28th has always been happening, but more so now. We are forced into evolving -- to what extent, I'm not sure. An esoteric shift like this one can only be felt by very few religious people. Many spiritual people will feel it and notice it. When you sit and read about religion, you are reading a manmade script that your mind is totally engrossed with. Rules, regulations and a whole lotta' contradictory. But when you read with spirit behind it -- pray and meditate before you open a bible -- then the truths come out. It has more meaning. It speaks to your own spirit -- your own inner being instead of your mind.

There are times when I write about my faith in God, that I encounter all sorts of animosity from other Christians. They're defensive and angry. I've offended "their" god. I have mocked "their" god. Anything that has an "I", "my", "mine", "our" -- is a form of egotistical behavior. They've equated their god into a form identity -- making him out to be some sort of huge "man" in the sky instead of having God right here with us now, in our hearts, in our minds, in our souls. If God was within them, they wouldn't be so defensive. By witnessing all the ugliness that Christianity (or its followers) had to offer, I went to seek out other means of learning about God and it wasn't the conventional way either. I learned that God isn't only found in our churches, but He's everywhere and always with us. You don't have to act "religious" in order to have a perfect spiritual alignment with Him. You just have to be human with a whole lotta' faith. And this is where the shift begins.

The old earth will turn into the new earth. Look at our pope for example. He is a progressive teacher of the truth who isn't condemning people to hell, but saying, "Who am I to judge?" Recognition of same-sex marriage has become legal in all 50 states. More and more, people are seeing that gender plays a small role in the bigger scheme of things. We're genderless when it comes to passing on into a new world with God or in "heaven".  The realization that "love is love" has recently emerged and there are some Christians who are very upset over this. Once again, they're defensive because they feel we are mocking "their" god --- more so, we are mocking their ego. By simply saying that homosexuality is not a sin, their ego has identified that if it isn't a sin, then perhaps they are homosexuals as well. So the defensiveness behind it is only about their own selves -- not about what's "right" or "wrong" -- because there is no right or wrong, there is only unconscious and mindless flaws or "dysfunctions" in life.

The great shift is here, whether you feel it or not. I'm choosing to remain open-minded, receptive to every single change, loss and gain. I'm letting go of attachments, and clinging onto more substantial matters in life. It's funny, because I ran into a wonderful woman who tailors my clothes for me. Even though she's Jewish, she is extremely opened about religious topics of any kind -- more so "spiritual topics". It was recently her "new year" and she said, "Do you feel it? Do you feel the shift?" And I did. She was shocked that another person was conscious of it.  There's some kind of change in the air -- and I'm not talking about the change in the weather -- but a shift in our spiritual consciousness that allows us to learn more from a more spiritual realm rather than just black and white text that says "right" and "wrong". It's much deeper than that.

Do you feel 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!