Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Core Values


Most of my life growing up, I never ate dinner alone. We'd all sit around the table and eat dinner together. We were fortunate enough to always have had a homemade dinner made for us, and of course, the Friday night takeout was a given. I'd sometimes invite a friend over for dinner because their parents were both working, and there was always enough food to go around at our house. Mom was always gracious and hospitable, shoveling huge portions of food onto my friend's plate as their eyes bulged out from mere shock. I didn't understand how my friends could walk into an empty house after school, as I was always greeted by mom, making sure I got off the bus okay. There was never a day when she wasn't at the bus stop. Sometimes, we'd all get together in the living room and watch a movie that was rented from the local video store. That was like a huge event for us. Nobody was on their cell phones texting or SnapChatting  -- we were all together doing exactly the same thing as a family. It was really nice.

My parents with "Jumbo."

Dad going on about something at a family BBQ.
When I thought about my future, I never really thought "big and famous" or some bigwig at some corporate hellhole -- I thought more on the lines of my mom's position. I wanted to be someone who cared for other people, especially animals. She had nine Great Danes. We always grew up with dogs and cats. Summers were spent outside, while our Great Danes played on the lawn. Family BBQs included pool parties and extended family and friends visiting often. Mom cooked her butt off, making sure everyone had a drink (the adults of course) and people were fed beyond the comfort zones of feeling full. Coffee and dessert was served outside on the back patio overlooking the beautiful view of the lake and mountains. I've always admired what my mom did. Even during the week while all four of her daughters shuffled off to school, mom cleaned every corner and crevice of the house from top to bottom. When I came back home, my bedroom looked as though a hotel maid had been there. You'd expect to find a mint on the pillow.

I want to be my mom. I want to be that someone who takes care of everyone. I want to be the person my mom was: generous, welcoming, caring, strong and one helluva cook. And it wasn't like all she did was cater to people -- she went out a lot with my dad, went on vacations and did adventurous things. She had a nice balance. And isn't that what life's about? I remember working 12 hour shifts in a miserable office cubicle, wishing I had more time at home. And of course, vice/versa, when I was unemployed and miserable as well. Working from home after years of recouping from the corporate nightmare has not only changed my life for the better, but has given me an entire outlook of what I don't want in life, as well as what I do want in life.

Making vows to my best friend & life partner.

Before I started seriously dating, the most important thing in a person was their religion and faith. I wanted to be with somebody who believed in God. I didn't want some lukewarm believer or atheist -- I wanted a true believer. I have nothing against anyone of different faiths or lack thereof, but I would never want to spend my life with someone who didn't hold the same faith as myself. As friends, I would welcome anyone of any belief, but as a life partner, my choice is to have a person of faith. That's one of my biggest core values. When I get attacked by others accusing me that I'm not a "real Christian," it only demonstrates the lack of any faith they may have in themselves, as well as in any god they may seem to worship. A true Christian is Jesus -- perfect and flawless. Not one human can measure up to the perfection of Jesus. We can only hope to be more like Him, or at least, rely on His guidance.

Celebrating Madelene's birthday with family.
So when somebody belittles my beliefs as well as my political views, I try to explain the best I can where my core values come from. They come from my past upbringing, my true love for God, and my deep desire to have a good old fashioned 'little life', minding my own business and taking care of my loved ones. This world, in my eyes, is so fallen, cold, lonely and overworked. Nobody has time anymore to do the things they truly love. Everyone has to "look" busy, and if they don't, then they're somehow not contributing to society, sometimes even referred to a "loser." It's wrong on so many levels. I believe family should be close, visited often and loved with every fiber of your being. I believe that family can also be chosen as well. Your friends can totally be apart of your family in every way. I had "cousins" that weren't even related to me, but because we were so close, we became family. Nothing wrong with that.

Life is short. If all you ever do is try to make money to get from point A to point B, you'll find that you've walked past the most important things, like family, love, relationships, and even missing out on God's messages to you. In hospice, they had asked their dying patients what they would've done differently in their lives if they had to do it all over again. The most recorded answer was, "I wish I didn't work so much. I wish I would've spent more time with my family." And although work is important to survive, it has everything to do with the balance of life -- the healthy balance of doing what you love in life as well as sharing precious moments with loved ones and friends. Whenever my life gets a bit unbalanced, I try to correct it the best I can. As long as you're aware of it -- it can always level out to a perfect balance.

Just because I have old fashioned core values, does not mean that I'm a racist or a bigot, or that I wish to take away the rights of choosing what women do with their bodies. Just because I believe differently only means I come from a completely different place than you or anyone else who holds opposing views. I would never try to change anybody else's views, or make them feel 'less than' just because I don't agree with them. Once someone dismisses you because you have a completely different set of values, it only means that they're not 100% confident in their own core beliefs. We can only share with one another, we cannot change people's minds. We're not supposed to. We can however, coexist, if one chooses to do so. Sometimes, that's even asking for a lot.

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!