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!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Confronting Friends About Delicate Issues - Is There Ever a Good Time?

Over the years, I've learned several things 'not to do' while living in this crazy world. It's hard to make the right choices when you'r'e conflicted about what's "right" and what's "wrong" -- and granted, sometimes there is no right or wrong, it's just a matter of opinion in most cases. In most circumstances where I think I should let someone know my opinion, it usually is...until it isn't. And what I mean by that is -- have you ever told someone you care about that their spouse or significant other was cheating on them? 9 out of 10 times, you'll find that it will always backfire. You then become the "bad guy" -- and morally speaking, you would think that you should be able to go to your friend with this crucial info -- but the bearer of bad news can quickly become the enemy, or at least, "the one who told me" -- which gives them a bad feeling every time they see you. So in my opinion, it is best to remain silent with personal affairs. Move on. Eventually, the person being cheated on will find out. It always happens that way.

Keeping silent can be pretty hard, although the most seemingly easiest thing to do, it's so far from the truth. It's especially hard to keep silent when you feel a friend only comes around when they want something from you. And of course you can say that I took it the wrong way or that I'm overreacting -- but when it happens over and over again, two things have to happen: either silence or confrontation. I'm not a huge fan of people inviting themselves over, especially 'on the spot' with one phone call to ask if they can 'drop by' -- and in some cases, that's perfectly fine. But the one thing that always seems to get me is when one of my friends never acknowledges that my work during the day is "work" or that I can skip out and find the nearest bar to hang out with her in. I'm not upset that she wants to hang out with me, but upset that she thinks that I do nothing all day. Her visit usually requires weekend sleepovers. If we ever go out to eat, her arm never extends out to reach for the check. It's not that I mind paying for a friend's lunch or dinner, but out of the 100 times, it starts to get old. It starts to feel like you're being used. Another thing is when someone brings up their birthday for the umpteenth time as soon as the month starts, to remind you that you need to celebrate it or perhaps, run out and get that special gift. You don't have to remind me -- Facebook does a good job of it, however, Facebook only reminds people the day of, and well, that's just not good enough for some people. So I keep silent about it -- I mean, SUPER silent about it. That's my way of coping with it. And when her day comes, I shower her with love.

As an entrepreneur/artist/freelance kind of gal, you need to get creative of how you make your money. I was fortunate enough to have companies pay me for link placements within my archive articles inside my blog from all the way back from 2005. Advertisements, especially websites who mirror my blog onto their site as a "column" also trickle into my bank account, which is an awesome way to make a living while working from home. I make more money doing this than I did working in the finance department in a beautiful office for IBM. It's my dream come true! So on the side, I use Periscope as a way to communicate with my followers and readers on Twitter. I don't care if I have 5 - 50 people in there at a time, I'm just happy to have the live stream out there so that they can see and hear their author and columnist 'speak' instead of write. I think it's important to get to know who you are reading. I once had placed a PayPal link onto my profile, because I saw many others doing it. But what happened was, a random guy who found me on Periscope chipped in $400.00. At first I was very happy and super grateful. But it came with that $400 price tag. I started receiving 7am texts asking, "Good morning, how did you sleep," -- it was getting out of control. He felt that he had bought my friendship. So with that, I refunded his money. I graciously declined his "tip" and thanked him profusely.

Here's my point: this man wasn't quite 'well' mentally. I didn't realize this at first. When I say mentally unwell, I don't mean "crazy stalker guy" -- he has an intellectual disability from birth. I'm not sure what type -- I just know that he even lived in an assisted living home for a while. I believe this person gives other people money in hopes for the return of friendship. They usually cannot make healthy decisions, and I think it's unfair if anyone takes his money and then tosses him aside. You have to be careful when you decide to make your money off of social media, in terms of donations or tips. So yesterday, as I was live streaming, I noticed something strange in my room. I realized that one of my fellow live streaming friends was actually accepting money off of someone who was also intellectually disabled. I guess it's hard to know offhand if someone is or not, but with this person, they already admitted to living and now working in an assisted living type of situation, due to her having this disability, even though she is highly functioning. I guess you can say that I lost a little respect for this person when I learned of this. So instead of becoming silent, I confronted this person. It didn't go so well. It was shot back to me with vile words of anger, to which I returned the email with nothing but love, but more so for concern and the possibility of a misunderstanding. Nonetheless, if anyone is taking advantage of a person financially who happens to be intellectually disabled, my respect for you diminishes greatly. Is it any of my business? It is when that person is my friend too.

People "online" are real. They're sometimes lonely, and in some cases, their only source of communication with the world is through social media and live interactive streams. They feel like they have a place. Be careful if you're making money off of other people's tips, because you might come across someone who is begging for your friendship, who doesn't realize that a tip is a tip. I have no regrets confronting the person who did this. I'm just very disappointed that this "loving person" who speaks so much about "coexisting" all the time actually did this. So we ended our friendship because I chose to confront them. I wish this person well, but I also hope that in the future, when you receive a tip for your live streams, that you accept with discernment. Usually, if you're a live streamer, you get to know your viewers for a more interactive experience. When I received $400.00 -- it was no longer a "tip" -- it was a price tag on my friendship. Know the difference, because many people are expecting much more than what you're able to give.

Sometimes silence is the best answer, and sometimes, a confrontation is needed.

What do you think?

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 07, 2017

I'm OK With It

Sometimes it's hard to just write one word no less an entire article, so instead I'll just do a live stream and have that be my "blog post." Fortunately, I love to cook so I won't bore the heck outta people, well we can only hope. My schedule as I've yapped about before has been quite the rollercoaster. I'm awake until 6am. It used to 3am (no big deal) or even 4 or 5am. I decided to do most of my work at night now. I don't mind working at night, but I truly wish I was more of a day person like I used to be. Now, my body tires out when the birds are chirping outside. If I am not running around like a chicken with its head cut off, then my mind will do it instead. I constantly need to be busy, either cleaning like a lunatic or cooking for an army...of three, at most. Leftovers, right? My insomnia stems from anxiety. Someone asked me the other day if I was depressed. I'm not. I am incredibly grateful for every single thing, every single person and opportunity that has come into my life. Do I get sad when I hear my mom's in excruciating pain? Yes. It makes me cry. Do I get sad about still thinking about my dad here 'n there? Sure. I'll cry -- but it's healthy to get that all out. But it doesn't mean that I'm depressed.

"Well, maybe you're putting on a good face." 

I will give you my honest face, but I will also give you my inner most hopeful face. I believe that in this fallen world, there needs to be a light that beams through the darkness. (Too deep?) Ok, there needs to be a little more lightheartedness, and less focus on the negative aspects of life, like politics and people fighting so viciously over it. Sometimes it's difficult to be lighthearted once you hear bad news. That's just being human. But what if there was a way, that even at our lowest point in our lives, that we can have a subtle, yet strong sense of peace within us? See, that's what God does for me. We have to go through all of these annoying and painful seasons in order to appreciate when there is a restful period. Do we take those restful periods for granted?

Last night (or early morning) at around 4:30 am, my wife woke up and looked over at me sitting on the edge of my bed holding my head. My heart was pounding and my anxiety was at its highest level -- thought my heart was gonna just blow up. When this happens, my entire face, mostly on the left, becomes completely numb, as if there was no feeling on it. I used to get scared about this, until a doctor told me that this was a common symptom of anxiety. I'll either splash some water onto my face, or I'll take an Advil which for whatever reason, helps it. Madelene said, "Why don't you go in the other room and read your bible, Deb?" Usually, in my state of panic, I don't become so agreeable, and I'll chuck it up that I'm too anxious, but this time, I actually walked out of the bedroom and sat in the living room, lit a candle and read my bible.

I could not believe all that it pointed out to me which I am going to share with you, because I think it's important for others to read when they're going through something so stressful.

So here's what I read below. It's a segment inside my bible that gives you scriptures about whatever topic you need. But I wasn't searching for this. I just opened it up -- and voila, it was staring me right in the face. I hope this may help someone reading this.
Does suffering mean God doesn't care about me?

Psalm 22:24 He has not ignored the suffering of the needy. He has not turned and walked away. He has listened to their cries for help.
Suffering is not a sign of God's absence; it is a fact of life in this fallen world. God is still with us in the midst of life's struggles. He may not remove them from us, but he does promise to help us get through them.

Psalm 56:8-9 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. On the very day I call to you for help, my enemies will retreat. This I know: God is on my side.
God's care is such that not even a single tear goes unnoticed. He knows our every pain and will one day lead us to victory.
As of late, especially within the last year or so, I have kept in constant communication with Him more so than I ever have. I'm starting to 'get it' -- although there is so much I still have yet to learn. I now understand that there is a spiritual warfare going on, but many people either don't take it seriously, don't believe in that sort of stuff, or just mark it off as "fairytale-ish" and crazy. I used to blow it off as only those possessed by demons, like the Linda Blair kind. Have you ever heard of somebody is dealing with their demons? It's quite literal, although most people don't even use the word as literal. Perhaps they mean "issues" and "problems" in life. But it is very real. In fact, after the other night, I will never chuck it up to something that's nonexistent, because that's what the devil wants you to think. He also wants you to think that he doesn't exist, so you won't fear him so much or do things that are bad for your spirit. 

God would never put the spirit of fear in you. That's what anxiety disorder really is. Is it a disorder, or is it a spiritual attack? God will never put the spirit of anger, jealousy or bitterness in you. He also won't place the spirit of depression over you. These are all negative emotions that the devil gives to you in order to make your world look way too cloudy to even come to God. It's more or less, a distraction. But realizing what it is in the midst of the suffering is absolutely crucial, so that you can be prayed upon, and also ask God for help. I stopped resisting the anxiety, the insomnia, the fear -- I started to replace it with courage and bust through it. My communication with God became stronger, more intimate and fulfilling. Well guess who doesn't like that? 

What happened to me the other night is something I was hesitant to tell ANYONE. I mean, it just sounds completely crazy. But I have to tell it only because someone out there may have gone through this, and my story may make them feel a little less crazy. Who knows. But as I was flipping through the channels watching mindless TV around 3am, I clicked on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Eh, this should bore me to sleep, so I thought. They switched the scene over to Bruce Jenner (this is before the transition) and he was being interviewed briefly on some drama going on. As he was sitting in his captain chair, the picture completely froze. It remained still for about ten seconds. Then, as everything else was still, his face came alive, and his eyes became watery, red, and focused on what it appeared to be on me. The face kept coming toward my screen, but this time, appearing as a demon! Something inside me rose up, not afraid, not timid toward this thing, and at that moment, my body jolted (as if some force inside me zapped him with something) and my cable and TV shut off at the same time with a loud popping noise. It wouldn't come back on for a good 30 minutes or so. I thought it completely knocked out my TV set. I knew right then, and by the way I felt (very light) -- that the Holy Spirit fought my demon. I know that sounds strange, but it happened! Funny that Bruce Jenner would be the "demon" to taunt me, but I guess they come through many sources.

Of course I had to look up if this happened to anybody else, and I got a slew of videos and articles about Bruce Jenner being possessed by demons. (Or were they just taunting Caitlyn for being trans?) One can only imagine. But they have seen the eyes of Bruce and saw something strange. I don't know what to tell you -- but my story is legit because Madelene woke up instantly once she heard the popping sound of my TV going off along with the cable. Afterwards, I slept like a baby. I felt like God fought whatever was attacking me that night and I was left in a long deep slumber. Something happened. I don't know what it was, but all I can say is, thank GOD. 

I realize that this part of my article will make me look a little crazy, but I don't care. This is something that I need to speak about. This is my testimony and my own valid proof that demons are real. Demons can attack you in ways that are so seemingly normal, like phobias, anxiety, depression, "disorders" and addictions. They come in forms of everyday life problems. It may come in a subtle way, or it may come on full steam ahead -- but try to overcome these 'spirits' with courage. Pray to God and trust in Him. He will fight for you. Fear never goes away, unless it is handled with courage. The courage will fight off the fear. And then, you'll no longer fear whatever it was you were scared of. It's really hard, but it's possible. For me, I have to stay close to God, live by the Word and focus on all of the things that I am blessed with. I have a gratitude list that I do every morning. It keeps your mind from focusing in on the negative aspects. Sometimes, we think that our life is so horrible due to ONE negative problem occurring, which will make you become oblivious to the many blessings you have right in front of you. Only one problem can erase all the good that you're missing out on. Focus on the good. While praying, God taught me something valuable. Learn to say while things are going really bad, "I'm OK with it." When you do this, you crush a demon.

"I'm OK with it." 

Say it.

This not only means that you are strong enough to endure this challenge, but you are also relying on God to handle your problems for you. Give your cares to God with thanksgiving. This is just one of my many testimonies, and I'm sure that there will be much more to come. And you know what? 

I'm OK with 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!

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The One Thing Keeping Me Alive

It doesn't matter how close you are to someone, even if you live with them, the fact remains: you will always be oblivious or perhaps, out of 'the know' about something about that particular person. I always say that I will never truly know my wife 100%. I say that as a good thing, because I'm constantly learning new things about her, even after 20 something years of being together. Remember the good ol' 7 year itch? Well, that "itch" is true. The "itch" can also mean that it's just the process of growing, changing or setting new beliefs. In fact, our bodies develop new allergies every 7 years. Think about where you were 7 years ago today. You were quite different, weren't you? Think about your political views and even religious views... Weren't they a little different back then? I do know one thing, (maybe two or three) -- that we are constantly growing and evolving into different people, gradually. I'm not saying that every 7 years it's like, presto -- brand new person. "I don't even know them anymore." When I was in my early thirties, I remember my sister saying something very interesting. She said that when people turn 40 (especially women), they develop more desire to learn, but more so, more ability to absorb. This is why they suggest that people wait until they reach the prime age of 40 before they study the Kabbalah. If you open it beforehand, less gets absorbed and you won't be so 'enlightened' as you would if you were older than 40. As for my faith in Christianity, I recall Joyce Meyer, a Christian author and speaker, she would use the phrase "still on the milk" -- which would means, not fully absorbing the new information --or-- not a mature level of spirituality. So basically, still learning.

But "religion" is taught. Spirituality is developed over a period of time.

I've never reached such a high state of consciousness as I have when I turned 40 years old. It took some rough spiritual beatings to actually get to where I am right now, but I will say this: I am an entirely different person than I was before 40 years old. And that's just a couple of years ago...ok, a few years ago. I mean, what's better than reaching your highest level of spirituality other than learning about it first. But the deeper you go, (the more you meditate) and not only pray, but listen to God -- that's when you know you have reached a higher level. And remember, the word "silence" has the same letters as "listen." And when I say a "higher level" -- I do not mean your highest, because you can only go higher and higher without limitations. I truly believe that. Many atheists will laugh at my "fairytale-ish" kinda faith, but this fairytale kinda faith saved my life and it has also given such an amazing amount of peace, even if I was in the middle of complete chaos. I'm not perfect, which is why I still need God to guide me every step of the way. I fully depend on Him for all my needs. If he takes care of the sparrows, wouldn't He then take care of you? I trust in Him to the point of remaining in the present, not worrying about tomorrow, but keeping the necessary amount of worries for today and giving it up to God.

But it's not so easy sometimes.

I find myself tossing and turning at night, thinking about things that are out of my control. My mind spins faster and faster, spiraling out of control until I look up at the clock and it says, 5am. But when I get into the mindset of looking forward to tomorrow and going to sleep in a good mood -- I sleep like a baby cub. Any negative energy (thoughts, happenings in your life, situations) will keep you up at night if you don't 'put it to rest' literally. Nothing is going to change between 9pm and 6am, so you might as well sleep. There is NOTHING you can do about ANYTHING other than trust God, give your problems to Him (I do this mentally) and just go to sleep, knowing everything is in His hands. And they are. When I do this, I realize that not only did I sleep for 8 hours, but whatever I was worrying about the night before was no big deal that morning, nor in the afternoon or evening. Most of the things we tend to worry about never come into fruition. Isn't that difficult to wrap your mind around? That's the bulk of what most people's underlining anxiety and phobias stem from.

There's another thing I learned over the years too. I realized that there are people out there who pray to the same god I do. They pray differently, they live differently, some even having different beliefs within the same "religion" -- and you know something -- that's OK. We're not meant to walk the same exact path. We are each designed a personalized journey to which we discover God, or not. And that's up to you -- free will -- the right to choose your path, and hope for the best. Faith is not "TRUTH" as some Christians will say -- science cannot cover faith. But if you make your faith your own truth, then that is the most beautiful thing you can ever experience. It's gotten to the point where Christians are judging one another so harshly, even the way we pray or worship God has been ridiculed, or "not good enough."

“And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” ~Matthew 6:5-8

Sometimes I have a difficult time praying with other people, or praying over somebody else, which is the most amazing thing you can do. It says in the Bible, that when two are more are gathered, He is in the midst, when it comes to healing someone, or the laying of hands when somebody is ill. I'm pretty shy when it comes to praying publicly, or even just with someone. Yesterday afternoon, I was really upset. My mom didn't feel well and my friend Eva texted me at just the right moment and asked, "Are you ok?" She called me up and prayed over the phone with me. It meant the world to me. More and more I'm getting used to praying with other people. My mother and father in-law were over last week, and we all got into a circle, held hands and prayed for my mom's health. The feeling, the power, the anointing that came over me was so overwhelming -- I felt God there. There was no denying it. It was the first time in my life when I fully believed that praying with others is one of the most powerful ways to receive God's favor. It doesn't mean that God doesn't hear your prayers when you pray alone, it just means, there is more healing power in having more people of faith along with you, helping you, instilling their own love of God into the same prayer of favor. Now I understand why so many people are addicted -- yes, addicted to fellowship and going to church every Sunday. They feel that huge presence by being surrounded by others who believe in the same thing. It's absolutely magical.

I should've been dead two years ago, but because of my constant communication with God, I'm giving all credit to Him. Maybe I'll write about it sometime soon, but I will say one thing: any time I don't pray, communicate, meditate -- my entire day is 'off'. I feel weak, defeated, I tend to delve into my own sinful nature and that's when the devil attacks the most -- when you're at your weakest. But if you admit to God your weakness, your weaknesses becomes God's strength. So even if I'm too tired to pray, I do it anyway. And when there are days when I can't, or just feel too defeated, it's a day I repent for. The devil wants you to feel guilt, this way, you feel ashamed to come to God -- which only puts separation between you and God. That's the whole purpose. We all fall short, but we can go strong with constant communication and meditation. When I say "meditation" -- I don't mean go sit somewhere Indian style on some flimsy gym mat and "ommmmmmm" your way through it. (You can, and that's OK) -- but what I mean is, LISTEN. Wait for His answers, whether it's an impression on your mind or if it's a sign from outer circumstances. And remember that sometimes, unanswered prayers are the biggest blessings.

My keys to maintaining a "constant joy" -- not what the world deems as "happiness" -- but just a constant feeling of gratitude.

I mention three things that I am grateful for that day. I do this every single day. And ever since I have been practicing this into my prayer time, the world looks different. It doesn't look as drab as it used to. I'm starting to see the good in things and holding less pity parties for myself.

I thank Him for my daily bread -- the manna that He provides. If I hoard it, or become cheap and stingy, it'll be taken from me. I learned this through a Bible story.

In Exodus 16, God provided the Israelites with manna from heaven. It was called “the bread which God has given you to eat." That manna was given to sustain them for that day. Fresh manna was provided by God on a daily basis. But what did the people do? They tried to store it up, to hoard it, to find some other security in knowing that there was “sufficient for tomorrow,” etc. But the manna of God was not for storing up purposes; it was to be eaten on a daily basis. When they got away from the simple commands of God, they soon discovered that “the manna from heaven” very quickly degenerated into a stink ~ “it bred worms and stank." We would ask, “How could it be that such a gift from God could be turned so quickly into something we would reject because of the way it turned out?” We find it hard to equate that something from heaven could become worm-ridden and carry such an awful stench. Yet, unfortunately, that is the way it can be. God wants us to live in such a way that our relationship with Him is a daily relationship, where He supplies us with that “bread from heaven” (revelation) of what He is wanting of us at this very present point in time. We have to know His voice to live like that.

And to know His voice, we have to ask for discernment from God -- to fully understand when He is the one talking. Many people are praying and communicating, but sometimes, it can be from different sources. You truly have to be careful when you're opening that veil of communication. Seal it with the name of Jesus, and try to ask for discernment when you are praying and communicating, especially when you are listening, or at least, trying to.

I know this is a longwinded article, but I wanted to share my faith with you. People see me live stream and cook, make light-hearted jokes and what have you. But there is a much deeper side to me, something rarely seen by my friends or family. Be rest assured, I am always praying for my friends and family. I also pray over the food I cook for them, asking God to bless it with love, health, laughter and happiness. I may not look like your "typical Christian" or act like it sometimes, but my faith is even stronger than my own earthly reality.

It's the one thing keeping me alive today.

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!