Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dealing With Holiday Sadness

When I pray, you answer me, you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.--Philippians  138:3
The silence was deafening. As I was looking around the living room, everything reminded me of my mom---the original mahogany dining room table, where we once ate dinner together as a family when I was younger, the lamp fixtures mom had picked out when she was around my age, and the beautiful tiled floors that they kept when they moved into this home back in the 1960's. I see mom's face in everything. When I came back into this home to care for both my parents, somehow the thought of losing them wasn't an option. I was in complete denial about death itself---at least for us---that only happened to other people. But, we are "other people." We are not immune to death. Both Madelene and I refurnished the home with our own updated version and style, so that my parents would be more comfortable. We put up a new entertainment area for them---a spot where my mom forbade a television set because she wanted the main living room to be for conversation only. She was pleasantly surprised how it opened up the beautiful living area. It was now "lived in" and not seen as "the un-lived living room." My dad and I would watch the Yankees game together. He used to always stay in his man cave---the den we had where he watched all of his programs. Now he could do it with us and relax on his new recliners comfortably. We held small Super Bowl parties, eating chicken wings and sharing a few drinks together. Dad and I would meet up in that living room and talk about the anxiety he was experiencing due to his illness. We never have such meaningful conversations before. I got to know him for the first time in my life.

Even looking out of the big floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking the nearby lake and mountains, I can see Dad still sitting there, daydreaming as he stared out into the beautiful view. I can see 4th of July parties being held, and my mom bringing out huge trays of king crab legs and lobster tails, while my dad barbecued steaks, burgers and hot dogs. Everyone ate like kings. As I look over toward the small kitchen that my mom and grandmother used to cook in, I can still see mom sitting on a barstool frying up jumbo shrimp and yellow tail for the big Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes during Christmas Eve wearing her red sequenced sweater. Over on the counter would be chips and dips with plastic wine Chinet glasses stacked up, along with the large sturdy plastic plates. Christmas music would be blaring from every room. The house was beautifully decorated with lights and tinsel, and the tree perfectly was always perfectly set with lights of various colors. Mom always had this beautiful angel star that turned her head back and forth as if she was overseeing the entire room.

Walking into the little kitchen, I can see the pool area, where mom would make sandwiches and open up the window right from the kitchen so she could serve all of us as we swam and sunbathed all afternoon. The entire property is all mom and dad. BBQ's every Saturday, even if it was snowing. So many summer nights spent out on the patio having coffee and cake, while mom and dad smoked their cigarettes talking about the good old times.

And now, all I have are the good old times, as I replay them over and over in my head.

These memories aren't always positive ones. As I stare down the hallway, I can see mom and dad's room. I remember mom calling me, "Deb! Can you come inside please? Dad wants a kiss." As I walked in holding back tears, I stood near Dad's bed, where his body was shutting down from this awful disease. I kissed his forehead and said, "I love you, Dad," and with our lifelong humor we shared together, I whispered in his ear, "This is gonna cost you...I'm gonna pickpocket you on the way out." He gave a silent laugh---it was literally his last laugh of his life. I watched mom holding his hand, lying down on the bed with him sobbing. My sisters and I all surrounded him, hoping somehow, some way, a miracle would happen.

As I turn my head, I can see the bar area, where mom stood by brick wall divider as she held her arms out and said, "Come here, Debbie." We hugged so tightly, as if it was the last time I would ever see her. As she held onto me, she said, "I love you, Debbie." I replied, "I love you too, Mom," in almost a question-like response, as if to say, "What's wrong---why are you doing this?" I mean, I loved that my mom was hugging me and telling me she loved me, but it was close to midnight when she called me to come downstairs to do this. She then said, "I'm so worried about you." I tried to lighten up the mood and said, "I'm worried about me too!" And we both laughed. Then she looked at me, holding back tears and then said, "Call an ambulance." It was our very last hug. I look at that spot every single day as I make my way into the kitchen area.

As I turn my head toward the other side of the room, I can see weeks after this special moment my mother and I had together, watching myself as if I was having an outer body experience, throwing everything against the wall and crying hysterically---mourning---grieving---pleading with God to make it stop. I saw myself standing by the fireplace, scared and shaking because it was 10 below zero and I was all alone in a power outage in the dark. The fear, the dread, the anxiety, the pain, the grief had all taken the place of all the happiness and love once held in this beautiful home. I now have painful memories.

Christmas trees were put up only because Mom and Dad loved them so much. I can't seem to do that anymore. This old house, as beautiful as it is, with so many wonderful memories has become a torture chamber for me. As time goes on, there are more good times than not, but the loneliness, the emptiness of this home is literally killing me. We had planned on moving out before the winter of this year, but for whatever reason which I can't understand, we are still here. I'm dying inside, praying every morning for God to give me inner strength to get me through this. It's a big house for only two people. We are literally killing ourselves just to keep up with everything this house has to offer. Three living rooms, five bedrooms, two kitchens, four bathrooms and we need a new roof and siding. An old oil burner that's conking out every so often. Each maintenance call comes with a hefty fee. We have someone filling in an enormous pothole that literally turned into a large pond in our front driveway. We cannot receive packages from UPS anymore because they cannot get through the pond area. They now walk on the side of it now, realizing we are struggling to fix this.

All I can do right now is take care of myself. I pray daily. I stopped drinking. I am eating cleaner. I am sleeping again and trying to keep myself in a good state of mind, but it's tough. I never hear from my family anymore. It's like one day I had a big family and the next---gone. Nobody comes and visits me or even calls to say, "Hey, how you doing?" Nobody. It hurts. But I refuse to hold pity parties for myself because this isn't where it ends. God has seen me through the worst of times, and He is still guiding me to keep pressing on. I refuse to give up, even if I die trying.

Never give up. No matter how hard the holidays may haunt you---God has a plan for you. Trust Him.

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

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

What Do You See in the Mirror?

Truthfully, who can say that they're happy all the time? It's impossible living in this world and being blissful 24/7---but I do believe we can make our situations a little better. I've heard everything from, "I wish I was thinner," "I wish I had more money," "I wish I could get a better job," "I wish my spouse would change"---I wish I wish I wish. Start with the basics: what do you have? What are you grateful for. Just start there for a moment. Each morning while I pray and meditate, I list off at least five things that I'm grateful for, and then it turns out to be more than ten. I'm grateful for my health, my restful night's sleep, the food on my table, the roof over my head, even running water---some people have no water! I spoke to a friend who had undergone weight loss surgery. She lost a total of 150 lbs. And while this was to better her health, body, mind and soul, somehow, she was still unhappy. She thought, "Well, if I was thinner I'd be much healthier and happier." But what happened was, the extra skin from being overweight was loose and had to be tucked into her pants. She was uncomfortable, and she was ashamed of what she looked like. She even complained about looking twenty years older. During a conversation we had, she said,"I wasn't this unhappy when I was bigger!" She still doesn't want to look at herself in the mirror or wear something that reveals her arms or legs. I know beautiful women who are a size two who think they're fat and ugly. They look in the mirror and see something totally different than what other people see.

When will we ever be happy with ourselves? It's a proven fact that when somebody hates the way they look or feel, it will show outwardly in terms of their behavior. Oddly enough, there's a study which shows that most women who are unhappy with themselves are usually those who are desirably thinner who have symmetrical facial features, which society deems as beautiful.  But they don't see this. They internalize their misery, sometimes bringing forth a bitter attitude, or a false sense of pride---appearing to be confident when in fact, they're more insecure than the plus size woman at the end of the bar laughing with her friends. Every woman becomes a threat to this "perfect woman" and every partner she has will feel the wrath of her jealousy.

Coming to terms with loving yourself is one of the most beautiful features someone can have. Confidence is sexy. And I'm not speaking about being arrogant and conceited---I'm talking about being confident enough to laugh at yourself, to make others laugh, to enjoy life without jealousy, without anger, without the chip on your shoulder. I know someone very close to me who is such a beautiful woman. Her insecurities run deep, and with that, her tortured soul seems to torture those who either don't agree with her, look at her the wrong way, or perhaps, find her on a day when she's just not in a good mood. You always have to walk on eggshells around her. Trying to contact her is like a box of chocolates.... you can finish the rest of that sentence. But if you look deeper, you'll start to understand some of the madness. They'll never ask, "Hey, how are you," with true sincerity. They'll proverbially vomit all of their life's happenings and success stories on you. The agony that one goes through when they obsess over their looks, especially if they're hitting a certain age, is just frightening. Embrace yourself, because looks will fade after time and we all have to make peace with our new selves after some time.

But why not make peace with who we are and how we look now? If God made us so perfectly, then why don't we believe that? Some of the features we dislike about ourselves may be the one feature that someone falls in love with. There's this beautiful young mix-raced woman, named Natasha Culzac, who was extremely insecure about her freckles. She was also insecure growing up and even tried to bleach out her freckles, which ultimately made her a famous supermodel. Check out her video. If you have trouble viewing the video below, click here.


Let me even take it a step further. I know that many people who are so self-conscious about their weight are fearful about health ramifications, and rightfully so. Being overweight or obese can lead to diabetes, heart problems and joint issues. But even if you're seemingly "fit"---you also. may get diabetes, heart problems and joint issues. See, nothing guarantees perfect health in this life. I remember while growing up, my dad's friends would look at him in disgust saying, "Charlie! You gotta lose that weight, you're not gonna make it to 50." He made it to 50, 60, 70 and 75---the life expectancy of an average man. And while they meant well, because let's face it, 400 lbs is pretty big---my dad outlived everyone who told him to lose weight. Weird fact? They were younger than him! And don't get me wrong, my dad had health issues due to smoking, which ultimately led to cancer. But he didn't die because of his weight. My uncle who was 30 years old ate nothing but vegetables and lean meats. He wouldn't touch my mother's delicious Italian food, in fear that it would be high in cholesterol (which he was right.) But he died of a heart attack at the age of 30. My point is: nothing---nothing guarantees perfect health. Why are we obsessing over how other people live their lives. Some people who are overweight seem to have genetic components. People who disagree with this and say, "Well, they're in the same household so they eat the same junk," have never looked into the bigger picture. There was a show about lost loved ones. And this one girl wanted to meet her siblings. They never met before, because her biological mother gave her up at birth because she was too young to have a child. Long story short: the entire family all held the same shape and size. They also lived across the country from one another. Many people are just predestined to be overweight. Yes they can lose the weight, but at a much difficult attempt, which is why so many end up gaining it back to their original shape. But it all depends. Each person is different.

But why obsess?

Why can't we learn to like what we see in the mirror? I honestly never wanted to be anybody else. I was always happy with 'me'---flaws and all---extra cushion, even if it meant plus size. I just wanted to be able to be active, feel good and admiringly, fit into a nice pair of jeans without them being "mom jeans." I'd rather wear elastic if that happens. But I can laugh at it, and not fall into a pit of depression because I gained an extra 5-10 lbs. I've chosen to eat healthier because I like the benefits of a low carb diet, which makes your skin look healthier and also sets your gut health into full gear. Your gut health is all about your immunity. I just want to feel good "today." Let's start there. I want to avoid the flu, stomach issues, GERD, inflammation---so I eat certain things so that I can feel good "today." What I desire most in life is to be around good people who make me laugh. I want to help others if I can and make a difference in this world. I know that if God loves me, then that is all that matters. If God made me perfectly, then I should be grateful for my health and the ability to make it to the age of 44. I want to leave something behind when I go back home to God. I want to leave something that will outlast my life. This is why I write. This is why I broadcast. This is also why I leave my recipes behind. Those recipes and all of the cooking I've done throughout my life brought friends and family together. Isn't that what life's all about? Togetherness? Laughter? Food? Fun? Experiencing all of your passions in life? Making your work your passion? Because let's face it---if you love what you do for a living, it no longer becomes "work."

Why judge other people?


There's a whole other type of insecurity that runs rampant in our society, and that's the ability to have a high profile career or be someone of importance. Some people are judged for working their tails off at a grocery store, or custodial work and some even judged for being a stay-at-home mom or housewife. Unless you are lying on the sofa eating Bon Bons all day, then that's a whole other can-o-beans. The typical housewife or stay-at-home mom does more labor intensive work than the average customer service rep or sales associate. Many new mothers actually shorten their maternity leave to go back to work due to the intensity of being home with their newborns. You can even Google that fact! I've seen it with my own eyes.

The other day I was talking to my friend on FaceTime as she watched me cook my chicken soup----which is a three hour extravaganza. She was making comments like, "Why are you doing all that?" "Why do you have to blend the vegetable together?" "Why are you chopping all of that?" I laughed and said, "I know, right? I should get paid for this!" So she looked up what a housewife income should be and it said, $143,000.00! Although I work from home writing and editing, I am also a proud housewife and love to shop for groceries, prepare healthy meals for my other half and bring friends and family over for delicious dinners. I think it's important that someone in the home is the 'domestic goddess' so to speak---the one that's more nurturing and can whip up an elegant dinner at the last minute, while she folds your clothes. I love the traditional roles of a household and have a passion for it. So when somebody judges me, I always wonder about their level of inner peace. I remember someone said to me at a Christmas party, "So when are you getting a real job?" I just looked at them and asked, "Did that make you feel better about yourself?" Miserable people love throwing psychological projections on those who 'seem' to be happier. I'm not happy all the time, but I have to say, I am very content with who I am, what I do and who I love. I feel very blessed for that alone. I was miserable working for IBM in a beautiful office doing accounting and making more money. It sucked the life-force out of me. Many people can do it, but that kind of job wasn't for me. So I decided to do what's best for me.

Never let anybody discourage you or judge you. Never let somebody's own unhappiness destroy your inner peace. The Bible says that the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, and he will use miserable people to try and make you feel bad about yourself. Hurt people hurt. We need to be around more people who uplift and edify us---not tear us down. And remember---whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you. They're just trying to pull you into their own misery. Ah, misery loves company as they say. Pray for them. Don't even respond to their psychological projection. Smile and walk away. Keep in mind that God made you PERFECTLY and your lot in this life is purposeful. There are times when many of us wonder if we even have a purpose. I have. Even if you're unsure, know that God has a plan for you, plans for a future and a hope. You're not here to just take up space, but I have learned this: life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. The devil wants you to shrink back and become a recluse; fearful and timid. Every morning I pray to become courageous---to overcome the anxiety and fear---to even become dangerously courageous. Sometimes I'm doing all I can do make that happen, while other times, I feel a little weaker than other days---and that's OK. Pray pray pray. The more you pray the stronger you become, because God gives us the strength to overcome those spiritual battles.

Love yourself. 
Embrace yourself.
Be grateful for YOU.
Share yourself with the world! 

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

Stop Relying On People and Start Trusting God


Everyone is trying to master the art of being fearless. Anxiety attacks, panic attacks, stress, tension, phobias, are all common terminologies these days. During the past year, I have learned that anxiety, based on fear, never truly goes away. It's the courage that overcomes the fear. It can completely diminish that feeling. While praying one morning, I was asking God to give me strength with something I was dealing with. I had a lot of fear and anxiety over this one particular issue. I opened up my Bible and came to this scripture: "I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources, He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit."--Ephesians 3:16. So by His strength, your fear is unnoticeable. It's still there, but the inner strength will conquer it. I've been known to cry out, "I just wish my anxiety would go away," but that kind of thinking isn't going to do anything other than amplify it. Whatever you resist, persists. It's when you let it stay there, but you pray for "mighty inner strength from God" that makes you overcome anything you're afraid of. It works. It does take time, but it works. From being a scared agoraphobic, to a strong and courageous 'I can do anything' type of person, I can still see the fear inside, but God's strength crushes it every time. A lot of things had to be adjusted to, like drinking wine every night with dinner. It kept me awake until 4am. When you're fatigued during the day, this causes more anxiety. So I had to be conscious of what I was putting in my body. I also started eating healthier. I dabble with junk food from time to time, but I don't eat crap anymore. Done. This helped with my heartburn, which also kept me up at night. Sleepless nights are triggers for anxiety and sometimes, you have to give something up in order to get that rest that God's been trying to give you.

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there. When my mom passed away, my anxiety began to increase at an alarming speed. I was scared of everything. I was scared to go out. I was scared to stay inside. I was just a mess. I started to get answers to my prayers, so I kept a journal writing down each prayer, and then I would write down any answers I feel that came from God Himself. I made my way out to go to grief counseling. After the session, I got in my car to go home. As I was pulling out, the radio was on a Christian station. It said, "Doing something you fear and trusting God will put you in a better position the next time around. Ask for God's strength and you can do anything in His name. When you have faith, this requires actions, because faith without actions is dead. It means you don't trust Him enough to take care of you while you are walking in fear."


As I nervously made my way out of this huge parking lot, I started driving onto the highway. I was anxious and focused on just getting home. But something weird happened. I could hear my mom's voice. I heard, "Go to our favorite restaurant right now and celebrate the fact that you conquered your fear." But with who? I never walked into a restaurant alone---and with this anxiety? Are you crazy? But my car literally drove to this restaurant that my mother and I always went to. When I walked toward the building, it was as if my inner voice was yelling out, "No! Go home! Stop this! This is still! You're walking inside there all by yourself? What will people think?" As soon as I got in, I was greeted by the owner with a hug and I sat at the bar and had an amazing dinner, reading articles from my phone. It wasn't bad at all. People were talking to me, and it was nice to see other people sitting by themselves as well. When I returned home, I sat outside on my deck because it was a beautiful night and poured a glass of wine. In the wine glass, my mother's face appeared. Strange, because someone pointed it out to me on Instagram and said, "Deb, do you see the face in the wine glass?" And oddly enough, it was my mom's face when she was in her 40's when she wore these cat eyes glasses that went dark when she went outside---I think they were photo lenses. I wouldn't have noticed this at all, if it wasn't for someone I didn't even know well pointing it out to me.

I seem to always get signs from God telling me something that I should or shouldn't be doing. And as you know, I loved my wine. I drank every single day, maybe one before dinner, and 3-4 afterwards. But even if someone thinks that's pretty moderate, it wasn't because my wine goblets are huge. My serving sizes were ridiculous. But I looked forward to my wine time and my evenings hanging out with Madelene, having a nice dinner and relaxing, until it was time to go to bed. That's when the anxiety would kick in and leave me awake till 4am. The alcohol stripped me from having any restful sleep whatsoever. While praying for rest and for my myoclonic jerks to stop---which are like little jolts and mini seizures from stress and anxiety, God gave me a realization of what I was doing to my system. He needed me to be level-headed and sober. He needed me to stop drinking.

"And it is not fit for 'kings' to guzzle wine. 'Rulers' should not crave liquor. For if they drink, they may forget their duties and be unable to give justice to those who are oppressed. Liquor is for the dying, and wine is for those in deep depression. Let them drink to forget their poverty and remember their troubles no more." ---Proverbs 31:4-7

Translating---kings and rulers meaning, God needed me to be at a higher position in life--to be more reliable and to work with clarity instead of always being in a state of fear and anxiety. And when it says that wine is for those in deep depression---yes, I was in a deep depression due to my grief as well as my anxiety, but that wasn't what God had planned for my life. For some, wine is good for those who are having a hard time. But for those meant to reach higher, He needed me to put down the wine and pick up something better. Soon after I had given up the booze, I started sleeping better. I started attending church services just to be around other people who loved God as much as I did. I started to do more things, and miraculously, my agoraphobia disappeared because with the alcohol being taken out of the equation, my anxiety and depression lessened. I started to wake up early, making coffee and breakfast as I did years ago, before my mom got sick. I started to enjoy life again. I know my mom would want that for me.

"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear, even if earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea." ---Psalm 46:1-2

Here's the thing I've learned, especially lately. Through my grief, loneliness, solitude and state of panic and anxiety, God was always there for me. And not even through my own belief system---it was the proof of His existence---his answers and remedies that have seen me through my own inner struggles. I hate to say this, but whenever I needed anything from anyone, not one person was there. I'd hear a whole lotta' "I'll be there for you," or "Call me anytime if you need anything," and when I called, I either got a lecture on how to get my crap together, or I was completely ignored as if I didn't exist. The thing is, people will always disappoint you. I know I've disappointed people in my life. We are human. People have their own lives and stressors going on. This is why you'll eventually come to find out that the ONLY one who is there is Jesus. And you want Him to be the only one there because the things He has done for me are beyond what any human can possibly do. I'm not saying I don't appreciate what people do for me, or even their attempts to help me out in a time of need---but God is all you need when you are feeling alone, isolated and scared. He is the only one that can save you from your own mind. Our mind can be a torture chamber. We're prisoners of our own mind if we let it. But when we let the Holy Spirit control us---invite the Spirit to dwell within us---we become new Beings. We become like-minded with Christ with strength and courage to get through the toughest storms. That's why we should thank Him in the storm. When you trust that God will get you through it, you'll notice your faith strengthening and your fear lessening.

"He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; He offers strength to the weak... Those who wait on the Lord will find new strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." ---Isaiah 40:29-31

Whenever you're feeling scared and alone, go into a room, shut the door behind you and pray to God. Keep doing this until you start feeling His answers. I have a prayer and answer journal. I write down my prayers and I always get an answer from God through many mysterious ways. But His answers are all written down in my journal. But the only reason why I received answers was because I expected answers. Faith is hope, but strong faith is the expectation that comes along with it. Stop relying on people and start trusting God instead.

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, November 24, 2018

When You Feel Like You Don't Have a Purpose in Life

It's hard to have faith in mediums and psychics when they're begging you to pay them for a message a loved one has for you. If you're a believer in the Christian faith, you know that the only way your loved one can communicate with you is through God only. Everything else is coming through are what's called "familiar spirits," especially coming from someone who is into new age religions---those who do not believe that Jesus is their Savior. I had a moment where I audibly heard by mother's voice call out to me three weeks after her death. It was 3am and I was reading an article on the sofa because I couldn't sleep. I heard with a loud enthusiastic voice of my mother, "Debbie!" I put my phone down, went into my bed and put the covers over my head like a scared little girl. I didn't know what to make of it and it didn't feel right. It wasn't my mom. I still, till this day do not believe it was my mom, but the mockery of the devil. I even had mediums tell me it was really her, but I shifted my attention the other way, because mediums mostly deal with familiar spirits to begin with. So, I turned to God for answers instead.

Your loved ones can communicate with you, but not as you would imagine. You first have to have a strong relationship with God, and your primary goal is to make God first. Loving your family more than life, more than your own life---and even loving them more than God is a form of idolatry. In the Bible it states that if someone loves their family more than God, that God can turn daughters from their mothers, fathers against their sons---meaning He can tear up your family right before your eyes. You can lose your family in a split second, but you can never lose God. God is the one who created your loved ones to spend "temporary" time here with you. So why worship your family? Love them, appreciate them, but worship God. That's first and foremost.

While my mom was sick and during the times of my grieving after she passed away, I began asking what my purpose was now that she was gone. I began questioning if suicide was a sin or not. I even went so far as to have a plan if I ever did want to "go home." My other half would hear me say terrible things in my moments of intense grief. She heard details, plans and questions like, "Why am I even here?" She's heard it all. I would sway back and forth with these thoughts. Some days I wanted to live, while other days, I just wanted to go home---my eternal home.

The other day, I started praying about it. I asked God would I still go to heaven if I chose the time to go home? And where in the Bible does it talk about suicide being a sin---I see "murder" as a sin, but would that be considered murder? I also promised Him that I would stick it out down here, but I still wanted those questions answered.

As I was getting ready for our Thanksgiving holiday, I accidentally hit my phone, to where a video popped up and started right smack dab in the middle of the stream. It was a Joyce Meyer video.

It said, "I wanna turn to the people watching on TV or online right now. God put it in my heart right now that you are contemplating or seriously considering suicide. A lot of the reason people get to that point in life is that they just feel like people really don't love them or they feel like they just cannot event it right. And part of that reason why you get to that point is because you are trying to find worth and value in all these other things that never give you true worth and value. So you begin to feel like you're a big 'mess up'---you didn't make it through college, your marriage didn't work out, you weren't good at sports like your brother or you weren't good at something as your sister, so you always felt like the tail end of life...and you're just ready to give up. I want you to listen to me today. God is talking to you and He had you turn this program on at specifically at this time---even if you think you accidentally found me. And I don't care if it's 2 o'clock in the morning or 3 o'clock, here's the point: GOD LOVES YOU! And He has a good plan for you. And if you'll just receive that by faith and speak it out of your own mouth...this is where it gets hard...to sit somewhere by yourself and say: GOD LOVES ME! GOD THINKS I AM WONDERFUL!"

As I listened to this message blaring out from my iPhone, I was sobbing---as if God REALLY did hear me! He heard my cries for help. He heard me ask Him to take me home. He heard me say that I had no purpose here and that I was more of a burden than anything else. And even though I promised Him I would stick it out, these thoughts sometimes came seeping into the cracks of my mind, tormenting me and continually asking, "Why should I stay?" The one thing God did teach me is that people are human---unreliable and unpredictable. They sometimes hurt our feelings and don't live up to our expectations. Just last week, my own psychiatrist let me down. He sat there in his chair and laughed at me as I explained my fear and agony of living in this house. I fear the winters alone and I'm also tormented by the memories of this beautiful home. It has become a torture chamber more than it has a home. And as "easier said than done" ---I was explaining how I told him my partner promised me that we'd be out of here by the fall so we wouldn't have to endure another painful winter up here. We argue over it as well. Again, my psychiatrist chuckled and said, "What---did you just want her to admit that she had broken a promise?" That wasn't the point at all. It was the fact that I'm going to be (or in my mind) a repeat of last year, panicky and over-the-top anxious every single time we have a snowstorm. We lose power with even a slight breeze, so when it's below zero and there's no lights, I'm there by myself trying to feed the fire with whatever wood is left in the house itself, hoping that someone can make it to me if God forbid I have an emergency. Sometimes my panic attacks are so bad, that I'm carried out of the by ambulance anyway. Thing is, they cannot get to me because sometimes, there's more than four feet of snow blocking our driveway, so we have to call emergency vehicles from the town itself to get us out. I wouldn't call this an "irrational fear" ---an irrational fear would be me sitting here on a perfectly sunny day thinking I'm gonna have a heart attack. That's irrational.

But I regress, my psychiatrist laughed at all of this and I turned to him and said, "What's so funny? I just lost my mother and learning how to cope and also learning how to live in this big house by myself---and this somehow amuses you?" I said a couple of choice words to him and then before I slammed the door, I told him, "When I leave here, I'm going up to that tower I spoke about and I'm going to end it. That's on your head."

Not only did he sit there and say absolutely nothing, but he didn't even call for help. It's strange how you're supposed to feel "safe" in a therapist's office, especially one that calls himself an M.D.---but you're not. They're human too and unfortunately, carry a whole lot of flaws just like we do. How many other people walked out of his office threatening suicide who actually did it, and the doctor didn't make that one call to save their lives? And honestly, I'm not sure if I wanted him to call. I knew he wouldn't. He knows that my faith in God is much stronger than my constant thoughts of going home. In my mind, I just believed nobody cares. In fact, it would make other people's lives a little less stressful if I was gone. Like, why am I here? What purpose do I have? And then God hits me with His very own words that He loves me. He sends me messages to me like, "hold on, endure just a little more," and He has also impressed on me that my purpose is far greater than I can even imagine. And I can't imagine. This is why we need to trust God.

The next day, I heard, "Start cooking!" But I'm like, "For who?" So I started cooking my famous meatballs made with sweet Italian sausage and ground beef. I started chopping all the veggies and herbs and making my marinara sauce for the raviolis. I live stream my cooking as well, so people around the world can see my recipes. I also made roast beef, mashed potatoes, and some veggies to prep for the next day. Then I got a phone call from a friend. She came and ate dinner with us and then we went over to the Bronx to visit my partner's grandmother and it fed the whole family. My meal had a purpose. Every morsel was gone. Then I made a chicken soup and it went faster than I could even grab a bowl. On top of that, a viewer of mine on the internet who watches my cooking shows cooked my recipe exactly how I did it. I was so honored someone cooked my meal! Then other people started saying, "Hey Deb, I cooked your pasta fagioli last night!" "Hey Deb! I cooked your roasted chicken with potatoes the other day!" "Hey Deb! I cooked your marinara sauce and it came out great!" In my heart, God said, "You have purpose." Things like that make it all worth it. If I know I'm helping someone, then yes, it seems like it's worth it.

For all of you who see me on Periscope Live---thank you for taking interest in my recipes. I'm also going to update my cooking website over at DebsCucina.com.

Anyway, back to what I was saying... I don't think it's uncommon for someone to feel purposeless. In fact, while I was praying this morning, God put an impression on my heart. I was listening to the ambient music channel on my TV on low. The song, "A Mother's Love" came on, along with "Paradise," from the "Sailing" album. But what struck me was the word "Sailing." Do you remember the song, "Sailing" by Christopher Cross back in the 80's? I felt my mom talking to me. She put me in a memory that I had forgotten about---and she also told me something that I never knew before. A long time ago, when I was 7 years old and my mother was 43 years old, around my age, she was going through a depression. She and my dad were fighting a lot. After their arguments, she would go out to the outer living room, which she called "the porch." But it was closed in, with a fireplace, sofas, TV, plus a large dining room table. I sat down on the sofa chair next to her while she was lying down on the sofa watching TV smoking a cigarette. A commercial came on playing the song, "Sailing." She looked over at me and said, "When I die, I want you to sing this song near my grave." I stared at her, speechless. My eyes welled up with tears and I felt a huge lump in my throat. The thought of losing my mother was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. NO! NO! NO! But the imagery of me kneeling besides her grave singing this song tormented me for years. Every time the song, "Sailing" came on the radio, I would immediately turn it off. I couldn't listen to it. It reminded me of mom's death. She kept giving us subtle hints that she wanted to die. Shortly after this incident, she ran into the woods after another argument took place and we didn't know where to find her. Mom never left the house without telling us where she was---in fact, she never left the house with me in it!

I ran outside yelling out, "Ma!!! Ma!!! Maaaaaaaa!!!" I went inside the dining room where my father was still sitting and yelled at him. As scared as I was to yell at my own father, I yelled and screamed at him! He didn't say a word. "WHERE IS SHE?" Nothing. No response. I even called him a jerk. Later that evening, she came home. She had walked down this old path deep into the woods and just sat there for a while. I'm not sure what she was thinking or contemplating, but I know it wasn't good. I do remember one thing, but years later after my died passed away... Mom explained why they were fighting and I totally understood everything. It made sense and it took away her self-worth and purpose. She felt she had no purpose anymore. But she did, and yet she couldn't see it.


So as I was praying this morning, I felt my mother all around me. I said, "I hate how that song makes me feel. It traumatizes me every time I hear it." In an instance, I heard, "This is exactly how you make Madelene feel when you say you wanna go home." I can't imagine someone I love wishing they were dead all the time, but that's what I was doing and didn't realize the impact of it. Whether someone is serious about suicide or not, the words, the threats, the planned out scheme of how it's gonna go down is traumatizing for a loved one to hear. It's like saying you don't care enough about them to live---even though you're suffering internally, emotionally, or even physically, it's still a traumatizing thought to throw at someone who loves you with all their heart. It's not fair to them. It also brings us to the actual suicide itself: think about your loved ones. Think about all of the "what if I could've helped them more" type of thoughts running through their minds for the rest. of. their. lives.

And you know what else I found out while praying to God about this? We'll never know our real purpose in this life until we are back home with God. The mystery is far too great to even comprehend. It's like fish trying to understand algebra. So my biggest advice to anyone contemplating suicide is this: if you need help, reach out. If you feel like nobody's there to listen, reach out to GOD. God hears every prayer, every cry, in fact He collected every teardrop you've ever shed. If you would just believe it...receive it...and trust in God's promise, you'll be surprised over how easy the answers are and why 'this' is that way or why 'that' is this way. Some answers will be revealed, while others will remain a mystery.

Keep trying. Keep living. Keep doing what you love. For me, I had to keep praying, keep taking notes, keep cooking for my loved ones, keep playing guitar, keep going to church---all things that lift my spirits up. I had to give up drinking, eat healthier, welcome more people into my life without the fear of being let down or disappointed. I had to change my attitude about everything and just trust God. I also had to stop complaining. Your words are very powerful, and sometimes my words can tear my entire spirit down, or tear someone else down if I don't use them wisely. As it says in the scriptures, life and death are in the power of the tongue. Which way are you going to use yours? The old "Sticks & Stones" is a fallacy. Don't be deceived, because the devil is a liar and he wants you to believe that words are meaningless and that what you say can always be forgotten. Some words can never be forgotten. I'm not perfect and I know that without a doubt, there are people out there in the world who still remember my words of poison, and hopefully one day, there'll be forgiveness for my sins. But for now, I'm still learning. We all are. I coming to terms with the fact that I'll probably never know why I'm here or what my purpose is, but I'm going to try my hardest to make somebody's day, maybe even life much better. I'm going to try my best to put a smile on someone's face who's lost all hope. Maybe I can help somebody who lost their favorite person like I did, and maybe...I can help someone who wants to go home just like I once did. I still do, but I'm going to wait on God and His timing. To anyone reading this, hang in there. Don't give up. Pray. Believe. Expect answers. God has proven to me that I still have work to do. Through my perspective it's cloudy, but to Him, the view is perfect. His ways are always perfect.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." --Proverbs 3:5-6

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, November 20, 2018

Spiritual Warfare: The Dangers of New Age Practices

The other day, I was feeling a bit down. I was having a "Debbie Pity Fest," and grabbed my bag of potato chips into the living room and started watching a depressing movie called, A Sea of Trees on Netflix. It's basically about this large woodsy area in Japan where people go so they can commit suicide. I should've picked a comedy, but this was a little too intriguing for me. Right in the middle of my movie, a good friend of mine calls me up and said, "No. This isn't good for you. Let's get in trouble somewhere. I'm picking you up." I had my hair up in one of my goofy buns that make me look like Micky Mouse, wearing my comfy sweatpants with my big fleece blanket covering me. My dog was comfortably nestled in between my legs. There was no way I was going out. It was right after the horrible winter storm we had---everything was slushy and muddy and also rainy.  I'm staying put. But my friend was funny, she was so insistent, so I took a shower and got ready really fast. As we were driving off, I had an idea to go to this little artsy village nearby. She had never seen it before. They sell handmade soaps, candles, healing oils, incense, you name it. You also have to be careful when you enter some of the shops there. Some of them are owned by people who practice witchcraft and into other types of "religions" that sort of conflict with anything trinity-based. I definitely had my guard up.

We visited the handcrafted soap shop and bought a few things there, and then we entered another shop that sold sculptures, salt lamps as well as a million and one different types of stones for healing purposes. The store owner was incredibly helpful and she led me over to the bins full of stones. She said, "Walk around this entire case area and see which stone picks you first." I sort of knew what she meant, walked around it, and oddly enough, this one stone felt as if it was staring at me. It was like popping out from the rest, and oddly enough, a color I wouldn't normally pick out. So I grabbed it. She took it from my hands and said, "Do you have anxiety and gastritis?" Yep and yep. She explained the healing properties of the stone and then left it right near the cash register for me. They also make their own CBD oil, to which I bought as well. Soon after, an Asian man walks in. She introduced us and said he does Qigong classes in their beautiful studio they have in the back. Basically, Qigong is a traditional holistic healing practice mostly practiced by Taoists and Buddhists. It's supposed to be beneficial to anything from hypertension to cancer by pushing out blockages that we store up in our body due to stress and anxiety. It sounds good and all, but the only concern is that someone else is pouring their energy into your energy.

"Here, touch this," the store owner said to the Qigong teacher, "She has a lot of stored up energy. Would you mind doing a little work on her now?"

I did not plan to do this. Somehow, I always end up in places that have these practices that I don't wish to participate in. For instance, I walked into a nearby cafe that sells exotic coffees. A lady came up to me and introduced herself, showed me around the new place and even guessed that I had lost my parents recently. Little did I know, I got suckered into getting a tarot card reading, which is against my faith and beliefs as a Christian. But that day, I was really depressed and lonely, and I did it because I just wanted to have coffee with someone and talk. She grabbed her coffee and took me in a back room to tell me things I already kinda knew. She was nice though and I had no issues with the person, it was just the practice that left me a bit leery. Little did I know, she practices witchcraft on a daily basis. I learned this after our Facebook connection. Her photos contained the pentagram, and the mention of covens and photos of artwork that had witches being together near a bonfire.


Back to the Qigong gentleman... He stood in front of me and asked, "Is ok if I gently touch your arms?" And I agreed. We stood there for a pretty long time as he did some deep breathing meditation---kind of like Reiki---they meditate on your energy and try to remove any 'static' or blockages that they feel themselves. I have to say that after he did what he did, I felt incredibly lighter and had a tingling sensation all over my body. He also helped my friend whose ankle was bothering her and she noticed a big difference too.

As I'm leaving the store, I have a bag that's holding big blue lace Agate stone along with the homemade CBD oil in it. When I got home, I started to notice a weird feeling. I tried to pass it off as just being overtired, but the next day, I had feelings of dread that was so heavy, I started to nitpick at everything Madelene was doing, and became overly upset that she had to work the next day, which happens to be her regular day off. My demeanor was way off. On top of that, I was toppled over with a huge wave of grief like I never seen before. I was up until 3am crying my eyes out. I couldn't stop. It was as if my mom just died. I didn't understand what was going on. The next day, I went to see my psychiatrist who I have been seeing for 15 years. We never fought, argued or even had a disagreement. That night, he was asking questions and for some reason, my brain was processing it as an attack. I literally saw him laughing at me, while asking questions that concerned my life on a larger scale. I got up from the sofa and said a few choice words, and as I walked out of his office, I slammed the door so hard that all of his framed artwork on the walls shook. Keep in mind: I have never done this before in my life to a therapist or someone I was working with, especially a doctor.  I wasn't myself. It was like someone else was inside of me---this angry little monster that took over and wreaked havoc everywhere I went.

Then it hit me: it was the "energy healing" as well as the stone I carried. I told Madelene to take the stone and throw it somewhere off the property and into the woods. I prayed and felt God healing me from all that I went through. This was supposed to be a 'good thing'---but most people don't realize that you're tampering with something that can open up doors to unwanted things, even unwanted spirits. During my 'madness' ---my dog noticed it and felt the anxiety and tension. As I was praying and meditating in the other room, at the end, I usually anoint myself with holy oil, as well as my dog. You should always anoint your "beast" (pet) with oil and bless them. There's a story where Jesus was removing demons out of someone, and what happened was, the demons fled, but they rushed into the pigs that were on the beach. Once you remove spirits, they can flee into weaker and vulnerable species. So make sure you protect your animals. So as I was anointing myself, my dog who was in the other room came running like a lunatic, jumped on the couch to get her anointing too. She kept nudging my arm that had the oil in it---like, "C'mon! Hurry! Anoint me!" I am not kidding. She goes crazy for it. She even shows her belly so I can anoint her head, belly and paws. I pray over her and then she becomes incredibly peaceful---especially for a hyperactive chihuahua.

I know that people want to be more accepting in this society. They want to be more "tolerant" and loving to everyone of every creed, but there has to be a line drawn to what is good and to what is bad. And don't get me wrong, a few of my friends are Wiccan, and we respect one another's beliefs. That's fine. But when you start dabbling into things like tarot cards, Ouija boards, psychic readings, mediumship, energy healing, yoga (which brings up the Kundalini spirit) or even something as simple as wearing or keeping a healing stone, like the blue agate I bought, these things hold energy. All of these things are considered to be witchcraft. I used to think that concept was crazy too, until I tested it out for myself. I couldn't believe that yoga was bad. What do you mean, yoga is bad? But once I started to realize what was entailed and how it was discovered, most people don't even know about the Kundalini spirit. The Kundalini is a serpent! What does the serpent do in the Bible? How is it represented? Before you hit the yoga mats, try researching the Kundalini. Some sights will tell you that this spirit is good. It's not. You're allowing demonic energy to seep right into you. Some portals are hard to close, so be careful on what you entertain. Awakening the Kundalini is the expression used by mystics, Hindu gurus and New Agers for the practice of focussing on a 'serpent spirit' which, they say, resides in each one of us in the form of a coiled snake located at the base of the spine. Through meditation and physical body positioning the aim is to 'raise the Kundalini' through a total of seven spiritual waypoints – called 'Chakras' – located along the spine.---read more about this here.

Isaiah 8:19-22 says, "When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness." 

Things like yoga and meditation have become so apart of our culture and society that we don't even look twice into it. I used to as well. I thought it was harmless. This is the trick the devil uses. The devil will even have you believe that he doesn't exist, leaving you open and vulnerable to demonic attacks. Our world is filled with new age stuff and paraphernalia that seem so incredibly innocent. Also be careful getting "harmless" oils in a shops that are owned by those who practice witchcraft. Some oils have spells on them. I'm not some "crazy overzealous Christian"---I'm just extremely cautious about what I choose to hold and to have in my home. In fact, I'll go as far as to say that some people even choose to leave their shoes outside, and keep house shoes (only worn inside) as a habit due to stepping on unholy grounds.

Trust me, I used to laugh this off too, whenever my Christian friends would tell me these things. It was only till I saw a pattern of "bad luck" or bad happenings, moods and feelings of dread anytime I came across these things and entertained them. It proved to me that these "innocent practices" are to plague you with more misery and bad fortune down the line. If you believe in God, then you should also believe in the devil. If you believe in a higher power, then you should believe there are lower powers. Don't ever underestimate the power of low frequency spiritual attacks. They're so real, they'll have you thinking you're going insane. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Your family and friends will think you're having a mental breakdown. It'll attack you on every level. Stay close to God and read up on your Bible about spiritual warfare, witchcraft and how God is the only one who can heal you.

Don't go to a medium or a spiritualist---go to God!

There is power in the name of Jesus! Trust that.

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

Monday, November 19, 2018

Communicating With God is Possible

Life isn't the same. Not for me anyway. It took on a different twist to where I almost nearly had given up most things I enjoyed. I started fasting with certain things: food, alcohol, people. I would isolate myself and only drink water, bone broth and light meals in order to become closer to God. I obtained from any intimacy, hoping to find a deeper level in my spirituality. I pushed away my earthly desires and went straight for the one thing we all try to strive for: GOD. It wasn't easy. It took a lot of plea-bargaining and denial. It took a ton of strength and ability, with a dab of self-doubt which kept rearing its ugly head. But the more I prayed for inner strength, the more courageous I became in conquering my fears---the fear of failing---the fear of being a prisoner in my own rusty chains. I wanted to know that I wasn't a slave to my earthly desires, but merely just a spiritual being in my own weakened humanness passing through this earthly experience. I was hoping to find some hidden meaning to it all. It took avoiding people, to only face them again. It took isolation, and then facing the crowd again. It took a heap of loneliness, to find that I was still lonely even in a crowd of people. The only thing that filled that loneliness was my relationship with God.

My prayer time requires a prayer room, or you can simply just designate a special chair that you go to in order to be alone with God. I grab my coffee, my Kleenex, because I know I'm going to be a bit weepy at times and my Bible and notebook. My prayer consists of meditating on His presence, repenting, crying, and reading Scripture to help gain my strength by His written Word. It's sometimes messy and a bit revealing. Other times, it's just glorifying Him, praising Him for all of His blessings and answered prayers. It's also important for verbal prayer, not just bowing your head in silence and letting God read your thoughts. Verbal prayer also sets up the atmosphere to where you are actually cleansing your living space. The power is in His name: JESUS -- and when you say that out loud or listen to worship music, your will feel a shift in the atmosphere. This is just what works for me though. But I do stress on finding a secret place that you can have privacy in order to speak to God about everything that's in your heart.

And it clearly states that in this scripture:

"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

What I started to do was write a longhand journal about my communication with God. So each section will have a "P" or an "A" on it for "prayer" and "answer." The answers I receive sometimes come in the form of an impression I get, like a revelation or an idea, other times, it's through someone's text, or a song's name on the ambient music channel I listen to while praying. It can even come later in the day, to which I'll jot down that evening.

For instance, I had an issue with tachycardia due to drinking because I was trying to self-medicate my anxiety away, to only make it worse. In one section of my notebook, I had written, "My heart races, I'm having anxiety and in extreme pain."

During this time, I would get these pseudo painful episodes that left doctors clueless. I must've gone through a hundred cat scans (which isn't good) and other testing to only find out that I was in perfect health....thankfully!

Immediately after writing that prayer down and letting God know how scared I was, I came across this scripture.

"My heart, my heart---I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me. I cannot be still." --Jeremiah
Right after reading this scripture, not even a minute afterwards, the doctor calls me regarding my pain and if I was feeling better...and I was.


Another prayer in this notebook is probably an interesting one, and perhaps a bit personal, but I'm going to share it with you anyway. I think it's important. Just a brief rundown on what's going on---as some of you know, my parents who we took care of passed away from cancer. We were left the ancestral home, which we love, but it's too big of a house for just the two of us. A lot of little things add up to a huge bill and we do the best we can. My main issue is that I work from home and although that has been my dream to do what I love and work from my own home, in the winters, I sometimes end up stuck and stranded on this huge mountain all alone. At times, the power goes out, where I have to fill up the wood stove and keep the house warm in the dark. It's quite frightening to tell you the truth. I asked my other half if we could move before the winter last year, and we both agreed it would be better since I would probably drive her crazy with my fear of staying here alone in this big house.

Needless to say, it's been taking a long time to get things moving, and of course, to get us moving as well. And wouldn't you know it---here comes winter with its snow and ice. Once again, I'm freaking out. We've been arguing over this for a long time and for some reason, she doesn't seem to want to move out. It's a beautiful home when it's lived in. It's a perfect home, if more than two people lived here. It's also a very lonely place if it's just you and the sounds of coyotes, just to remind you of how scary it is to just walk your 10 lb chihuahua outside.

So this was my prayer word for word:

"I can't understand why God isn't coming through for me - why am I still fighting, arguing over what I want with Mad still? Why am I so depressed?"

The answer came through scripture:

"So put away all falsehood and tell your neighbor the truth, because we belong to each other. And don't sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a might foothold to the devil. " --Ephesians 4:25-27
"Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as types of malicious behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you." --Ephesians 4:31-32 
"Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again--my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember your kindness--from Mount Hermon, the source of Jordan from the land of Mount Mizar." --Psalm 42:5-6


Many people ask why God doesn't answer their prayers. The reason for this is because that person is slightly or greatly doubting that God will answer. It's kind of like going to a psychic medium. If you put walls up and you doubt their abilities, you are blocking the answers that they'll give you. They'll sense it and you will waste your money on a negative reading. And not that I am into going to psychics---this is just an example. So when you believe, you will receive. But you have to believe with all your heart. Now that I placed my faith in God so strongly, I receive His answers, and these answers are not coincidences nor are they hopeful 'finds' that I happen to seek out.

I'm not perfect. I'm a little messy, unraveled and sometimes rude. I make mistakes, I curse a little and at times, I can become depressed and hopeless. This is all the more reason I need God. Every single morning, I make Him first. If you make God first in the day, your attitude completely changes. He gives you the strength to face anything. I definitely want to make God first on my schedule rather than anything else that comes flying my way. You don't have to have Christian paraphernalia hanging from your neck or Jesus bumper stickers, in fact, most people who do are often the ones who will flip you the bird on your evening commute home.


The more time I spent with God, just meditating on his presence, the more awareness I received. I could hear and read messages that are straight from the Spirit. If you ask God for discernment and especially the motives of other people, He will definitely show you in ways that will surprise you. Sometimes, our energy is drained from just being around another person who holds a lot of negative energy. That energy can rub off on you, and if you let it, it can make the communication you have with God a bit static and hard to understand. That's why for me, it's important to surround myself around those who will edify me, not tear me down. I don't mean that you need to be with these fake 'happy-happy-go-lucky' people all the time, I'm talking about being around those who at least give off some positivity and compassion, and less of the negativity---the gossip, the bitterness and betrayal. Be there for them if they're sad or need you, but when it comes to people who treat you poorly, it's OK to set boundaries. Forgiveness doesn't always mean reconciling with the person and making them your best friend again. It just means looking past human flaw--to pardon them, whether you choose to befriend them again or go your own separate ways. I realized that some of the people in my life never ask an important question.

"HOW ARE YOU?"

It seems to be the new "hello." They don't want an answer if they do actually murmur those words. Sometimes I'll receive a text/novel from someone immediately rambling off all of their woes in life. As much as you try to be there for them, they will keep treating you like a psychotherapist. There has to be a give and take. In my world, when I text or call someone, the first words out of my mouth or text are, "How are you? Is this a good time to talk?" But I really want to know how they are doing. Are you feeling well? How are things at home, at work? But nobody seems to ever ask those questions anymore. I slightly blame social media for this narcissistic behavior. Everyone wants everyone to know their business and what they're doing. But have you ever seen someone write on their FB status message or tweet out----"Hey, how is everyone?" Ha, funny to even think about that happening. Compassion is somewhat lost in this world. I'm finding a lack of empathy with many people who I once admired, loved or surrounded myself with. Everyone seems to be too self-absorbed in their own world to actually life up their head and see the world as it once was. For the people I care about, most only call me because they need something from me, and I am more than willing to help or give to whoever. But once in a while, I pray that one day, they'll just call me up to ask, "Hey, how are you?" If I want to ask someone how they are doing, I simply call them up---no social media comments or text messages---a good old fashioned telephone call.

During prayer, I brought up this issue, about people just venting out their frustrations to me, with never even asking how I'm doing. I actually heard my mother's voice in my heart saying, "It's the only way they know, forgive them." It's like Jesus saying on the cross, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do." Funny thing is, even if they did ask me how I was doing, I'd probably just say, "Fine, how's it going?" I don't like to burden others with my issues, and usually, I am pretty much a private person. When it comes to this blog, I tell personal things about my life in order that it may help someone else dealing with similar issues.

Anytime you're feeling unsure about a situation in your life or a problem with someone else, whether it be family or friends, pray about it, but most of all, put faith behind it. Expect God to answer. Watch Him work in your life as He does in mine. I can't tell you how much peace He has given me just by communicating with Him every single morning. It's the one thing that has truly saved my life is many ways.

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!