Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Where's My God?

Slowly plugging away attempting to write my second book, I've taken a much different avenue this time. Back in 2003, when I wrote my first book, my outlook was strangely different than it is now. Although I claimed to have been "born again" -- I truly wasn't at all. I admit this. And what I mean by not being born again as I claimed, I speak about the deep relationship I have with God -- not just "Oh I believe in God, therefore I'm saved." And...while faith and belief in God alone will ultimately get you saved, it's the 'fruits' of your faith which are most important. I kept asking God to change me -- to have me get to truly know who God was. I wanted a deeper relationship with Him.  The truth is, the Holy Spirit cannot live inside a body full of sin and sinful thoughts. There can't be two oppositions living under one "roof" so to speak -- and yet -- while the flesh is weak, the Spirit is stronger. You don't have to be perfect, but you have to desire to strive to change. Come to Him like a child.

"And I will give you a new heart--I will give you new and right desires--and put a new spirit within you. I will take out your stony hearts of sin and give you new hearts of love." --Ezekiel 36:26

As I kept asking God to change me -- to take my old stony heart out and replace it with a new one -- I found myself not wanting my old life back. I found myself desiring God more, and less of my own desires of the world. It took time, because I right after repenting, I would keep sinning again, and then repenting, and then sinning, and then repenting. But once you start realizing that your repentance is getting less and less (although daily renewal is wonderful) -- you'll see that it works like a muscle. The more you strengthen your faith and relationship with God, the stronger it gets. You don't have to worry either if your flesh gets weak, because God will always catch you. He knows your heart. So, it's literally impossible for us to not sin here and there, but if you keep praying for a new heart, you'll see that your life has taken on a whole new meaning -- a whole new LIFE. I used to think it was by works alone. "Well, if I do something good or help someone in need, then God will reward me." No. It doesn't work that way. You have to truly DO good from your HEART and the Spirit that is guiding your heart -- not from your own mission to get into heaven. I realized that it wasn't about "heaven" alone. It's about developing a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus in the here and now -- on earth, AS it IS in heaven as well. It starts here.

You have a messy life? Good, so do I. It's all the more reason to need God more in your life. Our struggles are apart of why we stumble onto God's strength.

"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." {Then HE is strong.} --- 2 Corinthians 12.10

In my weakest moments, I felt God give me the strength I didn't have. I remember the day I was supposed to pick up my mother from the hospital. She was okay. I thought she was okay. The night before, she called me at 6pm. She said, "Hiya Deb! I miss you!' And I told her I missed her too, and how the house isn't the same without her. She of course, asked what I was having for dinner just so she could brag about her dinner in the hospital (which for some reason she loved.) We said our "I love yous" and goodbyes... "See you tomorrow. I'll bring up a bag so you can put your clothes in ma." The morning came, and I called her up just to make sure the nurses had her release papers, which as anyone knows, can take hours! When I called, it sounded as though somebody picked up the phone for her. It rattled and shuffled around until I heard my mom's voice.

"Deb? DEB!!!?"

"Ma, what's wrong?"

She screamed, "It's TERRIBLE! Oh Deb! It's TERRIBLE!" and afterwards, cries of pain. I told her I'd be right up there to get her. I had no clue what was going on! I never once heard my mom sound like that. Pain was small stuff for her -- she went through a ton of pain in her life, but I never heard her scream in such horror. Till this day, I can still hear her last words of horror to me.

Before I left, my phone rang and it was my friend to ask how I was doing. I started crying and telling her what happened. She prayed for me over the phone, and then I started to get chest pains while still holding the receiver. Soon enough, an ambulance picked me up....to drive me to where my mom was, but to take care of ME. I couldn't believe I was going into the same hospital to PICK UP my mother in an ambulance! But I was there to see if I was really having a heart attack. The stress of seeing my mom in so much pain was unbearable for the past couple of years. It really took a toll on me.

As I was lying on a gurney in the hallway of the hospital, because the place was overcrowded -- I got a phone call from my sister. I told her that once I'm checked out I'll be right up to see Mom and get her out of there. I was apologizing for the lateness and detour of everything....

Then I heard, "Deb...she's not coming home today." But there was silence..... "She's not supposed to make it through the night."

As I sat up in my gurney with the phone still pressed against my ear, I started crying silently, mouth opened, no air coming out --- just a pain that zapped through my entire being -- like a baby before the big WAILING comes through. And then I started wailing right there, in the middle of the chaos around me, people being wheeled in and patients overlooking me from all the rooms nearby. My cries were as if I was dying. A nurse came by and asked if I needed a Percocet. She thought I was in pain. I just stared at her with tears gushing out of my eyes with my mouth wide open -- I couldn't shut my mouth!

"Debra? Debra? What's giving you pain right now? Is it your chest?" the nurse asked.

"Ma-ma-ma-ma-my mom is DYINGGGGGGGGGG UPSTAIRS!!!!!!!!!" 

In a matter of seconds, I had almost a dozen nurses surrounding me, throwing me kleenex and one of them saying that she'll no longer be in pain and that she'll be in a better place, blah blah blah... I knew she meant well but my mom!!! No! She was off limits! She was supposed to come home with me today! NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My blood work and EKG came back. I was fine. I shuffled myself upstairs to see my mom, lifeless in the bed she was making jokes in the day before. The morphine bags were out and they kept upping the dosage because her blood pressure showed that she was still in pain. I went numb. I just stared at her. In a matter of days, she was gone.

Someone who occasionally runs across my live broadcasts had emailed me when my mom died and asked, "Where's your God now?"

My God is right here. My God stopped me from having a heart attack. My God graced me with my sister in law who stayed with us during the entire process, cooking for us, and giving us some lightheartedness in the house. She comforted her sister as well as myself. The exact time Mom passed, she was there crying with us, as a family.

Where's my God?

My God sent me a rainbow the day of Mom's passing. It was so vivid, as you can see in the photo, and lasted for over an hour. I have never seen a rainbow last for over an hour -- ever.

Where was my God? My God was there when my mother in law and her husband came to cook for us, spend time with us and give us some peace of mind. They comforted us in our time of mourning. God brought them to us. They prayed with us and made us feel at ease.

Where's my God?

My God let me rest. He reassured me my mother was okay by sending me big white feathers (sign of angels) and doves that rested on my house cooing that entire week. The night before my mom passed away, He sent me an owl next to my window "hoo-ing" -- letting me know it was her time. My mother and I always said that if one of us should go before the other, we would send an owl. My God was there to provide that.

Where's my God?

I asked the Holy Spirit to enter my soul and to give me the power of healing from heaven.

The answer came through in a Bible verse: "There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me. You are witnesses of all these things. And now, I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes to fill you with the POWER FROM HEAVEN." --Luke 24:47-49

Where's my God?

I was worrying about what would happen to our house and where we would go. As we cared for my parents, we also paid rent every month so that we can all live in it comfortably. This house is very expensive to live in -- 5 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 3 living rooms and a fairly large yard, even if the house was paid off, there's no way we can live here without killing ourselves in the process. I prayed and said to God, "It just seems impossible!"

He said through scripture, "What is impossible rom a human perspective if possible with God." --Luke 18:27

Then He also pointed me to Matthew 26-29: "To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But for those who are unfaithful, even what little they have will be taken away."

Then he turned me over to Ephesians 6:1-3: "Children obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. Honor your father and mother. This is the first of the Ten Commandments that ends with a promise. And this is the promise. If you honor your father and mother, you will live a long life, full of blessing."

This was all during one prayer session. It's as if He is really talking to me! It IS because He is really talking. All I do is pray to Him after giving him a thanksgiving prayer, and then I meditate on the Bible, placing both my hands on the book. That Bible is alive! And when I open it, the first thing that pops up is His answer. You have to have complete faith in order for this to work. This is why I know that I know God is ALIVE, and so is the Bible.

I can go on with more miraculous ways God has spoken to me, but I will leave you with this.. When you are in doubt of God and you need something -- a miracle -- a situation to get better or just God to just show Himself in some way -- HE WILL. When you seek Him with all of your heart, He will answer you. It may not be in the way you expect, so be open and alert. Keep conscious of all things around you, because you might just miss His answer.

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! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Anxiety: Prisoner of Your Own Mind

If you're like me who suffers with anxiety attacks, then you probably suffer from your mind constantly yapping away until your body starts feeling it physically. I've read so many self-help books and articles on how to "conquer anxiety" and how to "still your mind" -- but all of them held a similar message: meditate. Let's face it, most of us don't even have the time to sit down and have a cup of coffee, no less meditate. Some of us just can't get rid of all that chatter going on in our little noggins. It must be nice to live in some peaceful commune where all you do is mediate and practice the art of silence. But that's not reality. Our reality is here -- in this world -- with all the loud sounds, angry people, deadlines and children to take care of. We're swamped, and even if you're lucky enough NOT to be swamped, you are indeed, swamped with your thoughts. Even if you work from home like me, your mind can really throw a tantrum about nothing.

For instance, this morning I woke up with a dreadful feeling again. This time, I noticed I had a stuffy nose felt a little feverish. Instantly my mind raced over to: "Ugh, not again! I've been sick since October and I can't take it anymore! Not another doctor or hospital visit! What if I have an asthma attack today? What if I get sick again? What if I get pneumonia? What if, what if?" My throat felt raw, my chest felt tight and I was on the brink of crying. When everyone left the house, I sat down in my prayer room and just sat there meditating at first, or just sitting there in silence. I started to pray and bring it to God. Once I start giving my problems to God after my gratitude prayer, immediately, I feel this sense of peace over me. The dreadful feeling left, even though I still felt like I had a cold. No big deal. Maybe allergies, like, who cares right "now." And that's the key: the now. I can list all the "what ifs" till the cows come home, but it'll never give me peace. I got up, cleaned the house, took a shower and started working and immersed myself in what I was doing in the present, trying not to think about 'what ifs' or past aggravations. Remaining in self-pity makes the symptoms worse. Just keep going and immerse yourself in whatever it is you're doing. Don't make any task a means to an end. Be fully present experiencing every aspect of it. Your life will pass you by if you make everything a means to an end.

This even goes with your relationship with God. Don't make God your means to an end. You can experience God and heaven right now. Your life isn't meant to zigzag your way into heaven. It's meant to experience heaven right here, right now. Heaven in the physical realm is a state of mind. Heaven in the spiritual world is something our minds just cannot comprehend. There are many religious people who walk around aimlessly searching for "happy moments" while waiting for their ticket into heaven. Your happy moment can be right now. I'm trying to develop this type of thinking, where even if you are going through a negative experience, it can be a positive experience with a different perspective, or at least, a learning experience. One of the things I learned that is very important is to not react right away to an emotional charged situation, or perhaps disturbing or negative news. Let it sink in and don't let your mind judge it right away. I had a bad habit of reacting too fast with news I didn't care for. It never ends up good. I almost did that yesterday, until I realized, that the info I was receiving may not be true. The info I was listening to may be elaborated, or perhaps, misconceived or misconstrued, knowing the people involved. I kept an open mind and chose not to judge it. Now, if I chose to judge it and to react to it right away, there would have been a large argument between 5-7 people. Sometimes, silence is the best answer.  Usually, the issues dissolve on their own.

When you have all feelings of resentment, bitterness, sadness, anger and jealousy, these feelings are all non-forgiveness that stems from the past. The past = depression. Thinking about what to do with these negative feelings and planning or plotting ahead are all thoughts of the future. The future = anxiety. It's your mind's way of protecting its ego and reputation. It's your mind's way of enabling the ego to "be right" in any situation. It's the salvation of your character. Once you let go of what other people think about you (lose the grip on your salvation of your character) -- you start to feel this sense of freedom. There's nothing attaching you to that situation that you have to protect. You're off the hook, if you choose to stay in this type of mindset. When you add alcohol into the mix of repressed resentment, bitterness or even jealousy, most likely it'll rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time. Alcohol stifles your state of consciousness. And then it's always picking up the pieces of the shards of embarrassment or shame. Our reactions are so important when it comes to our past feelings about whatever -- the ones that can be brought up in the present time.

For me, it's a constant struggle to stay present and to remain nonreactive. Even a couple of weeks ago, I found myself uptight and very agitated with anything. I go through these tidal waves of grief, leaving my judgment clouded with past hurts. Grief can leave you in the state of the past, leaving you to become depressed. It's totally normal! That's what grief does! But to be AWARE of this is important. You're allowed to grieve. But remember, crying may go on all night, but joy cometh in the morning, as the Bible promises us. Try to be present in your midst of grief. Try to pray while you're grieving -- be in God's presence while grieving. This what I'm trying to do, sometimes it works, and other times, my mind wins out and I have myself a good ol fashioned pity party.

If you're a believer, then you know that if anything happens to you -- if your body should fail you or if you get into some trouble where you're facing death itself: God. will. catch. you. This is the message I received while praying the other day. The basis for the message was to get rid of my fear. I conquered a few phobias of mine this week and I was quite shocked at myself. I made my way into crowds places, I actually shopped in Walmart (which is a HUGE phobia of mine) and drove by myself to a different town. All of these things gives me a feeling of accomplishment, as well as a hope for more fear-conquering adventures. My psychiatrist said something I kinda rolled my eyes at -- he said, "So you're scared to drive by yourself to another town? Just do it anyway." I didn't get his logic. He didn't give me a strategy or technique -- he just said: DO IT. And as lame as that sounds, because instantly your mind says, "Ha, easier said than done" -- it's true. Do it in fear. Now, some psychologists and psychiatrists will suggest visualization techniques like, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) to get you moving, but nope -- not my doc. He was just like, "DO IT." And I did. I remembered what a motivational speaker said once about anxiety... The worst place to be when you suffer with anxiety is in your own house. If you're worried about passing out from an anxiety attack, then what's the best place to be in? ---- In the PUBLIC. Makes sense, right? The phobia stems from the fear of death and the fear of not being saved. So why do so many people have agoraphobia? I have some degree of it and can completely understand both sides.  I also think, "What if my heart starts palpitating while I'm driving and I get distracted from the panic?" So there's another side of my jabber jaw of a mind that signals "danger."

Anxiety will never go away. This, I realize. The key is never giving up on coping skills -- whatever works for you. For me, it's staying in the present, acknowledging all things that I am seeing, hearing, feeling and sensing at that very moment. Take your mind out of the past and future and acknowledge all things in front of you right now. Smell the flowers on your way! It's something very difficult to do in the beginning stages, but if you practice it enough, you'll start to realize that time doesn't go by so slowly as it used to, because you used to make everything a means to an end. This way, you're making everything an experience, not a means to an end, which sometimes can feel like it lasts forever. This is why grounding techniques are so important. They force you to be in the present moment, by noticing objects in the room, listening to anything, even the silence and feeling the ground beneath your bare feet. Many people choose to go barefoot a lot so they can feel "grounded" -- more in tune to the earth's vibrations. There are scientific truths to this -- you may want to go on Youtube or Google stuff about "grounding." So much to talk about on that. Maybe on another blog post...

So my coping skills for today is: just be HERE in the NOW and FEEL everything, LOOK at things differently and LISTEN to all noises as well as all silence. And remember, the word listen has the same letters as silent. I think that's fascinating actually.

Ok, carry on and enjoy your day -- wait -- enjoy THIS MOMENT. Don't be a prisoner of your own mind.

Thanks for reading.

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! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well! 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Anxiety? PTSD? This Is How I Cope...

She knew me the best. If you asked her to describe me, she would tell you that I'm quick to anger but also quick to forgive. Mom always knew I was somewhat of a tortured soul just trying to make sense of this messy life of mine. Everything in my life was pretty much inconsistent. At the age of 16, I watched both parents get raided by the FBI and arrested. It was at that moment when I decided to quit school, overhearing a teacher saying, "Those people should rot in jail for what they did," all the while knowing I was sitting in her classroom. I developed very bad acne and had to go on that vicious medication, Acutane. Everyone else called it vicious, I called it my lifesaver. I never wanted to look up at anyone, embarrassed that not one inch of my pale skin could be seen through the clusters of acne clumped onto my face. When the Acutane finally started working, so did I. I got a job at a pizzeria so that I could help out my mom, because my dad was in jail and his bank accounts were all frozen. Then my mom started working with me. In the midst of all that chaos, we had fun. We enjoyed working at a local pizzeria and then after work, we'd head over to the bungalows where our Mexican worker friends lived at, and we would party until wee hours of the night, eating homemade enchiladas and washing them down with tequila. When in Rome...and we did. 

I started developing anxiety attacks really bad, to the point of sometimes passing out from hyperventilation. The room would spin, and at times, the walls looked as though they were closing in on me. I never wanted to be left alone, just in case those walls would close in again. I started getting agoraphobia, not leaving my house and becoming a recluse. I remember one night, my friends had enough of my "phobias" and came over. They somehow got me into their car so they can bring me out to see a movie with them. As I was in the backseat with two other friends leaving the driveway, I panicked and opened the car door and fell onto the ground. I ran back to my house like Forest Gump. I cried and cried that night because I felt like I was a big failure and had let my friends down. The anxiety was controlling my life.

That's when my mom started taking me to therapy. She couldn't stand the shrink because she said he was a big "blabber mouth" -- but he was helping me, so he was okay on my end. I was 17 yrs old at the time, dating boys and trying to be like everybody else. But boy was I different Nobody ever knew how different I was. My psychiatrist would make me these tapes that would calm me. It was his voice giving me peaceful visualizations with calming music in the background that he made with his own keyboard. He was really creative -- I'll give him that. Soon enough, I started venturing out with my friends again and living life. I was finally "me" -- for now.

At work on Halloween. The theme was, "Work of the Future." I did a "work at home" theme, and I made it come true!
A couple of years later, I started working for the big corporate world. It was a strange place, and I always felt like a misfit, but soon enough, became "one of them" -- a stuffed suit, commuter lunatic always in a rush to only wait it out in traffic. Every single day mimicked the other. It was like "Groundhog Day." I always wished my days away, hoping the clock would miraculously turn 5 o'clock, if I could just blink my eyes hard enough.  I was never in the moment -- hardly living in "the now" -- I was totally consumed with time and too much negative energy. Once I finally got a grip on my negative thought patterns, they'd creep in again for even longer spells. One morning while rushing into my cubicle to be on time for work, I had a strange feeling. I felt "off" but didn't understand why. I was at the gym by 5am, came home, showered and left for work. But when I took my first call, I remember the entire room spinning, to the point of me passing out or blacking out -- whichever it was, it was lights out for me. I don't remember the fall though. I remember waking up in a conference room with my managers above me, sprinkling water on my face and trying to get me to drink orange juice. I knew it was anxiety and stress, but they wouldn't stop the ambulance from coming. When I left the hospital, of course I was diagnosed with anxiety. I had to leave and go on family medical leave of absence, until the company just shut down and laid everyone off anyway. I actually didn't care at that point.

I finally found my "safe place" -- working from home. It wasn't a whole lotta' money at first, but it gave me a sense of security and an income, so why not? I had a lenient schedule and was able to also be a homemaker when I finally married my partner. I'm not sure if it was the wisest thing to do, although if you were to ask me 7 months ago I'd tell you a different story. But my life changed a great deal a few years ago. I had lost my dad to cancer, and then was caregiving for my mom who came down with cancer herself. It was a constant wondering, "Is she OK?" At night, I'd keep an extra pair of jeans and my keys on the nightstand, just as I did with Dad when he was sick, in case Mom had to go to the ER because maybe she developed sepsis again or that she needed a blood transfusion. I always waited for that call. Mom usually woke up around 4am like clockwork. So for the entire time she was sick, I suffered with myoclonic seizures at night, where they would jolt me as I tried to sleep. So I just figured I'd stay up until I passed out, and usually it was 4am when I passed out -- the same time Mom woke up. Coincidence? I don't think so now. I can attribute that to worrying if she was okay for the night. Did she fall? Did she take too many opiates? My worst fear in the world was losing Mom. When Mom passed away, I started sleeping normal hours again. So it made sense. All those sleep studies I endured proved to be true: it was ALL in my head. It was ALL anxiety.

They say that when something, or someone gives you joy and happiness, it's inevitable that eventually it will cause you great pain. It's the element of abandonment. Have you ever heard of the term, "fear of abandonment?" It's very similar on different levels. When you fall in love with someone, that one person gave you love, joy and happiness. After the breakup, they give you their hatred, sadness and bitterness. They ultimately give you pain due to their absence and sometimes behavior. Same thing with family. You love them so much, but all good things come to an end. We all have to say goodbye at some point, which brings the question, "Why does God let this sort of thing happen?"

I'm starting to figure out why I have been suffering all these years with anxiety disorder. It started when I was 16 when my parents got arrested. {Abandonment.} I mean, they didn't choose to leave me, but nonetheless, they were taken away from me. And even though my mom came home the next day, my father was gone for quite some time. I was always afraid that they would take them away from me again. So my fear of being home alone stemmed from the fact that I may get hurt too by these people in black shiny FBI jackets. They roughhoused my mother on top of their vehicle. I was mortified watching it. I felt like I was outside of my body witnessing the entire thing. So staying alone in this house -- where I live RIGHT now, gives me anxiety. You can label it what you want, from PTSD to GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) or even depression, but it still remains as a trauma of some type. Not one psychiatrist or psychologist can really label me. They all chuck it up to GAD. And because I look to what seems to be "normal" -- I keep getting the same response: "You seem very put together, as if you don't have any anxiety at all." Of course they'd see that. I have to be "put together" to walk out of my house. They don't see me having panic attacks at 10pm before I go to sleep, hyperventilating, looking up meditation Youtube videos to calm me down. On top of that, now I have "emotional asthma." What the frig is that? So if I get an anxiety attack, an asthma attack usually follows, and if I get an asthma attack, an anxiety attack hops on board. Oy.

I'm so tired. Even if I sleep for 8 hours, I'm sleepy all the time. I try to help other people by telling them my story -- by being honest and letting them know, "Hey, you're not alone. I have anxiety too." I live stream my cooking shows, but I also do talking live streams where I focus on issues on anxiety and depression. I don't find that many people on Periscope or any other live streaming app zeros in on it enough. So I try to be a little beacon of light for people who are suffering just like me. I can only tell them my experiences, and what helps me cope with the anxiety. Let's face it, anxiety will never go away, that's just your body's 'fight or flight' response, so coping with it and not resisting it has helped a great deal. The only thing that really gives me peace of mind is prayer and mediation. Not just any prayer or mediation to some "universe" or "goddesses" up in lala land. I take it straight to Jesus Himself. I could care less if people call me crazy or tell me that my Bible is evil -- my Bible is ALIVE and my God is an awesome God -- the only God. I've become much more adamant in admitting that my God is the only God, only because He has proven to me to be true. But faith is just a belief system, so I never belittle those of different faiths or lack thereof, however if you ask me, I will admit that Jesus is the only way for me. God gave us choice, so choose wisely, right?

My point of this long-winded post is this: when you find your source of contentment and peace, stick with it. The only one who can ever save you in the midst of your storms is God. You may find solace in other things temporarily like I did in the past, but if you want that constant peace even in the midst of chaos, try praying. Also, try listening (meditating.) "Well, I never hear God or get signs from Him." That's because you're too staticky -- and His message is hard to get to you. Try practicing meditation and prayer and see after time, that your prayers will get answered.

The other day, God responded to me in ways that are just unbelievable. Look for the little things. He saw me crying over my mom's death. I was grieving so hard that I could barely breathe. I said to Him, "I just give up."

As I flipped through the Bible to read some comforting words, this jumped right out at me.

"This is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and won't last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So don't look at troubles we can see right now, rather, we look forward to what we have not seen. For the troubles we will see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever!" --2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I also asked Him if I prayed the right way, or if there was a right way to pray? Am I doing everything wrong? And He responded in Scripture...

"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 gain and again. Don't be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!" --Matthew 6:5-13

And that's exactly how I pray! He was saying, "Deb! You're doing everything right! Keep going!"

But sometimes I still need more answers, more proof. So I asked that if this was his answer, to please send me a bird. (Now I sound crazy, right?) Not even 20 minutes passed by and a huge hawk was flying toward my window coming from the beautiful mountains of the view we have. As he got closer, I can see he was holding a small animal in his mouth (kinda disturbing) -- and the weight of the animal was making him fly toward my window. As he got closer to the window, he swooped up and had lunch on my roof. This was just the other day before the big snowstorm hit us. I could NOT believe my eyes. It was actually a beautiful sight to see. I don't believe in coincidences...

Listen, you don't have to believe my stories or the signs that I get, and you may even think it's nonsense, but this is why I believe in God so much. This is how I communicate with God. He answers me all the time, especially when you have the Bible in your hands -- you can get endless answers. But if you're not seeking Him, then that's different. He knows your heart and He knows when someone genuinely wants to get to know Him. You can have heaven on earth, simply by trusting Him. Even though I still suffer with anxiety, I thank Him in the storms. If I don't suffer, then I wouldn't know how to overcome certain obstacles. It's hard, and sometimes I even get mad at God -- but He can take it. Talk it out with Him. Pray. Listen. So if you want to know how I cope with anxiety and grief? My strength is not my own. It's only through God's strength that I can go on and stay here instead of thinking about "going back home" for good.

I admit, I'm a mess, but God loves me, messy and all.
He also loves you in the same way.
You don't have to be perfect, because if we were, we wouldn't need Him.

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! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well! 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Workaholics: You May Not Like the Truth

We're all so incredibly busy. It's a busy busy life with big responsibilities ahead of you. Life can get so hectic, that the only thing you get to do when you come home is eat, poop and go to bed. (That comma in there is very important.) Weekends are for relaxing, sleeping and binge watching Netflix. Work has taken precedence over everything: your family, your friends, God, and even time for yourself. There's no balance, no give, no relief in sight. Your child begs for your attention, but you're just too incredibly exhausted to even entertain the thought of playing outside with them or helping them with their homework. You have your own crap to deal with. Your child is desperately wanting to share their day with you, so that you'll be proud of their accomplishments, but they start realizing that they're talking to someone who is half asleep already. So they take their A+ test paper and tuck it back into their binder and walk upstairs defeated...and sad.

It's been a couple of years since you visited your grandmother. You're lucky she's still alive after all these years. It's been a few months since you visited your parents. But they can wait, and your friends are always on Facebook to remind you that they're still alive if ever, you want to get together and catch up. We hold these unrealistic expectations of seeing everyone at a later date, because we never want to entertain the thought of possibly losing one of our loved ones. Every single day is a blessing to be alive, but every single day you're too busy to even notice you're alive. Life has been taken for granted, because you expect to wake up the next morning and go to work to only come home to eat, poop and go to sleep and do it all over again. "Tomorrow I'll call mom to see her," or "I'll take a trip over to grandma's to see how she's doing this weekend."

The phone rings. You don't even want to answer it because you feel it may be a telemarketer. Besides, who uses landlines anymore? But you answer it anyway.

The voice on the other end sounds unfamiliar, but you still listen anyway.

"I'm sorry to tell you this, but your mother was in a terrible car accident and was killed by a drunk driver."

"What? She was healthy! She wasn't supposed to be out that late anyway -- I don't get it."

Doesn't matter.

All you can do now is just play some recorded voice mail checking up on you. "Hi, it's mom. Just checking up on ya. When you coming down to visit us? Love and miss you!" 

I know, you were gonna go last week and then planned on going the week afterwards, but but but. Put mom aside for a sec. What about your wife? She hasn't been touched in months and you never have the time or day to just sit with her for a cup of coffee in the morning or to talk to her before you turn out the lights at night. Your bedroom has become a room for the weary, not for the married. But you're keeping the house together by working -- so everything is fine...everything is fine. Everybody is taken care of, right? Your kid cries himself to sleep because he hardly gets any attention and can't let you know he's being bullied at school and your wife falls asleep feeling neglected and insecure because you never show her any affection anymore because well, you're exhausted! After the day you had, who could even think of being romantic?

Until you get the phone call.

People aren't meant to be put aside. God isn't meant to be put aside. In fact, in the Bible, putting something before God is making that one thing an idol. To have "too much" of one thing that it totally drives your life into a pit of exhaustion is considered an "idol." When do you even pray? In the car? For how long? God wants us to be productive, but God also wants us to BE STILL. Hear Him. Take care of your family -- not in the monetary way, but in the loving family kind of way. They did an interesting study on hospice patients who were dying. NONE of them ever said, "I wish I had worked more."

Even if you're a busy little bee, take time for your loved ones. Be there for those who need you. Don't take your loved ones for granted. They're here one day and gone the next and it can happen just. like. 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! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well! 

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Do We All Have the Gift of Intuitiveness?

Science tells us that we only use 10% of our brain, while many religious and spiritual people believe that's where God resides -- in that 90% portion. Eckhart Tolle explains that you are NOT your mind. There is the Being (you as a spirit more or less) and then there is your mind. You can simply witness your mind when you're struggling with something to overcome negative reactions to certain situations. It kind of makes sense though, since we are mostly spirit, but our mind, our {carnal} state of being takes full charge sometimes. I think that's when we're separated from God. I've always wondered what makes a psychic or religious prophet gifted. There are some people who are mediums who can speak to the deceased, while there are others who can somehow predict the future. Some can read your mind. While I believe there are such things as mediums, religious prophets and psychics, I also believe there are false ones out there who either profit from it, or simply want acknowledgment of a gift they wish they had. Many of us are taught that nothing is a coincidence. Then what explains a false psychic guessing something about you? Is there such thing as coincidences?

For me, I stopped seeking out psychics and mediums due to the fact that most are fake, but most of all, it's forbidden to seek out mediums in order to talk to the deceased. Then I questioned, what makes Christian prophesy any different? My fear of going to a regular medium who is not of the Christian faith tends to lean on the belief that the spirits that they are conjuring up are what's called "familiar spirits" -- not spirits of your loved ones, but a "spirit" that's not of God who knows everything and everyone in your life. The devil can hack into a medium's reading and give you what you need. Most likely, you'll start relying on that medium, instead of going to God for guidance. There are many Catholics who rely on psychics just as many rely on psychologists.

For Christian believers, relying on psychics and mediums is just plain dangerous. Here's an excerpt I found on BibleInfo regarding using mediums to talk to your deceased loved ones.

What does the Bible say about ouija boards and contacting spirits?

In fact, there are strong warnings against contacting the spirits. Leviticus 19:31, “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” 20:6, “And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.”

Why? First, the Bible commonly compares death with sleep. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 NKJV says, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus." Ecclesiastes 9:5-6, 10 NKJV, says "The dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun…For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave." Our departed loved ones are said to be "sleeping" and actually have no consciousness of those who are living.

So if the dead are merely sleeping, then who are the spirits mediums and psychics contacting? If it is true that our loved ones are unconscious of “anything that is done under the sun,” then who or what are pretending to be those we were “familiar” with and knew us so well when they were alive? Revelation 12:8-9 NKJV, says "But they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

We see that Satan, "the father of lies," and his minions are trying to “deceive the whole world.” Fallen angels can deceive us by appearing as good beings, even spirits of people we are familiar with. "No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds." (2 Corinthians 11:14-15, NASB)

No wonder the Bible is so adamant about not communicating with the dead. Ouija boards, séances, the occult and witchcraft are all tools that fallen angels, also known as demons, try and use to deceive you. And not just do they aim to deceive, but it’s not uncommon for these practices to lead to demon harassment and/or possession. Throughout the Bible are more than a few accounts of people tortured by evil spirits.

One of the most significant is Jesus’ encounter with a man who was possessed with a legion of demons. “And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.” (Mark 5:2-5, NKJV) But God offers to anyone an alternative. 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.------read more over on this site at BibleInfo.

Think about it: "Satan is the father of lies" -- "fallen angels can deceive us by appearing as good beings, even spirits of people we are familiar with. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."

If you're going to trust someone that is not from this world, trust in God. Pray to God. Don't rely on someone's "mediumship" to guide you. In fact, even some Christian prophets aren't being truthful. One night I was on Periscope watching this woman whose 9 year old child just passed from a brain tumor. Instantly, this medium logs on. He starts to blurt out a name. "She's calling for a John. Who's John?" The female broadcaster said, "Oh that's my daughter's father." Then the medium blurted out in the comment section, "James. She's calling for James." And the woman said, "That's her brother! Wow! I really need to talk with you!" As I flipped through Google, I saw her daughter's obituary that stated all the names of her relatives and how she was related to them. This was an easy target for this medium. I notified the grieving mother and asked her to please not rely on this medium. He is taking advantage of you and will most likely charge you because you're intrigued by his "knowledge." Google's good for that.

Charismatic people are most likely to reel you in with their charm. In fact, the term, "con man" was coined by the old practice of the "confidence game," which is swindling by means of trust. They're usually very intelligent, funny and charming. They get you to simply adore them. Once they have you reeled in, BAM, you're out a few thousand dollars or more. I've seen many Christians prophesize on live stream apps. They seem like they're in a trance as they start rambling off "good fortune" to everyone who is listening, or perhaps, that "one" person who may have tuned in. I mean, yes it CAN be real, but with their PayPal link all set up for donations, is it really?

Anyone claiming to be a spiritual, or a Christian prophet that are pretending to be speaking God's words should truly repent. You are risking the Lord being against you -- almost like forgery.

“Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. Even though the Lord has not sent them, they say, 'The Lord declares,' and expect him to fulfill their words. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, 'The Lord declares,' though I have not spoken?'  Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord.” ‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭13:6-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

When I attended a church back when I was only 23 years old, I was new to Christianity, just crawling out from the barrels of Catholicism. I remember there was one person at the end of the sermon who would speak in tongues, and then someone across the room would then interpret it. I felt the Holy Spirit and felt this to be true. Your spirit will know -- if you love God with all your heart, God gives you the gift of discernment. You will just know who is false and who is genuinely speaking the words of God.

I guess you can say we all have the gift of intuitiveness, whether we tap into or not. And if we strengthen it like a muscle to help other people, we must be genuine and not scam or lie to people. I truly believe I have the gift of intuitiveness myself, but in a small way, like a premonition in a dream, or even just a gut feeling. Never underestimate your gut instincts. They're usually spot on. I use my intuitiveness for myself and personal awareness. Sometimes I'll check in on a friend if I feel something is 'off' -- which I believe many people have that ability as well. Even if I did have the ability to prophesize, I would never charge someone. That's a gift from God that should be free, in my opinion. What I would suggest is that if you are Christian and looking to speak to your deceased loved one or looking for guidance...PRAY. The answer may not come right away, but God will never let you down.

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! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well! 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Just Me, God & a Bit of Wine

As I travel through this long road of learning how to deal with my grief, there've been many suggestions and advice given to me, to which I always appreciate. Many share their own heartbreaking stories to relate to me, while others sit and just say nothing. Sometimes, that's just what I need. The one thing I'm not really a fan of is when some people suggest certain medications, like benzos and valium to get over my grief. I have a doctor and he has given me anti-anxiety meds, and is highly against going on something else. I trust him. I don't want to pop a pill each time I shed a tear for Mom. It's healthy to cry. Don't tell me not to cry. And be careful when trying to comfort someone who lost the most important person in their life, like their mother if you didn't lose your own. It can come across as if you were just trying to pacify them. Grief is a tricky thing. It can come and go as fast as it came. The other day on my birthday, I was pretty much okay. I thought I would be a bawling mess of tears. It wasn't until the next day when I had my meltdown.

I'm alone in this. Nobody understands. Nobody seems to care, and if I'm wrong, then let me know. Grief can cloud my judgment, so cut me a break and just either be there or understand my lack of presence anywhere. I try to occupy my time with delving into my work or just reading and studying on things I need to brush up on. I have no desire to sit at a bar, or be around a ton of people right now -- I just want to see the people I love in a safe setting. I joined a church in the next town over and I'm hoping that this'll help me a great deal. So before the pills, the benzos, the valium, the anti-deal-with-your-life drugs, let me try God first. What did people do 50 years ago when someone they loved died? They dealt with it! They cried it out! They wailed and cried and then fell into acceptance. Let me feel this. I need to, otherwise it'll get shoved underneath all the synthetic drugs that are being thrown at me. I don't want that.

My work is important to me, and it's something I love to do thank God. I've been blessed with the ability to work from home and do what I love. I am very grateful. But right now, if you don't hear from me or see me updating my writing page, it just means I'm working and editing behind the scenes. Sometimes writing isn't the avenue to take, especially on certain days. I know that sometimes these articles can be 'doom & gloom' -- but again, my mom died. Cut me a break. I need to vent, cry, yell, scream and sometimes write it all out. I seriously don't know how to live without her yet. I'm trying to get my groove in this life without her, and all I see is her face. If I have a bad moment, forgive me. If I snap at you, please pardon it. I'm not OK...but I WILL be.

For now, I will work on myself. No drugs required. Just me, God, and a bit of wine.

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! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well! 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Complicated Friendships As an Adult?

Every friendship is different. We acquire some friends by meeting them at events or through somebody else. We relate to them either by similar interests, or just relating because you are of the same culture and can share similar past stories and recipes. Whatever the connection is, it should be mutual, respectful and most of all -- a positive experience. Most of my friends were acquired through my childhood and school days. Anyone within the past decade or so are very few. I think it's safe to say that once you hit a certain age in life, you become more selective in who you want to spend your time with, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. For me, connecting with someone definitely means ZERO complications on any scale. It should be nothing but positive and edifying. Of course, you can definitely run into misunderstandings, and that's okay, but when it becomes a normal occurrence that your friend is constantly complaining about something you're doing or something you're not doing -- run.  Here's how I look at it: drama-filled individuals seek out this adrenaline type of rush by inflicting some sort of friction just to get a reaction, because either 1. you're not giving them the attention they need or 2. that's just their nature. Some people require much more attention than the average person can handle. If your friend yells at you for not calling them for two days -- even a week -- that friend should be the one to either check up on you, or maybe just respect your space as an adult.

The same respect I give to my marriage I give to my friends. I respect my wife enough to let her have her own space, her own life, where when we do come together, we can share our days and experiences. Nobody owns you. Nobody "deserves" your undivided attention (except maybe, God) and even then, God gives us free will, where He lets us choose when we want to pray and spend time with Him. As I'm approaching my mid 20's --- ok ok ok, my mid 40's, I'm beginning to see a strange trend with many of my single female friends. Some seem aggressive if not responded to, while others seem grateful and excited to hear back from you. They'll wonder why you hadn't updated your Facebook or Twitter status, or if you're completely ignoring them altogether. Some even cyber stalk you. The difference is -- the aggressiveness, the defensiveness of the response you get from friends who haven't heard from you in a bit is a form of a fear of abandonment. The insecurity that you may have left them for good can trigger a memory in their past that the person who left them without saying one word has now morphed into YOU. You cannot convince them it won't happen either. They stopped believing people because people have lied to them all of their lives. And it's sad, because there are good people out there who love their space, but love the quality time spent when they do come together with their friends. It's pretty much the same for both intimate and platonic relationships. It's the "I'm gonna hurt you before you hurt me" responses that come flying your way once you do contact them after a few days, which in their book is way too long.

Sometimes you also have to carefully listen to what people say. Some people aren't as genuine as you may think. I'm not trying to get anyone paranoid, but words are very powerful, and sometimes, people slip and tell their secrets without even knowing. For instance, I can tell if someone is fake. If you are trapped with spending time with someone, whether it be a coworker on a business trip or perhaps, your husband's or wife's family in whatever capacity, listen to their words. I had one person who was a friend of the family say, "Oh I can definitely fake being nice to someone and pretend to be their friend." You'd think, well, since they said this to me, then this doesn't apply. Wrong. There are some people who are capable of putting on a smile and saying hello in a higher octave to make you believe they like you. They may laugh a little louder or even compliment you in a roundabout way, but make no mistake, some of these people are just big fakes. Usually, they're out to use you in some capacity. Maybe it's to make peace with friends or family in common, or maybe it's to use you to get from point A. to point B. I have no clue why anyone would do this. I knew a saleswoman I was friends with and she would put on the charm and laugh really hard at my jokes as she was stabbing you in the back the next day. I usually found this with friends at work, but this definitely can apply to a personal situation as well.

I remember back in the day in my teens when I had over 100 + friends. I had parties every Friday night and everyone came over. We were truly friends! We truly loved each other too. In fact, most of them are still in my life today. As we grow older, we learn the art of manipulation. With the ingredients of insecurity and past hurts, it can create an atmosphere of a pseudo friendship, or worse off, being betrayed at every level and used for whatever it is they needed from you. I have had this happen quite a few times as an adult, which is why I keep very few close to me and others at arm's length. I don't do well when someone yells at me for not calling them back in a couple of days. I don't do well with interrogating questions, because only my mother was able to do that, even as an adult. And now that she has passed on, I'm starting to see who my real friends are. I always used to ask my wife why she would seem so "surfaced" while socializing with new potential friends. She never delved into personal matters or shared anything she deemed as "too personal" -- even if it was something really minor. She said, "Deb, I trust no one." And now I'm finding out that she's absolutely right. She has this sense about people that is so on the target. I always miss the target because I like to give the benefit of the doubt, but she is really one smart cookie. (Yes, Madelene, I complimented you...)

Another thing I do not tolerate is when people disrespect my relationship with my wife. This is for men or women. Men seem to think my relationship is more of a "playing house" situation and because I'm feminine, they don't think that I'm "REALLY" gay, or that I'm committed to one woman. Some women disrespect my marriage and try to steer me off into some strange affair. Not happening. I always have to wonder what kind of people they're hanging around with that may do this sort of thing. But once you disrespect my marriage, then I'm most likely gonna to disappear, or "ghost" as the kids say these days. There are many people who seem to have zero boundaries when it comes to that. It's not that I have a wall up, it's just that I expect "friends" to remain in the friend zone at all times. When you try to cross that boundary -- that imaginary line, then I'm most likely going to fly away.

If you're in a complicated friendship, run. If the complications get worse and worse, and you start to see a pattern, run. We're adults. Drama was only for when we were young and stupid. We're grown adults and shouldn't have these sort of issues, unless, we have underlining issues of our own. Time to start noticing the red flags.

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! Feel free to watch Deb's live broadcasts over on Periscope as well!