Monday, November 09, 2015

Superwoman: The Life That Was Meant For Me

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

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

"I need a martini." I said jokingly.

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

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

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

"Now take a deep breath..."

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

Going deeper.

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

It hurt on so many levels.

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

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

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

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

"We will soon..." 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 06, 2015

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

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

And it was the hardest decision of all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll be back...

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Your True Self: Who Are You?

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

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

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

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

And that happens. 

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

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

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

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

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

The breakdown of The Broken Heart Syndrome:

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

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

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

Who are you? 

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you feel it?

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wake Up & Live -- Isn't That What It's All About?

With all of the wonderful clichés and platitudes that I can possibly throw at you like, "Life's too short," "Enjoy the moment," or even, "Now is the only time you have," -- it's become more of an empty mantra than it is an actual practice. We seem to plaster them up all over our Facebook walls and Twitter accounts, and most have yet to even use the advice that was given. I remember my wife had her parents over for dinner. I cooked a nice dinner and we were enjoying our conversation afterwards on the couch. I had placed all the dishes back into the kitchen and then headed back into the living area to chitchat over wine. Madelene decided to go back into the kitchen to wash the dishes and then come back out to talk with her parents, who she rarely sees. I took notice because her absence was felt, so I took it upon myself to walk inside the kitchen area and said, "The dishes can wait. Your parents are leaving soon. Talk to them." It was at that moment when Mad just gave me this look like, "You know what -- you're absolutely right!" She threw down her dish towel and headed back in to enjoy their company.

But isn't that what it's all about?

I'm not saying to neglect things that need to be done, but check your priorities sometimes. If I'm cooking and I have guests over, I usually ask them if they can hang out in the kitchen with me with so I can enjoy them. It doesn't have to be so complicated. I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday about enjoying the moment with your loved ones. She and I discussed many instances where we both found ourselves wondering where our priorities truly were. For example: I'd rather buy $200 worth of food for a BBQ or dinner with friends and family as opposed to running out to the mall to and getting a pair of $200 boots. For me, I am buying quality time -- it's not the food so much -- it's the enjoyment of family and friends. People ask me why I post so many food and cooking pics up -- and that's mostly due to my cooking blog and my love for cooking -- but the event itself is more important. It's the people who ate my food. Food brings people together. While growing up in an Italian household, everyone would be gathered around the table for a 2pm Sunday afternoon traditional dinner. My mom did that out of love.

And isn't that what it's all about?
My Sundays are everything. My wife works long hours and sometimes the entire weekend. So when we have a Sunday off, she's constantly on the go-go-go-get-this-done-now type of person. She never stops. So last weekend I said, "Don't worry about the light installation in the kitchen today or the junk that has to be removed outside. Let's just go to the farm market and take the dog to the park and try a new restaurant." We ended up having an amazing day because she dropped everything to create new memories with me. And I still have yet to call that junk removal guy -- but it'll get done. It's not about procrastinating to the point of neglect, but to not procrastinate on living your life. Huge difference. Sometimes we forget that there is so much out there while we're dusting off our furniture or organizing our cabinets. "Well, somebody's gotta do it," -- but somebody has to live their life too. Balance.

Isn't that what it's all about?

If we're so out of balance that we can't even enjoy moments with our loved ones, most likely depression will set in and it'll appear as a must "to do" list every single week. Whatever you do on a regular basis becomes your routine. Routines can always be broken, if the will is there. I said to my wife once, "I don't want to be sitting in the same chairs out on that same deck in our golden years saying, 'Yeah, we shoulda' did more while we still young had more energy.'" I don't ever want to regret life or living it the way I want to. And another thing to point out is -- if you hate your job so much and the bulk of your time is at a place that is less than perfect for you, then can you possibly be happy at all? I didn't want to be stuck in a cubicle for 8-12 hours a day. My choice to write was a challenging feat. It took nearly 7 years to see any kind of income plus the freelance editing I do behind the scenes. I can work any time I need to, whether it's 9am or 9pm. People seem to think (or assume) that it's not a "real job". So then what is a "real job"? Doing something I can bitch and moan about? Doing something I absolutely hate to do? Is that "real"? I turned my passion into a career, so that it no longer becomes "work". I had passion for something.

Isn't that what it's all about?

If you lack passion for anything you do -- it'll never line up for what's truly meant for you. I've heard so many people poke fun at me of how I have so much "free time" -- when actually, I just work the hours I need to and then live my life the way I want. I get to cook for my family and get errands done so that my wife doesn't have to. As long as I am paying my bills and doing my job -- nobody has a right to tell me otherwise. In fact, (or to brag a little here) -- I am debt free with a high ranking credit score. Though I'm not rich, I am richer than most wealthy people because of the lack of debt.  I love what I do in life and for some people, that irritates them. My point is: never count someone else's money. Never judge what they do or what you think they're 'lacking' in life. What may seem "unconventional" to you may be the entire world to them. And these days, it's hard to find anyone who can truly say, "I love what I do!"  Or better yet: "I love life!" Say everything you need to say to those you love, do everything you can possibly do with your loved ones and friends and never forget to enjoy this present moment -- "the now" -- don't let it slip by because there's a pile of dishes waiting to be done. Love one another.

Again, isn't that what it's all about?

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"We Don't Like Homosexuality & We Don't Have to Accept It! That's Our Human Right!" --Your Fellow Christian

When I was little, I used to sit under this Japanese fir tree with a huge blanket and listen to my music. It was my favorite spot -- still is. Every single time I hear "The Logical Song", it reminds me of my favorite place in the world. For some reason, that song brings me comfort because it reminds me of a time when there wasn't any worry, fear, anxiety, stress or depression. I was genuinely happy. The words as I hear them today still resonate with me: "When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical. And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily, joyfully, playfully watching me." As a kid, I rarely listened to lyrics. It's the tune that brings back the nostalgic memories. As I grew older, I began to listen to the lyrics a bit more. It struck me that this song, these lyrics, were my life. And although I was never "sent away" -- the words still resonate with my being an adult and learning about different things, religions, politics, and so on. "But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical. And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical. They're are times when all the world's asleep, the questions run too deep, for such a simple man. Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned -- I know it sounds absurd, but please tell me who I am... Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you radical, a liberal, fanatical, criminal. Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!" 

I truly never thought that having faith in God would be so complicated as I grew older. I didn't think I would have to defend myself or feel made ashamed of who I am. I struggled many times with wondering "who I am" and feeling less than "holy" by other people who prayed to the same god as I did. So I took my "religion" and converted it into a personal relationship with God. It was then I found the miracles that built the foundation of my faith. I started writing a journal about it and found that this journal became a book after some time. Soon after publishing my book, A Prayer Away From Healing, I discovered a new relationship with God that much stronger than the "religion" I belonged to.  I started to become much more open to new ideas, instead of relying on texts that were written many years ago which had been translated over 5,000 times. I started meditating on the Word of God instead of just reading it word for word in black and white. The words came alive and it was no longer a "book of rules" but a book with an amazing history with power in it. It was a book to guide my life, instead of a book to terrorize my life. I spend at least 2 hours per day meditating and praying while reading scriptures. There is no doubt in my heart, in my faith, that God is real and that God excepts you as YOU -- not as others try to expect you to be. And with that, comes acceptance of yourself in God -- to see yourself the way God sees you: amazing, perfectly made, flawless, vulnerable and yet very powerful. 

Many Christians read the Bible blindly. Of course, they can say the same about me. One gentleman was trying to convince me that the scriptures in Romans, which speaks about lust and passions of the flesh was only about same-sex relationships when it clearly states that they were fornicating with anyone, male or female. It did not indicate anything of a same-sex committed relationship. Premarital sex for both heterosexuals and homosexuals is seen as a sin -- so are we all going to hell? Sodom and Gomorrah was about rape and not about homosexual sex or relationships. People have twisted these scriptures to fit their prejudices and hatred towards those who live different lifestyles. A loving and intimate union between two people is none of anybody's business to begin with. So why are we sticking our noses in the cracked doors of other people's bedrooms? Historically speaking, the Bible condemned interracial relationships and marriage, as well as our legal system. It was illegal for interracial couples to marry a little over 50 years ago. Women weren't allowed to vote. People's cultural prejudices have wreaked havoc on other people's lives for decades. As the song states, many Christian conservatives scream and yell out, "Liberal" as I go on sharing my thoughts and faith with the world. 

Over on my Facebook account, I share my articles with everyone and especially to those who struggle with their religion vs. their sexual orientation. I get quite a few supporters as well as your haters. One lady named, Laura Jane Fifield left a little hateful message for us. Let me ask you this -- does this sound like a loving Christian message? Or does it sound like she's more prejudice than anything else? She writes (and I corrected her typos for your viewing pleasure), "We don't like homosexuality so stop trying to shove it down our throats. It's that simple. We don't want you married in our churches and we don't have to want nor accept it. That is our right as a human being so get married on a beach or somewhere else that's nice. If the Australian government makes gay marriage legal, then gays will be allowed to marry in our churches the one place where us Christians can get away from the things we don't want to accept. Now is that fair? I don't t think so! God said it's an abomination and that's whatI believe to be true. End of story. End of discussion. I don't like same sex relationships and I never will and no that doesn't make me gay. If you don't like drugs or people that do drugs, does that mean you're a junkie? Your theory is stupid." 

Thank you, Laura. Let me ask you this... How many people in your church sit in the pews every Sunday morning like clockwork who have yet to admit their hidden sin? How many people have divorced in your church? How many people have had premarital sex? At what point does bullying other people about their sexual orientation make you feel more superior to everybody else? I believe that whatever you put up online, you should stick by it no matter what. If you say you love God -- spread it around like wildfire! But what if you post something that you may regret later on? What if you post something as hateful as your comment to me? And what if, your child becomes gay in 15 years and looks at the things you wrote? What will that do to them? No, I don't think you're "gay". I truly believe that you are angry -- very angry -- with either yourself or your life's situation. What makes someone want to tear down another person? If that was a "loving" message -- wouldn't you rather invite the "sinners" to your church and help them find God? Even drug addicts need saving too, but instead, you sort of brushed them off to hell. 

The hypocrisy in many Christians seem to take hold of their thoughts, their actions as well take away from their relationship with God. Their mission to try and stop same-sex marriage has become primary focus these days. I cannot believe all the supporters that Kim Davis has. I mean -- doesn't her sin count as much as our "sins"? Even the Westboro Baptist Church made fun of her for continually sinning due to her ongoing new marriage. But see -- I don't believe that her new marriage is a sin since that's listed in the Old Testament. The scriptures referenced in the New Testament like Matthew 19 where it says that the permission of divorce was under a ban but declared that putting away another partner to marry another person would be considered adultery, but not in cases where there was infidelity. Do you really think that our lives are that "black and white" where we are condemned to these complicated rules by numbered scriptures that have been recorded years and years ago -- that have been translated 5,000 times? 

Is is that simple? 

And now my favorite song: The Logical Song. 

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Are You a Good Person Only Because You Feel Like God is Watching Your Every Move?

There are so many beliefs and non-beliefs out there in this world. Some pray to Jesus, some pray to Allah, some lean toward Buddhism while others simply have no one to pray to at all. Have you ever had the chance to speak to an atheist before -- I mean, an "active" atheist who pursues it like a religion? I've come across quite a few and had a less than desirable experience with them, only because they would say things like, I wasn't intelligent enough to realize that my God is just a big fairytale. I get it, but the insults just kept trickling in. One gentleman happened to be a former priest. To me, for someone to actively pursue a role in atheism tells me that there is still some small percentage of "what if" -- perhaps, "What if I'm wrong" type of questioning. To me, that's a very scary place to be in. But then, years later, I met (not in person) a writer named, Emily on Periscope who does these brilliant broadcasts all about atheism. In fact, her blog is here if you want to check her out. Today she even spoke about near-death experiences. She discussed the mechanics of our brain when we die and what other people believe or -- the "accounts" that they've had. Some met Jesus while others felt a loving type of energy. I mean -- it's all up for interpretation, right? And who's to say one account is "wrong"? If they saw it, whether it was their brain shutting down or if they were entering a new world -- who are we to judge?

But God -- how scary would it be to think that there was nothing at all after all this craziness? You know what I admire about atheists who are 'do-gooders' and those who are genuinely compassionate? It's their ability to help others or to do amazing things without the expectation of a gift from their "gods". There are many Christians that are walking around doing "good" and hoping for their "favor" from God. I mean, okay -- it's fine if that's their only motive, but how genuine can a religious person be if they're only doing nice things because they don't want to burn in hell? I wonder what their true colors would appear as if they knew or found out that there was absolutely nothing waiting in the afterlife. How would this affect their behavior? Would they finally unleash the beast inside? Or would they still keep on doing good things in this world? Kind of makes you wonder... And what about Christians who condemn other Christians out of "love". Is it out of love or is it out of their fear of not rounding up the rest of the world to praise Jesus? We're supposed to "spread the word" -- not shove 10 pound bibles down people's throats.

It gets more complex than that I'm guessing. What about when our loved ones die? There's gotta be something out there! There can't be just a big mass of nothingness? (Can it?) And if they are gone -- completely and spiritually, or wait -- there is no spirit -- then they're just a pile of dust now? We can't wrap our minds around that concept that our loved ones just died out like a big chunky Duracell battery. There's gotta be something more to this "life" and "death" thing. Or is it just that simple? I mean, plants live and plants die -- but do they have a soul? "Talk to your plant" -- but is it because of my carbon dioxide levels that make em' spring up? It certainly can't be my breath after eating a garlic pizza.

So then what makes life live on?

Why is your god better than my god and why must we fight over something that can never be proven? Why is my sin worse than your sin? Why do people still do bad things if they know that their Father in heaven is watching them? Do they have faith that He's really watching? Or is it that small percentage of atheism that makes them do whatever it is they please?  You surely remember this: "You better watch out, you better not cry, better not pout, I'm telling you why...Santa Clause is coming to town..." And on and on -- "...he sees us when we're sleeping and he knows when we're awake. He knows if we've been bad or good -- SO BE GOOD FOR GOODNESS SAKE!" As kids, we grew up believing in Santa Clause as we did believing in God. Let that sink in for a moment. And boy were we good kids on Christmas Eve. "Yes mommy, I'll go sleep right away!" So we jumped under the covers, too excited to even sleep because well -- GOD was coming down the chimney with "gifts" for us because we were "good". Hmm, similar concept right?

So my question to all of you is: what makes you do good things for other people?  Is it because you're just a good person by nature? Or is it because your religion makes you believe that you should be a "good little boy or girl"?

Want to comment? Come over to my Facebook page. Would love to hear your thoughts...

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