Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Best Way to Avoid Disappointment

What may feel important to you may be on the back burner for me. I don't waste my time trying to store my nuts for the future when "now" is all I have. I may not be here tomorrow. I have other thing to worry about, like "now". I can only do my best. I have just enough for each day that comes. There's a story in the Bible talking about manna. Manna is basically, just having enough, or spiritual nourishment for some. But it originally came from the story of when the Israelites had just come out of Egypt. They were in the desert when the Lord said to them, "I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days."

So Moses said, "You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord."

When they saw the food available to them the next morning, they were told to take as much as they need, to take just enough for each person they have in the tent. The Israelites did as they were told. Some gathered much, some little. Everyone gathered as much as they needed. Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until morning." however, some of them paid no attention to Moses. They kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.

The point of the story is that God gives us what we need -- not what we necessarily desire or want. And of course, God does give us the desires of our hearts, but in His will. A friend of mine had asked me what "abundance" was the other day. For many people, it means affluence or wealth. But it comes to God giving you an abundance in life -- wealth has little to zero to do with it. When God gives you an "abundant" life -- He gives you a life full of joy and inner peace (not as the world gives) but a constant joy that is only supplied by Him. So whether you're in a grave circumstance or going through trials, you can still be at peace with everything around you. That's "true" peace -- true "abundance". And it's very hard to obtain and maintain for that matter. But staying close to God is what keeps me in check. I'm not wealthy, but I feel grateful for what I have...and they're not materialistic things, therefore, I am wealthy. When people solely focus on materialistic or monetary value, they instantly lose peace. I'm not saying just forget about making money and "wish" for it to just magically appear, but to focus your entire life trying to acquire wealth is meaningless. When you try to acquire wealth without heart and find that it never seems to come readily available, you'll start to become envious of those who do have wealth.

A while ago, I chose to let a lot of things go. I decided that it was none of my business what other people thought of me. It's out of my control. I learned a valuable lesson through some hard times. People who hurt you are hurting more than you. Forgive them. I learned that we're all spiritual creatures walking around oblivious to the fact that we're all somehow connected whether we like or dislike each other. I also understand that life is precious as well as vulnerable. Life can diminish at any given second. We choose our joy and grief much sooner than they even arrive. Our minds trick us into thinking that we can't live without "this" or we can't live without "him/her" -- when in reality, we are all we truly have. But in the same breath, God is our comforter. Without trusting God, we become fearful of the future, fearful of losing our loved ones, fearful of life itself. Each day I try to renew my trust in God, because let's face it -- it's hard trusting a Source that's not visible to the human eye. Some people would call me stupid for relying on faith, or to even trust in something that scientifically doesn't exist. But this is what keeps me going. I have seen. I have experienced God for myself. But who would believe me?

Why would God talk to me? I'm a sinner. I don't go to church, I sometimes drink too much and at times, say the wrong things regretfully. I'm not perfect. There are times when I feel like giving up. But in my time of weakness is when God works His strength in me. Every single time I slip down that road of discouragement, He somehow lifts me back up and dusts me off. I try to help the people I love to the best of my ability. I try to help people I don't even know. Sometimes, when you give your all, it can be completely exhausting. And that's OK. That's when God comes in and gives you "manna" -- strength to make it for just that day. There are some days I'm walking around with zero sleep, and this unexplainable energy zaps right through me as if I slept a full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. But it's all because of my faith. And through my faith, it becomes my reality.

Another thing I have learned over the past few years is that with high expectations come great disappointments. (And maybe not for some.) But for the vast majority, it's a common theme. Think about this: let's say you're wealthy for a great portion of your life. You've acquired a beautiful home, fancy cars, designer clothing, jewelry, etc., etc., etc... Then one day, you lose your high paying job, your house forecloses, your cars get repossessed and basically everything just slips right out from under your feet. You've now lost everything. What happens next? You won't settle for less, but now you're living in the most miserable situation, because you keep thinking about the past -- about the "once upon a time". You're bitter, angry, resentful...disappointed.

What about vanity? Beauty doesn't last forever, neither does youth. If you solely rely on your good looks, also rely on the fact that those good looks are slowly aging. I was once told, never marry a beautiful woman (although I did...nice save, huh?) -- but to marry someone who will make you laugh and someone who can hold a conversation. Beauty fades. Sex fades. What's left after 50 years of marriage? Friendship, right? But those who are only after looks, youth and wealth will find themselves disappointed eventually. Even the wealthiest people aren't 100% happy.

Here are some great quotes from Ecclesiastes:

"Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don't have. Just dreaming about nice things in meaningless; it's like chasing the wind."

"I have observed something else in this world of ours. The fastest runner doesn't always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn't always win the battle. The wise are often poor, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don't always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being at the right place at the right time. People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a snare, people are often caught by sudden tragedy."

"Those who love money will never have enough. How absurd to think that wealth brings true happiness. The more you have, the more people come to help you spend it. So what is the advantage of wealth--except perhaps to watch it run through your fingers?"

"Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work---whatever they do under the sun---for however long God lets them live. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life---that is indeed a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy."

Once you stop caring about what other people think of you -- your entire life will change. What other people think of us is none of our business. If someone is to judge us -- let them. That's their issue, not ours. If we're happy with who we are, and what we do, and how we live -- nothing, and I mean nothing else in this world will matter. When people try to control you, or hurt you, remember one thing: hurt people hurt. Hurt people cannot stand to see other people not hurting. Even if they seem to be a good person, it doesn't matter because misery loves company. They fill your head up with negative things, hoping that their "disease" will be contagious enough for you to feel their pain. You can do one or two things with toxic people: you can avoid them at all costs, or you can pray for a hedge or protection when they start rambling off about meaningless things. Try to remain peaceful. And sometimes, silence is your best weapon.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Oh, Was I Being Rude?

Have you ever ran into someone who was just incredibly cranky or rude to you, and you're just like, "What did I do to you?" I'm usually good when it comes to figuring out people who have had a bad day, who may just take it out on the next person who crosses their path. A couple of months ago I had to go into the hospital due to my myoclonic seizures that were getting worse as my sleep deprivation continued. They really couldn't do anything for me, so the nurse who was helping me was very short and rude when asking me questions -- as if my ailment wasn't anything of concern. Like, okay, whatever. As she was snapping at me with each question, I recognized her. She was the nurse who helped my mother a while back. She was so incredibly warm and polite with mom. I said to her, "Oh, I know you! You helped my mother and she always speaks so highly of you. Thank you for being such an amazing nurse to her while she was sick."

And then tears began to fall down her cheeks.

She hugged me and said, "You have no idea how much I needed to hear that today. My husband left me, I have no cable or electricity, and I feel like I'm at my wit's end." My entire stay was filled with the most amazing bedside manners I have ever witnessed before in my life. When I left, she gave me a huge bear hug and again, said thank you to me.

Yesterday was a really bad day for me. I hadn't slept the night before and I was feel really down. I get those kinda days from time to time and luckily, I am able to manage them better, but sometimes I can get short or cranky at any given moment. (Poor Madelene.) There were a lot of things on my mind that I just couldn't shake. I haven't been like this in a long time, so something was up -- was it hormonal, was it the full moon -- I had no clue what it was. I found myself snapping at Madelene when she came into the kitchen while I was broiling fish. I thought she was right behind me and instantly jerked up and burned my hand on the oven (blaming her of course when it was my own damn fault). I was about to play a little game of grit ball with her.

"I wasn't even near you!" she said, backing away slowly.

I placed dinner on the table and left with my glass of wine to retire into the bedroom like a big crybaby. I seriously had no idea what just happened. I was angry. I was sad. I was all over the place with my emotions. I didn't want to admit that I was having a bad day. I just wanted to stew in my own misery making her think that it was her fault. But it wasn't...

It didn't end there. This morning I was finally sick of the rotting carcass under the crawl space in our home. The first day wasn't so bad. The second and third -- I truly believe someone stuffed a human body underneath there, because now the entire house smells like rotting flesh. We have an account with Terminix, so I gave them a call to see if they could come and remove this dead critter...or human remains. The first customer service rep named Anthony said, "Uhhh, okay, hold on and let me set that up for you." And then I heard someone else get on the line, "Hi, this is Sue, how can I help you?" And I just froze. "Sue? Where's Anthony the rep I just spoke to?" She had no clue what I was talking about. So I had to tell my story over again. She said, "Fine, I can set that up to you, please hold."

"Hello, this is Jacklyn, how can I help you?"

5...4...3...2...1

"I WANT TO SPEAK TO A MANAGER RIGHT NOW!!!"

This rep was so incredibly professional and patient with me that she got everything and beyond scheduled out for me, including a free service that they offered. I apologized to her for my outburst and told her, "It's nice to get a representative who actually loves her job, so thank you." She laughed and said she understood and continued to process my order. She totally knew why I was upset beyond other things that were lurking in my lil' noggin.

But my point of this is -- you never know what someone else may be going through. That rude waitress may have just signed divorce papers from the love of her life. The bank teller that was short with you may have found out she was being laid off that afternoon. The barista at Starbucks who made you the worst latte in the world may have just recently lost a parent. You never know. I'm not saying to be a walking mat or to excuse extremely bad behavior, but sometimes we need to just realize what it is and just give more love to whoever needs it. And while it doesn't seem fair to be nice to someone who isn't being so nice to you, it'll not only feel better to rise above the chaotic emotional outbursts, but God will see what you did as well.

Thing is, we all have bad days. Especially when we don't want to talk about something that's bothering us, it may come out a different way, most likely offensively. So next time someone is incredibly rude to you without a reason, just try being extra nice to them...or you could just run for your life.

Don't take anything personally.

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

An Open Letter to the Transgender Community

It's so hard to keep up with the ever-changing times, and acceptance of those who've come to the forefront out to the unexposed. But let's face it, I'd say there are about 85% of people unexposed to transgender men and women. Ask anyone if they know a transgender person -- ask any straight cisgender (biologically male or female) person to see if they themselves, know everything there is to know about someone who is transgender. It wasn't too long ago, maybe eight years back, before I met my first transgender female friend. (MTF male-to-female). She used to be a "he". So let's rewind the story. "He" was married to a woman and had a child with her. "He" always felt as a she. The wife had no knowledge of this whatsoever. But eventually, in "his" 60's, "he" transitioned into a woman. Now a "she" -- she still preferred women, so now she was a lesbian. Most people would just look baffled and say, "What?" I met "him" as a "he". So when she was fully transitioned, (not quite assimilated to her gender, although feminine enough to be considered "gay" by most of society), I kept using the wrong pronoun because I was so used to saying, "he". It was a natural and innocent slip-up. As I learned more about the trans community, I realized how important pronouns were. But I also realized how important it was for transgender people to be patient enough to let society slip into this new skirt of political correctness, or perhaps just plain courtesy of being humane -- whichever you prefer. I was not only corrected for my mistake, but I was slammed against the wall with a ton vile insults and even called "Hitler" by this friend. Hitler? Really? So needless to say, the friendship had ended and I wished her well.

As soon as I poured my coffee and turned on the news this morning, I caught a glimpse of my Facebook friend, Hannah Simpson going off on the reporters for making an "ignorant" mistake. The reporter was talking about a transphobic incident that happened in a bathroom in NYC. Long story short, the reporter said something along the lines of, "The woman said a homophobic slur and pushed the transgender woman out of the bathroom."  I understand homophobic isn't the same as transphobic. I am grateful that I know the difference to which transgenderism has nothing to do with preference in sexual orientation, but the rest of society is just waking up realizing how many transgender people are coming up to the surface in recent years. It takes time and patience. You can't berate them all the time for not knowing the difference between trans/cross/gay/lesbian/queer. It's all too confusing for the cis-hetero. It really is.

My point is: if you truly want them to accept YOU as a transgender person, then you need to accept the time that it takes for everything to sink in. I mean - c'mon! Look at all the pronouns you want us to use.

Ne, ve, spivak, ze, zie, xe.

I understand that there are gender neutral people out there -- some androgynous and others more assimilated to one gender, but how is someone supposed to know what gender or pronoun to properly use? And will you get offended when someone makes a mistake due to all of the pronouns that are now available? I seriously don't think this will become a 'thing' in society, but it is in the trans community somewhat. And that's fine. Even as a member of the LGBT community, I couldn't adhere to these new pronouns and I won't. It's leaving more room for offensive mistakes that I wish not to make again.

Your thoughts?

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!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

When the Negative Meets the Positive


It's interesting how others may perceive you. I was told by many of my past therapists that I look so happy and not somebody who suffered with anxiety or depression. One thing about me is: I'm never fake. But one thing people don't know about me is, whenever I'm in a depression, I tend to stay away from people, so they never see that side of me. And I do it for two reasons: for one, I don't want to depress anybody else with my gloom 'n doom attitude, and secondly, I usually view the world on a sour note while I'm depressed. So it's best that I live in my little bubble during that time. I have this wonderful therapist who'll occasionally receive a frantic text from me saying, "I can't take it anymore!" And she knows I don't mean that I'm standing out on some ledge somewhere (which I have thought about in the past), so she'll soothe my anxiety and then make me come into her office or even be gracious enough to do a phone therapy session. She's been such a blessing. When I first met her, she even stated, "You look like you're all 'put-together' -- I can't see how you're depressed." But she hasn't seen me curled up in a ball crying my eyes our wishing I was dead. This was my reasoning for contacting her a couple of years ago. I wasn't handling the passing of my father very well (I mean, who does), and I was riddled with fear over the cancer diagnosis my mom had just received.

I tend to get depression them from time, and sometimes, for no apparent reason. Usually, I'll get them after having a huge panic attack. My anxiety attacks range from nightly myoclonic jerks to full blown heart racing panic attacks that give me chest pains much like a heart attack. I sometimes end up in the ER just to be on the safe side. Depression is the downfall of anxiety, which is why so many people use antidepressants when they have anxiety. Anyway, through a lot of soul searching, prayer, meditation and reading, I have discovered ways to keep positive and "refreshed" each day. My life isn't perfect, but I am learning how to cope much better. I'm writing this just to share with you some of the things that have helped me. I still have lots of anxiety, but with much less depression. If this helps you, then great... If not, then always keep trying to discover new ways to keep your happiness alive.

For one, I write down at least five things that I'm grateful for. This keeps my perspective very positive. I have been meditating and praying in the morning every single day. I am so addicted to it, that now I make it a practice at night before I turn in. A new friend of mine said to me, that prayer and mediation is like a muscle. You have to use it every day for it to get stronger and stronger. And likewise with depression -- keeping positive practices in your life will result in a positive life. But life itself is never going to be perfect. That's just a given. But to have a better attitude when things fall apart is the key to staying afloat. I still have to practice, practice, practice because I'm nowhere near perfect.

Another thing I had to do was walk away from negative people. This can be anyone who sucks the living energy out of you -- whether they're always complaining, causing conflict or inviting you to their pity parties 24/7. And at the risk of sounding insensitive, sometimes you have to pull back in order to regain your sense of happiness again, because negativity can rub off on you faster than you'd think. There are also people who are "seemingly" happy, to where you get to know them better enough, their "negativity" can be one where they're just one of those types of people who have nothing good to say about anything or anyone -- always criticizing everybody 'n their mother. They seem to suck you right into their drama. It's absolutely draining. I try to entertain them in small doses. A friend stated to me just yesterday, "You seem happy, I thought you had depression."  It was more of a compliment in my opinion. Yes, I am happy because I am with the people I love the most, I have a great family, a wonderful home, and I love what I do. I have a lot of things to be grateful for, but don't think that depression doesn't knock on my door from time to time, because it does. It usually creeps up on me when I have a bad panic attack. That one panic attack can set off my depression for as long as 3-5 days. It's like my brain is just recovering. That's the only way I can explain it. I suffer from bouts of insomnia which triggers my depression. It's not fun going on day five with zero sleep. Not only that, but I'm not allowed to drive after day two due to my myoclonic seizures (which is not epileptic) but it's triggered by sleep deprivation. My anxiety and depression may come in different forms than yours, but nonetheless, it effects my life greatly.

I truly don't understand why people who have anxiety and depression or any other type of mental illness don't seek the needed help. And don't tell me "it's too expensive". I pay out of pocket. Let's put it this way: I pay out of pocket on a sliding scale (thank you therapist) so that I can have quality of life. So I miss a few nail appointments, but it's so worth it. For somebody to not value their own mental health is just baffling to me. Your mental health is the most important thing you can maintain. This is your entire "world" -- as you perceive it -- as you perceive yourself. How can you not take care of that? It doesn't mean you're "CRAZY" or that you'll end up on some dirty psyche ward in a straight jacket -- it means that you care enough about yourself, and those around you. Remember, when you're depressed, your loved ones feel it too. The energy you bring into a room while you're depressed is very dark. It's sometimes so dark, that it feels downright dreadful. Sometimes, the person feels isolated due to their own dark energy being felt by others. People seem to run away, and rightfully so. I run away whenever I feel it. I know how contagious it is.

So here's what worked for me if you're feeling depressed and negative feelings.

Pray and meditate every single morning. Make it a ritual. Set out a time, for however long you can do it. This will make it a habit.

Read up on positive scriptures that'll reinforce God's love for you. Here are some below.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. --Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds. --Psalm 147:3 

Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ may work through me. --2 Corinthians 12:9 

Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. --Matthew 11:28

I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. --Philippians 4:13

These scriptures help me keep my focus on God and to help restore my happiness. I try not to bog down my friends with my negative baggage in life, that's what my therapist is for. But there's nothing wrong with getting a little advice here and there. Just make sure that you're not sucking the living life out of them. People can be very sensitive when it comes to sharing their positivity with others. So when somebody is constantly whining and complaining about life -- that friend may very well need a break from you. I'm not saying this to be "mean" or "cruel" -- I'm saying this as a fact. Your friends are there to share in your happiness, laughter, as well as your hardships. But once the scale tips to where it's only hardships without the help of a professional -- how much more can that positive friend last?


So do yourself a favor, if you can't help yourself to balance out your own emotions, find a wonderful therapist who can assist you with all of your issues. Watch how your life turns around. Watch how your friends come back into your life. A depressed person repels the positive ones. A depressed person feeds off the positive, leaving the other person feeling very empty. It's important to know that if you do suffer from depression. I know, because I suffer from it too. I just realize how much it affects other people. It's a law. Not only try to be positive, but try to be around those who are positive too.

I hope this has helped in some way. I'm not downing anyone who suffers from anxiety and depression, because I have it too. I'm only sharing what I experience and what I have found that works best for me. Many people don't understand the level of pain and frustration that people go through who experience anxiety and depression. They just think it's 'another bad day' for us, when it's sometimes the end of the world in some cases. But you're not alone. And don't think that your happy-go-lucky neighbor, friend or co-worker has the perfect life. Sometimes anxiety and depression doesn't show up on the radar. Sometimes it's because they're putting on a facade, and other times, their anxiety and depression only shows up when they're alone. Everybody is different. Just because you have depression doesn't mean you look the part either. This is why many of my past therapists never believed me when I said I suffered with anxiety and depression. I didn't look the part. But isn't that judging a book by its cover?

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

Monday, May 02, 2016

Threatening the Afterlife: Sharing Your Core Beliefs

While releasing a few comments from a previous post due to a ton of spam I get, I came across a commenter who said something pretty significant. She opened my eyes up to a different way of viewing religious views and discussions.

”When I struggle so much with a philosophical question about faith, I personally back away. The debate and discussion will, most likely, not bring you closer to peace. Seek the peace directly instead. There is a point where religious beliefs diverge, based on specific tenets -- but there are enough commonalities to love and appreciate. In the meantime, for me, none of that takes the place of deep prayer -- not even my own religion. My *beliefs* and *religion* are not enough. It is in my deep, prayerful search for God that I find some peace. I offer this with great humbleness.” -Mary Agnes Antonopoulos

Basically, when people talk about religious views and start having debates, there will never be peace. To find peace is to find your “God” from within and not from outside sources. I do believe that there will never be peace in debating about religion since there is absolutely no other proof than your faith alone and written scrolls from centuries ago that may prove something, but science will always bat it back down into the ground. Science and spirituality are like oil and water.

If you tell me I'm sinning, then prove it other than flipping through a 3,000 year old book that's been written by man, "inspired" by God, which has been translated and misinterpreted from the day it published.

So with that in mind, I’ve come to the conclusion that people are deathly afraid when someone else of another religion threatens their afterlife. Doesn’t that make more sense? I mean, picture this scenario: I say to you, “Oh you must be a writer and editor”, all the while your dreams and aspirations are to be a CPA or a stockbroker. Two different animals. You’d probably look at me and say, “But I’m not interested in writing or editing” - and I’d say the same to you if you told me to become a CPA or a stockbroker.  (I’d probably make much more money taking the CPA or stockbroking suggestion, but that’s neither here nor there.) Same with religion though: it’s our destination; it’s our afterlife. Don’t tamper with it. With that, I am learning to be strong in my own faith and in the process, being easier on those of lesser faith that of my own religion who believe in another faith or perhaps, believe in every religion. Even if it doesn’t make logical sense “to me” for someone to believe in every religion: it’s their thing. It’s their belief. It’s their destination. Leave it be.

I guess what I’ve been hearing all along is ringing true for me: take down the barriers of dogmatic views and see the human element instead of what’s been taught or driven into us most likely since childhood. For me, as a person with Christian faith, what is it to be “Jesus-like”? He accepted all who came to Him - even nonbelievers. So my point is, I will not defend my religion, my views, my beliefs and whatnot, but instead I will share them, as I’ve done. I will leave out the dismissal of other religions and will refuse to threaten someone else’s afterlife theory or belief. There are arguments about the Trinity itself: how can God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit be one? Each religion has its own complexities if the nonbeliever is hearing it from someone of its faith.

Perhaps if we stop questioning life, spirituality and all that’s entailed with living and “living for”, then we are in fact, dead in spirit. With the fact that there is no such thing as “scientific truth” to spirituality or religion, the questioning process is a never-ending one. What about theology? Who’s to say certain scriptures and scrolls weren’t written by man to control the masses? We’re human, we can be unruly and maybe by “threatening our afterlife” because of our past and current behaviors, religion had to be instilled in order to teach us “right” from “wrong”. What about yin and yang - the good and the bad - happiness and sadness? Without these polar opposites, there would be no pursuit to progress or to become “better people”. If someone has never experienced great sadness, quite possibly they’ll never get a chance to experience what it truly means to be genuinely “happy”. Gratitude from getting out of a negative or depressive situation leads to happiness and contentment if one chooses. You can also remain miserable and bitter and spiral downward from there. It's your choice.

In conclusion, I would like to share one of my favorite scriptures that goes hand-in-hand with today's post. I think you’ll find fascinating since it’s typically something a “religious” person would scowl at.

“Accept Christians (or people of other religions) who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. For instance, one person believes it is all right to eat anything. But another believer who has a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. Those who think it is all right to eat anything must not look down on those who won’t. And those who won’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should. In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. Each person should have a personal conviction about this matter.” ~Romans 14:1-5

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!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

God Loves All of His Children, Even the Gay & Lesbian Ones

Let me just say one thing (maybe two or three or four) -- if there is one thing about me, or if you knew my wife and I on a personal level, the first thought (or second or third) would not be "sexual deviants" or "filthy heathens". You would't call us "perverts", unless I groped you while Mad wasn't looking or Mad winked at you on the sly. Ok, all kidding aside, you would probably just think that we were a normal (maybe not so normal) couple who love one another and who've been together for 22 years. We are two imperfect people refusing to give up on one another. We believe in God and make God number one in our lives. We try and share everything we have with everyone else as much as we possibly can. We have a deep respect for one another. We're there in sickness and in health, as we vowed to one another when we were married by our Christian pastor. She's my life companion, she's my best friend and confidant -- I can tell her absolutely anything. I plan to grow old with her, if fate allows us to. Do we have issues and argue from time to time? Of course we do, but we always forgive and try to understand each side of the argument, no matter who's in the wrong...(mostly her.) We laugh together, we cook together, we visit new places together. Most of all, we pray together.

My "sins" don't have anything to do with loving my partner of 22 years. My sins are much different than that, to which I struggle with from time to time. Sometimes I lash out and say things I later regret. Sometimes I use colorful language in jest. And sometimes I have an extra glass of wine to numb my emotional pain and anxiety. I'm a work in progress. I'm human. My life can sometimes be a little messy -- and yet God knows how much faith I have. I know how much faith I have. I still come to Him with all of my issues. I'm not perfect, which is why God is number one in my life.

There are some Christians who call me a "fake Christian" or that my lifestyle doesn't coincide with biblical scripture. Does anyone's life coincide with biblical scriptures? Quite a few antigay Christians have claimed that I wasn't praying to "the Jesus of the Bible". It's interesting, because most of them happen to use all of their 'religion' in order to give some sort of illusionary "right" to bash the LGBT community. The focus of their entire ministries are based upon letting others know that there's hell to pay. Instead of giving 10% of tithing, (as the Bible suggests), many of these antigay Christian ministries ask for tithing from other people who listen to their shows, simply by panhandling online. By donating your money to these free radio shows and broadcasts, you are giving money to a bunch of antigay bigots who are going against everything Jesus stood for. I one time fell for one of their cries for help and actually donated to a Christian organization who believed homosexuality was a sin, but they didn't quite condemn me...yet. Eventually, I was handed down with a slap in the face by telling me I was "evil" and that my entire life was all about "perversion" and "wickedness". My wife and I were very hurt.

Let's remind those who are antigay Christians what love is all about.

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love it not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance." --1 Corinthians 13-7


There are many people who have trouble understanding the Bible. There are many people who just simply can't comprehend what it all means. I admit, sometimes the Bible can be very confusing. The Bible itself is so convoluted between the many translations, various origins of certain words and contexts, as well as all of the twisted scriptures used for bigotry misinterpretations. There are many "false prophets" used to instill a set of morality within society. There are many people who fear that this nation alone will become unruly and "unnatural". The Bible tells us to be "fruitful" -- but what does that mean? Will humanity go extinct? To some, it means to procreate. Jesus was very fruitful, yet he didn't have any children. This has nothing to do with procreation. If that were the case, then what about heterosexual people who cannot procreate naturally? Should they divorce since they cannot have a baby? Of course not. That's why the Bible should not be taken literally. And let's face it, divorce is a sin to begin with...right? (Soooo many things we can judge so "righteously".)

There are many others things that should not be taken literally, as it says in this next segment...

It clearly says in Romans, “…and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” Isn’t this clear enough? There are no obscure Greek words. How are we to understand this?

ROMANS 1:24-27 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. (RSV)

To understand what Paul is writing about we must look at the event as a whole and not isolate a single portion of it. Each verse in this story gives us a glimpse into the situation. Verse 24: “Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.” If we are painting a picture, it begins with the image of LUST. Verse 25: “…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Now there is a FALSEHOOD as well as IDOLATRY involved (i.e. worshipping something other than God). Verse 26: “God gave them up to dishonorable passions…”

Now DISHONORABLE PASSIONS are presented. Looking back at this now we see this as a situation of lust, falsehood, idolatry, and dishonorable passions.

Verse 26 and 27 continue: “Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another…”

Looking at the men first will help to clarify the passage: “The men likewise gave up natural relations with women…”

Stop. Did you see that? They gave up natural relations with women, which implies that these men were heterosexuals by nature. The phrase translated as “gave up” is the Greek word aphente (afenteV) meaning to leave behind, forsake, neglect, or divorce. These men, therefore, divorced themselves from their own nature, that of heterosexuality, and were consumed with passion for one another. Women did likewise. As we see, Paul is talking about heterosexual individuals engaging in homosexual sex, which is contrary to their nature. Why would men do that? As any biblical scholar will tell you: “Context is everything.” This is a situation of lust, falsehood, idolatry, and dishonorable passions. In this account there are a number or men and a number of women, both plurals. This would most definitely be an orgy…everyone filled with lust and “dishonorable passions” having sex with whomever however. But why would Paul be talking about orgies?

A little research uncovers the pagan practice of “sacred sexual orgies.” Baal was the Canaanite deity that was worshipped with sexual orgies on Mount Peor in Moab, with which Paul would have been familiar. With this contextual understanding let us read this story again: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” Anyone who isolates the phrase “natural relations” to declare homosexual relations unnatural is interjecting their own prejudice and reading entirely outside of context. Even if we were to isolate that phrase it could only be used to condemn heterosexuals who go against their own heterosexual nature and engage in homosexual activity.----read more here.

In one part of their write up they give examples of the translations.

For instance in NIV: "adulterers" = "perverts" to then = "slave traders". ...Wait, what?

In NEB: "fornicators" = "sodomites" to then = kidnappers. ...Umm.


It's like a vicious game of telephone trying to decipher what all of these words have turned into, especially the meaning itself. The origins of the word "homosexuality" doesn't necessarily mean same gender sex. The passage in the ancient Hebrew is clearly talking about male-male sex acts, specifically anal sex. The issue was penetrating an anus with a penis, this making the penis literally “unclean” to the point of forbidding entry into a vagina. (Sorry to be so graphic...) Sodom and Gomorrah was about rape and humiliation -- not sex between two people who love one another. But Christians will cherry pick this and twist the story around to condemn those who are homosexual.

It surely doesn't take a masters degree to understand or at least to decipher the true value of the meaning in the Bible. I can understand if someone has a learning disability, then that may apply. But we're talking about our fate -- our afterlife -- as well as our life here on earth. God said to live our lives abundantly, happily and with love. But some of us aren't doing that.

As I've always stated, those who have a healthy fear of homosexuals and transgender people having rights of their own are called what? "HOMOPHOBES" and "TRANSPHOBES" -- but they detest that word claiming it's "gay rhetoric" and that they're not afraid of homosexuals and transgenders, but they are in fear of them having their rights. What's the difference?

Studies have been proven that most antigay homophobic Christians have a long history with homosexuality themselves, or at least trying to fight off the feelings the best they can due to religious upbringing. When someone is so incredibly adamant on taking down the LGBT community, there has to be a deeper level of frustration -- a personal frustration of their own.

Why are they so angry at the LGBT community? It's a personal issue.


Extremely antigay people (not even Christians so much) can have an underlining issue of homosexuality themselves. Studies have been conducted where this showed much truth to this. If you think about it, why don't people like antigay Christians and those who protest the rights of LGBT groups focus more on other issues, like rape and sexually abused children? Isn't that a much more important issue to address? But see, they can't help themselves because by nature, they are what they protest.

Watch this video. I know I've posted this up numerous times in the past, but it demonstrates how homophobic people are usually closeted homosexuals.



Please click here if you cannot view the video itself.

Freedom of speech, right?

So I speak freely, outwardly, opposing those who try to take people of the LGBT community down. Not only is it destructive, seeing how many of our gay youths and adults are being bullied, sometimes killed for their sexual orientation and identity, but you are bringing many gays, lesbians and transgenders away from God.

As Christians, you are supposed to bring them closer to God. He has not condemned those of homosexuality. They have.

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and cast into the sea." --Mark 9:42

(Sounds much like a scene in The Sopranos.) 

But again, I digress.

My best friend & companion of 22 years.

Getting back to my original point, my wife and I are much like anybody else trying to live their lives the best that they can. Nobody can judge us. I do however, respect other people's opinions on what it says in the Bible -- even if they feel that homosexuality is a sin. But to tear people down indefinitely by calling them "sinners" and casting them into hell -- that's when I have to step up and get vocal about it. "You are NOT God." Nobody can say, "Well, they don't know God," because my relationship with God is amazing. Not only have I studied the Bible for years (anyone can) -- I have had spiritual experiences where I have seen Jesus Himself. You can call it a hallucination, or a spike in oxytocin -- but the fact remains, that ever since that day back in 1996, I have never been the same. I am not ashamed to speak about my sightings of Jesus, as I've written in my book, A Prayer Away From Healing. I truly believe He chose me to spread the message around the world -- perhaps not to travel physically, but to utilize what I have, between my book, my blog and through social media, to assure those who love God, that God loves them MUCH more than they can even fathom.

To anyone who is of the LGBT community, please know God loves you for YOU. He is not the wrathful and hateful God that some people make Him out to be.

"The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love." --Psalm 103:8

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

Monday, April 25, 2016

A World of Good


Most of us adapt to our cultural backgrounds and even current influences. Most influences are cultivated by our own relation to whatever we were brought up to believe in. But what if your core beliefs were shaken up a bit? What if God came down to earth and said, "You got it all wrong! Why did you solely rely on words that men wrote? Some of that wasn't inspired by me." How would you look at the world? And if you are a conservative Christian -- if everything you read with total conviction came tumbling down, how would you respond to those you warned about hell?

Many conservatives are angered by the whole transgender bathroom fiasco. I've covered this a million and one times, so to save you the pete and repeat -- let's just say this: how does this affect you? Most unexposed people who have never met someone who is transgender are assuming that they all look the same, dare I say that derogatory term mostly used in the porn industry of "tranny". They think there's going to be a male wearing a leather get up with his bits peeking out. I've heard every term from "twisted" and "perverted" as well as "grave consequences for their choices".

One Christian radio host even stated that their "choices" shouldn't be upon everyone else or that society should accommodate them. He went on to say, "I have love and compassion for all, and I believe that it is more loving to address their spiritual and emotional needs than to intentionally ignore those needs by reengineering society."


"Reengineering society"? Didn't we reengineer society when we abolished slavery here in America? Didn't we take down the "NO COLORED ALLOWED" signs off the doors of diners and luncheonettes? Didn't we acknowledge interracial marriages not even more than 50 years ago? Did it kill us? And how wrong was it to have had these discriminatory laws to begin with? It boggles my mind to think that these Christians have no education in history, therefore repeating it again and again. He stated that he has love and compassion for all? No. He has a fear of the unknown, perhaps a deep-seated reason why he is so against gays, lesbians and transgender people.

I'm refraining from using their actual names because these people happen to be recent friends of ours with very different beliefs and opinions. I am not trying to slam anyone against a wall, but this next story kind of threw my entire viewpoint off of how I really feel about their strong beliefs. Everyone has different beliefs, but this next story had me thinking it was a bit more than just their faith in God. His wife sought this story out by herself just to attack the LGBT community. I'm actually kind of saddened by this.

And it was then I heard a disturbing phone call made by his wife to a restaurant over a complaint made by a gay waitress who received a scripture instead of a tip on the bill. The article was written by Chris Dyches from The Charlotte Observer.

A Charlotte waitress says she was infuriated and hurt when a group of ladies left a message for her on their bill – taking aim at her sexual orientation. Alexandra Judd works at Zada Janes in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood. She says a group of patrons she served for lunch Tuesday morning left her a “hateful message” in lieu of a tip. A Bible verse was left on the tip pointing Judd to Leviticus 20:13. “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination,” the King James version of the Old Testament verse reads. “They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” Judd is gay. The bottom of the receipt had a message for her as well: “Praying for you!” “I never expected a hateful gesture like this,” Judd said of the comments. “I’ve had a guest leave me a pamphlet to their church as a tip one time, but I didn’t feel as if they were being hateful towards me. The ladies that came in were very rude, and would hardly talk to me – but I never expected this.” She says she was infuriated and hurt by what she saw. “I’ve heard of people leaving fake money, or writing funny stuff in the tip spot of a check but never believed it would happen to me, in the way that it did,” she said. Judd posted a picture of the receipt on her Facebook page. Her co-workers and friends have shared the post and shared their shock and anger in the comments. According to Judd, she’s lived in North Carolina nearly a year after moving from a small town in Alabama. She has taken part in a few rallies for equality since she has moved to Charlotte, including Wednesday night’s rally in uptown Charlotte against North Carolina’s House Bill 2. “I don’t care what anyone says, this is the most disrespectful thing you can do,” she wrote about the incident on Facebook. “Don’t pray for me darling, I have everything I could possibly want and need in my life.”

Anyway, the radio host's wife called the restaurant in hopes that this entire story was made up by the lesbian waitress. While she was on the phone with the restaurant, she kept asking, "Don't you think she is lying about this?" And the lady on the other end said, "No, I don't. The handwriting was the same." But the wife kept egging her on to believe that the lesbian waitress was making all of this up in hopes to get her for defamation of character. She was so determined that she actually sounded pathetic -- to the point where the restaurant employee said, "Ma'am, I don't know what else to tell you."

The wife wanted her to lie or to tell her that the waitress lied about the "religious bigotry" she had received.

I am trying to make a point here, so bear with me. It sickens me to think that there are Christians out there using God's name and Holy Scriptures from the Old Testament in order to discriminate. But that's not even the point. 90% of their focal point are all targeted against the LGBT community. The wife, who happens to be self-proclaimed ex-lesbian herself, seems to be very much influenced by her husband, which by the way has made it known that he's going to try to tiptoe through his bigoted words in order to be more politically correct in one broadcast he did a few days ago. He stated that he would be "softer" with his bigotry beliefs against gays and lesbians.

These people I speak about are actually a very nice couple. But what makes them so enraged when speaking about the LGBT community? They were hurt and harassed by many members of our community, but at what cost? What did they do? Of course two wrongs don't make a right, but when you try to take away somebody's rights using nothing but your manmade biblical scriptures (God inspired of course) -- then how are we progressing as a society? I read the Bible, but I use discernment. Homosexuality in the Bible are referencing to lustful and reckless sexual relations. It also speaks about rape and humiliation as seen in Sodom and Gomorrah. They twist and turn each scripture to suit their needs so they can discriminate against us and then use "freedom of religion" to have a legal right to deny us.


Let's just put out an example. Divorcees whose spouses are still alive -- that's considered adultery in the Bible. So if I were to rely on every single word the Bible speaks about, then I would believe that they're going to hell, right? But when you have a deep and intimate relationship with God -- a personal relationship with God, then you will know that even though you are spending time with an "adulterous" woman, it does not affect your life. God speaks about not judging others because the same judgment will be used against you.

How will same-sex marriage and nondiscrimination laws for transgender people ruin your lives? They're not pedophiles. If a pedophile is going to walk into a restroom, he will anyway. Watch your children at all times. There are bad people everywhere -- why associate bad people with transgender people? It's so ignorant and irrational. They're not doing it for their "religion" -- they are tormenting others of the LGBT community because they have deep-seated issues of their own to contend with. And to elaborate on that notion -- the wife also stated that not only did she have lesbian feelings at one time, but if she was "still a lesbian", she would definitely try to be with a good friend of hers who is also an online speaker. She has also stated that as a therapist, that she would deny any services to anyone of the LGBT community.

See, repression brings on anger. Repression due to what I call, "Catholic guilt", in this case, "Christian guilt", results in unforeseen hypocrisy. Look at how many conservative Christian politicians were caught with their pants down or seen on gay hookup sites? We need to address the psychological instabilities of those who are extremely antigay and start focusing on the real issue: closet homosexuals. Don't you ever wonder why some Christians are so adamant about slamming those who are gay and lesbian? It's almost like a determination -- a drive to steal, kill and destroy their spirit. And as a Christian -- the only ones seeking to kill, steal and destroy is the devil himself.

Words that I have heard them use are "evil", "sure destruction", "grave consequences" when describing the LGBT community. My opinion? Live your life and worry about your own issues. I don't believe in ex-gays. I don't believe you can convert someone to a different sexual orientation. I even asked the husband, "Did you choose to be straight," and of course I didn't receive a response. Maybe he just thought that was some sort of gay rhetoric. Nonetheless, with the primary focus on homosexuality and transgenderism -- they seem to lose all five of their listeners because let's face it -- if you're talking about God or spreading God's message around, He certainly doesn't want you condemning people to hell. That's his job. He can judge others. He can cast people into hell. Let your job be spreading the good news and spreading lots of love.

I'm not trying to "silence" anyone or take away their "religious freedom" -- I'm trying to explain why they get so much flak from the LGBT community because they cry about it so much.

When all you do is feed people with negative preaching and beg for donations, it seems to get tiresome. When you're constantly trying to find flaws or badmouth a certain group, you'll get some people in -- the ones who love the drama, but that's all it is: entertainment purposes only. What about inspiring others to love one another and to reach a deeper connection to God?

But I digress.

Some of the social media blabber by my own personal friends are a bit disturbing. I saw this post which left me a bit saddened since I thought she was very open-minded. She's also non-religious, so take it for what it's worth.

She wrote, "So if I feel like a man one day, I can go into the men's room and shit in the urinal?? Wtf, why is this getting so much attention? Male anatomy- men's room, women's anatomy- ladies room. Is that so hard?"

Yes. It is that hard, because genitalia has zero to do with gender identity in some cases. It's the same irrational "logic" used by the way right: "So if I wanna be a frog, I can be a frog?" When you can't just live your life without bashing a certain group, it makes me wonder how fulfilled your own life is. Miserable people will try to hurt others. And while she thinks that nobody on her Facebook page is transgender, she may want to tone it down for those who are advocates and friends with transgender people. I love my friend, but this has made me realize how unexposed and ignorant (not meant in a bad way) people can be. We live in a small town in New York, and it can be quite the tight knit circle of only people who look the same, act the same, live the same. You get my drift.

As a Christian myself, I am so happy that I had the opportunity to visit places where everyone was included. Black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, bi, queer, transgender, cisgender, various creeds -- it filled my heart to see everyone at peace with one another. When you live in a bubble of your own community and never let in anyone different, it leaves you to believe that everyone besides yourself and those you keep in your circle are "evil" or "bad". No one is forcing anyone to change their minds, but it would be nice to see more love within our Christian society. It would do a world of good.

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!