Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lesbian Couple to be the New Pastors of Calvary Baptist Church

Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen who are a married lesbian couple, were announced as the co-pastors of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington last Sunday. They received a lot of heat from other Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin. Most cringed, throwing stones and condemning them to hell for "false doctrine." As a Christian myself, I do not believe that homosexuality is a sin. It is listed in Leviticus, just like the other 613 commandments that were from the Old Law. New Christians believe that Jesus died on the cross and abolished the law. If you keep the Old Law, you must obey it, like steering away from lobster and shrimp scampi, not shaving your beard, not wearing clothing made out of different fabrics -- the list goes on.

In the Bible, it states:

"But what if we seek to be made right with God through faith in Christ and then find out that we are still sinners? Has Christ led us into sin? Of course not! Rather, I make myself guilty if rebuild the old system I already tore down. For when I tried to keep the law, I realized I could never earn God’s approval. So I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me an gave himself for me. I am not one for those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die."  -- Galatians 2:17-21

Pretty huge statement if you think about it. “For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die.”

Another scriptures tells us that there are no more Jew or Gentile, male or female through faith.

"Let me put it in another way. The law was our guardian and teacher to lead us until Christ came. So now, through faith in Christ, we are made right with God. But now that faith in Christ has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. So you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. For you are ALL Christians—you are one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and now all the promises God gave to him belong to you." --Galatians 3:24-29

Another scriptures many Christians will throw at them is the story about Sodom & Gomorrah. This story references to rape and humiliation -- not a loving relationship between two people. But they will twist their scriptures to suit their own hatred and bigotry.

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is quite clear. Basically, God says that He's going to destroy cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, if two angels cannot find any good people within the towns. Once the angels arrive, a kind man named Lot invites these angels into his home and entertains them. This angers the cities' men, and the men rallied outside of Lot's home, wishing to do "perverse actions" to these male angels. Moments later, the two cities are destroyed by fiery rain. Many anti-gay Christian ministers use this passage to say that this is an example of God’s wrath against homosexuality -- as if the men of Sodom were all gay, and all trying to "be gay with" these male angels. Historians and sociologists tell us that gang rape was a very common form of brutal humiliation of the subjects, in the ancient Western world. The Sodomite men did not come to Lot’s house to have monogamous, committed, loving relationships with the male angels residing there. They came to rape these angels. Also, MULTIPLE parts of the Bible (Luke 10: 10-13; Isaiah 19: 13-14; Jeremiah 23: 14; Ezekiel 16: 49; Zephaniah 2: 8-11) tell us that God despised the greed and their wickedness toward outsiders as their sin, not that fact that men wanted to “have sex” with men.

Any references to homosexuality listed in Corinthians, Romans, Matthew -- any NT references -- are all describing promiscuity and lustful and reckless sex between both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

What truly bothers me about the flak that Sally and Maria have received is that they'd rather turn these two beautiful women away from God. Most say, "Denounce Christianity if you're going to continue your perverted lifestyle!" If you trust God enough, and you truly believe that homosexuality is in fact a sin, then pray for them. Don't you trust God? Don't you think God will handle any situation if He feels is unfit? By faith, these two women are preaching the word of God and inspiring many people. It is not "false doctrine" to spread God's word. It is false doctrine to judge people -- to throw stones -- to not acknowledge your own sinful ways.

Remember when the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery?  They put her in front of a crowd and in front of Jesus and said, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery! The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?"

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!' Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?"

"No Lord," she said.

And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."

Many Christians will sift through that passage and read only one line: "Go and sin no more." Adultery is a sin, both for heterosexuals and homosexuals. We're talking about breaking a marital vow. Promiscuity is sinful, yes. It's also forgivable. But my point is, those who judge these new pastors of the Baptist church in Washington are acting like the Pharisees who threw that woman into the crowd to get stoned. They wanted to see her pay for her sinful act. Jesus was merciful. All of these awesome scriptures and stories about Jesus are overlooked by so many.

So my personal note to Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen is this...

May God bless the both of you as you inspire, encourage and teach the word of God. May the Holy Spirit guide you, flow through you, so that you can bless others with your faith. Stay strong, because remember -- Christians are the ones who get prosecuted! Real Christians of faith are the ones who will be stoned by many. Pray for a hedge of protection and remember, if God is on your side, then who can be against you? You are needed in this dark world, and I thank you. I wish I lived closer to be apart of your congregation. Blessings...

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!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

4 Misconceptions About Working From Home

I can work outside on my deck.
Years ago when I was stuck in a cubicle for 8-12 hours, I would always imagine myself working from home. Back in the late 90's, early 2000's, that was a rarity. I never thought I could pull something like that off. There are many perks about working outside of your home: interacting with other like-minded people, a different atmosphere, office parties as well as no "set" office inside your home. In all honesty, I was very unhappy working in an office doing what I did. I went into accounting and then into a crazy high paced call center answering calls from frustrated customers for either technical support or to argue about a bill. It was tedious and downright draining. The last thing I wanted to see when I got home was a phone and a computer.

In 2002, my company started laying off people by the droves, or reducing the salary into HALF. Management started shifting playing musical chairs, our quotas and numbers needed to be 99% or higher, and the goal to keep our company open was far from doable. This was when decisions were being made for the most faithful of employees. Sadly, we all saw our fate in the Sunday classifieds trying to grasp even a portion of our pay that we were receiving at this particular company. We were very spoiled. All good things must come to an end though, right?

I spent a couple of years trying to "find myself", and with much help from my supportive partner, I was able to create my passion of writing into a career. But it went beyond just writing a book or articles -- I started to edit for other people as well as do promotional videos for up and coming comedians and actors in NYC. I started to make money in other ways -- in ways that I thoroughly enjoyed. Sixteen years later, I'm sitting in my home office writing articles, editing other people's articles, broadcasting as well as setting up link placements for advertisers and getting paid as much as I was working in a corporate office.

This doesn't come without quite a few assumptions and judgments from the peanut gallery. So here are my thoughts on the misconceptions about working from home, or just being an entrepreneur/freelancer.

People think you don't do anything all day, or claim that working from home isn't a "real job".

This is so far off the mark. In fact, even though our schedules may seem flexible, that only means that if you don't finish the work during the day, you will be up till 4am finishing someone else's work. For instance, my morning (if I get one) consists of making coffee and making sure all articles and edits have been published from the night before. After that's all checked, I either write an article for various websites that mirror off from my blog, or I set up link placements for advertisers. If I have an editing project, whether that be editing someone else's article or paper, or someone's 5 hour video cut down into 5 minutes -- it can be an all day task. After all is done, I can go out to the grocery store, get some errands done, cook for my family and make sure everyone is OK. I also take care of my mom who has cancer.

Since most of your days are working from home, haven't you become a recluse now? 

Maybe a little bit, but how many of you who work from an outside office would love to get away from certain coworkers? How many of you thought, "Wow, I'd love to be home right now." And while being home too much can drive you a little nutso, there are things you can do to alleviate the stir craziness. I used to be quite the extrovert, and quickly found out how disappointing some people can be. I carefully select who I spend my time with. If I have only one or two close friends, it's better than  having 100 fake friends. If I do choose to go out, it's something pretty low-key. I'm not into the bar scene anymore, because I'm 42 now and my priorities have changed drastically. My wife and I go out to dinner at nice restaurants, meet a few friends for drinks and then come home and enjoy our time together. We go on vacations every year with family and love our little routine. So I may have drifted off from the "big social events" -- but I would've done that anyway even if I was working 9-5 in some cooped up cubical. Just because I don't go clubbing and drinking myself into a coma every night doesn't make me a recluse. I'm a chosen recluse to some degree. And I'm OK with that.

Your spouse must be taking good care of you. 

And she does, but in loving, nurturing ways. We are both equals in our households. But since my wife works long hours in an office, people seem to think she's the breadwinner. We both make uncertain amount of money every year since we both work independently. I invested time and money into my career. To have an entrepreneurship, time and money gets invested first. Then for the first year or so, like any other start up business, you don't even make what you put in. The second year starts to show the results, and that takes a whole lotta patience. That's why people do not realize how much work goes into being a freelancer or entrepreneur. In fact, it took me over 7 years to see really impressive numbers come in. Working from home does not mean someone else supports you financially. It does not mean that you get a free ticket from paying your bills or living in a nice home.

Remember, people who you judge you because you work from home DO NOT PAY YOUR BILLS. They do not know the sacrifice of what it means to be able to make money doing something you love. Most people who judge entrepreneurs usually hate what they do and want to get out of their chosen profession. It's usually the happy and content people who look at this in a different light. Misery loves company, so why shouldn't you be miserable like they are? That's the mindset.

Circa 1999 at Frontier Communications
You must stay in your pajamas all day.

Sometimes! And that's a great perk! But on most days, I do broadcasting so I have to spruce it up a little. There are a few times a week when I have a video conference call. But if there are no set up broadcasts or video conference calls -- then you're damn right I'm going to be up in my big fluffy flannels getting stuff done. On Halloween of 1999, the theme was "Working in the Future". I came in wearing my silk pajamas with a long robe, towel around my neck and flip flops. My dream came true.

Think about this: most of people's lives are spent in a florescent-lit office wired up to a cubical doing something they didn't even go to college for. So the next time someone judges you about working from home, or assumes that you do nothing all day, just remember: they don't pay your bills!

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, December 09, 2016

Removing My Label Once and For All

So many of us like to place titles on our lives, like "I'm a salesperson" or "I'm a Trump supporter," and even, "I'm a lesbian."  Before I make this statement, please know that I am not lumping an entire group into a "whole", but from only what I have seen for myself. I don't like to label myself. Hate it. But it is what it is. I'm gay. I guess the technical term would be "lesbian". Whatever. I do not belong to any "community", although I am an advocate for the LGBT community as best I can. I've never been to a pride parade, simply because I can celebrate who I am right here as I am. I am not embarrassed about being gay, or about having a lifetime partner of 23 years -- I just don't want to be lumped as a "community". With that being said, I have experienced on numerous occasions, other lesbian women who do not respect my marriage with my partner. They will either try to pursue an affair or relationship, fully aware that I am committed to only one person. I have seen other lesbian women who are partnered up that also pursue a relationship or an affair on the side. I know this isn't only limited to the "lesbian community". I realize that straight people do this as well, but from what I've seen, the "community" has done lost their minds.

Perhaps I'm a bit of an outcast. I'm Christian and God comes first in my life, and that's not the norm for your stereotypical "lesbian". I had several people email me asking why I took the "lesbian" and "LGBT" label off from my bio on all social media. It's very simple. I do not want to be pigeonholed in only talking about one topic. I never did anyway. So when people come onto my blog or live broadcasts, they think it's just going to be LGBT conversations and topics. It's not. In fact, most of my readers and broadcast viewers are straight. I'm not aiming for a particular group -- I'm simply trying to help people who struggle with similar things as I do.

So who am I?

First and foremost, I'm a Christian.
I'm a daughter.
I'm a wife.
I'm a sister.
I'm a friend.
I'm a contributor.
I'm a writer.
I'm a musician.
I'm an owner of a rescue dog.
I'm a helluva cook.

I'm so much more than just a "lesbian". That's only a fraction of who I am, only because I am married to someone of the same gender. Love is love no matter who it is, regardless of gender. But lately, the "community" has been coming down on me, questioning my updated bio, having to leave the "lesbian" out of the equation. I feel like in some way, that limits my audience. I don't see many writers and broadcasters displaying themselves as "straight guy from NY" or "black woman from Cali" -- it's probably a given. Details like that aren't really important. Who ARE you? What do you DO? How do you help? I think those things are much more important. And being an LGBT advocate is important for various reasons and issues of discrimination. Sure. I get that. But it doesn't have to be a daily crisis.

"Hi, I'm Debra and I'm a lesbian."
"Hiiii, Debra!" 

I've contemplated on whether or not my being gay was a choice or if it was genetics. And my question is: who cares? For instance, I knew I liked females since I was in diapers. "Well what do you mean you liked females -- you didn't even know what attraction was!" No. I did. I found myself having little crushes on actresses, teachers, or family friends who were older females. I never liked any of my friends who were my own age. But as I grew into my teens, I also dated boys. I needed to give the "normal life" a shot. I dreamed of the typical life: big house, three kids, a family dog with a white picket fence, etc., but that never happened, or it kinda did but in a roundabout way. And now, I have a wife, (my family unit), a nice home, a dog without the white picket fence.

"But are you happy?"

Is anyone 100% happy? I can say that my happiness is a byproduct of my gratitude. I am extremely grateful to have married my best friend. Every little thing I have, (and it's not much) is worth more than gold to me. My relationship with God has made me realize so many things. For one, you don't need to procreate in order to be a caretaker or to help someone less fortunate than yourself. I have learned that a family unit doesn't have to consist of having a little biological tribe, but it's to find love within your own home and welcome those who are in your life with love and respect. Life doesn't have to look like a Hallmark movie. It simple has to be appreciated for all that it is.

I have never fit in with the "lesbian community". I was always shunned for my political and religious views. They'd tell me that God doesn't accept me and neither does anyone who holds republican values. See, I don't believe that. And I have views that are much more important than the "gay agenda". I feel like the "community" has pigeonholed themselves into a world of exclusiveness -- a world where nobody else is welcomed, unless they all think and live alike. I don't conform to their standards, and never will. I will always stick up for anyone who is being discriminated against, but to be apart of a 'community" that shuns their own is just too vile to even consider.

Not long ago, I remember I was talking to one of my friends who happens to be a transgender woman. She's also a lesbian. She went to attend a lesbian meet up -- where they all go out to dinner in groups and get to know one another.  I guess you can say my friend wasn't quite settled in -- or "well assimilated" to her gender as of yet. She was still transitioning, but you can plainly see, that she was indeed, a she. The negative response she received from these women were so awful and discriminative. To even think that this group of lesbians are seeking acceptance from society, yet doesn't take the "T" in the "LGBT" is just sickening to me. It's not only hypocritical, it's despicable. They said that they felt as though it was a "man" intruding and forcing themselves inside their private groups -- an "impostor" of sorts. I truly believe that after I found this out, it only made my views on the "community" hard to swallow. So this is why I will not associate myself in a "group" or "community" -- nor will I ever label myself again.

I'm just "me". Take it or leave 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, November 30, 2016

Happiness is a Byproduct of Being Grateful

This time of year can be very hard for some of us. Many have lost loved ones, leaving them with only an empty chair to look at during the holidays. It grips your heart so tightly, that it feels like you can't breathe. We hold onto the grief tightly too. For whatever reason, most of us prefer that dark feeling -- the grievance that aches our heart. IT's a sense of being able to at least feel anything at all. But what if we changed our mindsets? What if we knew how present and "alive" our deceased loves one were? What if we knew for sure, that they were still around us during very important moments? Remember, the deceased do not miss us. They don't long for anything. There is no time there, so the "missing someone" part is taken out of the equation. Our human minds make us believe that maybe our deceased loved ones miss us, when actually, they already know that we'll be together -- the reassurance of uniting once again. Our lifetime is only but a minute to them. And let's face it, life is pretty short when you look back ten years from now. Doesn't it feel like yesterday?

I've been discovering some new things lately regarding pain on both emotional and physical realms. This past year, I took two horrendous falls. (One fall that my mother was in tears laughing at -- that's a whole other can-o-beans), and the other fall was down my stairwell. My tailbone hit every single step there was to be found.

Here are the differences: the first fall was walking into a restaurant falling flat on my face because of a ledge that was unforeseen, aka, Deb's clumsy as hell. Although it hurt like the devil, I laughed it off because it was so funny. It truly was. And to see my mom laughing made me happy. Anything to make her laugh just gives me joy. After having our laughs over my toss and tumble into the restaurant, my pain left me. I thought to myself, "Wow, I am gonna feel this tonight!" But I never did. My knees were like huge balloons because I fell on them. My hands were bruised, yet no pain. The laughter kept me from feeling pain. The endorphins that were let off was like pure medicine -- an instant pain reliever.

The second fall was different. I was worrying about my mom's health. I had been crying most of the night, worrying that she was suffering. I left my keys, jeans and shoes next to my nightstand in case I had to rush her up to the ER or if I had to call 911 for her again for another transfusion. I cannot tell you how much it breaks my heart to see her go through so many procedures, unhappy, not laughing like her usual self. I wish I could just take the pain for her! Early the next morning, I got a call from my sister asking to check on my mother because she may need an ambulance. I ran down the first set of stairs, and as I went to go approach the long staircase, I fell on each step with my tailbone. The pain radiated from my butt all the way up to my head. But because I was so upset to begin with, my emotional pain seeped into my physical pain, leaving me crying like a big baby. I couldn't stop crying. My back went out and my right leg was completely numb from my sciatica nerve. This lasted for quite some time.

Do you know someone who suffers from fibromyalgia? I was diagnosed with it four years ago. Every single step I took hurt so badly, that I could barely walk some days. The pain was everywhere, from my joints to my skin feeling like it was on fire. Most of all, if I was stressed out or sad about something, my fibromyalgia would flare up something awful. I noticed the pattern. I've spoken about this before -- there's something I learned from Eckhart Tolle that's called the "pain-body" -- where physical pain is stored up by emotional pain. Whether it was in the past, or currently in the present, emotional pain can wreak havoc on your body, causing great pain and even illnesses.

I guess you can also say that a good attitude can help with emotional pain as well. Someone asked me the other day, "Deb, you always look happy. Are you happy?" And I said to her that I'm not always happy, but more so, I am very grateful. I think gratitude has a lot of power -- the power to enable all of us to be happy in some way. I make a gratitude list of everything -- from running water to the roof over my head. These things that many take for granted can be taken away from us as quickly as it was given. We need to realize that nothing lasts forever and that all things are impermanent.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. --Romans 5:3-4

Being present and conscious lets me realize how precious life us -- how amazing every single moment is right "now'. My first prayer of the morning is just thanking God for His undeserving favor. And when you become completely grateful for all you have, it makes room for more good things to come your way. Things are set into place and will come to fruition.

When your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. --James 1:3-4

When I realized I was practicing gratitude and the appreciation for the "now" and being conscious of all that God has given me, I was prepared for anything. For instance, last Wednesday night, right before Thanksgiving, I was sent to the hospital for health issues. While in the ambulance, I saw Jesus sitting next to me right on my gurney. I can have joy in the midst of chaos. You can have joy in the midst of chaos. The medic took an EKG and just stared at the results and quickly gave me nitroglycerin and four baby aspirins. He called the hospital and said the EKG was inconclusive and that my heart rate and blood pressure was too high. I kept hearing God tell me, "Now do you realize how precious life is? Will you now stop saying you hate your life? Will you stop complaining about the nightly seizures that are caused by stress and trust in me more?" I made a solid promise to God in that ambulance. It was a promise of never taking my life for granted, or wishing that God would just "take me now" when I'm feeling that pseudo suicidal wackiness. I do from time to time, because I just don't want to deal with anything I can't handle. But God reassures me that He will never give me anything I cannot handle.

Through my experience, the key to "happiness" or at least, a constant joy that only God can give is gratitude. It's the appreciation for every single thing you have. It's the acknowledgment of God working in your life, strengthening you in various ways so that we can cope with what's to come. Our lives often get interrupted with inconveniences that frustrate us, but if we can learn to accept those interruptions and be conscious of God's presence as well as the present moment, those "inconveniences" will become clearer to you of why it was put in your path. Things don't always run smoothly or as expected. Our high expectations for a "perfect life" will come crumbling down if we do not accept the fact that we MUST be in the moment and have no resistance to it. And as the old saying goes -- whatever you resist, persists. Stop resisting and accept what life is bringing to you, whether good or bad. Take it, and manifest it for the good.

We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan. --Romans 8:28

Stop trying to figure out why, and start accepting what God placed before you. God's will is always in our best interest.

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, November 22, 2016

Myoclonus, Sleep Starts, Sleep Jerks, Hypnic Jerks, Seizures: Silently Suffering

Back in May, I believe I wrote about the same issue that I've been dealing with. I wish I could say it's insomnia, but it's not. I live a very strange lifestyle now. (No, not the type you're thinking...) But strange in the terms of off-schedule, not the norm, whatever you wanna call it type of 'strange'. I'm very open about my anxiety disorder, and that can sometimes be quite debilitating. Many people who don't understand anxiety brush it off and just tell ya to "get over it" and "face your fears" -- blah blah blah. And while that holds up to be very true, and in fact, I face at least one fear a day, it still comes on like a beast, and sometimes unexpectedly. My "beast" happens to find me at night while I'm all comfy in my bed about to fall asleep. There is absolutely nothing brewing in my little noggin other than listening to the beautiful sounds of crickets and frogs from the window left open besides me. I can't tell you how incredibly peaceful our bedroom is. It's clean, it smells like lavender, and I have an awesome dog to snuggle with....and wife. (Had to add her in there.)

So picture this: you're about to fall asleep. Your eyes are closed, your body's relaxed, and you're already dozing off. Before you can get to that 'sleep stage', your body starts jerking violently and your breathing completely stops. You can't breathe in or out -- it. just. stops. So now your arms are flailing trying to signal your spouse that you need help! This lasts for a good ten seconds. And sometimes, those ten seconds don't have enough breath in you, so you begin to black out from a lack of oxygen. After your episode ends, you're out of breath, sitting on the edge of the bed with a huge migraine and your heart going up to 200 bpms. The migraine is also due to a lack of oxygen. After a while, you start getting sleepy again, so you try going back to sleep. But it happens every. single. time. you. try. It gets to the point where you just stand up, walk yourself over to the living room and watch TV. But you're so incredibly tired!!! You just wanna sleep. It's not insomnia. It's like the devil choking you for shits & giggles.

"Maybe it's sleep apnea?"

No. I have been to a couple of sleep studies already, two pulmonologists, and three neurologists. They all wanted to throw me Klonopin and call it a day.  They all diagnosed me with myoclonus. It's another word for, "I really don't know why your body is doing that" type of diagnosis. They also said it can be anxiety and left it at that. This has nothing to do with anxiety. After last night, I can completely tell that something is definitely wrong with my wiring. I mean, that's a given, but this is to a whole new level. So now, my wife is trying to get an appointment with an endocrinologist (a hormonal specialist) to see if they could help. It never ends. This has been happening every single night for the past couple of years. I have had them on and off for seven years though. But it wasn't a big enough deal -- they were just "sleep jerks" or "sleep starts". I can deal with that. My usual night involves at least 5-7 episodes, until I am totally worn out at around 5am. So I go to sleep at 5am and wake up at 11am. I'm grateful that I can work anytime and anywhere, but I LOVE getting up early in the morning, making coffee and having breakfast with my wife, commuting two feet to the office and starting work.

The night won't let me sleep.

As of late, I've been slipping into our living room to bunk out there from time to time, but they still come on like the devil. My mother and father in law gave us holy anointing oil and prayed over me while we were all on vacation last May. It helped to some degree. Every 'remedy' helps to some degree and then BAM -- it's back to the torture chamber. I sage my house, I pray over each room, I meditate and try to connect with God on a daily basis, which helps me emotionally. So whether or not I'll have this for the rest of my life -- my faith is still my #1 go-to.

I'm not well at all. I also know that things can be so much worse. But how do you explain to your family and friends who rely on you, "I just can't make it today," or tell them that you have to cancel out on plans or stay in because you were up the entire night? Sometimes I'm functioning on 4-5 days of zero sleep. I'm delusional and punch-drunk. I can't even think. This has affected my life so greatly that it even came down to suicidal thoughts from time to time. I rattle off things like, "I wish God would just take me this time," or I'll mutter out, "I'm too tired to live!" I don't want to be too tired. I've also put on more weight because being up all night long, I get hungry because I'm not sleeping. My hormones are probably a huge contributor to this as well. When someone says, "Well just exercise," and you look at them with your overly-medicated gaze thinking, "Are you nuts?" The Lorazepam doesn't work anymore. At this point, it's either upping the dosage or weaning off like I was supposed to do.

So there's that.

Good news is: I don't have epilepsy, nor do I have anything neurologically wrong with me. ...So what's wrong with me? I've had countless nights searching Google for people who have the same symptoms and wow -- so many people experience what I do, but like myself, they can't get the answers to help themselves. It's frustrating to say the least. I'm crying as I type this right now because people don't realize how much this can affect your life. At the risk of sounding like some crazy nutcase -- I need help. So I'm writing this post openly in hopes that people who Google the words, "insomnia", "sleep disorder", "myoclonus" and "sleep jerks" may have some kind of solution or can relate to it. Please send me a message over on my Facebook account or on the sidebar, there's a message option that goes straight into my personal email.

I've tried everything in case it was anxiety. I got a pedicure and massage the other day, went to get my hair done, I meditated and made the bedroom my sanctuary. I used lavender oils and soft music to relax me and stayed off my phone a couple of hours before turning in. Nothing -- nothing helped! I did elimination diets, I tried losing weight, I tried exercising, I tried everything you can possibly think that was a healthy start to ending these episodes. And...nothing. I even tried magnesium at night in the form of Natural Calm. That helped to some degree -- it mostly helped with muscle pain, to which I still use. It does have a calming effect and I love it -- but it doesn't help with these episodes.

This is not one of my usual posts. I'm usually trying to help other people. This time, I'm asking for other people to help me. I'm not a big fan of "me me me" posts, but I'm desperate. If you or someone you know experiences what I do, please email me or find me on my Facebook page. Please.
And thank you.

EDIT 9/12/16:

Okay! Here's my very first "edit" -- or discovery of what this might be if you are suffering. I received a few emails and comments on my Facebook page with other people suffering with the same thing. So far (and I say "so far" because sometimes my remedies 'find me out' and don't work any longer) -- but -- so far, I found that vibrations help with anxiety. These sleep jerks and myoclonic seizures are purely from a deep seated fear and anxiety. It is totally subconscious and rears its ugly head at night when we fall into a dream state. So before I go to bed, I either play my guitar, or I sound my singing bowl. A singing bowl as been used for centuries, usually my Buddhists and some Catholic rituals to clear the mind. It's best used for meditation. I purchased the Tibetan singing bowl over on Thing is -- you have to learn how to use this properly. It really sings binaural tunes that has an impact on calming your brain and nervous system. I do this before I sleep and I have ZERO thoughts or a "to do" list before I sleep. I cannot believe how well this has been working for me!

Here's a how-to video on using a singing bowl. I truly hope you get one -- it totally relieves my anxiety! If you cannot view the video below, please click here!


EDIT: 11/22/16

Here is my second "edit" to update you on my sleep issues. Recently, my myoclonic jerks have turned into more of a seizure-like episode. It has gotten so bad, that I hardly ever sleep. If I do sleep, it's from 6am-8am (if I'm lucky.) Every doctor has associated this with excessive stress and anxiety. I have been praying, meditating as well as using my singing bowl, however, like I said before, "it found me out" -- any time I find a solution, it's like it says, "Oh wait, I see what she's doing," and BAM -- back to square one. Here's the thing though: I don't have cancer thank God, I don't have epilepsy, I don't have any disease or terminal illness. Hallelujah! I am an overall healthy 42 year old who loves life. But without the quality of sleep, comes the issue of quality of life. And let me tell you -- if you're a very patient, tolerant and easy going person, sleep deprivation will turn you into a monster. I can't believe some of the behavior I have displayed, some of the complaints that have come flying out of my mouth or even just the moodiness associated with sleep deprivation. I have been seeing bright LED-like lights in my vision, as well as my left side of my face, arm and leg have gone numb and listless for the first couple of hours right after an episode. I have no solutions to report, other than to just TRY to be grateful there is no REAL illness. I'm going to try to incorporate some other methods into my routine, like essential oils, and possibly acupuncture... I'll keep updating this more and more. Bad thing (and don't do this) is that if I take Robitussin DM after an episode, it seems to go away. I started using it because my episodes cause me to have coughing fits. So I started taking it, not realizing how drowsy this stuff makes me due to the dextromethorphan. Combined with ativan, this stuff usually does the trick, (but ONLY in emergency situations). I don't advise mixing drugs at all, but I was desperate. I'll keep you posted on my next discovery. Right now, please PRAY! I do believe in the power of prayer.

I also heard something pretty significant this morning. Joel Osteen was talking about how uncomfortable this pregnant woman was. She thought something was wrong because her ankles were swelling and she couldn't sleep comfortably. And the doctor said, "Well of course, you have to go through the uncomfortable part in order to come to that beautiful stage of birthing." And I thought that was a pretty awesome analogy of what we all go through, whether it's trying to heal ourselves in some way or trying to figure out WHY we go through "this" and "that" in life. Maybe it does have a significant role in our lives. Maybe it's to make us stronger and try to fix what's wrong, emotionally. For me, I think I have to take better care of myself emotionally and do more things that are calming. I have been trying so hard to take care of other people, especially my family, that I seem to forget about taking care of myself. I'm so incredibly worried about my mother who is in constant pain with her cancer, that it drives me nuts before I go to bed. "Is she alright?" "Maybe she needs something?" "Should I go and check on her?" These things float through my mind as I try to drift off to sleep.

Maybe this is the same for you? Good luck in your hunt and please, report back to me over on my Facebook page and let me know if anything worked for you if you are struggling with a similar issue as I am?

Until then...

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, November 16, 2016

What's Your Passion in Life?

Maybe it started when I got older, when I began to actually like who was and what I stood up for, but it took a long time. I don't mean it in a narcissistic type of way, however I completely stopped caring about what other people thought of me. Don't get me wrong -- if you tell me I have a little schmutz on the corner of my mouth, I'm gonna run to the bathroom and wash it off. I'm gonna kinda care about that. But I wonder if it has anything to do with the partner I picked in life. My wife is the most beautiful person inside and out. She also tends to lie to me if I ask her if a certain pair of jeans look ok on me. And that's....ok. She's one of the most honest, caring and loving person I know, despite the lie about my new jeans. I wonder how I would be today, if I was with a person that was super critical and downright mean. I know a few girlfriends of mine who are with men who tear them apart, whether be it how they do things or what they look like. In my personal opinion, it all boils down to insecurity issues. If your spouse is insecure about themselves, they'll psychologically project that onto you, so that you'll feel the way they do. And that's just a known fact. I am so glad I found somebody who loves themselves unconditionally, so that she can love me the same way.

If there's one thing I can't shake, is my lack of trust for certain people who have verbally attacked me right down to my very core. And if you know me well enough, you know how forgiveness plays a huge role in my life. I would love to say that I "forgive and forget" -- but the forgetting part is extremely hard for me. It shows in different ways. Like, if a friend tore me apart 2, 4, 7 or even 10 years ago, I may not be able to trust them fully, so I would most likely have very surfaced conversations with them, not delving into topics that may leave me vulnerable. Another thing I have found that I do with these types of people is that I don't share my social media with them as well. Maybe I'll let them view "certain" public postings of mine, but not the private ones I share with my close friends. I always feel like they're judging me, even though they say they're not, the words that echoed in the past tells me they still are. And I can't shake it. God tells me to forgive completely, which means forgetting -- so am I not forgiving them enough? I rarely think about the wrongdoings of the past, but I guess subconsciously, words can cause a lifetime of scarring. So when I think about sharing personal information with someone who tore my character apart, I just can't seem to do it. My own conscience won't let me. Or maybe it's just a safeguard.

My go-to pain reliever.
So now my question remains: do I still care about what other people think of me? My knee-jerk reaction is, "no way" -- but for certain people, maybe so? But most importantly, I am very happy about the person I have turned into, the work that I do and the people I have literally chosen to be apart of my life. My primary focus, even before I start my day is GOD. My prayer and meditation time is super important for me. If I skip a day, I feel 'off' -- like I didn't have my morning coffee. And maybe that's another reason why I feel so good, even much better than I did when I was in my twenties: my constant communication with God. It has taught me so much and has given me a sense of strength and endurance. I'm still human and get weak from time to time, but overall, my reactions to things I don't particularly care for in life has changed dramatically. I've also cut many people out of my life because it wasn't a fruitful relationship, or didn't serve any purpose other than negativity and drama, which can ultimately rub off on you.

When things service no purpose in your life, or if they serve some sort of negative purpose in your life, as the Bible states, cut it off. It doesn't mean you have to be nasty about it or make someone feel bad, but some people can cause you to feel bad about yourself, or feel less loved, especially if it's a family member. And remember, if someone doesn't want you around, then by all means, give them your absence in every way. Show them what it feels like to live a life without YOU in it. And if they're OK with it -- then you have your answer. I always believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt. But once someone shows you their true colors, believe it. If someone wants to truly be in your life, you will hear from them, seem them more frequently and realize their sincerity. Actions speak louder than words.

Many people are very unhappy in their "grownup lives" and resent others for fulfilling their dreams and/or going against the grain that society had set for them. They gave up on their passions to fulfill their new family's passions (which is ultimately a very selfless act of course). But once you lose yourself entirely, you're going to sense a huge lack. I can think up so many scenarios that I have heard from the people I know. For instance, one of my girlfriends told me she always wanted to be a writer or a poet, but because of her hectic schedule and lack of time, she's unable to make time to be creative. The "more important" things have taken center stage. One of my guy friends wanted to travel around the world and be a professional photographer. In the 'art world' -- as they call us, 'starving artists' -- this wasn't feasible anymore since he started a family and had to work at his father's company to make a decent kind of living. Totally realistic outcome. Now he has zero time for himself, no less for his wife and three kids. He became a workaholic, especially when the company was given to him after many years later. Eventually, he lost his passion, and everything went digital. Money was most important, because he needed to provide for his family. But I wonder if he still dreams of his passions as a photographer. He captured some amazing things with his 35mm camera. He developed his own photos -- that's how he "edited" them. What a lost art. And I'm certain that if he had chosen the 'starving artist' route, he would have learned new technology, as well as filmography and other awesome techniques that would've captured his view of the world. Maybe in another lifetime.

They say that if you love what you do in life, it no longer becomes a job. That's pretty hard to do if you start working for a company for just the money. But sometimes we need to do that. I did that for many years -- stuck in the corporate world that left me feeling empty. I was lucky enough to get out of it and get into something that fit my life, and that filled the void of being creative again. The money didn't come for quite some time. I thought it never would. And then one day -- it was just as if someone just took notice and I was on my way to making a living off something I did naturally, if something that I truly loved doing. And that to me is like winning the lotto. I'm not rich, but I have everything I need. I feel emotionally balanced because I have all of these outlets to turn to. My writing, my guitar and songwriting, my art, my videography and many other fun things that I love to do. I have incorporated all of them into my life, and in time, it enabled me to make a living doing that. Many authors and columnists trust me to edit their hard work, and I am so honored to do so. I have ghostwritten for quite a few authors and bloggers and still remain one of the top blogs for requests to get link placements (which are hyperlinks into a word) which are very pricey. So if I get a request, it's usually 4 link placements or more, which are $50 bucks each. Side income that takes less than 2 minutes to do.

My point of all that rambling on is, many people love to judge my life according to what I do for a living, saying that it's "not a real job". But after almost 10 years of doing this, it has caught momentum, to where my income was much more than sitting at IBM crunching numbers. I get to stay home, and I also get to cook dinner for my family and do other things of interest. I couldn't be happier. People tend to think of "work" as a means to make money -- and that's it -- a job you go to for 8-12 hours that you absolutely detest. No. That's a life sentence of being a prisoner in my opinion. And if that's what you have to do -- that is your choice, or perhaps not a choice, but nonetheless, nothing that should be judged on both ends. There are many people who think that if someone works at home, then they're not really working at all. Well thank God for that, because doing what I do and loving what I do no longer becomes a "job". So no, I don't have a "job" -- I have a passion for life. Once I fully accepted this, I no longer felt the need to jump back into the rat race. I accepted my lot in life, and because of that, I accepted ME.

We're trying to move so fast in this world to get to one ultimate destination: 6 feet under. Whatever you do, whether it be a CEO of a major corporation, a teacher, an accountant, a doctor, an artist, a musician, an unemployed disabled person, we all have one place we all meet at: heaven. So why judge one another's lot in life when we can all be appreciating the many aspects of this awesome society?

"The true profession of man is to find his way to himself." --Hermann Hesse

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, November 15, 2016

Let It Go

Remember the simpler days spent watching the rain bounce off of your windowpane, hoping the sun would burst through so you could ride your bike down the street and play with your friends? Remember snow days spent sleigh riding with your siblings or friends? You'd come back into the warm house and mom would have hot cocoa waiting for you, which of course, was the best part. I distinctly remember my mom and dad as they would entertain their guests on certain evenings. I would try to listen to what they were saying, but the adult dialogue was too hard for me to understand. It seemed too complicated. And as an adult today, it's still complicated in many other ways. I think to myself, it can be so simple, if we'd let it be. But we don't "let" it. We can't "let" it go. We hold onto our precious values that nobody else seems to care about, trying to ram every bit of it down their throats, yet they still don't hear us, nor want to, simply because it just doesn't match up.

And the simple solution to all of it is: it doesn't have to match up.


But we somehow don't realize this awesome awareness that's been shining right in our faces.

My favorite color is red. It always has been. My wife's favorite color is orange. My color is a passionate primary hue that cannot be altered. Madelene's color is a secondary color, which has to be mixed by two other primaries. I can give you other personal reasons why I don't prefer secondaries. But it still won't change her mind. I can give her facts on why her color isn't really, a "singular" color at all. But her personal values are set in that one particular color for whatever reason. It can be reasons stemmed from childhood for all I know. Nevertheless, she has every right to choose what her favorite color will be, without my say, without your say, but only with sincere acceptance.

When I look up into the night sky, I stare up at the moon and stars, thinking, "Wow, my God is an amazing God," while others may say, "Wow, the universe is just amazing as ever!" We see things much differently, yet at the same time, so beautifully. I wouldn't turn to you and yell out, "Well who made the universe ya' big dummy!" And you can always turn to me and say, "There is no god you big dummy!" And there you have it: division on something we both think is beautiful. How ridiculous does that sound?

We all have reasons why we choose 'this' or 'that' in life. We all have a right to our own convictions. We do have a choice to either shove it down someone's throat or not. We can be peaceful and still hold onto our core values, while it may not seem to be going in our general direction. Just stay true to you and what you feel is important. That's all we can ever do in this life. While it may seem we can never get what we truly want in life, God has the perfect timing...of course, if you believe in God.

That's up to you to debate me on.

Or will 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!