Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sweet Cakes! Sweet Jesus!

This is the very first time that Rachel and Laurel Bowman-Cryer spoke out about the owners of Sweet Cakes Bakery in Oregon. The story is sort of making more sense as it all comes to a head. Rachel's mother was getting remarried back in 2009. They had ordered a cake from Melissa Klein, the owner of Sweet Cakes and said it was "to die for". Everything was a success. I guess in passing conversation (small talk) -- Klein mentioned she would love to cater for them again if need be. Melissa Klein is in business -- she wasn't socializing. Every business owner will encourage people to use them again. That's totally normal. But what happened here was a bit different. Melissa Klein didn't realize that Rachel had a female partner.

Fast forward 2013, Rachel and her mother went into Sweet Cakes to cater for Rachel and Laurel's upcoming wedding. She was greeted by Melissa Klein's husband, Aaron. 

Rachel tells the story below...

"Aaron stated, 'To get started, we need to get the bride and groom’s name.' And I just kind of giggled a little, and I think maybe she didn’t tell him and he didn’t know. I was like, 'Oh, it’s two brides.' And he put his clipboard down and he just said, 'Well, I’m sorry, but we don’t do same-sex weddings here.' I kind of laughed and said, 'Are you kidding?' I really thought he was joking with me, like just trying to give me a jab or something, and he was like, 'No, we don’t do same-sex weddings.' And I just sat there kind of stunned. I was just humiliated that this happened in front of my mom, whom I spent all these years trying to convince that we deserved equal accommodation, and we deserve rights, and we deserve to be able to get married. I was crying and she was trying to console me and say, 'Don’t worry, we will find somebody that will make you a beautiful cake.'"

I have such mixed feelings on this. On one hand, you have these two amazing girls who just want to get married and have a simple cake baked for them. Big deal, right? But the problem is, these owners may have had such huge religious convictions that made them feel as if they were "sinning" (although I believe homosexuality is not a sin), so it would go against their God. Fine. But where does the discrimination stop? Is it discrimination? There are many people who feel that "freedom of religion" is going to be abused and used as a bigoted way to discriminate and say, "No, sorry. We don't cater to same-sex weddings."

Sinfully delicious...
I guess maybe I'm more of a peacemaker, because I would just say, "Ok, that's fine," and trek myself over to another baker who would cater to my event. It's a tricky thing here, because back in the day when black people were being kicked out of diners and coffee shops because of their skin color, it was downright discrimination without 'god' to back it up for them. The Bible that most folks believe in says that being gay is a sin. And that's their belief. I read the same Bible and understand that homosexuality is not a sin. That's my belief and that's how I interpret it. Religion is very tricky. Being black is not a sin -- I mean lately, it seems like it is with all the racial issues and police brutality going on. That's very disturbing in this day in age. But for most Christians, being gay goes against their religion.

So do we push them around and say, "Bake me a goddamn cake?"


What I would do is first say, "I understand," and then give my business to someone else. Is that being a pushover? Or is that simply respecting another person's belief and turning the other cheek? I mean -- don't get me wrong, deep down inside I do feel that it's discrimination, but I'm not going to toy with someone who is opposed to my lifestyle. That's their choice. And yes, I do believe that my lifestyle was a choice, along with the genetics to push it in that direction.

Make it rain ~ 
The judge ruled that Klein's business was not a religions institution under the law and called it out for what it is: discrimination. I have a huge problem with the lesbian brides receiving $135,00.00 for being rejected when they could've just walked to another bakery. I mean -- how can you sue someone for just saying "no"? Maybe this will show business owners that they can't just pick and choose a sin and cast off their judgments so freely.  Maybe this was the final example that needed to be set so that we don't go backwards in society as we did 50+ years ago?

So I sort of sympathize with both groups. I would have walked away and let them hold their beliefs, but what would that mean years to come for other gay and lesbian couples who want to do business with heterosexuals? Here's what really scares me: The Republican-led House has approved the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which essentially states that people do not have to perform an act that would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs. This means that EMTs, medical staffers and ambulances do not have to assist patients with life-saving treatments due to their religious beliefs.

So what do you think? Should we let our bakeries have their cake and eat it too? Or should we push further, so that this doesn't trickle down to religious people denying our rights to have medical assistance?

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, July 27, 2015

Anonymous Calls for a "Day of Rage" for Sandra Bland

How can Sandra Bland rest in peace when we're having another racial war in her name? But let's face it -- the war has already started. I took to Facebook with my previous article regarding Sandra's story and stated my opinions. For one, I think what the officer did was wrong. Plain and simple. He should have deescalated the situation, not blow it out of proportion. But who is in the wrong in the bigger scheme of things? First off, I was raised (yes, as a white girl) to never disrespect authority. It has nothing to do with being black, white, Christian, gay, straight or other. It has to do with respecting those who are in command to protect and serve us. Given the fact that we are all human and we all have some sort of hidden stash of raw emotions brewing, some of us just 'lose it' when it's the last straw that broke the camel's back. Is it right? No. But does it happen? Yes.

Whether we like it or not, due to the defiant behavior of Sandra Bland, the officer lost his marbles and swung the car door open against her will. Don't forget, racial tensions are already elevated when it comes to a white officer and a black citizen -- on both sides. My question is: why would you challenge an officer who is already on guard as it is about racial issues? There are way too many people shoving their phone cams in police officers' faces and not complying with what's asked of them. They're not doing it because it may be "their right" -- they're doing it to show 'Merica how corrupt and brutal our cops are. And no doubt, there are many corrupt and racist cops out there -- but not all of them. What if you were to get someone who had no racial issues to begin with and you decided to start resisting every single command you were asked to do within reason? Whether you are black or white, you're going to be detained.

Even Anonymous calls for a "Day of Rage" and took to Youtube and Twitter announcing their #RAGEFORSANDRA -- a protest to arrest Officer Brian Encinia. If you think the protests and riots were bad before, think of all the horrific riots times a hundred. Take a look at this video below. If you can't view it, please click here.

As we head into the "details" of Sandra Bland's death, it does seem very suspicious that she would commit suicide when she knew she was getting out. Even if she was suicidal, in my very own opinion, it doesn't seem logical. But neither does a temporary situation appearing to be a permanent one in the mind of a very depressed person. They ruled out homicide and concluded that she committed suicide. Like I said before in my previous post -- everybody seems to have a forensic degree since they're trying to figure out how she died. But then you have to ask, "Where were the video cameras? Where were the witnesses?"  The person in the cell next to her said she heard no signs of a struggle. Can we believe that? Can we go on what the police department tells us?

When I posted my feelings on my Facebook page, I had a slew of black women telling me, "Well, you're not black so you have no idea." No, I'm not black, but I do have compassion for those who go through such horrific ordeals. And the fact that I stand strong in my stance that anyone who disrespects an officer will find that it doesn't end well. You'll either be arrested or worse off, dead by a corrupt nut job of a cop who lost his marbles. Is it worth your life to act tough and shove your phone cam in their faces? Is it worth your life to say "no" to everything the officer asks you to do? Is it worth your life to prove a point to America that this world is in fact, corrupt? I was thinking -- maybe Sandra Bland can be our new hero dying for a desperate call to action to stop police brutality. Maybe we needed someone brave like Sandra Bland to show everyone how bad it really is. So next time you're pulled over and you decide to be rude to a cop, be sure that it's your life you want to risk. You've seen it all too often how "accidental" these deaths "seem to be".

Another thing that sort of irritated me were all the black women on my Facebook page getting the facts completely wrong. "Well, she pulled over for the officer and didn't use her signal. He pulled her over for nothing."

Wrong. Officer Encinia pulled Sandra over because she zoomed out of the parking lot, right through a stop sign without signaling. That's when he made the u-turn. It's on 1:11 of this video. It's factual. See, I have a huge problem when racially motivated lies and exaggerations are used to incriminate someone. Yes, I do believe what this officer did was wrong, but I do not believe what she did was right either.

Then it got worse. I have a disclaimer on my page saying that I will not tolerate any abuse or verbal attacks (slurs) agains one another and that I would delete, report and ban whoever it is that made the statement. Most of the people I banned from my Facebook page were black woman using racial slurs. I was so shocked over this because it just shows us how much we're lacking as a society. I do feel that we are in the midst of a total breakdown of society. There was a video of Sandra Bland going on about racial tensions and stated that white people probably only have like 1 or 2 black friends.  She had an axe to grind with white people and softened it up by stating "she wasn't a racist" -- but but but.  She encouraged her black viewers to challenge cops and to know their rights. Yes, know your rights, but be respectful. What she did once the cop stopped her was give him an attitude. Cops are usually accustomed to this sort of behavior. But when does it come to the point of being totally out of control, calling the cop a mother***er and doing everything in your power to piss him off? When does it stop? Unfortunately, she lost her life by being arrested and flung into jail. But what happened next? Nobody knows. That's the scary part. That's the part where I would definitely take two steps back and rethink my decision to "stand up to cops" -- because the way I see it, it's like the mafia. Nobody knows nuttin'. It's a cut 'n dry case of "suicide".

Should I take it even further? Of course I will. You know, we're not too far off from Martial law. For those of you who are not familiar with Martial law, it's the imposition of the highest-ranking military officer as the military governor or as the head of the government, thus removing all power from the previous executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government. In other words, our country will be a complete dictatorship and a breakdown in society. Read more of it by clicking here. It even tells you how to survive Martial law. They seize power, food, fuels and any type of equipment. We're not too far off from this because we're seeing such a huge division of society and of law officials. I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but I do believe that one day this'll happen within our lifetime at least. I especially feel that it there are more destructive riots as we've seen in the past few years, we're going to head into this very dark world of control. They will control everything out of fear -- out of fear of their own society.

If this sounds too far-fetched, please look into it. Google it. Read reputable websites and articles regarding Martial law and how it comes to pass. History repeats itself, this time, it's America's turn. Are you ready?

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!

Friday, July 24, 2015

May Sandra Bland Rest In Peace

It's the first time in a very long time when I just have to say that I really don't have an opinion. The public has a right to their opinion and a right to lose "Facebook friends" over their psychic abilities to truly know what went down in Sandra Bland's cell. In a matter of days, everyone seems to have gotten a degree in forensic studies and law. We know she had epilepsy, we know she suffered from PTSD and we also know that she was awaiting bail money from her family to get out of jail from such a petty traffic violation. Why would she hang herself? Could it have been because this may have been the last straw that broke the camel's back? Could it have been that she was so sick and tired of being treated poorly by the authorities because she was black? Now I'm starting to sound like a detective like everybody else.

I do have an opinion on something though. I have a very strong opinion about being disrespectful to law enforcement. Even if, your "rights" tell you that it's OK to refuse showing your I.D. or to get out of your car -- do it anyway. When you refuse to do these little things that you think seem so intrusive -- you make the police wonder about your motives. The cop asked, "Would you mind putting out your cigarette, please?" Do it. After all we have seen regarding police abusing their power, why would you take a chance and challenge a cop? Why would you want to anger someone who is already defensive to begin with? It was a petty traffic violation (to which leaves me to believe they have nothing better to do around that area), but fight it in court -- not in the street with a cop who has a gun in his holster. 

People need to leave the forensic studies to the professionals. Did she hang herself? Was she strangled? Was her mugshot taken while she was deceased? Look at this photo on the left along with the commentary. It's horrifying to even think that this is a possibility! How truly morbid! I hope to God that these assumptions are wrong, but anything is possible. I know a few people who have epilepsy. Stressful situations and trauma can certainly set off a seizure. Did the police panic after she had a seizure and make it look like a suicide so they don't get hit with another blame once again? And of course you have to take into account that someone with severe depression looks at a temporary situation as a permanent one. Have you ever heard someone console a suicidal person? They usually say, "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." Many suicidal people cannot tell the difference when they're in such a state. Another thing that bothers me is that there are tons of video cameras everywhere you go, from the street right into every single corridor, office and even waiting cell. Why wasn't there a video footage of her? Why didn't anyone go and check on her after an hour? There are a lot of questions and there are also a lot of answers. 

And again, I truly don't have an opinion on this. I am reading and listening to all opinions, reports and assumptions in horror. Even if she angered the cop and resisted her "right" -- her right to refuse to get out of her car -- he should have had self-control and remained calm. It could have been treated much differently. But after she refused to put out her cigarette, he just popped his cork and you can totally see it. You have to think -- you're a cop -- you see this shit every single day. You see insubordinate people in your line of work. What makes this situation any different than another? I don't know what their protocols are, but forcing her out of the car and arresting her is uncalled for to start with. So right there, I guess I have formed an opinion. 

This world is so sad sometimes. You have such damaged people on both ends of the spectrum: from those who are in authority who have been abused by the public, to the public who have been abused by the authorities. It's a vicious cycle that'll probably just worsen over time if nothing is done. Everybody is on the defense. Black people don't trust white people and white people don't trust black people. We're dividing more and more each day. Shouldn't it be the opposite? Shouldn't we come together and figure out a solution to this problem? Sadly, and I admit, there is much more racism out there than I initially thought. And while I was viewing the video (and this could be just me) -- the cop was super nice to the lady who was stopped before Sandra. He was making small talk. The only "small talk" he was doing with Sandra was, "Where are you headed off to now," as if she was trying to cross the border. For someone who didn't use their turn signal, why would you even have to know this? 

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Bland family. What a horrible and tragic thing, from a petty traffic violation to your very own death. I also have sympathy for this cop who clearly has anger issues to deal with. I've learned that we're all imperfect in various ways and sometimes, our actions can do much more harm than initially thought. Did this cop kill Sandra Bland? I don't think so (physically speaking), but the combination of both the cop and Sandra's reaction toward one another was a lethal one. May Sandra Bland rest in peace. This should've never happened.

Here's the video in full below. If you cannot view the video, please click here.

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, July 21, 2015

Furious Christians Take to Facebook to Show Their Hatred & Bigotry Towards the LGBT Community

There's nothing wrong with being proud of who you are and what you stand up for, whatever the race, nationality or creed it may be. On a religious standpoint, religion is based upon historical events, along with faith-based "gods" and mythologies. That's even hard for me to type since my faith in God is very strong. My "faith" is my "truth", but I also know that my faith may not be somebody else's "truth". And that's OK. When does it come to the point of madness, when someone pipes in like a child, "Na-na-nana-na, my religion's better," and they go straight for the jugular in order to hurt somebody else's theological views or the lack thereof? Many conservative Christians are getting more vocal since two major events have taken center stage: 1. Same-sex marriage and 2. Caitlyn Jenner's outing.

As a writer for the LGBT community, I have never seen such ugliness in all my life. I have never seen so many Christians become these little evil demons spreading seeds of hatred all over the net. They feel safe because they're hidden behind a computer screen, but what happens when they blast their hatred up on a public post? What do their family and friends think of their bigotry? Well a Kingston college professor found out the hard way when he posted,

"It's the queers they should be hanging, not the flag!"

A St. Lawrence College professor has landed himself in hot water after a violent homophobic Facebook post. Rick Coupland, a full-time professor of business at SLC in Kingston, Ont. shared a Bay News 9 video of St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman raising a pride flag to start the month-long St. Petersburg Pride festival. Above the video Coupland wrote “It’s the queers they should be hanging, not the flag …”

Later Coupland posted “I have to get off Facebook for awhile. I’ve been called into work and told to bring a representative re; my comments on FB. Please pray for me and my job ….” (Sic)

Coupland’s Facebook profile has since been deleted.

The posts came within days of SLC Brockville unveiling its new Rainbow Way on July 14.

“Rainbow Way is the newly painted pathway on the Brockville campus that celebrates our LGBT staff and students and is a visual representation of the College’s inclusive community,” the SLC Facebook post said.

Kelly Wiley, director of marketing and communications at SLC, spoke to the Whig-Standard on behalf of the school. She said the school received a complaint about Coupland’s post, but did not say if it came from a fellow staff member or a student.

“We are aware of the situation,” Wiley said. “We’re currently conducting an investigation … because this is a personnel matter I really can’t comment further about the complaint, nor about anything beyond the fact that we are doing an investigation.”

In an email to the Whig-Standard, Coupland did not wish to speak about the investigation.

“Let me get through my meetings with the College on Monday and Tuesday,” Coupland wrote. “I’ll probably get back to you after then.”

Wiley said SLC has its own set of policies and code of conduct that will be reviewed during the investigation. “We have several policies that apply to the conduct of our employees,” Wiley said. “This includes the fact that we adhere to the Ontario Human Rights Code, we also have harassment policies, a policy around outside activities of college employees, and our collective agreement. 

“Those are all policies that certainly guide the conduct of our employees, and are going to be part of this investigation.”

The Ontario Human Rights Codes, enacted in 1962, prohibits the discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation amongst 13 other protected grounds. Wiley said Coupland is still employed at SLC.-----read more here. Courtesy of The Province

Maybe this next comment or should I say, "assumption" on my part can be seen as "judgmental", but whenever I see people bashing one another over who they are, no matter what it is -- it shows me that there is something lacking in their lives. Most conservative antigay people are usually not educated, and if they are, they lack any sort of social filter that would enable them to communicate like a human being. Another "assumption" that I have seen come to pass, are antigay people coming out of the closet as homosexuals. Repression brings out anger and denial. It also can bring out the real person hiding underneath that religious blanket. It's interesting to see the reason why conservatives attack gays, lesbians and transgenders. But seriously, doesn't reek of a hidden agenda? Doesn't speak volumes about who these people truly are? Even when Caitlyn Jenner came out, everyone was throwing darts at her! "Oh 'he' has no remorse over killing a woman!"  --- They said zero about her being transgender or spoke about how she accomplished a lot in her life other than to call her a murderer for an accident that could've happened to any single one of us. I call that the straw man argument.

There are some people out there in this world, much like Chris Weiss Trancell. She had given me some Scripture to read, telling me that I was going to hell due to my lifestyle. When I showed her my interpretation of the Scriptures, she said I was "cherry picking" -- even though I was giving her the original derivation of the written text. She wanted no part of it, so I tried ending the argument with one of those, "We'll have to agree to disagree," type of peace offerings, but she snapped, making lewd comments about sexual acts and how homosexuality is, or thought-to-be in her mind. Chris got upset and said something totally bizarre that had nothing to do with the topic. She said, "What, you don't like penis in anuses or in mouths? Dildos? Let's get real. Apparently too vulgar? But that is homosexual sex." I knew right there that there was some sort of mental disability or regression that I wasn't willing to entertain. That's something for the professionals to deal with. But what would make a 'seemingly' nice older lady lash out so violently like that? First of all, people's misconceptions about homosexual sex is way off. And the other thing is, why do these sort of people only think about sex when homosexuality is the topic? They don't see two women being lifetime companions or two men growing old with one another. When heterosexual couples get married, they think about them being together, having children and growing old together. They rarely bring up sexual acts or whatever they prefer behind closed doors. That's their business.

It's also our business.

Many Christians feel that they are being pushed into silence regarding their bigotry. Well damn straight you are (no pun). Bigotry in any form is not going to be tolerated. Your "freedom of religion" does not mean you can bash people that you don't think are going to "heaven". Your belief, your "mythology" of what you think is true is just a faith-based opinion from a book that has been translated over and over and over again. The one thing I find ironic about Christians who enjoy bashing gays and transgenders is that they all claim that they're loving, meanwhile, they're saying that they should hang themselves or make disgusting sexual assumptions about them, and then have the audacity to call it "Christianity". #WWJD? Well, I'll tell you what would Jesus do. He'd weep for these people. They are not Christians, but Satan's spawns. This also trickles down into teaching their own children how to hate and harass others who are homosexual or transgender. I blame Christians for the attacks and abuse of the LGBT community. The sad thing is, I'm Christian! But the Christianity I stand behind is the one where Jesus said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

They're doing everything but.

But, we already know who won. Love won. We have won the fight over these bigoted people's fight to shove us back into the closet. They want to hide the true meaning of the Biblical scriptures and make sure that we never speak again. They want to discriminate and call it "freedom of religion" and kick us out of their businesses and/or refuse medical emergency procedures on us, if they do know that we're gay. This world is getting uglier and uglier by the minute and it's not going to stop. The conservatives are angry and they want revenge for humans having equal rights. They better get to know God more, because what they're doing is the devil's work.

Love one another.

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, July 20, 2015

NSAIDs (Ibuprofen) Like Advil, Motrin and Aleve Causes Heart Attacks and Strokes. I Have Another Solution...

As you know, this isn't really a typical post of mine, but since I'm no stranger to chronic pain as well as dysmenorrhea, I had to get this out. In fact, I have been seeing so many people ask, "What other alternatives other than Advil or Motrin can I take for pain since now it's much more dangerous as thought?" Let me first explain my situation. I have been suffering since I was 12 years old with menstraul cramps. It got worse as I got older, but since the age of 12, I have been taking 800 mg of Motrin around the clock for one week out of the month. I switched up to Advil after the age of 30 so that I could take less pills, because it felt stronger to me. Long story even longer -- I ended up with stomach bleeding which kept me in the hospital for a few days. I had about three endoscopies, which led to more acid reducers, (mostly H2 blockers) where I had to figure out a way to limit the intake of NSAIDs. They were destroying my stomach. I thought that was the only bad side effect. As it turns out, the news reported that once you pop an ibuprofen, your chances of heart attacks and strokes increases by 50%. That's a lot. It also debilitates the life saving effects of aspirin to help you survive a heart attack. So the real side effect is "fatal heart attacks" -- not survivable ones. Once you take ibuprofen, there is no way for aspirin or other life saving remedies to help you. It blocks off all things that are life saving.

So with that being said, I have found a couple of things. The first thing is more of a home remedy: good old fashioned French's Yellow Mustard. (And no, I am not promoting their company.) You can use any brand, but this is the one that works best for me. The ingredients are turmeric (a natural anti-inflammatory), vinegar and salt. It has no calories and about 50 mg of sodium. And get this -- no side effects. Take 2 heaping teaspoons of yellow mustard and swallow fast. Do not dilute it. In minutes, you will feel your pain dissipate. Athletes have been doing this for years for excruciating leg cramps as well as other types of pain. I tried this myself this past week. I had terrible leg cramps (mostly in my calf) -- enough to keep me up at night. I SO wanted to grab my Advil, but I was too scared. So I tried the mustard thinking maybe it'll help. I am not exaggerating -- within minutes, the pain disappeared. It worked even faster than ibuprofen.

No endoscopies anymore! 
I'm scheduled to have a partial hysterectomy due to my intense pain with dysmenorrhea. It has ruined my quality of life. I was scared to experience my last menstraul cycle because I was not going to be able to take my Advil. Well, strange as this sounds, the yellow mustard made my pain tolerable to non-existent. I can't even tell you how happy I am that this worked well for me. I'm actually thinking about canceling surgery. Why haven't we known about this before? I mean -- I could have saved a ton of money from not buying the OTC meds, like Advil and Prilosec as well as not having so many endoscopy procedures! You don't even know how happy I am that I finally found a solution to my pain. This also works for inflammation with arthritis pain. You know what frustrates me? How much you wanna bet that these pharmaceutical companies knew about this all along? I'm hoping someone out there who doesn't know about the dangerous life-threatening side effects of ibuprofen will Google my article and find this. Anything like, Advil, Naproxen, Aleve, Motrin and even the heavy duty super star of 'em all like, Toradol are to be avoided! If you desperately have to take any medication, let it be Tylenol. But remember, Tylenol wreaks havoc on your liver. You cannot drink any alcohol on it, and if you do, it should be taken after the half life expires (4-6 hours later) and moderate amounts (no more than 2 drinks).

I am not a doctor (and I don't play one on TV), but I am a chronic pain sufferer. I know my meds. I know every single side effect of everything I take because I am a hypochondriac. Don't forget, sometimes pain relievers don't help due to the level of pain you're experiencing. So keep in mind that the mustard may not work all the time. The other thing that I have been learning dealing with pain is 'acceptance'. When you experience pain, stop resisting. Start accepting it. Like that old saying, "Whatever you resist, persists," applies here. In your mind, just tell your pain, "C'mon -- bring it. I can take it." Embrace the pain. Feel the pain. Once you acknowledge the pain, it seems to lessen for whatever reason. The mind is a powerful tool to overcome a lot of things. Since I've been practicing this, it has been a huge help to not only my physical pain, but to how I respond to all things I'm uncomfortable with in life. I'm still a work in progress, but this is what's helping me now.

I was so eager to share this info with you. I have seen so many people ask questions about what alternative painkillers can they take besides ibuprofen. Even before you grab the Tylenol, go into your fridge and grab the mustard instead.

If you tried this and it has helped, I would love to know! Please leave a comment on this link (which is my Facebook page) and tell me your story.

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, July 16, 2015

Caitlyn Jenner Receives the ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage

Empathy. That's what society is lacking. The word itself encompasses not only compassion, but the ability to feel what others are feeling, or just the effort of understanding other people's struggles. What I have learned over the years is that religion itself can remove empathy. I'll never forget back in 1997 when Christians told me I was going to hell just for being a lesbian. I couldn't believe this because I thought God was an "all loving God" and that Christianity was accepting, tolerant, patient and kind -- all of the things Corinthians speaks about regarding love. They called me horrible names and made me feel extremely alienated. They actually made me feel "hated" by God. But on my journey in discovery God more -- discovering Jesus more -- I learned a valuable lesson: Jesus is the one who is accepting, tolerant, patient, loving and kind. Some of the members of his fan club are not. They are nothing like Jesus. In fact, when I come across these intolerant "Christians", they exude feelings of dread, anger, resentment and hatred. That's not love. That's not Christianity. I truly believe that's the devil's work.

Last night while watching Caitlyn Jenner receive the ESPY Arthur Ashe Award for Courage, I realized something very important. Even though I still have mixed feelings about Caitlyn receiving this award and how I thought other people should have received it instead, like wounded soldiers or people battling cancer -- maybe this award will help other trans people to have the courage to be who they are. Maybe it will lessen the abuse, the bullying, the murders as well as the suicides. I guess as humans, we all struggle in different ways, none worse than the other. So why are we judging one another so harshly? It is such a waste of energy to pour out hatred and bigotry onto society. And don't tell me that the words "hatred" and "bigotry" are overused terminologies to describe conservative Christians because it's not. It's exactly what they are doing. They are beating up other people in the name of God and they want to justify it by saying, "God doesn't accept them, so neither will I."

So which commandment is the most important one of all? I think the Bible made that very clear.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." -- Matthew 22:36-40

If you want to see Caitlyn Jenner's story as well as her receiving The Arthur Ashe Courage Award, then click here or just view the video below.

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, July 09, 2015

I'm Offended That You're Offended

Let's face it, we all are. And as much as I hate that saying, "It is what it is," -- it seriously is. Once we accept the "isness" and all that we cannot control, I bet life would be much more tolerable. But life is tolerable -- it's we the people who just aren't tolerant. We get offended so easily. Our feelings get hurt at the drop of a hat. I also hate using "we" because it lumps us together as a group, even though we may be on opposite sides of the spectrum. But I'm still going to use "we", so bear with me. All of us have our own opinions, views, beliefs and whatnot. Some of us love to be heard, while other people prefer to mute their trumpets in fear of offending other people. Whatever the case, all of us have our own personal convictions and beliefs or lack thereof. So, we're all in this together. Once you put on the news or read it online, we all form some sort of opinion whether we choose to voice it or not.

Life goes on.

What if we didn't get our way? Let's just say (or wish) that the Charleston church shooting never happened. The Confederate flag would still be up. There would be no law passed to take it down. And you know what -- life would go on as it always did. I know what it stands for and in my own opinion, it reminds me of what the swastika once stood for: heritage and good fortune. In fact, the swastika was of a better standing reputation before Hitler took hold of it. But let's just say that this awful shooting never took place? There would be nothing to talk about as far as flags are concerned.

Same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states. Wonderful or not? That's up to you. But let me ask you this: how would same-sex marriage affect anybody else's marriage or "sanctity" of marriage? Life still goes on. Laws were passed and there is nothing else to do, unless you want to invest all of your time and energy fighting over something that has nothing to do with you or your marriage. Go 'head and let churches hang the Christian flag above the American flag. That doesn't offend me. In fact, I love God more than America -- so raise that flag high. I don't believe it is insulting to the American flag. It's not insulting to me as a Christian lesbian. It's nothing like burning the American flag, it's actually honoring it in my opinion. And if you're offended by my opinion, remember -- life will go on. And if you don't sell me a cake, someone else will. Again, life goes on.

I'm a little concerned about the disruption of NYSE and United Airlines being grounded for quite some time due to a "glitch". I truly believe we've been hacked. Even if it borders upon the conspiracy theory route -- you still have to wonder if this was a little 'test' from terrorists. I don't know. But you know what I noticed? Everyone on social media was more concerned over the South Carolina Confederate battle flag being taken down than they were about possibly being hacked by terrorists. Distractions come in many forms and when we stop looking at the pretty skyscrapers above, we'll finally notice that we've been pickpocketed down on the street. We are easily distracted with trending topics and shocking news. When Caitlyn Jenner came out, Christians were being beheaded left and right by ISIS. That's nothing new, but we flow with what's trending regardless. As a blogger, I enjoy talking about trending topics and discussions around the proverbial water cooler. I guess it makes you think of something other than yourself...or myself...or ourselves.

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, July 02, 2015

Same-Sex Marriage: 'Too Silenced' or 'Too In Your Face'?

To tell you the truth, even I'm sick of this legalization of same-sex marriage. It's not because I'm against it -- I mean, how can I be? I'm married to a woman. But it's the back and forth conversations (or arguments) of those who are for it and those who are against it. I'm pretty much over it, mainly because of all of the ugliness I have seen out there. I have heard outrageous arguments -- anything from, "Well wut' next? Yew gonna marry yer' brother or sister now? Yew gonna wanna hook up with your uncle? How 'bout yer' pet," to "It's a sin and you're going straight to hell in a handbasket!" (I never understood why they would place a handbasket in the mix.) For one, not every gay or lesbian out there is a Christian. Some may happen to be Atheists. That's just for starters. And two: comparing incest and bestiality to being gay or lesbian is just ignorant. And thirdly, as you've seen plenty of my arguments on this blog -- being gay is not a sin. Reference here if you need to see where I stand on that through Biblical scripture, because I'm too tired to write it all out again.

It's no longer same-sex marriage, gay marriage --- it's just good ol' marriage now. The most awful thing to see is one of your closest friends or even perhaps a family member comment on a public post on same-sex marriage legalization, to find that they are totally against it. Listen: not everybody is going to agree that this is "right" or this is "wrong" and that's OK. Live your life the way you want to. Your personal convictions and relationship with God or lack thereof is your own business. Let people see their true colors by the way they treat others either on social media or in person. I have seen quite a few antigay slurs being used like, "Don't support these fags" as well as encouraging violent acts by saying things like, "Go kill yourselves!" Oddly enough, they all came from self-proclaimed Christians. Way to bring people closer to God.

But then there's the silence.

It's the silence of those who you thought supported you, but didn't have the balls to show their support because they don't agree with your lifestyle perhaps didn't congratulate you on the legalization of your union with your partner for whatever reason. Silence definitely speaks volumes. Or maybe, is the silence just a symbol of, 'I really couldn't give a rat's ass because it should've been legal all along'? Nah. I have been reading many posts that are complaining over the silence of this new law that's been passed. They are whining over who didn't "congratulate them". They're accusing their own family members of not approving of same-sex marriage because of the silence. They're insinuating that the silence alone may be the root of bigotry.



Here's a little story I'm going to share with you, so take it for what it's worth. And I'm not sharing this story in order to shame anyone or accuse anyone of not being supportive. I'm just making a point. Back in October of 2008, I was walking down the 'sandy aisle' of Provincetown's beach to greet my wife so that we could get married in front of family and friends who had joined us. All year we prepared this quaint little wedding on our favorite beach next to our favorite restaurant, to which we had the reception dinner afterwards. Given the fact that Provincetown, MA is about five plus hours away, I didn't expect many people to come. It's hard to drive that far and to take time off from work. So needless to say, not one family member of mine were present. Madelene's mother and her new husband were there to support us, as well as my closest friends.

This shot right here is me trying to get my heels out of the sand to stand next to my to-be-wife. I remember what I was thinking at that very moment. It was all I could do to hide the tears. I will admit, it did sort of distract me from the present moment, but I pulled it together. The thoughts of my beautiful sisters and my parents watching on would have been the best thing ever. But that didn't happen for me and it wasn't because they didn't love me and my wife -- it was because life isn't always favoring. Let's just say they didn't attend my wedding because they had reservations about supporting same-sex marriage. Suck it up and live your life. Who cares. Let it go. I don't support a lot of things certain heterosexual marriages do -- but it's none of my business. If people are uncomfortable attending an event that they're not supportive of -- don't force them to do it just because you feel it's being "discriminatory". There are some people who happen to have strong convictions about this which sucks big time to which you just have to accept.  I guess it's the same for business owners who would refuse baking a cake for you. For me, I would just walk out and go to another baker who would be more than happy to cater for my event. Simple. Is it discrimination? Well, with freedom of religion, this is their right.  As much as we don't like that law, they have the right to not like the new law of legalizing same-sex marriages.

Please don't confuse this with being weak or that I have given up on taking a stance on what the true biblical scriptures tell me about "sin", and how I interpret them to be because homosexuality is not a sin. Please never think I have stopped being an advocate for the LGBT community -- I will always be supportive. But when does it come to the point where we just have to say, "OK, they don't agree and that's that?" It's not "giving up" -- it's living your life without the need for anyone's approval. Fight for your rights (as we have done), but to the right people. And look how far we've come. As old as the hashtag #LoveWins is -- how true, how true! Love really does win. When people get a law passed that is not only sincere and genuine, but more about human rights than anything else -- it'll always win. Laws based on hatred and bigotry, like the Religious Freedom Restoration Act will always have problems because of the nature of the beast. When the agenda is to discriminate show their religious freedom, then their true colors rises up to the surface to show 'Merica how "tolerant" they are.

Now go get married -- do whatever you want. I don't care. Neither should anyone else.

Just be happy.

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!

Growth Spurts

Yesterday, someone shared a quote with me that resonated with me so much. She said, "Just remember, trying to hurt me by bringing up my...