Friday, January 27, 2017

The Purpose of My Lost Pages

Are you a control freak? Sometimes, you just gotta say, "I'm OK with it," and move on. There are so many things we want or need to control that it just overtakes our ability to see the message that's being sent. As cliché as this may sound, maybe it was just meant to be. Maybe God removed something in your life to give you something better. Or if you didn't see what the "better" was, then maybe He was trying to test your strength and endurance, especially your faith. Years ago, when I didn't get what I wanted, I'd turn into a huge crybaby, kicking and screaming like an undisciplined kid in a supermarket. But the more I fought and cried over the situation, the worse it got. My worrying, my tantrums, my crazy episodes weren't going to make anything better. To even top it off, sometimes I would get so upset over something that I had no control over, that my uncontrolled emotions would give me severe chest pains. So now, I had another problem: am I having a heart attack?

The other morning when we woke up, our entire driveway and road was iced up. Nobody could drive in or out of here. And on top of that, Madelene wasn't feeling well, so she stayed home. Me? I had to commute two rooms down into my office and still work. When I got all prepared to do some editing and continue working on my book that's supposed to be released this March, there was no book to be found. Nothing. I tried searching for it through other files. Zilch. Nada. I felt my heart begin to pound, as I scrolled through every single document I had. I checked the trash and it wasn't there. I tried to get back into my Pages on my Macbook to open my file, but again, it only gave me one option: new file.




Like any other writer, I'm going to say that I worked so hard on this book. I really did. It wasn't even about the work itself, but in some of these chapters, I felt God writing for me. Some of the content didn't even sound like me! It was the most amazing content I had ever written. The manuscript was weeks away from being edited professionally and then to be published by mid-March. I made my grievances on Facebook, where I could vent and hope that somebody out there could possibly tell me a quick solution. As many comments that came flooding in, nobody could truly help me. Many offered to call me and even have their spouses help me, which is incredibly nice of them. I was overwhelmed over the loss of this file, and overwhelmed with the beautiful offers of help from these wonderful people. I had to leave my office and make a drink. It was 3:30pm, a bit early for happy hour, but at this point, I needed something to calm my nerves. I went into the other room and cried my eyes out. I cried so hard, I began to get chest pains. Madelene came inside and hugged me. She assured me that it couldn't be completely lost. It just couldn't. But, it wasn't there either.

Coming to terms that Apple doesn't provide a service to retrieve lost or deleted files, I finally succumbed to the final decision of letting go. I have to come to terms with 'what is,' and to assimilate to my new realization: it's. just. gone. I could've tormented myself with another mini breakdown or had another one of my pity parties, but I did something else instead. I focused more on broadcasting and trying to uplift others around the world, as well as give some positive scriptures with some special inspiring words of my own. I'm also writing my book again. I don't care. I'm going to do it in such a different way -- a way that I was too scared to do it in. I think God was nudging me to be braver, instead of being conservative about it. He was also telling me to bring back my 'rawness' -- the type I had years ago when I first started writing. I tend to not let myself become vulnerable (enough) because I've been hurt deeply in the past. That should give me more reason to become vulnerable -- to relate more with my audience. They don't want some emotionless psychobabble or a "how to" book. They want to know what happened and they wanna know how can they get there too. What's in it for THEM? I think many writers forget that the person reading their content also has a need -- a desire to know, 'what's in it for me?' I know for myself, whenever I walk into a Barnes & Nobles and rummage through their shelves looking for the perfect book, I'm honestly looking for someone, an author who wrote something to help me with what I'm going through. Or maybe I just want a book to remove me from my own world -- to give me a little vacation from reality. It's about "me" -- but in this case, as a writer, it's about you.

The world has become very cold, being that we have so many reasons and options to say, "No thank you," to an invitation, because we can always meet up on social media or text. We don't even pick up the phone half the time because there's always text messaging. It's also become a world of narcissistic individuals who truly believe the world revolves around them just because they have over 5,000 followers, or more. Even if you have a million followers on whatever social media you're using -- use that huge platform to help people. Use that platform to share yourself -- but remember, share yourself in terms of showing someone what you've gone through, and how you can relate. I learned a valuable lesson from a very special author once. She said, "Nobody cares about your life." She wasn't speaking about me per se -- she was speaking about every single one of us -- in general. Unless you are a heartthrob idol of sorts, people will most likely be happy watching you scrub dirt under your refrigerator for an entire hour on a live stream. But if you're someone who's the everyday average Joe or Jane or even if you are getting up there in your publicity -- keep it humble. Make it helpful. Be sincere. And always have the strength to apologize if you are in the wrong.

There are many people who like me, have found their careers by means of the internet. I started writing back in 2003. My first book was published back in 2005, which was mainly about the trials I went through, in order to help those suffering with the same struggles too. I used that huge platform in order to teach about the Word of God, and to help teach about the Scriptures, in an easy-to-read type of way. Let's face it, the Bible is hard to read as it is -- why not share your beliefs and interpretations of what it means. I've helped many of the LGBTQ come to know God. I have even bought Bibles for a few of my friends in order to get to know God better. One of my atheist friends is a devout Christian because of that Bible. And it wasn't because of me -- it was because God led me to do this.

God has a plan. Have you ever felt like you didn't have a purpose and your life seemed like it was meaningless?

“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

Did you ever think to yourself, how am I going to get from point A. to point B. if I keep on this same path? Remember the book or movie called, "The Five People You Meet in Heaven?" It's a novel by Mitch Albom. It follows the life and death of a maintenance man named Eddie. In a heroic attempt to save a little girl from being killed by an amusement park ride that is about to fall, Eddie is killed and sent to heaven, where he encounters five people who had a significant impact upon him while he was alive. He discovered how significant his life really was, even though he thought that his job was pretty insignificant. It really makes you think about your own purpose in life. The little things, like spending time with your elderly parent, or taking your child out to the park when you don't feel well. Little things like that can be the biggest thing in the world for somebody else. You are giving them joy. That's HUGE! To give somebody else joy and happiness is glorifying God Himself. That's not such a bad purpose, is it?

So, let my book be lost in glitch-heaven, I'm OK with it. In fact, it's better this way because between the time I lost that book right up to this present moment, I have so much more to write. I'll keep updating you on the progress of the book, but one thing's for sure, I will never give up. And I urge you to do the same. Never give up, even though it looks hopeless, keep doing what you're doing because someone somewhere is relying on you.

"My dear brothers and sisters, be strong and steady, always enthusiastic about the Lord's work, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." --1 Corinthians 15:58

"Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do for somebody else, you're doing for God. When they speak of "inheritances" and "rewards" -- it doesn't necessarily mean financial prosperity. It could mean living a nice, quiet and peaceful life, which many of us refuse to live. All things are possible. For me, even to just get another book out there doesn't mean I'm going to make loads of money from it. It means more to me to see how my last book helped so many. Just that alone is worth writing another.

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!

Monday, January 23, 2017

I'm Sorry. I Messed Up...

In the midst of all this political chaos and divisiveness, I found myself becoming angry. I'm not sure what stirred up my anger, whether it was a contagious wave of political egomania, or if it was an underlining tinge of fear. I do believe whether you are on the right or left of the political arena, fear is the common denominator which ultimately divides us. We don't want our rights taken away. There are different set of rights on each side. From my standpoint, my first love is God, after that, the safety of our country, the 2nd amendment, pro-life, and many other views that lean mostly conservative. But then I have my social values. I'm an advocate for the gay, lesbian and transgender communities. I believe in marriage equality. I also believe in freedom of religion, whereas if a baker doesn't want to participate in my wedding, then I would respect their views and find another baker to help us. I try to understand each side, because even though many Christians believe that homosexuality is a sin, I do not. I've written and broadcasted about my views, biblical references to prove that it is not a sin, and to prove that everything we do is ultimately "sinful" in the bible. "Throw the first stone" comes to mind, and no one can toss one at anybody. With that being said, if another Christian believes that being gay is a sin to God, then ok -- don't be gay. What I don't agree with is bashing the LGBT for loving who they love in the name of God. If you think we're sinning, then pray for us. Isn't your God strong enough to fix us? But...we're not broken.

As Trump made his way into the White House, there were several protests going on. One of them was called "The Queer Dance Party." It was held in front of Mike Pence's home. I've always felt that if you protest half naked, simulating sexual behavior in public to fight for your rights, that society and the government officials will never take the LGBT community seriously. I've stated many times that this sort of protesters don't represent what my wife and I stand for. I guess you could say I made it about me. Through the array of different and unique people, I recently found myself guilty of judging another person. It wasn't Jesus-like at all, yet I use that line to conservative Christians who judge me.

I took to Facebook and posted a photo of Firas Nasr, the Queer Dance Organizer.

I said in jest, "And this is how we beg for our rights."

Many people made their comments, chuckling and making cute remarks. Many saying they wish they had his figure and dance moves, which was cute. But then an old friend of mine made a comment. My old friend named, Dave. He was the one I went to the prom with. We shared something very interesting: we were both gay. He never knew I was gay, and I never knew he was gay. We had the best circle of friends and always respected one another. We even kept in touch throughout the years, even if it was a Facebook "hello." He married is longtime partner and adopted a beautiful baby girl named, Leah. See, in my head, when fighting for our rights, especially to marry and have children, these two gentlemen and their adorable baby girl are the ones I would love to see in the front of the protest. It would show that being gay isn't all about "sex" and "lust," but of love, loyalty and family.

Then I saw Dave's comment on my post.

"Oh look at the f*ggot. Nice, Deb."

He said it to imply that I was basically saying it myself. Maybe this was the last straw that broke the camel's back, but for whatever reason, I just went off on him on my post, even reprimanding him for using the derogatory word to imply I was mocking this man. But...I was mocking him in a way.

Although I have no excuse to do this, the point I was trying to make was is that this man dancing did not represent what I stand for. My old friend Dave and his family are the people I want to represent me. But is that fair? This guy dancing, Firas Nasr was fighting for my rights! Who am I to say anything when all I'm doing is making some outlandish remarks on social media? I'm not out there fighting with them and I'm not even supporting what he's so brave to do. I figured, well I write books and articles and broadcast for the LGBT community, which is a huge contribution in itself, but maybe it's not enough.

Circa 2003
I want to publicly apologize to my old friend Dave for my behavior. I want to also apologize to his husband Tim, and the rest of our mutual friends who were in that thread. This isn't who I am, and I'm not sure why I couldn't just keep my thoughts to myself. Maybe this is a learning curve for me. I'm still a work in progress here. I was trying so hard to insinuate that Dave and his family are the types of people I would love to see protesting for our rights, but it doesn't matter who, it matters why anyone is out there fighting for us. I dismissed the conversation like a coward and blocked my friends, to which I'm very regretful for. I hope that they can one day accept my apology, and if not, then this will definitely be a lesson learned.

I also want to sincerely apologize to Firas Nasr. To be brave enough to go out into that sh*tstorm of political madness and fight for me? THANK YOU. And I'm so sorry.

Even though my political and religious views may be different, it's a beautiful thing when people can act like adults and still treat each other with respect, which I failed to do. I didn't even realize what I was doing, until the next morning. Somehow, somewhere, I've become hard, my heart used to be softer. I preach about tolerance and acceptance, while not displaying any of it. I'm thankful for Tim, Dave's husband for pointing that out to me. He personally emailed me, and of course, I immediately got offended, when he was absolutely right.

Prom Circa 1991
Dave, I love you and I cherish every fun memory we've had together. You're a huge part of my childhood and helped me in so many ways. And even if we don't talk for months or years and we see one another after some time, it's as if time never slipped by. You were like a brother to me and I still feel that way. My apologies go out to you and Tim, with all my heart. And oh, please also forgive me for the big 90's feathered back hair!

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, 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!

Emotional Self-Preservation

"I'm Sorry." After the last couple of years, and whatever it is that you may be personally going through, it's especially ...