Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Indifference is the Opposite of Love

There's a fine love between love and hate. Love can quickly turn into hate, as well as hate turning into love. Are they one in the same, or do you truly think someone can "hate" on someone without some sort of feeling of sadness, (loss of the friendship or relationship) or a deep admiration for them? And what I mean is this: when somebody falls indifferent towards you, doesn't that imply a lack of interest? Which is worse? A deep seated hatred for someone (why) or a true lack of interest -- an uncaring feeling toward someone else? Hatred implies that there are underlining feelings -- or unresolved issues brewing.

About ten years ago, I had a falling out with a friend of mine. We were working on the same project together, so it was more work-related. She was talented, intelligent, funny and very compassionate. We disagreed on something so strongly, that one day it just tore our friendship apart. And although I had less respect for her stance in something that I felt totally differently about, I still cared about her. I admired the person she was and thought she was just amazing. But I "hated" her for a particular reason. (I never "hate" anyone, but I'm trying to make a point here.) I had a strong distaste in the way she handled her business, especially after she hurt someone really bad due to her own gain. She is not normally a selfish person, but I pointed something out and we had a huge argument over a conflict of interest, as with any coworkers or artists would have.

After we were finished with our project, we discontinued communication and parted ways. We "said our peace," but it was time to move on. I didn't go on social media and bash her to smithereens or slander her character in any shape or form. I didn't badmouth her to anyone, perhaps complain to my wife about it, but that was the extent of it. She would write up on her Twitter that I hated her -- she became very vocal in airing out our disagreement. They were more or less jabs, and not these ugly statements made in anger. Just "take that" kinda jab, or perhaps just a subliminal type of tweet that would get my attention. And it did. Why?

Because I checked.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

Sometimes, you can actually "like" someone, but not have to communicate with them. In some cases, reconciliation happens, but if it doesn't, the act of "hating on someone" becomes transparent. It shows that you care more than you'd admit. To continually banter back and forth with someone are signs that the situation was never resolved or it didn't have any sort of proper closure. If I was ever a "lover" and "admirer" of yours, whether as friends or a colleague, (not romantically, but I guess you can go there too) -- then there is still that part of me that STILL admires you and what you're all about. I may not admire what you did to me, or agree with your actions and whatnot, but part of me will always admire that something that made me love you in the first place. I'm a firm believer that feelings for someone doesn't change that drastically, even if we were deeply hurt. They can morph into hateful words due to a broken heart or just being scorned -- but there's a much deeper level of hurt when somebody is still "hating on you" -- this implies constantly tweeting about you or talking about what happened. Vent, talk it out, yell it out, but remember one thing...

Let it go.

I always say that silence is your best weapon. I always feel that silence speaks much louder than words in most cases. But sometimes, it's necessary to say something. In the same regard, I think indifference shows a huge lack of interest -- where it's stronger than hatred. When somebody shows a huge indifference towards you, it means that it. is. done. and. over. with. Plain and simple. There are no 'jabs' or subliminal messages being relayed to you or within your circle of friends. There are no games being played, or attention given. It's just...silent.

I truly dislike confrontation. Who really does? It brings such negative feelings up to the surface, as well as negative thought patterns. It gives me so much anxiety to be in conflict with someone, especially if they're close to you. It's a fact of life that not everybody is going to like you -- and that's OKAY -- but not everyone has to agree or remain friends with you either. I'm not a perfect Christian, but I do believe in "praying for your enemies" -- in terms of those who are against you. I never truly had or have an "enemy" except a while back when I was going through a rough breakup, and a few of my ex's friends bashed me relentlessly. I don't even know what to call that.

There's this scripture that I TRY to live by. To me, it describes the perfect life. But read this and see if this resonates with you...

Sometimes it's hard to mind our business and live a quiet life. I also feel that with social media, you may think you're living a "quiet life" all the while making somebody else's life miserable over on social media. There are many people on social media, who would otherwise be quiet people if there was no such thing as social media. I think we need to step back from our phones and computers for a healthy amount of time (unless your work depends on it like mine does) and realize that there are real people with real feelings behind each screen. Every time you log onto a social network, picture yourself walking into a room with every single person you come across on social media. Think about the people you like, and then think about all the people you dislike. Reconciliation happens much faster when faced with the person who you either hurt you or who you hurt due to "feelings." Let's get out of our feelings and step into reality for one moment. What would you say to the person you dislike on Twitter or on Facebook?

Who cares about who votes for who? Who cares what religion they practice or if they're not practicing? Simple solution: if you truly dislike someone's politics or religious stance on social media, delete delete delete and move on. You can't force somebody to believe what you believe. Just be you and share your story, because nobody can argue about your story -- your truth -- your life. And if you get criticized for it -- delete and move on. Life doesn't have to be so complicated, so they say.

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, March 24, 2017

What Does It Mean to Be a Real Christian?

What does it mean to be a "real Christian?" Does it mean obeying all scriptural laws? Does it mean being perfect, like Jesus was? Does it mean you can't make any mistakes? If that's the case, then being a "real Christian" means that you have to be Jesus -- period. Nobody can fill His shoes. We all fall short, and it says so in the Bible. We are flawed through and through, which is why we should be dependent on Him. The word "independent" should be flung into the waste basket. To be DEPENDENT on Him means that we trust in God enough to be reassured that He will guide us. And of course, it's up to us to keep constant communication with Him, even when we fall short, again and again and again.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! --Matthew 18:22

Many people feel like their lives are just way too messy to even consider themselves a Christian. They can't be a Christian living whatever lifestyle they do. It's impossible. YES! It's impossible to be perfect, but it's possible to lay all of your cares onto God -- to trust Him in your worst circumstances -- in your worst stained sins. He is there to heal, restore and forgive. Humans are flawed, which is why Jesus died for us on the cross.

Christ took our punishment. Why can't people understand that?

"But now God has won us a different way of being right in His sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. -----BAM!

For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and satisfy God's anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed His blood, sacrificing His life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when He did not punish those who sinned in former times. And He is entirely fair and just in this present time when He declares sinners to be right in His sight because they believe in Jesus." --Romans 4:21-26

You do not have to act all "holier than thou" in order to be a true Christian. All you need to do is trust God with all your heart and communicate with Him as much as you can. My life has changed so much after I gave my life to Jesus. I trust him 100%  -- like that trust game, where if you fall back to see if your friend will catch you or if they'll let you fall to the ground? Jesus will always catch you. Always. Life isn't meant to be perfect, neither is being human. We're meant to make mistakes, we're meant to be flawed. There isn't one perfect Christian out there.

To be a "real Christian" is to be a real human being relying on Jesus. We're not supposed to BE Jesus. Our goal is to treat others the way Jesus would've treated them as best as humanly as possible. We all struggle with some kind of sin or cross to bear. We're not perfect.

This next scripture is about all of us who struggle with being a "real Christian."

"The law is good, then. The trouble is not with the law but with me, because I am sold into slavery, with sin as my master. I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do the very thing I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.

I know that I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn, I can't make myself do right. I want to, but I can't. When I want to do good, I don't. And when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. But if I am doing what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing it; the sin within me is doing it.

It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another law at work within me that is at war with my mind. This law wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God's law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin." --Romans7:14-25

There is a spiritual warfare going on that some people toss aside as some kinda 'crazy talk' -- and that's okay. But I take it very seriously, because whether you believe in God or not -- the constant struggle between good vs. evil is there. And just because the evil side won out inside of a "good person" means that the war is just that more intense. When a Christian sins, they automatically feel guilt and most likely, will draw further away from God due to their conscience. That's what Satan wants you to do -- to turn away from God. But if you ever feel guilty about your sin, RUN to God and keep closer to Him. Guilt, resentment, fear, depression, anger, non-forgiveness are not of God -- these are emotions that are only from the devil.

And when you feel too weak and tired to battle against your "sin" -- then remember, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." -- Corinthians 12:9

Some people will say that because you're not "obeying God's laws" that you are not a "real Christian."

Wrong. The law was abolished once Jesus died on the cross for us.

"So we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be accepted by God because of our faith in Christ--and not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be saved by obeying the law." --Galatians 2:16

You will not get a ticket into heaven if all you do is "good deeds." Some good deeds come with an agenda, or an evil attempt. It's about your faith.

Continuing with Galatians:
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 I 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 early body by trusting the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not one of 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 2:15-21

I wrote that out in parts so you can see how important it is to know that the law will not save you. It's only through your own faith as a struggling Christian that will save you -- an "imperfect Christian" -- which as a result, is a "real Christian." In my opinion and experience, if someone is displaying a "holier than thou" type of behavior, or they are seemingly perfect -- something's brewing. That's only through what I have experienced from witnessing people, all people, who are flawed. Do you know how refreshing it is to sit with someone who is absolutely batsh*t crazy and seemingly sinful and still say, "I LOVE JESUS?" I smile when I see people like this. I absolutely love people who are not ashamed of their imperfections as a human, but most of all, not ashamed to say they love God.

Of course, there are times when people will test you in your walk with God by stating that you're not a "real Christian," just because you stood up for something that was wrong. "Oh you're judgmental and not a real Christian." Wrong. Sometimes, there isn't a need to point out the wrongs of others, but if someone is out to hurt another person and you stand up for them, that's what I call being a "real Christian" is. Fight the good fight and never lose hope that God is on your side. The things that are called out as the 7 Deadly Sins are marked as "sins" that can definitely affect your life in a negative way.

The Seven Deadly Sins

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride 
Let's be fair, we've all did the tango with at least one or two of these sins. Some of us are still struggling with some of them, and that's OK -- the term "deadly" only speaks about how unhealthy overall it is to be addicted to these kinds of things. 

Lust: It can be easily tempted. It can come in all forms of sexual pleasure. But the types of lust spoken about in the Bible are forms of the unhealthy nature of lust -- the promiscuity that can bring someone down with sickness, whether in mind or body. So, in turn, it's "deadly."

Gluttony: The habitual greed or excess in eating. This even means hoarding food in various definitions of this word.  Of course this has many risks: cancer, heart problems and diabetes, which can all be "deadly." Who hasn't taken seconds from time to time?

Greed: It's funny how greed and gluttony are pretty similar. It's the desire for wealth, power or food. Maya Angelou said it perfectly. She said, "I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back." When all you are doing is living life in the means to gain something, you will find that your life will soar downhill. Greed has been the ruins of many, and most have failed because they weren't able to give back. It wasn't in their character. Many greedy corporate bigwigs were thrown in the slammer or thrown out in the streets because everyone found out how corrupt they were.

Sloth: This is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work. It's when you do absolutely nothing for anyone but yourself. It's pure laziness. It's lackluster for a life that God gave to you. This can be confused with depression and overall mental health. Sloth is the desire for ease, even at the expense of doing the known will of God. It's the sluggishness of the mind which neglects to begin good, so it oppresses people to draw away entirely from doing good deeds or helping other people.

Wrath: To be short-tempered, angry, resentful, to seek out revenge -- this isn't only unhealthy for your mental state, but it's detrimental for your physical well-being. Have you ever heard somebody say, "Stop! Calm down -- you're gonna have a stroke!" This is very true. It creates high blood pressure, stress, heart issues, and the list goes on. It especially attracts cancer due to blockages. You can Google that on your own. Most cancers are caused by the extreme stress, anger, rage -- it clenches up your entire body creating cells that generate themselves into cancer. So, in turn, this is absolutely deadly.

Envy: The feeling of discontent or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck. Did you notice that the word "resentful" ties into this, which is also related to wrath. Refer to wrath to see how deadly this emotion can be.

Pride: The Sin of Pride is said by some to the the foremost of the Seven Deadly Sins. Hubris {pride} is the gateway through all other sin enters the mortal soul. Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as "vanity." This is not to be confused with self-love -- a non-conceited type of respect for yourself. When you're prideful, you may feel more superior than God, which is in turn, deadly.

When you rejoice over somebody else's struggles, you are wishing ill will on them. To wish ill will on someone is absolutely evil. It's a deep seated often unexplainable desire to see another person suffer terribly. It's a bitter persistent hatred that is likely to be expressed in malicious conduct (a look of dark malevolence). Ill will implies a feeling of antipathy of limited duration (ill will provoked by a careless remark). spite implies petty feelings of envy and resentment that are often expressed in small harassments (petty insults inspired by spite). Malignity implies deep passion and relentlessness (a life consumed by motiveless malignity). Spleen suggests the wrathful release of latent spite or persistent malice (venting his spleen against politicians). Grudge implies a harbored feeling of resentment or ill will that seeks satisfaction (never one to harbor a grudge).

Have you met this person?

If you have met someone like this, pray for them. They need help. We all need help in various ways, but this type of person will not only wish harm on you, but sometimes, they wish harm onto themselves. And that's how the devil works. With enough bad intent on other people, will come bad intent on yourself. It's just a law -- not an opinion. Hatred for somebody else, is only hatred for yourself. It's Psychology 101. And if all you display is bitterness, wrath, vengeance and greed -- you will receive that in turn. When all of your greed and self-absorbed 'gluttony' of your deep desires trumps (yes I said "trumps) all people of different kinds, especially those who cannot make wise decisions, then you will be defeated by your own hatred.

When you are called out for being a "fake Christian" by someone who hates themselves deeply, just pray for that person. Wish them well. As it says in the Bible, "Pray for your enemies." Some would say, "Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer," which would mean "seek revenge and watch diligently."

I will leave you with these last scriptures...

Romans 12:17-21 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Matthew 5:38-39 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Mark 11:25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.

Love one another guys!

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, March 21, 2017

Core Values

Most of my life growing up, I never ate dinner alone. We'd all sit around the table and eat dinner together. We were fortunate enough to always have had a homemade dinner made for us, and of course, the Friday night takeout was a given. I'd sometimes invite a friend over for dinner because their parents were both working, and there was always enough food to go around at our house. Mom was always gracious and hospitable, shoveling huge portions of food onto my friend's plate as their eyes bulged out from mere shock. I didn't understand how my friends could walk into an empty house after school, as I was always greeted by mom, making sure I got off the bus okay. There was never a day when she wasn't at the bus stop. Sometimes, we'd all get together in the living room and watch a movie that was rented from the local video store. That was like a huge event for us. Nobody was on their cell phones texting or SnapChatting  -- we were all together doing exactly the same thing as a family. It was really nice.

My parents with "Jumbo."

Dad going on about something at a family BBQ.
When I thought about my future, I never really thought "big and famous" or some bigwig at some corporate hellhole -- I thought more on the lines of my mom's position. I wanted to be someone who cared for other people, especially animals. She had nine Great Danes. We always grew up with dogs and cats. Summers were spent outside, while our Great Danes played on the lawn. Family BBQs included pool parties and extended family and friends visiting often. Mom cooked her butt off, making sure everyone had a drink (the adults of course) and people were fed beyond the comfort zones of feeling full. Coffee and dessert was served outside on the back patio overlooking the beautiful view of the lake and mountains. I've always admired what my mom did. Even during the week while all four of her daughters shuffled off to school, mom cleaned every corner and crevice of the house from top to bottom. When I came back home, my bedroom looked as though a hotel maid had been there. You'd expect to find a mint on the pillow.

I want to be my mom. I want to be that someone who takes care of everyone. I want to be the person my mom was: generous, welcoming, caring, strong and one helluva cook. And it wasn't like all she did was cater to people -- she went out a lot with my dad, went on vacations and did adventurous things. She had a nice balance. And isn't that what life's about? I remember working 12 hour shifts in a miserable office cubicle, wishing I had more time at home. And of course, vice/versa, when I was unemployed and miserable as well. Working from home after years of recouping from the corporate nightmare has not only changed my life for the better, but has given me an entire outlook of what I don't want in life, as well as what I do want in life.

Making vows to my best friend & life partner.

Before I started seriously dating, the most important thing in a person was their religion and faith. I wanted to be with somebody who believed in God. I didn't want some lukewarm believer or atheist -- I wanted a true believer. I have nothing against anyone of different faiths or lack thereof, but I would never want to spend my life with someone who didn't hold the same faith as myself. As friends, I would welcome anyone of any belief, but as a life partner, my choice is to have a person of faith. That's one of my biggest core values. When I get attacked by others accusing me that I'm not a "real Christian," it only demonstrates the lack of any faith they may have in themselves, as well as in any god they may seem to worship. A true Christian is Jesus -- perfect and flawless. Not one human can measure up to the perfection of Jesus. We can only hope to be more like Him, or at least, rely on His guidance.

Celebrating Madelene's birthday with family.
So when somebody belittles my beliefs as well as my political views, I try to explain the best I can where my core values come from. They come from my past upbringing, my true love for God, and my deep desire to have a good old fashioned 'little life', minding my own business and taking care of my loved ones. This world, in my eyes, is so fallen, cold, lonely and overworked. Nobody has time anymore to do the things they truly love. Everyone has to "look" busy, and if they don't, then they're somehow not contributing to society, sometimes even referred to a "loser." It's wrong on so many levels. I believe family should be close, visited often and loved with every fiber of your being. I believe that family can also be chosen as well. Your friends can totally be apart of your family in every way. I had "cousins" that weren't even related to me, but because we were so close, we became family. Nothing wrong with that.

Life is short. If all you ever do is try to make money to get from point A to point B, you'll find that you've walked past the most important things, like family, love, relationships, and even missing out on God's messages to you. In hospice, they had asked their dying patients what they would've done differently in their lives if they had to do it all over again. The most recorded answer was, "I wish I didn't work so much. I wish I would've spent more time with my family." And although work is important to survive, it has everything to do with the balance of life -- the healthy balance of doing what you love in life as well as sharing precious moments with loved ones and friends. Whenever my life gets a bit unbalanced, I try to correct it the best I can. As long as you're aware of it -- it can always level out to a perfect balance.

Just because I have old fashioned core values, does not mean that I'm a racist or a bigot, or that I wish to take away the rights of choosing what women do with their bodies. Just because I believe differently only means I come from a completely different place than you or anyone else who holds opposing views. I would never try to change anybody else's views, or make them feel 'less than' just because I don't agree with them. Once someone dismisses you because you have a completely different set of values, it only means that they're not 100% confident in their own core beliefs. We can only share with one another, we cannot change people's minds. We're not supposed to. We can however, coexist, if one chooses to do so. Sometimes, that's even asking for a lot.

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, March 16, 2017

Confronting Friends About Delicate Issues - Is There Ever a Good Time?

Over the years, I've learned several things 'not to do' while living in this crazy world. It's hard to make the right choices when you'r'e conflicted about what's "right" and what's "wrong" -- and granted, sometimes there is no right or wrong, it's just a matter of opinion in most cases. In most circumstances where I think I should let someone know my opinion, it usually is...until it isn't. And what I mean by that is -- have you ever told someone you care about that their spouse or significant other was cheating on them? 9 out of 10 times, you'll find that it will always backfire. You then become the "bad guy" -- and morally speaking, you would think that you should be able to go to your friend with this crucial info -- but the bearer of bad news can quickly become the enemy, or at least, "the one who told me" -- which gives them a bad feeling every time they see you. So in my opinion, it is best to remain silent with personal affairs. Move on. Eventually, the person being cheated on will find out. It always happens that way.

Keeping silent can be pretty hard, although the most seemingly easiest thing to do, it's so far from the truth. It's especially hard to keep silent when you feel a friend only comes around when they want something from you. And of course you can say that I took it the wrong way or that I'm overreacting -- but when it happens over and over again, two things have to happen: either silence or confrontation. I'm not a huge fan of people inviting themselves over, especially 'on the spot' with one phone call to ask if they can 'drop by' -- and in some cases, that's perfectly fine. But the one thing that always seems to get me is when one of my friends never acknowledges that my work during the day is "work" or that I can skip out and find the nearest bar to hang out with her in. I'm not upset that she wants to hang out with me, but upset that she thinks that I do nothing all day. Her visit usually requires weekend sleepovers. If we ever go out to eat, her arm never extends out to reach for the check. It's not that I mind paying for a friend's lunch or dinner, but out of the 100 times, it starts to get old. It starts to feel like you're being used. Another thing is when someone brings up their birthday for the umpteenth time as soon as the month starts, to remind you that you need to celebrate it or perhaps, run out and get that special gift. You don't have to remind me -- Facebook does a good job of it, however, Facebook only reminds people the day of, and well, that's just not good enough for some people. So I keep silent about it -- I mean, SUPER silent about it. That's my way of coping with it. And when her day comes, I shower her with love.

As an entrepreneur/artist/freelance kind of gal, you need to get creative of how you make your money. I was fortunate enough to have companies pay me for link placements within my archive articles inside my blog from all the way back from 2005. Advertisements, especially websites who mirror my blog onto their site as a "column" also trickle into my bank account, which is an awesome way to make a living while working from home. I make more money doing this than I did working in the finance department in a beautiful office for IBM. It's my dream come true! So on the side, I use Periscope as a way to communicate with my followers and readers on Twitter. I don't care if I have 5 - 50 people in there at a time, I'm just happy to have the live stream out there so that they can see and hear their author and columnist 'speak' instead of write. I think it's important to get to know who you are reading. I once had placed a PayPal link onto my profile, because I saw many others doing it. But what happened was, a random guy who found me on Periscope chipped in $400.00. At first I was very happy and super grateful. But it came with that $400 price tag. I started receiving 7am texts asking, "Good morning, how did you sleep," -- it was getting out of control. He felt that he had bought my friendship. So with that, I refunded his money. I graciously declined his "tip" and thanked him profusely.

Here's my point: this man wasn't quite 'well' mentally. I didn't realize this at first. When I say mentally unwell, I don't mean "crazy stalker guy" -- he has an intellectual disability from birth. I'm not sure what type -- I just know that he even lived in an assisted living home for a while. I believe this person gives other people money in hopes for the return of friendship. They usually cannot make healthy decisions, and I think it's unfair if anyone takes his money and then tosses him aside. You have to be careful when you decide to make your money off of social media, in terms of donations or tips. So yesterday, as I was live streaming, I noticed something strange in my room. I realized that one of my fellow live streaming friends was actually accepting money off of someone who was also intellectually disabled. I guess it's hard to know offhand if someone is or not, but with this person, they already admitted to living and now working in an assisted living type of situation, due to her having this disability, even though she is highly functioning. I guess you can say that I lost a little respect for this person when I learned of this. So instead of becoming silent, I confronted this person. It didn't go so well. It was shot back to me with vile words of anger, to which I returned the email with nothing but love, but more so for concern and the possibility of a misunderstanding. Nonetheless, if anyone is taking advantage of a person financially who happens to be intellectually disabled, my respect for you diminishes greatly. Is it any of my business? It is when that person is my friend too.

People "online" are real. They're sometimes lonely, and in some cases, their only source of communication with the world is through social media and live interactive streams. They feel like they have a place. Be careful if you're making money off of other people's tips, because you might come across someone who is begging for your friendship, who doesn't realize that a tip is a tip. I have no regrets confronting the person who did this. I'm just very disappointed that this "loving person" who speaks so much about "coexisting" all the time actually did this. So we ended our friendship because I chose to confront them. I wish this person well, but I also hope that in the future, when you receive a tip for your live streams, that you accept with discernment. Usually, if you're a live streamer, you get to know your viewers for a more interactive experience. When I received $400.00 -- it was no longer a "tip" -- it was a price tag on my friendship. Know the difference, because many people are expecting much more than what you're able to give.

Sometimes silence is the best answer, and sometimes, a confrontation is needed.

What do you think?

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, March 07, 2017

I'm OK With It

Sometimes it's hard to just write one word no less an entire article, so instead I'll just do a live stream and have that be my "blog post." Fortunately, I love to cook so I won't bore the heck outta people, well we can only hope. My schedule as I've yapped about before has been quite the rollercoaster. I'm awake until 6am. It used to 3am (no big deal) or even 4 or 5am. I decided to do most of my work at night now. I don't mind working at night, but I truly wish I was more of a day person like I used to be. Now, my body tires out when the birds are chirping outside. If I am not running around like a chicken with its head cut off, then my mind will do it instead. I constantly need to be busy, either cleaning like a lunatic or cooking for an army...of three, at most. Leftovers, right? My insomnia stems from anxiety. Someone asked me the other day if I was depressed. I'm not. I am incredibly grateful for every single thing, every single person and opportunity that has come into my life. Do I get sad when I hear my mom's in excruciating pain? Yes. It makes me cry. Do I get sad about still thinking about my dad here 'n there? Sure. I'll cry -- but it's healthy to get that all out. But it doesn't mean that I'm depressed.

"Well, maybe you're putting on a good face." 

I will give you my honest face, but I will also give you my inner most hopeful face. I believe that in this fallen world, there needs to be a light that beams through the darkness. (Too deep?) Ok, there needs to be a little more lightheartedness, and less focus on the negative aspects of life, like politics and people fighting so viciously over it. Sometimes it's difficult to be lighthearted once you hear bad news. That's just being human. But what if there was a way, that even at our lowest point in our lives, that we can have a subtle, yet strong sense of peace within us? See, that's what God does for me. We have to go through all of these annoying and painful seasons in order to appreciate when there is a restful period. Do we take those restful periods for granted?

Last night (or early morning) at around 4:30 am, my wife woke up and looked over at me sitting on the edge of my bed holding my head. My heart was pounding and my anxiety was at its highest level -- thought my heart was gonna just blow up. When this happens, my entire face, mostly on the left, becomes completely numb, as if there was no feeling on it. I used to get scared about this, until a doctor told me that this was a common symptom of anxiety. I'll either splash some water onto my face, or I'll take an Advil which for whatever reason, helps it. Madelene said, "Why don't you go in the other room and read your bible, Deb?" Usually, in my state of panic, I don't become so agreeable, and I'll chuck it up that I'm too anxious, but this time, I actually walked out of the bedroom and sat in the living room, lit a candle and read my bible.

I could not believe all that it pointed out to me which I am going to share with you, because I think it's important for others to read when they're going through something so stressful.

So here's what I read below. It's a segment inside my bible that gives you scriptures about whatever topic you need. But I wasn't searching for this. I just opened it up -- and voila, it was staring me right in the face. I hope this may help someone reading this.
Does suffering mean God doesn't care about me?

Psalm 22:24 He has not ignored the suffering of the needy. He has not turned and walked away. He has listened to their cries for help.
Suffering is not a sign of God's absence; it is a fact of life in this fallen world. God is still with us in the midst of life's struggles. He may not remove them from us, but he does promise to help us get through them.

Psalm 56:8-9 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. On the very day I call to you for help, my enemies will retreat. This I know: God is on my side.
God's care is such that not even a single tear goes unnoticed. He knows our every pain and will one day lead us to victory.
As of late, especially within the last year or so, I have kept in constant communication with Him more so than I ever have. I'm starting to 'get it' -- although there is so much I still have yet to learn. I now understand that there is a spiritual warfare going on, but many people either don't take it seriously, don't believe in that sort of stuff, or just mark it off as "fairytale-ish" and crazy. I used to blow it off as only those possessed by demons, like the Linda Blair kind. Have you ever heard of somebody is dealing with their demons? It's quite literal, although most people don't even use the word as literal. Perhaps they mean "issues" and "problems" in life. But it is very real. In fact, after the other night, I will never chuck it up to something that's nonexistent, because that's what the devil wants you to think. He also wants you to think that he doesn't exist, so you won't fear him so much or do things that are bad for your spirit. 

God would never put the spirit of fear in you. That's what anxiety disorder really is. Is it a disorder, or is it a spiritual attack? God will never put the spirit of anger, jealousy or bitterness in you. He also won't place the spirit of depression over you. These are all negative emotions that the devil gives to you in order to make your world look way too cloudy to even come to God. It's more or less, a distraction. But realizing what it is in the midst of the suffering is absolutely crucial, so that you can be prayed upon, and also ask God for help. I stopped resisting the anxiety, the insomnia, the fear -- I started to replace it with courage and bust through it. My communication with God became stronger, more intimate and fulfilling. Well guess who doesn't like that? 

What happened to me the other night is something I was hesitant to tell ANYONE. I mean, it just sounds completely crazy. But I have to tell it only because someone out there may have gone through this, and my story may make them feel a little less crazy. Who knows. But as I was flipping through the channels watching mindless TV around 3am, I clicked on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Eh, this should bore me to sleep, so I thought. They switched the scene over to Bruce Jenner (this is before the transition) and he was being interviewed briefly on some drama going on. As he was sitting in his captain chair, the picture completely froze. It remained still for about ten seconds. Then, as everything else was still, his face came alive, and his eyes became watery, red, and focused on what it appeared to be on me. The face kept coming toward my screen, but this time, appearing as a demon! Something inside me rose up, not afraid, not timid toward this thing, and at that moment, my body jolted (as if some force inside me zapped him with something) and my cable and TV shut off at the same time with a loud popping noise. It wouldn't come back on for a good 30 minutes or so. I thought it completely knocked out my TV set. I knew right then, and by the way I felt (very light) -- that the Holy Spirit fought my demon. I know that sounds strange, but it happened! Funny that Bruce Jenner would be the "demon" to taunt me, but I guess they come through many sources.

Of course I had to look up if this happened to anybody else, and I got a slew of videos and articles about Bruce Jenner being possessed by demons. (Or were they just taunting Caitlyn for being trans?) One can only imagine. But they have seen the eyes of Bruce and saw something strange. I don't know what to tell you -- but my story is legit because Madelene woke up instantly once she heard the popping sound of my TV going off along with the cable. Afterwards, I slept like a baby. I felt like God fought whatever was attacking me that night and I was left in a long deep slumber. Something happened. I don't know what it was, but all I can say is, thank GOD. 

I realize that this part of my article will make me look a little crazy, but I don't care. This is something that I need to speak about. This is my testimony and my own valid proof that demons are real. Demons can attack you in ways that are so seemingly normal, like phobias, anxiety, depression, "disorders" and addictions. They come in forms of everyday life problems. It may come in a subtle way, or it may come on full steam ahead -- but try to overcome these 'spirits' with courage. Pray to God and trust in Him. He will fight for you. Fear never goes away, unless it is handled with courage. The courage will fight off the fear. And then, you'll no longer fear whatever it was you were scared of. It's really hard, but it's possible. For me, I have to stay close to God, live by the Word and focus on all of the things that I am blessed with. I have a gratitude list that I do every morning. It keeps your mind from focusing in on the negative aspects. Sometimes, we think that our life is so horrible due to ONE negative problem occurring, which will make you become oblivious to the many blessings you have right in front of you. Only one problem can erase all the good that you're missing out on. Focus on the good. While praying, God taught me something valuable. Learn to say while things are going really bad, "I'm OK with it." When you do this, you crush a demon.

"I'm OK with it." 

Say it.

This not only means that you are strong enough to endure this challenge, but you are also relying on God to handle your problems for you. Give your cares to God with thanksgiving. This is just one of my many testimonies, and I'm sure that there will be much more to come. And you know what? 

I'm OK with it. 

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!

Saturday, March 04, 2017

The One Thing Keeping Me Alive

It doesn't matter how close you are to someone, even if you live with them, the fact remains: you will always be oblivious or perhaps, out of 'the know' about something about that particular person. I always say that I will never truly know my wife 100%. I say that as a good thing, because I'm constantly learning new things about her, even after 20 something years of being together. Remember the good ol' 7 year itch? Well, that "itch" is true. The "itch" can also mean that it's just the process of growing, changing or setting new beliefs. In fact, our bodies develop new allergies every 7 years. Think about where you were 7 years ago today. You were quite different, weren't you? Think about your political views and even religious views... Weren't they a little different back then? I do know one thing, (maybe two or three) -- that we are constantly growing and evolving into different people, gradually. I'm not saying that every 7 years it's like, presto -- brand new person. "I don't even know them anymore." When I was in my early thirties, I remember my sister saying something very interesting. She said that when people turn 40 (especially women), they develop more desire to learn, but more so, more ability to absorb. This is why they suggest that people wait until they reach the prime age of 40 before they study the Kabbalah. If you open it beforehand, less gets absorbed and you won't be so 'enlightened' as you would if you were older than 40. As for my faith in Christianity, I recall Joyce Meyer, a Christian author and speaker, she would use the phrase "still on the milk" -- which would means, not fully absorbing the new information --or-- not a mature level of spirituality. So basically, still learning.

But "religion" is taught. Spirituality is developed over a period of time.

I've never reached such a high state of consciousness as I have when I turned 40 years old. It took some rough spiritual beatings to actually get to where I am right now, but I will say this: I am an entirely different person than I was before 40 years old. And that's just a couple of years ago...ok, a few years ago. I mean, what's better than reaching your highest level of spirituality other than learning about it first. But the deeper you go, (the more you meditate) and not only pray, but listen to God -- that's when you know you have reached a higher level. And remember, the word "silence" has the same letters as "listen." And when I say a "higher level" -- I do not mean your highest, because you can only go higher and higher without limitations. I truly believe that. Many atheists will laugh at my "fairytale-ish" kinda faith, but this fairytale kinda faith saved my life and it has also given such an amazing amount of peace, even if I was in the middle of complete chaos. I'm not perfect, which is why I still need God to guide me every step of the way. I fully depend on Him for all my needs. If he takes care of the sparrows, wouldn't He then take care of you? I trust in Him to the point of remaining in the present, not worrying about tomorrow, but keeping the necessary amount of worries for today and giving it up to God.

But it's not so easy sometimes.

I find myself tossing and turning at night, thinking about things that are out of my control. My mind spins faster and faster, spiraling out of control until I look up at the clock and it says, 5am. But when I get into the mindset of looking forward to tomorrow and going to sleep in a good mood -- I sleep like a baby cub. Any negative energy (thoughts, happenings in your life, situations) will keep you up at night if you don't 'put it to rest' literally. Nothing is going to change between 9pm and 6am, so you might as well sleep. There is NOTHING you can do about ANYTHING other than trust God, give your problems to Him (I do this mentally) and just go to sleep, knowing everything is in His hands. And they are. When I do this, I realize that not only did I sleep for 8 hours, but whatever I was worrying about the night before was no big deal that morning, nor in the afternoon or evening. Most of the things we tend to worry about never come into fruition. Isn't that difficult to wrap your mind around? That's the bulk of what most people's underlining anxiety and phobias stem from.

There's another thing I learned over the years too. I realized that there are people out there who pray to the same god I do. They pray differently, they live differently, some even having different beliefs within the same "religion" -- and you know something -- that's OK. We're not meant to walk the same exact path. We are each designed a personalized journey to which we discover God, or not. And that's up to you -- free will -- the right to choose your path, and hope for the best. Faith is not "TRUTH" as some Christians will say -- science cannot cover faith. But if you make your faith your own truth, then that is the most beautiful thing you can ever experience. It's gotten to the point where Christians are judging one another so harshly, even the way we pray or worship God has been ridiculed, or "not good enough."

“And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” ~Matthew 6:5-8

Sometimes I have a difficult time praying with other people, or praying over somebody else, which is the most amazing thing you can do. It says in the Bible, that when two are more are gathered, He is in the midst, when it comes to healing someone, or the laying of hands when somebody is ill. I'm pretty shy when it comes to praying publicly, or even just with someone. Yesterday afternoon, I was really upset. My mom didn't feel well and my friend Eva texted me at just the right moment and asked, "Are you ok?" She called me up and prayed over the phone with me. It meant the world to me. More and more I'm getting used to praying with other people. My mother and father in-law were over last week, and we all got into a circle, held hands and prayed for my mom's health. The feeling, the power, the anointing that came over me was so overwhelming -- I felt God there. There was no denying it. It was the first time in my life when I fully believed that praying with others is one of the most powerful ways to receive God's favor. It doesn't mean that God doesn't hear your prayers when you pray alone, it just means, there is more healing power in having more people of faith along with you, helping you, instilling their own love of God into the same prayer of favor. Now I understand why so many people are addicted -- yes, addicted to fellowship and going to church every Sunday. They feel that huge presence by being surrounded by others who believe in the same thing. It's absolutely magical.

I should've been dead two years ago, but because of my constant communication with God, I'm giving all credit to Him. Maybe I'll write about it sometime soon, but I will say one thing: any time I don't pray, communicate, meditate -- my entire day is 'off'. I feel weak, defeated, I tend to delve into my own sinful nature and that's when the devil attacks the most -- when you're at your weakest. But if you admit to God your weakness, your weaknesses becomes God's strength. So even if I'm too tired to pray, I do it anyway. And when there are days when I can't, or just feel too defeated, it's a day I repent for. The devil wants you to feel guilt, this way, you feel ashamed to come to God -- which only puts separation between you and God. That's the whole purpose. We all fall short, but we can go strong with constant communication and meditation. When I say "meditation" -- I don't mean go sit somewhere Indian style on some flimsy gym mat and "ommmmmmm" your way through it. (You can, and that's OK) -- but what I mean is, LISTEN. Wait for His answers, whether it's an impression on your mind or if it's a sign from outer circumstances. And remember that sometimes, unanswered prayers are the biggest blessings.

My keys to maintaining a "constant joy" -- not what the world deems as "happiness" -- but just a constant feeling of gratitude.

I mention three things that I am grateful for that day. I do this every single day. And ever since I have been practicing this into my prayer time, the world looks different. It doesn't look as drab as it used to. I'm starting to see the good in things and holding less pity parties for myself.

I thank Him for my daily bread -- the manna that He provides. If I hoard it, or become cheap and stingy, it'll be taken from me. I learned this through a Bible story.

In Exodus 16, God provided the Israelites with manna from heaven. It was called “the bread which God has given you to eat." That manna was given to sustain them for that day. Fresh manna was provided by God on a daily basis. But what did the people do? They tried to store it up, to hoard it, to find some other security in knowing that there was “sufficient for tomorrow,” etc. But the manna of God was not for storing up purposes; it was to be eaten on a daily basis. When they got away from the simple commands of God, they soon discovered that “the manna from heaven” very quickly degenerated into a stink ~ “it bred worms and stank." We would ask, “How could it be that such a gift from God could be turned so quickly into something we would reject because of the way it turned out?” We find it hard to equate that something from heaven could become worm-ridden and carry such an awful stench. Yet, unfortunately, that is the way it can be. God wants us to live in such a way that our relationship with Him is a daily relationship, where He supplies us with that “bread from heaven” (revelation) of what He is wanting of us at this very present point in time. We have to know His voice to live like that.

And to know His voice, we have to ask for discernment from God -- to fully understand when He is the one talking. Many people are praying and communicating, but sometimes, it can be from different sources. You truly have to be careful when you're opening that veil of communication. Seal it with the name of Jesus, and try to ask for discernment when you are praying and communicating, especially when you are listening, or at least, trying to.

I know this is a longwinded article, but I wanted to share my faith with you. People see me live stream and cook, make light-hearted jokes and what have you. But there is a much deeper side to me, something rarely seen by my friends or family. Be rest assured, I am always praying for my friends and family. I also pray over the food I cook for them, asking God to bless it with love, health, laughter and happiness. I may not look like your "typical Christian" or act like it sometimes, but my faith is even stronger than my own earthly reality.

It's the one thing keeping me alive today.

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...