Tuesday, December 10, 2019

This Old House

When we finally planned to move out of our old ancestral home, I swore up and down that I would never go back for a visit. I knew what that meant for me. After cleaning out my parent's walk-in closet, tossing the suits in one pile, sweaters and shirts in a another, memories of when they wore these items just came flooding through my mind, my heart, and eventually spilled out as tears. I couldn't do it anymore. Madelene had to take over, and by the time all was said and done, we had about 30 Hefty bags of every article of clothing they had ever owned. I took this one sweater my mom wore all the time and tucked it away in my own closet. I asked my siblings numerous times to come over to rummage through their room to take a keepsake or an item of clothing, but as soon as they did, the tears fell and they quickly ran out of their room. Totally understandable. I wanted to give them a chance to take what they wanted.

We still have a lot of stuff of our own inside that house. With the winter upon us, the cold air set in, which is why we turned off the water and drained all the pipes so that they wouldn't freeze. I'm not sure why we even did that, but we wanted to respect a home that kept us warm in the winter, cool in the summer and supplied running water for all these years. Yesterday, we made our way back to this old house to pick up more dribs and drabs of our belongings, especially our Christmas decorations. As soon as I walked into the first living room, I felt the intense coldness---and it was a 55 degree day. The temperature was 30 degrees inside, with a temp of 55 on the outside. It stunk like something had died in the crawl space. As I walked further, we noticed that it was leaking water near the load bearing wall right before you walk into the main living room. Part of the first room looked like it was flooded out for some time. It used to do that when we were there, but we took care of it right when it happened. But nobody lives there anymore. Nobody is caring for a house that was once pampered until the end.

I kept walking through the house, quickly picking up my belongings, but the coldness numbed my fingers and my legs started to freeze up. I got as much as I could, and then yelled upstairs, "I gotta sit in the car, Madelene---I can't do this." She totally understood. As I sat in the car waiting, I felt this heaviness, this intense weight on my chest that wouldn't let up. I took a photo of the property and group messaged all three of my sisters, telling them how much I missed it here---how I missed all of us---a "once upon a time us." It wasn't so much the house itself, it was the people in it which made it heartbreaking to leave. Thoughts of these huge Thanksgiving dinners had with all of our relatives and friends. Christmas Eves were decked out, while dad and mom cooked up The Feast of the Seven Fishes for family and anyone who needed a place to go. Summers were the best at this house! The pool was always occupied. We would be out that early in the morning, and by noon, mom was shuffling out to the pool area in her flip flops and shorts, along with a tray of sandwiches and iced tea. I know I can't go back, and not that I want to, but leaving that house feels like I'm abandoning it in a weird way. Even if we were to stay, the house wouldn't benefit us anymore. It's way too big to heat and maintenance, and it's extremely desolate in the winters. It became dangerous to live there in the winters due to the extreme weather conditions. Not even all wheel drive could plow through that any longer. I needed a place that would make me feel safer and closer to everything.

A close friend of mine said, "Are you gonna miss that million dollar view?" And I didn't even need time to think about it. I said, "Living in a place I feel safe in is worth a billion dollars." My peace of mind is too important to stay in a house with a beautiful view. Besides, I prefer condo living anyway. I love listening to the sounds of cars, church bells, distant trains and even sirens. I prefer the sounds of the 'city'---although it's not quite the city. When I lived in the old house, sometimes I would put on "sounds of the city" on my Calm App to get me to sleep. It reminds me of when I used to spend time at my grandma's house. We woke up to the sounds of garbage trucks, kids playing outside and cars passing by. We heard the trains and the church bells---which were music to my ears. Many would prefer where I used to live: a ton of property with a gorgeous view and hardly any neighbors. All you hear are birds, crickets, and the occasional pack of coyotes at night. My favorite was listening to owls "hoot" back and forth to one another while I fell asleep with the windows open. Of course there's a peacefulness to it, but without the people to fill the home, it was no longer "home" any longer. It was time to move on.

With that being said, after yesterday's visit, I feel like I have a "sadness hangover" from everything. Thank God for coffee! As I snap out of it, and appreciate all that I do have---all that I have prayed for, my heaviness is lifting from me little by little. The holidays feel strange in this new home, but I'm trying my best!

I guess it's to be expected. I'm grateful for what I had, and also grateful for what I do have. My heart may hurt a little here 'n there, but all in all, it's not so bad here.

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

Thursday, December 05, 2019

When You Feel Mistreated and Betrayed

For the most part, I can safely say that most of us like to be thought of as a "good person," or somebody to be respected in whatever way. When you focus on the fact that somebody out there is creating some sort of smear campaign against your character, this deeply affects a certain type of person. I'll put it this way: if you have nothing to worry about, then this will most likely not affect you. The reason being is that perhaps, the people listening to the garbage already know you, and they know your character and will take things with a grain of salt. Most people look at the source of who is saying these negative things about you. If it happens to be, what I call a "gossip hen," then most will definitely overlook the inflammatory comments or accusations against you. I remember an acquaintance of mine recently told me something negative about another mutual acquaintance. My #1 rule is this: never take it as truth. Always judge for yourself. I don't listen to somebody else's story, even if it is true, because that's not "my" experience with the said individual. And even if I have a bad experience with somebody, that's my business alone. I do not believe in smear campaigns, or ruining somebody's reputation just because of one bad experience. If I don't particularly care for someone, and another person talks highly of them, I never "correct them." And that's something many people know about me.

Suicide is Not the Answer

I am writing this because I have a friend who recently tried to take her own life. She was extremely disheartened over what her closest friends had said about her. So with her permission, she let me write this post (anonymously of course) because I was where she was not too long ago for different reasons. 

My reaction to what she was upset over is pretty much summed up here:

Eventually, if you truly want to get to know somebody better, give it time. 

"You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions." ---Matthew 7:15-20 

Most of all, you can get a good glimpse of somebody's character by their words, or "loose" topics. I tend to shy away from people who are too eager to talk about something entirely inappropriate, or the ones who corner you with gossip you don't need to listen to. Those type of weak-minded people are bored. They're looking to drum up some kind of drama because they have nothing spectacular brewing in their own lives. It's also a sign of low self-esteem, so whenever this happens, just pray for them and keep them at arm's length. They need you to side with them and make them appear relevant. 

Many years ago, I lived in this sort of mess. It was so exhausting. There's a scripture that I now live by. It has helped me a great deal, because it encompasses all things that are soothing, calming and good for the soul. I don't care how other people live, or what they do or who says what about who. 

I care about this: 

"Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine (yes yes yes) and enjoy their work---whatever they do under the sun---for however long God lets them live. And it is a good thing receive wealth from God and good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life---that is indeed, a gift from God. People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past, for God has given them reasons for joy." ---Ecclesiastes 5:18-20


To enjoy your life with good health is everything! Of course there are going to be some challenging times in our lives, but it's up to us to trust God and let Him work it out for you. Not too long ago, I was having a really hard time coping. It brought me to one of my lowest points. I sought out for help, and reached out to God. It was as if He lifted me out of the pit into a higher level of mental stability and health. To have experienced that kind of low made me realize how precious life really is. It also made me more aware of how many people struggle with their mental health, especially around the holidays. I knew this was a trigger for mine, but I looked around at all of God's blessings that are still with me today, and gained a new perspective. Sometimes, you have to crash and burn in order for God to build you back up. Our challenging times are the pressing times. Just like grapes that get pressed and crushed---it eventually comes out as fine wine. So never be ashamed about what you have been through or what you are experiencing right now. Just know that it does get better, and your perspective is everything. Once a negative thought slips into your mind, replace it with one of God's promises. 

Don't Drink Their Poison

Never let somebody's accusations about you make you fall into that pit of despair. Care about what God thinks of you---not what people may assume about you. Sometimes, it surprises me how much other people give a rat's tail about how others think or talk about them. Let them talk! Let the other people see the source and judge for themselves, and if the people who are listening are intelligent enough, they'll find out for themselves instead of listening to this sour grapevine. 

When you think about it---it's like, why can't everyone just be kind? Why can't people mind their own business? Why can't people shut their mouths and not cause trouble? 

Why? Because they're bored. Idle time is the devil's playground. And that's a fact.

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com
or join her on Facebook and Twitter. Check out her cooking blog at DebsCucina.com
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...