Sad but thankful

I remember the very first time I met my father-in-law. It was early in the morning. My husband had picked me up from Miami airport at around midnight and we drove all night to his parents’ home in Ormond Beach. I was so nervous because I didn’t know how I would be received.

My husband’s father emerged from the hallway with a huge smile and his arms were out to hug me. He was so happy to see me and I felt so welcomed.

Even though God is my Heavenly Father, I think He knew that I needed to have a father who could show me what a real father ought to be. Over the years my father-in-law did many of the things I imagined a father would— he showed me how to make spaghetti sauce and to roast red peppers, he shared stories from his past, and we would go to the local Farmer’s market and thrift stores.

My father-in-law was the father figure I never had as a child— he gave me encouragement and accepted me. I think God blessed me with him because my other earthly fathers fell short—my biological father had basically abandoned me after my parents divorced, and my stepfather was a pedophile.

I felt more like my father-in-law’s adopted daughter than his daughter-in-law, and I called him, “Dad,” because in my heart that’s what he was to me. I wanted him to be proud of me— for being a good wife and mother, and for my personal accomplishments. He died before I received my doctorate degree, but I know he would have been proud.

Today is his birthday and I mourn his death, but I am thankful that he was in my life—“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father…” (James 1:17, NLT), and I know one day I will see him again. God is good!

dadcake(Dad at my wedding on Nov. 24, 1984)

Copyright © 2015 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Pushing the Envelope

I don’t know where the phrase, “pushing the envelope” originated but it’s something that I’ve been doing for the past few weeks. I love to eat, but most especially, I love to eat sweets. Since thanksgiving, I’ve been eating pies, cakes, and candies. I’m not supposed to eat these things because I have acid reflux.

It started out slowly—just a bite or two, then to a small slice or tiny handful, then to several servings or a full bag.  Some days I can eat chocolates with no problems and that only makes it easier for me to “push the envelope” to eat more until I end up with a horrible burning sensation in the pit of my stomach.

I think all of us try to push the envelope in some way—it might not be sweets or chocolates, but it is a source of temptation. It is something that we know we shouldn’t do, but we try a little and when it looks like “it’s safe” we go even further; then we go too far and get “burnt.”

I’m trying to focus on these Scripture verses this morning, 1 Corinthians 10:23 and 13,

“You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial… The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (NLT).

The fact is, all of us are tempted by something and instead of dabbling in the temptation and “pushing the envelope,” we should throw away the things that tempts us and put even more focus on God.

I don’t like to waste anything, but I think I will throw away that chocolate bar I bought at an “after-Christmas” sale— “So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away…” (Matt 5:29, NLT).

How are you “pushing the envelope” and what are you going to do to stop it?

Copyright © 2015 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Get Up and Run!

My first half marathon was a little disappointing for me because my body crashed at mile 10 and I felt I could have made a much better time, but my time in subsequent runs kept getting worse. The one I ran last month was my worst, granted I wore shoes I usually don’t wear and it was cold and rainy and I had leg cramps during the run, but it discouraged me so much.

I didn’t want to run again because I had such a horrible experience, but about a couple of weeks afterwards, I realized that I couldn’t let that last run stop me from running—I had to keep going. Now I am learning how to run all over again, starting slowly and finding the joy in running.

I thought about how our Christian walk can falter— maybe we had a bad experience with someone at church and we stopped attending worship, maybe we had the intention of reading through the Bible in a year and after a few months we stopped— anything we wanted to do to grow but the opposite happened. Sure, we can “quit” but how is that beneficial?

There’s no coincidence that running and finishing the race is often mentioned in the Bible:

The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race… in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize… So run to win… run with purpose in every step… let us strip off every weight that slows us down… And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary…

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize… on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless… I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race…” (Ecc 9:11, 1 Cor 9:24, 26, Hebrews 12:1, Isa 40:31, Phil 3:14, Phil 2:16, 2 Tim 4:7).

The New Year is fastly approaching— get up and run!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Move on

I think it’s great to plan, but sometimes things don’t go the way we plan so we have to improvise or “make the best” of the situation. Sayings like “if you have lemons, make lemonade” is a good example. I love to plan but many times things don’t work out the way I had hoped. I have to remind myself that I did my best and sometimes things are out of my control.

For some reason I think about 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love is patient and kind… It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable… Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

We should have patience whenever our plans fail, we need to react in love instead of being upset, and we need to look beyond the current circumstance. There are greater things to think about, so when we feel disappointed then we need to give it to God and move on.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

30th Anniversary

It’s about 12:30 am and I just realized that it’s now November 24th and it’s my 30th wedding anniversary. Who would have thought that the marriage of two 19-year-olds would last this long? I just can’t believe how God has blessed me.

US-80sI love the guy that God gave to me—he’s funny and always makes me laugh

ForPost10 He’s a loving father and grandfather For Post1 For Post3 For Post2

He loves God For Post6

Finally, he loves me, despite my imperfections For Post9 For Post7

Happy 30th Anniversary to my best friend and husband. I look forward to spending many more years with you! I love you!

for Post8Matthew 19:5-6, “…a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

GOD IS GREATER

I’ve read James 1:2-3 several times before, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow,” but I never really understood what it meant until now.

Our family is under major attack—it feels like the gates of hell have opened and Satan’s minions are in full force, but even though we are going through these trying times we know that God is greater. In fact, we are now even closer to God than we were several days ago.

I believe that there is a spiritual battle taking place in our churches, and some of our loved ones have been taken captive by the enemy, “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

With the strongest conviction I have ever had, I keep shouting within my being, “GOD IS GREATER!” Those who are spiritually dead in Him can be raised from the dead— dry bones can live again. Those who have shut their eyes, ears, and heart to God can again see, hear, and know Him. No one is too far lost that he/she cannot be found by Him.

We need to pray, “It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons… to knock down the devil’s strongholds… Pray in the Spirit at all times… Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers…” (2 Cor 10:3-4, Eph 6:18).

I don’t know what you are encountering today, but know that you are not alone: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you… Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Matt 6:25, Isa 41:10, Joshua 1:9).

GOD IS GREATER!!!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Change

I love to make things look better than what it did originally. When we moved into our house almost seven years go, we changed or updated so many rooms. Several months ago we bought a camper. It was a slightly older model, but I liked the layout of it (lots of counter space, with a twin/full bunk bed); most importantly, I loved the price.

On one of the nights we camped, we had two of our granddaughters with us. My two-year-old granddaughter wanted me to rock her to sleep on the bottom bunk closest to the window. When she had fallen asleep, I realized I was stuck—I couldn’t sit up enough to get out of the bed. I would have rolled over to get out but my other granddaughter was asleep on the other side of me. It was then that I realized that we needed to get rid of the upper bunk bed. At first I thought it would be good to have an upper bunk— we could fit one more person in the camper, but who’d want to sleep in such a tight space?

Yesterday we decided to tear out the upper bunk. I thought it would be a quick job, but there were so many screws of varying lengths to take out. We tried to save the frame because it was the perfect size for a sliding door for the front bedroom, but the bunk space was too tight so we had to dismantle the bunk. Piece by piece we slowly tore apart the bed, when finally we were left with this huge space (it felt a little too big). I started to wonder if we had made a mistake in getting rid of the upper bunk.

Today, I added a wall border to cover the screw holes, and bought a verticle blind that would cover both upper and lower windows, giving it the illusion that there is only one window. After putting the sheets and pillows on the bed, I realized we did the right thing. The area was now inviting and airy— even I wouldn’t mind sleeping on that bed!

The whole experience made me think about how God wants to improve on us— He doesn’t want us to stay the same. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”

Our house and camper are still in the process of change, but many changes have already taken place. I think it’s the same for people—change is a continual process; even after God changes our heart, it is only the beginning of change. I remind myself that if I am not changing then I am stagnant. I don’t want to be stagnant.

BunkBeds B4After

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Bathroom Remodel

Almost 4 months ago, I decided to remodel our main bathroom—it looked terrible and outdated. My goal was to complete it in five days, but it took about 5 days just to gut everything out—the two layers of floor tile, the shower tiles, and the sink compartment (I don’t usually do this type of remodeling so I had no idea how long something like this was supposed to take).

The first few weeks, I worked very diligently to put tile up—my husband even cut tile for me, but weeks turned into months with very little progress being made.

There were days when I could have worked on it but I was just so frustrated. I was working, keeping up with the house, and trying to remodel the bathroom too. One time I had just finished tiling one of the walls when suddenly all the tiles came crashing down. I cried— I was so tired of dealing with it.

After a couple of months people started to ask about the bathroom. It was what I needed in order to do more work on it rather than to walk away and forget about it (which is really what I wanted to do). In a way, the constant questions about the bathroom was a form of accountability—I had said I would do it and now I had to follow through.

After about three months of having a big mess with no working shower or sink, I wondered how much it would cost to get someone to finish the work for me. Maybe I could get HGTV to get a crew here and fix my disaster? No, I had to do it. To me, it felt like a really long run—I wanted to quit but I had to finish it—quitting was not an option!

For the last few days I prayed for strength. I stayed up late to work on it.

Today, my husband hung the mirror and the bathroom is done! It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but I am glad I did it. I look at the slate floors, all the tiles I laid, the sink I chose, and I can’t believe how beautiful it looks. It was only a bathroom, but I can somewhat understand how God must have felt when He created the earth and said, “It is good.”

I did it, and I believe God helped me. I crossed the finish line!

Check out my before and after pictures.

 

 

 

The potter and the clay

I saw this news article today and it broke my heart: http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/01/health/diy-plastic-surgery/. This lady wanted to improve her appearance but it wound up costing her limbs.

Our society makes it difficult to “grow old gracefully.” The emphasis is on looking young— people see celebrities getting plastic surgery and then they want to do the same thing.

I have to admit that there were times when I looked in the mirror and wished I could change something about myself. I see the laugh lines getting deeper and the number of fine lines increasing on my face, then there’s the loose skin I have on my belly from giving birth to my four children…

I used to wish that I was taller, but over time I grew to love being only 5 feet tall—it’s funny but some strangers still treat me like a little girl.

I came across this Bible verse several times over the last few years: “…Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?”…” (Romans 9:20). These Words made me realize that I should be satisfied with the way I look—wrinkles, loose skin, and all. God made me this way. If He didn’t want me to have loose skin then He wouldn’t have allowed me to get pregnant; and if He didn’t want me to have wrinkles then He could have ended my life while I was still young.

I realize now that my focus shouldn’t be on my external appearance; I needed to concentrate on changing my heart: “…beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God” (2 Peter 3:4, AMP).

I need to love how God has made me. I know God loves me, and He has blessed me with a loving husband who thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. What more do I need?

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Confrontation

Someone mentioned to me that confrontation is difficult for them. It’s true that no one wants to be a “bad guy” and most of us want to make people happy. But there are times when we have to confront people. There’s a way to do this that is loving and uplifting. Here’s what I shared with that person:

“You can use the “sandwich technique” when confronting someone— say something positive, say something negative, then say something positive.

For example, you need to confront someone about their viewing of pornography. You would start with, “___, you do so much to help people and I know that your heart is to serve God.

It has come to my attention that you have been viewing pornography. This is a sin—a sin against other people, but most especially a sin against God. Viewing pornography distorts how you see women/men and it corrupts your heart. You are valuable to God and He loves you. He wants you to stop sinning. We have a group of men/women who meet and they are accountable to one another. I want you to join that group and I want you to find a person that you can be completely honest and accountable to. I want to follow up with you every week just to see how you are doing. I want you to also confess this sin to your wife/husband so she/he can help you through this process.

I love you as a sister/brother and I want you to flourish as a Christian. Most importantly, God loves you.”

I used pornography as an example only because, unfortunately, it’s so prevalent in our society— what a horrible tool of Satan, tarnishing and defiling the image of God (the human body) that God, Himself, created! Sadly, Satan has enticed both men and women in this sin.

Anyway, the point is, we need to confront people when we see that they are heading in the wrong direction. We do this because we love them. When we confront people, we do it with love (Ephesians 4:15) and humility (Galatians 6:1). We need to help one another get through this desert called “life” until we get to the Promise Land which is Heaven.

 

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti