Supreme Court Ruling

There are a lot of emotions regarding the Supreme Court ruling of same sex marriage—some are elated, and others are saddened by the decision. I think of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 24:32-33, “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door” (NLT).

As a Christian, our focus should be on the coming of Christ and telling others about Him. We shouldn’t be distracted by the things that are occurring in our country or this world, because they are bound to happen, and they are a sign for us—“… in the last days there will be very difficult times…They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God… They will consider nothing sacred… And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place…” (2 Tim 3:1-2, Matthew 24:6, NLT).

I am reminded of a scene from the movie, “Titanic;” as the ship was sinking they were trying desperately to save as many people as they can. This is the same feeling we should have right now—“save others, snatching them out of the fire…” (Jude 1:23). We don’t know when Christ will come back, but we know the time is getting near:

For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night… So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded… So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 6, 11).

So my encouragement to you, Christian, is to stay focused, do the work of Christ, reassure one another, and be courageous!

Copyright © 2015 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Truth About “Fifty Shades of Grey”

I never thought there would be a day when sado-masochism would be considered “romantic,” but it has happened with “Fifty Shades of Grey.” What makes this storyline so appealing to people? Is this really the type of relationship women secretly want? Would the lead female character endure these sexual games if the main character wasn’t a rich guy?

“Romance” has progressively been redefined over the last few decades. My idea of romance came from Disney movies like “Cinderella” or “Sleeping Beauty,” but when I was a teenager, the big “romance” movie was “Endless Love,” basically a warped Shakespearean love story about two teens who have sex and encounter tragedies in their lives. Then, when I was a young adult the romance movie was “Pretty Woman,” a story about a prostitute and her rich client falling in love with one another. Seeing this progression, it makes sense that society would consider “Fifty Shades of Grey” as “romantic.”

In a world where there is no real moral standard, “romance” or “love” can be anything. The truth is that the people who are enthralled by “Fifty Shades of Grey” have a miserable existence— they have no real purpose for living. They gravitate to a twisted “love” story because they desperately want to escape reality, and the storyline is so void of realism that it pacifies their need to forget about their own lives.

The real issue isn’t about sado-masochism disguised as “love,” but an internal emptiness that people generally feel. The popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a symptom of a greater issue— the need for God. Only God can fill human emptiness by giving people a true purpose for living and providing them with a new outlook on life. An invitation is given to all: “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life… Oh, that you would choose life… You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life…” (Isa 55:3, Deu 30:19-20). Now, get a life!

Copyright © 2015 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

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

My worst run ever!

A couple nights ago I was in a half marathon. It was part of a “coast to coast” event where the first leg of the competition was to run a half marathon in Disneyland, California then the second part, to run in a half marathon at Disney World, Florida in the same year.

I had several concerns going into this last half marathon— it started at 10 pm (going past my bed time), I was diagnosed with a UTI the day before, and the weather was supposed to be cold and rainy throughout the whole event.

Our night started out with us driving to EPCOT at 7:15 pm to catch a shuttle to the ESPN complex.

IMG_20141108_193344313We arrived at the starting line area at around 8 pm. They had a DJ playing music, so we danced a little, used the bathroom a couple of times, and took pictures. At around 9:45 pm, we headed to our corrals (I was assigned to “E” and my husband was in “F”). I took off at about 10:10 pm.

IMG_20141108_221104486Even though it had started to rain while I was waiting in the corral, I did well on the first six miles or so.

http://youtu.be/WgleTVDI0ww

The rain became steadier and large puddles started to form in the streets. I stepped on a couple of them, making my feet soaking wet. I was drenched from the constant rain, and I became extremely cold.

Both my legs and feet muscles started to cramp and I panicked because that had never happened to me before. I fumbled with my phone to call my husband; I only got his voice mail so I left him a message.

I slowed my pace, hoping that my husband would catch up to me. For the first time, I walked during a run— I felt defeated and I wanted to quit. After a couple of miles, I saw my husband. I was so relieved. He walked with me.

As we walked a little, he would encourage me to run. I would run until my muscles became tight again then we would slow our pace. As we arrived in Hollywood Studios, we decided to get our pictures taken— it gave me a chance to rest.

IMG_20141109_241448841IMG_20141109_243757771IMG_20141109_243847283Afterwards, we picked up the pace again. This pattern of slowing down and picking up the pace continued for a few more miles.  Then finally, we were at EPCOT. We knew we were getting closer to the finish line so we ran the last 1.1 mile. We crossed it together. My husband could have completed his first half marathon with a good finishing time, but he sacrificed that to help me cross the finish line.

RunFinishAs we ended the run and had our pictures taken with our metals, I thought about Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer…” (NLT). I am so thankful for my husband, but most especially for God— I wouldn’t have my husband if it wasn’t for Him, “…Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken” (Ecc 4:12).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground

I remember the first time we stayed in Fort Wilderness. It was May of 2012. My husband and I planned on going to Disney World with our three adult sons, my daughter-in-law, my younger son’s girlfriend (now his wife), and my 2-year-old granddaughter (8 people total).

First I searched for a three-bedroom rental at Disney, but the price was way over our budget, so then I looked into the “value” priced rooms on property, but with the number of people we had, we would have to reserve three rooms.

I wondered if it would be possible to rent a 10-person camper at Fort Wilderness, but the problem was that we would not be able to tow it there (we didn’t have a vehicle to do that plus we were flying in).

After Googling “camper rental Fort Wilderness,” I found a couple of companies that would actually bring the camper on site then set it up for us. The price per night of paying for the camper rental and the camp site was equivalent to the nightly price for a “moderate” priced room (which only sleeps up to 5 people).

The camper we rented was a 31 ft camper with two slide-outs. They supplied dishes, pots/pans, folding chairs, outdoor floor mat, and outdoor lights.

Camper rentalThere were four bunks, a queen-sized bed, a “jack knife” sofa, and convertible dinette that turned into a bed—plenty of room to sleep.

Prior to arriving at our campsite, we had a limo pick us up from the airport (it was either a limo or a van– the limo seemed more special), then we made a stop at a grocery store to pick up supplies before heading to Fort Wilderness.

DisneyLimoDisneyLimo2If you have more than 6 people in your party, then it might be more economical to rent a camper at Fort Wilderness.

Here’s what I thought were the “pros” and “cons” of renting a camper:

Cons:

  • At the time, the meal plan was not available for those staying in campsites at Fort Wilderness
  • If you fly in and don’t rent a vehicle, then you’ll have to buy food from the Trading Post (we did that midway through our trip because we ran out of milk and bread– prices were like “convenience store” pricing)
  • No concierge service (at least not the kind you would get in some of the Disney hotels)
  • The pool was very basic– just one slide.

Pros:

  • At the end of the day in the Magic Kingdom, we jumped on a boat to bring us back—it was less crowded than the bus or monorail
  • We enjoyed being “in nature”—saw deer, squirrels, and several birds in the woods
  • We could watch the water parade at night and see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the the shore.
  • We could cook most of our meals
  • You can have up to 10 people on the campsite
  • In addition to the camper, we could have set up a tent on the campsite too
  • There are lots of other things to do in Fort Wilderness– archery, horse back riding, carriage rides, etc.
  • There’s a campfire show with Chip and Dale and a movie every night (we roasted marshmallows with our granddaughter)

DisneyCampingDisneyCamping2 I’d do it again!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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Most Religions Do Lead to the Same God

Dr. T:

Great stuff!

Originally posted on :

allreligionsThe end of the semester was finally in sight. During the last few months, about twenty students and I had journeyed with Mohammed though the Arabian desert, sat in silence with the meditating Buddha, swam in the polytheistic sea of Hinduism, and swept even the smallest of living creatures aside as the Jains walked along. We had seen it all. And all of it was rather fascinating. To think that on this single planet there are so many religions, so many deities, so many ways of connecting with a higher power. One of the students, partly out of curiosity, partly out of sheer frustration with the volume of the subject matter, raised his hand and asked the question that many in the class had probably been asking themselves, “When it comes right down it, Professor, don’t most of these religions lead to the same God?”

Those who would answer “yes”…

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