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Almost 4 months ago, I decided to remodel our main bathroom—it looked terrible and outdated.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

The guy

As a young teenager I made a list of the characteristics I wanted in a future husband—he had to love me for who I was, he had to be a family man, a good provider, a hard worker, and he had to be 5’7” (since I’m only 5 feet tall, I didn’t want to marry someone who would tower over me). I also wanted to marry an Italian.

I was attracted to different guys, but none of them really fit my criteria. I got engaged to this one guy because I didn’t think the guy I wanted really existed. Then one day he stood in front of me and I knew that it was him. How did I know? Because a thousand voices said, “It’s him!” I had goose bumps and I was at a loss for words.

I ended my engagement and I did everything I could to be where this new guy would be— I wanted him to notice me, and he did! Seven months later we were married.

Today marks his birthday. It’s hard to believe that I have celebrated 31 birthdays with him. We met a few months before his 19th birthday; in fact, this is a picture of him when we celebrated his 19th birthday.

ImageI realize now that our meeting was not “by chance,” it was God’s plan for me to be at the exact time and at the very place where my future husband would be.

Through our nearly 30 years of marriage, we have grown stronger together. He truly is my best friend— he’s the person I talk to when I am sad, happy, or mad.

I am so thankful that God has blessed me with this wonderful guy that I call my husband. Happy birthday, cutie! I love you!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

 

Clean!

Over the weekend I made plans to rearrange the basement and use the couch we stored away in the garage. When I went to the garage today and removed all the boxes and other things to get to the couch, I noticed it was thick with mold.

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My son said that we should throw it away because it was basically “garbage,” especially since one section was broken. I couldn’t throw it away though because I knew there was hope—the couch had potential, all it needed was to be cleaned.

I used one can of furniture polish and part of it became clean, but I needed more furniture polish to do the whole couch so I sent my son to the store. He reluctantly went.

For the next three hours, I sprayed and wiped the couch. There were two sections of it so I cleaned both sections. Then my husband repaired the section that was broken. I couldn’t believe the difference. Something that was so dirty and disgusting was now beautiful.

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I thought about these Words from the Bible: “…All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away….but you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God… anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (Isa 64:6, 1 Cor 6:11, 2 Cor 5:17).

I thought about all the people we might think are worthless— drunks, drug addicts, etc., but they are like that couch. They are tainted by sin and they need God to clean them. I am glad that God did not throw me away.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

A new grandchild

Today, a very special thing happened— my fourth granddaughter was born. It is true that every one of my grandchildren’s birth was special, but this one was different because it was the first one that I was able to attend in the actual birth.

My role was to take pictures so I really didn’t see much— I was just concerned with capturing the moment (I took about 200 pictures).

ImageI was finally able to see the birth transpire before my eyes as I reviewed the pictures this evening. What a miracle to see my baby granddaughter take her first breath,

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And then cry.

 

ImageI prayed for her during her birth, and I will pray for her as she grows up. I pray that God will protect her, but most of all; I pray that God will make Himself known to her and that she will follow Him.

ImageI thank God that I was able to witness such an incredible thing. I also thank my daughter-in-law and son for allowing me to be in the birthing room. May God give them wisdom, patience, love, and endurance as they raise this baby girl.

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 God is so good!

 

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Two deaths

I thought my mother would be grieving my stepfather’s death—she had been married to him for almost 40 years, but instead of grief, there was relief.

My mother had been through so much— for a year, my stepfather was bedridden and my mother had to feed and change him. She had no peace— even when she wanted to go downstairs for a break, he would call for her and she would stay with him in the room.

When my mother discovered he had died, she called my brother and he wired money for her to cremate him. About four hours later, she was presented with a ceramic vase with his ashes in it. There was no funeral and no one cried for him.

I then thought about my father-in-law’s funeral. All of us were mourning his death—all of us were deeply saddened because we would miss him. The church was filled with people and they talked about all the wonderful things my father-in-law did.

There’s a stark difference between the way my stepfather and my father-in-law were remembered in death, and I think these differences reflected who they were and how they lived their lives.

My stepfather was a pedophile and a gambling addict. He molested not only my sister and me, but also my cousins and my brother’s niece on his wife’s side (these were the ones that I know about). He had also been arrested for picking up prostitutes.

My father-in-law was a godly man. He was married to my mother-in-law for almost 50 years prior to his death. He was ill for 20 years yet he continued to do ministry. He was like a father to me and he loved my children very much.

My stepfather did not know the LORD, but my father-in-law did. My stepfather did not worship God, but my father-in-law worshiped Him constantly. My stepfather denied Christ, but my father-in-law embraced Christ and told others about Him.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make… 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…” (NLT).

My stepfather did not choose life, but my father-in-law did, and now the memory of my father-in-law continues while my stepfather has been quickly forgotten.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The visit with my mother

Last night I visited my mother for the last time.

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Today my husband and I start our long trip back home. I feel a little sad. My mother doesn’t live in a very good apartment— some of the ceiling tiles have fallen, the floors in the bedroom are warped, and the indoor plumbing needs to be fixed.

I feel like I didn’t have enough time to ensure that she will be alright. I wanted to find another apartment for her— an apartment with good indoor plumbing and on only one level so she wouldn’t have to climb stairs every day.

Even though we didn’t accomplish that, there were other positive things that happened.

I was able to talk to my mother about Christ. She said she didn’t like religion, but I told her that it’s not about a religion; it’s about a relationship. After talking for a little while, she said that she had a couple of Baptist friends who attend a Bible study and that they had asked her several times to join them. I encouraged her to go with them.

My mother’s apartment was extremely hot and humid, especially in her bedroom, so we bought her a portable air conditioner and installed it for her. Now her room is cool and comfortable.

I saw how God provided wonderful people to take care of her:

The honest tricycle driver, Neptune, who drove all over town to find my mother’s medications today and makes sure that she keeps her doctor’s appointments; Jocelyn, the teenaged relative who is helping with cooking and cleaning; Ate, the lady next door who gave my mother soup when she was ill (she is also a Christian); Emma, my mother’s niece who makes sure that the monthly bills are paid; and her friend that helped her file paperwork so she can receive benefits after the death of my stepfather.

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I pray that God will continue to take care of my mother and that she will come to trust Him.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The phone call

This evening I received a voice message from my brother who I haven’t heard from in over three years. I didn’t answer the call because I didn’t recognize the number and I thought it was a marketing company.

His voice was shaky. He mentioned, “Mom,” and that’s when I called him. I didn’t even bother listening to the rest of his message.

He told me that my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia and that she had asked for him to see her. Apparently my stepfather died about four or five days ago. I’m not sure if her illness has anything to do with her grief.

My emotions are mixed.

My mother married my stepfather when I was 9 years old. Soon after, my stepfather started to molest us. I remember only bits and pieces. One of the strongest memories I had was when my mother said I couldn’t lock the door to my bedroom at night anymore because it “wasn’t safe.” I had a deep feeling of dread, fear, and panic.

For the longest time, I waited for my stepfather to die (he was about 20 years older than my mother). He never did, but then I moved on with my life. I got married and had a family of my own.

I had a literal distant relationship with my mother and stepfather—they lived in California and I lived in Florida. After a few years, they moved to the Philippines. Throughout my nearly 30 years of marriage I only saw my mother three times.

After I had become a Christian, I wanted my mother and even my stepfather to know Christ. I didn’t want revenge and I wasn’t waiting for him to die. In fact, I had hoped that I would hear him say that he had asked God for forgiveness and that he was a believer and a follower of Christ.

With Christmas cards and other mail, we would send them gospel tracts. About a year ago we sent them the “Jesus movie” and my mother said that my stepfather constantly watched it. I am hoping that it changed him.

My mother had always been resistant in hearing about Jesus. She told me several years ago on her last visit to Florida, that she didn’t need Jesus. I’m not sure if she still felt that way. As much as I could, I tried to tell her about Jesus’ love and how my life has changed because of Him.

I am not sure if my mother will recover from her illness. My father said that he will check on her today after the funeral of my stepmother’s mother. I am hoping that I will have one more opportunity to talk to her about God.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Flying Pig Half Marathon

Today I ran my second half marathon. I knew going in that there would be hills—I even heard that there was a three mile incline. I was nervous. Conquering the hills, though, was something I needed to do.

I was on the cross country team in my senior year of high school. I joined the team because I wanted to be active and that was the sport I could do that time of the year.

Before cross country, I had never run. I started with running one mile, then slowly working my way up to running 6 miles. I wasn’t a very fast runner, and my biggest achievement was placing 20th on one of our meets (I actually got a ribbon for it).

One of the worst meets I had was at our home meet. I was doing fine until I came upon a very large hill. I tried my best to run it, but I couldn’t. I cried because I was so disappointed in myself.

I felt that running the Flying Pig Half Marathon was a way of redeeming me for that disappointing run back in high school.

The half marathon started with a run over the bridge into Kentucky and back.

ImageI ran it! There was another bridge and I ran that. Then there was a small hill, and I ran that too. There were more minor hills, but I ran those.

Eventually, I faced the “king of all hills”—the hill that leads up to Eden Park. I started running this hill and I was fine for a little while but two-thirds of the way up I had to walk because I felt like I was going to pass out. Finally, I reached the top. It was so beautiful to see the river below. I started to run again. Going downhill was incredible—I sprinted.

There were more hills, all relatively smaller than the one I just climbed and I ran those. Then I came to the 12 mile mark. I was tired but it was almost over. I tried to keep my pace but I was slowing down. I was jogging now.

That felt like the longest mile, but then I saw the “Finish Swine” (aka “Finish Line”) in the distance. There was a slight incline to get there but I kept going forward and I sped up.

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I heard the crowd cheering and wondered what was going on. I looked to my left and saw the first marathon runner arriving. That was neat.

I crossed the “finish swine” and got my medal. I felt like crying because I was so happy.

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I may not have finished at the time I wanted, but I felt I accomplished a lot—I finally felt vindicated. I ran several hills and I made it to the finish line!

Image“…let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith… those who trust in the Lord will find new strength… They will run and not grow weary” (Hebrews 12:1-2, Isaiah 40:31, NLT).

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti