What Are Dreams?

I remember when my children were babies and I would watch them sleep. Sometimes their eyes would twitch then they might let out a quick cry, like they were frightened; and other times I would see them smile. I often wondered what babies dreamed— they hadn’t been in the world for too long so why would they frown, whimper, or smile when they slept? Could they be dreaming about future events? Could that be why we sometimes have that feeling of “déjà vu”?

Is it possible to see a glimpse of the future through dreams? I’m not sure. Many years ago I had a dream where I saw myself walking on a hill surrounded by children in tattered clothing. They were smiling and welcoming me— some were reaching up to hold my hand. I appeared to be 70 or more years old— my hair was all white and in a bun. The dream was brief; it ended when I saw what I looked like.

I have had dreams that made me wonder why I dreamed such a dream. I’ve had a couple of dreams like that—  once, where an imp tried to convince me that the Bible wasn’t true but I told him that Jesus would come back as He said He would, then another time when I saw the sun split in half and everyone was terrified because we were all “doomed” and God saved us.  I came to realize that dreams like that assure me that I have a real faith in God.

There are yet other dreams where I actually talked to people I have never seen before, and I wondered if that person was having the same dream about talking to me— I guess a lot of people have experienced this because I’ve seen movies and TV shows about that.

Then there are dreams when I feel like I’m watching a movie, where I’m not even in the dream— I think that’s when my mind just wants to rest and not solve an issue in my life.

So what’s the point of writing this? I guess it’s to say that sometimes dreams can be important (like when you are struggling with something and you want to figure out what to do), and sometimes dreams can help solidify your personal beliefs. The only one who can sort that out is you, so stop turning to books or articles that tell you what your dream means because dreams are personal and can’t be generalized. If you really need help understanding your dreams then ask the One who is the maker of dreams— God.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The True Church

I think many Christians would agree that life can be difficult and that we will all struggle with something at one time or another, but often people do not realize that those “in the ministry” suffer from the same struggles.

To some degree, those in ministry suffer from depression, anxiety, fears, etc. Most times, people in ministry will not admit that they struggle because they are afraid of what people will think about them—that maybe they will think less of them.

The truth, though, is that there are people in the Bible who struggled—for example, Elijah the Prophet, and Paul the Apostle. Experiencing some of the struggles that people in the congregation encounters is a great way for those in ministry to connect. I think it also helps the congregation to realize that they are not the only ones struggling, and that just because they are struggling it doesn’t mean that they are less of a Christian.

We are told to “carry each other’s burdens” (Gal 6:2) and to “encourage one another” (2 Thess 5:11). These Scriptural passages would not be in the Bible if personal struggles were not a part of our lives. So in our struggles, we should turn to one another for encouragement and support. We should also draw closer to God: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). We have to do both—draw closer to one another and to draw closer to God.

Perhaps if people were more open about their struggles and we supported one another through these struggles then we can have the True Church—“All the believers were one in heart and mind… And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all” (Acts 4:32-33).

Be the “True Church”!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Adventures on a Movie Set

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to be an “extra” at a movie shoot (I’m not sure if I am legally allowed to divulge the title so I won’t mention it). I had envisioned what it would be like to be on a movie set—somewhat “glamorous” and maybe a chance to talk briefly with a “star” or at least take a distant photo of them, but it was nothing like I had imagined.

I knew ahead of time the outfit I needed so I made sure I had it—long black gown, glittery jewelry, a small black purse, and dress shoes (I was supposed to be an attendee at a black-tie event). After the costume director looked at my outfit and approved it, I then headed to hair and makeup. I had arrived with an “up-do” but the hair person changed it into a wide bun on the back of head—not the kind of hairstyle I would normally wear; in fact, it kind of reminded me of Evita’s hairstyle (http://www.panam.ru/main/argentina/info/1.html), except I had bangs.

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From there I was escorted to the “Holding” area—a large room with chairs. This is where I waited for almost two hours.

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Finally, we were brought onto the set—a banquet hall. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures of the set. We were there for several hours as they repeatedly filmed the five minute scene from various angles. Finally, the majority of us, the “Background,” were told to go back to holding. After about an hour we were given “Lunch”—that was around 4 pm.

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I noticed that there was a different meal for the crew—they used real utensils and they had steamed broccoli and other fresh foods. Meanwhile, “Background” was given food that appeared to have been frozen or from #10 cans— for example, corn, round-shaped meat with bottled BBQ sauce poured over it, chocolate pudding, etc. The rolls looked good, but were stale.

After “lunch,” we went back to holding then shortly afterwards we were escorted back onto the set. This was a different 5 minute scene, but it seemed to last an eternity due to all the retakes. The leading actor laughed during one of the takes and they had to re-shoot, but he laughed again. I probably would have thought it was funny, but it was past 9 pm at that point and I just wanted to get out of there. Finally, by 9:30 pm I was released from the set.

I don’t think this is something I would want to do again, at least not as a “Background” member. After spending over 12 hours there, I was only paid $64 (base pay, before taxes) and I’m not even going to be seen in the movie. I can’t get back the day that I lost, but at least I can cross this activity off my bucket list…

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

 

My Mother-In-Law

One of the illustrations my son shared in the sermon yesterday was when he was three-years-old and his grandmother jumped into the pool, fully clothed, to save him as he was drowning (https://youtu.be/UyWzb1iBP3I).

It made me think of the time when my children and I were stuck in Daytona Beach during a flash flood. I remember that it started to rain and all of a sudden Ridgewood Avenue was filled with about two feet of water. The minivan I was driving stopped working and I called my husband to help us. A few minutes later, my door opens and my mother-in-law is standing in rapid flowing water with her arm stretched out to help us out of the van. I couldn’t believe she was there!

I remembered some of the other times she was there to help us— like the time when I was in labor with my first child but my husband and I didn’t know I was in labor (I thought they were just very painful Braxton Hicks contractions). My mother-in-law woke up before dawn to drive over a half hour to our apartment just so she could lay a hand on my belly and say, “She’s in labor.”

Sometimes we forget or neglect to show our appreciation for people. Today, I am showing my appreciation for my mother-in-law. Thank you for everything you do, Mom! Love you!

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 Mom is pictured with two of my four children: my son who talked about her in his sermon, and my oldest child.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

 

Seitan

I made seitan today for the first time. I was a little apprehensive about it since I read how difficult it can be. One of the things I did to make the process easier was to purchase a bag of wheat gluten. As I read recipe on this website, http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/homemade-seitan/, I discovered that I also needed nutritional yeast (I had no idea what that was until I “googled” it).

Per instructions on the website,  I combined all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and then I added the liquid—vegetable broth and some soy sauce.

I mix everything with a large spoon and noticed there were dry spots so I added a little more broth. I kneaded it for a couple minutes then separated the batch. I should mention that I doubled the ingredients because I didn’t think two cups of wheat gluten would be enough—I was wrong.

The rounded portions of dough were placed in a pan of vegetable broth and pre-made pot roast sauce.

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I was supposed to wait until the liquid had boiled before adding the dough, but I didn’t think it would be a problem. Once the contents of the pan were boiling, I lowered the temperature and waited for the dough to cook, turning it over periodically for an hour.

After cooling it down for about 15 minutes, I sliced some of the cooked dough and added it to the gravy I made. Surprisingly, it looked like meat.

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Although the texture was a little like an overcooked roast and it didn’t really taste like meat, it was still good. As long as I told myself that this wasn’t meat and not to expect it to taste like meat then the seitan was tolerable and almost enjoyable.

I think I’ll make it again, but this time I won’t cook it in the pre-made pot roast sauce, and I’ll try kneading it a little more.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti