Tracey Casciano Featured on #WSATV Women Leaders’ Interview

Woman Speakers Association (WSA) is THE go-to place for innovative leaders, change-agents and women with a message to connect, collaborate and grow their visibility worldwide in order to fulfill their mission. As the first-ever global community for women speakers, WSA provides a platform for women to get seen, booked and paid AND be part of a growing network reaching women in 120 countries on 6 continents. Whatever her “stage”…be it the classroom, a boardroom, the floor of the U.N., WSA is dedicated to empowering women to authentically express themselves, build a thriving, prosperous business and cause serious transformation in the lives of their clients, companies, communities and the world.

I had the opportunity to be interviewed on Women Speakers Association TV last week with two other amazing women and wanted to share it with you. WSATV interview

“Never give up hope. We often don’t understand why things are happening when we are in the middle of it, but once you get to the other side, you often discover your purpose.” Tracey Casciano

 

 

 

 

Red, White and Blue (A 4BOYMOM Adventure)

The 4th of July is one of our families favorite holidays. We have a tradition of buying fireworks from a local stand and setting them off in the yard at night. One year we were at my in-laws beach house on the Chesapeake Bay for the holiday weekend. The day was filled with fun events including a local parade, playing in the water, and a picnic on the beach.

108

As it got dark that evening, my husband began to set up the pyrotechnic display in the yard. Our 2nd son was about 3 1/2 at the time and was scared of the loud sound and ran inside to watch from the glass door. We oohed and ahhhed as the colorful display began. A few minutes later my mother in law exclaimed, “Oh my gosh….no…” as she was looking towards the house. I glanced back to see my little blonde cherub standing with a small American flag in his hand watching from behind the glass. “What?” I asked. She couldn’t respond as she was gagging and retching. I looked back at my son again and couldn’t imagine what had happened. I stood up, walked to the door and asked my son what happened and he just waved his little flag at me and smiled. I looked at my mother in law again and she was wiping tears from her face and trying to form words between gags. Annoyed I begged, “What happened?” At this point the show was finished and my husband joined us on the deck . Between gags, my mother in law explained what she has seen. My son, my bubbly, adorable toddler, had pulled his pants down, put the flag stick in his bottom and then curiously had put it in his mouth!

Horrified, the only word I could form was, “Why?”

The following week the same son developed a sore throat and ear infection. As I often did, I had to take all my kids to the appointment. As the doctor looked in son #2’s ears and throat my cherub said, “I think I know why I’m sick.” Dread filled my body as I began to pray (beg) silently, “God, please, don’t let him say it.”

The doctor said, “Oh? Why?”

I begged to be swallowed by the Earth as I heard my son begin, “Well, on the 4th of July I had this flag…”

Once my son finished the story, I couldn’t bring myself to look up at the doctor and the room went silent. My oldest son sat with his mouth hanging open, stunned that his brother just admitted (to a doctor) what he had done. After what felt like an eternity of silence, the doctor proceeded to tell my son(s) why we need to keep our hands and other objects away from our bottoms and as he left the room I was sure that our file folder got a big red slash drawn on the font.

Many years have passed since that incident and that doctor has retired, but something tells me that he hasn’t forgotten that story!

Encouragement for dads on Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the wonderful dads out there! Know that what you’re doing everyday makes a difference. Your children look to you for wisdom, guidance and love. Show them everyday what it looks like to work hard while finding balance. I hope that you can enjoy this day with your family!

I am honored to be able to share my article on this amazing site that provides encouragement for dads!

http://www.encouragingdads.com/2016/05/what-makes-a-good-dad/

d9ef99bf3a6d0ac7ca9206ab087137ed

Can we be honest?

Protecting ourselves is human nature, it’s part of our “fight or flight” defense. We only want people to see the best parts of ourselves (think about your social media posts!) But what if everything we did was broadcast?

Do you have a part of your life that you hide or keep to yourself in order to prevent others from REALLY knowing who you are? Hiding the truth can be exhausting and will ultimately lead us further from God.

I kept a very big secret until I was 41 years old. I was sexually abused by my father and had never told anyone. I had lived a life that was far from honest and had tried to ignore it. I knew that it was standing in the way of my relationship with God, but didn’t know what to do about it.

The truth is that God already knows everything about us. So until we confess our sins, we aren’t being truthful with Him.

“People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

When we decide to pursue living honestly, we will find ourselves on the way to becoming truly free.

So how do we do this?

The first step it to be honest with God. Ask for forgiveness and guidance for how to live an honest life. The payoff to being honest with God is freedom, hope and purpose.

“Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32:5 (NLT)

The second step is to be honest with ourselves. I had to understand that my abuse was affecting my life, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it. Once I was honest with God and myself, it became clear to me that I needed to forgive my parents.

The third step is the hardest- to be honest with others. Once I addressed my abuse with my parents and started to tell others about my past, I was able to help myself grow closer to freedom. I share my story publicly to show others how trusting God with every part of our life and being honest with ourselves and others is healthy.

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 (NLT)

I hope that if you are hiding part of your life, you will start searching for honesty and forgiveness with God, yourself and others. I promise that it will lead to contentment and love!

To read more of my story go to http://www.traceycasciano.com

Untitled design

 

What really matters?

I’ve had the opportunity to go to Guatemala on a mission trip as a chaperone for my church’s youth group two different times and both trips impacted me in different ways. The first trip we spent our time in Guatemala City, where there is a clear division between the “haves and have nots.” As we drove from the airport to where we were staying, we passed McDonald’s, Starbucks and a shopping mall. But as we continued driving, I was shocked to see the condition of how some people lived.

552On the side of a mountain there were corregated metal lean-tos and tents. No plumbing, no electricity. It was on this side of the mountain where we learned that people cooked over open fires and breathed in the dangerous fumes. Our group had raised money for months prior to pay for and build stoves for these people during our trip.

We spent a lot of our time at a church in a poor part of town where gangs are prevalent. At this church we hosted a Vacation Bible School for families to bring their children to. The children ranged in age from toddlers to teens and we were treated like royalty. We played games, ate a hot meal together and prayed with the families. It was at this church where many of the families saw a free doctor and received clothing and supplies.

O427n the days we built the stoves, we loaded our truck with the supplies and headed to the side of the mountain that I had seen on our drive from the airport. My heart sunk as I recognized some of the kids from the church and realized that this was where they lived. Each time we built a stove, we asked if we could pray with the family and asked God to bless them. We prayed for the kids and hoped that they would be able to avoid getting involved in the gang life. That first trip was a very humbling experience and as I returned home I had a big culture shock as I stood in my own closet and wept.

 

Why do I have so much and they have so little?

Slowly the shock wore off and I returned to my normal life. I tried to remind myself of what I had experienced and how I had felt, but it wasn’t until we went for our second trip that I really remembered.

608The second time we went to an rural area outside of the city at the base of a volcano called Pacaya. Our bunkhouse was separated from the locals by a chain link fence. As we emerged each morning, the children were waiting for us on the other side of the fence. They welcomed us with hugs and a game of soccer. As we got acclimated, it was apparent that the people who lived here were a lot worse off than those in the city.  Each morning we made trips to see locals and deliver food baskets. The locals made money by going to town and selling eggs, coffee beans, or doing manual labor. No one had a car, so each morning a bus came and the men piled on and were gone for the day. Each afternoon we hosted a program for the children. We helped build a cinderblock building that is now used as a school and painted a building that is now a medical building. As we visited with the locals, we saw that many were cooking over open flames. We made note of the situations that were the worst and returned to build a stove.419

One day as we were delivering food baskets, I took in the despair in front of us. A women with three young kids in a one room “house” made of corrugated metal siding and a tarp for the roof. As the translator explained that we were there to give her food and some dry goods, she began to weep. The translator explained that the gift was not from us, but from God. The kids came forward and started digging into see what we had brought and my heart broke. The translator asked if we could pray with her and the woman agreed. We asked if there was anything specific that we could pray for. I was prepared for her to ask that we pray that she and her family would be able to leave and find a better life, but what she said took me aback.

In sob-filled Spanish, she asked the translator to thank us. She said that she knew we were angels from God because just that morning she had run out of food and didn’t know how she was going to feed her family. She had prayed and then we came. She was crying tears of joy!

I will never forget those trips and the lasting impact the children and families had on me. The size of your house, the amount of things we have, none of them matter.

What really matters is our faith.

Adventures from a 4BOYMOM: Chapter One?

Now that my husband and I are “seasoned” parents, I love to look back at photos and share stories with our kids from when they were little. This is a memory from our first days of parenthood, 19 years ago.

My husband and I are only children and although I had babysat a lot, I had never been around babies, and neither had he, so when our first son was born we were both very nervous. We had read books and done our best to prepare, but really had no idea what we were doing. Reflecting on those first weeks makes us smile and laugh.

I remember getting home from the hospital and into the house and we put the baby down and then looked at each other as if to say, “Now what?” My husband was able to stay home for a week and by the time his parents arrived, we were exhausted. I was nursing and had read an article about using pacifiers and how they caused “nipple confusion” (seriously?) and was adamant that we wouldn’t use one.  After a week of litPacifiertle sleep and what felt like non-stop nursing, I was a wreck. My mother in law suggested that we try a pacifier (WHAT?!) She explained that the baby just wanted to soothe himself and wasn’t really hungry, which explained why he kept falling asleep at the wheel. So reluctantly, I popped it in his mouth mid-wail and BOOM, it worked!

 

We were very excited to give him his first bath and, being the firstborn, it would be videotaped and photographed to keep for all eternity. We lived in Massachusetts and although it was May, the weather was still cool. So before anything could happen, we had to be sure that the kitchen was warm enough (bring in the heater). Next step was to remove all items from the counter, sterilize the area, and get the perfect water temperature. My husband filled the small tub in the sink and did the “elbow test” to be sure that the water temperature was perfect. (Of course I had to test it too). We were ready!

My mother in law was standing in position with various cameras and caught everything on tape…

Baby bathAs soon as I started to undress the baby, he started to cry. I did my best to soothe him and tell him how much fun he was going to have in his first bath. (We even had a rubber ducky). I carefully lowered him into the water whereupon he howled. My blood pressure rose and I accused my husband of making the water too hot. I lifted him out and we quickly did the elbow test again. My mother in law suggested that we proceed with the bath….I lowered him back into the water and my husband proceeded to wash him as we had been instructed at the hospital, using a different washcloth for the major sections of the body (?!) The baby continued to scream and I quickly looked at my husband and saw sweat running down his temple. We surveyed the naked body and determined that he was clean. As I proceeded to lift him out of the tub, I noticed a weird yellowish color in the water and yelled, “WHY IS THEIR MUSTARD IN THE TUB?!” I looked around the room frantically and saw my mother in law laughing behind the camera. She said, “I think he pooped.” I looked into he camera with a desperate wail and asked, “Now what do we do?”

After wrapping the poopy screaming baby in a towel, emptying the tub, refilling it with the perfect temperature of water, we proceeded the cleaning process again.

When it was all over and the baby was clothed and swaddled, my husband and I collapsed on the couch and agreed that he wouldn’t be having another bath until he was 5.

I share this as a funny memory and also to encourage and cheer on any new moms out there. You are doing a great job! Having babies and raising little kids is tough and it’s ok if you don’t have all the answers. Go with your gut and remember to lean on your friends and family for help and LAUGH at yourself once in a while. When  you feel yourself slipping, pray and ask God for help.

Your baby WILL sleep through the night, learn to walk and talk, and go poop on the potty. You will blink and your strong-willed two year old will be heading out the door to Kindergarten.  No phase lasts forever, I promise.

Best wishes,

Tracey

 

 

 

 

Moving forward or staying in place?

Today is June 1, exactly six months since the New Year began. Do you remember what you did on New Years Eve? Who were you with? Did you make a resolution?

I love the start of a new year because it is a time to reflect and move forward with goals and plans. I like to make resolutions in the different areas of my life; family, faith, health and work. So now that six months have passes, take a minute to ash your self these questions:

Have you done any of the things that you said you were going to?

Tried new adventures?

Worked on yourself?

Are you any closer to your goals?

The cold temperatures of winter have passed and trees have blossomed; have you?

If so, you should feel proud! But what if you’re like me and feel like one or more of the things that you resolved for the new year haven’t progressed as you thought they would? What if you STILL need to lose those 20 pounds or haven’t done anything to change your work situation?

l-418093

 

I know that my goal for my faith hasn’t progressed as I had hoped. I want to read my Bible more often and focus on His word to deepen my relationship with God. I want to do a study that challenges my faith and takes it to a new level.

Well, guess what? It’s not too late to meet our goals! We still have six months to go!

So will you join me and hit “refresh” today as we reflect on the goals and promises that we made and promise to move forward?

Fill our homes with humility

I love it when the seasons change and get excited when I go into a home furnishing store and see all the seasonal décor. Last weekend I found myself oohing and aahing over all the beach and seaside home goods. I love the light blue and turquoise colored candles and even though they don’t really match our home décor, I found myself picking them up.

bc91b547716efd5531ebe3c71767ecbd

And then a little voice (no, not my husbands) said, “Do you NEED that?” I answered in my head, “Ugh…..no. But it would be so nice to have if we had friends over.”

I recently heard a staggering set of statistics. Last month, Americans spent 8.96 billion on home furnishings and last year Americans spent 338 billion on home improvements.

 

This got me thinking; are we that desperate to feel good about ourselves that we need to fill our homes with nice/ improved things? The real question is, do these “things” add value to our home or life or are we just trying to look good for others?

What if someone invited me to their house for dinner and great conversation and didn’t have many furnishings at all? Would I love them less?

This led me to think about being humble. Humility is counter to our society and human nature, but the Bible is clear on the subject.

 “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves” Phillipians 2:3 (NLT).

As Americans, we are consumers and tend to collect “stuff” to make our homes look nice.  But what is the real value of it to anyone but us?

I learned this as I was going through my parent’s house after my father died. He liked to spend money on nice things and as I saw the very low price tags at the estate sale, it made me realize that our possessions don’t matter to anyone but us.

So next time I find myself tempted to buy another thing to fill my home with, I’m going to ask, “Do I really need this? Will it bring me joy? Could I spend my money on something else that will add value to my life and contribute to my memories?”

620fef1402c82fdef4caf7486ff6ac7d