Trees of Transition

Comfort for people going through life transitions by sharing thoughts, photos, cards, and recipes.


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Where DID that Shoe Go? And Spring Card Sale!

“Where DID his other shoe go?” I thought as I fumbled around in the blankets and toys by my son’s car seat. The other little white shoe, which I had already put back on his size 5 foot TWICE during that shopping trip, did not turn up even after five minutes of looking.

My mind weighed the options: “Do I go back to Aldi to look in the parking lot?” Contrasted against, “Those shoes are getting old with lots of black scuff marks, so I can just let it go…” But then my mind protested, “Those are the easiest shoes to put on him, and I don’t have another great pair for him right now! I really want that shoe back!! God, please help me to find Joel’s shoe.”

I talked with my husband as I dropped off a package at FedEx, even got a bit snippy because I didn’t think I could call Aldi (they don’t have a customer service desk like large grocery stores). My husband tried to call them, but they said you only could email the store…

So I decided to drive the extra 15 minutes back to the store and see if I could find that shoe. The day shone with spring brightness, so my mood came back up…

I pulled into the Aldi parking lot, knelt on the ground to look under the cars that were parked where we had been…to no avail…no little white sneaker…

I had given it a good go…I pulled out of the parking lot, then onto the main road—the same route I had driven an hour before.

Then, there on the median, in the middle of the busy road, lay Joel’s shoe!!! I almost didn’t believe it, but it had the black accent on the back—it was his shoe! I pulled two u-turns at the next two  stoplights to get back to the spot and pulled over. I had to wait for traffic to go by (and I snapped a photo while I waited to run across the road), and I picked up the little shoe!! I smiled and jumped around as I showed my son his lost shoe.

Then a memory came back—I had rolled my window down around then…and I sort of remember something hitting my shoulder, but I hadn’t looked…then it hit me: My son had chucked his shoe over my shoulder, from the backseat, out my window. Wow, that was a good arm—a little shoe chucker! Wow, God answered my prayer and helped me find that shoe!!

I called my husband to tell him the story, giggling as I said, “I found his shoe—it was in the middle of Flying Cloud Drive…”

God cares about everything. I’m so glad he is like that!   He cares about that shoe because I cared about it, and I am his child.

So talk to him about what is bugging you today. He cares…even about finding a scuffed little shoe.

If you want to celebrate spring: SALE TIME!! Oh, yes, if you need spring cards for Easter, baby showers, mother’s day, graduations, weddings and more, check out my card sale over at my Etsy shop—15% off everything until Sunday night, March 31st, 2019 at midnight CST. Check it out here: Spring Card Sale!

~Mary Hope

Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope



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Beef Italian Meatballs

Meatballs are GREAT to make and freeze for later! You can double this recipe and use some for dinner and freeze the rest for in a couple of weeks.

1 lb. ground beef (I used 80/20)

1 ½ cup. Italian panko bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

½ cup. milk

1 cup. finely chopped onion

1 tsp. powdered garlic

¼ tsp. dried red pepper flakes

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 Tblsp. dried basil

1 tsp. salt     Continue reading


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CrockPot Corned Beef and Cabbage

I grew up on canned corned beef, but fresh corned beef is so much more tasty! Cooking this beef in the CrockPot makes it easy, and it makes the house smell wonderful for hours. This is wonderful comfort food, so if you are having a down day, this meal will perk you right up!

3 lb. fresh corned beef in brine with a seasoning packet

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1 onion, sliced

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped in 2” chunks

5 medium red potatoes, sliced

½ medium green cabbage, sliced into 1” slices

1 (12 oz.) can beer

Place the corned beef with the brine in a 6-Quart Crock-Pot and sprinkle with the seasoning packet, salt, and pepper. Then place the onions, carrots, and potatoes on top. I like my cabbage well cooked, so I add the cabbage on top and let it cook the whole time (if you don’t want it over-cooked, add the cabbage in after 2 hours). Pour the beer over it all, and turn on high and let cook for 5 hours (or until the beef is tender). Serves 5-6 people.



Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope




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Five Actions that Help Process Grief

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The top photo is of my Dad and I in 2007 after a 5k I had run with friends. The bottom photo is at my sister’s wedding in 2013.

The transition of grief is mysterious to me. Last week I was happily driving to Bible study, then a Classical song came on the radio, which reminded me of hearing a similar piece with my Dad (who passed away last summer), and there I was –crying away. The memory of my Dad and I at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra also made me smile as I recalled how we had gotten a chocolate bar during intermission, and Dad went on to finish it during the next part of the concert—crinkly foil and all! It drove me nuts, but that is just how Dad was: he wanted to do what he wanted to do. I am thankful for his example of fearlessness and savoring the moment. Continue reading


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Spicy Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini

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Is pasta one of your comfort foods? It is for me; the zing of red pepper mixed with garlic and lemon on the pasta helps bring me comfort during a hard time. This week I just was tired, but making this dish that has amazing flavor cheered me up for days! I created this recipe this week using the pasta and white wine we had leftover from having family dinner at our place.

1 lb. angel hair pasta, cooked

4 Tblsp. butter

2 Tblsp. olive oil

5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 small zucchini, sliced

1 cup. white wine (chardonnay works well)

1 tsp. salt (and more to taste—as needed)

½ tsp. ground pepper

2 Tblsp. dried parsley flakes

¼ cup fresh lemon juice (2 small lemons)

Prepare the pasta if you do not have leftover pasta.

Melt 2 Tblsp. butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes, and cook together for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 3-5 minutes until they are pink and cooked through. Place this mixture in a medium bowl and keep warm while you make the sauce.

In that same pan, place the other 2 Tblsp. of the butter and the oil and melt. Add the zucchini and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the wine, lemon juice, parsley flakes, salt and pepper, and cook for 3-5 more minutes.

Then add the shrimp mixture and the pasta and cook for 5-10 minutes until hot and thoroughly mixed.

Serve immediately and enjoy with your favorite wine or sparkling juice! Makes 4 large servings.





Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope





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The Transition of Learning to Be Outward Focused

I heard in his voice that my husband wanted to go to the cabin this weekend, but I didn’t really want to go. My husband is not blatantly clear about what he wants like I am, and I’m learning to hear him when he wants something, especially when I don’t want to do it. It is easy for me to try to “run him over” from what he wants to do with my excuses or fear, and get him to change his mind.

On Friday I let the fears I had about going farther north for the weekend—“What if our car goes off the road and we have a baby to protect?!” “What if it is too cold?” “What is the road isn’t plowed or we get stuck up there?” Stephen listened to me, and we kept going back and forth. Go, not go.

But then I sensed he really wanted to go, and when he finally told me, “I want to figure out a problem that Uncle Roger is having with the furnace, and I want alone time up there with my little family—an adventure.” I heard him. I pushed myself to stop being afraid and just do what my husband wanted. Then we slept on the decision, and the next morning we both came to the same decision: “Let’s try to get to the cabin in the Prius, and if the roads are too bad, we will come back.”

We reached a new level in our communication, and the road was fine driving up there (not so much driving back). We did have an adventure—with walking on the frozen lake and having to pee in a bucket because of frozen pipes! Some of my fears DID happen—the weather got bad on the way home, so we had a stressful end to our drive home on snowy roads.

Part of me wanted to say, “I KNEW this would happen!” But loving my husband meant jumping into the adventure, and enjoying sitting in front of a roaring fire and playing cribbage with him, and not saying, “I knew this would happen” on our drive home. I love thinking of my son standing in front of the fire with Stephen, and laughing because he loved the sound of a coaster falling on the hearth.

A change is happening in my ability to pick up on my husband’s needs and fulfill them even if I don’t really want to sometimes.

The transition of learning to be more outward focused (picking up clues of what others want and are telling without saying the words) instead of being inward focused has taken years for me to learn. Recently a book that has helped me continue on with this journey is the book, Everybody, Always by Bob Goff.

Bob’s book is a collage of stories of different people who are loving others well and that he is learning from: Ugandan witch doctors, airport checkpoint guys, his neighbor… He drives home the point, which is the tagline of the book, “Becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people.”

It’s easy to love those who love us, but Bob is showing us how to love those people who are hard to love. For example, he tells of a phone call received from an inmate (a wrong number actually), and Bob decides to show love to this man who keeps calling him because he thinks Bob’s number is his girlfriend’s number. Bob helps the man connect with his girlfriend, who has now moved on, and then finds out the inmate needs money for an ankle bracelet in order to get out of prison. Bob tells the man that he will pay for it (which it turned out to be a lot more expensive than he thought!), and shows the inmate care, right when he needed it.

Bob says, “These pages contain the stories of some of my friends and what they’ve taught me about extravagant love and acceptance. I’m indebted to each one. The first thing I’ve learned from them is that I have a long way to be the kind of loving person I’m hoping I’ll be some day. The second is that only the kind of radical love and acceptance I’ve experienced from this will help me close the distance”


(p. 226 of Everybody, Always)

My favorite chapter was when Bob describes how he borrowed someone’s small plane to fly to an event he was attending, and when he was returning home one of the lights that indicates his wheels are down for landing didn’t turn on when it was supposed to. He circled the landing strip for a long time, then decided to just take the risk and land (or he was going to just run out of gas). He prepared to crash because you cannot land with just one wheel…but he didn’t! He had both wheels out down there—it was the light that was faulty. Then Bob makes the application that has helped me:

“Recognize when your beautiful ambitions are getting stuck inside your head. You don’t need to take all the steps, just the next one. God may not give us all the green lights we want, but I’m confident He gives us all the green lights He wants us to have at the time. Go with what you’ve got. If God wants you to stay put, He’ll let you know. We also have some guaranteed green lights that are always on: our noble desires; God’s clear instructions in the Bible to love everybody, always; His love for us; and the gift of each other. You can put a lot of weight on these and triangulate from there to figure out the rest of life’s unknowns. The difference between the number of green lights we want and the number we get from God is a pretty good description of what faith is. Faith isn’t knowing what we can’t see; it’s landing the plane anyway, rather than circling the field. Get the plane on the ground” (p. 94 of Everybody, Always). I don’t have to have all the possible problems figured out before I do something! Yes, there could be snow on the roads and that could cause trouble, but I didn’t need to let that fear stop me from doing something that turned out to be pretty fun! Take risks. Just love people.

This book is helping me take more risks in loving people, and I’m so glad I read it. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to give your copy away instead of just letting it sit on the shelf.

Check out Everybody, Always right here: It is a fun and easy read.

I’m glad I finished this book this week, the day we were discussing going to the cabin or not. Our cabin adventure brought Bob’s point home—we will have setbacks, frozen pipes, slippery roads, but God’s love can help us love the people around us well.

What tips do you have on learning to be more others focused?

~Mary Hope

Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope


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Valentine Strawberries

Easy Chocolate Covered Strawberries

These strawberries are great if you are single, married, or anywhere in-between! Celebrate Valentine’s day with these easy to make treats. My husband and I already started celebrating yesterday by eating a whole patter of these (we finished them off at breakfast this morning!)

1 lb. fresh strawberries

2/3 cup. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Wash the strawberries and pat them dry with paper towels to make them completely dry before you dip them.

Place the chocolate in a 2-cup glass measuring cup; place it in the microwave for 2 minutes. Check the chocolate. It probably will need 1-2 more minutes so that all the chips start melting a bit. Stir them and if it all starts getting creamy and the final hard chocolate is melting, then you don’t need to heat them any more. If they need more time, put it in for 30 second intervals until fully melted.

Prepare a platter covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Scoop a teaspoon of chocolate onto a teaspoon, and swirl it around a strawberry to cover the berry (or just dip it in—this way is my favorite). Place on your platter to harden. Cover all of the berries with the chocolate.

Let the berries sit for an hour, and then they are ready to serve. They are best eaten within 24-hours. Makes 12-16 berries depending on the size of the strawberries you choose.

I like this cup-measure because it keeps the chocolate together and holds the heat nicely to help finish the melting process:  

Pyrex Prepware 2-Cup Glass Measuring Cup

The red platter I used in my photo was a wedding present that I love:

Fiesta 9-5/8-Inch Oval Platter, Scarlet

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

~Mary Hope

Copyright 2019

P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as from  Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income (at no extra cost to you!), for which I am thankful. So…..

— Use this link to shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

Thank you again, and peace to you and your family!

~Mary Hope