Trees of Transition

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


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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


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What Does “Trees of Transition” Mean?

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I’ve been fired. I’ve lost friendships. I’ve gotten dumped. Some life transitions have been hard for me; such as becoming an adult and financially taking care of myself! Learning how to date took me till I was thirty to start! Continue reading


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Need an Encouraging Parenting Book? Try This One!

Do you stress out about your child’s education and future? Would you like to sit down and talk with a mother of eight kids (who are thriving) about children’s personalities and life choices? I would! Having a fun chat is what Julie Lyles Carr’s book Raising an Original is like. Continue reading


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How Does Generosity Make You Feel?

My forehead tensed up as I saw the homeless man alongside of the road where I was going to have to stop at a stoplight. My mind raced. I sized up the older man clothed in a big jacket against the Minnesota cold holding a cardboard sign. I looked over at him as I pulled to a stop. He didn’t even look at me.

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Teaching the Christmas Story to Our Son

img_0991Three days ago, Stephen held our 13-month old, Joel, as I pulled out the Nativity stable and set it on the top of a bookshelf. Then we got to unwrap the characters in the story! First we pulled out the angel to hang on top of the stable: Joel liked touching her wings. Next we unwrapped Mary. As I showed the figure to Joel, I said, “This is Jesus’ mother!” Then we found baby Jesus lying in his manger—Joel was interested because he likes babies. And then we unwrapped Joseph, as I said, “This is Jesus’ earthly father!” We enjoyed looking at it for a minute more before he wanted to get down and play.

Yesterday I picked up Joel so he could see the Nativity scene again and I told him more of the story, “Jesus came down to earth as a baby because He loves us!” He looked at the figures thoughtfully—it felt like he understood what I was saying. Then he smiled and wanted down so he could play.

It is such an honor to teach him this beautiful true story!

I don’t remember when I first heard the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2 in the Bible, but it was early like we are teaching Joel. He is enjoying the colored lights, music, and seeing friends; I’m glad we get to share with him whose birthday celebration this day is in honor of!

We aren’t the only one teaching him the Christmas story; a couple of weeks ago at church we came back to the nursery to pick up Joel and he had colored his first picture at church! I love seeing those colored marks–his coloring skills consist of making dashes and sometimes dots.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours! May your 2019 be amazing and full of delightful transitions.

Love, Mary Hope and the guys

Copyright 2018

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/notecard/art shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

–keep on reading this blog.

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

~Mary Hope