Trees of Transition

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

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Hanna’s Fresh Cranberry Salad

Yesterday our Aunt Hanna hosted us and served this refreshing salad:
Hanna’s Fresh Cranberry Jello
1 bag fresh cranberries, chopped (you can use a blender, if desired)

2 oranges, peeled and chopped

2 apples, peeled and chopped

2 stalls celery, chopped

1 cup sugar
6 oz. Strawberry jello–

2 cups boiling water–stir and dissolve for 2 min.

2 cups ice cubes
Start by mixing up your jello with the boiling water for 2 minutes. Add the ice cubes; when it starts congealing, add it to this mixture:
Mix together the fruit and vegetables with the sugar.
Pour into 9″x13″ pan and chill until firm. Serve with turkey or whatever sounds good!
Serves 10-12 people. 


Hobbit Cloaks—Wedding Style! Elvish Cloaks Worn by Our Five Ring Bearers…Here’s How I Made Them

mary-stephen-%ef%80%a7-married-250-of-1005Have a lot of nephews? Here’s one way to include them in your wedding! The Fellowship of the Rings…

Last year when Stephen and I began wedding planning, we decided to include all five of our nephews (ages 5 and under) in our wedding party. This decision evolved partly because I didn’t want to play favorites, and partly because I had an idea that I wanted to create a fun scene…

I have loved the Lord of the Rings books and movies for years, and so we decided to add a hint of that genre to our wedding by having our five nephews come down the aisle as the “Fellowship of the Rings.” They all received flowy elvish cloaks and ring bearer pillows.

This is how I did it:

First I researched cloth that flowed like the capes in the Lord of the Rings movies; I decided on a rich green color of crushed velvet that would go well with the bridesmaids’ blue dresses. I found the cloth in the costume cloth section in Joanne Fabrics. I had to research about what to do for the elvish leaf pin that holds the cloak together at the throat, and Etsy was the place to find a kid-friendly option.


On Etsy, at an embroidery shop, I found patches that I could sew on to the cloaks and so that were would not be any sharp pins to deal with. (Check out the Etsy shop here: Elvish Leaf Patches).

I drew some sketches based off looking at cloak pictures on Etsy, and I figured out to have a full cape, I would cut the cloth into a big circle, cut one side in and cut the head hole out of the middle. I made long hoods, and that took some adjustments, but I just had to make them large and floppy.



A month or two before the wedding (so that I would know the kids’ approximate heights) I cut the cloth, sewed up a demo, and had my nephews try them out, with the help of their moms. I adjusted the neck sizes, and then started production of five capes! I used ties and Velcro to close them, with the Elvish leaf sewed on top.




The boys did not wear the cloaks for very long, but having them wear them made me so happy! My sister-in-law had to bribe my nephew to keep it on, but he did. The one-year-olds were fine wearing them.

So on my wedding day, my brother was about to walk me down the aisle, Stephen’s brother walked his three little elves down aisle, and then my sister followed my two nephews down—and they both took off sprinting down the aisle! My nerves were calm, and seeing those little boys tearing down the aisle in their green capes made any last traces of nervousness leave. Then I floated down the aisle and married my best friend.




Our photographer, Ryn Manby (these images are from Ryn Manby Photography) caught some wonderful images our Fellowship of the Rings!


Seeing these photos just makes me smile. Enjoy!

~Mary Hope


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Layered Lettuce Salad (A Hit at Potlucks!)


by Julia Burkholder (with a few edits by me)

1 medium head lettuce, torn

1 cup minced fresh parsley

4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 package (10 oz.) frozen peace, thawed and patted dry

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

1 small red onion, chopped


1/2 cup. mayonnaise

1 1/2 cup. light sour cream

1 tsp. dried dill

3/4 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper


In a large glass bowl or a glass 9″x13″ pan, layer the lettuce, parsley, eggs, tomatoes, peas, bacon, cheese and onion in the order listed.

In a small bowl, combine the mayo, sour cream, and spices. Carefully spread on the top of the salad.

You can just serve it then, or you can cover and refrigerate it for a couple hours or overnight. Garnish with fresh dill or parsley, if desired.

Serves 12.

This is great for potlucks, and it is addicting!

~Mary Hope.


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Fighting MS and Working to Find the Cure


What would it be like to have Multiple Sclerosis (MS) as a teenager? My cousin, Lisa, was diagnosed with MS several decades ago, and she has fought the disease valiantly. There still isn’t a cure to this disease, but that doesn’t stop her.

Lisa still chooses to keep researching new treatments, to keep reaching out to others, and to still have hope. She has found a new treatment she is going to try, but she needs help gathering the funds to pay for it. Check out this GoFundMe page with more of her story and to help her out: Lisa’s GoFundMe

Her brother also has been having a football game the day after Thanksgiving for about 40 years now to raise money to help find a cure; if you want to find out more, check out this link: 2016 Turkey Bowl to fight MS

In light of all that Lisa and others like her have gone through, let’s stop and remember how many things we have to be thankful for, and let’s help them!

~Mary Hope

Copyright 2016



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Respect and Hope


Today has been a weird day—because of seeing people’s responses to the election in the USA. My students, mainly Hispanic, had many negative responses; since some of them seemed antagonistic, I just let them talk with each other about the election. However, my last class seemed just honestly wondering about why the President elect would say such mean things about women. I helped this smaller class of students unpack that question, ending with the challenge that even if they don’t like what happened, they still need to respect whoever the people choose to be President and to pray for him. My last words in that discussion were, “Prayer changes things.” 
We can choose to respect, pray, and hope. 
-Mary Hope
Copyright 2016