Trees of Transition

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

Leave a comment

Fun Book Recommendations: Mainly Focused on Food and Love

Curling up with a riveting book is a great autumn activity, now that you might have more time as the kids are going back to school! (I have been getting back into reading–especially during my one year old’s two-three hour naptime!) Here are some fun and entertaining books that I have read recently:

My Italian Bulldozer: A Paul Stuart Novel (1) (Paul Stuart Series)

Besides having a great title, this quick to read, unique romance novel takes you to Italy where a newly-dumped food writer gets persuaded by his editor to finish his latest cookbook in Italy. The man gets conned at the rental car desk, gets thrown in prison, but because he befriended a stranger on the plane, he calls this guy (who has connections) who gets him out and helps him find a vehicle: A bulldozer! As he drives through the countryside to the town where he is going to write for three weeks, he has time to think. He also enjoys that people respect him more and drive more politely around him because he is in a bulldozer, not a dinky rental car! After arriving in the town, he comes down with a big crush on a fellow writer he meets while working on his book, and then more unexpected ladies show up in town to get his attention. This food writer figures out himself more while eating and writing about mushrooms, wine, and more and enjoying driving his Italian bulldozer around the countryside. It’s a fun book. Check it out here:

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Hot Chipotle Beef and Bean Enchiladas

Need a spicy recipe for someone who loves food that has a kick? This is your recipe! If you don’t want the heat level to be high, then don’t add the jalapeno pepper, just add the chipotle peppers. I created this recipe recently, and my husband loved it. It makes your nose run a little bit, but it is a smoky, protein-filled dish that is great to serve this fall.

1 lb. ground beef

2 cups cooked pinto beans (or a can of refried beans would work too)

1 tsp. salt

15 medium-sized flour tortillas

¼ cup. oil

2 cups mozzarella cheese

Enchilada Sauce:

1 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, chopped small

1 tsp. oil

1 small can (7 oz.) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 ½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Brown the ground beef, and then prepare the enchilada sauce so that it has time to simmer. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and jalapeno pepper in the 1 tsp. of oil in a medium saucepan for 2-3 minutes or until starting to brown. Next add the chipotle peppers, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes while you finish browning the beef and beans.

Add the beans to the browned beef, and brown together for 5-10 minutes (or until your sauce is done!)

Place the ¼ cup. of oil on a plate and dip each of the tortillas in the oil (this will help them get crispy when baked.)

Mix about 2 cups of the enchilada sauce in with the beef/bean mixture. Taste and season with salt to taste.

Now, take a tortilla, place 1/3-1/2 cup of the beef/bean mixture,  1 Tblsp. enchilada sauce, and 2 Tblsp. cheese inside, and then roll it up and place it in a greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Repeat until done. Save a little sauce to pour over the top, along with the remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-30 or minutes until the tortillas are browned, cheese is brown, and it looks ready to eat. Serve with sour cream. Serves about 4-5 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

Leave a comment

Four Tips To Help You Transition Well Through The Change of Graduating or Retiring

Have your years of schooling ended this spring when you graduated? Or are your decades in the workforce ending as your retire from your career? Both of these life-changing events are similar in that they were something that consumed your life for years and they now have ended…you are in a big life transition as you move to something new.

I have graduated from high school, college, and graduate school, and even though I haven’t officially “retired,” I have left a teaching job to stay home with my children as a homemaker (I switched careers!), so I can relate to the strange newness that you are in or see coming on the horizon when your current endeavor ends. Here are four actions that will help you transition well:

 Tip # 1: Finish Strong

If you have not wrapped up the old job or graduated yet, remember that finishing strong will help have a more brilliant start to your new season. For example, as my school year ended, I needed to rely a bit more on movies as parts of my lessons, but I still stayed connected to my students. An even deeper connection happened when I told my students that I was pregnant and not coming back the next school year. I hold my homeroom of 7th graders first (and it spread across the whole school in like 15 minutes!), and there was so much happy discussion for the rest of the period (and some silly baby name suggestions, such as “Bless Schuh”). I wrote each student an encouraging note, and we had fun at the end of the year (which included pizza and brownies…) We ended well; thinking back makes me happy. If  I transition back to teaching, ending on that strong note will help me start even stronger when I begin again. This can be the same for you!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Baby Schuh #2 is coming in December!

Joel is excited to be a big brother!

We bought our new home and then found out we have another baby on the way! In fact, even before I knew I was pregnant, I was determined to paint the nursery light yellow during our time between buying the house and moving in. I got it done, and I love that it is already painted for our little one.

Then a month or so of nausea kicked in—this pregnancy is different than our last one (where I was hardly sick)! I didn’t want to eat or cook much, lost nine pounds, and wanted  junk food (when I was hungry). I kept taking my vitamins, drinking lots of water, and eating some. It’s so nice to be through that stage. What was the first trimester like for you?

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Two Book Reviews on World War II books in Honor of My Dad

Today my Dad would have been 82, so I got choked up thinking about him. It’s funny that since he passed last summer, my memories of him have shifted from thinking of him as he was at the end—shriveled, old, sick to when he was active, vibrant, and helpful. My dreams have also helped: A couple weeks ago I had a dream where my Dad was helping me fix something, and he was loving and healthy! In honor of my Dad, here are two book reviews of books set during World War II that I highly recommend reading. My Dad loved books about World War II, and he would have loved reading them.

This winter I read two books about World War II: One fiction and the other nonfiction. One focuses on England, one on Germany, but both about people grappling with war and all the transition and change that it brings.

I have been thinking about the transition of gaining the strength to stand up for what is right instead of letting things slide and enabling evil to grow…

Have you wondered how the people of Germany reached the point where their leaders were commanding them to kill thousands of Jewish people, people with disabilities, and many other people in concentration camps? I have, but I never read about how the German people let this happen until now when I read: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. This book is about Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German theologian, pastor, author, and professor who stood up to the Nazi party and aided in an attempt to try and assassinate Hitler.

Eric Metaxas crafted this 500 plus page book in a way that never gets dry, is a page-turner, and shows the background of the country and people of Germany in a way I have never read before. Metaxas explains the factors that built up in Germany after the defeat of World War I so that the people wanted a strong leader, and eventually they were willing to have Hitler fill that role.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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