Trees of Transition

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


Five Actions that Help Process Grief


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

Leave a comment

Dreaming Together 

“When you agree on your spending, you are agreeing on your dreams!” -Dave Ramsey

Let me tell you, babies take money! I’ve always dreamed of becoming a mama, but I hadn’t realized how much money was needed or how much that you COULD spend on a baby. Now that it is happening, my husband and I are figuring out the money side of babies — second hand stores and coupons are amazing! Dreams take money, so when you and your spouse know where and what you are walking toward, you can focus the needed time and money at the dream. Happy dreaming!

~Mary Hope (37 weeks pregnant 🙂  ).


P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income, for which I am thankful. So…

— 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

















“When you agree on your spending, you are agreeing on your dreams!” -Dave Ramsey


The Transition Junior High Students Need to Go Through

Some days after my junior high students leave, I feel like a wrung-out wash cloth, but there are lessons to finalize and papers to grade, so I have to persevere. I have to put one foot in front of the other, and a few minutes later my strength starts to wash back in. Having 29 homeroom students at different stages of differentiating from parents/leaders in their lives is exhausting, but also intriguing.

The junior high developmental stage of differentiating is fascinating; I am drawn to it partly because there are so many transitions going on AND because I didn’t go through those stages at the normal age. (I had to learn it later!) Students NEED to distinguish who they are from their parents/teachers as they figure out who they are; students do this through challenging their authority figures often. Being reminded of this by my counselor this weekend was so helpful because my job is to still support/encourage/teach these students, but not let them be disrespectful while encouraging them to figure out and share what they think and believe about topics.

I can only do this with support from family and from God; my strength is renewed from their love.

Teachers, keep on persevering because what you are doing IS making a difference (and Spring Break is around the corner!)

~Mary Hope

Copyright 2017


Two and a Half Years after My Article: “My Younger Sister is Getting Married, and I’m Still Single”

Is it harder for older sisters to get married? Yes, I think it is. Birth order does matter; older children just have different pressures and experiences than their younger siblings, and this can influence their love lives. Especially this holiday season I’ve seen more Google searches that lead older sisters to my article “My Younger Sister is Getting Married, and I’m Still Single” that I wrote two and a half years ago; now it is time to follow up that piece. What has happened with my love life? What have I learned since then?


Life updates: My love life has blossomed since I wrote that article, and I am now married to a wonderful man named Stephen (you can see engagement photos here: Our Silly Engagement Photos ). My younger sister is still ahead of me by becoming a mother to a wonderful little guy and having another one on the way. I had to practice what I wrote again when my younger brother got engaged before me too, but I still got married before him, so I wasn’t the last child in our family to get married. Some lessons I’ve realized about how to help love grow include learning to relax, trusting God’s timing, and being willing to risk love.

Continue reading


Giving and Receiving Help and Hope


One weekend in November, I had grading piling up like toys after a two year old, and I thought I would finally catch up on grading since I had multiple choice tests to grade, but my optimism turned to disappointment when I realized those tests were too long to get done quickly; I got pretty moapy. Then I thought I would finish it the next day, but it didn’t happen. On Tuesday, I realized I needed help, and so I reached out to a friend who has lots of time right now (and I have way too much work to do and not enough time). Continue reading


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



Love Pushes You Farther

I learning that the most loving thing is sometimes painful, pushy, uncomfortable; however, it is the best thing for you, so that is why this person is pushing you. Love’s main goal is not to be comfortable, but to do what is best for the other people. True love is not completely focused on self-fulfillment, but on the big picture. I’m just taking baby steps into this kind of love; I’m sort of kicking myself for not learning it sooner, but at least I am now. Love well today!

-Mary Hope

Copyright 2016

Leave a comment

Happy Friday!


If you are a woman wanting to make money doing what you love, this is the conference for you! Check out Christy Wright’s Business Boutique–a place to learn, connect, and dream of how to make money by serving others. 🙂

Happy Friday!

-Mary Hope

Copyright 2016




photo 4(1)

The petals are transitioning from the tree to the ground…transitions cause tears during part of it, but then usually stabilize. I shot these photos yesterday, and these green images helped calm me. The water on the leaf reminds me of the tears of moving seasons and the green reminds me of the hope for growth!

Here’s one more: Continue reading


Running to See My Honey and Thoughts on Home

photo 3


Yesterday summer did a trial run here in the Midwest, and we got 80 degree weather! I finally ran the 3.5 miles from my apartment to Stephen’s place, and I stopped and shot a few photos along the way. The sun slanted its ray across my path at points, many people were outside–mowing or just enjoying being outside after many frozen days. The apple blossoms made me so happy with their snowy grace and lingering scent. Come, run along with me:

Continue reading