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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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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Book Review: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand

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What happens when you connect a Pakistani lady with a proper English Major? There’s some chaos, lots of sweetness, and people learn more about cross-cultural communication.

I pulled Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson off the lending library in our apartment complex and enjoyed reading it in small portions each night! This light fiction book combines charming English countryside with a dash of drama and the conflict that happens when people are learning how to understand each other across cultures.

Mrs. Ali and Major Pettigrew lived in the same town for years, but didn’t get to know each other until they both had lost spouses and now the Major suddenly lost his brother. Mrs. Ali can relate to him with his grappling with loss, and she even loves books as much or even more than he does.

They start to fall in love, but the other people in the town and even the Major’s only son aren’t so sure.

Add in the Major’s obsession about a pair of Churchill shooting guns that were his father’s and had passed down to his brother and himself, and now that his brother has passed, he wants to reunite the guns. He has to navigate different family member’s opinions…and then all of these threads of story unite into a sweet tale.

I wasn’t completely sold on this book when I started reading it, but Helen Simonson pulled me into the countryside, empathizing with the characters, and made me feel in the middle of the story. She even made me laugh with a ridiculous fight scene, and she wraps up the story in a satisfying way. If you want a light book that deals with the issues of real life, check out Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel. I stayed up late reading a few nights, and I’m still getting up a few times a night with a baby! Find a copy for yourself here:

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel

~Mary Hope

 

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


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A Teacher’s View of the Book: The Strong-Willed Child

img_9443Strong-willed children grow into strong-willed adults who can either create beauty and lead others to greatness or let their strong spirit hurt and squash those around them. The beginning of the road to greatness or ruin lies with the choices the parents make in teaching the child how to use that strong will.

My parents had to stand up to me many times because I’m one of those strong-willed people. I’ve gotten a taste of what they went through during my years as a teacher, especially a year and a half ago. I had one especially strong-willed student who was leading the whole class toward being rebellious. With God’s help and courage, I took him on, and he eventually left the school. I couldn’t change that student, but I could let him receive the consequences for his behavior.

The New Strong-Willed Child

Receiving appropriate consequences for behavior is how strong-willed children learn, according to Dr. James Dobson in The New Strong-Willed Child. From my personal experience (I hadn’t learned how to submit well to female authority (I was fine with male, but always wanted to buck females) until I got fired a few years back, so I had to learn the hard way) and from teaching tough, inner-city students, I see that it takes persistence and a ferocious will to keep standing up to a child who just wants what he or she wants and always is pushing for that.

Reading The New Strong-Willed Child gave me so much encouragement about how I handled my classroom: I stood up to those children because they wanted to see if I would let them get away with disrespect, cheating, and laziness. Dr. Dobson tells many stories of children who want to see if they can get around what their parents were asking them to do, and I was surprised by how much ENCOURAGMENT came through the book.

Dr. Dobson draws from being a classroom teacher, a child psychologist, and a parent of a strong-willed child himself to share solutions and advice mixed with much care. He does not want to see parents bewildered by their children, and he knows that parents CAN parent strong-willed children well.

A strong-willed child makes the parents (or teacher) look bad by not being able to control the child. If the parent had a compliant child, the parents would look normal and like great parents. The strong-willed child gives parents a test of their leadership, their authority, and has so much energy to keep on doing it. These children like to take on the authority figure to see if they can break the adult and get what they want. Dr. Dobson encourages parents to just keep on standing up to these children, molding them, teaching them to listen to authority. It takes so much energy to stand up to a little one who is pushing the limits every day, but the child will learn if the parent is consistent.

Reading The New Strong-Willed Childmade me thankful that I held strong when teaching and that my parents held strong with me. It is exhausting, but worth it—the children learn that they must listen to you. And strong-willed children become amazing strong-willed adults who change the world.

This book is worth reading. Check it out: 🙂


The New Strong-Willed Child

Peace!

~Mary Hope

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


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Need Something Lovely to Read?

Need an artsy, relaxing book to read when you have a free minute? My brother (Aaron Campbell of Campby Designs) graphically designed the book, La La Lovely: The Art of Finding Beauty in the Everyday, by Trina McNeilly, and the layout AND the words bring refreshment, hope, beauty to the reader.

Started as a blog, (so that part encourages me greatly that a blog can lead to so much more!), this book tells of her journey of recent years through her parents’ divorce, the loss of a grandmother, and how to look for beauty to show up throughout all of life. The book is like a long version of her lifestyle blog with chapters on interior design, family relationships, and even an art project or two with photographs and fonts that bring it to life.

Her chapters can be read individually, so they are great for when you just have a minute or two to read something. I read most of the book while I was breastfeeding my son or right before bed when I wanted to have something fun (but short) to read.

For example, Trina says, “Trees, I once heard, represent rest. And here, without realizing it, I’ve been neighboring with respite. I can never decide when I like them best. Every year, each season, I try to decide again and again. I judge what the woods wear, as if I’m a regular on Project Runway. Autumn is pushing for first place with all of its colors and crunch. Summer is a shoo-in for second with its wealth of green, stately and regal, emanating a fairy-tale feel…” (page 159-160 of La La Lovely: The Art of Finding Beauty in the Everyday). Her words poetically paint pictures and draw you toward the beauty she wants to share.

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How DO You Start a Small Business? Book Review of The Business Boutique


Are you not sure how to run a business and desire more guidance before you prepare that first batch of cupcakes or sew that first apron to sell? A book that has been helping me figure out business is Christy Wright’s Business Boutique: A Woman’s Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves. Christy walks her readers through dreaming, thinking through, and then starting up a business. She encourages you to “Make money doing what you love!”

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Four Books that are Helping Me Learn How to be a Mother

Pregnant with your first baby or just want to know of some knowledgeable books to have on hand while parenting? Four that I have been dipping into recently include one on breastfeeding (that I read before the baby arrived and now have been looking up different sections for reassurance about different topics), a step-by-step developmental guidebook, a book about sleeping (that I read while my baby was just a couple of months old) and a book about eating. Continue reading