Trees of Transition

Planting seeds of hope throughout our world through sharing photography and thoughts on teaching, cooking, and life transitions.

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Need to Get Lost in a Book? This Book Will Do It!


Book Review on: The Girl Before by Rena Olsen (Psychological Thriller)

The Girl Before caught me at the title; it made me curious and so I pulled the book off my friend’s bookshelf. Later my friend showed me that her copy is signed by the author because she worked with and is friends with her!


This book is psychological thriller (it gets inside your head!) The author structured the book in short, two-page sections where you alternate between the present and the past. It keeps you wondering because it does not keep you in one time period. You get pulled into the action of the book quickly because of this book structure, and I read the whole 300+ page book within 24 hours! There is a lot of twists going on as you understand what the protagonist is going through (as she discovers it herself); you discover the truth along with the main character.


The Girl Before by Rena Olsen is beautifully crafted and inspiring, but also heart-wrenching in regards to what it teaches you about the effects of human trafficking. Read this book!


~Mary Hope

If you want to buy the book, check it out here:


 The Girl Before by Rena Olsen (Psychological Thriller)

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Coffee Shop Quartet of Conversations

It amazes me what connections happen if you’re open and just start conversations! Last week I walked into a local coffee shop, ordered a mulled cider with whipped cream, and found a satisfying corner in which to read and write. I made great progress reading a helpful book called The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People, then a stylish gal sat down on the couch across from me.

When she tried to figure out where the plug was for her phone in a case with 1/2-inch rivets, I helped her, and then we started talking about her phone case. That conversation led to talking about why she was here: to surprise her sister because it was Canadian Thanksgiving last weekend.

This lady with 4-inch heels, Tamara, loves horses, her five sisters, and knows over five languages. After a while, a guy with a cane who had lost his hearing aides came and sat down in our cove. He introduced himself as Peter, and we all talked about the weather.

Finally, Tamara’s brother-in-law came back and surprised his wife and daughter with their aunt! We all introduced ourselves and talked a bit.
The family eventually moved where there was more space, Peter told me about how going into the military is a good career choice, and then he had to get home, so my cove cleared out. Tamara came back to get her studded phone and said good-bye.

I’m so thankful we started talking! The care and life of the conversations just kept growing as more people arrived. A seventy-year old man grinned at the one-year old niece, and she laughed back. The sisters hugged and were so happy to be together.

The generations need to interact because it reminds us where we have been or where we are going. The smiles, stories, and hugs release life, and so now I’m more open and eager to have this kind of inter-generational experience again! All you need to do is find a corner in a coffee shop and start a conversation…