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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Cigarette-Butt Clean Up

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What was he thinking? Smoke a cigarette in the sub-zero whether, throw the cigarette-butt in the snow drift and scuttle back inside…Didn’t he remember the snow would melt!? Well, the snow has melted and uncovered much trash and cigarette-butts on the patch of muddy-grass in front of my building.

For a few days, I just was happy it was warmer, so I didn’t let the trash bug me. Then, last Saturday, I made a plan…I had had enough of seeing this old sweatshirt laying in the street for two months, so I stuffed two bags in my pocket before my run and headed outside.

After jogging a couple miles, I felt ready to clean up “my” patch of grass. I slipped a red bag over my hand (because I hadn’t found rubber gloves) and started picking up candy wrappers, drink bottles, and over fifty cigarette butts; at first I passed them by, but then I thought, “They will take forever to decompose, so I should just pick them up.” Some were all soggy and falling apart, while others seemed pretty new.

A few people said, “Hi!” as they passed; one guy guffawed at me, but I ignored him. Another guy said, “You see all that trash down on the next block? Well, the wind is going to blow it down here!” My response: “Well, I can just help a little bit by picking up this trash…”

It brought me joy to see that muddy patch of grass all cleared and ready for the grass to turn green and vibrant in a few weeks. Spring cleaning in the city is a bit different than in the country, but it is still cleaning that needs to be done. I’m just glad the spring weather is here!

(And I forgive the smokers who littered all over that grass; just know: whatever you throw into a snow pile WILL show up in the spring. Take those cigarette-butts inside next winter!!)

By M. H. Campbell

Copyright 2015

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You See Love When You Look For It

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Last night when I looked down while vacuuming the animal hospital (yes, they offered me my part-time cleaning job back, and I took it because they treat me so well!) and I saw this heart. Love is everywhere–you just have to be open to see it, feel it, and pass it along.

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014


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The End of Hodge-Podge Jobs and Vacuuming up Dog Toenails

What do peanut M&Ms, cat fur, and a peaceful farmhouse all have in common?

Working at an animal hospital! They aren’t all mixed together, of course.

I didn’t figure out what all the little black bumps were that would rattle up the vacuum tube for a while. Then I shouted out “Ewwwwww!” When I realized they were dog toenails!

Some seasons of life are more thrown together than others. Two years ago I needed a second part-time job to supplement my first part-time job. I asked at a dinner my friends, who are vets, if they were hiring. They were!

It took the business manager weeks to contact me, and by that time I had picked up a tutoring job, but I was open to more work, so a rather big patch got sewn into my crazy quilt of employment.

I’ve had quite the adventures there: Before my boss told me I couldn’t bring in people to help me clean, I dragged several people in. The first guy was a date who wanted to take me dancing, but who I told I couldn’t go unless he helped me get the cleaning done. Oh, wow… Let’s just say I saw that guy walking with another girl the next day. Singing at the top of my voice and dancing around with a mop was fun.

I also dragged my Mom, several friends, and my former boyfriend to clean bathrooms, vacuum, and mop the old farmhouse-turned animal hospital.

Over the two years, I’ve gotten off the time clock to have important talks and text exchanges with family, boyfriends, and potential boyfriends.

I had to clean after 7:30pm on Tuesday and Thursday nights and anytime after 12:30 on Saturdays. I’ve mopped into the wee hours of the morning, but have kept going because of the snack cupboard and ginger ale and water in the fridge.

I must have had a junk food deficiency from being raised by a health-foodie, so their snack cupboard full of M&Ms, snickers, cheese it’s, Doritos, almonds, carmel, and popcorn satisfied that debt.

I have described the job as, “I’m getting paid to listen to podcasts!” At the start I would sing to keep me awake, now I tend to listen to money and relationship advice on podcasts.

This job was my first job to ever get vacation pay or a bonus gift because the business is doing well.

Now that I have found a full-time teaching job with benefits, it’s time to let this job go!

I will miss the peaceful, country-ness it brought to my life, the kind support from my bosses, the snacks, but I will NOT miss cleaning up the spatters of blood and the dog toenails!

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An Invisible Strength

It’s being willing to go low, go to the bottom of the social flagpole if that is what you need to do to serve.
It’s based in love for others.
It’s cleaning up the hairs on the toilet bowl.
It’s replacing the paper towels in the dispenser that you only think about when the towels run out.
It’s doing all these menial jobs with an attitude of service, because you love people.
It is behind the scenes, but it is essential to the health of a school, business, home.
It’s humility.
Humility is essential for times of transition because life gets messy when you’re packing, moving, changing, growing.
Humility asks for help.
Humility smiles as he mops.
Humility sings while she cooks.
Humility builds an invisible, but solid, foundation for a fulfilling life.