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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Remembering Uncle Chris

 

I only knew my husband’s Uncle Chris for 2 ½ years, but I remember his leathery cheeks pulled up into a smile that burst with kindness. I first met him at Christmastime when Stephen took me to California to meet his family in 2014. Uncle Chris was Stephen’s Dad’s older brother who lived nearby and loved helping out and driving with us to the airport when we had to fly home.

A year after I met Uncle Chris, Stephen and I were engaged and the family put together a surprise bridal shower for us on New Years Day in 2016. That day we received the only card from him while I knew him, but I am so glad we kept it. He gave us an Amazon gift card (that we used to buy a Tiffany lamp), and he wrote us this message:

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A Collage for Our Dad


My siblings started this collage, and then I finished it as we sat by my Dad’s bedside–waiting to see how he would be. We are still waiting to see if Dad’s health will improve greatly or if we have to continue letting him go.

Creating this collage of family photos brought me peace as I remembered so many positive times with my Dad. Many of the photos are of my nephews, for which I am thankful–new life in the family lightens the weight of grief of letting someone go.

This Saturday I got to see my Dad again, and the collage still was by his bed. We talked about his wedding to my Mom, and we celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary with cards and pumpkin pie. At the end of the visit, I gave Dad a hug and kiss good-bye with an “I love you” thrown in. 

Family is one of the things that matter most in this life, and I’m thankful for each member of my family that we have with us today.
-Mary Hope
Copyright 2017


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Bittersweet Shift

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The word to describe yesterday would be bittersweet: In the morning, the reality of my Dad possibly passing away soon hit home. I’m thankful for tears and the release they bring. Then I switched gears to party preparations for a party for my fiancé passing a huge test that advances his career. I went over to his house, turned on a funny movie and got chopping: white chili, finished the red chili, fruit salsa… Continue reading


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Hope’s Swirls

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My family is going through a hard time with my Father’s health, and yesterday making this lemon pie calmed me down. Dad had wanted a piece the day before, so I took it to him. He was not up for eating any, but I’m glad I did it. Our family could use your prayers right now. Growing old is a hard transition, especially if a person hopes they will just be fine until they die.
Here’s a few more things that have been life-giving these days: Continue reading


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2014: A Growing Year

2014: A Year of Leaping Ahead, Falling on my face, and getting back up again: A beautiful year

Second graders singing, with me playing the piano. This year I got a keyboard and started playing piano again!
A chocolate and flower birthday with friends.
Flying to North Carolina for spring break, getting so sick, and celebrating about a friend having a baby (that arrived a few weeks ago).

Getting hired as a Bible/Writing teacher, moving to the city and getting a wonderful apartment. Moving in on the hottest day of the year!

My nephew’s first birthday (I made him his cake).

My sister married her best friend, Danny! A city wedding full of cream colored roses…

School started and the students learned, and I learned a lot. Then that job ended unexpectedly, and I rested, healed, and connected with lots of loving people. Now I’m tutoring at a community college! I hope soon I can be an adjunct professor…

Forgiveness works! God knows how to direct life well. I’m so thankful nephew knows my name, and I’m dating a great guy.

I never thought my year would end in Napa Valley, California meeting a great guy’s family and who I’m falling in love with…life gives you lots of challenges, but if you trust that God is guiding you, life may hurt for a while, but you heal and grow stronger.

2015 is going to be amazing! I wish you the best 2015–full of hope, joy, and lots of love.

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014

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Smoking: I Hate What It Does to People

You’ve seen it: A cigarette dangling from a lady’s slender fingers, as the smoke spirals up above her head; these images have a seductive pull to them, but they are deadly. I love a lot of people who smoke, but I hate what that nicotine-filled smoke does to them. Smoking killed my brother-in-law.

My brother-in-law, Don, created intricate, graceful pieces of furniture for people who desired custom-built furniture. His creativity came out through creating his fine furniture, drawing, and what he talked about. 

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Top Ten Activities to Restore Hope After Job Loss

During this transition time, these activities have helped me greatly:

10. Run Toward Love. After I was fired, I drove out to my parents’ home where they served me pot roast and just let me cry, tell my story multiple times, and love me.
9. Take Someone with YouIf you still have to clear out your classroom or cubicle, take a loving person with you to finish off the job of clearing out your things. My Mom accompanied me; it helped to have a cheerleader.
8. Unpack Your Boxes and Reorganize Your Life. I let the boxes from work sit there for a week, then I tackled the project of finding spots for all those books. Just face into the boxes and start creating new life rhythms by putting your favorite work objects around your home.
7. Connect with Loving Co-workers, if possibleI communicated with several people at my old job about what happened, and it surprised me how compassionate they were! Several wrote me emails and cards full of truth and encouragement. One former co-worker brought chocolate and came over to talk; it was hard, but helpful to hear her opinion. Multiple people encouraged me to not let this situation jade me toward teaching, and told me “You ARE a good teacher.” Their words helped pull the poison out of the wound the job loss had afflicted. Because that co-worker had more objective viewpoint right then, she helped me know what I could say about the job loss. I’m so thankful for her coaching.
6. Go Away for a Few Days. Yes, file for unemployment as soon as possible, but you just need time away for a bit to let down so that you can heal. I visited my brother and his family the week after my job ended, and it was there, surrounded by love that I had the strength to file for unemployment. Filing and retelling the story was hard and very humbling, but it helped me process the trauma. Hugs from my one-year-old nephew, and then an invitation from my sister-in-law to stay for four days instead of one was healing balm. My mind could let down, forget what happened for a while, and just rest, play, and love.
5. Create a New Life Structure. Get up early on work days. Apply for jobs, go network, and let job hunting be your new “work.” Have hope; you will get another job.
4. ExerciseI planned exercise into my day because it relieved stress, and brought me joy! Go run by the lake or plan to go dancing.
3. Maximize Your Networks. Yes, sign up and use networking and job hunting sites, but also connect with people in person. I went to my grad school’s career office, and they loaned me career books (a great one is The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People by Carol Eikleberry), critiqued my resume, and supported me in thinking about different career choices. They helped me know it’s fine to try something different, like floral design…
2. Do What You Love and Feel Your FeelingsI read, I sang, I cooked. I took floral design classes, and I started writing a book. I cried, felt sad, shouted with anger, ached with loss, and chose to forgive. Then a tutoring job came!
 
1. Believe and Know That You Are Loved Just As You AreYes, sudden job loss wounds your heart and your confidence. Yes, you need time to heal, but while you are healing, just know that there is a plan for you designed by the Great Creator. Know that you are loved. You are not your job; you are of full value just as you are.
 
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Copyright 2014 by M. H. Campbell