Trees of Transition

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


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2019 Family Christmas Letter

Thanksgiving 2019

Dear Friends and Family,

Merry Christmas and Happy 2020!

As I looked out our window, I saw the women come out of their homes into the street, heading down our cul-de-sac on a cold, bright December day a few weeks ago. As they greeted each other, they headed toward our home with their arms full of cookies. These were our great neighbors coming over for our first cookie exchange! God has placed us in another wonderful neighborhood full of kind and generous people. 2019 has been a year of settling in and connecting.

In February we found a four bedroom, three bathroom home on a 1/3 of an acer lot at the end of a cul-de-sac that we love, and we bought it in March. Our apartment lease wasn’t up until the end of April, so it worked out great that we could move in slowly, have our oak wood floors refinished (they glow now!), paint the Viking purple basement white, and paint some other rooms as well before we moved in at the end of April.

Then we found out we were pregnant again (just after I painted the room I had dubbed the nursery, light yellow!), and in August we found out that we are having a baby girl that is due on December 16th. She feels like she is a little more lively than Joel (from what I can tell by how she kicks and moves inside me). I can’t wait to see her face and see her and Joel interact.

Stephen turned 40 in September and celebrated by going on a houseboat trip to Lake Powell. He got to see where we got engaged four years ago! Joel and I went to Illinois to visit friends and family because taking a one-year old on a houseboat for a week while pregnant did not sound fun. Stephen’s civil engineering job is moving along well. He has been connecting with guys in our neighborhood, at church, and at Bible Study Fellowship. Currently, he is figuring out how to put a new clutch in his truck.

I (Mary) love being home with Joel, and I’m so happy to be having a daughter. Our yellow nursery has lots of pink accents now! I enjoy being a children’s leader in an infant class at Bible Study Fellowship; being part of a team is so satisfying. I occasionally keep on writing and making cards (see:  ), but have been focusing more on Joel and learning how to take care of a  big house and yard. The pink and purple flowers that grow around our home make me so happy! I’m also learning how to cook gluten and dairy free, so if you have any great recipes, please pass them on to me!

Joel has blossomed this year! He just turned two years old on November 14th, and then we decided to take the leap and do potty training, and he has been picking it up like a champ. It’s nice to have a few weeks without diapers. He loves to run, play chase, read books, help us cook (today I had him come to the kitchen to help me make breakfast cookies, and he started the food processor without me telling him to—he knew what to do. He will be cooking in no time.), and create/build things. He talks more and has been singing too. He loves his Bible Study Fellowship classes and being out and about. It’s great that there are some kids in our neighborhood that he can play with.

May you have the merriest of Christmases and an amazing 2020. May God with even more hope, joy, and love than ever before.

Love, Mary, Stephen, Joel & Baby Girl Schuh

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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Four Tips To Help You Transition Well Through The Change of Graduating or Retiring

Have your years of schooling ended this spring when you graduated? Or are your decades in the workforce ending as your retire from your career? Both of these life-changing events are similar in that they were something that consumed your life for years and they now have ended…you are in a big life transition as you move to something new.

I have graduated from high school, college, and graduate school, and even though I haven’t officially “retired,” I have left a teaching job to stay home with my children as a homemaker (I switched careers!), so I can relate to the strange newness that you are in or see coming on the horizon when your current endeavor ends. Here are four actions that will help you transition well:

 Tip # 1: Finish Strong

If you have not wrapped up the old job or graduated yet, remember that finishing strong will help have a more brilliant start to your new season. For example, as my school year ended, I needed to rely a bit more on movies as parts of my lessons, but I still stayed connected to my students. An even deeper connection happened when I told my students that I was pregnant and not coming back the next school year. I hold my homeroom of 7th graders first (and it spread across the whole school in like 15 minutes!), and there was so much happy discussion for the rest of the period (and some silly baby name suggestions, such as “Bless Schuh”). I wrote each student an encouraging note, and we had fun at the end of the year (which included pizza and brownies…) We ended well; thinking back makes me happy. If  I transition back to teaching, ending on that strong note will help me start even stronger when I begin again. This can be the same for you!

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Christmas Letter 2018

2018 has been sweet (baby smiles), salty (tears), achy (from moving), satisfying (from making a home together in a new place), and invigorating (from serving at a new Bible study group!)

The sweetness of seeing a baby grow and flourish in front of you is better than I even hoped! Sometimes Joel’s blue eyes sparkle when I come in to see him after his nap. He likes turning my head to look and see if I have earrings on. First he started rolling across the room in the summer, then he switched to crawling with one peg-leg or “crab” crawl. Now he is a quick crawler and is practicing standing without holding onto anything. He loves playing in the kitchen and exploring the pots and pantry items. Yesterday he was making a drum out of a big soup pot. At 13 months he is able to balance without holding anything, and he has tried to take one step between his walker and a freezer; running will be in the near future! This year sweetness also came through getting to help a friend with the labor of her third baby. Babies are such a blessing Continue reading


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Remembering Aunty Tricia

 

My husband with Aunty Tricia at her son’s wedding.

 

She gave us big hugs, smiled at us as we said, “See you at Christmastime!” and waved as we pulled away to make our flight. I can see her smiling and waving in the sunshine with our other family members. We didn’t know that was the last time we got to see Aunt Tricia in person; she passed away from cancer at the end of August. We are so thankful we got to see her when we went in June to my husband’s 20th high school class reunion! She got to snuggle our son, try to get him to fall asleep, hold him while his Aunty Lindsey made him laugh. Continue reading


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We Sold Our House!! (Good-bye Musings About 1064 Windsor Drive)

This morning my husband called me to say, “Everything is going through,” that means, our house is sold!! The relief that we won’t have to pay a mortgage payment and a rent payment in a couple days is still settling in…

What have we learned from this experience?

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My Last Time with My Dad /// Thoughts about his Funeral

Dad holding me when I was just a day old!

One of the most comforting words shared with me during this time of grieving for my Dad was, “Your Dad was the first man who held you on his arms and said, ‘I love you.’ ” This first photo is the first photo I have of my Dad holding me. It is so comforting that Dad got to hold my son as well as me.

On June 6th, my son and I went to see my dad. He was dressed in a nice blue shirt and was sitting in his wheelchair in the living room with a lot of other folks who were dozing and quiet. He seemed sleepy, but he perked up when he saw us. His eyes crinkled into a smile and he knew who we were. I gave him a hug and then got Joel out of his car seat, and then Dad reached out to hold Joel!

Dad smiled at Joel And Joel smiled back. Dad held him for about five minutes until his arms got tired (Joel weighs around 25 lb. already), and then he handed him back.

Dad holding Joel 36 years later.

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Sweet Times with My Dad

My Dad will be 81 on June 4th, and I’m pondering my favorite memories of him…here are a few:

Let’s start with some food memories (since Dad and I both love our food!) We had a huge hickory tree next to our driveway, and each fall it would drop thousands of nuts—at first they we insulated in 1/2inch thick covering, that would fall off in quarters as they dried, then leaving the small (about the size of a blackberry) nut that also had 1/8-inch of shell. My dad made me a “Hickory nut cracker” –a strong contraption that would break through that heavy shell. Once when I was around 10, I took the time to crack a lot of hickory nuts and then I baked them into cookies. They had a strong, pecan-like flavor. I took some out to Dad working in his shop, and he liked them. Continue reading


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I’m Thankful for My Mom

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I’m thankful, Mom, that you:

Taught me how to sew, and that we made that blue and green apron together. You were tired, but I loved making that special project with you.

Taught me how to cook and bake bread! You showed me the basics and then let me go. I’m thankful I got to grow up on homemade bread and butter, with our homegrown honey too. Continue reading


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Memories of Sherpa

This is when our son first met Sherpa on March 20th with his Aunt. 

Sherpa, my brother and sister-in-law’s golden retriever, brought sunshine to the room (plus a lot of woofs!) She loved to greet anyone who came into the door with great barks and happy commotion—her joy of seeing you made you feel even more welcome.

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Pesto Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

 

When you have homemade pesto you need use up (see my recipe here: Homemade Walnut-Basil Pesto ), why not make up a recipe to use it!

I love that there are so many ways to serve vegetables; feel free to change out the vegetables to use what you have or what you like. If you need a wok, which is the easiest way to cook this dish, check out this link:

Specialty Nonstick Dishwasher Safe Oven Safe PFOA-Free Jumbo Wok Cookware, 14-Inch, Black Now, let’s get to the recipe!

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