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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Walking Out Forgiveness

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Last week as I walked to work, I looked down and saw this message on the city sidewalk. Forgiveness comes through a series of small steps and lots of choices to choose to let go of the offense, pain, or betrayal and begin to heal.

By M. H. Campbell

Copyright 2015

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A Homeschooler Takes on the “Mean Girls” and …

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Homeschooling’s Black, White, & Gray Series 1 Ep. 7

What does it mean about me if a dysfunctional institution led by some “mean girls” throws me out? Here’s what happened, but first of all, my definition of “mean girl” is a sometimes fun, but really selfish, usually gorgeous, controlling woman who uses manipulation to get what she wants and to keep admiring people around her (similar to the mean girls in the movie with that same title)…

I met her on the day I interviewed for the job, and she seemed interested in me and glad to have me come on board. This beautiful, married woman seemed like she could be a friend; since I was used to being friends with my bosses, I thought I could do it here too. I jumped into the job, helping with even more than I probably should have, but keeping my eyes open because I knew the institution had a reputation for dysfunction. I invited her to go see Shakespeare in the Park (which she couldn’t make), we had other interesting conversations, and I thought she liked me.

Because my “dysfunction radar” was on high alert, I didn’t let things slide when my schedule got changed around the day before school started. I spoke up, respectfully. I let her and the boss over her know that it shook me up to have more students thrust upon me and rooms changed around the day before school starts, and I felt disrespected. I thought they understood…

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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


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Series I Episode I: Beginning with Forgiveness and Thankfulness

Home Schooling’s Black, White, and Gray: A Series on Home Schooling and Life-Long Learners 

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Most junior high girls like to giggle about boys and lay out at a pool party, but not me. I didn’t know what it felt like to have crush until I was fifteen, and I wasn’t crazy about being in a bathing suit. At one pool party I attended in junior high, I splashed with the girls for a while, but then picked strawberries for an hour because the hostess offered strawberries to anyone who wanted to pick them. I baked some amazing fresh strawberry pie with those berries. I treasure the freedom and creativity being home schooled gave me, but it did not make me normal. But why should I be normal?!

Home schooling has a lot of white, but there is black as well, and some gray. Through this series of blog posts, I will be looking at the mediocre, the ugly, and the beautiful parts of home schooling. I do not mean to step on anybody’s toes, but I need to be honest and truthful. Being lovingly honest can bring healthy change; I desire to bring life through my writing.

Educating humans to be what they were created to be is a life passion of mine. I believe in giving students the freedom and structure needed to develop into healthy, robust, loving adults who will do more in the world than I ever will! Home schooling is one method of doing this, but it may not be the best pathway for all children; that is up to the parents and children to explore. However, home schooling molds students into people who may be more in-tune and willing to stand up for their uniqueness in this world full of cliques and conformity.

After attending traditional college, I came home and went through a time of evaluation and sadness. I let myself admit that being home schooled wasn’t perfect; I admitted that there were some dark-sides to home schooling. Since then I’ve worked through most of the anger I had once I realized some of the unhealthy parts of home schooling and have come into a time of acceptance and challenge.

Recently one morning while walking down a gravel road in Lincoln Marsh, it hit me: I CAN graciously critique home schooling, but I must begin with a confession of forgiveness and of thankfulness.

I forgive my parents for the gaps I had in my education; they did the best they could with the resources they had. No school is perfect. Period. Even home schools. I am so thankful for the faith and freedom they instilled in me. I learned how to learn, so I get to fill in those gaps now!

I thank my parents for sacrificing so much time and energy to pour into me and my siblings. My Mom has a Masters of Education and a Masters of Divinity, so she WAS qualified to home school me and my siblings. She could have done many other activities, but she desired to have the Bible be central to our education, so that’s what she did. I thank my grandparents for funding many textbook purchases and encouraging us in whatever creative project we were working on when they stopped by, be it comic books or silly children’s stories.

Thankful is where I am at in regarding my upbringing. Thankful for so much individualized love and nurture that my parents poured onto me. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

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Copyright 2014 By M. H. Campbell

 


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Forgiving Yourself After Sudden Job Loss

The morning after I got fired, I wrote my former bosses a resignation letter because the word “fired” just seemed too painful; I wanted to control the situation and just resign. My sister-in-law, Erin, was the one who gently reminded me: “They fired you yesterday, so sending them this letter would just confuse them.” Right, that made sense.

Just writing the letter was enough (I didn’t need to send it); it helped me grapple with what I was feeling. Writing has helped me bring resolution to this situation; even just typing out a password for a job search website has helped my brain through the forgiving process.

At first I believed I could have done better and kept my job; however, looking back I see that I did the best I could. I fully jumped in and engaged the students, yes, I wasn’t perfect, but I connected and helped those high school Seniors become better writers for a month.

Over the last couple months, I have felt multiple emotions other than peace. First, when I was told I had two weeks to do even more with the students, teach better, I felt tension, but also a challenge. After working 12 hour days and doing the best I could, I felt confusion, when after those two weeks I was fired because I had not met their expectations. Crying and anger mixed with relief followed. Elation and tons of job ideas trailed by sadness and just needing to lay there and watch movies for hours have been part of my healing journey. Talking with people and finding out how many people have been fired at different parts of their lives has helped me connect deeper with humanity in general.

Each workday I would log into a job searching website and type in my password: 77forgive, and then continue on with my search. Each time I entered those job hunting passwords the forgiveness would grow toward the bosses that fired me and the pain would lessen. I just realized I also was forgiving myself for what had happened. Just seeing the word “forgive” and having to think it several times a day has really paid off by having that job episode fade peacefully into the past.

I’ve had to go through the cycle of grief in regards to losing this job. Numbness, followed by sadness and anger, mixed with a desire for revenge. As I received love and support from family and friends, I could let down and just be sad about it all and then acceptance. As this happened, I had the strength and courage to get back out there, apply for jobs, interview and land another job.

I chose to forgive from the start because I knew it was what I was supposed to do, but as I’ve daily typed in “77forgive,” my heart healed enough to forgive my old bosses and to forgive myself. I drove by my old school yesterday and felt peaceful; I give the credit for healing my heart to God (and the passwords you type every day influence you more than you think!)

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By M. H. Campbell