Trees of Transition

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

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The Transition of Learning to Be Outward Focused

I heard in his voice that my husband wanted to go to the cabin this weekend, but I didn’t really want to go. My husband is not blatantly clear about what he wants like I am, and I’m learning to hear him when he wants something, especially when I don’t want to do it. It is easy for me to try to “run him over” from what he wants to do with my excuses or fear, and get him to change his mind.

On Friday I let the fears I had about going farther north for the weekend—“What if our car goes off the road and we have a baby to protect?!” “What if it is too cold?” “What is the road isn’t plowed or we get stuck up there?” Stephen listened to me, and we kept going back and forth. Go, not go.

But then I sensed he really wanted to go, and when he finally told me, “I want to figure out a problem that Uncle Roger is having with the furnace, and I want alone time up there with my little family—an adventure.” I heard him. I pushed myself to stop being afraid and just do what my husband wanted. Then we slept on the decision, and the next morning we both came to the same decision: “Let’s try to get to the cabin in the Prius, and if the roads are too bad, we will come back.”

We reached a new level in our communication, and the road was fine driving up there (not so much driving back). We did have an adventure—with walking on the frozen lake and having to pee in a bucket because of frozen pipes! Some of my fears DID happen—the weather got bad on the way home, so we had a stressful end to our drive home on snowy roads.

Part of me wanted to say, “I KNEW this would happen!” But loving my husband meant jumping into the adventure, and enjoying sitting in front of a roaring fire and playing cribbage with him, and not saying, “I knew this would happen” on our drive home. I love thinking of my son standing in front of the fire with Stephen, and laughing because he loved the sound of a coaster falling on the hearth.

A change is happening in my ability to pick up on my husband’s needs and fulfill them even if I don’t really want to sometimes.

The transition of learning to be more outward focused (picking up clues of what others want and are telling without saying the words) instead of being inward focused has taken years for me to learn. Recently a book that has helped me continue on with this journey is the book, Everybody, Always by Bob Goff.

Bob’s book is a collage of stories of different people who are loving others well and that he is learning from: Ugandan witch doctors, airport checkpoint guys, his neighbor… He drives home the point, which is the tagline of the book, “Becoming love in a world full of setbacks and difficult people.”

It’s easy to love those who love us, but Bob is showing us how to love those people who are hard to love. For example, he tells of a phone call received from an inmate (a wrong number actually), and Bob decides to show love to this man who keeps calling him because he thinks Bob’s number is his girlfriend’s number. Bob helps the man connect with his girlfriend, who has now moved on, and then finds out the inmate needs money for an ankle bracelet in order to get out of prison. Bob tells the man that he will pay for it (which it turned out to be a lot more expensive than he thought!), and shows the inmate care, right when he needed it.

Bob says, “These pages contain the stories of some of my friends and what they’ve taught me about extravagant love and acceptance. I’m indebted to each one. The first thing I’ve learned from them is that I have a long way to be the kind of loving person I’m hoping I’ll be some day. The second is that only the kind of radical love and acceptance I’ve experienced from this will help me close the distance”

(p. 226 of Everybody, Always)

My favorite chapter was when Bob describes how he borrowed someone’s small plane to fly to an event he was attending, and when he was returning home one of the lights that indicates his wheels are down for landing didn’t turn on when it was supposed to. He circled the landing strip for a long time, then decided to just take the risk and land (or he was going to just run out of gas). He prepared to crash because you cannot land with just one wheel…but he didn’t! He had both wheels out down there—it was the light that was faulty. Then Bob makes the application that has helped me:

“Recognize when your beautiful ambitions are getting stuck inside your head. You don’t need to take all the steps, just the next one. God may not give us all the green lights we want, but I’m confident He gives us all the green lights He wants us to have at the time. Go with what you’ve got. If God wants you to stay put, He’ll let you know. We also have some guaranteed green lights that are always on: our noble desires; God’s clear instructions in the Bible to love everybody, always; His love for us; and the gift of each other. You can put a lot of weight on these and triangulate from there to figure out the rest of life’s unknowns. The difference between the number of green lights we want and the number we get from God is a pretty good description of what faith is. Faith isn’t knowing what we can’t see; it’s landing the plane anyway, rather than circling the field. Get the plane on the ground” (p. 94 of Everybody, Always). I don’t have to have all the possible problems figured out before I do something! Yes, there could be snow on the roads and that could cause trouble, but I didn’t need to let that fear stop me from doing something that turned out to be pretty fun! Take risks. Just love people.

This book is helping me take more risks in loving people, and I’m so glad I read it. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to give your copy away instead of just letting it sit on the shelf.

Check out Everybody, Always right here: It is a fun and easy read.

I’m glad I finished this book this week, the day we were discussing going to the cabin or not. Our cabin adventure brought Bob’s point home—we will have setbacks, frozen pipes, slippery roads, but God’s love can help us love the people around us well.

What tips do you have on learning to be more others focused?

~Mary Hope

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


How to Support Your Spouse through Job Loss

As I was changing my son’s diaper, my husband walked in and hugged me, saying, “I will be home tomorrow” (when a big snow storm was coming through). I asked, “Will you work from home?”  As he pulled me closer, he said, “Well, sort of…I got laid off today.” The joy of knowing he would be safely at home with me during the snow storm added joy to the whole situation and even though losing a job is not what was planned, I felt peace. From that 8th day of February, 2018 until he started his new job on Tuesday, April 17th, I learned more how to support a spouse during job loss, job hunt, and relocating for a new job. Both of us had lost jobs before, but it was a growing experience to go through job loss together. I was controlling and fearful at times, but overall it was a helpful experience.

What were some of the things I did to support him and that you can do to support a spouse that is unemployed?

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Celebrating 40 Years of Marriage

On January 14th my parents celebrated 40 years of marriage! My Dad didn’t talk much, but he knew who we were, and he ate a chocolate eclair to celebrate and shared it with Mom. Then he fell asleep.

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Book Review: A Book to Read on Your Honeymoon 

Need a funny book about marriage– book to read on a romantic get-away or just before bed? Melanie Shankle unpacks the “realness” of marriage in a way that makes you laugh and be releived that you are not the only one feeling crazy. Her book, The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life, is filled with hilarious stories about her and her husband’s journey into marriage, including a story about a hunting trophy (I think an antelope head) trying to make a home on her wall…


A friend gave me this book at a bridal shower, with the advice, “Read this on your honeymoon… especially if you are feeling frustrated about something…” I did what she instructed, and even though Stephen and I didn’t have an explosions on our honeymoon, it was nice to have a book to get into during our down time.

Stephen and I are about to start re-doing our flooring in our house, so I think it is about time to read it again!

~Mary Hope


Copyright 2017


P.S. Thank you for stopping by! I insert affiliate links, such as Amazon, into my posts to share interesting books and products. If you buy something or start a registry, I receive income, for which I am thankful. So…

— shop on  Amazon

–shop at my Etsy photo card/notecard/art 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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Standing Beside My Man (Book Talk)

Did you know that guys just want the woman that they love to be near them as they work, play a game, fix a truck, or just watch TV? Dr. Eggerichs, in his insightful book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs, taught me this point again: When my husband says he just wants me near him, that is just what he wants! This winter Stephen was working on his truck, and he invited me to come sit out in the garage near him as he worked; I had lots of lessons to plan and grading to do because of teaching, so I balked for a while, Continue reading

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One Year into Marriage 

Ten days ago Stephen and I celebrated one year of marriage on June 18th, and we honored that milestone by fulfilling a dream that both of us have had of eating at the Signature Room on the 95th floor the John Hancock Building in Chicago. We both have enjoyed drinks and desserts in the Signature Lounge, one floor up (which has an amazing view from the ladies bathroom); however, we had always looked down on the Signature Room with a bit of desire to try that expensive restaurant.

Since we have a baby on the way, we decided that this should be the year that we take the plunge and try the Signature Room. After driving downtown Chicago, parking, and getting our bearings, we walked over to the Original Cupcake bakery, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and both picked out our favorite cake. We hadn’t saved the top of our wedding cake (we ate it our first month! Check out this blog post: Why You Should Eat the Top of Your Wedding Cake the Month After Your Wedding ), so we tried their pineapple upside down cake and their chocolate marshmallow cupcakes!


Then it was time to head up to the Signature Room with the “rocket” elevator that takes you 95 floors in about a minute. We were seated by the northern view of Chicago:

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Hawaii Honeymoon Highlights

On the north side of Kawaii this lighthouse stands, and we enjoyed gazing at it and walking up around it. Here are more scenes from our trip to Kawaii, Hawaii last June:

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My Wedding Bouquet 

My wedding flowers mixed country wildflowers with sophisticated peonies and spray roses in an explosion of joy that lasted a whole month! My friend Bri works at Andrew’s Garden, and she created a beautiful bouquet for me.

M&S (3 of 30) Bouquet

The above photo is by Ryn Manby Photography. And here are some photos that I took:

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Returning Treasures

Have you ever lost something and thought you might never see it again? My husband gave me my wedding present a few months early, and I love it! The watch had crystals on it, so I could wear it to our wedding, and I love this photo that our photographer, Ryn Manby, captured of it:


M&S (6 of 30) M Getting ready

After I got my teaching job, I was quickly sorting and gathering things in our crawl space, and my wedding watch disappeared from my wrist! I looked all through the house, and I even called the movie theater where I thought I might have lost it. I started coming to grips with the realization that I lost the wedding present from my groom, and I cried. I had this hunch that I would find it someday, but I stopped looking.

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