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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Tips on Ways to Support Suicidal Loved Ones

Three years ago I knew my Mom was depressed, but I didn’t realize how
close to suicide she was, so I left her alone one day when she was
deeply troubled. A few minutes later after calling a few family
members who didn’t answer, she overdosed on sleeping pills. My Dad
found her and called for help, and she survived. What would I have
done differently?

1. Put a suicide hot-line in your loved-one’s cell phone and tell them
“CALL THIS NUMBER if you think you are going to hurt yourself.” One
number is: 1 (800) 273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish
Website: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

2. Take suicide threats seriously. If they can say it out loud to you,
it means they have thought about it. Take them to a ER or
mental-health hospital.

3. Realize you can’t save your loved one. Get them to help, but then
entrust them to God.
I’m so thankful my Mom made it through this troubled time, and that
she is sharing her story with others. (See other articles under the
suicide tab.) There is healing from mental illness!

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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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


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Push Into The Throb

I know the pain slices through your hope, it casts your eyes toward the darkness, thinking it is bigger than the light,
But it’s NOT!
Feel the pain,
Push into the throb,
Hold onto it until you navigate its rapids because if you numb out, medicate, and avoid it, it will stay there, buried, still aching.
Numbing seems safe, but it just delays healing.
Healing comes through feeling, weeping, cleansing, and releasing.
Be free
to heal,
to live.

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Copyright 2014 by M. H. Campbell


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I Wish I Hadn’t Said That….Grrrrr

Processing Regret from Saying Stupid Things To a Cute Guy

The first statement that I said that has haunted me a bit is “You remind me of a combination of both of my brothers.” I meant he looked cute like both of my handsome brothers and had some of their other positive qualities such as kindness, brains, and love for God.

I did not convey all of that background knowledge when I said, “You remind me of a combination of both of my brothers,” and if there had been any spark, it was gone after that, and he soon started dating his eventual wife. This reminded me that guys can’t read my mind and to communicate clearly!

 Another statement I said to a guy that I regret is: “Don’t do that! [Act very different when following God’s leading to do something.] Stay the same. Learn to integrate them so that it doesn’t feel like you’re two different people.” Reflecting back on this situation, I didn’t like feeling uncomfortable, so I tried to control the situation. The guy never did it again with me, but I see now how I wasn’t able just to let him be who he was. There probably was some truth in my observations, but I could have just trusted the guy and not cared about the awkwardness his actions were causing.

 Via text: “No, I’ll be awake for a while.” Letting the conversation stop there would have been best! Late night texting with a guy you are not married to is not wise. Thoughts turn to areas that you don’t need to talk about with someone you don’t know well.

When I think about these three situations, I wince a bit, have a twinge of regret, but then just decide to learn from the situations. I’ve said these things once and seen the results, so now I know not to do these things again. Three important lessons I learned from these experiences include:

  1. Guys can’t read my mind!
  2. Late night texting is not a great idea…
  3. Let the guy be who he is, and don’t try to change him.

Copyrighted 2014 by M. H. Campbell


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Throwing Teddy Overboard: The Human Tendency to Hit Back

Humans just want to hit back; even babies show this trait. For example, my 14-month old nephew, Jack, is getting sleep trained right now, and he desires to be held until he is in a deep sleep. He thinks that is what is best. His parents know that he needs to learn to comfort and sooth himself, and if he learns that, he will be a more emotionally capable person. So when he gets put down to sleep, he has been held for a while, just not until he’s fully asleep; he riles himself up and howls for a while. He throws his blanket out of the crib. He lays back down (his parents and I can watch him via baby video camera), rests a bit, then stands up again wailing. He grabs teddy by the leg and tries to stuff him through the crib’s bars. Eventually teddy is thrown out of the crib, followed by Wolfgang, the bear. He takes out his anger on his comfort items by throwing them out! Eventually he curls up and falls asleep. Seeing Jack act like this made me reflect on my own actions recently and think about anger, grace, and forgiveness.

Grace…forgiveness…are words thrown around especially in the religious culture; however, when confronted with really having to walk in these attitudes, it is impossible to do by yourself.

God is even more compassionate than my brother and his wife (who are amazing and this sleep training really is stretching them). He comforts us for a while, but then puts us in situations where He wants us to learn to comfort ourselves and rest in Him even when we don’t like what is happening. I, for one, have cried and wanted to “throw my blanky out of the crib”—frustrated for what is happening in my life. I do not have grace and forgiveness on my own. I howl inside and want to hit back.

Seeing my nephew has helped me see how ridiculous I have been recently. God is not watching me via video camera—He is right next to me, walking with me through pain and betrayal. He understands and has given me the ability to extend grace and forgiveness. It’s Him! I still have some anger to work through, but when I stop “wailing” and just curl up and rest, God gives me the grace needed for right now. AND He is a good father, so if He let something good leave my life, He must have something better up ahead.

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Girl, Say “No!” To That Man

The man was saying to the gal, “You are so young and fresh, you shouldn’t be out here!” A ruffled, African American man was standing over a homeless young lady sitting on the street corner next to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature racks. She just smiled, so he kept talking, almost shouting. “You shouldn’t be out here, or you should become a whore like all of the other girls. Why don’t you just become a whore?”
The girl just kept smiling up at him, and I couldn’t hear her response as I walked past.

Yes, I’m not proud that I walked past. I wanted to jump in and tell that man off why no woman wants to become a whore! He seemed sort of riled up, so I didn’t try to talk to him or the gal, but that scenario made me sad and caused me to pray. If I had been walking with a guy, then maybe the two of us could have stepped in. I wanted to tell that lady, “Don’t give in!!”

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Then last weekend at the Original women’s conference in Rockford, IL (see http://originalconference.com), we were challenged to help stop human trafficking around the world. We can do that by donating at http://www.initforgood.com to help with three different ministries that are helping women in Cambodia, Thailand, and right here in the United States come out of destructive lifestyles.

At first I thought, “I can’t give right now…” but what helped me respond and give was thinking of that girl on the street corner of Chicago; I hope she doesn’t give into what that man was trying to get her to do. Desperate girls are being pushed to do what they don’t want to do in order to survive.

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So what can I do about human trafficking?

I can pray. God’s heart aches for all of his beloved children stuck in this destructive system, but he gave humans free choice. We can choose to help.

I can give money and time. The Original conference had partnered with Zoe International, Mercy Ministries, and  SHE Rescue Homes.
And to help support these ministries go to http://www.initforgood.com. I’m committed to giving to these ministries!

I can teach the young ladies I work with at school and church to respect themselves, so that getting pulled into a destructive lifestyle isn’t an option in their minds.

Next time, if I see a guy talking to a girl like that, I have more ideas of what to do…but for now, prayer can reach that gal wherever she is: God, please give her strength and provide for her a loving, safe home. Please bless her with resources, loving people to support her, and your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.