Trees of Transition

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


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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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Give Short Guys a Chance!

Ladies, Let’s Break Out of Disney’s Myth of Needing to be with a Guy who is Tall

In the movies, the stunning heroine marries the handsome and TALL hero, and they look perfect together. I’m guessing that in animation, there is some formula to calculate the perfect height ratio of prince to princess; however, in real life, there is no such formula, and we don’t have to give that idea power in our lives!
I’m just releasing myself from a mindset I had of believing I SHOULD be with a guy like my brothers (who are tall and handsome); yes, I desire to be with someone who makes my heart skip a beat, but he might not be the Hollywood version of a hottie, and that is becoming fine with me.

Think about it: If you are with a guy who everyone thinks is cute, you will have to work more at managing jealousy and feelings of possessiveness than if you were with a guy who is wonderful and cute in your eyes.
The world’s standards of handsomeness and beauty change, but the character of the person is what is most important.
I’ve found that as I’ve gone on dates with all types of guys that the shorter guys tended to be more real, more emotionally present, and more interested in me as a person. When a person has to work more for something, character (the values that drive a person’s life) is built, and out of harder situations comes empathy, care, and LOVE. There are many tall guys with these qualities as well, but some shorter guys may have an extra dose, and I value that.
So don’t just write off a guy because he is shorter or the same height as you. Tall does not need to be on the “must have” list; we all shrink as we grow older as well, so maybe you’ll shrink at different rates and even out!
It also can be fun–figuring out who needs to hunch or stand on tippy toes so that in a photo you don’t see the difference.
But seriously, there are shorter men out there with strong character, fun personalities, that are romantic, and if you are open, you could fall in love with one of them!

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Letting Your Heart Surface

Tears loosen the icy grip of fear:
Fear of letting down, letting people see, letting people close, and letting yourself just be real–pimples, farts, screams, smiles, hugs, and all.

A heart buried out of fear of losing love if not perfect or doing what others want.

A heart surfacing through the unconditional love of Jesus, shown through people: the hugs and kisses of a one year old nephew, of walking alongside sisters through widowhood and marriage, of brothers letting me into their lives, and parents’ nurture and prayer.

A heart surfacing through giving 100 percent, of being rejected, but still having hope to heal and teach again.
I still have hope…for my life, for my city, for my world…
An engaged heart means deeper pain, but deeper hope.

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Be Yourself: Quietness and All

From the book, Quiet, by Susan Cain:
“Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them in energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is be deploying the powers of quiet.”
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On p. 447 there’s a quote from Anais Nin that says, “Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.”

Finding your center again is worth the work. Two years ago I had a spiritual experience that settled deep inside me my value: That God deeply loves me no matter what (please ask if you want more details). That experience “centered” me. Since then I’ve been working at rewiring my brain to believe my value and know I can be confident in what I think even when I’m challenged.

Reading Susan Cain’s book, Quiet, about the power of introverts has also been freeing! It’s okay to need alone time. It’s okay to admit I’m more on the sensitive end of the spectrum, so now that I’m aware of it I can challenge myself, get a thicker skin, and just know I have that tendency.

Discovering that it’s okay to be you is so freeing.

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Thinking About Being a Teaching Assistant? There Are Perks…Among the Humbleness

I earned a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree to become an assistant? An aide?? A substitute???Well, yes, for a season. For the last three years I have been an aide, then a substitute, and finally a teaching assistant. I called myself a teacher, partly to keep up face and it is true, I am a certified teacher. But I was the assistant. It was like another round of student teaching, but this time with elementary students, which meant lots of parenting:

“No, you do not run in here!”

“You need to say that again without whining and then I’ll hear you.”

“Let’s play the quiet game!!”

I’m thankful to be learning how to parent with other peoples’ children; you can only become better, right?

Some things challenged me. Students knew where the power was…Maybe I had more power than I realized because for some reason I let the assistant title get to me. The students knew the difference — that I was the assistant and when I stepped in to be the full teacher a couple of times, they acted just like they do for a substitute. I felt bound to follow the guidelines, ask permission, and not just be free to teach. I learned how to follow a leader and work under someone. I enjoyed doing more team teaching and that happened occasionally. Being an assistant is humbling, but there ARE perks.

 

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If you’re a newly graduated teacher or if you have taught and are looking for a new job, here are some advantages to being an assistant:

This is a double-edged blade: You are not the one in charge. That means you might hear about some of the challenges, but you don’t have to fix them. This job showed me more of my control issues; I like to be the one in charge. I had to submit to Jesus, then to those over me. You get to follow and serve.

I learned on a deeper level how to have fun with learning. Students learn better when they are interested and having fun while learning important principles. The teacher I worked with was great at making learning enjoyable. For example, we learned about the rain forest by making a bulletin board collage of the layers of the rain forest; we also planted seeds to learn about how plants grow.

I learned different methods and ways of handling kids from seeing the teacher I worked with and the specials teachers work with our students. The art teacher ruled the class with an iron-hand, but the students created colorful, intricate art projects that impressed us all. She laughed at me when she saw I was reading a teaching book that another teacher had recommended, but I just laughed back. Because the kids were busy most of the time, I could read a few lines of the book, then when a kid needed me I could go right then and put into practice what I had just been learning about classroom management. My “teaching style” grew, got challenged, and grew some more.

It has helped me see more of my teaching gaps. I’ve been too sensitive at times, and made mountains out of mole-hills; my skin is getting tougher. I had this weird feeling of not being sure of what I should be doing at times; sometimes it was because I didn’t ask and I needed to talk with the teacher I worked with, and sometimes I just feel weird when I’m not in charge. Following well is harder than it looks. I’m also a slower processor when there’s lots of activity around, so it’s much easier for me to think when it is quiet. Now that I know those things about me, I can work with those traits in me so that they won’t hold me back.

It was a perk to just leave work at work!

Remembering that Jesus, the greatest example of how to live life, served those around him helped me. Being an assistant is a serving job, which is humbling, but you learn so much. And you never know what opportunities will open up because you have been faithfully serving. Take it from me…good things blossom. I received an offer to teach Bible and College Writing–a combination of my gifts I never would have even thought to ask for! Humility and faithfulness pay off. Go for it: assist, help, serve.

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Last Easter to This Easter: A Year With a Lot of Endings (and a Few Amazing Beginnings)

Endings:
Graduating from Grad School!
A boyfriend ending things.
Moving out of a cute house where I lived with friends.
Lots of okay first dates.
Several second dates.
A few third dates and beyond, then an end. (I’ve found that having a song to listen to after a relationship doesn’t work out is so helpful. Mine is “This is not the End” by Gungor. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5Cjt83wWDk).
My brother-in-law passing away unexpectedly.
A friend from high school dying suddenly.
My grandma passing away.
Friends planning on moving away…

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Yesterday was Good Friday, and it pushes you to consider death: Jesus, who didn’t have to die chose to die for us, so that we could have new life and hope if we accept his life in exchange for our wrong-doing. Because death is coming, we desire to fully experience the life we have.

When you fully embrace life, you get to feel greater pain, but also greater joy. If you’re numb then you don’t feel emotions fully. For example, my fears caused me to choose numbness for years, and I was able to “control” my life more, but life wasn’t very fun. Now that I’m learning to feel and not have the numbness, it seems like there’s more loss in my life, but also more joy!

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Beginnings:
Life without classes hanging over my head!
A sister getting engaged, and her asking me to be her maid of honor.
Writing more consistently and sharing that writing through a blog.
Moving to a place with a bigger kitchen.
Meeting over a dozen different guys and learning a lot of insightful things from getting to know them a bit.
My nephew came into the world and has brought so much life, joy, and mirth!
New connections with my sisters.
Seeing young people at church and at work keep on growing up to become beautiful young people.

My experience is this: Even with all this messy life, I can have hope because Jesus died  AND ROSE AGAIN to bring new life.

Happy Easter!

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Learning to Not be Clueless: Developing Self-Awareness

Last year a friend made a comment about how I seemed to her: “It’s like you crawled out from under a rock! You’re so wide-eyed at the world and open to learning new things.” Thinking about this makes me laugh and then ponder.

Part of what the friend meant was that growing up I was isolated and chose not to learn average popular culture for a while, and now I’m getting to experience it. (Maybe it surprised her, but she was very encouraging and helped me develop in some new ways.)

Now that I’m learning more communication skills I understand more of what she meant and am seeing the gaps in how I related to her and others.

My selfishness was hidden under a “nice” front, so I got away with it for years. In the last few years I have had situations where I’ve been forced to see my selfish patterns, and I’m learning to change.

I was childish in this area of self-awareness. Children arrive: completely dependent and inward focused.
A parent’s and a teacher’s job is to break kids out of that inward focus and learn how to relate to others.

Self-awareness must be taught (and sometimes taught repeatedly to get through to some humans.) Some humans tend to be more empathetic or feeling, while others have focused on getting their own needs met.

How do you develop self-awareness?

You learn how to love and care for people by just doing it! Sometimes I lament the years I didn’t try as much, but NOW I can be tuned it, feel others’ feelings, and love people where they are at.

Self-awareness comes through having truth-tellers in your life: people who will lovingly tell you “You hurt me when you did that, and please say it maybe this way next time and it would seem more caring.”

Start picking up people’s signals/vibes/ the emotional feelings they are sending out if you care to stop and listen. Pay attention to peoples’ faces and pick up the signals there.

Let love in enough so that you can relax, forget yourself, and tune into how others are feeling.

So I’m learning to not be clueless by being willing to tune into other people’s signals, and responding in an appropriate ways. And I still am wide-eyed toward life because this is a much more life-giving way to live!

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