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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Need a Meaningful Gift? Check Out the Campbell Mall

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Quality handcrafted wooden cutting boards, cheerful 4×6 photo greeting cards for any occasion, and a wonderful children’s book named “Hark” make up a few of the gifts to be found at The Campbell Mall.

My siblings and the people they married and got engaged to radiate creativity. We are so glad to be able to create with them! Here are the stores at our mall:
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Awakening Blue

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As I ran past a grove of trees that had these blue flowers all over, I saw these two blossoms on the sidewalk! I wanted to preserve the beauty in the wood by not picking the flowers, but since someone had already picked it, I took it home with me and gave it water. I love how the glass caught the light.
Under the trees, there were mounds of them blossoming: hundreds of blue announcements that spring has arrived!

By M. H. Campbell

Copyright 2015


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He Calls Me “Mare-Me”

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Getting fired from my job sucked, but so much good has happened since then that I could gratefully say, “Thank you,” to those old bosses if I ever saw them again. Because of the flexibility of job hunting, I visited my brother, sister-in-law, and one year old nephew, Jack, about five times this fall. Since I’ve been around more, Jack recognizes me!

My sister-in-law told me, “He even recognizes you in photos! I showed him photos of family in a picture calendar, and when he saw your photo he said, ‘Mare-me!’ ” I even got to hear him quietly say it (he’s all boy, but sometimes he says his words very gently). This made my heart happy!

Seeing Jack’s smiles after he wakes up from a nap and having snugly time for a while is priceless. Seeing how he started talking and can say, “yes, no, ball, Mama, and Dada” so clearly now is amazing! He has been growing up, and I’ve been able to be around for parts of it. I got to be there during sleep training and going to all milk and no formula.

My sister-in-law is one of my heros–by how she delights in her job as a Mom, even though she is talented and could do other things, she chooses to nurture Jack, and can make some of the parts of motherhood that are very slow and hard, quite fun. She tickles her boy, loves him no matter what, and Jack is just blossoming!

I love seeing how my brother has so much fun with his boy, and Jack has great basketball skills for a one year old.

I can not put a price on these experiences–taking Jack to the apple orchard, celebrating Halloween with him, and making hand-print dough ornaments. The little guy that calls me “Mare-me” is such a gift.

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014

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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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A Master Story-teller at Work: Building Bridge after Bridge after Bridge…

My sister-in-law, Erin Campbell, knows how to tell a story. She’s been doing it for years, and she has graduated to a new level now that she’s written a children’s book, Hark (see http://www.erincampbellstories.com for more of her writing and to get your own copy of Hark).

Last week Erin came to share her book with all the kids at the school where I work. The day before the worship service, we were at a bridal shop where my sister, Ruth, was picking her wedding dress, and it fascinated me to see Erin’s story-telling at work even there.

Ruth had narrowed her dress choice down to two, and when she came out in the second one, she just glowed! After Ruth showed us the dress (that she did pick), Erin started talking with the bridal sales ladies that were standing around enjoying seeing my sister in her dress, and then they got talking to Erin. She told them about her son, showed pictures, and talked, made jokes, and made those ladies feel at home.

As she connected with those ladies, they started sharing things they were working through in their lives in regards to thinking about having children and fears surrounding that…Erin precisely gave them a few thoughts to think about: “You know how you found out you were so selfish once you got married?” They sales ladies nodded as Erin continued, “Well, it goes to a whole new level once you have a baby!” Erin connected with them by telling stories from her life, and then was able to share truth with them because they had opened up because of her fun, jovial, and sincere stance on life. She just was herself!

Erin did it again the next day at my school: Before she spoke, we were waiting for worship to start, and Erin just was smiling and joking with the students behind us… After I introduced her by telling about some of her jobs, and that she has swam in most of the world’s oceans, she came up and had to tell one more thing about herself: That she has a wonderful dog named Sherpa. Then she talked about how all of us have fears that we carry around. She told us all to make those fears into a ball, and then throw them up front to a chair that was near to her. So we did that, and then Erin shared her book. After she shared Hark, Erin challenged us to keep the things we have to keep from that ball of fears, like having to clean our room or get our homework done, but to leave the other fears up there! Then she sat down on them and squished them.

Erin just made bridge after bridge after bridge with the people she met those days: by telling stories and by describing fun and unique parts of her life.

Even in her book, Hark, Erin did that as well. It’s marketed as a children’s book, but there’s a message from God for each age level. Hark delivers messages to everyone!

God is using Erin as one of his messengers through her writing and just how she relates to people. Her openness and connectivity is an inspiration and a model to me. Let’s go be ourselves and build bridges with those around us!

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A Delightful Wake-up Smile: The transition from wakefulness to sleep and back again

Last Friday was the first time I got to babysit my three and a half month old nephew, Jack! I arrived, bearing the gift of a ceramic pumpkin in honor of my nephew’s first fall. Right when I got there my nephew was waking up from a nap and when he saw me smiling at him, he smiled this sleepy, “I’m glad to see you,” with a bit of wonder in there kind of smile. He waked up happy, ready to wiggle out of his cocoon of blankets, and he even kicked some of them off.My sister-in-law, Erin, and I talked, hung out with Jack until my brother got home.

 

Jack fell asleep in my brother’s arms, then Aaron carefully placed his son in a swinging bed to sleep, and then he and Erin went out to eat and shop. Jack just slept a little while after his parents left. When he woke up, he smiled his sleepy smile at me again, then we played a little, drank some milk, changed a diaper, and then he started getting sleepy again. As I rocked him in my arms, his eyes got heavy as he drank more of his milk, and he seemed almost asleep, so I tried taking the bottle out of his mouth, but that woke him up. So we drank more milk, he cried, so I tried checking his diaper again, we took photos together. He was still sleepy, so then he started falling asleep again. I was putting him in his bed, but then his eyes flew open again. He stayed in his bed, wide awake for a few minutes.

 

I was determined to have Jack be asleep when his parents came home! So I picked him up again, and rocked him some more. Sang quiet versions of “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night” to him, and gave him more milk, and wrapped him up like a papoose. Several times while he was drinking his milk, he would stop sucking and just “talk” in this gentle, innocent, expressive baby cooing. He already has a beautiful voice. I let him fall asleep with the bottle in his mouth, and he really fell into a deep sleep; I made sure of that before I put him in his bed. He stayed asleep! It took 2 1/2 hours, but he made the transition from awake to asleep. I learned more how babies function and how much work it is; Jack is worth every second!

 

The transition between wakefulness and being asleep is a gradual, unplanned transition. You don’t exactly know when it will come. You hope it will come quickly. The restorative power of sleep is wonderful. Each time Jack woke up he smiled up at the smiling adults looking down at him. Jack has the best wake-up smile I’ve ever seen.

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