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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Baby Schuh is Due to Arrive in November!

Stephen and I want you to know that we are having a baby in early November! I am almost 17 weeks along, and this morning I felt the baby move for the first time!! While still in bed, I was laying there quietly with my hand on my belly; I could feel my heartbeat, but then I felt more than my heartbeat—a quick dart of movement, like the jumping of a fish, a flash of swimming, and then peace again. Baby Schuh let me feel him or her for the first time, and I got goosebumps and a rush of joy.

Stephen and I are so thankful for this baby! At 9 weeks along we got to see our baby for the first time through an ultrasound, and we could see the baby’s heart pulsing. Baby’s heart chugged away, and Stephen is great at copying the sound (which is like our own heartbeat, but much faster.) Having the picture of the baby has been meaningful and fun to show other people, and so many people are already so excited about this baby!

This is Baby Schuh at 9 weeks old; you can see his or her tiny head, arms, and body. We like to call Baby Schuh “Peanut.”

Last Thursday, I told my students about the baby like this: After they took their last vocabulary test, I said, “We have had another student in our class for the last three months…” Then they started guessing, and then a girl said quietly, “Pregnant?” I pointed at her, and asked her to say it louder, which she did. Then I said, “Yes, I am pregnant!!” Then the whole room let loose with claps, cheers (a dramatic student let out a few screams of joy), and we talked for the rest of class. My students have had a lot of ideas about names, advice, and a few girls said, “I thought you might be pregnant.” My favorite silly name from one guy student, who loves to goof around, is “Bless Schuh”—so it sounds like “Bless you!” Haha.

We are SO excited and thankful for this child. Thanks for sharing our joy with us!

~Mary & Stephen

Copyright 2017


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2016–My Favorite Year Yet


Why is 2016 my favorite year when some people are moaning about how bad it was? Well, if you had to wait 34 years before getting married, wouldn’t you agree that the year you finally married your best friend is the best one so far? And if you had been trying to get your career started, but kept getting mediocre jobs until this year–wouldn’t this year be a great one?

My favorite events in 2016 include:
Marrying my Stephen on June 18th, traveling to Hawaii and then having a second reception in Napa, California. Having so many supportive family and friends around us has jump-started our marriage.
Changing my name to Mary Schuh, and getting a full-time teaching job helping junior high students learn to write has been exciting, exhausting, and satisfying. (Having students call me “Mrs. Schuh” multiple times a day helped me learn my new name!)
Finding out that my sister is having a baby girl in February, makes me grin! 
Watching the curse over the Cubs be broken made me cry, and my Grandma Winnie would have been so happy that the Cubs won the World Series.
Moving out of my postage stamp studio apartment into a wonderful home provided my husband has been satisfying. We love sitting by the fireplace, and this year is the first time Stephen had a Christmas tree in that house.
2016 had been the year where it feels like I’m getting on with my life, developing my skills deeper than I thought I would, and becoming more intricately connected with wonderful folks.
There is so much hope on the horizon for 2017 — choose to enter in and make the best of what God gives us.
Happy New Year!
-Mary Hope 
Copyright 2016


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I’ve Wanted to Ride a Hot Air Balloon Since I was Five, and Today my Husband Fulfilled My Dream!

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Silence greeted us as the earth sunk below us. The east greeted us with the sun racing to the top of the heavens, and I smiled as we see other hot air balloons beside and below us.

img_1086We followed this yellow balloon in floating over this pond, and we got to take a photo of our reflection:

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The roar of the burner becomes comforting as we saw how the pilot managed the balloon.

Floating down Napa Valley had been a wish of mine for the last two years, but riding in a hot air balloon had been a dream of mine since I was a wee lass when I would see the balloon flying past at our farm in Illinois when I was five.

Last Christmas Stephen and I tried to go on a ride, but the wind had been wrong, so we tried again, and today was PERFECT! We got to go up to 3,000 feet and up there we could see San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean to the West, and the mountains by Lake Tahoe to the East.My in-laws came out to the park where we landed because it was close to their house!img_6427

Our pilot photo bombed our last photo, and I’m glad we have him preserved in the memories from this wonderful day! Seeing San Francisco from above reminds me how small my troubles really are–if a grand city is really that tiny–what is managing grouchy junior highers at work? A refreshing peace came into my soul. Floating above the earth helped me choose to remember to stay peaceful through whatever 2017 holds.

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~Mary Hope

Copyright 2016


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Misty Mornings and Thoughts on Home Change

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This week the mornings have refreshed me more than usual because of the wet, bright, mistiness that has met me as I walked out of my door. A couple days the sun shone brightly on all the new spring greenery, and a couple days the smell of rain and dew hung in the air as the sun fought to shine its brightest. All of these mornings remind me of hope and new beginnings…

My current season of life exudes hope; therefore, this weather met me where with how I was feeling inside: Excited, expectant (about finally being married!), a little sad (my Dad is doing better, but he is not like he used to be), mixed with great hope for the journey ahead.

The weather does help us process life. For example, last weekend my Mom held a huge garage sale to clear out her basement and garage. The first day was overcast, but dry, and dozens of people came to find the treasures. The next day, however, it rained; the rain started with a little sprinkle and progressing to large, steady drops for hours. Because my Mom and brother advertised so well, people STILL showed up and bought more of the things before a junk man took the leftovers away. My Mom repeatedly said, “It helped that is was raining because I’m sort of sad getting rid of all these things. The rain helped…” My Dad is already in Rockford, and my Mom is moving up there soon after she gets the house on the market, so lots of things have been changing. Continue reading


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Bittersweet Shift

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The word to describe yesterday would be bittersweet: In the morning, the reality of my Dad possibly passing away soon hit home. I’m thankful for tears and the release they bring. Then I switched gears to party preparations for a party for my fiancé passing a huge test that advances his career. I went over to his house, turned on a funny movie and got chopping: white chili, finished the red chili, fruit salsa… Continue reading


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Happy Thanksgiving!

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I thank you for your readership and support this year! I’m so thankful for my fiancé, family, and friends. Even if you are in another country where today is just a regular day, take time to give God thanks for what you have!
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Velvety Homemade Chocolate Pudding

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Stirring this pudding with a wooden spoon last night brought back memories of cooking dinner at our electric stove. I grew up on the farm where my Mom had my three siblings and I cook dinner once a week. This pudding brightened up the end of many of my meals, and I hope it adds to your meal as well!

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 eggs
4 cups milk
1/2 tsp vanilla Continue reading