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



What Does “Trees of Transition” Mean?


I’ve been fired. I’ve lost friendships. I’ve gotten dumped. Some life transitions have been hard for me; such as becoming an adult and financially taking care of myself! Learning how to date took me till I was thirty to start! Continue reading


Christmas Letter 2018

2018 has been sweet (baby smiles), salty (tears), achy (from moving), satisfying (from making a home together in a new place), and invigorating (from serving at a new Bible study group!)

The sweetness of seeing a baby grow and flourish in front of you is better than I even hoped! Sometimes Joel’s blue eyes sparkle when I come in to see him after his nap. He likes turning my head to look and see if I have earrings on. First he started rolling across the room in the summer, then he switched to crawling with one peg-leg or “crab” crawl. Now he is a quick crawler and is practicing standing without holding onto anything. He loves playing in the kitchen and exploring the pots and pantry items. Yesterday he was making a drum out of a big soup pot. At 13 months he is able to balance without holding anything, and he has tried to take one step between his walker and a freezer; running will be in the near future! This year sweetness also came through getting to help a friend with the labor of her third baby. Babies are such a blessing Continue reading

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Rice Crispy Trees 🌲

What’s better than crisp rice treats?!? Rice crispy trees!!! We had a woodland themed birthday party for our one year old, and I had to make some tree treats.

This is what I did: Continue reading

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Photos from My Son’s First Birthday!!

This morning my son pulled one of my cards out of the box and wanted to look at it. He liked how flexible it was, and tried crumpling it up before I took a couple of photos of him and then rescued the card! I’m happy to see that he is interested in cards already (or it might have been the shiny cover).

I’ve made cards all through my pregnancy with him, and now all through his first year. Talking walks with him out in nature has been inspiring me to make new cards this whole year. Seeing him enjoying the pictures and the paper brings me joy!

Need any cards? Today is a big sale over at my Etsy shop Trees of Transition Art & Design—30% off today (November 26th, 2018) and I’m offering free shipping in the USA right now! I’ve been trying out hand lettered cards, so I have Thank you, Merry Christmas, and I love you versions of those right now. I also have many photography cards from around the USA, Costa Rica, and more.

Check it out here: my Etsy photo card/notecard/art shop: Trees of Transition Art & Design

On November 14th, my son turned one!! We went to our Bible study like usual, but we started the morning out with a balloon and a birthday gift, a plastic airplane with a propeller that he loves spinning.

Then I made his favorite dinner—chicken soup. And since he hasn’t eaten cake yet, we put a candle in a banana and sang, “Happy Birthday” to him, and he loved it. Continue reading

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Book Review: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand


What happens when you connect a Pakistani lady with a proper English Major? There’s some chaos, lots of sweetness, and people learn more about cross-cultural communication.

I pulled Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel by Helen Simonson off the lending library in our apartment complex and enjoyed reading it in small portions each night! This light fiction book combines charming English countryside with a dash of drama and the conflict that happens when people are learning how to understand each other across cultures.

Mrs. Ali and Major Pettigrew lived in the same town for years, but didn’t get to know each other until they both had lost spouses and now the Major suddenly lost his brother. Mrs. Ali can relate to him with his grappling with loss, and she even loves books as much or even more than he does.

They start to fall in love, but the other people in the town and even the Major’s only son aren’t so sure.

Add in the Major’s obsession about a pair of Churchill shooting guns that were his father’s and had passed down to his brother and himself, and now that his brother has passed, he wants to reunite the guns. He has to navigate different family member’s opinions…and then all of these threads of story unite into a sweet tale.

I wasn’t completely sold on this book when I started reading it, but Helen Simonson pulled me into the countryside, empathizing with the characters, and made me feel in the middle of the story. She even made me laugh with a ridiculous fight scene, and she wraps up the story in a satisfying way. If you want a light book that deals with the issues of real life, check out Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel. I stayed up late reading a few nights, and I’m still getting up a few times a night with a baby! Find a copy for yourself here:

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A Novel

~Mary Hope


Copyright 2018

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/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