Trees of Transition

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


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On Hold? Just Start Dancing!

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Ever have to wait on hold for a long time to figure out some business with an insurance company? Well, I had to do that today; I knew it would be a long wait, so I did some sorting of papers and some push-ups while I had my phone on speaker phone. After 40 minutes I started to worry that it would take hours to get through! The “on hold” music the company had was cheerful and they varied it in a fun way, so it didn’t get boring until I started hearing the first song in the loop again. Continue reading


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Coffee Shop Quartet of Conversations

It amazes me what connections happen if you’re open and just start conversations! Last week I walked into a local coffee shop, ordered a mulled cider with whipped cream, and found a satisfying corner in which to read and write. I made great progress reading a helpful book called The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People, then a stylish gal sat down on the couch across from me.

When she tried to figure out where the plug was for her phone in a case with 1/2-inch rivets, I helped her, and then we started talking about her phone case. That conversation led to talking about why she was here: to surprise her sister because it was Canadian Thanksgiving last weekend.

This lady with 4-inch heels, Tamara, loves horses, her five sisters, and knows over five languages. After a while, a guy with a cane who had lost his hearing aides came and sat down in our cove. He introduced himself as Peter, and we all talked about the weather.

Finally, Tamara’s brother-in-law came back and surprised his wife and daughter with their aunt! We all introduced ourselves and talked a bit.
The family eventually moved where there was more space, Peter told me about how going into the military is a good career choice, and then he had to get home, so my cove cleared out. Tamara came back to get her studded phone and said good-bye.

I’m so thankful we started talking! The care and life of the conversations just kept growing as more people arrived. A seventy-year old man grinned at the one-year old niece, and she laughed back. The sisters hugged and were so happy to be together.

The generations need to interact because it reminds us where we have been or where we are going. The smiles, stories, and hugs release life, and so now I’m more open and eager to have this kind of inter-generational experience again! All you need to do is find a corner in a coffee shop and start a conversation…

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Roses, Donuts, and Dances

Wedding Lessons: Helpful Things to Know

Last week my sister married her best friend Danny!
Here’s some helpful and fun things that I learned from helping with my sister’s wedding:

-Ruth gave all of her bridesmaids a soft pink robe to wear as we were getting ready for the ceremony. It made us all feel special and beautiful. The dresses she had us pick from also looked great on all of us; a dusty mauve and we got to pick styles that fit us :).

-Make sure your parents get to the church! When we came down from our hotel room, my parents had missed the shuttle, so we all crowded into the limo, and we all made it to the church in time.

-At the ceremony in the church, just seeing how joyful and happy Ruth and Danny were made me beam! The Ave Maria made me tear up.

-Fresh flowers are worth the money. My sister chose roses, and their fragrance added to the beauty of the day.

-Donuts instead of wedding cake is a fun change of pace. My sister got The Donut Vault to drive their old-fashioned donut truck to the venue to serve amazing, moist cake donuts! Triple chocolate, chestnut, and wedding cake were among the options. My sister had two for everyone, and there were a lot left over.

-Live music and dancing added to the night. Danny and Ruth’s dance lessons paid off because they looked like they knew what they were doing. They are a handsome couple.

-Having over a year to plan gave my sister time to plan a gorgeous wedding. It also gave us time to get closer, so I’m thankful they took so long.

Congratulations, Ruth and Danny!

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Advantages of Your Younger Sister Getting Married Before You!

1. You are free to focus on, serve, and help your sister without neglecting a husband and kids.

2. You can learn lots about wedding planning, so that you can do it well when your turn comes. (For example, create a bridal emergency kit to take to the wedding!)

3. You get to develop your style more and figure out what bridal gowns you love, while encouraging and helping your sister.

4. You are not the one all stressed out!

5. You get to throw a personal, relaxing bachelorette party. (I had fun sewing her a bridal vail for her to wear!)

6. You get to pray for your sister, and give a thoughtful, maybe tearful toast at the wedding.

7. You get to be proud of your sister for figuring out this dating thing, getting engaged, and now get to send her off into wedded bliss.

So this season has taught me a lot. I’m so thankful I’ve gotten closer to my sister through it, and I get to continue enjoying single life, dating, and creating a home to share with family and friends.

My sister’s time came; I have hope that my time will come too. So one last advantage is that you have some wonderful adventures ahead of you!

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Copyright 2014-2019

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


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My Younger Sister is Getting Married, and I’m Still Single

Why do younger sisters seem more relaxed, more able to flirt, date, and get engaged than their older, more “responsible,” (but perhaps more reserved) sisters? Younger sisters getting married first has been happening since Rachel and Leah in the Bible. I have several friends in the same situation; we tend to be the introverted, artistic type. In the last year I’ve learned that guys need encouragement sometimes, so when you are on the shy-ish side, it’s harder to open up and show a guy you’re interested. Younger sisters seem to be able to not think so hard about things and just enjoy the present. For example, Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, just lets her interest in Mr. Willaby come whooping out! Her heart gets broken, and then she finds more mature love. Eleanor keeps her feelings mostly pent up inside, but she eventually lets them out, and does find love.

I hoped I could have been married by now so the “younger sister first” wouldn’t happen to me. However, it is: my younger sister is getting married before me. I’m not very competitive, so that helps. I’m not even taking a date to the wedding because I’m the maid of honor and have interference to run between certain wedding guests, and speeches to make.

I have a bit of an ache in my heart because I would enjoy to have someone to dance and talk with at the wedding, but I am peaceful. It helps that I’ve been able to mentally prepare for this marriage because my sister dated for years.
My peace comes from knowing that God has a good plan for my life, and I can trust Him to bring the man for me into my life at the right time. I’m open, excited for my sister, and hopeful for the future. And I’m learning how to flirt a bit!

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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/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





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Ode to the Death of a Computer

Mid-December sun shone into the old farmhouse as I unpacked the box of the refurbished computer. After I pushed the “on” button the Welcome of swirling letters and music made me laugh.

Friends and I snapped silly photos in photo booth, and I loaded hours of music onto the machine.

It made the last semester of paper-writing easier, and helped me graduate, apply for jobs, then apply for grad school.

It typed my way through grad school, crashed once, but I was able to update it and make it better.

This computer connected me to home via Skype to be able to talk I family and friends while I taught in Costa Rica.

I watched “Confessions of a Shopaholic” the night before I flew home and then in the Mexico City airport as I journeyed home.

My grad degree had to be finished of by a grand research paper, and last year my computer and I did it, and I graduated.

It helped me connect with family, friends, and strangers through email, stories, poems, a blog…

On Sunday night, the last DVD it played, Soul Surfer, made me cry from happiness and inspiration.

Then I had known the computer was struggling, but it knonked out on Monday morning, during summer vacation, where I don’t really need it… I have time to be thankful for how the 7 1/2 year old computer helped me accomplish goals and contemplate my next goals… and my next computer…

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When Do You Throw Away Old Love Letters?

The envelope in the back of the closet, that gets pulled out once in a while and perused–when should it get thrown away?

Spoken words can be remembered pretty exactly, but when someone writes you a love letter, you can read it over and over and the words feel fresh. You hear the words exactly.

Both of my grandmas had kept the love letters from when they were getting to know their spouses in the 1930s and 1940s. One grandma even had letters from other guys she had dated… It intrigued me to see what my grandpas had written, see their handwriting, and read what they felt about my grandmas.

I’m thankful that my grandmas had saved those letters through moves, turbulence, and after my grandpas had passed away.

So if you know you are going to marry this person, then keep the letters. The cards and words will draw forth memories of sweet and passionate times from the start of your relationship, and possibly help add more sizzle to the current relationship. We forget how to love well at times and need to be reminded.

But after a break-up, then when is it time to pitch those sweet cards and notes into the trash? Do I want my grandchildren to find old notes from someone other than their grandfather?

No, I don’t. Once I’m in another serious relationship I would for sure pitch the letters, but it’s sort of comforting to keep them until then. Or is now the time? Is it healthier to just get rid of them, feel the gap, and trust that the right guy will come?

I think so; I’ll be brave and let them go. Good-bye letters, hello future love!

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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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