Trees of Transition

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


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My First Time in Decades Without School on the Horizon: Transitioning Out of the School Calendar

The past two weeks I had more melt-downs than usual (Yes, I am 29-weeks pregnant and had to take two gestational diabetes tests to prove I’m NOT diabetic—and thank God, I am not); however, part of this has been from a grieving process of graduating from the school system without plans to return to it on the horizon. Ten years ago I graduated from undergraduate college, but I was planning on going to graduate school within the year. Today I realized that some of this sadness is coming from seeing many “Back to School” things here in the United States and not being part of it after either being a student or a teacher for the last 30 years.

How am I transitioning out of this “school season” of my life? Continue reading


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Series I Episode I: Beginning with Forgiveness and Thankfulness

Home Schooling’s Black, White, and Gray: A Series on Home Schooling and Life-Long Learners 

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Most junior high girls like to giggle about boys and lay out at a pool party, but not me. I didn’t know what it felt like to have crush until I was fifteen, and I wasn’t crazy about being in a bathing suit. At one pool party I attended in junior high, I splashed with the girls for a while, but then picked strawberries for an hour because the hostess offered strawberries to anyone who wanted to pick them. I baked some amazing fresh strawberry pie with those berries. I treasure the freedom and creativity being home schooled gave me, but it did not make me normal. But why should I be normal?!

Home schooling has a lot of white, but there is black as well, and some gray. Through this series of blog posts, I will be looking at the mediocre, the ugly, and the beautiful parts of home schooling. I do not mean to step on anybody’s toes, but I need to be honest and truthful. Being lovingly honest can bring healthy change; I desire to bring life through my writing.

Educating humans to be what they were created to be is a life passion of mine. I believe in giving students the freedom and structure needed to develop into healthy, robust, loving adults who will do more in the world than I ever will! Home schooling is one method of doing this, but it may not be the best pathway for all children; that is up to the parents and children to explore. However, home schooling molds students into people who may be more in-tune and willing to stand up for their uniqueness in this world full of cliques and conformity.

After attending traditional college, I came home and went through a time of evaluation and sadness. I let myself admit that being home schooled wasn’t perfect; I admitted that there were some dark-sides to home schooling. Since then I’ve worked through most of the anger I had once I realized some of the unhealthy parts of home schooling and have come into a time of acceptance and challenge.

Recently one morning while walking down a gravel road in Lincoln Marsh, it hit me: I CAN graciously critique home schooling, but I must begin with a confession of forgiveness and of thankfulness.

I forgive my parents for the gaps I had in my education; they did the best they could with the resources they had. No school is perfect. Period. Even home schools. I am so thankful for the faith and freedom they instilled in me. I learned how to learn, so I get to fill in those gaps now!

I thank my parents for sacrificing so much time and energy to pour into me and my siblings. My Mom has a Masters of Education and a Masters of Divinity, so she WAS qualified to home school me and my siblings. She could have done many other activities, but she desired to have the Bible be central to our education, so that’s what she did. I thank my grandparents for funding many textbook purchases and encouraging us in whatever creative project we were working on when they stopped by, be it comic books or silly children’s stories.

Thankful is where I am at in regarding my upbringing. Thankful for so much individualized love and nurture that my parents poured onto me. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

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Copyright 2014 By M. H. Campbell

 


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Onward and Upward!

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there!” -Will Rogers

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Shooting Outside My Window

The sound of gunfire is not new,
But it is connected with hunting deer,
Not humans shooting at each other in a large city filled with babies in their mother’s arms, toddler’s running ahead of their parents down a street, and youth hanging out on the front steps.
At first I hoped it was just fireworks left over after Independence Day, but it has continued. An occasional pop, pop, pop…
On the building next to mine, R.I.P in black sharpie is written on the wall in remembrance of a guy who died there last fall.
It saddens me, scares me a little, but then I remember Who called me here, and peace returns. I have the best body guard in the universe.
I’m a foreigner here, in the state where I was born, but a city to which I am called to love.
Hope fills my heart for this place; the shooting will end, the love will overflow. I am honored to be part of the process!

God, please end violence in our cities. You are the One who brings peace.
I invite You, the Prince of Peace, into this neighborhood. Thank you for what You are doing here! It is beautiful. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Learning How to Speed, Ahem, I Mean, Go With the Flow

Yes, I’m learning how to speed…I never thought I would say this. Isn’t speeding wrong? Well, yes, it is not wise, but there’s more to it just being right or wrong here.

Do you know how it is to be stuck behind that car that is going exactly 55mph on a two-lane high way where you have to wait to be able to pass safely? I used to be one of those slow-poke drivers.  Yes, I’ve driven people nuts behind me, but now I’m learning about compromise, flexibility, and going with the flow, and it is influencing my driving.

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I’m not sure why it took me so long to learn how to compromise, but now I am. Fear drove me to drive the exact speed limit all the time; the sign said 35mph, so that is what I could do. I tried to follow the rules exactly.
My Mom had tried to explain to me, “It’s sometimes safer to speed and keep up with traffic rather than hold up traffic.” Back then, I wouldn’t have it. That was before I started commuting. Commuting can be sort of relaxing…but it takes so much time.
After going between 7-14 mph for an hour, then when you can choose your speed, you want to go fast! Now I can compromise here a bit.

Compromising in the areas of sexuality or morality wounds humans deeply, but knowing how to compromise with others about driving or cleaning or having friends over will help your relationships. Rules can protect and guide us, but knowing how to bend and flow with people helps them be able to be themselves and feel loved.

What changed? Learning that adults know principles and apply them in different ways to different situations helped. Reading the book, Teaching With Love and Logic, has helped my understanding of living from rules verses living from principles. There are never enough rules to feel safe or control all unknown variables, but there are principles that uphold why many things are done. People thrive more when principles are individually applied to certain situations verses cookie-cutter rules.

Compromising with roommates helped me learn to be flexible. I failed many times: I would rigidly want my way, not be open to options, and push hard. For example, at one place where I lived, we made an agreement we wouldn’t have guys stay over night. That standard made me feel safe, and it just was wise for a house-full of young ladies.
I didn’t want to consider that there were options! Then one day a friend wanted a married guy to be able to crash on our couch for the night. It scared me, so I stood by our rule and didn’t budge. Now I see her perspective way more…he was like a brother to her…I hurt our friendship because of my attitude…my friend did find a place for that guy to stay, but I got my way. With a cost.

I saw the “No guys staying over” as a rule that could only be kept or broken. Looking back, I see that if I followed the principle: “It’s not wise to have single guys stay the night.” I could have seen the difference and been okay with letting my housemate’s friend stay over.

Yes, some things are black and white, right and wrong; but being open to the shades of variation in life will make your life flow more smoothly. Yes, I speed a little at times now, but I’m caring more for the drivers around me instead of making us all frustrated by trying to follow the letter of the law. We’re on earth to love each other. Following a rule is wise, but understanding the principle that is underneath the rule is even wiser.

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Doing What You’re Made to Do

I’m getting the feeling that we can do a lot of things, but there are certain things that we were created to do. I grew up with a handyman for a father, and so I subconsciously picked up that it is best to be able to do a lot of things a little bit: farming, carpentry, mechanic, plumper, electrician… For my Dad, that is his choice of what is best.

Now, I’m learning what is best for me is to pay attention to what I have focused on: Teaching and writing. Those are things I’m made to do! I’m working on figuring out the percentages of how much to do each one as a part of my life, but those are the things I fill my life with: teaching and writing.

Seeing that it is GOOD to work out of your strengths is new to me. At times we have to just do something to survive, but as we come out of survival mode, then we can relax, strengthen, and work out of what we do best.

Admitting to what I really what I want to do, not just what I think I should do because I’m capable is a new thing for me. Living out of our strengths makes our lives more vibrant, strong, life-giving.

Currently I’m in the transition between doing what I think I should do and what I want to do. It’s a mixture right now and sometimes I’m not sure what I want. Probably there are always parts of life that are in this place…but sometimes we can work at a place which we love and where we are using our full strength.

Reality verses what you really want is usually different, but knowing your preference and top choice is important! Then you have to compromise, strive and choose to be content right where you are at as you keep moving upward.

I’m seeing that even when you get your top choice, you have to choose to be content there too. It’s finding the right balance between self-awareness and desires, willingness to sacrifice for others, and where you are being led. It’s a tricky balance I’m on a journey to figure out, and I’m excited to see where it leads.

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Transitions

In every sphere of life we find transitions, intersections, and change. The turning of the page of a book or switching from one radio station to another are two small transitions life contains, and life delivers transitions that include such big things as countries and nations. Healthy living embraces change, small and big, and uses the welcome and unwelcome times of change as chances for growth.

This is a place to chronicle thoughts about different types and degrees of change and transitions that humans face. Fully embracing life includes transitioning well from one phase of life to the next, one relationship to the next, and one job to the next. Welcoming transitions and growing through them is one of the keys to thriving in life. Join me on this journey toward fuller, purer, and more robust life.
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