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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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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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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Big Kids Do It Too

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The toddler kept dropping leaf by leaf over the cement wall into the pond–ginkgo yellow on the gray water.

Minutes later high school boys in PE garb goofing off threw up an armful of brown oak leaves which cascaded gently around them as they laughed.

Big kids do it too. I’m so glad.

Copyright 2014 by M. H. Campbell

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Throwing Teddy Overboard: The Human Tendency to Hit Back

Humans just want to hit back; even babies show this trait. For example, my 14-month old nephew, Jack, is getting sleep trained right now, and he desires to be held until he is in a deep sleep. He thinks that is what is best. His parents know that he needs to learn to comfort and sooth himself, and if he learns that, he will be a more emotionally capable person. So when he gets put down to sleep, he has been held for a while, just not until he’s fully asleep; he riles himself up and howls for a while. He throws his blanket out of the crib. He lays back down (his parents and I can watch him via baby video camera), rests a bit, then stands up again wailing. He grabs teddy by the leg and tries to stuff him through the crib’s bars. Eventually teddy is thrown out of the crib, followed by Wolfgang, the bear. He takes out his anger on his comfort items by throwing them out! Eventually he curls up and falls asleep. Seeing Jack act like this made me reflect on my own actions recently and think about anger, grace, and forgiveness.

Grace…forgiveness…are words thrown around especially in the religious culture; however, when confronted with really having to walk in these attitudes, it is impossible to do by yourself.

God is even more compassionate than my brother and his wife (who are amazing and this sleep training really is stretching them). He comforts us for a while, but then puts us in situations where He wants us to learn to comfort ourselves and rest in Him even when we don’t like what is happening. I, for one, have cried and wanted to “throw my blanky out of the crib”—frustrated for what is happening in my life. I do not have grace and forgiveness on my own. I howl inside and want to hit back.

Seeing my nephew has helped me see how ridiculous I have been recently. God is not watching me via video camera—He is right next to me, walking with me through pain and betrayal. He understands and has given me the ability to extend grace and forgiveness. It’s Him! I still have some anger to work through, but when I stop “wailing” and just curl up and rest, God gives me the grace needed for right now. AND He is a good father, so if He let something good leave my life, He must have something better up ahead.

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The Swish of a Tail

Last weekend, when I was baby-sitting, Sherpa, the golden retriever got in my shot, but it created a cool effect in the photo.

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Those wooden animals are created by my brother of anvil goods: #anvilgoods.