Trees of Transition

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


Give Short Guys a Chance!

Ladies, Let’s Break Out of Disney’s Myth of Needing to be with a Guy who is Tall

In the movies, the stunning heroine marries the handsome and TALL hero, and they look perfect together. I’m guessing that in animation, there is some formula to calculate the perfect height ratio of prince to princess; however, in real life, there is no such formula, and we don’t have to give that idea power in our lives!
I’m just releasing myself from a mindset I had of believing I SHOULD be with a guy like my brothers (who are tall and handsome); yes, I desire to be with someone who makes my heart skip a beat, but he might not be the Hollywood version of a hottie, and that is becoming fine with me.

Think about it: If you are with a guy who everyone thinks is cute, you will have to work more at managing jealousy and feelings of possessiveness than if you were with a guy who is wonderful and cute in your eyes.
The world’s standards of handsomeness and beauty change, but the character of the person is what is most important.
I’ve found that as I’ve gone on dates with all types of guys that the shorter guys tended to be more real, more emotionally present, and more interested in me as a person. When a person has to work more for something, character (the values that drive a person’s life) is built, and out of harder situations comes empathy, care, and LOVE. There are many tall guys with these qualities as well, but some shorter guys may have an extra dose, and I value that.
So don’t just write off a guy because he is shorter or the same height as you. Tall does not need to be on the “must have” list; we all shrink as we grow older as well, so maybe you’ll shrink at different rates and even out!
It also can be fun–figuring out who needs to hunch or stand on tippy toes so that in a photo you don’t see the difference.
But seriously, there are shorter men out there with strong character, fun personalities, that are romantic, and if you are open, you could fall in love with one of them!


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6/25/14: Six Months Since Christmas, Six Months Until Christmas

When I posted “Six months until Christmas” on Facebook last year (I love counting down!) the dominant response burst back at me as groans and moans from folks who don’t want to consider Christmas yet.

This year I’ll just analyze it and consider this six month mark.

Half a year has passed since having my first Christmas with my nephew; he made Christmas much more fun with his screeches and smiles!
Snow crowned the day with sparkle, chocolate fudge made the day tasty, and watching the movie “Happy Feet” with my parents was hilarious.

What will six months from now hold?

I hope next Christmas sparkles with even more snow and laughter. I’ll live in the city then, where I can bake star cookies in my spacious third floor kitchen, and drink hot chocolate next to my Christmas tree. My nephew will be walking! My sister will be married and back in town visiting! I’ll go back to my old school for the Family Christmas Worship, and I’ll find out what my new school does to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
I’ve been through lonely, sad Christmases before, and I have hope that this Christmas will be the best one yet. 20140625-153437-56077633.jpg

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Children Testing the Limits: Thoughts on Watching Students Adjust to a New Teacher and the Importance of “No!”

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Watching the children handle change is fascinating. This week our school welcomed a new Spanish teacher! The old teacher had introduced the new teacher to the kids last week, but now the new Spanish teacher took over. Watching how a change in leadership influences kids intrigued me.

Here’s some of what happened: I tried to prepare the students to do well in the first class with the new teacher by reminding them how to act, but once we were in the classroom, I was the supporting teacher, and she’s the main teacher.

The period started out well with the students practicing what they had learned in the last class: saying “Buenas tarde!” when they entered the room. They sat down at their tables, then the new Senora played them some music and started teaching them different Spanish words that were in this song about a wooden doll. At first the students followed along, but then there was more talking and subtle goofing off (the new teacher may not have noticed it, but I did and was not happy!)

About half the class was engaged, while half of the class (the more active, less able to transition well half) was testing the new teacher. Some students were being extra silly, while others were apathetic. I tried to keep them engaged, but I couldn’t make them completely focus because I wasn’t leading the class.

This makes me think back to when I took over four English classes mid-year at a private school in Costa Rica a few years back. The first six weeks it seemed like it was going so smoothly, then problems started popping up. I had wanted to be sensitive and supportive as we all went through the change of teachers, but I’m seeing that I should have been lovingly tough from the start. Now I have learned that knowing how you want the students to act, clearly stating it, giving consequences if they choose to not follow directions, and then plow ahead into learning is a great way to function in a classroom. When a student even does something a little different than how you want it done, quickly correct them and then get back to work. The students want you to keep your word and create a safe place to learn.

In Costa Rica I didn’t clearly know how I wanted them to act, and then I didn’t confront things quickly, so they got away with disrespect and things they shouldn’t have done. I shouldn’t have let them. Once this got away from me, it got harder to manage the students, and then it was even harder to get the classes back on track. I was able to bring a couple of the classes around, and one finally came around on the last day when I finally said a clear “No!” to one junior high boy who had been getting away with murder. I made it through that season of teaching, but now I see how important it is to be able to say “No!” to kids.

Now back to yesterday’s Spanish class. After we got back to our class, I started talking with the kids about it, but I wasn’t sure how firm to be or what exactly to say, so my fellow teacher jumped in and helped me clearly tell the kids, “That is NOT how you act in Spanish class!” They got a consequence they didn’t like, and tomorrow they will have another chance to do well in Spanish. Children need guidance and support through a transition of leadership, and I’m interested to see how the kids will act tomorrow.

Kids want you to stand up to them. They want to know you will protect them and guide them through learning. Saying “No” to children is sometimes the best way to love them.

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Adjusting to Expectations: Why some people seem to “have it” and can managing kids well…and others are still developing that skill!

School has been in session for over a week, and it’s amazing to behold how fast children learn. Students are learning subjects, such as the continents in social studies, but they are also learning how they should act in the classroom.

Recently I was reading a Boundaries book by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend, and I can sum up one section of what they were talking about through saying, “You get what you tolerate.” In this context they were talking about dating, but I’ve been thinking about it in regards to the classroom.

I’m noticing that students need affirmation and want to please adults who give them authentic praise, and we do get what we tolerate! If we let students be disrespectful, they well be.

My fellow teachers and I expect the students to listen to us the first time, we praise them when they do it, and if they choose not to listen, we don’t let them get away with it (through either correcting them or giving them a consequence for their actions). No one likes getting threatened or shouted at, and those actions do not foster lasting change. Lasting change comes from relationship.

I had thought it was just some people had more charisma and authority than others and could manage students better, but everyone can learn the skills of having high expectations, keeping people accountable for their actions, and giving positive reinforcement! It just takes having the courage to be consistent with your standards, confront negative behavior quickly, and knowing when to reward and encourage.

Yesterday a student that has had trouble keeping control of his body showed me how he was changing: Another student had forgot to bring a spoon in order to eat the meal her parents had sent. The boy offered the other student one of the spoons he had brought for himself. Seeing this action showed that this student was living up to higher expectations!

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