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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Grandpa Karl’s Grave

This morning my husband, Stephen, and I crossed the mountains to Johnson City, Tennesee to find Stephen’s Grandpa Karl’s grave  in the Veteran’s Cemetery. I didn’t have the honor of meeting any of Stephen’s grandparents, but this was the next closet thing to meeting Grandpa Karl. Stephen had only been to this cemetery once, for the funeral back in 2007, so we had to look up the grave using the computer at the main building, then we headed over to the SS section.

We had stopped by Trader Joe’s and bought a bouquet including a sunflower and this salmon-faded red rose for us to place on the grave. I pulled the flowers out of the back seat, Stephen cut down the stems, and we set out to find Grandpa Karl’s gravestone.

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Finding Out We Are Pregnant!


After realizing that I might be pregnant, we waited for a night of the week that we were both free so we could both be there when I took the pregnancy test! I pulled out the white test that we had received as a wedding gift, followed the directions, and then we went down to our new aqua blue couch and waited. We had three minutes to wait; on our aqua blue couch, we held each other a talked about “What if!?” we were pregnant.

After the timer went off, we walked up to the bathroom and looked at the test. Would there be a pink cross? Or would it just be the pink line of normalness?

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Baby Schuh is Due to Arrive in November!

Stephen and I want you to know that we are having a baby in early November! I am almost 17 weeks along, and this morning I felt the baby move for the first time!! While still in bed, I was laying there quietly with my hand on my belly; I could feel my heartbeat, but then I felt more than my heartbeat—a quick dart of movement, like the jumping of a fish, a flash of swimming, and then peace again. Baby Schuh let me feel him or her for the first time, and I got goosebumps and a rush of joy.

Stephen and I are so thankful for this baby! At 9 weeks along we got to see our baby for the first time through an ultrasound, and we could see the baby’s heart pulsing. Baby’s heart chugged away, and Stephen is great at copying the sound (which is like our own heartbeat, but much faster.) Having the picture of the baby has been meaningful and fun to show other people, and so many people are already so excited about this baby!

This is Baby Schuh at 9 weeks old; you can see his or her tiny head, arms, and body. We like to call Baby Schuh “Peanut.”

Last Thursday, I told my students about the baby like this: After they took their last vocabulary test, I said, “We have had another student in our class for the last three months…” Then they started guessing, and then a girl said quietly, “Pregnant?” I pointed at her, and asked her to say it louder, which she did. Then I said, “Yes, I am pregnant!!” Then the whole room let loose with claps, cheers (a dramatic student let out a few screams of joy), and we talked for the rest of class. My students have had a lot of ideas about names, advice, and a few girls said, “I thought you might be pregnant.” My favorite silly name from one guy student, who loves to goof around, is “Bless Schuh”—so it sounds like “Bless you!” Haha.

We are SO excited and thankful for this child. Thanks for sharing our joy with us!

~Mary & Stephen

Copyright 2017


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Memorial Day Heroes 

My grandpa Howard served in World War II as a doctor; he helped save people’s lives during any battles –including the Battle of the Bulge. My dad was in the Naval reserves and almost had to go to the Korean War, and he was proud that he got to serve his country. I remember playing in his old navy uniform as a child.

My cousin was in the Marines, and now his son just joined the Air Force. My uncle served in the Korean War, and so I have many people to be thankful for this Memorial Day.

I am thankful for our country and all the people that have risked their lives to protect it!

-Mary Hope

Copyright 2017


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Happy Easter, Family & Friends!

Jesus is Risen! Here’s some of the fun we have been having yesterday and today:

Stephen made a carrot cake, and I got to decorate it. 🥕

Stephen and I in our Easter Sunday best!

Dancing around the church to celebrate celebrate Jesus’ resurrection!



I’m so thankful for family, friends, and church on Easter. Thanks for stopping by!

-Mary Hope

Copyright 2017


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A Collage for Our Dad


My siblings started this collage, and then I finished it as we sat by my Dad’s bedside–waiting to see how he would be. We are still waiting to see if Dad’s health will improve greatly or if we have to continue letting him go.

Creating this collage of family photos brought me peace as I remembered so many positive times with my Dad. Many of the photos are of my nephews, for which I am thankful–new life in the family lightens the weight of grief of letting someone go.

This Saturday I got to see my Dad again, and the collage still was by his bed. We talked about his wedding to my Mom, and we celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary with cards and pumpkin pie. At the end of the visit, I gave Dad a hug and kiss good-bye with an “I love you” thrown in. 

Family is one of the things that matter most in this life, and I’m thankful for each member of my family that we have with us today.
-Mary Hope
Copyright 2017


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Two and a Half Years after My Article: “My Younger Sister is Getting Married, and I’m Still Single”

Is it harder for older sisters to get married? Yes, I think it is. Birth order does matter; older children just have different pressures and experiences than their younger siblings, and this can influence their love lives. Especially this holiday season I’ve seen more Google searches that lead older sisters to my article “My Younger Sister is Getting Married, and I’m Still Single” that I wrote two and a half years ago; now it is time to follow up that piece. What has happened with my love life? What have I learned since then?

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