Trees of Transition

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

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French Silk Pie


French Silk Pie

This velvety pie takes a lot of beating, so if you have a stand mixer, use it, but a hand mixer works well too.

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tblsp. sugar
5 Tblsp. butter, melted

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix together the crust ingredients and then press evenly into a nine-inch pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then cool completely.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes).

Melt the chocolate chips either over a bowl of hot water or in the microwave. (Put it in for 1 1/2 minutes, check and do 30 seconds more until you can stir them). Add the chocolate to the butter mixture and stir until mixed.

Add one egg in at a time and beat with a mixer 3 minutes or until it get’s very fluffy, then add the next egg until you add all 3 eggs

Mix in the vanilla and then put into the cooled pie shell.

Chill for 3-4 hours before serving, and then enjoy.


Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!


This is the Thanksgiving centerpiece I designed for our table. 🙂
I’m thankful for flowers, family, and friends (including those of you reading this.)

By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014

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Music and Snow: Images from this Holiday Season


This holiday season there’s been more Christmas music and snow than usual in my life, and it’s been so wonderful!

The music started back at the start of November when the music teacher, Mr. B, at my school started teaching my students how to play “Away in a Manger” on these bells. The bells were like someone chopped up a xylophone into individual notes, and so each student had one note.

Watching Mr. B teach the students their parts was entertaining, and I got a part too: I accompanied them on the piano.

One of my favorite parts of those weeks of practice was when Mr. B taught the students how to act after they had finished playing their piece three times. They were to raise their arms up in a gentle arch and then end with their hands (and instruments) at their sides. Then Mr. B told them to bow if they were a guy or curtsy if they were a girl. While Mr. B was dealing with another student, a couple other students came up with the idea that they could “Bertsy”–a combination of bow and curtsy! They cracked me up about their bertsying. 🙂

When we had our Family Christmas Worship service where they played their piece, we practiced it several times out on the platform, and thought we were ready. That night the kids came all dressed up in dresses and cool suits or sweaters. When it was our time, I rushed us up there a little too soon (but they got the music stands up there anyway). We played the first verse perfectly!

Then it was time for the second verse… the students had learned their note according to  their word in the first verse, so this messed up a few students (I even forget a couple notes), but we all kept going! The third verse was better; it was so beautiful to create music with my students.


The music created by the other students in our school was so alive–the kids had practiced so much that they could relax and have fun! We had little drummer boys with their drums, we had wise men rapping about finding Jesus in the manger…the theme was Joy to the City, and there was indeed, joy in the city that night.

On Christmas Day, as I sat around with my parents and their friends, I looked out the window and saw the snowy fields. It was dusk, and winter dusks are amazing because of the deep blue the shadows make on the snow.

Snow brings peace and reassurance to the Christmas season. Snow makes Christmas feel old-fashioned and traditional. The cold, the white outlining everything, the crunch…it makes me feel like Christmas and that all is well.



Celebrating Christmas Without Family in Another Country: Remembering Three Christmases Ago


As I was buying my ticket to teach in Costa Rica for ten months back in 2010, my Mom said to me, “You don’t need to come home for Christmas–just enjoy Christmas in Costa Rica!” So I booked my flight for later that month and my return trip for ten months later.
As Christmas approached, I found out that many of my fellow teachers were flying home for Christmas, and I was going to be alone in Costa Rica and had two weeks off of work. One missionary family needed a house-sitter while they went to the beach, so I had a change of place to live and a change of pace to my life.


I slept, I cooked more. I ran. Some missionary families were still around, so they invited me to have Christmas dinner with them. I made a fruit salad with starfruit on top.


My favorite part of that Christmas without being with family was how I could still celebrate Jesus’ birth with other believers: I figured out how to take the bus downtown, and I went to this small English-speaking Episcopal Church that welcomed me.
After the service, I walked through the sunshine to the flower vendors and bought myself a big tropical bouquet of flowers with money my brother had sent me to buy something fun.


As I walked down the cobble-stone street in downtown San Jose with the flowers in the crook of my arm, the big Catholic Church a ways down the street just started ringing its bells. I experienced what the song says, “I heard the bells on Christmas day…” and it made me so happy!

Here’s a little of what I learned from the experience of being away from family on Christmas:

Choose to have a positive attitude even if you are alone! I enjoyed buying those flowers, and being out and about on Christmas Day.

Enjoy the setting you are in. That Christmas was my first warm, tropical Christmas, so having palm trees, mango and avocado trees, and blooming flowers around helped me greatly and brought me joy.


That Christmas was the first time I attended a Christmas Day service, and that was a beautiful way to celebrate Jesus’ birth with other Christians. Church is a great place to go when you are alone.


If you can call and talk to your family, do it! Enjoy talking or Skyping them, and the next time when you can be with them at Christmas time, you will be even more thankful for those times. I listened to music and that helped me not feel alone. Family sent little packages and fun cards that brightened up Christmas Day by being able to open them then. Enjoy the people that are in your life right now.


So, for those of you who are away from family this Christmas: Remember that you are not alone. Jesus left his father to come to a strange, new place, so he can understand what you are feeling. Reach out to the people that are around you and enjoy what you have in that new place where you are living, and have a beautiful Christmas!