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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Peaceful Focus


“Focusing is about saying No.” -Steve Jobs

Saying “No,” marks a boundary, making space for what you desire to create, and even though it hurts to reject a person or an idea, protecting that space will result in momentum toward your goal.

For example, this last year as I was teaching middle school English, I had to say “No,” to hanging out with friends on Sunday night because I had to mentally prepare to be ready to teach. In order to be focused, my No helped!

Being able to say no eliminates distractions.

-Mary Hope

Copyright 2017

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Girl, Say “No!” To That Man

The man was saying to the gal, “You are so young and fresh, you shouldn’t be out here!” A ruffled, African American man was standing over a homeless young lady sitting on the street corner next to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature racks. She just smiled, so he kept talking, almost shouting. “You shouldn’t be out here, or you should become a whore like all of the other girls. Why don’t you just become a whore?”
The girl just kept smiling up at him, and I couldn’t hear her response as I walked past.

Yes, I’m not proud that I walked past. I wanted to jump in and tell that man off why no woman wants to become a whore! He seemed sort of riled up, so I didn’t try to talk to him or the gal, but that scenario made me sad and caused me to pray. If I had been walking with a guy, then maybe the two of us could have stepped in. I wanted to tell that lady, “Don’t give in!!”

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Then last weekend at the Original women’s conference in Rockford, IL (see http://originalconference.com), we were challenged to help stop human trafficking around the world. We can do that by donating at http://www.initforgood.com to help with three different ministries that are helping women in Cambodia, Thailand, and right here in the United States come out of destructive lifestyles.

At first I thought, “I can’t give right now…” but what helped me respond and give was thinking of that girl on the street corner of Chicago; I hope she doesn’t give into what that man was trying to get her to do. Desperate girls are being pushed to do what they don’t want to do in order to survive.

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So what can I do about human trafficking?

I can pray. God’s heart aches for all of his beloved children stuck in this destructive system, but he gave humans free choice. We can choose to help.

I can give money and time. The Original conference had partnered with Zoe International, Mercy Ministries, and  SHE Rescue Homes.
And to help support these ministries go to http://www.initforgood.com. I’m committed to giving to these ministries!

I can teach the young ladies I work with at school and church to respect themselves, so that getting pulled into a destructive lifestyle isn’t an option in their minds.

Next time, if I see a guy talking to a girl like that, I have more ideas of what to do…but for now, prayer can reach that gal wherever she is: God, please give her strength and provide for her a loving, safe home. Please bless her with resources, loving people to support her, and your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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Learning to Have a “No”

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When you say “No!” to people, groups, and institutions you separate yourself from them. It hurts. It divides, but it also frees you to define yourself, to open doors, and to say “yes” to specific opportunities and relationships that you desire to cultivate.
Saying “no” makes your “yes” more powerful and fulfilling. It shows who you are as an individual. No’s define you. No, that is not me. No, I don’t believe in that. No, I think this way, but I still respect you.

Some people have a hard time saying “no” to things and people that may be good, but they are not what they want in their lives.
If you say “yes” out of fear that people will reject you if you don’t agree, then that weakens your “yes.”

People know it if we are not fully committed even if we are saying “yes.” Our actions and attitudes give us away through showing resentment, being slow or late, or clear disrespect; it can be passive aggressive.

Yes, there are times when we need to lay down what we want, and should go along with things we would like different for the good of the whole group. That is part of being in community, which is essential, but to have a voice in the community you need a “no!”

For example, I enjoyed a fun group of friends after college, and we had great fun and prayer meetings. After a couple years, things started getting strange, I didn’t feel safe anymore, so I stood up to the group, challenged them, and decided to leave. I was just starting to learn how to have a “no,” so I fumbled and didn’t do it very well. I hurt people through my “no,” but I started learning how to protect myself, and I started learning how to work through things.

It takes inner fortitude to stand up to people and be honest and say what you really mean. Where does this inner fortitude come from? It comes through practice, and through learning who you are, so that you know your values and can stand up for yourself since you are the one who knows where you begin and end.

If all you have said in the past is “yes,” then when you start saying no, you are letting people know you in a new level. You are defining and knowing yourself more deeply. You may create some waves, but the real relationships will survive. You need to have a “no” to be able to be healthy and have real relationships.

Having a “no” will help you choose a life for yourself, and you will not just float wherever. Expressing your “no” will help you be a better friend, family member, and person.

Resource to help you develop your “No”:

Boundaries
by Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend