The Story of the Dogwood Tree

God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther

We had our Annual Azalea Festival down here in Wilmington, North Carolina last week. It’s truly a breath-taking time of year when the flowers and trees are blooming. I love the dogwood tree’s white blossoms almost as much as I love the azaleas.

They always remind me of Easter, not only because they bloom this time of year, but because of the story that is told about them.

Do you see how the center of the flower looks like a tiny crown?

It is widely believed that the dogwood tree was the tree that was used to make the cross that Jesus died on. Because of its firmness and strength it was selected as the timber for the cross, but to be put to such a cruel use greatly distressed the tree.

When Jesus saw that the tree was suffering from being used for such a hideous purpose, He changed the size and shape of the tree forever, causing it to grow crooked and bent and too slim to support the weight of a man. He also blessed it with the white blossoms that are shaped like a cross.

The petals are tinged with rust on the edges, to represent His blood-stained nail prints.

The center of the flower is said to be His crown of thorns, so that all who see the dogwood will pause and remember.

Simply Life Photographs is hosting a photo challenge called Flowers on Saturday. It is open for participants until Wednesday.  Click on the button to view more photos of flowers or enter one of your own.

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Wildflowers by the Road

If all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wildflowers.–Saint Therese of Lisieux

Their blue color  captivated me. There they were, just growing alongside the road, begging me to stop and take a moment to enjoy their beauty. One of nature’s finest works, wildflowers are one of the first signs of spring.

I snapped this photo last year, on a toad trip through the mountains of Upstate New York. I don’t know what they are called; we do not have any flowers like this in North Carolina.

Speaking of spring, Simply Life Photographs is hosting a photo challenge called Flowers on Saturday. It is open for participants until Wednesday.  Click on the button to view more photos of flowers or enter one of your own. But be forewarned, y’all: The photos will make you long for spring!

Our Honeysuckle Spring

“The honeysuckle was everywhere the day the letter arrived, like heat. Wild roses bloomed in hedges of tendrils and perfume. There were fat bees, dirigible bees, plump and miniature. It was a sweet, tangled morning, and the sun rose, leisurely, in a spectacular blush.”

— Cathleen Schine (The Love Letter)

I snapped these gorgeous honeysuckles on a day like the quote describes last spring, y’all. The vines grow wild in the pine trees, by the path we walk on everyday with our Rottweiler, Hannah. For a few precious weeks every year, we are treated to the heavenly perfume of these small flowers, and we pause along the way to gulp in the scent.

It has been a rough winter here in Southeastern North Carolina.

Quit snorting, Ohio and Upstate New York! It’s been really rough on us southerners, too, OK? No, We haven’t had blizzard conditions and sub-zero temperatures. But it’s been rough few months of  not being able to sit out back in shorts and enjoy a cold beer after work.

Anyway, in the last four days the thermometer has climbed up into the low 70’s. Thursday we were able to spend a few hours at the beach. Even though we had to wear sweatpants and hoodies because of the cool ocean breeze, it was still nice to get some sun on our faces and listen to the waves.

I’m starting to be excited about spring being just around the corner. How about y’all?

Speaking of spring, Simply Life Photographs is hosting a photo challenge called Flowers on Saturday this week. It is open for participants until Wednesday.  Click on the button to view more photos of flowers and enter one of your own.

Enjoy Your Roses

“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.”  ~ Dale Carnegie

I like this quote by Dale Carnegie, yall. I think it applies to many things in our lives. We get so caught up in dreaming of the day when we’ll turn 18, when we’ll get married,when we’ll  graduate college, when we have a better job, when we’ll have a bigger house, when we’ll lose wight, when we’ll have a baby, when the baby will get out of diapers, when the children will all finally be in school, when our children will graduate, when we’ll have grandchildren, when we’ll be able to retire….

In the meantime, there are memories to be made, photos to be taken, moments to be enjoyed, hugs to be given. If we’re not in the present moment, if we’re so busy planning for tomorrow, daydreaming about what’s to come – we miss out on what’s happening right under our noses. Roses wilt, children grow up and move away, parents die.

Life is not a destination. Life is the journey.

Dear readers, enjoy your journey. Enjoy what you have today, right now, in your life and in your garden. Don’t wait until “things get better” to be happy. Be happy now, with what you have, if you can.

Speaking of gardens, Simply Life Photographs is hosting a photo challenge called Flowers on Saturday this week. I took this photo last February, after my husband got these for me, for Valentine’s Day. Click on the button to visit more flower photos and enter one of your own.