The green stick tree

Some of you may have wondered what kind of tree is pictured at the top of my blog. It’s called a Palo Verde tree, and it’s the state tree of Arizona.

I took several photos of this tree when I visited the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix three years ago, including the one in the blog’s header and this one below:

A Palo Verde tree at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix

The tree transfixed me. Born and bred in the southeast, I’m accustomed to tall pines, giant oaks and maples, and abundant magnolias, cherry trees and more. But what had me spellbound about this tree was its green trunk. I had never seen such a color on a tree trunk in my life. Flower stems are supposed to be green, sure, but tree trunks? In my part of the world, tree trunks are brown.  Continue reading

Beware the Tree of Death

My husband ran a trail marathon at our local state park this past weekend, and I went out to cheer him – and the other runners – on. The marathon organizers had put mile markers out, as well as other signs of encouragement or warning. The one I saw as I was walking back to the finish line said, “Welcome to Cemetery Hill.” You might think that’s a discouraging sign or a word of warning, but it’s the last big climb before the finish, and an old family cemetery sits at the top of the hill.

After the race, Chris and I were talking about the signs, and he mentioned one that has really stuck with me: “Beware the Tree of Death.” Now, before all you Harry Potter fans head out to the park and start searching for the real, live Whomping Willow tree, let me explain.  Continue reading

A replenishing place

Hi, Friends,

Do you have a place where you go to renew your spirit or rejuvenate physically and mentally? For my husband and me, that place is the NC mountains. Even this time of year, when there’s still snow and ice on the ground – not to mention salt and sand on the roads – we love being there. How I feel when we’re there and when we’ve just come back is like the tree in this verse from Jeremiah:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord … For he will be like a tree
planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear
when the heat comes.
– Jeremiah 17:7-8

Now, you may find it strange to have a verse about the heat in the middle of February, but I’ll tell you, my garden already knows that the heat is on its way. Two little crocuses have poked their heads up in my garden here at home, and when we were in the mountains over the weekend, I noticed that there are some bulbs there already eagerly forcing their way up through the thawing earth.

Continue reading