I saved my dwarf magnolia bush from a terrible disease last year.

It bloomed like a prom queen this spring ... the parade of showy, bright pink flowers was never-ending.

And then the frost came and took away all her color.

But, but ... as her leaves danced to the ground and her flowers faded and fell, an abundance of soft, furry, silver buds remained.

I looked it up: Magnolias set their buds just before winter. And these little, bundled up beauties survive the chill winds of winter for one purpose.

To burst into life as soon as the first hint of spring appears ...

I stand in awe of the pains my magnolia bush undergoes simply to bring beauty to the world. Signs of life standing firm even as death works its dark magic. And then, after a long winter's night, life abundant springs forth from what appeared lost.

My magnolia asks me these questions:

Where in your life are things dying?

And where - in those same places of apparent death - do you see signs of new life set, but not yet ready to burst forth with life?

How might you protect those precious, promising buds as you settle in to survive the darkness of life's winter?

I will bear witness to those buds all winter long. And smile in anticipation of what is to come.