What is a Redbud?

If you've been following along over at pinterest, you might have seen this influx of redbud buttons and thought to yourself "Who is this girl and why is she posting so many buttons with little pink flowers?" "What the heck?"

Then you might have come over to the blog and read a post or two and thought "Wow - I'm still a little confused...I get she likes these bloggers or whatever, but what the heck is a redbud?!"

I get you. I hear you. ...and now I'm here to tell you...

1.  You see, a redbud is a type of tree. 

 Have you ever seen one? They bloom in spring and unlike most spring bloomers, they bloom both on the branches as well as the trunk bark. They bloom without any leaves -- just bark and blooms.

What does that have to do with bloggers? Well as I sit in my happy house with glasses on, hair up and pj pants still on, I'm pretty hot looking, you know? Yeah. Not so much. I imagine bloggers all around the country, waking up early and running to the computer to let their words out -- all looking rather icky. In fact, we all take photos of ourselves at our best (except for those weird posts when people show their "true" selves looking all grimy, but trust me you will NEVER see one of those pictures here), but the truth is we often do our best work when we are looking our worst. I know there is a camp of bloggers out there proclaiming that you work best when you've done your hair and makeup and made the beds and cleaned the sink and I want to declare that that is a load of hokey. YES -- you feel better when those things are done and you will live better in your space, but please don't joke yourself into thinking you will write better when you look all perfect. I write best when thoughts flood my mind and overflow so fast that I have to grab a receipt in the car, stop and write the bullet points on the back, race home and get everything out-out-out until it no longer fills my brain. The words consume me and I could care less about how "made up" I am.  

ummmmm...amy?   What the heck does that have to do with these redbud posts?

I'm getting there...I promise -- just hang on for the ride...ok?

2.  Let's talk about ugly some more.

Just as the redbud blooms off ugly bark and bloggers often blog their best when they look atrocious,  bloggers also sometimes write their best work when their insides are ugly too.  Ever read a post that just simply hit home?  Some girl just wrote and wrote and wrote and every word she said was right on?  Chances are, that post came from an ugly place.  She was confused, sad, angry, upset, wrong, bitter.  ...and she shared it.  Then she fixed it.  ...and you left inspired.

When someone shows you a picture of themselves after losing weight, you are like "oh you are so beautiful - good job" while inside you are thinking "eh - she looks fine, but what's the big deal??"  Then, THEN she shows you the before picture.  She shows you the ugly and that is when you get it.  You see the full picture and then you are fully invested in her journey.  You want to lsiten to her.  You want to know her.  She is a redbud.

Redbuds are the brave ones that share the ugly so you can know the beautiful.  They are little purple blossoms blooming in spring out of gnarled grey bark.

3.  After redbuds bloom, they don't loose their worth in the garden. 

 Heart shaped leaves appear and cover the branches tip to top.  They last all summer long, waving in the breeze, providing a foil for other blooming plants in front of them.

Those are my redbud bloggers.  They are bloggers that have brilliant successes, but that is not all they are.  They aren't lilies that bloom and then curl up and die.  They are redbuds that bloom and then grow into maturity and support the others around them.  Redbud bloggers are friends to other bloggers and give them a platform to be seen.  Redbud bloggers are girls that understand that being a peaceful, quiet force in the background can be the best purpose for their talents at any given moment.  The redbuds are the mamas in this world.

4.  Have you ever looked under a redbud in the summer?  

You might see pods depending on the sex of the tree.  Whenever I see these little seedpods growing, I always think of bloggers with secrets.  You can't see the pods unless you literally get up close, pick the leave up and check underneath.  Hidden under the beautiful heart-shaped leaves are little secrets.  Little ideas for the future.  Little schemes to become bigger and better.   Ideas for series, inspiration for a post, advertising know-how and that "big idea" that might catapult them to the top.  Redbud bloggers don't talk about the secrets, but they are definitely keeping a few things hidden in their hand for the next round.  They are forward thinking, ambitious and entrepreneurial.

5.  Have you ever seen a redbud in the fall?

They turn a lovely shade of yellow, lighting up the garden and going out in a subtle blaze of glory.  Redbuds aren't the maples, screaming for attention with their flaming foliage every October.  They aren't the tallest trees in the garden, nor are they the most bombastic, but they are arguably the most beautiful in fall.

The redbud bloggers are just that.  Beautiful.  They don't need to be loud or obnoxious.  They don't scream their worth from the treetops, but they aren't afraid to strut a little.  They are beautiful in their writing, in their lives and they are inspiring to their communities.  Redbud bloggers are the girls you want to be.

6.  Redbuds can grow as standard trees or as bushes.  

They start out as a twig.  One little 12 inch twig with two leaves.  Then as the plant grows, it sends up new stems from the ground.  Leave it be and you will end up with a multi-branched bush about 5 foot high covered in blooms each spring.  On the other hand, you can cut out those branches, and save just one strong, straight trunk in the middle of the plant.  Give it a few years and that trunk will thicken into a solid, single tree trunk and the branches will begin to fork at around 4-5 feet.  The entire tree will max out around 15-20 feet and again -- it will cover itself in bloom all spring.

What does this have to do with blogging?  Redbud bloggers are adaptable.  They will grow freely into their own blooming bush or they might run into criticism and failure, leaving only one leg to stand on.  Those bloggers don't give up.  They grow greater -- that one leg grow stronger and they bloom brighter and higher.  I like both.  I follow both.  I highlight both.  I think they are both beautiful and both have a spot in my garden.

7.  Redbuds propagate easily.  

Simply cut a stem off of the branch and plant it.  Chances are  -- it will grow.  Great bloggers know how to give little pieces of themselves to others.  They know how to pass on little bits of wisdom without coming across as a know-it-all.  They know how to inspire others to do better, grow stronger, live more beautifully.  They keep enough secrets to keep growing themselves, but they are willing to share and willing to give.  That is the type of blogger I want to be.

You might have noticed that the photos in this post are not the typical photos of redbuds.  
I've chosen not to include any photos of redbuds actually in bloom.  Why?  well....read on...

I sit here at home reading all the posts from Haven (I know I shouldn't) and all the updates from the newly airing Craftwars (I know I shouldn't...).  It's discouraging.  I wanted to go to Haven and I should have just gone.  I am so bummed to have missed out on meeting all my "friends".  I read post after post and feel my heart grow heavy (yes -- I know I should stop, but I just can't...).  Then there is Craftwars.  I applied.  I made it through several layers of casting.  We talked.  They had me make a video.  We talked again.  We signed contracts.  ...and then I didn't make it.   sucks.  I wanted to compete and I wanted to win...but I didn't get to play.

So today I turn outward a bit and celebrate the bloggers that inspire me.  The bloggers that give me the extra boost to do better, be better and live more beautifully.  I want to be encouraged by them and I want them to encourage you.  I also want to encourage them and let them know they are being watched and they are being admired.  One of the few little bits of wisdom I've learned throughout my 30 years is that when you feel discouraged about yourself, the only thing that busts that feeling in the gut is to show off others, give to others or just plain help others out.  So I'm trying.  I'm trying to forget about Haven and Craftwars and all the other disappointments along the way and think of myself as a redbud.  A redbud cut off at the knees, but with two little leaves and one wobbly trunk left chanting "I think I can, I think I can".  So join me as I turn away from my dissapointment and celebrate those that inspire me, would you?

Redbuds inspire me.  The trees and the bloggers.  They give me a push to be better.  They give me reason to try harder.  They encourage me to clam down and take deep breaths and remember to be a background player once in awhile.  Redbuds are the reminder that good can come from ugly and that beautiful doesn't have to be the loudest.


@lliE said…
What a great idea!
The Bold Abode said…
Oh, I'm so sorry you didn't make it on Craftwars! But you know what? You stepped out and took a chance! That's the first step! Be proud of that, girl!
Amy Nabors said…
What a wonderful way to encourage other bloggers!
Carrie said…
Ah, Amy. Disappointing weeks are so hard. I went through a spell of that in the spring (wish I'd known about Redbuds!) and wanted to quit blogging. A succession of disappointments kept really wearing at my soul! I know you are done thinking about Haven, but I'm hoping if there's a Haven 2013 I'll see your sweet face there. As for Craftwars, well... I'll post my thoughts in our private LG group. Hugs to you, friend.
Honey, in my head you are more like a mighty OAK. I love that you took your discouragement and turned it into some amazing blog content in this post. You have SUCH a way with words, my friend.

I don't know if I tell you this enough, but you are one of the main reasons I love this blogging niche I'm in. From the minute I laid eyes on your blog I just knew that your blog was going to be one of my favorites for many years, and so far I've been right! I just found another new to me blog that reminds me of yours, and after meeting her at Haven I loved her even more! Kari at Thistlewood Farms has such a beautiful blog and is such a beautiful person, too.

I so wish you could have been at Haven with us, and I would LOVE to see you there next year!

I'm honored to be included in your amazing group of red bud trees. :) Thank you for that. :D
Laura said…
What a neat analogy. I am continually impressed with how nature speaks to you.
Amy Renea said…
So I've been waiting to respond because I'm kind of overwhelmed by some of your comments...I mean THANK YOU for the support and the kindness -- I feel digital arms of friendship kind of wrapping around me and I guess all I can really say is THANK YOU. I love y'all.
Jenny said…
I love Redbuds!

I read the title and thought this was going to be an informative post on Redbuds and got all excited because I have wanted to plant one in my yard for years and years. They are so beautiful in bloom!

Then I was even more blessed when it turned out NOT to be entirely about the tree. I loved the imagery. Now I will have something else to think of when I see those beauties in bloom (and in all of the other stages of growth).

Really glad I found your blog, and I have to say I'm right there with ya when it comes to the blog conference grief and I can't even WATCH Craftwars without thinking "I could destroy this show...I could have made that birdhouse so much better!" Anyway, God's got to work on my heart in that department.

This was a great post. This is exactly why I am drawn. DIYing aside, it's great to get to know a person this way.
This is a great series! XO, AImee
Lauren Lanker said…
After reading this description of redbuds, I have tears in my eyes. It's very easy in blogging to fall into a pattern of inward-focus...sharing MY projects and MY accomplishments and MY craft closet. But what a wonderful reminder to point our eyes outward. To celebrate those who have inspired us, and in turn, inspire others. I can't think of any better healing for disappointment, either.

I also have tears in my eyes of honor and humility. The fact that you have chosen me as a redbud feels so out-of-this-world unbelievable, I can hardly punch out the words to express my feelings of gratitude. So, this will have to suffice for now:


The Thinking Closet