flowers are for the living (plus a $100 giveaway)
I grew up in a little town with a lot of old folks, and it seemed like every other week, Mom walked us uptown to the old funeral chapel, where we’d say goodbye to another of our old friends, who’d taken the offramp toward heaven.
The sight of our old friends in velvet-lined boxes made my feel queasy, so I spent most of the time looking at the flower arrangements and reading the little cards inside the bouquets. One week, we got word that Margaret had passed away. I loved Margaret. She had a high-pitched voice, a kind smile, and soft hands. I suppose she was an old lady, but to me, she was a little girl about my age who happened to have wrinkles and white hair.
Everybody loved Margaret. When I went to visit her at the funeral home, the front of the funeral chapel was filled with flower arrangements. I knew instinctively that this meant she was well-loved.
But the sight of all those flowers made me sad. Why, I wondered, do we wait for people to die before we give them flowers?
Flowers are for the living.
I thought of Margaret twice last week.
The first time was when the doorbell rang. The FedEx man stood at my door, holding a long box.
“Looks like someone sent you some flowers,” he said.
I opened the black box to find long stems, blooms, waxy green leaves, and a personal note from a ministry colleague, thanking me for sharing my faith with others.
Then, last weekend, as I was leaving a retreat where I served in Wisconsin, a woman met me at the door, thrust a bouquet into my hands, and whispered, “These are for you!” I gave her a hug so big that I thought I might break the flowers between us!
The scent of those fresh blooms filled my car as I drove five hours home.
This morning, I woke to find those two beautiful bouquets in vases. They reminded me of Margaret.
And they reminded me how flowers are made for the living.
Last year, when I took that happiness dare I’ve been telling you about, I was super-intentional about creating happiness in my own life. But I was also intentional about creating happiness for others.
One day, my friend Jenn and I went on a random acts of kindness spree, which I wrote about in my latest book.
Jenn and I slipped into the grocery store, and I purchased two bouquets of flowers from the cooler. One of my favorite moments happened when we delivered one of the bouquets to a women’s drug rehab center. A woman who was undergoing treatment said with surprise, “These are for us?” I nodded and smiled a big smile.
And then I teared up when she hugged me so long, and with such love, that I forgot that the world could sometimes be a pretty awful place. I lost it a little when she spoke these words: “I can’t believe that someone cares about us.”
To the women at the rehab center, we care.
To the hard-working teachers at our schools, we care.
To all the Margarets of the whole world, we care.
To our mothers and grandmothers, our neighbors, our sisters, our church secretaries, our bus drivers, our hairstylists, our grocery store clerks, our pharmacists, our nurses, our janitors, our hospitalized friends and our healthy friends, we care about you.
You are loved. These flowers are for YOU.
A $100 Giveaway
UPDATE: GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. The winner is Sarah Bautista, who commented and shared this post on Facebook!
In honor of all the Margarets of the world, FTD Flowers and Dayspring cards is allowing me to give one of you a $100 gift card for any bouquet over here! This is a new collaboration between FTD and Dayspring to offer spiritual encouragement through the gift of flowers. Check out the beautiful bouquets by clicking here. (I’m holding one of the bouquets sent to me, in the photo above.)
1 – Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite flower is: Roses? Lilacs? Lilies? (Email subscribers click here to leave a comment.)
2 – For extra entries, share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Or share my latest Instagram post at @dukeslee. Be sure to let me know in the comments where you shared. Every share is worth an extra entry!
3 – I will randomly select a winner and notify the winner by tomorrow morning, in case you want the flowers delivered to someone for Mother’s Day.
#GiftsOfFaith | www.ftd.com/dayspring
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I love, love, love all flowers but if I must choose one, I guess it would have to be Peonies! Their fragrance is amazing and, although their time is brief, a bouquet of them fills me with such happiness!
Mmmm… Yes. Peonies. I keep meaning to plant a bush here!
Oh you must!
My favorite flower is yellow roses! My grandmother loved these as well as pansies. I remember having many beautiful yellow roses at her service way back in the 1980’s. I would love to win a $100 gift card and have the perfect person in mind to receive a beautiful bouquet! Thank you for this opportunity, and for reminding us that FLOWERS ARE FOR THE LIVING!
Isn’t this a great giveaway? I was so excited to share it with you all!
I pretty much love every flower out there…..even the slightly odd smelling geraniums! But if I had to choose, I choose lilacs. They smell like dessert for the nose. The fact they bloom around memorial day always reminds me of my Grandma Scholten. She would make us all go to the Alton cemetery on that Sunday afternoon to put lilacs on my Grampa’s grave. I never met him as he died when my dad was 10.
Lilacs here, too, Faye. They remind me of growing up in Marathon. We had a gigantic lilac bush in the yard.
I love dandelions!
Just kidding. I love them when Oliver brings me some.. but for real flowers .. I pretty much like them all. I love lilacs and peonies and Tiger lily’s the most probably because they remind me of when I was a kid at my grandma’s house 🙂
Sarah, you crack me up. I am really great at growing dandelions, so you can come pick some at our house if you want more!
My most favorite flower is the lilac. My amazing hubby and daughter just helped me plant (yesterday) twelve plants we dug up from my mom-in-laws beautiful bushes.
Lilacs remind me of spring time in Marathon, Iowa. We had this enormous lilac bush, and it was my favorite.
Jennifer, I loved your post on Margaret. I adore sterling silver roses, which you seldom find. Flowers bring joy, and I agree, we should send them more often.
Peace and blessings friend,
I don’t know about sterling silver roses. I’ll have to check them out!
Love baby’s breathe and lilys! I shared on twitter
Thanks for sharing, Tiffanie. I’ll include your name TWICE in the giveaway.
I’m having a hard time choosing, but my favorite flowers are hydrangeas. They make the most beautiful flower arrangements! 🙂
Peonies, iris and lilacs make me think of my mom and all her gardens… so thankful she transferred her love of “dirt therapy” on to me…
Love that, Shelly! Happy spring, my friend.
Daffodils – they are one of the first signs of spring and even survive some of our late snowfalls, giving us hope that warmer weather is coming!
Yes! Those first shoots of yellow make my heart feel warm.
Freesia is my favorite, but I also love hydrangeas because they remind me of my Grandma. 🙂
Oh hydrangea, yes. I wish I could grow those here, but it’s so windy out here in the country, and the hydrangeas seem to get assaulted by the wind and the bunnies and the deer, or something.
Oh my, Jennifer, I’m not sure I have a favorite. Maybe roses, but I love them all. All flowers remind me of God’s beauty. 🙂 How thoughtful of you and your friend to deliver flowers to those who aren’t always remembered. Thank you for this giveaway!
I adore lilacs, and was 100% happy when the house I bought last year had an established (ok, let’s be real…WILDLY overly established…they’re overgrown) lilac bush in the yard. I’ve been enjoying them the last few weeks, and am sad they will cease blooming soon.
i love calla lillies! i just love their shape!
Ohhhh I love this idea. And I love your
generous heart!!! I would love to win this for my Mom!! She loves roses!
Sunflowers! My favorite for so many reason!
I shared on Instagram!
I love ALL flowers…but gerber daisies and iris are a few of my most favorites. I have told my kiddos that to me (and others?) flowers mean more when they are given unexpectedly, for no “real reason/holiday.” My 8 year old son just asked me more about that this morning while looking at the flowers that were recently given to me to use on our table over the weekend when family came to celebrate my uncle’s life after his funeral. SO important to give flowers, etc. “just because” to brighten someone’s day. Someone once told me to look closely at the iris-3 petals up, 3 petals down. 3 for the holy trinity, also 33 for the years Jesus spent on earth. Haven’t looked at an iris the same since they told me this “story.” 😉
I love gerber daisies…lilies are beautiful but sometimes make my nose run! 😉 ha! I got beautiful flowers from my husband for our anniversary last year and then we were headed out of town and they were still beautiful so we brought them to a local assisted living home so they could continue to be enjoyed!
Shared on FB
Shared on Twitter!
Love this post! My favorite flower is the violet! Even though it is a cold and rainy day here, my lawn is littered with bouquets of them!!! Such a sweet ‘hello’ from God!
Snapdragons! I remember my grandma teaching me how to squeeze them to get the to move. I think it’s the special time with her that makes snapdragons one of my favorites.
I love peonies-all colors! They just seem to beautiful and elegant.
I love tulips! Sharing on FB. Great reminder that flowers are for the living!
Any bright colored flowers! Shared on Facebook.
Too hard to narrow it down to one favorite flower, I love roses, but I also love the lilacs, irises and peonies that bloom in my backyard. Happy Mother’s Day!
I love zinnias in my garden, but for an arrangement I like those that last a long time, like alstromeria.
Hey friend. I love it flowers are for the living I love all flowers but stock is the most fragrant and a purple rose. Also my favorites for color are the gerbera daisy. But I love almost all flowers. Thanks friend for the reminder flowers are for the living and I hope someday instead of sending flowers to my family for a funeral I want people to send them to someone living in honor of me. Wouldn’t that be something. Blessings friend and thanks for sharing joy to me today!
Cindy from down the way!
I love any flowers but roses would be my favorite. I should buy myself some flowers.
shared on twitter!
shared on Facebook!
I love roses, just don’t happen to have any in my gardens. My most favorite is daffodils because they come out first and really signal the start of spring!
My favorite flowers are peonies–I wait all year to see them again. (Buds on the stems, right now!)
My favorite are lilies…all kinds!! But what I thought of right away when you asked wasn’t my favorite its actually my Dad’s! He loved Lilacs!! I remember as a young girl walking home from school and sneaking through an alley just to pick some for him! Sneezing all the way home with excitement to give them to him!! My Dad passed away almost 14 years ago and I can’t see a lilac bush without thinking about him!!
I love lilacs best! Or is it violets? So hard to choose. I left my beloved flower garden behind when I came to serve in Uganda, but my best friend bought my house, and sends me pictures of “our” flowers when they are blooming. I love taking just-cut garden flowers to a friend. Thanks for the reminder to share the beauty and joy of flowers with people while they can enjoy it.
I love calla lilies and tulips. This is a wonderful idea Jennifer! It is the surprise, out of the blue blessings that come from friends that always bring a tear to my eye. Thank you for you & your words. I could not have gotten through without them!
Any and All! Lovely story, thanks for sharing it with us!
Such a sweet story about Margaret.
My favorite flowers are Big fat Sunflowers mixed with old fashion red roses.
I love lilies because they remind me of my Momma and the resurrection because she always had a Easter lily plant during that time of year. I also love forget-me-nots because they remind me of my grandma.
I love the simplicity of daisies! Daisies just make me smile!
I posted and shared the giveaway on Facebook!
Daffodils are my favorite spring flower, but I also love smelling lilacs in late May early June!
I was just telling my husband how much I love peonies because they remind me of when I was a little girl and my Mom put a fresh bouquet on the dinner table for my birthday. Lilacs and Lily of the Valley are some of my favorites too.
I love calla lilies but really enjoy so many other kinds of flowers! This is a really neat idea and hope someone will enjoy this for some time!! You are so kind and love your posts about Christ!!
First of all, I just love this blog post, Flowers are for the living. I absolutely adore tulips…I also like peonies and roses too. Shared on Facebook and Twitter.
Peonies are my favorite flower, any color! What a wonderful thought and gift. I will also share on Facebook.
Hands down- lilacs! Sadly they don’t grow in Texas, but when I lived up north, I had some growing in my backyard. Just smelling them brings a smile to my face!
Sunflowers…they remind me of Grace.
I love lilies and the meaning of them.
Oh, I agree that flowers are for the living and so are our words….yours blessed me today as you shared about Margaret and the other ladies….all flowers are beautiful but roses and lily of the valley hold special places in my heart….have a wonderful Mother;s Day!
I love magnolias best. Roses and irises, too. I shared on facebook and twitter. <3
Thanks for the opportunity to win. I love lilacs and hydrangeas, and I love living in the South where these flowers bloom in the spring and summer, respectively.
These words touch me deeply today! My favs are sunflowers, reminding me to follow the Son!
I love lilacs and lilies
I know it sound unimaginative, but roses truly are my favorites. I love the idea that dayspring and ftd are working together! 🙂
Shared on Facebook
Also pinned to Pinterest (even though that’s not listed as an official entry option, I just think you giveaway is cool).
My mother-in-law, when she visits, always buys flowers and put them around the house and in the kitchen. She always wants fresh flowers, bringing the good and beauty of the outdoors in! This is a lovely post and lovely idea! Thank you for the reminder!
Great post. And a super giveaway. But, don’t pull any petals from a daisy for me. Increase the odds for the other commenters.
This made me smile. So good to see you in the comment box, Paul!
What a great post. Most all flowers lighten my heart, but white daisies and fragrent lillies top the list for cut flowers. Happy Mother’s Day to everyone…..we all nuture and mother people whether we have actually given birth or not. So happy, happy day.
Hydrangeas. Hands down. Potted, in a bouquet, or all alone. Especially the blue varieties. Hydrangeas say everything from grandma’s bush to formal reception. Love them.
So far as I know, I’ve never met a flower I didn’t like; they’re all lovely in their individual ways. I am partial to gardenias, though. Sharing on FB.
I agree with you that flowers are for the living. I usually try to grow my own bouquets as I never seem to get any from my hubby. Roses are my favorite along with Canna lilies. Of course, any flower gives my spirit a lift as if they are ambassadors of the sweet aroma of Christ to fill me with joy and peace. I feel it is important to give to others not just on a special holiday, but when we sense there is a need for a person receive flowers (or any gift) to show they are special and loved. Thanks for this wonderful message.
Sunflowers!!!!! Such happy flowers!!!!
I love just about ALL flowers! I agree, flowers are for the living!
What a sweet, sweet idea, Jennifer! I love all flowers – no kidding! And they are, indeed, to be enjoyed by the living.
(Giving a shout-out link to Love Idol, along with some of my other favorite books, on my blog tomorrow – http://marthaorlando.blogspot.com)
Thank you for the shout-out, friend! That is so sweet!
Gerbera Daisies ! ! p.s. my middle name is Margaret, lol!! 🌼🌻🌼 😉
I love the name Margaret. My Grandma was named Margaret. My oldest daughter, Lydia, is Lydia Margaret!
Yes, Margaret was my paternal grandma. I think it goes great with my first name.
LOVE YOUR BOOKS!!! Thank You … & H u g g g g g 💛💚💖
Oh Jennifer. I was so blessed to meet you at our Selah women’s retreat between Washington and Wayland, IA a few weeks ago. I have thought of you and prayed for you so many times since. Your “pre-approved” message was JUST for me and exactly what I was needing to hear! Thank you for allowing the Lord to work through you. And, oh yeah, my favorite flowers are carnations. They last forever and are inexpensive. Blessings!
Julie! So fun to see you in the inbox. I’m reading through all the comments this morning, as I’m about to do the flower giveaway drawing. Your message here in the inbox absolutely made my day! I loved my time with you gals in Washington! xo
What a thoughtful giveaway. I enjoy roses and stargazer lilies.
Orchids💕 Specifically, pink….. Pink Orchids represent grace and joy, which we have in Jesus. 💝 How sweet of you to share with us during this special Mother’s Day week. (it’s my 50th birthday on Friday; so, this would be such an incredible blessing to receive💝) Thank you, Alice Webster
Tulips and gerbera daisies in all colors!
I love old fashioned purple irises cause they remind me of my grandma Margaret! She had lots of them and then later, so did my mom!
Thanks’ Jennifer, for all your great articles!
I love lilacs and sunflowers. I love tulips in the spring.
I love yellow roses! They were my Mom’s favorite and she went to heaven 8 years ago. Jennifer your posts always make me cry but Ina good way. I was thinking about people that I know that need a uplifting message of flowers or chocolate or just a kind word.
Tulips. And more tulips!
Yes! I love them all but my fave are carnations.
Jennifer, my favorite flower is any flower except star gazer lilly. A long time ago when people actually brought me flowers when I was admitted to the hospital, now I am in all to often and they would be broke, someone had them in the bouquet and I became even more ill then when I was admitted ahhhh. But I guess my very favorite are Gerber daisy. Thanks so much for your great blog. And always something to think about.
Cala Lillies or Sunflowers! Cala Lillies are so elegant! Sunflowers are just happy! Roses that still smell would be my third place.
I truly do love lilacs with their heavenly Spring scent.
My favorite is the flower for the month of May Lily of the valley. I do love Jasmine and Stephanotis as well. Thanks and I agree love me while I’m alive; don’t waste anything on me after I’m home with my Lord.
Tulips. I would love to give these to my mom for Mother’s Day. Last year I moved after Mother’s Day. This year things are still a bit tight, but I’m getting there. What a fun giveaway. Shared on Facebook for my friends to enter.:)
I love lilacs! Mostly because of two things. They remind me of spring and the man walks I shared with my mother after supper. Whenever we would come across a lilac, I would snip off a twig and place in a glass as soon as we got home. That small twig of blossom would fill the room with its scent. Pleasant memories.
I love carnations and irises! Carnations because they’re so long lastin and irises because they’re part of my name, plus my daddy grew them so well.
Texas Bluebonnets are my true favorite but they are so finicky and only bloom for a few weeks. So, I love daisies and yellow roses.
I so love roses and I sure would love to win this one for my mom for mother’s day thanks for the chance fingers crossed.
My favorite flowers are Sunflowers. I also shared this post on Twitter 🙂
It’s hard to choose a favorite, but I do love tulips at this time of year 🙂
I shared on FB and on Twitter!
Definitely lilacs! I remember the incredible scent of the lilac bush near our house when I was a child, and how much my mother loved them 🙂
I absolutely love the little wild yellow daisies! My husband when we were dating used to stop on the side of the road and pick them for me, bringing them back to the car to show how much he cared. Our anniversary is June 10th and we will have been married 38 years! Add 3-1/2 years of dating and daisies to that! 🙂 This week on May 5th, my sweet Mama and best friend in the whole world will have been in Heaven for 6 years. Mama always LOVED purple Iris’s. I hope I get a chance to win. I’ll would love to put a brand new bouquet on her grave. When I think of daisies and Iris’s…it brings HUGE smiles! <3
What a wonderful way to spread beauty & happiness! Thank you!
Tulips are quintessential Spring flowers 🙂 The scent of Lilacs are one of God’s most amazing fragrances!!
Roses – multi-color roses are my fav!!
I love love lilacs. I had several bushes before the tornado…just planted a new little one 🙂 This is a beautiful and timely post. My hubby and I just took a birthday bouquet to a friend tonight. Hubby’s exact words were that flowers should be for the living 🙂 Shared on fb and Twitter
Lilacs and Peonies. They grew all around my precious Grandma Swartz’s big white Victorian farmhouse with the porch swing and hand-pump well. She was so strong and victorious till her very last breath and I loved her entirely. Her diabetes claimed her eyesight 9 full years before she died. I used to pray that God would take my eyesight and give Grandma back hers. I thought she could use the encouragement, and I was young and naive. God didn’t restore her sight on earth, but she could still tell me each bird by it’s song, and every flower by it’s smell. She was simply amazing. Lilacs and Peonies will always remind me of her courage and ….just her wonderfulness. 🙂
I love lilacs and daisies. Wildflowers as well. I find all flowers beautiful, but my poor sinuses can’t take their scents regardless of how sweet they smell. 🙁 I truly enjoyed you sharing this … now I’ll see flowers in a whole new light! Flowers for the living….awesome!
I love roses, dahlia’s, and calla lilies!! My favorite though is roses! They are so beautiful and smell amazing!
I love yellow daisies. They have special meaning for my husband and I.
Thank you for the lovely post and gentle reminder, sweet friend. My favorite flowers are pink roses…or any roses, for that matter. All flowers are so precious…sweet gifts from our Father to brighten our days. God bless you with a happy mother’s day!
I agree about flowers for the living. Flowers are so refreshing in many ways. Their life, perk, joyful spinning in the outside breeze. I just love flowers, don’t really have a favorite. They’re all so calming. Buying a few fresh bouquets for myself is something I decided was important. Not waiting on someone to think of me, although that’s wonderful too, but just gifting myself with the joys flowers bring. My girls love making little bouquets out of the big ones. We grab several vases, fill them and randomly place around the house. My girls always like to surprise me with where they place their flower gifts. Little things are important.
I absolutely love lilacs!!! and daisies … and roses … and tulips!
Cala lilies are BeAuTiFuL! Flowers are for the living to remind us of life and the growing process. How it is messy and you don’t know what will happen in the beginning but we keep tending to the flower and there is this BeAuTiFuL growing and stretching and reaching to God.
Love this. A few years ago we sent flowers to an aunt we love after she said at a reunion she wanted flowers while she was living. So glad we did. She died the next year. I love daisies. Have them coming up in my flower beds right now. Shared on twitter and instagram.
What a LOVE-ly post, Jennifer! Roses are definitely my fav but lilacs are close second…I really love all flowers, even the dandilions my sons used to bring me 😍
I love tulips & daisies & roses & black-eyed susans…I’m not picky 😉
I love gerber daisies too! MY FAVORITE!
Lilacs and daffodils are my favorite flowers…they bloom in spring when the snoozing natural world is coming awake again. They remind me of times in my youth when I was most awed by everything around me and felt that the possibilities were endless! They brought me hope and joy when I was having a difficult time reconciling with what God had put on my plate and what I thought I needed. Now, when I smell lilacs or see daffodils, I am grateful for what He charged me with!!
Stargazer lilies are my favorites, they make my heart happy.
Shared on Facebook. 😊😊😊😊
Oh, yes, Jennifer! I’ve always said flowers should be given while others can still enjoy them. My favorite? Hmmm…I think it depends on the season. 😀 They’re all so beautiful! Another special post. Such a great reason to have a give-away. Bless you!
I love large gerberas – bright beautiful happy flowers that are like pockets of sunshine
I love roses for their amazing ongoing gift of perfume – every time I stop ‘to smell them ☺’
And I love daffodils because they are another happy colour flower – IN my favourite colour!
I love being given flowers and have a dear friend who blesses me every now and then with a loving bunch. And I love to do the same sometimes to my friends. They definitely make a person feel ‘loved’!.☺