Showing posts with label FRIENDS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FRIENDS. Show all posts

Monday, October 26, 2015

West Virginia Trip with Good Friends 10/19-23/2015

Four Special Friends along the Highland Scenic Highway 150
George and I had a fantastic trip last week with good friends,  Neal and Patti from Indiana.  This is about the 6th trip we have taken together over the past several years.  The four of us have so much in common and always have a good time when we are together.  This year was no exception.....

George and I have been to West Virginia several times ---and suggested this trip this year because we wanted to see the Autumn Colors in West Virginia since we had never been there in Fall;  AND also because we wanted to take them on one of our favorite rides,  a ride UP UP UP the mountain on an old steam train at Cass,  WV (from Cass to Bald Knob)...  Always a JOY for me/us!

All of us took lots and lots of pictures all week long---so I'll just show a few of my favorite places with you today.  Be sure to click on the pictures for enlargements.

Honeycomb Rocks off of the Highland Scenic Highway 150;  Don't you think those rocks look a little like a honeycomb????  Neat, huh.

The Trail to Honeycomb Rocks:  The Fall Colors in this area were SO pretty and I loved hiking along this trail.   To me,  there's just nothing better than hiking through the rustling leaves in Autumn.... I love the colors AND I love the 'smells' of Fall... SO NEAT!

This is Grandview,  part of the New River Gorge National River area.  This was one of the first places we visited ---and all of us were disappointed that there weren't many Fall Colors all around the mountains.  BUT--we did see Autumn Colors many other places we visited. 

You knew that George and I would just HAVE to take Neal and Patti to visit some waterfalls while there!!!!   This was the day we did the most hiking (first at Grandview and then to see these 3 beautiful waterfalls)....  This waterfall is Lower Falls of Hills Creek.  We all enjoyed all of the steps down into that canyon, and then back UP.  Needless to say, I finished the day with over 18,000 steps on my FITBIT!!!!!! I was VERY TIRED that night.

This is Beartown State Park ---and it's definitely a place that one needs to visit in order to grasp the beauty.  Pictures just don't show the real beauty there. Someone had built a wonderful boardwalk throughout the area ---and from that boardwalk,  we saw some amazing rock formations, boulders,  ferns, moss and more... This turned out to be one of my favorite places --and George and I had NEVER been here...

We took two loop hikes at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center.  This was another favorite for me since again, I got to hike through the rustling leaves of Fall.  SO SPECIAL.  This picture was taken at the Stamping Creek Overlook along that trail.  The trees were gorgeous in this area.

We had some extra time one day so we checked out another beautiful state park,  Watoga State Park.  Here we are taking pictures of the Fall Colors and reflections at Lake Watoga. 

Neal took this picture of George and me at the T. M. Cheek Memorial Overlook at Watoga State Park.   Again--as you can see,  the colors there were awesome.

Cass Scenic Railroad:  Here's my FAVORITE part of the week (no surprise if you know me well)... I loved the ride WAY UP the mountain to Bald Knob from Cass, and back down,  on an old steam train...George and I have taken this ride 3 different times --but this was the first trip in Autumn.   LOVED it.....  (My Dad worked for the railroad --and as a child,  I got to ride on occasion in one of those engines.  Such fantastic memories.)

A View from the Train!!!!!   Going up that mountain on the train and also our time at Bald Knob gave us many opportunities to check out the views...Since the colors were so pretty and since we had a very clear and beautiful day,  we were able to get some great photos.

Finally,  on our way home (taking the back roads through West VA),  we just had to stop and take some pictures of this beautiful Covered Bridge... This bridge's name is the Indian Creek Covered Bridge.  Isn't it pretty?

AND --along that same road while on the way home,  we saw a little cemetery named BALLARD CEMETERY.   Of course,  we just had to stop and check it out.  I took pictures and also made some notes about some of the Ballards in that cemetery.  My mother was a Ballard and I have done quite a bit of Genealogy work on the Ballard side of my family.  However,  I'm not sure if any of my direct line of Ballards moved to West Virginia.   I didn't recognize any of the names --but will definitely do some research...
Well---that is just a tiny bit of all of the wonderful things we did last week with our friends.  It was a tremendous trip--and I highly recommend a trip to West Virginia during ANY season... We love it there --and I'm sure we will go back again --and again.

Have a wonderful week.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Catching Up ---Christmas and Beyond

Two Bloggers meet:  Ruth and Betsy together AT LAST!
Sorry I have been missing in action lately---but wanted to share some pictures from our month with you today.  Despite my knee problems and knee surgery (Jan. 8),  we did have a great Christmas and so far,  January has been good also. 

The picture above was taken on December 29, 2014 at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Nashville,  Tennessee.  Ruth Heibert  (Ruth's Photo Blog) and friend Gwen came to Nashville to attend a special Gospel Music Convention.  SO---since we are only 2.5 hours from there,  George and I  drove over to Nashville,  picked them up at their hotel and took those two Canadian ladies to the Cracker Barrel for a good ole' southern dinner..... They both enjoyed Chicken and Dumplings for the first time ---and CORNBREAD.    (Can you imagine ANYONE going through life without cornbread????? ha ha ha)

I have met LOTS of bloggers (and I love all of you) --but Ruth and I have been very special friends for many years ---back when we both started blogging... To say that finally getting to meet her was special is an understatement.  She is EXTREMELY special to both George and me.  We love her so much---and are already thinking about when we will meet again. Thanks, Ruth,  for coming to Tennessee!!!!!!  Come back SOON.

Landon (college),  Avery--age 16,  Bay Lee (college) and Brooke (graduating from high school in June)
The next day,  December 30,  George and I drove to Chattanooga to meet up with two of my three sons and their families...   Seeing these adorable grandchildren just made Christmas for this Grammy!!!!!  Aren't they beautiful --including Bay Lee's tiny little doggie!!  Landon and Avery are Jeff's children and Bay Lee and Brooke are Mark's children.  We were SO glad to see them and spend the day with them.

George with his little girl (Kelly) and her hubby (Chuck)
That same week (on January 2)---George and I drove back to Nashville to celebrate Christmas,  New Year's AND Kelly's Birthday (Jan.1) with them.  It was a cold and dreary day ---but we had a great time,  having a delicious lunch/dinner at the Dan McGuinness Irish Pub in West Nashville.  George and I both enjoyed Shepherd's Pie --which we hadn't had in a long time... It was a great day!

George enjoying his new camera lens,  a Tamron lens, 16 to 300mm
After all of the other trips we had after Christmas,  Christmas Day was spent at home with just the two of us enjoying one another.  I went 'away' from tradition this year (yipes) and we had a delicious Honey Ham (instead of turkey),  some scalloped potatoes,  green beans,  sliced tomatoes, baby carrots, pickles and cranberry relish.  For dessert,  we enjoyed some Dutch Apple Pie with vanilla ice cream on top... YUM...  (Since we still had turkey left-over from Thanksgiving,  we decided that ham would be a nice change.  And it was ---although I struggle with changing traditions... ha)

I gave George this nice lens ----but somehow,  his bride has already taken it away from him... He 'wants' me to use it so that I won't have to change lens so often... If I like it,  I may just have to buy another one for his birthday for HIM.... ha ha

Willow Figurine named HERO
George gave me lots of really nice things for Christmas ---and this was definitely one of my favorites.  Since I collect WILLOW Angels/Figurines,  I was thrilled to get this one (which I had never seen before).   Reminded me of a widow of a United States Military man killed in action.. Makes me cry!!!!  OH how I appreciate our Armed Forces and what they do for us...  Isn't HERO a gorgeous figurine?

Three new ornaments on our Christmas Tree this year depicting our 2014 trips
Besides many day trips and short trips in 2014,  George and I took 8 longer trips.  Six of them are on the ornament on the left:  Strasburg,  VA and the Shenandoahs;  West Virginia (Cass Railroad) for our anniversary;  Maggie Valley NC and the Blue Ridge Pkwy with friends;  Mt. Nebo, Arkansas with friends;  Blowing Rock, NC  for my birthday;  and Hocking Hills,  Ohio for George's birthday.   The ornament in the middle was from our trip to  Texas to visit 2 sons/families in Sept.   AND the one on the right is from our beach trip in May to Ocean Isle,  NC.  That cute ornament made me laugh since Santa is dressed up with his beach attire.  We had planned to go back to Ocean Isle the first of December --but my 'bum knee' cancelled that trip temporarily. 

Mama Says:  "Now Sweeties,  SMILE for the camera!"
I just had to include this funny picture of sons Jeff and Mark on December 30 in Chattanooga...  That was such a fantastic day together as a crazy family ---which we are... My sons were in RARE form telling stories about their childhoods and lives... I've never laughed so hard in my life.  Of course,  I told a few stories myself that day!!!!!! 

Two crazy people on Christmas Morning at our home!!!!!  

After looking at this photo,  you will know where those two funny guys in the picture above this one get their craziness.... Do you think their Nutty Mama had anything to do with it????????? (Don't answer that!  ha ha)

Speaking of a Nutty Mama,  I was barely standing and not doing much walking on Christmas morning... But---how could anyone keep a crippled girl from dancing on Christmas?   (I do think that George was there to catch me if I fell!!!!! ha)

A very happy Mom and her Three Sons  (on January14, 2015)
This is a picture that I will cherish forever... I seldom get to see all three of my sons together ---but did on January 14  (which was only 6 days after my knee surgery).  From left to right:  Mark--45;  Me--old woman;  Jeff--43;  and Bert (called Tre)--51.

What brings families together more than anything else?  FUNERALS.....  My sons' wonderful Grandmother died and her funeral was that day in Knoxville,  TN.  Laura Wilhite (age 99) was loved by all,  including me (since she was my ex-mother-in-law) and my sons and grandchildren.

Even though I was still re-cooping after surgery,  I cleaned up and we went to the funeral... I did great that day --but really felt the pain the following day... BUT--it was worth it and I am very glad I went.  Just having my sons with me for a few hours was worth everything.

Hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas.
Finally,  I want to wish each of you a Happy 2015.... I INTEND to have a great one.  I apologize for being away from blogging for so long. To look at all of these pictures,  you'd think I was doing GREAT... Truth be told ---it has not been easy for me.  I will do an entire blog about my knee/surgery/recovery, etc.  sometime  AFTER I am totally well and back to myself again... But--just know that I am okay and am gradually getting better and better.  Thanks be to God.

I will try to be back to blogging again sometime the first week or two in  February.  In the meantime,  be sure to check out my January quotes on my sidebar.  There are some good ones...

Thanks for all of the comments/emails/Facebook comments/messages/texts,  etc... George has even had people asking about me on his blog.  That is SO sweet that so many people care.  God Bless You ALL.  I have so many wonderful friends.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Christmas, Friends, and Me

Happy December to YOU...  I love December and CHRISTMAS....  This year,  however,  I will celebrate it differently than most years...  But first I will share with you a couple of pictures from last year...  Above is one of our three outdoor wreaths in the front of our home  (Note the header photo at the top)...   Isn't this wreath pretty?

This is a picture from the Opry Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee.  I love this HUGE Poincettia bloom.  It's quite creative,  don't you think?

Bill,  Diane,  Rob,  Kathy at our home
Recently,  we met two more SPECIAL Blog Friends....  AND---these special friends are from AUSTRALIA.... How neat is that!!!!    We met Diane Bohlen (click HERE for her blog),  her husband, Bill (click HERE for his blog),  and their friends Rob and Kathy  (click HERE for Kathy's Blog). 

Diane and I have been blog friends for several years --and it was fantastic to meet her/them...  I hadn't met Rob and Kathy before --but am now following Kathy's Blog.

The group were on their way to the Smoky Mountains for a few days.  SO--they stopped by our home and spent a couple of hours here with us... We had hoped to meet them the next day in the Smokies  to show them around that gorgeous area.  HOWEVER,  the weather didn't cooperate AT ALL... It turned bitterly cold and we ended up with ICE here on the plateau... Needless to say,  we had to cancel our visit... BUT--while reading their blog posts,  it appears that they enjoyed their time in the Smokies DESPITE the weather... I hope they will all come back in a different season!!!!

Here  is a picture of me and my special Auzzie Friend,  Diane  (Adventures Before Dementia)....  She's such an incredible lady ---and we really enjoyed seeing each other. George and I have now met 21 of our blog friends in person... VERY SPECIAL to US.

Here's a picture of Bill,  Diane,  George and me.    Amazing when one meets a blog friend,  it feels as if we have known each other FOREVER...  It was magical --and I am so pleased that the four of these friends came to visit us!!!!!  I apologize for our terrible weather the week they were in our area...  Oh Well---I certainly cannot control that... ha

Finally,  here's the latest update on ME and my terrible KNEE PAIN.
-Nov. 21----Hurt my left knee (same knee I had  Meniscus Surgery on in 2010)
-Nov. 24--- To the Doctor  (got pain medication and an anti-inflammatory med for the swelling)
-Nov. 26--- Thought the knee was getting better,  but 'pulled' something AGAIN that night;  The knee pain got worse and worse throughout the rest of that week.
-Dec. 1--Back to the Doctor  (new pain medication --so that I can sleep, and an MRI set up)
-Dec. 11--MRI

As my Facebook Friends will tell you,  I am trying hard to KEEP a good ATTITUDE through all of this... And--I do know that things could definitely be MUCH worse.   But--I'll admit that it's not easy at times because of the pain.   BUT--with prayers and love from people like you,  and with God's help,  I'll make it through all of this...

AND most of all,  let me say something you already know..  Without George,  I'm not sure how I could get through this especially this time of year.  He is WONDERFUL --and has helped with so many things,  such as decorating our Christmas tree,  etc...  We are determined to have a wonderful Christmas ---and even though I'm SITTING most of the time,  I am sure that I'll look back on this month knowing that I truly do have tons and tons of blessings in my life...

I will keep you posted --but probably won't blog too much this month.  I did have fun putting up my December header/blog colors/appearance, etc... I also have all NEW QUOTES on my sidebar for you to enjoy.

AND---I put a couple of Christmas photos on my other blog  (click HERE for my Photo Blog) so check it out when you have time.

Blogger has automatically added Word Verification to my blogs now--even though my settings say NO.  BUT--you don't have to type in the numbers.  Just hit publish!  Anyone else having trouble like this?????

Hugs and thanks for your thoughts and prayers,


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scenic Highway 215, North Carolina --Part II

Our WONDERFUL Friends,  Patti and Neal ---at Lake Logan
On October 22, 2014,   George and I plus good friends Neal and Patti took a wonderful vacation together to the Maggie Valley,  North Carolina area.  One of our days together was spent driving on a scenic back road,  Highway 215.  IF you missed Monday's post ---scroll down to the post below this one and read it first.  In that post,  I gave some links and also gave some information about this area and this beautiful back road. 

Today I will share more photos of our experience on that scenic road.  Be sure to click on the photos for enlargements...

I have been fascinated by this type of bridges.  This historic arched stone bridge (also called the High Arch Bridge or the One Arched Bridge) was built in 1937.  This bridge is located at the Waterfall on the West Fork of the Pigeon River (also called Sunburst Falls)...This area and waterfall -where we took a picture of the four of us in Part I's post-- (waterfall is located to the left of this photo)  was one of my favorite waterfalls of our day/trip...  

Three Arched Stone Bridge
About a mile south of the One Arched Bridge was the Three Arched Bridge on the West Fork.  I enjoyed seeing both of these bridges --built by the CCC.   We just don't see many bridges that look like this these days,  do we?

Another picture  showing the gorgeous Autumn colors in the mountains

I just couldn't quit taking pictures of Fall along Scenic Highway 215

Changing Maple leaves along our way;  Don't you just love all of the colors?

I love to stand under the trees and show you the colors --while looking up to that blue sky!

Neal, Patti,  George, Betsy --at Mill Shoals Falls at the Living Waters Retreat
On Monday,  I showed you a picture of French Broad Falls (which is to the left of this waterfall).  This area is so unique since the North Fork of  the French Broad River combines with Shoal Creek here.  In the picture above, you can see part of an old mill.

Here are a couple of links for you:  for more info and more pictures of the waterfalls in this area,  click HERE.   For more info on the Living Waters Retreat,  click HERE.

I loved hiking in the Living Waters Retreat area... There were several cascades between the 'twin' falls,  French Broad and Mill Shoals.  We stopped to check out all of the cascades.  I would love to come back here in the Winter or early Spring when there is much more water here coming over the falls and cascades.

We finally made it downstream to Cathedral Falls  (also called Bird Rock Falls)... I like the original name,  Bird Rock Falls,  since the Purple Martins used to nest along the top of this HUGE rock cliff.    But I don't blame the Christian Retreat Center for renaming that waterfall.  The towering rock cliff surrounding the falls does like like a cathedral! Gorgeous!

I took several pictures of this gorgeous red tree --as we hiked at the Living Waters Retreat.  I'm partial to RED trees in the Fall.

Talk about a perfect place for a RETREAT!!!  I loved sitting in the 'cathedral' --just thinking about what a marvelous place this is.  I envy anyone coming to a RETREAT at the Living Waters Retreat Center.

This beautiful tree --and the blue sky  was taken on State Road (forest road) 1322
After leaving the Living Waters Retreat Center,  we took a forest service road --searching for another waterfall,  Diamond Creek Falls...  We found the waterfall --but I couldn't get a good picture of it since there were LOTS of trees/shrubs in the way.  Guess we need to go there in winter,  when the leaves are totally off of the trees.

 Well---that's my 'report' from Scenic Highway 215 in North Carolina.  George and I want to come back since there are several more waterfalls along this road to see.  We did see the Bubbling Spring Branch Cascades (from a distance) and we also saw the bottom part of the  Lower Waterfall on Bubbling Spring Branch...  AND--we tried to see Courthouse Falls --but the road was closed.   SO---that's why we need/want to go back sometime!

As you can tell---we saw so many beautiful things along this back road (beautiful lake,  lots of waterfalls and cascades,  AND  beautiful Autumn Colors)... This is why this area was definitely a highlight for us.

Hope you enjoyed these two posts.  I enjoyed sharing them with you!!!

Have a great day.