Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to MAY!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful IRISES from our yard. Meet "Goodnight Kiss"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mountain Laurel in North Carolina

We are home from a couple of days with our good friends, Judy and Charlie, at their vacation home in the mountains of North Carolina. To say we had a wonderful time is an understatement... We had the most awesome time EVER. These are such great friends ---and this particular trip was the BEST.

I will share more about this trip with you in days to come. Today, I want you to see what we saw ALL around their yard and their entire area... None of us had ever seen the Mountain Laurel as gorgeous as it is this year. I felt like I was in heaven --with all of this laurel ALL over the mountainside in that gorgeous area... It was truly awesome.

Both George and I took a 'trillion' (ha) pictures of the laurel ---so I was able to pick out several to show you... Just look at these pictures and imagine yourself totally surrounded with these beauties. There were white ones, light pink ones, light purple ones and dark pink ones... Absolutely amazing....

Hope you had a good week. We certainly did!!!! More to come about this trip!!!!!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

On the Road to North Carolina

I recently made the comment that we were going to be home for awhile--at least until our Anniversary trip the middle of June... WELL---that all changed!!!!! (Are you surprised?) We got an invitation to meet our good friends, Judy and Charlie, at their mountain home in Otto, NC (south of Franklin) for a few days of R&R.... How could we ever turn down an invitation like that???????????

SO--we're leaving today for a couple of days!!!! Judy is one of the best friends I've ever had, but we don't live close to each other, nor get to see each other very often. We email EVERY day (sometimes more than once). AND--we talk on the phone on occasion. BUT--we never get finished talking!!!! SO---for two days while our hubbies read and do their thing, Judy and I will be sitting on their porch YAKING. And --I'm sure that even after two days, we won't finish our conversations!!! Ha!!

Above is a picture of Judy and Charlie's gorgeous vacation home.. Below are more pictures!!!!

The view from their porch/deck; Awesome, huh?

This is what we'll be doing for two days!!!! I cannot wait!!!!

This is Judy and me ---at another outing in Otto.

One thing that George and I have in common with our good friends is a love of the great outdoors. This picture of Judy and Charlie was taken in WINTER (can you tell??? ha)--on one of their many hikes. They happened to see a waterfall---so of course, they sent us this picture!!!

Finally, here is one more picture of my friend and me... She's a TINY thing; can you tell???? I'm about 5'6" --but she is MUCH shorter!!!!!! We'll be home Saturday night --and I'll post again on Sunday..


The Rose-of-the-Day is one of my all-time favorites, named Double Delight... (This is one of George's fav's also..) You should smell this one!!! If you click on the picture and make it larger, you will see raindrops on this rose. Awesome!!!!


It rained off and on yesterday---so I didn't get many pictures. But---I did capture this one of Mama Bluebird at the nest, feeding the four babies.

This is where I sit (on the deck) with my camera on the railing---staring out at that bluebird nest in our back yard. I use George's camera (with the ZOOM)---to get up close and personal!!!! I would love to see the babies when they fledge sometime the first full week of June.... Who knows???? ha

Thanks to all of you for the prayers and special thoughts due to the death of my cousin, Patsy. That meant the world to me.. You all are FABULOUS. See you Sunday!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Roses, Anyone????

I desperately want ALL of you to come to our house right now---just to see all of our beautiful blooming roses. I call them "our" roses---but George does ALL of the work. AND--you know that Hybrid Tea roses take alot of work.. George has grown roses for many years (long before I knew him). He is an EXPERT --as you can tell.

In 2005, we bought eight rose bushes. Then, after George retired in 2006, he wanted to plant some more. But where????? Our yard is very shady --and if you know roses, they love sunshine. SO---the first thing we did was to build a huge (long) flowerbed along the side of the house. We did it so that we could plant not only roses but also perennials (Crocus, Hyacinths, Tulips, Daffodils, Iris, Lilies and Daylilies). We did plant about 18 roses that first year --along that side bed. I loved where they were because I could sit on our swing and enjoy them!!!!!

BUT---even though they bloomed, they just didn't do well in that location, due to all of the shade. The only sunny spots in our yard are in the front yard--along the driveway. SO---during those next several years, George gradually moved all of the roses (and added more each year) to our front yard. He made 2 beds on either side of the driveway for a total of 32 bushes. Our yard (like most in this area) has solid rock about 2 inches below the surface... SO---he couldn't move farther into the yard with these beds. He started putting them in large pots on both sides of the driveway... NOW--we have 48 rose bushes total, and that's about all we can have unless we chop down a bunch of gorgeous trees (NOT).

After George moved the roses to the front yard, I complained about not having a place to sit and just look at the roses. He then built me a little area and put a cute little bench out there... I surely do have a 'keeper' when it comes to husbands, don't I????? He says that he spoils me---and that is TRUE.

WELL---since you can't come and see the roses in person (sniff sniff), here is the next best thing. I took these pictures yesterday afternoon. I don't know how many total blooms there are now, but I do know that there are 30 of the 48 in bloom right now, many with several blooms. The picture above is of our house ---taken from my bench. Below are others!!!! Be sure and click on all of the pictures for a better view, especially of the roses.

This is another view from the bench---looking left, across the driveway. Our Clematis is on the left---and has begun to bloom. The smaller roses that you see in any of the pots are NEW and recent ones---that are just getting started!!!!

This picture was taken from the top of the driveway--looking toward the street. You can now see all of the potted rose bushes on both sides.

This is the rose bed on the right side of the driveway (while looking toward the street). There are 22 rose bushes in this bed. Look at all of those colors. Amazing!!!!

The same flowerbed from the other direction (looking toward the house)

This smaller bed (on the left of the driveway looking toward the street) contains 10 bushes. One of them (About Face) has grown leaps and bounds this year.

The same flowerbed from the other direction (facing the house)

I am showing you these two bushes just so you can see how many more buds there are on them. The one on the left is New Day and on the right is Medallion.

There are lots of blooms and buds on this bush... I also love the name: Brigadoon. Neat, huh?

I have mentioned to some of you that George spoils me by bringing roses into the house, putting them in a vase, and then placing them on our dining room table every day or two. These are the four in the house right now.. OH ---they smell SO good. Aren't I a blessed woman to have roses on my table most of the late spring/summer/fall??? WOW!!!


I didn't look into the Bluebird nest today --and won't until after they fledge. BUT--I did sit on the deck and watch Daddy (above) and Mama Bluebird going back and forth to the nest to feed the babies. Isn't Daddy gorgeous?????

Now---here's Mama Bluebird. She's pretty also, don't you think???? They love that old nestbox. Remember last year when the Downy pecked a hole in the side????? That hole didn't keep the Bluebirds from coming back this year. I do have a 'new' nest-box ---but they obviously didn't like it. In fact, it has not been used yet. I'll probably never find another good one like this one again. Hope it lasts a few more years!!!!

Hope you have a great Wednesday.

ADDENDUM: After completing this post last night, I got an email telling me that one of my 2nd cousins had died last night. Her name was Patsy Cummings ---and she and I had a great email relationship. She also read my blogs--and would comment about them on emails to me. She had emailed me about 28 times since January of this year. The last email came on April 11. In that email, Patsy told me that she picked her first Iris bloom in her yard.

I 'thought' that something must be wrong since I hadn't heard from her lately even though I had written her. Patsy did have health problems, but I had no idea she was this close to death. She was such a gracious and caring lady. Please say a prayer for her husband, Zeke.

AND to Patsy: "May you rest in peace. I love you!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Visit with son Jeff and the Grands

I have enjoyed reading your blogs this weekend.. Seems like most everyone has been enjoying outdoor activities with friends and family. Memorial Day weekend generally is the beginning of summer. We personally had a great weekend. The weather was nice---and even though we thought we were going to get rain, it seemed to go all around us most of the weekend. We did get half an inch---mostly during the night. Our days have been just about perfect for the end of May!

The highlight for me over the weekend (other than being with my sweetheart) was driving to Knoxville and meeting up with son Jeff and the grands. We met at Texas Roadhouse on Sunday evening, and had dinner together. We sat and talked and talked... I was in seventh heaven--just being with them. These two grandchildren are just so grown-up and well-behaved and, of course, SMART. It was such a FUN time!!!! Above is a picture of Jeff and his kids, ages 10 and 13. Below are more pictures.

I love this picture of two of our grands. They are growing up SO fast! (George and I have a total of six grandchildren: these two, two in Texas, one in New Jersey, and one in Tampa.)

See how proud this Grammy is???????

George was nice enough to take this picture of Jeff and Mom ---and the grands!!!!! All in all, it was a GREAT visit----and 'made' my holiday weekend even more special!!!


OH how I wish you could be here to see and smell our roses! There are 30 different rose bushes in bloom now, out of our 48 total. Each bush has several blooms. It is totally awesome!!! If you like yellow roses, you'll love this beauty above. Her name is New Day. Beautiful, don't you think?


Well, this may be my last 'peek' in the bluebird nest-box. They are about 12 days old now I think. Look how many BLUE feathers there are now. Wow!!!!! (Click the picture to enlarge.) Even though everytime I have looked in the box, the babies have been sleeping, I don't want to 'spook' them --and have them try to fly out BEFORE they should.

SO---unless I decide to take one more look tomorrow, I will sit on the deck and watch Mama and Papa go back and forth feeding them. Once the babies start peeking out of the opening ---then I know it will almost be time for them to fledge. This should be sometime the first week of June. Oh---how I love my Bluebird family.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day

Yesterday, I posted a patriotic poem about our American Eagle. Today is Memorial Day---and I have two more poems to share. I'm sorry I do not know who wrote either of them--but I like them both. First is one named "Memorial Day":


We set aside Memorial Day
Each and every year
To honor those who gave their lives
Defending what we hold dear.

In all the dark and deadly wars,
Their graves prove and remind us,
Our brave Americans gave their all
To put danger far behind us.

They made the ultimate sacrifice
Fighting for the American way;
We admire them and respect them
On every Memorial Day.

The other poem is entitled "Always Remember". This one truly touches those who have lost a loved one who fought the good fight. Read this one and remember.


We bow our heads in silent grace;

Proud to stand upon this place.

To honor those who we love and lost;

Whose lives were taken at such a cost.

Through the pain and sorrow,
for all the brave and true;

To always be remembered
by me and by you.

To heal the minds and hearts,
of those who still live;

Always remembering
what they had to give.

Live your lives with pride
in hearing what I say;

May God bless and keep you
on this and every day.

Whatever you do today, or have done this weekend, I wish you a very happy Memorial Day. I spent some time with one of my sons and a couple of grandchildren. Life can't get any better than that!!!! (I'll share pictures tomorrow.)


This beautiful rose, appropriately named Memorial Day, (how 'bout that?) is blooming in our yard now. We have 48 rose bushes---and right now, 28 of them are blooming, many with several different blooms. Wish you could see our roses!!!! Come on ---and we'll show you around!!!!!


Finally, I can only open the nestbox ONE more day after today ---as these baby Bluebirds are really growing, all four of them. I'll bet they are uncomfortable in that little nest now, don't you think? SO---at age 11 days (approximately), here are the sweet little bluebirds. Click to enlarge the picture.

I took pictures of the Bluebird babies to show my grandchildren. They enjoyed seeing them from eggs to birth to age 11... Tomorrow, I will peek and take one last picture of the birdies. They should fledge sometime the first week in June.

Happy Memorial Day to YOU.