Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to DECEMBER. My header photo this month shows our little home on a snowy, Christmasy day!! Have a great month ahead. Merry Christmas to all!!
Monday, August 31, 2009
I cannot believe that August is almost over... AND we usually have the hottest days of summer during August---but not this year. It's been almost fall-like since the middle of August. Yesterday's high was only 75 degrees (F) and the low last night was in the low 50's..... Brrrrrrr!!! It's almost time for a fire in the fireplace!!!!
Our rose bushes LOVE cooler weather. As you probably know by now (unless you are fairly new to my blog), my hubby grows Hybrid Tea Roses. We have about 50 different rose bushes in our yard. Since we live in a very shady yard, we've had to be creative when adding more roses. Therefore, we have about 16 of our roses in containers along our drive-way, which is very sunny. George is building a new flowerbed along the front ditch---so of course, we will have some roses out there also next spring.
Since the weather has been mild, the rose bushes have put on a show for us the past week or two. They are almost as pretty as they were in the spring when they all first bloomed. Today, I'll show you some pictures of some of our roses ---all taken this week, and many of them yesterday. I'll also show you a few more "pretties" in our yard. Above is one of my favorite pictures, a trio of fragrant roses, named PERFUME DELIGHT. I wish you could see them---and even more, I wish you were here to smell them.
If you like pastels, you will love this rose. Its colors are pale yellows and pale pinks. And it has a perfect name, PEACE.
This beauty is named PERFECT MOMENT.
Some people prefer buds---so I wanted to share these two for you. They are named PINK PEACE.
This beautiful yellow rose is named MIDAS TOUCH.
This pretty coral-colored rose is named FRAGRANT CLOUD.
In a recent post, I showed pictures of our Sedum---but since I took those pictures, our Sedum flowers have changed colors and are blooming now (above). The neatest thing about Sedum is that bees love them, and also that the colors change gradually all Fall---ending with a burnt rust color. SO neat!!!!
One more picture of some of our blooming Sedum; If you want to see the other pictures of our Sedum and more Roses, click HERE.
Our Impatiens has finally come to life... For some reason, both the Impatiens and the Vinca didn't do well until recently. I guess they like the milder weather also.
I love these last three pictures showing our Dogwoods ---showing signs of Autumn!!!!
Do you think Fall is on the way????? Pretty Dogwood, isn't it?
This Dogwood leaf is the biggest sign that Autumn is definitely on the way to the Cumberland Plateau!!! Yeah-Rah!!!!!
Hope you have a great Monday.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I've talked before about my three childhood friends --and have even asked for prayers for two of them. The four of us (all born in 1942) grew up together in the small town of Big Stone Gap, VA. When we graduated from college, we all went our separate ways for many years. BUT--In 1992 (when we all turned 50), we began a new tradition---of getting together once a year in the fall for a "Girls Getaway"... Since '92, we have gone somewhere and done something together MOST every single year. It's a very special time for us --and one that we all cherish.
This coming October, we are headed to the mountains of North Carolina to Maggie Valley. We are renting a vacation cabin for five days in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. This year will be particularly special since two of the four of us have had some major health problems. One gal (Susan) is in the battle of her life---suffering with cancer. Another one (Reida) has MS and recently had kidney stone surgery. We all know that we are getting older--and that 'life happens'. BUT--we don't ever want these special years of friendship to end.
Here is an article I read on the internet about the history of Maggie Valley. I found it interesting so would like to share some of it with you today. "They named this now famous resort community for a pretty 14-year old mountain girl with long blond hair and deep blue eyes. To know her story and the real Maggie, you must read Maggie of Maggie Valley, NC, a book written by her daughter Patty Pylant Kosher. It’s the chronicle not only about Maggie Mae Setzer Pylant but mountain life when this was still an isolated settlement in the wilderness.
Ten years after Maggie was born on December 21, 1890, her father, Jack Setzer, started thinking that the community ought to have a post office. He wanted to establish a post office in his home because he was tired of hiring someone to ride five miles to an area post office to pick up mail for the valley. Jack setzer wrote to the US Postal Department for permission to establish his home as a new post office that would serve the area.
One corner of Setzer's room was a post office in which he built a wooden box to file the incoming letters and newspapers. At the end of six months, Jack submitted his records to the postal office depth and they accepted his application asking him to submit a name to the postal service. The first three names that he submitted were rejected. He was told that they were used for another NC post office. Jack then submitted the three names of his daughters (Cora, Mettie and Maggie Mea) plus the name Jonathan Creek, the creek that ran through the Setzer’s home.
Jack didn’t tell his daughters that he submitted their names, but on May 10, 1904, Jack received an official letter from the US Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock that the post office authorities had made their decision. The official name of the mountain settlement post office was to be Maggie, NC. Maggie was embarrassed when she was told the news. She burst into tears and ran up the mountain to the old log cabin where she had been born.
At the age of 17, Maggie became the bride of Ira Pylant of Nashville, TN. They moved to Texas, but she came back to her beloved valley several times before her death in 1979 at the age of 88."
How would you like to have a post office and/or town named after you???? Neat story, isn't it? Here are a few pictures --all taken from the internet -- from Maggie Valley. I cannot wait 'til our trip!!!!!
This is the Soco Gap area near Maggie Valley.
Looking down on Maggie Valley
This will be the cabin where we will spend five glorious days together!!!!
I'm sure I'll have TONS of pictures to share when we get home. In the meantime, please continue to pray for the four us, especially Susan and Reida. Thanks!!!
Have a wonderful Sunday.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
George's sweet Daddy turns 97 TODAY. We went to Hendersonville to see them yesterday... Our good friends, Judy and Charlie, went with the four of us to Logan's Roadhouse to celebrate with a BIG dinner. We all had steaks --and they were delicious!!!! Dad and Mom ate every drop!! Then the waitress brought Dad a HUGE Brownie covered with chocolate syrup, ice cream and whipped cream for dessert... You should have seen Dad's face!!!!! Of course, it was SO big that we ALL had to sample it too!!! (No calories of course!!! ha...)
Judy and Charlie gave Dad one of those cute, musical cards---which surprised him when he opened it... Can you just imagine what has changed during his lifetime????? Nobody had even heard nor thought of a musical card 97 years ago!
We went back to their home ---and a lady from their Sunday School Class brought some homemade sourdough bread and a birthday cake for Dad. The pictures above and below were taken while she was there. Isn't he a cutie????? How many people do you know who are 97 years young---who have never taken one single prescription drug in their lives???? That's George's Dad!!!! He is an inspiration to everyone around him!
And he Huffed and he Puffed ---but the candle wouldn't go out!!!! ha (We couldn't put 97 candles on his cake for fear of burning the house down!!!! ha)
On our way home after our day in Hendersonville, we were driving up the mountain toward the Cumberland Plateau watching some VERY threatening weather. The sky actually was so interesting --with all different colors all around us... I kept snapping pictures from inside our moving car --hoping that some of them would come out, through the windows. Surprisingly, they came out pretty good.
Of course, with dark clouds and rain, there's usually a beautiful RAINBOW.... And--guess what??? With all of that rain around us, we missed it other than a few sprinkles!!!
The closer we got toward home, the prettier the sky became. I think I took about 30 pictures... ha
Finally, when we stepped out of our car --after a long day, look what was shining down on us then!!!!!!! The day began and ended perfectly. Happy Birthday, Dad. We LOVE you.
Hope all of you have a great weekend.
Friday, August 28, 2009
George and I have tried very hard to be good at recycling, and 'going green'. Here's some of the ways we try to help the environment (and all of US along the way):
-drive a Toyota Prius
-save energy by driving the speed limit (or under)
-using coupons when buying groceries, etc. (also buying store brands and their specials)
-not using our dryer very often (using racks and lines around the house); NOTE: Our community does not allow outside clothes lines.
-seldom use our air-conditioner in summer or our furnace in winter (use fans in summer for cross-ventilation, and wood fires in our fireplace in winter)
-washing clothes in cold water
-have our own compost ---for rich dirt for our roses and flowers
-purchased triple-paned windows and doors a couple of years ago--which help save energy
-recently, because of SUZANNE (click on her name to see her great blog), we finally started using our own reusable bags when we go shopping
-we have different containers so that we can separate items to take to our county recycling center once a week (plastics, cardboard, cold drink cans, paper, etc.)
NOW---after saying all of that , I know that there is still alot more that we could do.. BUT---we do pretty good compared to many folks these days. One thing that really bothers me is that, just recently, our county recycle center has told us that we can only recycle No. 1 and 2 plastics. Good Gosh.... Have you ever tried to take time to check and see which of your plastics have a No. 1 or 2 on them?????? What a hastle.... George says that our county must have a contract with a plastic company that only takes No. 1 and 2 plastics (the heavier ones).
SO---'they' WANT us to recycle. Right????? How many busy people are going to take time to separate plastics??? And now---we are having to throw away (in our garbage) some great plastic items such as cottage cheese or butter containers, or yogurt containers, etc. etc. etc.... We (I'm sure you do also) use ALOT of plastics. We didn't mind recycling plastics ---but now, we have to throw away more than we can recycle. What's up with that????? Anyone know?????? Makes me so upset!!!!!
IF 'they' (the Powers-that-be in our county/country) want us all to recycle, someone had better come up with a better solution... What say you????
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Oh how we love our Garmin!!!!! When we bought a GPS a year or two ago, I wasn't really sure that we needed one. GEE--was I wrong!!!! The Garmin is fabulous for us --since we love traveling on back roads instead of interstates. AND---it's also great at helping us find waterfalls that may be WAY back in the woods/mountains.
It's great especially when we find short-cuts (since we usually ask the GPS to take us the shortest distance rather than the fastest way). Many times these great short-cuts are not even on maps. Recently, when we were coming from North Georgia to Knoxville, the GPS even took us a new way ---where we could by-pass Chattanooga. That was SO neat---and something we had never done before.
Most of you know that we NAME things around our home. Our car is Mrs. P (Prius); my new laptop is Polly; etc. SO---our GPS is named Miss Barbeak... You are gonna ask where in the world we got THAT name!!!! Right????? So now you know that there's a story unfolding!!!! Here it is!!
The first day or so that we got our GPS, George was busy playing with it and learning about it. He wanted to check it out---so he looked for restaurants in our area listed on the GPS.. One of those restaurants was Buddy's Barbecue.. SO---we got in the car and told the GPS to take us there. We have the GPS programmed to a little lady's voice... She took us exactly the correct way to the restaurant.. But--when we got there, she said this: "Turn right and enter Buddy's BARBEAK"...... George and I laughed and laughed ---that this poor little lady did not know about Bar-be-cue... From that day on, she received that NAME.
Wherever overseas they make these GPS's---I'm sure they try their best to get the pronunciations right, but many times, they do not... Even the name of our street (which definitely is a weird name) is hard for Miss Barbeak to pronounce. Our street name is Baltusrol Road. (It even took me awhile to learn this one!!!)... When we say the word, we run it together and put the emphasis on the 'rol'... When Miss Barbeak says it, she puts the emphasis on the "tus" part.... SO funny!!!
There have been a few times that Miss Barbeak takes us the wrong way. One time, when we were in Georgia, she tried to take us over a mountain on a road that is NO LONGER THERE.... We had driven back-back-back in the mountains --the road gradually getting bumpier and more narrow. Finally, when Miss Barbeak told us to turn left, WELL---there was NO ROAD there.... Maybe at one time there was a road there, but not now. We had to turn around and go back to the main road and tell her to 'detour'....
One time, we were driving on a back road and there was a wreck ahead of us, so they had the road closed. We just told Miss Barbeak to find another way---and she did. WONDERFUL!!!
The best thing for George is when he can tell Miss Barbeak to "SHUT UP"---and she doesn't even get mad. Besides his mother and daughter, George has THREE women in his life: me, Mrs. P, and Miss Barbeak..... There's only one of us who will talk back to him. Wonder which one that is?????? ha ha ha
IF you travel alot --especially if you enjoy the back roads, get a Garmin. Don't waste your money on a cheaper one because they will only tell you enough to get you confused!!!!! Garmin should give us some money for advertising for them---but this really is a GREAT GPS.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Here on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, we've enjoyed several days of very cool, almost Fall-like weather. I even had my sweatshirt on for a couple of days!!!!! I almost asked George to build us a fire in the fireplace---but I decided to wait a little longer before we do that (although I love having a roaring fire in the fireplace).
ANYHOW----all of that being said, our cooler days seem to be OVER now... BUT---that just makes me want to see Fall even more!!!!! I'm not a very patient person ----so I decided to show you why I'm so excited to see Fall come sooner rather than later!!! Enjoy our Fall (from a previous year) here in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. I can only hope that our colors will be as pretty or prettier this Fall!
This picture was taken from the golf course fairway near our home.
Another view from the cartpath on the golf course near our home
A view across one of the many lakes here in Fairfield Glade; Aren't the Fall colors gorgeous????
The Lutheran Church steeple surrounded by color
This is my favorite tree in our yard--since I love red trees!!!!
Same tree in our front yard--from the other side
This picture is taken from the front yard---looking toward the back
This is our backyard. Now do you see why I'm READY for Fall???? I love it --and it cannot get here soon enough for me (even though I will have TONS of raking to do for 2-3 months).
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Have you sat through piano recitals????? I not only sat through many of them; I also played in MANY of them! When you are having to sit there and listen to about 25 little children play their recital pieces while waiting to hear your own little angel play his or her song(s), WELL---you know that these recitals can get LONG and tedious.
I mentioned in a previous blog (June 14) about my piano-playing years. I started taking piano lessons in the 2nd grade and took them until I graduated from high school. So--my parents had to sit through at least 11 spring recitals.
When I was looking through some old photo albums recently, I found some pictures that I want to share with you today.. Luckily, I found names on the back of the pictures---because I probably would not have remembered all of these people now. Maybe --since I'll list names with each picture, some of these Big Stone Gap, Virginia people will 'google' their names and find my blog. Wouldn't that be neat????? Here are the three pictures. You can click on them to make them larger.
This was Mrs. Harlow Williams' piano students in our Spring Recital in 1956. I was finishing the 8th grade that year. Standing from left to right: Nita Holding, Anna Lou Reach, Carolyn Fugate, Phyllis Peterson, Maudine Benedict, Nancy Hagy, Susan Hollifield, ME (Betsy Banks), Carol Neely, Anita Clark, Roberta Clark, Nancy Edmonds, Nancy Rush, Ann Liddle, Joyce Bailey; Seated from left to right: Elaine Marrs, Joyce Ann Mulvaney, Nancy Ball, Libby Carter, Fonda Potter, Nancy Mullins
This one was taken my Senior Year, 1960. This is only the high school group in this photo. Standing from left to right: Teresa Damon, Doris Buchanan, Elaine Marrs, Jill Banner, ME (Betsy Banks), Frances True, Phyllis Fugate, Susan Hollifield, Victoria Gates, Mary Elizabeth Quillin; Seated from left to right: Howard Sandt, Gale Revilla
This picture was also taken in 1960. This is the group who entered the annual Piano Competition held at Pennington Gap, VA . Standing from left to right: Ann Marrs, Mary Elizabeth Quillin, Nancy Darnell, Norma Gwaldis, Jill Banner, ME (Betsy Banks), Susan Hollifield, Frances True, Victoria Gates, Linda Jessee, Teresa Damon; The three younger ones in front from left to right: Kathy Shupe, Henry Stout, Margaret Anna Bryington
I loved my piano playing years ---and thought that Mrs. Williams was an excellent teacher. BUT--if you have sat through these long recitals before, today I give you my deepest sympathy!!!!!! ha ha
Monday, August 24, 2009
IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ROBERT E. LEE 6/25/07
The final ‘lap’ of our June '07 vacation was to Lexington, Virginia (after we had visited 5 waterfalls along the Blue Ridge Pkwy). We had been in Lexington in 2002--so we didn’t spend too much time here this particular time. We did visit Washington and Lee University, Lee Chapel, R.E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church, Lee’s homeplace, and an old cemetery.
You may not know this but my husband is a HUGE fan of Robert E. Lee. He even named his son, Robert Edward Lee Adams. George has read almost every book ever written about Lee. SO--when we visit places where Robert E. Lee lived and worked, since George knows all of the history, I have a 'built-in' tour guide.
Here are pictures from our day in Lexington. Above is Washington Hall at Washington and Lee University. Robert E. Lee was President there from 1865-1870, when the college was called Washington College. Below are more.
This is the Jackson House---where Lee lived while building his home next door.
Above is Robert E. Lee's home--which he designed for himself and his invalid wife and daughters.
Here is the open garage--which was once the stable where Lee's horse, Traveller, lived.
This is Robert E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church in Lexington, VA.
Above is a view from the side of the church (but there were too many trees for a good picture).
George stands beside the announcement board in the front of the church.
The inside of this beautiful church; Note the gorgeous stained-glass windows.
Another beautiful window--taken from inside the church
Look at this fancy pulpit... Wow!!!
Well---if you don't want to preach, maybe you want to read scripture from this beautiful lectern.... Neat, huh?
Gen. Stonewall Jackson is buried in a cemetery in Lexington.
I enjoyed reading the inscriptions on the grave markers in the cemetery. (Wonder if there are some Bruce's or Ballard's buried there?????)
Stonewall Jackson was the most revered Confederate commander after Lee.
Hope you have enjoyed our little history lesson. Lexington, Virginia is a neat little city. IF you ever get near there, check it out.