Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month shows the mountain ranges and a little left-over Fall Color along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, 11/1/19.

Monday, November 30, 2009

ADVENT



Yesterday started the beginning of the Christian Year. This season is called ADVENT. Since some of you may not know about our Christian Year, I decided to write a couple of blogs about it. I will begin though by saying that not every Christian denomination follows the Christian Year. In my churches all through the years (Methodist and now Episcopal), we have followed the Christian Year---and I LOVE it. This first post will talk about Advent through Epiphany.

ADVENT begins our Christian year and includes the four Sundays before Christmas Day. Each of the seasons is represented by a specific color. The color of Advent is purple. Depending upon what day December 25th falls, Advent begins toward the end of November or the beginning of December. Advent is a time of anticipation and hope---and WAITING. Many churches light candles (Advent Wreath in my header) each week in anticipation of the birth of Jesus Christ. Many homes also have small Advent Wreaths signifying the season. Advent carols are sung.

Each Sunday during Advent, the candles are lit --adding one each week. The first Sunday of Advent, one of the purple candles is lit. This candle stands for HOPE. On the 2nd Sunday, two candles are lit. The second purple one stands for PEACE. On the third Sunday of Advent, the pink candle is lit. This candle stands for JOY (knowing the the birth of Christ is coming very soon). AND all four candles are lit on the fourth Sunday of Advent. The fourth candle stands for LOVE.

Everyone knows that Christmas is on December 25--but the season of CHRISTMASTIDE (liturgical color is white) goes from the 25th through January 5. During Christmastide, a large WHITE candle is lit signifying the birth of the Christ child. This is the 'official' Twelve Days of Christmas. This is why many Christians leave up their Christmas decorations until January 6.

EPIPHANY (using the liturgical color green) begins on January 6th. It is the time when the Wise Men visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. They followed the star--so the real significance of Epiphany is 'light.' The word Epiphany itself means "showing forth." The light from the Star of Bethlehem and the light of Christ spread throughout the world during Epiphany.

Epiphany is also a time to remember Christ's baptism--and our own, together with the ways in which Christ was revealed to humankind, especially in the healing miracles. It is a time to ponder the ways in which we ourselves are called to bring Christ to the world.

The number of Sundays in the Epiphany season varies from four to nine according to the date of Easter Sunday (which is a movable date derived from the lunar calendar). This year there will be six (January 7- Feb. 16).

I will present one more post on the Christian Year.. In the meantime though, Happy ADVENT. Let's all do what we need to do to anticipate the birth of Christ, which is the REAL meaning of Christmas.

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On another note, George and I had a wonderful hiking and 'waterfalling' trip... We saw at least 16 new waterfalls this past weekend. Below is one picture of the first waterfall we saw on Thanksgiving afternoon while visiting our good friend Reida. More pictures from our trip will be forthcoming.

Bays Mountain Falls (near Church Hill, TN)

Hope everyone had a great weekend ---and all of you have 'walked off' all of that big Thanksgiving feast!!!!
Hugs,

P.S. Be sure and read my "Thirty Days of Thanksgivings" on my sidebar --before I take it off.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving


I would like to take this post to wish each of you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving this year. I have enjoyed writing my "I'm Thankful For..." all month and posting it on my sidebar. I hope you have been reading it. There are some 'big' thanksgivings and some tiny ones. I will continue to do this throughout November, and encourage you to do this next year, since it keeps the real meaning of being thankful on our minds ALL month, and not just for one ONE day.

After eating all of the Thanksgiving turkey and the trimmings, George and I will be going to the mountains of East Tennessee in order to do some hiking and 'waterfalling' for a few days. The weather may not cooperate though, since snow and cold rains are predicted!!!! Brrrrrr!!!!

I will take a blogging break ---and will be back (hopfully with great pictures) on Monday, Nov. 30.
Today I leave you with a beautiful poem I found on the internet.

Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to God above,

Thanks for expressions of His love,


Seen in the book of nature, grand

Taught by His love on every hand.



Let us be thankful in our hearts,

Thankful for all the truth imparts,


For the religion of our Lord,


All that is taught us in His word.


Let us be thankful for a land,


That will for such religion stand;


One that protects it by the law,

One that before it stands in awe.


Thankful for all things let us be,


Though there be woes and misery;

Lessons they bring us for our good-


Later 'twill all be understood.


Thankful for peace o'er land and sea,


Thankful for signs of liberty,


Thankful for homes, for life and health,


Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.


Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,


Thankful for all things, good and true,


Thankful for harvest in the fall,


Thankful to Him who gave it all.


~~Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer fl. 1907



Thanks again for all of the love and friendship I have found this past year since I joined Blogger (January of 2009). I feel so blessed to have met all of you!!!! Have a fabulous Thanksgiving including the weekend. I'll be back on Monday!!!!

Hugs,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Art of Glassblowing


George and I took our Anniversary trip in 2007 to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown. What an awesome trip!!!! I will gradually share lots of pictures from that incredible trip. Even though our anniversary is in the hot summer (June), on that particular week when we were there, an actual cool front had come through ---and the weather was incredible.


One (of many) 'treats' while there was to visit the Glassblowers in Jamestown. We stood and watched those guys work for the longest time. That is truly an art. I had never seen it done before --and I was so impressed. The artisans demonstrated the craft of 17th century glassblowing for us. Glassblowing was one of Virginia's first industries, started in 1608 by German and Polish craftsmen. Above and below are some pictures of these glassblowers at work.

































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NOW----look below at what I came home with from the Glassblowers that day.

This little vase was made by the Glassblowers in Jamestown, VA. I am thrilled to have this vase---and cherish it!!!! (The rose came from our yard!)


Have a wonderful day.
Hugs,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Edgar Evins State Park, TN


In early November of 2006, we drove to Smith County, TN (west of us) and visited Edgar Evins State Park. It was a sunny Fall day and we enjoyed some gorgeous Fall colors in the park. We hiked the Highland Rim Nature Trail through the woods, going up and down the mountainside, and along the Center Hill Lake shore. After that hike, we drove down to the lake and enjoyed a fabulous sunset before heading home.


Hope you enjoy our pictures from that beautiful day. The picture above was taken as we hiked beside the Center Hill Lake. Below are more!









This hike through those woods that day was so pretty.









I stopped and stood quietly as we watched a deer.









The little deer was trying hard to stay out of our sight---but we did manage to get a partial picture of him.









Aren't the Autumn colors gorgeous in this picture ---with the sun shining brightly on them?









At this time, I didn't have my own camera... SO--I had to snatch the camera from George so that I could get his picture. (Now--I don't have that problem!!! ha)









After that hike, we went down to the lake shore to wait for the sun to set. I must have gotten hot and tired after the hike since I found a place to sit and OFF came the sweatshirt!!!!









A beautiful Mama Duck came by to chat with us while we waited.







George waits for the sunset also ---along the shore. Center Hill Lake is a beautiful lake.









I love the shadows and reflections in this picture ---as we watched the sun go down in the west. Isn't this a gorgeous shot?









Here it is!!!!!!! Wow---wasn't that worth us waiting for????? I could have sat and watched that sunset forever. Unfortunately, it got dark quickly and we had to head back home!!!!


Hope you enjoyed our visit to Edgar Evins State Park (about an hour and a half west of where we live).


Have a great Monday. Today is our 101st MONTH-aversary!!!! Bet we'll go out to dinner to celebrate tonight!!!! Yeah!


Hugs,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Mom---An Excellent Cook


My mother was an excellent cook. Note the picture above. I wish I had that talent---but I don't. I can cook and have, all through the years, but just don't enjoy it like Mama did. There are certain dishes that I do well (some of my kids' favorites) --but I just don't have an interest in doing much of it. However, I do like to EAT!!!! HA.....

SO---luckily my sweet husband has a passion for cooking. I didn't know until quite awhile after we met that he LOVED to cook. He has tons of cookbooks, has cooked for years ---and now fixes our entree items. I will supplement the meal with veggies and salads---but he makes some marvelous dishes for us!!! I am lucky, and as I told my friend Judy recently, eating at home these days is better than eating out!!! Recently, George made a fabulous seafood lasagna -that was better than an expensive restaurant.


Mama was an old-fashioned, country cook (meats, fresh veggies, home-made rolls, home-made desserts, etc.)... I remember so many of the wonderful things that she fixed for us: cheese rolls to die for, rhubarb pie, the best cooked apples I've ever had, her Ambrosia, her Prune Cake, etc. My kids remember Mom's butterscotch cookies. She ALWAYS had home-made cookies for her grandchildren.


Every year, as gifts to my teachers and leaders, Mom would make home-made candy. I was her 'helper' ---having to wrap each piece in wax paper... I think all of my teachers appreciated that gift every year. Mom would leave a tiny bit for us at home. I wish I could have some of that candy now. YUM!!!!





This is a picture of Mom's helper---ME!!!!! She desperately wanted to teach me how to cook, but I was more interested in BOYS and things like that while in high school!!!! Now she is not here for me to 'help.' (Wish she were here to see how wonderful my life has turned out !! I also have lots of questions I would ask her now about our Family History!!)

Have a wonderful Sunday!
Hugs,

P.S. In both of these old pictures (taken about 1956), look at the old stove, that table and chairs, the curtains, and the big turkey roaster sitting on the table. I STILL have and use that big turkey pan!!!! Neat, huh?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ah---The English Language


I've always been fascinated with words--especially words that have so many meanings. It always makes me wonder how anyone from another country can EVER learn our language...

This cute forward about 'words' is from friend Pat. I thought it was cute enough to share!!!! ENJOY!



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There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?


At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?


We call UP our friend, we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.


At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.


To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.


And this up is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.


We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night. We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP!


To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4 of the page and can add UP ..


If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.


When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP. When it rains, it wets UP the earth. When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP .


One could go on & on, but I'll wrap it UP for now as my time is UP, so ....


Time to shut UP .....!



Oh...one more thing:!
What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night?


U P



(Spell it---if you don't get it!!!!!!!!!!!!) Tee hee hee!!!!!

Don't screw 'up'. Share this with your friends and family!!


Have a great weekend.

Hugs,

Friday, November 20, 2009

What did you mean??????


My friend, Reida, sent me these 'cuties' through an email... I'm sure you have read some or all of them before, but they still can bring a smile to your face---or maybe a confused look!!!! I have added some photos from the internet. ENJOY!!!

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter 

(Well, let's see. How can that be????)
_____________________________________

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says 

(Really? Ya think?)


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Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers 

(Now that's taking things a bit far, don't you think?! )

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Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over 

(What a guy!)


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Miners Refuse to Work after Death 

(Well---Those 'good-for-nothing' lazy so-and-so's! )

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Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant 

(See if that works any better than a fair trial!)
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War Dims Hope for Peace 

(I can see where it might have that effect! )

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If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile 

(Ya think?! )

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Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures 

(Who would have thought! )


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Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide 

(They may be on to something! )

------------------------------------------------------------------------ 


Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges 

(You mean there's something stronger than duct tape? Tee Hee) 

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Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge 

(He probably IS the battery charge! )


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New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group 

(Weren't they fat enough?! )

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Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft 

(That's what he gets for eating those beans!) 


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Kids Make Nutritious Snacks 

(Do they taste like chicken?)

________________________________________


Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half 

(Chainsaw Massacre all over again!)
________________________________________


Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors 

(Boy, are they tall!)

_________________________________________

And the winner is....
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead 

(Did I read that right? )



___________________________________
These are really funny, but sorta sad ---if you think about it. People are 'hired' to proof-read this kind of stuff BEFORE it gets printed.... Wonder if these 'proof-readers' took their morning pills from the Duh Can?????? Heaven help us!!!!!


Have a wonderful day---and be careful what you put in writing!!!!! Har Har Har

Hugs,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Painted Churches in Texas


As I look back on my life, one thing that I remember from my twelve years in Texas is visiting the Painted Churches. We took almost every visitor we had to see these gorgeous little churches, west of the Houston area. I don't know how many times we visited this area -but it was SEVERAL times.

Research says that there are about 20 of these little churches--but we only visited about 5-6 of them near Schulenburg in Fayette County in the Texas Hill Country (Dubina, High Hill, Ammonsville, Praha, etc.). These little churches --dotted on the country hillsides--- were built by 19th century immigrants, mostly German and Czech. We found it breath-taking as we drove on the little country roads, especially when we would go around a curve or up a hill and see those gorgeous churches with their steeples standing tall throughout the little communities.

These churches were called the "Painted" Churches because when you entered the sanctuary---you would see all kinds of bright paintings, exuberant murals, and TONS of color all around. The wooden columns and baseboards would shine like polished marble in shades of green and gray. The stained-glass windows were incredible. Each of the churches told a story---a story about a people striving to succeed in a new country and yet still preserving the values and culture of their homelands.

If you ever get to Texas, be sure and check out the Painted Churches. They are truly awesome.. The picture above was typical of all of them---showing the color and elaborate designs. The picture above was from St. Mary's Catholic Church in High Hill. This church was built in 1906 and painted in 1912. Below are a few more.




I show you this one so that you'll see just how 'ordinary' these little churches look like from the outside. BUT--when you go inside, WELL----all you can say is "WOW".




The inside of one of the churches




The inside of another one of the Painted Churches




One of the gorgeous stained-glass windows




Here's a close-up of the ceiling area in one of the churches. When they say "Painted"---they really mean PAINTED all over!




Here's one more close-up picture of one of the churches.

You just have to see these churches to believe their beauty. I have many more pictures--which need to be scanned. SO---I'll post more at another time.

Hugs,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Little River Falls, Alabama


In the northwest corner of Alabama (near Fort Payne), there is the neatest canyon called the Little River Canyon National Preserve. George and I have been there twice---and I'd go back in a heartbeat!!!! There are four waterfalls, canyon vistas, boulders and sandstone cliffs in this canyon. AND---there is an 11 mile scenic area where one can drive --and stop at several overlooks all along the way.


Since I've talked alot about Tallulah Gorge in North GA, Cloudland Canyon in west GA, and also Fall Creek Falls in TN---you will know how much we love gorges and canyons---and of course waterfalls! Little River Canyon is more like Fall Creek Falls since there is a 'driving' tour involved rather than ALL hiking or walking. At Cloudland and Tallulah, we can hike down into the canyon.. All of these canyons or gorges are unique and beautiful--each in their own way.


Today I'm sharing the Little River Falls which is only one of the waterfalls in the Little River Canyon. This is the prettiest of the waterfalls in this area ---and when there is alot of water flowing (like when we were there this time), you'd think it was a Niagara in the South!!!! Above is a picture of the Little River Falls. Below are more --all from our trip there in January of 2007.







This is at the brink/top of the waterfall. We could feel the mist since there was so much water there that day.







George stands near the top... The wifey kept saying: "Back up, Dear!!!" (NOT!!!)







You will note that I was standing in a SAFE place---at the overlook!!!! ha







There is another overlook on the other side of the river ---where we could see Little River Falls. We had to 'walk on water' in order to get over there... Just kidding---we drove our car around there!!!! Ha Ha...







Here's one more picture showing how wide and how big Little River Falls is!!!!! Don't you like our Niagara of the South waterfall????? If you ever get to North Alabama, check this one out. I will post more pictures from this area sometime.


Hugs,