Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JULY!!!! Our Lilies are blooming now... So gorgeous!!! Here is one of my many favorites! Meet DIZZY.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Straight from the Elk's Mouth

If you have read my blog recently, you will know that George and I and our great friends, Neal and Patti, went to the Cataloochee Valley (north of Maggie Valley, North Carolina) to see the elk on Wednesday, October 20. I posted pictures yesterday and will tell you an elk story today---straight from the elk's mouth!!!!!! (Did you know I spoke 'elk'????? I do--and this bull elk confided all of this to me!!!!!)

In the picture above, Simon the Elk was bugling.... Can you hear him???? He is hollering: "I want me a woman! I want me a woman!"

"Hmmmm... There's one!!!!!! Hi, Edith.... Wanna play with me????????"

"Awe Shucks.... Edith is paying no attention to me... Think I'll sing her a song.... 'I Luv You Truly....... Truly Dear'...... Now, ain't that purdy???? (I'm a southern elk you see!)"

"Doggone it all.... That Edith is just so gorgeous--but she's paying me no mind at all.... What shall I do??? I feel dejected!!!"

"A-ha... There are some friends... Think I'll ask George and Neal what I need to do to get a woman! They told me to go over to the other field where there are ALOT of beautiful women!!!"

"Hmmmmmmmmmm.... There are more possibilities out here... Maybe I'll sing to Sandra, or to Ginny, or to Mildred, or even to pretty little Suzanne. Think they'll pay some attention to me??????"

"Well...NOBODY---not even Ginny (who loves everybody) wants to be my 'woman'... Think I'll just take a nap --and cry for awhile.. Poor ME!! Do any of you Bloggers want to be my special friend????? PUH--LEASE!!"

Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you on Monday morning.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Elk at Cataloochie

If you have missed any of my posts from our recent trip, please go to my sidebar, scroll down to Labels, and click on Maggie Valley 10/10. This is my 3rd post from this wonderful trip...

As I mentioned before, there were two things which we really wanted to see on this trip (besides being with friends, Neal and Patti). These two things were: to see the Autumn Colors; and to see the Elk at Cataloochee Valley. We definitely accomplished both...

Today, I will show you some pictures of some of the elk we saw ---and then tomorrow, my photos will tell a story!!!!!! We enjoyed seeing the elk ---and hearing them BUGLE was just as exciting as seeing them... We had an awesome time.

Above is a picture of a group of them. Below are more!

This is a picture of a Mama and baby.... Cute, huh?

I was drawn to the males --because of their racks!!!!

The females are pretty too ---and in the groups which we saw this week, they seemed to outnumber the males.

Another beautiful male; Isn't he amazing?

Here are two males in another field.... No ladies around !!!! Guess they were taking a break!!!!! ha

Finally, this is one of my favorite pictures... The elk on the left is scratching his back --using his rack!!!! Neat, huh???

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the elk from Cataloochee Valley (near Maggie Valley, North Carolina)... Tune in tomorrow for an Elk Story...

Have a wonderful day.

P.S. George and I got good reports yesterday at the Eye Doctor, during our annual check-ups. Our eyes are in good shape----no glaucoma, no cataracts, and no signs of macular degeneration.... That is especially good news for George since macular degeneration is in his family. Praise be to God!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Blog Friends are the BEST

Monday was a fabulous day for George and me.  We drove down to Georgia to meet blog friend, MILDRED,  and her hubby, John.   We have met so many great blog friends --and all of them have become friends for a lifetime.

Mildred and George/I  have known each other through blogging for about 2 yrs. She has such a wonderful, uplifting blog.  Please visit her if you have time.  Her wonderful husband, John, has had many health problems --but even with all of this,  we found him to be a warm, caring and a great guy---with a terrific personality...  We could have chatted for hours and hours I'm sure!!!!!

Mildred prepared an early Thanksgiving Dinner (with ham, turkey and all of the trimmings) for us... It was delicious ---and most of you know how much George and I enjoy eating!!!! ha ha .....  She also had heard me say that I couldn't find any Pumpkin Ice Cream here ---so she served it for dessert on top of a delicious Pumpkin Coffee Cake....  YUM-YUM-YUM....

We exchanged 'goodie bags' ---and she filled ours with a new 2011 Nature Lovers' calendar,  some homemade PEANUT BUTTER cookies,   some soft peppermints (which we cannot get here),  and some bulbs and seeds from her yard....   (I asked her not to mention our gift to them yet --since we are giving it as Christmas presents this year.)

I could go on and on  (you know me!!!!)---but let me just share a few pictures with you.  Above is a sweet picture of two blog friends,  Betsy and Mildred.    Below are more.

Mildred and John have a gorgeous home with 2.5 acres of woods around them, plus a creek.  What a joy to see that beauty!!!!!  Above is a picture of the inside living room area --pointing toward the kitchen.  That is Mildred in the distance!!!

This home has a large deck ---including screened in porch.. We enjoyed sitting there most of the time.. I told Mildred that I could 'live' on that porch!!!!!  The picture above is Mildred and John and Harriet (their sweet doggie) on the swing on that screened-in porch.  Sorry the picture is a little dark--but you can still see them.

Here's an old lady who enjoyed spoiling Harriet!!!!!

We walked down to their creek while we were there ---and this is one picture showing the Mountain Laurels around the creek.... That's another place I could just "live"... ha

Finally,  here is a picture of the four of us... George set up the tripod--and we walked out on their deck to take this picture..

IF you ever have a chance to meet blog friends,  DO IT... It's wonderful!!!!!!  We are so blessed to have so many great blog friends,  including Mildred and John.  Please keep these two in your prayers...  John has some major health problems --and we are all praying for his doctors to give him some relief.

Thanks again,  Mildred and John,  for such a BLESSED day... God Bless You BOTH.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Autumn in the Smokies -Part I

The first day of our trip was spent seeing the Fall colors in the Smokies,  the Blue Ridge Parkway and Balsam Mtn. Road.  If you missed yesterday's post,  be sure and click on Older Post --at the bottom of today's blog.   There is an explanation of our trip on that post.

We took Highway 441 from Gatlinburg over the mountain to Cherokee, NC.   Today's pictures are all from the overlooks along that beautiful stretch of road..  Above is a picture of the Chimneys,  which is one of the popular hikes in the Smokies.  Below are more pictures of the beauty that we saw.

This ole woman absolutely LOVES Autumn --and all of the colors!!!! Can you tell????? ha ha

I love seeing the blue skies in this picture....  Aren't the colors just gorgeous?

Every Autumn,  depending upon the weather,  the colors are a little bit different.   This year is no exception...  I love seeing the mountain ranges--but shooting directly into the sun isn't always easy!!!!

George is standing with one foot in each state,   Tennessee and North Carolina.  This is Newfound Gap,  a popular stopping place along Highway 441 over the mountain.  

This is a gorgeous picture showing the beautiful reds. Red is my favorite Fall color --although this year,  I particularly enjoyed the maroons also.

Finally, here's another 'beauty' for you showing more of the mountain ranges... You certainly know why they are called the "SMOKY" Mountains,  don't you?

Hope you have enjoyed Part I of my photos.   I'll post Part II soon.  

Yesterday,  we visited blog friend, MILDRED, and her hubby, John,  in Georgia.  Had a FABULOUS time...  She blogged about our visit today --and I'll blog about it tomorrow.  Because we were gone ALL day,  I didn't get to comment on blogs much yesterday...  I promise that I will catch up with you SOON.  Don't give up on me!!!!

Have a wonderful Tuesday.

P.S.  Since most of you know that we haven't had any rain in a long time,  I want to report that we had a really good rain Sunday night/Monday morning....   It rained off and on all night... Yeah Rah... We really needed it!!!!!   We may even get some more this week...  Thanks to those of you who have been doing the Rain Dance for us!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Friends, Fall Colors and Fabulous ELK

George and I joined blog friend NEAL and his lovely wife, Patti, for several days together in the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina, at Maggie Valley. Neal and George/I have been friends for about 2 years --but we had never met until this past week... What a neat couple these two are... The four of us had a fabulous time together ---and found out that we have so much in common. It was such a great trip--and I'm sure we will plan more vacations together.

Neal is a big tease ---so of course, we spent much of the time laughing and joking with each other... George was thrilled because now there are two of them who can give me a hard time!!!!!! ha ha.... Patti (Neal's wife) doesn't blog --but I told her that she needs to start --so that I will have some HELP.... Patti is a tiny little gal --like my good friend, Judy, and is very personable... Like I said, we all had a great time together ---and it's as if we have been good friends for years.

Besides being with these wonderful friends, we all went to Maggie Valley for two reasons: to see the Fall colors, and to see the Elk in Cataloochee Valley. We accomplished BOTH. Today, I'll show you an outline of our week--but will divide them into categories for many more pictures in upcoming blog posts... I probably won't show you the entire group of 600 photos I took (George took 500) ha ha --but I'll show you the BEST ones I hope. Above is a picture of our special friends, Neal and Patti. Below are more.

We started out driving through the Smokies (between Gatlinburg and Cherokee). Even though there were TONS of people and traffic, once we got on 441 to go over the mountain, it wasn't too bad. Once we got to Cherokee, we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed toward the Balsam Mountain Road. The weather was perfect --and the colors were gorgeous... Above is one picture taken in the Smokies.

We stayed at the Abbey Inn in Maggie Valley. Thanks to blog friend DOROTHY for reommending the Abbey Inn. It was a wonderful, little motel. The view was terrific... The picture above shows the view from our front porch... Wow!!!!

The absolute highlight of the entire week was getting up early on Wednesday morning (in the drizzle and fog) and driving to Cataloochee Valley to see the ELK. Not only did we see about 20-30 of them that morning, we also heard them BUGLE.... How awesome is that!!!! I was so very very excited--as you can imagine!!! I will have many pictures to share --but above, here is one for you to enjoy. My pictures were taken from the road --using my 300mm lens.

After seeing the gorgeous elk and checking out the Cataloochee Valley (which is similar to Cades Cove), we drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Maggie Valley to the Mt. Pisgah area. The drizzle and fog disappeared fairly quickly --and the sun came out --just for us of course... Above is one picture taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway that day.

On Thursday, we drove over the Cherohala Skyway (between Robbinsville, NC and Tellico, TN) checking out even more beautiful Autumn colors. They were fabulous there also--especially on the NC side.. Above is a picture taken along the Cherohala Skyway. As you can tell, this was our best day weatherwise --since there wasn't a cloud in the sky. AWESOME!!!!

Finally, George and I just HAD to show Neal and Patti one of our favorite waterfalls at Tellico, Bald River Falls. Above is a picture of the four of us on the bridge.... I promise you that Neal is NOT seven feet tall... He is standing on a step on the side of a bridge. That is my favorite picture of us!!!!

Hope you ALL had a great week like we did.... George also is posting pictures from our trip, so be sure to click HERE each day to check his blog.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Visit with Cousins at Fall Creek Falls

On Sunday,   George and I drove south of Crossville to one of our favorite places,   Fall Creek Falls State Park.  We met two of my cousins and their extended families for a delicious buffet at the park restaurant.  Besides eating,  we sat around and chatted for a couple of hours.  It was a great time.

Above is a picture of the nine of us...  Seated on the left is my cousin Carol --and John (hubby) behind her. They live in Michigan.  Seated on the right is Marvin and wife Carol behind him.  You know George and I in the middle with our 'matching' shirts... ha ha .....  Behind us is Dar and Wes.   Dar and Carol (the Carol on the right) are sisters of  my cousin Carol's husband John.   The two sisters and hubby's live in Sparta--which is southwest of Crossville.   And my cousin Bonnie (in the white blouse) lives in Florida with husband Dave (who was not with us since he is hang-gliding this week).   Below are more pictures...

Here are the 3 cousins:  Bonnie,  Betsy and Carol.   Bonnie and Carol are 1st cousins since their mothers were sisters.  I am a 2nd cousin since my mother was a sister of their grandmother.   Got all that????? ha ha .... These two gals are like my sisters --since I never had one!!!!!   Don't you love the SQUINTS???  We were looking STRAIGHT into the sun...

After dinner,  George and I just had to take time to drive around the park searching for Fall colors...  Even though it's been very dry here this year,  we did find lots of color to share with you.   The picture above was taken from inside the car---looking out of the front window... The roads all around the park were dotted with Fall colors --and just so pretty... It was a beautiful day to be there.

This is a picture taken near Cane Creek Waterfall --which was mostly dry... Can you see how dry the creek is in the picture above????  We have NEVER  EVER seen this small amount of water in this area---and you know that we have been to Fall Creek Falls a trillion  million times.  ha.... I keep talking about how dry we are this year in this area---but seeing no water at the Cascades or Cane Creek Waterfall just about blew my mind!!!!

There was a little water coming over Fall Creek Falls (not pictured)---but not nearly as much as we usually see.  However,  the Fall colors near the falls,  and on the nearby bluffs and gorge were really pretty.  Don't you agree?

This is always one of my favorite pictures of  the mountain ranges surrounding Fall Creek Falls State Park.  It was nice to be here on a beautiful Autumn day in Tennessee.

Finally,   a sweet lady took our picture together since George took theirs...  Hope you enjoyed experiencing Autumn in Tennessee. Even with the drought,  we truly enjoyed our day at the state park.

I will be taking a blog break for the rest of the week.   I 'may' do a blog on Friday--but probably will wait until Monday.  I will catch up with your blog posts next week.  Hope all of you have a fabulous week.  Enjoy yourself and get out in nature---that's most important.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Autumn Color along the Smokies Foothills Parkway

This past Thursday,  George and I drove to the Smokies to check out some Fall Colors.  We drove on a road which we had not been on before,  the Foothills Parkway (near Townsend, TN).   The parkway reminded us of the Blue Ridge Parkway---with overlooks all along our way.

There was quite a bit of color --but not as much in the higher elevations.  However,  we picked a perfect day to be there because a cold front had blown through the area the day before,  and it turned out to be a perfect day --and very clear.

Besides seeing some gorgeous colors along the parkway,  we hiked to a tall tower near Look Rock ---and saw some spectacular views of the Smokies and of the area all around.  I will publish pictures of the tower and views in another post,  and today will share some of the gorgeous colors we encountered that day.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.

You can see some of the beautiful Smoky Mountains in this photo.

I can just "ooh and ahh"  when seeing the beautiful Fall colors.

We found this beautiful red color as we were hiking up to the tower.   Isn't it just gorgeous?

Here's another picture showing some of the beautiful Smoky Mountains, and the valley below.

For some reason,  I am drawn to this picture... I love the little splashes of red!!!!   What do you think?

Finally,  this picture was taken near Chilhowee Dam --after we got off of the Foothills Parkway... I love seeing Fall color around the water.  The only thing needed is a great reflection... (Guess we need to go back for that!!! ha)

Hope you enjoyed seeing some color from the beautiful Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.   Hope also that you had a great weekend... George and I had our annual physicals this past Friday ---and both received excellent reports...  Thanks be to God for GOOD HEALTH.