Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month shows our home on 5/2/19 when many of the IRISES were blooming.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmases Remembered

From our home (pictured above) to yours,  I want to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas.  George and I are taking next week off from blogging so that we can celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with family and friends, and with each other. 

I went through some of my recent photos looking for some to share with you today.  It was hard only choosing a few 'favorites' since I have so many wonderful memories.   Hope you enjoy seeing what I've chosen...  Be sure and enlarge these photos (10x16) by clicking on them.




 George and I started our own traditions when we got married in 2001.  One of these traditions is giving each other special ornaments each year.  One of the cutest ones I found one year for George was a little fishy.....  I love going up to George while puckering and saying "Kissie Kissie" ----so this little fishy became a puckering ME.... ha ha




My most recent collections (and I have had a lot of collections through the years) are my WILLOW ANGELS.   I have nine now ---but the picture above was taken when I only had seven...  Oh how I love these angels!!!




As you know,  I love my Backyard Birds.   Thanks to George and friends,  I have NINE birds on my Christmas tree now... The one pictured here was my FIRST bird,  a little glass hummingbird... It is very special to me---as they all are!




This little angel has been with me since I was a little girl... My parents got it for me one Christmas ......  They chose her and called her Angel Betsy... Isn't she pretty?????  Like me,  she loved to sing!!!!! ........................WELL---look at the next picture!!!




Can you believe what Angel Betsy has in her back pocket????   She has a  slingshot!!!!!  I guess my parents thought that was the REAL ME.... ha ha... Maybe I wasn't such an angel afterall....   (But--don't tell George!!!!! ha ha)




This beautiful Nativity Set has been in George's family for many years.  It is so important to both of us ---as it tells the real meaning of Christmas.




I went back in my archives and found a picture of my childhood home all decorated for Christmas.   My Dad thrilled his little girl when he would shine a spotlight on a picture of SANTA --which he hung on the side of our home along with some greenery.  The picture was taken in about 1947 ---and I think my parent's home was the FIRST one in our town to hang outside decorations.  That is my sweet Daddy and his little girl with my dolly, Lulu... (The old car --a Pontiac--belonged to my brother, Raymond.)




The picture above was taken on December 12 this year while we were searching for some waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains!!!!  Both of us want to wish ALL of you a very blessed Christmas..  I will blog again on January 2nd ---so come back and check out my post.  It will be on "Nursery Rhymes" --so you may want to polish up on what you remember about nursery rhymes!!!!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Hugs and LOADS of LOVE,
Betsy

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More Christmas Lights from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, TN  does a creative job when it comes to Christmas lights.  If you have ever been to Pigeon Forge,  you will know that there's one LONG main road going through the town..  The road is divided with a big median between.   This year, inside the median, along the way, the song,  "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was depicted using light displays.  We couldn't stop to get photos ---but it was great seeing "Five Golden Rings",   "Nine Lords A-Leapin",  "Two Calling Birds" etc. etc. etc...  I loved it ---and maybe someday,  we can get pictures of those depictions.  They were awesome...

We did manage to get pictures in areas where we could stop.... Here are some pictures in Pigeon Forge for you to see today..  Click on the pictures for larger shots.


The picture above is a neat little building along the road ---all decorated... We found out when we got home that this is the front of a big Holiday Inn in Pigeon Forge...




Here along the side of the road is a light display of "the old mill" in Pigeon Forge...  There is an old mill in that area --and in fact,  one of our favorite restaurants in Pigeon Forge is "The Old Mill"....



++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
These next three pictures are neat since they all go together...  These were taken at Patriot Park and show an EAGLE in motion....  The first one shows the eagle taking off.  The second one shows the eagle picking up a fish for lunch... AND the third one shows the eagle in flight as he leaves with the fish....  Look at all three of them in sequence...






















++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++





And finally,   here is an absolutely gorgeous Christmas Tree which was near  Dolly Parton's  Dixie Stampede.  We drove near to get some good pictures of that tree..

Have a wonderful day --and I pray that you have all of your shopping done and are now relaxing and able to enjoy the real meaning of Christmas,  the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Hugs,
Betsy

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Lights from Patriot Park (Pigeon Forge, TN)

After seeing the lights in Gatlinburg (this past Friday's post),  we drove to the nearby area of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee,  to park and walk around Patriot Park.   We had been to this park before a few years ago (with Judy and Charlie)---but there were some different light displays this year... They usually keep some 'old favorites' at the park--but they add new displays each year... Here are some of the displays we saw this year.  You can enlarge the pictures to 16x10 by clicking on the photos.

The picture above shows a great depiction of the Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima by our MARINES.  To the left is an ARMY tank.




Since they were honoring all of the branches of the armed forces,  this picture shows a NAVY Aircraft Carrier in the center.   And--you can see the airplane to your left --representing the AIR FORCE.




This picture shows a COAST GUARD Cutter.   I loved seeing the details in these wonderful light displays.




AND here is a better picture showing the airplane belonging to the AIR FORCE.




These next two pictures are displays that are at the park every year...  This Paddlewheeler represents life along the big rivers here in the USA.




And this neat display shows a Plantation Home beside the Live Oak trees, complete with Spanish Moss..   I visited some plantations like this one in southern Lousiana.  (Ever been to Oak Alley?????)  Wow!!!




Finally,   here is one more picture showing my favorite this year, the Raising of the Flag at Iwo Jima...  AND---if you look above the flag,  you will see a gorgeous  "almost-full"  moon shining over us!!!!  How AWESOME is that!!!!

Hope you enjoyed our photos from Patriot Park this year....  God Bless AMERICA and God Bless our TROOPS.

Have a wonderful day!!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Lights in Gatlinburg, TN

As I mentioned in my last blog post,   George and I spent a few days in the beautiful Smoky Mountains with good friends, Judy and Charlie.  We went just to be together and enjoy each other's company at the Rocky Waters Motor Inn---but we also went to see the gorgeous Christmas lights in  Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  (Those city leaders go ALL out in those 'resort' towns, and George and I haven't been there during the Christmas season in awhile.  By going during the week before schools are out,  there weren't many people around --which was wonderful!!!) 

Before dinner,  Charlie drove us through Gatlinburg ---but we didn't get any pictures then.  BUT--my Sweetheart later (after we got back to the room) walked back down toward town and took a bunch of great photos...  Hope you enjoy seeing some of Gatlinburg all lit up for the season!!!!  In the picture above,  you can see the Space Needle sticking up in the distance... Anyone who has ever spent time in the 'burg has been to or seen the Space Needle.  Click on the pictures to enlarge them...




This big horse could be seen from our motel...  Isn't he gorgeous?






Want to take a walk through the lights????















For those who know about Gatlinburg,  this picture was taken near the Aquarium.  Love the Christmas tree!!!!

I have many more pictures to show you ---but that will be next week.   There were fabulous pictures in Pigeon Forge and we walked around Patriot Park and took patriotic pictures...  SO---that will be next week.   Hope you enjoyed some pictures from Gatlinburg today.

Have a wonderful weekend --and I'll see you on Monday.
Hugs,
Betsy

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Our Outside Lights

You may have noticed that we have been missing from Blog World and Facebook recently.. We took a quick 2-day trip to Gatlinburg, TN (Smokies) with our really good friends,  Judy and Charlie.   This was our Christmas trip together ---so that we could see the gorgeous Christmas lights,  eat at a wonderful restaurant,  and talk-talk-talk....

We had rooms at the Rocky Waters Inn (where we enjoyed a balcony --with the roaring river right behind us).  We also had a wood-burning fireplace in the room ----AND our room had a big jacuzzi in it.  What more could one want!!!!  Even though the time was short,  we had a wonderful trip--with terrific friends!  (Thanks, Judy and Charlie!)

We will blog about this trip ---but today,  I want to show you some of the pretty outside lights at our home this year.   I took these pictures on Saturday ---while trying to learn to take BETTER night pictures... I think the photos came out pretty good---so I'll share them with you today. Above is a street view of the front of the house... You can enlarge the pictures to 16x10 for better views.




This is our front porch.  I didn't hang lights this year around the door ---so am just leaving the porch light on instead... The  little tree is decorated with candy canes and red bows...




Here is my hanging basket ---and NO,  this Poinsettia is NOT real... It wouldn't stay alive  outside this time of year!!!




Here is a close-up of the little tree... You can't see much of it,  but we have a holly floor mat beside the door.




This is my favorite 'night picture'  I took that evening---showing one of our 3 lit wreaths.   Hope you enjoyed seeing a few more Christmas pictures from our home.  (Can't wait to show you some of the Christmas lights from Gatlinburg!!! They were fabulous!)

I will try to catch back up with your blogs this week....  It's a busy time of the year (I'm sure for ALL of us--you too I bet)...

Hugs,
Betsy

Monday, December 12, 2011

More ORCHIDS from Biltmore

If you missed the last post showing the gorgeous ORCHIDS at the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina,  click HERE.   Today I'll show you a few more photos of those beautiful orchids.   Above is a favorite of mine... Love that color!!!  Be sure to enlarge the photos for some bigger pictures.




This little white one is simple ---but oh, how gorgeous... Orchids are hard to grow --unless you live in a tropical area.   When I was younger,  a friend's mother used to grow orchids in her home.  She had a sun room ---and could keep it just the right temperature in order to grow them.  They were gorgeous!!!   In the Conservatory at the Biltmore---they grow them in one of their rooms in which the conditions are perfect for them...  Some of the plants at the Biltmore need a HOT room and some need a cool room.. They offer it all inside the Conservatory.




This purple color just jumped out at me... I love the color, purple,  anyhow ---and this one was beautiful.




Here is another beautiful orchid... I don't know how many different varieties of orchids there are,  but there must be MANY.




I love yellow flowers ---so this one called my name also... Isn't it pretty?




Here is another gorgeous color...  Is this magenta?  Whatever the color is,  these orchids are beautiful...

Hope you enjoyed seeing the orchids from the Biltmore Conservatory.   We are buying season's passes again this next year since we love that place so much.  We hope to do what we did this year and go there during all seasons....

Hope you have a great day.
Hugs,
Betsy

Friday, December 9, 2011

Our Tiny but PRETTY Snow

I didn't think I would do this post since I had another one ready to publish.  BUT--after seeing the pictures and getting comments from my Facebook Friends,  I decided to publish them for you today (with apologies to my FB friends who have seen them already).  BUT--I know that many of you who blog don't 'do' Facebook---so hopefully you will enjoy them.  If you click on them,  they will enlarge to 16x10.

We had one of the prettiest  snowfalls during the day on Wednesday this week, even though it was quite small.  All last year (when we had quite a bit of snow),  I kept telling George that I wanted to see one of those 'wet' snows that clings to everything.... 

WELL---even though we only had an inch or so,  it was so pretty...  Both of us went outside and took photos... AND--George loved it also... Do you know why?????  WELL--there are two reasons:  1.  it didn't stick to the driveway or roads---so he doesn't have to  clear the driveway;  and 2... he said that he was happy that "I" finally got my snow ---so now,  I can be ready for SPRING.... ha ha ha   (Can you tell that George ---raised in Indiana --doesn't like snow much,  and that I ---raised in southwest VA---LOVE it???)

We are supposed to have a fairly mild winter ---so this may be our only snow...  (I know that you northerners are laughing at me being so excited about a small snow like this ---since you get SO much snow. )  BUT---this truly is the perfect snow to me.  I don't need to see 9 or more inches to love it!!!!!

Above is the front of our home.  The snow was really peppering down when we were outside getting some pictures.  Compare this picture to my header above.  There was much more snow last year ---but I still like Wednesday's picture also.  Another thing I loved about this little snow was that it came during the daytime ---so we can enjoy it.  Most of our snows seem to come at nights...

Note in this picture also that the container Roses are still out... (Last year,  they were cut back and put away into the garage for the winter by now.)  We have been quite mild so far this year with a very few cold days... Interesting how every year is different from the ones before. That is what makes life interesting, isn't it????






You can also tell in this picture just how much snow was coming down.




We have 3 Holly Bushes near the front porch area....  Here's a close-up of all of the berries that are on that bush this year.   Doesn't that look Christmasy??????




Here  is the bench in our front yard.   George built this little area for me to be able to sit out there and admire all of the Roses during the Spring/Summer/Fall...   Wanna come and share the bench with me????   Probably not ---since it's cold out there now!!!




As I've said,  I love seeing how a snow like this clings to everything.  Look at this windchime.... Can you see it?????




Here's a close-up picture of one of the Rose branches covered with snow.




And look at the poor Pansies in this flowerbed!!!!   Don't they look cold?????  I will say though that SNOW doesn't hurt them...  In fact,  they are protected from the cold temps by the snow... What Pansies don't like is FROST and extremely cold temperatures.




Finally,  this may be my favorite photo from Wednesday... We have 3 lit wreaths on the front of the house---and another one which is on the back deck ---hanging over the chimney area.   I told someone on a blog today that I absolutely love wreaths.  In fact,  we have a total of SIX wreaths in and around our home.   The picture above was taken of the wreath on our deck. Isn't this one pretty?

Happy WINTER to all (who are experiencing winter where you live)...  I've told many folks that we live in the best of all worlds here.  We do have ALL four seasons ---including winter.   But ---we don't have hard winters  like some do.   We also (because we are 2000 feet above sea level) don't have very hot summers either... (I was questioning that with all of the heat we had this past Summer though... ha ha )

Hope you enjoyed seeing our FIRST snow of the season!!!!   I was one happy gal!

Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday.
Hugs,
Betsy

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My Christmas Babies

Today I want you to meet some of my Christmas babies --which guard the Christmas tree and live in our home during the Christmas season.  Above is Frisky Snowman.... Frisky is a a great grandson of Frosty...  I have to keep the house VERY COLD ---so that he won't melt....  (NOT!!!! ha ha )




Here is one of Santa's helpers named  Santa Simon Edgar---after my Daddy... Daddy was my Santa ---and one year,  when I was a little girl,   I asked for a sliding board to go with my swing set (which I already had) from Santa.   BUT--as you can imagine,  Santa had trouble getting that big sliding board down the chimney... SO---he had to leave me a note saying that my sliding board was on the side porch.... (Poor Daddy Santa had to somehow manipulate that big sliding board so that it would somehow fit on the side porch.... What a great Santa!!!!)




This little guy is Theodore the Bear.... Theodore has a big job in my household... He is in charge of  making sure that all of the Christmas Babies BEHAVE and don't bother the ornaments on the tree.... One year,  Theodore caught Frisky trying to eat Santa's cookie and drink his milk....  Frisky got a WHOOPIN'  for sure!!!!




Here is  Edith Marguerete  Snow-WOMAN....  She is named after my sweet Mama  who died in 1991 at the age of 91....  Miss Edith smiles like Mama used to ---and she tries hard to make Frisky behave...




This is Roly Poly Santa since he loves to EAT.... He ate so much this past year that I had to buy him a new belt----and a new box to keep him in during the year...  Don't know where he gets the food,  but he just keeps growing wider and wider...  He says that he is growing so that he can join his Papa Santa on the sleigh one year on Christmas Eve. 




Finally,   one of my favorite babies (don't tell the others please) is Bertha the Christmas COW..... Isn't she just a hoot?????  Have you ever seen a Christmas Cow before????  Bertha feels pretty SPECIAL -----and she enjoys flirting with Theodore.... Hope she and Theodore don't get TOO close... We don't want any little CowBears running around here!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my Christmas Babies.....  As you can tell,  I turn into a child at Christmas!!!!!   Oh how I love Christmas!!!

Hugs,
Betsy