Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JUNE!!!! Enjoy a group of one of my favorite Day Lilies in our yard. Meet "INDIAN GIVER".

Monday, February 28, 2011

More of my Backyard Birds

Last week I showed you some of this month's Backyard Birds..  Click HERE if you missed that post.  The birds are always active at the feeders during the winter and I am glad to be here to feed them.  Today I will snow you some more of these little sweethearts...  Above is a real sign of SPRING,  the ROBIN.   They don't come to the feeders very often--but this guy seems to like the suet feeder.  Below are more.

Here's another good picture I took of a female EASTERN BLUEBIRD.  It's similar to the picture I showed last week--but a little different.

Here's a pretty male House Finch trying to get some 'grub' from the plate. Looks like he is doing his aerobic exercises also!!!! ha

Here's a winter visitor to our area,  the DARK-EYED JUNCO.   We never see them once the weather gets warmer.

I love this little bird,  the CAROLINA WREN.  They are such sweet birds and really want to live on our porch or in the garage!!!! ha

Finally,  here is another favorite bird of mine,  the PILEATED WOODPECKER.  These big birds love the suet feeder --and I love watching them move their big bodies around as they eat...

Hope you have enjoyed seeing more of my favorite birds...  Remember to FEED the birds --especially in winter.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Let's Talk Fridays: How do You Declutter Your Mind?

Our discussion topic this week is how do we declutter our minds???  I found a good article about this on Zenhabits.  In the article, they list 15 different ways to declutter our minds.  Check out the entire article HERE.

I decided to do this one so that ALL of you could help me with this... My mind goes about a million miles a minute ---and sometimes,  I just need to slow down and get back in control..  One thing which I have always prided myself in is the ability to multi-task...  I have always been able to do several things at one time --and manage them all.  However,  as I've gotten OLDER (yipes),  that is becoming a little harder for me!   SO---when I read in the article saying that one way of decluttering the mind is to "Single-Task" ----that really hit home!!!!!   Doing one thing at a time????  Goodness... That is so hard for me!!!!

Another way the article says to declutter the mind is to declutter our surroundings.  I am not a pack-rat ---but our computer room does get messy!!!  In January,  I spent several days cleaning out junk and throwing away or refiling things (so that I can find them)...  That felt good ---but was it enough??????

Another thing which I need to do (according to the article) is to watch LESS TV.  Our TV is on almost all day/all evening---whether we are watching it or not... Recently,  I have been so upset at what is going on in the world and in our country... These are things which I can do nothing about ---so I NEED to turn off the TV and do more praying for the world and our country instead.

Some of the other things mentioned in this article are:  taking a walk and getting out in nature;   keeping a journal;  exercising;  healthy eating;  rethinking our sleeping habits;  prioritize our list of things to do--and just do the essential ones;  quit worrying about things;  talk to someone about what is on our mind;  and most of all---SLOW DOWN.  Definitely stop and smell the roses!!!

My questions to you are:
1. What do you do to declutter your mind?
2.  What do you NEED to do that you aren't doing now???

Have fun with this one... I certainly did!!!!  Have a great weekend and I will see you on Monday. (By the way,  no storms for us last night... Just wind and rain!!!)


P.S. ALL photos and illustrations came from the internet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

VERY Early Spring in Our Yard

Most of you know that we live in the eastern side of Middle Tennessee on the Cumberland Plateau.  Here in Fairfield Glade,  we are 2000 feet above sea level---so generally,  Spring gets to us a little later than it does in areas like Knoxville or Nashville.  However,  this February has been one of the mildest ones I can remember.

We had some cold weather and snow the end of December and also the first couple of weeks in January.  But since then,  we haven't had very much.  That is unusual for us since we usually get most of our snow and cold weather in February.

Because of the mild conditions,  many of our Spring flowers and plants are showing signs of growth.  Yesterday,  I walked around in the yard taking lots of pictures of the signs of Spring here.

I love the thoughts of an early spring,  but, as I've mentioned to some of you in your blogs,  I cannot ever forget 2007.  That winter we had an early spring followed by a very severe freeze/frost the first week of April.  Many of our new Spring flowers along with the new leaves on the trees DIED that year...  It was horrible!!!!  SO---I just pray that that won't happen in 2011.

Today,  I'll share some pictures taken in our yard YESTERDAY...  Hope you enjoy a tiny touch of Spring!!!!  Above is a beautiful blue sky --and you can see that there are still no leaves on our trees!!!!  Below are more.

We always plant Pansies in the late Fall --and if the winter isn't too severe,  they live until it gets really hot here (about July).  Here's one of our little beauties.

Here's one more of our beautiful little blooming pansies.

This picture is very exciting since it shows spring growth on one of our rose bushes....  WOW--that is so NEAT!!!

Even one of our ground covers,  our Periwinkle,  is trying to bloom...

One of these days,  we are going to have some gorgeous tulips blooming in this bed.

AND---we will have beautiful daffodils blooming soon.

Finally,  I noticed this tiny little crocus blooming.  I got 'up close and personal' --and took a picture.  It looks bigger than it is..  It's pretty but truly TINY.

I never would have believed that we would have this much Spring growth in February...  Like I said above,  I love it ---but just hope that it doesn't turn into 2007...

Hope you have a wonderful Thursday.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Greenery from the Biltmore Conservatory

Many of you know that after going to the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina in November,  we loved it so much that we decided to buy season's tickets so that we could visit OFTEN.   SO--we went back there on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2011.  

Here are some beautiful pictures taken from inside the Conservatory of some of their fabulous GREEN plants.  The one above looks like a FAN to me.

Don't you just love the 'curls' in this plant????

This one looks like someone took the "pinking shears" to it.  SO pretty!!!

My mother had one like this --but I have no idea what its name is... (They do not put names with their plants/flowers at Biltmore!!)

I love ferns.  I have never had any luck growing them  (or keeping them alive),  but I really enjoy them, especially seeing all of the different varieties.

Love the leaves in this plant;  They formed hearts --which was perfect on Valentine's Day (which was the day we were at Biltmore)!!!!

If any of you know the names of these plants,  feel free to tell us!!!!   Thanks!

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interwoven Names

The word interwoven means linked or connected.   WELL--in my Family History search,  there are some common names which come up over and over in families… For instance,  click HERE to see my post talking about another intersection of the Bruce family (my mother's mother's family) with the Ballard family (my mother's father's family).   While researching the Bruce family,  I found out that my 5Great Grandfather  William George Bruce (1752-1814) was married to Annie Nancy Ballard (1755-1813)…  When I started researching Annie Ballard,  I found a connection to my side of the Ballard family.  Finding this kind of information is so much fun.

Recently,  while researching my Great Grandmother Bruce's side of the family,  (Martha Matilda Carr Bruce--pictured above)  the CARR family,  I ran into a connection between that family,  my Bruce family,  and a new family that I have not studied much--the HOGE family.  This HOGE name kept coming up --while I was researching with a Ballard cousin who lives in Spain.

Here are some of the ways that the HOGE family is interwoven in my family:
1.  My 2Great Grandfather Bruce,  Joshua Henderson Bruce (1825-1904) married a Margaret Anderson HOGE (1825-1870).  They are pictured above.
2.  Margaret Anderson Hoge's parents were:  Daniel Hoge (1785-1837) and Nancy Ann Stafford (1783-1853)
3.   Besides their daughter, Margaret Anderson Hoge,  there were two sisters in that family who connected with my family.  One was their daughter,  Susan M. Hoge  (1820-1853).   Susan married a son of my 4 Great Grandfather Bruce (Rev. Joshua Bruce --1778-1865) named Harvey Chesney Bruce (1818-1891). 
4. Another daughter was Sarah Hoge (1811-1891).   Sarah married John  Carr (1798-1874).  John's father was John Kerr Carr (1755-1835).  John Kerr Carr was my 3 Great Grandfather Carr.

5. My 2Great Uncle Robert Henderson Bruce--pictured above (1883-??) married a Mary Lelia HOGE in 1909.   Mary's father was John Milton Hoge (1844-1913).  Her grandfather was James Hoge (1807-1885). And her great grandfather was Daniel Hoge,  the father of Margaret Anderson Hoge, who was the Grandmother of Mary Lelia's husband,  Robert Henderson Bruce.  Bet you didn't get all of that!!!  In short,  my 2Great Uncle Robert Henderson Bruce married his grandmother's brother's son's daughter!!!  OR--he married his Great Uncle's granddaughter.  I am sure you have it now!!!!!! ha ha (Or maybe--you have quit reading this by now!!!!)

As I said in last week's blog post,  when working on Genealogy,  it is all about NAMES.  People today don't seem to name their children after family members --like they used to do.  Today's generation may be harder to follow than year's ago.. On the other hand though, today's generations have many more technical ways of keeping information.  SO--maybe in the year 2500---- finding out about your relatives may just be easier due to all of the ways to communicate these days.  We won't be here to see how they remember us--although I'd love to see them working on Genealogy in 2500!!!!

BUT--for me right now,  trying to find info on my ancestors leads me to research lots of different names… The bad thing about names is finding too many of the SAME common names --over and over like getting one John mixed up with another person with the same name… However, the good thing about names is finding those unusual names,  like HOGE or DUDLEY or BLAND,  which connect some families…


I mention all of these names and dates in my blog in hopes of meeting more people who are interested in the same people I am.. We learn so much from each other.  AND--due to my blogging,  I have met several distant cousins.  Isn't that just super?????

Thanks again for hanging in with me on these Genealogy blogs.  Like I said,  it is a passion of mine --but I'm sure that talking about it to others can get pretty boring…  I said something to George about the "grandmother's brother's son's daughter"---George said,  "Huh?????"  ha ha

Have a great day --and take some time to learn more about your ancestors.  I'll close with a funny one for you.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Birds and More Birds

My backyard birds have been busy during the end of January and through February... Our worst weather this winter was in late December and early January. Since then we haven't had too much bad weather --and truly,  this has been one of the mildest February's I can remember.  However,  the milder weather hasn't kept the birds away..   They must think it's almost Spring!!!

Here are some recent pictures of my precious backyard birds.  When I was with my friend Judy last week in North Carolina.  she said she was anxious to get home to see her grandchildren.  I, on the other hand,  said that I was anxious to get home to see my BIRDS... ha ha...   Above is a beautiful female EASTERN BLUEBIRD.. Below are more.




PINE SISKIN (Finch family)

A Pine Siskin and a Goldfinch talking to one another at the birdbath--on a COLD day!!!

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few of my MANY backyard birds today...  


Friday, February 18, 2011

Let's Talk Fridays: The Worst Vacation EVER

When I was young,  we didn't take many vacations--that I can remember.  I remember being jealous of my older brother, who took his family on long vacations all over the country every year.  I do remember my folks taking me to Daytona Beach when I was a teenager.  And I remember taking some train trips on occasion (since my Dad worked for the railroad and got free passes).   I don't remember any bad vacations back then.

Then, when I got married the first time,  I seldom remember us taking vacations either ---other than to visit family (which is not much of a vacation).   We had 3 kids --so wherever we went,  they went also..  SO--no bad vacations during those years either.

After my divorce and after the kids were all grown and gone from the home,  I started taking yearly vacations with my 3 childhood friends.  We've been doing this off and on since 1992.  Most of these were fabulous vacations with great friends. 

THEN---in May of 2001 (after I had met and fallen in love with George),  I went back to Texas (where I had lived previously for 12 yrs) to attend a wedding and to visit friends there.  I was only gone about 3 days --but was absolutely miserable.  I missed George SO much --and wanted to be with him.  I was on the phone with him 24/7 during that LONG weekend.  The wedding was nice and being with friends was great... BUT--this ole gal missed her MAN.

The hardest part happened on the last day---trying to get back home.  At the airport,  the flight was delayed... I could have cried!!!!  That was the longest day of my life --which I couldn't do anything about except sit and wait.  FINALLY,  I got on the plane and headed back to Nashville.  I was so excited that that weekend was over.  George was meeting me at the airport (it was about 11 p.m. when I finally arrived) ---but he was given some wrong information --so we couldn't find each other once I got off of the plane.  Yipes---where was this man I loved and was desperate to see??????  FINALLY---we were in each other's arms.  That LONG weekend was finally over... (Not a vacation I ever want to take again--at least without George!)

SO--tell me about your worst vacation EVER....

Have a wonderful weekend --and enjoy the mild weather (that we have now here in Tennessee).   See you on Monday!


P.S.  All images and illustrations came from the internet.