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

Friday, December 21, 2012

Our Lights are LIT

Today is December 21... Are you READY for the birth of Jesus?  We have our lights shining in honor of the birth of Jesus Christ.  I have shared the inside of our home ---so today, I'll share the outside.  We decorate outside --but it's not elaborate like some people's decorations.  However,  it's 'us' --and the way we like things!  Hope you enjoy them.

The picture above shows our little house from the front.  We have 3 lit wreaths,  a small lit tree on the porch, and various lights/candles/bows around...

Here is a close-up of the garage side of the front..

This is a picture of one of our three wreaths in front...  They are all pretty,  each in their own ways!

Here is a close-up of our porch.  The little tree is filled with lights, red bows and candy canes... (That is a lamp shade glaring from inside.)

And here is another of our wreaths from up close.

Here is another angle of the porch side of our home.

And,  from our backyard,  here is one part of our deck.  Note the wreath on the wall also back there.  The lights on this one quit working a couple of years ago,  so it is now 'ruler' of the deck!!!!! ha  (If you are fairly new to my blog,  I'll tell you that the arbor was built when we put in the new deck to hold my bird feeders--which get put away at nights to keep the raccoons out of them.)

And the next three are pictures taken from our back yard.

For your information (in case you are wondering),  that big black looking thing in the picture is our umbrella --all folded up for the winter...  Looks kinda strange from this angle... ha

Finally,  here is my favorite wreath picture this year.  I guess the red bows and poinsettias just make it easy to get a good 'dark' picture....

Hope you and your family have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and  a HAPPY NEW YEAR... George and I plan to ----but we'll be on another Blogging Break from now until JANUARY 2, 2013.

God Bless Each and Every One of YOU ---and let's all pray for each other and for our country and world.

Much Love,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

US at CHRISTMAS (2001-11)

I have had so much fun looking back through George's and my Christmas pictures we take with the tripod each year.  We take these pictures not only as memories --but to use in our Christmas cards or letters the following year...

Today I'll share one photo from each year (except 2002 and 2003--when I cannot find any) ---AND the 2012 ones won't be taken until Christmas this year... Hope you enjoy these pictures --through the years!!!!








You can tell how I have struggled with my weight (all of my adult life it seems)... This time (now that I am AT GOAL--for the first time since college),  I am determined NOT to gain the weight back... I have to work twice as hard on maintenance as I did on losing the weight!!!!!   For that reason,  even though I am not on a strict diet (doctor doesn't want me to lose anymore),  I am still keeping a daily food journal,  drinking between 70-100 oz of water/fluid daily,  walking for exercise, and eating very healthily....   Wish me luck with this process in 2013....

Have a tremendous day--and remember to keep the JOY in Christmas!!!


Monday, December 17, 2012

My Backyard Birdies

male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
I can't believe that I haven't done a 'bird' post in a long time... I still feed them --and watch them every chance I get. I love my backyard birds---but for some reason, I just haven't had the camera in that direction lately... I'll try to do better in 2013. Anyhow ---I did have a couple of pictures of some 'migrating' Grosbeaks --which I took during Fall and never featured them on a blog. SO--today, I'll share those two pictures ---plus some that I took during December...

 Above is a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak --which visited us on October 10, on his way south for the winter. I thought (since we were on our long trip during much of September) that I had missed their visit this year. Luckily, this guy stopped by --so I got his picture. They look so different in Fall --as compared to their brilliant black and red/rose colors which we see in May (on their way north).

female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Here is a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak which visited us on  October 13.   Usually,  the males travel a couple of weeks ahead of the females---but this female must have been with the male we saw on October 10.  Unsure of that though!!!!!  You can recognize these females since they have a HUGE white eyebrow.  They are usually this color year round.

male Northern Cardinal
Here is one of our all-time favorite birds --which are with us all year long.  I love these male Cardinals especially in winter when there is snow on the ground.  That red color is so pretty against the white snow.  BUT--as you can tell,  the Cardinals also lose much of their pretty color this time of year...

male Downy Woodpecker
Here is another year-round bird for us,  the Downy Woodpecker.  This one is a male since I can see the red spot on his head.  Another similar woodpecker which visits us some is the Hairy Woodpecker.  The Hairy looks like the Downy ---except that he is MUCH larger.  I hope to get a photo to share with you of the Hairy in 2013.

White-breasted Nuthatch
Another one of my favorite birds is our White-breasted Nuthatch... These birds seem to wait for me to put out the plate feeder.  They love the Nut and Fruit Blend I buy at Walmart for them...  They take all of the peanuts that they can get!!!!

A Carolina Chickadee
Here is a good buddy to the Nuthatches and Tufted Titmice.  He is a Carolina Chickadee---and this little guy loves to talk to me when I am outside... He thinks I am his best friend ---and I may be, since I feed him!!!!! ha......  Mr Chick-a-dee-dee-dee is a bird with ATTITUDE!!!!!

Tufted Titmouse
AND---another buddy of the Chickadees and Nuthatches is the Tufted Titmouse.  Those 3 groups 'pal' around together ---and are so much fun to watch.   Isn't he a pretty little guy????

Finally,  here are some of our MANY Goldfinches.  We have had an abundance of finches all Fall.  For awhile,  we had a zillion (it seemed) Pine Siskins... Luckily,  they moved on ---so that our Goldfinches could find a turn at the feeders.  We have a few House Finches --but not too many.. Right now, it's mostly Goldfinches.  As you can tell, the Goldfinches also lose their bright yellow colors in winter.

Other regulars to our feeders (which I hope to get photos of soon) are:  Red-bellied Woodpeckers,  Pileated Woodpeckers,  Northern Flicker Woodpeckers,  Bluebirds (which I LOVE),  and  Carolina Wrens.

Once it gets cold (and hopefully snowy),  we will see Dark-eyed  Juncos.  Our Robins will come to the feeders also when it gets really cold outside.   The Bluejays and Mourning Doves are gone now---but will be back in spring, along with the Brown Thrashers.  As I've said many times,  we have a great group of Backyard Birds here.

Hope you are enjoying  December, despite the heartaches around us.  Merry Christmas!

Here is a cute poem/story sent to me by a friend in Texas... Thought you would enjoy it.

Do Birds Have Christmas?

On a chilly Christmas morn, as I looked out the window
at a crystal coat of frost on the Mulberry tree,
I saw a sudden movement, like a darting shadow,
that quickly transformed, into a happy Chickadee.
A thought crossed my mind, as I watched this little friend.
Could I learn the truth, from a fine-feathered brother?
If the Chickadee could talk, my ear he would bend.
Do you birds have Christmas, or is this day just another?
I watched, and listened, for action and sound.
Suddenly, a Brown Creeper, diving with speed
halted its plunge, a foot from the ground,
to peck at some old suet covered with seed.
More tiny friends appeared, to my delight.
The tree filled with blacks, reds and yellows
as Goldfinch and Cardinals arrived in a flight.
Do birds have Christmas? Tell me, little fellows.
Some Juncos flew in, these darts of slate.
They were hopping and jumping like children at recess,
while they fed on some seeds with the ground as their plate.
Do they know of Christmas? I can only guess.
I pushed close to the window with my forehead,
as nuthatches and woodpeckers joined in the throng.
All colors of feathers, white, black, yellow and red;
each different, but the same, all getting along.
I sneaked open the window, and heard them all sing,
At last to my mind came all the right words.
It was as clear as their chorus, a choir on the wing.
Birds don’t have Christmas, Christmas has birds!

By Mick Zerr-- Christmas Morning 2005 

On another note,   I feel the need to say something about the horrible tragedy which happened in Connecticut last week.   One of my friends (Donna) wrote an incredible post for ALL of us.  I found myself --while reading blogs and Facebook on Friday---getting upset at some of us jumping to conclusions and placing BLAME  in specific ways...  This incident could happen anywhere/anytime ---and it will continue to happen unless we ALL bring God front and center in our lives, and start living the types of lives which God would intend us to live.  We have a society problem, a cultural one --a FAMILY one.   Let's all continue to pray for our country... Please read Donna's blog (click HERE).   Let's all take a deep breath and be ONE NATION --uniting together to make each of us better. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmases Past (2001-2008)

2001 Christmas Tree
I had some fun going through old Christmas pictures since George and I got married.... SO---today I thought I'd share with you a picture from each Christmas between 2001-2008.   Hope you enjoy them!!!!! (When I do this,  I always find out how much better photos are now than they were years ago... SO--some of the earlier pictures are not the best quality! Oh Well---hope you like them anyhow.  Some will enlarge--and some won't.)

The picture above is our first Christmas tree in 2001... The angel is almost as large as the tree... ha ha....  We were living in our little townhouse in Hendersonville that first year.  This little tree now sits on our front porch every Christmas.

I couldn't find one single picture from our Christmas in 2002.... I know that we bought our new house that Fall---but didn't officially move here until the summer of 2003, when I retired from my job.  We visited the new house here alot on weekends ---and I loved to cuddle up near the fireplace!!!!!  SO---here's a picture taken sometime that winter.

First Christmas in our Home ---2003
That tiny tree (with its big angel tree-top) looked even smaller in our new Great Room...  BUT---we didn't buy the new tree until 2004.... SO---this was Christmas in our new home in 2003... NOTE that there was some snow outside... (We had more snow here during those years than we have had the last several.)

New Christmas Tree in 2004
We got the new tree in 2004----and have used it ever since.   You will have to go back and look at the first picture of this tree I posted in Monday's blog post.... There are TONS more ornaments on that tree in 2012... ha  (NOTE---there's snow outside!!!)

Two silly people celebrating Christmas together------Who are those people??????

Here's the ribbon (and garland) I used to use on the lamppost.... I loved that old ribbon ---but through the years, it turned orange in the sunlight.... SO---since it didn't look like Christmas anymore,  we got rid of it.  I bought a new one this year--but don't like it nearly as much... (Those are our winter Pansies in that bed.  We plant them every year.)

This was the first year we bought our lighted garland and bows for the deck....

Another 2007 Purchase
Also in 2007,  we bought our first lighted wreath for the front of the house.  (We now have 3 out there.)

Treetop Angel---2008
Lastly,  in 2008,  I'll show you the angel which sits at the top of our tree --and has --every year since we bought the new tree in 2004.... I like her much better than the big one I used to use on the tiny tree... (The big one now joins the other angels in their area!)

Hope you enjoyed sharing Christmas Pasts with me today!!!!  Christmas is just so special to me ---in so many ways!  Praise be to God that Jesus Christ was BORN --and that we can celebrate this birth all month!!!!

Because it is December and since there is alot going on,  George and I are taking a week off from blogging.  Hope you have a fabulous week---and we'll see you on Monday,  December 19.  Don't be naughty.....  Someone is watching you!!!!!