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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hiking in the Smokies

George and I took our last hiking trip to the Smokies for awhile... (We stay away from that area during the tourist season as much as possible--due to the traffic and large amounts of people around.)   We had to go to Knoxville for regular Toyota maintenance early on Tuesday,  May 21,  so we just drove the extra distance and went on a 4.3 mile hike.

This time, we first stopped off at the Foothills Parkway for some pictures of these beautiful mountains  before heading on for our hiking trip near Elkmont to Huskey Branch Falls.  Today will be the first set of the pictures from that trip... Hope you enjoy them!!!   Be sure to enlarge them for bigger pictures.

The picture above was taken from the Foothills Parkway near Townsend.  OH how I love these beautiful mountains!!!!!   NOTE those threatening skies... Hmmmmmmm---wonder what that means??????????




George took this photo of me at one of the overlooks on the Foothills Parkway...  As you can see,  I was happy to be there!!!!




Now we are on the path to Huskey Branch Falls... We followed the Little River (shown above) all of the way up the mountain.  This is a fabulous area of the Smokies --and provided us with many photo opportunities.   The last time we were in the Smokies,  the leaves were still not on the trees ---so it was great seeing all of the beautiful new Spring growth.




Here's another picture of me enjoying the Little River.  Since the weather was 'threatening'--we decided to wear our jackets on the trail.   Am I ever glad that we did!!!!!! ha.....  Note also that I'm wearing my camera vest ---which is wonderful.   The camera is always right there in front of me,  but I don't have to carry it,  or struggle with it bobbing back and forth when I walk!!!!!   If you don't have a Camera Vest (or wear a backpack like hubby does),  then I highly recommend this!




Here's a picture of George doing what he loves ----taking pictures using his tripod and his new filter......  




This is a picture of the type of photos George is getting using the new filter... I think they are truly AWESOME...  He can make the water turn to SILK....




Here's one of my 'creative' shots --without tripod and fancy lens.... BUT--I think it turned out pretty good anyhow.  I call it "Swirling Water"...




Finally,  here is a picture  we took of us at the Little River,  using the tripod...  Oh how we love being in the Smokies!!!!  More pictures to come of this 'memorable' hiking experience.....

Hope you had a great Memorial Day weekend.  We did --although it was HOT here (hotter than it usually is this time of year up here on the Cumberland Plateau)..   We got some yard work done and cooked some steaks on the grill on Monday!!!!

Have a fabulous Wednesday.
Hugs,
Betsy

Friday, May 25, 2012

What We SAW while at the BEACH

Last Friday,  I shared with you some of the things that George and I DID while at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, a couple of weeks ago.  If you missed that post,  click HERE.  Today,  I'll share just a few of the MANY things we SAW that week on the beach...

Above is a picture of a STARFISH.   Believe it or not,  this is the first year we have ever seen one.  We always enjoy searching for what we can find along the beach.  I have two HUGE containers of shells we have brought home from our various trips there.  Sharing some of those shells someday in a blog would be fun!!!!  Maybe I'll do that!




We saw lots and lots of shorebirds  (that will also be another blog post sometime).  But--I didn't know who this big guy is.....  There were two of them with a group of gulls --so maybe he is some kind of gull.  BUT--I really don't know.  Could he be an juvenile Gull?????  Anyone know what bird this is?????




Of course,  we saw beautiful waves...  On this day (Wednesday),  the rains were coming --so the ocean was rough and loud!!!!!!  Sometimes,  we'd leave our door open to our room so that we could enjoy hearing the ocean roar... That makes for some great sleeping!




As you have seen in many of our pictures,  we enjoyed walking in and around the fishing pier.   I don't fish --but my Daddy used to LOVE to fish,  and one of my sons and grandsons would love to be here fishing!!!!   I like this particular picture of the pier because of the reflections in the water/sand.... Neat, huh?




Want this little tiny beach house?????   Think that will be big enough for all of your family and friends??????   They are building that tiny house for ME I'm sure as a gift...  When it's completed,  I'll invite you all to come and visit...... (IN MY DREAMS)... ha ha.. (See that pelican up there???)




This is more like it!!!!  Forget the big house----I'll just take the tent!!!!   How 'bout you????




This  is one of George's pictures of the Sand Dunes...  Isn't it great?




Finally,  I'll leave you today with this beautiful CROSS  which we could see on our walks up and down the beach.. The cross was particularly beautiful on Wednesday when the clouds were coming in.

As I've said,  George and I do alot of walking on the beach  all week (so that we can eat that delicious seafood---without gaining the unwanted pounds that can creep up on us!!!)...   We do SEE lots of beautiful things on our walks.   Today  I just shared a sample of some of the things we saw.    Hope you enjoyed our walks!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you next WEDNESDAY.   We are taking Monday off to celebrate Memorial Day.   Hope you have a wonderful holiday ---and remember to thank God for all of those who have died.   OH---the memories we all have of those who have gone before us.  May God rest their souls.

Hugs,
Betsy

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sky Pictures from Ocean Isle Beach

Taken on Sunday,  5/6
I've always been told that if you don't like the weather in Tennessee,  you just have to wait a day --and it will change!!!!!!   True statement!!!!   BUT--it's also true at Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina.  Everyday was different ---with more and different photo opportunities each day!!!!!

Today I will share for you what we experienced each of the six days we were there ---day by day!!!!!  And remember:  I'm focusing on the SKY in these pictures...  Be sure to click on the pictures to see enlargements. Above is a picture of the sky taken on Sunday,  May 6.   This was our first afternoon at the beach,  and as you can tell,  there was a nice mixture of blue sky and clouds.




Taken on Monday, 5/7
On this day,  there were more clouds than sun at times...  BUT--it didn't rain (like it did in other nearby places that day),  so we weren't complaining!!!!!




Taken on Tuesday, 5/8
Today was our prettiest day since there wasn't a cloud in the sky over us!!!  Our Inn (Islander Inn) is the one on the left with the red roofs...  You can see some clouds inland in the distance.




Taken on Tuesday, 5/8
Just have to show you one more beautiful picture of the beach and waves and that gorgeous sky on our Tuesday there!!!




Taken on Wednesday, 5/9
Wednesday was a day that we knew that rain was on the way...  On a day like this day,  the waves were churning more  (good photos) and the clouds were building in the distance (inland).   These are some of the beach houses near where we stayed.




Also taken on Wednesday, 5/9
We loved walking near the pier for more good photo ops.  We had gorgeous sunny skies most of the morning --but by mid-afternoon,  the clouds had crept closer to us... Again ---no rain until we went out to dinner that night!!!!  Then the skies opened up ---but it had all stopped by the time we got back to the Islander Inn.   See how the weather cooperated with us?????!!!!




Taken on Thurs, 5/10
Besides Tuesday,  this was our prettiest day.  The skies were clear and filled with puffy clouds...  Again,  this made for some gorgeous photo opportunities...  I worked very hard to get a sunbeam---but just couldn't make it happen.   But--it's still pretty.




Also taken on Thurs, 5/10
If it weren't for the pier,   this may not even look like the same beach!!!!  I loved seeing those puffy clouds....  AND--the water was extremely calm that day.




Taken on Friday,  5/11
We left on Friday (boo hoo) ---but this was the picture that George took about 6:30 in the morning that day from the balcony of our room.  He has some gorgeous pictures of the sand dunes that he took that week --which I will share with you sometime.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of our SKY pictures from Ocean Isle Beach.  This is a wonderful area to vacation --especially during the off-season when there aren't so many people around.   BUT--if you want some 'action' --Myrtle Beach is only a fairly short drive south of here,  and there is plenty of 'action' and people there!!!!   (We didn't even venture into Myrtle Beach this time. We just loved being where we were!)

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Guess what we did yesterday (5/22/12)? We went hiking in the Smokies ---a 4.3 mile hike.  AND--guess what happened????  It RAINED cats and dogs!!!!  We had our neat rain jackets on (thank goodness) --and they worked GREAT.  However,  we need rain pants now, since the bottom half of us was soaked!!!!! ha.....  Had a great time despite the rain --and got some wonderful pictures...  The hardest thing was trying to keep our cameras dry.  You can see in this picture that George is hiding his camera inside his jacket... You can see rain drops in the picture ---and that is the Little River in the background, even though it is hard to see due to the darkness....  As you can imagine,  we will both blog about this little trip soon.   OH--do WE have ADVENTURES!!!!!

Have a great day.
Hugs,
Betsy

Monday, May 21, 2012

George's Fabulous Water Photos

On April 23, 2012,  George and I made a trip to the Smokies..   So far,  I've done 2 posts from that trip.  If you missed either of them,  click HERE  and/or HERE.   Today I'm going to blow my husband's horn (since he doesn't like to do it)...  I'm going to share some of George's pictures taken that day along the creek in those beautiful Smoky Mountains.

George and I both love photography.  However,  I'm not nearly as patient with my photography.  I take LOTS of pictures --hoping for a good one.  George, on the other hand,  is patient and works hard to get the PERFECT photo.  He reads and studies ALOT ---learning more and more about how to take really good photos...

Recently,  after taking a photography class,  he learned about a new FILTER --which he immediately ordered.   This is the filter he got:  Polaroid HD Multi-Coated Variable Range Neutral Density Filter.  Basically this filter darkens the scene so that he can use slower shutter speeds.   WELL----the filter is fabulous when doing water scenes.  The water looks like silk!!!!!   I just HAVE to show you some of George's beautiful water scenes today!!! Hope you enjoy them.  The pictures seem to get better and better,  the more he took them that day.  Be sure and click on the photos for enlargements.































I know I'm prejudiced ---but I truly don't think I've ever seen any water pictures that are much better than any of these.   I am so proud of my hubby!!!!!!  (I know this will embarrass him---but I just have to brag about him!!)  Hope you enjoyed George's photos today. All of the photos were taken along the creek at various places where we stopped and hiked.

Have a wonderful, terrific day!

Hugs,
Betsy

Friday, May 18, 2012

Enjoying the Beach!

Our BALCONY is up there above George's head.
Today I will share with you some of the things that George and I DID during our visit to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina last week...

Sometimes we SAT on our BALCONY and just enjoyed watching the waves flow in and out.  The picture above shows our room. The room is almost in the middle of this picture. We are on the top floor (right above the Gazebo) on the left end of that building.   We also sat on the balcony and watched the boats  out in the ocean.  We sat out there in the evenings and watched the moon rise over the water.. Awesome!!!  (Be sure to enlarge all pictures for bigger views.)




We WALKED and WALKED on the beach!!!  Great Exercise also!
We took MANY walks on the beach ---off and on each and every day.  One reason we love this area this time of year is that there aren't too many people around.  The beach is almost OURS!!! 




We PHOTOGRAPHED many things on and around the beach.
We both took many photos on the beach ---as you can imagine... I think we took about 1000 pictures together all during this trip!!!!! ha




She SAT in the SUN hoping for a good TAN!
One of us worked on our TAN.  (At least we didn't get sunburned this time!!!  Thank God for sun-block!)




We PLAYED in the WATER!!!
We even played in the water when we got hot!!!  I'll admit that we didn't get very wet ---but a little sea water goes a long way!!!!! ha




He READ!
One of us got alot of reading done this week---while the other person did something much more important.....  Guess what that was????




She SNOOZED!!!!!


She SLEPT!!!!!!  While George caught up on his reading,  I caught up on the zzzzzzzzz's. 




We ATE SEAFOOD!!!
Finally,  another important reason for our beach trip was to visit some of our favorite seafood restaurants in the area.  Breakfast is served for us at the Islander Inn each morning.  We skip lunch --so that we can really enjoy a good dinner.    The picture above was taken on Sunday night (5/6).   We had a fabulous seafood dinner at TWIN LAKES RESTAURANT near Sunset Beach.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a few of the things we DID while at the beach.  Next week,  I will share with you some of the things we SAW while at the beach!!!!!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  We hope to slow down a little!!!  We've been on the road again this week.  On Wednesday,  we drove to Georgia to visit my son and his bride-to-be.  Then yesterday,  we drove to Tullahoma to visit Dad Adams.  Both were great trips--but I'm ready to be quiet for a few days!!!!!   I'll see you on Monday!

Hugs,
Betsy

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What is Blooming???

Love and Peace Roses
We go to the beach every year around the first of May... Each year,  when we get back home,  we are always 'anxious' about what we'll find in our yard... AND---depending upon the year and the weather,  every year is different from the previous ones.   This year was no exception. 

Even when we left FOR the beach,  there were lots of Roses already blooming.  It was hard to leave the yard---but we 'forced' ourselves.. ha....    BUT---coming home was even more awesome!!!  Not only were the Roses blooming,  but also lots of the Lilies and even a Daylily were all blooming.

Today I'll share a little of what we found when we got home from the beach on Saturday,  May 12.    Hope you enjoy seeing more of the beauty in our yard!  Be sure and click on the pictures to see them larger.  The first two pictures were taken on May 3 --before we left on our trip.  All of the rest of the pictures were taken on May 12 when we returned.




This picture was taken from the side, looking across the driveway at two of our Rose beds.  Can you imagine how hard it was for us to leave all of this beauty????   Luckily though,  it was still there for us when we got home!




This is what met us when we drove into the yard that day.   These gorgeous lilies are named Montenegro and the roses in the background are named Veteran's Honor.




Aren't these lilies pretty?   They bloomed for us ---when we came home on the 12th.  They are appropriately named  Lollypop.  




This picture was taken of one of our round flowerbeds in front.  This one is the middle bed --and it's full of lilies and pansies...  The names of the lilies in this picture are Juanita.




We even have one set of daylilies blooming already.  This one is named Wild Horses.




This bed (near the front road) is full of color now... The irises are mostly bloomed out ---but the roses and lilies are really showing off.   All of those red roses (Veteran's Honor) are on ONE bush--believe it or not!!!!!  The roses on the right are named Double Delight,  and the yellow roses are named Welcome Home. 




Finally,  here is one of my all-time favorite roses,  named Peppermint Splash.  This one had not bloomed until we returned from our trip.  Isn't it beautiful?

Hope you enjoyed seeing our flowers today!!!!!   AND--I also hope that you have a fabulous  day!!!!!

Hugs,
Betsy 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Making Memories

From May 5-12,  George and I were out making more memories!!!!  We went on a Combo Beach and Waterfall trip, and had (as usual) a marvelous time.  We enjoy breaking up long trips in the car by hiking and finding new waterfalls.  First of all,  we visited 6 waterfalls not far from Helen, Georgia (an area which we had visited in February).  Out of the 6 falls,  there were five which were new to us.  The sixth one was Horse Trough Falls which we saw in February.  However,  with all of the spring leaves on the trees now,  this waterfall looked quite different.  The picture above is of us taken on 5/5/12 at Horse Trough Falls.





After spending the night in Simpsonville, South Carolina,  we headed to Ocean Isle Beach on the North Carolina coast on Sunday, getting there about 3 p.m.  Of course,  we checked in and then immediately changed clothes and took a long walk on the beach..   This picture above was taken on 5/6/12.   We were SO excited to get here.  AND--that evening we ate dinner at one of our favorite places,  Twin Lakes Restaurant near Sunset Beach.




The next three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) were spent just enjoying the beach --and enjoying the fabulous Calabash Seafood....  This picture was taken on a gorgeous Tuesday evening after we had returned from dinner at the wonderful Boundary House Restaurant in Calabash.

My friend accused us of just going to the beach to EAT... Well--she may be partially right,  but we also did miles and miles of walking this week --and just enjoyed being right there ON the beach soaking up the sun!!!!




This picture was taken on a rainy Wednesday (5/9) evening.   We had just returned from dinner at Ella's Restaurant in Calabash... Both George and I LOVE the big sea scallops --and on this night,  we had them sauteed.   YUM!!!!!  One thing about being at the beach is that each day is different from the next one   Overall we had a wonderful week and only had a little rain on this afternoon/evening.




Here's one more picture from the same area.   This was taken on Thursday night and we had just returned from our favorite restaurant,  the Dockside Restaurant in Calabash.   We love this restaurant so much that we ate there twice,  on Monday and Thursday nights. We both enjoyed a seafood plate consisting of shrimp and scallops... (Even though we both wear sun-block ---we did get some tan this past week... At least,  there were no sunburns this trip!)

Many people ask about our matching t-shirts... The tee which we have on in the picture above was probably the first matching t-shirts we bought.  We bought these in Sept of 2001 on our cruise to the South Caribbean.  AND--we've been buying matching tees ever since... I don't know how many we have now --but it's probably well over 35 sets..... ha




We left the Islander Inn at Ocean Isle Beach on Friday morning --and headed back to Simpsonville to spend the night.  However,  we managed to find SIX more new waterfalls on this day.  The picture above was taken at the Cedar Shoals area --where we saw three sets of waterfalls..   This is at the upper falls area --which is really a dam, but gorgeous.




We woke up early on Saturday morning and headed out to find more waterfalls... Can you believe that we saw NINE more new waterfalls on this day?????  Most of these were near the Cleveland, South Carolina area ---and sometime, we need to go back there since there are many more to see.   The picture above was taken at Middle Wildcat Falls.  This area was a gorgeous place to hike---with a great trail and lots of beautiful rhododendrons and laurels around.




And this one was taken also on Saturday (5/12).   We visited a little park called Pleasant Ridge ---and loved sitting by this little waterfall,  Pleasant Ridge Falls, after a short hike down into the gorge.

After hiking and seeing all of these waterfalls,  we headed home...  As much as I love traveling and going on vacations,  it's wonderful to get back home and sleep in our own bed!!!!!   We found things at home in good shape ---and LOTS of roses and lilies were blooming just for us!!!!!

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On another note,  today is my BABY's 41st birthday.  If you want to read more about Jeff,  click HERE .    Jeff hasn't had an easy life ---and life has thrown him some curves.  BUT--with his drive and ambition,  he is doing GREAT.  In fact, he is getting married in October to a wonderful girl...  I am SO happy for both of them... We'll be celebrating Jeff's birthday with Dawn and him tomorrow evening... Yeah!!!!!

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart...  I thank God everyday for you and what you mean to me.  I am so so so so so  PROUD of you!!!!!  I love you very much!
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Hope all of you have had a great week and enjoyed Mother's Day.  My sweet Mama died in 1991 --at the age of 91,  and I still miss her very much.

Hugs to ALL,
Betsy