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

Monday, June 30, 2014

How do Two OLD People Celebrate their Anniversary

Us at an overlook at Grandview,  at the New River Gorge National River, West VA-- 6/23/14
George and I celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary this past week---with a great trip to one of our favorite states,  West Virginia.... Our reasons as to why we chose West Virginia:  1. not too many people around (except for one day);  2.  mountainous area where it is not too hot;  3. area more rustic and not so 'touristy';  4. place where we could do some hiking AND see some waterfalls---PLUS a really special day (which I will blog about on another day)!!!!!

First,  I will show you some of the things we did on our actual anniversary date,  June 23rd...  Be sure to click on the photos for enlargements.  Hope you enjoy seeing them!

George and his new Tripod
As most of you know,  George gave me an incredible photo of Whitewater Falls,  North Carolina (made into a huge poster to hang above our fireplace).  Click HERE if you missed that post.   SO----I'll have to show you what I gave him this year.  This is George's new tripod (A MeFOTO A1350)  It does everything one would want --except maybe cook dinner for us!!!!  It folds up to 15 inches --and he carries it in the case shown above in the picture.

George's new Tripod--which folds up to 15 inches

Beautiful view of the New River Canyon area
We hiked the Canyon Rim trail and stopped at several overlooks in order to get some great photos.  (We also hiked another trail to see a tunnel --even though the tunnel was closed.  BUT--we finished the day with about 5 miles total on our pedometers!)

This is George on the trail.  The trails were well-maintained overall.

Some very smart people had built steps among the rocks and rhododendrons in order for us to climb higher to the last overlook.    

Amazing area as we hiked to the TOP

We made it up those steps!!!!  George is on top of the world here!!!!

She's still smiling --after reaching the top of the world at Grandview!
Have you noticed all of the 'stuff' we carry???  We are prepared for sure:  our cameras and lenses;  my headband and 'sweat' towel;  my clip-on bug repellent thingie;  my jug of water;  AND a bag with other little things--protein bars, gum, tylenol, etc.... I was PREPARED!!!!! ha

Not only did we see deer along the way,  but we also enjoyed seeing many Rhododendrons and other wildflowers in bloom here.

How can an almost 72 yr old woman have more fun than this??????
After those long hikes,  we had some lunch and then we PLAYED!!!!!

Not to miss out on all of the fun,  George had to play also!!!!!!!   YEAH!

White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake from Olive Garden
Finally---after all of that hiking,  we were HUNGRY!!!!  SO--we drove into Beckley and went to one of our favorite restaurants,  the OLIVE GARDEN.  We enjoyed dinner ---AND we split a slice of that delicious cheesecake pictured above.  (NOT my photo since mine didn't come out).... YUM YUM YUM....  What a great way to end a wonderful day!!!   (AND ---I didn't even gain weight this week... I even lost a tiny bit!!!)

Can you see how HAPPY she is???????
I'll close with this photo George took of a VERY HAPPY GIRL ---enjoying a wonderful day and trip with the fantastic man in her life.... Thanks, George, for a marvelous Anniversary!!!!

Hope all of you have had a good week.  I will 'try' to catch up with your blog posts as I have time!!!!!  (There is always lots and lots of yardwork to be done!)


Friday, June 20, 2014

Our Yard is FILLED with COLOR (and a SURPRISE GIFT)

Our Home on 6/8/14
Today,  I'll show you some similar photos taken on different days....As I've said many times,  George and I 'walk the yard' early in the mornings and then again after dinner. Of course,  we take our cameras with us --getting the best photos we can of our flowers/yard/home. 

This is the perfect time of year here... The weather is warm --but not too hot.  The first batch of Roses are usually some of the prettiest all year long.... AND--with not only roses blooming,  but also the beginning of both Lilies and Daylilies blooming,  that keeps us busy checking them out and taking LOTS of pictures....

Hope you enjoy seeing different days in our yard recently.  Pay attention to the dates --so that you can see the progression.  Click on the photos for enlargements.

George  getting up close and personal with that rose!!!! (taken on 6/6/14)
We both would do all kinds of things (including getting in all kinds of positions)  in order to get the best photos we can.... This is evidenced by George sitting in the driveway getting a good close-up.

Rose Bed-- (taken 6/3/14)

Close up --- (taken on 6/4/14)

More and more Roses Blooming; (taken on  6/9/14)

You should smell all of these beauties!  (taken on 6/10/14)

Add in some Daylilies (Early Bird Cardinal) --and you have even more color!  (taken on 6/10/14);  NOW--compare this photo with the 3rd picture from the top --taken on 6/3/14... What a difference a week can make!!!!

The Early Bird Cardinal Daylilies are in the bed in front of the Rose Bed.  (taken on 6/11/14)

More and more blooms (taken on 6/12/14)

Different Angle---(taken on 6/13/14)

One more similar photo;  (taken on 6/13/14)

Our Home --from the road--with some LILIES added to the beauty;  (taken on 6/14/14)
Even though many of the photos look similar,  they were taken on different days and/or from different angles.  It's hard to capture the true beauty that we enjoy here this time of year... Hope you enjoyed seeing the COLORS in our yard!

Huge Photo/Poster (photographed by George) of WHITEWATER FALLS,  North Carolina
These two pictures are my 'early' ANNIVERSARY present from my Sweetheart.  Our 13th anniversary is on June 23 ---but I got a special GIFT early... This is a HUGE photo (made into a big poster and framed) of WHITEWATER FALLS in North Carolina. The next photo tells you where it is placed in our home.  It just takes my breath away every time I see it...

The new framed photo/poster of Whitewater Falls over the Fireplace
Whitewater Falls is perfect above our fireplace, don't you think???? This HUGE 'poster' (Photo which George took when we were there in March, 2014) is 30 inches by 45 inches... I couldn't believe it when it came by UPS.... I just sat and cried--with all of the emotion I had inside of me. I am so truly blessed to have such a fantastic husband --and I thank God for him constantly... Isn't it amazing???? (Our anniversary is not until June 23 --13 years-- but when this big package came, George couldn't hide it from a 'nosy' wife!!!!! ha)

Needless to say,  we are taking a week off from Blogging to celebrate these wonderful 13 years we have had together..  I'll be back on June 30...   Hope all of you have a great week --and think about us on Monday,  June 23!!!!!!

Hugs to ALL,

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Larger Birds at my Bird Kitchen (May/June 2014)

Red-Headed Woodpecker (one of my favorite and most gorgeous birds we have)
Last week (click HERE)  I showed you some of my smaller birds who visit the Bird Kitchen ALOT...  SO---today I'll show you some of the larger birds who visit us!!!!  Hope you enjoy seeing some of these beauties also.  Be sure to click on them for enlargements.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (has a tiny bit of red on his belly--but not much)

Mourning Dove (we have a little family of them who visit us each evening)

The Red-bellied Woodpecker again (I wanted you to see his back side.  His red head goes all of the way from his neck to his face.  The female's red head just goes part of the way.)

Brown Thrasher  (they nest here --like so many of the birds do in spring)

American Robin  (with us during the winter --but not as much in summer when they can dig up worms)

Pileated Woodpecker (our biggest woodpecker who loves the suet and visits us about once or twice a day)

Another photo of the Red-Headed Woodpecker --who loves the Mealworms

I love this photo showing both the Red-Headed Woodpecker and the Pileated Woodpecker there at the same time!!!  The Pileated Woodpecker has to STRETCH to reach the suet... ha

Northern Cardinal  ( Not a clear photo since I was shooting through the screen;  I love it when Mr. Cardinal brings his babies to the feeders.  The baby's sound is like a tiny tinkling bell.. So cute!)

Red-Headed Woodpecker (See how much I love this guy!!!!!  I wanted you to see more of him!)

Gray Catbird  (We have a cute little family who LOVES to visit the suet feeders.  The sound of the Catbird is the sound of a 'meow'  of a cat... How appropriate...Love his long tail.)  If you want to hear a Catbird's MEW sound,  click HERE.

Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker Woodpecker  (another beauty in the woodpecker family).. This picture shows off his yellow tail area.

Hairy Woodpecker  (looks just like a Downy --but MUCH larger)
We had a bully Mockingbird during the winter ---but luckily,  he has moved on!!!!  Now--the only bully birds around are a family of Starlings (which drive me crazy since they make a huge mess of things)... I do not photograph them since I don't like them---just like you'll never ever see a photograph of mine of a squirrel or chipmunk --since they also cause us so much damage  --no matter how 'cute' they may be..   Like everyone who birds,  we ALL have our favorites!!!!!   I still say though that the Eastern Bluebirds are my all-time favorite birds --so that is why they rated their own blog post  (click HERE for that post).

Well--that's caught you up on Betsy's Bird Kitchen for now.... Hope you have an incredible Wednesday!