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

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015---The Year in Review

One of my best memories each year is our yearly trip to Mt. Nebo,  Arkansas.  In 2015,  we were there for George's birthday in March.  This picture was taken on our cabin's back patio.  We always enjoy sitting out there in the late afternoon to see the sunset... AND--as always,  we do have fun!!!
Dear Friends and Family,  As we approach a new year,  I thought  that I would write a "Year in Review" as I think about my wonderful life with George Adams.   Overall,  2015 was a good year for both of us.  We continually thank God for the lives God has given us together.

Walking the "Back Nine" of the Druid Hills Golf Course near our home is one of the best and most exciting walks we take.  No matter what time of day we walk,  we always see something gorgeous around us,  like this sky and reflection taken on an evening walk in July, 2015.
This year's BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT and CHANGE  came in May.  We got FITBITS in May ---and have added 1 long or 2 short daily walks to our already busy schedule, in addition to our yardwork and other ways of exercising.  On an average, I end up with about 5+ miles,  or between 10,000-12,000 steps per day.  There are so many ways to keep moving.  We even park our car FAR AWAY when going to the grocery stores or shopping malls.  I NEVER used to do that --and would drive around looking for a CLOSE spot.... ha

AND--we sync the FITBITS with our food journal,  My Fitness Pal.   I have kept a food journal for many years ---but being able to have it online and to sync with my exercise is SO helpful.  SO----in a nutshell,  being HEALTHY has become the most important task for both George and  me--when thinking about 2015.  AND--we will continue that important emphasis in 2016.  Except for the general aches and pains of most 73 year-olders,  I feel as if I am in the best physical shape I've been in in many, many years.  AND--my wonderful husband has lost about 50 pounds since May!!!! SO proud of him!

Reflections in the water at the Grand Tetons National Park,  at the Schwabacher Landing area in August,  2015;
Our BIG TRIP for 2015 was in August and was an amazing trip to one of our favorite places,  the GRAND TETONS and YELLOWSTONE National Parks.  We had been there in 2012 --but this year,  we put more of an emphasis on the Tetons.  This trip was definitely the major travel highlight of the year.   AND--while you are thinking about the Grand Tetons,  jump over to My Photo Blog  (Click HERE) to see a neat panorama of a sunset from the Grand Tetons!!!!

George and I are so so so proud of Granddaughter Brooke who graduated from high school in June. We were so happy to be there to witness this fabulous event.
But---there were many MORE TRIPS during the year:
1. FAMILY TRIPS:  Our Texas trip in June for a granddaughter's graduation from high school;  Our trip at Thanksgiving to be with George's son and family in Florida;

Sunrise at Ocean Isle Beach,  January 2015
2. ANNUAL TRIPS (to places we love and keep going back to, over and over):  Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina--3 times in 2015 (January, May, Dec);  Mt. Nebo,  Arkansas in March for George's Birthday;  and 4 trips to Biltmore House and Gardens during the year.

Cass Scenic Railroad trip up the mountain to Bald Knob,  West VA-- Oct. 2015 (One of my all-time favorite things to do; OH--how I love the old steam trains!)

We LOVE traveling with our good friends,  Neal and Patti.  This year in October we were in Beautiful West Virginia!!!  This picture was taken at Lower Falls of the Falls of Hills Creek, in the Monongahela National Forest.
3. SHORTER TRIPS  (2-4 days): Smoky Mountain trip in February (Valentine's Day), staying at the Rocky Waters Motel in Gatlinburg;  Benton Falls (TN) and Amicalola Falls (GA)  trip in April;  Brevard, NC trip (Courthouse Falls,  Blue Ridge Parkway,  Craggy Pinnacle, Mt. Mitchell) for our anniversary in June;  Annual October trip with friends,  Neal and Patti ---this year to West Virginia.

The Beautiful SNOWY Smoky Mountains in TN;  Picture taken on our February trip to Gatlinburg and the Smokies;
4. DAY TRIPS throughout the year:   Fall Creek Falls;  Visits to see local family/friends;  waterfall and hiking trips in area;  visits to the Great Smoky Mountains,  etc.

One of our MANY MANY beautiful ROSES in our Yard;  This is BRIGADOON--taken in July, 2015.
Besides all of our many trips and hiking/walking events,  we also took much time to continually work in our YARD ---growing BEAUTIFUL FLOWERS  throughout the year.   Beginning in early Spring and continuing until late Fall,  some of our blooms included:   Crocus, Hyacinths,  Daffodils, Tulips,  Irises,  our HYBRID TEA and GRANDIFLORA ROSES,  Lilies, and  Daylilies.  This involves lots of work ---but the results are amazing!!!!  And even in winter,  we plant Winter Pansies --just to have a little bit of color around.  Our flowers are VERY important to us, especially the ROSES.

One of my favorite Backyard Birds;  This is a Red-Headed Woodpecker;  Picture was taken  in May, 2015.
I still enjoy my BIRD KITCHEN ---and love feeding all of our little Backyard Birds throughout the year.  Those little creatures bring SO much joy to me!

My knee healed quickly and we were back to our hiking fairly soon!!!  This picture of me was taken on one of our most memorable hikes in 2015---to Spruce Flats Falls in the Smokies, in June.  We got to the top of that mountain and the rains came... It rained and rained and rained... We were truly like two drowned rats coming back down that mountain.... Oh --the fun we have together!!!! ha 
Here are a few more EVENTS I haven't mentioned yet:
My KNEE SURGERY (in January);  This was the 2nd surgery I have had on that left knee (meniscus tears)---but all has gone well after surgery and I am doing GREAT.   To show you what I've accomplished after two knee surgeries,  here are some of my FITBIT statistics (from May-December):  Number of Steps taken:  2, 433,001;   Number of Miles walked:  894.55;  Number of floors or HILLS climbed: 7,342;  and Number of Calories Burned:  576,840.   As I said,  I'm working hard hard hard when it comes to exercise---and so is George,  whose stats are even MUCH better than mine!!!!! 

One of MANY pictures I took of our big ICE STORM  in February;  This was our back yard.   So much damage;  No electricity for days;  This was the 'ugly' in our memories of 2015.
The event in 2015 which was terrible was our HORRIBLE ICE STORM(s) in February... That is one thing I definitely blogged about (about 5-6 posts about those 2-3 weeks)... I have NEVER in all of my life gone through anything quite as scary as the biggest of those 5 or 6 storms we encountered...  We were lucky but we did lose several trees/large limbs --but the cleanup was HARD as you can imagine by looking at this picture.  The entire Cumberland Plateau had damage from this/these storms.  It took months and months to recover.. AND --I truly do not want to go through that AGAIN (I hope)....

My one goal on our trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone this year in August was that I really hoped I would see a MOOSE....  I DID (actually saw two) --and here is a picture to prove it!!!!!
I cannot let this 'story' end without telling you another huge highlight of 2015 for me. Seeing my first EVER MOOSE was truly a moment to remember...

Taken at Fall Creek Falls State Park,  Tennessee in April, 2015;  Fall Creek Falls is where I got my FIRST kiss from George in 2001.  We go back to that same area every year and re-live that magical first moment together.
I am truly a blessed woman... My life is so full ---and each year,  with the Love of My Life,  George Adams,  by my side, life just gets better and better... Without him in my life,  very little of what happened in 2015 would ever have occurred.  Thank You,  Honey,  for loving ME and making me the happiest woman in the world.

Can you believe this crazy girl is 73 years YOUNG???  George took this picture of me being a child one day!!!!! ha
 Well---as you can see after reading all of this,  the good outweighs the bad in 2015 by a LONG shot.... As we enter 2016,  I have some WISHES for you (and for ME):
1.  Get and Stay as HEALTHY as possible  (eat healthy foods,  get lots of exercise,  get enough sleep,  and don't forget to drink your water).
2.  Get off of your computer --and MOVE around... Get out in nature and enjoy life all around you.  (That is the reason I don't blog as much anymore.  I have to make myself get away from the computer!!!)
3.  Take time for friends and family.  Accept people as they are.  We are all God's creatures ---and we all are unique and wonderful!!!!
4.  And most importantly,  LAUGH a lot..... Smile... Be Silly... Dance as if nobody is watching!!!!!! LIVE and LOVE.

This is our good friend from Canada,  Ruth Hiebert.  We finally got to meet Ruth in Nashville on Dec. 29, 2014.... George took a picture of us and surprised us both by having it made into an ornament.  My ornament with this great friend hangs proudly on our Christmas Tree.

Meeting with special blog friends,  Sam and Shug Pollard (from Texas);  We met them here in Crossville (and even got to show them our home and yard) in September...
I give a special THANKS now to all of you blog friends who have stuck by me these past several months when I haven't been around much.  We did have the privilege to meet more wonderful bloggers this year.  Actually, we met our VERY special friend, Ruth Hiebert,  the end of December in 2014 when she was in Nashville.  But I'll count it in my 2015 review!!!!!    Then in September of 2015,  we met Sam and Shug Pollard.  I'm not sure exactly how many blog friends we have actually met now --but it's probably close to about 30 wonderful people.  Bloggers are the BEST.... Love you all!!!!!  Thanks again for not giving up on me!

God Bless each and all of you,  and I pray that we ALL have a blessed 2016.   HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!   (AND---don't forget to check out that sunset panorama on My Photo Blog---Click HERE!!!!!)

Much Love,

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

2014  Christmas
From our home to yours,  we wish each and everyone of you a Blessed and Joyful and Happy Christmas.  We have had another great year --and I will put together a summary of our life during 2015,  for you next week--as we begin another year!!!

My blogging has definitely taken a back seat this year,  and I will admit that I do miss it --and YOU.  But--I still am enjoying Facebook,  more than ever before.  I do love to blog --but I also love Facebook since it is much easier to stay current with friends and family.  If you are on Facebook and are not following me there,  I'd love to add you to my list...  AND--maybe in 2016--I'll do a better job with my blogging also!!

Here are some pictures through the years of George and me at various Christmases.  I posted a similar blog 2-3 years ago---but have some newer/other pictures to share... Hope you enjoy them!!!!!

2001---our FIRST Christmas together

Two Crazies having fun in 2004

2005 Christmas

2009 Christmas

In 2011---right after my horrible hernia surgery, and when I made the ultimate decision to get the weight off and KEEP it off;  (Four years later,  it's still working!)

Collage of pictures we took at Christmas in 2012

Oh---how we LOVE to have fun!!!!  Silly People for sure!

Christmas 2013

Being silly in 2014----right before my 2nd knee surgery on that stinkin' left knee!!!

One of my favorite pictures of us EVER....2012
My hope for you is that in 2016,  you will get out and enjoy life, laugh a lot, and have oodles of fun,  whatever you do and wherever you go...  AND---like us,  do everything you can to stay as healthy as possible.  God Bless You.

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Christmas at Callahan's in Calabash, North Carolina 12-1-15

Dear Blog Friends,   I just 'had' to share this fantastic Christmas Shop with you,  All of these pictures were taken at Callahan's in Calabash,  North Carolina during our visit on 12-1-15.   I have been to several Christmas Shops in my life ---but this may be the BEST of all!!!!!   They have room after room after room of everything you can imagine that can be used as Christmas decorations.  We only took a few pictures to share ---but there are also rooms full of Nutcrackers of all shapes and sizes.  They have a huge room/area with Christmas Villages/houses,  etc... There was an area with religious decorations --including angels--of all kinds.  The entire store was just so amazing ---so I wanted to share it with you.  I hope you can get there sometime! I was like a child in a candy store!!!!!  Loved it.

The UPSIDE-DOWN Christmas Tree  (I would NEVER have one of these. You?)

AND--- somehow,  for some reason,  one of their cute little snowmen ended up in our car..   AND---a cute little Cardinal  'flew' into the car also...  Guess the snowman and birdie want to be in our little home in Tennessee at Christmas-time...  How 'bout that?????

We have been traveling a lot recently----Tennessee,  North Carolina,  Florida,  South Carolina,  North Carolina,  Tennessee.......   CRAZY --but it was GREAT.

Hope all of you enjoy December ----and remember to keep the Christmas Love and Joy in your life all year --and not just in December!!!!!   God Bless You.  Merry Christmas.