Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month shows a SUNSET over the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, 8/7/19.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Tribute to our Veterans

If you missed my blog post talking about our recent trip to the beach,  click HERE.  In that post,  I talked a lot about our wonderful experiences at the Sunset Beach Town Park (Sunset Beach, NC).   We fell totally in love with that amazing little park.

One special part of the park was a fantastic monument honoring all Veterans...  George and I are both EXTREMELY patriotic---so we enjoyed that monument each time we were at the park. Being there truly brought tears to my eyes.

Today I'll honor our Veterans on Memorial Day by sharing more pictures of the monument.  Hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoy sharing them.









We didn't know why the flag was at half-staff one day when we were there.






Can you tell how much we love that park?  Not only did I enjoy the monument --but I also enjoyed all of the big trees. 



Tributes to loved ones (probably from the Sunset Beach and surrounding community residents) were listed  throughout the monument area



I love this picture of George paying homage to the flag--and to our Veterans.



Here's one last picture of the entire monument.  George took this one from another angle --when the flag was "perfectly"  blowing in the wind.
Happy Memorial Day to ALL...  Let's never forget what these brave people did for US and for our FREEDOMS... God Bless them ALL --and God Bless America.

Hugs,

Monday, May 23, 2016

Our Annual Vacation to the Beach --May 15-20, 2016

Hello Blog Friends,  As many of you know,  we went on vacation last week to one of our favorite places,  the Islander Inn at Ocean Isle Beach,  North Carolina.   I'm a 'mountain gal' at heart ---but just HAVE to get to the beach once or twice a year.  We've been to this location in May for the past 10+ years ----and a few years ago,  we added a trip there also in early December.  I wouldn't want to "live" permanently at the beach --but getting my 'beach fix' once or twice a year is PERFECT for me.

I say this most every year,  but THIS year seemed to be one of our BEST trips there (even with a few 'negatives' in the mix).   The negatives:  weather (only saw the sun one morning during our time there, and it was very COOOOOOLLL);  too many people  (we went later in the month than we usually go --and the Inn was full, and you know how much we don't like crowds);  too many barking ("YAPPY") dogs...  An ASIDE:  I love dogs,  but I don't understand why adults can't train their dogs NOT to bark NON-STOP.... Gads!!!!  Kids screaming and having fun didn't bother me nearly as much as the constant and continuous barking dogs...

NOW--put all of the 'negatives'  away ---and realize that if you are George and me,  you know how to make the best of all situations...  Here are the positives:  We did enjoy the beach (sitting and walking) despite the weather --and it never did rain much;   We had jackets and sweatshirts with us so we didn't get too cold;  The weather could have been MUCH worse;  We didn't need sunscreen at all on this trip (HA HA);  The best news pertaining to the weather was that we were able to get more relaxing done --including sleeping,  reading,  just vegging out!!!!!  Both of us GO-GO-GO in our normal lives,  so just total relaxation was NEEDED and we loved it!

Another great positive was the fact that we found a new-to-us awesome PARK  (Sunset Beach Town Park) where there were very few people and where we could walk,  sit or swing with a view of the water,  listen to and watch the birds, and  enjoy one of the neatest patriotic monuments I have ever seen....  We could get away from the crowds at this park ----so we went there several times.... LOVED it.

Today,  I'll share some pictures from this awesome vacation--including a hike to see some waterfalls on the first day.   The picture at the top though is one of my favorite memories.  We are sitting on one of the many comfy swings at the park... It was so enjoyable and ROMANTIC.


We hiked about 2+ miles in the mountains of North Georgia (near Clayton) on May 15 --and saw 3 waterfalls and some huge cascades.  We hiked on the  Holcomb Creek Trail --and saw  Holcomb Creek Falls,  Ammons Creek Falls (where this picture was taken) and  Upper Holcomb Creek Falls.



One of the beauties about hiking in the mountains this time of year is seeing all of the wildflowers and bushes in bloom.  This is MOUNTAIN LAUREL --and it was gorgeous in those mountains.



This is our home away from home,  the Islander Inn at Ocean Isle beach, NC.  We enjoyed leaving our door opened the entire time (including nights) just to hear the roar of the ocean... That makes for GREAT sleeping, you know.  We also enjoyed eating and also doing our devotions on our balcony....



Right after we checked into our room on May 16,  we took a walk on the beach (one of our favorite things to do).  I love watching the swell of the waves as they crash into shore.



Our VERY favorite seafood restaurant is in Calabash,  NC.. Its name is DOCKSIDE --and George says that we go to the beach JUST to go to Dockside... ha ha... This is a side view of Dockside from the pier --where they bring all of that fresh seafood in that we enjoy so much.



From the pier near Dockside Seafood Restaurant,  I was looking the other direction showing you more of the fishing boats and the beautiful water. 



The first night we were there is when we just happened to find this awesome little park (Sunset Beach Town Park).. It is located between Calabash (where our favorite restaurants are) and Ocean Isle --so it's in a perfect location.  I was thrilled just to cuddle with my Sweetheart on that swing every time we were there.



There were a few times when the weather was good enough to take off the jackets and enjoy walking on the beach.



We took many pictures from the PARK... I loved this one  showing that reflection of the little Palm Tree.



I loved this picture of George paying tribute to our awesome FLAG.  This patriotic monument was honoring all of the veterans who fought for our freedoms.  Don't you love the statue?  I could do an entire blog post (and MAY) about this monument.  We stopped and payed our respects every time we were at that park.



Some nice lady volunteered to take our picture one day when we were taking our walk on the beach.



Another view from the PARK:  Again,  the reflections were perfect that day!



Guess where we are?   IF you have ever been to Calabash,  North Carolina,  you MUST have visited the Calabash Creamery for some homemade Ice Cream.... WELL---we were there one evening---maybe two---maybe THREE.....   Someone told me once that CALORIES don't count when one is on vacation.  I'm sure they are correct,  aren't they?????? ha ha



Do you think this old woman loves ICE CREAM??????   YUMMMMMMM... (Yes--I do!!!!).. This flavor was called Cheesecake.... Oh My HEART!!!!!



On the water at Sunset Beach Town Park,  May 18, 2016.   (If you can see the bridge in the distance,  that is the bridge to Ocean Isle Beach.)
Well----that gives you a synopsis of our wonderful trip.  The worst part was coming home with a terrible Stomach Virus/Bug/Food Poisoning.. BOTH of us got sick on the way home on the 20th...  Needless to say,  that part was NOT fun --but I was glad we were HOME when it hit hard!  We are both fine today (other than no energy at all and still feeling weak).   OKAY----forget that part,  and just remember what a marvelous trip we had this year!!!!  Thanks be to God for my life with George and all of the great times we have together.

Hugs to All,

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Wonderful Mother's Day/Week and Memories --- 2016

Dear Blog Friends,  I posted this album on Facebook yesterday --but wanted to share it with you also since my Mother's Day celebrations were so special this year.

First of all though,  I paid tribute to my wonderful mother,  EDITH BALLARD BANKS (1900-1991). Over the weekend, in celebration of Mother's Day, I remembered my "Mama"... Even though she has been gone for 25 years now, I still miss her SO much. I never thanked her enough for being the best Mom in the world to me. She was such a gracious Christian lady---and I only hope that she is looking down from heaven on her daughter knowing how much I love and miss her and appreciate her for all she gave to me. Thanks, Mom for YOU! (Photo taken in 1982)




On Friday (5/6/16), we got an invitation to drive to Dalton to visit and have dinner with my son, Jeff and Daughter-in-law, Dawn. What an awesome day we had--and a fantastic Mother's Day Celebration for me. They fixed Grilled Chicken, Grilled Fresh Veggies, Grilled Fresh Corn-on-the-Cob, and for dessert cake/ice cream... ALL was SO delicious...


This is part of (they have a BIG yard) Jeff and Dawn's backyard. They have veggies and flowers planted. We enjoyed walking around the entire yard seeing all of the beautiful plants/flowers--many blooming already. We are so proud of these two --and the life they are enjoying together.


Not only did Jeff and Dawn cook us an amazing dinner, but they gave me this beautiful Hanging Basket... It hangs proudly in our yard!!!!!


This beautiful angel (Angel in the Garden) was sent from son Mark and his love, Debbie. They know that I collect angels and they also know how much I enjoy Gardening. If you can't read the inscription, it says: "To plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow".... Isn't she gorgeous?


Mark and Debbie also sent me a beautiful Butterfly Suncatcher (with the word, Mom, inscribed on the bottom). This will hang proudly on one of our sliding doors.


This is one of the neatest and most unique gifts I have ever received. It's an ornament which is from Debbie which says: "Thank You for Raising the 'Man of my Dreams'". Is this not just AWESOME? Oh My Godness --how I love it.. Thanks, Debbie, for this --and for making my son SO happy.


I wanted so desperately to see Mark and Debbie on Mother's Day ---but since they are in Texas and I am in Tennessee,  that wasn't possible.  However,  I did have a phone video conversation with them as they were on their way to the Astros Game---AND they sent me a picture.... This is  Mark and the love of HIS life,  Debbie!


I can't end this album without THANKING my wonderful husband, George, who constantly makes me laugh --and has made me so very very happy. He asked if I'd rather go out to eat on Mother's Day --or to have a home-cooked dinner... I opted to stay home and eat one of his delicious meals (scallops/shrimp/sauteed veggies, etc.)... Oh how spoiled I am --not only by my sons but by this awesome, terrific, fantastic man in my life. Thanks to ALL for making my Mother's Day so tremendous. I love you ALL

Hope all of you had an awesome weekend also...  I am one very blessed woman!!!!  Thanks be to God!

Hugs,

Thursday, May 5, 2016

TULIPS in our Yard during March/April, 2016

In Monday's post (click HERE),  I mentioned that I'd share with you some of the many colors and varieties of TULIPS in our yard this Spring.... SO---I went through my tons and tons of photos taken this past month or so and picked out some to show you.  Hope you enjoy these little beauties...  We don't have nearly as many Tulips these days as we did Daffodils and now have Irises,  but the tulips we did have were just beautiful... I do wish there was a way to keep the critters (chipmunks and squirrels from digging up our bulbs)---because I do LOVE Tulips and would have many more if possible.  Oh Well.... We are learning that certain flowers do better here (as we try to protect them from the critters including DEER)....

Hope you enjoy them...  I'll include the date when the picture was taken.  The one at the top of the post was our first Tulips to bloom --and they were SO pretty this year.  Their  name is PURISSIMA Tulips (photo taken on 3/25/16--but they first bloomed  on 3/19).



3/28/16



3/31/16



4/2/16



4/2/16



4/2/16



4/2/16



4/4/16



4/4/16  (with an added Daffodil)



4/4/16



4/13/16



4/13/16
Well---that's some of our little Tulip Beauties!!!!!  Hope you enjoyed seeing all of the various color combinations.   Do you have a favorite?   It's hard because I see beauty in all of them---but the different yellow/red combination ones AND this last one really 'ring my bell'......  Whacha think, my Friends?

Have a wonderful week/weekend...

Hugs,