Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month shows the early morning sunshine shining on the mountain ranges, taken from our balcony at Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway not far from Asheville, North Carolina (9/26/19). I took this amazing shot with my iPhone!!!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Love that Debbie Brought Us

DEBBIE WILHITE
October 17, 1966 -  August 13, 2017
(This beautiful picture of Debbie was taken in October of 2016 during her 50th Birthday Celebration.  Mark took her to the beach in Galveston for a few days to celebrate and have a great time together..  Those two always had tons and tons of fun and so many fabulous memories!) 
If you missed last Monday's post,  click HERE to read about the tragic death of my beautiful Daughter-in-law,  DEBBIE WILHITE, on August 13...  Now it is a week later since I wrote that post, and this news is still fresh in my heart and mind...  Time will continue to heal --but now,  just the little things get to me.

For instance,  as most of you know,  George and I share a devotional together each morning as we start our day.  In that devotion,  we pray for family and friends.  One of our prayers is to ask God's blessings on those who are brought together in Holy Matrimony.   As you know,  son Mark and his "Baby" (as he called Debbie) only got married on June 12 this year.. They had been together for a little over 2 years --but the actual marriage was recent.   I was SO happy to add them to our list of family members who are married.... Needless to say,  having to take their names off made me cry... Like I say--it's the little things....

I tried, for the week I was in Texas with Mark,  to stay as STRONG as I could for him.  BUT--there were a few times when I just 'lost it'... One of those times was when I got to see their adorable little home which they had moved into in early 2017 when Mark got transferred in his job.  (Mark is a Home Builder --and a GREAT one for sure!)   They were so happy to find their new home ---and when I went inside last week for the first time,   I was blown away seeing and feeling all of  the LOVE in that home...

They (mostly Debbie) had decorated their home ---and the love was so evident in every room...  I just cried and cried...  I could feel Debbie all around....  There were even some new recipes in the kitchen which Debbie had printed on Friday --so that she could make some new dinners for Mark...

WELL--you get the 'picture'.... There was just so much future for the two of them...  I'm sure that God needed that friendly, happy, joyful lady in heaven more than any of us needed her on Earth... It's hard to explain but now we know that Debbie is totally out-of-pain and with her Mama in heaven.  That doesn't mean that we don't miss her like crazy here on earth....

Today --I am sharing some cute pictures I took with my cellphone the day we were at Mark's  townhouse while walking around the various rooms.  You will be able to feel the love also... Hope you enjoy them.  No explanation is needed on the various photos.
































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This picture of Debbie was taken when she and Mark were on their Honeymoon Cruise in June.  Mark has the picture displayed in their home now.  Debbie's wedding rings and the necklace which she NEVER took off (which Mark had given her) are now displayed in and around  those gorgeous wedding glasses which were a gift from Mark's father and his stepmother.   I cried again when Mark sent me this picture/display...   



I cry every time I see this beautiful picture sent to me from Mark and Debbie after their June wedding.   The framed picture sits in our Living Room on an end table.   Debbie was so incredibly special to me...  Sob Sob.



Finally,  I love this picture of Mark and Debbie taken in April of 2016 .   (As you can imagine,  I have a huge collection of Mark/Debbie pictures--and am so glad for all of these memories.)
Thanks for all of the wonderful comments I received after last week's post...  Your thoughts and prayers mean the world to me.   Being able to write down my thoughts and share them on my blog and on Facebook helps me so much in MY healing... I'm not sure what I would have done without all of my friends/family these past couple of weeks....   As you know,  I needed your love and felt it... Thanks so much and please keep it coming...

Mark is doing remarkably well ---thanks to so much family/friend support.  He is back at work and able to get out and take walks...  A friend of mine sent him a book on Grief--and he said that he is really enjoying it also --and that it is helping him get those deep emotions OUT.   He is also seeing a counselor and going to a support group --all of which are helping him take that horrible step forward in his life... Keep him in your prayers also.  I'm so proud of him and how he is handling all of this...

Hugs,

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Deep Sadness in our Family

Rest in Peace, my beautiful Daughter-in-law,  Debbie Wilhite
Many of you have heard by now  (especially if you are on Facebook) that my beautiful daughter-in-law,  Debbie Wilhite,  passed away on Sunday,  August 13, 2017 in Cypress,  Texas,  at the young age of 50.  My son, Mark,  and Debbie had only been together for a little over two years,  and they only got married two months ago.  They were SO HAPPY and so much in love.  Life was just beginning for the two of them.  But a long life together isn't going to happen..  SO SAD.

Debbie was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder at age 15 and had struggled off and on for years.  However,  the past couple of years had been good ones for her --until the 'demons' inside of her  took over last weekend and took her away.  She overdosed.  Mark was devastated (still is) as you an imagine..

Mark and Debbie packed more fun, more love, more joy into two years than most folks do in a lifetime... We are all just trying to remember the joys we had with Debbie,  and were blessed to have her in our lives for these two years...

Today I'll just share a few of the many photos I have of Debbie.  She was such a  joy for me --and the first minute we met,  we bonded.  Since I raised three sons,  Debbie became not only a daughter,  but also a great friend...  Words cannot describe how much I loved her and will miss her...


Oh how I adored this beautiful young lady!



When  Debbie and Mark visited us,  I took them to Fall Creek Falls State Park for the day.  Debbie loved it there --as you can tell from this picture.



Debbie found my love for waterfalls at Fall Creek Falls --and at one time, had even talked about getting married there.  This is Mark and Debbie at Cane Creek Falls.



Those two crazy kids had so much fun together...  For this picture,  I told them to make a funny or scary face!!!!!!  Made me laugh and still does!



A picture of a happy Mama with Mark and Debbie when they were in Tennessee in December/January last year



Debbie loved minions ---so she just had to win this huge one when they went to the rodeo...   She named him Bob and carried him around on her back that day (getting lots of attention).... Mark said it was VERY hard getting BOB into their car that day!!!!! ha



Mark and Debbie got married in Galveston on June 12 this year with her four daughters and her four grandchildren along with one of Mark's daughters and some of their good friends.  This was a happy family on that day ---but an extremely sad family now...  Debbie adored her girls and the grandchildren...



My favorite picture of Debbie and Mark after their wedding;  Mark and Debbie  were planning to host a big beach vacation for all of us in  Mark's family in June of 2018--since many of us couldn't attend their wedding this past June... They were planning on renewing their vows during that vacation when we were there...



After their wedding,  Mark and Debbie immediately left on a honeymoon cruise...  This picture was taken when they were on their cruise.
Such happy moments ---and there were plenty of them....As hard as it is now to visualize life without Debbie,  Mark will find the strength to start over and begin life again.    We all have a very strong faith knowing that God is in control...  AND ---we also know that Debbie is with her Mom and Dad in heaven and she is finally out of pain....

I am probably going to take some time off since this has been hard on me too.  I have told several friends that the hardest thing I have ever had to go through was hearing my 47 year old son cry all night long--and for several days...  God Bless that wonderful young man.

Please contact, hug,  tell those you love how much they mean to you!  Live is precious and SO unpredictable...  God Bless ALL.

Here is a copy of Debbie's Obituary if you would like to read it:
Deborah Lynn Wilhite, 50, of Cypress was greeted in Heaven by her parents, Alice and Beau Collins, on August 13, 2017. Debbie was born October 17, 1966 in Galveston, Texas.
She was formerly from La Marque and had recently moved to Cypress with the love of her life. Debbie was best known for her infectious laugh, beautiful smile, and her genuine love for everyone. Debbie never met a stranger and always left an impression that represented her true love for life.
Deborah's legacy lives on through her husband Mark E. Wilhite; four daughters: Nicole Carreon of Groesbeck, TX, Harley Goebel and boyfriend Ryan of Galveston, TX, Ally Goebel of Santa Fe, TX and Skylar Goebel of Santa Fe, TX; two step-daughters Bay Lee Wilhite of San Marcos, Brooke Elizabeth Dominquez and son-in-law Tristan of Norfolk, VA.; sister Beverly Ann Racicot of Galveston, TX and five grandchildren: Alicen Platt, Trenton Platt, Mallory Sanders, Rayleigh “Roo” Sanders and Vivian Lee Dominguez.
Visitation will be on Saturday, August 19, 2017 from 1:00pm – 2:00pm at the James Crowder Funeral Home in La Marque followed by a Celebration of Life service at 2:00pm.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made in her name to Depression and Bi-Polar Support Alliance

Hugs,

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sunflowers and Water Lilies

Water Lily from the Italian Gardens at Biltmore  7/31/17
George and I just 'had' to stop by the BILTMORE ESTATE in Asheville,  North Carolina, on July 31, 2017,  so that we could see their Italian Gardens  (Water Lilies and Lily Pads) and their Sunflowers....We were on our way to Virginia  (Shenandoah National Park) for a few days to celebrate my big birthday.

We have season's tickets to Biltmore ---and love to visit there about 4 times a year in order to see their different flowers in bloom in different seasons.   Going in July/August each year is a tradition since we never tire of seeing the Sunflowers and Water Lilies --along with the Walled Garden and the Conservatory.   Since we were heading on to Virginia,   we didn't stay longer than about 3 hours ---but we got to see everything we had planned to see.   Hope you enjoy today's pictures...


Beautiful Red Colored flowers  (unknown plant) in the water at the Italian Gardens at Biltmore 7/31/17



Water Lily from the Italian Gardens at Biltmore  7/31/17



I like this grouping of the tall Water Lilies. Look at those huge leaves!!!!   7/31/17  



Water Lilies from the Italian Gardens at Biltmore  7/31/17


Love the Color of these Lily Pads  7/31/17



Unique Lily Pads for sure!!!!  7/31/17



Water Lilies from the Italian Gardens at Biltmore  7/31/17



Love love love these Lily Pads;  Let's hop on and take a ride!!!!  7/31/17



After leaving the Italian Gardens,  we stopped here at one of our favorite places on the lake to get some pictures of the BACK of the huge Biltmore House,  before checking out the Sunflower Fields...  7/31/17



Here is one more picture from that area showing the sky reflections on the lake (with the Biltmore House in the distance).   7/31/17



The Sunflower Fields at Biltmore are now long and narrow---so we could enjoy them from the road for a long time...  HOWEVER,  I used to like taking pictures here (in the Sunflowers) when there were rows and rows and rows all in one place...Nevertheless,  they were still gorgeous and we loved checking them out.

Bees and Birds LOVE to eat the sunflowers....   Here's a picture showing some of them closer.... 7/31/17



And one final picture of these beauties.... Oh how I love them!!!!!   7/31/17
Hope these Flowers today brought a smile to your face.... Have a great week, my Friends.

Hugs,