Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month is a picture of one of my favorite birds, the Eastern Bluebird. He looks cold, doesn't he????? Welcome to January!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2018

A Family Thanksgiving 2018

Our Thanksgiving Family:   Left to right:  Mark, George, me, Bert,  Jeff, Dawn,  Shirley (Dawn's Mom) and Robert (Dawn's father)
Thanksgiving Day this year was at our home--although we did take everyone out to dinner.   For me,  the biggest joy I have is when all three of my sons are together.    Since these guys live such busy lives --it is hard to get everyone together at the same time...    SO-- you can imagine what a blessing it was to have them all here this year...

This year,  there were 8 of us. George's daughter was enjoying Thanksgiving in Tullahoma with her aunt.  George's son and family were with their family in Florida.

After developing  A Fib this year,  I knew that I couldn't prepare a big dinner for the family.   That upset me since I've always had so much energy to do the things I love.   But--life has slowed me down this year  bigtime.  However,  the good news is that I was able to sit and relax and just enjoy being with the family!   The bad news was not having those wonderful left-overs  --which always taste SO good!!!!! ha

We took the family to LEGEND'S  (a community restaurant,  which is part of our Druid Hills Golf Club).   They were offering a BIG buffet --with turkey, ham and all of the traditional trimmings.   I'm sure that all of us had PLENTY to eat  (maybe a little too much)....   I even ate a piece of Pecan Pie and George had some Pumpkin Pie.   YUM....

I didn't take too many pictures this year,  but did get a few when we were at Legend's,  and  later, some at home....  Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.   Thanksgiving has always been special for the family ---but after the year I have been through  with my health problems,   this year's time together was probably one of my favorites!!!!  The good news is that Dawn and Jeff have invited us to their home on Christmas---so we'll get to see each other again soon!!!!!  YEAH!


My Blessings:  Sons Bert (55),  Mark (48)  and Jeff (47)



Son Jeff and his very creative wife,  Dawn



Son Mark ---texting with Diana (his Texas Girlfriend) ---or his daughter, Brooke



Bert  (goes by Tre now)



George got the tripod out --so that we could get a picture from home!
1st row:  George, me, Shirley, Robert  (Dawn's parents)
2nd row:  Bert, Mark, Jeff,  Dawn
All in all,  it was a marvelous day...   Taking time to give thanks is so important. I am SO very thankful for my family.  Life is so precious..... None of us know when our lives will change...  My advice:   Live each day to its fullest;  stay positive and always find the blessings all around you!    Have a wonderful holiday season my friends....

Hugs,

Monday, November 19, 2018

On the ROAD......

Highway 215, North Carolina --10/23/18
From October 22-26, 2018,  we were "on the ROAD"  with our good friends, Neal and Patti.  We met in Maggie Valley, North Carolina for a few days of fun, photography, eating (of course), and traveling the ROADS.    We packed in a lot into those few days:  seeing the Elk in Cataloochee,  traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway,  hiking and seeing several waterfalls,  traveling the Balsam Mountain Road and the Heintooga Ridge Road,  and  visiting other 'back' roads --such as Highway 215 and Highway 276.

I kept noticing while going through all of my many, many photos from that trip,  just how many pictures I had taken from the roads we had been on that week.   SO--today,   just get a cup of your favorite beverage,  sit back and take a ride with us on several of the ROADS we traveled.


Heintooga Ridge Road  (Balsam Mtn) --10/24/18   (This unpaved,  one lane, one way road took us from Balsam Mountain ALL of the way down the mountain,  coming out at Cherokee, NC)



Heintooga Ridge Rd (Balsam Mtn)--10/24/18  (I keep telling my sons Mark and Bert how much they'd love this road in Mark's shiny new RED JEEP.)



One more from Heintooga Ridge Road (Balsam Mtn)---10/24/18;  I am working on an entire post from this adventure  if and when I can get it ready for publishing!!!!  Right now,  picking up the leaves in our yard is taking most of my/our time!



Back on  Highway 215 ---10/25/18   (The Fall Colors were prettier than my first photo taken along this road on 10/23/18)




We stopped to see a waterfall along Hwy 215..  George snapped this picture of me taking a picture of the waterfall across the street.   10/25/18



Can you tell how much we all love taking pictures????? ha...   Nothing like standing IN the road to get a good shot!!!!!  -Hwy 215---10/25/18



I obviously was in the middle of the road to get this picture on Hwy 215. Ha Ha  ---10/25/18



Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway ---10/25/18




Another from the Blue Ridge Parkway,  10/25/18






Another beautiful 'back' road in North Carolina;   We left the parkway and headed toward Brevard on Highway 276 ---10/25/18


More from Highway 276 in North Carolina---10/25/18



Highway 276---10/25/18
Hope you enjoyed our little ROAD Trip today... We were a little early for the brilliant Autumn Colors this year  (since everything was about 2+ weeks late due to such a warm October)---but as you can see from some of these pictures,  we did see some beauties here and there. You will note from the pictures that the colors got better with each day that we were there!!

We loved every minute just being with Neal and Patti.   The four of us have a lot in common  ---so traveling together is very special!

Hugs,

Monday, November 12, 2018

Smoky Mountain Hike to the AVENT CABIN --10/28/18

Mark and Diana --taken in Wears Valley, before our hike
Dear Friends,   On 10/28/18--- George and I went to the Smoky Mountains here in Tennessee   to take a hike with son Mark and his girlfriend,  Diana.   Mark has done this hike before and really wanted me to see that hidden cabin in the mountains.  The hike begins at Elkmont --and heads up the mountain from there.

I was nervous before the hike because,  since getting A Fib,  my hiking days are definitely limited.   I don't talk much about my A Fib anymore --but I can assure you that it is still with me,  and has certainly made me change my lifestyle to a much-less-active person.   I don't like that change --but for me,  it is just the 'new' normal!

I was excited when we took this hike ---and my family is always so good to me,  allowing me to hike at my SLOW pace and stopping to rest as needed  (when my heart rate goes WAY up)....  The good news is that I MADE IT to the cabin and back --which was about 4 miles total.   AND it was worth all of the aches and pains I felt the next day!!!!! ha

Hope you enjoy our pictures from this special day!  Before the hike,  we stopped at  a general store in Wears Valley and took some Autumn Pictures....


Oh how I love this young lady.  She makes Mark SO happy!!!!  (That is what a Mom loves to hear!)



Mark and Diana



George and me --at Wears Valley   (Great place to take Fall Pictures)



Beautiful Fall Colors on our Hike



Beautiful Day for a hike  --and a great TRAIL



A beautiful Autumn Day in the Smokies



Had to cross the creek on this little bridge



We made it to the AVENT CABIN.
History of the Avent Cabin:  The cabin was built about 1845  and purchased by the Avent family in 1918.  The national park took ownership of the cabin in 1932 but the Avent family was awarded a long-term lease and used the cabin until 1992.  Mayna Treanor Avent, artist,  used the cabin for 20 years during the summers  as her Summer Studio.  The cabin is now on the National Register of Historic Places since 1994.

To read more interesting information about Mayna and about the cabin,  click HERE.



What a gorgeous cabin --which is really in good shape.   From the porch we could see beauty all around us as we listened to the roaring creek below...  What an awesome place for an artist. Inside the cabin,  there is a notebook telling more about the artist and showing some of her work in photos.  There was also a journal for visitors to sign.



More beautiful Fall Colors around us.



Behind the cabin,  there was a big rock next to that big tree...  I'll bet that Mayna Avent sat on this rock working on her art!!!!!!



I took this picture of Mark and Diana at  'their' cabin!!!!!!



I love this picture of Mark and Diana behind the cabin,  on a gorgeous Fall day!



One more picture of the Autumn Colors we enjoyed that day



Mark and Diana on the 'Rock by the Tree' 



WELL---it's time to head back down the mountain!!!



Two Happy people --who loved this wonderful day!!




What an awesome day we had!!!!!!  Here was our SKY as George and I headed home late in the afternoon.   This was just a wonderful finish to such a  terrific day!!!!!!    Thanks be to God.

Have a great week!!!
Hugs,