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

Monday, January 28, 2019

My Family

Ray,  Jimmy,  Dad,  Mom and me  (taken at Christmas about 1959)
Hello Friends,   I certainly think about my family a lot.   It is even more important the older I get...  Since I am the only one left on this earth --out of the five of us,  I always enjoy going through old pictures and re-living all of those memories...

I was born in 1942 --when my Mom Edith was 42  and Dad Simon was 53.....  My two brothers were  Raymond (born in 1922 and died in 2009) and Jim/Jimmy (born in 1930 and died in 1985 from cancer).    Dad died in 1969 and Mom died in 1991.  Daddy was 79 when he died and Mom was 91.  I miss my family SO much.

Today I will share some pictures of my family for you..  Many of the pictures are old and not in very good shape --but I hope you will enjoy them anyway...

My Mom ---taken circa 1902;  Isn't this picture just so sweet? Look at her little bracelet.

My Dad was in the NAVY for 4 years starting in 1909.  While in the Navy,  he got to sail around the world!

A good picture of Mom --taken when she was in in her 20's

My Dad --taken when he was in his early 30's

Mom and Dad when they were dating --taken about 1915

He asked her to marry him!!!!

What do you think she said???????   Time for a pillow fight!!!!!!  (They were married in September of 1919.);  Mom was almost 20 when they married --and Dad was almost 31.

Love this picture of Mom --taken about 1982 at the age of 82. I am now wearing that ring on her right hand.

Love this picture of my Sweet Daddy;  He spoiled me ROTTEN.

Dad and Mom --one Christmas, probably the late 1950's;   Mom loved to decorate for Christmas.  I guess that is  where I got my love of decorating at Christmastime! (The clock on the mantel is now in my home --and still works!!!! It has been in the family a long time.)

Another good picture of Mom and Dad...  Mom grew beautiful flowers...  Even, after Dad had died,  Mom sold our big home, moved into a smaller home --and planted all of her flowers there..

I always loved this picture of Mom and Dad  (as I remember them);  This was taken in the 1950's --and our cat, Snowball,  was in Mom's lap..   The big picture above them is of my Grandmother Ida (Mom's mother).  Ida died when Mom was only 4 years old.

One last picture of my family,  taken about 1946;   Jimmy,  Dad, Mom,  Raymond and me in front;  See my doll (Lu Lu) in front???  Lu Lu was named after my Great Aunt Lura.
Well--as I said,  some of the pictures are not very good,  but at least,  I have them ---and love to look at them and remember this wonderful family of mine.

Raymond lived in Maryland with his wife Evelyn and 3 kids.   Jimmy lived in Florida with his wife,  Margaret and 2 kids.. We didn't see them very often due to the distance.  These days I am still in contact with some of my nieces and nephews.

Hope you enjoyed meeting the family today!!!!  My advice to all of you today is to make time to contact/visit your family.  Do it now before they are gone.  The older  "I" get ---the more I miss and need my family.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Life's Changes

Mark --in the Smoky Mountains
Dear Friends,  how are you today?  I know that most of you remember my sad news  in August of 2017.   Son Mark's  wife  died suddenly.   Mark and Debbie had been together for 2 years  --but had only been married for about 2 months when her Bi-Polar condition which she had battled for years,  WON the war!  

Her death was listed as a suicide --but Mark thinks that she had been doing so well the past couple of years that she decided to get off of her medications.  Of course,  neither Mark, nor Debbie's four daughters, nor her friends had any idea that she wasn't taking her meds....   In the end,  when Mark was out of the house,  Debbie took WAY too many meds and over-dosed....

There is so much most of us do not know about mental illness.   Mark learned a lot during their relationship --but he learned MUCH more after her death...   Nobody likes to take those powerful medications.  Even I HATE taking my A Fib meds because all medications have side effects...  I'd love to get off of those drugs --but I know that I CANNOT.  

Debbie and Mark had been so happy together.  Her daughters and friends have always said that she was the happiest with Mark than she had been her whole life.  All of us in the family loved her and her vivacious personality.  Mark thought that he had found a partner for life ---and then she was GONE.

WELL---this post is not about Debbie --but is about MARK,  and what has happened since that horrible day in August, 2017.   Mark grieved hard (VERY HARD) for several months --and I was SO worried about him.   BUT--he finally took a step toward living....

Even though he had a fabulous job in Texas,  Mark decided that he was ready to come 'home'---back to Tennessee.  That was a huge decision for him.  But--he knew that he needed family, and a new place with fewer memories.

SO--in APRIL 2018,  he and brother Bert moved to Maryville,  Tennessee.   Since then,  there have been a few hiccups --but overall,  he has done well.  His job in the Home Building industry  (where he had done so well in Texas) didn't work out.   BUT--he got his 'dream' job as General Manager of the Pour House (sports bar selling craft beer) in Knoxville.

Mark (and Bert) both love the Smoky Mountains.... SO---they spend every spare minute they can hiking in Smokies.   That THRILLS me so much since I also love the Smokies and have hiked to many of the same places in past --where they are hiking now.   I'm re-living that JOY through them.

Mark's picture showing one of their hiking trails in the Smokies

One of Mark's photos in Cades Cove in the Smokies

Photo taken in Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains
To make the joy of hiking and riding in the mountains even better,  Mark bought a shiny little red Jeep!!!

Mark and brother Bert (who have so much in common) enjoy being together  when they hike,  go to games --or just enjoy a meal with us!!!!

Besides hiking in the Smokies,  Mark (and Bert) have enjoyed going to both the Tennessee Vols  Football and now the Basketball games.  By the way,  our Vols Basketball team is doing GREAT so far this year!!!!!!

"Pappa" Mark and Vivi

In January of 2018,  Mark's granddaughter,  Vivian Lee, was born.   That's another blessing --not just to Mark but also to all of us in the family.  

Diana and Mark
Between the new job,  the love of the Smoky Mountains, and being closer to family ---Mark has done really well... AND   2019  looks great so far also.  His best friend and Sweetheart from Texas,  Diana,  is moving to Tennessee in February to be with Mark.

a 2nd Granddaughter is coming!!!
Then in MAY of 2019,  Mark's daughter Brooke is expecting another little girl  (Veronica). How awesome is that!!!

Mark brought Diana to Tennessee in the Fall to see if she liked it...  She DID.
I am so happy for Mark and Diana,  and especially happy that I see the joy and SMILE back in Mark's face.  

YES---life can be hard for any of us.  BUT--when life does throw those tragedies in our face,  we either choose to sit around and let it consume us --or we find the strength to move on with our lives.   There is ALWAYS joy to be found if we keep the right attitude and be willing to search for that JOY.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Mark and what is going on in his life now.


Monday, January 14, 2019

A Year Full of Pure JOY

Great Granddaughter,  Vivian Lee,  born 1/11/18
When I look back at 2018,    I don't just think of all of the health problems I have had.   Instead,  I look at this little Bundle of Preciousness  who has brought so much love and joy into the lives of my entire family.

My Great Granddaughter,  Vivian Lee,  was born on January 11, 2018.   Since her birth,  most all of us in her family have enjoyed sharing lots of pictures and videos of Vivi's first year.  I think I have shared more pictures of her than I have anyone else!!!!   What a wonderful way to spend a year!!!!   AND --the best news is that there will hopefully be many many more to come.

Today I'll share some of my favorite Vivi-Photos  throughout 2018.    Hope this little angel will bring a smile to your face today!

Here are just a few more pictures I love.

Vivi and her adorable Mama,  Brooke-- all dressed up for Christmas!

Son  Mark with his Granddaugther Vivi Lee;  He is her "Pappa"

My favorite picture of all:   Vivian looking at her mother, Brooke, my Granddaughter

Great Grammy Betsy with her little angel,  Vivian Lee
WELL---I could go on and on and on ---but I'll stop!!!!!   Hope you enjoyed seeing just a dab of Vivian's first year.   As I have said so many times,   she has brought so much joy into our lives.

But --even though the first year of her life is over,  hopefully I'll be sharing pictures for many years to come.   AND --the best news is that Vivi Lee will have a little Sister  (Veronica) in May of this year.   YEAH RAH....

Have an awesome week...