Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month was taken in December of 2018 in the Antler Hill Village area of Biltmore on our visit to see and enjoy "Christmas at Biltmore".

Monday, November 25, 2019

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

BE THANKFUL
Dear Family and Friends,   Thursday this week is THANKSGIVING DAY in our country.  Thanksgiving is a special time for families to gather and just enjoy being together.   George and I will spend a few days with George's son and family. George's son is an excellent chef ---so you know that we will really enjoy some 'good eatin'........ YUM!!!!

The picture above has always been a favorite of mine.  It was taken on one of our trips to the Hocking Hills area in OHIO several years ago....  I am thankful when I'm out in nature enjoying God's beautiful creations.





YES----remember your blessings and fill your home with LOVE!




I am grateful for so many things in my life.   Right now,  I think about my health and how much  better I feel when compared to a year ago.  When the "A-Fib-Bug"  hit me a year ago,  my life changed.  BUT--after my Cardiac Ablation in June,   I am now in Normal Sinus Rhythm --and feel as if I have my life back...Thanks be to God!


I am SNAZY ST. CRANBERRY!!!!!!  haha







I took this picture a few years ago from the parking lot of the Lutheran Church here in Fairfield Glade...  Seeing the steeple, the blue skies and the Autumn colors  reminded me of how blessed I am.




This prayer says it ALL!!!!!  Let's rejoice in the God who is always there for us in every situation.

We all have so many things in our lives to be thankful for --but sometimes, when life gets 'rough',  we ignore these blessings....  Today  (and every day),  let's CELEBRATE them!

To God Be the Glory......  Have a loving, happy, healthy and God-Filled WEEK.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Love to ALL,

Monday, November 18, 2019

More Autumn Colors --11/1/19

From the Blue Ridge Parkway,  11/01/19  (similar to the picture I have as my Blog Header this month)
Dear Friends,  Hope all of you are having a blessed November so far... The older I get,  the faster time flies!!!!!  Crazy!!!

After our wonderful little trip to Asheville, NC on November 1, 2019  when we enjoyed the "Tree Raising Celebration"  at Biltmore (click HERE for that post),   we decided to head back home on on the 'back roads' so that we could enjoy seeing more of the Autumn Colors we didn't get here at home this year (due to the drought).

Luckily,  even though Fall was almost 'over' for the year --we did manage to see quite a bit of left-over colors.... Hope you enjoy today's post featuring some of my favorite  Fall Colors on that trip home on November 1st.


Taken when we were still at Biltmore (looking toward the mountains)



Even though the left-over Fall Colors at Biltmore were mostly all browns and rust-color,  they were so pretty against the gorgeous blue sky.  (See picture below to see a close-up of the mountains.)



I zoomed in with my Canon at the mountains to give you an idea of the Fall Colors still there. 



As we walked around the grounds at Biltmore,  we spotted these two trees... I LOVE the reds and yellows of Fall ---so this view really captured my attention. 


Another picture showing the beautiful mountains,   taken from the Blue Ridge Parkway




These trees were still showing off their colors..  



Driving the back roads on a gorgeous Autumn Day was SO much fun!!!



We loved seeing this big tree at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center (Great Smoky Mountains National Park) near Cherokee, North Carolina.



A view of Fontana Lake surrounded by more of the late Fall Colors



Maple Trees are always a favorite of mine in Fall since they show off a variety of colors.



We stopped to take pictures as we got closer to Fontana Lake.  See the little house-boat down there???  



We stood under this tree when the sun was shining on the branches --to get my favorite shot of the day!!!!



Sorry this journey is almost over --but it was FUN!!!!
I enjoyed taking you on the back roads on the November Day in our area.... I love FALL --but now,  we are jumping into winter BIGTIME here.... Recently,  we had a 13 degree morning temperature and we had some SNOW.... Gee----too early for that!!!!! ha ha

PRAYER REQUEST PLEASE:  Our good friend, Charlie Jones,  had a stroke on Nov. 4,  and is still in the hospital.   Charlie cannot talk --and is in rehab learning how to talk again.. He has had trouble swallowing --but that is improving.  He also is taking therapy to gain strength in his right hand.  This will be a long process --so please remember Charlie (and his wife, Judy) in your thoughts and prayers...

Have a wonderful week ---and take a few minutes to thank God for all of his blessings that we receive each and every day.

Hugs,

Monday, November 11, 2019

BILTMORE CHRISTMAS TREE-RAISING 'PARADE' 11/1/19

A very cold but excited woman standing in front of the big Christmas Tree in the parking lot BEFORE the parade; That tree is a 35 foot Fraser Fir tree grown in Newland, North Carolina.  Some facts:  the tree weighs 3500 pounds and it takes a team of 40-50 workers to maneuver and raise that tree into the Banquet Hall inside the Biltmore House.
Dear Friends,   George and I did something on November 1st that we've never done before....  We went to the Biltmore Estate early in the morning to see the Biltmore staff/workers bring in the huge 35 foot Fraser Fir tree through the grounds and into the house,  to begin the official start of Christmas Season.

We have been Season's Ticket-holders for many years --but have never been to see this special presentation.  Needless to say,  we loved it (even though it was VERY cold that morning) and I'm sure we will do it again in upcoming years!!!!

Today I'll share some of the pictures we took from that amazing morning....    I will divide the group into three parts...  Hope you enjoy the 'parade'!!!!


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Part I was almost my favorite because we somehow got into a different Parking Area than we usually do... This ended up being the parking area where the parade set-up was taking place.  SO --we got to see everything up close and personal... SO NEAT....


It was such a JOY to see Santa up close and personal before the parade --in the parking lot... The kids  (along with the big kid, ME) enjoyed talking to Santa.... He assured me that I have been a very good girl this year!!!!!  Yeah.



The horses and cart/carriage arrived with their driver,  the coachman,  in the parking lot.... 



The horses were asking Santa for a Christmas Present just for them.



These hard-working young ladies were waiting to hook the tree up to the horse-driven cart... It was interesting to listen to the coachman telling the horses to back-up (which they did).... Neat!



More workers were busy making the cart neat and clean for the upcoming parade.



Santa and the Coachman in a nice conversation before the parade



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Part II is the Parade!!!!!  George and I (along with about 1000 of our friends) were now in the Biltmore House Grounds --waiting for the parade to begin!!!! On the dot of 10 a.m.---a trumpeter stepped outside on the high balcony at the Biltmore House and played his trumpet signaling the beginning of the parade.  That sent chills up my spine!!!!!  AMAZING.

We walked from the Parking Lot to the Biltmore House Grounds.... MANY people were there WAITING and listening to choral music presented by some local choirs...



We found a place to stand --and wait for the parade to pass by!!!!  



The parade is coming!!!!  I'm so excited!!!!   (You can see the band in the middle right side of the picture, and the  big tree on the middle left side.)



The Asheville High School Band is passing by us now..........They were playing some beautiful Christmas music.  



Here they come!!!!!  I loved hearing the 'clip clopping' of the horses hooves.  



I hollered:   "Hi Santa"  as they passed us....



If that big tree could talk,   it would probably say that it would rather be in the forest instead of all wrapped up on a wagon!!!!!! ha



We walked closer to the house and got a picture of the big tree as they began the process of taking it inside...


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Part III contain pictures we took after walking toward the house ---and watching the huge video presentation showing the remainder of the celebration.... My photos are actually photos from the big screen.


This is a great picture from above showing the tree being taken off of the big wagon. 



The tree is almost inside!!!!!!



The band continues to play--and believe it or not,  but George and I are IN that photo...  Can you see us???? ha ha... We are on the left side about an inch and a half from the bottom of the picture.. We both have our black hoods on, standing behind a lady with a light blue coat on and some children (one of them with a red hat on)...See us now?????? 



The sun was hitting the video screen so these last two pictures are not very clear.   This shows them lifting that enormous tree in the Banquet Hall.  There will be 62 decorated trees in the Biltmore House along with over 13,000 ornaments plus tons of garlands and wreaths...  It's an amazing place to be during Christmas. 



It is UP.......  Let Christmas Begin at Biltmore....
Sorry for such a long post... I should have split it into two posts --but thought it would lose some of the meaning of our special morning/day at Biltmore.    I hope you enjoyed being a small part of our wonderful day!!!!!

Have a great week.

Hugs,