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, December 28, 2020

What I LOVE about CHRISTMAS --even in 2020!!!!

We all need to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  Jesus Christ was Born. Hallelujah!!  (The Creche in our home)
Dear Blog Friends,  A belated Merry Christmas to you.   I hope that you had a good Christmas --even though it was probably very different this year.  George and I have stayed healthy --and we work hard to continue staying healthy!  

Today's post will show all of the JOYS and BLESSINGS I have experienced  this Christmas Season --even in 2020, with all of our changes.  The key:  STAY POSITIVE!!!!  

I hope you enjoy this post --as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.

On December 6, 2020,  George and I drove to Murfreesboro, Tennessee to have lunch with George's daughter, Kelly, and his sister, Janet.  We had a wonderful lunch and great conversation at Cheddar's Restaurant.  (NOTE: This picture of George and Kelly was taken in  December, 2019--because, in my excitement,  I forgot to take any pictures of this year's visit... ha)

On Dec.14 and 15, we visited the Biltmore Home and Gardens in Asheville, NC for their marvelous  "Christmas at Biltmore".  This has become a tradition for us--and it  'makes' our Christmas --if you know what I mean!  (This picture was taken in the Antler Hill Village area when we were walking after dark and enjoying the beautiful lights/decorations in that area.)

On December 20 ---two of my sons (Bert and Mark) and Mark's sweetheart, Robin, came to our home to celebrate Christmas with us...   (Thanks to Robin and George for remembering to take pictures of their visit.)

Robin and Mark,  feeling great after struggling with Covid last month!!! Prayers for all people who have been and are being affected by that wicked Virus.  Most of us know people who know someone who had/has it.  Right now,  I have a Granddaughter in Texas who has the virus,  and a good friend,  also in Texas,  who has Covid....  SCARY and SAD!

Robin is like a daughter to me.  She's the most caring/giving person I know. Mark is SO lucky to have her in his life.  SO AM I!!!!!!

On December 21st,  George and I drove to Chattanooga to see my 3rd and youngest son, Jeff, and his beautiful wife,  Dawn.  We met at Jeff's workplace, and then drove to Panera Bread for lunch and conversation.   It had been a long time since we have seen them --so it was FANTASTIC to see them on the 21st.  TWO AWESOME PEOPLE!!!!  (Picture was from Christmas 2019 --since again, for the millionth time,  I was too excited and forgot to take a picture... Geeshhhh.)

If these little Cuties in their Christmas "Jammies" won't make you smile at Christmas (even in 2020),  then nothing will!!!!  These are my Great Granddaughters:  Roni --age about 1 1/2,  and Vivian --almost age 3!!!!  They live in Eastern Virginia... Aren't they adorable?

I have about 27 Willow Tree figurines in my collection --but I've never had nor seen this one.  This is a music box named  PROMISE. See the little video below  (if it works)!

On Christmas Eve --and most of the day on Christmas Day---we had snow!!!!!   SO --for the first time since 2010,  we had a WHITE CHRISTMAS...  (Talk about making ME happy!!!! ha)

Do you see our SHIRTS?  They are SO appropriate for 2020!!!!  This will be a year that most of us will talk about for many years to come.  BUT--as you can see from the pictures in this post,  we always managed to find some JOY this year even when we had to drive to find it!!!!!!  Merry QUARANTINE Christmas to you!!!!!!

I thank God every single minute for this wonderful man in my life.  He makes every day like Christmas for me!!!!!   May God Bless my awesome husband, George.

 WELL--enough for today!!!!!  When I began working on this blog,  I knew that I couldn't possibly talk about ALL of the things I loved about Christmas this year,  (yes---even in 2020)...  SO --I just hit the 'highlights'...  First and most important:  The Birth of Jesus Christ (which is why we celebrate this holiday)...  Then comes my love for George Adams, my HUSBAND for almost 20 years.  Next is my love for  FAMILY...  I'm glad we got to see all of our family except George's son in FL.   

I hope you had a MERRY Christmas --even in 2020,  and I hope you stayed FAR AWAY from the terrible Covid Virus.  Instead of having family ALL together this year, the 3 different SMALL groups we saw gave us the opportunity to have THREE Christmas Celebrations with Family instead of one. 

George and I have been SO careful --due to Covid --and we have always worked hard to find joy through this unbelievable year.   

 Hope all of you had a very special Christmas --whatever you were able to do this year,  and let's all PRAY that 2021 is a much better year (although they are saying that the Covid Virus will be with us until late spring)... Let's stay patient and careful!!!




Monday, December 21, 2020

Childhood Christmas Memories

Not a very good picture since it is SO old,  but this is a picture of one of our Christmas Trees I remember as a child;  I think I can still smell that CEDAR tree!!!  I do remember how prickly it was to decorate though --but I still loved it!  I also loved the little village at the bottom of the tree along with the 'fake' snow,  which would almost cut my fingers!!!!  Remember that?

Dear Blog Friends/Family, I found a little time to go back through some old pictures from my childhood at Christmastime.  SO---today I'll take you back to the 1940's and '50's  and share some photos that mean so much to me.   SO MANY MEMORIES of a happy childhood!!!  Hope you enjoy today's pictures.

Growing up in Big Stone Gap  (southwestern part of Virginia),  I remember seeing and playing in lots of SNOW.   I have loved snow ALL of my long life!  We used to make "Snow Ice-Cream" --and I would collect it in my bucket and take it to Mom to fix!!!!!!  YUM.

I love this picture of my sweet Dad, me and my beautiful Mom --taken about 1954 at Christmastime!!!!

My Dad always put up outside decorations at Christmas every year--and Mom used to say that we were the first home in our hometown to have outside decorations.  I loved that big Santa !!!!  AND --I have such fond memories of all of the big evergreen trees in my yard back then.

Mom joined us for a 'family' picture--Christmas, 1946  (My brother, Raymond, was visiting --so he must have taken the pictures.  In the previous picture,  that old Pontiac was Ray's car.)

This is my favorite of this group of pictures taken by my brother, Raymond, in 1946.   Betsy was probably saying:  "Enough of the pictures!  I wanna go and play in the snow!!!"

Dad may have decorated the outside of the house --but Mom was working just as hard decorating the inside of the house!!!!!

Christmas in about 1957;  Mom was dressed --but I had my bathrobe on!!!! ha

I certainly looked happy on Christmas morning that year (1957)...  Maybe Santa was good to me!!!????  Ya think????   (NOTE:  See that chair on the right side of the picture?  I have that chair in my home NOW.... So Special!)

My Family after Christmas Dinner in 1959:  Brother Raymond,  Brother Jimmy,  Dad, Mom and me

I added this recent picture  taken in 2010 to show you our snow on Christmas Morning.  That year was the LAST year we had snow on Christmas Morning.  SO in 2020 (10 years later),  can we possibly get some snow on Christmas?????????????     I am HOPING!!!!!  (But the chances keep getting less and less as we begin Christmas Week.)

 No matter where you live or where you are,  I am praying that ALL of YOU have a blessed Christmas Week--leading up to Christmas Day,  which is the day we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ.

With the Love of Christmas in my Heart,  I wish you LOVE, JOY,  and FAITH.

Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 14, 2020

Remembrances of Christmas

This sweet little  Angel is singing JUST for you!!!! 

Dear Blog Friends,  In trying to bring more JOY into my life this month (during the craziness of 2020),  I have had fun going back through old photos and blog posts... I came up with a theme:  "Remembrances of Christmas".   Then as I searched,   I found  over 100 photos which made me smile (and there were probably several hundred more) ... How do I choose 10 of those????   What a task!!!!! AND the simple answer,  I couldn't!!!!!  I ended up with 12 today --but only hit the highlights..

AND---except for the first two pictures,  all of today's photos are from about 2001 - 2019.   If I have time,  I'd love to find Christmas pictures from my childhood, and my sons' childhoods,  and  do a post about that.... BUT--even in retirement,  time seems hard to find!!!!

There's a neat story about the first two pictures... I've shared this before so many of you may have heard this story.... ANYHOW---when I was a young gal in the 1940's,  my parents gave me the 'perfect' Christmas present!!!!    Look at that precious little angel ---singing "O Holy Night"... Isn't she adorable? 

Well--now look at the 2nd picture....  This precious little angel is NO ANGEL for sure!!!!   See what is in her back pocket?  She has a Sling Shot!!!!!!!   ha ha ha....   My question:  Do you think my parents were telling me that I wasn't just a sweet little angel???????  (Don't answer that!!!   Those who know me well know that I'm not an angel at all!!!!! ha ha ha)

This little Christmas Angel is something I will cherish FOREVER....  I miss my parents so very much --and since this angel came from them---I hold it near to my heart.

Hope you enjoy seeing the rest of the "Memories" today... I wrote an explanation for each of them.

BUT----That sweet little angel (above) wasn't such a Sweet One after all.....Look what is in her back pocket!!!!   A SLING-SHOT!!!!!!! ha ha ha

George's and My FIRST ornament;  Our First Christmas together --2001

I gave George this little Santa's List ornament for Christmas in 2003...  I just had to give him this one --since George knows that my Christmas list is very LONG!!! ha

I gave this cute little 'fishie' ornament to George  in 2002.  I loved this little "Kissie Fishie" -since I would run through the house saying "KISSIE KISSIE" --begging for a kiss from my Sweetheart!!!

"The Stockings are Hung by the Chimney with Care."  Even the BIRDS are begging for some Christmas Treats!!!!  ha ha

Eastern Bluebirds are probably my all-time favorites when thinking about my Backyard Birds.  A lady on Etsy (about 10 years ago) made this gorgeous ornament.   I think this type of embroidery  is called CREWELING.

For several years,  we have visited a fabulous shop in December in Calabash, North Carolina, named Callahan's. (We had to cancel our trip this year though.  SAD!) BUT--every year when we are there, one of these little cuties would just JUMP into my shopping cart begging to come home with us...  This  little "Fireplace Baby" is named Snowflake... She came to our home in 2018.

Meet HOOTY....  This little Sweetie came to live with us last year (2019)...  Hooty joined the other Fireplace Babies --and immediately took charge!!!!!!


Here's one more Fireplace Baby for you.   I love Mr. Skinny Legs...  He came to live with us in 2017.

I'm not sure when I started collecting Willow Tree Angels/Figurines ---but I now have 26 of them.  I've had a bunch of collections through the years,  but this collection has to be an all-time favorite. This particular Willow is named HAPPINESS....  I love love love it --and it's SO ME!  Seeing our Backyard Birds certainly does bring me HAPPINESS.

This is a wonderful gift given to me from George.  The words are SO true!

Hope you enjoyed some of our memories during this holiday season.  When I was a child,  we did not decorate at all until about Dec. 15....  One of my best childhood friends told me that they didn't do any decorating until Christmas Eve.   We all have our special TRADITIONS... 

I miss my parents and my two brothers (and families) SO much during this time of year --but I do have some fabulous memories... Then when I got married and had 3 sons,  we made new memories...  After my divorce and after my sons all grew up and started making their own memories,  I  made more new memories.  Then my life changed when I met and married George Adams...  Most of what I shared today is from these past 20 years with George....  BUT---all of my memories are special ---and I thank God for my long life --and for my terrific family.

Update on Mark and Robin:  They are both doing better and both back at work after their 10 day quarantine... Mark didn't have a severe case,  but Robin really struggled at times... Glad they are both better!!!

Covid-19 is worse here now ---so George and I are 'laying low' and trying to stay as healthy as possible. It will be sad not to spend time with family this month --but being healthy is more important this year.

Have an awesome week --and remember to find JOY and HAPPINESS from all of the little festive things around you!!!   AND--keep making memories (even in 2020)... ha



Monday, December 7, 2020

First TINY Snow of the Season--- Nov. 30/Dec. 1--2020

We had snow most of the day --but it didn't start sticking until after dark,  11/30/20.  The Deck Lights look pretty with a little snow around.

Dear Blog Friends,   Happy DECEMBER!!!!!  As hard as this year has been for many of us,  I am determined to find something each day that makes me HAPPY.  Today ---I'm happy to share with you pictures of our first little SNOW  of the season.  As a southern gal,  I love snow ---but living in TN means that we don't ever get much here.  SO---I take advantage of enjoying every single flake!!! ha

Hope you enjoy the pictures and stories as much as I enjoyed sharing them.

Our front porch all decked out for Christmas, 11/30/20

The Front of our House all decorated with lights and some snow,  11/30/20

The after-dark pictures were the best since the snow was sticking then,  11/30/20.

"Baby, It's Cold Outside"---SO guess what we did????  We came inside near the fireplace --and enjoyed some Hot Chocolate.. YUM.  (11/30/20)

TOTALLY DARK --but the iPhone takes great 'night' pictures.  More snow makes the lights glisten!!!!  Love it!   (11/30/20)  NOTE the homes across the golf course with their lights on!!!

The front yard beginning to turn white!!!!  I took this picture looking into total darkness... Amazing what cameras can do these days!  NOTE:  We had had LOTS of rain before it turned to snow,  so the ground was still wet and warm.  Another thing most people would love about this little snow:  NONE on the ROADS at all!!!!

Last picture before heading to bed,  11/30/20;  NOTE:  See the black plastic bags???  Inside those bags are our LILIES. They are all tied up and protected from the bad weather... Then say:  "See you in Spring"...  How would you like to sleep through the winter?????  ha

Now --you'll have to adjust your eyes... It is now morning  (12/1/20) ---and here's all of the snow we got (less than an inch).  BUT--it's really really COLD outside --so I didn't stay out very long.

I love how the snow accumulates on our shrubs and bushes.  This is one of our Holly Bushes along the front of the house!  (12/1/20)

I'll close with one more picture of our decorated Front Porch --Christmas 2020.

 Well----Merry Christmas to you... Hope the pictures brought a smile to your face today. I know many of your are asking:  "How can she get so excited about a teeny bit of snow?"    WELL---I don't know but know that I've always loved snow.  I lived in the deep south for about 20 years and saw NO snow at all.   In these trying times,  we all need lots of smiles and joy and happiness.  I posted this to say to you: Find something that makes you happy.   Enjoy it to its fullest!!!!  2020 has been a rough year,  and Christmas (like Thanksgiving) will be very different this year...  SO---get out there and find things (little things) that make you HAPPY.  Find the JOY in the season!!!!!

Family Update:  My middle son Mark and Girlfriend Robin BOTH  have had the Covid Virus.  Robin's assistant at work first tested positive and it spread from there...  Robin has had a rough time with the virus but is beginning to feel better (we hope and pray).  Mark has had a mild case---but both of them have been and will continue to be quarantined (15 days total).   Prayers for all of the people who are suffering from this terrible virus.  

George and I are still healthy but are extremely careful,  and don't go anywhere much these days... I'm glad we have each other --but we both get lonely knowing that we cannot be with family and friends now...   That is another reason George and I are working hard to find joy and happiness during this Christmas season 2020..   

 Hope you can find JOY in the little things in life this month!!!!!  Share that JOY with others.  We all need to make each other feel GOOD.    Hey Folks ---it's Christmas!!! Show the Love!!!




Thursday, November 26, 2020

Being Grateful for our many Blessings-- Thanksgiving, 2020

Dear Friends,  Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours...  2020 has been a 'strange' year for so many of us.  The Covid virus is still around --and for many of us,  it seems to be getting worse instead of better..  As I say A LOT,  will it EVER END??????

As we enter into the holiday season,  most of us are seeing many changes in our lives and our families.. Instead of gathering among loved ones for Thanksgiving Dinner this year,  we are staying home and are talking to loved ones online.   It's just not the same.  

George and I thought we were one of the lucky ones this year,  hoping to spend Thanksgiving with son Mark and his gal,  Robin...  We were so excited... HOWEVER,  they called Tuesday night and gave us some bad news... Robin is the Director of a pre-school in Knoxville and just  found out that her assistant had tested positive for Covid. SO--Robin got tested Wednesday but won't get her results for about 4 days or longer.   THEREFORE,  our wonderful Thanksgiving with them has been postponed... We all were SO disappointed.  So---George and I will be home talking to all of the family on the phone and on Facetime...  Life is different for sure!

Many of you have been talking all month about showing gratitude --even through the rough times.  SO--today,  I have picked out some of my favorite quotes and ideas to share with you... I have always 'tried' to be POSITIVE with whatever life gives me/us... But I'll admit that I am one who needs to read these quotes over and over --each and every day!!!! Another quote which I love says that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!!!!  Oh --how true that is... 

For me,  I am truly grateful for being out in nature  and experiencing God's Beauty all around us.  That is why I also included a couple pictures I took on 10/21/20 of the beautiful Fall colors... I hope they will bring a smile to your face on this Thanksgiving Day in the USA.    ENJOY!!!!!

I took this picture on 10/21/20 at Indian Boundary Recreation Area,  off of the Cherohala Skyway --not too far from Tellico Plains,  TN

On 10/21/20,  late in the afternoon --we were headed down the mountain toward home and stopped just to capture this incredible sky.  

Hope your day is WONDERFUL...  With God in our lives,  what more could we want!  George and I were supposed to go to the beach next week --but postponed that trip until March  due to so much Covid around (we have been very lucky so far and want to continue to stay lucky).  But--there's another reason:  Even though I had a Cardiac Ablation only 3 weeks ago,  I went back into A Fib already,  and was not feeling very good for about 20 hours --until I reverted back to Normal Sinus Rhythm.  Tis LIFE ---BUT I will continue to give it my best shot...  God continues to bless me in so many other ways!!!

Have a fabulous day --and weeks ahead... I won't blog again until December 7th...

God's Blessings on ALL of you.  Thank you for always being there for me/with me each and every month/year.