Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header Picture for October shows another favorite place to visit anytime of year, but especially this month. This photo of mine shows you "AUTUMN in the SMOKY MOUNTAINS of Tennessee".

Monday, August 31, 2020

COLORS from Biltmore Home and Gardens 7/23/20

Dear Family and Friends,  Hope you enjoy some Summer COLORS from Biltmore today.  We always go to Biltmore during most every season of the year.  In Summer  (we were there this year on 7/23)--we specifically visit the Walled Gardens,  the Conservatory,  the Italian Water Gardens (to see the water Lilies and Lily Pads),  and the SUNFLOWERS  (a favorite Summer flower of mine).    I had way too many pictures to share --so I made some collages for you today... ENJOY!!!!

 









We are so fortunate to have Season's Tickets to Biltmore ---so we can go for short periods of time  and enjoy different areas of that amazing place during all of the seasons.  Due to Covid,  we missed our SPRING visit (which is always a favorite) ---so we just had to check out the Summer flowers.  The good news was that there were fewer people around which made "Social Distancing" easier.... 

Hope these pictures brought a smile to your face today--like they did to mine!!!!

Be sure and read the explanation of why my Header Picture (at the top of the page) this month is so SPECIAL to me.... The explanation is below the picture!!!!! 

I wrote a couple of paragraphs about my struggles with all of the changes Blogger is making (with no instructions or information)--but I deleted them....You don't need to hear my bellyaching --especially when we all need to stay as positive as possible during these hard times in our wonderful country.

Welcome September ..... I am NOT fond of the hot summers, so as you can imagine,  I'm really looking forward to some Fall Weather and Colored Leaves  ----and of course,  my PUMPKIN SPICE coffee (along with Pumpkin Spice EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD)..... ha ha

HUGS,

Betsy💝💛💚💕

Monday, August 24, 2020

What we were Doing in 2009

Dear Blog Family/Friends,   As you know,  George and I have loved life to its fullest for almost 20 years now... We are so blessed to have been able to see so many gorgeous places since 2001 (when we got married). Today,  I just picked out a year in our lives together and will share some of my favorite pictures for you!   

Today's pictures were all taken during the year,  2009.  It is hard to keep the number down to 10,  but I have decided that 10 pictures per blog post is enough for most of us very busy people.... Since I cannot write a caption under the photos now,  I ask you to put your curser over each picture for an explanation. Don't click on it ---but just hold the curser there for a little bit --and the explanation should come up!!!!!

The picture above is special for several reasons:  1.  We were celebrating my Birthday in Ormond Beach, Florida that year;  2.  This was the sunrise I saw over the water on my Birthday (2009);  and 3. The fact that it reminded me of the gorgeous sunrise I saw this year (8/5/20) when we were on Skyline Drive in VA




A few months ago (June 22, 2020),  I published a Blog Post showing us walking behind this beautiful waterfall,  Dry Falls,  not too far from Franklin, North Carolina.  We certainly couldn't have walked behind this one in winter of that year (2009)....But--I enjoyed seeing all of the ice around Dry (Not-Dry) Falls.... 




To celebrate George's Birthday in March of 2009,  we visited one of our all-time favorite places,  MT. NEBO, Arkansas.  We always ask for Cabin 60 which sits right on the rim (with a view of the valley below) --and consider it "our" cabin!!! Oh how we love that little cabin!!!




I have been feeding our Backyard Birds here since about 2002...  I get so much joy of watching the birds year 'round!!!!!  This is a picture I took of a Male CARDINAL in Winter of 2009.




As you know,  I love all sunrises and sunsets... I also LOVE seeing the Moon shining down on the water! In May of 2009,  we were at another favorite place,  Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina  (north of Myrtle Beach,  SC).   When there each year (mostly in December instead of May, these days),  we seldom see the moon over the water... BUT in 2009,  we got lucky, don't you think?




In April of 2009,  we took a short trip to an adorable little cabin in Cosby,  Tennessee  (in the  Great Smoky Mountains) ---with this waterfall right next to our cabin.  We had a big picture window inside the cabin where we could see the waterfall... I loved not only seeing Serenity Falls --but also hearing the power of that water,  from our deck (over the creek).   




Besides chasing waterfalls all over the country  and taking care of my Backyard Birds,  another thing we do  (this is George's  hobby) is to grow beautiful ROSES in our yard... George loves his 'babies' --and takes good care of them.  I get to enjoy the roses when he brings one inside JUST for me almost every morning during the season.  This beautiful Rose is named,  APRICOT NECTAR--and she is one of many which have been with us for many years.... Oh how we love our Roses!!!! (I have six beautiful roses on my desk right now!)




For our anniversary,  June of 2009,  we made  a trip near Clayton GA --to visit TULLULAH GORGE  to see the beautiful waterfalls in that gorge.  There are 5 falls --and great trails all around the gorge and steps to go down into the gorge... I highly recommend this area to everyone!!!    This is one of the waterfalls,  Tempesta Falls!




Wonderful Autumn!!!!!! 2009 was a GREAT year to enjoy the Fall Colors in and around Tennessee and the mountains!!!!!  We traveled across the Cherohala Skyway (between Robbinsville, NC and Tellico Plains, TN) in October of 2009 --and saw so much absolutely fantastic beauty!!!! 




 I'll close this post with a picture taken from Mountain Air Resort in North Carolina (near Burnsville) when we visited George's son and family (who were vacationing there for a few days in July, 2009).  

This was our view from the deck of their condo... What a life!!!!!  Wow!

Hope you enjoyed today's pictures from just one year in our wonderful lives... As I have time,  I'll post more memories from different years!!!!  

As I told my Facebook Friends,  my ADVICE to everyone (especially those of you not getting closer to the 80's --as George and I are).... Get out NOW while you can, and travel and see the beauty all around you..  We don't travel far --and most of the time,  we stay in the USA!  BUT--we have traveled a lot --and have so many marvelous memories...  I am so glad that we had these past 20 years together to live life to its fullest... Now --even though we still travel some when we can (and hope to continue),  my biggest joy is traveling virtually with son,  Mark and his gal, Robin,  who are taking me with them on their travels.. I'm so excited for them as they love being out in nature --as much as I do!!!!

August is almost over ---so does that mean that some cooler Fall Weather could be on its way?????? I HOPE I HOPE I HOPE.....

Have a fabulous week!
Hugs,

Betsy💝💛💚💕


 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflowers/Shrubs and Ferns

Dear Blog Friends/Family,  As most of you know,  from June 16-18,  2020,  George and I took a little trip to the Pisgah Inn,  on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Asheville,  North Carolina.   This past week,  I went through all of my pictures from that trip,  and picked out pictures of some of the beauty all around us that week to share with you... 

Hope you enjoy this set of pictures.  I have them divided into 4 groups or 3 pictures each:  Mountain Laurel,  Ferns and Greenery,  Rhododendrons,  and Flame Azaleas.  

I cannot seem to find a way to put a 'caption' with my pictures with this new Blogger program,  so the caption (if I could write one) would tell you that the picture above is a beautiful MOUNTAIN LAUREL.  Does anyone know how to put in captions with your pictures?


Here's another picture of the Mountain Laurel.. Can you count how many blooms are on that bush????  Me neither!!!! ha ha


Here's a close-up of one of the tiny Mountain Laurel blooms.  Mountain Laurel starts out a medium pink color,  and as it opens,  it turns more whitish with pink... They are so beautiful!


Wouldn't you like to be here and take this wonderful hike with us?  As I walked this path,  I felt like I was in Heaven on Earth.. The ferns (AND the smell,  AND all of the greens around us) were awesome!!!!


Have you ever taken time to check out ferns up close and personal?  So intricate and amazing!!!!


When taking time --as we hike-- to look at the interesting beauty all around me,  I found this little patch of some kind of tiny little ground-cover around the mossy area..  Does anyone know what this is????  It was so beautiful!


As we headed further up the mountain,  we encountered these gorgeous Rhododendron blooming at the higher elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It is truly amazing to see all of the different wildflowers in bloom at different elevations and at different times of the year.  


We have Rhododendrons blooming in our yard in May ---but never this many blooms!!!!  So gorgeous!


I got closer to these Rhododendron blooms for a better picture.   When the sun is shining,  the colors of the Rhododendron blooms seem more pink and less lilac/purple (as in the two pictures above)...We didn't see a lot of sunshine when we were there this year --but the flowers were still gorgeous.


One of my all-time favorite Wild Flowers is a FLAME AZALEA....The orange color is so perfect to blend in with the green around it...



Here are the Flame Azaleas a little closer!!!  Aren't they just awesome?



 Here's one more picture of the vivid colors in the Flame Azaleas.  

I hope you enjoyed all of the gorgeous blooms from the Blue Ridge Parkway in June of 2020.

Have an awesome week!!!!!

Hugs,

Betsy💝💛💚💕



Monday, August 10, 2020

Highlights of a Fantastic Birthday Trip






This was the view from our room at the Peaks of Otter (August 2, 2020)... This is ABBOTT LAKE.  One of our favorite things to do at the 'Peaks'  is to take a walk around the lake (only one mile).   We managed to take that walk a couple of times each day... It is such a gorgeous place --and SO relaxing.





My Sweetheart (who makes my life so fulfilling and rich) is the most amazing man I have ever known.  God has blessed me so much with George in my life.  We were walking around the beautiful grounds at the Peaks of Otter when I snapped this picture of my Cutie Pie (August 2, 2020).   





I took this picture of the Peaks of Otter Lodge (August 2, 2020) --when we were walking on the other side of the lake.  Isn't this a beautiful place?   I absolutely love visiting there.. Look at those reflections!!! 





This year,  we got a different room (Laurel 114) at Skyland Resort ---and had the most awesome view of the SUNSET.   I took this picture on August 4, 2020--from our balcony.  WOW!!!







On my BIRTHDAY,  August 5,  George took this picture of me inside the cave at the LURAY CAVERNS....  I was SO excited and happy!






On August 6, 2020--- we drove around in the GORGEOUS SHENANDOAH VALLEY.  We found a place to park and actually walked around awhile...  I feel like I'm in heaven when I'm in the Shenandoahs!!!!







Also on August 6th,  we visited the SHENANDOAH RIVER STATE PARK.  There are seven bends of this amazing river --so at this overlook,  we could see one of the bends.  It made me want to SING,  "O Shenandoah"....   I'll bet you are singing that song right now!!!!!






 Have you EVER seen THIS on your Birthday?????   WELL---thanks to George,  we got up early on August 5th ---and drove to a nearby overlook off of Skyline Drive just to see this.....Talk about amazing!!!!!!   The sun came up on that morning,  and I felt as if it was telling me 'Happy Birthday'!!!!

I think I will stop here with this post,  but just had to give you a short preview of what we did this past week....  Thanks to many of you (on Facebook especially) who followed me all week during that trip and who wished me a Happy Birthday...  That meant so much to me!!!

Hugs,

Betsy💕💜💚




Monday, August 3, 2020

Lilies in our Yard ---Part I

LILY COLLAGE 2020
Dear Friends,   I am 'back' to this new Blogger set-up  (I guess the 'old way' is gone now) ---so forgive me if things are all messed up a bit!!!!!   I'm not only learning about the writing of a post,  but am learning how to set up my Blog using the new method....... Quite a learning experience!!!!

Anyhow--- today I am sharing with you a favorite flower of mine  (and of the deer).... Because the deer were eating the beautiful LILY blooms,  George put some of our Lilies into containers and brought them to the deck last year...  SO far,  the deer haven't been on the deck --so the LILIES for the past two summers have been gorgeous.... I absolutely love LILIES --and have enjoyed seeing about 15 different varieties this summer with lots of blooms on each one.  This is such JOY for me --and they smell fantastic...

Hope you enjoy seeing some of these beauties today...   I divided some of my favorite pictures into two posts.....


A picture as I walked on the deck; Picture taken 6/14/20




PURPLE PRINCE LILY 7/3/20




STARGAZER LILY 7/7/20




GARDEN PARTY LILY 7/7/20




My View from our dining room --looking out onto the deck!!!!  7/11/20




DIZZY LILIES 7/13/20




CRIMSON PIXIE LILIES  5/31/20  (The first LILIES to bloom this year!)




TINOS LILIES 5/13/20




ROSELLA'S DREAM LILIES 6/23/20




PINK PERFECTION LILIES 6/25/20  (This is our TALL Lily---about 7 feet TALL.)




MUSCADET LILIES  7/5/20
 
Well --that's enough for today!!!!  They have all been so pretty --and we had lilies bloom from the end of May until the end of July..... 

Hope this all comes out... Busy weekend:  New Post,  New month with my August header and theme!!!!  Fun fun!!!

OH the JOYS of Blogging... I've been blogging since 2006 --and have gone through many changes given to us by Blogger ...  SOME have definitely not been what I call an improvement!!!!   Oh Well...  It is what it is!!!!!!

Hope you have an awesome week!!!!

Hugs,

BETSY