Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JUNE. My blog picture shows a gorgeous picture of my favorite AZALEA, named the FLAME AZALEA. I took this picture this past month when we were at Biltmore on 5/17/23.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

More Beauties from Biltmore (5/17/23)

Hello Blog Friends,   Hope you are not tired of seeing our Biltmore pictures!!!!!  If you are,  then I'm sorry since I am showing you more today... What is interesting for me is looking up the names for some of these gorgeous flowers....   Sit back and enjoy!!!!!! See how many names you knew!!!!

Wax Begonias of all colors 

The one on the left is called a Rex Begonia (I had no idea this was in the Begonia family), and the on the right is called a Blushing Bromeliad.

Biltmore Conservatory is known for its many Orchids.  Here are only three:  Left--Moon Orchid;  Middle--Renanthera Orchid;  Right--Crimson Cattleya

White-spotted Calla Lily


Bigleaf Hydrangea

Peace Lily  (Don't you love this name?)

China Rose Hibiscus

How many did you know????  I'll admit that I have no idea the names of ANY of the Orchids... To me,  an Orchid is an Orchid.... ha ha


I'll close with one of my favorite photos taken of Bert (about a month before he died).  This was his last trip with his two brothers/wives ---taken on March 26, 2023 (he died on April 21)... They enjoyed a weekend together in Folly Beach, South Carolina.  Son Jeff took this picture of Bert---early in the morning while waiting for the sunrise... I see this picture and it brings tears to my eyes.  I wonder what he was thinking that morning??????  Bert knew he was going to die,  and maybe he was asking God to take him to that beautiful place called Heaven... He was READY --even though the rest of us didn't want to lose him so quickly...   I AM glad that he didn't suffer and that he is in a better place...  BUT??????? 

Oh---how I miss him!

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

"What we Saw" at the Biltmore Estate on May 17-18, 2023

 Dear Blog Friends,   George and I finally got to Biltmore  (first time since Christmas)  on May 17-18, 2023...  As most of you know,  we have season's passes and love to go several times during the year to see all of the different events and blooms... On this little trip,  these are some of the things which we saw!!!! Biltmore was beautiful---and was a little trip we both desperately needed (after our rough 3 months dealing with son Bert's cancer and death)...

SO today,  I have chosen to share with you several things which we saw during this visit!!!  Hope you enjoy my post and hope you can get to Biltmore sometime to enjoy it for yourselves!!!  (By the way,  these pictures are only a SMALL portion of what we saw and did... I took about 200 pictures!!!! ha)

Beautiful Biltmore ---'MY' Home (of course!!!!!!! ha)

George and I --taken at the Lagoon at Biltmore --across the water looking up toward the back of the BIG house!!!

The Kousa Dogwoods  are in full bloom and are all over the grounds at Biltmore.  Gorgeous!!

I loved seeing all of the Rhododendrons in bloom while we were there.

AND the Mountain Laurels were showing off all of their beauty!

Looking across the lake not far from the waterfall;  I loved the reflections in the water.

This is something I have never seen at Biltmore!!!  Be sure and read the sign!!!

See the Rhododendrons in bloom across the lake?

Beautiful flowers inside the Conservatory

It was interesting to watch the Biltmore Black-Smith.  He was so personable and fun to listen to and watch.

And my favorite thing to show you:  a beautiful Chandelier hanging in the Winery by none other than CHIHULY.   Isn't it awesome????

Hope you enjoyed seeing my photos... As you can tell,  we had a great time!!!! Several of you have asked how we are doing.  We are OKAY....  I miss Bert TERRIBLY and think about him constantly.  BUT--he would not want me to sit around and mope and be sad.   SO---we are keeping on living the best life we can!!!! It's all about ATTITUDE!!!! 

Bert's 60th Birthday will be on July 18.   The family will scatter his ashes in the Smoky Mountains sometime that week...

Hope you are doing well.   I'll try to do a better job of blogging and staying in touch. 

Much Love,


Monday, May 1, 2023

Family Celebration honoring son, Bert, who died on 4/21/23

Bert Wilhite (Being crazy; Picture taken in 2018)
July 18, 1963- April 21, 2023

Hello Blog Friends,  Bert opted to have an outdoor celebration ---and not a traditional morbid and sad service...  It worked out well--and it's the type of 'service' I want when I pass away...

SO----Twenty family members got together on Saturday, April 29, at Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains for a Celebration of Life for Bert...It was awesome and was a time of healing for all of us. We laughed and cried as we told stories about Bert. We also enjoyed a terrific picnic lunch.

We had had rain for the past few days but Saturday was gorgeous. I told my sons that Bert 'sent' us the beautiful weather. I'm sure he enjoyed hearing the stories that we all told!!!! I am so blessed to have a fabulous family --and Saturday was definitely a day of HEALING. Thanks be to God. (The picture was taken about 2018---and I'm sure that expression on his face was him listening to our crazy stories!!! ha)

I was scared when we planned the celebration thinking that it would be too hard for me. HOWEVER --I loved it and it was pure healing for me. Thanks be to a loving God who takes good care of us. AND--knowing that Bert is in heaven which has to be a beautiful place, and knowing that he is now out-of-pain is a blessing.  

Thank You for being so kind and compassionate to me through these past THREE months. Bert had one of the worst kinds of cancer ---so it's a good thing, although I miss him terribly, that he only lived with cancer for those three months...

Love to ALL,


Sunday, April 23, 2023

Death of my Son


 Melvin Bertrand Wilhite III (known as Bert to the family/old friends and Tre to new friends)

July 18, 1963 --April 21, 2023

Thank You to ALL who have sent so many prayers and so much love not only to Bert--but to our entire family.  These past 3 months have been so difficult,  and let me just say how much I HATE CANCER.  God must have big plans for Bert since he took him from us WAY too quickly.

I have said this so many times,  but my other two sons,  Mark and Jeff,  couldn't have been anymore loving and helpful to Bert through this journey.  I couldn't have made it without them.  SO--a huge thank you for my sons and their families.

And I cannot write this without saying thank you to my ROCK,  George.  He has been with me constantly through this journey, and has given me more love than any one person deserves. Thank You to my Sweetheart.

These past 3 months, Bert and I have had some great talks about his life.  He has lived several places and experienced life in ways that many of us never have.  I'm sure I will be sharing more about these experiences over the next several weeks.

As a strong Christian,  I know that Bert is in a beautiful place and is totally out of pain.   He died peacefully with the family surrounding him.   He is now in heaven with his father (who died in July of 2022).

But--I will admit that I miss him TERRIBLY.   We have been texting each day (several times) with his Mama asking him how he felt... He would always text back telling me he was fine (even when he wasn't).  I almost picked up my phone this afternoon to text him.  BUT--He can't text me back now...   It HURTS so much....

I miss you Sweet Boy.  I will see you again someday in Heaven.   (Picture of my 'awesome' son was taken in 2021 on a family picnic celebrating his brother Jeff's 50th Birthday)

Monday, April 3, 2023


 Dear Blog Friends,    I thought I'd better give you a March Update since I haven't written lately.  First of all,  I do want you to know that George and I are fine--for two old people!!!   We are slowing down but enjoying life!!!!!   Today I'll share a few pictures from  THREE  March events you may have missed (unless you follow me on Facebook)...

FIRST was our little trip to Cades Cove (in the Smokies) to celebrate George's 81st BIRTHDAY on March 9.

SECOND-- shows you some of our DAFFODIL collections in our yard.  The Daffodils must love our rainy weather since they have really put on a show this past month.

THIRD-- was our little spur of the moment trip to KENTUCKY   (March 25 and 26).   We seldom go anywhere much anymore --so this was a nice change for us,  and we NEEDED it.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!!!!

The Birthday Boy enjoying some ice cream at Cades Cove in the Smokies

I love this picture that George took on his Birthday --showing the silky water at the Sinks in the Smokies.

 Two very happy people enjoying George's Birthday at Cades Cove in the Smokies.

Daffodils in our Yard,  March 2023

These little Daffodils were given to us many years ago by George's sweet Daddy.

More pretty Daffodils in our yard;  We have so many different varieties.

This is from the PINNACLE at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Middleboro, KY..  You can see the little quaint town of Cumberland Gap below.  We love to visit the Pinnacle every time we get near that area, but this time --the high winds and cold temperatures made it more difficult to take pictures....  

From the balcony of our room at the lodge at Pine Mountain State Resort Park,   we enjoyed watching the sun disappear behind the mountain.   NOTE the colors in the sun's rays!!!!  I called it a Sun-Bow!!!!! ha

Another beautiful photo of the fantastic Kentucky mountains,  taken from the lodge at Pine Mountain State Resort Park

The next day,  on our way home,  we stopped at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park.   The waterfall was dirty but beautiful after all of the rains we have had.

Finally,  an update on son BERT who has terminal cancer:  

March 1st-- Bert had his last visit with Palliative Care.

March 2nd-- Bert had his last visit with the Oncologist

March 10--Bert was evaluated by HOSPICE care.

March 13-- HOSPICE took over his care.  We (the family) are very pleased with Hospice so far.  They visit him often,  have taken over his medications and have them delivered to his home the next day after being ordered,  and have given the family much information about cremation,  giving his organs for research, etc. They have taken a lot of responsibility off of the family --AND they are keeping him out of pain.

Right now,  Bert is doing remarkably well.   Even with this terrible cancer --he has been healthy in all other ways (which really is helping).   He still cannot eat/drink much since the cancer is in his throat and has destroyed his taste buds... The Radiation treatments HELPED shrink the big tumor but in the process,  he has struggled swallowing and eating solid foods...  Hospice has provided some healthy 'clear' drinks for him which help him get the necessary calories....  Because of his lack of hunger and being able to taste,  he is losing weight plus the fact that he doesn't have much energy.   BUT--he'll tell you if you ask that he is doing FINE...  Bless his heart...

I took this photo last Wednesday  (March 29) when we took Bert to the Soup Kitchen for lunch.  He was able to eat 1/2 cup of Curried Chicken soup  and drink some water.   He took the rest home to eat that night for his dinner.... 

I'm so proud of him and his wonderful attitude.   As I said before,  we don't know how long we will have this wonderful guy on this earth,  but every day we do have him is a BLESSING...




Saturday, February 18, 2023

 Update on Bert’s  cancer:

-On January 24---Bert (my eldest son, age 59)  went to the doctor with a ‘knot’ on his neck.  This was the beginning of a new journey for our family.  After some preliminary tests, the doctors suspected  CANCER from the beginning,  but they weren’t sure.  SO many many tests including an MRI, several CTScanes, 2 biopsies, etc..  were performed..  (At first we all were hoping that he had a more common Thyroid Cancer which is easy to cure... That didn’t happen!)

-Finally,  on  February 2nd,  the bad news came.  Bert not only has cancer.  He has a  VERY rare, life-threatening, no cure cancer named  STAGE IV ANAPLASTIC THYROID CANCER.   This particular cancer travels fast throughout the body.  Bert already has some cancer spots on his lung.  

-After several days of devastation,  I finally shared Bert’s story on February 9th on Facebook and  on the 11th on this Blog... It was hard --but the outpouring of love and support and prayers was (and continues to be) fantastic. I am glad that I have so many wonderful friends.  (NOT sure what I would do without all of you and my wonderful family.)

-Since the 9th,  Bert continues to have many appointments and tests.   We are so glad that he is getting great care at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.   He has seen and continues to see a variety of specialists while dealing with his cancer and treatment.  Besides his PCP doctor,  he now has a Thyroid Doctor,  an Oncologist, a Radiation Oncologist and a Palliative Care Doctor.  All of these doctors work together as a team.  Amazing and Awesome!

-Bert is not married and his son lives in Florida.  His father died in July this past year.   SO--his two brothers and I are his only close relatives.  George and I drive over to see Bert at least once a week,  and his brothers are the ones taking him back and forth to all of his appointments.  Those two sons are the ones keeping Bert in their homes now (since they don’t want him to be alone).   Thanks be to God for these amazing sons,  Mark and Jeff,  and their supporting wives, Robin and Dawn.  Without them,  I’m not sure what we could do at this time in our lives.

-Since Bert’s tumor in his neck is growing fast,  that team of doctors is moving quickly to help him and keep him comfortable.  Right now,  Bert struggles with a very stiff neck, and cannot turn his head to the right now.  He struggles with eating and is mostly on liquids or very soft foods now.   He has trouble sleeping and has a raspy throat.   So far though, there are no breathing problems.

-He began some Radiation Treatments on Feb. 15,  and will have these treatments for 10 or more days to see if they are shrinking the tumor some..  (Did I tell you that they cannot remove the tumor since it is wrapped around all of those nearby glands? That would cause even more problems for Bert.)

-On Feb. 15,  George and I took Bert to see the Palliative Doctor... That was such a great experience for Bert and for me.  This caring, compassionate doctor talked to Bert to get his ‘wishes’ for his future.  We even talked about  Hospice...  As a family,  we are most concerned for Bert’s comfort with a lack of suffering through his last days.  We do not know how long we will have this sweet boy on this earth but  we don’t want him to suffer...  This is all in God’s hands.  

-As a Mom,  I truly don’t know how anyone can go through this without God in their lives.   All of us in the family have a lot of faith, and that faith is what is carrying us through this journey.  Another thing which helps me tremendously is that Bert has an incredibly great attitude.   He has accepted what is happening to him and never complains.  God Bless this wonderful son of mine.   Please continue praying for all of my family --and especially Bert.   Thank You.

Love to all,


Saturday, February 11, 2023

Dear Blog Friends, Many many PRAYERS needed.   See this cute little blue-eyed boy ?????   His name is BERT (although he goes by Tre  these days) and he is my oldest (of 3) sons... He is only 59 years old,  and was diagnosed recently with a very RARE and DEADLY Stage IV Thyroid Cancer with NO CURE..   

This cancer is one of the worst cancers since it grows very fast and then spreads all over one’s body.  Usually Thyroid Cancer is the ‘simple’ cancer which can be treated and cured.   Not this one.   This cancer is named ANAPLASTIC THYROID CANCER.

Here’s a website if you want to read about it...


As you can imagine,  this is devastating news to me and to our family.   It came up suddenly since we have only been dealing with this since Jan. 24.  I spent two days crying my heart out --and finally,  with lots of love from my husband,  have been able to turn it  over to God.   I have told several friends --but just haven’t been able to tell this  publicly until now... (Makes it real).

Bert has a large mass/tumor on his thyroid and surrounding glands.  He also has spots on his lung.  They can’t surgically remove that tumor since it is wrapped  around other  surrounding glands;  and removing it may do even more damage.   Right now the doctors’ primary interest is to give him radiation to try to shrink that tumor.

We are not sure how long we will have this precious boy (man) on this earth with us  since that cancer grows and spreads so quickly--but George and I and the family will love and keep him as happy as possible for these next months/years.    The picture above was taken this past year while Bert and Mark were at a University of Tennessee football game.

I will say that my other two sons (Mark and Jeff) have been fantastic through this past month (taking Bert to doctor’s appointments,  keeping  him in their homes,  etc.).  I don’t know what I’d do without Mark and Jeff and their beautiful  supportive wives (Robin and Dawn).   Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.  If you have questions --message me  or text me at 931-200-5933.   Today,  tell your loved ones how much you love them, since none of us know how long we will be on this earth.   God’s Blessings to all of you.

Much Love,