Sunday, October 9, 2016

An East Tennessee Adventure


A few weeks ago, Greg and I went for a visit to East Tennessee which we thoroughly enjoyed.

The main purpose of our trip was to celebrate the birthdays of three family members.

Photo by John

The celebration was at Nick and Lisa's where we had an end-of-summer cookout, complete with...

hot dogs...

birthday cake and...

ice cream sundaes.

A great time was had by all!

Greg and I spent the night in nearby Jonesborough, Tennessee in the "Jonesborough Bed and Breakfast," which is a "quaint turn of the century Queen's cottage...", to quote the website. 

It is the number one B&B in Jonesborough, according to "TripAdvisor."

It even has a resident dog, Tori Amos.

The decor is bohemian.

The innkeeper, Brian Mills, who makes you feel at home right away, is from London, and speaks French and Spanish, as well as English.

The large Continental breakfast was delicious, especially the granola with fresh fruit and milk.

"Jonesborough Bed and Breakfast"
232 East Main Street
Jonesborough, Tennessee

After breakfast, Greg and I headed to downtown Jonesborough, the oldest town in Tennessee, where we...

explored around town which was all dressed up in its fall finery.

Jonesborough is well-known as the "Storytelling Capital of the World." It holds the "National Storytelling Festival" every October.

After a bit of shopping (including finding Christmas gifts!), we had a wonderful lunch at one of our favorite places, "Main Street Cafe."

Does this look good, or what! It was!

A little later, we stopped by "J J's" for some ice cream. So good on a warm autumn day!

You really ought to try Jonesborough. Bet you'd love it!

On my 9/18/16 blog post, I discussed things that I've found that made me feel happier and more positive. 

On this post, I'd like to add to that list-
Reading something inspirational, like Rhonda Byrne's new book How the Secret Changed My Life. This book is, to quote the ad, " everyday people completely transformed their lives by applying the teachings of The Secret." This book got five stars on "Amazon." Might be a book worth looking into!

Positive thought: "We are the creators of our universe."-"The Secret"
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, October 23, 2016, Becky

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Some Ways to Be Happier and More Positive


It seems that we're bombarded with negativity these days, but we can't let it take hold of us and steal our joy.

I'd like to share some things that have personally helped me be happier and more positive.*

Here they are, in no certain order:

-The first thing that comes to mind is that Greg and I try to stay away from all of the negativity of television. We are very selective of the little bit of TV that we do watch. If you feel worse from having watched a certain program, you might decide that it's just not worth your time to watch it! I personally like to feel uplifted, not drug down!

When we do watch TV, it's a quality show like "The Andy Griffith Show." (Also, we're getting a pretty good collection of DVD's from other old TV shows that we really enjoy.) We also like "The Weather Channel" which is very educational.

A good alternative to the regular news, we think, is "The Weather Channel"'s on the Internet.

Besides giving the current weather in your own hometown or anywhere in the world, they have interesting news stories and videos, as well, such as "Most Incredible Roadside Attractions in Every State," and a touching video of a man rescuing a hapless kitten on a busy highway.

-Another thing that helps Greg and me is that we usually eat out only once a week unless we're on a long trip. By doing that, we can better control what we eat because when we eat at home, we know what's in our food which is important nowadays with so many food additives, pesticides, and GMO's that are in our food supply! ( Another great thing about eating at home is that it's less expensive!)

(The good news is that crusaders like Vani Hari [aka "Food Babe"] are causing several restaurants to clean up their act, and get rid of many of the additives and other bad stuff in our food. Thankfully, some restaurants, mostly local ones, now have organic, locally-grown choices which is fantastic.)

To us, eating healthy, organic food makes us feel happier and more positive.

-Trying to ignore and even stay away from negative people who don't honor you is another biggie in our book!

"...It doesn't matter what others say about you or feel about you. It's none of your business. Take away the power from people that would love to see you fail, by not caring what others think."
-Justin Chase Mullins, psychic

"If you surround yourself with positive people who build you up, the sky is the limit."
-Joel Brown

-Another positive idea for happiness is to talk with someone that you trust about things with which you need help. Sometimes we just need someone to listen to us. My favorite confidants are my soulmate, Greg, and sympathetic psychics. (A genuine psychic is really helpful since he or she knows exactly what's going on in any given situation.)

I could go on a lot longer with this since I have several more ideas about this important subject, but I'll end it for now. What I will do in a least the next few blog posts, is to share each time another way that has helped me to be happier and more positive before my usual "Positive thought" quote at the end.

In the meantime, you might want to try out some of my above suggestions for having a happier, more positive life, and/or you might even come up with some ideas of your own that you might like to try!

Be adventurous, and have fun with this.* Good luck!

*Hopefully the suggestions will help you, too, but we are all different, and I'm certainly not an expert on this subject. I'm not responsible for whatever you decide to do.

Positive thought: "Positive thinking evokes more energy, more initiative, more happiness."
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, October 9, 2016, Becky

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Labor Day Thoughts


Hope you're having a great Labor Day weekend!

Labor Day, which is the first Monday in September, began in the late 1800's to celebrate the American labor movement.

For most of us, it's a time for picnics, barbecues, and time with family and friends. It's also a great time to shop for those Labor Day bargains. Labor Day is the traditional end of summer, just as Memorial Day is the traditional beginning of summer. (Wow! Where did this summer go? It seems like such a short while ago that we were celebrating Memorial Day!)

With Labor Day right here upon us, I started thinking about, well,...labor, all types of labor.

Greg labors at his job, and I labor with my businesses (art, photography, writing, and organizing.) For those that love the work they do, however, it's really more like play than work.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

Also, when Greg and I are not "working," visiting, or going on trips, etc., we're mostly at home, doing projects around the house.

We do special projects, like-

remodeling a closet or...

organizing a shelf.

We also do our own chores, like-

mowing, which is good exercise, and it also saves us money.

Once a week, I take our garbage to the nearby dump which saves us around $300.00 a year. You don't realize how much you can save until you start adding it all up.

All of this talk of laboring, makes me think of the saying,

"The end of labor is to gain leisure."

Great idea-

taking time out for a picnic in a favorite park.

Positive thought: Happy Labor Day!
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, September 18, 2016, Becky

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Sharing a Favorite Photo, with Love


Someone recently asked me what my favorite location for taking photographs was. My answer is that I really don't have a favorite location because I just love taking pictures wherever I am, both at home and away from home. There's an opportunity for picture-taking everywhere if we just look around us.

Also, I was asked to share my favorite photo. I could answer it this way:
"Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I'm going to take tomorrow."-Imogen Cunningham

With that said, I did select one photograph from several of my favorites to share on this blog post.

It's one of the photos that I featured on my "The Art of Positive Living" blog, a post entitled "Positive Memories" (8/7/16). I took this photo at my niece's beautiful wedding a couple of years ago in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Savannah, Georgia.

Although there was a professional wedding photographer there taking pictures, the family had wanted me to take photos, as well, since my photographs, in their words, "make the ordinary extraordinary."

Even though I wasn't a professional photographer* then, I did my best, and I took a lot of pictures, trying not to miss any important shots.

In the above photo, the couple is taking a stroll around the beautiful grounds after the ceremony. I followed them around, and was lucky to have captured the image with my camera.

My steps in taking this photo are:
"I walk,
I look,
I see,
I stop,
I photograph."
-Leon Levinstein

The above quote really is pretty much how I take all of my photographs.

In case I need to tweak up any photos, I go to a free online editing site for lightening up, etc. the images.

However, I'm investigating something I just heard about, an innovative compact camera that a new company Light has developed since I'm always looking for new ways to improve my photography. It even works really well in low-light conditions.

From taking a family group photo when I was only nine years old, to taking informal photos of my parents opening gifts from each other when I was a teenager, to taking pictures with my husband, Greg, during our travels, I can happily say that I'm hooked on photography.

In fact, photography is in my blood since my father was an avid photographer when I was growing up.

In conclusion, model Christie Brinkley in her book "Timeless Beauty" sums up my feelings about photography this way: "I love to grab a camera and walk around looking for beauty. I find beauty everywhere....I am transported by the magic and light, and I...feel enlightened both physically and spiritually by the beauty."

I couldn't have expressed it any better myself!

*To check out more of my photos, please see the heading "Photography" on my website, . Many of my photos are on iStock .com which is part of "Getty Images."

Positive thought: "Photography is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world."-Bruno Barby
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, September 4, 2016, Becky

(This blog post is under the copyright of Becky Arnott, 8/27/16.)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Bell Buckle Celebration

Recently, Greg and I returned to one of our very favorite places, Bell Buckle, Tennessee. I've written about this quaint little town on other blog posts. (These are the 12/6/15, 6/21/14, 2/23/14, and 4/28/13 posts.)

This time, we were there to celebrate a very special occasion for us, our wedding anniversary!

"Our wedding was many years ago. The celebration continues to this day."
-Gene Perret

Our first stop in Bell Buckle was, of course, the Bell Buckle Cafe.

There, we know that we'll always get an excellent meal...

It was sooo good! Southern home-style cookin,' Greg's and my favorite kind!

Of course, we had to top it all off with an anniversary dessert, a grits cake with strawberries and whipped cream. Fantastic!

After our wonderful, filling meal, we decided to take a stroll around town.

This is just one of the neat shops we visited.

Inside "Perfectly Painted" was an unexpected bonus, this cute little guy.

On our way out, after yet another visit to Bell Buckle, Greg and I noticed this pretty B&B, the "Walker Inn."

We thought that it would be great to spend the night here on our next visit so we could enjoy an even longer stay in this charming little town.

"Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Positive thought: "An anniversary is a time to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday, and the hopes of tomorrow."-Author Unknown
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, September 4, 2016 (or sooner!), Becky

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Positive Memories


These days, it's almost essential to have positive thoughts about things. One great way to have those thoughts is through our pleasant memories.

Something that happened just recently made me think about how these positive memories are actually an important part of our lives.

Yesterday, Greg and I met with an aromatherapist to help us with a couple of things we wanted to improve on, and she told us that if a particular scent appealed to us, it was meant for us to have.

There was one fragrance that I particularly loved, that I definitely wanted. When I smelled it, I felt transported to an especially happy time in my life. All of a sudden, it was Christmas at my old childhood home. Our family was gathered around the dining table, and the smells of Christmas dinner wafted through he air. I could also see the pretty Christmas decorations, and gifts around the tree.

More Recent Christmas Memories at Greg's Brother's House

Wow! Who wouldn't want something like that! Just think, with a simple whiff, it can be Christmas every day!

It's really amazing that the sense of smell is that powerful, and, in fact, the sense of smell is the best of the five for helping one recall the past.

Of course, there are other ways to access your pleasant memories. Greg and I started talking, reminiscing about fun things we used to do when we were growing up.

We both loved similar candies like "Reese's Cups." Also, we went to a lot of similar places on trips, like the old "Howard Johnson's" restaurant (with its 28 flavors of ice cream) and motor lodge. (For more info about this "American icon" check out: .

Once, when I was about four years old, my parents and I went to church for a program that I decided I really didn't want to be in, so after I got all upset and started crying, Mama and Daddy promptly took me to a nearby drug store, and we all had milk shakes. That really calmed me down. To this very day, a milk shake is one of my favorite comfort foods!

"Becky, remember the good times."
-The comforting advice of my "philosopher" uncle on the passing of my father

I was always fascinated with my grandparents' beautiful, almost magical back yard. It was a sight to behold, with its lovely roses, trellises, bird bath, and grape arbor, complete with a swing that could hold two people. In my little-child mind, this just had to be the most wonderful place on earth.

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary which brought back fond memories of when Greg and I first met and our beautiful wedding at my parents' house.

Positive memories can also be triggered by watching old TV shows, visiting an antique shop or memorabilia store, listening to old songs, being at a restaurant with retro decor, researching online,  reading books, magazines, diaries, or emails about "the good old days," and looking at photos, etc.

"What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that's gone forever, impossible to reproduce."
-Kale Lagerfeld

These positive memories are a gift to us; they are our go-to places that can transport us back in time, that help us put things in perspective; they are a comforting place that can be with us forever.

What are some of your pleasant memories?

Positive thought: "Life brings tears, smiles, and memories. The tears dry, the smiles fade, but the memories last forever."
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, August 21, Becky

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Tennessee Road Trip, Part 2

On last week's blog post, "A Tennessee Road Trip," that I wrote on 7/24/16, I told about our fun trip to David Crockett State Park in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.

On this post, I'll tell about part two of our road trip.

After we left the park, on the way home, we went through another interesting place, Ethridge, Tennessee, that we had visited a couple of years ago. In fact, I wrote a blog post about it on 8/11/14. We enjoyed being there so much that we decided to stop back by and see a couple of things we missed last time.

This vintage truck and the outside of this building were all we saw when we went by on our last trip to Ethridge since this business was closed.

It's reopened, so we got to see inside this time.

An Old Soda Fountain

It's called the "Ira Irving Gen. Store & Bus Station."

We were surprised that there was a Greyhound bus station in this small town, but it's mostly for the benefit of the Amish who live in Lawrence County, Tennessee. Besides their buggies, the Amish have to rely on either the bus, taxi, or plane for their transportation since they don't have cars, etc.

A Member of the Old Order Amish Community

This is an old building that is next door to the general store and bus station that has all sorts of interesting tools and other items for sell that would especially appeal to the Amish.

Life certainly is fascinating, especially when you travel! Travel opens up new places to explore and fun things to do. We can hardly wait for our next adventure!

Starting next month, I'll be publishing "The Art of Positive Living" posts only on the first and third Sundays of each month, and the "Spirit Photographs" posts on the first Saturday of each month, at least for now, as I have a pretty full schedule, trying to juggle all of my many projects.

Positive thought: "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list."-Susan Sontag
Thanks for visiting! Until next Sunday, Becky