Tuesday, November 24, 2015



Especially during this time of year, I like to think about all of the wonderful blessings in my life.  In fact, I actually make a list of all the things that happened during the year for which I'm most grateful.  If we just look around us and see all the good things for which we are thankful, anything we consider  negative is minimized.  In fact, the more we are thankful for, now, the more we'll have to be thankful for in the future!

"Count Your Blessings"

"When I'm worried and I can't sleep
I count my blessings instead of sheep
And I fall asleep counting my blessings."
-Irving Berlin

"All that I behold is full of blessings."
-William Wordsworth

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks for visiting!  Until next time, Becky

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Delightful Day Trips


Glad you could join me as I fill you in on a recent trip that Greg and I took.  It was a day trip in which we went to a nearby destination for a delightful day of fun and relaxation.

On my previous blog post (October 6, 2015), I wrote about our trip to Memphis, Tennessee.  That was a long trip for us, and we spent the night.  We had every aspect of the trip planned, and it all went pretty much the way we had hoped it would.

However, day trips are different, because they are closer home and you don't spend the night.  While long trips are fun every once in a while, you can go on day trips more often, and you generally don't get as worn out or spend as much money on these short excursions.

Part of our recent trip was to a park that Greg and I had been wanting to visit for some time, Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Lebanon, Tennessee.  There are a lot of cedar trees at the park and 19 rare plants that grow abundantly there and nowhere else in the world!  The park offers hiking, picnicking, camping, and horseback riding.

Greg, at Cedars of Lebanon State Park

We enjoyed exploring the park and taking pictures of the few colorful fall leaves that were still left.

Afterwards, we drove a short distance to the small town of Carthage, Tennessee which Greg was curious about since it was the former hometown of a famous fellow Tennessean, Al Gore.

Sometimes, it's more interesting not to plan every aspect of your trip, but to just let things happen.  And, sometimes you are pleasantly surprised!

That's what happened to us as we left Carthage; we found a great place for our evening meal, Timberloft Restaurant in nearby Gordonsville, Tennessee.  Timberloft has steaks, barbecue, and southwestern cuisine.  It's the number one restaurant in Gordonsville, and was awarded a "Certificate of Excellence" from TripAdvisor.

Timberloft welcomed us with colorful fall flowers and pumpkins.

The interior is inviting and cozy!

The charming outdoorsy decor has whimsical touches.

After a delicious meal of perhaps a "Philly Steak & Cheese" sandwich and "Kale Salad" or a "BBQ Stuffed Potato," you might want to try one of their delightful desserts.  They even have gluten-free options.


We enjoyed our last day trip so much that we decided to go on another one soon, for shopping and for the opening of a tearoom in the charming little town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee.

You might want to plan your own day trip soon, to explore somewhere that you've never been.  Where would you go?  What would you do?  Bet you'd have a great time!  (Did you know that many people never take advantage of the entertaining and interesting places near or even in their own hometowns?)

Website you might find helpful: www.goodguide.com  On this website you can "Find safe, healthy, green, & ethical product reviews based on scientific ratings."  Over 250,000 products are rated on this site.

Positive thought: "Not all who wander are lost." J. R. R. Tolkien
Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, December 6, 2015 (or sooner!), Becky

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Memphis, Tennessee, Here We Come!


A few weeks ago, Greg and I visited a place we'd never before explored together.  Years ago, before we'd ever met, we each merely passed through Memphis with our families while we were on our way to somewhere else.

We were excited about going on this trip, and had planned it for several months.  We were on a tight schedule as we had only two days to get in everything we wanted to see and do.

We did it!  With careful planning, we managed to do it all, and like we used to say when we were growing up, we "had a ball!"

The first day, we took in the Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid which is a landmark in Memphis.  It doesn't matter if you are into sports or not, because there is something for everybody at the Pyramid.

The 535,000-square-foot space houses specialty shops, a "cypress swamp," aquariums, taxidermy animal exhibits, bowling, as well as other activities, such as an elevator ride to the top of the 32-story Pyramid.

We even had a wonderful lunch there at Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl and Grill.

Our second stop was the Peabody Hotel which houses the famous Peabody ducks.

The Peabody Hotel, where five ducks parade through the hotel's grand lobby twice a day, is a must-see attraction when visiting Memphis.

My brother suggested that we take in Beale Street which is the most famous street in Memphis with its clubs and shops, its soul food, and its live music, and we're glad we did!

Beale Street Is Active, Day and Night

We spent a couple of hours drinking in the beauty of the "mighty Mississippi."  We walked on its banks which have around five miles of parks for outdoor recreation.  You can even take a river boat ride if you so desire.

In this photo, Greg is taking pictures along the Mississippi.  Notice the large buildings to Greg's right, the river boat straight ahead, and the Pyramid in the distance.

We always love staying in bed and breakfast inns, and the nearest one from Memphis was about 25 minutes away in Hernado, Mississippi.

Magnolia Grove Bed and Breakfast was elegantly beautiful, both inside and out.  The snacks and breakfast were superb.

The second day, we went to the famous home of the late Elvis Presley.  No visit to Memphis is complete without a visit to "Graceland."  Elvis seems to be as popular as ever, judging by the crowds of people that were there, not just from the United States, but from all over the world.

Greg and Becky, Right Outside of Graceland

Finally, our last stop was the Memphis Zoo that houses more than 3,000 animals, including "lions and tigers and bears.  Oh my!" (From "The Wizard of OZ') on 70 acres of land.

We were even entertained (through a window) while we enjoyed a delicious, healthy lunch there!

When we got back home, we were exhausted, but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the "Home of the Blues," "Birthplace of Rock 'n Roll," and "Barbecued Pork Capital of the World." (From "Wikipedia")

Positive thought: "If I had to live my life over again,...I'd take more trips.  I'd climb more mountains....I'd watch more sunsets.  I'd burn more gasoline.  I'd eat more ice cream....I'd ride more merry-go-rounds.  I'd pick more daisies....I'd tell more people that I loved them."  (From "If I Had My Life Over-I'd pick More Daisies" by Nadine Stair or Don Herold)

Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, November 8, 2015 (or sooner!), Becky


Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Healing Power of Nature, Etc.


Greg and I have really been enjoying the summer, especially the parks.  We seem to be the happiest when we're close to nature.

As you may know, as I mentioned on my last blog post (August 9, 2015),  my mother passed away just recently, and being out in nature seems to have helped me the most to heal emotionally.

There are some beautiful parks in Tennessee.  If you haven't tried them yet, it's still not too late this year.  And, the colorful fall leaves will be here before you know it!  (If you can't come to Tennessee, every state has nice parks, city, state, and national ones, that you might want to check out.)

One park we really liked was beautiful Burgess Falls in Middle Tennessee.  Actually, there are four waterfalls at Burgess Falls!

Greg, at Burgess Falls

Reelfoot Lake in West Tennessee is also very scenic.  It's Tennessee's largest natural lake.  We really enjoyed our boat ride when we went a couple of years ago.

Sight-seeing Boat at Reelfoot Lake

Of course, in East Tennessee, we also have favorite parks-

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park has a reconstruction of Fort Watauga.

Becky, at Fort Watauga

At Warrior's Path State Park (not pictured), Greg and I always enjoy walking and riding the paddle boats.

All of the above parks are a photographer's dream.

Other types of healing for me were:

-The "365 Promises" which my thoughtful, supportive friend from Tennessee has been forwarding to me daily.  Not only do the "Promises" have healing scriptures, but beautiful photographs of nature, as well.

-Aromatherapy, which I researched online, was good for me.

-Youtube has some beautiful healing music such as harp music which someone suggested that  I try.

-Talking and/or emailing with a trusted person or counselor can also be helpful.

People, as a rule, seem to be happier when closer to nature.  It's easy to forget about that in our busy, hectic lives with all of our electronic devices, but it's never too late to turn all of that around and discover (or rediscover) the healing power that nature can have for all of us in this big wonderful natural world, just waiting to be explored.

Positive thought: "Walk in sunshine."  (From an episode of the old "Bonanza" TV show.)
Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, October 4, 2015 (or sooner!), Becky

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Love Never Fails"


I just wanted to share with you some quotes and thoughts, etc. that I have about family and love, in light of the events of the past week.

"To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there."
-Barbara Bush

"Love Is Here"

Our family is like a patchwork quilt,
Held together with stitches of  love.
Each patch a father, uncle, or brother
Aunt or sister, cousin or mother.
Grandparents' patches are the first to be sewn,
Blending texture, color and strength of their own.
When life is cold and times get tough
This cover of family gives warmth enough.
-Frank Stapleton  (Please correct me if this is not the author.)

"A mother's heart is a patchwork of love."
-Author Unknown

A few days ago my beloved mother passed away.  Several people have said such wonderful things about her.  They talked about her being kind, positive, and beautiful.  This is all true, and she was also a wonderful mother, devoted wife, family member, and friend to many.  She had a special way with people.  She was a talented artist, business woman, decorator, gardener, and a great cook.

Jean Botts

I was really sad about losing her, and then, three days after she passed, I saw a sign on a car window that read, "Heaven is better." which helped me to cope.

Around that same time, I saw a quote on a girl's tee shirt that said, "Love never fails."  I thought  that this saying looked familiar and  wondered if it could be a message from Mama.

Then, just last night, I decided to look through a box that a relative had given me of some of Mama's things from the nursing home where she had spent her last days.  It mostly contained flowers and trinkets which Greg and I had given her to make her life there more pleasant and to show her that we cared.  Then, toward the bottom of the box, I saw something that I'd never seen before.  It was a beautiful note pad holder that was apparently a gift from a church group.  It had words written on it.  It read, "Love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:7-8)

I couldn't believe it!  It was from Mama!  Tears of happiness rolled down my cheeks.  (What's more, 1 Corinthians 13 has always been one of my favorite parts of "The Bible."  In fact, several of those verses were even part of Greg's and my wedding vows.)

It's such a blessing to know that we'll always have that connection to those we hold dear.

In addition to Mama, we'd also like to remember several other family members who have passed on.  You are always in our hearts and prayers.

Greg and I would like to express our deep appreciation for all of the kindness and concern from so many due to the passing of my mother.  The cards, gifts, prayers, and emails have been very comforting.  It's good to know that others care.

Positive thoughts:  -"You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." -Desmond Tutu
-"Infinite Love Is the Only Truth..."-David Icke
-"...faith, hope, love, these three, and the greatest of these is love."-1 Corinthians 13:13
Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, September 6, 2015 (or sooner!), Becky

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Lovely Lake Lure, North Carolina


Good to have you back!

I hope you've been enjoying the summer so far!

Just recently, Greg and I joined some family members for a memorable, fun-filled trip to Lake Lure, North Carolina.  Lake Lure's most recent claim to fame was probably its being the place where the hit movie "Dirty Dancing" was filmed.

In fact, the place where Greg and I stayed while we were there, The 1927 Lake Lure Inn and Spa, was where the stars and crew of "Dirty Dancing" stayed while the movie was being filmed.

The 1927 Lake Lure Inn was beautiful, both outside...

and in.

Wow!  The Patrick Swayze Suite!

The food was great!

We had a lot of fun hanging out with our relatives-


Going boating-

Exploring the area-

They even have a beach that's open during the summer months!

In a nutshell, my words to describe Lake Lure: picturesque, elegant, peaceful, entertaining, fun, memorable, relaxing...  You just might want to try it out for yourself and add to, or make out your own list.

We're already making plans to go back to Lake Lure and to see other nearby places,

like Chimney Rock-

For a paranormal slant of our Lake Lure visit, check out my other blog, www.spiritphotographs.blogspot.com.  It's my latest blog post, entitled, "The Haunting Lure of the Lake."

If your supplements are important to you, and you care about the food we eat, you might want to visit www.citizens.org.

Positive thought: "My favorite thing is to go where I've never been."-Diane Arbus, American Photographer
Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, August 2, 2015 (or sooner!), Becky

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Fun-Filled Day in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee


Wow!  I've missed being here with you every week, but I've been very busy with my other projects.  Hopefully, soon, I'll get to visit with you more often.

Even though we've been busy, Greg and I have taken off some time just to be together and to have fun.

Just recently, we got to visit one of our favorite places, Pigeon Forge, in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee.  It is a fun place, and our day there was fun-filled.

We decided to go to "The Island" in Pigeon Forge since we'd never been there before.

"The Island" has shops...


fun rides...

and restaurants, like Paula Deen's brand new restaurant!

Of course, we just had to go there and try it out!

While waiting for our table, we enjoyed looking around Paula's wonderful large gift shop where we bought a couple of souvenirs.

We also made friends with a cute little fellow named Prince Charming, which he was.

From the gift shop, we rode the escalator to the second floor to the restaurant part.  From there, you can get a grand view of the beautiful Smokey Mountains in the distance.

We ordered our meal which was served family style.  To say it was delicious is an understatement.  It was all so good, we could't decide which thing was our favorite.


While words can't really describe our meal...

Greg's face says it all-one happy, satisfied customer!

Since Paula wasn't there in person, I was satisfied just having my picture taken with this life-like cardboard copy of her.

However, if she had been there, I'd have told her that we'd thoroughly enjoyed our visit and down-home gourmet meal, and that we'd tell others about our fun-filled adventure to "The Island," and especially to "Paula Deen's Family Kitchen" in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!  

Positive thought:  "Life is an adventure!  So live it up!"-L. M. Preston
Until Sunday, July 5, 2015 (or sooner!), Becky