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

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Great Eatin' in East Tennessee

Hey, y'all!

I just wanted to fill you in on a few great places to eat that Greg and I have found the past few weeks in good ol' East Tennessee.

Seriously, though, two of the restaurants are in Johnson City and one is in Elizabethton.

The first one is a new restaurant in Johnson City, called "Tupelo Honey Cafe."

A Sample of Tupelo Honey's Beautiful Decor

My cousin Bruce and I celebrated our February birthdays there, along with Greg, of course, and some other family members.

I love that Tupelo Honey has several items that are gluten-free and organic.

I had delicious organic veggies.

The other restaurant in Johnson is not new, but it was to us.  It's called "Freiberg's German Restaurant," which has authentic German cuisine.


The food was superb.  If you don't believe me, just look at Greg's "before" and "after" plate!

The final restaurant I'd like to share with you is called "City Market" in Elizabethton.

Since this was a cool spring day, I really enjoyed the wonderful beef stew with corn bread.

Greg and I ate there with some of the (family) members of what we call our "Monthly Lunch Club."

Lisa, Nick, Greg, Me, and Bruce

(Photo, courtesy of Brandon Hicks of the "Elizabethton Star."  The funny thing is, I needed someone to take our picture for this blog post, and I asked a man walking near us if he minded taking our picture.  Little did I know that he was a professional photographer with the local newspaper!  How's that for synchronicity?)

City Market is a favorite of the locals, as you can see from this accolade which is one of many on the walls.

Hard to decide where to eat with all these choices?  Why not try them all, just as we did!

Happy eatin'!

Tupelo Honey Cafe
300 Buffalo St.
Johnson City, TN 37604

Freiberg's German Restaurant
203 E. Main St.
Johnson City, TN 37640

City Market
449 E. E St.
Elizabethton, TN 37643
(on Facebook)
(423) 543-1751

Positive thought: Here's a lovely Irish blessing someone (Betty) sent me recently that I'd like to share with you-
"May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering Angel,
So nothing can harm you,
Laughter to cheer you,
Faithful friends near you,
And whenever you pray,
Heaven to hear you."
-An Irish Blessing

Happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there (including my wonderful mother!) on Sunday, May 10.

Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, June 7 (or sooner!), Becky

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Positive Changes, a Time of New Life

Welcome back!

Hope you're having a wonderful, fantastic, positive day!

The butterfly "...undergoes a metamorphosis and emerges in a new and beautiful form."-"American Bible Society"

I've missed being with you these past few weeks, but I have been extremely busy, just living my daily life and starting new endeavors which I hope are positive changes, not only for my life, but for you, my blog readers, as well.

This time of year, the spring and Easter seasons, are a time of new life, a time of renewal.

This is the time of year that I evaluate my own life to see how far I've gone and where else I need to go.

Right now, Greg and I are trying to change our eating habits from eating conventional food to food that is organic and healthier.  One book that has helped us greatly with this is "The Food Babe Way" by Vani Hari.*  Check it out!  It's a real eye-opener.  You'll never look at food the same again after reading this book.  Also good is Vani's website, foodbabe.com.*

We're on the lookout for places to eat that have organic food, but that has been a bit of a challenge for us.  However, just today, our niece Bonnie filled us in on a new restaurant in Franklin, Tennessee, Thrive Cafe, that has organic, gluten-free and dairy-free food.  She also mentioned  Vegan Vee, a gluten-free bakery in Nashville.

One place Greg and I enjoy eating is at the Whole Foods food bar.*  Whole Foods seems to be really catching on, since more and more of their health food stores are opening all the time.  I believe as word gets out on what conventional food is really like, there will be even more restaurants, etc. that serve genuinely healthy food.

All the while, I'm trying to be more positive with different things, like posting more sayings on my special bathroom bulletin board, like, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.-Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

Also, the other day while I was in the dentist's office waiting room, I decided that instead of sitting in a chair to wait, I'd go look at the reading material on a nearby table.  I felt like there was something on it that I needed to see, so I kept searching, and there it was, an intriguing little book that seemed to be calling to me, "Going the Extra Smile" by George Foreman.*  On the cover it said, "Discover the Life-Changing Power of a Positive Outlook."  I glanced through the book that tells how George Foreman went from being a very negative, angry person to one who smiles and has love in his heart for everyone.  It's now on Amazon at a bargain price and has excellent reviews.

I'm currently working on a new website which should be up and running soon.  I'll let you know when it's ready.  It will be a place of the arts-art, photography, and writing.  I'm excited about it, and I hope you will like it.  I'll try to connect with you more often then, once it gets going.

*Disclaimer:  What is right for me, may not be right for you.  Please use your own judgment on anything I recommend.

Positive thought:  "Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life."-S. D. Gordon
Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, May 3 (or sooner!), Becky