Sunday, March 1, 2020

Celebrating in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee

(At Cootie Brown's)

Greg and I are really enjoying being back home in the Southern Appalachians, near places that are familiar to us since we've lived in this general region most of our lives. I'm originally from Southwest Virginia and Greg, from East Tennessee. Right now we're living in Virginia, but we're just a stone's throw away from East Tennessee. We love where we live now. It's a nice central location for nearby Abingdon, Bristol, Kingsport, and Johnson City, as well as several small towns, some of which we've yet to explore.

February is usually a month of celebration for us, not only because of Valentine's Day, but because it's also my birth month.

We started celebrating early this year, when the "Tri-Cities Storm Tracker 5" weather team came to the new Food City in Abingdon, Virginia the first of the month. It was food and fun.

Getting Autographs from the Storm Tracker 5 Weather Team
(Greg Arnott Photo)

Then, came Valentine's Day-

We decided to celebrate by going to a new (to us) restaurant in Abingdon.

 We loved the arty look on the outside of "Luke's Cafe."

The inside was just as interesting-

It had a retro decor featuring celebrities from the past such as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, and even Al Capone!

And, the food was very tasty!

Since we were so full from lunch, we decided to wait and have dessert somewhere else later...

like Anthony's Desserts.

We're so glad we decided to stop by. The place was all dressed up for Valentine's Day, and the shelves were full of goodies.

We decided to divide a piece of this luscious-looking berry cream cake, and we weren't disappointed. 
It was absolutely delicious!

After being out all day, celebrating, we later celebrated at home with valentines and flowers.

A couple of days later, came the birthday celebration...

at Cootie Brown's in Bristol, Tennessee.

We met with some family members to celebrate my cousin's and my February birthdays.

Cootie Brown's is a fun place to go, and the food is great!

They even let us bring in our own birthday cake!

Before leaving, we had to get some of  Cootie's famous key lime pie to take home with us.

And, a big wish of mine came true the last day of February when we finally got a big snow. I really enjoyed taking pictures of the beautiful snow-covered landscape around us.

One of Our Cats, Mitzi, Looking Out the Window at the Snow

Winter has come.
 "...can spring be far behind?"
-Percy Bysshe Shelley

Spring has already sprung at "Evergreen" in Kingsport, Tennessee!

Spring begins March 20 this year. Happy spring, everybody!

Positive thought: "Make each new day a celebration of life."-Pinterest
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, April 5, 2020, Becky

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Hidden Gems, Fancy Gap & Cana, Virginia

Welcome to this blog post, and also...

Greg and I first learned about Fancy Gap when we were at an upholstery shop in Abingdon, Virginia. Greg saw a lion statue they had outside the shop, and we asked where they had gotten it. They told us there was statuary in Fancy Gap and Cana, Virginia.

Greg wanted a lion statue, and we also wanted to see what else they had in these two towns since we are new to the area.

Fancy Gap and Cana are over an hour from where we live, and we decided we'd be there a whole day, and really enjoy our trip.

In Fancy Gap, our first stop was" Mountain Star Gallery" where they have all kinds of beautiful, local handcrafted items.

"Mountain Star Gallery"

Another neat shop is "The Nest & Hive Shoppe."

Gloria Brown is the personable owner of the shop.

 It's beautifully arranged and decorated, and all ready for Valentine's Day!

Also, there are some other neat shops, like Carolyne's that has locally-made, delicious candy, as well as quilts and other items.

Before we went on to Cana, we decided to stop by the highly recommended restaurant, "The Gap Deli" for a quick lunch.

It was great! It was a large salad for me, and a meatloaf sandwich for Greg.

We topped it off with a piece of fantastic hummingbird cake which we shared.

This is the beautiful view of the Southern Appalachian Mountains from our first stop in Cana...

Towe's Country Store...

which has all kinds of wonderful things, like Amish canned goods.

We had one more stop, the main reason for our trip...

 "Poor Boy's Variety" which has all kinds of pretty statuary and other items for the yard,

and the one item that Greg had wanted is now his, a lion, to stand guard at our new house.

Fancy Gap and Cana in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are two hidden gems that are just waiting for you to discover. Take a chance; try them out. Bet you'll be glad you did!

Happy Valentine's Day!

(At "The Nest & Hive Shoppe")
Positive thought: Always remember: "Don't let anyone dull your sparkle!"

Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, March 1, 2020, Becky

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Positive Ideas for a New Year


New year, new decade!

Hope you had a wonderful New Year's Day! Greg and I celebrated by enjoying a traditional New Year's Day meal of black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread for good luck in the new year. We added Irish potatoes, as well, since that's Greg's and my favorite food; besides, potatoes are supposed to be good for you.

Traditional New Year's Day Meal, Plus a Potato

Eating a traditional New Year's meal is a positive way to start a new year.  

In addition, on New Year's Day, I made out my resolutions for 2020. My first resolution was to take better care of myself physically which includes getting at least seven hours of sleep every night. Getting enough sleep helps you not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, as well.

Also included on my resolutions list was, of course, to be a positive thinker, feeler, doer, and speaker regardless of what is going on around me.

It's not too late to make out a New Year's resolutions list or to even modify an existing one. Why not do it now, if you haven't already?

Here are some other things you could do to make positive changes in your life for the new year and beyond:

-Believe in miracles! There are miracles, both large and small, all around us, if we just take time to look for them. There's the miracle of life and the beautiful world around us, the trees, the flowers, God's creatures, and much more. 

We all have our personal miracles like finding our soulmate, our dream home, our life's work, etc.

There are even mini-miracles, like my cell phone that seems to have nine lives, just like a cat. It's been through a lot. It's been run over by a car. It rode on the trunk of my car for over seven miles, but it didn't fall off! It fell out of my pocket, and when it hit the pavement, the back fell off and broke which I just taped back on. Otherwise, it was in good shape. It still works perfectly fine. 

My cell phone is a lesson for all of us. It teaches us that miracles do exist, and that we should all be as resilient as this cell phone, and that we should never give up!

-Always remember,
"The more you are thankful, the more you attract things to be thankful for."
-Nelson Mandela

-Don't just tolerate stuff. Make much-needed changes both large and small. 

For example, although I'm a pretty good organizer, and have even organized for others professionally, I still have slip-ups occasionally. For instance, there are my dresser drawers- I had a small amount of stuff in a large drawer and a large amount of stuff in a small drawer for years! And, a few days ago, it occurred to me to just switch the stuff in the two drawers which has made life a lot better in a small, yet large way!

Subconsciously, I was bothered by this chest-of-drawers concern, but I never took the time to make a change for the better. I was just tolerating what was.

How many things are we all tolerating that we could change that might make our lives and maybe even the lives of those around us more positive? These changes might include clearing clutter, house cleaning, buying new clothes, having a new lifestyle, finding new friends, etc. 

Don't just put up with stuff, make positive changes for the better!

-Go with the flow. Sometimes things that happen that we at first think is negative or bad, turns out for the best after all. 

For example, one day, we were delayed leaving our house on a little trip we had planned, but it turned out well because we got an important business call on our home phone that we would have missed if we had left on time. Another time, we didn't get a house we thought we wanted, but a few weeks later, we got a house that was perfect for us.

-Coal is supposed to have positive qualities, just like gemstones. For instance, coal is known to be a good luck stone. Also, it's grounding, protective, stabilizing, stress-reducing, and it may promote peace. It can attract abundance and success. It can turn the negative into the positive!

Greg and I each carry a piece of genuine Southern Appalachian Mountain good-luck pocket coal in the left pocket, and we also place coal with our money. We feel like our lives have changed for the better because of this.

I sell this good luck pocket coal for only $3.50 each, plus shipping. Email me at for more information.*

Good Luck Pocket Coal

Good luck!

May this be the happiest and most positive of new years ever for you!

*None of these positive qualities are guaranteed. Not for children.

Positive thought: "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."-Annette Funicello
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, February 2, 2020, Becky

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Christmas-It's the Most Wonderful (and Busiest!) Time of the Year

A friend recently emailed me to apologize that she had not responded to my email sooner, but that she'd been really busy. I told her not to worry, that nearly everyone this time of year was busier than usual.

That's why I'm late with this monthly blog post-busier than usual.

We have shopping to do-

This shop is in Fancy Gap, Virginia. (I'll have more about Fancy Gap in another blog post.)

There's decorating to do-


and outside.

There are parties to attend.

There are also Christmas cards to send, gifts to wrap, and food to prepare.

And, personally, for Greg and me...

we've been working on our semi-fixer-upper old house.

And, I've had coal jewelry orders to fill.

But through all of the busyness of this wonderful time of year, I like to look at the positive aspects of Christmas-to count our many blessings, to connect with family and friends, to enjoy the pretty decorations, beautiful music, varied entertainment, and delicious food of the season...and to focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

Our heartfelt wish for you...

And, a very happy New Year!

(Thanks to Betty and Mike for letting me take pictures of their beautiful house and yard.)

Positive thought: From Skyler at SmartStyle

Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, January 5, 2020!, Becky

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Apple Festival in Tennessee

For years, I'd heard about the Unicoi County Apple Festival in Erwin, Tennessee, and this year, since Greg and I now live a lot closer to Erwin, we decided to go. We were not disappointed! It was so much fun!

There were arts and crafts galore!

Margaret Pinney from Georgia...

had her cute "woodland critters." (

A J Harris...

had his unique glass creations. (

And, there were over 350 other arts and crafts vendors from around the country. There was something for everyone. I bought a pair of pretty bead earrings.

In addition to arts and crafts, there was also a food court with all kinds of goodies.

This food truck from Uncle Lars Outpost from Trenton, Georgia had some delicious, healthy food for our lunch.

And, for dessert, we shared a very tasty key lime pie from... 

"Buttermilk Sky" ( in Johnson City, Tennessee. 

There were also canned delights...

But, the stars of the festival were, of course, the apples!

Like from the True Family Apple Orchard in Flag Pond, Tennessee. They also have homemade jelly and jam. (423-791-7620)

There were:

caramel apples...

and fancy apples.

Each year, several thousand people visit the festival.

Some of the visitors even have fur!

The next festival is October 2-3, 2020!
(I can hardly wait!)

Positive thought:

Happy Thanksgiving! 

Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, December 8, 2019, Becky