Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last Positive Blog Post of 2014


Not only is this my last blog post of 2014, but it's also my last post until Sunday, February 8, 2015 because I have a lot of plans for the new year, and I'm going to have to slow down a bit to work in everything.  For now, I'm planning to have my regular posts around once a month with occasional mini blog post updates in between the regular ones whenever something interesting happens.

Some of my projects are, working more on my art, photography, and writing.  My writing includes two books on which I'm currently working, one paranormal and the other one on abuse (with a positive slant, of course!).  I'm currently thinking about some other project ideas, as well.  I even have plans for a website.

Since this is the end of the old year, I always like to look back on the year and evaluate it in terms of what I've learned and what good things happened during that time.

I have learned some valuable lessons in 2014:

-I learned to never give up on your dreams.

-Live life on your own terms, not according to what other people expect of you.

-Cultivate true, non-judgmental friends that are appreciative of who you really are.

I'm thankful for so much that has happened for Greg and me this year.  We have been truly blessed, as evidenced in my thankful journal that is overflowing with all the things I'm thankful for each and every day.  We're looking forward to even more blessings in the new year.

-One big thing for which I'm thankful is our changing ninety percent of the food we eat to organic.  It's making a big difference in our lives.

-I'm thankful for all of you: the readers of my blogs, those who have taken the time to email me with your kind comments, those who have been supportive of my book, "Photographic Encounters of the Spirit Kind," and those who have bought my coal jewelry, art work, and photographs.

-And, the list goes on!

I'm looking forward to many more exciting adventures in the new year, and I'm wishing for you the same.

"Cheers to the new year and another chance for us to get it right."
-Oprah Winfrey

A Toast to 2015!  (With sparkling organic grape juice, of course!)

May you have a positive New Year (2015) filled with happiness, good health, and good fortune!

Positive thought: "Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day."-Michael Josephson,

Check out our latest photos on iStock!

Thanks for visiting!  Until Sunday, February 8, 2015, Becky

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Magic


And, welcome Winter!

On this blog post, in words and pictures, I'd like to share with you some of  the magic of Christmas.

"Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
-Norman Vincent Peale

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to know..."
-Irving Berlin

"O Christmas Tree"
-Traditional German Christmas song

"Tradition: sit with husband in a room lit only by tree lights, and remember that our blessings outnumber the lights."
-Betsy Canas

"A candle is a lovely thing;
It makes no noise at all,
But softly gives itself away."
-Eva Logue

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care..."
From "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement Clarke Moore

"I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six.  Mother took me to a department store, and he asked me for my autograph."
-Shirley Temple

"Gifts of time and love are surely the best ingredients of a truly merry Christmas."
-Peg Bracken

-"The worse gift is a fruitcake.  There is only one fruitcake in the entire world, and people keep sending it to each other."
-Johnny Carson

"Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home."
-W. J. Ronald Tucker

"A three-year-old gave this reaction to her Christmas dinner, 'I don't like the turkey, but I like the bread he ate.'"
-Author Unknown

Lest we forget, this is what Christmas is all about-

"Love was born at Christmas.
Star and angels gave the sign."
-Christina Rossetti

"And they went with haste, and found Mary, Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger."
-Luke 2:16

And, even more magic in our part of the world-

Bell Buckle, Tennessee, All Dressed Up for Christmas

A Unique Marriage Proposal, Right Before Christmas (What a Great Gift!)

And, finally, I must give the Christmas "creativity award" to these guys (Bob Matlock and a co-worker) at our nearby convenience center, for they certainly have the right idea, to use what you have, and to create beauty out of the less than beautiful, for that is the essence of positive thinking, a sort of "when-life-gives-you-lemons,-make-lemonade" mentality...

 or "Bloom where you are planted."



"Meo-wy Christ-mouse!"

Positive thought: May your Christmas be filled with magic!
Thanks for visiting!  Until next Sunday, Becky

Here are our pictures on iStock:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Favorite Family Desserts, for Christmas and Other Occasions


Most of the year, Greg and I stick to a pretty healthy diet, but on special occasions such as Christmas Day, we indulge in desserts and other sweets.  It's just part of our tradition, as it is for most people around the holidays.

"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie."
-Jim Davis

This year, we'll celebrate Christmas at my brother and sister-in-law's house.  So far, we've just been asked to bring dessert, so I've been trying to come up with something that would be easy to carry a long distance, and would also be easy to make.  (I love those five and six-ingredient cookbooks!   I'm always so busy, that those are usually all I have time to make, plus, I'm not a very patient person when it comes to cooking!)

One thing to fix that came to mind was the really delicious "Mississippi Mud Brownies" that Greg's cousin's wife, Peggy, had at a recent get-together.  I didn't get the recipe from her, but I looked for it online.  My favorite one that I found is using Duncan Hines brownie mix because it's faster than from scratch, and both Mama and I have always liked the quality of the Duncan Hines products.

Of course, I could take carrot cake for the Christmas meal, because another sister-in-law who really likes my carrot cake, requested that I bring it to another upcoming family gathering sometime in the winter next year.  It was a recipe that calls for cream cheese icing.  I got the recipe when I was a teenager from my Aunt Frances who was a home economics teacher.

"Seize the moment.  Remember all those women on the 'Titanic' who waved off the dessert cart."
-Erma Bombeck

My grandmother, Mema, (my father's mother) was a really good cook.  I most fondly remember her shortbread sugar cookies that she'd put in her cookie jar which was always overflowing with cookies, especially for us grandchildren.  I don't have her recipe for these, but I suspect that most of the recipe came for her creative imagination.  (She was a talented artist, as well.)  (My mother also credits her for teaching her how to cook.)

"Cookies are made of butter and love."
-Norwegian Proverb

A Real Treasure at Our House, Mema's Cookie Jar

A favorite dessert of our family, for any time of the year, is one of Mama's recipes that is featured in the "Tennessee Cook Book" which I mentioned on an earlier blog post.  (See the 11/9/14 blog post.)  It's a yummy peach cobbler.

I recently had a request for another of Mama's recipes, so here it is:

Peach Cobbler

3 cups sliced peaches
1 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp. butter
Dough for pie crust
Sugar (to sprinkle)

   In a bowl, combine peaches, applesauce, cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice; layer in the bottom of a 10 x 8 glass baking dish.  Dot butter over the top.  Roll pie crust dough out to size of baking dish and arrange over top of peach mixture.  Brush the top of the crust with a small amount of  cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees.


For those of you who are on special diets, of course, you can adjust the above recipe or any recipes I mentioned on this post according to your needs.  The Internet is full of recipes for any needs, and you can get cookbooks like the one I have, "Sweet and Sugarfree" by Karen Barkie (if it's still in print) that's "An All-Natural, Fruit-Sweetened Dessert Cookbook."

I'm still pondering what dessert to take for the Christmas Day celebration, but for now I'm enjoying looking through cookbooks, newspaper clippings, and hand-written recipes while trying to make my decision, because so many of these recipes from years past bring back some very fond memories.

For more pictures of food and other things, as well, check out our iStock photos:

Positive thought: "Sugar and spice make Christmas nice."
Thanks for visiting!  Until next Sunday, Becky

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Pre-Christmas Celebration


Just yesterday, Greg and I met some of our family in Nashville for a wonderful pre-Christmas celebration.  We had lunch at the four-star Capitol Grille at The Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

Downtown Nashville

This exquisite hotel was all dressed up in its Christmas finery.  It was, in fact, awe-inspiring.  It made me want to run home and decorate, but it would be hard to come up to the splendor of this place.

After dining on a delicious lunch and soaking up the opulent atmosphere of the hotel, we went on to another superlative experience, the annual Nashville Ballet's performance of "Nashville's Nutcracker" to see our little niece who was talented enough to be one of the dancers with this stellar dance company.  The lovely, familiar "Nutcracker" music was provided by no less than the Nashville Symphony.

The Nutcracker

Our Little Niece, After Her Performance with the Nashville Ballet

I'm about to run out of superlatives to describe this fantastic day.

I guess I'll just end this post with the words of someone else:

"Be merry all, be merry all,
With holly dress the festive hall,
Prepare the song, the feast, the ball,
To welcome merry Christmas."
-William Robert Spencer

Here are our photographs on iStock:

Positive thought:  Happy pre-Christmas preparations and celebrations!
Thanks for visiting!  Until next Sunday, Becky