Monday, December 10, 2018

A Special Time of Year


The Christmas season is such a special time of year, and we all get busy with our Christmas-related activities.

This year was really busy for me since I got a large order for my genuine Appalachian Mountain coal jewelry and magnets just a few weeks ago. I was trying to quickly get it done so that the store that ordered it would have plenty of time to display it for their customers to buy for Christmas gifts.

Working with coal is pretty challenging, but I'm up to the challenge. I'm used to it.  A person said to me one time that art was easy, but obviously that person was not an artist!

Coal Magnet of the Inn at Wise

I love doing my art (coal, portraits, photography, writing, etc.).

In fact, I love all of the arts, including the theater.

A few days ago I was lucky to be invited by friends to "Chaffin's Barn Theatre" in Nashville.

Photo Taken by a Chaffin's Barn Staff Member

During Thursday matinees, you can bring your own food, so we were treated to Carole's wonderful gourmet dishes which even included apple cake!

We got to see a production that is very timely for this time of year, "Elf," which is a musical. It was really well-done-excellent acting, singing, and dancing. It was a very high-energy show, never a dull moment. (Before we went in, I was concerned that I might fall asleep since I'd been up late the night before working on my coal order, but there was no danger of that during this production!)

I'd never been before to Chaffin's, and I'm so thankful to have been invited.

The bottom line: Go, at least once! (However, bet you can't go just once!)

Photo Courtesy of Lynn Ashley


I'm looking forward to more Christmas celebrating during the next few weeks, and I wish you happy celebrations ahead.

In fact,

(Outside Chaffin's Barn)

Positive thought: "For unto you is born this day in the city of  David a Savior which is Christ the Lord."-Luke 2:11
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, January 6, 2019, Becky

Monday, December 3, 2018

About a Special Blog Post


A lot is going on in my life right now which I'll fill you in on during my next blog post on Monday, December 10, 2018.

Positive thought: "Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have, or do."-Brian Tracy

Thanks for visiting! Until next Monday, Becky

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Beautiful Western North Carolina


Greg and I recently visited relatives in beautiful Western North Carolina where they live.

They are so lucky since that area is...

a photographer's dream!

There are...

magnificent mountains...

including Mount Pisgah.

There are picturesque waterfalls like...

"Looking Glass Waterfall."

Lovely fall flowers, as well as changing leaves, add dashes of color to the landscape.

On our trek through North Carolina, we found a new friend!

If you're looking for beauty and adventure, look no further than beautiful Western North Carolina! Bet you'll be glad you did!

One of the most important elections in our lifetime is coming up on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Please vote, and take other voters with you! The future of our country depends on this election!

Also, Greg and I would like to wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!

Positive thought: "Thanksgiving isn't just a day... It's a way we can live our lives every day."- Katrina Mayer
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, December 2, 2018, Becky

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Our Trip to the Deep South

Greg and I have been so busy the last few years that we haven't had much time to travel except locally. We decided a few months ago that things needed to change, so we have carved out some time to do some things and go some places that we've been wanting to visit.

One of the main places that we both wanted to go was the "Deep South" which includes among others, the states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. We went by car, and on this trip, we merely traveled through Alabama to get to Natchez, Mississippi which was our main destination.

We spent two nights in this beautiful old house, "Brandon Hall Plantation."

It has been named one of the "finest Antebellum houses in the South."

The grounds at Brandon Hall were delightful...

as was the owner and our host, Kaiser who gave us an interesting, informative tour of the mansion...

after our hearty, delicious breakfast.

Then, we were off to tour another beautiful mansion "Longwood" which was quite unique in its design...

but it also has a secret which you could never guess from observing it from the outside...

Tour Guide in Period Dress

It's unfinished with the exception of the rooms in the basement area!

By the time we finished the tour, it was time for lunch so we went by a really neat place, "Mammy's Cupboard." 

They had great food, but my favorite thing there was the blueberry lemonade, apparently with unlimited refills!


Next on our agenda was the impressive "St. Mary Basilica" which is the number one place to visit in Natchez according to "TripAdvisor." ("Longwood" is number two.)

The only word I can think of to describe this place is "Awesome!"

Greg wanted a little coffee break, so we went by "Steampunk" for a bit of refreshment.

We drove by the old cemetery in Natchez to see the... 

"Turning Angel Statue" that appears to turn as you drive by it! What an enigma!

By now, we were ready for supper, so we decided to go to a restaurant which was recommended to us by Kaiser from "Brandon Hall."

It's the "Magnolia Grill" which is right on the "mighty Mississippi" River.

Thank you, Kaiser!

After our delicious meal, we thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful sunset.

This was a perfect ending for a perfect day!

The next day, we went further south to St. Francisville, Louisiana and the... 

"Myrtles Plantation" which was visited by the "Ghost Hunters" of TV fame.

If you are at all interested in the paranormal, please visit my other blog, "Spirit Photographs" on October 20. It will be my special Halloween blog post which will include the Myrtles Plantation.

Before leaving Louisiana, we stopped for lunch at the "Magnolia Cafe"-

where we pigged out before heading home.

Happy travels!

Positive thought: "I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list!"-Susan Sontag
Until Sunday, November 4, 2018, Becky

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Celebrating Twice!


One can never have too many celebrations, and this blog post will prove it!

A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated my husband Greg's birthday with our sister-in-law and her husband (Greg's brother) since Greg's and Betty's birthdays are just days apart.

We met them at a restaurant in Canton, North Carolina, "Southern Porch." We'd never before been there, and we loved it!

This unique restaurant used to be a hotel; it was named "The Imperial Hotel."

Come on in, y'all! The celebration is about to begin!

Inside, the decor is very attractive...

And the food is very tasty...

You can even BYOC. (Bring Your Own [birthday] Cake)

Betty and Mike brought this yummy one for Greg. (Thankfully, he shared!)

Betty got a gift, as well!

Photo by One of the Staff, Heidi 

We had a wonderful time, and we plan to return!

Southern Porch
117 Main Street
Canton, NC 28716

A few days ago, we had another great celebration, this time with my side of the family in East Tennessee at Bruce's ice cream parlor.

We all pitched in and brought food, etc.

Greg celebrated his birthday twice, this time with Nick and Julie.

They blew out all of the candles on the pretty cake! Guess their wishes will come true!

No birthday cake is complete without Bruce's ice cream sundaes! And this was a really good one!

There was no shortage of gifts here!

Nick always likes to get a group photo of everyone.

And here it is!

We'd just like to say that a good time was had by all!

Happy celebrating!

Happy Labor Day!

Positive thought: "Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated."-Osho
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, October 7, 2018, Becky

Sunday, August 5, 2018

How to Get Rid of That Out-of-Sorts Feeling!


Hope you're doing great! If not, I believe I might have a solution or two for you. Stay tuned!

Sometimes, we all go through a time when we feel out of sorts, in a funk, but we don't have to stay that way.

I came upon the idea for this blog post earlier this week when Greg and I were looking for a document we needed for some paperwork that we were filling out. While doing this, we came across some of our wedding memorabilia. We really enjoyed reminiscing about that time in our lives since it brought back fond memories.

Greg and I had special people around us to help us celebrate as we got married in my parents' home in Southwest Virginia.

Finding this memorabilia was even more special since our wedding anniversary is only days away.

Anyway, the important point I want to get across is that one way that I've found to feel happier and more uplifted is to periodically go through old photo albums and other memorabilia to help remind me of all the good times in the past.

Even if we have had difficult lives, we all have had times that were special, that we enjoy remembering.

If you don't have any photos, etc. now of your past, that might be a nice project to work on in the future, to help you remember and relive some of the best times of your life.

So, reliving happy times of the past through memorabilia is one idea for getting rid of that out-of-sorts felling, but there are others ways of feeling better besides this one.

I got the idea for changing from a down to an up feeling several years ago in a book that discussed using a technique called "secret shifters." It suggested that you make a list of all of the things that you enjoy doing, and then to select one a day, or to use this list anytime you felt that you needed to, to get yourself into a better mood.

Here is part of my secret shifters list-

-Walking, especially in nature
-Watching a funny show
-Doing something creative
-Being with my loved ones, including pets
-Using aromatherapy and doing other good health practices
-Traveling to somewhere interesting
-Organizing, decorating the house
-Listening to music
-Shopping for something special
And the list goes on...

What would you have on your list?* Good luck!

*Just because doing this exercise helps me, doesn't necessarily mean it will help anyone else. You might find that you need to do something more than the secret shifters. If so, getting help from a professional might be in order.

Positive thought: "The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude."-Dennis S. Brown
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, September 2, 2018, Becky

Monday, July 9, 2018

An Artistic Celebration


"In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia
On the trail of the lonesome pine..."
-From "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine"
by Ballard MacDonald

This past weekend, Greg and I went to Southwest Virginia which is a beautiful area.

We spent Friday night at a fantastic place, "The Inn at Wise," which was newly renovated four years ago.

The Inn at Wise

The decor is lovely.

The food is delicious.

Greg and I easily give this inn five + stars!

The next day, Saturday, July 7, 2018 was a very special day for my family and me since it was the "50th Anniversary Celebration of Paintings" of my father's first art show (on July 7, 1968) at the June Tolliver House in Big Stone Gap, Virginia (which is just a 20-minute drive from Wise).


June Tolliver House

My brother, Nick, and I took several of Daddy's paintings that we had at our houses for the special exhibit at the June Tolliver House. Those were displayed along with the permanent collection of Daddy's artwork. My mother, Jean Botts and my grandmother Fan H. Botts were also honored with a couple of their paintings on display, as well.

Nick was assisted by Joyce, a volunteer at the Tolliver House.

The house looked beautiful, all dressed up in finery.

In case you missed the show, here it is in instant replay-

Come on in, the celebration is about to begin!

You are greeted at the door by a talented banjo player.

The first order of business is to sign the guest book, and to make a much-needed donation.

 And, don't forget to smell the roses!

The program is in progress in the parlor with a standing-room-only audience. Speeches are made by Mary, Nick, and me. 


The mayor of Big Stone Gap reads a proclamation that honors the June Tolliver House and the Botts family's contribution to the arts and to the community.

And the winner is-

This lucky lady from Elizabethton , Tennessee won the Tolliver House raffle with several prizes including tickets to "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" outdoor drama which is next door to the Tolliver House.

With the program completed, viewing the paintings throughout the house is next on the agenda.

Partaking of delicious refreshments is a must!

And, so is a visit to the gift shop with lots of interesting items.

The June Tolliver Guild ladies (including Judy, president and Joyce, vice president) are more than happy to help you with you purchases, and please thank them for such an outstanding job of hosting the special art show.

All good things must come to an end, but we value the wonderful day, and all of the special memories that we'll always cherish.

I'd also like to remember my very special artistic mother (who is in heaven) on her birthday today (July 9). We love you Mama!

Positive thought: "Don't save things for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion."-Thomas S. Monson
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, August 5, 2018, Becky