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

Saturday, June 9, 2018

A Week with No Computer!


I'm glad to be back blogging! I'm almost a week late with my monthly "The Art of Positive Living" blog post because for the first time (And hopefully the last!) our computer crashed due to a power surge, but that's okay because good came from it.

"Every problem has a gift for you in its hands."
-Richard Bach

The good things that came from our computer concern are-

-Greg and I needed a new computer anyway since our other one was six years old! Our new one works really well; it's a great improvement over our old one, so much faster, etc. (Sometimes circumstances force you to change, to get you out of your old rut.)

-Going through any mini-crisis like we did with our computer makes you appreciate people that can help you overcome adversity like computer experts Gary and Lynn who put us back on track. A huge thanks to them!

-I got to connect with some people on the phone rather than just sending them emails.

-Greg and I had more time to do some other things like...

having a picnic in our favorite park on a beautiful day in June, which is my favorite month.

-Also, during this time, since I couldn't find any store-bought shorts that I could use, I just made my own by turning some old jeans that I already had into shorts. However, these are shorts that I'll just wear around the house since I'm certainly not an accomplished seamstress. (This is an understatement!)

I learned the shorts trick from Greg since he's made his own shorts from jeans several times. He's a very thrifty and resourceful guy!

Actually, everyone we know, everyone we encounter, has something valuable to teach us if we just pay attention.

-During this time, since I couldn't use "Microsoft Word," I wrote some chapters of  a new book I started using paper and a pen, so that way I didn't lose any momentum on writing my book which I plan to publish in late summer.

This book is not paranormal like my last book, "Photographic Encounters of the Spirit Kind." Instead, it's more along the lines of this blog, "The Art of Positive Living." I'll let you know more about it during the next couple of months or so.

My blog post for next month will be delayed for about a week because Greg and I will be involved with a special event in early July. So, I plan to publish my next "The Art of Positive Living" blog post on Monday, July 9 which happens to be the date of my mother's birthday.

May you enjoy the beauty of this special time of year!

Your bench is waiting!

"You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative."
-Johnny Mercer
Thanks for visiting! Until Monday, July 9, 2018, Becky

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Our Octagon Hall Adventure


A few weeks ago, Greg and I visited a really interesting place that I believe most people would find fascinating. In fact, we even thought of our visit as an adventure.

The place we visited is a lovely eight-sided house known as "Octagon Hall" in Franklin, Kentucky. It was first owned by the Caldwell family. It was built with locally-made bricks and local timber.

The house is very historic; in fact, it was used by both the Confederate and Union Armies during the Civil War.

Inside the house are items of interest.

There are beautiful period furnishings.

There are knowledgeable tour guides to fill you in on a the rich history, etc. of the house.

When you finish the tour of the inside, you can explore outside the house. The trees there are unique. One of them is the largest dogwood tree in Kentucky.

If you think that there is something a bit creepy about Octagon Hall, you'd be right! In fact, according to their brochure, "The Octagon Hall is widely regarded as one of the most haunted places in the South."

I totally have to agree with the above quote since Greg and I captured so many paranormal images on our cameras. So much of the time when we go somewhere that's supposed to be haunted, we're lucky to get even one spirit photo, but not this time!

To be perfectly honest, I had a hard time trying to find photographs that we had taken for this post that were not paranormal!

As you can see, I really couldn't write about Octagon Hall without mentioning the paranormal aspect of the place. In fact, if you're at all interested in the paranormal, you might enjoy the 4/21/18 blog post I wrote about Octagon Hall on my other blog, "Spirit Photographs," entitled "Octagon Hall, Franklin, Kentucky." That post is heavily slanted to the paranormal which was an easy thing to do since it is so haunted!

You can check it out here-

So, whether you are a Civil War/history buff, love beautiful period decor, or are fascinated by the paranormal, there's something for everyone at Octagon Hall in Franklin, Kentucky!

For more info on Octagon Hall, just go to-

Positive thought: "One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure."
-William Feather
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, June 3, 2018, Becky

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Some Ideas for a Happier, More Positive Life!


One of the main things we'd all like to have is a happier, more positive life, and that is something that we all can achieve with the right frame of mind.

I've found that one of the most important ways that we can be happier is to feel well physically, mentally, and emotionally. To do that, we need to have an evaluation of our health, and if we're not quite up to par, we need to get that corrected either through the help of a traditional doctor and/or by an alternative practitioner. (At the same time, being more positive tends to make us feel better!)

Getting adequate sleep and rest is also important for having a happier, more positive life.

"Put your positive pants on."

I recently learned a good trick to get rid of negative thoughts, and that was to write down any negative thought that comes to mind, and then throw away the paper with the negative thought written on it. It really worked for me. Amazing!

"Replace every negative thought with a positive one."

I have never liked washing dishes. It's always just been a monotonous chore for me, until I started dancing! Now, the chore has become something I actually look forward to! I put on some jivey music and dance while doing the dishes. Not only do I have clean dishes, but I also get in my daily exercise, and I feel uplifted with the upbeat tunes I play!

"When life gives you Monday, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day."
Blair Turner

Step a little bit out of out of your comfort zone. Do something you've never done before. For example, I recently got brave and fixed a dish using fresh asparagus since Greg said that he'd like to try fresh asparagus sometime. I don't pretend to be a gourmet cook, but occasionally, I do like to try something different.

Here it is-"Asparagus with Lemon Butter Crumbs," along with salmon and brown rice farina to complete the meal. (And, Greg loved it!)

It wasn't that difficult. I just had to have a positive, I-can-do-this attitude!

"Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you."
-Mary Lou Retton

Doing nice things for other people, like giving them special little gifts can make you as well as the recipients feel happier and more positive.

Happy Easter!

Positive thought- "Always believe something wonderful is about to happen."
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, May 6, 2018, Becky

Sunday, March 4, 2018

New Beginnings!


Winter is almost over, and spring is just around the corner, in a couple of weeks! Yea!

While we don't want to wish our lives away, there's nothing wrong with having something nice to look forward to!

Winter does have some bright spots-some nice holidays, fun in the snow, hot chocolate by a warm fireplace, etc. (Guess winter's not so bad after all! We can find the good in everything!)

The last holiday of winter is St. Patrick's Day where for that day at least, we can all become a bit more Irish, if we wish. My mother always loved Ireland, and I guess I get that same love from her. Part of our family heritage is Irish.

What's not to like about Ireland? The gorgeous scenery, the great food, Irish dancing, the haunting music!

And who can forget the wonderful Irish blessings, sayings, and prayers!

"An Irish Prayer"

"May God give you, for every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends, A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer."

We can make the best of things whatever the season, but some of us prefer the warmer months of spring and summer when you can get out more and enjoy the beautiful sunshine and warmer temperatures.

It's out with the old-winter, and in with the new-spring!

Pretty Spring Flowers in Our Yard

There are plenty of wonderful spring celebrations like Easter, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, and Father's Day.

In years past, on May 1, even in the United States for a while, there was another holiday, May Day, in which there was singing and dancing around the maypole, which was a tall pole decorated with flowers and colorful ribbons. There was a May queen. May baskets were taken around and hung on people's doors. (From

May Day is still celebrated in places like the quaint little village of Rugby, Tennessee. Greg and I went to this celebration a few years ago, and we loved it!

Another small town in Tennessee, Bell Buckle, has a yearly festival, "Daffodil Day," which celebrates the arrival of spring. During the time of the festival, six miles of colorful daffodils line the road which leads to Bell Buckle. This year (2018), the festival is on Saturday, March 17.

Also, I recently read an interesting, helpful article by author and life coach, Valorie Burton, who asked "What are you tolerating?" She wanted you to think about what it is in your life that you are putting up with needlessly that you need to change.

For example, clear out the clutter, replace or repair old worn out furniture, work on unsatisfactory relationships, etc.

It's good to make out a to-do list of all of the things that you have been tolerating since they can really drag you down. Handling these issues should give you more energy and less stress.

This does work, because I went through our house and other facets of my life, and found some things that needed attention, and after I'd taken care of them, I felt so much better, and more positive.

So, throw off the cloak of winter, and embrace spring and new beginnings!

Positive thought: "Every ending is creating the space and opening for an amazing new beginning."
-Bryant McGill
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, April 1, 2018, Becky

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A Valentine's Day Celebration!


Valentine's Day is a wonderful day for a celebration, so let's celebrate with words and pictures!

"Without Valentine's Day, February would be...well, January."
Jim Gaffigan

"I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach."
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Pendant with Genuine Southern Appalachian Mountain Coal 

 "The most beautiful view is the one I share with you."
-Author Unknown

"Valentine's is...
a time for love
a time to celebrate life
a time to give and forgive
and a time to say a prayer for
you who have touched my life."

"True love stories never have endings."
Richard Bach

Valentine humor: "I love you more than my laptop."

Love y'all!

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you like the paranormal, check out my other blog, "Spirit Photographs."

I have written a book on the paranormal, "Photographic Encounters of the Spirit Kind" which is available now in paperback or as a kindle download.

Positive thought: "Love is a perfume you cannot pour onto others without getting a few drops on yourself."-Emerson
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, March 4, 2018, Becky

Monday, January 15, 2018

Resolutions for a New Year, a New You!


Since I was a young girl, I've made resolutions for self-improvement on New Year's Day, to help start the new year off right. I like to think that making those resolutions has helped propel me in the right direction. This year was no different. I made a few resolutions that mainly continue the ones I made last year.

In addition, I'm certainly in agreement with author Rhonda Byrne who has a resolution for the new year to be positive. In fact, being positive is her only resolution every year, because if you're truly positive, everything else should fall nicely into place.

Being positive is my main resolution, but I feel that I need other goals to aim me in the right direction. For example, for my business, I have goals I want to accomplish by a certain date. One of those goals is to publish another book no later than August 1 of this year. (I'll keep you posted on that one!)

Resolutions don't have to be made only on New Year's Day. In fact, I just added another resolution a few days ago, and that was to simplify my life. I was over a week late with this blog post this time, because I've just been trying to accomplish too much. I'm now trying to step back and to evaluate my life and to decide to do what's really important to me, and to just let the rest go.

It is never too late to make a resolution. If you've yet to make yours, or if you'd like to add another, what would it be?

Good luck with your resolutions, and may this be your best year yet!

Positive thought: "A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances instead of allowing your circumstances to have power over you."-Joyce Meyer
Thanks for visiting! Until Sunday, February 4, 2018, Becky