New Growth

Am I the only one who experiences seasonal sadness? The weather is cold and yucky, Christmas may have not been all you hoped for, and let’s not mention the extra holiday pounds and pale skin! By mid-February all hope seems lost and you may be in a funk you can’t seem to pull yourself out of!

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But never lose hope, new growth will always bloom after a long break.

In the same way nature takes a long winters nap, I think we hit the pause button in winter. I always seem to find myself in deep reflection and thought as Christmas turns to the New Year and winter takes her course. During this break or pause, I always think of my family, my past, and where I’d like to see my life go in the New Year.  

Like a lot of people, I find myself so critical during this reflection. Did I do enough? Earn enough? Grow enough? We can also focus on the hardships we’ve faced and wonder if the tide will change for us soon. No matter the tough-times, cold season, or regrets we may carry; hope for what lies ahead is ever present!

In the same way flowers always bloom in the spring, joy and new growth is just around the corner. After every cold winter, there is spring, after death there is life, and after the most difficult paths to cross there is respite for us all.

1 Peter 1:3

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

The Second Act

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Have you noticed the movement of revitalization currently pulsing throughout Mississippi? What was once old is being made new, what was once forgotten is now being showcased with pride, and a state that has been written-off is now getting national attention for all the right reasons!

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This surge of comebacks in the state of Mississippi is one of passion and vision. With shows like HGTV’s Home Town based in Laurel, MS—Mississippians and neighbors alike are looking around and seeing the beauty of the stagnant around them.

Old buildings and homes are experiencing their second act with the help of innovators around the state. Much like this loft that is located in downtown Brandon, MS; what was once a forgotten piece of history is now a thriving restaurant, loft, and bakery.

The sleek kitchen and airy bedroom were once stuffy offices and attics. All across the beautiful state of Mississippi we are being encouraged to look around us and get inspired when we envision the possibilities.

To read more about this fabulous loft and other gems around Mississippi pick up a March/April 2019 issue of Stages Mississippi, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, or head to our archives section of the website!

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No One Does Home Like Mississippians

Southerners are great storytellers. We pass this ability down through generations the same way we do recipes. The punch-line, the characters, the pregnant pauses; we have our stories rehearsed and memorized in case we need to tell them to pass the time in the suffocating summers or recall loved ones who’ve gone before us.

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One of my favorite ways we Mississippians tell stories is with our homes. Whether or not we realize it, the story we tell with our homes is our favorite one to tell. The picture of your husband’s grandmother in her garden, the handprints of your daughter’s Easter project, the books that you’ve collected since college—all of these items hold meaning to you and to who you are.

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One of our most beloved moments at Stages Mississippi is when we are interviewing homeowners and they start to tell us how they acquired a certain piece of art or furniture. Their eyes light up as they explain the journey of an heirloom, bouncing from cousin to cousin until it finally found a home with them. Our homes are beautiful and they are all worthy of the stories they tell.

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Stages Mississippi encourages you to tell your authentic story. If your home is all white, perfectly styled and layered or if it’s colorful with family relics and hand-me-downs—it is your story. No one does home like Mississippians, and that is why we want to share your stories.


 
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Southern Affairs: The Wonderful Life of “Auld Lang Syne”

The holiday season is such a rich time of the year. Family and friends come together to celebrate the Savior, make sweet memories, and eat the best they have eaten all year long. As the song “Auld Lang Syne” suggests, the holidays can hold affectionate memories and traditions for each of us, but sometimes we can all be in the mood for new traditions and recipes. Here are some sweet traditions and tips to add to your holiday schedule and one recipe that is sure to keep you warm as chestnuts roasting on an open fire!

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Decorating the tree is a family affair

We can all be overwhelmed with the idea of the perfect Christmas tree and pristine decorations. There is a great emphasis put on picture perfect wonderland settings—the symmetrical ornaments, plush mantle, and perfectly executed tablescapes. All this can take away from the fun and memory-making involved. Try handing out décor jobs to each member of the family. This way everyone is part of transforming your home into a yuletide oasis. The same goes for clean-up, too!

Stages tip: When decorating a real Christmas tree, remember to let it rest in water for a few hours before placing lights on the branches. This allows time for the tree to become acclimated and hydrated before hot lights illuminate your space.

Personalized wrapping paper can become precious keepsakes

Each year we look forward to new trends, prints, and themes found in the season’s wrapping accessories. As much as we love a popular style, there is something to be said for traditional wrapping paper. Try brown craft paper for an antique look that provides a blank canvas for unique touches. You can write a name, personal note, scripture, or even a proposal on them. This will be a warm gesture that will not go unnoticed by loved ones.

Stages tip: If a particular wrapping sentiment holds special meaning for years to come, try framing it and allowing that to be part of your annual décor or even a staple in your home. Personal relics will always be in style.

Poinsettia cocktail

Eat, drink, and be merry! What would the holidays be without a festive drink recipe?

1/2 ounce of vodka

1/2 ounce of cranberry juice

2 ounces of sparkling wine

Serve in a champagne glass and garnish with lemon twist, cranberries, or fresh rosemary.

For non-alcoholic options, remove vodka and replace sparkling wine with lemon-lime soda or seltzer water.

Stages tip: Please drink responsibly.


 
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Southern Affairs: A Season of Harvest, Hail Marys, and Hot Toddys

Fall in the South. Just those words alone can bring a comforting weight to your soul that makes you slow down for a spell. The days get shorter, the nights get cooler, and hopeful promises linger in the air as farmers prepare for their harvest. The stadium lights warm up as our boys start to chant their battle cries from the field house and as the drum major calls for the fight song, you can actually feel your memories being made.

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It never occurred to me that fishing with my grandfather in late September would be the genesis of my fall memories. With time, fishing at sunset turned into drill team practice until dinner, and then during the sweetest season of adolescence, ringing my cowbell until my thumbs bled in Davis-Wade Stadium with friends who would one day become my family.

Minutes pass a little slower in Mississippi during October and we don’t seem to mind. It is a time when homecoming festivals feel more like revivals. And while your spirit is flourishing in a stadium or a deer stand, you know you’ve been waiting for this all year.

The leaves turn that heavy shade of red and orange as cotton fields look more like blankets of snow when you ride down Highway 49. Swaying in a rocking chair on your front porch while the potato soup simmers and sharing your home-grown produce with neighbors: these are the moments we often take for granted in the rush of life.

These slow moments in fall that catapult us into the rush of the holiday season. These little moments are found in days of the mundane, but once they are gone you remember them well when the fall wind is on your cheek and the sun is at your back.

The beauty of the season happens all at once. When a grill heats up in Cleveland, someone across The Grove will holler Are You Ready?, all while a father is taking his son dove hunting in Sunflower County for the first time.

Fall is here and she is meant to be relished. Whether you are dusting off your cowbell for the first time in a while, standing in line at Ajax, or watching the Dixie Darlins march the golden field, put your phone down and just soak it in. Laugh with your family and friends, and stay outside until long after the sun has set. Take a deep breath of that Mississippi air and thank God that you are in the SEC Nation, or at the very least you are in the South when Mississippi starts to look a little more like heaven.

Fall blessings to you and yours.