Labor Day marks the end of long summer days and ushers in the early signs of autumn. This holiday weekend, we encourage you to relax, rejuvenate, and rediscover the natural beauty Mississippi has to offer!  

It is no secret that many of the most profound and talented novelists call Mississippi home.  We reached out to the infamous orange book store nestled on a quaint corner in Oxford, Square Books.  If the idea of curling up and devouring a great book this weekend appeals to you, here are their top 6 picks written by Mississippians, both classic and new:
Selected Short Stories by William Faulkner
Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth
Music of the Swamp by Lewis Nordan
Long, Last, Happy by Barry Hannah
Natchez Burning by Greg Iles
Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward
(Square Books photo courtesy of
If a day at the spa sounds heavenly to you (and it certainly does to us!), then treat your hair, skin and nails at one of our state's world-renowned spas.  Aqua the Day Spa in Jackson offers incredible packages with facials, massages, pedicures and more.  They can even enhance your eyes with their incredible eyelash extensions!  
(Photo Courtesy of Aqua the Day Spa)
The Alluvian Spa in Greenwood is a wonderful escape for both the body and the soul.  The spa menu features therapeutic baths, massage therapy, face and body care, and even a yoga studio! 
(Photo Courtesy of The Alluvian Spa)
The Beau Rivage Spa in Biloxi features a unique, indulgent experience on the Gulf Coast. The spa boasts relaxing massages, deep conditioning hair treatments, and even a luxurious and refreshing pineapple papaya body scrub!
(Photo Courtesy of Beau Rivage Spa)
Mississippi boasts countless hiking, walking, horseback riding and biking trails to enjoy throughout the fall season. 

If you live near the Natchez Trace, you are in luck!   There are many opportunities along the entire trail to hike or take a self-guided nature walk.  You can even ride horses on several sections of the trail.  Learn more here
If you are spending the weekend along the picturesque Gulf Coast, you can enjoy breathtaking views with hikes at the Bucaneer State Park, DeSoto National Forest, Gulf Islands National Seashore, Shepard State Park, and many more.  You can even enjoy nature on horseback or take a scenic bike ride!  Click here for more information.

Visit this website to view a list of the top Mississippi hiking trails.  We are confident you can enjoy a glorious day outdoors in any part of the state.
We at Inspiration Mississippi wish you all a happy, healthy Labor Day weekend!
{Photography} Chao Photography
{Location} The Ivy
{Catering & Floral} Fresh Cut Catering and Floral
{Cake Design} Cakes by Iris
{Bartending} World of Wines and Liquors
{Entertainment} The Colonels
{Hair & Makeup}
Katie Rouse with Barnette's Salon
(Event Planning Services} Kendall Poole Event Planning
{Tell us the story of how Modern Revival Rentals got started?}
"Looking in the rear-view mirror there are so many things that led me down this path to open Modern Revival. I love moments like this in life where things that seemed so insignificant at the time, looking back are really the road signs leading you to your purpose."
"Growing up I always helped my mom decorate for parties and weddings. She has amazing taste and always thinks outside the box, so each event was more like a fun art project to me. When it came time for my wedding my Mom and I wanted to go all out and create an experience for our guests avoiding the traditional southern wedding decor."
"As we both came up with ideas and our overall vision we started to run into problems finding rental companies that had what we were looking for. Not that they didn't have beautiful inventory, it just wasn't what we had in mind. After much searching we ended up having to make and buy several pieces of our own. That's when we realized Mississippi had a need for "outside the box" event rentals."
"That summer was pretty much the conception of MR, I just didn't know it yet. Several years later as I became more and more unfulfilled with my 9-5 career I started praying for God to show me what to do next. After 8 months of deep prayer God gave me the courage to leave my job of 6 plus years to open the ~rental boutique~ now known as Modern Revival."
"Ever since that leap of faith He has placed several unbelievable and life changing people in my path to help MR come to be. Without people like, my small business advisor, James Bennett and Juanita Martin, the lady who randomly called me out of the blue to see if I wanted to put my Showroom in her store in Canton, Modern Revival would not be where it is today! There is no doubt in my mind God had everything to do with building the relationships I have with all of these fabulous faith driven people I have had the opportunity to meet over the past couple of years!"
"So long story short, Modern Revival was created to provide locals with more affordable, “MODERN” day event rental options. Southerner’s love any reason to host a party, especially in Mississippi where everyone’s spring and summer are booked with showers, weddings, and celebrations galore. Traditional decor is great for some people, but for people like myself who love originality and believe that every event should be a reflection of its maker, I felt our event industry could benefit from a good ole southern “REVIVAL”. What a better time than now? When everything vintage is in, retro’s alive, modern is sleek, and rustic equals true beauty!"
Thank you to Vanessa Case with Modern Revival Rentals for this Insider Inspiration!
Visit Modern Revival Rentals,
As a high school student in Jackson, MS, Grace Bateman Greene embarked on a mission trip to Peru.  Though she was just a teenager, the experience sparked a great passion for the country and its people.  As Grace reflects, “I enjoyed my time and the people in Peru so much.  I knew I wanted to return.  The missions organization I had worked with was doing great work, so when I had the opportunity to go back [during college and as a young adult] I took it!”

Little did she know upon landing in Peru, Grace began a remarkable journey that turned into a very successful business.  With only $100 and a goal of supporting Peruvian women, Grace started Peru Paper Company.  We had the pleasure of speaking with Grace about her inspiring story and incredible company:
How did you come up with the idea of Peru Paper Co.?
I kind of borrowed the idea!  I've always loved stationery and paper products, so when I saw a British friend doing handmade paper products with Peruvian women, I was intrigued!  My background is in social work and community development, so making a business to help others by producing beautiful paper products was a very fun thought for me!

You started with only $100 and grew the business from there.  That is miraculous.  Tell me how it all began! 
I had a British friend living in Peru who was doing a similar project with some women she knew.  The ladies (who were my friends at church) loved crafts, so we thought it would be fun to have them teach us how to make recycled paper and greeting cards.  We paid the ladies for the lessons in how to make paper, and bought a few craft supplies to get started!  We had no idea people would be so interested in buying them!  Once we started selling them, we wanted to reach more people and decided to make it a business.
These women produce such beautiful, creative pieces.  How do you find women to work for the company?
They are all women we've known through connections through my work in Peru.  Some women have approached us asking for work, and we've sought some out who we know could use the employment and who we think will be an asset to the company. 
How often do you go over to Peru now? 
I wish I could go more frequently!  I went about 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter, but haven't made it back since she was born.  We hope to make a family trip down there soon!

How do these Peruvian women inspire you? 
They are very hard workers and very loyal friends.  Some of them have experienced very difficult things in their lives or have lived in great poverty at some point.  Despite these hardships, they have accomplished so much and are very generous and selfless.
What is your favorite thing about running this Peruvian business in Mississippi?  
It lets me be involved in international work from home.  I can be with my family and still have a connection to Peru, even though I can't live there or even visit very often at this stage in life.  

Beautiful, unique creations by Peru Paper Co. are available in many retail stores throughout Mississippi.  Click here to find a list of stores selling their products in your area!  Also, a large selection of handcrafted paper products can be purchased directly through the website,
Thank you, Grace, for sharing your story and for changing the lives of these talented Peruvian women!

All photos courtesy of Robby Followell
{Bride} Sara Ward
{Groom} Clifton Cotten
{Location} Oxford, Mississippi
{Ceremony Site} Paris-Yates Chapel on the University of Mississippi Campus
{Reception Site and Catering} Oxford University Club
{Floral Design} Zandra Walker
{Cake Design} Alana Reed Harris
{Photographer} Elle Danielle Photography
{Event Planning Services} Kendall Poole Event Planning
{Music} DJ Michael James
According to The Economic Impact of the Beer Industry, "in 2012 Mississippi's 3 brewing establishments (including breweries, brewpubs, importers, and company-owned packagers and wholesalers) employed 30 people directly, and more than 6,800 others in related jobs such as wholesaling and retailing. Altogether 3 people in Mississippi had active brewer permits in 2012."
Since the growing trend of "craft beer" and "local breweries," Mississippi breweries have grown significantly! Below, I've listed out the most common (and known) breweries today in Mississippi and highlighted a few of their beers!
{Crooked Letter Brewing Company}
Location: Ocean Springs
Established: 2012
{Mystery Romp} This mocha 
colored ale, infused with chocolate and 
locally roasted coffee, can best be described 
as a tasteful dance between a robust porter 
and a rich stout.
{Mariposa Pale Ale} Summer brew infused with mango, cilantro and  jalapeño!
For a complete list of beers and information on brewery tours, visit Crooked Letter Brewing Company,
{Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company}
Location: Kiln, Mississippi
Established: 2003
"Lazy Magnolia is Mississippi’s oldest packaging brewery, and the first one since prohibition was enacted in 1907."
{Southern Pecan} Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale is the first beer in the world, to our knowledge, made with whole roasted pecans. The pecans are used just like grain and provide a nutty characteristic and a delightful depth to the flavor profile. This beer is very lightly hopped to allow the malty, caramel, and nutty flavors shine through. The color is dark mahogany. Southern Pecan won a Bronze Medal in the 2006 World Beer Cup in the Specialty Beer category.
{Indian Summer} Indian Summer is a light profile American-style wheat ale spiced with Orange Peel and Coriander. Our recipe uses a mix of wheat and pale barley. This beer is very lightly hopped to allow the spices to shine through. Clean fermenting yeast produce a very dry, crisp base to further accentuate the spices. The aroma has a distinct citrus note without being overly fruity.
For a complete list of beers and information on brewery tours, visit Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company,
{Lucky Town Brewing Company}
Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Established: 2012
{Pub Ale} A sessionable ale based upon old English pub ales and brewed with Mississippi Honey. This beer is simplistic, yet delicious, and is suitable for all occasions and locales.
{Ballistic Blonde} Experience the hints of fruit and spice in this smooth Belgian style blonde ale. A specific Belgian Abbey yeast enriches the complexity of Ballistic Blonde, making it enjoyable from sip to finish.
For a complete list of beers and information on brewery tours, visit Lucky Town Brewing Company,
{Mississippi Brewing Company}
Location: Gulfport, Mississippi
Established: 2013
Mississippi Brewing Company is considered a "brewpub" which means they not only brew their own beer, but also serve it onsite. Check out more about brewpubs, or microbrewery, here!
For more information on how you can visit this brewpub, visit Mississippi Brewing Company,
{Oxford Brewing Company}
Location: Oxford, Mississippi
Established: 2013
{Sorority Blonde} Sorority Blonde has the color similar to "Just Beer" with a full flavor and slight hopiness to finish. A slight sweetness can be noted on the palate as well as on the nose. Sorority Blonde is an easy drinking ale that introduces the drinker to craft beer flavor with a moderate alcohol content of 4.8%. 
"Sorority Blonde is a like a Southern woman, easy on the eyes and sweet on the lips!"
{MPA no.8} MPA no.8 is a level 2.5 on the "Hop Scale of Flavor". This beer has a smooth drinkability with a well balanced flavor of hops that are added late in the brew process. This pale ale is for the avid pale ale drinker that is transitioning into the IPA category.
For a complete list of beers and information on brewery tours, visit Oxford Brewing Company,
{Southern Prohibition Brewing Company}
Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Established: 2013
{Devil's Harvest} This extra pale ale uses rich Munich malt to balance out the four hop additions. With a full mouth feel and bold aroma, Devil's Harvest is a flavorful hop bomb.
{Suzy B} An easy drinker, yet full of flavor, our unfiltered ale is perfect for any occasion. This dirty blonde has a nice malt backbone and a balanced bitterness, set apart by its pleasant hop aroma from our hop back.
For a complete list of beers and information on brewery tours, visit Southern Prohibition Brewing Company,
{Yalobusha Brewing Company}
Location: Water Valley, Mississippi
Established: 2013
For a complete list of beers and information on brewery tours, visit Yalobusha Brewing Company,
{Gordon Creek Brewery}
Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Established: 2012
For a complete list of beers and information on brewery tours, visit Gordon Creek Brewery,
It all began with a man who didn’t like coffee.  Paul Bonds had always been disappointed with the taste of brand-name coffee, but with one sip of a gourmet roast, his mindset completely changed.
With his interest brewing, Paul began researching high quality coffee beans and quickly starting roasting his own coffee.  He was amazed to find it is the #2 trading commodity in the world.  He soon began sharing his home-brewed coffee and his newly found knowledge with friends.  Paul laughs, “I could talk to friends about coffee for an hour and their eyes would start to glaze over.  It had become a passion!”

With encouragement from his family and friends, Paul began selling his specialty coffees at local farmers markets.  During his first experience in 2010, a man approached and asked, “What flavors do you have?”  Paul began explaining that he had coffee from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, etc., but the customer cut him off and said, “I just want some regular coffee.”  It was then that Paul realized it would be a great challenge to educate his customers about gourmet coffee - where the beans come from, the quality, and why it tastes so good.  As Paul notes, “Specialty coffee is a very young industry.  It is tough because it’s easier to be a settler than a pioneer.”  It was a challenge he was willing to accept.
By 2012, brewing specialty coffee became Paul’s full-time business.  Coffee is made from a fruit (commonly known as a bean).  Paul and his wife liked the sound of the name BeanFruit, and it stuck!  BeanFruit Coffee Co. buys high quality coffee from countries around the world.  Paul buys all of his coffee beans seasonally, ensuring he receives the highest quality coffees.  His products are traceable, so he knows exactly where his beans come from. 
Paul says owning a small business in Mississippi is an incredible opportunity.  “My favorite part of the job is the relationship aspect.  I am able to connect with people from all walks of life.  With a product like coffee, all people can relate.”
BeanFruit is a Fair Trade Certified company (one of only two in the state) with its operations held in Pearl on Highway 80. You can find BeanFruit’s gourmet coffee in coffee shops such as Sneaky Beans in Jackson, and the coffee shop in Pine Lake Church in Brandon.  It is also found in Jackson-area restaurants like Parlor Market, La Finestra and The Manship.  Retail stores such as Lemuria Books and Olivia’s Food Emporium also carry BeanFruit, or you can order it off of the website,

Paul says the true drive behind his company is relationships.  “My passion is developing meaningful relationships so that others can achieve their success.”
For more information on the BeanFruit Coffee Company, visit their website here 
{Guest Blogger} Mitchell Walters

Celebrating Ezra


"The night before the shower I remember thinking "I feel so much excitement!" I was like a kid on Christmas eve."
"Showers, of any kind, have (to me) become so intimate, so special. So naturally I felt overwhelmed with happiness because we were about to shower our best friend with so much love. The shower itself, was very laid back (just as Savannah is). The affair was intimate and casual and we played games that made us laugh so hard that we collapsed to the floor."
"There wasn't so much a theme as there was a "mood", which was joyous and fun. We ate h'orderves, drank punch, and watched Savannah open presents all the while also taking selfies for Instagram (duh) We sent her home (all the way back to memphis) with gifts exploding out of her trunk and with a smile on her face."
She has since had her little fella, who goes by the name of Ezra (i know, cool right?!) and is happy and settled at home. Her and Jared are loving life and soaking up every single minute of Ezras presence, all while changing diapers every 5 minutes :)
{Guest Post} Savannah Koon
z gallerie | luna bazaar | zulily | etsy | hobby lobby
At age eleven, Weston Reed was a faithful, sweet boy who loved living life everyday.  He had an amazing, busy summer playing outdoors with his friends and family, and was looking forward to entering the 6th grade at Tupelo Christian Preparatory School.  His enthusiasm was contagious, and his zest for life was obvious.  As he once said, "Mom, life is for the living!"

On August 16, 2007, Weston told his dad he had a wonderful first day back to school.  He went to soccer practice in the afternoon, and afterwards his team decided to play a game of scrimmage.  During the first play, Weston collapsed.  Physicians on the field rushed to his side and administered CPR, but no AED (automated external defibrillator) was available.  Unfortunately, Weston could not be revived.  

Weston's friends and family found peace in their faith and in the last verse Weston learned with his father.  "Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. " Joshua 1:9

The Weston Reed Foundation was formed, and it seeks to save young lives from life threatening cardiac events by screening and early detection of heart condition.  It also trains individuals to take appropriate actions in heart hearth emergencies and placement of AED's in communities.  

Tomorrow, Saturday, August 9th, The West Reed Foundation will be giving FREE physicals for children ages sixth grade and up at the Police Athletic League in Tupelo. Here is all the information you need for your child's free physical:
Weston Reed was a passionate and inspirational boy, who would be so proud to know he is helping save other children's lives.  For more information on the Weston Reed Foundation, click here or call Beverly Crossen at 662.372.2208
It was July 19th, 2013. My husband and I went in for our 12 week prenatal checkup (a week late because of a trip we’d been on) to see how our sweet little baby was growing! This was our first pregnancy and, as you could imagine, after trying for about 18 months, we were on cloud nine that we’d finally gotten pregnant!

When we were called into the sonogram room shortly after we’d arrived, the sonogram tech found what we had just hoped and prayed would not be the case! Our baby wasn’t moving. Had stopped growing. Was laying there perfectly and peacefully still. Lifeless.

It was devastating. Without question, this was the hardest trial we’d faced as a married couple of just over four years. The weeks and months of getting “back to normal” after the loss of our sweet baby were trying, to say the least. But because of that trying experience, I was able to lean on my husband, my family, and most importantly, our Lord and Savior.

I would have to say that, as much as I love my husband and am 110% certain that he is the man that God picked out for me, he did not really act how I expected him to after the loss of our little girl. (Quick crazy story— As I was coming out of anesthesia after my d&c procedure just hours after we found out I’d miscarried, I heard God tell me our baby had been a girl, although it was way too early for the doctor to tell. It’s completely unexplainable— God works in mysterious ways! It’s the only situation in my life that something like that has happened! So we named her Anna and she is very much a part of our family.)

So back to what I started to say a minute ago— What do I mean “act how I expected him to?” Great question. How should I expect him to act? This is not a scenario that they cover during premarital counseling, or in marriage books, or in Husbandry 101, and actually as I found out, it’s a scenario that very few people even talk about! After my miscarriage, it turned out that probably every third woman with whom I walk life had had one before. WHAT? Why had nobody ever said anything?

Anyway, I guess I expected my husband to mourn with me. And he did, to an extent. But he hardly ever cried. (He actually cried once, and it was the moment we found out Anna wasn’t growing anymore.) I was crying left and right! He didn’t really want to talk about what had happened, and it’s all I wanted to talk about! He wanted to resume life as normally and as quickly as possible. I wanted to enjoy my pillow nest in my bed with my limited supply of pain pills and stay away from reality as long as I could because I thought I’d be a wreck in front of anyone who gave me a hug or asked me any questions about what had happened.
I could tell that, for about three or so months after our miscarriage, whenever I said anything about Anna or our loss, my husband would talk with me, but would keep it as surface-level as possible. I was doing my best to respect his manner of dealing with it all, but finally I broke down to him one night and sobbingly asked if I was going through this hurt alone! “Do you feel any pain at all from all of this?” I asked him. “Do you even care?” I questioned dramatically, in true womanly form…

And that’s when he told me something I least expected to hear.

Of course he cared. Of course he hurt. But he gently explained to me that he felt like it was his role as the leader of our household to also be the rock of our household and to stay as firm and as unwavering as possible for me. Since I was so emotionally delicate, he felt like it was his role to be strong and steady for me. Hence his lack of crying, lack of discussing, and wish to get back to normal ASAP.

Wow, I actually get it. That explains so much!

I also asked him in my dramatic inquisition if he felt like he’d grown any as the spiritual leader of our household, since that is his number one role as a husband to me and a father to our children, whether they're here on earth or not. Since I had slowly eased back into work and had really “trimmed a lot of fat” as far as my schedule and work load, I had more time to get into the Word during my recovery. So I was telling him and asking him about all I had learned, like all the time. Which I thought was great!

But when he answered me on the question of if he felt like he’d grown as my spiritual leader, his response was simply this: “Please let me be your spiritual leader.”
That was all he had to say. I got it. I realized that I’d been cramming all of my newfound goodness down his throat at every opportunity and did not give him room to even breathe or flourish as the spiritual leader of our home! I was trying to do all the leading. I was trying to force him into a role that he fills quite well when allowed to do so naturally!

So after my husband made clear to me where he was coming from emotionally and spiritually, I had a major behavior shift (which wasn’t necessarily easy.) I did my very best to respect him and his methods as my rock and my leader. And I have to say, it’s been very rewarding. I admit, I’m not the most respectful of wives, but The Lord taught me that is one of my roles as a godly mate! God has really strengthened us individually and as a couple. And after our little tearful (on my end) chat that one night, he better understood my need to talk about Anna and our situation. That was my healing mechanism.

Our marriage is ten times stronger than it was this time last year without question. I’m not saying we’re perfect by ANY means. Oh no, no, no! We have a looong way to go. But God is showing us things about each other, about Himself, and about the fragility and preciousness of life. And— bonus— He has given me strength to talk to others and share my story with people I don’t even know! The Lord has used my miscarriage to bring amazing people into my life, and I pray that He uses me to speak into the lives of others who are going through a similar hurt. I also pray that my husband will be able to minister to the husbands of women who have experienced miscarriage.

I encourage those of you who are experiencing hurt after miscarriage to open up to someone. And to figure out where your husband is coming from, because he’s going to act weird! I can almost guarantee! I completely understand that it’s natural to want to keep your hurt inside, but I can speak from first hand experience that opening up was a huge part of healing for me. I found a quote by the amazing C. S. Lewis that really spoke to me as far as opening up: “I have learned now that while those who speak about one's miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”

Please, take heart in knowing that God has a plan for you. And a GREAT one at that! A plan that we absolutely cannot see from our limited points of view. After the loss of Anna, I wondered if and when I’d ever get pregnant again. We became very diligent in praying for a healthy pregnancy when God’s time was right. And guess what? Anna has a little sibling due in December. :)

Praise The Lord!