Wisdom From The Animals: Day 6

flamingoes at the zoo

Wisdom From The Animals: Day 6

More than one million lesser flamingos have been known to congregate together in East Africa forming a gigantic flock, the largest known among birds. The saying, birds of a feather flock together, is so true of flamingos. They like company. In fact, they like company so much that the males have been known to form a tight knit cluster and perform the mating ritual together as they each try to catch the eye of the perfect female. ( Check out #8 to see a video of male flamingos dancing.)  

I’ve learned I need a flock in my life and not just any flock will do. I need people around me that encourage, support, and love me as I seek to live out what God has designed for me to do. I want to do that for my people too. I want to encourage and nurture their gifts that God has bestowed on them. I need community.

Some have told me that they don’t need to come to church on pick-any-day-of-the-week. They feel that they experience God in nature or in other locales. I agree that they might be receiving a blessing of God but I think living and participating in a church family, whatever time or day of the week that might be, is imperative to a believer’s growth and well being.

Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter and the other disciples were witnessing large numbers of people turning their hearts towards God and accepting the message of Jesus as they shared what Jesus had taught them. Luke records these words of the early days of the church.

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.” Acts 2:41-45

Sure, the early church was listening to a sermon but in the before, after, and in between times — Sounds like a party to me! These believers were hanging out and enjoying a potluck supper together. Give your local church a try. Get involved and find your flock. Your life just might become a big party.

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To view all of my posts from the 31 Days Writing Challenge 2015: Wisdom From The Animals, click on the icon above. I hope you’ll come back to visit over and over again. I’d love for you to follow me on the blog or any of my other social media sites. Thanks! 



Wisdom From The Animals: Day 4

water buffalo

Wisdom From The Animals: Day 4

Water Buffalo generally spend most of their day submerged in the muddy water of wetlands. But some days are meant for a nap in the sunshine, aren’t they? I’ve learned over the years that if I don’t have moments of rest then I can’t handle the busyness of life in a positive way. I need time to destress and recharge my batteries. Jesus recognized that very need in the life of the apostles. 

“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” Mark 6:30-32

I hope this Sabbath day will be a time to rest and recharge your batteries from all of the craziness of life.

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To view all of my posts from the 31 Days Writing Challenge 2015: Wisdom From The Animals, click on the icon above. I hope you’ll come back to visit over and over again. I’d love for you to follow me on the blog or any of my other social media sites. Thanks! 



Wisdom From The Animals: Day 3


Wisdom From The Animals: Day 3

Orangutans spend the majority of their life in the trees. They are the only ape from Asia and live on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. These gentle creatures share 97% of our DNA and are critically endangered. The mother orangutan only bears young 4-5 times in her lifetime. Her children remain with her sometimes into their teens. According to Orangutan.org, “Such prolonged association between mother and offspring is rare among mammals. Probably only humans have a more intensive relationship with their mothers. Primatologists believe that orangutans have such long “childhoods” because there is so much that they need to learn before they can live alone successfully.”  

A mom’s work never seems to end. I would feed, wipe, bless, burp, clean, snuggle, and dress my children until I felt I performed these actions in my sleep and maybe somedays I did. I had crisis moments when I never wanted to hear someone yell, “Mom” one more time. While at other times, I would gaze at them in wonder that I, who still felt unqualified and like a kid herself, was entrusted with these precious gifts to train and nurture to adulthood. Orangutan moms know that the very survival of their offspring and species depends on them educating their children on how to survive. Don’t we know the same?

This world is tough and children need a parent to educate them. My heavenly Father has educated me in so many ways since I became His child. He is continually training me still. Likewise, no greater responsibility exists for a Christian mom than teaching her child to walk with God. The very survival of our species as Christians depends on it.

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:28-30

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To view all of my posts from the 31 Days Writing Challenge 2015: Wisdom From The Animals, click on the icon above. I hope you’ll come back to visit over and over again. I’d love for you to follow me on the blog or any of my other social media sites. Thanks! 



Wisdom From the Animals: Day 2


Wisdom From The Animals: Day 2

Are you familiar with the expression, proud as a peacock? Chaucer spun this turn of phrase in The Reeve’s Tale. The expression symbolizes vanity and pride; the kind of pride that makes you think you’re better than others. The male peacock unfurls his magnificent multicolored tail to attract a mate. He parades back and forth showing off his colors trying to entice the female. On occasion, I’ve been known to remark to my children when they were very proud of an accomplishment or proud of how they looked that they were struttin’ like a peacock. But a fine line exists between the type of pride that honors God and the type that doesn’t. I hate to admit it but being prideful is one of those issues that has reared its ugly head in my life at different times. Even hating to admit it shows the work I still need to do in this area. Our high and prideful opinions of ourselves should not be the clothing that we wear. In 1 Peter 3:3,4, Peter states,

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3.4

Looking good is not the problem. We can be as magnificent as the peacock but if our insides aren’t pretty, no amount of pretty colors and feathers will make us pretty to God or others. I don’t want to be seen as someone who struts with vanity and pride like a peacock. Rather, I want to be viewed by God and others as someone who possesses the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit as the scripture states. My daughter has heard this statement from me many times but it holds true – “pretty is as pretty does.”

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To view all of my posts from the 31 Days Writing Challenge 2015: Wisdom From The Animals, click on the icon above. I hope you’ll come back to visit over and over again. I’d love for you to follow me on the blog or any of my other social media sites. Thanks! 




A Blogiversary Of Sorts


April is my blogiversary of sorts. I started blogging in 2009 at the end of April on a private site called A Questionable Mind. Mostly, the site was a journal of written thoughts but what the experience taught me was that I enjoyed writing online. I had always been a notebook/yellow legal pad with a pen kind of girl and had erroneously thought that I would dislike the computer because the creativity wouldn’t flow properly and I wouldn’t be able to type fast enough to capture my thoughts. I was wrong.

In April of 2011, I made my first public blog post under a blogspot site called Change of Plans. I thought I would be writing lots of posts about our house renovations and life as we became empty nesters but like my blog title, my plans were changed.

To reflect the change of focus in my posts, I renamed my blog to State of Hospitality in November of 2012. Yes, I took a year to change the name. I struggled with finding the right one and in my defense, I didn’t post as often back then.

That year, I did begin posting more often and gained a few followers and decided to make the big leap and plunge myself into owning my own domain site. In September of 2013, I moved to WordPress and here I am today. I, also, began another site in 2013, Sweeter Than Honey Ministry, where I share online bible studies, uplifting videos, posts, scripture, and music.

Between all of the name changes and addresses I’ve published 330 posts. A small amount when compared in the blogging community but I’m not writing to win a blogging race — only to share and write about life as I see it. It’s taken me several years of blogging to learn that valuable lesson.

My Most Popular Posts Of All Time

My Favorite Things 2013

My Favorite Things 2014

My page that lists all of my posts from my participation in the 31 Day Challenge.

An Unexpected Remodel

Graduation Day and Bragging Rights

This year, the #1 post so far is about my personal stylist.


I enjoy this writing medium and as long as I do, I’ll keep showing up. To read and to write.



“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 NIV Bible


The State of State of Hospitality


This past week, I’ve been taking inventory of the blog and making plans for this brand spanking new year.  While I was digging around and dusting off, I discovered a few things.  I’d like to share them with you and see if I’m on target to deliver you better blog posts for this year.

What did I discover was the #1 viewed post for the year?


Y’all LOVED My Favorite Things 2014.  In fact, 734 of you loved to read that post.  What?!  You missed it?  Catch it here.  The #2 favorite was My Favorite Things 2013 and other posts rounding out the top 10 included posts about house renovation, family events, and Catie’s cooking challenge. ( Thanks for supporting my baby! )

If I’m interpreting this data accurately, y’all would really like to know more about our family life and recommendations of favorite things or the sharing of products I like.  I’ll be writing more on these topics for this year.  To start off in the right direction, I found an awesome clothing company I can’t wait to share with y’all.  I’ll be posting about it soon.  You’ll thank me, I promise!

The time for posting about Christmas and decorations came and went.

christmas tree 2014 1I didn’t decorate much nor did I take many pictures.  Our tree was simple and inexpensive this Christmas.  The big flowers are made from brown paper bags, glitter, and paint.

reading and writing bannerI read 51 books this past year.  Overall, I had an average year as far as books I really enjoyed.  Most were only 3 stars.  I’m hoping for better adventures this year.

  • My favorite classic for 2014:  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  A 5-star book for me about a fireman whose job was to start fires not put them out.  What did they burn? Books.  Books are subversive, books cause people to think, and books are trouble.  The fireman, on a whim, decides to save one and keep it.
  • My favorite reread for 2014: The Giver by Lois Lowry.  I’m ho-hum on the movie but I love the book and the issues for discussion that surface during reading.
  • My favorite memoir for 2014: Good Old Boy by Willie Morris.  He spins a tale about growing up in Yazoo City, MS which was my grandfather’s hometown.  Reading the book was like listening to my grandfather.
  • My favorite collection of stories for 2014: A Touch of Wonder by Arthur Gordon.  The memoir tales are beautifully told pieces of wisdom.
  • My favorite YA for 2014: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen.  This book is the first in a trilogy.  My credit card will be plunked down quickly for the second book.  This story is categorized under fantasy but the first book, I would not have placed in fantasy.  The story reminds me of Hunger Games meets Sleeping Beauty. Emma Watson has bought the rights and a movie is being developed. Woohoo!
  • My favorite sappy- feel good- predictable Christmas read for 2014: Christmas with Tucker by Greg Kincaid.  A coming of age story about a young boy overcoming tragedy and loving a dog named Tucker.  Yes, tears might be involved so have tissue.
  • My favorite non-fiction for 2014: Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner.  I loved her other book, girl meets God, and this one was equally good.  Ms. Winner compares and contrasts 11 Jewish practices with Christianity.  A great resource tool.

All of the above books were 4-5 stars for me.  I read others that were good and close to 4 stars but something was amiss in the telling.  I have no favorites in a fiction category for this past year that met the 4-5 star mark.

In writing news, all I can offer is it’s coming — slow, arduous, and procrastinating-ly. (Is that even a word?)  I hope, hope, hope to be finished with the draft by the end of the month.  When that happens, I will share a little more.

Thank you to each and every one of you that choose to share a little time out of your busy lives to read my posts.  You put a smile on my face and gladness in my heart and I hope I do the same for you.



“Commit to the LORD, whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV Bible

Some secrets are worth sharing

luna mothHey!

Some secrets are worth sharing.  I’ve been keeping one relatively quiet until recently.  No reason.  The only possible one is I’ve been a hermit and therefore, have not seen anyone.  I’ve been writing a bible study.  I’ve written several but I’ve never done a study for publication. This time is different.

I’ve taught bible study at church for almost 20 years.  This fall, I decided not to teach and focus on writing.  Research came first and I did most of it during the spring and summer.  Unknowingly, my Sunday school class was the beneficiary of some of my research and study.  But my words and the actual writing and formatting started in September.

My pastor has been mentoring and encouraging me.  He says of my endless draft tweaking, ” you have to let it go at some point and trust God.”  I keep going in and out of writer’s block, writer’s frustration, writer’s depression, writer’s procrastination, and writer’s envy.  Of the last one, I kept seeing my thoughts on other writers’ pages or my ideas being implemented by another.  Pastor Steve says, “God uses many people with similar messages to get His purpose across.”  I’m believing that to be the case.

I made up a writing schedule complete with target dates.  Pie in the sky.  I didn’t hit my targets but the beauty of it is that I’m the one who set the schedule and I’m totally flexible to continue pushing at the current pace.  I’m hopeful for a January date but I’ve got to complete the draft.  The process and journey with God is far more important than an end date.

Spare writing moments with a busy family are a challenge.  Uninterrupted time a luxury.  That has been my greatest challenge.  I’ve been so thankful for my daughter to keep this blog afloat by writing a post here and there as well as cook meals to give me more time.  I’ll do my best to have a post or 2 each week but I’m not promising.  This season of my life is full and not all the juggled balls can stay up in the air.  I’m going out on a limb and asking you to be patient with the possibility of meaningless blog posts on the horizon in order to keep the site afloat.

I also ask for prayer for this study’s fruition.  I believe that God led me to this particular topic and has a purpose for it.  As the study continues to unfold, I’ll share more details.



“He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV Bible