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It is summer in Houston, and last night our bedroom A/C went kaput! My first reaction was to grumble, but then I reminded myself to “choose happiness!” I was thankful we had a guestroom to sleep in that had cool air and a fan. As we crawled into an unfamiliar bed, I was quickly reminded of the times I preached to others: “Every good hostess should sleep in her own guestroom for one full night. You will immediately see what is missing!”

Today, where we see every form of fashion on our streets, the question of men and shorts still produces uncertainty among many. There is a reason for this that is embedded in our DNA, and to fully understand we need to explore a little history.

“What are the main table manners children should know?” A common question I am frequently asked. Yet I have a tough time narrowing my answer. I pick my top three, then a fourth pops into my mind. Then a fifth. We may not all attend black-tie events, but we do all eat. Your children will one day be placed in a situation where they need to skillfully know their way around a dining table.

As we approach Mother’s Day, I would like to take a special look at the precious women in our lives that hold the title of Mother-in-law. Do you remember the movie Monster-in-Law? It starred Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda in a romantic comedy centered around the tumultuous relationship between a bride and her future mother-in-law. If you have not seen it, you should. It will keep you laughing but, sadly, may hit closer to home than you would like to admit.

I recently asked a group of college students these questions showing them the same photos. I had them shout out adjectives for the pictures they were viewing. For the home I heard: beautiful; wealthy; cared for; loving family; a place I want to live. For the broken-down home they said: old; no curb appeal; I wouldn’t go near it; scary; unstable.

“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that can serve me well, but when it gets me into trouble, I just blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created. 

Remove your hat! Don’t set it on the table! Never let someone see the lining! Women, keep your hat on! Women, take your hat off! Ahhh…..I’m so confused!!! The old rules of hat etiquette were so straight forward, and everyone knew what to do. A gentleman removing his hat inside a building was as second nature as brushing his teeth. In today’s changing society, there is much confusion about hat etiquette, for both men and women, so let’s solve this mystery by starting with the “why” of hat protocol.

Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Or maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. If this resonates with you, it might be time to brush up on the finer points of being a good listener, while teaching your family to do the same. Below are 11 tips to help you get back on track so you can start enjoying deeper and more meaningful communication with those you love.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV).

 

When I am tired and my mind does not seem to focus on a deep study of the Bible, I will flip to Proverbs to keep focused on God’s Word in a more simplistic way. Yet, every time I read this book, I walk away amazed at the power it brings and thankful for the renewal I feel. The verse I read today really resonated with me.

As a stay-at-home mom to 2 toddlers, a large part of my day is spent in the kitchen preparing food. Meal planning at the beginning of the week is essential to ensuring my family is well fed with home cooked nutrition (I give myself a break on the weekends)! If you get overwhelmed with meal planning like I used to, try these tips to sooth your soul:

As a wife and mother of two rambunctious toddlers, it is a challenge to get a home-cooked dinner on the table at a reasonable time. Pulling the children away from their toys, getting them seated at the table, cutting up their meal, blowing on food that is too hot, and calling my husband away from his work can be exhausting.

Sometimes you just need to re-post tips that were great to read. I find myself saying this quite often when it comes to The Gottman Institute. They are some of the leading relationship experts in our country, and the research they did on trustworthiness is very informative.

Meeting friends for dinner after work, grabbing coffee with your girlfriend or just ordering pizza on a Friday night with neighbors. We all have a deep desire to be connected in a world that often forgets the importance of relationships. Many of us have the desire to entertain, but we let our circumstances keep us from extending hospitality. Often it revolves around our lack of confidence in our ability to host events. I get this!

A perfect entertaining year for me would be hosting a different themed party each month! Will I do that? No. Will I dream about it? Yes! If I cannot have a party every 4 weeks, I can at least help my Lisa Lou family with ideas so hopefully a few of you can carry the torch of hospitality for the rest of us.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for. Read that again.

You are not allowed to complain about not getting something that you never asked for.

  • Lisa Lou

12 Tips to Being a Great Guest




This summer is seeing an increase in house guests. We are traveling by car more and making stops along the way to see friends and family we have not visited in years. It is a pleasant change. BUT, if you want to ensure you receive a return invitation, it is a good idea to brush up on the responsibilities we all have when sleeping over.


1. Surprise! Unless it truly is a surprise, I suggest not arriving unannounced. Give your host as much notice as possible. Personally, I offer to stay in a hotel. If they invite you to stay at their home, then you can make that decision.

2. Groceries: Offer to provide food for your weekend stay. Or, agree you will split the cost depending on your relationship with the host. Being an overnight guest should not be a burden. Do what you can to carry your load.


3. Sorry, Colonel and Louie: Our pets are our family! But do not show up at someone’s home with pets unless you have cleared this ahead of time. Not all people are as welcoming to our 4-legged friends. There also might be allergies you are unaware of. My father was deathly allergic to cats.


4. Fish and People Smell after 3 Days: The rule of thumb is 2 nights (3 days), unless you are family or close friends and have been given an extended invitation.


5. Hostess Gift: We tend to think of these for parties, but when staying overnight, it is nice to bring a gift. It can be anything from wine, a cookbook, or maybe a certificate to their favorite restaurant for the hosts to enjoy once you have departed.


6. Make Your Bed: No matter how loved we might be, guests disrupt a routine. Do everything you can to minimize the distraction. This starts with making your bed and keeping a tidy room. Include the bathroom in this, too.


7. Do Not Assume: If you need something, ask before grabbing! Do not rummage through cabinets looking for the item you forgot to pack. This is not your home. Do not take liberties. Are you hot? Do not assume you can adjust the thermostat. There may be a reason the A/C is set to a certain temperature. I am a big believer a hostess should provide guidelines for all house guests, but if she does not, you should ask for the rules of her home. Boundaries make everyone happy!


8. Servant’s Heart: Be self-sufficient. Do not rely on your host to transport you places, buy tickets to the theatre, provide your meals, or serve as your guide. In fact, if they are providing you a place to stay, I think the nice thing to do is for you to take on the role of hostess. If your friend has small children, offer to babysit them one day so she can have a break outside the home. Help her clean around the house or do some of her daily chores. Think of ways to make your stay enjoyable.


9. Be Invisible: Although you are a welcomed guest, everyone needs a little down time. In our family, after lunch seemed to be the time we would head to our rooms for a little R&R. This allowed us time to rest, to clean up for the evening, and rejoin the group refreshed before dinner.


10. Departing: Ask the hostess what she would like you to do with your bedroom upon departing. I ask my guests to strip the sheets and put them, along with the bath towels, in the utility room.


11. Thank You: A handwritten note is in order once you return home. Showing gratitude never goes out of style.


12. Bonus Points: Let your hosts relax in another room with a glass of wine while you prepare dinner. What a treat! If you can accomplish all twelve of these points, your friends will be begging you to come back again!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou