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Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????

Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

Throughout history we have seen God place people in power that made us say, “What is He thinking?” Yet God clearly reminds us in Isaiah that the way He thinks is far beyond what we can sometimes understand. In a child’s eyes, a parent giving her yucky medicine when she already feels poorly can seem cruel. “Why would Mommy make me take this?” The child lives in her “here and now” moment of life, yet the parent sees the big picture. The mother knows what is best for the child, even when the child does not understand. 

Our 4-part series on living as Christians in a political world was written in response to questions I have been receiving on knowing how to separate truth from lies, when to engage in our political system, and the most effective way to stay informed. In Part 1 we learned the biblical formula for seeking truth. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of knowing your foundation. In this post, Part 3, I will provide you with 7 practical tips I use to find truth in our news driven world. 

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4 Quick Points to Know About the Thank You Note



Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.


Never underestimate the power of hand-written communication for someone you care for whether it is a thank you for a gift, or to show appreciation for a job interview. A personal message will be greatly appreciated and leave a strong impression on the recipient. Here are 4 quick points to know when it comes to sending a thank you:


1. When to Send a Note: When do you send a thank you card? When you have received something…anything. This can be a gift, a dinner party you attended, a gathering thrown in your honor, or even for something as simple as a meal delivered to your home. The only time you do not need to send correspondence is when the gift received was a thank you to you. Example, if you host a party, and someone brings YOU a hostess gift, this is their way of expressing gratitude for including them in the party. No need to send a thank you for a thank you. (Exception: If you receive a hostess gift that is just too wonderful not to acknowledge, go ahead and send a letter or an email. You can never go wrong by doing this.)


2. I Don’t Like the Gift: Loving the gift is not a prerequisite for showing appreciation! A present is not about the physical item, it is about the heart behind what has been received. An unwrapped necklace arrogantly tossed in your lap by your significant other does not mean very much. A hand-painted rock from your spouse expressing his love for you might mean everything. You may need to be creative but find something you like about the item when expressing your thanks, even if your letter says nothing more than, “I will always think of you when I gaze upon my rock.” 😊


3. Stationery: There are all types of stationery that can be used for personal correspondence. Wedding notes will usually be on high quality paper similar to the wedding invitation. A marriage ceremony is an important occasion, and your stationery should reflect this. I also recommend having fun personal stationery, that does not break the bank, for less formal occasions. Remember, though, that what you choose says a lot about you. If you wish to portray elegance, keep this in mind with the quality of paper you choose. If your personality is more casual, then you might go a different route.


4. Be Timely: A thank you should be sent within the first week of receiving the gift. For a wedding present, the bride and groom are given more time as to what is considered acceptable. If you send a note of appreciation within a 3-month window of the wedding, this is fine. Some people put off sending hand-written notes because they feel it is a burdensome chore. Change your thinking and make it fun! Grab a glass of wine and use the time as an opportunity to watch your favorite TV show while completing those special notes. From beginning to end, it should not take more than 5 minutes, including addressing and stamping. Stay organized when it comes to your letter writing. Choose a designated location to keep your stationery supplies. I have a desk in my dining room that holds my paper, pens, and stamps. Everything I need is right at my fingertips, which translates to faster production and a more efficient use of my time. Here is a great tip I learned for moms with small children. After the Christmas gifts (or birthday gifts) are opened, set each item aside until the child writes their thank you note. As soon as the letter is written, the gift is theirs to enjoy. You can imagine how quickly those words of appreciation are completed!


Even when writing a thank you note, my faithful companions are always with me.


Side note: I want to comment on when you should send a hand-written thank you verses some other form of correspondence. In today’s world of electronics, it has become acceptable to send words of gratitude by text or email, but only in some situations. If your mom or close friend takes you out for a quick dinner, it is fine to send them a text the next day with a big thank you. A phone call might even be better. Just keep in mind that an email or text can give the impression that you could not spare the time to thank the person adequately. A written note is a GIFT of your time, just as our cutout hearts were a gift to our parents.


The rules have changed when a gift is opened in front of the person that gives you the present. Protocol states if they see you open the item, and you thank them in person, you do not need to send a hand-written note. An exception to this is a bridal or baby shower gift. I have a different opinion. If someone has taken the time to honor me with a gift, I can take the time to send a thank you. Whether you agree or not, I do want to caution you to know your audience. Younger generations might understand if you do not send a note, but more senior friends might not. For a person in an older generation, I think a hand-written note is important, even if you opened the gift in front of them. I also recommend sending correspondence by hand after you have been on an interview. An electronic missive does not have the same impact, and yours will be lost among all the other emails received by the employer. When deciding if you should write a hand-written note, know your audience, and when in doubt, always write!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou

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