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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

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.

  • Rebecca Steinbach

5 Tips for Husbands Who Travel

My husband travels frequently for work, often to other countries, traversing time zones and cultures. This presents a challenge to our connectedness and family life. Over time, we have developed some practices that make the travel schedule work for our family. Here are 5 tips that can help a wife feel supported and valued even when her husband is not physically present.

1. Include her in the planning process when possible. For example, if you know a work trip needs to happen but the date is somewhat flexible, ask your wife for input. “Should I leave this day or the next day?” “Which week would be better for you?” “What are the dates for school events I can’t miss?” These conversations will make your wife feel heard and prioritized over work.

2. Call or text her once a day while traveling. A two-minute phone call is better than no phone call at all! A quick check-in will help you both feel more connected and help you stay up to date on the events of the week once you return home. When you choose to take time out of your busy day to check in on things at home, your wife will feel chosen and less alone.

3. Hire help when you can. It is a lot for one parent to take on all responsibility on a daily basis. Talk about your budget and what kind of help would be most beneficial for your situation. This could be getting a housekeeper, an afternoon homework helper, a meal service, grocery delivery, or a nanny. Just because your wife can do something (like cook or be the math tutor) does not mean it is always the best use of her time and energy. When you are not traveling, make family time a priority. The trade-off is worth it to hire a yard guy, handyman, or mechanic to eliminate things from your own weekend to-do list. You may be taking money out of your bank account, but you will be investing a great deal more into your family. Finding help to assist you with your chores frees up time to reconnect with your wife and kids.

4. Encourage her to schedule breaks and be social. If you know ahead of time that you will be gone several nights in a row, that is a great opportunity for your wife to find a sitter for one evening and take the night off. It could be a ladies’ night out or just time alone at a coffee shop while someone else takes care of bedtime. A few hours “off-duty” is refreshment for the soul!

5. Lastly, you can encourage your wife by loving on your kids even from a distance. You can record video messages or send pictures specifically for them. Or have your kids pick a favorite stuffed animal that can make the trip with Dad and who makes appearances in photos. If you ever see my husband photographing a dolphin beanie-boo in the business class lounge, just know there are three little girls at home feeling very loved!

By being intentional about your time and working together, it is possible to stay connected as a family and create some sweet family memories amidst a busy schedule.

Rebecca Steinbach

“In the Trenches” Contributing Writer

Wife, Mother of 3 girls, and avid travel planner!

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