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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.

  • Alina Gersib

5 Tips for Reducing Social Anxiety


With school starting up for the fall, the world seems to be opening again. Groups will start meeting, trivia nights will be re-scheduled, and co-workers will grab dinners together. In the past few months of distancing you may have found not being around people as much has you both excited but also anxious to re-engage. The thought of talking to new people can be daunting. If this is the case for you, do not worry. Below are a few easy to implement suggestions to quell social anxiety and get you ready for your next get together!

1. First Things First

Take a few minutes at the beginning of each day (especially on days when you have plans) to reset and speak some affirmation into yourself. This helps get your mind settled and automatically feel more confident. Some of my favorite affirmations are, “I enjoy socializing. I am a good communicator. I have something important for someone to hear, and I will share it today.” I find that saying these out loud and making eye contact with yourself in a mirror is a powerful way for the words to sink in.

2. Think About the Times You Feel Most Anxious

On a day when you do not have anything planned, sit down, and think through the times when you usually experience social anxiety. Is it attending a house party with lots of new people where you need to make small talk? Visiting a bible study? Going out with co-workers? Grabbing dinner with certain individuals? If you feel incredibly anxious under certain settings but not under others, this could be a sign that you do not feel you are allowed to be your authentic self in those settings. The best idea I can recommend is thinking thoroughly if the purpose of the group outweighs the feeling that you cannot speak from your heart.

3. Consider Finding an Alternate Way to Socialize

If you feel that you could go to a different sort of gathering and feel less anxiety, it is worth trying and comparing the two experiences. I used to feel incredibly anxious when I would meet with a specific group. When I stopped going to that group and joined another, I found my anxiety significantly reduced. If you are experiencing social anxiety it is far easier to build relationships by attending smaller gatherings, especially when there are a few trusted friends present as well. Remember, this is all about assessing why you feel anxious in certain settings. Be honest with yourself and make adjustments where necessary.

4. Go in Prepared

Once you have identified the areas you feel anxious, it is now time to figure out a game plan for the event. It is easier to socialize during an event if you prepare beforehand. If you find that making small talk with new people at house parties is what triggers your anxiety, then prepare a list of questions you could ask. People LOVE to talk about themselves and also love complements. I find an easy way to approach someone is to simply compliment something about them and then ease into a conversation from there.

5. Remember that You Have Something to Share

Many times, social anxiety can feel like a stone on your chest that weighs you down and keeps you quiet. However, this is not the way it was meant to be!! You are meant to speak truth and share what is in your heart for others to hear, not to be silenced by anxiety and fear. You have something vitally important to share. Remind yourself of this whenever you feel nervous. Take the focus off yourself and your own insecurities and put attention instead on the other people and see what you can bring to a conversation that will enhance their life.

At the end of the day, socializing should not be something to feel anxious over. You are simply sharing your life experiences and insights with another human being. With some people you may find a shared bond and continue to pursue the friendship. With others you may part ways after conversing once. This is totally fine! Enjoy yourself in the process and just remember that every other person at the party will feel awkward at some point, too. The easiest way to get out of your own head is to think about someone else. Be there for the person who is standing alone at a party and step out of your comfort zone to start a conversation with them. It will help you feel better, guaranteed.

Alina Gersib