New On The Blog

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 Self-Forgiveness

Lately, I have found myself ruminating on the concept of forgiveness. What it means to forgive, how to forgive well, and most pointedly how to forgive ourselves. For this blog I want to focus on self-forgiveness and how the process of forgiving ourselves is one of the most powerful habits we can incorporate into our day.

Growing up in the church I have heard countless verses on forgiveness and the power behind the practice. However, I wanted to find out the roots behind the word itself. After searching into the etymology, I found it comes from Germanic roots and the late old English meaning translates to, "to give up desire or power to punish.”

To give up desire or power to punish. When we forgive, we are literally giving up the power to punish. Wiping the slate clean. What a beautiful, restorative sentiment. Why then does it feel so difficult to forgive ourselves? Situations in the past nag in the back of our minds reminding us of times we have missed the mark, caused others pain, or failed. Feelings like anger, shame, and frustration build continuously behind the scenes when they are not dealt with. These feelings cause our nervous system to operate on high alert, which leads to anxiety and depression. And beating ourself up about situations in the past only perpetuates this vicious negative cycle. It is through addressing the issues head on and forgiving ourselves that we can find healing and freedom from these destructive thought patterns. As I have been thinking on this concept of self-forgiveness, I wanted to come up with a system to assist in my own healing. I thought it would be helpful to share my 5 tips on how to practice self-forgiveness.

1. Look at Your Feelings

It is difficult to genuinely forgive a situation that we refuse to look at. Take some time to dive in and see how you feel about a memory. Let there be no judgment or frustration as you do this. Look at yourself with eyes of grace and love. Let yourself experience each emotion as it bubbles to the surface. If you are struggling with letting yourself feel without judgment, pretend a loved one is going through the situation you are in. How would you treat their heart in this scenario? Treat yourself like someone you love.

2. Write to Release

After you have looked at your feelings and thoroughly experienced them grab a pen and paper and list out the emotions that seemed to really hit home. Let your thoughts flow and work through areas of tension or resistance. Again, give yourself lots of grace and love during this process as some intense realizations or emotions may come up.

3. Take Responsibility

Do not continuously bring up negative memories as a way of punishment for how you acted in the past. In doing this you are only reinforcing the negative over a situation that cannot be changed. Instead, look at what happened, identify how you messed up, and take responsibility.

4. Ask for Forgiveness

When we hurt someone else, it is important, and obvious, that we should ask them for forgiveness. However, we often forget to ask ourselves for forgiveness and in doing so the areas of hurt remain open and vulnerable. We need to ask for forgiveness and give that forgiveness in order to fully find healing.

5. Gently Move On

There is not an exact “works every time” solution for self-forgiveness. Sometimes things seem to heal easily while other times things continue to fester in the back of our minds. Each time a negative emotion comes up, remind yourself that you are forgiven. If a memory has been simmering for a long time it is safe to say a lot of encouragement will be needed to move past it. Coming up with a phrase you can say to yourself each time a specific memory or emotion pops up can be a helpful tool in moving past the hurt.

I have been noticing improvements in my thought life and overall mental state since I began actively putting these five tips into practice. I hope they can also help you on your path of self-forgiveness and healing.

Alina Gersib