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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

68 Great Dating Ideas

Updated: Sep 10, 2021



When two people have been together for a while, it is easy to slip into that comfortable place and stop truly dating. Does this mean you cannot enjoy lazy nights on the couch watching a movie? Of course not. In fact, it is a nice place to be in your relationship when you get to that point. I would recommend, though, that couples change things up a bit, otherwise weekend routines can become mundane which can often lead to complacency, and complacency can be an enemy of marriage. This can prove especially true for couples that have been together for awhile. Out of curiosity, I sat down one day and wrote as many dating ideas that I could think of that two people might enjoy. Some are geographically specific, and others are only applicable during certain seasons, but I hope these will get your own thoughts churning as you come up with creative ways to continue to grow together in your relationship.

1. Play games: chess; Hive; Clue (you can find a lot of games for 2 players with a simple search)

2. Grocery shop together and cook a meal

3. Binge watch a great series: The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars; old classics; The Lord of the Rings (that would be an all-day binge!)

4. Visit your local museum

5. Assemble a puzzle: buy a puzzle with a picture of your favorite vacation spot that you can then frame

6. Take a dance lesson: my husband and I did this for our son’s wedding and dancing has now become a daily fixture in our lives

7. Take a cooking class

8. Go to the zoo

9. Go to a wine bar and spend your time setting your goals together for the next 1, 5 and 10 years

10. Picnic at the park

11. Search top tourist spots in your town and pick 3 to do

12. Set the dinner table with your wedding china and crystal and have an elegant meal at home


13. Build a snowman and roast marshmallows

14. Attend your local high school musical: these are inexpensive and can be very good

15. Host an outdoor BBQ

16. Take a driving or walking tour of your local National Historic Trails

17. Attend your local high school sporting event: my husband and I love to go to our local football games to get into the spirit of fall

18. Charades

19. Bowling

20. Ziplining

21. Go to a shooting range

22. Have a slumber party at home with movies and popcorn

23. Fondue night

24. Escape Room

25. Skip dinner and have a wine and cheese night

26. Attend a rodeo

27. Go hiking and end with a picnic


28. Research local festivals in your area to attend

29. Miniature golf

30. Tubing on the river

31. Rock climbing

32. Ride go-karts

33. Restaurant hop: go to two and just eat appetizers; go to two more and just eat dessert

34. Take a painting class

35. Lay outside and gaze at the stars

36. Attend an outdoor concert or play

37. Volunteer for a charity that is dear to your heart

38. Pick pumpkins in a pumpkin patch

39. Carve a pumpkin together

40. Cut down your own Christmas tree

41. Take a tour of your city

42. Go to the midnight show at the movie theatre

43. Make ice cream sundaes

44. Decorate a Christmas tree


Via K945

45. Attend an animal show/race (nothing cuter than watching wiener dogs run!)

46. Drive to a nearby small town for lunch at the local café

47. Explore geological areas near you (waterfalls, caves, beaches, forests)

48. Go paintballing

49. Karaoke Night

50. Wine tasting tour

51. Brewery tour

52. Go to a comedy club

53. Attend the carnival that comes to your town

54. Dye Easter eggs together

55. Take a ferry ride

56. Go antiquing and then find your favorite food truck for lunch

57. Go on a scavenger hunt: you can find ideas online

58. Recreate your first date

59. Curl up in your pajamas, grab your hot chocolate, light a fire and read a book to each other


60. Go berry picking

61. Enjoy a spa day at home

62. Take a bike ride

63. Make a bonfire

64. Go Christmas caroling in your neighborhood

65. Take the 5 Love Languages online quiz, and discuss each other’s language

66. Sleep in and go to breakfast at your favorite cafe

67. Eat takeout by candlelight or picnic in your front yard

68. Cake night: make your 3 favorite cakes and eat them with a fork on the couch-no plates required!

I had fun coming up with ideas, and new ones are still popping up in my mind! Part of the enjoyment of date night is the creativity involved. If you are on a budget, come up with a list of 10 things you can do at no-cost (the above list has several). Continuing to date takes effort, but effort is required to have a successful marriage. This is especially true during the child-rearing years. Remember the best thing you can do for your children is have them grow up in a home where they witness two parents that have a healthy and loving relationship. As we all know, keeping our bodies in tip top shape takes work. Maintaining a marriage that thrives is also no easy task. Shake things up, try something new and you will keep the spice in your marriage.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou