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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.

  • Alina Gersib

7 Daily Mental Hygiene Habits



We take showers, wash our hands, and use deodorant, but a lot of us let stress, anxiety, and fear rule our lives because we do not take the time to keep our minds clean. If you are trying to keep yourself on a healthy and happy track it is crucial to have daily mental hygiene habits. It is far easier to put up protective barriers and prevent a negative spiral from happening than it is to crawl out of a negative spiral mid-storm. Here are 7 ways that you can assist your mental state by taking care of things before they escalate.

1. Worry on Paper – Our brains are fast to worry. They identify the issue, multiply the issue, and then multiply the multiples of the issue! What started out as a small worry quickly spirals into the red zone of worst-case scenario. In order to stop the spiral in its tracks, it is important to not let your brain worry itself into a pit in the first place. Next time you feel a worry rising in your mind, grab a notebook or your notes app on your phone and write it down. The act of writing forces you to slow down and look at the initial issue without all the amplified projections filling your head as well. If you are able to stop the worry from ballooning, you will be in a far clearer headspace.

2. Set Boundaries – A huge trigger affecting brain overload is constantly saying yes or going along with things that you do not want to do. When we do not speak our needs in a given moment we can quickly fall into resentment or frustration over a situation. These feelings are not helpful in achieving a relaxed state of mind, so do yourself a favor and set clear boundaries around your time.

3. Sleep Consistently – A fundamental piece of the puzzle, sleep quality dramatically affects your relationship with the world in every aspect from immune health to mood. In order to receive the best rest, aim to go to sleep and wake up at a consistent time each night, even on the weekends.

4. Flex Time – Take a few moments of your day, I like to do it at the end of the day but do it whenever works best for you, to sit with a journal and say whatever needs to come out. Some days I doodle, others I write poetry, and on others, prayers. Take a few minutes to give your brain space to decompress in whatever way it needs. If you are constantly going without stopping to check in on your thoughts, they have the potential of stewing and building into anxiety.

5. Work Out – I am a huge believer in the benefit of exercise. Whether you walk, lift, or do a HIIT workout, move some way every day. Exercise not only produces endorphins, which make you feel great, but it is a fantastic way to distance yourself from your worries. It is difficult to focus on any other problems when you are concentrating on the weights in your hands or on the next step of your trail.

6. Quiet Moments–Even if I do not have time for anything else in my usual morning routine, what I find most beneficial to my day is taking 5 or 10 minutes to pray or meditate first thing. I like taking these few minutes to reset and be grateful as it sets my mind on a better trajectory for the rest of the day.

7. Eat Good Food – If you are anything like me, food massively impacts your mood and disposition towards the world. “Hangry” is a common term in my vocabulary. To quell this, I always keep a healthy bar on me. Not only that but I try to eat a whole foods diet and avoid things I know do not leave me feeling great. As delicious as fries and a milkshake are, all I want to do is sleep after consuming them. They are not the ideal building block for a clear head. If you know certain foods trigger a negative reaction for you, or you become pessimistic if you go too long between meals, be proactive and prevent these situations from occurring.

The more safety’s you can put in place to protect from negativity causing situations, the better. Whether it is packing a protein bar in your purse or waking up at the same time each day, small changes can make a huge difference on how you feel mentally. Find what works for you and try to incorporate them daily to help keep your mental state in tip top shape!

Alina Gersib

Get rid of the noise in your life. Join Lisa Lou and receive commonsense, faith-based advice for the modern woman.

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