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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

7 Steps for an Anxiety Free Day



Mornings can make or break your day. No matter if you are a student, stay at home mom, or entrepreneur, the tone that you first engage the world with each day will affect how the rest goes. Let us look at two different scenarios:

You wake up from a deep slumber and stretch, hearing birds chirping peacefully outside of your window. Standing up you cross the room to turn off your still silent alarm (you naturally woke up before it, score!!) After a quick bit of stretching and exercise you are able to enjoy some reading and writing while eating a nourishing breakfast and sipping on a hot cup of coffee. After you finish you are able to jump into work with a clear head and full belly!

Contrast to,

BEEP BEEP BEEP your final (and most obtrusive) alarm is blaring at you. After snoozing 4 times it was left with no choice but to give you it’s loudest warning bells which signal that you must get up now or you will be late. You stumble out of bed and barely have time to brush your teeth and choose an outfit. Scrambling to assemble your work bag you quickly grab a granola bar and rush out the door.

Whew!! I can feel the anxiety bubbling.

It is irreplaceably important to have a morning routine to stick to. This might seem counterintuitive but routine and structure are what actually create the most space and freedom in our lives. If you do not have clear guidelines and goals for your day then you turn reactive to life as it is thrown at you, which heightens your anxiety. Parkinson’s law famously states, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” I find this to be especially true on days when I neglect to start off on the best possible foot by not setting my intentions and goals. If I wake up late and rush around, the rest of my day feels frazzled and I am far less productive. I find that giving myself enough time in the mornings is crucial to keeping me in a good headspace for the remainder of the day.

1. Wake Up Right Away – Snooze is not your friend. If you snooze your alarm and fall back to sleep, you confuse your brain on if you should actually wake up the next time the alarm goes off. Causing you to feel groggier once you do wake up.

2. Drink Water – A great way to ease your body into waking up is by drinking water first thing. I fill up a reusable bottle every evening and keep it on my bedside table to grab before I am even out of bed.

3. Wash Your Face – Nothing wakes me up more than splashing some cool water on my skin. Though sometimes a bit jarring it feels instantly refreshing.

4. Stretch/Workout – If you enjoy morning workouts then do your thing! If you are in the afternoon workout crowd though, a few simple stretches to wake up the body are a must, especially if you sit at a desk all day. I typically spend 10-15 minutes doing some active stretching while I listen to an audiobook, (currently I’m going through Waking the Dead by John Eldridge, and it’s incredible.)

5. Lay Out Your Clothes – I find it easiest to get ready if I lay out clothes the night before. The fewer decisions you have to make on menial tasks, the more cognitive resources you save for the important stuff. “Without realizing it, you can fritter away a fair portion of your mental energy on the day’s minor choices: what to eat, what to wear, when to exercise, when to sleep,” writes Executive Coach Caroline Webb.


6. Pre-Prep Your Breakfast – Every night I aim for pre-prepping my breakfast for the next day, for me that means overnight oats with chia seeds, flax, cinnamon, collagen powder, and some sort of fruit. Simple, delicious, and easy to customize. I grab it out of the fridge and enjoy it with a matcha while journaling and filling out my planner for the day.

7. Everything Easy to Go – Though I now work from home, I previously worked in an office and found a few habits incredibly helpful. First, always pre-pack your lunch and keep everything in one spot of your fridge to make it incredibly easy to transfer to your lunch box. Second, keep anything you need for the day in a specific bag and double-check it the night before. The last thing you want is to have a peaceful morning and then realize you misplaced your car keys.

These are the seven steps I include each morning to lower anxiety and give myself a solid foundation for the rest of the day. But I love seeing what works best for other people, so if you have a morning ritual you swear by, please let me know. It is also important to note that if you do miss an alarm or wake up late, the best thing to do is to not stress. If you prepped for the day the night before it should still be seamless to get out the door on time. Even if you have to eat your overnight oats in the car!

-Alina Gersib