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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 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

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