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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 to Reframe Stress

Updated: Oct 23, 2020


As I was washing the dishes the other day, I felt an almost palpable sense of anxiety all around me. My mind was racing through a list of to-do’s, and I was frustrated about being stuck cleaning a messy kitchen. As my thoughts were spiraling me into a negative head space, I realized I needed to reset my mental state. After I reframed the task, I actually began to enjoy washing the dishes! I wanted to share my process so anyone else struggling with excessive stress can use the steps to allow their minds to rest.

1. Body Scan – If you are feeling stressed or anxious, do a quick body scan starting at your head and going down to your toes. Notice any areas that feel tense or restricted. When I am stressed, I clench my jaw, grind my teeth, and tense my shoulders. Figure out where you hold your stress so you can easily identify these warning signs in the future.

2. Take Some Deep Breaths – Once you notice which areas of your body are holding tightness, take a few deep breaths and imagine sending your breath to the tense areas and work on actively relaxing them.

3. Let It All Out – If you have a laundry list of things to get done, do not simply muse over them in your head. Grab a pen and paper and write everything down. The process of seeing what needs to be accomplished on paper will usually assist in prioritizing tasks so you do not feel so overwhelmed.

4. Be Fully Present – Become focused on the task you are doing. Give it your full attention. Are you washing dishes? Feel the warmth of the water, the texture of the dishes, and listen to the sound of the brush. Try to actively immerse yourself in each moment.

5. Call It Out – I am a big believer in the power of words. If you find yourself struggling with negative thought patterns it is helpful to call them out by name and identify exactly what they are. Putting a name to what you are feeling makes it feel more manageable.

6. Speak Affirmations - Speak to the feeling you just identified. Specifically, that you are bigger than the emotion. Phrases like, “In this moment I feel incredibly angry, but that is okay. I am allowed to be angry and I am also allowed to let it go.” Sometimes giving an emotion recognition and then the permission to leave is what is needed for release. It may not work right away, or you may have to tweak the phrasing periodically for it to continue working but finding affirmation is a powerful tool to stop negative thought patterns in their tracks.

7. Zoom Out – As a perfectionist, I can get caught up in the little details and making sure everything is just right. However, thinking with the intent of “perfection” is not really a recipe for rest and peace. I have learned that when I feel stressed or anxious about something if I zoom out and think about the big picture a year from now, the issue does not feel as overwhelming. Or if the issue does feel big, then I know it is something that needs to be prioritized. When we are in the moment things can feel much larger than they are but viewing them a little way out gives us perspective and insight into the situation.

I hope that these 7 ideas help you relieve some of the anxiety that can come with long to-do lists and lots of responsibilities. When we learn to reframe our thoughts, even if there is a lot going on, it can put our mind in a state of ease while accomplishing tasks.

Alina Gersib