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Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.


1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

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.

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. 

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.

  • Lisa Lou

7 Tips to Become a Gracious Gift Receiver

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

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.

1. Open the Card First: If you receive a gift that has a card attached, always read the card first. This shows you are more interested in your relationship with the gift giver than the material item inside.

2. Announce the Name of the Gift Giver: If you are opening presents in a group, for example at a wedding shower, then announce who the gift is from. If they write a personal note on the card, you should keep this private.

3. Say Thank You: No matter how much you like or dislike the gift, always give a big thank you! Find something nice you can say about the gift. “I love this color! Thank you for thinking of me.”

4. Two of the Same Kind: If you are in a group, and you receive two identical gifts, make each giver feel comfortable by saying, “You both have great taste!” Then quickly move on to the next gift. Do not discuss in front of everyone how you can return one or exchange the other. This can be handled later. These things happen, and there is no reason to make anyone feel awkward.

5. Keep it Packaged: When opening gifts in a group, do not waste other people’s time by taking presents out of their manufacturing packages. If it is little Johnny’s turn to open a Christmas present in front of the family, and he starts taking all the parts from his new toy out of the package, then everyone must wait for him to finish. Enjoying your new gift should wait until all presents have been unwrapped.

6. Open in Their Presence: When someone brings you a gift, open it in their presence. Do not set it off to the side. The giver enjoys seeing you delight in what they have brought you and opening their present in front of them is one way we can show our appreciation. The one exception to this would be hostess gifts. If you are hosting a party, and several guests bring you a token to show gratitude, either pull them aside privately and open their gift or set it in a corner and tell them you cannot wait to open it after the party. Many people do not bring hostess gifts, and you do not want other guests to feel awkward.

7. Do Not Reciprocate: If someone brings you a gift unexpectedly, do not feel obligated to reciprocate. Some people are gift givers, and this is how they express their feelings. To run out and buy an item for the only reason that they brought you something will scream inauthenticity. They will know you did this out of duty and not love. The gift will be meaningless.

Gift giving is an art, and gift receiving requires a gracious attitude. Always focus on the love that is intended by the gift giver. Which would you treasure more? An unwrapped necklace thrown in your lap with a tone of indifference, or a heart-shaped rock your loved one presents, because when he saw it, it made him think of you? I can buy my own necklace, but I cannot buy the love my husband pours out on me. No matter what the gift is that you receive, remember it comes from the heart of the giver. Treat it well.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

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