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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.

  • 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