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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.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

Throughout history we have seen God place people in power that made us say, “What is He thinking?” Yet God clearly reminds us in Isaiah that the way He thinks is far beyond what we can sometimes understand. In a child’s eyes, a parent giving her yucky medicine when she already feels poorly can seem cruel. “Why would Mommy make me take this?” The child lives in her “here and now” moment of life, yet the parent sees the big picture. The mother knows what is best for the child, even when the child does not understand. 

Our 4-part series on living as Christians in a political world was written in response to questions I have been receiving on knowing how to separate truth from lies, when to engage in our political system, and the most effective way to stay informed. In Part 1 we learned the biblical formula for seeking truth. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of knowing your foundation. In this post, Part 3, I will provide you with 7 practical tips I use to find truth in our news driven world. 

  • 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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