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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.

  • Lisa Lou

9 Tips for Elevator Etiquette

People are returning to work, which means many of us will be navigating changes that would otherwise seem mundane. Elevator etiquette? Did you know there was such a thing? Below are 9 basic reminders when riding the lift. I have thrown in a few exceptions while we live in a COVID world.

1. Sleeves are Great: When pushing the elevator button use the cuff on your shirt, or your elbow, to punch the button. This keeps you away from germy surfaces.

2. Stand to the Side: When you are waiting for the elevator to arrive, stand to the side. People may try to exit when the doors open, and you do not want to block their way.

3. Walk, Do Not Ride: The unstated rule is take the stairs if you are only going two flights. There are exceptions to this for our senior friends, parents with babies, and people with disabilities. With COVID around, avoiding a cramped compartment is also a healthier choice. Walk when you can.

4. Hold the Door/Do Not Hold the Door: Who has not stood in an elevator while someone in the lobby yelled, “Hold the elevator!” Protocol states, if you are the only passenger, be kind and hold the door for the late arrival. If the lift is full, though, only hold the door if the late arrival can reach the doors within a few seconds. Otherwise, they need to catch the next ride. Why? Everyone’s time is important. You either sacrifice the time of those in the elevator, or you sacrifice the time of the late arrival. Ultimately, the late arrival should not ask an elevator full of people to wait. Always show kindness but use your judgement.

5. Go to Your Corner: If another passenger is on the elevator when the door opens, place yourself in the corner opposite them, and face forward. If you know you will be riding the elevator to the furthest floor, position yourself towards the back. This way others in the elevator do not need to walk past you to exit. Keeping a distance of at least 3 feet is considered the minimum for respecting someone’s personal space. Currently, for safety reasons, keeping 6 feet of distance is required by most buildings, but when we return to normal standards, keeping at least 3 feet is acceptable.

6. Floor 5, Please: If another person is closest to the button panel, tell them your floor number so they can push the button. This avoids many hands touching the same pad and helps people maintain 6’ of distance.

7. No Talking: I recommend a friendly smile, saying hello, and a nod of your head. After this initial greeting, silence is recommended unless you know the other people. If you are wearing a mask, then a simple smile and nod of the head is sufficient. Even with a covered nose and mouth a kind heart will shine through your eyes.

8. Cell Phones: Passengers do not want to hear your cell phone conversation. No phone calls on the elevator.

9. Exit: While we are still practicing COVID guidelines, it is unlikely an elevator will have more than 5 people. Let those in the front two corners exit first. If anyone is standing in the middle, they go next. The two back corners exit last. COVID or no COVID, if you are in the back of an elevator it is nice to announce when your floor is arriving so others may move aside to let you exit.

We navigate life through the rules of etiquette, which is simply a playbook that shows us how to work together harmoniously. In all things, practice kindness. Good manners are nothing more than the outward expression of the condition of your heart. Smile through your mask, make eye-contact, and give others a nod. Your good intentions will shine through.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou