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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.

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.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????

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.

Do you believe there is a creator behind this painting, or did it create itself? I believe if I polled 1,000 people, 100% would say, “Of course, there is a creator. That’s common sense.” Do you believe there is a Creator behind this picture? If I polled 1,000 people with the same question, stats show I would not receive 100% agreement that there was a Creator behind this picture.

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. 

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. 

We are living in a time where many do not know who or what to believe. It seems our national 24-hour news media seeks ratings more than they seek truth (regardless of which way their bias leans). Many journalists receive bonuses based on how many clicks their story receives, and companies earn more advertising revenue if they can show a high click-through rate on articles. It has become too common to read endless bait-and-switch headlines.

“How do I know what is real? How do I know truth when I see it? I want to stay informed, but where do I turn when I feel every news source is somehow deceiving me?”


Giving you tips on hosting a Halloween party during COVID is sure easier than tackling subjects on news, politics, and finding truth. Yet these are the questions filling my inbox. 

Does this blog seem early? Did you know we only have 10 weeks before we move into December? It is time to start planning!
1. Decide how much you can spend. If you have a $500 budget and 10 people you need to give gifts, then you can only spend $50 a person.

Halloween in 2020 will be different than past years, but there are still ways to enjoy this festive start to the holiday season. This blog may seem early, but October 31st is only 7 weeks away! It is time to start planning. Below are my top 10 ideas for a jovial and happy start to your fall celebrations.

Decor Ideas:
1. Use a decorative wine bucket filled with flowers as your table centerpiece. This works if you have a separate table where you will place the food. If the wine tasting is conducted at one table where your guests are sitting, then you need lower height decorations where everyone can see over the arrangements. Use wine glasses randomly placed down the table with sprigs of flowers in them. 

  • Lisa Lou

Be Happy - Part 1

Updated: Jun 3

Summary of the book The Law of Happiness by Dr. Henry Cloud



For decades, the world of psychology has focused almost exclusively on why people are sad, depressed or not fulfilled in their lives. Great strides have been made in this industry as doctors have learned to help people through improved counseling and medication. Only in recent history, though, have many psychologists changed their focus and main question. Instead of asking, “What makes people sad,” the experts in this constantly evolving medical field began asking, “What makes people happy?”


In The Law of Happiness, Dr. Cloud reveals 13 key traits every person must have in order to be truly happy. Revealing these traits is not the ultimate purpose of Dr. Cloud’s book, though. When Dr. Cloud set down to study the research, and resulting conclusions, as to what really makes people happy, one overriding theme kept jumping out at him. He realized everything he was reading he had already read in a book that was written thousands of years ago…the Bible. The research and science behind what makes a person happy is what God has been telling us all along. “…there is nothing new under the sun,” Ecclesiastes 1:9. With this knowledge, Dr. Cloud wrote the book The Law of Happiness, where he has taken the science behind happiness and mirrored it with what God has already told us. He uses the Bible to confirm and validate what science now teaches.


If you choose to read this book (which I highly recommend), you will discover that the scientific side of happiness shows there is a mathematical formula for the makeup of happiness. Researchers have concluded that 10% of happiness comes from our circumstances. You finally get that new car you have wanted for years, or your dream house is finally attainable. When you acquire these things, you will feel happiness, but only by 10%. Fifty percent of our happiness comes from our internal makeup. According to Dr. Cloud, our internal makeup comes from our temperament, how we are wired. Some people are just naturally happier than others. God made us all capable of being truly happy, but some may have to work at it a little harder.

The best news, though, is that the other 40% of where our happiness comes from is directly under our control. It comes from our behavior, our thoughts and how we choose to live our lives.


Even by breaking down happiness into a scientific formula, most of us will still seek happiness in our circumstances. This is human nature. If I lose 10 more pounds, I will finally be happy! If my son makes an A on his science test, I will finally be happy!


Why can’t happiness be found in our circumstances? We cannot find happiness in our circumstances, because circumstances don’t last. We really were happy with the new car we purchased, but after a while, the newness wore off. Is a new car a firm foundation for us to build happiness? Of course not! Circumstances come and go just like the ocean waves when they take the sand out to sea. We would never build a foundation on sand that can be washed away, yet this is what we do when we try to build our happiness around our circumstances. I often hear brides-to-be say, “I can’t wait to be married. I will finally be a complete person.” A young woman who says this is searching for happiness in her soon-to-be husband, in her “circumstance.” This is a big mistake that will bite her in the backside if she doesn’t learn where true happiness comes from.


Being happy IS a choice. We control the 40% of that formula. We can choose to sulk and be angry at life, or we can choose to embrace life and live it to the fullest. People that walk around angry most days usually are choosing to stay in this state of emotion. This does NOT mean we don’t experience anger, and it does not mean we don’t have bad days. Of course, we do! We are human and live in a fallen world. But anger IS a choice, and we need to recognize this fact if we are going to overcome this toxic emotion. *


If we spend our time pursuing the material things in life (the 10%), where does that leave us? To put it another way, if we put all of our energy into the 10% (working an extra job to earn enough money to buy the new house, which ultimately will only provide 10% of our happiness), then we do not have enough energy left over to focus on the 40% that really matters.

Guess what? If you are an unhappy person without your dream home, then when you finally buy your dream home do you know what you will be? An unhappy person WITH your dream home. It’s that simple. Unhappy people stay unhappy people if their life is focused on their circumstances.


God created an entire world for us to live in and be happy around. He told Adam and Eve that everything in the Garden of Eden belonged to them. There was only one restriction. They could not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. So, what did Adam and Eve do? Instead of focusing on the things God had given them that would bring true happiness, they focused on the one thing they “thought” would bring them happiness. In the end, they lost the thing that really would have made them happy.


Dr. Cloud states, “When we are not eating the fruits of the good life that God has created and think that WE know what is going to satisfy us instead, we will continue to go hungry. Unsatisfied. Unhappy. Unfulfilled. So, that is our challenge. Live life investing in the way that it was designed to be lived. When we do…happiness will follow.”


Together with you,

Lisa Lou


(*How we choose to feel and react to circumstances IS a choice. I fully acknowledge that some people deal with deeper mental or chemical issues that can affect how they approach life, though. These blogs are not speaking to this deeper issue. If you find yourself struggling in any of these areas, and you seem unable to “choose” your emotions and reactions, then my hope is that you will seek a professional counselor that can help you overcome these obstacles so you can be on your way to living a truly happy life.)


(link to Be Happy - Part 2)

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