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Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want 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.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most 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 managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, 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. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! 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. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Lisa Lou

Be Happy - Part 1

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

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)