New On The Blog

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

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)