New On The Blog

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

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.

As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

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.

  • 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)