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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. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

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.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my 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 handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

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.

  • Lisa Lou

Be Happy - Part 2

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

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


In chapter 2 of Dr. Cloud’s book The Law of Happiness, he says one of the first characteristics scientific research has discovered about happy people is that they are all givers. They do things for others on a regular basis. The National Institute of Health showed that the pleasure centers of the brain actually “light up” when people give to others. We experience a physical reaction when we give. God has created us to be givers, and in so doing, we find a form of happiness when we do. These same studies show that givers have less stress, anxiety and depression in their lives. I don’t think anyone can argue about that. When we give of ourselves, we almost always feel a sense of joy. Some people have claimed they even get a physical “warm fuzzy” in their hearts.


So how do we give? As with anything in life, we need to be intentional. Giving does not just happen. Dr. Cloud states that one way to give is to “give out of faith.” By this he means that God has told us to give to others, therefore we need to be obedient and give. This does not have to be monetarily (although we need to practice this as well). When you take food to a sick friend or give up a Saturday to help a charitable organization, you are practicing a form of giving. In order to be intentional, we need to schedule our giving. Make a list of things you would like to do for others and write them down. It might be as simple as baking a cake for a co-worker’s birthday. It does not matter what it is… just give.


Dr. Cloud also encourages us to give obediently. Don’t just wait until you “feel” like giving. Sometimes the “feelings” never emerge. This is where the obedience comes in: doing what we know we should do, even when we do not feel like it. Be intentional about giving and make it a priority in your calendar.


When my son was 5, we took him with us to volunteer at our church for Angels of Light. This is an event we do every Christmas where we bring more than 5,000 homeless families to our campus to feed and clothe them. There is also a performance of our Christmas musical and every child receives a gift. My son had a special toy he carried with him everywhere, and that evening at Angels of Light was no exception. My husband and I were assigned to work with families from a shelter that had very small children about the same age as our child. It did not take long for our son to realize that the singular gift these children received that night was probably the only gift they would receive all Christmas. When the evening was over and we loaded everyone back on the bus to return to their shelter, my son also boarded the bus and began walking quietly down the aisle. He moved very slowly, pausing as he passed each seat, and looked each visitor in the eye. Almost at the end of the bus, he abruptly stopped in front of a little boy about the same age. He looked directly into this child’s eyes and said, “Would you like my toy?” His favorite toy. The little boy shook his head yes. Our son stretched out his hand and gave this little stranger, what to our son was, his most prized possession. As a parent, my heart melted. My son was grinning from ear to ear as he exited the bus and we prepared to go home. He had that “warm fuzzy” inside. For the next 30 minutes he skipped when he walked and could not stop smiling…until we got into our car. It was at this moment reality hit. He burst into tears and said, “I gave my favorite toy away!” He went from “warm fuzzy” to “oh, no, what have I done!” What a teaching moment this was for a parent.


Being obedient in our giving does not mean we will always get that “warm fuzzy,” but a characteristic of a happy person is someone that gives anyway. Just like our son, sometimes we give because we feel led to give. Sometimes we give because we are being obedient to what God calls us to do. Sometimes we give out of joy but then later have some sadness for what we feel we have lost. These feelings are normal, but the key is to just GIVE!! As mentioned before, God has physically wired our brains to experience happiness when we give. Happy people are givers! Science proves it, and God commands it.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou


(link to Be Happy - Part 3)

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