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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 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)