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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 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)