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 3

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

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


There used to be a commercial for the Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut Bar where there is a man swinging in his hammock trying to grab this nutritious bar off a tree stump. He ends up being unsuccessful getting the bar, because he won’t get out of the hammock to grab the food. All he had to do was stand up and take two steps, but instead he lets the food drop to the ground. Although the commercial is supposed to be funny, it is a good illustration of what happens when we choose to be inactive, or in other words…lazy. We miss out! Being happy takes effort. It is a choice we all make. We must reach out and grab happiness, or it will surely pass us by.


How do we reach out and grab happiness? We must engage with our time and invest in others. A few examples include:

1) Investing in relationships: this is often done through the church, or other organizations of interest, by getting involved with our time and meeting other people.

2) Pursuing goals: when a person is actively pursuing a goal, they tend to be happy.

3) Serving others: when we give of ourselves to make someone else’s life better, this tends to make us happy.


These are just a few examples of how happy people engage, but one common thread among these items is that they all require action. Happy people JUMP into life. They do not sit on the sideline. My husband and I rarely turn down an invitation and we both love an adventure. For him, it is traveling. For me, it is hiking through the mountains. No matter what activity we engage in, upon completion of the event, we always ask each other, “What did you learn? Anything new?” We take the approach that every experience we have teaches us something, thus making us wiser, and for us, this brings us great happiness. To receive this happiness, though, we must first act. We must first ACCEPT the invitation. We must MOVE off the couch and journey out into the adventure. Being happy takes work, and that work begins when we act.

Another aspect of happiness that ties into this is to remind ourselves that we are each responsible for our own happiness. No one else can make us happy. One day my husband came home with flowers, told me not to worry about the evening and spontaneously cooked me dinner. It was a wonderful night, but the problem was, I was in a bad mood before he walked in the door. It didn’t matter how nice he made the evening, only I could choose if I was going to be happy. He could not make me be happy. I had to choose to be happy. This can be very hard, because as human beings we tend to be driven by feelings. I didn’t “feel” like being happy that night. I didn’t feel like smiling, and my selfish desires were to make him miserable right along with me. I had enough sense, though, to recognize the effort my husband had put forth in creating a wonderful evening. I had a choice to make. I could let my selfish desires ruin the evening, or I could “choose” happiness. Choosing to be happy is another form of “doing.” I changed my attitude and was rewarded with a wonderful night.

To be happy, we must act…we must DO. If you have always wanted to write a book, then you must research the topic, take notes, sit at a computer and physically maneuver the keys to write words. You must DO. Happy people are not lazy. They are DOERS.


God warns against laziness. Proverbs 13:4 states, “The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.” We’ve all known people that dream big dreams, but then waste day after day perched on the couch in front of the TV. They then wonder why their dreams never become reality. Usually it is because they spend most of their time “dreaming” instead of “doing.” (If we are honest, I think most of us can say we have fallen victim to the comfort of the couch one too many times. I know I can!) God told the Jews he would give them a Promised Land. At that moment, what greater happiness could there be for these people? Yet, the Israelites had to act on this information in order to receive this happiness. They had to go and claim the Promised Land. They had to DO. They could not stay where they were and expect to receive this promise. They could not exhibit laziness and expect to be rewarded.


I love Dr. Henry Cloud’s quote, “God has promised you abundant life, but he has not promised you an abundant life with no effort. Work on your happiness, take responsibility for it, get moving.”


I challenge each of us today to think about one thing that we have always wanted to accomplish. A goal we want to achieve. Write that goal down. Tape it to your computer screen, your bathroom mirror or on the front of the refrigerator door. Let it be a constant reminder. Then, take one step today toward achieving that goal. That one small step might be as simple as setting an appointment to get the ball rolling on a project, ordering a book to help you with some research or setting up lunch with a friend. Today, take a physical step towards happiness. Happy people are not lazy. Happy people DO.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou


(link to Be Happy - Part 4)