New On The Blog

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 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)