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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 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)

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