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 4

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

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

When we look over the many characteristics of happy people, goal setting is at the top of the list. Setting goals is biblical as well. Proverbs 13:12 states: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”


When we live a life that is just “going through the motions” and never achieving, we feel depressed and listless. Yet, even those times when our only goal is to get through our “to do” list by the end of the day, once accomplished, we have a sense of satisfaction. We feel refreshed and complete.


A life must have goals, and these goals should stem from the desires of our heart. God gave each of us different talents and gifts. He has a different plan for each of us. Two people can have the exact same goal, but their approach may be very different. For example, both may have a desire to help their local homeless shelter. One person is very math oriented, and the way they contribute is by working on the financial books of the organization. The other person has the gift of hospitality, and they help the shelter by hosting fundraisers. Both people are working toward the same end, yet they are going about it in very different ways. If the “party person” sat at a desk and crunched numbers all day for the charity, because she felt she was “supposed to,” she would be miserable. If the “numbers person” was given the task of hosting a fundraiser, the charity might fold on the spot! The point of this is, you need to know what your God-given talents are, and put them to use based on where your heart is guiding you.


My family and I set goals every year. We put aside about 2 hours right after the new year and have a “dream” session. We write down everything we would like to do, from 1-year to 20-year goals. We dream about our financial aspirations, our personal desires, along with our material and spiritual goals. Our favorite question is: If we could do anything we wanted to do, what would it be? I love this part of goal setting, because everyone loves to dream. Nothing is off limits. Nothing is too big or out of reach. We just dream! This is a very important part of the goal setting process, and it should not be discounted. God has placed these desires in our heart, and our job is to figure out which ones we are to act upon. So, don’t skip this step. Just start writing!

After this initial session, we then get a little more serious. First, we pray about these goals, “Ok, God. We had fun doing this dream session, but now we want to know what YOU want us to accomplish this year. Where are we to put our focus?” It is amazing to watch this work. Every time we finish praying, it becomes very clear which of our goals are frivolous, and which ones start to come into focus. We begin crossing things off the list until eventually we are left with a few dreams we can really sink our teeth into. A good prayer to pray is, “Lord, don’t let me desire anything that is not Your will.” God’s will for our lives is the same as saying God’s goals for our lives. God will place the desires in our heart for the things He wants us to accomplish. If our heart aligns with God’s plan, we will be very joyful people.


I want to reference a portion of a transcript from John Piper from his blog www.desiringGod.org, which explains in greater detail what it means to align with God’s plan.


This is what David meant when he said in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The desires of the heart cease to be merely natural desires when the heart delights above all else in the Lord. Delighting in the Lord — in the hallowing of his name and the seeking of his kingdom and the doing of his will — transforms all-natural desires into God-related desires. Prayer is not for gratifying natural desires. It is for fruit-bearing, for the glory of God. Another way of saying it is this: if you want God to respond to your interests, you must be devoted to HIS interests. God is God. He does not run the world by hiring the consulting firm called Mankind. He lets mankind share in the running of the world through prayer to the degree that we consult with HIM and get our goals and desires in tune with HIS purposes. The evidence for this in the writing of John is in 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence which we have before him, that, if we ask anything according to HIS will, he hears us.” Prayer is not for gratifying our natural desires. It is for gratifying our desires when those desires have been so purified and so saturated with God that they coincide with HIS plans. “If we ask anything according to HIS will (all emphasis mine).”


This is why my husband and I always pray over our “dream” session once we are finished and ask God, “Ok, God, what do YOU want us to accomplish?” We know our goals will not come to fruition if they are goals that belong only to us and do not FIRST belong to Him. Back to Dr. Cloud and what he says when setting goals. Choose goals that fit your strengths (as mentioned earlier). Then break your goals down into doable chunks. Lastly, he reminds us not to forget the journey when he says, “…the happiness is found not mostly in the finish line of your goal but in the journey itself, so choose goals that call for you to love the work itself and that involve you in tasks you enjoy doing.”


I fit this description to a tee. My life has always been about the journey. Obviously, I love to entertain (to me, it really IS all about the table!). Although I love to entertain the joy comes in the planning and preparation. I cannot tell you how many times I have said an hour before I am about to host an event, “Let’s hurry and get this party over with so I can start planning the next event.” Sometimes, it is not actually about the party, it is about the preparation leading up to the party. This is just how God wired me. (On a side note, once the party begins and my guests arrive, I have as much fun as they do, because my other great joy is seeing the people around me take a respite from life and enjoy fellowship with others).


So, our marching orders for today:

Have fun and daydream.

Capture your greatest desires on paper.

Pray over your goals and see which ones begin to show more clarity.

Write a step by step action plan of how you will accomplish a specific goal.

Break that goal into small chunks so it is more easily accomplished.

BEGIN (No goal is accomplished unless you take physical steps to achieve!)


Together with you,

Lisa Lou


(link to Be Happy - Part 5)