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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.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

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.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????

Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

Do you believe there is a creator behind this painting, or did it create itself? I believe if I polled 1,000 people, 100% would say, “Of course, there is a creator. That’s common sense.” Do you believe there is a Creator behind this picture? If I polled 1,000 people with the same question, stats show I would not receive 100% agreement that there was a Creator behind this picture.

People are returning to work, which means many of us will be navigating changes that would otherwise seem mundane. Elevator etiquette? Did you know there was such a thing? Below are 9 basic reminders when riding the lift. I have thrown in a few exceptions while we live in a COVID world. 

Throughout history we have seen God place people in power that made us say, “What is He thinking?” Yet God clearly reminds us in Isaiah that the way He thinks is far beyond what we can sometimes understand. In a child’s eyes, a parent giving her yucky medicine when she already feels poorly can seem cruel. “Why would Mommy make me take this?” The child lives in her “here and now” moment of life, yet the parent sees the big picture. The mother knows what is best for the child, even when the child does not understand. 

Our 4-part series on living as Christians in a political world was written in response to questions I have been receiving on knowing how to separate truth from lies, when to engage in our political system, and the most effective way to stay informed. In Part 1 we learned the biblical formula for seeking truth. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of knowing your foundation. In this post, Part 3, I will provide you with 7 practical tips I use to find truth in our news driven world. 

We are living in a time where many do not know who or what to believe. It seems our national 24-hour news media seeks ratings more than they seek truth (regardless of which way their bias leans). Many journalists receive bonuses based on how many clicks their story receives, and companies earn more advertising revenue if they can show a high click-through rate on articles. It has become too common to read endless bait-and-switch headlines.

“How do I know what is real? How do I know truth when I see it? I want to stay informed, but where do I turn when I feel every news source is somehow deceiving me?”


Giving you tips on hosting a Halloween party during COVID is sure easier than tackling subjects on news, politics, and finding truth. Yet these are the questions filling my inbox. 

Does this blog seem early? Did you know we only have 10 weeks before we move into December? It is time to start planning!
1. Decide how much you can spend. If you have a $500 budget and 10 people you need to give gifts, then you can only spend $50 a person.

Halloween in 2020 will be different than past years, but there are still ways to enjoy this festive start to the holiday season. This blog may seem early, but October 31st is only 7 weeks away! It is time to start planning. Below are my top 10 ideas for a jovial and happy start to your fall celebrations.

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Be Happy - Part 4

Updated: Jun 3

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)

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