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 6

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

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


People view their work in three ways:

1) They see their work as a job. It provides a paycheck and a living.

2) They see their work as a career. The purpose of the career is advancement to bigger and better things.

3) They see their work as a calling. The purpose of their job is for a higher purpose which contributes to the greater good.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the person that views their work as a calling is the happiest of the three. Where does a calling come from, though? Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God has placed in each of us a calling, and some of us might experience many callings throughout life.


As a Christian, I caution that you don’t make the mistake believing that your “calling” must only take place inside the church. This couldn’t be further from the truth. God calls us to take what we learn inside the church and go into the world. As one pastor told me, “I teach you every Sunday what God is saying, but then you take what you have learned, and you are the one that actually goes into the trenches on a daily basis.”


The author of The Law of Happiness makes an important point in helping people realize their calling. He says, “…your sense of calling comes from realizing that your life and your talents are gifts from God.” When we use the talents God has given us, we find true joy and happiness. Someone might be an incredible painter. When they paint, they feel joy and happiness. They are using the talent God has given them. They are living out their calling. We may discount our ability to be a great painter and wonder, “How can this be God’s calling on my life?” It really doesn’t matter if we know the “how.” God may choose to reveal to us how our ability to paint helps others, and He may not. What matters is that we are doing what we are called to do, which ultimately makes us happy.


So, my question to you is, “What makes you happy?” It’s usually not hard to figure out. My husband, who works in the investment world, loves using this extreme example when talking with young people who are trying to figure out their future. He says, “Figure out what you love to do in life, then figure out a way to make money at it. Not the other way around. Don’t chase the dollar. Chase the passion. If your passion is spending all day on the beach, then save enough money to get yourself down to one of the Caribbean islands and buy a jet ski. Start renting out that jet ski. Soon, you will have enough money to buy two jet skis. Eventually, you will have a nice business and, guess what? You are living on the beach all day. You may be living in a shack and eating beans while you try to survive, but you will be fulfilled and happy, because you chased your passion.”


The point of this example is to follow your heart. If we are following our heart, then we are most likely following the path God has set before us. When we are in the center of God’s will and doing the work He has planned for us, then we find true joy. When we live with true joy, we act as God’s hands and feet to minister to the world around us.


Many people, especially women, minimize the work they do. Whether we are full-time volunteers, businesswomen or stay-at-home moms, we often fall into the trap of thinking our work is trivial. Or, that we are not making a difference. If we are doing what God has called us to do, though, then we ARE making a difference.

There are seasons in life. Some of you reading this post are still in your teen years. Others are newlyweds, and many are on the other side of the empty nest. I want to specifically say to the moms who are in their child-rearing years, “You are awesome, and you are irreplaceable!” Your days consist of running errands, doing laundry, making dinner and keeping the house from falling apart. Many hold a full-time job to help ends meet. These moms spend the few precious hours they have doing what others want them to do, instead of fulfilling their own dreams. If they are stay-at-home moms, they can oftentimes feel a void in their mental stimulation. They can get caught in the trap of feeling like their work doesn’t matter. Yet, they know this is where God has placed them, and if they are honest with themselves, they love what they are doing. We are truly happy being moms, because we are living our calling.


I used this story in another post, but it’s worth repeating. “When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town, so I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.” –An Unknown Monk (1100 A.D.)


Moms, you can change the world by first, working on the things in your life that need to be worked on, and then, through your positive influence, help enact change in your family! What you do is not trivial, it is powerful. Dr. Cloud says, “When we realize that we are working for God, every task becomes significant and meaningful. We are stewards over his gifts, and we each have a calling.” And I will remind you, our families are a gift, and we need to take our role seriously. Figure out your passion, follow your passion, and live the life God created you to live!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou


(link to Be Happy - Part 7)