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Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want 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.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most 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 managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, 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. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! 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. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • 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)