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 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)