New On The Blog

A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition. Toasting to someone’s health or honor goes back to biblical times and can be found in most cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians.

We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“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. 

  • Lisa Lou

Be Happy - Part 7

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

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



What is faith?


“Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.”

“It was by faith that Noah heard God’s warnings about things he could not yet see. He obeyed God and built an arc to save his family.”

“It was by faith Abraham obeyed God’s call to leave his homeland and go to another place which God promised to give him. Not knowing where he was to go, he left his country and lived like a foreigner in the country God promised to give him.”

“It was by faith that Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born. They knew God had a plan for Moses, ‘because they saw he was no ordinary child,’ and they were not afraid to disobey the king’s order.”

“As an adult, it was by faith that Moses left his home in Egypt to follow the God others could not see.”

“It was by faith the people crossed the Red Sea as if it were dry land. But when the Egyptians tried it, they were drowned.” (Above are various, paraphrased verses from Hebrews 11.)


The above Bible verses relay stories of people in biblical times that had true faith. When we look deeper, we see the common thread, one common trait, each of these people possessed. They all had a real relationship with God. They did not just practice religion. They were in an intimate, one-on-one relationship with our Lord. In order to truly have a relationship with God, we must be present with Him daily. Putting this in practical terms so we can understand, let’s think about the relationship you have with your husband, your children or a family member. You may all live under the same roof, but that does not mean you have a relationship with each other. Even if your paths cross on a daily basis, but you do not converse with one another, do you really have a connection? Of course not! A relationship cannot develop without being purposeful in your communication with another person.


Our relationship with God is no different. How can we be close to Him if we don’t ever talk to Him? Simply, we can’t. So, how do we talk to Him? Personally, I talk to God in many ways. Sometimes you can find me on my knees as my heart calls out to Him. Most of the time, though, I’m going about my normal day just “talking.” It’s nothing earth shattering or mystical. I tell Him about my day. I tell Him the sky is pretty. I thank him for the refreshing hike through the mountains I just experienced. My conversation might even consist of a few complaints, “God, I really wish it weren’t raining, because the weather is giving me a headache.” When our son was young, I often told God that I KNEW he had a sense of humor…because he created boys!

I laugh with Him over His creation of dogs, especially dachshunds. I have often told Him I think wiener dogs must have been the last breed He created, because He must have run out of ideas. “Hmmm…what can we do with this one…,” as He stretches that funny looking K9 just like a clown makes shapes out of balloons.


Some of you may be saying, “Ok, Lisa Lou has lost her mind.” My response would be, “Why wouldn’t we talk to God like this?” If He is truly our Father, doesn’t He want to have an intimate, daily, and sometimes simple companionship with us? Our earthly fathers would like nothing more than to spend an enjoyable day with their daughters laughing together about the pig races at the rodeo or savoring a good meal together. Is our heavenly Father any different? No! God created us to have companionship with each other, and He created us to have companionship with Him.


Why do I say all of this? To remind each of us that a relationship with God is just that…a relationship. We are to talk with Him, walk with Him, tell him our joys and our sorrows. We are to seek His advice, and more importantly, be quiet and listen for His answers. I sometimes sit on my couch and say, “God, it was a bad day. Will you just hold me?” I know my husband would do this if I asked, so why wouldn’t God do this? There is a peace that washes over me every time I ask.


To truly have a relationship with God, we must be real. Don’t put on airs and showboat a pious attitude. In fact, in Matthew 6 God specifically tells us not to be pious in our actions by offering up prayers of empty words just to impress others. (Jesus was speaking specifically about the religious leaders of the day, for they were guilty of worshipping religion instead of worshipping God.) Just be yourself. If we want to be happy people of faith, it is imperative that we first have a relationship with our Lord. When we do this, there is an indescribable joy that permeates our soul.


In order to truly get to know someone, we must spend time with them. Do you have a best friend that you never see? That person may always hold a special place in your heart, but you cannot say you truly have a relationship with them if you never interact. That person initially became your best friend, because you spent time together and got to know each other. Let me ask you this. How can you get to know God if you never spend time with Him? If you never get to know Him? You can’t.


He may always hold a special place in your heart, but there will be no intimacy, which means you drift further and further apart. We do not get to know God by being “religious,” and too many Christians get “religion” and “relationship” mixed up. We think by practicing certain rituals or holding onto certain traditions that have been passed down through generations of the church, that we are creating a relationship with God. I know in my church, I have often heard some sweet and well-meaning member say, “But that’s how we have always done it…” In some cases, these traditions and rituals can enhance our relationship with God, but in other cases, they can hinder our relationship and keep us from seeing the truth of God. In biblical times, Jesus would often chastise the Jewish leaders for this very thing. “You nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.” (Mark 7:13) Jesus speaking: “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Mark 7:6-8-emphasis mine)


That’s a pretty bold statement from Jesus. He is saying when we hang onto our traditions and rituals (our human rules) and let them get in the way regarding the truth of God, then we are hypocrites. He says we are “honoring Him with our lips, but our hearts are far away from Him.” We fall victim to worshiping a religion instead of seeking a relationship. We begin to worship the “creation” instead of worshipping the “Creator.” If we want a true relationship with Christ, we need to make sure our traditions and rituals are enhancing that relationship and not obscuring His truth.


The challenge I would give each of us is to begin developing a true relationship, and the best way to do this is to get to know Him. My church has embarked on a one-year “read through the Bible” challenge, but we are doing this by reading the Bible in chronological order. I must admit, there are many times I have set a goal to read through my Bible in its entirety, only to give up somewhere in the middle of Deuteronomy. Reading the Bible chronologically, though, has opened my mind to finally understanding this very simple and beautiful story that God has given us. I found that I was most successful when I switched to the audible format of the chronological Bible. The story has come to life, and I have learned new things about God that I never knew.


In Dr. Cloud’s book The Law of Happiness he gives many statistics of how happy people are filled with faith. I won’t go into all his examples, because the one point I want to make is the most crucial, and it has nothing to do with statistics. In order to be a happy person of faith, you must first have what? FAITH! Faith is not achieved by just going through the motions. To have faith, you must have a true relationship with God.


Throughout this 7-part blog series, I have summarized The Law of Happiness and revealed the 13 traits that all happy people have in common. What it truly boils down to, though, is that each of us must have a true relationship with Jesus Christ. Without this, the other 12 traits are meaningless. “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Believe, create a true relationship with Him and walk in faith, because this is the source of true happiness!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou