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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. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

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.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my 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 handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

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.

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.

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Be Intentional/Be Present: The Commercial Shoot in My Home

Each year my husband and I come up with one word that we use to define us and shape our behavior for the following 12 months. The past two years, I kept the same word, but I also cheated and chose two words: Be Intentional; Be Present. I don’t want to go through the motions of life always responding to the whirlwind. I want to live each day with intentionality. I want to be-in-charge of my life (but always one step behind God!). I don’t want others telling me how to live my days. I do this by living by the words: Be Intentional.

I also don’t want to miss out on life. I do this by being present with others. If I always stayed home, turned down invitations or did not “show up” in the lives of the people around me, then how can I have an impact on those in my sphere of influence? I can’t. I need to: Be Present.


Today was an exciting time in our home. It was the third time we have been asked by others if our home could be used to film a commercial. This, by far, was the biggest of my three experiences. The commercial crew was here from 9:30a.m. to 8p.m., and they were fabulous! They were so kind and very precise in putting my home back exactly like they found it. I could have said “no” when I was approached about another filming, but that would be a missed opportunity to live by my chosen words. I was able to have some great conversations with people I had never met, all because I was willing to: Be Present in the lives of others and Be Intentional with my actions and words. I thought you might enjoy a few behind-the-scenes photos from the day.


Yes, that’s the couch from my game room sitting in my kitchen.


All paintings were removed from the walls and the furniture placed in another room.


My dining table used to be here.


From Colonel:

Today was very exciting. I got to see a commercial filmed in my home. I almost caused an accident, though. I thought the commercial people had used my tennis balls without asking me. I went over to retrieve them back! Uh oh, those weren’t mine. I kept my favorite toy with me, for security, the rest of the day.


Behind the scenes at the commercial shoot. Wow! It takes an army, and hours of filming, to create a 30 second ad.



The driveway became the staging area for snacks and electrical equipment.

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