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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.

  • Sami Reyna

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Even in the middle of summer, this father loves family time by the fire.

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! He often says he wants nothing, and if he does want something he just buys it himself! Regardless of what he says, here are some great gifts that Dad is sure to love.

For Dad or Father-in-Law:

*Temperature Control Ceramic Mug: Dad has an impressive coffee mug collection, but this is not just any old mug! Ember makes an electric mug that keeps coffee at a constant temperature so Dad can enjoy his perfect cup of coffee all morning long.

*Fishing Rod/Tackle Box: Have someone at Bass Pro Shops or your local outdoor store help you pick one out. Dad will not be able to contain his excitement when he sees his new fishing gear!

*Digital Tile “Finder”: Dad will never lose his keys or wallet again with this device. He will appreciate that you helped make his life a little easier!

*Plan Some Fun: Fun is always a good idea, especially for Dad. Unwind at Top Golf, go axe throwing, head to the shooting range, or go see a movie together. Dad will love that you went out of your way to make plans just for him. Take lots of photos!

*Survival Bracelet: Dad is an outdoorsman and will take this on his next hunting trip. The Paracord survival bracelet contains a compass, knife, several feet of cord, and a fire starter.

*Bombas Socks: Sometimes, it is the simple things in life that are the best gifts. I gave my dad these socks for Christmas and he still talks about how comfortable they are and how much he loves them.

*Dinner/Homemade Treats: They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach! This could not be truer for the men in my life. Honor Dad with a Father’s Day dinner or visit him with his favorite homemade treats in hand.

*Personalized Gifts: Dads tend to become more sentimental as they get older. My dad proudly displays any type of personalized gift we have given him over the years. Some ideas are engraved whisky glasses, a monogrammed baseball cap, or a personalized golf ball gift set.

For Son or Son-in-Law:

BBQ Tool Set: Son prides himself on his grilling skills, so why not get him something he will want to use every week? We love what Williams Sonoma has to offer! Bonus points for you: your daughter/daughter-in-law will be thrilled when he takes over the cooking more often!

For Brother or Brother-in-Law:

A Pocketknife: Any man’s eyes will light up when he unwraps this new tool. We recommend a quality, made in the US brand, like Benchmade.

For Grandpa:

Grooming Set: Treat Grandpa to a fancy grooming set that includes a shaver, face wash, moisturizer, and cologne. He will feel ten years younger!

Let’s celebrate the men in our lives who have been there for us!

Samantha Reyna

Mom to 2 toddlers and loving wife