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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.

  • Lisa Lou

Flag Etiquette and Protocol



Flag Day is celebrated on June 14 and commemorates the official adoption of the Stars and Stripes by the Second Continental Congress. Anytime the flag is flown, it represents our identity as a sovereign nation. It is for this reason there are certain etiquette rules that guide our use. Listed below are 15 points that will help you fly your colors with pride.


1. Display the flag from sunrise to sundown.

2. The flag may be displayed at night, but it must be illuminated.

3. The flag can be flown any day of the year, but it is specifically encouraged on national holidays.

4. The flag is hung in every public location including schools and election polling sites.

5. When the flag is hung horizontally or vertically on a wall, the canton (blue square on the flag, also called the union) should be to the viewer’s top left.

6. If the U.S. flag is carried in a parade with other flags, it will always be the flag on the right (from the flag’s position). Or, it can be in front of all the other flags.

7. When displaying the flag on a stage with a speaker, it should always be to the flag’s right (audience’s left).

8. In the U.S., no other flag is flown above the U.S. flag.

9. If the U.S. flag is flown with another state flag on the same pole, the U.S. flag is flown on top.

10. If the U.S. flag is flown with another state flag, but on separate poles, then the U.S. flag is flown to the flag’s right (the observer’s left).

11. If several state flags are flown with the U.S. flag, and all poles are the same height, then the U.S. flag is flown to the flag’s right (observer’s left). If the center pole is higher, then the U.S. flag is flown in the center and always on the highest pole.

12. Only a state or MIA/POW flag may be flown on the same pole as the U.S. flag. Any other flag, like a company flag, may not fly on the same pole.

13. The canton (union) should be flown from the top of the staff.

14. Although not specifically stated in the flag code, it is recommended that all flags fly at least 3-5 feet from the ground, at minimum. This tidbit becomes more important when asking yourself how high off the ground to mount your home flag. Home flags may be flown in any prominent place on a house or tree.

15. Dispose of flags that are frayed or damaged. Protocol is to fold the flag in a triangle (as you would see during a funeral) and burn the flag in its entirety. While the flag is burning recite the Pledge of Allegiance and/or salute, followed by a moment of silence. End by burying the ashes.


If you are a civilian, here is a quick trivia point you might not know. When my son was in the military, I noticed the American flag on his right shoulder appeared backwards. The blue union was at the top right, yet all the protocol I just wrote about states the canton is always at the top left. I asked him about this. He said, “The flag on my left shoulder has the stars at the top left. The flag on my right shoulder has the stars at the top right. This gives the impression, no matter which shoulder you are viewing the flag is moving forward and into the wind.” I researched this further, and I will always remember the answer I found. According to military tradition the flag is displayed on the uniform to appear as though a soldier is carrying the stars and stripes while constantly moving forward, presumably into battle. Thus the wind would cause the flag to wave backwards with the stars in the top right corner as the carrier of the flag advanced. Why is this visual important? Because a U.S. soldier never retreats.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou