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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

Gather Around the Table this Easter

Updated: Jun 3, 2020


My husband and I recently saw an adaptation of the classical movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, which originally starred Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. The performance took place at A.D. Players at The George Theater in Houston. It was a well written, and quite comical, story based on the difficulties families faced in the 1960s with inter-racial marriage. The scene that stood out the most to me was when the son was trying to bring both families together for dinner. In the last line of the last act, he turns to his father and says, “Dad, we need you at the table.” With that, the father joined the others, and the audience was left with the understanding that healing had begun.

Life has, and always will, center around the table. It is where families gather for celebrations and children do homework. It is where we pay bills, work on crafts and have debates. It represents a physical anchor that holds a family unit together. This is not some made up narrative created to give an inanimate object some type of meaning. The table has always been the center of life. It is significant for a reason, even if we do not fully understand why.

All we must do is search the Old Testament to see the importance the table has played. In the book of Esther, we find that the Queen of Persia was the only person that could save the Jewish people, her people, from death. At risk of her own life, she chose to approach the King and invite him and his prime minister (vizier), Haman, to a feast. It was during this dinner that Esther confronted Haman about his plot to kill the Jews. She could have used the throne to save the Jewish people, but instead, she knew the power of communion and chose a dinner party instead. The Jewish people were saved because Queen Esther gathered around the table.

We know the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. After many years and much tribulation, Joseph’s fate turned, and he became prime minister (vizier) of Egypt. His brothers thought Joseph was dead, and years later when they traveled to Egypt to seek food during the famine, they did not recognize their younger brother, who was sitting in a seat of judgement as decisionmaker for the land. After Joseph revealed himself and forgave his brothers, they celebrated with a feast, and gathered around the table.

In Acts 16 Paul and Silas were thrown in jail in Philippi for causing a disturbance in the Roman city. When the Roman guard ordered to watch over these prisoners became a believer in Christ, he released the two men, at risk of his own death. The first action the three men took was to celebrate with a meal, as they gathered around the table.


The night before Jesus’ crucifixion, He and His disciples partook in the Passover meal. He explained to His followers that the bread they were eating represented His body and the wine represented His blood. These statements were to foreshadow His death that would occur the next day. Jesus spoke these words during the Jewish feast, as He and His disciples gathered around the table.

As we enter the holiest of holidays for the Christian faith, we acknowledge that Easter is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, which occurred on a Sunday three days after Passover. In the wave of our pandemic, I read one headline that said: Easter and Passover Cancelled. That struck me as very strange. If I did not have a birthday party, does that mean I did not have a birthday? Easter is an event that happened in our history. It is not a festival. The thought of “church” being cancelled is also a flawed statement. “Church” cannot be cancelled when you are gathered with others. After Christ’s crucifixion, the early church was nothing more than a few people gathered together in worship. There were no buildings or fancy rituals. It was just simple, pure worship of God. The word “church” is from the Greek word ecclesia, which means “an assembly or called out ones.” Church never has been, or will it ever be, a building. The apostle Paul wrote, “Greet the church that is in their house.” Romans 16:5. Brick and mortar do not make a church; believers make the church.

As we gather this Easter, even if it is virtually, let us make the time with those we love special and fun. But let us also remember the significance that all our gatherings have and be intentional about bringing these important moments to our families as we celebrate life, together, around the table.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou