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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.

  • Alina Gersib

Going Social Media Free


The other day I felt like I was balancing on a tightrope. I caught myself becoming overly irritated at the smallest things. My thoughts were running through my head in a loop of negativity and I needed it to stop! I felt my mood improving after going on a short walk, however, I wanted to figure out what had triggered these tumultuous emotions.

After thinking through my day, I realized that on this particular morning instead of hopping out of bed to start my day with movement, reading, and journaling, I laid scrolling on Instagram. This one act had propelled me into a wormhole of negativity. Instead of setting my own trajectory and intentions for the day, I was filled with other people’s lives, ideas, and thoughts. When we don’t take the time to identify what is important for our lives, we are left impressionable to what other people are saying is most important.

For the next week I put in place a few measures to make sure I did not fall into any mindless scrolling. The first thing I did was charge my phone in another room. This kept me from grabbing my cell when I first woke up. The second (and arguably more helpful) thing I did was log myself out of Instagram. Every time I impulsively clicked onto the app without thinking, I was faced with a login. This small act was enough to break me out of the autopilot I so easily fall into during lull moments of life, like waiting to check out at the grocery store. Instead of becoming absorbed in my phone, I started to appreciate simply standing and observing the things happening around me. It felt both invigorating as well as unnerving to be untethered to a device, as if the small shield I used to avoid standing alone was suddenly pulled away. Only, instead of feeling anxious without my phone, I found myself enjoying the small interactions with the people around me. Smiles behind masks and nods of acknowledgment binding together patrons of the local chains.

I do not think social media is negative. I love the tool as a way to keep updated on friends’ lives and learn from people I appreciate. However, like anything on the internet, Instagram can be a ticking time bomb of negativity and people yelling from every corner. I find that in order to live my happiest and most balanced life, I need to limit the amount of time I spend on the apps or take breaks from it completely.

The world is made more beautiful when we live out the unique callings within our souls. Use social media as a catalyst to gain inspiration and connection, not as a tool of self-doubt or frustration. I challenge you to log out of your Instagram to give yourself a check when you click onto the app. You might be surprised at the increase in your positivity and decrease in stress. Not to mention the time added back into your day!

Alina Gersib - Contributing Writer