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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.

  • 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

Get rid of the noise in your life. Join Lisa Lou and receive commonsense, faith-based advice for the modern woman.

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