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When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

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.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


WHAT????

Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

Do you believe there is a creator behind this painting, or did it create itself? I believe if I polled 1,000 people, 100% would say, “Of course, there is a creator. That’s common sense.” Do you believe there is a Creator behind this picture? If I polled 1,000 people with the same question, stats show I would not receive 100% agreement that there was a Creator behind this picture.

People are returning to work, which means many of us will be navigating changes that would otherwise seem mundane. Elevator etiquette? Did you know there was such a thing? Below are 9 basic reminders when riding the lift. I have thrown in a few exceptions while we live in a COVID world. 

Throughout history we have seen God place people in power that made us say, “What is He thinking?” Yet God clearly reminds us in Isaiah that the way He thinks is far beyond what we can sometimes understand. In a child’s eyes, a parent giving her yucky medicine when she already feels poorly can seem cruel. “Why would Mommy make me take this?” The child lives in her “here and now” moment of life, yet the parent sees the big picture. The mother knows what is best for the child, even when the child does not understand. 

Our 4-part series on living as Christians in a political world was written in response to questions I have been receiving on knowing how to separate truth from lies, when to engage in our political system, and the most effective way to stay informed. In Part 1 we learned the biblical formula for seeking truth. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of knowing your foundation. In this post, Part 3, I will provide you with 7 practical tips I use to find truth in our news driven world. 

We are living in a time where many do not know who or what to believe. It seems our national 24-hour news media seeks ratings more than they seek truth (regardless of which way their bias leans). Many journalists receive bonuses based on how many clicks their story receives, and companies earn more advertising revenue if they can show a high click-through rate on articles. It has become too common to read endless bait-and-switch headlines.

“How do I know what is real? How do I know truth when I see it? I want to stay informed, but where do I turn when I feel every news source is somehow deceiving me?”


Giving you tips on hosting a Halloween party during COVID is sure easier than tackling subjects on news, politics, and finding truth. Yet these are the questions filling my inbox. 

Does this blog seem early? Did you know we only have 10 weeks before we move into December? It is time to start planning!
1. Decide how much you can spend. If you have a $500 budget and 10 people you need to give gifts, then you can only spend $50 a person.

Halloween in 2020 will be different than past years, but there are still ways to enjoy this festive start to the holiday season. This blog may seem early, but October 31st is only 7 weeks away! It is time to start planning. Below are my top 10 ideas for a jovial and happy start to your fall celebrations.

Decor Ideas:
1. Use a decorative wine bucket filled with flowers as your table centerpiece. This works if you have a separate table where you will place the food. If the wine tasting is conducted at one table where your guests are sitting, then you need lower height decorations where everyone can see over the arrangements. Use wine glasses randomly placed down the table with sprigs of flowers in them. 

  • Lisa Lou

Good Manners in Marriage

Updated: Jun 3



We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Our manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave. With most marriages, the comfort we feel with each other can lead to laziness if we are not careful. Below are the top 15 tips I would give to help all couples step up their game a bit.

1. Say please and thank you. It shows respect and appreciation.


2. Pick up after yourself. We are all adults, and unless you need physical help, you can take responsibility for your own mess.


3. Show the same courtesies to your spouse that you would to others. They are the most important person in your life. Why would we not treat them as well as we do those around us? If you have children, it is important to model to them how a husband and wife create a healthy marriage.


4. If you opened the door for each other when you dated, don’t stop because you are married. The things we did for each other during our courtship should continue even after we say, “I do.”


5. Have good table manners. As coaches will say, “Practice like you play.” If you develop bad table habits at home, they will surface in public.


6. Help without being asked, but if you truly don’t know then ask.


7. Show random acts of kindness. My husband and I have a card we pass back and forth to help us in this area. It simply says, “Because I Love You.” We will leave the card in the area where we have done a random act (it doesn’t count for the chores we each agreed to do on a regular basis). An example of this was when one of our dogs made a huge mess in the kitchen. I walked into the room, but the only thing I saw was the “Because I Love You” card sitting in the middle of the floor. On his way to work, my husband stopped to clean everything up instead of asking me to do it since he was rushing out the door (which he could have done because he was running late). He displayed a random act of kindness (actually, in this case, it was a big act of kindness).


8. Recognize the little things. Every night I receive a shoulder rub while we curl up in bed to watch a 20-minute sitcom. My husband knows this is a stress reliever and it is a little thing (actually, a big thing) he does for me. He had a stressful day recently and said he wanted to soak in a hot bath. I told him I would get it ready and made sure the water and bubbles were just right. It was small, but it was an act of kindness. We both recognize these little things by showing our appreciation in our words and our actions.


9. Practice active listening. When you are in a conversation, the best way to do this is by regurgitating back to your spouse what they have just said. It shows you are listening, and it helps avoid miscommunication.


10. Brush your teeth and wash your body. Yes, good hygiene is good manners.


11. Knock before entering a room. Especially if your spouse works from home. Just because we live together does not mean we no longer respect each other’s space. This 2017 video has re-surfaced during the coronavirus quarantine. For anyone that has children, it resonates! The short clip is hysterical and confirms why a closed door is usually shut for a reason.


12. Do not be critical of your spouse. Remember that criticism is different than critiquing. Healthy critiquing is important, but criticism can ruin a marriage. The Gottman Institute has identified what they term The Four Horsemen in marital communication. Through extensive research, they found the most destructive and biggest predictors of divorce were criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. I think most couples will admit that we have all been guilty of all four of these in our relationships, but healthy marriages go out of their way to rid these from their communication styles and when they do slip up, they aggressively attempt to repair the damage.


13. Don’t accept an invitation from someone without first checking with your spouse. If the invite is for both of you, the best way to respond is by saying, “That sounds great. Let me check with Joe to see if we are free.” Then, the two of you can decide together what you want to do. It’s a bad idea to commit your spouse to something without checking with them first. The same approach is true if the invitation is just for you. If a man receives an invitation to play golf one Saturday, the kind thing to do would be to say, “I’d really like that. Let me check with Debby to make sure we don’t have other commitments.” Maybe Debby had other ideas as to how you would spend your Saturday. It does not mean she gets to control what you do or that you are seeking permission. It means you are being considerate of the fact that you are now part of a team. And a championship team learns to work together on the field if they want to win.


14. Have dinner together whenever possible. If you can, eat around a table that has been set. Mealtime is special and it is often the only time during the day couples will come together. Life happens at the table, and you will learn more from your spouse, and your children, at dinner, than almost any other place. Do not neglect this very important part of family life. I feel strongly that the table serves as a physical anchor in a home. It keeps everyone centered and grounded.


15. Instead of making a list of faults to correct your spouse’s behavior, first make a list of things to correct your behavior. The reality is, we can all get on each other’s nerves. The bigger reality is, there is nothing I can do to change my spouse’s behavior. I do not control him. We can have discussions about things that are bothering us, but I still do not have the power to change him. Only he can do that. When we make changes in our own self, though, usually a positive side benefit is that our spouse often changes, too. Do not make changes in yourself to manipulate your spouse, though. This will be seen and backfire. Make changes, because you value who you are as a person. If you work on changing the only thing you can control (which is yourself), I think you will be pleased with the potential changes that occur in your marriage, too.


If manners are really nothing more than the outward expression of what is going on inside our heart, then we want our hearts to scream: I respect you; I honor you; I cherish you. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is one of the most quoted books of the bible in wedding ceremonies. But challenge yourself to re-read these words after the festivities have passed and you are settled into a daily routine with your spouse. With some experience now behind you, they take on new meaning.

My husband and I try to show the condition of our hearts (manners) by speaking one of each other’s top love languages: spontaneous hugs. We were in the cold mountains when my daughter-in-law took this picture of us (unbeknownst to us). My husband looked too cozy not to hug him!


“Love is patient.” Are you? “Love is kind.” Do your words reflect this? “It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” Do you humble yourself when dealing with your spouse? “It does not dishonor.” Do you stand up for your spouse? “It is not self-seeking.” Are your motives pure? “It is not easily angered.” Do you hold your tongue? “It keeps no record of wrongs.” Do you forgive? “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Do you play a “one-upmanship” game with your spouse? “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.” You and your spouse are in this for the long-haul. Make it a good one!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

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