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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

Helping Couples Thrive



The leading marriage counselors and experts, Les and Leslie Parrott, wrote the following about marriage:


Modern marriages typically begin with a romantic relationship. Unlike marriages of the past, which were often arranged for political purposes or financial stability, marriages in the Twenty-First Century revolve around the initial rush a couple experiences while falling in love. Unfortunately, as so many licensed counselors and therapists already know, romance isn’t enough to sustain a marriage.


There are many factors at play in a successful marriage besides romance, but today’s engaged and married couples may not understand how prominent those factors are. As the butterflies of engagement and early marriage give way to broken expectations and disillusionment, couples often chase and grieve those early romantic feelings.


The first step to helping couples joyfully embrace a more realistic view of long-term marriage is to help them identify and bust common myths about romance. When we’re young, we often see one another through rose-colored glasses. But when the reality of real-life marriage strikes, it can feel deeply disappointing. Here are four myths about romance couples can explore.


1. IF A COUPLE IS IN LOVE, THAT MEANS THEIR EXPECTATIONS FOR MARRIAGE ALIGN.

Couples need to know that being in love does not mean their expectations align. In fact, each individual’s expectations may lead to tension down the road. It’s imperative that engaged couples in pre-marriage counseling understand where one another stands. And if a couple is married, then they need to explore their own expectations, and whether they are the source of frustration in the relationship. They should explore their spoken and unspoken expectations. What is their understanding of gender roles in marriage? How do they expect chores and responsibilities to be distributed? Who do they think should handle the bills, the cooking, or putting the children to bed? What personal expectations for behavior or intimacy does each individual have?


2. THE GOOD PARTS OF THE RELATIONSHIP WILL KEEP GETTING BETTER.

Many of the good things couples experience in dating and early marriage revolve around an idealized view of one another–which begins to fall away after the wedding, when everyday life sets in. Couples are often distressed when they realize how profoundly each individual can change after the initial romantic rush begins to fade.


Life circumstances change, people change, and marriage includes trade-offs and worries that single people simply don’t have. Couples should not assume that the good things will continue getting better over time.


3. MARRIAGE WILL HEAL THE COUPLE’S STRUGGLES.

Many dating and engaged couples subscribe to the belief that getting married will solve their problems. Instead, couples need to know that oftentimes, struggles and problems become worse after marriage. In part, this is because the rose-colored glasses do eventually come off. Suddenly, it’s apparent that romance can’t solve major issues the couple might have been ignoring.


4. SPOUSES WILL COMPLETE ONE ANOTHER.

It’s not possible for any person to complete another, or to make another whole. The responsibility for becoming a healthy adult lies solely on the individual. Each spouse must become a healthy individual so they can show up as their best, healthiest selves in their marriages. A marriage made up of two healthy, whole individuals is infinitely better than a destructive, codependent relationship–which is what spouses create when they expect the other person to complete them.


I strongly encourage all couples to read the Parrott’s newest book Helping Couples. It is a book written for marriage coaches, counselors, and clergy, but I think every couple should read it. I also recommend Healthy Me, Healthy Us. As the Parrotts say often, a relationship will only be as healthy as each individual is healthy. We must fix ourselves before we can hope for a truly functional relationship.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou