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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

How to Exit a Conversation with Style

Updated: Feb 14



Have you attended a party where you were enjoying (or maybe not enjoying) a conversation with the people around you, but you needed to remove yourself to speak to someone else? How do we graciously extricate ourselves without seeming rude. Here are a few tips to help you exit a conversation with style.


Body Language:

1. You can use your body language to end a conversation. In the United States we have a typical “conversation range” between 18”-36”. To end the conversation with your body, begin stepping outside this “conversation range.” The other person will read your physical cues and know it is time to move on. Use this tip carefully, though. Pulling away can come across as rude. I much prefer to use my words with a few of the examples below.


2. One thing not to do with your body: do not start looking around. This sends the signal you are bored. Remember, your goal is to exit gracefully.


3. Hand off to a third party: This is probably my favorite thing to do, especially when I am the hostess. I love matching people so they can increase their social capital. The best way to do this is have a conversation with someone for a few minutes, then say, “I would love for you to meet Debbie. Her son will be attending the same high school as your son next year, and you will be a great help to each other.” Then, grab Debbie and put the two together. At this time, you graciously say, “I am going to let the two of you talk while I check on my other guests.”


Verbally:

1. When I end a conversation verbally, I let the other person know I enjoyed our time together. Examples of easy and polite exit lines might go like this:


a. “I enjoyed getting to know you. Please excuse me while I run to the powder room.”


b. “This was a very enlightening conversation, and I look forward to more. I need to catch my friend before she walks out the door.”


c. “This has been delightful. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and we get to see each other in the New Year.”


2. Offer something before you leave. This is important in business settings, but also a kind thing to do in social settings. I enjoy attending gatherings with the goal of trying to improve someone else’s day during my time at the event. This can occur in endless ways, but two examples might sound like this:


a. “I enjoyed our conversation about social skills. I am going to send you a copy of my favorite “go-to” book that I use for research. I think you will really enjoy the contents.” You have now improved their day by the promise of a gift (just make sure you follow through in a timely manner!).


b. “This has been a delightful conversation. Since I grew up with the CEO of the company where your son just applied for a job, I am going to give him a call on Monday so he can be on the lookout for your son’s resume.” You have politely ended the conversation but also extended a helping hand by your willingness to use some of your social capital to help her son.


3. Have sensory acuity. Knowing at what point in a conversation to exit is important. If the person you are speaking with is about to share something important, it is probably not the best time to walk away. There is an unspoken rule that the person who starts the conversation should be the one to exit the conversation. If you are attending an event, and someone approaches you to talk, that person should also initiate the exit. If they approach you, and then you exit, it can make them feel dejected. If the person that started the conversation does not know to exit, then you may employ some of the tips above to remove yourself.


Remember, the bottom line in all conversations: treat others as you want to be treated!


Together with you,

Lisa Lou