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A toast may be offered in any setting and made to an individual or a group. Increase your confidence at your next social gathering by learning the ins and outs of this ancient tradition. Toasting to someone’s health or honor goes back to biblical times and can be found in most cultures including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians.

We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

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. 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.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

  • Lisa Lou

Invitations/RSVP



You are Invited!!!


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. Follow the 5 steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!


1. First, determine if you want to attend. This sounds strange to some, but I often have people tell me, “But I don’t really want to go.” My answer: Then do not go. Maybe you know you have a busy week leading up to the party and your plan is to live in your pajamas all weekend. Or, maybe the party being offered is not of interest to you. That is fine. In most situations, you are not obligated to attend, and you do not owe an explanation. Whatever you decide, though, just decide. Accept or decline and move on.


2. Once you have decided if you will or will not attend, the next step is to check the invitation to see if a response is required. Most hostesses will ask for an RSVP (which is an abbreviated French phrase that means “please reply”). If you see those letters written, or some other form of request made that you reply, then guess what? You reply.


The biggest headache most hostesses encounter is the lack of guest responses. If a friend sent you a text asking you to meet her for lunch, would you ignore her? Or, would you quickly send a text back with a yes or no? The same holds true when responding to an invitation. When a guest does not respond, the hostess is left wondering how much food to purchase and prepare, how many chairs to place at the dinner table, if anyone will even be attending her party. The hostess has extended a kind invitation, and it causes stress and difficulty when guests do not respond. So, respond!


3. Even if the RSVP has a deadline for the reply the rule of thumb is to respond within 24-48 hours of receipt of the invitation. Within 24-48 hours?!? Yes, within 24-48 hours. I understand we live busy lives that can require a few days to shuffle things around, but if you cannot respond within the first 2 days, then let the hostess know you have received her invitation and you are re-arranging your schedule so you can attend. Tell her you will give her an answer by a certain date. This lets her know you want to be at her party. She will proceed as though you are attending, which helps her in early preparations. If you receive an invitation and know you cannot attend, then there is no reason to delay your response. Reply right away. Sometimes a hostess only has room for a certain number of people in her home, and if you quickly decline the invitation, she might have the opportunity to invite other guests. Bottom line do not leave her hanging. Respond quickly.


4. Respond to the invitation in the way in which the hostess has requested. If she lists her phone number, then respond by calling. If she lists her email, then email your response. If she does not specify, then respond however you wish (phone, email, hand-written note). When I am hosting a party, my personal preference is to only list email. I do not wish to receive a lot of phone calls, so I do not give that as an option. Know your audience, though. If some of your guests are older and not as computer savvy, then provide a phone number along with an email.


If you run into your party hostess when you are out and about, it is fine to tell her you are attending (or not attending), but still respond to the invitation in the manner she requested. If I run into an invited guest at the grocery store, and she tells me that her family will be attending my party, my “too full” brain does not remember this by the time I get to my car. “Did she say yes, or no? Did she say only she and her husband will be attending or are they bringing the entire family?” Tell her you are excited to attend her gathering, but that you will reply to the invitation officially when you get home. This way she does not have to worry about remembering what you said. One last point. If the party is being given in someone’s honor you still need to respond to the hostess. Letting the bride know is nice, but it is not her job to then tell the hostess who is and is not attending. Plus, she may not remember to pass along your response. When I respond to a party in someone’s honor, I will email the hostess and copy the honoree. In summary, send your response in the manner listed on the invitation. The hostess has stated her request for a reason.


5. “I want to attend, but what if something else comes up?” I hear this quite often. The answer: rarely should your response change. If you want to attend the party, and your calendar is clear, then respond in the affirmative. If a “big” something comes up that you must attend (your best friend is having an engagement party and you are the maid of honor or you must attend a funeral), it is fine to call the hostess and let her know that you regrettably must change your reply. I would let her know why so she does not think you decided to bail. However, changing your reply because you received a bigger, better deal, or simply because you do not “feel” like going on the day of the party, is not cool. The hostess has gone to a lot of trouble to give the gift of a wonderful evening. Not only that, you may have been invited for a certain reason. Maybe she needs your personality to balance out the other guests at the dinner party. If you bail on her, it leaves her in a tight spot. Remember, to have good friends, you must be a good friend. Do your part, even when you might not feel like it.

To genuinely appreciate life, we must be present. There are two words my husband and I live by: be intentional and be present. Two things will happen if you continually turn down invitations. First, you will eventually be excluded. Hostesses do not continue to invite people that repeatedly turn them down. Eventually, the hostess will assume you are not interested in forging a deeper relationship, so there will come a time she will exclude you from future parties.

Secondly, and more importantly, when we constantly decline invitations, we miss out on being present in life. When we attend parties, even when we do not know the other guests, we expand our minds and learn more about the different worlds around us. We also expand our networking base, which ultimately expands our sphere of influence. Do you wish you had more influence in the world? This can only happen if you increase the size of territory around you. The way to expand our horizon is through interaction with others and continual education, and the best way to accomplish this is to be present. Do not sit life out on the sidelines. Accept the invitation!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou