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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.

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


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.

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Leave and Cleave Part 2

Updated: Jun 3

“And the man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.’ For this cause, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2: 23-24

In Leave and Cleave Part 1 we learned what it means to leave your parents when you marry. Many new couples will say, “Ok, I’ve done that. Now what?” Let’s talk about the “now what,” and learn what it means to truly cleave to your spouse.

“My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped with the skin of my teeth.” Job 19:20. Here the word cleave means to stick to or to adhere. “But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.” Joshua 23:8. In this verse, the word cleave is used to mean to unite closely.

When we cleave in marriage, we are to do three things: join; cling; remain loyal to.

Join: “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself (to another) is one in body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.’” 1 Corinthians 6:16. Here, we see the physical joining of husband and wife.

Cling: The next meaning of cleave is to stick to. We are to stick to our spouse so tightly that we cannot be separated. For all the dog lovers among us, we can appreciate the true meaning of stick to. No matter how hard I try, I never get my black Labrador’s fur off me. He just sticks to me wherever I go. This is the visual we should have with our spouse. I should never be truly separated from my spouse (mentally and emotionally). Your partner should always be stuck to you.

“The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it.” Deuteronomy 28:21. In the English Standard Version this verse says, “The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.” We are to stick to our spouse.

Remain Loyal To: Lastly, to cleave means we are to remain loyal to our covenant partner. “So all the men of Israel went up from following David, and followed Sheba the son of Bichri; but the men of Judah clave unto their king, from the Jordan even to Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 20:2. In our modern day language we would say, “The men of Judah…remained loyal to their king.” When we enter a covenant with our spouse, our loyalty is to be for them. As professional counselor Melinda Havard stated, “Cleaving to your mate means joining together so tightly that nothing can come between you.”

I love the example I heard one time about cleaving that has visually been etched in my mind. Imagine a husband and wife facing each other with outstretched arms. There is probably about 3 feet of space between them, but they are holding hands. It would not be hard for other people to stand between the couple, or behind the couple, and break them apart. Why? The only strength they have that is keeping them together is the strength in their hands. Now, imagine the couple embracing in a tight bear hug. First, can outside forces come between them? No, because the couple is clinging to each other so tightly, no outside force can wedge its way in. The force could try to pull them apart from behind, but this will be virtually impossible, because the couple is much stronger when they are stuck to each other as opposed to loosely holding hands. In our marriages, we should be so tightly joined, remaining loyal to each other in everything we do, that no outside force can come between us or pull us apart. Take inventory of your marriage. What can you do to ensure you are clinging to your mate? What outside forces might threaten your loyalty to your spouse?

Going back to our original verse, before we can cleave, we must leave. If we do not leave, there will be an outside force that could potentially cause harm to our marriage, even when it is not intentional. When we leave and cleave, and keep boundaries in place, a healthy relationship with our spouse will flourish. I strongly recommend a book titled Boundaries in Marriage by Dr. Henry Cloud. He is one of the national leading psychologists in the field of setting boundaries and maintaining healthy relationships. His book will help you establish healthy boundaries both individually, and as a couple.

Just for a moment, I want to take off my marriage mentor hat and put on my mother hat. As a newly married couple, you may be embracing God’s plan to leave and cleave, but you might find it is hard for your family to do the same. If you have familial relationships that tell you to come to them first before going to your spouse, or that continue to support you with monthly financial aid (when you are capable of supporting yourself), then it is time to set up some healthy boundaries. Do this with great love and compassion, though. As hard as it might be for you to leave, it is also hard for your family. For the past 20 plus years, for parents particularly, we have been the primary source of everything our children needed. We have grown very accustomed to being the person our children come to in all aspects of their lives. Even when the only reason they come to us is for money to go to the movies with their high school buddies, it makes us feel needed.

When my son became engaged, it was such an exciting time. He is marrying his high school sweetheart, and I think she may be the BEST daughter-in-law EVER! I also felt a sense of loss, though, because I knew we would be going through the “leaving” process soon. In addition to these feelings, urgency also coursed through my veins. Urgency for what though? I remember feeling a sense of panic that I had not finished my job, and I was running out of time to complete what I had started. I just kept thinking, “I haven’t taught him everything he needs to know.” I felt like screaming, “Wait! I’m not ready! I still have things to teach you.” But God very clearly reminded me that my son is first and foremost His son, and although our son would soon be leaving and cleaving, HE was not leaving our son. I could feel God calm my heart and whisper in my ear, “Don’t worry, sweet girl. I’ve got this! Everything is right on schedule. Your baby is becoming the man I created him to be.”

I know my son will be fine, and I know that he will continue to learn from me while I have breath to breathe. My own mother is alive and well, and she is still teaching me things! I also find great comfort in knowing my son will soon be in a covenant relationship with a wife who loves, respects and cherishes him, who does not tear him down but lifts him high, who will be by his side, and who is, possibly (wait, did I already mention this) the most perfect daughter-in-law I could ask for!

Even though God calmed my heart that day, I must admit I began making a list of all the things I thought my son needed to remember or that, maybe, I had not taught him. Realizing that if I gave him this list, he’d probably say, “Really, Mom?,” I decided it would be therapeutic for me to just write about all the things that pop into my mind, and thus was born the “Tidbits” section of my website. Although the impetus of that area was my son, this part of Lisa Lou has taken on a life of its own. I love creating Tidbits for all the women (and men) out there, and it has quickly become my favorite way to craft content. It’s also great for social media! (Ok, the cat’s out of the bag as to why I have a Tidbits section, so I may have lost all hope of my son ever reading this part of my blog again. If he just remembers to write his thank you notes, I’ll be good!)

As a newly married couple, even though there will be new boundaries established around your marriage, it is important to cultivate a healthy relationship with your parents, in-laws and extended family. You want to have family ties that thrive on open communication and respect for each other. This will lead to an even deeper bond than you currently have and will allow you to continue to learn from each other as you grow older together. Plus, never forget, you want a strong connection with your parents, because…they make great babysitters!

When you look within your sphere of influence to healthymarriages that have been around for a while, and you find yourself saying, “I want what they have,” with deep examination you will most likely learn this couple took to heart what it meant to leave and cleave. If you can master this in your marriage, then most everything else will fall into place, and the two of you will have a marriage that does not just survive but thrives!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou

*This blog was summarized, with a few additions/subtractions, from a lesson taught by Melinda Havard, Director of Counseling at SBC in Houston. Melinda has an MS in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi and is a Texas Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor. Much of her content came from Bruce Wilkinson of Walk Thru the Bible Ministry.

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