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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

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.

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.

  • Lisa Lou

Listening Effectively

Updated: Jun 29, 2020


Do you find your spouse often saying, “Are you listening to me?” Maybe you feel your child is not being an active part of the dinner conversation. You keep having to pull them back into the 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.


1. Whether at a party or in a business meeting, a good listener will always make eye contact with the person they are speaking with. Put yourself to the test. After you walk away, can you remember the color of their eyes?


2. A respectful listener will not look around the room, or over the shoulder, of the person they are conversing with. This sends the message you are not interested in what is being said. Give the speaker your full attention and do not be distracted by your surroundings. After the speaker has finished, you may politely extricate yourself from the conversation. (link: how to exit a conversation)


3. An active listener will mirror back what the speaker is saying.

Speaker: “I just returned from New Zealand.”

Active listener: “You just returned from New Zealand?!? How fabulous! Where did you go during your trip?”


4. An active listener will ask questions, when clarification is needed, but they will not steer the conversation a different direction.


Good Example:

Speaker: “We just returned from our church’s trip to Israel, and it was truly life changing.”

Active Listener: “I have often heard that from friends who traveled there. Can you point to anything specific that made you feel this way?


Bad Example:

Speaker: “We just returned from our church’s trip to Israel, and it was truly life changing.”

Selfish Listener: “You went on the trip with the church? I heard Nancy and her husband were on the trip. Her daughter was supposed to go with them but could not since she is expecting her first baby. I do not think she is pleased with her doctor. Did you hear that medical facility is closing down?”


See what just happened? In the first example, the active listener showed interest in the speaker by seeking more information about the trip and keeping the focus on them. In the second example, the selfish listener diverted the conversation to what SHE wanted to talk about, instead of being a good, active listener and staying engaged in the subject the speaker brought up. If you find yourself guilty of this, quickly get back on point so the speaker does not view you as uninterested or selfish.


5. When someone is telling a story, do not interrupt to complete their sentence. I recently attended a party where I attempted to tell a story 3 different times, only to be interrupted at every turn. The person in our group was not intentionally being rude, but they were in a state of excitement and could not calm down enough to be a good, active listener. It was exhausting trying to speak. I finally stopped trying and moved on to another group. An active listener practices patience by focusing on the speaker’s words.


6. Do not just listen to the words. Listen to the tone of the speaker. Our physical body and our words do not always speak the same language. Concentrate on the person’s heart, not just their words, and determine what the speaker is really trying to convey. If someone is upset, their words will come out as complaints, but deep down they are trying to express they are hurting.


7. Let the speaker know you are listening AND interested. Give little tidbits of feedback throughout the conversation. “That must have been very exciting!” Or even a simple, “Oh, wow!” will suffice.



8. When listening to others, NEVER check your phone. Even if it is to look down quickly to see who sent you that text. Don’t do it! By taking your eyes away from the conversation, you have allowed someone else (the person on the other end of the phone) to interrupt your conversation. If a live person interrupted the conversation you were having you would not allow this, because it is rude. Think of your phone as a person because guess what? It is! Just in digital format. (link to good cell phone manners)


9. If you are in the middle of a project and your spouse comes into the room and begins talking, put down what you are doing, make eye contact, and give them your attention. If you cannot take a long break at that moment say, “I want to focus on what you are saying. Give me two more minutes to finish this task, and then I can give you my full attention.”


10. Body language is important if you are to be an active listener. Good posture, whether standing or sitting, will tell the speaker if you are interested or bored. When someone is speaking, lean forward and show you are physically engaged. Stay within 18”-24” of the person you are speaking with. Any further back and your body language will be screaming, “I’m trying to leave this conversation!”


11. Repeat back to the speaker what you heard them say. This becomes more important when you are engaged in talks that are not just social in nature. In a marriage, you might say, “Let me make sure I understood what you are asking me to do.” This is good active listening, and it greatly improves communication. It is amazing how often two people really do hear things differently. By clarifying the comments, you can save yourself a lot of problems later.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou

Get rid of the noise in your life. Join Lisa Lou and receive commonsense, faith-based advice for the modern woman.

© 2021 Lisa Lou by Kaio

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