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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

My Shield



When I was in PK there was a boy in my class that bullied my best friend. It made me mad, and I told him I was going to bring my daddy to school the next day to protect my friend. Not sharing this plan with my father, I asked my mother if daddy could take me to school the following day. Of course, he was delighted to do so, and proudly marched me into my classroom as an unknowing accomplice to my plan. As soon as we stepped over the threshold I grabbed my dad’s hand, pointed to that mean 4-year-old, and said, “There he is, Daddy! He is mean to my friend!” As you can imagine the poor child burst into tears and hid behind a desk. He was scared to death (but he never bothered my friend again!).


There are many times throughout my life I have had the courage to stand for what I believe, and there are countless other times I was too afraid to be bold. When I ponder what gave me the courage to stand up, I realize I gained strength because of the protector by my side.


I am thankful for the people God has placed in my life that I could derive strength from. I am a strong woman that can stand on her own two feet, but we all need people around us that will stand in the gap to be our shield.


This childhood memory when I brought my “defender” to class with me filled my mind as I had my quiet time this week. God’s words spoke clearly as I read: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield…” (Genesis 15:1 ESV). God had come to Abraham in a dream during a time of doubt.


Why are we not to fear? Because God says, “I am your shield.” Other translations for shield are protect, defend.


I am your shield. I will protect you. I will defend you.


The words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians and Jews in Rome makes God’s promise of protection even more powerful. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 NIV).


When I face fear, I repeat these words to myself to remind me of the truth of God: I am your shield. I am your protector. I will defend you. I am FOR YOU, therefore who can stand against you?


When I lack courage, I imagine myself as that little 4-year-old girl who wanted to stand up for her friend but knew she needed someone bigger and stronger by her side. I raise my hand to God and say, “Hold my hand. Be my shield. Protect me.” And in my heart, I hear God say, “Hold tight, little one. I’ve got this. I will defend you!”


Together with you,

Lisa Lou