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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

Providing Meals Outside the Home




Whether you feel like spreading a little love with a homecooked meal, are taking care of a sick family member or providing food for new parents, there are certain things you can do to make sure your gift is a blessing and not a burden. If you want to leave your friends begging for more, follow these 10 tips when providing meals outside the home.


1. When giving food to others it is important to consider their likes and dislikes, as well as any allergies they might have to certain foods. Just ask, they will tell you.


2. Whether you make the meal from scratch or buy it from the local restaurant, either is appreciated. The key is to make sure it is prepared and ready to consume. If you are delivering food to a sick friend, asking that person to assemble ingredients and spend time making dinner probably defeats the purpose of why you are offering to give them a helping hand. The key is to reduce the amount of work so they might receive a little respite.


3. Unless you know the ingredients for their favorite sushi, stick to basic comfort food. This is usually the best choice, especially if someone is recovering from an illness.


4. Bring everything in disposable containers. In years past, this would have been frowned upon. It was not uncommon for food to be delivered in the giver’s favorite casserole dishes. If you were the young mom home with a newborn, it would have been easier to order take-out than be burdened with cleaning containers and making the arrangements to have everything returned. The key is to reduce the homebound person’s workload, not increase it.


5. Label every item. People like to know what they are eating. This becomes more relevant if there are children in the family. The individual can pick and choose what they like.


6. As mentioned above, bring the meal ready to eat, but do include reheating instructions.


7. Make sure your quantity is large enough to feed the entire family. If one spouse is home recovering, the other spouse is now serving as care giver. They both need a helping hand. If children are in the mix, knowing there is one night that no one needs to think about the evening meal is an added blessing. I think it is always nice to bring enough for leftovers, too.


8. If you can, bring the entire meal, including sides. I do not just bring a lasagna. I bring the salad, dressing and rolls, too. Adding a dessert is an extra treat. Mentally go through the meal. If you were eating what you are providing, is there anything missing? Maybe some butter for those rolls? Salt and pepper for the salad? The bigger the load you can carry, the greater impact your gift will have.


9. For a little extra pop, ask yourself if there is anything else you could bring to brighten the day. When delivering the dinner meal, maybe include a bag of their favorite pastries for the next morning. What about a basket of snacks? Their favorite coffee? All gifts are appreciated, but it is nice to go that extra step and ask what you would love to receive if you were in their place.


10. When you agree to deliver a meal, whatever you do, do not cancel! It seems this would go without saying, but I see it happen too often. A person has signed up through their bible study class to deliver a meal to new parents. Something happens at work and they are delayed so they are unable to follow through. They cancel on the couple at the last minute, and the new parents now must scramble around to put food on the table. Will they starve? No, but when we do not follow through, we have now added a burden when our goal was to eliminate added work. If you find your plans truly keep you from delivering the homecooked meal, then place an order from a restaurant that delivers. This may cost more money, but you committed to provide a service, and it is important to follow through.


In our COVID-19 world, I will add one extra tip. If you are making the meal from home, it is good practice to wear a mask and gloves. Let the person know you took the appropriate precautions to protect them. A family member or friend who is ill might be wary about consuming outside food in which they did not have control. Making them aware of the steps you took to protect them will bring the comfort they need.

Food is a gift that God has given us, and healing seems to take place when we join each other around the table. “You satisfy my soul with the richest foods. My mouth will sing your praise with joyful lips.” Psalm 63:5. Make the giving of food an important part of your life. A hungry world needs us to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Together with you,

Lisa Lou