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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.

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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

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