New On The Blog

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching! As a busy mom, Mother’s Day can sneak up on you with the chaos of end of the year school activities, home projects, and travel plans. Moms have a heart of gold and do not have expectations of presents, but we still love the gesture of gifting to make the day special and show our appreciation for everything she does for the family.

“We read a lot of articles and books about how to get through the engagement process, but no one ever talked to us about what it would be like the first year of our marriage. I wish we had known what to expect,” said one of the couples my husband and I mentor. This is a common comment, and if you find yourself having similar feelings, do not fret! You are not alone. The first year of marriage is fabulous, but it can also be difficult. Two people learning to become one does not happen overnight.

We all like to think we have good manners in marriage, but with the people that are closest to us, we can sometimes find ourselves slipping a bit. As stated by Cindy Grosso of the Charleston School of Protocol, manners are not about a bunch of rules. Manners are the outward manifestation of the condition of our heart. If we have a heart that loves, honors, respects, and cherishes our spouse, then these traits will show in how we behave.

Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

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.

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. 

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.

  • 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