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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

Q/A How to Find Time to Do the Things I Love

Q: With a full-time job and a new marriage, how do I find the time to do more of the things I love?


A: Finding time to do the things you want to do comes down to choices. There are 24 hours in a day, and YOU get to choose how you use them. When you have a spouse, the two of you need to make these decisions together, because it is no longer just about you. With that said, I will make two suggestions. One of the biggest time drains is social media. According to broadbandsearch.net Americans spend, on average, slightly over 2 hours a day on different platforms. That means, ON AVERAGE, a person will spend 14 hours every week watching what other people are doing. If I were trying to pick up more time in my day, I would start by analyzing how much time was spent in these areas. It may shock you (I know it did me!). If you find you spend 10 hours over a 7 day period checking Facebook and Instagram, ask yourself, “Could I give up 5 of those hours each week to focus on something I want to accomplish?” The answer is yes, you can. What it will come down to is how important it is to you. In life, we can choose to be observers of other people’s tales, or we can choose to write our own story.


The second thing I would recommend is waking up earlier. Could you give yourself an extra 30 minutes? Maybe a full hour? Sacrificing your rest will not be good for your health, and can keep you from being more productive, so you might need to adjust your bedtime schedule. What is more important, watching a Netflix show or working toward your goal? I will state it again, you can spend time in the evening living inside someone else’s tale, or you can go to bed an hour earlier so you can wake the next day to write your own story. Life is about choices. God gives us freedom to spend every 24 hours how we wish, but he also gives us a warning. “So how long are you going to laze around doing nothing? How long before you get out of bed? A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there, sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next? Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life, poverty your permanent houseguest!” -Proverbs 6:9-11 MSG. That is a strong warning. We reap what we sow. Our choices have consequences. I heard an interesting statement recently. A well-known public figure said a person does not become an adult until they ask themselves this one question before every decision they make. The question? “What is the cost?” (He was not talking financially.) His point is everything in life comes at a cost. If I spend 3 hours watching TV each night, I have cost myself sleep. If I choose to watch 3 hours of TV each night, and get the same amount of sleep, then I have cost myself 3 hours the next day that I could have used to pursue my goals, to write my own story. That question resonated with me. I have known people in their seventies that, by this definition, would not be adults. They still live in a child-like state chasing their next endorphin hit. I have begun asking myself this question. It is so simple, but it puts every decision I make into perspective. If something is important enough, you will make the sacrifice. You will pay the cost. Ask God to help you. He desires that you accomplish your purpose in life. He put you here for a reason. You have a part to play. I have confidence in you! You CAN accomplish what God has laid on your heart to do! Go for it!

Lisa Lou