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We could spend hours diving into every aspect of table do’s and don’ts, but I want to give you my top 13 tips that will help you navigate any social or business gathering with confidence.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

When God knitted together our precious children before they were even born, I am convinced he also wove in their personalities, gifts, and a love language! The concept of “love languages” is that each of us expresses and receives love in a unique way. The five love languages identified by Gary Chapman in his bestselling book are: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Gifts.

Vacations are back on the calendar, and many people are crossing the country through our friendly skies. I thought a refresher on airport and plane travel might do us all a little good.

I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99!

“Conflict is part of every marriage. Thirty-seven percent of newlyweds admit to being more critical of their mates after marriage. And 30 percent report an increase in arguments. Whether you argue does not determine the health of your marriage. Far more important than how often you argue is how you argue.

With Father’s Day coming soon, you and your family will be celebrating one of the most important men in your life- Dad. As a child, he was your hero, your protector, and your solid rock. Now that you are older, you admire him for all that he has done for you and you still look to him for advice and wisdom. Picking out the perfect gift for Dad is not easy!

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

School is almost out for summer! Many of us want to gift our child’s teacher something special at the end of the year for all the love, kindness, and patience they have poured out on our little ones. Being a teacher is not easy, and they are so deserving of our gratitude especially after this wild 20/21 school year! Some common go-to gifts you might have thought of are bath and body products, Starbucks gift cards and mugs, but below are some additional gift ideas your child’s teacher will be touched to receive:

Graduation is a pivotal point in a young person’s life. It is the beginning of a season of responsibility, coming of age, and independence. As these twenty-somethings are about to discover the meaning of “adulting,” here are some gift ideas that will no doubt be a blessing in your college grad’s new life.

If some of you are thinking, “I believe I have read this letter before,” you would be correct. Our son and daughter (in law) had a beautiful wedding ceremony planned for April of 2020. As with thousands around the country, they had to postpone the big event, but chose to hold a private covenant ceremony in our backyard. Well, we are finally celebrating their wedding vows, and it was on my heart to re-post the letter I wrote to my son last year. Some things have changed (he is now 25, not 24 as the letter states), but I hope you enjoy!

 I heard the most interesting ad the other day. There is a company that offers private-type flights for the commercial world. They describe themselves as a “hop on jet service.” On their website it states, “The convenience of private air but at commercial prices.” I looked them up, and there was one flight from Dallas to Houston for only $99! 

“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. 

  • Lisa Lou

Rules Without Reason Equals Rebellion

Updated: May 3



“Rules without reason equals rebellion.” -Cynthia Grosso, Charleston School of Protocol. This could be my motto! I have a stubborn streak that serves me well, and when it gets me into trouble, I blame it on my DNA. No matter the reason, I find I am not the best rule follower unless I know why a rule was created.


I believe in manners, etiquette, and protocol, but in our more modern society, I feel these guidelines should come from a place of commonsense. Good manners mean making sure those around you are comfortable. It is not about following rules. Knowing the etiquette playbook, though, can save all of us a great deal of heartache when interacting with others. Learning good protocol helps us stay within the boundaries of good manners.


Through much research, I have concluded most guidelines have a purpose. Knowing the “why” also aids me in remembering what I am to do in different situations. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to answer 7 of the most common questions I have received regarding social practices.


Why do knife blades point in?

When eating a meal, we are taught to put our utensils down between bites with the sharp side of the blade in the resting position and pointing towards us. This rule dates to medieval days when utensils were rare. This period was hostile and when men gathered around a table there was uncertainty as to who was friend and who was foe. Carrying a weapon was common, and these weapons (usually a knife of some type) would sometimes be used to carve food. Pointing a sharp blade toward another person was considered a sign of aggression. To show you meant no harm, if your weapon was used at the dinner table, you made sure to point the sharp side of the blade toward yourself. This is the reason we turn our dinner blade inward.


Why do we shake with our right hand, and why is it a sign of greeting?

This answer dovetails with the answer above. During this same period in history, you never knew when you might encounter someone that intended to do you harm. When two men approached, they would stretch out their right hand and grasp each other’s forearm. Most males wore a sword, and this sword was worn on the left hip. This allowed a right-handed man to easily draw his sword from the left side of his body. Imagine if, upon greeting, two men were grasping each other’s right arms, this would render that arm useless. Neither man would be able to draw his sword. When encountering another person, grabbing arms became a way of greeting and to state in unspoken words, “I come in peace.” Today, we continue this tradition of greeting by shaking hands, and we use our right hand for the simple reason that most of the world is right-handed.


Why does a man tip his hat?

Again, we are dealing with the same time-period. When a knight wore his armor, you could not see his face. We learn much about a person by looking into their eyes, and keeping the eyes hidden allows for secrecy (thus the reason some poker players wear sunglasses during a game). A knight, to show he meant no harm, would raise the visor on his helmet when greeting another person to reveal his eyes and face. By showing his identity, this communicated he came in peace. This act of courtesy became a sign of greeting. The same gesture moved into military ranks in future centuries. The hand movement a soldier uses to salute replicates the same formation a knight used when raising his face shield. Pretend you are wearing a knight’s helmet, and mimic raising the visor to allow someone else to see your eyes. As you can see, you have just performed the modern military salute. The tipping of a civilian hat is a historical progression from the knight raising his visor and the soldier saluting. It is a sign of greeting.


Why were women taught to walk on the right side of a man?

As we have learned, most men wore their swords on their left hip. By having the woman walk on the right side of a man, she did not need to worry about bumping into his sword. And, if the man needed to quickly draw his sword, the woman’s body would not interfere if she were stationed to his right.

Why did men walk between a woman and the street?

It was for protection from dirt. Imagine the horse and buggy days. The closer you were to the street, the dirtier you became. The man served as a buffer to the woman from all the grime caused by these transportation vehicles.


Why did men take their hats off indoors?

Until recent history, men wore hats daily. A head covering would protect from the cold and keep the sun out of the eyes, but they also served to catch dirt and dust that was airborne during the industrial times. Remember the old Western movies where the cowboy walks into the saloon, takes off his hat, and proceeds to brush the dirt from his head covering? The reason men removed their hat indoors was for the simple reason…they were filthy! No one wanted this dirty piece of clothing at the dinner table where the grime could contaminate the food or fall onto other guests. Once inside, a man immediately removed his hat and placed it on a rack. It is no different today when we carry a wet umbrella inside an establishment. Most restaurants will have a container for you to deposit the wet gear, so puddles do not gather throughout. I am often asked if men should still remove their hats today when stepping inside. The short answer, yes.


Keep your elbows off the table

Are you seeing a pattern to the origin of much of our etiquette? Yep. Those medieval ancestors gave us a lot of rules, but they made sense. Here is another one. Kings would host massive banquets. There were long tables and benches filling the halls of the aristocracy. Space was an expensive commodity at these big slabs of wood, so the invited guests kept their arms close to the vest (so to speak). It was considered bad manners to prop your elbows on the table and infringe on another person’s small territory. In later history (and during the English and French eras where many of our modern etiquette rules were created) putting elbows on the table was considered a trait of the low-born, because it caused a person to slouch. Think about the Downton Abbey episodes we watched where dining etiquette was displayed at its best. Every guest sat straight up in their chair. In summary, the rule of elbows off the table was created for two reasons: do not infringe on another’s space and have good posture.


Together with you,

Lisa Lou