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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.

  • Alina Gersib

Say Yes to Life



Last week I talked about journal prompts for growth. If you did any of the prompts, you may have realized there are things in your life you want to shift. If that was the case, great! It is crucial to periodically check-in and assess your attitude towards life and if you like the trajectory you are on. One practice that I believe to be incredibly underrated and helpful in this process is challenging yourself to say “yes,” more often.

Now, I am not talking about living like Jim Carry in “Yes Man.” That could leave you in some predicaments you do not want. However, I do think it is important to approach opportunities without fear and with excitement for what may come. Even if you cannot see the result from where you are now, get excited.

Teachers and guides talk about following your passions to reach your desired end goal. Though this is a good idea in theory, in practicality is can be difficult to figure out what your passions are. The easiest way to identify the things you are passionate about is to act. Say yes to opportunities and find out if they resonate with you when you do them. If you do not try a new thing, you miss out on ways to discover more about yourself.

When I was in college, I was unsure about what career to pursue, however I loved to write, so I challenged myself to contribute to a publication weekly for 6 months. I had never done anything like it and, being someone who typically keeps thoughts and opinions to herself, it was a leap I was nervous about, to say the least. However, when the opportunity presented itself, I knew it would challenge me and help me grow in new ways. I said yes to the job, which led me to a great internship, which ultimately paved the way for a career that I love!

We find what we are looking for in life. If you are seeking out the good and the growth, you will find the good and the growth. If you are seeking out the negative and the wrong, you will find the negative and wrong. Our attitude can make things appear like either opportunities or roadblocks. It all comes down to mindset. When we approach prospects with a mindset of openness and a willingness to say yes, not only does our world widen but we may be pleasantly surprised to discover a new hobby, workout, or job that we love.

A few ideas:

*Grab a pen and paper and sketch the scene in front of you.

*Sign up for a Pilates, Yoga, or Zumba class at your local community center.

*Watch a video about a hobby that has always interested you (gardening, photography, line dancing), whatever it is, there’s a video out there that explains the basics.

*Instead of picking up take-out of your favorite meal, try to make it at home.

*Already have an interest that you do sporadically? Commit to it for a set amount of time. Example: write or practice daily for 30 days; make a new meal once a week for the next 3 months.

*Ask a work friend out to dinner.

*Accept the offer that you have been putting off.

*Start the business you have been waiting to begin.

*Volunteer at a local pet shelter, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen.

*Reach out and network; do not keep waiting for the “perfect moment.”

*Bring your talent to an open mic night.

Do not be afraid of new opportunities. If an idea peaks your interest, explore it. Do not keep yourself in a box to satisfy a projection of the person you think you are “supposed to be.” Let yourself change and become. Life is too short to avoid trying new things. Step outside your comfort zone and enjoy discovering what you love (and what you do not love), all while cultivating a deeper relationship with yourself in the process.

Alina Gersib

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