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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.

  • 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