A little humor for your Friday

This is how I feel when I go back home to Louisiana and sit down to eat for the first time.


Dear Miss L’Anne: DISH-functional family

Dear Miss L'Anne: DISH-functional familyDear Miss L’Anne,

I need your help! I have a job that requires me to live far away from my parents. Luckily enough, I have a solid group of friends and family in the area. The Smiths have been friends with my parents for as long as I can remember and my sister, Maggie, and I grew up with their two sons, Kyle and Max.

Every Saturday night, Mrs. Smith invites Maggie and me over for dinner.

Mrs. Smith spends a majority of the day preparing dinner. At the end of the night, my sister and I always clear the table and do the dishes without being asked (our parents taught us well!). We do not expect Mrs. Smith to clean ANYTHING since she provided dinner for us. We know not to expect the men at the table to really help but, Kyle’s fiancé, Lucy, never offers to do anything. If she does, she waits until my sister and I are almost done and then helps load a few dishes in the dishwasher. We clear her plate, she thanks us and brushes us off as if we are working for her.

Part of me thinks that Lucy feels more privileged than us because she is marrying Mrs. Smith’s son. Maybe she feels as though she does not need to help since her future mother-in-law is the one who cooked? This weekend, I came close to asking her to help, but I do not know if that is my place. Mrs. Smith does not say anything and Kyle does not suggest she help us.

My sister and I feel like they almost expect the two of us to clean up since we are not technically part of the family. I am sure I am over thinking that part, but it irritates me that Lucy feels she is so entitled and doesn’t have to help us. Is there a tactful way to tell her to get off her butt and load the dishwasher with us?! Please help!


Mary in California


Dear Mary,

How wonderful to have such caring family friends who open their home every week to you and your sister. Building relationships is one of the most beneficial things we can do, but sometimes it takes work.

It is difficult to know what someone else is thinking, and even if I do know, I try to remember this old prayer that usually puts things in right perspective for me:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Because you do not know what Lucy is really thinking, only that she doesn’t help clean up, shifting your attitude might help you resist the bad feelings you are experiencing. Perhaps Lucy’s future in-laws and others who may be judging intimidate her. But to you, it appears like she is stand-offish and privileged.

It is best to focus on what you can change. Try focusing on the generosity of The Smiths and work on showing your gratitude for Mrs. Smith’s time spent cooking and entertaining the group.

Try being kind and generous to Lucy with a sincere compliment. It might take reaching deep to find something, but with practice, you might begin to see and appreciate who Lucy really is beneath her outward appearance.

It will take time to develop and practice a new way of thinking – no quick fixes here!

Remember that relationships help us grow into the kind of person we choose to be. I’m sure you will choose for the best!

Miss L’Anne


Need advice? Ask Miss L’Anne! She has an answer for everything. Seriously.

Dear Miss L’Anne: My guests left me fuming!

Dear Miss L'Anne: My guests left me fuming! | StayingSouthern.netDear Miss L’Anne,

I am a Southerner living in the North. Recently, I hosted a party where I made flower arrangements and spent days making special food and decorations. By the end of the party, I was fuming because guests had let their children destroy my decorations and left my house a complete mess (I found plates of unfinished food in my own bedroom that was off limits to guests!). I felt disrespected and like my efforts were lost on so many of the guests. Should I abandon my efforts to be a good hostess like I was raised, or is there a way I can make people understand that it hurts when they are poor party guests?


Frustrated Hostess


Dear Frustrated Hostess,

I am so sorry that your experience hosting a party in another part of the country was disappointing, but look what you gained from this event.

You spent time being creative, cooking, decorating, and preparing for the generous reception of your guests. I think you must have been happy and felt a sense of anticipation.

It seems a predicament was inevitable as the guest list was made. Hosting a party is more than food, decorations and inviting all the people you know to meet at one place. To have a successful party, it is wise to have a vision for the event. Is it to enjoy the company and conversation with people, to play games, to celebrate an occasion, or is it to celebrate something with children? When the reason for the party has been determined, it is easier to make the invitation list, plan the food, decorations, and the event.

For example, if the party is to enjoy conversation and get to know your guests better, the invitation can be extended to a few people and it should be clear that the occasion is for adults. I know it is difficult when children are usually included in everything. I love children, however, it is perfectly acceptable to have a party without children. If parents cannot find a sitter, they will have to decline this time.

Practice a sentence or two ahead of time to express your disappointment that someone will have to miss the party whether due to difficulty of finding a babysitter or some other reason. Being prepared with a gracious comment will enable you to keep to your plan for the party and help your friends still feel honored that you wanted to spend time with them even if they cannot attend.

Having a vision is a good thing, but it is a vision, not carved in stone. Plan, prepare, and then enjoy the time with your guests as you exhibit “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” That’s hospitality!


Need advice? Ask Miss L’Anne! Nothing beats the wisdom of a true Southern lady. She knows everything there is to know about everything. Seriously.



“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain (aka Samuel Langhorne Clemens), American author and humorist

Dear Miss L’Anne: I’m 30, single and my dating pool is a puddle.

Dear Miss L'Anne: I'm 30, single and my dating pool is a puddle.Dear Miss L’Anne,

I’m a 30-year-old female living in a major city in the Midwest. I feel like I sound full of myself when I say this, but for the sake of the question I need to tell you that I have a great job, I live in a nice apartment, I volunteer, I’m active and I have an easy-going attitude. I’m attracted to a man with a good sense of humor and values. Here’s my problem: I cannot get a date. I have tried going to the bar, the gym, church and joining clubs. But I can’t meet a good quality guy. All my girlfriends are getting married while my dating pool is drying up. Any advice?

Single in the Midwest


Dear Single in the Midwest,

It’s a real blessing that so many things in your life are stable – your job, living situation, and you seem like a happy, giving person! That is good.

It must be difficult to be around your girlfriends who are getting married, while you see no one on the horizon for you. You think there isn’t anything you can do to make that situation change, even when you try your best to meet someone. And that is true.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “How much of human life is lost in waiting.” When we keep looking for what we think we want, we lose sight of what is right in front of us.

Spending a little time making a plan of things you would like to do now, while you are single, is good. Get ideas by asking married friends what they miss about being single. Do you want to travel? Take some courses? Volunteer in another part of the world or in your hometown? Learn another language? What other ideas do you have? Pick one and work on making it happen. You have freedom to do so many things.

Yes, being single is sometimes hard, but so is being married. The key to life is to become the best person you can be today. Every day is filled with moments to work at becoming a better person. When you are living your life, sometimes Mr. Right shows up where you are. And if he doesn’t, you are living a full life, becoming your best happy self.

Miss L’Anne


Do you have a question for a tried and true Southern lady? Ask Miss L’Anne via the contact page. She knows everything there is to know about everything. Seriously.

More advice from my mama on the way!

Due to the overwhelming popularity, another Dear Miss L’Anne is coming up at the end of this week! And the next question is a doozie. Good thing Miss L’Anne gives such sound advice.

In case you missed it, read last week’s edition!

Want to ask Miss L’Anne a question? See the contact page!

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Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you no one would believe it. – Unknown

Dear Miss L’Anne: My in-laws call me by the wrong name… help!

Dear Ms. L’Anne,

My new in-laws keep calling me the wrong name by accident. I don’t think they mean to, and the name they call me is really close to my actual name, but it’s definitely not my name. I try not to be offended, but it’s getting old. What should I do?

Susie in Eden Prairie, Minnesota


Dear Susie,

It must be very awkward to have your in-laws call you by the wrong name, and you are doing the exact right thing in trying not to be offended.  You are beginning to build a lifelong relationship and choosing not to embarrass your new in-laws is the kind and gracious thing a young Southern lady would do.

Having been on the receiving end of many mispronunciations of my name, I’ve learned that people have a difficult time correcting a name they have often used incorrectly. If you can determine why your new family might be calling you the wrong name, it may give you more patience and enable you to find an indirect way to help them learn your name.

One way to do this is to engage your husband in a plan to use your name often when talking or writing to his parents, instead of using “we” or “she,” say “Susie.”  Over time, your problem may be solved with no embarrassment on either side.   In the long run, you will not have to groan inwardly when you remember that you embarrassed your in-laws early in your marriage and they will not have to remember that you had to correct them about your name.

Remember that kindness and grace encourage good relationships.

Miss L’Anne


Do you have a question for a tried and true Southern lady? Ask Miss L’Anne via the contact page. She knows everything there is to know about everything. Seriously.

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You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.
– Dolly Parton


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Smile! It increases your face value.
– Dolly Parton as Truvy in Steel Magnolias

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Charm is a glow within a woman that casts a most becoming light on others.
– John Mason Brown, American drama critic and author