Events You Should Never Miss

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. – Benjamin Franklin

I find the above quote to be true, but the romantic in me would add something else – weddings. 🙂 Yes, I know that 12383034853% (or something like that) of weddings end in divorce. In my mind, though, they are one-time events in regards to how special they are.

My pastor has always talked about non-recurring events. These are the events in peoples’ lives you shouldn’t miss. I’m taking this from an etiquette approach today, and I fully agree with his statement.

Regardless of how important you are or how busy your day is, the two events you should never miss are weddings and funerals. Seriously. If someone thinks enough of you to want you there when they are making a sacred vow to someone they have chosen to spend the rest of their life with, please take that to heart. Little Johnny’s soccer game dims in comparison. And it should. Recognizing the importance of other events, and, in part, recognizing the insignificance of some of our own events, such as a soccer game, is very healthy for us. It’s a needed dose of reality.

When someone you or your family knew passes away, honoring their life is important. Even if you have to take your lunch break in order to do so.

More important than which fork to use is respect of others. Pausing in our fast-paced world for a moment of honor for them. They’re not a burden on us but a blessing we can be a part of.

I would encourage all of you (and myself, of course) to make time for these non-recurring events. Thank you for reading!


Respect at Funerals


I had nearly had this post written last night when my phone crashed. I was too emotionally spent to re-write it at that time, so it’s a day later than I had hoped for.

Yesterday was a hard day for me. I had the privilege of remembering a man’s life who was kind, beyond generous, caring, easy going, enjoyed copious amounts of coffee, hated blood, loved and respected the Lord, loved his family, friends and students who all equally loved him as much. We are all better off for having known Coach Perry Evans.

In truth, he was my first crush. (Yes, Garrett knows 😉 ) Though I had learned to tie my shoe at around 2 1/2, in Kindergarten I would purposefully untie them during gym so Coach Evans would tie them back. The fact he did it over and over and over only begins to show his willingness to do anything for others. He was a man of great character. Never were there kids who remained hungry, shoeless or unloved on his watch. The stories of him purchasing, with his own money, shoes for kids to play sports, food for kids to eat or giving them “jobs” to build their self-worth are nearly infinite.

The difference he made in the lives of others was apparent yesterday during his funeral service, as the attendees overflowed into the stands of the Sulphur Bluff gymnasium. So, in Coach Evans’s memory, I dedicate this post on funeral etiquette to his family.

  • As an attendee at a funeral, when the family enters, you should stand as you are able. Please remaining standing until the last family member is seated.
  • Silence (don’t just set to vibrate) all electronic devices. This goes for all one-time events (weddings, funerals, etc.).
  • At the end when saying your final good-bye to the deceased, it is ok to hug or acknowledge the family. However, this is not a requirement. People mourn in different ways, and that ok.
  • After the funeral, if you are going to the burial, make sure to turn on your lights so approaching cars know to pull over.
  • On that note, , pull over until the last car has passed.
  • The family will continue mourning past the first few initial days. I would suggest waiting until a couple of days have passed before bringing food unless you are a very close friend or extended family member. On a personal note, my mother-in-law really appreciated a gift of toilet paper, paper towels, paper plates, plastic cups, etc. when my father-in-law passed away. As odd as this may seem, she didn’t want to have to deal with the issues of everyday life. This allowed her to stay home instead of running out for toilet paper.
  • If you would like to make a memorial donation, reach out to someone who is close to the family to ask for suggestions. However, if you know of something you feel would be appropriate, that is ok, too.
  • As always, a note of remembrance written to the family is appropriate.

Thank you for reading, as somber as this post is. If you have any memories of Coach Evans you would like to share, please feel free to do so.

Traditions and Casseroles

imageWhen I first started this blog, I tried to strictly stick with etiquette. My goal was to simplify etiquette so that everyone felt comfortable knowing and using it. However, as I’ve learned over the past several months, etiquette, particularly in the South, isn’t as “Emily Post” as I originally thought. So much of what we do and how we act hinges on the traditions that have been passed down to us from our parents and grandparents. Personally, I love this. It connects us with those we may have known only briefly before they passed away, as well as with those we may never have had a chance to meet.

In a world of political correctness that has stifled diversity, I crave uniqueness. I want traditions and cultures that make areas of the wonderful USA different and special. My goal for Etiquette by Emily in 2016 has been to incorporate traditions, tying them to etiquette and, in some cases, pointing out the differences. This is not stuffy etiquette. This is everyday etiquette – etiquette for everyone.

That being said, I want to showcase a tradition I have noticed dying off, save for within churches: bringing food for those who have had a significant life event take place.

Growing up, I think my mom took casseroles, breads, pies and more to people who had recently suffered a death in their family or celebrated a birth. In the South, we closely tie food to comfort (possibly too much so, but it’s not an area I’m willing to give up). A way to show love or appreciation is through food. Bringing food to someone eases some of the everyday burdens, allowing the recipient to focus on their new baby or on grieving. To be quite honest, it blesses the giver as much as the recipient.

This week I had the privilege of taking a casserole (recipe below) to a friend who had a baby a few weeks ago. It’s not the healthiest of casseroles, but it’s an easy, kid-friendly one that heats up well. Priorities. I remember after the births of my kids, the people who brought by food were eligible for sainthood, in my opinion. After nursing, burping, being spit up on and surviving on little-to-no sleep, cooking was the absolute last thing on my to-do list.

I want to make sure this tradition is continued, so I rounded up my kids, Katherine and Grant, and allowed them to “help” cook. Katherine stirred the cream of different things soups together, and Grant helped sprinkle in the garlic powder. It’s important they understand the importance behind this tradition. The recipe, which is not my own, also connects them with their grandmother. In a world where busyness is glorified, it’s good to step back and breathe to remember it’s not all about us. I hope you’ll consider continuing this tradition with me. It’s the perfect opportunity to get out that box of old recipes and cook up something delicious.

Chicken Noodle casserole:
12 ounce egg noodles, cooked per package
2 cans cream of anything soup (I usually use one cream of chicken and one cream of mushroom)
1 cup sour cream
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
Dash of salt
3 cups cook, diced chicken
Mix everything up

24 Ritz crackers
½ stick of butter, melted

Crush crackers on top. Drizzle butter over it all. Bake covered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Uncover, and bake for 10 minutes more.