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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.

  • Patti Hatton

Couples Counseling Benefits

Q: What are the benefits of therapy and counseling, and how do I remove the negative image my spouse has around couple’s counseling? When do you know it is time to seek therapy as opposed to just asking advice?

A: Such good questions! Mental health experts have been tirelessly working to demystify the shameful stigma associated with the mental health community. Elderly patients with terminal illnesses have been known to refuse to take an antidepressant because they feel shame admitting they are experiencing low moods and irritability. Go figure! Seems somewhat normal to struggle with low moods and irritability when confronted with a terminal illness and wise to use resources to overcome emotional physical pain. Scripture tells us that the Apostle Paul “learned” to be content in all circumstances. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”-Philippians 4:11-13.

Just like Paul, we have many things to learn about navigating life’s twists and turns. Statistics tell us that persons seeking psychotherapy have higher levels of education than ever before. Consulting an expert when facing trials or for encouragement and inspiration is a smart thing to do. Successful people run towards resources to help with life’s struggles, not away from them. A licensed professional counselor’s role is not to tell you what to do, but instead to listen reflectively to create self-awareness and to aid in establishing and achieving goals. We cannot change what we will not acknowledge, and goals are accomplished in a series of defined steps.

If someone were to ask your children how their parents resolve conflict, what would they say? Chances are, they would not have an answer. Just like there are specific steps to learn to dance a waltz and specific steps to learn to dance a tango, there are specific steps to learn to resolve conflict and specific steps to learn to connect on a deep, emotional level. Do you know these steps? Dr. John Gottman of The Gottman Institute says, “Couples do not divorce necessarily because they fall out of love, couples divorce because they never ‘learned’ how to resolve their problems.”

Couple’s counseling offers a platform to learn vital skills needed for a healthy and intimate marriage relationship, namely healthy communication, and conflict resolution. It also teaches things like common differences between men and women, ways to strengthen a relationship, ways to prevent erosion in a relationship, how to take responsibility for “your side of the street,” how to appreciate personality differences and so much more! We all bring baggage into our marriages from childhood experiences, and counseling offers a venue for resolving issues that hamper our emotional wellbeing. Another option is to find a church that offers marriage counseling, through on-staff counselors, or by way of a married Bible study class. A marriage class is extremely beneficial. You receive the tools needed to have a successful marriage, while at the same time developing friendships with others in your same stage of life and who are also like-minded. A good marriage surrounds itself with other healthy relationships.

Do not let pride stand in the way of taking necessary steps to grow and learn to create a fulfilling relationship with your spouse. God warns us in only four words what happens to those who hang onto pride. “Pride goes before destruction…” -Proverbs 16:18. Successful people do not run away from learning the skills needed to be in a healthy relationship, they run towards them. Good marriages do not “just happen,” rather, they evolve from learning how to resolve problems and connect in meaningful ways.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC