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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.

  • Patti Hatton

Fill ‘er Up! Fuel to Live My Best Day



“It’s your day. Own it!” That was the message I received from the instructor at one of the first Soul Cycle classes to open in New York City. Our gregarious motivator addressed the class members as “Saturday.” He said, “Good morning, Saturday! How are you today?!” He continued to tell “Saturday” that this day belonged to us. It was ours to do with as we pleased, and he suggested filling it with self-love, healthy habits, and hard work. He told Saturday that they mattered, and they deserved to have the best day possible! I was ready to conquer the world after that class!

I agreed with the instructor that I should do everything in my power to make my day great, but I also remembered the wisdom found in God’s word that tells us to lean not on our own understanding, but to acknowledge God in all circumstances, and He will direct our path (𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙗𝙨 3: 5-6). God tells us to make plans but trust the result to Him (𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙗𝙨 16:1). The rigidity required to MAKE our day super productive can put us in the driver’s seat and remove us from God’s best. There is a delicate balance between owning our day to control what we can and yielding to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, but the two do go together. With that said, COVID and quarantining has provided more opportunity than ever to manage one’s time. What should I do with the gift of time and freedom that have been given to many of us? Here are some thoughts to consider.

Fill ‘er up! I need spiritual, physical, and emotional fuel to live my best day.

SPIRITUAL: I like to begin and end my day in prayer. Accountability and structure are important to me, and I find that a morning quiet time and involvement in a group Bible study are good life-time disciplines to practice. My morning quiet time consists of Bible study and prayer. Resources for study vary from Bible study books, Christian devotionals such as Jesus Calling, Oswald Chambers’ podcasts, or U-Tube sermons. I love to combine exercise with listening to a sermon or Christian music. I also listen in my car and at home while I am preparing dinner. I end my day by listening to a 15-minute devotional from an App called Abide. The sleep meditations help me release my burdens and prepare my heart for a restful night’s sleep. My last thoughts of the day are focused on God’s love and goodness. Strive for repeatable practices. Find the ones that fit with your personality and lifestyle and do them over and over. They will form a foundation for living your life with strength and purpose.

PHYSICAL: Three categories to consider everyday are food/water, exercise, and sleep. Food and water are medicine for our bodies. Exercise is the #1 antidote for depression and should include cardio, weights, and stretching. Sleep is a time for refreshment and regeneration. How are you doing in these vital areas? There are many resources to help create a healthy lifestyle. Find the ones that resonate with your needs and lifestyle and get busy! Strive for repeatable routines that work for you.

EMOTIONAL

"Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV). Often things like worry, anxiety, fear, insecurity, and self-doubt are revealed in my heart. It helps me to acknowledge these emotions and ask God to direct me to a fueling station. As I am admitting my hurts and concerns to the Lord, I ask Him for strength and direction and for scripture I can meditate on throughout the day. I ask for a rhema word, which is when we hear that still, small utterance of God, and we see how scripture’s universal truths can apply to our personal life. The Lord also uses the body of Christ to encourage and strengthen us. Who can I call that will energize me and offer constructive feedback? Our beliefs and mood can quickly shift when we hear another’s perspective. We need healthy voices inside our head besides our own! Our perspectives can be narrow, so reach out to others. We were created to have relationships for a reason. We need one another!

SUGGESTIONS

Mimic the Soul Cycle instructor and divide your day into manageable segments. Set goals for each segment. Good morning, Monday! Good afternoon, Monday! Good evening, Monday!

Observe your actions for a few days. Make notes and decide what you want more of and what you need less of. An example would be I need more time to read and reflect and less TV time. Categories to address each day are what time you wake up and go to bed (this determines your quality of sleep); what are your priorities and obligations for the day; meals; exercise; spiritual nourishment; leisure and recreation; journaling each evening to cultivate the habit of thankfulness and appreciation.

Viewing each day in segments allows you to wrap your mind around achievable goals. It is easier to manage 4 hours verses 15. Interview people you admire and ask them what their typical morning, afternoon, and evenings involve.

As you fill up your tank with the fuel you need to live your best life, I pray you will lay your head on your pillow each night with a smile in your heart and fond memories of “your” Monday.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com