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As Texas plunged into single digits with multiple days of a windchill below freezing, millions found themselves stranded with no power or water. Living along the Gulf Coast we have weathered hurricanes and endured power outages for much longer periods, but somehow this seemed different. Maybe for those of us close to the shoreline it was the unusual sight of snow we experienced as opposed to the natural disasters we usually face that arrive with rain, wind, and sweltering heat.

Our son and daughter (in law) were finally able to take a long-overdue honeymoon to St. Lucia in December. Cecelia interned one summer for a travel agent so naturally called the company to book their trip. What an incredible experience they had, and I was reminded WHY using a travel agent is worth the expense. Fees range depending on the service, but most charge between $300-350 to plan a vacation somewhere in the Caribbean Islands. 

Q: I will be a new mom soon, and I have been preparing for life “after” a newborn. There is a lot of information on raising babies, and how dads can support mom, but I cannot find much on how moms can support dads. A lot of my mental preparation has been around my marriage. Specific questions: How do I preserve my marriage? How do we embrace the changes? How do I maintain my husband as a priority when we have a tiny human demanding everything? How can I help my husband bond with our new child?

Want to set your children up for success? Then look no further than the habits of successful people you know, whether that be in the corporate world, media, or within your own circle of friends. Experts agree that there are certain common traits all successful people possess. This is great news because it means we can emulate those leaders that have come before us. 

How can you tell if someone will be successful? When I was in high school, they still had a category for a graduating senior titled: Voted Most Likely to Succeed. How, at 18-years-old, could classmates look at someone and say, “Yeah, I think they will be the most successful person in our graduating class.”

Many of us grew up learning multitasking was a hallmark of a productive person. While sounding good in theory, this practice has proven to be incorrect. Studies now reveal that multitasking is nothing more than switching back and forth between tasks and it lowers our productivity. Below are 5 points that deal with the facts behind project hopping and the lack of performance that occurs when we allow seemingly innocuous interruptions to occur in daily life.

The way my husband structures his day is different from how I organize mine, but there is one thing we both do. We start with a morning routine. I make coffee, read the news while eating my breakfast, and then dive into an hour of bible study. Once I finish, I pull out my journal and plan my day. About 2 years ago I discovered an organizational method that resonated with me.

Remember as children, during holidays, we would spend what seemed like hours creating homemade craft projects for our parents? It might be a paper Christmas snowflake sprinkled with glitter or a cutout heart for Valentine’s Day. We would address it: To: Mom or To: Dad. We would sign our name, and this become the gift we gave our parents. The act of giving is how we should view all letters, especially a thank you note. We may not be cutting out cute hearts, but when we take time to put pen to paper and share a little of ourselves with someone else, we are giving a part of our heart to another.  

People give to make you feel loved and remembered. Sometimes gifts are given out of obligation, but mostly they are presented to honor a special relationship or occasion. No matter the reason, we need to know how to show our appreciation. Here are my 7 tips to become a gracious gift receiver.  

Table manners seem to be the area in which I receive most of my questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in handling an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction.

I recently bumped into a friend at the store, and as we began talking, she expressed how she struggles with the holidays. When January rolls around, she feels like she somehow “missed out.” I understand this feeling because I, too, have often felt this way. Life was so busy with the preparation of celebration, that I missed the joy that awaited each of us this time of year.

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party that looked scared to death, unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screaming, “I wish I was anywhere but here!” Entering a room full of people that you do not know can be intimidating. I get that. Yet, your entrance is important in displaying overall confidence and portraying a strong image.

Giving a party, of any type, requires a great deal of work. If you have been fortunate enough to be included in a festive soiree, it is nice to arrive with a gift for the hostess. The typical present will cost between $15-$30, but there are less expensive things you can find at the local discount store.

  • 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

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