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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

Q/A How To Motivate Yourself

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Q: How do you motivate yourself to do something you love to do, or have always wanted to do? I have a new sewing machine that has been sitting in the box for years. What is the best way to begin?

A: To motivate yourself to accomplish a task, you need to break it down into small, measurable goals. Using your example of the sewing machine, let’s dissect this. Start by scheduling 2-3 times a week to address your desire to sew. As a suggestion, on M, W, F from 4 to 4:30 pm, you devote 30 minutes to setting up the sewing machine. On Monday, you take it out of the box. On Wednesday, you accomplish the first part of the instructions to make the machine function, etc. Do not go past the 30 minutes allocated. On a scale from 1-10, rate yourself on how you feel before the 30-minute ritual begins. Repeat this process after the 30 minutes is completed. For example, it is 3:45 pm and you begin to focus on your goal to sew. Are you dreading this? If so, you might rate your feelings as a 2. At 4p.m. you begin to unpack the machine. By 4:30, you have unpacked the box and you stop. Now, rate yourself again. Using the same 1 to 10 scale, you might rank as a 7. Why? Before you began, you had not accomplished anything. You just felt like a big project was in front of you that you might not know how to tackle. But after the 30 minutes when you have successfully completed the task, you feel good. You accomplished the one goal you set for yourself that day. When a behavior produces positive emotions, we are more likely to continue with the thing that caused the good feeling, because we know there will be a high return on our investment. Small, measurable, and specific goals are the most likely to be completed because they are predictable and manageable. With any project you start, begin by breaking the entire scope of the idea into bite sized pieces. Write these down. When you see that your big goal is nothing more than a bunch of smaller goals, it does not feel so overwhelming. It is the staggering feeling of a huge project that keeps us from moving forward. If you rank yourself low on several occasions after your allotted 30-minute scheduled time, you should re-evaluate how important the goal is to you. You might dream of making a beautiful dress, but the time you will need to invest is not worth the trade-off. This will help you evaluate how important your goal really is. We all dream big, but that does not mean every dream is to become reality. It is fine to let a goal go. Donate the machine to someone that might not otherwise have this chance. You will have done a good thing. When you do what you love, time flies. But when every minute feels like an hour, you may not be experiencing something you love. Find your passion, and you will be motivated to persevere.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC