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Society is opening and people are resuming long overdue vacations. This is great news! I recently posted some tips on making your travels successful, but let’s focus on dos and don’ts of traveling with friends.

 

1. Boundaries: When traveling with others, set guidelines, boundaries, and expectations before leaving town. If you know you and your husband want one night to yourselves, express this up front. If a quiet breakfast in bed is necessary to start your day, see if this fits with the group’s schedule. 

The world is opening, and it is time to celebrate! One of the first things people are doing as they exercise their recaptured freedom is heading out of town to new destinations. I thought a few refresher tips on travel might be good for all of us.

Walking into the room, my husband pauses in front of the TV. Turning to me with a spoiler alert about my favorite Hallmark movie he says, “Hey Lisa…they get married.” And you know what? He’s right! The girl found her prince charming, and the couple has a happy ending, every time.

How many mornings have we left home in a state of utter chaos? Breakfast was late, children were crying, and we hurriedly throw on clothes from the night before only to realize how wrinkled we look. This mad dash makes for an unpleasant parting from our family and it is usually caused by a disorganized approach to our routine. So much of the bedlam we experience at the beginning of the day can be avoided if we are willing to implement a few tasks the night before.

The mamor (mother-in-law) and damor (daughter-in-law) relationship is meant to be beautiful and strong. In parts 1 and 2 of our series we learned why women in these roles might have certain feelings in their new family dynamics. Once we learned the “why” we then explored practical steps we can take to strengthen these special bonds. As we bring our series to a close, I want to impart some words of wisdom we all need to hear, and be reminded of, to ensure we create a healthy, life-long bond between the mamor/damor.

In part one of our series on the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship we learned why the women who find themselves in these roles often experience emotions ranging from pure joy to hurt and sadness. Once we discovered the answers, our understanding of this special relationship came into focus. We had an “aha” moment which makes our path forward easier to navigate.

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.

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. 

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.

  • Patti Hatton

Love Your Enemy

Fear serves a healthy purpose when the clouds become dark and a dangerous storm is approaching, and animosity is a normal reaction to an armed robbery, but these emotions become toxic when they linger past the purpose they were intended to serve. How do we overcome these emotions? Scripture tells us to bring every thought captive, to praise God in all circumstances and to love our enemies, which feels very unnatural when we are in pain. But if we want to gain control over our mind and emotions, we will consider the wisdom behind these commands. Many times, the offenses we ruminate over have to do with petty circumstances such as a friend saying the wrong thing or a mother-in-law overstepping her boundaries. (Be on the lookout for a vlog with Lisa Lou and Cecelia on healthy Mother/Daughter-in-law relationships!) Our quality of life will be a direct reflection of our state of mind. Protective boundaries against harm are imperative but obsessing over offenses does not serve us well. Here is an exercise used by psychologists to help break fixated thought patterns: 1. Go to a place in your mind where you feel calm, peaceful, and loved. Some may see themselves by a stream or in the mountains, and others on a beach watching a sunset. All is well in your safe place and you feel relaxed and at one with yourself. 2. Picture your enemy, or the person that caused an offense in your mind and allow the same feelings of love and beauty you are experiencing to enter them. Stay in this place until you see this person receiving the same good that you are receiving. 3. The next time this person comes to mind or you interact with them, go to that place of refuge and safety and see them through the lens of love. For the believer, we can do the same exercise, but we internalize God’s love in the midst of visiting our place of refuge. His love is greater and more powerful than anything we can provide. When we allow and offer that love to another, even our enemy, it changes our disposition. It breaks the stronghold of allowing our damaged emotions to rule our thought processes. It sets us free as we see the enemy as someone who is also in need of the Father’s love. This exercise does not require our protective boundaries to change, but our minds will shift to willing good into the life of the person we once thought had hurt us. The same applies to praising God in all circumstances. Love overcomes evil. And when we shift our thinking from our pain to a God who sees and knows our circumstances, we can put our faith in a power greater than ourselves to care and act on our behalf. God’s got you! Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

www.pattihattoncounselor.com

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