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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

Q/A How to Love Yourself

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Q: How do you love yourself? How do you stop comparing yourself to everything you see on Instagram? I recently unfollowed people who made me feel bad about myself. I began surrounding myself with more motivational and inspirational people. It made a huge difference.

A: We are all tempted to compare our lives with others to see how we measure up. While it is wonderful to gain inspiration, encouragement, and ideas from others, using our time and energy to live in a tormented state of envy or inferiority is just not worth it.

I use the hula hoop as a metaphor to describe what I own and what lies within my jurisdiction. Imagine a hula hoop around you and a hula hoop around someone else. Everything in your hula hoop belongs to you. Your hair is in your hula hoop. It is your hair, you own it, and you are responsible for it. You can cut, color, or do whatever you please because it is your hair. Your spiritual gifts and natural talents are in your hula hoop. It is your responsibility to learn what those are and to develop and use them to make a meaningful contribution to society. They are your gifts and talents. You own them and you are responsible for them. Your desires, feelings, ambitions, etc., are within your hula hoop.

Why would I use my time and resources to focus on another person’s hula hoop when I do not own anything within their hula hoop? If you look at it through the lens of the hula hoop metaphor, you can see what a loss it would be not to explore and discover what you own and do your very best to love, nurture, and develop those things. Think of your hula hoop as a pie chart divided into sections. Each piece contains something different. Spiritual, intellectual, relational, creative, physical; all are a part of you.

Ask yourself, “What can I do to grow the intellectual part of myself? What books can I read, or classes can I take to stimulate my mind?

What can I do to grow the creative part of myself?” Make goals that are small, specific, and measurable to cultivate wholeness and move towards success.

Scripture tells us in Psalm 139 that God fashioned and formed us in our mother’s womb. We were HIS idea and he has declared each of us to be “wonderful and complex.” God did not make a mistake when He created you. Learning to love and develop yourself as if you were your own best friend is your privilege and responsibility. It is a choice, though. You could choose to squander all that God has given you by focusing on what you perceive others have that you do not. God gave them their gifts for a reason, and he gave you your gifts for a reason. Think of your traits, your gifts, as tools. When we set out to complete a job, we make sure we have the right tools. A carpenter needs a hammer. A cook needs a stove.

God has given each person the tools we need to perform the work he has placed before us. Embrace it and be the best you that you can be. You were created, just as you are, for a reason. It is your job to figure out that reason. We should surround ourselves with healthy relationships, this includes on social media. Just as we would never consume poison, we should not consume destructive things that hold us back from the plan God has set before us. When you are old and gray, you want to be able to look back on your life and know you took responsibility for that which God entrusted to you, and only you. No regrets!

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC