New On The Blog

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

The 5 Love Languages: Giving Gifts

Updated: Jan 28, 2021

My oldest daughter, Jessica, has the love language of gifts. She surprises my husband and me with unexpected presents that meet specific needs or desires. She pays attention to things we are drawn to for pleasure as well as things that we need to make life easier or more efficient. The things she chooses always match our needs, wants, and desires. When we receive a gift from Jessica, it communicates thoughtfulness and intentionality.

We are always surprised and moved that unbeknown to us, she notices things we want, but also need. I love a hot cup of coffee and have often stated the best rated coffee makers are the ones with a high heat setting. On my birthday, she gifted me with an Ember Mug! This wonderful invention allows you to electronically preset the desired temperature for your coffee, and the level of heat will be maintained for about an hour. I can now pour my favorite java and drink with confidence knowing my morning beverage will be consistently warm. These mugs are relatively new to the market, and I had no idea they existed. She saw my need and solved the problem. I am reminded of her thoughtful heart every time I use it.

I have learned how to be a good gift giver because of Jessica. People who communicate through the language of receiving gifts not only cherish the items given to them, but they also enjoy the element of surprise, the presentation of the gift, and the thought behind the token of affection. Beyond that, the memories of gift-giving occasions can also fill their hearts for years to come.

Tips for those with loved ones who speak the language of gifts is to consider gift buying a skill that can be developed over time. Understand the monetary value of an item is not important. It is the thought and sentiment behind the token received that touches the heart.

For a big surprise, consider buying gifts outside the traditional special occasions. Learn to give randomly for the gift lover in your life. A single package of bubble bath with a votive candle to enjoy after a hard day at work. A gift card for free food delivery when your friend or loved one is traveling. A single piece of delectable chocolate placed on the pillow to set the mood for romance. The possibilities are endless for giving gifts. The only thing you must ask yourself is, “How can I bless the heart of the recipient?” If you can accomplish this one task, you will succeed in the love language of gifts.

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC