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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.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We will enjoy and appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food and drinks. We would also like a clean bathroom and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest.

Attire: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture


Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for your party, make it clear. Do not let your creative thoughts have you writing a description that requires an interpreter.  We do not want to force our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP.

Throughout history we have seen God place people in power that made us say, “What is He thinking?” Yet God clearly reminds us in Isaiah that the way He thinks is far beyond what we can sometimes understand. In a child’s eyes, a parent giving her yucky medicine when she already feels poorly can seem cruel. “Why would Mommy make me take this?” The child lives in her “here and now” moment of life, yet the parent sees the big picture. The mother knows what is best for the child, even when the child does not understand. 

Our 4-part series on living as Christians in a political world was written in response to questions I have been receiving on knowing how to separate truth from lies, when to engage in our political system, and the most effective way to stay informed. In Part 1 we learned the biblical formula for seeking truth. In Part 2 we discussed the importance of knowing your foundation. In this post, Part 3, I will provide you with 7 practical tips I use to find truth in our news driven world. 

  • Patti Hatton

The 5 Love Languages: Quality Time

If you have not taken the The Enneagram evaluation, I strongly suggest you do. It is very revealing regarding how we are wired. Knowing how those in your life interpret actions and words can help you communicate with them in a way that speaks to their heart.

If you are a Type 9 with a one-on-one subtype, chances are you speak the love language of quality time. If you are married to someone who ranks high for quality time, then what they most want from you is…wait for it…your time! Thirty minutes here or there, dinner together each night, and a weekend away will speak volumes to this person.

Notice the language is called “quality” time. Your attention requires the right kind of focus. Put your phone away and be fully present to meet the needs of the other person. When you are interacting, maintain eye contact and pay attention to emotional fluctuations. Listen with the intent to understand and clarify by reflecting what you have heard by asking questions.

A quality time person wants assurances that you are “with them” and they are not alone. Whatever the struggle or victory in life, they want to share it with you. If you are emotionally unavailable, whether it be because of fatigue or stress, tell them. But follow up by saying, “I would like to set up a time to listen and connect.”

The quality time person will look forward to and treasure the scheduled event if your intentions are sincere. Just like a quality time person wants you to know them by hearing their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, they are usually just as interested in learning about you and your perspectives. They need the conversations to be two-sided. If opening up does not come easily to you, learn from your quality time partner what it looks like to be vulnerable. Humans connect in deep and meaningful ways when we share our hearts, and this comes naturally to those who speak the love language of quality time.

Another aspect of this language is shared activities. Activities can range from visiting National Parks together, cleaning the garage, hosting a dinner party, or taking a walk as long as the intent of the activity is to be together and strengthen the relationship. This will tell your loved one you care for them. Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, says one of the by-products of quality time activities is they provide a memory bank from which to draw in the years ahead. You will remember the experience when you wall papered the nursery together or took a stroll along the seaside. Quality time is not meant to be one-sided. You need to be present to fully show your love for the person in your life whose top language is quality time. Embrace it!

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC

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