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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

The 5 Love Languages: Words of Affirmation

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

I am a type six on the Enneagram scale and have a natural propensity to see the glass half empty. The shadow side of a type six is the core motivation of fear. Because I am motivated to consider what could go wrong, I can see things from a negative perspective. I developed this self-awareness years ago and am happy to say I now choose optimism in the circumstances that surround me. This did not happen instantly, and it is a skill I have practiced and honed. But now, I no longer stall out on the negative side of issues.

With the type six personality, affirming others does not always come naturally. If you fall into this category, you will need to learn to develop this skill. When you do, you and those you care about will reap the benefits, because you will be learning to speak the language of affirmation.

What is affirmation? It is offering encouragement or emotional support for something a person does well. It is using words to communicate love, respect, and appreciation.

When I use words of affirmation it helps me pivot and look for the good in others. It feels much better to focus on what is lovely than what could go wrong. According to Gary Chapman, becoming fluent in words of affirmation requires more than just mastering compliments and encouragement. He says it involves communicating with a tone and an attitude that are unmistakably loving. Otherwise it is just a form of flattery.

Here are three suggestions from Gary Chapman’s work on how to affirm others.

1) Compliment a Physical Feature: Be specific. Instead of saying, “You look good,” say, “I like the way you are wearing your hair today.”

2) Mention Something Specific You Observed: “I was impressed with the way you handled yourself at the meeting yesterday. You were calm and clear when you challenged John’s way of thinking, and he seemed to appreciate your comments.”

3) Initiate Conversations to Encourage a Loved One to Share their Dreams: Add your own observations about strengths they possess to encourage them. “You have the drive to see a project to the end, and I believe you will accomplish your goals.”

Psychologist Henry Cloud says we need each other and will achieve more in life just knowing people believe in us. Words of affirmation help a person know you appreciate their actions and contributions. Nowhere is this opportunity more valuable than within a marriage or any intimate relationship. When someone really knows you and chooses to point out your strengths and abilities, it has lasting merit. Learn the language of affirmation. It is crucial to all loving relationships!

Patti Hatton, MA, LPC