Schuelke Law - December 2022

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December 2022


As we enter December, all eyes are on one of America’s favorite holidays — Christmas. The next few weeks will consist of decorating the house, watching our favorite Christmas movies, and, of course, spending time with family and friends. Christmas used to be a large affair for my family, and we stayed quite busy during the holiday. When my kids return home for Christmas break, we’ll do everything in our power to see as many family members as possible. When my kids were younger, December was almost always the only time we could expect to see most of our extended family. Both my parents and in-laws are divorced, but they all lived close enough to us that we could visit everyone during the holidays without much issue. We built a schedule, and each parent had a set day of the week when we would visit. Between everyone, we would usually end up celebrating 11 different Christmases. The most anticipated were always my dad’s and my wife’s dad’s, as well as our three Christmases on Christmas Day itself, which included our nuclear family Christmas, one with my mom, and one with my mother-in-law. While celebrating 11 Christmases was always tiring, it was the only time my wife, kids, and I could spend plenty of time together while visiting other beloved family members. Of course, traveling to see so many different people during the holidays never bothered my kids since 11 different Christmases meant 11 different sets of presents. Over the years, we’ve developed many different traditions. My dad would always hide a pickle in the Christmas tree, which is a German tradition. My kids and their cousins eagerly searched for the pickle with the hope of finding it and winning a prize. At my mom’s house, everyone would get a small gift whenever we had our big meal together. This was something she did with her parents that has been passed down through the generations. One of my favorite traditions involves my son and father-in-law. Every year, my father-in-law would gift my son a fruitcake. My son, in turn, would hide the fruitcake somewhere in their house before we left, so they were stuck with it for another year. Our traditions truly helped strengthen our familial bond.

uncles. When my grandparents passed away, that get-together fell apart, so now I rarely get to see those aunts and uncles, if ever. It’s a shame since I love spending time with my family, but I’m thankful that some of our traditions have remained throughout the years. This Christmas is going to feel very different. My son only gets two weeks of break because he has to report back to school early for baseball. We’re trying to figure out how to juggle all of these Christmases so that we can attend everything. It won’t be easy, but we will find a way to make it possible. I’m just glad my son and daughter will be home for a few weeks. We’re such a close-knit family, and I love when we’re all together. It’s tough when your children are over 5,000 miles away, and you can only talk through texting, phone calls, or social media. Christmas is one of the only times we can see each other in person and spend quality time together face-to-face. I’m counting down the days until I can pick them up from the airport.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

-C. Brooks Schuelke

Sadly, not all of our traditions have remained. We used to visit my grandparents on my dad’s side and spend time with my aunts and | 1

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Melanie Shaha is currently fighting her third brain cancer battle. For 15 years, she’s been suffering from a benign tumor on her pituitary gland. Although she doesn’t mind being sick, going to her appointments, focusing on her treatment, and talking to loved ones about her cancer, she doesn’t like looking sick. If you didn’t know Shaha, you wouldn’t realize she was battling cancer. But this suddenly changed once she lost all of her hair. She had two surgeries, in 2003 and 2006, in hopes of removing the tumor on her pituitary gland, but they weren’t successful. Then, when she began radiation therapy in 2017, the treatment caused her hair to fall out. “Not having hair [makes] you stick out like a sore thumb, and well- meaning people can say things that break your heart,” Shaha told TODAY. She didn’t like all the attention and the looks people gave her in public. So, her 27-year-old son Matt had an idea. At first, Matt joked about cutting all of his hair off to make his mother a wig. But the joke soon became a plan, and Matt followed through in 2018. Locks of Love Son Makes a Wig for His Mother

him from cutting it, but Matt wanted to help her feel confident and comfortable in her skin. So, he chopped it off and sent his locks to Compassionate Creations, a hair company in Newport Beach, California, that created a wig for his mother. Now, Shaha has a piece of her son to take everywhere with her beautiful new tresses. “The color is spectacular, and we had it cut and styled with a hairdresser. Matt said it looked great on me. It sure fills your emotional cup,” Shaha says. If you — or someone you know — would like to donate your hair to cancer patients, you can donate to Locks of Love, Wigs For Kids, Chai Lifeline, and Children With Hair Loss. Research donation centers in your area if you would like to give back locally. Holiday Shopping Scams Businesses boom during the holiday season because more people buy their products and services. But this means potential scams can also increase, but you can do a few things to ensure your personal information and banking details are safe. You may see products online or advertisements on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok that pique your interest. But before you click “buy,” ensure the website is legitimate. Search for the product on a search engine to see if the same links appear. Carefully read reviews, look for website security credentials, and research unknown retailers before purchasing. It’s better to take extra precautions to ensure your information isn’t compromised. In addition, never use public Wi-Fi when purchasing items online. You’re more likely to be hacked when the Wi-Fi connection isn’t protected or in a secure network. Hackers tap into public internet sources and intercept your data through techniques like eavesdropping. Although it’s appealing to use public Wi-Fi because you think it’s free, it’s not. You pay with your personal information and data. If you or someone you know is a victim of fraud, report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by phone at 1-877-382-4357. For more information on scams, fraud, and identity theft, go to to learn how to protect yourself better.

After graduating from college, Matt began growing his hair out. In no time, he had long and luscious hair. His mother tried to dissuade

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emails like these are all too common; unfortunately, millions of people’s data is compromised as a result. Understandably, when you first receive these scam emails, you panic because you think they are legitimate. But remember, USPS, UPS, Amazon, and FedEx won’t ask for personal information over email. A good rule of thumb is never to click on links in emails — even from the actual company. Scammers are very good at making their emails look authentic. Instead, go to the delivery company’s website and log in to your account. If action is required, you should see a notification in your portal. Alternatively, you can call the business’s customer service line to check if their email is authentic.

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We’ve all felt anxious, guilty, fearful, and sad — it’s a part of life. Perhaps you’ve tried to avoid or suppress these emotions, but you’re not a rock. As humans, we experience these feelings all the time. Trying to control them may only make matters worse. So, instead, focus on something you can control — your actions. That’s the central premise of Mark Freeman’s mental health book “You Are Not a Rock.” He aims to teach readers how to build emotional fitness and overcome their struggles and hardships with different techniques. The book is divided into two sections titled “The Basics” and “The Transformation.” The first half is about learning basic mental health skills and unlearning ways of thinking about mental health that cause us challenges. The second half focuses on how to create and build what you want to see in your life instead of trying to avoid and control what you can’t see. As you read, you’ll learn how to recognize your problems, practice mindfulness, prioritize and follow your values, and understand your fears. The strategies in “You Are Not a Rock” are the same tactics Freeman used in his personal life, and he shares some of those stories in the book. There are exercises at the end of each chapter that Freeman highly encourages you to complete. By TIRED OF FEELING ANXIOUS AND FEARFUL? Read ‘You Are Not a Rock’ by Mark Freeman


Inspired by

performing these exercises, you can


better understand the book’s contents and implement Freeman’s tactics in your life. Before Freeman helps readers begin their journey, he states that strengthening your mental health is like working on your physical health — you won’t see instant results. “Changing your brain takes time

• 6 1/2 cups potatoes, cut into large chunks • 2 tbsp olive oil • 2 onions, sliced • 1 tbsp flour • 2 large carrots, cut into rounds • 1/2 cauliflower, broken into florets

• 4 garlic cloves, sliced • 1 sprig rosemary • 15-oz can diced tomatoes plus liquid • 1/2 cup water • 1 1/2 cups frozen peas • Milk, to desired consistency


1. In a pot, boil potatoes until tender. 2. In a pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrots, cauliflower, garlic, and rosemary and stir until softened. 3. Pour tomatoes into mix and add water. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, then remove lid and cook for 15 minutes until thickened. Stir in peas and simmer. 4. Drain and mash potatoes. Stir in milk to desired consistency. 5. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spoon hot vegetable mix into pie dish, then top with mashed potatoes. Bake until top is golden brown.

and effort … I’m not going to share with you any magical supplements or special mantras. This is simply a book about actions,” Freeman says in his introduction. If you’re interested in reading “You Are Not a Rock,” you can purchase your copy wherever books are sold online or in bookstores. | 3

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3011 N. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 200 Austin, TX 78705



Preparing for a Family-Filled Christmas

What Started as a Joke Became Reality



Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie Tired of Feeling Anxious and Fearful?

Protect Your Personal Data From Scammers


We get busy shopping for Christmas gifts online and in-store during the holiday season. It’s the season that keeps on giving — but not for all. Scammers will devise clever ways to con you out of your hard-earned money. Some will take advantage of your generosity. So, as you scroll through shopping websites and wait for your gifts to come in the mail, be sure to protect yourself from scammers. Here are some tips. Holiday Mail Scams Shipping companies will give you updates and status on your items when you order something online or ship a package off. Although this tool is excellent for tracking where your orders are, scammers will send phishing emails pretending to be these shipping companies. These emails claim your package is lost or more information is needed to process your order or shipment. Some may have a webpage link for you to submit personal information. Phishing How to Avoid Holiday Scams ’Tis the Season for Giving — Not Stealing

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