BREAKING FREE What Easter Means to Me
F ear is a natural part of life. We're all afraid of something, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. But when I was younger, I really struggled with fear. It was always there, and most of my fears didn’t make sense. For instance, I was afraid of the dark, afraid of being home alone, and afraid of loud sounds. I used to cover my ears when flushing the toilet because the sound scared me so much. For years, I never thought to explore why I felt this way. I just accepted my fears as part of my personality and began accommodating them in my life. Unfortunately, this escalated into fears of imperfection and, worse, of not being “good” enough. It turns out there is a word for this type of fear: atelophobia. People with atelophobia can develop anxiety and depression as well as other conditions related to their desire for perfectionism. My personal solution to fix all my perceived issues was to read self-help books (too many to count) on topics ranging from goal setting to maintaining relationships. What started as a set of petty fears as a child morphed into a tyrannical obsession with being perfect through personal effort. While it’s prudent to look for ways we can improve and better ourselves, I took it too far, and that took a toll on me. Living life through the lens of how I thought other people perceived me was emotionally draining. On top of that, I became so used to filtering my authentic feelings and words that I lost the sense of who I was and what made me special. After years of this, it became clear I couldn’t meet the extreme standards I'd set for myself, so I took a step back. What resulted was a paradigm shift that transformed the way I viewed myself. This shift stemmed from my faith.
Growing up, I experienced religion and church as a set of rules requiring me to do certain things to get close to God. However, in my pursuit of doing
“good” in order to earn God’s love, I missed an important truth: I am loved not based on who I am or what I do but based on who He is and what He’s done for humanity. Putting my Creator (instead of my own efforts) as the gateway to my
self-worth has encouraged me to seek a real and personal relationship with Him. It has also replaced my feelings of
inadequacy with a sense of power and peace with who I am. Of course, there are plenty of things I fear today (dealing with fears is a lifelong journey), but the difficulties I experience now feel more manageable than they used to. In light of my recent life changes, I have been thinking differently about what Easter, in particular, means to me. Easter falls on April 12 this year, and Myles and I will enjoy taking our two toddlers on Easter egg hunts. (The Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are dangerous for the whole family!) In addition to the fun we will have, we will also take time to honor Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, which miraculously confirmed his identity as the Son of God. For me, Easter is a time to remember that every mistake has already been forgiven. Life is full of struggles, but we don’t have to solve them all by ourselves: no matter what we are facing, we are always within the parameters of God’s love.
We wish you all a happy Easter! May this season bring you love and joy.
Keep It Green
THE BEST ECO-FRIENDLY AND KID-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES FOR EARTH DAY
It can be tough to figure out how to switch up family game nights. Kids can be very attached to their electronics, making it hard to get them invested in anything else. With Earth Day coming up this month, you have the perfect excuse to put down the phones and get outside to save the planet. If you’re looking for ways to spend time with your kids on Earth Day, try these eco- friendly family activities!
Pick up trash and make art with it.
in your area. If you don’t have an outdoor garden, you can pick out some indoor plants or create a hanging garden with recycled bottles!
You can teach your kids a lot about downcycling and upcycling through recycled art. Downcycling is when waste is recycled to become a new product, but there’s a loss of quality as a result. Upcycling is the opposite: Whatever you recycle becomes a product with a higher value. One way to upcycle is to create recycled art. Use old newspapers or magazines to create collages or papier-mâché bowl sculptures around balloons, jars, or your own custom shape with chicken wire. You can also use old plastic or glass bottles as beautiful hanging planters or create a memorable wind chime from jar lids, tin cans, plastic silverware, and old rubber bands.
Build a compost system.
If you have a garden, the next best thing you can do is start composting at home! Did you know that you can compost your cardboard products? Instead of waiting for the recycling truck every other week, you can use your spare green and brown waste to create incredibly nutritious soil for your garden! Green waste includes vegetable and fruit scraps, eggshells, nutshells, coffee grounds, etc. Brown waste includes cardboard, dead leaves, paper egg cartons, wine corks, and more. Get a bin and maintain a green-to-brown ratio of 1-to-2. Layer, water, and turn the compost to keep it healthy. It can take anywhere from two months to a year, depending on what you put in and how often you turn it.
Plant a garden.
Gardening is one of the most rewarding ways to spend time outdoors. Your kids can learn about caring for another living thing and grow their own vegetables and fruits! A great way to start is to find out what’s in season
We hope you and your family have fun with these planet-loving activities! Stay clean!
Helping Your Child Overcome Anxiety
It’s hard to imagine kids as anything but carefree, happy, and eager to explore the world around them. However, children experience stress just like adults do, which can severely impact their typically cheerful dispositions. Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, now is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with tools and information that can help you alleviate your child’s stress. What are their stressors? Any number of everyday factors can lead to stress, and stress can plague anyone who feels overwhelmed. Toddlers and young children going to day care or school for the first time may experience separation anxiety due to being apart from their parents. Older kids and teenagers may feel mounting social and academic pressure. Even something as simple as overhearing loved ones arguing or seeing a sad news report can add to a child’s stress levels. Howdo I know if my child is stressed? When a kid is stressed, they will exhibit odd behavior and even undergo physical changes. Depending on your
child’s age, watch for mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, trouble
focusing, or withdrawal from the people around them. According to KidsHealth.org, younger children may also pick up habits like twirling their hair or sucking their thumb, while older kids may start to bully others, lie, or rebel.
Can I help reduce their stress? According to KidsHealth.org, good nutrition, proper rest, and healthy attention are great ways to help kids manage their stress. Set time aside each day to talk and spend time with your children; talking about worries will reduce or relieve anxieties. If you know about an upcoming stressful situation, like a school exam or a health checkup, prepare your child by studying with them or talking to them about what to expect.
Don’t stop here. For more tools and information regarding stress reduction in children, visit KidsHealth.org or contact your doctor.
W hen new attorneys graduate from law school, they often end up at big law firms. Their goal is usually to gain some real-world experience, but they can easily spend years as a cog in the machine. This is a fate Shannon O’Keefe aimed to avoid. “I joined the Johnson Law Group because I like that it’s a small firm,” explains Shannon, who joined our firm in September 2019. “It has a real family feel. Here, I can work closely with clients, as well as with our paralegals, intake specialists, and other attorneys. It makes coming to work each day far more enjoyable.” Before joining Johnson Law Group, Shannon worked for the honorable Judge Norma A. Sierra of the Boulder District Court on a domestic relations docket. She helped issue orders for a number of different cases including dissolution, legal separation, and allocation of parental responsibilities cases. While working with Judge Sierra, Shannon gained valuable insight into the judicial approach to family law. “I’ve never liked the idea of working with an intangible entity, like a corporation,” Shannon says. “I wanted to work with people on the ground level. That’s what drew me to practice family law. I’m helping people get through some of the most stressful periods of their lives. It’s a privilege to provide guidance to my clients who are going through a difficult family law case.” The emotional turmoil of a family law case can be taxing for everyone involved. When someone is in this kind of situation, it can be difficult to make strong decisions that will impact your long-term future. This is why people seek out family law attorneys to help guide them. “When you’re a family law attorney, clients are coming to you because you’re someone who is not tangled up in the emotional turmoil of the case,” says Shannon. “My clients are just struggling to get through today. It’s my job to help them make decisions that set up a good foundation for their future. I want my clients to know their best interests are being looked after so they can move on with the rest of their lives.” When Shannon isn’t guiding her clients through difficult cases, she spends her free time reading, writing, and, like any true citizen of Colorado, exploring the outdoors. Shannon and her dog, Finn, are avid hikers. Finn even has his own hiking boots!
PESTO CHICKENWITH BLISTERED TOMATOES Inspired by CookingLight.com
● 2 1/2 tbsp olive oil, divided
● 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pounded to a 1-inch thickness
• • • • • • • •
● Salt and pepper to taste ● 1/4 cup whole-wheat panko ● 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese ● 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted ● 6 tbsp spinach pesto ● 2 cups cherry tomatoes ● 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced ● 1 tsp red wine vinegar
1. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium- high heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and add it to pan. Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, then remove pan from heat. In a bowl, combine panko, Parmesan cheese, and butter. 4. Spread pesto over chicken and top with panko mixture. 5. Broil chicken for 2 minutes on high heat until browned. 6. In a skillet, heat remaining oil over medium- high heat. 7. Add tomatoes and cook for 6 minutes. 8. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. 9. Season tomato mixture with salt and pepper, and add red wine vinegar. 10. Serve tomatoes with broiled chicken. 2. 3.
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
13599 East 104th Avenue, Suite 300 • Commerce City, CO 80022
Breaking Free of Fear
Eco-Friendly and Kid-Friendly Activities for Earth Day
Helping Your Child Manage Stress
Shannon O’Keefe Is a Guide Through Struggle
Pesto ChickenWith Blistered Tomatoes
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Fun Events for theWhole Family
12th Annual Community Easter Egg Hunt Where: Jared’s Nursery, Littleton When: Saturday, April 11, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. Admission: Free Website: JaredsGarden.com Over 20,000 Easter eggs will be hidden all over Jared’s Nursery! How many will your kids find? Bring out the family for one of the biggest egg hunts in Colorado. Staggered start times mean even the youngest kiddos will have a chance to claim some eggs of their own. The Easter Bunny himself will even be hopping by to take pictures with everyone! Don’t forget to bring some canned foods. Jared’s will be collecting donations for the local food banks.
Denver Botanic Gardens Free Day
Family Tour: Día del Niño Where: Clyfford Still Museum, Denver When: Sunday, April 26; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission: Free Website: ClyffordStillMuseum.org/event
Where: Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver When: Sunday, April 19, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission: Free Website: BotanicGardens.org/events/free-days Celebrate Earth Day at one of the most beautiful places in Denver! The Denver Botanic Gardens Free Days occur just a few times a year. No tickets are required to explore over 50 sprawling gardens, including Sacred Earth, Shofu-en Japanese Garden, and Mordecai Children’s Garden. Enjoy a peaceful spring day with your family.
Día del Niño (Day of the Child), is a cultural celebration from Mexico honoring children all over the world. Traditionally celebrated on April 30, Clyfford Still Museum invites your family to celebrate a few days early. In partnership with the Denver Art Museum and the Civic Center Cultural Complex, guests are invited to enjoy live dance demonstrations, musical performances, and art-making activities, all while exploring the museum galleries.
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