Manely Firm - February 2020

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F ebruary 2020

S hifting Y our F ocus Real izing the Signi f icance of Al l Your Relat ionships

around. By reconnecting and strengthening these bonds, you will feel loved, supported, and cherished as you decide what’s next in your life. This leads me to another crucial element of love: It’s not just the relationships with others you should focus on, but your connection with yourself, as well. Showing self-love and building a healthy relationship with yourself is another aspect of Valentine’s Day that is equally, if not more, essential than displaying what we feel toward other people. Use this holiday as a chance to treat yourself with your favorite snack or take yourself out for your favorite dinner. Write yourself a letter that describes everything you love about yourself, or take a few minutes and tell your reflection what you most admire about you. Perhaps not exactly Stuart Smalley-like, but you get the idea. The important thing to work on is taking care of and feeling good about yourself. Another aspect of self-love is to take some time to consider the existing relationships you have in your life. Ensuring you are surrounded by “By reconnecting and strengthening these bonds, you will feel loved, supported, and cherished as you decide what’s next in your life. ”

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that focuses on the romantic relationships in our lives. It can be especially painful for those who are struggling with the end of a romantic relationship. Despite the emotional turmoil that comes with this, it’s a good opportunity to remind ourselves about the other relationships we have in our lives. In the movie “Love Actually,” the British Prime Minister says: “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” This is so true. The connections we build with our family members and friends are some of the most important bonds we will make in our lives. These are the people who will be there for us through thick and thin and continue to love us unconditionally, no matter what happens. Instead of focusing on the relationships that didn’t work out, let’s turn our attention toward relationships that are nurturing and tangibly present. Perhaps you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Some of these relationships may have gone south for quite some time. In some unhealthy instances, one partner will demand the other renounce their family, claiming that being in love means you no longer need your immediate or extended relatives. Once that unhealthy relationship comes to an end, there may be a little distance between you and your family, but it’s important to know they’re still there and want to be in your life. If this situation sounds familiar, find an opportunity to reach out to them. Open the channels of communication with family, and the odds are you’ll find that love is actually all

people who love you and who genuinely care about you is the best form of self-love. Take stock of the relationships you are in right now and ask yourself whether or not they are providing you with positivity. Is your partner worth fighting for? Can you work toward fixing the relationship? If you can’t, you have every right to do what’s necessary to give yourself a happy future. I find this holiday serves a very similar purpose to New Year’s Day. As New Year’s is a good day for us to set resolutions, Valentine’s Day is a good day to face and take stock of our relationships. This February, make sure your life is filled with love, affection, and self-care, leading you to a bright future. Because, doggone it, people like you! –Michael Manely 1

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S cience W ants Y ou to S top and S mell the R oses

The Benefits of Spending Time Outside

In a 2008 survey conducted by the National Trust in Britain, children were more likely to correctly identify a Dalek from “Doctor Who” than a barn owl. Likewise, a 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation study of 8–18-year-olds in the U.S. found that the average youth spends more than 53 hours a week engaged with entertainment media. These statistics, coupled with growing concerns that children are spending less time outdoors, are leading to terms like “nature deficit disorder” and global initiatives to get kids outside. Why is contact with the outdoors so important? Researchers are answering this question by studying the benefits of time spent in nature. One benefit is that outdoor time helps kids understand boundaries and learn how to assess risk. As naturalist, author, and broadcaster Stephen Moss puts it, “Falling out of a tree is a very good lesson in risk-reward.” Not to mention, time in nature may help improve focus for hyperactive kids. In one national study of youths by the University of Illinois, participants’ attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms were reduced after spending time in a green setting versus a more urban one. This may be due to the fact that natural environments call upon our “soft fascination,” a In the modern age, love can develop between any two people even when they don’t live in the same country. This love can eventually lead to engagement and marriage with the prospect of living happily ever after. However, marrying someone from another country can turn overnight into a highly stressful and even horrible experience if you don’t know the danger signs to look for. C onnections If you met your intended spouse in the U.S., take a step back and think about how connected your partner is to the U.S. Learning why someone is in the country is an essential aspect of your relationship that should not be ignored. Do they have family here? Do they have a reliable job? Have they set up accounts under their name here? Are their possessions here? If someone is only here to get citizenship, many of these questions won’t have “yes” answers. T he A merican D reamers The dream of picking up and moving to another country can certainly be alluring, but that’s just it — a simple dream. It’s one thing to fantasize about settling down far from home but an entirely different thing

less exhausting type of focus than what is required by urban environments. Emotional benefits were discovered too, including reduced aggression, increased happiness, and improved self-esteem. Beyond just getting outside, the type of contact we have with nature also matters. Visits to nature centers and watching “Planet Earth” are two ways to experience the outdoors. But research points specifically to the importance of free play in the natural world: unstructured outdoor time when children can explore and engage with their natural surroundings with no curriculum, lesson, or activity to complete. Ever notice how kids are fascinated by the simplest things? A child visits a rose garden, but before they even get to the flowers, they become captivated by a leaf on the ground or an ant crawling on their shoe. Children are born naturalists. These are the moments we need to recapture. Take a page out of that kid’s book, and as the saying goes, stop and smell the roses — or leaves or ants — with no checklist and no plan, just time spent playing outside. to make it a reality. It’s important to see how much your sweetheart is attached to their prior culture. For some, it can be a seamless transition to move from one culture to another and back again, but others may refuse to compromise entirely. This move can often be a shock to the system, one that is especially complicated when children are involved. B acked I nto a C orner Some people feel as though they need to escape or be rescued from a place where they feel stuck or trapped. When a person is backed into a corner and has no access to support — emotionally, financially, or legally — they will fight to gain that support for themselves. Try thinking about what’s causing this person to feel as though they’re cornered enough to fight just to help themselves. Marriage is a huge commitment and should be an occasion that brings joy and possibilities. You deserve a bright and happy future. Talk to your spouse and find where they stand. If they don’t line up with your happiness, you have every right to make the choice that will lead you to a better life.

M arrying S omeone F rom A nother C ountry

Red Flags You Need to Be Aware Of


Facts About the Leap Year L eap I nto 2020 Like the Olympics and presidential elections, leap years only occur once every four years, which is why many people look forward to Feb. 29. But there’s a lot that you might not know about this quirk on the calendar. Why To keep the calendar in sync with Earth’s orbit around the sun, an extra day is added to it every four years. Earth takes exactly 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun. Those extra hours add up over time, so another calendar day becomes necessary. But a leap year doesn’t occur every four years. Adding that extra day still doesn’t quite keep Earth on track, so the calendar skips leap years that occur during century years not divisible by 400. For example, 2000 was a leap year, but 2100 won’t be. Who The odds of being born on Feb. 29 are 1 in 1,461. That means that of the roughly seven billion people in the world, only about five million of them are “leaplings.” The number of leaplings currently living in the U.S. is roughly 187,000. Some famous leaplings include motivational speaker Tony Robbins, rapper Ja Rule, and singer Mark Foster of Foster the People. However, the most famous leapling is probably Superman. When you invent a super-being, you might as well give him a super-birthday. Where Anthony, Texas/New Mexico (a single town that straddles the two states’ borders), claims the title “Leap Year Capital of the World.” The city throws one massive birthday party for all leaplings but invites everyone to join the celebration. Two leapling neighbors from Anthony began the tradition in 1988, and it’s blossomed into a festival with thousands of participants every four years. It includes banquets, hot air balloons, a carnival, concerts, parades, and more. When you have four years to plan in between each shindig, there’s time to go big. Celebrate this leap year by doing something unusual or new. It’s a special day that doesn’t occur often, so make the most of it by doing something you’ll talk about for another four years

E asy S hrimp S campi

Inspired by The Blond Cook

I ngredients

1/2 tsp oregano

4 tbsp butter

1/2 cup dry white wine

4 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 tbsp minced garlic

8 oz cooked linguine

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup parsley

D irections

1. In a skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. 2. Add shrimp and oregano, stirring frequently until shrimp is pink. Remove shrimp from skillet. 3. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet and bring the mixture to a boil. 4. Stir in remaining butter and olive oil and cook until butter is melted. 5. Add cooked shrimp to skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. 6. In a serving bowl, top cooked linguine with shrimp mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve. 3

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3 4 Realizing the Significance of All Your Relationships Stop and Smell the Roses Consider the Possibilities Before You’re Hitched Learn All About Leap Year

Give the Gift of Life

G ive the G ift of L ife Feb. 14 Is Nat ional Donor Day

In the spirit of that love, here are a few ways you can get involved with National Donor Day this Feb. 14. R egister as an organ donor . Signing yourself up is easy and can be done either online or in person at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. You’ll need official identification to register. Registration is not permanent and you will always have the option to change your mind. Once registered, you will not need to carry your donor card with you, as your status exists in the registry. J oin a D onor D ash . Donor Dash fundraising events pop up all over the country on National Donor Day. These noncompetitive 5K running and walking events are designed to bring donors and recipients together and keep hope alive for those who are currently waiting for a donation. To learn more, or to register for an event, check out P articipate in #S tart T he C onversation . Donor Alliance, a nonprofit that works to promote organ donation, began the #StartTheConversation campaign as a way to help spread awareness about organ and tissue donation. Starting the conversation can be as simple as sharing that you registered with your friends and family or as personal as sharing a story about how organ donation has touched your life or the lives of your loved ones. Don’t let another Valentine’s Day come and go in a tide of cellophane, candy hearts, and cheesy cards. This year, get involved in National Donor Day. After all, what better way is there to express the value of love than giving the gift of life?

With all the cards, chocolates, and expensive dinners, it’s easy to get cynical about Valentine’s Day. However, National Donor Day also falls on Feb. 14, and it can refocus our attention back on the real meaning of the day: love. In the U.S., 20 people die each day while waiting for an organ transplant. Losing loved ones is one of the most painful aspects of the human experience, and while it is unavoidable, organ donation offers a pathway to help prevent that loss and keep more love in the world.


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