Valentine’s Day is the day people think about the most in February. Every store is packed with chocolate, and you see red, pink, and white decorations everywhere. But more important than the roses, chocolate, or any decor is love. Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love, and a great way to celebrate your love for those who matter most to you is to write them a letter. Many people don’t take the time to write letters anymore; these days, we communicate through email or text. The art of writing letters is fading, which makes it all the more meaningful when you send or receive one. Take a few minutes to write a letter to the people you love. Let them know how much you care about them and why you appreciate them. You can also write in a journal about everything that brings you joy in life. Writing these things down is a great way to reflect on all the good things and feel better about life in general. More research is showing that writing and reflecting on positive parts of your day can do wonders for your mental health. It’s definitely worth trying! This year, Valentine’s Day will be particularly special for myself and Alison. We’ll be going back to Hawaii, our favorite destination. The picture is from our last trip to Hawaii in May 2017. It was taken on Waikiki Beach with Diamond Head located in the background. We took that last trip in celebration of my graduation from law school. I can’t believe it’s been almost three years already! It seems like a lifetime ago. This year, however, we are traveling to Maui where I will also attend a conference. Of course, the conference is only a small part of the trip. We’ll fly into Honolulu and spend six days on Oahu in Waikiki. Then, we’ll hop over to Maui for another six days. I can’t wait! We love Hawaii for several reasons. It’s beautiful there, and there’s always a view between the mountains and the beaches. We also love hiking and discovering waterfalls tucked away in the tropical rainforests. Oh, and don’t forget the daily rainbows! There is so much color in Hawaii. FEBRUARY 2020 Sharing in the LOVE
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One of the reasons I love to travel and put money toward experiences like Hawaii is because I find it brings me more happiness than material possessions. At the same time, these kinds of experiences help develop my passions, build my relationship with Alison, and introduce me to new places. Plus, we make memories that last a lifetime. I consider myself truly blessed by God for the life I’m able to live today and for all of these experiences.
I hope you have a great February. Happy Valentine’s Day!
-Matt Aulsbrook 1
Science Wants You to Stop and Smell the Roses 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 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.
When was the last time you reviewed your auto insurance policy? Many people don’t review their auto policy until after they’ve been in an accident. This is when they learn they don’t have the coverage they thought they did. Following an accident, it can be devastating to find out you didn’t have the right coverage or your policy was too limited. To make matters worse, if you’re involved with another driver and they don’t have insurance, the entire burden may fall on your insurance and your wallet. Underinsured or uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage is one of the most important auto insurance options you can have because it covers damages caused by a driver who has an insufficient policy. Basically, your UIM coverage will pay for damages on top of the coverage provided by the other driver. Let's say an underinsured driver slams into the back of your car and that driver only has the $25,000 coverage. If you have damages valued at $250,000 and you have UIM coverage of $250,000, you should be paid full value for your claim. In this situation, you could potentially receive $25,000 from the liability coverage of the at-fault driver and $225,000 from your UIM coverage. If the driver has no insurance in this situation, your insurance company could potentially pay out the full $250,000. However, if you have no UIM insurance and the driver has no insurance, you face an uphill battle to get the compensation you need to take care of medical bills and to get your car repaired or replaced. There’s one thing more important than having UIM insurance: It’s knowing the full details of your auto insurance policy. Don’t risk driving if you don’t know how you’re covered. If you haven’t reviewed your policy yet this year, take some time to read through all the fine print. If you have questions about your auto insurance policy, or you don’t understand the terms and want to make sure you’re adequately covered, don’t hesitate to get in touch at 817.618.6381. We’re more than happy to walk through your insurance policy to make sure you’re fully informed before you hit the road. FIND PEACE OF MIND WITH UIM COVERAGE
THE 3 WORST DRIVING HABITS ON AMERICAN ROADS TODAY
Texas roads aren’t always dangerous, but we’ve all seen those drivers who have a habit of disregarding the rules of the road and common courtesy. There are times when commuting in the Metroplex makes you want to pull your hair out. But there are bad drivers all over the country, and their habits can result in severe injury or death. Here are three examples of those habits, and you probably saw at least one on your commute today.
worse, they aren’t driving any faster than the rest of traffic, making it impossible for other drivers to pass and continue forward. Other drivers try to move things along by flashing their brights or honking, but that doesn’t always work. When drivers clog up the left lane, it slows the flow of traffic, increasing the risk of an accident.
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COASTING IN THE LEFT LANE
Most drivers know the left lane works best when it’s used as a passing lane, but some drivers love to make this their personal lane, even at the risk of being pulled over. To make matters
This is one of the most dangerous acts a driver can do on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tailgating is the cause of about 23% of all rear-end collisions. The danger increases significantly if the driver is tailgating while intoxicated. Driving under the influence dulls reaction time, so if the driver in front brakes, it can easily lead to disaster.
CLOSING THE GAP
When trying to merge or make a turn, most of us use our turn signals. However, there are a select group of drivers who see turn signals as a threat — really! They see you want in, so they speed up to close the gap, making it dangerous to merge. To make things worse, you now have to slow down to merge. When you slow down, it means the person behind you has to slow, causing a ripple effect in traffic. This is how traffic jams are created — all because someone didn’t want to lose their precious spot in traffic.
Inspired by Food Network
APPLE CIDER CHICKEN AND BRUSSELS SPROUTS
• • • • • •
1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved 2 gala apples, cut into wedges 1 red onion, cut into wedges
4 boneless chicken breasts 1 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped 2 tbsp butter, divided 2/3 cup apple cider 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 sprigs rosemary
• • •
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. On a baking sheet, toss Brussels sprouts, apples, onion, and rosemary sprigs in olive oil, salt, and pepper. 3. Roast vegetable and fruit mixture until tender, about 25–30 minutes, flipping halfway. 4. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary. 5. In an ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp butter. Add chicken and cook 6 minutes on one side. Flip and cook 2 more minutes. 6. Pour cider onto chicken. Roast in the oven for 12 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and let it rest on cutting board. 7. Return skillet to stove on medium-high and simmer sauce until reduced by half. 8. Swirl remaining 1 tbsp of butter with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Slice chicken and divide among plates with roasted vegetables and serve.
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INSIDE Sharing the Love 1 Stop and Smell the Roses Do You Really Know What’s in Your Auto Insurance Policy? 2 The Worst Driving Habits You’ll See Today Apple Cider Chicken and Brussels Sprouts 3 Give the Gift of Life 4
Cases We Handle: • Personal Injury • Wrongful Death
• Criminal Law/DWI • Business Law
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. Give the Gift of Life 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 Feb. 14 is National Donor Day
an event, check out DonorAlliance.org.
In the spirit of that love, here are a few ways you can get involved with National Donor Day this Feb. 14.
Participate in #StartTheConversation. 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?
Register 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. Join a Donor Dash. Donor Dash fundraising events pop up all over the country on National Donor Day. These noncompetitive 5K running and walking events are designed
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