Phyllis Law - December 2019

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Protecting Bright Futures


Bright Futures Bulletin


I love hearing about how people The Collins family spends the month of December watching our favorite Christmas movies: “Elf,” “Christmas Vacation,” “A Christmas Story,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Polar Express,” “4 Christmases,” and “Elf on the Shelf.” The belly laughs that come from my whole family watching “Elf” are priceless. “I love smiling, smiling’s my favorite!” The morning of Christmas Eve, we head to the Marietta Square to have our picture taken with Santa. We began this tradition in 2004 when our first child was born. Thank God they changed several years ago from first come, first served to reservations! No more waiting in line for three hours. After Santa, we have breakfast at Sugar Cakes. Ted is a master pastry chef and never disappoints. During the afternoon of Christmas Eve, we make Christmas sugar cookies with my kids as well as my nieces and nephews — all 13 of them. We use the recipe given to me by my dear friends Carol and Jimmy Hudgins. (I would tell you the story of why I give Jimmy a chocolate Santa Claus every year, but that deserves its own article.) We make the dough from scratch, roll out the dough, and use our special Christmas cookie cutters. I struggled for years to get the dough just right but finally mastered it about 10 years ago. The key is having a good standing mixer. celebrate the holidays. It brings me so much joy to see someone’s face light up as they describe their family traditions. So, I thought I would share mine with you in hopes that you will share yours.

We have dinner together on Christmas Eve with my parents, Billie and Phil Gingrey, and all my siblings and their kids. GrandDoc (aka Phil Gingrey) reads “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” and, if we’re lucky, plays a few Christmas carols on the piano. Those who can stay awake long enough attend midnight Mass. On Christmas morning, we sleep in as late as possible. We wait until everyone is ready to go downstairs together to see what Santa left for us under the tree. The kids always get annoyed with me when I insist on getting my cup of coffee before we open presents. We spend the morning in our pajamas, eating breakfast, watching “A Christmas Story,” and enjoying our gifts and each other. I have thought a lot about why these traditions are so important to me and others. I think it’s because they comfort us; we know we can depend on certain rituals year after year to provide us with the stability we crave. Traditions give us confidence to know that we can rely on our families to give us a break from the daily grind. It serves as a buffer to our anxieties. I wish we could find a way to harness that peace all year. It has been a pleasure to serve this community in 2019, and we are looking forward to continuing our efforts in 2020. From all of us at, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

"Traditions give us confidence to know that we can rely on our families to give us a break from the daily grind."

–Phyllis Gingrey Collins

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Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder Feeling SAD?

Get Some Sun Exposure to sunlight is also significantly beneficial for people suffering from SAD. Sunlight helps your body produce adequate amounts of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Getting just a few minutes of sunlight a day through a walk or short jog can make all the difference. If you live in an area where the winters are bleak, cloudy, and dark, sunlight can be harder to come by. But technology has you covered: You can purchase “sun lamps,” which simulate sunlight without the damaging UV rays. Just set up a sun lamp in your workspace or living area and feel your mood lift. MaintainYour Routine Often, it can be difficult to stick with your daily routine during the cooler months. It may be harder to wake up on time in the morning to

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression that people experience every fall and winter. If you find yourself feeling blue as the days become shorter and darker, know there are things you can do to boost your mood until spring returns. IncreaseYourActivity Keeping your body active can increase your energy levels, help you sleep, reduce anxiety, and boost your self-esteem. Summit Medical Group states that a person who exercises for 30–60 minutes a day can manage or avoid SAD easier than a person who does not exercise regularly. When you participate in physical activity, your body releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, which have a morphine-like effect on your brain. If exercising outdoors is not ideal, consider swimming, walking, or dancing instead.

resisting an officer, and corruption by threat against the public in Palm Beach, Florida. Clearly, she had a little too much eggnog. Lainie Kazan of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” was arrested on Christmas Eve 2017 for stealing food at a local grocery store. That one’s a head-scratcher … The point is that anyone can find themselves in a mess during the holidays. Overdrinking seems to be a common theme. Take extra precaution to avoid compromising situations. Uber and Lyft are good options if you plan to drink. Stay safe and enjoy! And remember, we are here if you need us! work out, or it may be too cold outside to go on your daily run. Luckily, you can find small ways to mitigate this. For example, invest in a sunrise alarm clock, which gentlywakes you up with a simulated sunrise, or shop for high-quality thermal workout gear. If you continue to suffer from SAD and feel there’s no end in sight, it’s important to seek help from professionals. They can determine the best treatment options available for you.


A Not-So-Merry

CelebritiesWho Spent the Holidays Behind Bars

It’s the most wonderful time of the year … well, I guess not for everyone.

NBA player Latrell Sprewell was arrested on New Year’s Eve in 2012 for disorderly conduct for playing loud music at his home. That one sounds kind of ridiculous to me … there must be more to the story. In 2017, two days before Christmas, “Real Housewives of New York” star Countess Luann de Lesseps was arrested for battery against an officer, disorderly intoxication,

The holidays can be tough for people. We see an increase in alcohol-related crimes in November and December, especially DUI and domestic violence cases. Even celebrities struggle with this. Charlie Sheen was arrested on Christmas in 2009 in Aspen, Colorado. Allegedly, he threatened his wife, Brooke Mueller, with a knife. Fortunately for Sheen, his charges were reduced to a misdemeanor, but we all know that case was the least of Sheen’s problems. Charles Barkley was arrested on New Year’s Eve in 2008 for a DUI charge. Don’t you just love Charles Barkley? He always seems a little tipsy to me. Josh Brolin was arrested for being drunk in public on New Year’s Day 2013. Apparently, he did not want the New Year’s Eve party to end.

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SUDOKU BREAK Solution on Pg. 4

Classic Roast Chicken An Easy, Traditional Meal

Inspired by Ina Garten

T here are

many good reasons to call for mandatory community

service, which is why courts order people to complete it after being convicted, high schools require it to graduate, and sports teams implement it into their programs.


● 1 chicken, approx. 5–6 lbs

● 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

Everyone, especially students, can benefit greatly from community service. It teaches perspective. Teenagers tend to focus on themselves and overdramatize situations. They lack the ability to see the big picture. They may dwell on one small thing, causing them stress. Seeing families who are truly suffering with homelessness and unemployment tends to help them put things in perspective. When we help people triumph over major problems, it gives us confidence that we can handle our small everyday problems. Another benefit of community service is that it gives us an opportunity to show leadership. When we have the chance to step into a leadership role, we get to experience a self-worth that perhaps we have never felt before or have not felt in a while. We can’t help but feel good about making a positive impact on someone who is suffering. This may be the kick-start needed to get us out of a funk. Sometimes we wallow in self-pity and doubt. These are the times we should volunteer, even though it seems counterintuitive. We often hear the excuse “I can’t even help myself, so how can I help someone else?” In reality, we often do more for others than we are willing to do for ourselves. Our community needs our help right now. Financial contributions and volunteer labor are critical to the success of nonprofits. The unintended benefit is that by helping others, we help ourselves. It’s good for our souls. At, we help people in crisis. We are problem-solvers. We broker second chances. But we also strive to help people avoid crisis in the first place, especially young people. We think a regular, consistent practice of community service would go a long way in reaching that goal. We encourage you to make 2020 the year of service!

• •

● Kosher salt

● 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Freshly ground pepper

● 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced ● 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

● 1 large bunch fresh thyme, 20 sprigs removed

● 1 lemon, halved

Olive oil



Heat oven to 425 F.

2. Rinse chicken inside and out, removing giblets if included. Move to a work surface, pat dry, and liberally season with salt and pepper. Stuff cavity with thyme bunch, lemon halves, and garlic head. Brush outside with butter, and then season again. Tie chicken legs together with kitchen string. 3. Meanwhile, in a roasting pan, toss onions and carrots in olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and 20 sprigs of thyme. 4. Place the chicken on the vegetables and roast for 1 1/2 hours. 5. Remove from oven, and let stand for 20 minutes covered with foil. 6. Slice and serve with the vegetables.

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Solution from pg. 3

Inside This Issue

Christmas Traditions 1

Boost Your Mental Health This Season

Celebrities Who Spent the Holidays Behind Bars 2

The Power of Community Service

Classic Roast Chicken 3

Lessons Families Can Learn From ‘A Christmas Story’ 4

Lessons Families Can Learn From ‘A Christmas Story’

In 1983, one movie introduced Red Ryder BB guns, fishnet-clad leg lamps, and bright red bars of soap into America’s everlasting Christmas mythos. Now, over 35 years later, “A Christmas Story” continues to delight audiences every holiday season with timeless lessons for viewers of all ages. In a story where kids are clever and kind, and parents are bumbling and wise, “A Christmas Story” has more lessons to offer families than just, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Your kids are listening to you (oh, fudge!). They aren’t always obedient, but that doesn't mean they’re not listening. After Ralphie lets slip the “queen mother of dirty words” in front of his father, the narrator reminisces about first hearing that word from his old man — possibly when he was trying to get their furnace to work. He doesn’t admit this to his mother, but it’s a lesson for parents everywhere that kids may hear more than they let on. Kids won’t believe in magic forever. Magical stories about Santa or even “Little Orphan Annie’s” Secret Society fill children’s

hearts with wonder but won’t enchant them forever. Belief in certain parts of the Christmas season can fade slowly or die as quickly as the spin of a decoder pin, but parents can always be there to remind children about what’s really important during the Christmas season.

Sometimes ‘disasters’ lead to new adventures.

More Than Just ‘You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!’

Christmas Day can be hectic, and, in the hubbub of it all, sometimes disaster can feel inevitable. Ralphie’s parents certainly experience their fair share of disaster in hilarious fashion when the Bumpus Hounds destroy their holiday turkey and leave nothing but the heavenly aroma. But, when Ralphie’s father takes them out to eat at a local Chinese restaurant, it creates a whole new Christmas tradition for the Parker family. Our holiday mishaps, no matter how tragic, are rarely the end of the world.

Consider one final tip: Do not stick your tongue to any flagpoles this winter! Happy holidays!

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