Douglass & Runger - April 2022

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APRIL 2022


I love a good prank. No one in our office is immune to an occasional practical joke, and it doesn’t even have to be April Fools’ Day for me to pull off elaborate — sometimes hair-raising — pranks. Luckily, everyone knows it’s all in good fun. In honor of the greatest pranking holiday on the planet, I want to share a few of our best office pranks. The Spider That Almost Got Donna I had a little help with this one. Our former receptionist was just like me; she loved a good prank. When Mr. Douglass’s assistant, Donna, walked into the conference room one April Fools’ Day several years back, our then-receptionist shrieked, “DONNA! Oh my God, stop!” Naturally, Donna froze, horrified as to what could have possibly happened. Our receptionist continued, “Don’t move. You have a huge spider on you!” Like anyone would, Donna screamed, jumping up and down to fling the spider off her shoulder. When we all burst into laughter and yelled “April Fools!” all Donna could do was laugh, too. She knew she had been had! Giving Away the Coolest Car Our unsuspecting victim in this prank was one of our attorneys, Joy Robertson. Joy’s vehicle’s air conditioning was out, so we told her that the Firm paid for her air conditioning to be fixed. She was amazed! She couldn’t believe she wouldn’t have to drive around in a blistering vehicle. So, we told her to go try it out! I wish you could have seen the look on her face when she saw a desk fan taped to her side mirror. We even set it to oscillate — a high-tech feature for her “new” AC! She actually thought it was hilarious and was a great sport about it. The Creature in the Next Room In our office space, we have a few offices that we use as storage. One such space is next to attorney Chelsea Connor’s office. Chelsea has a great sense of humor, and on a whim, I knew I had to spook her! So, I sneaked into the office next to hers and started making all sorts of weird sounds. First, I scratched the walls next to hers. Then, I started knocking on the walls — just making all sorts of little noises. When Chelsea came out of her office to investigate, that’s when I jumped out and screamed! She jumped back, screaming before bursting into laughter, too. I still can’t believe she fell for it!

where we can all share a few laughs makes the work we do that much more manageable. We have high expectations in our office and often work on high-pressure and high-stress matters; we work hard every day for the people we serve. And sometimes laughing about a spider or an oscillating fan on a car mirror is just what an office needs. We do this in other ways, too. I’m big on giving credit where it’s due, so I like to hand out “adulting” awards. These are honors given to those who work hard and hustle day in and day out for our clients. I want to recognize people for paying attention to details, being intentional with their actions, and showing genuine care for the work we do. One of the philosophies we live by at the law firm is that you work hard, but you play hard, too. Commitment and camaraderie go hand in hand, and sometimes, all it takes is a little prank to move that needle forward. And if you’re wondering if anyone has successfully pranked me yet, the answer is no, but there’s a first time for everything, and I know at some point, someone will!

To some, these pranks may not sound like a lot. Others may find them a little strange for an office setting, but I believe creating an atmosphere

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When you’re in pain, daily activities like walking to the mailbox or reaching for a plate from the cupboard can exacerbate inflamed joints and weak muscles. However, just simply being a human can intensify this pain, too. The

skills, and endurance, among other benefits. It’s the practice of gardening to stimulate mindfulness. Dating back to ancient Mesopotamia, the Persians were known for creating beautiful, calming gardens for this very purpose, and the first documented use of gardening for medical reasons is from the 1800s. Since then, connecting humans to plants is now a common treatment in many countries.

reason is in your brain. For years, researchers have connected our mental well-being with our physical health. Study after study shows that those who suffer from mental illnesses also have intense bouts of pain. Physical therapy is a powerful treatment method designed to use your body’s strength and movement to stimulate physical healing. But to holistically recover from an injury or pain, you may have to also address your mental health.

What do I have to do? To effectively engage in horticulture therapy, you have to engage with nature. Plant a small garden in your yard and tend to it each day or week. Join a community garden, plant an indoor herb garden, or pluck weeds from your yard. If you’re not much of a gardener, try visiting local botanical gardens or hike a local trail and identify plant life each week.

This spring, as April showers loom, consider a centuries-old practice that has shown time and time again to improve mental wellness. All it requires is a little dirt, patience, and the great outdoors. What is horticulture therapy? As the American Horticultural Therapy Association explains, horticulture therapy can improve cognitive and memory abilities, balance, language

Or, ask your local nursery for suggestions about plants that are easy to care for. The goal is to physically and mentally connect with nature, which bonds you to a simpler form of life.

To learn more about horticulture therapy, connect with a local psychiatrist or counselor.


Stepparent adoptions — and other adoptions — are among some of the most rewarding tasks we do here at Douglass & Runger. Everyone is usually very excited about this opportunity, but we have witnessed the other side of stepparent adoption: the instances when it doesn’t work out. To avoid any additional hurt, heed these facts about stepparent adoption. What is step-parent adoption? When you choose to adopt your stepchild, you are legally stepping into the role of their parent. Under Tennessee law, children can only have two legal guardians, so by taking on this role, you are replacing one of their biological parents. This means you are legally and financially responsible for this child until they are 18 years old or recognized as an adult by the courts. This responsibility does not go away should you divorce their other biological parent, the one who still has their parental rights, or said parent passes away. How does it work? In cases where the biological parent you are “replacing” is still alive, we must obtain permission from that parent to terminate their parental rights. For some parents, namely those who are not involved in their child’s life, this is an easy decision. But other parents who have been very active may be insulted and confused. In these instances, we recommend family therapy and counseling to establish a stronger relationship among the child’s parenting team. After all, you can be a parent without a legal designation.

The courts may also choose to terminate a parent’s rights without their permission if the court deems it is necessary and good for the child.

The other factor to consider is the child’s age. Children ages 14 and older must consent to stepparent adoption. Children who are under 14 are interviewed by the judge, who then uses what the child says — and other factors — to conclude what is best for the child. From there, the process continues. In standard adoption cases, parents undergo a six-month waiting period and are required to go through a home study before the adoption is finalized. Stepparents can have this process waived because they already have a relationship with the child. If you or someone you know is considering stepparent adoption, seek support and guidance from experts. Call Douglass & Runger today or visit to learn more!

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Pecan Cream Pie

Spring is officially in the air, and if cabin fever has kept the whole family cooped up too long, it’s time to get outside! Be sure to check out these family-friendly activities in our region. Each one is perfect for single parents, stepfamilies, and those on a budget!

Inspired by

This creamy pecan pie tastes like a dream and is simple enough for even a novice baker.

Stanky Creek Trail Where: 5760 Yale Road, Memphis

INGREDIENTS • 1 9-inch uncooked pie crust • 1 cup heavy whipping cream • 1/4 cup powdered sugar • 2 8-oz bars of cream cheese, softened

Active families will love exploring on this trail. Featuring a 9-mile loop, the Stanky Creek Trail serves all types of hikers. You’re sure to see other runners, hikers, and mountain bikers in this region. Explore down by the trail’s riverbanks or keep a tally of how much wildlife you can find while walking along the trail. (Reviewers often comment that there are a lot of deer.) This trail never fails to have some good sights around every bend, so pick a path and take a walk! Learn more at

• 1/2 cup light brown sugar • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans, divided

Shelby Farms Park Where: Shelby County


What isn’t there to do at Shelby Farms Park? If you want another hiking opportunity, be sure to check out the park’s extensive trails — over 40 miles of them! Whether you’re a family of advanced hikers or prefer a leisurely walk, there’s a challenge for everyone at the park. The park also features a “sprayground” and a playground to keep the kids entertained and cool, or you can explore one of the 20 lakes in Shelby Park via kayak, paddleboarding, or fishing from the edge of the lake. (Rentals are available starting in late April.) There’s so much more to explore, so visit to learn more.

1. Cook pie crust according to package instructions. 2. In a small bowl, combine heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat for several minutes with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. 3. In a separate larger bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Beat together until combined and creamy. 4. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture and stir together until combined. Stir in 1 cup of chopped pecans. 5. With a spatula, spread mixture into the baked and cooled pie crust. Sprinkle the remaining pecans on top of the pie. 6. Cover and refrigerate overnight before serving. INSPIRATION “The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Thomas Alva Edison

Memphis International Raceway Where: 5500 Victory Lane, Millington

Get your adrenaline pumping at Memphis International Raceway (MIR). With events happening every weekend, you’re sure to find a race or show the whole family will love. The raceway began in 1986, and ever since, it has become our region’s spot for local racing of all kinds. One of the big attractions of MIR is its drag strip, which has hosted many fun and exciting events. You can also see standard races, tournaments, shows, and other must-see events at MIR. The best part? Children’s admission can sometimes be as low at $5, depending on the event. Visit to learn more.

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2820 Summer Oaks Drive Bartlett, TN 38134 901-388-5805


Advertising Material

1 Office Pranks Gone Right 2 Your Garden Can Help You Heal! What to Know Before Stepparent Adoption 3 Affordable Family Activities for Your Summer Bucket List Pecan Cream Pie 4 Welcome Spring With Open Arms Inside This Issue


Have you ever noticed that springtime just feels lighter and brighter? That’s because, believe it or not, the seasons affect us. When spring rolls around, the energy shifts, and it’s up to us to maximize those positive vibes. Let’s examine how we can make the most of spring and inject some color and vibrancy into our lives again after a long winter.

early stroll around the block, get in a workout outdoors, or just enjoy the fresh air. Also, many areas observe daylight saving time, which extends sunlight into the evening, so no matter how you choose to spend your extra daylight, make it an adventure. Welcome spring-cleaning. It isn’t called spring-cleaning for nothing! Decluttering, dusting, reorganizing, and tidying up feels great! It’s empowering and refreshing. There is something special about creating more space in your living space that gets the positivity flowing. Eat fresh, colorful foods. During spring, many delicious fruits and vegetables come into season. Berries, oranges, apples, carrots, avocados, cherries, spinach, and kale are all at their peak. Your local farmers market is a great place to get the freshest produce to fuel your body!

Rely on color. Colors have the ability to elicit certain emotions and feelings. Tropical tones and pastels are everywhere in spring — the clear sky, grass, and flowers — so allow them to fill your space and take them with you as constant reminders to smile. If you’re up for it, wear some new colors to brighten up your wardrobe, and don’t forget to take in a sunset when you’re able! Enjoy more hours of daylight. Spring brings more hours of sunlight and warming temperatures that can give you more time to enjoy your morning cup of coffee outside. You can take an

Spring is a time for new beginnings and positivity. Make the most of this spring season by welcoming a fresh abundance of love and life.

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