Soft Cookies and WarmHearts The Holiday Traditions ThatMake This Season Great
T he end of the year is a busy time for our law firm, but we always find time to celebrate together! Every year — thanks to the thoughtfulness of our very own DJ Wik — our office does a cookie exchange. Each member of our team prepares and brings in a batch of cookies to share with the office, and we all take home a collection of goodies. Of course, there’s a little friendly competition over who can make the best cookie, but we are all most excited about taking home a tinful of delicious treats. The best part is there isn’t a bad one in the bunch! While we anxiously await another tasty baked good swap, we wanted to share two holiday traditions from our team members, Michael Hill and Craig Hersch. We believe these traditions are too good not to share The Hill Family: Feeding Our Community, One Meal at a Time Our family was introduced to Meals of Hope’s Holidays Without Hunger event through our children’s elementary school about six years ago. Meals of Hope works with communities across the nation to eliminate hunger in the U.S. through food packaging events, a food pantry, and meal programs for children. Holidays Without Hunger is one of Meals of Hope’s biggest events. This year the goal is to pack 1 million meals in two hours! My family is honored to take part in this tradition for the past six years, and it’s one of our favorite ways to kick off the holidays. Every Christmas Eve, my wife, our kids, and I join thousands of other volunteers to package meals for those who are in need. The event includes fun Christmas caroling across tables, and it’s a great opportunity for us to connect with our community.
As my kids reach their teenage years, I’m sure they would much rather be sleeping in during their winter break, but by the end of the event every year, I can tell it’s been an eye- opening experience for all of us. The event teaches our kids
that we are lucky to live a privileged life, and even the smallest actions can have lasting impacts. I’m proud that we take the opportunity to give back to the community we care so much about every Christmas Eve.
The Hersch Family: The Power of a Home-Cooked Meal
Much like Mike and his family, we were introduced to a family tradition through one of our daughters’ school projects. While our daughters were still living at home, my wife, our three girls, and I would prepare a holiday meal for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida. If you’re unfamiliar with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, it offers lodging and support services for families who have children battling chronic illnesses. It’s a fight no parent ever wants their child to have to battle, but the Southwest Florida house provides families with a haven of support and a place to stay near to their children who are fighting in nearby hospitals. The cost of medical bills, meals, and other various everyday needs can become unmanageable during this time, so our family joined dozens of other volunteers to do our part to make the process just a little easier. It isn’t until you go through something as harrowing as a cancer diagnosis and treatment that you realize how far a homecooked meal can go. My family is not unfamiliar with the stress and emotions that come with this awful disease. My mom suffered from and later succumbed to leukemia. After supporting her through this disease, this opportunity held a special meaning for our family. I hope we were able to touch a few lives. If we can bring even just a little bit of peace to a family’s life by offering a home-cooked meal, well, then we are more than happy to do it.
From our big, extended Sheppard Law Firm family to yours, have a wonderful holiday season!
– Craig and Mike
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Do YouHave a Story to Tell? Share Your Wisdom in a Memoir
The urge to leave behind a legacy is an inherent human instinct. Whether you accomplish this by raising children, building a successful company, or starting a charitable organization, the desire to share your wisdom should not go unfulfilled. If none of these options work for your lifestyle, writing a memoir may be a good option. A memoir not only tells your story but also passes
on the wisdom you’ve gained from your many experiences and offers a unique perspective to inspire future generations.
Writing can be a therapeutic exercise at a time when your life may be changing due to retirement or your kids growing up and leaving the house. And because personal reflection is a natural occurrence with age, writing a memoir can be the perfect way to spend your time. As you gain enough distance from life events to grow useful perspectives, the stage is set for self-discovery and transformation. Even more so, your life experiences can give valuable insights to readers of all ages and circumstances. That’s why biographies and memoirs are such popular genres — reading about real people helps others understand the world and how they can live in it. To get started, pick a theme. Ask yourself these questions, “What message do I want to leave with my readers? What do I want them to feel or understand by reading my words?” From there, select anecdotes that support your theme. Make sure they’re clear and cohesive. Then, write like you would a fictional novel or story. Show, don’t tell, and keep readers invested by having a narrative arc, whether it flows chronologically or jumps back and forth in time. Remember, this is not a time to air dirty laundry; it’s a time to reflect, grow, and share your experiences with the world.
Thank You for ‘Flocking’With Us!
At The Sheppard Law Firm there’s nothing we value more than our clients’ word. When you refer a loved one or friend to our firm, we are honored to have your recommendation. We work hard to ensure we live up to the expectations you have set. Your referrals are truly the biggest compliment we can receive. This October, our firm had the privilege of welcoming dozens of clients and their friends to our second Birds of a Feather Dinner at Gulf Harbor Yacht & Country Club. We invited clients and a friend of their choosing to join us for this special informal dinner designed to introduce ourselves to those who may be interested in learning more about what our firm can offer. After a short presentation by our very own Craig Hersch, our team enjoyed mingling with clients and their guests. We learned so much more about each other and developed lasting connections that we will value for years to come.
Our firm believes in the meaning behind the phrase “birds of a feather flock together.”We believe that by building connections through these dinners and our various workshops, we can connect with the people we serve and make a significant impact on their lives and their loved ones. Birds of a Feather Dinner also provides us with an opportunity to create a no-pressure situation for our clients and their friends. We never want a guest to feel pressured into working with us. Instead, we want to make them feel comfortable, and we value the opportunity to understand a member of the community our firm has called home for 95 years just a little bit more. We want to thank everyone who attended 2019’s second Birds of a Feather Dinner. We already cannot wait for the next dinner, and we are anxiously waiting to see who we will meet and connect with.
If you have a friend who may benefit from having a conversation with our firm or who you believe would be interested in learning more, please give us a call.
Welcome Back! 3 Things You Can Do During a Florida Winter
Art Show in Naples, Florida, boasts a competitive exhibition featuring nearly 200 artists. Cash prizes are given out to winners, while visitors have an opportunity to peruse local and national artwork and enjoy culinary creations. Don’t miss your opportunity to check out the art show that is consistently voted among the top 25 art shows in the nation on Feb. 22 and 23. beautiful weather in our region? Get outside this winter and enjoy many of your favorite hobbies. Take the boat out for a day on the ocean or lake. Hop on the John Yarbough Linear Park Trail and take a 6-mile ride south along the water’s edge. Golfers and tennis players can enjoy a Christmas or New Years’ game without worrying about the cold or snow. (Plus, it’s a great time to perfect your technique and impress your friends in your summer state!) There are plenty of options to choose from, so get out and explore! For more local winter attractions, visit FortMyers- Sanibel.com. We cannot wait to hear all about your adventures! Get Outside! Who says you need an event to enjoy the
Whether you came from the snowy north or traveled further south into Florida, welcome back to the Sunshine State! We’re so glad that you call Florida home every winter. After all, winter is the most wonderful time of the year, and that saying is especially true in Florida. If you have just returned to Florida — or if you’ve always been a local — check out these three wonderful things only Floridians can enjoy each winter. Christmas on the Boat Some communities enjoy winter wonderlands. In Fort Myers, Florida, we celebrate under the sea. Join the Fort Myers community this holiday season at the 31st Annual Christmas Boat Parade on Fort Myers Beach. On Saturday, Dec. 7 at 6 p.m., boats will launch at Salty Sam’s Marina and will cruise past nearby establishments with festive light displays. If you miss your opportunity to see the lights in Fort Myers, travel 50 minutes south to Four Freedoms Park in Cape Coral, Florida, on Dec. 21 from 4 to 9 p.m. for the Holiday Boat-A-Long. Local Art Experience one of the best art shows in the nation this winter. Every February, the National
s i c R o a s t C h i c k e n
• • • •
1 chicken, approx. 5–6 lbs
Freshly ground pepper
1 large bunch fresh thyme, 20 sprigs removed
• • •
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 1 large yellow onion, thickly sliced 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 lemon, halved
1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
DIRECTIONS: 1. 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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INSIDE this issue
Craig and Mike Share Their Holiday Volunteering Traditions..................................1
Tell Your Story and Share Your Wisdom............................2
Thank You for Being Our Friend — And for Inviting Yours!.........................2
Wintering in Florida? Here’s What You Should Do!..............3
Classic Roast Chicken.............3
The History Behind Christmas Lights.....................4
L i g The first string of twinkling lights illuminating your neighbor’s house is always a telltale sign of the upcoming seasonal festivities. Christmas lights are a holiday staple, but have you ever wondered where this beloved tradition started? The tradition of hanging lights on the tree originally started with candles. Because this posed an immense fire hazard, Edward Hibberd Johnson, a close friend of Thomas Edison and vice president of the Edison Electric Light Company, vowed to find a better way to decorate Christmas trees with light. In December 1882, three years after Edison’s invention of the lightbulb in November 1879, Johnson hand-wired 80 red, white, and blue lightbulbs together and wound them around a Christmas tree in his parlor window. A passing reporter saw the spectacle and declared in the Detroit Post and Tribune, “One can hardly imagine anything prettier.”
Johnson continued this tradition, increasing the number of lights each year and eventually putting them up
outside. But because electricity was still a new concept, many years passed before the fad took off for regular Americans. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge began the tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree, which spurred the idea of selling stringed lights commercially. By the
1930s, families everywhere were buying boxes of bulbs by the dozen. Today, an estimated 150 million Christmas lights are sold in America each year, decorating 80 million homes and consuming 6% of the nation’s electricity every December.
Whether you’ll be putting up your own lights or appreciating the most impressive light displays in your neighborhood or town, let the glow fill you with joy this season. Just don’t leave them up until February!
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