Holland & Usry December 2019

REMEMBER THE GRIEVING AND THE LONELY For most of us, Christmas is a season full of joy and excitement. There’s just nothing like it, especially if you have young children like me. All four of my little ones eagerly anticipate time with their extended family, celebrations, no school, and oh, yes — the presents.

But for some of us, it’s just not the season to be jolly. For some, this will be the first Christmas without a dearly loved spouse or family member. The empty chair at the table will be a piercing reminder of irreplaceable loss. Others struggle to provide for their families, just when it seems the world celebrates material abundance. Then there’s military families who endure the absence of a brave service member. Still others confront a life-changing injury (as I see so often in my work), addiction, and other reminders of what they DON’T have in the midst of a season devoted to what we DO have. If you’re a Christian, it’s part of what we celebrate — the entrance of light into a dark world. And it certainly doesn’t need to be spectacular, as proven by the birth of our Consolation to a peasant teenager in a barn. So, this Christmas, reach out to someone who’s having a hard time. You might find you receive unexpected joy from it. Here are a few thoughts to encourage you. 1. It’s not your job to fix it. And suffering people know that all too well. So don’t worry about “finding the right words” or buying a perfect gift. This is about letting them know you’re present for them — available, concerned, and eager to help and encourage. For those suffering, the thrill of Christmas may only intensify pain and isolation. That’s where we can come in.

we miscarried. We’d left town and returned to find it at our door. It meant the world to us that a friend had the thought and took the time. That was four children and 15 years ago. I can still see the cake box on our doorstep.

3. It’s about them, not you. If you’re writing a note, make the first word “you.”

4. They don’t need a sermon. They need to be heard and understood. In one of the darkest times of my life, a friend said to me, “Rob, I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but I want to. I’m here to listen.” I felt like an elephant had been lifted off my chest.

5. What can you do?

• I’m a big fan of writing a note that expresses I’m here to listen and help, then sharing some inspirational words, often from the Bible. It’s one page, and they can do whatever they want with it.

Taking food is always a winner.

2. It doesn’t take much. One of the most poignant gifts Mamie and I ever received was a pound cake from a friend after

Sometimes a simple phone call can make an enormous impact in the lives of the grieving.

This Christmas, reach out to someone who’s having a hard time. You might find you receive unexpected joy from it.

As we enjoy the Christmas lights, and hopefully the True Light, let’s be a light for someone in the dark.


MORE THAN JUST ‘YOU’LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT!’ 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!”


be there to remind children about what’s really important during the Christmas season.

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

SOMETIMES ‘DISASTERS’ LEAD TO NEW ADVENTURES. 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!

Testimonials HEAR WHAT OUR CLIENTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT US! “Mr. Usry was very helpful and gave me very great tips on what I should do about my legal issues. Thanks again for all your help.”

–Richard R.

help. We have used Mr. Holland on several occasions with better than expected outcomes. We want to say thank you, Mr. Holland, for your hard work, dedication, and attention to detail to our case.”

“Working with John Holland has been a great experience. He has provided much help and knowledge to our situation. Mr. Holland believes in communication, and we stayed in constant communication throughout the entire process. He cares about his work and sees people not as cases but as people needing

–Kris A.


Don’t Play the Thinking Game


EDUCATION A lawyer will educate you on your rights and how they should be applied. They will also instruct you on the proper ways to interact with insurance companies and other involved parties, and they will step in as the direct point of contact and wade through that stress for you. You can trust them to know the law and keep you informed about every move along the way. ASSESSMENT Your lawyer will also know exactly what evidence to gather in order to build a strong case for you. Things like items involved in the accident, statements from witnesses or officials, photos, and medical documents are crucial to have, and those items need to be thoroughly assessed to be effectively used on your behalf. After looking at all the evidence, your lawyer can also appropriately deem the amount of compensation you deserve. GUIDANCE Finally, a lawyer can be there for you long after your case has been settled. You may need assistance protecting your rights to future medical care or benefits in workers’ compensation. A lawyer can guide you and your case in the direction it needs to go at any time in order to continue fulfilling your deserved compensation.

The stakes involved when you or a loved one has been affected by a traumatic brain injury are high. The injured party may not be in the right state of mind to make decisions for themselves, meaning the stress of complex legal decisions falls to their loved ones. This is when insurance companies descend and take advantage, leaving you with a settlement that doesn’t provide the compensation you need. But a lawyer can help you fight for what you deserve.

Don’t navigate this difficult situation alone. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, call our office at 864.582.0416 so we can assess your case.

Luke 2:10 “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.’” James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like Good News


“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” is an iconic image of Christmas, but we’re willing to bet most people reading this have never eaten a chestnut. Change that this year with this awesome paleo-friendly appetizer.


2 8-oz cans water chestnuts

1/4 cup coconut sugar

shifting shadows.” Romans 12:13

Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce), but can substitute with coconut aminos

1 lb sliced bacon, quartered


“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

1. Heat an oven to 400 F. 2. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet lined with parchment and set aside. 3. Drain liquid from canned water chestnuts, add tamari to cover, and let soak for 15 minutes in the cans. 4. Drain tamari, roll each chestnut in coconut sugar, wrap with bacon, and spear on toothpick. 5. Place chestnuts on prepared rack. Bake for 30–35 minutes. 6. Plate and serve.


Inspired by “Paleo Happy Hour” by Kelly Milton


* This newsletter is intended to educate the public about personal injury, workers’ compensation, criminal defense, and family law issues. You can copy and distribute it as long as you copy the entire newsletter. But the newsletter is not intended to be legal advice; you should ask a lawyer about your specific case. Every case is different, and all case outcomes depend on unique facts and laws.

101 W. St. John St. Suite 206 Spartanburg, SC 29306

INSIDE this issue


Remember the Grieving and the Lonely


Lessons Families Can Learn From ‘A Christmas Story’



Your Brain Deserves Proper Representation

Bacon-Wrapped Chestnuts


The History Behind Christmas Lights

If you no longer want to receive this newsletter, call Pam at 864.582.0416 or email rob@bhollandlawfirm.com .


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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