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The holidays are when most of us get so wrapped up in all the business events and family gatherings that it can seem like everything is nonstop. For myself, well, this has always been an extra special time of year. December is my birth month on top of being the month of Christmas and many other holidays all the way through to the New Year. Dec. 3rd is my big day. Depending on when you read this issue, my birthday may have already passed. Regardless, this year is one of those monumental, milestone birthdays: I turn 40 this year. To celebrate the big 4-0, I’ll be checking off a couple of my bucket list items this year. Alison is taking me to Las Vegas to see George Strait in concert, then we’re going to the National Finals Rodeo on Dec. 5–6. Celebrating the Season and a Milestone I’m also looking forward to Christmas. Christmas has always been special to me ever since I was very young. I was that boy who truly believed in the magic of the holiday. I still try to engage in various activities every December to make it feel like the holiday season I grew up with. I look for every excuse to put a little extra magic into the holiday. As part of that, Alison and I generally put up our Christmas tree early. We have an artificial tree these days, but I had the real thing when I was a kid. Back then, my parents would take me to the Christmas tree farm in Winnsboro, Texas. While we were out there, we would go on hayrides and cut our own tree down. Those were great times. Throughout the season, Alison and I like to go look at Christmas lights around the area. Prairie Lights in Grand Prairie and Interlochen Christmas Lights in Arlington are a couple of our favorites. I’ve never seen a George Strait show or been to the NFR, but I’ve been looking forward to both for a long time. It will be great to cross these off my bucket list!
hundreds of kids from all over DFW get presents that they otherwise would not get.
As 2019 comes to a close, I don’t know if this is where is necessarily where I anticipated my life to be at 40. However, I think I have a great life today. I’m healthy and have a great wife and family. I also get to help people every day through crisis situations, and that’s very rewarding. I also feel like so many great things have happened. Alison and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. The law firm has gone from a true solo practice to a team of six. God has really blessed us, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2020.
With that, from our family to yours, have a Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a wonderful new year.
-Matt Aulsbrook 1
We also support Mission Arlington and their Christmas store where needy families get to shop for Christmas gifts for their children. This is an amazing ministry where
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!” 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.
DON’T LET ‘JUST ONE DRINK’ TURN INTO A NIGHTMARE
Staying Safe During the Holiday Season
With the holiday season comes celebration. Everyone loves to get in the spirit of the season and revel in good tidings. However, it’s not uncommon for these celebrations to serve alcoholic beverages. More alcohol is consumed between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than any other time of year. Because of this, the roads are more dangerous because many people are driving under the influence. Part of the reason for the increased risk is the fact that more people drink socially during the holiday season. More people have a glass of wine (or two or more) during dinner or throughout the evening. People consume more alcoholic beverages while watching football or as they gather with friends and family. Plus, more people drink during this time of year to cope with added stress. If you choose to drink, you should never get behind the wheel of a vehicle. However, if you need to drive, you should always give yourself enough time between your last drink to completely sober up before heading out. While the time you need to sober up can vary from person to person, give yourself about one hour after your last drink just in case. But if you aren’t sure you’re fully sober, don’t risk it, and instead look for an alternative means of transportation or a designated driver. • It’s always okay to say “no” to a drink. Never feel pressured to have an alcoholic beverage. Those who pressure others to drink are irresponsible and inconsiderate. • If hosting a gathering, always have plenty of nonalcoholic beverages on hand. • If you do drink, drink responsibly. Decide in advance how many drinks you’ll have and stick with your plan. • Always have a designated driver you can rely on, either with you at the gathering, or a quick call or text away. You can also keep the number of a taxi service in your contacts or have the Uber or Lyft apps installed on your phone. • Finally, never let drinking become the main focus of the holidays. It should be about spending time with friends and family! Here are more tips to keep in mind as you enjoy the holidays this year:
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. 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!
An Attitude of Gratitude Gratitude is a remarkably powerful emotion. Sharing our gratitude for other people makes them feel good and appreciated. Plus, when we tell others we care about them and are grateful for them, we feel good! and the third just recounted what happened over the week.
FIND GREATER HAPPINESS WITH ONE SIMPLE HABIT
The results of the experiment were clear. The participants who wrote about what they were grateful for were noticeably happier, more optimistic, and even healthier than
Sharing gratitude or reflecting on what you are thankful for helps us to live happier lives. A greater understanding of gratitude can be found in the book “59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot” by Richard Wiseman. In “59 Seconds,” Wiseman cites a study that looked at three groups of people who wrote in journals over a certain period of time. The first group wrote about what they were grateful for, the second wrote about what annoyed them,
MONTSERRAT O S WA L D
members of the other groups. They had focused on positive emotions, and it had helped them feel more positive overall. Meanwhile, those who focused on the negative felt more negative at the end of the study. A good way to feel more positive is to keep a gratitude journal at home. At least once a week (or, even better, once a day), write down a list of 3–5 things you are grateful for. Keep a journal and pen right next to your bed or your favorite chair, and every evening, jot down a few bullet points. Make it a habit. What can you include on this list? Think about these: Who positively impacted your day? Has there been a joyous event in your life or around the world? What went well that day? You can even appreciate that simple but delicious cup of coffee you had this morning. It can be anything that brought a little brightness into your day. Give it a try! You might be surprised by how much happier you feel!
• • • •
1 cup molasses 4 tbsp honey
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6 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp dried powder ginger
1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In a medium bowl, combine molasses, honey, water, and oil, and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing well until dough forms. 3. Separate dough into four equal balls. Wrap dough balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3–5 hours. 4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out chilled dough to 1/4-inch thick. Use dog- shaped cookie cutters to cut out treats. 5. Bake for 20–25 minutes on baking sheet until cookies start to brown. Carefully remove treats from the oven and let them cool completely before serving to your dog. Inspired by GoneToTheSnowDogs.com
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INSIDE Celebrating a Major Milestone 1 Lessons Families Can Learn From ‘A Christmas Story’ Don’t Let One Drink Turn into a Nightmare 2 Find Greater Happiness With This One Simple Habit Homemade Gingerbread Dog Treats 3 Yurts: Glamping at Its Finest 4
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• Criminal Law/DWI • Business Law
Yurt Sweet Yurt
Glamping in Beautiful Locations
The allure of the great outdoors calls to many, but pitching a tent and cooking over a fire isn’t for everyone. If that describes you, consider the yurt: a small, permanent structure often outfitted with electricity, plumbing, and other modern amenities. Expertly nestled in remote locations, they provide comforts of home in the midst of nature. Here are just a few around the United States available for rent. Treebones Resort, California For those new to the glamping scene, this is a great choice for an easy transition. With picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, the Treebones Resort in Big Sur has an array of spaciously comfortable yurts to choose from. The resort has heated pools, a cozy lodge, and even a sushi bar. About an hour up the coastline, you can find a few shops, restaurants, and art galleries if you decide you’ve gotten your dose of nature for the day. Spruce Hole Yurt, Colorado Nestled in the San Juan Mountains about 10 miles north of New Mexico, this yurt is a snow-lover’s paradise. Skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking trails are plentiful in this backcountry location. At the end of a
chilly day, come home to comfy beds, cooking supplies, and decor made to feel like you’re camping — but with sturdy walls to keep out the cold.
Falls Brook Yurts, New York For the glampers who truly want to get away, hike just under 1 mile into the woods of the Adirondack Mountains to discover rustic yurts beckoning you to cook over a fire or bundle up with a book. At night, the yurt’s domed skylight offers excellent stargazing. For those keen on winter activities, skiing and snowshoeing trails start right outside the front door. In the summer, enjoy hiking, fishing, and swimming.
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