Manely Firm - December 2019

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D ecember 2019

T he T raditions of S olstice Br inging Light , Li fe, and Chr istmas Trees Into Our Home

Winter is the season when things become rather unpleasant. It’s cold, driving in the snow or on ice is always a problem, and the trees lose their wonderful foliage. However, with the holidays right around the corner, winter is anything but bleak. Every year, my family comes together to celebrate not only Christmas but also the winter solstice. I’ve been involved with solstice celebration from the time I was a child. Growing up, my family always celebrated both the holidays together, and that’s a tradition I have kept in adulthood. The solstice celebration is every bit a part of our holiday experience as Christmas, and I can’t imagine one without the other. I’ve always found the history of solstice very interesting. Many of the Christmas traditions people celebrate in today’s modern age come from ancient, tribal traditions, and most people aren’t aware of that. In fact, in modern times, there is very little difference between solstice and Christmas traditions. The solstice stands for the idea of regeneration, rebirth, and the expectation of the new year, while Christmas represents the birth of Jesus, the embodiment of regeneration and rebirth, and the expectation of eternal life. Many of the Christmas traditions that people celebrate across the world, such as putting up a Christmas tree, can be traced back to pagan roots. I believe that if you were to walk into a home that was celebrating Christmas and then another that was strictly celebrating the solstice, the two would look very similar. My home around this time of year always has a big Christmas tree,

candles, warm smells of candy and bread baking in the kitchen, and the kids eagerly anticipating the arrival of Santa. We’re all comfortable with the two holidays and have always looked forward to celebrating them this time of year. Solstice is important to me, as it honors the passing of the seasons and the coming of the light. In ancient times, the solstice was celebrated as the returning of the sun, which, until Dec. 21, spent less and less time in the sky. As the days become longer and brighter, the solstice is a time to celebrate the change by welcoming greenery inside the home. This tradition has been around for hundreds of years, and one of the most common ways to celebrate it is through the Christmas tree. By bringing the live tree inside the home, it represents the idea that winter will fade into spring, bringing warmth and life.

Decorating the Christmas tree has always been one of my favorite traditions. My family would personally execute the entire process of getting the tree, heading out on Thanksgiving weekend to pick the perfect one. Once we had the tree set up in our living room, we would decorate it with our favorite ornaments through our collective effort. The tree, once it’s adorned with lights, ornaments, and garlands, always makes the holiday feel complete. I wish you happy holidays, and no matter what you choose to celebrate this year, I hope it fills you with joy and happiness. –Michael Manely


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T he G ift T hat K eeps on T aking Consider This Before Gi ft ing a Pet

It’s a stereotypical picture of love and joy: A child opens their presents on Christmas morning only to be disappointed they didn’t get what they wanted. Suddenly, Dad brings out one more box, and a little whimper escapes the cardboard. The child’s face lights up! Their dream has come true. Inside the box, of course, is a new furry best friend. While many holiday films lean into this magical bond between people and animals, the reality of pet care isn’t so romantic. Adopting a pet comes with serious responsibility, and statistics show a staggering number of families return these pets after reality sets in. According to RSPCA, three pets are abandoned every hour during the holiday season. If you do decide you’re ready for a pet, recognize you will be financially responsible for it over the course of its entire life, which can be up to 14-plus years depending on the type. Are you equipped to handle routine veterinary costs in addition to food, supplies, and the occasional toy or treat? Do you have a plan in place for As part of our client care coordination team, Cheryl Jackson-Sinkler helps our clients connect with our caring and experienced lawyers. With her practical and compassionate demeanor, she embodies our philosophy. When a person comes to us in their time of need, they become more than just a client; they are family. “I first met Michael and Shelia Manely and the rest of The Manely Firm through Tenera McPherson from Staffing One,” Cheryl says. “I really liked their approach to their clients and their cases, which is to try to be a source of calm and reassurance, coupled with their knowledge of family law. When I applied, we clicked, and here I am five years later.” Before starting at The Manely Firm, Cheryl admits that she had never worked in the law field. “However, my time here has given me an insight into all that goes into the law that I never had before. I am grateful that I was able to discover this career.”

when you go on vacation or in the event of an emergency? If not, it’s best to plan those things sooner rather than later. In addition to the financial responsibility of pet ownership, some pets require regular exercise, special diets, and even social interaction. So, if your family is always on the go, consider a low- maintenance pet fish instead. Your children can help feed the fish and clean its tank, giving them the fun of pet ownership without the hassle. Keep in mind that different fish have different needs, so do some research before making the commitment. If pet ownership is not viable right now, you can interact with animals outside the home in plenty of ways. Volunteer at an animal shelter, enroll in horseback riding lessons at a local stable, or buy season tickets to the zoo. Pets can bring immense joy to your life when you’re prepared but immense stress and hardship when you’re not. Make the right choice to prevent your pet from becoming another sad statistic. here is when we can help our clients get the results they need. My position allows me to help people through some difficult times. Knowing that I played a small part in helping the clients start new phases of their lives able to move on makes me feel good.” Whenever Cheryl has free time, she spends as much of it as she can with her daughter, Jessica, who is in her second year of college. She also enjoys volunteering for the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA). “I am a daughter, sister, and wife of a military veteran, so I dedicate a lot of my free time there. This is a cause I hold very dear to my heart, since I feel like we need to give back to all of those who fought and defended our country. “My husband and I are very active members, and we have traveled all over Georgia, and other states as well, in our work with the American Legion Auxiliary. Currently, I hold the position of Department of GA, Historian, which has taken over my personal life, but my husband, Clarence Sinkler, is right by my side.”

C heryl J ackson -S inkler

Cl ient Care Coordinator and Mama Bear of the Off ice

The more she learned about the law field, the more her passion grew. “The best part of being


Is Your Spouse Planning to Take Your Chi ld Away? P rotecting Y our C hildren Apart from summer break, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are perhaps some of the busiest times of the year, especially when people travel for the holidays. As time goes on, families tend to spread out from their original homes, branching from state to state, country to country, or even continent to continent. It’s natural for people to want to visit family members they don’t see often, especially if their children have never visited before. However, this does bring up several concerns. W hat S hould I W orry A bout ? In June, The Manely Firm featured an article discussing the possibility of a parent taking their children to visit family in another country and not returning. Sadly, it’s equally likely this could happen on a Christmas vacation. Often, these plans are created well in advance. Unlike during summer, trips during winter break are shorter, leaving less time for someone to spontaneously formulate the idea of staying there. Instead, the shorter amount of time away forces a parent to make plans before the trip even starts. It’s essential for parents to keep in mind the possibility that the other might have a nefarious plan to take their child away. L ook for R ed F lags . One of the signs to look out for is what the other parent is packing. The type or amount of clothes they’re bringing is a good indicator that something may be wrong. If a spouse is packing clothes that don’t fit the season of the trip, it’s a sign they are planning to stay longer than the Christmas holidays. It’s also important to discuss plans for after the trip is over. A parent who isn’t returning won’t be interested in coming back to work or sending their child back to their normal school. Stay alert when things aren’t going so well at home. In these situations, you may want to be wary when your spouse decides to take the children to visit their homeland. If this happens, it’s crucial to consult an international family law attorney about how best to protect the children so they return home as expected.

“Only in darkness can you see the stars.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

C lassic R oast C hicken

Inspired by Ina Garten

I ngredients 1 chicken, approx. 5–6 lbs

2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Kosher salt

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

Freshly ground pepper

1 large bunch fresh thyme, 20 sprigs removed

Olive oil

1 lemon, halved

1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise

D irections


Heat oven to 425 F.

Before the holiday season starts, it might be time to have those hard conversations with your spouse about international travel with your children.


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. Meanwhile, in a roasting pan, toss onions and carrots in olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and 20 sprigs of thyme. Place the chicken on the vegetables and roast for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, and let stand for 20 minutes covered with foil.





Slice and serve with the vegetables.


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211 Roswell St. NE Marietta, GA 30060 (866) 687-8561


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The Original Afro-Samurai

From bonded slave to honored warrior in a foreign land ...

Japan’s most legendary daimyo, or warlord, Oda Nobunaga. Well on his way to unifying Japan, Nobunaga was deeply curious about the black man who had been brought to his court. Having never encountered people from Africa, the samurai lord thought Yasuke was covered in ink and insisted he scrub his skin. But as Nobunaga got to know Yasuke, who now spoke conversational Japanese, a friendship kindled between the two men from different worlds. Contemporary records claim Nobunaga loved learning about the world outside Japan through Yasuke’s stories, and the two often conversed together. F rom S amurai to I con Nobunaga not only valued his conversations with Yasuke, but he also recognized his friend’s military prowess. The daimyo raised Yasuke to the honored rank of samurai, giving him his own residence and katana, the ceremonial sword of Japan’s warrior- elite. Yasuke fought alongside Nobunaga in battle and is even rumored to have taken the warrior’s sword to Nobunaga’s son after his death. In Japan today, the legend of the African samurai lives on through stories, such as in the children’s book “Kuro-suke” by Kurusu Yoshio, and the Emmy-nominated series “Afro Samurai: Resurrection.”

If you think this sounds like the plot of an action movie, you’re not alone, but Yasuke, the 16th century servant-turned-samurai, was very real. He lived a life that blurred the line between history and legend. The story of the sole recorded African to join the Japanese warrior class is surprisingly seldom-told. Although, an upcoming movie starring “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman aims to change that. F rom S hadows of the P ast Little is known about Yasuke’s early life. Historians theorize he was kidnapped from Mozambique and trained as a slave and child soldier in India, but the details are hazy. What we do know is the man who would come to be called Yasuke was purchased by Jesuit missionaries and acted as the valet and bodyguard to the leader of a delegation to Japan. The island nation was in dire straits itself, reeling from seemingly endless wars between rival clans. In this political turmoil, Yasuke found his place in history. F rom C uriosity to C onfidant While protecting European missionaries, Yasuke was brought to Kyoto, home to

T he L egend of Y asuke Japan’s Afr ican Samurai


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