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LEARNING TO FIND HAPPINESS A LETTER TO THOSE WHO TAUGHT ME
It’s fitting that both National Teacher Day and Mother’s Day fall in the same month. Our parents are our first educators, after all. I get to honor my mother twice in May, since my mom was an elementary school teacher. For kindergarten and first grade, I attended the same school where my mother taught. Because I spent time in the summer helping her prepare her classroom for the new school year, my teachers knew I could find my way around the building. This meant I was the one chosen to deliver the attendance sheet to the office on the first day of kindergarten. Excited by my mission, I ran through the hallways, rounded a corner quickly, and ran headfirst into the principal, Mrs. Anderson. Needless to say, she was not happy with me. Of course, by the end of the day, my mom was asked multiple times, “Guess whose son was running in the halls?” Thankfully, my mom was there to be my advocate and keep me out of too much trouble with the school. That incident was just one part of a larger lesson my mom taught me while I was growing up. I always knew that I was loved and that she had my back. Having that kind of unconditional support meant the world to me as a kid and definitely gave me the confidence I needed to pursue my dreams. Now, with four children of my own, I try my best to pass on the same lessons my mother taught me. As I grow older (and hopefully wiser), I have a greater appreciation for these sorts of big-picture lessons. Looking back on my college years, the lecture I remember most was given by my marketing teacher, William Nickels. It had less to do with marketing than how to live a happy life. Professor Nickels was one of those great teachers who could take complex ideas and turn them into easy-to-remember tidbits of information. That rare mixture of intelligence and people skills makes for an incredible educator. Over the course of his 25-year career at the University of Maryland, Nickels’ students selected him as “Outstanding Teacher on Campus” four times. My fellow students and I were fortunate to have a teacher like Nickels, who used his talents to equip us with more than just the technical skills needed to be successful. He taught us the self-awareness to enjoy the journey.
Professor Nickels was one of the first advocates for the “work-life balance” movement that is so prevalent today. He taught us the value of appreciating what you have right now. He advised, “Happiness is the ability to appreciate fully who you are, what you have, and life the way it is now. Treat happiness as a goal instead of something that happens when you become a success at something. By then, it’s too late.” He later turned these lessons into a book called “Winning the Happiness Game,” which I could not recommend more highly.
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
Several years ago, I listened to Professor Randy Pausch’s famed “Last Lecture,” which he gave at Carnegie Mellon University shortly after being diagnosed with terminal cancer (youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_ MqicxSo). His stirring speech made me think back on those happiness lectures from Professor Nickels and appreciate them more deeply than I had as an undergrad. Pausch’s lecture can best be summed up with the phrase, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” I’ve come to realize that this is perhaps the most important lesson anyone can be taught. We have to live in the now and appreciate what we have. I am so grateful for all the educators in my life. There may be no more valuable profession in the world than teaching. Having written a book on the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) disability retirement process, I’m proud to say that my first client seeking assistance with a VRS disability retirement application was a teacher. I’m honored to have helped such an important pillar of the Virginia community — someone
N e x t D o o r Bu
who faced the same trials and tribulations my mother did, trying to teach children in an often underfunded and underappreciated school system.
To all our teachers,
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In this newsletter, we often like to promote opportunities to give back to the community. This month, we would like to honor those who have donated the greatest gift of all: life. Organ donors, both living and deceased, provide families across the country with hope. That everyday Americans are willing to give up so much, often to total strangers, is moving beyond words. Thankfully, the numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 33,600 transplants successfully brought renewed life to patients in the U.S. That’s over 33,000 families able to take their loved ones home from the hospital safe and sound. Countless lives changed for the better that year, all thanks to an estimated 15,800 donors who were willing to give part of themselves to help another. Most heartwarming of all, over half of our nation’s total population — 56 percent of us — have registered to donate life. Thank You, Donors LIFE GIVERS We could all use a vacation, and if you’re looking to bond with your grandkids, a trip might be the perfect answer. It’s fun for you, and getting away from Mom and Dad for a while is thrilling for any kid. But before you board a plane to Italy with your granddaughter or rent an RV for a trip to Yellowstone with your grandsons, there are a few things you need to check off your to-do list. TRAVELINGWITH THE GRANDKIDS? Letting their kids go on a trip without them can be nerve-wracking for parents. Don’t view parental worries as an implication that you are an irresponsible grandparent. Instead, think about how you felt when your own children were young, and take steps to alleviate the parents’ concerns. If your daughter asks you not to be on your phone while in crowded public places because she’s concerned you might lose sight of her child, promise to keep the phone in your pocket. If your son-in-law wants regular updates, make time before bed for your grandchild to call home and tell her father about all the fun she’s having. A little compromise can lead to less stress and more fun for everyone. Pack Necessary Documents You need to have some form of ID for your grandkids. Older kids can use a driver’s license, but if you’re traveling with little ones, find a copy of their birth certificates. You also need copies of insurance Don’t Let the Parents Worry
and prescription cards and a notarized letter from the parents granting you permission to authorize medical care in case of an emergency. It’s also a good idea to have a letter of permission for your grandkids to travel with you. Make sure the letter is signed by all legal guardians, especially if your grandchild’s parents are divorced. You don’t want to accidentally cause a custody dispute.
Plan a Trip You’ll Both Love
When planning your itinerary, ask yourself if your grandkids will have fun, too. You might be excited to visit an art museum, but a younger child might not appreciate it as much. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit museums or historical sites! In fact, most of these places offer kid-centric activities, like scavenger hunts, that can help a younger audience engage with the environment. Just be sure to think of your grandchild first when planning. There’s nothing like the adventure of travel to bring generations closer together and create lasting memories. These tips will help you ensure those memories are good ones. Happy travels!
Despite this widespread generosity, the need for donors is still incredibly high. Every day, 22 people die waiting for a transplant that never comes. The majority of people on the waiting list are people on dialysis, in desperate need of a kidney transplant. The wait times can be as long as five years. Becoming a registered donor helps meet one of the most critical needs in our nation and has a lasting positive impact on families and communities. Those who have done so are nothing less than heroes, and we at Gillette Law Group salute their selflessness. Our firm holds this issue very near and dear to our hearts. To donors and their loved ones everywhere, thank you.
If you would like to register to save and heal lives, you can visit RegisterMe.org. For more information, visit DonateLife.net.
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The numbers are in, and it’s official: This year’s Country for Kids benefit concert shattered previous records. With country music star Josh Turner headlining, the show raised an astounding $54,000 to support the Center for Child & Family Services. To all those who made this incredible fundraising event possible, thank you! As a longtime sponsor of Country for Kids and chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Child & Family Services, we at Gillette Law Group couldn’t be happier. This concert is one of the nonprofit’s largest fundraising events. Its success is essential to funding the services, programs, and outreach that make such a positive impact on the disadvantaged children and families in our community. The Center is a community service organization that offers a variety of programs to the public, including substance abuse counseling, budget and financial counseling, job readiness training, and assistance with mental health issues (with a trauma-informed focus). These are just a few of the 20-plus programs the family service organization provides to over 10,000 people each year. These are services that directly impact the most vulnerable members of our community, giving them the resources and support they need to succeed. COUNTRY FOR KIDS 2018 WAS A HUGE SUCCESS! GOOD MUSIC FOR A GREAT CAUSE
That’s why our firm gave away two pairs of VIP tickets to Country for Kids to two lucky winners! Not only did we get to reward a few of our readers with an amazing concert experience, we also got to give more to this incredible organization and the essential services they provide. Thank you to all of our readers who attended this year’s concert. You can make a direct donation to the Center for Child & Family Services by visiting their website at kidsandfamilies.com/donate. This particular charity is very near and dear to our hearts. Our entire firm stands behind the organization’s efforts to spread hope in our community. We chose to go into disability law to make a positive impact in people’s lives. That passion for service defines who we are as a firm.
Last month, we had fun supporting the 11th Annual “Breast” Ball Charity Golf Tournament which helps fund the mission of Here for the Girls, which improves the lives of young women affected by breast cancer through Beyond Boobs! and Pink Link.
CHILLED SWEET PEA SOUP WITH MINT AND CREAM
Ingredients • 2 tablespoons butter • 3 medium leeks (white and light green parts
Recipe from Delishably.com
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
How many tickles does it take to make an octopus laugh? Ten-tickles.
only), rinsed, drained, and chopped
• 1 32-ounce container reduced-sodium chicken broth • 1 16-ounce package frozen sweet peas
• 1 cup sour cream • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice • Sliced chives, to taste
Brandy and Lauren had fun dressing up.
Elissa took a swing.
1. Melt butter in a large
2. Process pea mixture
saucepan over medium- low heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring occasionally for 6–8 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken broth and increase heat to high. Bring to a boil. Add peas, and cook, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes or until peas are tender. Remove from heat and stir in mint, salt, and pepper.
in batches in blender or food processor until smooth. Transfer mixture to bowl and whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream. Season with salt and pepper and pour into 2-ounce glasses. Chill 30 minutes to 1 hour. Whisk together lemon juice and remaining sour cream, and dollop on each serving. Garnish with chives.
Lauren met the Good Health Fairy.
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INSIDE This Issue
Local Charity Breaks Records! page 3 Chilled Sweet Pea Soup With Mint and Cream page 3 Bobbie the Wonder Dog’s Incredible Journey page 4
Learning to Find Happiness page 1 Secrets to a Great Family Vacation page 2 The Selflessness of Donors page 2
THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF BOBBIE THE WONDER DOG
Imagine America in 1923. Yankee Stadium opened its doors for the very first time. Walt and Roy Disney founded The Walt Disney Company. The first issue of Time magazine hit newsstands. President Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack in office, and Vice President Calvin Coolidge became the 30th president. And Bobbie the Wonder Dog trekked 2,550 miles to return home. Of all the stories to come out of 1923, Bobbie’s may be the most incredible. It all started with a road trip. The Brazier family of Silverton, Oregon, decided to take a road trip to visit relatives in Wolcott, Indiana. Mom, Dad, their two daughters, and their Scotch collie piled in the family Overland Red Bird touring car and headed across preinterstate-highway- system America. Several days later, after the Braziers had settled in with their Wolcott relatives, Bobbie the Scotch collie was attacked by a pack of dogs. The dogs scared Bobbie away, and despite a long search around Wolcott, the family was unable to find any trace of the collie. The search continued throughout their stay, but time ran out, and the Braziers had to return home to Oregon without their beloved Bobbie. What the Braziers didn’t know was that Bobbie had been searching for his family as well. He may have been scared away, but he was determined to get back home. And so began his incredible journey.
He turned his head west and began walking. And
walking. With winter setting in, Bobbie had a monumental task ahead. Bobbie swam across numerous rivers. He trekked across the Great Plains and over the Rocky Mountains. While we will never know exactly what Bobbie endured, we know he made it home. Over 2,500 miles later, in February, 1924, a tired and beaten-down pup arrived home in Silverton, Oregon, to a stunned family.
Bobbie the Wonder Dog’s story made national headlines. He received a medal and the key to the city, and he became a silent movie star in the film “The Call of the West.” Today, you can visit Bobbie’s memorial near his home in Oregon.
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