Month: December 2015

Music for Every Morning

Literally a list of music you should listen to. You’re welcome.

1.For the morning you are feeling deep, but don’t know why:

“The Civil Wars” by The Civil Wars


2. For the morning you need to lean in:

“I Am… Sasha Fierce” by Beyonce

3. For the morning you need grace:

“Add to the Beauty” by Sara Groves

4. For the morning you need self-confidence:

“Testimony: Vol. 1” by India.Arie

5. For the morning it’s grey and you’re blue:

“Not Too Late” by Norah Jones

6. For the morning you want some theology:

“Brother” by The Brilliance

7. For the morning you wish you were on a road trip:

“Hello Hurricane” by Switchfoot

8. For the morning you are done adulting:

“The Anatomy of the Tongue and Cheek” by Relient K

9. For the morning you wish they still made music like they made in the 70s:

“The Stranger” by Billy Joel

10. For the morning you wish they still made music like they made in the 80s:

“Synchronicity” by The Police

11. For the morning you would have exercised:

“Inland” by Jars of Clay

12. For the morning when you are too classy for words:

“Chocolat: Soundtrack” by Rachel Portman


More DIY Christmas Decorations

It’s Massimo and my third Christmas together! I can hardly believe it. We are in a new apartment this year, but all the Christmas decorations we made during our past two Noels look just as good in our Higganum place.

This year’s DIY Christmas decor was brought to us by the woodburner that Massimo got for Christmas last year. I hope you enjoy, and have a very Merry Christmas!


1. Wooden HOPE Banner

This was a really easy design, but did take some time to execute. Massimo cut some pieces of wood for me, then I sketched the letters and stars, and took my time burning in the lines. Massimo sanded and oiled the wood to protect it, and drilled holes in each corner. A few knots in some twine and – voila! A rustic, simple reminder of the real meaning of Christmas.


3. Popcorn Garlands



Honestly, this grew out of necessity. We got a bigger tree this year than ever before, and our two strings of lights just didn’t make it sparkle the way we wanted. Instead of going out and buying more lights, like a sensible person, I stayed home and made one of the cheapest Christmas decorations in the world – popcorn garlands! I made popcorn in the microwave with a paper bag (skipped the oil), and spent a few evenings threading the kernels with a needle and thread.



3. Wooden Nativity Scene

We have wanted a nativity scene for a while, but never found one we liked or felt like spending precious money on. For this set, I started with a few pieces of wood Massimo cut out (actually, extra pieces from the HOPE garland). Then I sketched the shapes on paper, and Massimo attached them to the wood and cut them out. Then I used a wood burner to add subtle details. A quick sanding, and Massimo oiled them and attached small stands to help them stay upright.

I love how this came out – it’s so simple, and doesn’t have all the Wisemen and crowds that some other scenes have. I also made sure Mary was laying down. The woman just had a baby; let her take a break!


Lawyers’ 8 Commandments

It may not be the “Perfect 10,” but these are some standards a lawyer should live by.

1. Thou shalt not speak in absolutes. There are no absolutes in law.

“Is this legal?”

“It depends.”

2. Thou shalt make no promises as to outcomes.

“Do I have a good case?”


3. Thou shalt do as the client says, even if you disagree. Make it clear that you disagree, but do it anyway.

“This is not necessary to get what you want, it will complicate things, cost you money, and probably won’t work, but if you insist, I will do it.”

4. Thou shalt listen to and believe the client, but make sure their story checks out.

Self-explanatory. It’s not fair and nearly everyone doesn’t realize it, but there are two sides to every story, and we tend to filter out (even without realizing it sometimes) some information not favorable to our perspective. Clients don’t always know what is relevant, but details could make all the difference and you must check them out.

5. Thou shalt make every attempt to explain the law to the client, even though he or she can never understand it fully.

“You should not accept a Quit Claim Deed for this.”

“Why, what is a Quit Claim Deed?”

“A Quit-Claim Deed is a deed that transfers whatever interest the grantor has, but makes no guarantees as to whether or how much interest the grantor owns. Also, the grantor makes no promise to help you get the interest you think you are getting if someone comes along and wants to fight with you about a boundary or title issue. Those kinds of promises only come from a Warranty Deed. Someone can quit-claim you the Brooklyn Bridge, but it’s not worth the paper its printed on.”

6. Thou shalt remember that what goes around comes around. You can dish it out, but be prepared to take it.

Not responding to phone calls, filing an aggressive motion, asking a certain question on direct: they have consequences.

7. Thou shalt put the clients’ interests always above and before your own.

Most people think that lawyers try to drag on cases to make more money. Don’t be that guy. The client wants something, that’s why he or she came to do. Try to do that thing, or, if it’s not possible, do the next best thing.

8. Thou shalt live in the land of “what ifs.” The client is not welcome in the land of “what ifs,” but you may introduce them to some of its main attractions to explain why something is necessary.

Most people can’t fill their heads with the dozens of standard hypos you learned in law school, not to mention the hundreds of unusual circumstances that you deal with all the time in your cases. The client doesn’t need to know that someone got sued for not disclosing that the house they were selling was haunted, unless they ask, “What’s with this clause in the purchase and sale agreement?” Then you can say, “Well that’s in case you forgot to tell them that the house was haunted, and they sue you for it.”