1 mile west of the Chicago Premium Outlet Mall (800) 810 3100
estate planning, General Interest, Inspiring People
From the desk of Estate Planning attorney Rick L. Law of the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law Elder Law.  Dale Chatfield was a man of simple and powerful virtues.  His initiative, integrity, and personality drew people to him, and in turn, he enriched their lives.  When Dale passed in 2014, he and his wife doris had been married for just over 75 years. Born October 10, 1911 in the central Nebraska plains.  He told us, “I grew up on the farm, and when I was a young man it seemed like I knew all the girls in Nebraska—but none of them were right for me!  It was The Great Depression, but I headed off to find my fortune in Denver.”  In Denver he lived frugally, studied accounting, and eventually got a job as an accountant for the Denver/Rio Grande Railway. But Dale was never meant to just sit at a desk.  He was a competitor… driven to always do more than what is expected.  Doris beamed and proudly told us, “Dale spent his whole life going the extra mile.  We had a dry cleaning business for 32 years.  The business, called D&D Cleaners (for Dale and Doris), grew because my husband always gave extraordinary personal attention to each customer.  Even after people moved away from our neighborhood, they would drive back to have Dale do their cleaning. People value that special personal attention.” Even after retirement, Dale has kept on making life more fun for others.  From 1990 to their 2005 move to Chicago, he almost single-handedly did the Christmas decorations and lights around their four-story senior residential center in Denver.  Doris told us, “He was the only one in the neighborhood who decorated all four sides of their building!  Everybody else just did the front.  You know, he climbed up and down those tall ladders even when he got to be 92.” A treasured memoir of my encounter with Dale, he gifted me a handwritten note with some of his keys to a long and successful life.
  1. God, parents, wife, and kids
  2. Creator, genes, diet, exercise
  3. Husband and wife 50/50; don’t let the sun set on your anger.
  4. Honesty (don’t even take tax deductions if they are iffy)
  5. Eat well but nothing fancy (oatmeal with raisins every day and good farm food)
If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees. Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

By Rick Law of Law Elder Law.  LEL is Aurora, Illinois’ Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm.  The multi-generational law firm at Law Elder Law serves seniors and their families in Chicagoland and the suburbs in Illinois. The nonprofit Honor Flight Network, has the privilege of giving our veterans a special tribute for their service to our country. Honor Flight transports veterans, especially senior veterans or those with failing health, to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials. The inaugural Honor Flight Tour took place in May of 2005. Six small planes flew out of Springfield, Ohio taking twelve World War II veterans on a visit to the memorial in Washington, DC. In August of 2005, an ever-expanding waiting list of veterans led to a transition to commercial airline carriers with the goal of accommodating as many veterans as possible. The Honor Flight Network program was conceived by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and Retired Air Force Captain. Earl wanted to honor the veterans he had taken care of for the past 27 years. After retiring from the Air Force in 1998, Earl was hired by the Department of Veterans Affairs to work in a small clinic in Springfield, Ohio. In May of 2004, the World War II Memorial was finally completed and dedicated in Washington, D.C. and quickly became the topic of discussion among his World War II veteran patients. Earl repeatedly asked these veterans if they would ever travel out to visit THEIR memorial. Most felt that eventually, somehow, they would make it to D.C., perhaps with a family member or friend. As summer turned to fall and then winter, these same veterans returned to the clinic for their follow-up visits. Earl asked if they accomplished their dream of visiting the World War II Memorial. By now, for most of the veterans he asked, reality had settled in; it was clear to most that it simply wasn’t financially or physically possible for them to make the journey. Most of these senior heroes were in their 80’s and lacked the physical and mental wherewithal to complete a trip on their own. Families and friends also lacked the resources and time to complete the three- to four-day trip to the nation’s capital. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Honor Flight Network will continue do whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans and help our heroes travel absolutely free. Honor flights for Illinois veterans are flown multiple times a year.  There is an application process for both the veteran and the guardian.  You can contact them at through their website at www.honorflight.org or call 937-521-2400 to make arrangements for this very special event. If the aging veteran you love could use some extra money to help pay for the cost of in-home, nursing home, or assisted living care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now. Sincerely, Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate, Asset, and Retirement Taxes 8 times named #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Rick has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax Attorneys, a multi-generation law firm. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!  

When the kids are growing up, you always worry about how they’re going to turn out.  While I always worried about my daughter Diana, she has far exceeded all of my hopes for her.  She has become a great law partner, outstanding attorney, and an excellent wife and mother.  I could not be more proud of her. The Northern Illinois University College of Law Alumni Council recently recognized Diana as the 2011 Young Alumna of the Year.  The Alumni Council stated, “Her practice focuses on serving seniors and those who love them…Most often, Diana’s cients are burdened by a long term care crisis.  With passion and purpose, she serves the frail, elderly, children with disabilities, and disabled adults.” The Alumni Council also recognized that Diana is the president of the 1,345 member Kane County Bar Association, and that the Illinois State Bar Association named her Young Lawyer of the Year for 2010.  She was selected to be a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” and Leading Lawyers Network selected her as a top elder law attorney for 2010-2011.  Along with renowned Chicago attorney Kerry Peck (of the Peck Bloom Law Firm), Diana is the co-chair of the Task Force for Senior Fairness. By Diana’s Dad, Rick L. Law, Law Elder Law LLP Pictured below:  Diana receiving the Young Alumna of the Year Award Diana receiving the Northern Illinois University College of Law 2011 Young Alumna of the Year Award   Other 2011 NIU alumni award recipients were:  Mark D. Gilwit, Esquire, Alumnus of the Year; Honorable Renee L. Robinson (posthumously), Outstanding Service Award; Honorable Ronald G. Matekaitis, Distinguished Service Award; Mrs. Betty DeGunther, Honorary Law Alumna Award; Chief Justice Thomas L. Kilbridge, Public Service Award; and Rachel Hernandez Hoag, Esquire, Mentor of the Year Award. group-photo   For more information on the recipients and their awards, click here.

He looked directly at me and softly said, “Every day I pray ‘the parent’s prayer’—that Mitchell has a long, healthy life, but that Linda and I live just one moment longer, so that no one else ever has to take on the enormous responsibility of caring for our special needs child.” I was interviewing attorney Brian Rubin of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, who focuses on estate planning and advocacy for clients and families who struggle to find the right answers for their child with special needs. I recently met Brian when I was invited to join the Special Needs Alliance (SNA).  My own law practice is focused on serving seniors who have either a long-term illness or an adult child with a disability. He went on to tell me, “My adult life started out fairly normally. After college, I  worked for a large CPA firm, then went to law school at night, and worked for the IRS by day.  I have always had to wear more than one hat.” Brian, and his wife Linda, never planned to have a law firm which focuses on Special Needs Future Planning—but life often takes an unexpected turn.  In January of 1981, their son Mitchell was born.  When Mitch was five months old, Linda told Brian, “There is a problem.”  Brian says the truth of that statement was the beginning of his going through “the stages of special needs grief”:  denial, self-blame, and doctor-hopping.  Mitch has autism, among other diagnosed special needs.  It soon became apparent that Brian needed to quit his downtown Chicago law practice and stay closer to home.  He also wanted to provide appropriate legal guidance and advocacy for his family and others who faced the same issues.  “In those days, almost no one was doing any special needs trusts and benefits planning.  I was one of the pioneers in Illinois.” Brian struggled to balance the demands of a law firm and his passion to serve the community of the disabled from 1987-2001. When Mitch reached 18 years of age in 1999 and became eligible for health care through Medicaid, Brian began thinking about opening a law firm which would be 100% devoted to the laws, regulations, and benefits that both frustrate and support clients with disabilities and their families.  Brian opened the doors of The Law Offices of Brian Rubin and Associates in 2001.  The firm provides more than just estate planning and special needs trusts.  Brian says, “Illinois has a very splintered benefit system.  There is no single door of entry, so families are constantly hitting roadblocks.  For example, our son Mitchell’s area of autism does not specifically fit in any one legally defined area.  He needs a variety of services, but no one agency supplies them as one package.  It’s my job as attorney and dad to discover how to get Mitchell the benefits that he needs.  We provide that same type of advocacy for our clients.” He further explained, “We have found that the government does not tell people the whole story.  Our job as legal advocates is to tell the whole story and to help get appropriate services and residential environments.  We cannot do everything—but we act as the quarterback to get the financial advisor, psychiatrist, health care professionals, education providers, and caseworkers to collaborate to achieve the needed results.” In closing, Brian shared this: “Mitchell has allowed me, Linda, “big sister/assistant mom” Nicole, and “little/big brother” Benjamin to better appreciate what’s truly important in life… and what is not so important.” Brian Rubin has created a website (www.brianrubin.com) which is filled with helpful information.  In addition, he makes public presentations frequently throughout the Chicago metropolitan area and Illinois.

remaly-blog-remaly-family-photo-john-melinda-rick-alyssa-at-top How do you think you would feel if you could not remember a time that your father or mother did not have memory issues?  John Remaly was only nine years old when his dad was diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimers.   He and his sister Alyssa have grown up adjusting to the gradual loss of their dad’s memory and ability to care for himself. I spoke to John and his mom, Melinda, and asked them to share with me some of the trials and victories that they have experienced during the last few years.  John told me that in his family, they have worked together to provide a united front to withstand Alzheimers’ attack on their family happiness.  “Most people, when dealing with something like this, start to fight and blame each other.  We have decided to use our gift of humor to find creative ways to work with my dad.”  He went on to share with me that his father, Rick Remaly, has always been a guy who loves the quick one-liner jokes and over-the-top comedy.  He says that the family enjoys shows like Will and Grace, Everybody Loves Raymond, and Family Guy.  John and his sister Alyssa love theater and acting, and they have memorized sketches from the different shows, complete with script, dialogue, jokes, and timing.  This helps keep their father engaged and laughing.  John quickly added, “Dad can still catch ‘quick humor’ and he is very easily amused.  In fact, one evening when he was feeling low, I decided that he and I should have a little fun and put calcium tablets in our mouths.  Do you know what happens when you put calcium tablets in your mouth?  It doesn’t hurt you, but you foam like a rabid dog!  Dad and I could not stop laughing.” Melinda added that life at home is not always humorous and that John has had to take on the role of being an adult and a caregiver for his father.  She admires the way John works with his father.  Rick seems to take direction better from John than anyone else.  “When you’re dealing with Alzheimers, you need to work together as a family and be open to sharing with loved ones and co-workers.  You need to be truthful in keeping people informed about the real situation at home.”  She went on to say that it’s very important to be able to go out with friends and to have support systems.  In fact, one of the key principles in helping the Remalys stay emotionally healthy is recognizing that from time to time, you have to get away from the caregiving at home. The Remaly family is about to embark on a new phase of life.  John Remaly has applied to, and been accepted at, Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.  His dad and mom will be losing one of the pillars that support being able to provide for Rick at home.  John wrote a college admissions essay in October 2009 which detailed his experiences in growing up with Alzheimers.  The entire text is available by clicking on this link: John Remaly’s College Admissions Essay In both October 2008 and October 2009, Melinda Remaly organized a group to participate in the Alzheimers walk in Libertyville, Illinois called “On the Move for Alzheimers.”  Each year the family, friends, and John’s friends from school walked together to raise funds for Alzheimers research.  All the friends and family members wore t-shirts that said. “Walk for Rick.”  On the back of Mr. Remaly’s  t-shirt it said, “I am Rick.” We here at Law Elder Law are grateful that the Remaly family has chosen us to be their legal advocates. remaly-blog-walk-for-rick-rick-john-at-bottom


Nunca te Detengas  (Never Stop Yourself) The Words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta In February, when I was in Central America, I was given a brochure which celebrated Costa Rican retirees and their value to their country.  I translated the inspiring Spanish language message, which quoted the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  I have never seen any comparable message sent to retirees here in the United States, so I want to honor my fellow senior citizens with this message. Yes, I too qualify for the senior discount coffee at McDonald’s without asking for it!  In addition, I have noticed that my lovely and still youthful-looking wife Rose requests the senior discount at the movie theater.  (Shhhh—please don’t tell her I told that I told you!)

The brochure said this:

Our retirees are an important reason that our country is a wonderful place to live.  We celebrate all senior citizens and older adults.  Thank you for constructing a better country.  Please read these words of encouragement by Mother Theresa:

Never Stop Yourself

Always keep in mind that your skin will wrinkle and that your hair will go white and that your days will become years…  But the most important thing never changes—your  strength of will and your convictions don’t have an age limit.  Your spirit is like a feather duster to wipe away the cobwebs.

After every arrival there is a leaving.  After every accomplishment there is another challenge.  While you are alive, feel and know that you are alive.

When you are feeling sorry for yourself about what you used to be able to do, do something new.  Don’t live surrounded by the yellowed photos of yesterday.  Continue forward, even though you feel abandoned by others.  Don’t let rust take away the steel that is in you.

Behave in a way that others respect you, not pity you.

When, due to your years, you cannot run—trot.  When you can no longer trot—walk.  When you can no longer walk—grab a cane and keep on going.

Never stop yourself.

She said it all.



Hogar De Ancianos San Buenaventura, Turrialba, Costa Rica, Central America


My wife, Rose, and I recently visited the county nursing home in Turrialba, Costa Rica. We lived in Turrialba for a year in 2003-2004 to study Spanish and to learn a different culture, and our lives have been forever changed and broadened by that experience.  We now feel at home in this Spanish-speaking land.  We love being here surrounded by tropical birds, coffee plantations, and sugar cane fields.

This trip we wanted to learn about the local county nursing home, so we asked our friend and Spanish teacher, Olivia to ask permission to visit.  Yesterday we visited what is literally called “Home for the Ancient Ones”—Hogar de Ancianos.  We like it that Costa Ricans are not troubled by our North American political correctness filter.  They often call me “Gordo” which means chubby… oh well!  If someone has green eyes they are called “Gato” or “Gatica,” which means cat or kitten.  But back to my story. Olivia was our guide and we were accompanied by the assistant to the administrator, Benigne Solono Trejos, a living example of caring and compassion.  The facility is nestled into the volcanic mountainside of Turrialba and has a panoramic view of the now-active Turrialba Volcano and the widespread green of the valley below.  There were tropical flowers everywhere upon the grounds of the Hogar.  The windows and doors of the residents’ rooms were wide open to admit the warm sunshine and gentle breezes.  It can be cold here, but the average temperature year round is a lovely life-giving 75 degrees F.


Costa Rica is the wealthiest country in Central America, but it is not rich by Western European or North American standards.  The facility may lack much of the equipment that is taken for granted in the USA, but the most important resources are present in abundance—loving and compassionate caregivers and administrators.  The facility smells of flowers and cleanliness!  I inspected every room and they were clean, clean, clean!

Our administrative hostess, Sr. Solono, has worked at the facility for 16 years and has sacrificed to stay at the Hogar and provide care for “the Old Ones.”  She considers every aged resident a part of her family.  At every room, it was obvious that the residents feel respected and valued. They live in a place of dignity. Most of the residents sat outside in the open air.  It was a beautiful day!  The buildings are designed with rooftops with large overhangs to create a front porch-terrace effect.  Those who were able could walk around, pet the dog, and volunteer to help in the laundry or do other small chores.  After all, everyone of every age wants to feel useful.

There are about 70 full-time residents at the home.  Surprisingly, there are far more men than women.  If you have visited a nursing home in the U.S. you know that there are very few men, since women typically outlive men by many years.  I asked how it could be that there were more men than women.  I was told that in Costa Rica, families try to keep the old ones at home and that women are able to provide more help with child care, cooking, and cleaning than men.  My wife said, “See I told you that you men are harder to take care of!”

The question of paying for long term care was my next enquiry.  Sr. Solono told us that the central and local governments provide only a bit of support.  In fact, just like in the U.S., government may give with one hand but take with the other.  In Costa Rica, the government keeps raising the standards of care but provides no money to accomplish those goals.  Amazingly, one of the biggest sources of funding for the Hogar is a lottery which is conducted on an as-needed basis.  (The Hogar must receive a governmental permit to sell lottery tickets within the county that they serve.)  In addition, they own a fairgrounds where they conduct an annual fair as a fundraiser.  Fundraising is a constant concern and activity of the administration and many volunteers. As we visited many residents, we were cheerfully greeted by those who were able.  I fell in love with Eva, an octogenarian who happily spoke excellent English.  Her career was as an assistant in the international center of agriculture called Catie.  She shares a room with her sister, who is confined to a wheelchair and sat quietly until she spied my bare legs sticking out below my walking shorts.  She is the first woman in my life to become excited upon seeing my legs!  She chortled and in Spanish she told me that I had chubby legs.  Olivia, our Spanish teacher, said that she was flirting with me.  My wife stated flatly, “You should be so lucky!” I want to thank Sr. Solono Trejos and the entire team at the Hogar de Ancianos San Buenaventura.  You are doing a great job as you serve seniors and those who love them! home-of-ancient-ones-rose-sr-olivia-avendano-sr-solono-trejos-for-bottom-of-blog

harpist-blog-pic-1-for-beginning-of-blog Most of us have seen angels represented as either winged cherubs or gracefully-robed harp players.  Just before last Christmas, I met a real harp-playing angel named Barbara Fackler.  I was introduced to Barbara because she had been employed by Passages Hospice to provide music for a resident at Aurora Rehabilitation Center.  Frankly, I had never heard of music therapy, so I was eager to understand what Barbara does and how she helps the healing process. Barbara became involved with therapeutic music accidentally.  She has loved playing the harp since she was a child—she says there was no other instrument that she wanted to play.  Her idea of the perfect harp is a pedal harp, which is a large, heavy, awkward-to-move instrument.  She smiled when she told me that her husband, Dan Fackler, always jokes that she married him only because he was the most careful guy that she had “auditioned” as a harp-transporting boyfriend. A number of years ago, Barbara decided she needed to acquire a harp small enough to take when visiting relatives out of town.  The first trip the little harp made was to visit her grandfather, whose Alzheimer’s had progressed to the point that he rarely spoke.  However, after Barbara played her harp for him, he went from silence to speaking in short sentences.  Additionally, he became responsive in his interactions with other family members.  It was a stunning discovery.  “There is something magical about acoustic sound.  Scientific research has repeatedly suggested that acoustic music has a more profound effect than recorded music,” Barbara relates. In addition to her work with hospice patients, Barbara uses her harp as a way to share her gift of music with friends and loved ones who are ill.  She takes her harp with her to the hospital sick room.  “Having a conversation with someone in the hospital can be very exhausting to the patient.  So, I decided to just show up with my harp and play beautiful music.  It is great to just go, play, and provide a human connection that does not require any expectations of an interactive response.” Barbara has earned respect for her uncanny ability to connect with many seniors and others who suffer from chronic progressive diseases.  One of her clients at Aurora Rehabilitation Center has primary progressive aphasia.  “Aphasia” means the inability to create words or speak.  This particular client cannot recover and often appears confused and unintelligible.  However, following a music session in which Barbara plays the harp for an hour, the client often appears much more capable and articulate for the next few days. One of Barbara’s current endeavors is teaching the harp to senior citizen students.  She told me that learning to play a new instrument is one of the best ways to create mental stimulation.  She says, “Musicians work between the left and right hemispheres of their brains faster than other people.  In addition, it’s great therapy after a stroke.  If you teach the dominant side of the body to do something, then the less-dominant side can learn to mimic.”  She has seen how learning to play the harp after a stroke allows people to regain more functionality than other types of therapy. Barbara has just completed a new CD entitled Pleasantries & Diversions.  You can click on this link: www.hornandharp.com to find out how to purchase that CD.  I highly recommend that you consider visiting her website www.harpinstead.com or phoning her at 630-665-6098 to purchase her music and/or engage her services as a harpist. harpist-hands-pic-2-for-end-of-blog

country-boy-for-music-blog There is one thing that a number of prominent medical research organizations have come to agree upon—that classical music can be used to produce positive healing effects.  That led me to ask this question:  If classical music heals, then does music that you don’t like actually hurt you?  The answer to that question seems to be yes! Organizations such as Mayo Clinic, the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, Stanford University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and the Cleveland Hospital have all conducted extensive studies on the health benefits of joyful music. The inquiry was based on the now well-known concept originally discovered by Norman Cousins and detailed in his book Anatomy of an Illness, which concluded that joyful experiences create positive health benefits.  A study presented at the American Heart Association 2008 Scientific Sessions demonstrated that when you listen to music that you associate with positive emotions, it has a positive effect on reducing your mental stress and also opens up your circulatory system to function better. In fact, the researchers found that when volunteers were measured, their overall cardiovascular system was improved by joyful music. The researchers found that the subjects’ blood flow was affected in the following ways:
  • Listening to enjoyable music increased blood flow by 26%;
  • Listening to anxiety-provoking music decreased blood flow by 6%;
  • Watching humorous videos increased blood flow by 19%; and
  • Listening to relaxation tapes increased blood flow by 11%.
In other words, when your mental stress is reduced by engaging in enjoyable activities such as watching humorous videos or listening to enjoyable music, your overall stress is reduced and your health is improved.  In fact, the magnitude of increased blood flow could be as high as that produced by aerobic exercise. In addition, it has been discovered by a number of researchers that the perfect instrument for the maximum benefit is one of the oldest instruments known to man: the harp.  In fact, the Cleveland Clinic has actually commissioned the Cleveland Orchestra to compose specific classical pieces to play for patients during brain operations.  Now during the process of treating people with traumatic brain injuries, strokes, depression, and even multiple sclerosis, the doctors choose to have music playing in the background. Harpist Tami Briggs was quoted in “Music as Medicine” by Bill Briggs as saying that the harp “goes to the deepest places of the body that need to be healed.”  She went on to say that when she plays the harp at the bedside of patients, she is able to see the blood pressure monitors actually going down and oxygenation rates going up.  She attributes that to the harp assisting the human brain to go to a more peaceful place where it can find deeper relaxation. Ms. Briggs when on to say that “the harp is the only instrument that has 20 to 50 strings and is open, unlike a violin.  When a harpist strikes a chord, it also opens vibrations in strings above and below the string that is plucked.  Those vibrations are absorbed by the body.” So the true answer regarding whether or not country music hurts?  It depends upon the listener!  If you love country, then it can be healing for you.  If you hate to listen to certain types of music… then don’t do it. Whatever type of music provides you with deep enjoyment can contribute to your healing process. I think I’m going to sit down with a cup of Costa Rican coffee now and listen to Gene Autry.

1217living-like-wise-men-pic The photo above was taken of three ceramic wise men that we purchased about 35 years ago at our church’s Christmas craft sale.  We have always treasured these three wise men ornaments.  This is our first empty-nester Christmas, and we pause to chuckle as we recall our kids arguing over who got to hang the wise guys on the tree.  In fact our attorney daughter, Diana, has annually insisted that she is the one to inherit these wise ones after we have passed away.  Sometimes she tries to take them home with her, even though we’re still here. For us, Christmas is one of our two high holidays, and these ornaments have me pondering their special message of Christmas.  The dear couple who crafted these ornaments have been dear friends and mentors over the years.  But like all of us, time has passed and these gentle people are now clients of our elder law firm.  For decades they have quietly worked to care for those around them.  In a way, when you saw this couple, it was if you were looking upon the wise men—since their hands were always bearing gifts to enrich those around them. Well, now they have moved into an assisted living center and they’re not as able to make crafts for an annual sale.  When I recall their lives of overflowing love, charity, and faith, I know that I, too, have been visited by the wise men—wise men who have brought precious gifts to me and to those around me. May all of us who claim the Christmas Creed act in love, to bless the lives of those around us.  May we be wise men! Rick