Our Monthly Newsletter


The Contest That Didn’t Exist

In a small mountain town, one family was finding it harder and harder each month to make ends meet. One day, they came up short at the register so the youngest, a little girl about eight years old, was sent to put a couple of items back on the shelves. While she did so, her mother apologized to the person behind her in line, but the gentleman just smiled and replied that he was in no rush.

About a week later, the family was notified that their receipt had come up as the winning number in an ongoing drawing for a $200 shopping trip. Shocked, they turned up at the store the next morning, still disbelieving their good luck, but ready to stock up on much needed groceries. When they reached the register and told the cashier that they were there to use their winning receipt, a look of confusion came over her face. She said she was unaware of any ongoing drawing, but stepped away to check with the store manager.

The manager returned along with the clerk a few minutes later and cheerfully swiped a gift card through the register till. The mother breathed a sigh of relief, had the children pack up their groceries, and repeatedly thanked the manager as she left.

It was only after the family left that the manager told the cashier the truth: the man who had watched the family struggle to pay for groceries a week earlier purchased the gift card out of his own pocket.

He had asked the manager to present the situation as a store drawing, with the understanding that their full bags of groceries would be thanks enough.

~ Elisa McNinch


Our Featured Listings

Click on the Home button on the top menu bar to navigate to the main BrunerTeam website or use the right-hand window. Take a look at our Feature Listings below:


Gardens Under Glass

Why not try your hand at creating a miniature garden under glass? Anyone can have a terrarium and they’re great for home decorating! Originally popularized during the Victorian era in the form of the Wardian case, today, terrariums and bottle gardens are making a big comeback.

To get started, you’ll need the right supplies:

  • A clear container of your choice
  • Pebbles, or small stones
  • Charcoal (without any additives)
  • Decor of your choice
  • Plants— choose some that don’t grow too large and can tolerate moisture

Then, assemble your terrarium:

  • Leave some room for growth. Your terrarium won’t look instantly lush; plants need time to adjust and settle in.
  • Water after planting: Soil should be damp, but not soaked.
  • Place your terrarium in bright light, but not direct sunlight: You want to grow your little plants, not cook them.
  • Leave the container open: Leave the container open for a few days after planting so that leaves can dry off, then put the lid on your miniature garden.
  • Don’t overwater: Avoid excessive condensation and limp leaves. Open your terrarium and let it dry out a bit if it looks too saturated.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommends the following as great choices for a first terrarium project: Moss, Ivy, Button Fern, Violets, Aloe, Polka-dot plant and Begonias.

Feng Shui Your Space

Every home office space has the potential to help us stage our own success. According to the simpleshui website, here are eight ways to feng shui your office:

Assume the power position. The ideal placement for a desk is to face the doorway– a little off to the side instead of directly in line with the door. Ideally, when arranging an office, we want the solid support of a wall or heavy furniture behind us, like it’s “got our back.” This also allows you to see anyone entering your space.

Have your own back. A high-back chair says executive; a lower-back chair suggests managerial. In fact, these are often the design terms for filtering the stylistic difference – so choose accordingly.

Boost support. Horizontal patterns and shapes hold energy in place so use this to your advantage when starting a new project or job. Hang horizontal art and use square baskets or trays as a catch all. If you have an affinity for stripes, make sure they run horizontally to unify your energy.

Keep clutter off the floor. Whether or not the feng shui belief that a messy floor weighs down new business holds any truth, it is also a tripping hazard.

Climb the career ladder. Flank tall bookcases behind your desk, if possible. In addition to being a form of protection and support, their shape suggests upward mobility.

Go the distance. An open landscape print on a facing wall brings in nature and can be liberating.

Find your flow. Moving water represents prosperity, abundance, and steady flow. You can bring this idea in with actual water: fresh flowers, a fountain, a coffee maker, or even imagery of moving water. Make sure the water moves into your space. If the water “flows” toward the door, so will all that potential.

Clear the desk every day. When a workspace is bogged down by paperwork, guess how we feel? Always leave your desk looking organized at the end of the day. Take one guess as to what ritual top entrepreneurs around the world have in common? Yep… a clean desk!

Monthly Recipe: Fruit Pizza

I am a simple cook, and this is one of my favorite “go to” summer recipes. I absolutely love preparing fruit pizza, especially as berries are coming into season. My favorite toppings are fresh strawberries & blueberries. Truly delicious! It can be lots of fun for kids to decorate with all of their favorite fruit toppings: mandarin oranges, bananas, grapes, kiwi, & more.

By the way I tend to “cheat” with this recipe as I use pre-made sugar cookie dough I purchase in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. I don’t make my own sugar cookies from scratch. So this is the recipe from Pillsbury.com:  https://www.pillsbury.com/recipes/easy-fruit-pizza/a765c571-37d5-4916-8747-e944a923c83b 

Innovation Takes Work

Successful organizations don’t repeat themselves— continued success depends on innovation, and innovation is hard work. Step up to the challenge by keeping these common misconceptions in check:

“Creativity should always be fun.” People frequently expect brainstorming sessions and creative exercise to be relaxed, low-pressure affairs. But innovation calls for hard questions and tough answers to find out why previous attempts at innovation didn’t work. The process can be fulfilling, but it won’t always be painless.

“There are no bad ideas.” Brainstorming can be a useful exercise, but in reality, many—if not most—of the ideas you generate, won’t work. Be prepared for that, and make sure everyone understands that honesty in evaluating ideas is important. Don’t rush to snap judgments, but don’t waste time when it becomes clear that an idea isn’t going to work.

“Innovation is entrepreneurial.” Many of today’s most famous entrepreneurs got their start with an innovative idea, but successful entrepreneurs possess a variety of management skills that go far beyond innovation. You need people who are more interested in solving problems than starting a new division.

“Creativity is all you need.” Instead of looking for radically new processes or products, your best bet may be to improve what already works for you. Innovative ideas may spring from unexpected sources when you’re not even looking for them. Focus on what will help your organization grow, and be open to innovation without necessarily trying to force it.

What’s The Deal With Possums?

I found this article interesting from DoItYourself as my husband and I rescued an injured opossum this month from DoItYourself.com.   https://www.doityourself.com/stry/whats-the-deal-with-possums 

The opossum we rescued was a young female that had been hit by a car. Her face was badly injured, she was blind, and her jaw was broken which we later realized prevented her from eating or drinking. We called LOTS of rescue organizations, but due to COVID-19 no one returned our calla as their recordings stated they were understaffed and were working limited hours. After a day of letting her rest, we realized that the opossum had a litter of joeys in her marsupial pouch. She was such a gentle animal that clung to my husband as he gave her water with a syringe and would fall asleep safely in his arms like a baby. She trusted him and seemed to be doing better each day, moving around more and grew more alert. Our hope was to find a doctor to repair her jaw so that she could eat & drink again on her own, and thereby she could live and raise her babies. Unfortunately, as hard as she fought to stay alive, she succumbed to her injuries on Day 3. However, on Day 3 we were able to safely deliver 8 of her 9 babies to a rescuer and rehabilitator. So far, all 8 babies have survived.

Through this process, we read countless articles and learned a lot about opossums. They are very good for the environment and should not be feared. They are not rodents, in fact they eat rats,  ticks, and snakes. Opossums actually are able to withstand snake bites from poisonous snakes as they kill and eat them. Who knew! Please don’t fear opossums, but take a moment to learn a little more about them. “People fear what they don’t understand….” by Andrew Smith.

– Elisa McNinch


Harvard researchers have found that children who sit down and eat dinner with their families are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables.

Eating dinner at home means kids are less likely to consume junk foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.

The study included more than 16,000 children between the ages of nine and 14.


 Herbal Kitchen

Three of the most common herbal preparations are teas, infusions and decoctions. Do you know the difference?

Tea: When you make tea, you usually brew it for just a few minutes and the herbs are generally soft, like flowers, leaves and stems, that make for a gentle drink.

Infusions: An infusion extracts more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from hard, woody stems or bark than a tea. To make an infusion, add one cup of dried herbs to a quart jar of boiling water, cap it and let it sit for four to eight hours.

Decoctions: A decoction can be prepared once you have an infusion. Simply steam your infusion very slowly, letting about half the liquid evaporate for a more concentrated product.

There are endless other ways to incorporate herbs into your kitchen, but the use of teas, infusions and decoctions are a really easy way to get started.


Happy Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21st

As so many families may be celebrating Father’s Day apart this year, this is a resource from Parade magazine. There are some interesting ideas to celebrate Father’s Day this year.




Astronomers Spot Galactic Explosion

Imagine an explosion. A big one. Are you thinking of a nuclear bomb? Think bigger.

As the U.S. News & World Report website reports, astronomers have detected an explosion in the distant universe that blasted a crater in the hot galactic gas around it large enough to hold 15 Milky Way galaxies. That’s big— the biggest ever discovered, in fact. A supermassive black hole in a galactic cluster some 390 million light years away was responsible for the blast.

Black holes don’t just suck matter in; they also spew matter and energy out. This one was discovered by scientists using NASA’s space-based Chandra X-Ray Observatory, in cooperation with ground telescopes in Australia and India, along with a European space observatory.

Scientists plan to make further observations in different wavelengths to better understand the causes of the colossal blast.

Thinking of Hue

Whether you want to add energy to a dull room or calm energy to a hectic one, here is what Home Beautiful has to say about some of 2020’s most popular paint colors:

Orange: Expands Your Thinking This vibrant hue reduces self-consciousness and allows you to express yourself with confidence. It is the color of laughter and celebration. Add an orange mouse pad to your office, an accent wall to a bedroom, or just a bordered notecard on a side table.

Deep Blue: Encourages Efficiency Wear dark blue when you need to make a decision. At home, try it on an oversized tray, a wastebasket, a desk lamp or all over the room.

Green: Has Healing Powers Green represents nourishment and encourages stability. Use it in a rejuvenating space, like a kelly green set of potholders or sage green bath towels.

Light Purple: Enhances Spirituality Purple encourages a fresh perspective on emotional issues. Use it in your home to enhance compassion and to include friends as family. 

Bright Red: Fortifies You Red is a stimulant that promotes courage. Use this color when you want to increase self-confidence. A little goes a long way: try a bright red candy dish, picture frame, or accent pillows. 

Yellow: Increases Your Focus This cheerful color is known for enhancing intelligence and mental agility. It can help stimulate conversation and clarify thoughts. Try using yellow bookmarks in your home office or tossing a yellow blanket on a side chair.

Environmental Challenge

Try this challenge from environmental activist David Suzuki:

1.Reduce home energy use by 10%.

2.Replace inefficient home appliances.

3.Eliminate pesticide use.

4.Eat meat-free meals one day a week.

5.Buy locally grown produce.

May 2020 Trivia Answer

Question:  The most phone calls made on a single day in the year is ______?

Answer:   Mother’s Day

Congratulations to Dianne Frazier! Your name was randomly selected from all of the correct entries. You won a $50 gift card to one of the following: Amazon.com, Academy, Target, Khol’s, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, HEB grocery, Willie’s Icehouse, OR Pappas restaurants. Your choice!

June 2020 Trivia Question

Question: There are two flowers associated with June – name one of them.

Everyone who contacts Elisa via email (elisa@brunerteam.com) or phone (832-746-7911) with the correct answer by June 20th will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card to one of the following: Amazon.com, Academy, Target, Khol’s, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, HEB grocery, Willie’s Icehouse, OR Pappas restaurants. Your choice!