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The Seasons of Life

There once was a woman who had four sons. Above all else, the woman wanted to teach her sons tolerance; she wanted them to learn not to judge things too quickly. So, she sent them each on a quest, one by one, to go and look at a pear tree that was a great distance away.

The first son went in the winter, the second in the spring, the third in summer, and the youngest son in the fall. When they had all gone on their individual journeys and returned, she called them together to describe what they had seen.

The first son said that the tree was ugly, bent, and twisted. The second son disagreed and said that it was covered with green buds and full of promise. The third son described it differently and insisted that it was laden with blossoms that smelled so sweet and looked so beautiful, it was the most graceful thing he had ever seen. The last son disagreed with all of them; he said it was ripe and that the fruit was practically falling off the branches.

The mother then explained to her sons that they were all correct, because they had each seen but one season in the tree’s life.

She told them that you cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season; she explained that the essence of who they are – the pleasure, joy, and love that come from a full life – can only be measured at the end of all the seasons.

If you give up when it’s winter, you will miss the promise of your spring, the beauty of your summer, and the fulfillment of your fall.

Elisa McNinch


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“Let us always meet each other with a smile, the beginning of love.”  ~ Mother Teresa

Beauty in Nature

So many beautiful May blooms pop up in gardens! Creating a classic mixed-flower arrangement doesn’t have to be difficult. Use your intuition (and incorporate a few basic guidelines) to arrange gorgeous bouquets.

  • Begin with the flowers:

Start by arranging the flowers in your hand and placing the larger flowers near the base of the group. Incorporate dark blooms for drama or use flowers in lighter tones for a softer effect.

  • Consider the size.

Pay attention to the height and shape of the flowers that you’re using and arrange taller stems near the top and back.

  • Work with the stems.

Strip stems of any leaves that would otherwise be standing in water. Choose a vase or container that is appropriate for the height and proportion of your flowers.

  • Give it shape.

Lightly bind the stems with twine or floral wire and place in a vase or use moist floral foam in shallow containers to give short stems more stability.

  • Add some depth and interest.

Fill in the gaps with smaller blooms. Blue or violet flowers often act as a neutral and can fill out an arrangement without overwhelming your colors scheme.

  • Add greenery.

Insert a few leaves of greenery near the bottom to form a casual “rim” for the arrangement.

Once you have your arrangement looking pretty, be sure to put it in a location where you can change the water every day and stop and smell the roses (or peonies or lilacs) along the way.

Churros with Chocolate Dipping Sauce

By Land O’ Lakes

Try this delicious Churro recipe for a fun Cinco de Mayo surprise!


Churros With Chocolate Dipping Sauce Image


Hack It!

One of your favorite friends has the flu, and you’ve agreed to watch their 10-month-old and 2-year-old for the next week to let them recover. Then it dawns on you: your house is not baby compatible. Don’t panic. You’ve got this! Here’s what you can do with everyday items:

  • An inflatable kiddie pool can double as an impromptu
  • Use a laundry basket in the tub when it’s time to bathe toddlers.
  • Cover outlets with Band-Aids or masking tape.
  • Twist a rubber band around the knobs of cabinets to prevent little hands from accessing them.
  • Put a little bit of water on a piece of bread to pick up broken glass; the little shards will embed in the bread without the danger of cutting little fingers or feet in the process.

Remember Mother’s Day on Sunday, 5/12. 

 Mom Was Right

Researchers at the University of Leeds and the University of York in the U.K. have uncovered a positive association between the quantity of fruit and vegetables consumed and people’s self-reported feelings of well-being.

Specifically, the findings indicate that eating just one extra portion of fruits and vegetables a day could have the same effect on mental well-being as roughly 8 extra days of walking, for at least 10 minutes at a time, for an entire month.

This particular study was designed to follow the same individuals over time, and also accounted for other factors that might affect the outcome of the study, such as age, education, income, marital status, employment status, lifestyle and health, as well as consumption of other foods such as bread or dairy products.

The bottom line? Mom was right: eating your fruits and veggies may make you happier as well as healthier.

Clean Sweep

Having a morning and evening routine can make a big difference in how your day comes together. Sure, you might get away with rinsing your cup on the way out the door and leaving it out to dry every now and again, but those little shortcuts all add up. Follow this basic guide to keep things running smoothly:

  • Morning: Make your bed, throw the dirty laundry in the washing machine, empty the dishwasher, and put away any slippers, socks, or robes that are left out after getting dressed for the day.
  • Afternoon: When you walk in the door from your day out at work or running errands, take ten minutes to go through each room and gather loose items, return things to their proper place and restore each room to basic functionality. This is as simple as making sure that towels are straightened out in the bathroom, your keys are in the correct place, pets have fresh water, and the mail is all opened and dealt with for the day.
  • Evening: Don’t go to bed with dishes in the sink! Take a couple of minutes to start the dishwasher, including any containers that came home in lunchboxes or have been in the refrigerator for more than a few days, wipe the counters clean, and make sure that the trash cans are all emptied. Before you head off to bed, turn off any extra lights and plug in electronics that need to be charged for the next day.

Be Switzerland

On the first day of school, 5-year old Bobby stood by the front door with butterflies in his stomach. He shared his biggest concern with his mother: “How will I make friends?” Crouching in front of him, she handed him advice he would carry with him for many years: “Be Switzerland.” In other words, be friends with everyone; treat everyone equally and fairly.

For the next 18 years, he lived by these words. He ended first grade with a classroom full of friends and made it through middle school by making friends across different groups of kids. In high school, he met kids who had come from different middle schools and they became some of his best friends.

When it came time for his college graduation, Bobby was looking to become part of the real world and he knew he would have to make a whole new set of friends at work. He revisited what he learned as a young child and reassured himself that on that first day of work he would whisper two words to himself, thanks to his mom: “Be Switzerland.”

DIY: Pressing Flowers

Pressed flowers for a Hallmark workshop

Check out this article from Southernliving.com on the craft of pressing flowers.  It’s not often that a craft will get you out of the house and into nature, so take this opportunity while we still have the beautiful array of spring flowers available to us!



The Single Life

It’s an age-old story. Two socks went into the washing machine, but only one came out of the dryer.

An answer may never be found to this mystery, but if you can’t change the situation then celebrate it… May 9th is Lost Sock Memorial Day in the United States!

What to do with that one red sock?

  • Turn it into a sock puppet.
  • Fill it with potpourri and tuck it in your dresser.
  • Use it as a dustrag.
  • Fill a mismatched pair with newspaper and utilize them inside of boots for upright storage.
  • Roll it in catnip then give it to your furry friend for hours of entertainment.

35 Reasons to Take a Break

  1. You want to see the world.
  2. You need to see the world.
  3. You want to meet new people/
  4. You want to leave your comfort zone.
  5. To see your own town with fresh eyes.
  6. You survived a major life change.
  7. Your best friend is a great travel partner.
  8. You have no vacation photos.
  9. You want to have vacation photos.
  10. You want to go somewhere warm.
  11. You want to go somewhere that it doesn’t rain or snow. Ever.
  12. You need a new pair of traveling shoes.
  13. You want to test a different mattress.
  14. A vacation refreshed your friend.
  15. This could be your new favorite memory.
  16. You want to take someone special on a trip before it’s too late.
  17. You want to spend your money on experiences instead of possessions.
  18. The world is waiting…

Layer Up

University of Maryland scientists YuHuang Wang and Ouyang Min have engineered the first fabric to automatically react to outside temperatures and automatically trap or release heat.

Although the concept of thermal fabrics is not new, this is the first time that scientists have created a fabric that responds to the environment itself.

The base yarn for this new textile is created with fibers made of two different synthetic materials: a base yarn that absorbs water and a coating of conductive, carbon nanotubes that repels it. The two materials work together, releasing heat in warm humid conditions and trapping heat when conditions are cool and dry.

When conditions are warm and moist, such as those near a sweating body, the fabric allows infrared rays to pass through in the form of heat. When conditions become cooler and drier, the fabric reduces the amount of heat that can escape. The development was reported in the February 8, 2019 issue of the journal Science.

More work is needed before the fabric can be used in clothing and sold on the market but according to the researchers, the two components are not that hard to obtain. The materials used for the base fiber are readily available and the carbon coating can be easily added during standard dyeing process.

Clever Jokes to Share

What is the difference between a guitar and a fish?

You can tune a guitar, but you can’t tuna fish.


What is the tallest building in the entire world?

The library, because it has so many stories.


Why did the fish blush?

Because it saw the ocean’s bottom.

April 2019 Trivia Answer

Question:  What is the name for a group of frogs?

Answer:  An Army

Congratulations to Patricia Puccio FairleyYour 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!

May 2019 Trivia Question

Question: What starts with an ‘E,’ ends with an ‘E,’ and only has one letter in it?

Everyone who contacts Elisa via email (elisa@brunerteam.com) or phone (832-746-7911) with the correct answer by May 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!