Sunday, May 31, 2015

Adopting pets from shelters is rewarding

Why Adopting A Pet Is So Rewarding

 *Today's article comes from passionate animal advocate Samantha A. Ray, who is joining us to share reasons why adopting animals from shelters is such a powerful thing to do... for you, your family, friends and neighbors, and for the world.

I am the owner of some of the most loving animals in the world. Some call me a crazy cat lady because in the past few years I have adopted three cats from animal shelters. Each one has its own personality and temperament that make them unique and interesting. Every day I think "What if I hadn't adopted them? Would they be out alone in the world? Or worse?" I believe that they are grateful that I saved them, and I know that I'm grateful that they were there to be saved. Adopting an animal is so much more rewarding than purchasing one from a store, and here is why:

1. When it comes to dollars and cents, adoption is cheaper. Buying a pure-bred animal can get very expensive. Some breeds can reach up to thousands of dollars, and that doesn't even include healthcare, grooming, or training the animal might need. If you adopt your pet from a shelter, there might be a donation fee from $25 to $100, but that usually includes spaying/neutering and the first round of shots it will need.

2. When you buy an animal from a breeder or a pet store, you can never really tell how the animal will react at home. Once you leave that store, you are on your own. If you have any questions or need help with the animal, the sellers will probably not be able to (or want to) help you. Once the animal is out of their hands, it's not their problem. If you adopt from a shelter or rescue group, they will more than likely have a history of the animal and will be more than willing to help you with any questions or concerns. Plus, animals in shelters have a longer period to get familiarized with other animals and humans.

3. Almost 100% of animals in a pet store come from breeding mills. Puppy and kitten mills are notorious for the inhumane treatment of dogs and cats. Although the federal government regulates most mills, the minimum standards for treatment are still cringe-worthy. Most of these animals are kept in small cages their entire lives, the females maintain multiple partners to breed the most amount of babies as quickly as possible, and the animals can end up being interbred with others from the same family causing long-term health issues.

4. Mixed-bred animals tend to be healthier than pure-bred. Pure-bred animals are more prone to health issues like heart, lung, and joint problems. When an animal has hybrid genes, it is more likely to be healthier and have a longer life-span. However, if a pure-bred animal is a priority, 25% of the animals at rescue homes are pure-bred.

5. You have a larger variety of animals to choose from when adopting. When you go to a shelter, there are more options to choose from; there are animals of all different ages, breeds, and personalities. Although puppies and kittens are adorable, some people can't handle the hyper-activity and training problems. At shelters, you can get animals that are already house-trained, understand basic cues, and have experience with others.

6. When you adopt, you save a life. Almost 10,000 animals are euthanized every year because of overpopulation in shelters. There is a common misconception that animals in shelters are there because they are unhealthy or misbehaved. Actually, the biggest reason animals are neglected are because their previous owners could no longer take care of them (whether it's because of a move, divorce, financial reasons, or age). When you adopt, you save the animal from a life in a cage, a life in the wild, or euthanasia.

7. You and your animal will be forever grateful. When you take your pet from a cage to a warm, loving home, they will always appreciate and love you. You won't find a more loyal, sweet, and caring animal than one that was saved. Caring for an adopted animal also has mental, physical, and emotional benefits. They make life seem more fulfilling and give you a sense of purpose. Saving an animal is saving a friend.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:
  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

quote of the day

-- Quote of the Day -- 

"I don’t pay good wages because I have a lot of money; 
I have a lot of money because I pay good wages."

 ~ Robert Bosch

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:
  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Product Review

 -- Product Review --

Jim from Stewart Trading LLC suggested their cowbell ( for review around April 28th, we confirmed interest by April 29th and picked up across the border (doesn’t ship to Canada yet) on May 9th.

While this was originally designed for cheering at sports events (and other events where you want to make a lot of noise), I knew it would also appeal to my husband Dave; as a percussionist/drummer and music teacher, he was excited to try out the cowbell – in fact the day it arrived he took it down to his drum studio to play “too much cowbell” (Saturday Night Live fans will remember that skit).

He had always felt that as a percussionist, it is hard to get an even roll with the stick inside a traditional cowbell – however this type of cowbell has a clapper on the inside and he was able to get a much more even sound. Another aspect that appealed to Dave was the construction of the handle, which is ergonomically correct allowing the player to hold the cowbell down, with the hand on top – a more natural position to get a good steady roll. The handle is of good quality. Dave thought it was very nice to see the handle braced with welded support brackets and the handle is rubber coated with grooves for fingers to easily fit securely for easy grip, even when the hands start getting sweaty. 

After a week of trying it he did notice a little paint chip happening on the inside, but he felt that was to be expected, as that is where the clapper contacts the metal.

This product does come in a variety of colors, but the one we received was painted white, and 9.6 inches in length and has a black stick grip handle – as you can see from the image here.The list price on is $29.98 but is currently on sale for $19.98. Unfortunately this product is not available on

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:
  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

World of Writing, interview

-- World of Writing -- 
*Today we have Brenda Knight joining us for an interview about her work in the world of writing and how she uses her skills to make a difference in the world. Thanks to Jennie Miller and Eileen Duhne of and who made this interview possible. Brenda Knight is a publisher and editor who writes about women's history and issues affecting women's lives today. The author of numerous books (some of which are pictured below), Brenda also does volunteer work with women newly diagnosed with breast cancer. She lives the San Francisco Bay Area (California, USA).

Q: How would a good friend describe you?
A: Eileen, my publicist, is a dear friend, and she actually used this in a pitch for Be AGood in the World: she said I always give in ways big and small—mentioning the way I almost have someone surfing on my couch! She also noted than I am a devoted volunteer at Glide Memorial, as well as with women who have just been diagnosed with cancer… Thus, I feel pretty sure that a good friend a good friend would say that giving is part of every fiber of my being.

Q: What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? How do you plan to accomplish your goals?

A: I have this great dream of founding a 401C3 where all the awareness and money we raise goes directly to help people. I’d love to run Be A Good-dot-org, a foundation publishing books on the subject, encouraging random acts of kindness, and coming up with ways to save the planet. All proceeds would go to people who need it. They, in turn, can help others. I am hoping that Be a Good will start that cycle of giving back: a portion of all proceeds made from the book are going to two different organizations, Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency and Bachpan Bachao Andolan, also known as Save the Childhood Movement.

Q: How do you determine or evaluate success?

A: That’s completely personal, and differs so much from person to person. For some, making a delicious omelet that everyone loved is pretty successful. For me, success should be shared, it should be uplifting and inspirational to others. I got my start in publishing, and I could have gone for marketing or selling in Silicon Valley, but I didn’t want to sell widgets. For me, it must be meaningful. Success doesn’t have to do with money, but with how you feel. At the end of life, I feel absolutely certain that having money, fancy cars, and real estate aren’t nearly as important as how much love you put into the world.

Q: What inspires you?

A: I’d say what inspires me is completely out-of-the-box thinking. One of the things that really inspires me, that I wrote about in Be a Good, was the teenager Boyan Slat who designed great technologies to help combat the Pacific Garbage Patch. I want to high-five him! It’s crazy cool, because he saw a problem, and instead of complaining about it, he came up with a solution, and even founded the Ocean Cleanup Foundation to help develop his solutions. I think that’s incredibly inspiring.

Q: What is your opinion of the world today?

A: I have many thoughts. But in media interviews on this book tour, that question always comes up. Times are tough. We have horrific news and negativity on a daily basis from mainstream media. I’d say that’s when one needs to double down on kindness. That’s what Be a Good and other inspirational books are here for, to help inspire kindness. I do believe humans are inherently good, despite all this negativity we see in the news, and we need to be reminded of goodness in people.

The techie focus in our current culture has not brought us closer. I advocate for people to put down smartphones and look people in the eyes (which is pretty radical nowadays). Get back to day-to-day interpersonal reactions, be together, and be more of a community—not just in social media. I think the state of the world on the whole is similar to the way it was in the 14th century during the crusades, including unrest in the Middle East. So be kind, generous, patient, good to together. Instead of focusing on the doom loop with the big, global picture, do good in your own community. One at a time, little acts of kindness make a big difference in the world today.

Q: What is your contribution to society?

A: I think my real contribution is helping others be creative, especially writers and authors. Apart from helping develop fantastic titles, I volunteer at writer’s conferences, advising and counseling newbies and would-be writers. And I'm glad to say I’ve helped some people get published.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:
  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Resolve Conflict

 How To Resolve Conflict

* Today's article comes to us from: Sandra Daniel - a senior lecturer and regional trainer for over two decades. She designs and delivers training programs for universities and corporate organizations. Some of these programs are speed reading, effective writing skills, technical report writing, writing research papers, critical and creative thinking skills. She is also a managing partner of Lateral Solutions Consulting LLP and in this capacity, she has been delivering high-impact customized programs on crisis communication, effective negotiation strategies, integrated thinking for problem solving and decision making. As an author, Sandra has published 4 other books: Critical Thinking, Read Faster! Memorize Better! Think Clearer!, A Guide to Grammar for Tertiary Level and Impactful Academic Writing. She can be contacted: URL:

It is an unfortunate fact that whenever two or more people come together there is always the possibility of conflict occurring. This is naturally bound to occur because as human beings we have difference in opinions and ideas and we want to believe and convince others that our opinions and ideas are better than theirs. It is crucial to understand that just because someone does not agree with you does not necessarily mean they dislike you. If you want to improve your ability to resolve conflict amicably, first overcome some of the myth associated with conflict.

Conflict myth
The first myth is that conflict is always negative. This is not true as although conflict can be unpleasant at times, it can be a great catalyst for positive changes. Further, when there is a conflict, it suggests that the other party is actually giving a different perspective to the situation. Take the cue from Walter Lippmann who succinctly said: "Where all think alike, no one thinks much."

Another myth is that conflict is always violent. It is possible that if not managed properly conflict may excel to violent behaviour. However if the parties to the conflict have a far-sighted perception of what their primary objectives are, it is possible to manage such distressing situation objectively leading to a peaceful and productive conclusion.
In order to overcome any conflict that you face with your office colleagues, customers or other people in your life, you need to equip yourself with some powerful conflict resolution strategies to explore and understand the inherent differences that others have and use them to interact in a more positive, productive and meaningful ways.

Setting the stage to resolve conflict
When resolving a conflict it is imperative to pay attention to some intangibles that may affect the direction towards which the conflict is heading. In order to resolve conflict amicably and objectively, create an effective atmosphere by setting some ground rules on how the parties should communicate with each other and neutralize any possible form of toxic emotions that may rear its ugly head. This can be done by creating a mutual understanding by helping to identify the needs and wants that all the parties to the conflict are aspiring towards. Once you have done this you need to focus on the root cause of the conflict and find some common ground where all the parties can agree with.

The next phase to resolve conflict is to develop a model to come to an ideal conclusion that is supported by the other parties in the conflict. In the 1970s, Kenneth Thomas and Ralph Kilmann came up with a five style model to resolve conflict. This is called the Thomas-Kilmann Instrument [TKI] and has stood the test of time in its practical application to resolving conflict.

Fundamentally the TKI model suggest that the parties to a conflict should consider the merits of the outcome of what they want most. As such there is no one ideal solution but five possibilities or styles as Thomas and Kilmann suggested.

The first style of conflict resolution is to work on a collaborative approach. Here the parties work together to develop a solution option that puts them in a win-win situation. This style can be used for important and long term decision and where time is not of essence. However if a decision has to be made quickly and might prove unpopular then the competing style may be used. Here the person in conflict has to take a firm stand and compete with the other party. This can be perceived as aggressive and should only be used sparingly and if possible be avoided.

The third style is to use the compromising approach where by each person in the conflict is prepared to give up some of their grievances and contribute towards the resolution. This style is usually workable when the parties to the conflict are equally matched and they are more interested in resolving the conflict rather than wanting to 'win'.

A more passive and peaceful style is the accommodating approach. This style is beneficial in situations where the parties are more interested in maintaining the relationship than just winning and the conflicting issue is one which is important to one party and not to you so that you are prepared to give in.

The last style is avoidance of the conflict at whatever cost. This occurs typically where the conflict suggest deep rooted beliefs and issues that cannot be solved by discussion alone. Further, the issues may be trivial and simply a reflection of the individual's idiosyncrasies. If you have the magnanimous attitude to overlook this and avoid confrontation you may sow the seed to develop a more meaningful relationship by being able to accept people for who they are and not judging them unnecessarily. This then boils down to your attitude and do take the cue from William James who said: "Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make a difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude."

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:

  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quote of the Day

-- Quote of the Day -- 

“What is worse than being blind? Having sight, but no vision.”


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:
  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Product Review

-- Product Review --

After speaking with Kevin Kramer and Gary Kramer, of the SKLEER team, on April 15th - I received the 30 ml/1oz. container of the product (arrived April 23rd) as well as a sample puck which I intend to keep refilled and in our camping/traveling supplies. I also received an informative pamphlet.

SKLEER – Skin Conditioning Gel has all natural ingredients and does not contain any parabens, preservatives, lanolin, hydroquinone, corticosteroids, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, retinoic acid or benzoyl peroxide. According to the company information, “it contains a combination of essential oils: eucalyptus, tea tree, caraway, cinnamon and cardamom that work synergistically together to assist healing.” Interestingly, the patent pending gel is formulated to carry the healing ingredients to the lower levels of the skin, making the product more effective than it could have been without the gel.

This dermatologically approved product is housed in a recyclable paperboard container that protects the 1 oz. plastic tube with a screw top lid – both recyclable. Inside the appropriately sized box were two small pieces of polystyrene foam, helping to further protect the hard cap from cracking or breaking during transit.  The tube had a tiny safety seal covering the hole where the product comes out, which impressed me as there is so little waste with this product. It was not tested on animals, and is best kept at temperatures below 77˚F.  SKLEER is actually developed by an international medical and pharmaceutical research organization (Maxitrade PTY. Ltd.) manufactured in South Africa, and marketed in the US by Acatac Inc. (Los Angeles, CA).

The product looks and feels like a hazy-white creamy gel and definitely smells like natural medicine – I could detect the tea tree and cinnamon scent right away. My husband Dave has had issues with painful cracks in the tips of his fingers from working on projects around the house that really dry out the hands – like cement and drywall and mudding. He found that for his hands it worked really well, healing even the deepest cracks on his thumbs. He found it soaked in very fast, didn’t feel greasy or have any residual on the skin afterwards – like some dry skin healing lotions. I haven’t the same problem as Dave, and so the first time I tried it I found it did soak in quickly, but there was a sort of tacky feeling on my dry finger tips for a couple minutes. However I did find that once the tackiness dissipated, I was left with very soft feeling fingers. A few days later I tried again after drying out my hands doing garden work – and this time it absorbed so quickly… like in seconds. Days later still, I burned my arm on the oven (like an idiot) and that thing itched like crazy as it healed… so I tried this gel on after reading it was also good for burns, and it instantly stopped itching and feeling irritated.

The pamphlet I received states that the product can be used to smooth the appearance of lines and wrinkles, even skin tone and can naturally treat both acne and dry skin types. It can heal itchy skin, eczema, rashes, insect bites and minor burns and abrasions, eases hives and sunburn and more. This stuff is reportedly so safe you can use it on babies and toddlers.

Check out the list of ingredients: water, alcohol denat, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, hydromane, cardamom oil, caraway oil, cinnamon oil, glycerine, carbomer, propylene glycol, 2-phenoxyethanol, and sorbitan monoctanoate.

SKLEER sells on for 19.99 (US) and sadly is not listed yet on – I hope they’ll have it there soon. However, if you scroll down the page you’ll notice that they have wonderful reviews.

This is definitely something that I feel anyone would want to have in a first aide cupboard and travel/camping supplies. I certainly will.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:
  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!

Friday, May 22, 2015

World of Writing, interview

-- World of Writing --

* Joining us today we have Ellen Palestran, author of: "Have You Ever Had A Hunch? - The Importance of Creativity", which is now in its third edition. Ellen is a writer, artist, filmmaker, educator, game inventor, hydroponic farmer and creativity consultant.  You can find her @:

Q: Who inspired you to pursue a career in writing?

A: My brother was thirteen years older than me while my sister was ten years my senior. Each had their own bookcase loaded with books that, for some reason, seemed enticing to me, even before I had learned to read. I wanted to decipher for myself just what was in their books – just as they did. I wanted to be like them; they were my role models.

Early on, I developed a love for language, for the rhythms and sounds of words and for the information and stories contained in books. I started creating my own magazines as a kid but never considered myself a writer until my sister died when she was only thirty-nine years of age. It was a huge loss.

I experienced a need for something life-affirming and that was entering the creative life with more focus and commitment. I discussed this need with my late husband one night while we were driving home and he asked me: “Why don’t you write?" I remember saying “Me?” - because I had never thought of myself as a writer, despite having had a revue produced that I had written while a student in college in England. There and then - in the car - I created and recited the first verse of a poem that evolved into both a published book and DVD. As soon as we arrived home, I jotted it down on paper. Yes, I was a writer! So my husband, also, was my inspiration and catalyst. Now I have nine published books – and am still writing.

Q: How does writing help you make a difference in the world?

For me, writing is the way I learn and share my knowledge and experience with others – especially, if I feel it has significance and can, possibly, make a difference in people’s lives. I want to encourage people to be creative, independent thinkers and not simply accept unquestioningly, what they have been told is the only way. It might be but it might not. Through my writing, I want to encourage people to rely on their own instincts and be courageous enough to make their own decisions. What truly feels right, probably is and what doesn’t – isn’t.

Through my writing, I hope to instill sufficient confidence in people to examine the motivations and agendas of group leaders who might have cynical agendas. Yes, independent, positive thinkers can make a difference in the world. Maybe, by conveying this, my writing can make even a small difference in the world.

Q: Can you tell us what editors typically look for in a query letter or project proposal?

A: It is essential not to make the work of an editor even harder than it is, so let your query letter reflect the fact that you are truly professional in your writing. I have edited a number of books and so I can tell you what I look for and what I therefore think other editors would like to find in your query letter or proposal:

Diligence – the fact that the writer of the query letter has paid attention to grammar, spelling, and the clarity of their intention.

Knowledge – the writer has researched the topic and displays a deep and thoughtful understanding of it. 

Originality – there is something fairly new in what the writer is saying.

Cordiality – of course that is essential.

Suitability – the subject written about fits the publication.

So to those, who are passionate about writing, I would like to say: do your homework, and, whether it is an article or a book, make sure that what you are offering is as complete and polished as possible. There are so many different venues for publishing today. Your query letter must be indicative of your professionalism.

Q: What do you do when you are not writing?

A: Most of the time, I am involved in the creative process because creativity is home to me. I spend a lot of time painting in my studio, have made some movies, read a good deal and walk and exercise nearly every day. Family time is very important and I derive tremendous pleasure from my three grandchildren, constantly surprised by their concepts about the world around them, their unexpected questions, and their ever-growing language ability.

Join the celebration and follow the tour.

Q: What gave you the idea (inspiration) for this book?

A: For many years, I had been creating a fantasy novel that required a lot of time and focus. I did not have sufficient time to work on this because the realities of life had intervened – just as they do for most other people. While I was teaching at college, I decided to devise a class exploring creativity for my humanity students.  This, I then took to broader audiences.

 Although, initially, I tried to pinpoint what stood in the way of my own creative potential, time being the biggest obstacle, my exploration became much broader and I examined the barriers that stood in the way of the creative potential of so many people. I identified psychological, sociological, educational and political obstacles.

I am fascinated with the subject of creativity. Writing and talking about it adds to my depth of understanding and my knowledge.

I feel that creativity is tremendously important not only for all individuals, but for society as a whole.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced in writing your non-fiction books?

A: Research, of course, is always a challenge. Are the sources credible? Is what I am saying helpful? Because what I am writing about is relevant to me, will it be relevant to others?  I always over-research initially; I like to know just what I am talking about. This is very important to me but it does bring with it the later challenge of deciding what is really relevant and what is simply interesting to me.

The layout of a book is also extremely important to me and I like to actually see the whole book in a physical, tangible form and not just on my computer. I actually storyboard the complete book. And I edit and edit a lot. Writing takes a great deal of time but for me that is fine. I love the process.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet at:

  * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!