Elisa McNinch & The Bruner Team

11211 Katy Fwy, Suite #415, Houston, TX 77079 / Office: 713-937-1000 / Fax: 832-604-4186

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Elisa McNinch,

Five-Star Estate Professional Award Multiple-Years (2012-2018).

Recognized in Texas Monthly Magazine

June 2012-2018


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Executive Assistant

& Licensed Realtor



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Bruner Team INFO Newsletter

 February 15 - March 15, 2018



The Valuable Stone

Once a wise old woman was traveling through the mountains. She plodded slowly, her burden on her back, her head bent. She saw little more than the ground under her feet, but even so, she smiled. Then she saw at the edge of her path, a bright red stone, and she knew it was a large gem. With that gem, she could buy a small home and settle down. She picked it up and put it in her pack and continued her journey.

The next day on the path, she met another traveler. He was hungry, and asked the old woman if she had any food to spare. She opened her bag to give food to the man and he saw the precious stone inside. His eyes grew wide.

He said, “That is a very valuable stone you have.” She grinned at him toothlessly, and handed it over without any hesitation. “Then you should have it.” With that, she continued her journey.

The man was so happy, he ran for miles to his village, despite his hunger. He knew he’d never worry about food again. The stone would give him a lifetime of security.

But that night, instead of peaceful sleep, he had the most restless dreams of his life.

Late the next day, the old woman heard footsteps running up behind her. It was the man. He breathlessly asked her to stop for a moment, then held out the stone.

“Thanks for giving me this stone, but I would like to return it to you with the hope that you can give me something even more precious,” he said.

“What more could I give you,” she asked.

“Please give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me that stone without any hesitation,” he said.

~ Elisa McNinch


Why Do We Have A Groundhog Day?

Groundhog Day is a popular tradition in the United States and Canada, but it is also a legend that traverses centuries and countries. The story is part of a tradition of legends that predict the weather based on animals awakening on specific dates.

February 2nd is the day that in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a groundhog named Phil comes out of his hole after a long winter. If he sees his shadow, he is startled and retreats. People regard that as an omen of more bad weather to come. If the day is cloudy and shadowless, the groundhog stays above ground, and people regard that as an omen that winter will end early because the groundhog will start gathering food.

Similarly, Roman legions, supposedly brought this tradition to the Germans, who morphed it into the idea that if the sun made an appearance on Candlemas Day, a hedgehog would cast a shadow, thus predicting six more weeks of bad weather.

Pennsylvania's earliest settlers were Germans, and they found groundhogs in profusion where they resettled. They determined that if the sun appeared on a particular day in mid-winter, the groundhog would “meet” its shadow, be frightened, and hurry back into its underground home for another six weeks of winter. Groundhog Day has since been centered on the location of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in the US, but has spread in popularity to other countries, as well. 


The Best App Ever Invented…

If you don’t have enough apps yet, then here’s one for you. This app can change the way you and millions of people function every day—and you don’t even need a computer or smart phone to use it.

It’s called Self Control, and it blocks sites like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and Twitter for a specified period of time to help you minimize distractions while getting other things done.

Self Control is a versatile app, also working on food, exercise, and money!


Say Yes To Saying No

There are many reasons that people say yes, when they really want to say no:

    Some people have a great sense of duty and obligation. They feel like they have to say yes to almost anything they are asked to do.

    Some people just want everyone to like them, and they’re afraid if they say no, they might cause the person making the request to reject them.

    Some people are afraid they’ll miss out on a big opportunity if they say no.

    Some people feel flattered when they are asked to do something extra.

    Some people hate confrontation so much that they will do almost anything to avoid it, including saying yes even when they want to say no.

When you do need to say no, here are a few tips that might help:

    Always be polite, but firm. Don’t over explain about your situation because the person making the request might then try to convince you to say yes.

    Say no as soon as possible to avoid dragging the situation out.

    Know your priorities. If something doesn’t fit with your needs, don’t do it. Say no.


Perspective Makes A Difference

A crew of workmen was repairing railroad tracks when an approaching train brought their job to a stop. The train screeched to a halt, and a railway executive stepped down from the train. He straightened his fine jacket and looked over the worker. Looking closer, he said, “Dave, is that you?”

Dave, the crew leader, recognized the executive. “Jim! It’s great to see you!” They shook hands and chatted for a few minutes, and then the executive returned to the train.

As the train started moving away, one of the workmen came and stood next to Dave, and said, “Wasn’t that the CEO of the railroad? How do you know him?”

“We started working for this railroad together 23 years ago, driving spikes and shoveling gravel,” Dave explained.

“So how come he became the boss and you’re still out here in the hot sun?”

“Well,” Dave said. “He always loved the railroad, wanted to work for it more than anything in the world. I just wanted a job.”


Don’t Count On Catching Up On Sleep

You work long hours during the week, so you probably look forward to some extra sleep over the weekend. But if you’re counting on those couple of extra hours to help you catch up on all the rest you need, you may be fooling yourself.

In a study conducted at Penn State University, 30 healthy men and women aged 18-34 years spent 13 nights in a sleep lab. For four nights, they slept a full eight hours; then they spent six nights sleeping only six hours, followed by three 10-hour nights.

The participants’ brain function dropped after their nights of sleep deprivation and did not return to normal until after the third day of extra sleep, even though they said they felt physically refreshed by their extra sleep immediately.

So don’t depend on a few extra hours to bring you back to peak efficiency. Make a point of getting a full night’s sleep every night to stay safe and productive at home, work, and on the road.


Me, Micro-Manage? Certainly Not!

A Hollywood mogul became president of a struggling new television network. With his career on the line, the CEO was determined to oversee every aspect of program development—right down to the set design.

One day a producer at the network called his lawyer to complain about the CEO’s overbearing ways. He was afraid the debut of his show would be delayed because the CEO was obsessed with the design of the sets.

The attorney had worked with the CEO before, and agreed to help. He invited the CEO to lunch.

As they finished their meal, the attorney opened his briefcase and began taking out carpet and drapery swatches. “I have a question,” he said to the puzzled executive. “My wife and I are redecorating and I’d like your advice on the best carpet to coordinate with this drape.”

The savvy CEO was quick to see the point. “You think I’m micro-managing, don’t you?”

Thanks to his creative approach, the attorney helped the CEO see that his energy would be better spent focusing on his strengths—and letting his employees focus on theirs.


What’s In A Name?

Language is constantly in flux. Words change their meanings over time, which can be obvious to anyone reading Shakespeare or Dickens. As a case in point, consider the colonial origins of these common words, as explained in Words They Lived By: Colonial New England Speech, Then and Now, by Joan P. Bines:

·   Backlog. In colonial times, this was the largest log in the fire, placed in the back to provide the most warmth while cooks built smaller fires in front that they could regulate more efficiently. Thus, something held back in reserve.

·   Humble pie. Long ago, this was a pie made from the entrails of deer, which were called the “humbles” and eaten by servants.

·   Phone. The English word phone is actually short for telephone, which comes from the Greek words for sound (phon) and far away (tele).


Is That Still Safe To Eat?

Is that fruitcake that’s been in your pantry since last Christmas safe to eat? Maybe not (despite the jokes about fruitcakes lasting forever), but here are a few foods you can safely store for years:

·   Honey. Because it’s low in water and sugars, bacteria can’t easily grow in it. Small amounts of hydrogen peroxide in honey also inhibit the growth of microbes.

·    Dried legumes. Beans, lentils, and other legumes stored in airtight, waterproof containers can last for years without losing their nutritional value.

·    Soy sauce. Unopened, soy sauce can last for three years on the shelf, thanks to its combination of fermentation and salt.

·    Vinegar. Its acidic nature makes it difficult for bacteria to thrive. White vinegar will stay unchanged almost indefinitely.

·    White rice. The key is temperature. White rice stored in an airtight container at about 27 degrees Fahrenheit (-3 degrees Celsius) can last up to 30 years, although brown rice has a shorter shelf life.

·    Dark chocolate. Chocolate fans rejoice! As long as it’s stored at a constant temperature, dark chocolate is safe to eat for two years or longer.

·    Dried fruit. Kept in airtight containers in a cool place, without moisture, desiccated fruit can last a year or more.


No Mistake About It

One morning a grocer put a sign out that read: “Eggplants—25 cents, 3 for $1.00.”

All day long, customers walked in and complained about the sign. “I should get four eggplants for a dollar!” they all said. The grocer apologized to each customer and put four eggplants in bags for them. By the end of the day he was sold out.

The manager of a shoe store next door came in at the end of the day and heard the last customer demand four eggplants. “Why don’t you just fix the mistake on your sign?” he asked.

“What mistake?” The grocer smiled. “Before I put up that sign nobody ever bought more than one eggplant!”


“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them
looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow
connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut,
destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down,
and it has made all the difference in my life.” ~ Steve Jobs


The 10,000 Hour Myth

According to Daniel Goleman in a podcast interview from Lifehacker.com, the 10,000 hours of practice rule is a myth. You might have heard it before: "It takes 10,000 hours of practice to perfect any skill."

Apparently, this is a misquoting, or simply a false assumption that stemmed from a book by Malcom Gladwell. According to the researcher upon whose work the assumption is actually based, there's no fixed rule about the number of hours you need to practice.

Anders Ericsson, a psychology professor at Florida State University, says that practice does improve performance. But you can do it faster with different techniques. One of the best is to use a coach. The coach helps you do smart practice by giving you feedback. They know what they're looking at and know what to recommend you try next.

It’s not the number of hours that matter; it’s the way you practice. Smart practice helps you improve faster.




December 2017 Answer


Question:   How many reindeer pull Santa's sleigh on a foggy night?

Answer:  Nine


Congratulations to Barbara Harold!  Your name was randomly selected from all of the correct entries.  You won a $50 gift card from Amazon.com, Academy, Target, Khol's, Los Cucos Mexican, OR Pappas restaurants. Your choice!



February - March 2018 Trivia Quiz Question


Question: What is the world's biggest island?


Everyone who contacts Elisa via email (elisa@brunerteam.com) or phone (832-746-7911) with the correct answer by March 10th will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Olive Garden or Carrabba's Italian Grill, Randall's / Kroger, OR The Home Depot.  Your choice!