Sunday, November 30, 2014

Break...



Just a quick note here to let you know I'm taking the next 2 days off from hosting the blog... I'll be back on Tuesday, Dec.  3rd with fresh, inspiring, inspirational, positive, conscious and green living topics :)

In the meantime, please do feel free to browse archives on this blog, and visit our website:


Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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, November 29, 2014

World of Writing, interview




-- World of Writing --


Joining us today for our next installment of World of Writing interviews is Jeff Rasley - ( http://JeffreyRasley.com ) -author of several books (including Monsters of the Doorway, Light in the Mountains, a thriller titled False Prophet, Islands in My Dreams, and Bringing Progress to Paradise). Jeff practiced law in the Indianapolis (US) region for 30 years and is currently the partner of Knowledge Capture Publishing and Editing as well as the president of the Basa Village Foundation (  http://basavillagefoundationusa.org ). Amazingly he is also able to act as a liaison for Adventure Geo-Treks LTD, while teaching students. He is most passionate about combining adventure travel with philanthropy, and creating better communities. 
Check out the archived audio of the 2012 interview we did with Jeff on our radio show: 
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/consciousdiscussions/2012/08/30/basa-village-project

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


A: My mother was a journalist, columnist, and city editor of our hometown newspaper, The Goshen News. So, I spent time with reporters and editors as a child. The reporters and editors were all frustrated writers – they wanted to write books. In college I wrote bad-adolescent poetry but was on the editorial board of a literary journal. So, I learned a bit about good writing and editing. My creative writing professor was Richard Stern, who was Saul Bellow’s close friend and sometime-personal editor. He encouraged me as a fiction writer, although he described my college attempt at a memoir as “a magnificent failure”. My greatest influence as a mature writer is my wife, Alicia Rasley, who is a successful romance novelist, writer of writing craft books, and English professor. We’ve worked on several books together and some of her skill has rubbed off on me. 

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


A: Each book I’ve written either directly addresses or circles around the theme of Community. I took for granted the value of community growing up in a small town. Having since lived in London, Chicago, and Indianapolis, I’ve experienced modern urban life and how difficult it is to develop and maintain communities in our transient, alienated, and virtual world. But, we are social creatures who need communal participation to thrive. So, I’ve tried to express what I’ve come to appreciate about community through my writing. I hope the books and articles I’ve written shine a light for others on why we need to work at creating healthy communities and how we can do that joyfully.
  
Q: You’ve written a lot of books, and I’m curious - how do you feel about today’s publishing industry as an experienced author?

 A: I’m no longer interested in traditional publishing. The industry has changed in a way that the advantages of direct publishing outweigh the advantages of seeking (and possibly finding) a publisher for a “mid-list author”. If I were famous, the scales would probably tip the other way, because I could demand an advance that might outweigh what I enjoy about publishing through the company Alicia and I have created. But control and working at my own pace is more important to me than the potential benefits of working with a traditional publisher.   



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


A: I practiced law for 30 years and was senior partner in my own firm for the last 12. I was a very involved father in raising our two sons, who are now both out in the world with their own careers. So, I have a lot of freedom to choose how to spend my time. I serve on the boards of 5 nonprofits and am president of the Basa Village Foundation USA. Much of my time is devoted to philanthropic endeavors. My wife and I travel a fair amount and I usually do a trekking or mountaineering expedition in Nepal each year. I regularly engage in recreational activities, which combine physical fitness with enjoyment of the outdoors, like kayaking, swimming, biking, rollerblading, etc.  And, there are a bunch of good TV shows with the explosion of indy networks, a bazillion books yet to read, several magazines I subscribe to. Oh yeah, I teach a course in the honors program at Butler University on philosophy and philanthropy, and lead a weekly discussion class at Indianapolis Friends Meeting. Not to mention regular dining out with friends, playing in three volleyball groups, and sharing a glass of wine with Alicia on the riverbank behind our house. Life is good and full, and I do not miss practicing law.    
     
Q: What gave you the idea (inspiration) for your latest book?


A: I have been growing in the conviction that belief in religious doctrines and political ideologies is the cause of much of the divisiveness in our world. Believers tend to feel that those who do not share their beliefs are not fully human. The most fanatical believers, e.g., ISIS, want to kill unbelievers. Beliefs in doctrines and ideologies affect the way believers understand reality as well as how they treat other people. You do not see the reality of this world clearly, if you have a utopian view or make decisions based on rules given by an imagined god. The cure for this ill is to choose positive values to be “life guides”.  Beliefs divide us, values unite us is the theme of the book, which is entitled Godless – Living a Valuable Life Beyond Beliefs.


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



A: When I was busy raising kids and practicing law, there were times when it was difficult to sustain discipline in writing regularly. I wrote one book and started another before I left the law. Since then, the challenges are the ones typical for most writers. What do I really want to say? Is the message worthy to be read by others? Then, all the craft issues involved with writing, organizing, structuring, and editing to create a finished work worthy of publication.  People in this industry have to know how to create a cover that represents the theme of the book, how to describe the book, which genres/subgenres are most appropriate, and which distributors to use. Finally, how the hell to get anyone to notice it, let alone entice them to buy and read the damn thing. J






Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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, November 28, 2014

Solving problems



-- Quote of the Day -- 

"A positive attitude may not solve every problem 
but it makes solving any problem a more pleasant experience.”

~ Grant Fairley



 
Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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, November 27, 2014

on life, poetry



-- Quote of the Day -- 

"In childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking out. 
In memories of childhood, we press our nose to the pane, looking in."

 ~Robert Brault


-- Poetry -- 

 Yep - time for poetry. As my blog readers are likely aware, I like to share poetry occasionally here... and it is time for another installment :)

 ON LIFE

Dream for the sky,
The true blue high...
Looking down, 
You will ever ask why
The world is, as it is.
See the people, the little people,
Hiding behind a false steeple,
Pretending to be what they are not.
I hear people speak 
Of the world they seek,
Found only in books they themselves wrote.
There is no hero.
No one to wipe your sorry ass.
Turning our backs on our past,
We do over what was done before.
While or people sit and speak,
Of the happiness we all seak
And upon finding
Turn and spit.
In greed, we strike, and strike again.
Our sad need for more.
...and in my simple way,
I stumble, looking for truth.
Confused - I look again,
And there I see a long-lost friend,
Ready to begin my teaching.
...just the start of a long tending.


* Excerpted from the Lilian's 1st poetry book: Towards Understanding - a collection of 125 non-fiction poems, written in chronological order to show the life of a young girl coming to terms with the world and a difficult childhood.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

How to keep writing



-- Quote of the Day -- 

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, 
knowing that nobody’s going to know 
whether you did it or not.”

~ Oprah



 -- How to keep writing --


* Today's article was written by: Donald Finch - LifeOfWriters is a reputed website helping writers in their journey to become successful writers. They provide the best writing forums for people who love to write, and help them with valuable tips on how to keep writing through effective discussions with fellow writers.

 Writing is a highly creative task that demands consistency and perseverance. Writers need to keep up their enthusiasm and love for writing under all circumstances. Mostly, they need to adjust to their moods in order to prevent any kind of obstacles in their writing. There are various things that can prevent writers from losing focus on their work.

Here are some helpful tips on how to keep writing, under all circumstances:

Maintain Regularity: It is important to maintain a fixed time when you would simply write and do nothing else. Maintaining a fixed time helps you to get into a habit of writing despite any kind of situation or mood. It helps in preparing your mind to concentrate on writing during that particular time of the day, even if you don't feel like. Make sure you avoid engaging in other activities during that time such as visiting social networking sites, checking mails and chatting online with friends. Allocate that time only for writing.

Write Something That you Enjoy: It can be immensely helpful for you to write about something that you have thorough knowledge of or that you actually enjoy. Choose a topic that you love to write on. This can help you immensely in maintaining your love and passion for writing. When you would love what you are writing, you are least likely to lose focus and interest on your project.

Avoid Overwriting: Set goals and milestones that are achievable. Don't overwork. When you are overly exhausted or worn out, you tend to lose interest in your work, which is then difficult to come back. It is therefore extremely important to recognize your limits and take up projects accordingly. Try to accomplish goals that would not leave you entirely burned out.

Communicate with Fellow Writers: Communicate with fellow writers to know their experiences and opinions, and also share yours with them. Staying connected with fellow writers can help you immensely in keeping motivated and keeping up your passion for writing. It is easier to overcome your fears and frustrations that can sometimes overwhelm you through a healthy and effective discussion with other writers. Knowing their difficulties and hard times can help you deal better with yours.

Before you seek advice on how to keep writing, it is important for you to know the various factors that might cause you to lose interest in writing. Here are some of the possible reasons:
  • Sometimes, writing is not considered as worthy as other conventional jobs. Writers are often not believed as hard-working since their work does not involve physical labor. The tremendous amount of creativity, perseverance, determination and effort that is required to accomplish a writing project is often not taken into consideration. This can be a significant reason for writers lose interest in their job.
  • Whether a beginner or an established one, writers are often not paid sufficiently. This is one of the most significant reasons for writers to start lacking motivation and eventually lose interest in their work. Getting paid insufficiently can be a major reason for any writer to suffer from writer's block.

 Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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, November 25, 2014

edible flowers, part 2



-- Quote of the Day -- 


"A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea."

 ~John Ciardi





 -- Flowers - as Food, Part 2 -- 

* Today's article was a bit large, so I split it in 2 parts, the 1st half was  published on the 23rd of this month... and was written by: Crazyflorist is an online florist in Delhi which provide fresh flowers with wide range of variety. They also offer a an online flower portal to send flowers online anywhere in Delhi, India.


Many fine dining restaurants make the use of flowers to enhance the flavors and textures of the food they offer. Flowers can be added to main dishes, desserts or salads for an exciting twist or can be used as a garnish. There are many beverages which infused with flowers. Flowers can also be used for making spreads and preserves, marinades and dressings, to cakes and puddings, appetizers and starters- the options are endless. All you need is some imagination and creativity.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that not all flowers are edible. So make sure that you depend on some reliable source when choosing flowers to consume. If possible, try to grow your own edible flowers. To ensure best flavor, choose fresh flowers and avoid the wilted ones. Also, flower buds can be bitter, so are better left alone. Some flowers can be eaten whole, except for bitter parts like stems and stamens.

If you suffer from any allergies, add flowers to your diet gradually as too much of them can aggravate your condition. Avoid eating flowers plucked from public parks or even from the florist as they could carry traces of pesticides or herbicides.

Keeping flowers wrapped in moist paper towels and refrigerating them will help them stay fresh longer. Read further to know some more about some flowers which can be eaten safely.

Hibiscus
You probably already know about hibiscus tea. They have a tart flavor and should be made use of in small portions.

Fuchsia
Pretty fuchsia flowers have a tangy taste and make for a beautiful garnish.

Fennel
Fennel blossoms taste like the herb itself and the tiny yellow flowers look good, too.

Clover
Clover flowers have a sweet flavor, with undertones of licorice.

Citrus flowers
Citrus flowers like kumquat, lime, orange, lemon and grapefruit are sweet and have a strong aroma. They should be used sparingly, or may overpower your dish.

Chrysanthemum
They come in many colors and have a slightly bitter, peppery and pungent flavor. Make use only of petals when adding to dishes.

Chicory
Chicory petals and buds can be pickled to enjoy the bitter earthy flavor.

Chamomile
A very popular addition to teas, chamomile flowers are small and have a sweet flavor.

Carnations
Trim the petals from the base and you have sweet petals which are edible and have a sweet aroma, too.

Marigold and calendula
The bright color of these flowers can liven up any dish, and add a tangy, peppery flavor as well.

Borage
Borage flowers have a cucumber-like taste and the blue hue is very eye-catching, too.

Basil
Basil flowers come in many colors and have the same flavor and aroma as the herb.

Arugula
These small flowers with dark center may come in many colors and have a peppery taste.

Allium
Garlic, chives, leeks all belong to the allium family. All parts of these are edible and so are the flowers, which are bursting with flavor.
 
Flowers are a natural resources to feed soul. 

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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!

 



Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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!



 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Volunteering In Hospitals

 * Today's article was written by Andrea Avery...


One of the best things that any person can do for others is to volunteer in a hospital. Doing so not only brings about tangible results, but also provides a great many intangible benefits as well. By helping to improve the lives of others, you'll enjoy a heightened sense of self-worth. You'll swell with pride and also enjoy a feeling of accomplishment. Even little things will make a tremendous difference in the lives of patients and staff members.

Various Available Positions

Hospital volunteers may perform some clerical duties or help with data entry or customer service. Most of the time, however, they help patients and their families in several ways. Some people help support those who are ill by visiting them, while others will play with children while adults are tending to their loved ones. There are others who will simply take service animals on walks throughout the facility.


Advantages for the Volunteer

Not only do volunteers typically feel a heightened sense of self-worth, they also benefit from learning new skills and gaining experience as well as meeting new people. This not only increases their social network, it can also improve their social skills as well. There are many, many examples where volunteers have made lifelong friendships with patients, family members, doctors, nurses, and several others.


This type of work can also be a substantial boon to a career. For example, people can improve their computer skills and also perform other career-related tasks. Those going to medical school can boost their resumes while gaining extremely relevant experience.

Advantages for Patients

Unfortunately, there are many times when a patient will be in a hospital and not have anyone in the area that can pay them a visit. Recovering from an injury or fighting a disease can be extremely lonely, and patients often just need someone to talk to them. Children especially benefit from having entertainers visit or just having someone to play with.

How You Can Volunteer

It is usually very easy to volunteer at a hospital. All you have to do is contact your local medical facility and ask what types of positions may be available. Then simply look over the list and evaluate the positions that you are most passionate about pursuing. You may want to work children or adolescents, or you might prefer to work with adults or the elderly instead. Once you make your decision, contact the hospital's volunteer coordinator to either set up a meeting or schedule an orientation. Just remember that you may have to undergo certain medical tests or vaccinations for safety reasons.


No matter what your choice may be, you can rest assured that volunteering in a hospital will be an experience that you'll remember forever.

Michigan residents trust St. Mary's of Michigan for life changing volunteer experiences. Learn more at http://www.stmarysofmichigan.org/.




Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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! 
 
 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

edible flowers, part 1



-- Quote of the Day -- 

"To exist is to change, to change is to mature, 
to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly."

 ~Henri Bergson




 -- Flowers - as Food, Part 1 -- 

Today's article is a bit large, so I split it in 2 parts, the 2nd half will be published on the 25th of this month... and was written by: Crazyflorist is an online florist in Delhi which provide fresh flowers with wide range of variety.They also offer a an online flower portal to send flowers online anywhere in Delhi, India.


Many fine dining restaurants make the use of flowers to enhance the flavors and textures of the food they offer. Flowers can be added to main dishes, desserts or salads for an exciting twist or can be used as a garnish. There are many beverages which infused with flowers. Flowers can also be used for making spreads and preserves, marinades and dressings, to cakes and puddings, appetizers and starters- the options are endless. All you need is some imagination and creativity.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that not all flowers are edible. So make sure that you depend on some reliable source when choosing flowers to consume. If possible, try to grow your own edible flowers. To ensure best flavor, choose fresh flowers and avoid the wilted ones. Also, flower buds can be bitter, so are better left alone. Some flowers can be eaten whole, except for bitter parts like stems and stamens.

If you suffer from any allergies, add flowers to your diet gradually as too much of them can aggravate your condition. Avoid eating flowers plucked from public parks or even from the florist as they could carry traces of pesticides or herbicides.

Keeping flowers wrapped in moist paper towels and refrigerating them will help them stay fresh longer. Read further to know some more about some flowers which can be eaten safely.

Violets
Violets make for a beautiful garnish for desserts and drinks and impart a sweet and floral aroma.

Sunflower
You can steam the bud as you would steam an artichoke and can eat the petals also.
Squash and pumpkin flowers
Make use of blossoms as stuffing as they also have a squash-like flavor. Stamens must be removed before consuming.
 
Sage blossoms
The flavor is same as the leaves of the herb.

Rosemary
The flowers taste the same as the herb, only slightly milder. For dishes that consist of rosemary, flowers can make a good garnish.

Rose
After removing the base, you get strong aroma and flavor containing petals. Float them on drinks or scatter on desserts or integrate them in jams. The darker roses have more flavor compared to lighter ones. All roses are edible.

Radish flowers
For a peppery touch, radish flowers are the perfect option.

Oregano
Oregano flowers have the same taste as the herb, just slightly subtler.

Nasturtium
Among the more popular edible flowers, nasturtiums are bright in color as well as flavor. The sweet-at-first flavor gives way to a peppery flavor towards the end and the seed pod is particularly flavorful, an interesting blend of sweet and spicy. The flowers can be stuffed, leaves can be added to salads, buds can be pickled and petals can be used as garnish.

Lilac
The lilac blooms may smell and taste somewhat pungent, but lend a fresh citrusy aroma to any dish.

Lemon Berbena
These blossoms make great companions for teas and desserts.

Lavender
Sweetly perfumed with a sweet and spicy flavor, lavender flowers can be added to sweet or savory delicacies.

Johnny Jump-up
These are delicious flowers and make a great addition to pastas, salads and fruit-based drinks and desserts.

Jasmine
Jasmine tea is quite popular. These flowers have a strong scent and should be used sparingly for sweet dishes.

Hollyhock
Though they taste bland, hollyhock flowers make for a pretty garnish and are edible as well.

Flowers are a natural resources to feed soul. 



Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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, November 22, 2014

Greening the holidays



-- Quote of the Day -- 

“There is place in the world for any business t
hat takes care of its customers – after the sale.” 

~ Harvey MacKay


-- Shopping Tips -- 

Well it is Xmas season again and folks are planning for all kinds of gatherings, events, parties, feasts, gift giving, visiting, traveling... and a week or so later, there's New Years to face. 

Over the holidays, North American trash increases by 25% - about 25 million extra tons of garbage going to the landfill.

I thought that it would be appropriate to talk a little about greening these events. 

Simple things to ask one's self are:

 - Can we make, borrow or rent decorations? Can we choose compostable eco-friendly decorations (cedar bows, flower wreaths)?
- Can we make the gifts (i.e. containers of various baked goods, jams, etc.) or consider eco-friendly ones (house plants, garden seeds, rechargeable batteries, gift certificates...).
- Do the gifts have to be wrapped or bagged? and if so - what ways can we reduce the impact of the packaging?
- How can we reduce plastic and litter?
- Have we prepared compost collection and recycling collection containers? Are the containers placed so that they are easy to access, easy to use, well labeled?
- Is the food we are serving organic, grown locally, prepared locally?
- Have you considered including a donation box for local charities at your event?
- Choose eco-friendly lighting - LED or CFL 
- Can we use (or rent) fabric table cloths and napkins - washing and saving them for reuse?

To learn more about hosting green celebrations, conserve energy, save money, find craft projects, unique and eco-friendly gift ideas that perpetuate green consciousness, and much more... check out Trash Talk It's Easy To Be Green, Book 2

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Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: http://brummet.ca * 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!