5 Facts You Should Know

Promotional items (also called advertising specialty items) are most often found as giveaways at trade shows, corporate picnics, or golf tournament fund-raisers. They come in the form of pens, bags, hats, mugs, and anything else that has room for your logo. Here’s the question… What is the value to these giveaway items?promotional-items

1. 84% of recipients of promotional items can identify the advertiser.  No other advertising medium provides anywhere close to the name recognition associated with advertising specialties.

2. 42% of recipients of promotional items have a more favorable impression of the advertiser.  Well of course they do!  You just gave them something practical that they’ll use for a long time to come… for FREE.

3. 62% of recipients of promotional items did business with the advertiser after receiving an item. Who can name the last time an ad in a newspaper brought 62% of the readers to their doorstep?

4. The average promotional item is kept for 7 months.  That’s a lot of face time with your message, logo, and brand.

5. The average cost per impression (the number of times that a prospect will view your ad) is just $0.004 for promotional items.  Compared with newspapers ($.019) and magazines ($.033), your cost savings are significant.  That’s a savings of $150.00 (newspaper), and $293.00 (magazine) for every 10,000 impressions, with better proven results.

Visit our website for great promo product ideas: MNpromotions.com


July 10, 2013 at 2:51 PM Leave a comment

Who? What? When? Where? and How?

Who?  What?  When?  Where? and How?

This week we were privileged to create a plaque for a teacher at Prairie View Elementary School in Eden Prairie, MN. In working with the artwork I couldn’t help but notice the words in the dedication because they were so Prairie View Elementary Plaquecommon sense and simple yet very powerful; if lived. It turns out that the dedication is actually words for the school’s Pride song. The words reminded me of how simple it really can be for humans to get along with one another if they lived by the simple and organic ‘guide posts’ we all were exposed to as children such as; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Is it that we expect our children to express these qualities but we as adults are exempt? Have we out grown them? In other words; “Do as I say but not as I do”? Why do these organic qualities mostly die away when humans become adults only to be replaced by distrust and negativity? If you doubt that this is true, tune in to tonight’s news broadcast. It is reflected in the local, national and world news and the planet is suffering because of it.

To neutralize a great deal of the negative energy circulating on the planet is as simple as you and I taking control of our own space and living these organic qualities this instant, not when we feel like it; we don’t give the children that leeway. To simply be ‘mindful’ of our responses, thoughts and actions in real time; to notice if they are in alignment with the kindness we expect our children to show; kindness is inherent in each and everyone of us.

Or, are our responses, thoughts and actions reflecting the old conditioned mind patterns of negativity? You immediately know the difference by the way you feel internally either during or afterward and by the cause and effect chain of events that quickly follow our responses and actions. Kindness is organic, it’s natural and easy. It feels good, it’s encouraging and everyone and everything benefits; no one is hurt. Negativity on the other hand is insensitive, pollutes the chemistry of the body, and is restricting and un-natural. It creates unhappiness on many levels leaving numerous casualties in its wake and it just doesn’t feel good.

It’s time to stop blaming others for their actions and expecting them to change or comply, including our children, if we ourselves are not willing to live the changes we expect of them. Don’t like to be cheated? Don’t cheat. Don’t like greedy people? Don’t be greedy. Don’t like being tailgated? Don’t tailgate. Don’t like to be talked about? Don’t gossip. You get the idea. It’s all energy and it all matters personally and collectively.

Check out the words to this short simple song and make a commitment to challenge yourself to allow these natural values to become your actions and responses in this moment; same as we expect the children to do daily. Give it an honest try just same as you would request the children to do. You really have nothing to lose and you will be doing yourself, your co-workers, your family, your friends, the animals and the planet a huge favor.

Let me know how it goes.

Here are the words to the Prairie View Elementary School Pride Song:

Who?  What?  When?  Where and How?

Who?  All of us at Prairie View!

What?  Know the right things to do!

When?  Twenty-four hours a day!

Where?  At school, at home, at play!

How? By making really good choices with our actions, thoughts, and voices!

Who?  What?  When?  Where and How?

June 6, 2013 at 4:04 PM Leave a comment

Do unto future generations as you would have them do unto you!

Landfill_2Our planet is without doubt a jewel with all of its wonder and beauty, the sustainer of life, a living organism of which we are all a part. Yet in our attempt to achieve and expand we have become insensitive to ‘Mother Earth’ and have abused her to a point where it is not a given that future generations will enjoy the beauty and boundless resources as we have enjoyed in the past.

It doesn’t take but one minute to examine some vital environmental facts to foresee what the future will bring for our children’s children if we as co- inhabitants of this planet don’t undertake a concerted effort to make some sort of personal change today; not tomorrow.

Here are just a few of many environmental facts that caught my attention. Please take a moment to read this partial list; it is mind-boggling.

  • Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S.
  • If you had a 15-year old tree and made it into paper grocery bags, you’d get about 700 of them.  A supermarket could use all of them in under an hour! This means in one year, one supermarket goes through 60,500,000 paper bags! Imagine how many supermarkets there are in the U.S.!!!
  • The average American uses seven trees a year in paper, wood and other products made from trees. This amounts to about 2,000,000,000 trees per year!
  • The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.
  • Americans use 2,500,000 plastic bottles every hour! Most of them are thrown away!
  • Plastic bags and other plastic garbage thrown into the ocean kill as many as 1,000,000 sea creatures every year!
  • The US population discards each year 16,000,000,000 diapers, 1,600,000,000 pens, 2,000,000,000 razor blades, 220,000,000 car tires, and enough aluminum to rebuild the US commercial air fleet four times over.
  • Rainforests are being cut down at the rate of 100 acres per minute!
  • A single quart of motor oil, if disposed of improperly, can contaminate up to 2,000,000 gallons of fresh water.
  • The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours. It also causes 20% less air pollution and 50% less water pollution than when a new bottle is made from raw materials.

    pacific garbage patch

    Pacific ocean garbage patch

  • Every month, we throw out enough glass bottles and jars to fill up a giant skyscraper. All of these jars are recyclable!
  • Currently, 1,556 known species in the world have been identified as endangered, or near extinction, and are under protection by government law. This approximation, however, does not take into consideration the number of species threatened with endangerment that are not included under the protection of such laws. Thus, in total, between seven and eighteen percent of the United States’ known animals, fungi, and plants are near extinction. This total is substantially more than the number of species protected under the Endangered Species Act in the United States, which means many species are inching closer and closer toward extinction.
  • The most important factor leading to the endangerment of the majority of wildlife in the world is the human impact on the species and their environment. “As human use of resources, energy, and space intensified over the past few centuries, the diversity of life has been substantially diminished in most parts of the world”. Basically, as the human impact on the environment increases, the diversity of life decreases. Humans are constantly using the resources and space of other species for themselves, negatively impacting the survival rate of many creatures.

The world’s population is fast approaching seven billion people and coupled with fast growing economies such as China and India it will take more of an effort on everyone’s part to reach sustainability if future generations are to enjoy this planet on any level such as we have.

Environmental sustainability has been defined as; meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The movement towards Earth Friendly and Corporate Sustainability or “Corporate Citizenship” is gaining momentum and is no longer just a ‘buzz’ word to be associated with; it’s a responsibility.  The desire to grow without damaging future generations’ prospects is slowly becoming more and more central to business philosophies.

Everywhere you look you will see some evidence of this emerging field. According to the Corporate Register, two-thirds of the Fortune 500 produces a corporate social responsibility report. Green building is growing 50 percent a year. Clean-tech (which includes sectors related to renewable energy, transportation, water conservation, and safer, non-toxic chemicals) is one of the largest areas of venture capital. Sustainable and socially responsible investing (SRI) is growing faster than traditional investing.

Sustainability is this and more. It means changing our society and our organizations so that we live within the limits of nature. But it’s more than just ‘green.’ Sustainability is about the triple bottom line: making decisions that support a healthy economy, community and environment—all three.

Ask  yourself  if  there is anything you can do to reduce the negative impact you or your company have on the environment or to help maintain its health; no action is too small to count.


1200 miles from civilization, birds die from eating man-made plastic

It all begins with a first step, a transition, a consciousness that says even though I am one person, one company I/we do make a difference on some level. It need not be complicated or involve finger pointing or blaming; it’s more about what we as individuals do right now. Make a personal commitment to come out of the fog of denial and recognize that human behavior has long been a cancer on our planet and then place the onus only on you to initiate the change.

What is the one simple thing you are willing to do now/today towards the healing our ailing planet? There are no acts of kindness towards our planet that are considered too small; picking up a piece of litter and recycling are simple but enormously impactful ways of jump starting your awareness in this area.

I am a firm believer that the ‘outer reflects the inner’.  That is precisely what we are witnessing on our planet in its many dysfunctional forms such as pollution, wars etc is a manifestation of the collective human consciousness. Same as most of the manifestations/circumstances in your life or mine are directly linked to our inner states of being whether recognized or not.

Change begins within and it must begin within each person. It is foolish to demand outer circumstances must change first in order for us to change. True change begins within and is then manifested in our personal actions which then manifest as a domino effect within our family, group, community, city, state, nation etc . . . collectively!

Do unto other generations as you would have them do unto you! 

A couple links you should check out: MIDWAY trailer: a film by Chris Jordan  and  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

April 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM Leave a comment

Peace, Joy and Love for the Holidays!


Peace, Joy and Love for the Holidays!

The spirit of the holidays is one of peace, joy and love. It is what we all long for and it is what we seek in all the gift giving and family gatherings. The question is; how can we sustain this sense of peace, joy and love beyond this one time of the year?

It begins within

Where else can it begin but within each one of us? How can we expect the external world to give us peace, love and joy if we are not at peace within? The outer truly does reflect the inner! The cup is either half-full or half-empty; it is our perceptions that make it so. Instead of seeking peace, joy and love outside ourselves we should be cultivating it from within. If we are truly at peace within I can assure you the world without will begin to reflect that peace back instantly. Outer circumstances do not contain thoughts or emotions; we filter everything through our conditioned belief systems/world views and from there react to the events and circumstances creating mental pain and unhappiness. Would you consciously choose unhappiness? The operative word is consciously!

Is it really this simple?

Why does it have to be difficult? Peace, love and joy are attributes of our inherent nature; before we identified with a world view. No human being is born with a world view; it has to be taught and identified with.  We don’t have to try and be more peaceful, joyful or loving, we simply have to allow it to shine through; like we do at this one time of the year we call the holidays.  This is so organic and natural that the belief system or thinking mind will reject it as nonsense and want to dismiss it without first testing the validity of it. It is as if we are addicted to the drudgery of our belief systems even though they have not served us very well; yet, they are so familiar we get a sense of identity from them and feel we would be lost without them; actually the opposite is truer.

Begin this moment

I would say start today but that would put it out into the distant future; instead, start this moment. There is always and ever only this moment; it is the only one in which we live, all else is either a thought of the past or future and does not exist in this moment.  Simply be still and allow the attributes of peace, love and joy to manifest through you by not habitually reacting to circumstances, which we do by filtering the perceptions of this moment through our conditioned mindsets. Instead, don’t take thoughts so seriously, simply observe thoughts of worry, fear, anxiety, jealousy, hatred, revenge and greed the same as you observe clouds in the sky, let them pass by. You don’t have to attach to them; they don’t represent how you actually feel at your center. Test this out for yourself; don’t accept this as another belief.

Peace, love and joy will shine through you effortlessly and be experienced directly in this moment if the path is not obstructed with mental noise of the past and future.  Of course this takes practice but you only have to practice NOW. The benefits are immediate though and it is the benefits that keep one coming back to NOW. After all what are the alternatives? It has been said; “You can’t solve a problem on the level of mind that created it.” It’s time to raise our level of consciousness from one of bondage rooted in conditioned thoughts to one of the essence of being.

From now on

The holiday spirit of Peace, Joy and Love need not be a once a year experience; it is meant to be a moment to moment experience. It simply starts with you and me and does not get more complicated than that. Don’t expect anyone else to do this; you do it and I do it. If everyone would take responsibility for themselves and no one else that would be enough. The energetic shift on the planet would happen more quickly by each person simply taking responsibility for their own transformation than if it was legislated and laws created. No one out there can do this for us not politicians or religions; they have had thousands of years and still the insanity of the nightly news continues.

We don’t have life times anymore to play around with this; the time is NOW for us to elevate our consciousness and that of the planet to Peace, Joy and Love.

May your holidays and every moment be an expression of the Peace, Joy and Love that is within you!


December 20, 2012 at 2:30 PM Leave a comment


THE BADGE!The Badge Plaque

A few weeks ago some proud and excited parents asked if we could create a plaque using a poem called ‘THE BADGE’; they are going to present it to their son who has just completed his training to become a Police Officer.  Being a father of a Minneapolis Firefighter I could share in their excitement as their son too was fulfilling what he believed to be his calling in life. Please take a moment to read the poem and then take another to actually sense what this job entails; it’s nothing like Hollywood makes it out to be and then please read on.


It is polished and shiny and looks so fine,

Once you earn it you have to tow the line.

The minute you wear it upon your chest,

It becomes a symbol that you are the best.

It means honesty, integrity, and fairness to all

Your life is never your own, but at the public’s call.

Night or day, any hour, it makes you a mark,

It doesn’t protect you from a shot in the dark.

Over the years the shine starts to fade,

But brighter still is the man it’s made.

It is often what separates you from the crowd,

It’s you the man behind the badge,

That makes his family proud!

I thought of this family when I read about a Minnesota Police officer who was brutally murdered this week in a small Minnesota town. Apparently he was answering a call to check on a person whose family had reported may be attempting to commit suicide.  The Police Officer went into the back alley of the building where the supposed suicidal person was living (above a local bar) and someone shot the Police Officer in the face with a 20 gage shotgun killing him on the spot; they still have not found the perpetrator at the time I am writing this. The young officer leaves behind 4 very young children and a wife. I am saddened equally for the Police Officer’s family and for the person responsible. We are all a part of this living organism called the human race and regardless of what one might believe; what happens to one, does affects us all on a deeper level.

How do we begin to put a halt to the increasing insanity that surrounds us?

By embodying the changes we wish to see in the world; not in talk but in our actions; not tomorrow but now; not sometimes but always; no excuses ever. Our outer lives are a reflection of our inner lives; our actions prove that. And every nation is a reflection of the collective attitudes of the people as a whole; how could it be any other way?  We are only responsible for ourselves and no one else, fix me that is all that is necessary, it really is that simple. Why does it have to be complex? Only the mind thinks it must be so.

There is a quote I have heard and the truth of it resonates deep within in me and it goes; “How many people does it take to save the world?  One . . . and it is you!!!” Don’t be too quick to blow this off as some sort of ‘pipe dream’ until you have seriously in quietude pondered the depth of it; you might be surprised.

Does the world need saving?

Read a history book; history reveals that humans have suffered more at the hands of other humans than through natural disasters; 160 million people killed in wars in the 20th Century alone! Or, simply watch tonight’s news; and then you tell me?

December 7, 2012 at 11:30 AM Leave a comment

The Joy of the Season!

The Holiday Spirit!

What is it about the holiday season that seems to bring out the best in most people? Can you identify the one thing about the holiday season that simply makes your heart sing? It might be something different for each of us but I am willing to bet at its essence the very core of what you really enjoy about the holiday season is deeper than the surface commercialism that is so in-our-face screaming for our attention.

Is it that families traditionally make the effort to get together in a unique way to share the joy of the season? That people go out of their way to think of others?  Or is it that smiles are more prevalent and people in general become friendlier at this time of year? It is undeniable that the holiday season has an impact on people here in America like no other holiday.

For many this is the one time of the year they experience something they sense is so organic that the anticipation of repeating the experience is the unconscious drive behind the excitement of the holiday season year after year. Collectively we all feel the joy of it at some level and we do miss it when it leaves.

What exactly is it that we love experiencing?

My theory is that what we love so much about the holiday spirit is that it actually is a reflection of how our everyday life experience is meant to be. That the kindness we give and receive at this time of year happens because we choose to allow the light of our true essence (which is inherently kind) to cut through our old conditioned and habitual mind patterns; we become less ‘selfish’ or ‘less-self’ and something greater than the ‘little me ‘shines through.

The fact we can recognize and are able to respond to the kindness within ourselves and others means for a brief moment we have transcended our old mind patterns which normally occupy most of our attention; those mind patterns which are mostly negative and circular and serve as constant reminders of past and future problems.

We become more mindful of others and it resonates because it is so natural to do so. I believe this is the essence of the holiday season and either consciously or unconsciously it is what is so attractive about it all. We instinctively feel better when we have put the good of others ahead of our own; if feels right. In fact have you ever noticed the energetic impact of unconditional kindness? The ripple effects are enormous because the kindness is coming from a different reference point; essence. Think of the Ebenezer Scrooge story and the powerful message it contains.

This wonderful holiday spirit happens because we choose at this one time of the year to act this way! Can we choose to become more mindful and have a spirit of kindness every day?  Why not? What could it hurt? After all we are only responsible for ourselves; it can’t be any simpler than that.

I invite you to make a conscious effort now and post holiday season to continue to be mindful of the kindness that is always available within you. Consciously choose kindness over fear, take a chance and place the good for others above your own. Then witness the positive impact this will have on you and your everyday experience at home and at work.

I guarantee the positive impact will be incentive enough to keep you experimenting with this and you won’t have to wait another year to experience the essence of the holidays.

Wishing you all the Joys of the Season!

December 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM 1 comment

The Best Time to be Thankful is Now!

Thanksgiving is near and it officially kicks off the holiday season and for many, myself included, this is the most wonderful time of the year. People begin to make an effort to think of others in kindness.

Thanksgiving, if you strip away the veneer of the modern traditions and actually do stop to ponder the many blessing in your life; Thanksgiving takes on more significance than just a day of football and eating too much.

A couple of weeks ago Linda, my wife of 43 years, had a colonoscopy scan that revealed a large polyp in her colon. The reason she was having this scan, her second in 10 years, was because her family has a history of cancer; her mother and grandmother were victims of colon cancer and her father also had colon cancer but passed away for other reasons. 

Upon receiving the news Linda and I were stunned but the upside was the Dr. had said he believed he removed it all. However, she must have another scan to verify it and so she has to have one every 3 years going forward. Luckily the lab results for the polyp were benign and all concerned were thankful for that.

Are you putting off being thankful to some future date?

I believe today in our high-tech society many people are stressed and distracted and have lost their sense of being and are spiritually unconscious; hence the epidemic of prescription drugs and the host of other addictives. As a result to this problem people take-for-granted and cannot appreciate the wonderful gifts they do have in their lives.

For many people, they will be thankful sometime in the future when; they get the raise, the new job, the love of their life, the big sale, the kids have graduated, the retirement account is worth $XXX, when they lose X amount of pounds, if he calls or she calls, etc.

Don’t put off being genuinely thankful to some distant future; be thankful for the good in your life now!

Thankfulness cannot be found in the future; you are either thankful this moment or you are not. Don’t convince yourself of anything just check within; are you thankful now? Is there a sense of gratefulness? Are you consciously aware of the blessings that surround you at this very moment?

Well, you might say I am busy and have deadlines and really don’t have time to be thankful or to even check within, I will check with myself later. Later will never come because later your mind will be filled with the next thing that needs doing and the next and before you know it days, weeks, months and years go by.

Thinking may be obscuring the obvious!

One reason you may not have a sense of thankfulness at this moment may be due to some thought about something that has happened in the past or not happened,  which is presently occupying your mind and obscuring the current blessings for which you can be thankful in this instant.

Or,  your mind might throw in a thought about something nice for which to be thankful and then quickly go ahead to move on to the next thought and the next without you ever really becoming consciously aware of the person, place or thing for which you can truly be thankful.

What I am attempting to point out is that people have become so unconsciously addicted to the thoughts that arise in their minds that they no longer are present enough to notice the wonderful things that surround them such as their; spouse, children, friends, pets, the sun, the sky, the air they breathe, the birds, trees, their health, their body, their car, their bike, the clothes on their back, in Minnesota the heat in their home, etc. It is all taken for granted and not really appreciated.

The outer always reflects the inner!

Consciously being thankful or grateful for the blessings that surround you in this instant creates a sense of well-being that is calming in more ways than one. You find that the tension in your neck begins to loosen, you smile more, and your responses are not as negative. You perceive people and things in a new light of awareness and appreciation. People respond to you differently because you are responding differently to them. Synchronistic events are more likely to take place because you are not unconsciously repelling the good nor are you attracting the bad. Your energy field begins to shift from negative to positive.

The outer always reflects the inner not the other way around. It seemed like a good idea at the time is the mantra of those who are lost in their thoughts and then act them out. Although the faces and names may vary they continue to be the headlines of national and world news; their outer actions mirror their inner thoughts. Sound familiar?

 The value of any insight is in the experience and not the words

The art of living does not consist of some idea or belief system; words are simply pointers to an experience that is beyond the words themselves. Just as you would not eat the menu instead of the meal don’t take my word for any of this, experiment for yourself in order to directly experience what I am pointing to. No one can give away what they do not own and the value of any insight is in the experience and not the words.

No matter what circumstance you find yourself in, if you will look beyond your conditioned thoughts or the story your mind is telling you about the event and become still and present in this instant, long enough to notice all that is presently right and a blessing,  you cannot help but be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 9, 2011 at 6:17 PM 1 comment

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