101 Changes: Change 20 – Healthy Eating Made Easy

If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days. I am writing a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out previous 101 Changes Article: 101 Changes: 101 Changes: Change 19- Do More With Beauty Products

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Image source Happy Heart and Mind  Cooking at home

One thing I have learned as I am getting older is to take care of my health properly. As a mom of 2 kids, I want to make sure I am healthy enough to keep up with their energy when doing homework with them or taking them to music and sports classes, playing with them.

I am vegetarian so I eat mostly plant and grain based diet but I sure have my moments when I am not eating healthier. Being vegetarian one would think it is healthy, not so. As I have said before, one can be vegetarian eating pizza, potato chips and drink coke or sugar laden drinks; it is vegetarian but it is NOT healthy for sure.

As I am getting older (past 20s and in late 30’s) I am learning how to take care of my health by eating more plant based food and cooking at home. Since I love cooking, it comes easier but there are days, when I simply fall off the health band wagon but I am getting better by buying right groceries and snacks to keep myself motivated to eat healthier.

Here are my top choices for healthy eating:

Green Vegetables: I buy green bell peppers, Kale, Baby spinach, Collard greens, mustard green, Green beans, Thai/Indian long beans, Green squash (Asian groceries store), Dark leafy Salad greens, Broccoli, and use Green herbs such as cilantro for flavors.

Rainbow Veggies: Other than green vegetables, I am focusing on rainbow colors veggies such as carrots, red and yellow bell peppers, Tomatoes, Purple red cabbage, eggplants, radishes (red and large white from Asian store), cauliflower, red onions, sweet potatoes, Olives and so on.

Whole Grains: Being an Indian, I use lot of rice and wheat based grain and flour for cooking. I try to use whole grain as much as possible. Living close to whole foods and trader Joe’s, I have found many new grains (whole, split and flour) such as amarnth, kamut, millet, farro, barley, quinoa and spelt. One can make salad, bread, naan or rotis, savory biscuits from grain or flour. If you can not eat gluten, there are still other choices to eat healthier and still be gluten free.

Eat Fresh Fruits: Eating fresh and in-season fruits is best. In California, there are many farmer’s market that sells fresh fruits from local farmers that are organic. Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Pears, watermelon, Mango, Papaya, Peaches, Apricots make great snacks for kids and adults. I sometimes make dessert, cookies or bread with fresh fruits by looking at online recipes blogs.

Avoid fat free and sugar free: Earlier when I was younger, I thought sugar free and fat free is good and I ate that way. Now, I know better and try to eat good fat, real sugar in moderation. Regular coke always taste better compared to sugar free cola and we know why. Do not be afraid of fat, sugar but eat those food in small quantity, is that simple.

Drink Water: It is okay if you like Wine, juice, Smoothies, shakes or beer. Drinking in moderation is always best practice for any diet. However, drink more water whenever possible as nothing quenches thirst more then cold, fresh water.

Vegetarian Protein: As a vegetarian, I often gets asked about protein in my diet, there is plenty of choices for vegetarian to get required daily protein intake. One of the best vegetarian source for protein is lentils, dried nuts, beans and tofu. There are many soups, stir fries can be made with lentils and tofu. Many think tofu is bland but if you marinate it and cook it right it will be tasty for kids as well.

Take Vitamins: It is always best to take nutrients from fresh and cooked food but sometimes when it is not possible taking daily vitamins may help. Vitamin B12 is hard to find in many vegetables so I try to take vitamins with B12, iron and folic acid to make sure my body’s optimum health.

What To avoid or eat less of:

As I said above, being healthy is not difficult but requires little discipline and planning. Eating or avoiding a few things may improve our health and energy.

  • Avoid meat products, this is more true even if you are meat lover, if you reduce or give up meat products for health or ethical reasons, it may help with your health.
  • Avoid cheesy, fatty food at home or when eating out
  • Avoid fried food such as french fries, dumplings or eat in moderation
  • Avoid or reduce eating refined flour
  • Artificial flavoring, diet food staple from grocery store.
  • Do not eat old food sitting in fridge for more than a few days
  • Do not use plastic to heat up food, use glass container instead
  • Avoid trans fats
  • Do not deprive yourself of any food, just eat less of instead
  • avoid or reduce sugary drinks or alcohols
  • Reduce eating out or take outs
  • Do not read or watch Television when eating, this is one of my worst habit that I am working on fixing it

If you want more plant base food diet, check out these following books;

Product Details

 Forks Over Knives – The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year

This is one of the best book with over 300 healthy plant based recipes. The secret is out: If you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol, and prevent (or even reverse!) chronic conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes, the right food is your best medicine. Thousands of people have cut out meat, dairy, and oils and seen amazing results. If you’re among them—or you’d like to be—you need this cookbook.

Product Details

 The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition

If you are vegetarian, vegan or thinking about eating more plant based diet but wondered what about nutrition?, Where to get nutrients that others get from meat and dairy?, How to spot hidden animal ingredients in packaged foods?, Howto avoid the vegan pitfall of overfed but undernourished?, How to order at restaurants? if you asked these questions, this is right book for you. I have it and I still refer to it when I am in doubt.

Author Spotlight : P G Wodehouse

It is no secret that I love reading since I have learned how to read first. I have written about reading and classic books I love to read before and not nearly enough as I really feel about it.  There are quite a few authors where I like everything they have written. One of my favorite author is Jane Austen and I am an avid fan. There is another author I like reading is British Author P. G. Wodehouse.

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Image source: Wikipedia

P. G. Wodehouse may not be as popular or well-known in US but some of you may have read or seen stories Jeeves, a smart and witty butler.  P. G. Wodehouse’s full name is Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, was an English writer whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years, and his many writings continue to be widely read. His all novels are funny, witty and has its British humor. Wodehouse took a modest attitude to his own works. In Over Seventy (1957) he wrote: “I go in for what is known in the trade as ‘light writing’ and those who do that – humorists they are sometimes called – are looked down upon by the intelligentsia and sneered at.”

Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of 15 plays and of 250 lyrics for some 30 musical comedies.

His famous works includes;

  • Blanding Castle Series: It is about the upper class inhabitants of the fictional rural Blandings Castle. Includes the eccentric Lord Emsworth, obsessed by his prize-winning pig, “Percy” to Emsworth’s unappreciative second son Freddie Threepwood.
  • Psmith Stories: It is about an ingenious jack-of-all-trades with a charming, exaggeratedly refined manner. My favorite Psmith story, Leave it to Psmith, overlaps the Blandings stories in that Psmith works for Lord Emsworth.
  • The Jeeves and Wooster stories: narrated by the wealthy, scatterbrained Bertie Wooster tells stories about ingenious valet Jeeves is always able to solve problems by his intelligence and one of the most famous works by P.G. Wodehouse.
  • The Drones Club stories: It is about the mishaps of certain members of a raucous social club for London’s idle rich. Drones Club stories always involve unnamed club members known as “Eggs”, “Beans” and “Crumpets”, in each story, a well-informed Crumpet will endeavour to tell an Egg or Bean of the latest exploits of another Drones Club member, most frequently Freddie Widgeon or Bingo Little.
  • The Ukridge stories: It is about the charming but unprincipled Stanley Featherstonehaugh Ukridge, always looking to enlarge his income through the reluctant assistance of his friend in his schemes. Ukridge is one funny character.
  • His other works series are,  Mr Mulliner storiesOldest member stories, Uncle Fred’s stories and stand alone stories.

If you read some of his work, you will see some of the stories and characters from other series seemed to overlap.  However, it will not matter if you read his book in series or have not read it before as it stands and reads well on its own but surely knowing his other characters sometimes reading more fun.  Being an Indian from India, I am able to understand British humor and find it funny, however some of my US friends do not always get the dry British humor as one reads Wodehouse books, I believe with time his humor and quirkiness of characters gets entertaining so try reading some of his books.

He lived his later life in America and has written and published works from 1902 until  1977. He died in 1975 at age of 93 in New York and left a legacy of funniest stories and funny characters that are larger than life with British humor and lifestyle. He has written many novels, poems, and journalist pieces so it is not possible to list all of his works here. Here are few of my favorite books by my favorite author, P. G. Wodehouse. If you have not read his books before, try checking it out today, as funny, humorous books will lift up your mood in no time.

Best P. G. Wodehouse Books:

Product Details

My Man Jeeves:

If you have not read any Jeeves and Wooster stories, this book is a great book to start with, it comes with story collection of Jeeves and Wooster and also other stories by Wodehouse which are equally entertaining. If you know the ingeniousness of Jeeves, you will be able to reconnect with Jeeves again with this book, I have it in my book collection and I read it from time to time.

Product Details

Right Ho Jeeves:

This book is great for someone who does not know anything about Jeeves or Wooster, it will make you a fan of P.G. Wodehouse and Jeeves. It is funny, witty and you will crack up as you read the story. Remember it is a novel and not a short stories collection like previous one but still fun to read and enjoy.

 

Another funny Jeeves tales, The code of the Woosters is to never let a friend down, and Bertie would do this far more often were it not for his tactful and clever gentleman’s personal gentleman, Jeeves. Bertie is a marvelous type of fellow: over-educated but under-intelligent; useless to society but wealthy beyond any need for scruple; completely numbed by the simple pleasures of an aristocratic life, but always there for his friends and family in a pinch.

 

This is my one of the most favorite book by Wodehouse, while not as famous as Jeeves, this story is simply has it all, romance between Psmith and Eve, mystery, mistaken identity and witty dialogue.  Psmith cannot bear to be in the fish business any longer and advertises that he will do anything as long it has nothing to do with fishes. Clarence’s son, Freddie Threepwood, contacts Psmith and asks him to help with an inside-the-family theft of his aunt’s necklace and adventure begins.

Product Details

 P. G. Wodehouse 10 Books Collection:

This is 10 books series by P. G. Wodehouse. PG Wodehouse Collection The Clicking of Cuthbert, Summer Moonshine, Monkey for Nothing, A Damsel in Distress, The Girl in Blue, Service with a Smile, Ukridge, Full Moon, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, Piccadilly Jim.

 

These are my favorite books that I like reading again, which one of is your favorite Wodehouse books?

If you want to find out more click below:

P. G. Wodehouse Books

Product DetailsHis Jeeves and Wooster has been made in to a Television Series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie from House: Jeeves and Woosters TV Series. Fans of Hugh Laurie’s prickly and dark House character may not realize that Laurie started as a slapstick comedian of the most British type: Very very silly. And nowhere has Laurie been sillier, or more likeable, than as Bertie Wooster in Jeeves & Wooster, the British TV series based on the famed P.G. Wodehouse characters. Playing off Laurie is the equally splendid Stephen Fry  as the arch and supremely competent valet Jeeves. The two create a winning, hilarious pair of tour guides into the world of early-20th-century upper-crust England. Bertie is kind-hearted and a soft touch, and, well, not exactly street smart and without Jeeves he will be lost in life. I wish I had my own Jeeves to help when problem arises! but until the day comes, I simply enjoy watching these 2 silly, great actors in this funny Wodehouse series.

101 Changes: Change 19- Do More With Beauty Products

If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days. I am writing a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out previous 101 Changes Article: 101 Changes: Change 18- Heal The Hurting Heart

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Creative Triple Duty Beauty:

I like and think of a new ways to re-use, re-purpose what I have at the hand. It comes in handy as a stay at home mom, or saving money and also saving a trip to a store. Here are a few ways you be able to save money and downsize your make up bag as well. Did you know, beauty products can do other things as well?

Petroleum Jelly:

Use 1: Everyone’s knows and uses the pretty inexpensive Petroleum Jelly for smoothing rough and dry skin and protective barrier over the skin. My favorite use is to use it over minor cuts and scratches on kids and myself.

Use 2: Use for lips: I was reading ingredients on lip balm and thought of creating a lip-balm at home for cheap using Petroleum Jelly. You can create a lip balm with dab of Jelly, a drop of perfume, 1 vitamin E capsule.

In addition to it you can create lip exfoliate product at home. Here is how to do it,  take small scoop small  spoonful of Jelly, mix it with 1 teaspoon of sugar. Massage the mixture over dry, chapped lips. After you’re done, wipe it away with soft cloth towel and now you will have soft and kissable lips.

Use 3: Remove makeup: Use petroleum jelly on cotton pas and gently press it over eye makeup area for to wipe away make eye make up. It can be used to take over makeup over face as well.

Perfume:

Use 1: Use spray perfume to give your skin, clothes, body an amazing scent and feel fresh.

Use 2: Create a scent holder: Take a pretty greeting card or colorful thick card paper, punch a hole at the top with hole puncher and thread a yarn or ribbons through it. Spray a mist with your favorite perfume and hang it inside the car or bathroom for instant scent freshener. Whenever, scent stops coming, you can spray it again a few mist and its ready to go again.

Use 3: Some of the perfume bottles are so pretty, so what to do when it is empty? I use it when it is empty to fill up with little water and make in to mini single flower vase to display. It looks great and smells wonderful.

If you use many little small bottles together with single bud or flower will make a beautiful center piece or decor that not only will look great but smell great as well.

Mascara:

Use 1:  Generally used for boosting the thickness or length of your eyelashes.

Use 2:  Did you know you can use a mascara as an eyeliner too? Dip a small brush in to the container and sweep it along the lash line. I learned this trick from a make up tip from a Women’s day magazine.

Use 3: Disguises gray roots: If you started to get white hair but not enough to use hair color formula, then using mascara to disguise the white roots and hair might just be right trick for you. Grab a mascara that matches your hair color closely, and gently brush and glide it over your white hair and roots. A little mascara can go long way.

How do you re-use or re-purpose beauty products you have?  If want to know more creating beauty for cheap check out my post: Create Beauty Products from Fruits and Vegetables

101 Changes: Change 18- Heal The Hurting Heart

I am writing a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out previous 101 Changes Article: 101 Changes: Change 17 – Help Someone Even In Bad Economy

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Life is funny in a way, as we do get most hurt by people closet to our heart, and not by someone whom we barely know. People close to us, be it close friend, sibling, cousins, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, can hurt us emotionally, sometimes with words and sometimes worse. We are going to talk about hurt by words, an emotional hurt here.

How to heal, when you are hurting and move on, when it is hard and you do not want to? I wrote a post not too long ago about being Have you gotten hurt , it was and is very hard for me to deal with.

We can not prevent of getting hurt by other person, as it would be impossible unless we lived alone in woods. But we can steps to minimize the pain and move forward. How so? Let’s explore.

1. Write down in journal or write a letter to them (Do not mail it, or give it to them, just write it for your eyes only) Write everything down you feel. Talk your feelings to someone else who will understand and not judge you. If you can not find/trust anyone to listen, that is okay, you can talk to a stuffed toy or picture of your friend and let it know how you are hurt and how it is making you feel in details.

2. Once your initial anger/frustration is out, you can try talking to a person who hurt you in person. Make sure, timing is good for both of you and there are no other distractions. When you talk, keep flow and mind open. Do not accuse or attack person but talk about situation in focus. Once you talk, listen to other person’s explanations. It simply could be that person, never realized that he/she was hurting you.

3. Once you talked your feelings out, see how genuine other person’s feelings are. If they are truly in dark or truly sorry, you can forgive and be friends with them slowly.

4. Sometimes, most of us are not so lucky, and other person may not feel they have done anything wrong and they accuse you instead. Try to remain calm but firm in your beliefs. Sometimes, you may have to walk out on that relationship for short-term or permanently, if you think it will not work out.

When relationship ends, it hurts a lot, specially, if you have invested so much of your time and efforts and your kids and their kids life have intermingled. Make a choice and stick to it, as it is not easy to do. Remember, your pride and dignity is important too, once you let someone walk all over you, they may do it again. Truly forgive them but you can choose not remain friends.

5. Forgive yourself for your feelings, it is okay to cry (yes, for guys too) but do not blame your self ,if relationship does not survive. One can not clap with one hand, you will need both parties willing to work out situation.

6. Friendships and relationship with people are complex as human emotions are complex. All of us want to be liked but sometimes, we can not please everyone. Do what you feel right for you and follow your gut feelings. Do not stop making new friends because old one hurt you. Sometimes taking a risk will benefit with new friendship that will be better suited for you.

No matter what happens, try to be open-minded and calm and try to resolve situation first. If you have hurt someone by mistake, tell your apology from heart, if you think you were not wrong, explain your situation and tell them you never meant to hurt them. All of us like to keep relationship intact but when it is not possible, move on without feeling guilty or blaming yourself.

Life teaches us new things and sometimes we became a better person because of it.

Do you have a story to share? Good or not so good ending? How would you handle your hurt emotions?

101 Changes: Change 17 – Help Someone Even In Bad Economy

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I am starting a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out my last 101 Changes Article here: 101 Changes: Change 16 – Declutter For Better Life

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When economy is down, most people stops giving to many worthy charities. Often people will help with food, money and time during Christmas time, but come January and most of us are busy with our lives and our new year resolutions.

As there are more people and charities that need help during this down economy now, how can we help, when we are strapped with money woes ourselves? There are a few ways, let’s explore.

1. Give your unused items to homeless shelter, or pet shelter. They are always looking for blankets, stuffed toys, coats and other clothing items. There are low-income pregnancy organizations can take your unwanted maternity clothes, baby clothes and baby items. A few organization may take your business clothes, for getting low-income people ready for new job interviews. Many charities take car donations too.

2. Give your time, many places can use volunteers to help out, specially shelters, temples, churches, or local community centers. Many places you can help out with answering phone such as PBS or crisis hot line center for abuse and suicide.

3. Bring hot cooked meals to community centers, senior citizens, your neighbours who might be sick or just had a baby, or homeless person near by your area.

4. Give unused toys to hospital, or community preschool for low-income family.

5. Help not only your close friends, family, but also strangers, animals, birds and insects. Compassion for all lives. For example, put up bird seeds for you local area birds and water bath near by for them.

6. Trust family and friends when they ask for small loan. Give amount you can afford as a gift and tell them it is not a loan. Many times good relations goes bad when loan comes into a picture.

7. Give blood donation to someone who needs it.

8. Volunteer in your local library, local free tax helper, deliver meals or groceries to people who can not drive themselves. Volunteer to watch your family or friends, kids sometimes giving much-needed break to their parents.

9. Did you know you can donate unused miles, credit card points to worthy causes? Find out and pick the one you choose.

10. Little help goes long ways too. For example, pay some one’s parking meter, when they run out of the time, pick up trash and put in trash bin, help someone while waiting in line at post office, doctors offices and other long lines. Smile and say hello to strangers.

I am sure there many other creative ways to help others without big money. Would you like to add other suggestions? How do you help during bad times?

Also see: 12 Ways to do Random act of Kindness

Thank you:  Power Of Gratitude

101 Changes: Change 16: Declutter For Better Life

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I am starting a series of posts about small changes we can make it our life to make our daily living and health improve tenfold. If we try to make huge changes, it is often difficult sustaining it and we have sense of  failure but small changes made slowly becomes habits if done over and over again for 21 days.

These are changes I have made or working on it. Would you like to join with me in this journey?

Check out last 101 changes article here: 101 Changes: change 15: Get Beautiful With Nature’s Bounty –Avoid Chemical Laden Creams and Make Up

Having clutter around not only cost us our money but also our piece of mind and happiness with it. Your house might be filled with piles of books and magazines you mean to read it, the smaller size clothes in your closet when you get back to your college weight, every toys that kids got from family and friends, many bills are just a few of example of clutter that most of us go through in our lives. Kitchen, bathrooms and office are worst places in a house for clutter to pile up easily. Instead of you owning the stuff, your stuff ends up owning/controlling you. Here are few ways, clutter cost us more than we bargained for;

  1.  You misplace bills to pay or check to deposit in your huge piles of paper. By the time, you find anything, bill is past due and check is no longer cash-able (after 90 days). You have just lost money and added interest or fees on bills too.
  2. You buy item, only to realize months later, that you had that same item in your storage pile somewhere in the house. It was hard to find and hence forgotten. Sometimes, you may buy same items a few times over the years, not remembering, costing you more money.
  3. You panic when someone called for unannounced to visit, as it will be overwhelming to clean up clutter in such a short time. Either you are embarrassed when company comes or choose to do less social inviting on purpose, either way you are losing social life with friends and family because of your clutter.
  4.  You do not want to come home as cluttered and messy home does not make you feel better. So you tend to eat out more often and do more outside shopping to make yourself feel good, adding clutter to your already cluttered house.
  5. You may think it is wise to put all extra storage in storage place, leaving your house cleaner. However, you may pay $50 a month for your junk and your house slowly begins to be cluttered again.
  6.  You may lose your valuable time finding things in the house. You may search every morning your car keys under the stuff pile, or you may find that food in your fridge has gone bad, wasting food and money both. Your self-esteem may take hit.
  7.  You are not living your true potential life, due to all clutter. You are waiting for some miracle to make it all better, clutter robs you from happiness. A happiness you get when your sink is empty and kitchen is clean and your bills are paid on time. You will get so much joy once work is done and you can truly relax and enjoy your home.

Is clutter costing you in some ways? In future we will look at a few ways to get started on path to simplifying and de-cluttering.

Finding Inner Peace Within You

 

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“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world … as in being able to remake ourselves. “— Mohandas K. Gandhi

There is a lot of information about how to “do something”, or how to make “more” money or how to get “ahead” in career in internet. While, I think it is important aspect of life, many of us forget how important it is for us to be peace within ourselves.  There is no happiness that comes from finding peace. Lot of people in past have tried to find enlightenment or being content and finding peace within themselves. I admit, I am nowhere expert, but I am working striving to achieve peace within myself. In new year resolution or goal, you should do that too. Because it is like satisfaction like no other in our life. Imagine, you’re thirsty and have not had any liquid for 6 hours, you will get that thirst quench satisfaction from cold simple water than any other liquid drinks, be it soda, milk or juice. Water is simple enough but it quenches thirst more, same way peace within us gives us happiness glow that no other things in life can provide.

Finding peace is simple but not easy in modern world as we are constantly striving to be better, constantly trying out-do our own past performances.  While there is certainly an advantage to better yourself, but doing it constantly may leave some people tired and worn out.

Ways to Find Inner Peace Within You

Here are 4 simple ways that I think peace can be attained by anyone who truly wants it. How?

1. Let go of expectations:

“Let go of expectations and live the life you’re destined for. Peace comes only when we are true to our soul’s nature.” unknown

One of the biggest thing that I have to work on is to letting it go of our expectation of others. We as people have an expectations from our family, friends, co-workers or people we may not even know. For example, in past I have expected that if I invite someone for dinner or pay for someone’s lunch, they should be returning the favor by doing same for us. It seems simple and may be reasonable enough expectation but that have led for me to disappointed a few times. Not because people I know are rude or thoughtless, it is because other people are busy in their and may not think they have to follow-up favor or anything might be a matter.

Same things go for making time for calling people, thanking people for hard work and effort, we as society are so busy and bogged down sometimes we may forget to appreciate what is good around us. By letting go of expectation, we can certainly let go of the hurt feeling, resentment and bad vibes that can ruin a good family bond and break away years of friendship. It is easier said then done but I am working on everyday to let go my expectation of people, so I can choose to have peace for myself.

2. Declutter Stuff, Data:

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” — Hans Hoffman

And the cost of a thing it will be remembered as the amount of life it requires to be exchanged for it’. – Unknown

I can speak from my example, as we have kids so we often get so much stuff piled at home, mostly kids toys and art work. We also had some gifts from friends and family that we would never use, but could not give it away, because it was given by loved ones with effort. Our house size grew smaller as our stuff increased and living and maintaining became harder in a few years.

Our computer, and paperwork filing also piled up. Once we decided we needed to simplify and declutter our stuff and data life. It was hard start, but once me and Zenguy started decluttering and letting go of stuff, some brand new also gave us so much mental relief which is hard to describe. Once we simplified and let go of stuff, we had more space in our house, kids were actually able to play and enjoy with a few toys that we kept, we were able to find things quickly. This is ongoing process as stuff have strange ways of keep coming back.

Having more stuff means more to maintain, so letting go of stuff we did not use and keeping only things we use daily gave us so much space and mental freedom and mental peace. Try it yourself and see how it changes your stress level to lowest level.

3. Avoid Power Struggle and Control in Relationship:

“Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat.”
― Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man

Often time, we want to be in control of our life, our house, our career and our destiny. Having perfect and harmonious life the way we want sounds good but that may not be someone else’s idea for harmonious life, which can lead to power struggle and frustration. For example, a friend of mine likes clean house like most people do, however she goes through mini heart attack whenever there even a little mess by her family in the house, so people in the house have learned not to do anything or play with messy things to avoid melt down. That may make be her happy temporarily, but for rest of family or visitor is like walking on egg-shell if they mess up.. That can NOT be good for other people in her life but she often times does not see it.

If your own mental peace comes at cost of other people’s peace, it will not be truly satisfying. Because making others happy and peaceful is more sustainable peace in my mind. Letting go of control and power struggle in any relationship and making others happy will not only give others mental peace but it will make you content feeling and inner peace that will glow in everyone around you. I was and up to some point control freak so I know what I am talking about, I have learned how to let go of control from Zenguy and slowly improving to improve my life and for those around me.

4. Forgive Others:

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

It would be truly Utopia, if we lived in a world where no one hurt other person and lived happily ever after. However, even I feel people are generally nice, sometimes we get hurt by them. Often times it is UN-intentional and other times lack of awareness on their part, as given a chance no one truly want to be a bad person who hurts others. At least that what I hope for.

Keeping resentment and hurt in our mind, we expect people to change their ways to apologize and we would say “No Problem” and back to being normal as before. However, it is worse when some people may not even realize that they have done something wrong or have hurt you and that is hard for person who is hurt.

One should forgive a person not because the person may deserve it, you should do it for YOU deserve it. You owe a chance to yourself to be happy and peaceful. So, let go and forgive and forget the situation so you can move on and live the life you meant to live.

Hope you achieve and find inner peace within you!

Gifts from heart during Holidays

Christmas is around the corner and many of us share or exchange gifts with friends and family around this time. Many times, these well meant gifts from people, after a few days or weeks, goes unused in some corner of our house and life. How should we give gifts that can be well liked and used by the receiver? Often time, it is possible to do with little thinking on our part. We will discuss a few type of traditional and not-so traditional gifts to give and receive.

1. Give gift of time

Giving gift of time is cost free, but very helpful. For example, give time for babysitting to someone who has small kids, so they can nap, go out or do something they like. You can take your elderly neighbor shopping, who may not be driving well. You can visit someone who is sick, deliver food, help someone with cleaning up their house, garage, mow their lawn etc., possibilities are endless. Make sure you know some tasks that may require longer time, volunteer and offer what you truly can, otherwise you and receiver both will resent it.
Sometimes, just listening others and being there in their time of need is more appreciated than any store bought gifts.

2. Gift of experience

Zenguy used to fly small plane, it has been a while since he has given up this expensive hobby. However, he has taken me and other friends, relatives on city flying tours and it has been wonderful for all of those who received it. You do not have to fly a plane, you can someone to a Museum they always want to go or subject they wanted to know more about. Cooking together also works, I cook meal with R, who makes mess of kitchen but it is a experience he will remember being part of. Watching stars, going camping, learning and doing something together will remain in our mind, long after, compared to silly plastic toys or gadgets.

3. Home made gifts

Simply made handbags, cookies in jar, soups in jar, hand made sweater or blanket, quilt has much more meaning to recipient. Here are some suggestions for home made gifts ideas from web.

Gifts and Crafts from a jar

50 home made gift ideas from the web

Free crafts and gifts made by you

4. Other suggestions

a. Give cash instead of gift cards, as some of the gift cards charges hidden access fees and expires as months rolls by.
b. If you buy store bought gifts, take gift receipt to recipient, so they can exchange freely without being guilty.
c. Ask them what they truly need or want before buying something you “think” they want.
d. Give partial or all money towards a big items they want/need to buy.
e. If you have large family, draw up names so every one needs to buy one or two gifts only, instead of 22.
f. Consider giving to others less fortunate people than you, charitable donation does not need to waited for Christmas time, and can be done through out the year.

Gift Free Christmas

How to celebrate Christmas without money

No Christmas gift this year has unique ways to letting your friends and family know about no gifts and suggesting alternatives instead. Check it out.

Remember, giving gifts from heart is more important than any expensive item. If we can not pay it with cash, or have money to pay when credit card arrives, we should not purchase it. You can celebrate Christmas without money or gifts and still have great time with family and friends.

Check out:

10 ways to help someone during bad economy

20 ways to be Romantic for Free (or cheap)

How to have Stress Free Thanksgiving

White Friday No shopping day

Meaningful Holiday Celebration from Heart, not wallet

How do you celebrate holidays with friends and family? What do you like or dislike about the gift givings? I sure would love to hear from you and your suggestions.

Zengirl