Tag Archives: holiday gifts

Preparing for Your Inner Journey | The Chopra Center

Sometimes things happen that we think are random.

But most of the time, it’s the universe, speaking clearly to us.

As you may know, I have been taking Deepak Chopra’s and Orpah’s 21 day meditation. Once I finished, I started receiving emails with gifts – 7 days of them. One was for a new meditation series – Awaken to Happiness, which I started today.

This series is free, too. Each lesson takes a week of learning…growing and starting to see – beginning with exploring happiness and identifying your true source of happiness.

Today, the first day, the universe sent me to an article by Caroline Myss – an article about taking a journey inward to learn more about my self, my ego, my reactions and my life.

Since it is the first day of a new year and since I consider this article to be a gift from the universe, I wanted to share it with anyone who wants to begin a new year with a new journey – one that can quiet the noise of always needing
“…just a bit more” whether it’s stuff, money or ego boosting.

I wish everyone the best in 2014 and hope that you might want to join me as I begin to journey into what really makes me happy – who really makes me happy, as I begin to discover the wonderful spirit that lives inside my skin — my soul.

Namaste

Preparing for Your Inner Journey | The Chopra Center.

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Filed under arm wresting, Death & Dying, Education, Gifts, Mysteries, World Changing Ideas

Five Favorite, Frugal Gardening Gifts

If you have a gardener in your life (or you are the gardener in your life), there are 5 great gifts that you can give them this holiday season and not break the bank doing it.  The least expensive one is under $10.00 and the most expensive one is just over $50.00.  All of these gifts will bring years of gardening pleasure, too.

Fiskars 7079 Big Grip Garden Knife
Under $10 and without a doubt the handiest tool I have in my shed.  The grip is comfortable – that means the knife takes a beating, not your hands.  I use it for digging, planting, weeding, and transplanting. The serrated edge cuts through the ground like butter.  The middle of the blade has a slight indention for transplanting.  And the knife has a notched tip that helps cut through tap roots of dandelions and burdock.  The metal blade is also coated with a rust-resistant material, and the handle features a large hang hole for easy storage.  I bought one of these for all of my brothers and sisters.

Fiskars 3 Piece Soft Touch Garden Tool Set
Fiskars wins again with this tool set.   Easy on the hands and the wallet (under $15.00), the three tools that come in this set make handwork in the garden so much better.   The tools are lightweight and balanced.  Made of rust-resistant polished aluminum, each one has an over-sized, soft grip that is ergonomically designed to keep wrists in a neutral position.  The set includes a trowel, transplanter, and cultivator and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Flexrake 1000A Hula Hoe
if you have to weed, this is the tool you want in your arsenal.  An old standby that has been upgraded, this stirrup hoe has an aluminum handle making it easier on your hands and the blade of the hoe makes it easier on your back.  The self-sharpening Hula-Ho blade works beneath the surface of the soil.  Back and forth “hula” motion cuts weeds at the roots and leaves them to mulch in the garden.  This one is a bargain at just over $23.00.

Mintcraft Folding Garden Stool
For all you gardeners of “a certain age” there is no question that this stool qualifies as a tool!    Bending over is fine if you are under forty.  It’s pretty uncomfortable if you’re older or have a hinky back.  So I love this gardening tool.  And I love being able to pack all my other tools into the canvas pockets and take them with me, wherever I go in the garden.  Buy the gardening stool for just $27.99.  Or take advantage of the great deal Amazon put together.  Buy this stool with the Fiskars Soft Touch Garden Tool Set and get them both for only $37.00.

Felco Classic Manual Pruners
I got a pair of these for my anniversary and I was so excited.  I had been hacking my fruit trees, blackberry and blueberry bushes and ornamentals with loppers.  No finesse there and a lot of hacked up bushes.  The Felco pruners make it so easy to reach into a shrub, bush or fruit tree and only remove dead wood or crossed branches.  I don’t have a lot of upper arm strength so I love the fact that this pruner literally cuts through smaller branches like a warm knife through butter.  This is the most expensive garden gift – $59.00 – but well worth the cost.

Anyone of these tools will make gardeners’ eyes light up, bring a smile to their faces and make them want to run right out and start turning soil.

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Filed under Gardening, Gifts, Healthcare, Home Ec on Acid, Life & Death, Love and Marriage

The Gift of Life

It’s the holiday season so I know you get them too.  Appeals for money from every possible type of charity there is.  Who do you share your post tax income with?  How do you choose?

Before being laid off, we gave to many of these charities every year, often without reading about them, without knowing where the money was going.  We still give to charities but, since 2009, our criteria for giving have changed.  We’ve had to be more careful about what we give and which charities get the nod.

Here are the 4 groups we support and why:

  1. Heifer International– Heifer’s gifts aren’t fruit baskets or silky scarfs or fine wine.  They are grounded, living gifts that help indigenous people become self-supporting, able to feed themselves, their families and sometimes, their whole village.  This year we donated enough money to buy three flocks of chicken and two honeybee hives for people in other countries.  These gifts will keep on giving for years after they arrive in their new homes.

    Give a gift of life through Heifer International.

    A gift of chickens can feed a family or a village or both

  2. Sunday Breakfast Mission–  The Sunday Breakfast Mission started small – feeding holiday dinners to homeless and jobless men in Wilmington, Delaware.  Last year, this charity served more than 200,000 meals to hungry men, women and children and provided shelter for close to 300 people . Sitting in my warm home, with my full refrigerator and my full life, I know that this is one charity I have to support, no matter what.

The first two charities support people.  The next two support the planet.

  1. The Audubon SocietyAnsel Adams once said, “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”   I’m not ashamed to admit that I support this organization precisely because it does fight our government; it does insist that our elected officials and the 1% of this nation that continues to get wealthy off the entire country’s resources be held accountable for the damage they are doing to our planet. If we don’t stand up for this world, the ecosystems, wildlife habitats and the birds and animals who live in them, with us, who will?
  2. Nature Conservancy – this organization fights to protect ecologically important land and water in every state in this country and in 30 other countries around the globe.  Donate to Nature Conservancy and help buy endangered land and waterways, help to build coalitions between governments and between and with the residents who live in the area.  Their work is rooted in science, their conservation projects are practical and their outcomes are there for every one to see and enjoy.

There are other charities we support in smaller ways, like the Ocean Conservancy and the Sierra Club.  We still drop money in the Salvation Army buckets and give gently used clothing to the Goodwill but we like the 4 charities listed above because their work will live long after our money is gone and our lives are over.

If you have a little extra cash burning a hole in your pocket this holiday season, you might want to think about sharing it with charitable organizations like these and with people who need food, shelter, and livelihood a whole lot more than they need a new car, a new phone or a new toy.  You might think about giving the gift of life.

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Filed under Budgeting, Gardening, Life & Death, Saving Money

THINK Before Buying Holiday Gifts

Okay, I know Black Friday is upon us.  I know some of you are getting up very early or staying up very late to get the best bargain on the latest toy, game, boots, fill in the blank.

But before you dig your credit card hole a bit deeper, before you create a huge pile of “stuff” that will be opened with glee and tossed aside without a second thought, I am asking you to think.

That’s right, think.  Drop the pen.  Put down the list.  Stop perusing flyers and catalogues or crawling web sites and take 5 minutes and ask yourself just one question?

What gift did you get 20, 30 or 40 years ago that makes you smile, right now?

Was it the most expensive?  The biggest?  The latest?  I will bet you it wasn’t.

Over the years, I have been given many big, expensive gifts – jewelry, exotic vacations, works of art.  Nice gifts but not my favorite gift, the one I am smiling about right now.  For me, that gift was a used rocking chair.

A big Christmas gift without a big price tag.

My favorite Christmas gift is this rocker restored by my husband.

My husband found it on the side of the road, put out for trash pick up. Carefully, lovingly, he restored the oak to its full glory.  Removing the shredded fabric and compressed batting from the coiled springs, he rebuilt and recovered the seat with warm, rich velvet.

This oak chair sits, today, in my sewing room.   I see it every day.  I sit in it, often, when I am doing finishing work on clothing or a craft project.

The total cost for this wonderful gift could not have been more than $10 but I remember crying when I saw it by our tree.  Do you remember getting a gift like that?   Not made in China or Taiwan?  No batteries required?  Not mass-produced? Lovingly made by someone you know, just for you? Those are the gifts you remember, you cherish.

If I go back even further for favorite holiday memories to when we were kids, the highlight of our Christmas morning was finding a big juicy orange in the toe of our stocking.  Sounds ridiculous but there it was – five kids racing for the mantle (yes, a real fireplace mantle) pulling down stockings and pulling out the candy cane and walnuts, to get to the bottom, to get to the orange.

Why would an orange be such a big deal?  Oranges weren’t available in December in the North.  No one was trucking them up from Florida or across the country from California.  Back then, an orange was a rarity – a real treat.   Definitely not a big ticket item but a childhood moment I treasure, a wonderful memory of holidays gone by.

Want to have happy holidays filled with warm memories?

Don’t spend too much money on too many things that no one will need or treasure even two weeks after the holiday has come and gone.  Think…and get gifts that really speak to the young, the old and the in-between people you love.  This year, build some holiday memories yourself, memories that will make you smile, 30 years from now.

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Filed under Home Ec on Acid, Life & Death, Love and Marriage, Saving Money