1. Express your joy today! Choose a family member, friend, co-worker, clerk, stranger or enemy and gift with some joyful love. This may be your last day to share your joy or their last day to receive your love.
2. Decide to intentionally WAIT today…and do so joyfully. Invite someone to go ahead of you in line. Let another vehicle pull in first. Allow others to be served first, talk first, choose first, finish first. In patience one will possess one’s soul.
3. Save wax liners of cereals, crackers and mixes. Use clothespins, paper clips, or plastic clamps to close. Cheese, fruits, vegetables, bread stay far fresher, far longer. Wash, air dry, and re-use liners. Save by not purchasing food storage bags; dollars add up.
4. Choose joy today! Consider your outer self. Are you showing a joyful face? Do you practice smiling even when alone or doing menial tasks, or when driving or falling asleep? Next consider your inner self. Do you desire and value joy in your mind, heart and soul? Now practice replacing any negative thoughts and feelings with joyful thoughts and feelings. Learn how to smile inwardly. Then with your joyful inner and outer: give, receive, and live joy for yourself and others. Choose joy!
5. When you are on an errand or outing, park the car a good distance from the store or place visiting. If it is raining or snowing, determine to use an umbrella or bundle up. Do all the extra walking possible, and if you are pressed for time, just walk faster. If you use a cart to take items to your car, make time to push the emptied cart back into the store: more exercise. Maybe this is an example of “walking the extra mile.” Makes for a good deed as well as good health.
6. Do we consider the tremendous benefits of learning the virtues? Fortitude is one of the moral virtues that is worth keeping not only in the soul, but on hand, daily and hourly. Fortitude is strength of soul, strength of character, spiritual vigor so that we can pursue even difficult moral good without allowing fear to deter us, not even fear of death. Try this tasty tip: The Joyful Hermit’s Fortitude Fudge. Don’t leave home without it.
7. When food shopping, target the clearance aisle first, then remain open and alert to other bargain items. Check weight and nutrition facts; discern what is healthiest per volume and cost. Detach from thinking you must have only what you like or are used to eating.
8. Here is a prescription for any type of suffering: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Take whatever medications and supplements God has created through man. Hold onto loving ideas no matter the pain; stay in the positive present moments. Make simple acts of love in thought, word and deed. Love is the antidote to pain of all types.
9. Did you know that kale is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium? It is a dark green, leafy cousin to cabbage and is easily grown. Kale contains (particularly when chopped or minced) a chemical believed to have anti-cancer properties. Do not boil, though; just simmer, steam or stir fry so as to not lose the benefits. Through the end of the Middle Ages, kale was the most used vegetable in Europe. Joyful Hermit uses it any which way!
10. Save on water bill even when watering houseplants. To water in winter, collect snow in a bucket, let it melt to room temp, then gently lower plants in their pots into the bucket to absorb the water. Or, using a small container, carefully water the soil around the plant’s base stems. If no snow, set out buckets or stainless steel pots to collect rainwater. Plants love natural water. If no rain or snow, use tap or filtered water. If your tap water is hard, let it set for a day or so; let unseen particles settle. Then ladle or scoop the water from and off the top.
11. Utilize the great gift of people. Something on your mind, or troubling, or you think already dealt with? Try talking it over (or these days, email and text) with a friend. Another person’s listening ear or reading eye might have a different perspective, insight, or idea on the matter, be it a serious pain in the leg or a jar of tapenade. Take courage when trying something new, or open up to some issue deep inside. Communicating with another can generate creative thoughts and solutions to share, one with another!
12. Authenticity is critical to our existence as humans and in our relationships. To be authentic means to be genuine, purposeful, appropriate, accurate, reliable, and original in who and what we are as holy, created beings. We desire the tangible goods and services in our world to be authentic, as well. We function best in truth, for truth displays goodness and springs forth beauty. Do not live a photo-shopped life. Be authentic in thought, word and deed. Be real. Be truth itself.
13. Whether a grandparent or not, children are all about us, and thankfully so. Be creative in considering ways to interact and share our lives in meaningful ways–and our love, our joy. We might spot a tiny something, at little or no cost other than love and time, that can develop into a relational delight with lasting effects. Remember when an older person positively influenced us when we were very young?
14. Why resist simple, relatively inexpensive ways to improve our health? Rather, we can learn from cultures and people who know from life experience how to minimize our ailments and to maximize our lives. Consider the overall cost. Factor in missed wages, activities, and unnecessary pain compared to the discipline of daily health aids. These include nothing extreme: rest, diet, natural exercise, upbeat attitude, and supplemental aids. Acquire new tastes! They grow on–and in–us for the good!
15. When shopping for anything small, large, inexpensive or costly, remember to approach the adventure with joy. Be open-minded about various brands, styles, types and functions. Consider using less than more, although know that often (not always) larger packages cost less per unit measured. Price compare; consider amount, weight and measurement. Share bargain knowledge with other customers. We live in this world together, and engaging others in the process can make having to spend hard-earned money, kinda fun.
16. Sometimes it is best to express one’s feelings, even if this means “burning bridges.” First try to communicate and work out problems, but after so many tries, the situation may call for one or the other person to move on–not always physically, but usually mentally or emotionally–from a problem. Try to express the feelings thoughtfully, firmly, yet lovingly in writing so that you can read it over before giving it to the other, and also so that you can read it over after. Accept that some bridges have faulty planks, or aren’t meant or best to be crossed back over time and again.
17. Add variety and distinction to your life by investing in dinnerware. Choose pattern, style, and color that is interchangeable and has some significance to your life, or reflects your unique essence. You do not need complete or large sets. Mix and match. Shop clearance stores or yard sales if you want. Dinnerware can last for years and easily pays for itself. Sell or trade if you weary of it. A creative variety perks up everyone at the table and makes frugally eating in as enticing than eating out.
18. When donating for a cause, consider offering what you can give repeatedly as a “signature” contribution. If you have a particular gift, talent, money or tangible good, you can prudently, frugally, repetitively utilize these to efficient advantage. Take the allowable tax write-offs. But donate quality talents or items of whatever is best–what you would want for yourself or for your loved ones. Consider any donation as a gift of love and honor to God and to humanity. The Lord loves a cheerful giver, and it is in giving that the heart is blessed.
19. Keep vegetables fresher, longer. Select the best to begin with. Take a little time to reach to the back, under, or top of display. Usually the freshest is placed under or at the top with older more reachable. For asparagus, select the thinnest, greenest, and still standing in water in the display case. When home, remove all twist ties and rubber bands; left on they bind, bruise, decay and cause rust. Rinse and shake off excess water. Cut ends off asparagus and place spears upright in container with 1/2″ or less water. Cover vegetables in wax liner bags or plastic bags, giving some air to breathe. Refrigerate and use sooner than later.
20. Add protein and nutrient power to basic mixes, soups, salads and other meal offerings. When shopping, be alert to clearance or sale-priced dried fruits, nuts, oats and grains, and boxed mixes. Develop a health arsenal including ground flax seeds, lecithin and other healthy additives. Be courageous in experimenting! Be pro-active and read product labels to compare amounts of protein, fats and vitamins per serving. Triple or quadruple nutrition amounts for little effort and cost.
21. We often hear: It is the thought that counts. Yet in busy daily lives it is sometimes hard to think! But consider that while we might not be able to do many huge efforts, we can make a small gesture meaningful by thinking through the details. Observe and anticipate the needs of others, and do unto others in ways that we would love to be treated. Put thought and effort into otherwise mundane tasks. Little can be great. Not only is it the thought that counts, but more so: It is love that matters.
22. Have you ever been in a slump with seemingly no way to pull up and out? Try observing and pondering the cycles of nature. Put aside the tech toys and look out the window, day or night. Or take a walk; look and listen for signs of creation. Consider that there is joy in every circumstance if we seek it in ways other than what the world suggests is joy. Dig into the earth of the soul, for we each have a soul, and plant a seed that sprouts joy. And if the slump is so deep that you can’t find joy, it is there, anyway, waiting for you to find it.
23. Take time to notice nature and how it functions so effectively in its efficiency and simplicity. Feel the effects of its peace. While nature is cyclical, repetitive, and has a sameness about it, there is also much variation in the very ingredients of nature as well as the outer aspects of color, size, shape and function. Consider your daily lives with the many tasks, activities and thoughts. Figure out ways to effective with efficiency and simplicity by utilizing variations of a theme. Join forces with nature: be simply creative!
24. Choose a theme for your life. You probably already have an idea as to what is in your heart, what you love and cherish in people, ideas, activities, environment, objects, work and play. Then let the sub-themes outflow from the theme, and you will find that daily life unfolds more simply, efficiently, beautifully and naturally with harmony of your heart and soul. Your life theme will resonate joyfully from you…for others to enjoy and be inspired.
25. Lent is a holy time to not only take spiritual stock of our soul-lives but also to note and clear that which has stockpiled in the freezer, fridge and pantry. Try to utilize the remnants by stretching the parameters of typical recipes. Do not waste what is redeemable to good use. But toss anything that has gone to spoil, and promise to make amends next time to not purchase what will not be duly used. Then rejoice in the good that results from prudent, creative, spiritual and functional arts!
26. We may think joy is a feeling of pleasure when we get something we want or have a fun experience. But truly, deeply, joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit that comes when we learn to practice doing what is good and right. Joy increases to holy joy when we do what is more difficult, and do so with desire and pleasure. When we learn to do what is good and right selflessly–no matter what we ourselves may think we want–deep and abiding joy will ceaselessly bubble from within. Live so as to have a life of holy joy!
27. When was the last time you were totally alone? Some may do anything to avoid being alone, while others may yearn for a few minutes to themselves. Solitude is the act or situation of being physically alone. It is a cornerstone of a healthy body, mind, heart and soul. Anyone can have solitude even if for five minutes a day or night. While too much solitude when one is not adapted or called to a solitary life can be disquieting, having a healthy dose of alone time brings joy, peace, refreshment, insights, energy and more–all good! Think of a place and time to inject some solitude into your life.
28. Try doing some tasks that require you to get down and get dirty! Think of them as child’s play, for they truly are. We may be missing out on forgotten benefits of a humble yet though-provoking, soul enriching experience. If nothing else, we may appreciate the work that other people do for very little pay, and realize they reap rewards that we may have forgotten about since childhood when getting our hands dirty was fun, and to plant a seed and watch it grow an intriguing adventure!
29. Writing out a personal note on a cheerful notecard may mean as much or more than what have become increasingly expensive manufactured greeting cards. Or, for about the same price, a packet of note cards may be given or mailed as a special remembrance in a gift-form that will be spread through additional, caring notes. Including some stamps is a nice touch, as well. Let us not forget the power of personalized, loving words, one to another.
30. When little ones visit, have some fun project ready so that creative memories and some functional outcome will be result. If parents are along, enjoy the more organized process. If solo with children, remember that there is nothing tangible that is too precious (other than the children!) that cannot be cleaned, replaced, or forgotten. Remember to build joyful, loving memories because the temporal passes but love lasts forever.
31. Try simple ways to improve health, daily, over time. What we put into our bodies makes a tremendous difference in how we feel about ourselves, as well as increases energy, efficiency and productivity. Consider how wonderfully made, our bodies. We give glory and honor by taking care of what God has given us so generously. And, in tough times of health and finance, healthy fruits and vegetables may–thriftily grown or purchased–be an uplift to the budget. Anticipate long-term effects in body, mind, heart and spirit!
32. Whatever we do, we must do it to the best of our ability. How many times have we heard this? But it is true, and how we present ourselves–our total package–is also something we must do as best we can. Paying attention to little details can make all the difference in how someone receives a gift from us, including the gift of our thoughts, touches, smiles, words, joy, and love. Give a well-packaged, beautifully-presented, touch of your very best of something to someone today…a touch of love!
33. Check out the details! With the ease of internet research, we can find facts about various aspects of our daily lives that can help us live healthier, more energized, vibrant, full and holier lives. Why not feel better if we can, for little expense? So it was that locating seeds of a plant–a flower–called amaranth (or Love Lies Bleeding) led to an amazing discovery. The flower can easily be grown in our gardens and then processed, dried in the sun, and stored for a highly-packed, pure protein food that we can eat in various ways throughout the year. Now, how fun–and good–is that detail?
34. If possible, try to teach others how to eat properly and what supplements can help improve their bodies for a good life, as much as is in our ability to do so. Perhaps purchase for those who cannot afford, or donate to charities who help feed the poor in other countries. If donating to a food bank, purchase healthy foods–not high fat, salty, high-carb items that will only perpetuate the tendency to poor health in those who are not as fortunate as those who know and can afford better. What food would you want to put into your body? Give that!
35. Are you a person who watches or listens to others live life? Are you a DVD, CD, Ipod, computer game techno-breather? Or do you live your own life vibrantly, fully aware, taking deep breaths of earth’s air? Do you like work–even love it? Life is meant to be lived by those to whom life is given. Work is a gift in life that can be sheer joy if one approaches work with an attitude of grateful possibility! Work can become as play and as prayer…as life-altering, spirit uplifting, body-and-virtue-building possibilities–not just responsibilities. Grasp life; live it yourself, fully. Like work, and know that you can love it! You’ll love life more, too.
36. Life can get to us from time to time. It seems as if the darkness moves in and deals us one storm after another. But if we let the oppression linger, we may be missing out on a beautiful song in our souls that can stir us to a positive attitude and hopeful realization that storms pass, and the sun shines. In fact, every day is sunny, and just because we cannot see it for the clouds, does not mean it is not shining all the same. It takes a training and force of the will God gives us to push aside negative thoughts and feelings in order to live a life that is good in a world that is beautiful with people who are loving. May it be so, and it will!
37. Did you know that “focus” means literally, “domestic hearth”? The word has usages in physics, geometry, medicine, geology, and linguistics. Usually we consider “focus” as a means to concentrate and center our interest or activity on something. Staying “focused” is hindered by various distractions–technology, people, illness and injury that can take the mind and body “off-focus”. Practice increasing the ability to focus by daily using the outer (and inner) senses to center attention on some small image, task, thought, project, desire or goal. Do this while shutting out as many distractions as possible. Focus in life is vital for one’s outer and interior “hearth”.
38. Do you have jars of jelly or jam in the fridge that lingers beyond toast? Or did you see some luscious fruit types on sale or clearance and don’t know how you could use them? Try substituting jelly for sugars in baking muffins, quick breads, rice or bread pudding, baked squash or pumpkin pie, sauces, or cookies. Stir some into non-fat plain yogurt to sweeten, or enhance any culinary dish that requires a sweet additive. Experiment by using lesser amounts than sugar and provide a twist of taste.
39. For enhancing flavors in most any food, drink or culinary creation, purchase a small bottle of Angostura Aromatic Bitters at your local liquor store. The price is a pittance compared to the long-lasting usage. A dash or two or three goes a long way in articulating taste sensations in soups, sauces, meats, fish, salads, canned and fresh fruits, puddings, vegetables, ice cream, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages.
40. Did you know that cranberries are one of the healthiest foods we can eat? They do far more than help prevent and cure urinary tract infections. Cranberries contain a high amount of proanthocyanidins which also aid in also keeping bacteria from forming in the stomach lining, thus reducing risk of and healing ulcers. Grown in bogs of water allows the sun to infiltrate the berries to best advantage. Cranberries are beneficial to the cardiovascular system as well as improve liver function. Plus, their high antioxidant qualities help prevent cancer. To reap the most benefit from cranberries, ingest the berries in some form of the whole berry other than juice or capsules. Make sure you include cranberries in your diet!
41. Be sure to celebrate the eternal birthdays of those we know and love who are no longer physically with us. It is a wonderful thing to consider how great for someone to be born into eternity on the day they left this earth of joys and goodness, but also of trials and tears. You can celebrate the on their otherwise death date, a birthday with loving thoughts of not only what they meant to you and others in this world, but also consider the reality of what they are doing and have been doing in eternity, for however long they have been around–just not so visibly noticed in typical ways.
42. To pies–fruit, pumpkin, humble or not–pour a tablespoon or so of Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau or some flavorful brandy over each individual piece (prior to whipped cream if desired), and serve! What a scrumptious taste bud surprise!
43. When wrapping gifts, consider color themes. Be alert for clearance paper and ribbons, especially woven ribbon that can later be used for little girls’ hair or boys’ bow-ties, to lend touches in decor, as tie-ups for perennials in the garden, or maybe best: to re-use on a future gift given. Store ribbons in a shoe box or other container; keep neat by winding on short piece of cardboard tube. Flat, woven ribbons are also wonderful in mailing as there is no bulky bow. Consider, too, the anticipation and care required in unwrapping a package tied with a “real” ribbon!
44. Eat red onions! Choose them over other onions due to their superior health benefits. Choose red onions with the papery outer skins, rounded shape, and no sprouts or bruises. Peel only the very outermost skin; don’t over peel! The higher amounts of flavanoids and quercetin are concentrated in the outer layers. Red onions help reduce risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. The quercetin found in red onions boosts memory and maintains brain acuity.
45. Consider time as a gift from God! Yes, do this, for it truly is. Each moment we are given may be used for truth, beauty and goodness or squandered on something that does not promote benefit to ourselves or others. Consider doing and thinking in ways that take some time so that we learn to appreciate how time is given us to use wisely and to cherish. Take time to share time in timely ways. Slowing down helps us reflect upon the goodness of time as holy gift.
46. CELEBRATE! Make each day something festive with simple touches of flair. It does not have to be costly but can be some special addition to a way of presenting the typical and usual…in a special way. A candle lit, some fabric napkins, a whimsical plate, and most of all: a happy, positive, upbeat, inside-out-joyful YOU presenting anything from food to your family or the laundry into the washer! Celebrate the joy of life and God’s goodness in a blessed way, each and every day.
47. Go red with cabbage! Why is red cabbage preferable to green? While any cabbage is excellent in vitamin C and phytonutrients, especially if steamed, red cabbage contains up to 6-8 times the vitamin C as that of green or even Savoy (white) cabbage. Also, red cabbage may be a bit more robust in flavor, but it also contains far more flavanoids and other phytonutrients that make it a great anti-inflammatory and cancer-risk reducing vegetable. Cabbage, in general, also lowers cholesterol levels. Steaming is best to realize the benefits–but not steaming in microwave.
48. Remember that we have marvelous friends even if we cannot see or touch them! Each time we read of someone’s life or his or her writings–no matter how long-departed from this world–we can make helpful connections and be influenced greatly. Just be sure to choose these friends wisely…. Read about the lives of good, holy, wise people for they will influence our lives for the better. Then be sure to share these non-temporal friends and the benefits of their lived and learned wisdom with our contemporary friends! We aren’t limited in friendships and can get to know the best, thanks to reading about great people and from their own writings.
49. Sometimes we need to call upon courage and “cast the nets in the water.” As we look around the world about us, there may be something we want to try yet are not sure if it is God’s will. We may want to do our small part to help others and make the world a better place. At the same time, we desire to have purpose and be somewhat useful. So cast those nets in the water and see if God puts a fish–or many fish–in it! We can cast nets without much expense or vulnerability if we make this a prayer of discernment: we will find a fish in the net or not. If not, we can reassess and cast another net in the same place another time, or in a new place with different factors. Don’t despair; cast the nets!
50. One of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to improve bodily health, energy, mental acuity, lose weight and to avoid illness is by drinking water. No sugars or clever additives necessary–the best water is plain and pure water, available from most faucets. Drink it at room temperature or slightly warm to match body temperature, but the main advice is to just DRINK IT! Try to imbibe at least 8 or 10 full glasses a day. Water is a holy, blessed gift given us. Drink to–and for–your health!
51. Each of us has a hermit within. It might be the desire to have some alone time now and then, or a longing for a simpler existence when our lives seem hectic or our dwellings cluttered. We may have stereotypical notions of what hermit life would entail, but it is still good to ponder and to practice, now and then, some aspect of silence, solitude, slowness…. And we can get to know and experience –once we know more about hermit life–the hermit aspect in each of us. Living some aspects of hermit life benefits anyone and everyone.
52. It is always good to apologize when we have done or said something wrong. We usually know we have done wrong by others’ reactions; they might even tell us. Also, hopefully, we sense we did wrongly from our conscience squirming or word reminders within us. Sometimes it is good to say we are sorry even if we have done nothing wrong other than another person perceiving that we have. Yes, we are sorry they see it that way, and sorry that they feel offended. However we do not need to admit to that which we have truly not done. And always, we diffuse tense situations by sincerely asking the other to pray for us. Who of either party can remain angry or hurt with that request?
53. Be yourself! And to do that, pray to know yourself! Learning and living who we are unfolds through our lifetimes of experiences and relationships. Peace and serenity let us know when we are who and what God created us and willed us to be. The virtues will flow gracefully; the vices will subside. While there may be some outer changes to who we appear to be, the inner will be who we are in constancy, truth, purity and love.
54. Save Big Money…by growing dark, leafy greens such as kale, beets, Mescule, Romaine, and French Sorrel in garden pots. You can re-seed frequently, and by having the large pots placed near your dwelling, the greens will grow earlier in spring and later into the fall, being cool-weather growers by nature. Use your own fresh greens in your very own batches of Green Glory, saving shopping and getting the freshest greens possible. Try growing your own cucumbers, as well, from pots. So what if the vines tumble over and out? Vegetables grown in planters are quite beautiful! You really do save money, especially as some of the greens re-seed and also re-grow if the leaves are clipped rather than pulled by the roots.