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21 December 2008

The best

When I gave up work and returned to my home I promised myself that all the days of multitasking, doing too much in a half-hearted way, and second best were in my past. I decided that I wanted to live deliberately, that the decisions I made would be carried out with care, and from then on, I would do my best, no matter what the task was.

It took a while to get used to that change. I had to slow down and concentrate on what I was doing. I had to focus on one thing at a time and do it to the best of my ability. The pace of my work slowed down and, after a while, so did I. My mind stopped racing and I adopted a slow and mindful approach to everything I did. The strange thing to me was that even though I slowed everything down, I still got my house work done, and I came out the other end of it much more relaxed and pleased with what I achieved. I realised then that putting housework off, or not doing it at all, added to the stress of it. Doing it slowing, one task at a time, gave a rhythm to the day that helped the work flow.

But it wasn't only the housework that I applied this new philosophy to. It was also my relationships with people. I found that when I slowed down and concentrated on the person I was with, it made a difference. When I stopped thinking about what I would do later in the day, or tomorrow, and gave my thoughts as well as my time to the person I was with, I gave more and got a lot more in return. When I gave my best, they gave their best too.

When I started writing this blog I wanted it to be the best. Not the best blog, but the best that I could do. Some days I struggle with what I should write, mainly because I think it's too mundane to be a subject. Some days I use my blog to work out things in my own head - like thinking aloud. Some days the words flow like honey from a honey pot and I have to stop myself for fear of overwhelming you. It's been up and down, but I think I can say that every day I've written here has been the best I could give on that particular day; I have not written half-heartedly.

That has paid off handsomely. I gave my best and got your best in return. Sure, there have been a couple of hiccoughs, but over the year the comments have become a genuine and substantial part of this blog. You give a lot when you comment, it's like a payment for the writing, it not essential but when it happens it rewards me because I know my words are finding you and not just floating out there. That is true of everyone's blog, not just mine.

I am looking forward to Christmas because all my boys will be here, one with his special girl. We are having a family dinner on Christmas Eve with seven of us sitting down to eat, the first time we've all been together for a long, long time. On Christmas morning, we'll all help cook and serve at the free Christmas breakfast I have been organising at work this past month. Last year we served 450 breakfasts, I wonder how many there will be this year. I hope this year will be our best.

This is the last post I'll write for a while because I need to have a break. I'll be enjoying my family, working on my book, watching the cricket, knitting, relaxing and generally getting ready for another good year. A special thank you to Sharon who has been such a help to me throughout the year, both here and at the co-op blog. Thank you for your visits and comments during the year, you have made this blog writing thing a real joy for me. Have a merry Christmas, stay safe and enjoy your holidays. I send you and your family my best.


  1. No thankyou Rhonda for all your time effort and at times personal support to all of us.
    I myself will have a bid hole in my day with out my daily read that is for sure.
    So to you Hanno and your family may the coming Christmas/New Year season we filled with the love and happiness you so richly deserve.
    Warm hugs to you both.
    Looking forward to a new year of learning from you and putting more and more simple living strategies in place.
    Love from The Other Rhonda

  2. Merry Christmas Rhonda. Enjoy your break and your family.

  3. I hope you have a peaceful, wonderful Christmas with your family Rhonda. I have so enjoyed reading your blog, and I can't wait until your book comes out!!

    Love & light to you and your family,

    Willow x

  4. I hope you and your family have a peaceful Christmas and that the New Year brings more of the gifts you have received this year. Thank you Rhonda for making this Blog such a special part of my day.

  5. May you and your family have a very special Christmas together. I have enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to following it in the new year.
    Christmas blessings

  6. Hello Rhonda,

    I'm a regular lurker of this blog and have decided to come out of the woodwork to thank you for keeping this blog. Your posts have helped me be grounded and steer clear of the crass consumerism all around me. Pictures of your home inspire me to keep my railroad apartment in Brooklyn, New York clean and homey. Your mindfulness in everyday life is evident from your writings which reminds me of Catholic nuns and Buddhist monks.

    Happy Holidays.


  7. Merry Christmas Rhonda! Have a wonderful time with your family and be safe.

  8. "May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
    The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
    The heart of Christmas which is love."
    ~ Ada V. Hendricks

    Rhonda Jean,
    Merry Christmas to your and yours.
    Ontario, Canada

  9. Please enjoy your holiday. I will look forward to reading your wonderful posts again once you return.

    Happy Holidays!


  10. Rhonda, your blog has been a saving grace for me over the past few months. The things that I have learned and practiced and succeeded at are worth more than words can express. The awareness you bring to others is most appreciated. Enjoy your Christmas, and best wishes to you and your family in the coming new year!! From Donna J.

  11. Wishing you & yours a very Merry Christmas, Rhonda! Your blog has been inspiration to me on a daily basis since the day I discovered it and I look forward to future posts. :)

  12. It sounds like you have wonderful plans for your Christmas - what a great way to spend them! From halfway around the world, my family wishes you a wonderful Christmas. Your entry was very timely for me, and it helped me to reinforce the things I try to do daily. Thank you for your thoughts.

  13. It was my lucky day when I stumbled upon your blog last April. Your shared knowledge and experience are inspiring but it is your generosity of spirit which shines through like a beacon.

    Merry Christmas from our house to yours. Have a terrific break!


  14. Hello Rhonda, wishing you a happy and peaceful christmas, with the joy of being surrounded by your loved ones. May the coming year bring you the very best of life.
    Warm wishes,

  15. Merry Christmas to you! Enjoy your break.

  16. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your family. Your blog was a real help to me throughout this difficult year.It opened up a whole new life for myself and my family. A much more meaningfull and contented life. We are not nearly there yet but moving forward all the time.
    Thank you so much.

    Pippa xx

  17. Thank you very much for the invaluable info. and tips I have received from you over the last few weeks, your blog is something I cherish in my busy day, and I will miss you until your return. Wishing you and Hanno the best Christmas ever and see you in 2009.

  18. Rhonda I have only just recently discovered your blog and as my only family is my mum (who is very materialistic) and my son - I have adopted you as my Grandma! I love reading everything you write ( I am still getting through them all). I have saved and printed and started doing many of your suggestions. I can't wait for your book.

    I think I'm going to miss you when you are on holidays! You are really really appreciated, I think you touch more hearts than you will ever realise.

    Merry Christmas and God Bless You!!

    Rosie xx

  19. Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy 2009.

    Have a lovely break, you deserve it.


  20. Wishing you, Hanno and all your family a wonderful, peace-filled and joyous Christmas :-)

    Thank you for your wise words and common sense (which isn't so common these days it seems) during the past year, I'm very much looking forward to the new year and your book :-)

    Regards, Julie

  21. Hi Rhonda, Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope you have a nice break. I'm off to have a go at a few of your natural cleaner recipes today and am hoping to try to make my first batch of soap over the holidays! I look forward to reading your blog next year.


  22. I sincerely hope that the time you are taking for yourself is wonderful for you. I would like to wish you, Hanno and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
    I will miss reading your blog while you are away, but this will also give me a chance to catch up with some of your past posts.
    Thank yuou for all your encouragement and knowledge. You have really helped me become more mindful of the way I live and how I can change for the betterment of myself, my family and the world around me!

  23. Thank you Rhonda for all that you have created this year through your blog many people have learnt alot I know that I have. You are a true inspiration to alot of people and yours is the first blog that I check when ever I go onto the computer. I would like to wish you and your family a very happy xmas and a prosperous new year. It is people like you and your other volunteers that keep a community going.

  24. Merry Christmas to my other mother, and your family. Hope you have a lovely few days with your family and at your Christmas breakfast. I hope to see you back here in the new year.

    Take care
    cheers Kate

  25. Merry Christmas, Rhonda. Enjoy having your family around you - it's such a blessing :)

  26. Wishing you, Hanno and your family a Very Merry Christmas and a peaceful New Year. My thanks to you for all of your posts. Trust me, they will never be mundane or too long. You help us more than we can ever express.
    Enjoy and we'll welcome you back when your ready. JudieJ

  27. Merry Christmas Rhonda and Hanno. I thank you for the many gifts you have given me with your words of wisdom and tried and true practices.
    I look forward to catching up with your blog after the holiday season.
    A new year brings new beginnings and I wish the best for you.

  28. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and those you care about!

  29. Merry Christmas
    Peace be with you and yours

  30. Thank you, Rhonda, for your inspiring blog. Have a wonderful christmas and a good start into the new year.
    Best wishes

  31. I have very much reading your blog this year, and the way you live is what I aspire to! Thank you for sharing your life with us, and have a wonderful holiday.


  32. Hello Rhonda,
    As you can see by the Christmas wishes above, you are one special lady. Thankyou for the inspiration and wisdom you have given to all your friends in computer land. Of course we'll miss you but we all need to close off our screens for a while and just enjoy this Blessed Season. So I also wish you and Hanno a wonderful time of sharing and joy with your family and I look forward to next year when you return to us and share again your inspiring words. Take care of yourselves and May your be richly blessed this season. Gail

  33. Dear Rhonda,
    enjoy your well earned break! Thank you for all your interesting and inspiring posts, I enjoy them immensely.
    Have a great time with your family, and all the best wishes to you for 2009.

  34. Merry Christmas Rhonda,
    have a lovely time with your family. Your blog has really inspired me this year to try and live more simply..and our christmas will really reflect this - we had to make, bake ot grow..or buy our prezzies second hand, and it really did get us all thinking, thanks alot, best wishes, Anna

  35. Thank you Rhonda for your year of wonderful hints, thoughts and ideas. I have so appreciated them. I love reading your blog. I also love to read your stuff on ALS. The 'other' new blog is also fantastic. Congratulations. Thank you for being apart of our wonderful computer age family. Merry Christmas to you and Hanno and your kids. Have a wonderful break.

    Cheers Damaris, Maryvale, Qld

  36. Merry Christmas to you and your family Rhonda! Reading your blog is such a joy for me. Your wisdom about different subjects is SO needed in today's superficial society.

    Having lost my mother several years ago, there are times when your words are just what I need to hear.

    Thank you so much for sharing your life with all of us out here in blogland.


  37. Rhonda,

    You have been a great inspiation to me with your blog sin I found it earlier this year.

    May I wish you, Hanno and your family a very happy,peaceful Christmas, and helath and happiness in 2009. I will look forward to reading youog when you come back after your 'holiday'.

    Take care............

  38. Rhonda, thanks for your commitment and the integrity of all you do here, it keeps me coming back and I will be here in the New Year.
    Merry Christmas to you and Hanno and your family, I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

    Love, Kerrie

  39. Hello Rhonda, Thank you for another wonderful post. I have been trying to put into practice your idea of the slow and mindful approach to things to calm what I call my "busy brain syndrome" It has made me very conscious of how much I, un-necessarily at times, try to achieve and do well in a small amount of time.
    I continue to enjoy your blog immensely and appreciate your sharing of knowledge and wise counsel. As with everyone else, I look foward to your return from what I hope for you is an enjoyable break.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    Regards Patricia

  40. You have had lots of thoughtful comments here Rhonda and I would just like to reiterate the sentiments. Your blog is very interesting and informative and I look forward to more in the New Year - no pressure! Have a wonderful Christmas with your family.

  41. Happy Holidays,dear Rhonda! Enjoy your break and time with your family!

  42. Have a very Merry Christmas Rhonda.


  43. Thanks for the blog from Spain, and merry Christmas for all of us!

  44. Merry Christmas, Rhonda. Have a wonderful holiday visiting with your family. And enjoy your well-deserved break. I'll look forward to seeing what you write when you return.

  45. I'm a daily reader, but I've never commented. Your words today about doing one thing at a time really hit home with me. I love your blog- especially what you might consider the mundane topics! I love the glimpse into your life that you allow us to have. I've learned a lot from you.

    Merry Christmas!

  46. Merry Christmas and all the best for 2009!

  47. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a great time with your family!
    I can't thank you enough for this blog. My husband and I both get so much from what you write, and how you live :)
    Like another poster said, you are touching far more people than you know!! :)
    Looking forward to hearing from you in the New Year
    -Melanie in New Brunswick, Canada

  48. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  49. Merry Christmas Rhonda, see you next year

  50. Thank you Rhonda for all the time and effort you put in to help all of us it is very much appreciated.
    I hope you and Hanno have a wonderful christmas with your family and friends and looking forward to reading your blog in the new year. Have a wonderful break.

  51. merry christmas and thank you for sharing your wonderful blog.

  52. ((hugs)) Rhonda. Merry Christmas. You have been quite an inspiration to me. Thanks so much. I'll be anxiously awaiting your return. Enjoy your Holidays and your blogging break.


  53. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to both you Rhonda and Hanno. I hope you have a fantastic break and look forward to reading more in the future.

    Best wishes and keep well.

    Tracie xx

  54. Rhonda- I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog, and would like to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas. I look forward to reading more after the break!
    Debbie R

  55. Hi Rhonda
    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog ever since I discovered it a few weeks ago. I have been inspired and will certainly be making a few New Years resolutions based on your sound advice. Have a joyous Christmas with your family.

  56. I seldom comment, though I read what you write most days and really enjoy it and benefit from your sense and wisdom. As I prepare to celebrate Christmas here in the UK I shall be thinking of you, half a world away,yet so close in attitudes and approach to life. May you have a very blessed time with your family - and the same to all my fellow readers!

  57. Dear Rhonda,
    Thank you. Reading your thoughts everyday has been so soothing and comforting to me. I dont have a family around me to affirm these things that i Love. You do this for me. As for the mundane - they are the things I like the best. No one ever talks about the simple mundane ordinary stuff yet our lives are full of these things. Why should they be invisible. Every time I come across the ordinary stuff of life - I sigh with relief and go -YEP. It validates me and my efforts. So please do talk about these things. I get so sick of glamour and celebrity and fame in the media. Celebrating the ordinary celebrates us!!
    Have a lovely Christmas and look forward to catching up in 2009.
    Blessings, Juanita.

  58. And a happy holiday to you, also, Rhonda. Enjoy the time off with your family.

    Maybe now is the time to say thank you for your pleasant, calming blog about turning one's lifestyle upside down and living a different way. You are always an inspiration to me.

    Merry Christmas from Carolyn in Pennsylvania.

  59. Thank you for all of your time. I have learned and enjoyed reading your blog. My family and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New year!


  60. Enjoy your break Rhonda, I hope you have a wonderful family Christmas

    Thank you for all the information and ideas you've shared with us on your blog, and thank you also to the people whose comments add so much to it for me.

    Have a happy and peaceful Christmas everyone!

    RosieB (for some reason, not able to sign in at the moment!)

  61. Best wishes for a peaceful Christmas and New Year to you. I don't comment much, but I've been reading your blog since the summer, I think, and really enjoy it. Thanks.

  62. A Merry Christmas to you and your family...all the best with your blog for 2009.

    Gill in Canada

  63. Rhonda you have given us in this household so much. You have given me courage to put into action those things that I had only been dreaming about and you have sparked of inspiration when you show me something I had not thought about before. have a lovely time with your family and enjoy the holidays. Take care, Margaret.

  64. Many happy wishes to you and your family. Enjoy your time to relax. We will welcome you back next year! Thank you for all you do to inspire us the readers.

    Cathy C

  65. Thank you Rhonda for freely sharing so much knowledge & inspiration ! You have helped me make good changes which I am very happy about. Enjoy the Christmas season, the cricket & your break from blogging ! Best wishes to you & your family for a very happy Christmas and wonderful year in 2009.

  66. Have a wonderful Christmas, Rhonda. You are a daily inspiration to me, and this post was obviously written with 200 percent of you in it. Your honest self-assessment and look inward at how you've blossomed slowly into just what you've wanted in your soul ... well, it's beautiful to read. Thank you millions for your generosity .... what you've given to yourself, you've also given to all of us. Be well, dear friend!

  67. Hi Rhonda!

    Glad I checked your blog tonight!
    Just want to wish you, Hanno, and your family, a very Merry Christmas and and a Happy New Year! Enjoy your mini-vacation, but don't forget to come back! I'll miss my daily visit to your blog!

    Hugs, Aunt Bea

  68. Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year 2009.

    I haven't posted as much as I would like as have been very busy with my new baby, Michael but do pop in at least once per week to catch up.

    Your blog is just wonderful Rhonda and nothing you say is boring or mundane. I know this year has been a bit up and down and I hope that the new year brings you all health and happiness.

    Love Rachaelxxx

  69. ...the VERY best of Christmases to you Rhonda. Love and peace, Sue.(Azores)

  70. Thank you so much for all your input over the months I have been one of your "groupies"! I have made some subtle changes to the way I look at life, and all for the better. Merry Christmas to you and may you celebrate it with the greatest joy, with your family around you - the way it should be. All the best for 2009.

  71. Rhonda, being introduced to your blog has been such a pleasure. I'm learning so much from you. Wishing you a joyful, pleasant holiday season. I expect I will be less on the computer myself, with our little one due so soon, but when I'm online I will surely pop in to read from your archives. Looking forward to your return.

  72. Merry Christmas to you all in sunny Oz. Have a lovely, well-deserved, break and a Happy, Healthy New Year. Will look forward to tuning in again when you are back

  73. Beautiful post, Rhonda, because I think you are right. We should do nothing half hearted and always give our best.

    And I also agree regarding the comments. It is so rewarding as a blogger to have someone leave a thoughtful comment. It means you touched someone in some small way.

    Have a wonderful Christmas.

  74. I worked full time last week to make some extra money. By the end of the week, I was SO ready to "come home".

    I love what you wrote, you put into words exactly what I was feeling but couldn't express it. :)

    Thank you. Have a wonderful Christmas with family. I have one at home and my daughter and her family are 1,000 miles away. They will be with us in spirit!

  75. Merry Merry Christmas to you & yours Rhonda x enjoy having your family all there & enjoy the break from the computer too
    GTM x x x x

  76. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Enjoy a restful break. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I've learned many new things, not just to do but to think over.
    Happy New Year, too.

  77. Dear Rhonda & Hanno

    My very best wishes to you for a lovely peaceful, family filled Christmas and New Year. What could be better?

    Regards - Joolz

  78. Rhonda,
    May you Hanno and your family enjoy the Holiday Season and enjoy a comfortable prosperous New Year. Thank you for your time and effort in showing us that there is a peaceful way to life and something to strive towards. I look forward to reading your blog a half a world away!

  79. Merry Christmas to you and your family!! Blessings of joy, peace, fellowship, love and unity!! ((hugs))

  80. Hi Rhonda, I have been a 'lurker' since April this year. I have enjoyed your blog! I found you from doing a google search for cold process soap making, and just kept coming back for more. Your site is very inviting!

    Merry Christmas!! Kris

  81. As all these 80 plus comments show, you are appreciated and loved by so many and rightly so. Thank you so much for your site, your insite, your advice, your all. Have a joyful, peaceful, wonderful Christmas and holiday break and may the coming year be safe, simpler, more satisfying and just plain good for you and your loved ones.

  82. Oh, before I forget, thanks for your message of taking it easy and concentrating...thats what I have a hard time doing and need the reminder/help to live in the moment, focus on doing things well and taking the time to do it well. I dont know what it is about me that makes me a packrat - I keep everything and am surrounded at home and my office with... things, things and more things from years and years (14 years at this same company and 12 of it in this same cubicle - and it usually looks it) and from your blog, I have started to realize that I dont need it all around me or even to have it all and got inspired to start making myself and my environment more peaceful, simpler, careful (as in full of care) and better - thank you for that.

  83. Rhonda, I love this post! It surely helped me today! I love all your post. Would you mind if I referenced your blog in mine?

  84. Dear Rhonda,

    I only discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago, and I just wanted to say thank you for the time and effort you make, and your sincerity. I found your article on giving your best to everything, including relationships, very inspiring, and am determined to apply it...

    Best regards from England,


  85. I had the joy of discovering your blog today, listed on a top 100 list of Women Bloggers. I am an Australian stay at home mother, with 2 young boys, trying to go against the norm of working and aquiring more stuff. I look forward to reading your wealth of information and using it my own life. We are desperate to get out of the city and get a small plot of land for our family and reconnect with the simple natural way of living. Thankyou for the inspiration I will be linking to your blog for sure!


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