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2 December 2009

The sustainable home

After two days of being away from home and working in my voluntary job, I'm back home in my haven today. I really do feel this is my haven here - every home should feel like that. When I talk with the people who come into our Centre for help, I silently wish I could place everyone of them into a warm and loving home. Such homes can heal and provide not only a safe haven from the outside world but also give significant emotional comfort. Early on in my journey towards a simpler life, being at the Centre help me understand the true value of my home. Seeing people who had no home, and those who live in dysfunctional homes, gave me a very clear understanding of how I wanted my home to be. I wanted a home that sustained us and everyone who visited us.

Freedom from Fear Stretched Canvas Print
Picture from

A sustainable home is not necessarily the biggest and best house in the street; this kind of home is not identified by the look of it. To me, the worth of this home is judged by the way people live in their homes, how they share their lives, by what they give importance to, by the way they model behaviour to the members of their clan, by the boundaries they set, by the work they do to provide that nurturing space and possibly by a hundred other things that are more difficult to define, but responsibility, respect, warmth, generosity, kindness and care need to be in the mix.

One thing is for sure, sustainable homes are not created by filling them with expensive appliances, furniture and other symbols of material "success". Their character is much more complex. The chief ingredients for making a home that sustains and nurtures are the people who live there, the feelings they have for each other and the way they express those feelings. I wish that every home was a sustainable one but sadly that is not the case. It's not even close to it.

I am sure that many people who start out on life with a partner think the hard part will be working to equip and furnish their home and being able to buy the things that will make them happy. I believe that is a shallow kind of happiness, if it is happiness at all. The really difficult part of life with a partner, setting up home and being a parent is to provide a decent home that provides support, nourishment, protection and security. It should be the one place where the family know with absolute certainty that they are loved, where they can be their true selves, can recuperate from being at school or at work, and have fun, help, be productive and creative and learn how to live. The home is where children should learn their values and where parents should always strive to live by theirs. It's complex, is not just bricks and mortar.

It doesn't matter what stage of life you're at, keep your eye on the prize. The prize is not an having an outstanding house, it's having an outstanding family and home. And it's tough to juggle life, family, home, money, friends, hopes and wishes, and sometimes you fail. But in those times when it comes together, when you look and see what you hope to see, when you realise that repeating that suggestion over and over has finally paid off, when you hear a quiet "I love you" and know it is meant in its truest sense, when you want to announce to the world what a wonderful family you have but instead keep it inside you to nourish and grow, when you think you've failed but realise you haven't, when you put the family to bed at night and sit, content, those are the times that will make up for the uncertainty and toughness of it all. And as I look back on my life of family and home building I know for sure that it was not just the good times that made us what we are today, it was the hard times too.

I know we don't get a lot of encouragement to build stable and happy families. The encouragement seems to be focused on success, creating wealth, spending to help the nation and acquisition, and while those elements may have some importance, they are secondary. Our real mission is to build productive and healthy families, that will create productive and healthy communities, that combined together build the nation. I am here to gently encourage and remind you that what you do at home is significant and meaningful, and that creating a sustainable home provides the ideal environment for your family to thrive in.


  1. Hello Rhonda, bless you. I've been feeling a little overwhelmed lately (probably a reaction to the move) and have also spent the last few days berating myself for not being as organised as I usually am. Your post is the hand on the shoulder I needed. Hugs

  2. Thanks Rhonda for this post - especially at this time of year when material "needs" seems overwhelming.

  3. so true Rhonda, very real and moving. Sometimes I feel it is a struggle and exhausting trying to find the balance with family, work two young children. Providing a home and nuturing the family is one of the most important jobs I will ever do. I have to keep reminding myself of this. Thank you for your beautiful post.

  4. Lovely thoughts Rhonda. I've been thinking along the lines of this myself lately. Home and family and creating a nourishing environment is where, for me, true happiness lies.


  5. A very thoughtful and heartfelt post, just what I also needed today.

    Thank you ~ FlowerLady

  6. Beautiful post and most appreciated.


  7. Thank you Rhonda. It is very hard when your from an ethnic family who all judge you by what your house looks like and how much money you have. I don't have the double storey mansion and so I am not considered as successful. But I do have two adult children who havnt given me a days worry and a husband who loves me and we are all happy.
    Unfortunatly this doesnt count for much, only "stuff" counts.

  8. Thanks Rhonda,
    Something that I'm always trying to achieve.

    cheers Kate

  9. Hello Rhonda,
    Creating a sustainable home is one of the most rewarding things that you can do. :D

    Have a great week,

  10. What an Absolutely Beautiful post!!!

    Isn't it wonderful to know the "true value" of our homes and the love of our families. It's always a pleasure to read your heart warming posts.

  11. Thank you Rhonda - wise words indeed. Bless you!

  12. thank you!!
    rita from tirol/austria:
    we live in a kind of small home, but we lough when we eat together a meal at the table. and sometimes we cry together even.
    and i am so greatful to have this family as it is.
    thanks for your words.

  13. Thanks for the encouragement Rhonda! I know in my head that what I am doing at home is so very important, but sometimes cleaning the loo again doens't make it feel so. My husband thanked me for staying at home when he left for work this morning, I guess that says it all really. :)

    Have a good day x

  14. This was just what I needed to stay focused on what's important.I come here for that encouragement and I always get just what I need.

  15. Rhonda,

    What wonderful thoughts about the importance of nurturing and building the family. It is the most important work I will ever do...I agree that you don't need a huge house (we don't) nor do we need a perfect house! I must add that we find great joy in sharing hospitality with others - it brings them into our family circle and gives encouragement to all...

  16. I always love your posts about the importance of the home. I'll be linking to this post from my blog. So inspiring!

  17. What an absolutely lovely and heartwarming post. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this, Rhonda. Just lovely.

  18. Hi Rhonda;

    Can I just tell you how much this post touched my heart! You have a way of writing that expresses what so many of us think and feel, but can't put into words. Thank you for putting perspective into my day - we truly need to remember how important it is to focus on our families, especially in a world were "things" seem to be the main focus.
    Many blessings to you, Barb

  19. i have just not found anyone else writing this stuff. i have felt this all to be true for years, but not been able to put it into words as well as you do. thank you for voicing what i really feel needs to be said!

  20. thank you Rhonda, this is such a heart warming and true post. It actually made tears well up in my eyes! A home, is the place where you can always fall back on, and it has absolutely nothing to do with expensive furniture or the latest microwave. It's the house, where you feel welcome, wanted, appreciated and's where a family and their friends, share their meals together, and where we listen to each others stories and feelings....that's what I hope to be able to teach my children and I have to tell you that your blog, helps me a lot!

  21. What a beautiful, true post. It's sad that this isn't said more often. People believe if they have a house that matches up to all the interior decorating magazines, they will be happy. Sometimes I fall into that, but more are the times when I realize how blessed I am. My home is my favorite place on earth.
    The Girl in the Pink Dress


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