DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are over 8000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

28 December 2010

And what of happiness?

A feeling of renewal always comes calling at this time of year.  The new year is looming, an old year almost gone and life is telling me to look around, take it all in, reassess, look toward the coming months and make sure that what we're doing will continue to make us happy and satisfied.  I have been doing that reassessment over these past few days away from the blog. I've spent time with my family, talked on the phone with friends, thought about life during the small hours of the morning, and relaxed while looking out the window at the rain.  It's been raining for a week, it's still falling now.  I picked our garlic crop in the rain at 5.30 this morning.  What a crazy and wonderful way to really experience this season and all its wild weather.


In a sense I'm living my dream life right now but if I were to believe many of those women's magazines, I should be yearning for my long gone youth, dying my hair, thinking about botox and clearing out last year's fashions to make way for newer versions.  There is much more depth to my life.  I am surrounded by a loving family, I have a major creative project to concentrate on, and the freedom to do whatever I feel like doing when each new day dawns. And even though I have that freedom, I choose to remain here, working in my home.  From the outside it's just Hanno and Rhonda, two golden oldies, living a very ordinary life in semi-rural Australia; but our lives deceive, we live large. We have the freedom to choose how we spend our time - there is no boss expecting us to turn up for work, no watches telling us we have to be somewhere soon and no other controlling factors we need to be aware of.   We have no debt and live frugally so we know that if we remain productive and live within our means, we'll continue along this path and feel the satisfaction and contentment it brings for a long time.


My main occupation at the moment, and for the coming months, is writing the book.  After breakfast I come into this little room, close the door behind me, turn on the computer and start reading, editing and writing.  Every so often, I check out the forum or emails, or I go out and wash up, make bread, prepare a meal, make the bed, knit or mend and those small actions, while giving me a break, make me feel I'm still contributing to my home.  In reality though, Hanno is doing more that he used to and although he's not been gardening due to the season and the rain, he has been doing the washing and the floors, which frees me up to work on the book.  Marriages that work well are fine things.  


And what of happiness?  Yes, it's here daily, bubbling away in the background, like a tea kettle on a wood stove, always ready and always enough to be shared.  I don't know what it is I did to deserve this charmed life but I'm sure many of you feel the same way about your own lives.  You are touchstones, in a sense, a way for me to know, really know, that even though we live outside the mainstream of our culture, there are others who walk along with us.  And now as I look towards tomorrow and next year, I know that I will continue to work towards my goals with enthusiasm, optimism and gratitude and if I can take you all along with me for the ride, it will be even better.  I'm looking forward to it.

48 comments:

  1. How perfectly lovely. I am striving to live that way too and part of my goal in getting there is to declutter and reorganize. I am very contented with being a homebody and spending time with my daughter and pets. I have plenty to occupy my time and to keep my mind busy and challenged. I look forward to the coming year. I wish you the best in 2011 and with your book!

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  2. Lovely post you left for us. I always enjoy checking in on you. Sorry my posts are lame right now. Good thing for good people like you to keep us all feeling content. Happy New Year. Keep us posted on the book.
    Juls

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  3. I feel blessed with my 'simple' life too, after too many years dealing with other people's pain and chaos as a social worker, I now please myself, knit sew garden and relax when I feel like it. I'm content.

    ...and Santa aka dear son, bought me a breadmaker for Christmas. Since breaking my arm a while back, and being left with two 5 inch long plates in it, kneading (and felting) are too difficult now. He knew how much I loved to make my own bread, and provided the solution....we've already been playing with The Tardis, and enjoying yummy bread. What a good boy :)

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  4. I feel very blessed to be able to live our 'simple' lifestyle. Even with a very large family to care for I still find time to knit, sew, garden and bake and I hope that my children will learn from how we live and not from the media who tell us that we should be living another way.
    I, too, find that this is the time of year I take 'stock' of our life to see what needs to be done differently and what is working. A new year brings closure and fresh beginnings.
    Love your post Rhonda.

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  5. Since I discovered the blog world my magazine reading has dwindled down considerably. You have just re-inforced that decision for me. Finding contentment in middle age in the way you describe is so much more fulfilling than chasing the impossible dream portrayed in magazines and so much of what's on tv.
    I agree about marriages that work well. I had that very thought so many times during the Christmas season. I couln't have pulled it off without my helpful husband.
    I look forward to following along with you into the new year.

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  6. I'm walking the same journey and what a satisfying and happy one it is! Good wishes, thanks for dropping by at my blog.Happy New Year!

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  7. Wonderfully put. I was thinking about how much I value the quiet happiness this week as I visited family for holidays and just craved desperately my little simple space. No judgement for anyone else's way of living, but I am happy to be home.

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  8. Hi Rhonda!

    I recently stumbled upon your blog and have been coming back to read it multiple times a day. It's nice to see that there are other people around the world living a simple life, and an even nicer suprise to realize that it is possible. I have a 2 year old and a 10 week old so I am taking baby steps, but have accomplished so much in the last month. Your blog has been a great inspiration!
    Amber

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  9. Hi Rhonda, Amen to your blog today,I don't know how it would be without our orher half,the person that makes us whoe,we are independant on them in one aspect and yet so reliant on them in others,this Christmas as I looked across at my husband of 41 years my heart ached inmeasurable for my close friend facing her forst one without her hubby.How blessed we are to still be together I promise I will not take him for granted this year ( or try to lol) the blessings we are given are so much more than the ones we think we crave.Carole

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  10. I believe you worked hard to deserve your charmed life. You made it that way!
    Thank you for sharing your charmed life with us. I always enjoy coming here to see what you are up to and what your thoughts are. You never disappoint!

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  11. I have recently bought a second hand sewing machine and I think I have caught a sewing bug because I am always drawn lately to my little room of craft goodies and I am learning to create. What a wonderful feeling. To just enjoy being at home. I still waver sometimes but this year has been a huge learning curve and I would like to say a thankyou for all of your wonderful posts and shared wisdom throughout this year. Cheers, Wendy

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  12. Hello Rhonda,

    The big fellow and I are living a similar life to you and Hanno. We have 2 elderly parents to care for and that is hard at times, but we try and refocus quickly if things start to get tense. I guess its all in your attitude really. We too are looking forward to next year. 2010 has not been our best year but we must all learn to take the good with the not so good because that is what life is about. What a blessing it is to look foerward to a brand new year. Thank you again for the inspiration your blog brings and thanks also to the lovely folk who write their comments.
    Blessings Gail

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  13. Its an interesting topic that being your own boss and living your dreams thing. In effect we are too. Noone tells us what to do or when to do it, we do what needs to be done according to the seasons and the moon and what is happening on our farm. The main difference is that our income is made from our lifestyle and two other families rely on us for income. Sometimes I dream of going home from work and leaving it all behind but I know that if that were the case I'd be dreaming up ways to live like I do now.
    This morning we collected the eggs, harvested and cleaned some more garlic, picked berries and currents and now we are having a few hours off to lie in the hammock and read and knit. Life couldn't be finer.
    Have a wonderful last few days of the year.

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  14. Hello everyone and thank you for sharing little pieces of your own lives with me and us. I really enjoy reading about what you're doing.

    Amber, I have my own children almost at the stage you're at so it makes me very happy knowing you've found inspiration here.

    Thank you Claudia.

    Wendy, once that creative bug has bitten you there is no going back. Enjoy your sewing.

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  15. Lovely post.
    I too find that it is the simple things that keep us happiest.

    It is sometimes hard work getting the *simple life* up and going but more than worth the trying.

    Barb.

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  16. ... had a lovely day myself...making soup from the little Christmas chicken carcass ... and tried my first loaf of Foccaccia too... it was yummy... put in some olives, sun dried tomatoes and cheese....

    oh, yeh... it's great to do what I want when I want to do it. Love my life.... simple and quiet ...

    My theory is that many folks just don't really know what it is they truly want from their lives...

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  17. I have only just found your blog and I just love your inspiration. I live in Kent UK and I am 61 and have been a home maker for 25years.
    I look forward to reading much more and sharing ideas ..
    Blessings
    Pammie

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  18. This is a perfect post Rhonda. Love to you. Duckie xxxx

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  19. Loved your post. There is so much to be said for a simple life and for constructing our days as we see fit. I hope you have a wonderful and profitable new year!

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  20. A very inspiring post today. I just finished reading "Tuesdays With Morrie" and it fits in with that philosophy of living. I, too, feel blessed to have this life even though "retirement" in the traditional sense probably isn't in my near future. I have a job that challenges me and I enjoy, I have a lot of freedom at work. I'm nearly debt free too. I'm thankful for the simple things.

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  21. It is a lovely post...flavored with much gratitude, which is a very good thing.

    My husband and I are looking ahead to the new year, setting goals for ourselves and our family on the whole, and I must say, despite what we're hearing in the news, we are feeling encouraged. We have a destination in mind and are taking the steps to get us there.

    The archives here and posts on the forum are a huge motivator. Thanks for that!

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  22. HAVE A HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR RHONDA,
    MAY YOU HAVE A FULFILLING YEAR WITH YOUR FAMILY!!!!

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  23. Beautifully said! Always, you have such a way with words and expression. I long and strive for the feelings that you express here. We work little by little at it, we will get there someday.

    Thanks as always :)

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  24. My New Year's Wish for you, is to continue on the same path. It seems perfect, for you.

    And thank you for blogging inspiration, for others!

    Happy New Year's hugs...

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  25. Love reading your posts. They always ground me in a way that I didn't know I needed. I hope the New Year brings you peace, contentment and many blessings. Thanks for being a calm in the storm.

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  26. Rhonda- a very encouraging post today. I can't explain it, but I was uplifted by your photo of dishes drying in the drain basket by the sink. Doesn't that site make you smile? Working at home, I find I'm experiencing all kinds of regular little thrills like that...from a job well and thoroughly finished. :)

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  27. What a lovely post, Rhonda - to be able to reassess your life and realise that you're perfectly happy to keep things just the way they are is gratifying. And you're not yearning for anything different. Long may it continue :-)

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  28. "Two golden oldies", oh, you are so much more!! Your advice, your teachings, your stories of your life are all so appreciated, and even though I don't follow all that you do, I have learned a lot. I now knit regularly; have made many gifts knit with peace and love. Beaded ornaments with colors of happiness and celebration.

    I am now in the process of starting an overhaul of my physical body. I will get everything checked that has bothered me and that has been put off. Then I will really be free to live according to my daily wants and needs, not to the aches and pains that have been slowly building to intollerable.

    Bless you for your daily post, inspirations, and simple common sense.
    Hugs
    Yvette

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  29. fabulous post as usual Rhonda!
    Blessings,
    Kristin

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  30. I don't like New Year's "resolutions" but reflection is always good, no matter what time of year. There are days I don't feel like I have done enough, and others where I have done so much. At times I just need to look back over the past few years to remember all the changes we have made and how good they are. Thank you for all that you share. Happy New Year! Sincerely, Emily

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  31. I have to say I have to think a little harder for happiness and joy these last few days. But it gives me a chance to look for the smaller things in life that one may pass by.
    Coffee is on.

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  32. What a perfect way to state it "touchstone". I have been a bit of an eccentric most of my life. Slightly out of step with most.

    Your blog is like visiting with an old friend. We don't really have to explain, we just "get" each other and the way we choose to enjoy life.

    Have a blessed new year!

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  33. What a beautiful, uplifting post - thank you, I needed it!

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  34. Thanks Rhonda,,,

    I am also blessed in my life. Have a wonderfull marriage, lovely husband whom I love and love me so much. Free of debt.

    I am moving toward living in a simple way. My new year resolution will be having my little veggie patch :D

    Have a nice day!

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  35. Hello Rhonda: I to have reached a happy place in my life. I still have an older Mother with health problems and sickness in my family,lots of problems BUT I feel I am truly blessed.I sometimes feel bad that everyone in my family and every other person cannot be as happy and contented as I am. I truly believe it is a mind set and not just what you strive to be or are. Everyone has problems but when you are down things can only go up. Happy New Year to all. Life is good.It is all in the way you handle it.

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  36. After a super rough day, this post was like a breath off fresh air. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

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  37. Another great post Rhonda. Looking forward to the new year and taking stock and planning as you all are, it's so good to know, that there are others happy to tread the same path to ever greater simplicity and authenticity in their lives.
    As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us all.

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  38. Be sure we are here trying to find our way into a simple living.
    I´m 53 and although i have 6 grown up childs. I still have 2 teenagers under my wing so i have to go on working for a living, but I try to live "simple", bake my bread, feed my kids properly and healthy,knittting and gardening and being happy with everyday things.
    Thanks for your blog, I read it every day.
    Lovely post!
    happy new year!

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  39. This is my first time on here, I think I am going to like it here. I am new (kinda) to blogging, so I am branching out finding new friends.

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  40. Rhonda,

    A while ago, on your blog, you wondered about cloth diapers.

    I just wrote this blog post, which reflects what I have learned over the past few weeks.
    I have a very simple, cheap - yet effective system.

    I just wanted to send you the link.
    http://maehegirl.blogspot.com/2010/12/cloth-diapering.html

    Blessings,
    Cadi

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  41. The very happiest of holidays to you and Hanno, Rhonda. I, too, feel humbled by my undeserved blessings -- the dearest of husbands, three healthy and happy children, a warm home (it's snowing outside here), and things to work on and potter with. I have so appreciated your blog during this year, as it has helped to encourage me when I was feeling frustrated or grumpy about "little" things like homemaking, mothering, etc.! It has consistently reminded me of what the important things are. Thank you for your hard work to share with all of us.

    kristin

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  42. Rhonda -

    Thanks for your comment. And of course you can link to my blog anytime! :-)

    Bright blessings,
    Cadi

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  43. What a lovely blog post, perfect timing aswell when we are all thinking about the future and making great changes "so that we will be happy"...
    I'm seeking simplicity and "making by hand" more and more every week - your blog is such a source of inspiration. Thankyou :)

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  44. Rhonda, I simply can't wait for your book! I share everything I read here with my mother, she hasn't taken to computers herself, and to be able to send her a book of your sentiments would be a perfect exercise in validation for her. She greatly enjoys nodding her hed vigorously at so many of your posts and I think it gives her much hope that I do as well.

    Thanks again for such a great blog,

    Pia

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  45. At the ripe old age of 24 and 28 my fiance and I are working toward that simple life and are finding hidden pockets of happiness as we go. We shop as often as we can at the local farmer's markets, support local business, and try to be thrifty with resuing materials and furniture or, whenever possible, make it ourselves! There is a huge sense of accomplishment and pride when you are able to do for yourself and create with your own hands. We are finding the simple life suits us well and while others around us may not see the logic in it and we do receive a hefty sum of opposition from family and friends, we stay true to the way of life we are making for ourselves and our future family. Happiness is what you make it and while this lifestyle may not be for everyone, boy are we happy here! We love your blog and all the oodles of information you have to share. Please keep up the good work!

    http://nitgrit.blogspot.com

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  46. Thank you for a timely and positive post Rhonda,

    I retired a few years early from a busy and engrossing job and I am still adjusting, although I love the satisfaction of a simpler life. You seem to have found just the right balance and, in your blog and your upcoming book, still have an outlet for your intellectual creativity.

    Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive year in 2011. It is good to hear that you were not caught up in the severe floods in Queensland that we have been seeing on the News.

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  47. this is beautiful rhonda. you are living a truly blessed life, and i know you work so hard and make choices to maintain it... still, so very blessed. i am completely excited too for the day i can hold your book in my hands. xo

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