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.

16 February 2011

Days of our lives

When I started blogging I felt like a bit of an outcast.  Many of the people who were blogging about simplifying then had a political agenda wrapped around peak oil or climate change and almost no one was blogging about simplifying their homes.  But I kept plodding along, developing my style and just writing about our transformed lives.  I didn't expect too many people would notice what we were doing and it didn't matter much.  What I was aiming for in that first year of blogging was to record a faithful and, hopefully, interesting account of how two ageing hipsters, turned their backs on mainstream life and built an unconventional but decent simple alternative.


Most of the books on simplifying then focused on debt, mindfulness, or going back to the land.  I wanted to write about everyday activities, the practical side of life - those things we all do during the course of a normal day.  So I wrote about getting out of debt, slowing down and producing food from our land but I also added how I made my bed every morning, the ins and outs of washing up by hand, hanging washing on the line, making dog food, aprons, dishcloths and soap at home, farming fish, fermenting, recycling jars and a hundred other things.  For me, they were the actions of my day, I was interested in the mundane tasks of my home, I wanted them to be part of our simple transformation, and if they were that, to write about it.  I wanted to write from the heart, to be open and non-judgmental, to show rather than tell, and to support and encourage those who wanted these things too.  


For some reason people started writing and asking my opinion about many things and when I thought I could help, I answered.  I don't like giving advice unless I'm asked for it and I really dislike reading blogs that preach a narrow one size view of simple life.  As far as I'm concerned, if there are 5000 people reading this blog today, then there are probably 5000 different interpretations of how a simple life may be lived.  Sure, there are points of overlap, but on the whole, we're all different, have different values and should not expect, nor want, to be carbon copies of each other.  Difference and contrast are part of the appeal.

I'm often asked why I think my blog is popular and I never have an answer.  If I were to guess, I'd say that I put the everyday tasks of a simple life in context and, hopefully, write about them so that others feel they're accessible and doable.  I still love blogging, we continue to learn new skills and ways of doing our work and soon we'll have two new babies in our family to get to know, marvel at and to write about.  I once thought there would be a certain short lifespan for my blog but if I continue to faithfully record the day to day lives of those two ageing hipsters, I cant see it stopping any time soon.

64 comments:

  1. You get my vote for most inspirational blogger, Rhonda!

    You're blog is a exceptional online resource within itself.

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  2. Congratulations on your milestone! I have gained so much encouragement from your blog. Much continued success.

    Blessings from Ohio/USA...Kim<><

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  3. I just found your blog and it certainly appeals to me. Like you, I don't have a political agenda. Just want to live a simpler, more "sensible" life in harmony with my surroundings. Glad I found you.
    Blessings :)

    ~jennifer

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  4. I think you've shared your heart, home, and wisdom with us. No lectures, no guilt, no strong opinion...just another way to look at and another way to do things should we choose. And that's why I keep coming back!!!

    A big thank you to you and Hanno.
    You deserve all the success that your blog has come to be.

    ((HUGS))
    Debbie
    central Illinois

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  5. I love your blog! So I'm glad you're planning on staying around a while! LOL No matter the subject you blog about, I always find it useful and timely. Thank you!

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  6. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful information with us younger folks (under 30s). We need to know how to keep the old ways of life in the home going, or we may loose our homes altogether one day.....

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  7. Whatever you do Rhonda, don't stop!

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  8. What got me reading your blog was the confident way you wrote about homemakers - to not apologize for who you are and what you do, but to inspire others to live a simpler life.

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  9. Good thing too, we would miss your friendship and great advice. It is wonderful to read of your accomplishments. So admired by many.

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  10. Your Answer of "I'd say that I put the everyday tasks of a simple life in context and, hopefully, write about them so that others feel they're accessible and doable." is how I feel about your blog Rhonda. So many times I read something here and think I could do that! When I have read it elsewhere multiple times and put it in the too hard category.
    Thanks for a lovely place that makes so many skills, ways and attitudes seem within easy reach :)

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  11. Oh how I agree. Do keep blogging about your everyday life and I can't wait to hear about the new arrivals. Have a wonderful day.xx

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  12. You've got good, simple, adaptable advice. I'm in Central Texas, USA, and I regularly find something to inspire me. That's why I keep coming back again and again.

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  13. Rhonda,
    Yours is the first of two blogs I read everyday, I am always quoting from your blog to hubby, your blog also reminds me to slow down and "smell the roses".
    Lynne
    Lockyer Valley Qld

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  14. Rhonda you do not pretend to be perfect or have all the answers. You come across as a real person that is passionate about life. That is why I keep coming back.

    Oh, and I learn stuff too!

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  15. Dear Ageing Hipsters,

    Thank you for your blog. Thank you for the daily things you do and write about that inspires so many of us to try new things. Like you I don't like blogs that preach or only reflect narrow views. With your blog I feel that I am encouraged to form my own ways of doing things with help from friends when I need it.

    Catherine

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  16. Rhonda, the reason you are so popular with me is the fact that I can relate so much to you as my DH and I are both aging hipsters as well trying to simplify readying ourselves for retirement. It's interesting from a Tasmanian perspective to see how people live in Queensland. Your relaxed informative writing style also adds to the mix. Im glad your enjoy writing and intend to continue as I will continue to read it. It's a nice way to start the day.

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  17. Rhonda, I feel your blog says 'this is what I do' not 'this is how it should be done' and readers can copy you or make adaptations to suit their lifestyle. There's no right or wrong or guilt trips as we all have different requirements and need to try things to see if they fit our way of life. That's the appeal of your blog to me along with the fact that it feels like chatting with friends in the garden :D.

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  18. I enjoy reading your lbog! It's a good one. Keep writing!

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  19. Thanks Rhonda for you ARE making a simpler lifestyle "doable". I've gained alot of knowledge and encouragement from your blog. And if I have, then others have, too. I'm greatly looking forward to your book coming out, too. Your blog has been a wonderful resource to come to when I've got a question rolling around in my head! Thanks!

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  20. Your blog is also beautifully written and a joy to read. I believe that amny of the simple tasks of everyday are lost arts and your blog is a great resource for those who want to learn these things that are often no longer passed down in families. Thank you for continuing to take the time.
    Anne

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  21. Hello Rhonda I love your blog I have learned many things I did not know and you are very good at "keeping it real" I like that the best. You do not come off as someone you are not.
    I started blogging almost 6 months ago and I notice that if you tell the truth, the way you understand things and not be someone you are not, people respect that and do come back. I have found there is no secret just be who you are and if you know your stuff and keep it "real" they will come back.
    Real life is the key. Thanks for being real not fake, and teaching real lessons.

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  22. You do a great job with your blog,that's why it is so popular. So don't change a thing,I'm with you when you say everyone is different,and that's what makes life and blogging so special! Blessings jane

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  23. I think your biggest secret is that you are talking very simply about important matters -- without preaching. You hipsters rock.

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  24. Jenni from CaliforniaFebruary 16, 2011 7:57 am

    I like your blog because you are a voice out there telling me that it's okay to enjoy the process and fruits of domesticity - many friends and family I have think that it is either a waste of time or talent to enjoy staying and working at home, but for me, it feels like true freedom and empowerment - to be the queen of my castle, and have the power to make something instead of buying it because I am acquiring the skills to do so.

    Because of your blog, I have been inspired to move over to cloth diapers, make my own jam, learn how to knit and crochet, make my own bread, and one day, I hope to have a garden of my own in the backyard and make my own soap. Instead of feeling like it is this herculean feat, it feels normal and good to do these things. There are not many people in my life who do all of these things, and your blog provides a community of like-minded hearts who pursue and support these things, which encourages me to do so as well. And not surprisingly, as I've started to do those things, other friends have suddenly expressed an interest in doing them too - sometimes, all it takes is someone to start writing about it.

    Thanks so much!

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  25. people will always write about the larger and historic events of life and the worl. People fro get it is the everyday things that generations need to know that if they are not recorded will be lost forever and even with the gratest of effort to try and rekindle the knowlage, lost is lost and there can be no way back. becoming disconected from our heratage is beyond thinking. keep doing what you do you do it well because you do not try to be anything othere than ordinary, and I race my cuppa to you for that.
    all the best to you and yours
    Rachel

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  26. I love your blog Rhonda. I am a Stay at Home Mum and my youngest child has just started school. We live in Far North Queensland. I've taken lots of inspiration from you and read your blog every morning with my coffee before the kids wake up. Thanks for all your hard work. Meegan.

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  27. I enjoy this blog because it is one of the first I've found that shows cooking (and baking in particular) and housework in a real way. Not the 'Domestic Goddess' variety of baking or the over-enthusiastic chef style of cooking - and not the Martha Stewart version of domestic reality where everything looks like a magazine shoot.

    I like seeing real bread and real chickens because that's what I have at home. I want to compare my results with yours (to see if I'm doing it right), not a glossy photo-shoot with food stylists. I've always loved baking but it doesn't bear any resemblance to the staged beauties in the press!

    And I've never ceased to be grateful for those biscuits.

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  28. Hi Rhonda,

    As a fellow blogger I know what you mean about feeling like an outcast. It can be quite scary writing about even the simplest of things. The secret is to blog about what you're passionate about. You do that incredibly well and your readers appreciate your insights and words. I know I do.

    Cheers,
    Peskychicken

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  29. Rhonda, I've always done everything the 'old way' too. Although I have never looked at it as being the 'old way'. Even during the years when I went to my shift working job, I still made home cooked meals (shared with the help of my hubby when I did late shifts)
    Sat around the table to eat with the children each night. Did the housework, menu planned and shopped accordingly. I have kept a stockpile since I first married 44 years ago when I was just 16 years old. I have no idea why I did it, it just seemed logical to me. I sewed and knitted clothes for the family, did simple home repairs, grew vegetables and encouraged my children to do the same.
    Your blog has brought out this 'simple' way of living to others and has encouraged a whole new generation of homemakers to appreciate the joys of keeping a home. Something we should all be proud of.
    Thank you and keep up the wonderful job you're doing. Maa.

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  30. I usually always check for your blog in the morning with my coffee. There are so many wonderful stories, directions, and instructions that make me smile. I have change a few things around here like, knitted dishcloths, homemade laundry liquid, cleaning with vinegar and baking soda, and baking bread. I use a bread machine as I cannot knead due to arthritis, but it's still homemade!! I picked up a loaf at the market the other day, and WOW was it salty!!! I definitely love my bread.

    I've made lots and lots of gift for family and friends, and thankfully the people I know really love hand crafted gifts.

    You and Hanno are quite the inspiration and that is why you have so many visitors!
    Many hugs to you both
    Yvette

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  31. I think that people that are helpful and good hearted are always appreciated. I'm so happy I stumbled on your blog one day. I might not post every day but I do come every day. To me it feels like having coffee with a friend. You know, exchanging joys and sorrows, helpful tips and thoughts. Or just talk about what is growing and marveling that we can do all of this and enjoy it.
    So, thank you!

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  32. You have a wonderful, beautiful blog. Whenever I read it I am reminded of sunny, happy, love filled times, easy on the soul and heart filling with joy. Thank you so much for writing.

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  33. I found your blog thru Two Chicks and a Hen.

    I love your premise and look forward to reading more.

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  34. Why is your blog a success, Rhonda? Oh my, Lady, your honesty, your openess, the simplicity of your techniques, the calm wisdom you demonstrate. All of these and more. Thank you for sharing the wealth of a simple lifestyle.

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  35. I certainly hope you continue to blog for many a year.
    I live vicariously through you and Hanno, you are living the life I used to live when I was fit and healthy. I still do some things just not as many these days but I LOVE reading about how things are going around your place. SOmehow it is comforting to me, so thank you very much for a bright spot in my day. My goal is to make soap this year, that is something I have never done and it seems doable.

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  36. Thank you for all the effort you have put into your blog over the years. I have been reading for about 3 years now and keep coming back. I think it is because your blog rings true - it is how you live your life.

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  37. I love this blog because it is 'real'. A bit of sparkle and glitz is great for an occasion but I can't live in that world. Credit cards, materialism, waste all drain me. Your world Rhonda, resonates with how I want to live. You have your priorities placed perfectly, you have respect for people, animals and the earth. You give so much to people. Thank you ABC because until I'd heard you there I never read blogs.
    Vickixx

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  38. Hi Rhonda, I think that the appeal of your blog is the ordinariness of what you write. I often think about the book by AB Facey - "A Fortunate Life" - the appeal of that book was that he had a very basic ordinary life but that it was so fascinating in it's ordinariness (thats probably not a word but anyway).
    I dont think it matters what the appeali s of your blog that has people returning every morning to see what you and Hanno have been up to; it's more about the inspiration and the education that we glean as well as entertainment from peeking into your life and that of your family.

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  39. Please, don't stop believing that we haven't much to learn from your lifestyle to incorporate what works in ours...
    Love your encouragement and honest detail of life...
    ~~HUGS~~

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  40. I enjoy reading about the ordinary, simple life. No hidden agenda, or preachy "my way or the highway", that is not simple.

    -Brenda

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  41. And as long as you are writing,we will all be here reading! I sure hope it's for many more years!Darlene

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  42. Love your blog. You are the reason I got my chickens last year. Glad I did. Also, like all of your recipes like the lemon curd, yummy. By the way what is the yummy food in the picture? Looks real good. Would love the recipe.

    Pat

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  43. Rhonda, the biggest thing I have taken from this blog is inspiration. I started Reading not long after your blog was created. Once you answered one of my questions in a post and I was buzzing as it felt like a celebrity had spoken to me. I look up to you far more than any mainstream celebrity. You make anything look achievable, you make my role as a stay at home mum feel valued, you continue to encourage simplicity which is always welcome on days when you are about to fall off the wagon and most importantly you reinforce the fact of not to aim for perfection and that you offer advice not instruction. I felt discouraged after I had my son as the simple life I had before was a distant dream - I didn't have time to make all the things I wanted etc but then I remembered you didn't tell us to copy you, you offered advice on how you do it. This is why I created my site stayathomemummy.co.uk I can show the world how I am simple living MY WAY. If if hadn't of been for your words i'd have no doubt slipped back into the materialistic life as I thought I didn't have time for simplicity - how wrong I was! Thank from the bottom of my heart rhonda x

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  44. Before a friend recommended your blog in July 2010, I honestly didn't really understand what a blog was as I hadn't ever read any except a doctor's special expedition to Antarctica. I thought blogs had to be something like that persons--for a unique course or trip. So, since yours was the first blog I'd ever read, Rhonda, I became very spoiled indeed.....as I started with one of excellence. Excellence in the sense of being one of the best blogs that exist! The mix of thorough tutorials, beauty (in words, thoughts, pictures), down-home simple living and humbleness (sharing who you & your family are) have me coming back to read, reflect & consider applications to my world time & time again. You also write such thought-provoking posts & pose good questions and in this way the comments section is just as invaluable.

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  45. Your blog is great!!
    First thing I read when I opened my computeer!!
    Go on!

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  46. Just as the blog Title says! Down to Earth, nothing fancy, you have inspired me to be a better home keeper and wife to my husband.You have taught me that saving money is more important than spending! That used to be embrassing for me to say. Now I say it with pride!

    That is okay that I choose not be like the Martha stewart's in the world! That everything is not perfect! Most of all hard work pays off and of course eating good homegrown food helps. Please keep up the good work and I think you have found that there are more folks wanting to be just like you in your simple life. They just needed encouragement and that you gave. Thanks a lot for touching lives from all over the world.

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  47. I have loved your blog ever since I first stumbled upon it which I think was shortly after you started. I look forward to reading it each day and learning something new. Thank you for confirming that simple is best the way I learned when I was a young girl. Please continue writing this wonderful blog.
    ammal

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  48. You actually described a big reason why your blog is on the top of my list. So many documentaries, books, and blogs do talk about the disaster the world is in, peak oil, etc. which is all well and good, but after I was done reading/watching it, I would wonder "Okay...now what do I do?" It was basically impossible for us to just up and leave our apartment and live in the woods. I simply wanted to know what I could start doing where I was, and your blog showed me that. I wanted to know how to DO things again. Basically, you don't give people facts on a dire situation and then leave them hanging, which is obviously much appreciated! You show us how you are living a solution. Thank you so much and keep writing!
    The Girl in the Pink Dress

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  49. May I be very superficial, and say that I noticed a lovely new photo of you, on your Sidebar?

    Yes, that's probably being superficial, but I don't care. :-) It is lovely, and it does merit mentioning.

    "Olden Auntie A."

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  50. Dear Ageing Hipsters;
    Reading your post today, I am reminded of the story.. Ants and the grassphopper.. your life is same like the ants who work evryday to make their life self sufficient for the rain days.....and there is no better feeling than being able to support yourself and maybe a few others... another thing I love about you, is that in todays times when many women are loooked down for being a homemaker and not particpating the race to make big bucks.. you encourage women to juggle between work, and kids and home and still be a homemaker who provides decent meals and budgets the expense....one thing that stuck with me is.. that you said.. if its the mans job to go out and earn.. its the girls job to save in the home and make it an indirect earning...how simple yet so difficult to understand.....
    Your blog is like the 9am coffee for me..as M-F each morning I wait for the post frm you..
    hugs
    Ash.

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  51. I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I love your blog because it's not political. I read some that are, but I love reading about your real-life stuff more than those. You show that you not only believe what you say, you live it in a very real way. You are inspiring me to do more with less in my own home, too. Thanks.

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  52. hey,you inspire me!! keep on:)

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  53. Rhonda, your blog is a warm and inviting place that inspires and instructs without judgement or expectations. I believe your blog will continue to draw readers as so many of us are seeking a simpler more sustainable way of life. Thank you.
    Victoria

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  54. Perfectly said. This is exactly why we keep reading your blog. Glad to have found it.

    Jessica, Sacramento CA USA

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  55. Rhonda, I have been reading your blog for a long time and I can honestly say that your blog has changed mine and my family's life. Thank you so very, very much for sharing your life with us. We love to hear about what you and Hanno are up to and we have learned so much. From our hearts, thank you.

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  56. You do make things sound so doable, and regularly inspire me. One thing I've been doing more of, thanks to you, is sweeping the floors. It really has become a pleasant task, and anything to cut down on vacuuming is good in my book!

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  57. I think that's why I like your blog so much - you don't preach, you don't rant and rave and you are not condescending. You just tell it like it is and leave the choices up to us.
    We try and live our lives as simply as possible. I remember one particularly hot day I felt a little guilty because I gave my boys and 'outdoor shower' during a time when there were water restrictions and we weren't supposed to use the sprinkler - but I figured that the water was better on the grass than down the drain....But, I digress......
    Anyway, I happened to express my concern to a friend who said "it's not up to the little people to change the water situation, it's the big industries that need to make change. This didn't sit well with me - I think that at the end of the day, I need to go to bed knowing that I have done all I can to make the world a better place. And that's what I think your blog teaches us too. So keep up the good work
    l
    x

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  58. I appreciate all that you have to say, Rhonda. Some of it isn't applicable to my situation but much of it is and your blog has been an inspiration to change what I can and simplify where it is possible. Thank you.

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  59. soo glad I found your site. I always get a charge out of coming here...everything of which you write really does seem doable. You're an inspiration!

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  60. It is the fact that you cover the "mundane" aspects of life that your blog is so very helpful! Thanks for writing (and being an outcast!

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  61. A beautiful post Rhonda. I simply love visiting your blog. I come here for inspiration, motivation, guidance, homemaking ideas, to learn, and to "catch up". Your blog encourages me every day to keep on my path to live more simply. Down to Earth is comprehensive and diverse in ideas and your style of writing makes it a pleasure to read. I am really looking forward to buying your book and congragulate you on reaching the final stages of a dream long in the making!

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  62. Rhonda, discovering your blog a few years ago was a defining moment for me--it has helped to give my vague but persistent dream shape and substance.

    "I wanted to write from the heart, to be open and non-judgmental, to show rather than tell, and to support and encourage those who wanted these things too."

    guenhwyvar

    You manage this beautifully and it is why your blog is the one I have stayed with. I'm so far from where I'd like to be, it's tempting to just give up, but your words encourage and inspire and make me appreciate all the little things I can do *now* rather than wait for "one day".

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  63. Just carry on exactly as you are! Suits me fine....

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