It been a very big year at the Hetzel home. Our main excitement and joy was to welcome the first two members of our family's next generation - Jamie and Alexander. I love being a grandma. It's more than I expected and it has given me a new direction in my older years. There are so many good times ahead for us as grandparents to our little boys.
During the year, I finished writing my book, helped edit it and when it was sent off to the printer I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Now it's back, ready to be sold - the publication date is 22 February. I am filled with joy and a bit of terror just thinking of it. In September, I started writing a monthly column for the Australian Women's Weekly. I'm now building my profile there in the hope of showing how good life can be when the conscious decision is made to simply. Earlier in the year I returned to work at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre, after taking time off to finish the book, and have gone back as a volunteer presenting workshops on simple life and as a committee member.
Online, the Down to Earth Forum continued to grow and now has well over 6000 members. The Simple Green Frugal Co-op has an excellent and engaging group of 12 writers and has had 1.4 million visitors. I fill in when I can if someone is too busy to post. This blog attracted an overwhelming number of requests for advertising space during the year and I'm happy to tell you that I remained true to my values and rejected almost all of them. The ads you see on my sidebar are mostly barters, with a couple of paid buttons. That money coming in and the bartered goods help us live this way and we both appreciate the opportunity to earn a little money and use these top quality goods while we work here at home.
But now I'm taking a short break from the blog to rest and get ready for another big year in 2012. On Christmas morning we'll be going to the Neighbourhood Centre to help with the free community breakfast. Kerry, Sunny and Jamie will be with us and it will be a real pleasure to show Jamie, for the first time, what happens when a little rural community gets together to say hello and reestablish their connections. We expect well over 400 hundred people to attend. When we get home, Shane, Sarndra and Alexander should be here and after we settle in and open gifts, the eight of us will have a cold lunch and some drinks. I am looking forward to it very much. Jens and Cathy have gone north to spend Christmas with Cathy's family in Moranbah. Most Australians will know what we'll be doing on Boxing Day. Yes, the Boxing Day test cricket - I'll be there in front of the TV from the first ball. It's a cricket match that may last up to five days and this year we are playing against India. I want to knit, read and nod off in my chair all through the match. In the following days I will sew and knit and speak to flesh and blood people in my real life, although our gate will be closed to all but family in the coming couple of weeks. We need this time to ourselves.
I send thanks to Sharon who has been helping me behind the scenes here and at the co-op for a number of years, and to Claude who steps in occasionally. Also to all the mods and members at the forum and the writers and readers at the co-op, I send you all my love and appreciation for helping to build an incredibly wonderful and supportive community around my online endeavours. If you click on the link to the forum above you'll find links to the writers' blogs. If you look over on my side bar, you'll find links to the mods' blogs.
And to you dear readers, I thank you for your visits and interesting comments throughout the year. There have been well over 60,000 comments made here since I started the blog and I've read all of them, been inspired by some of them, and learned things about you and me as I went along that I hope helped me improve. I am always grateful for the opportunity to learn. I am ever thankful I have this blog to connect with so many people, all over the world, who strive to live as we do. Those mirror images you sometimes hold up for us to see have been vital and have helped us stay true over the years.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends. I want to see you back here again next year after we've all had time to rest and relax.
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Hanno and me. ♥