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.

1 April 2013

What is a blog?

Recently I read Tania's post about rising early and the mundane ordinariness of Monday mornings and once again I felt that soft collision of connection between the two of us. In reality, we're worlds apart - geographically, in age and culture, and probably many other things, and yet there is something that I recognise in Tania. I'm not sure if it's my life now or memories of my past but that warm recognition I see in Tania's blog and the way she writes about her life is familiar, comforting and reassuring. 


I didn't realise it until I snapped back to reality but I sat there starting out the window after reading the post, trying to find the reason for the recognition. The sun was still on the rise behind some pine trees, making bright shadows on the front garden and highlighting spider webs that otherwise would have gone unnoticed. Tiny golden leaves fell from one of the trees near the house and a Sacred Kingfisher swooped down at one point to pick up a grasshopper.

How do we make a connection like this to someone we don't know? 


Blogs are strange things. I've been thinking about them a lot lately because of the blogging workshops we've just finished and have been trying to define just what a blog is. At the most basic level a blog is a way of recording one's thoughts in a similar way you'd write a diary. Most blogs are glaringly public though. They're a form of expression, like a book or a letter to a friend. They're a record of life.  They're a way of getting public recognition. They can be a business for those who spend a lot of time on their blogs and have something to sell - be that their thoughts or products.


And what of all of us who write blogs? Having met a few hundred people in the past month who are new to blogging, I know now from that small sample that bloggers can be anyone. They are young, middle aged, old and older. There are many people who want to record family life or their travels as well as many who just want to blog and see what happens. And there are the business bloggers.

My hope for all of those new bloggers is that they develop a community of people who "get" them. People who they might never meet but feel they know, just like me and Tania. Had someone told me years ago such a relationship could be had on the internet and that real friendships could be formed, I would have thought "pffffffft, as if". But it happens all the time.


I think I'm one of the luckiest bloggers on the web. I have you and this wonderful community of like minded folk who drop by, say hello, write emails, send gifts and cards in the post - right now I have Courtney's borage seeds winging their way to me (thanks Courtney). People leave comments to share what they know and to make a contribution to the continuing conversation we have here. This blog, and I think Tania's blog, started off as solo efforts but have both developed well beyond that. We now have a thriving and thoughtful community online and that is a beautiful and powerful thing.

How has your blog developed over the years?

36 comments:

  1. I enjoyed this post so much. You've been a great inspiration to me, Rhonda. My current blog is just a few months old but I have blogged in the past as well. I use my blog as a place to document the happy, productive, creative things I do. I prefer not to discuss the difficult aspects of life on my blog, though I hope anyone who reads it does not imagine that my life is perfect. I just feel better keeping a record of the things that make me happy and feel good. I lurked on your blog for a long time before following you officially or commenting. I love your writing and the topics you discuss. I feel like a more productive person for having found your blog.

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    1. I'm pleased you made the jump from lurking to commenting, Jennifer and thank you for this lovely comment.

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  2. I'm just learning, with my blog, with our new lifestyle and a community is building. It's a joy to jump on line and converse about all these things dear to my heart.

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    1. Hi Clare, I love your blog header. Did you create it?

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  3. I agree with you Rhonda. I have puzzled over it myself, I am naturally a quiet person but not so , when I find the rare like minded friend that I connect with....then I talk and talk. I have found that blogging gets around my natural shyness and allows people to see the 'me' that is in there somewhere . I have made friends from all over Australia and they as real a friendship to me as the friends I can reach out and touch ....the nice thing is that every now and then I get to meet a blogger and they really are as lovely as they are in their blog.

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  5. I've made several stabs at blogging, but none of them "took". Nonetheless, I've made a connection with several bloggers around the world -- people I feel a kinship with although they are, as you say "worlds apart - geographically, in age and culture, and probably many other things". I wondered for a long time why that might be, and finally realized that it is a reflection of who I am "in real life". I'm the quiet one at parties. I love to sit and listen to conversations, throwing in my two cents from time to time. I see that is what I do in the blogging world as well. I read. I listen. I absorb. And sometimes I throw in my two cents.

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  6. My life is small and plain; but with my blog, I like to show people that any life can be interesting, and there are worthwhile things to be found every day, if you are paying attention.

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  7. g'day rhonda
    a lovely post as usual, hope your easter weekend was a good one
    i don't blog but read many & they are all very good, though sometimes i feel i shouldn't be reading them as they feel like i'm intruding in on someones journal/diary but most make me feel good after reading.
    hope you have a great week

    selina from kilkivan qld

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  8. I started blogging late last year. I'd thought about it for a while, but felt that I had to have a purpose to it, rather than just using it as a diary (although that is a lovely benefit to doing it).

    To me, blogging should reflect who you are and what is important to you, so I had to think about that first. As a result, my blog started off themed around my retirement. And since I hadn't found many other blogs out there about the effects of retirement, especially an early (and healthy) retirement (as I'm only 52), I hoped I would find similar people out there, and people who have their opinions on this topic.

    But the blog has also changed slightly to be a place for me to express my opinions, and to be really ME, which is something I have struggled with for many years.

    My blog is still developing, and I will continue with it regardless of how many people read it as it gives me opportunities to test out my thoughts, and connect with so many different people.

    As you say, Rhonda, bloggers can be anyone, and they are all interesting!

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  9. Hi Rhonda, a thought provoking post! I read quite a few blogs, mostly frugality and simple living. I did start a blog when I went to a community run course and of course it was a 'live' blog and all of a sudden I had followers etc and I couldn't understand why I would have as I had really not written much and it kind of freaked me out a bit to be honest. But I think the people who were following really just wanted me to follow their blogs and I couldn't see the point of that. I want to read about what interests me! I agree with one of the earlier commenters that magazines & papers just don't give the satisfaction of a blog that is about things that I like to read. I don't care for celebrity gossip and that kind of thing. But I do love to read about how to save money, budget better, cook from scratch, all of those exciting things :) Thanks so much to you for the inspiration and knowledge you provide. Cheers Judy xx

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    1. Thanks Judy. It's good to see you again. :- )

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  10. It certainly is a beautiful and powerful thing. I'm so glad you're here.

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  11. I blog to be "open" and connected with others who are like minded. Im surprised that my non blogging friends around me have been quite negative about it and see it as a waste of time and that this new interest of sustainable living is just a fad. I was feeling quite low about this yestereday and mentioned it to a blog friend. Guess what? She called me and we talked for the first time. She gave me insight into her own experiences and how she pulled through and left me feeling like this journey im on is worthwhile and that i should push on. This was inspite of what was a very busy weekend for her, as i later learned in her blog. So these blog "friends" (as my bestie keep referring to them as if they are not real) are real indeed and offer comfort and friendship and so much useful information. Great post Rhonda, as usual. It all started with you by the way. I saw you in Woman's Weekly and took a look at your blog.

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  12. I started to blog because my husband was tired of receiving various emails from me regarding products or houses or whatnot. What has evolved is I have had the pleasure of finding others of similar minds as well as others who are so opposite me, yet I can't help but be drawn in. My "real life" friends are always so busy and unless I go onto Facebook, which I am not a huge fan of, I don't know what is going on in their lives to an extent. With my blogging world, I always know what is new and mundane or new and exciting on the many bookmarked blogs from around the world and I love it. To be able to connect with people who may or may not share my beliefs politically or religiously is incredible. I purposely keep my blog somewhat non political or religious simply because I am interested in all opinions,though I have been known to get on a soapbox now and then. :) It is wonderful that technology has been able to bring so many of us together so we can share bits of our lives and our passions. All of us here on Down To Earth love your stories and recipes and advice and simple living and sustainability. The interesting thing to me is, we may be so different in other areas of our lives, but it doesn't even matter. Wouldn't be wonderful if the real world operated like that sometimes? Cheers!

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  13. I'm not sure what a blog is..but that fine with me...I like variety of blogs and I blog about variety of things. In simple term it my blog.
    If I didn't spread my wings out I could possible have more comment.
    I actual I blogging...Coffee is on.

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  14. I've had a blog for about a year and for me it's about sharing parts of my life such as crafts and baking that i can't share with my friends. I'm still trying to find that community feeling you talk about and still feel like such a newbie to blogging but i like being able to share my thoughts and projects.

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  15. I love the fact that blogs bring people with similar interests together from all around the world. It is lovely to have a look into Aussie life in reading your blog...plus I grew up in NZ so there is some nostalgia for familiar things as well. My son was the one who pushed me into writing a blog.....something to do in my retirement. He said I should write a travel blog. After thinking about it, I felt that a garden blog would suit me better. People are often asking me garden questions so it was a way of putting down my acquired knowledge to pass on to others and help them in growing tropical plants. My travels still show up a bit though as I learn from gardens I see while traveling. I am not a super active blogger and only write about once a month which I find is a comfortable level.

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  16. I love your blog and Tania's, although I don't blog myself or comment often I do feel a connection/friendship as well. It's probably one sided though because most of my favourite bloggers don't really know me at all. But still I come back to those blogs where I feel a connection and often gain strength to keep going.
    So thankyou

    cheers Kate

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    1. I know you and I've known you for about as long as I've known anyone commenting on my blog. With every comment, I slowly build up a picture of people who leave their thoughts here. It may not be exactly right but I think I'm pretty close. Remember our cup of morning tea? I remember it.

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    2. Yes I do remember our morning cuppa.
      I still think of you as my surrogate mum, although maybe its more of my mentor now.

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  17. I'm still finding out what place blogging has in my life. I can say for sure there are some blogs (including this one) that, even though I don't comment that often, have made a real impact on my life. Another good exampl3 is a blog called Terralectualism. The lady who writes it alternates posts about walks in nature and herbalism with posts that show her deep concern for the current state of our planet. She doesn't shun exploring this difficult topic to great depths, but her posts always give me a strong sense of hope. And a knowing that my concerns are shared by her and her readership. In this way a blog can be incredibly powerful!!

    My own blog started out as a way of sharing practical sustainable solutions and I didn't want it to get too personal. However recently I've gone through some big changes in my life and though sometimes painful I decided to share the proces on my blog. Writing helps me cope with things and the response I've gotten has been heartwarming. Soon I'll be taking conscious living a step further as I plan to start travelling and work as a volunteer at organic farms along the way. My blog will function as a road trip diary and a way to share my experiences with others.

    Thank you for bringing this topic up, most of us here are bloggers after all and it is fascinating to see what it means to different people :)

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  18. Hi Selma, thanks for the link to that blog. I'll check it out. It is heartwarming, isn't it. I feel that too.

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  19. I'm pretty new to blogging, but it's fun sharing our little piece of paradise with others. I've always enjoyed taking pictures of our ranch and sharing on FB but never really thought about blogging until a couple of months ago. I love simple living and have followed your blog for years - it's given me inspiration. Thanks for sharing what you do in such an amazing and simple way, allowing us all to see what it could be like for us as well!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas
    www.taylormaderanch.com/blog

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  20. I surely wish that I lived there so that I could attend your workshops and learn how to blog from you. I love the blogging world and I come "visit" you each day to be inspired,to learn, and to get new ideas. I enjoy your commenters and have enjoyed finding their blogs too. The workshops in June when you visit your sister sound like a lot of fun. Blessings, Carolyn from Florida

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  21. Unfortunately Blogs are and will always remain a lifelong mystery to me. I do not think anyone would care to read the minutiae of my daily life. I don't think I have anything special to offer in that regard. I'm okay with that because there are many Blogs out there such as Down To Earth which I follow and enjoy regularly.

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  22. It was a very pleasant surprise to read your post this morning Rhonda! I often find myself nodding along to your posts. What you talked about- that connection to others despite the differences, is what keeps me blogging. In real life, I often feel quite different to other people, but I can talk freely on my blog and other blogs like yours, about such things as homemade laundry powder or fermented foods. It is a diary of sorts, and a part of my life that I really enjoy doing. I've been reading Down to Earth for about 5 years now, and I do think it was a big influence in discovering a way of living that had more meaning. Thank you Rhonda :)

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  23. Weirdly enough it doesn't matter how much being a mum and keeping house has stopped me from blogging, I always return to it and I am still friends with lots of people who followed me right from the very first blog. It is a strange but beautiful relationship - when I started reading 'Life of Pi' the whole situation of being stuck in a boat with a Bengal Tiger really made me laugh because sometimes blogging/being online feels like that :D

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  24. Hi Rhonda, I've been reading your blog for about 2 years now, and I never tire of your stories and advice. I started my own blog in January as a means of making myself see the brighter side of life, to keep a record of life as it is now, and also to connect with other like minded people. I live in a small country town and am a mostly stay at home mum with 4 children, and at times it's isolating when all my friends have long stopped having babies and have returned to full time work. I also find not many people my age are into craft and sewing etc. (I'm 30). I was pleased to read your post as I have sometimes wondered why I am doing this blogging thing, I think as you say, it's a great way to connect with like minded people, and I enjoy it. Thanks for all your inspiration :)

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  25. Thank you for this lovely post Rhonda. The reason I started blogging was because of people like you and Tania. I still don't really know what direction my blog is going to take - sometimes I like to write about bigger topics (I have to say, putting myself out there scares the life out of me though!) and other times I feel like I have nothing useful to add to anyone and it's more about recording something for myself for later reflection. Thank you for your inspiration :)

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  26. I was tooting along, enjoying the idea of being swept away into someone else's blog/life, when I was swept into your life - and it's so silly, but I think we might have the same mixer! Is yours a DeLonghi, too? Anyway, the sight of the corner of the mixer gave me a boost of "I can do this" today. So thanks! :)

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  27. Yvette, my mixer is a Kenwood. Hanno bought it for me two Christmases ago. Im sure you love your DeLonghi as much as I love my mixer.

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  28. I would have been right there with you saying "Pffffftt....as if" But, now after more than two years I know what you say to be true. I am so glad I randomly stumbled into blogging. I have made so many wonderful friends and learned so much valuable info. I've been able to find the community of like-minded souls that I am trying (with limited success) to create here in my hometown. I am so grateful for that online community.

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  29. In your first photo, at first look I thought it was some type of lentil stew, then I went back and realised it was a fruit cake in the making LOL.
    I saw a recipe for greek lentil stew last week that I am keen to try. http://food.ninemsn.com.au/howto/leopardblog/8633779/greek-lentil-stew
    My blog started out sharing my love of crochet and charity craft work. It documented the experimental changes I made to squares and creating blankets. It has changed each year, one year it was a square a day, this year it is a block a month. I like your blog as we also live a frugal life, people are amazed at how we "survive" on such a low income. It came about by necessity and is now a habit that we continue. It doesnt have to be how much you earn, but how much you save. I have a work colleague whos' income is double ours and his quarterly power bill was $1200, our bill in comparison was just under $300 and after rebates and credits it was $200. Not too bad considering our son has a lot of computer equipment that is constantly in use.

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  30. I love blogs. I love your blog. I love to read what others are doing and I find others stories inspirational. I just recently started my own blog, mostly as I want to document the things we are doing as a family, jot down my thoughts and ideas and also to give back to the blogging world. I have gained a lot from reading about others and feel that it is important to give back. Who knows if what I write will be of interest to anybody else but maybe it will. It doesn't really matter, it's all about putting it out there.

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  31. I started my blog in the hope it would help people to grow their own veg and cook their food from scratch using store cupboard items and their home grown veg. I don't know if I'm achieving my aim, which can be frustrating at times, but I carry on. Blogging can be hard work sometimes but I love doing it as like you say, you have comments from lots of different people around the world.

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Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

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